My wife, youngest daughter, and I have been watching the new Selena series on Netflix, and in honor of Selena Quintanilla and her family, this week’s Music Monday features a live recording of her first big hit “Dame un beso.” (Had her life not been taken from us, Selena would have been 50 on Friday, April 16.)
Note: I will begin my new series on “Lockean takings” on Tuesday, April 20.
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and reflection, so let’s reflect on this: media bias and social media censorship. Remember when journalists propaganda agents at Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post reported that the Russian military was paying bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan? Wikipedia does. The lamestream media (print, TV, cable, and online) over-hyped this story, while Twitter was censoring reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop. (Not to be outdone in the censorship game, Facebook is busy censoring this story as we speak.) Well, now it turns out this entire bounty story was bullshit, after all (see here, for example)! So, what else have they lied to us about?
We heard the latest news from Havana, Cuba: “Raul Castro confirmed Friday he is stepping down as the head of the Communist Party of Cuba, the most powerful position on the island.” As far as I am concerned, however, he and his brother Fidel are criminals who should have been thrown out of power 60 years ago. The Cuban Communist Party has done more harm to more people than anyone else in Cuba’s history …
Alternative Title: No Lockdowns without Just Compensation!
You may remember the case of Shelley Luther, the Dallas beauty salon owner who was thrown in jail for defying a bogus court order shutting down her business during the pandemic. But have you heard of Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia or Brenda Stephanie Mata? Exactly one year and one day ago (April 15, 2020) undercover police agents in Laredo, Texas arrested these two self-employed women for operating clandestine beauty salons from their homes in violation of local coronavirus “lockdown” orders. Although these ladies faced up to 180 days in jail and huge fines, thankfully these bullshit charges were ultimately dropped. The real criminals were the public officials (the undercover police agents, district attorneys, and judges) who attempted to enforce these illegal and un-American “lockdown” orders in the first place. Why were these emergency lockdown orders illegal? That is the subject of my latest paper “Lockean Takings,” which is available here via SSRN. I will begin blogging about the main ideas in this paper next week.
Via Brian Leiter (see here), I just found out that philosopher Ed Gettier has died. (He died on March 23 of this year; here is a short bio.) Professor Gettier’s greatest contribution to philosophy was this three-page paper, published in 1963, which is titled “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” This was one of the few works that Gettier ever published, but it is by all accounts a landmark in the philosophy of knowledge, i.e. more than just a footnote to Plato. Why? Because Gettier’s paper presents two examples (now called “Gettier cases” in his honor) in which a belief that is justified and true still fails to constitute “knowledge” in the philosophical sense of that term. (In brief, this strange state of affairs arises when the reasons for the belief, while justified, turn out to be false.) For my part, I am not sure what to make of such Gettier cases. A few years ago (I don’t recall exactly when), I had vowed to myself to one day study this topic more deeply, as Gettier cases must be relevant somehow to the law of evidence, but someone (Robert Sanger) already beat me to it! See Professor Sanger’s 2018 paper “Gettier in a Court of Law,” via SSRN.
Following up on my “Music Monday” and “Twitter Tuesday” blog posts, I have also decided to begin a new series of blog posts on Wednesdays under the general heading “What could go wrong?” Generally speaking, whenever we try to improve the world in some way, it is always worth asking, What are the most likely “unintended consequences” of our proposed change? What follows is a possible example of this general principle. According to this report by Taylor White (via Undark), the first genetically modified mosquitos will be released in the Florida Keys this spring. The goal of this scientific scheme is to reduce the overall population of mosquitos: “When released [genetically-modified] males breed with wild female mosquitoes, the resulting generation does not survive into adulthood ….” Hey, what could go wrong? Hat tip: @kottke.
When I “self-cancelled” myself from Facebook and Twitter for Lent (see here), little did I realize what a great feeling of unadulterated relief I would feel to stay off social media for good. Instead of wasting ungodly amounts of time scrolling down through an infinite loop of mostly unfiltered bullshit, I can devote myself to more scholarly and humane pursuits. Also, as a matter of principle, I do not like how a public figure like Donald J. Trump has effectively been censored by louses like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. President Xi Jinping can use Twitter, but Trump can’t? Please ….
I shared the first of three “Music Monday” blog posts way back in early October 2014. (The other two were on 13 October 2014 and on 8 December 2014.) Since then, YouTube has taken down my first Music Monday video, so I am replacing it here with another favorite song of mine: “Another Night” by Real McCoy. Also, since music is such a big part of our lives, why not make “Music Monday” a regular feature on this blog?
Does the growing clamor from university administrators for “diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice” include intellectual or ideological diversity? Should it? Either way, we may soon be able to measure the level of “viewpoint diversity” at major public universities in Florida. According to this report in Inside Higher Ed (IHE), a few days ago the Florida Legislature enacted a bill calling for a survey of the political beliefs of public college and university professors in Florida. (More details about this bill are available here.) This bill, which still needs to be signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, would require the Florida State Board of Education to ask professors annually about their political beliefs in order to “assess the status of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity.” Hat tip: Brian Leiter.