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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Blog Roundup

1. This morning, I ran across a blog post from 2020 at New Ideal that makes a valuable and still-timely point: so-called "public interest" or "general welfare" legislation undermines rule of law:
In contrast with the approach of the U.S. Constitution, which delimits the powers of the federal government to the very specific function of protecting individual rights and prohibits it from exercising others, the modern "public interest" legislation unleashes government officials to operate on the expediency of the moment. They help create a government that itself becomes lawless.
Ben Bayer's whole argument is worth a read, especially for anyone who has noticed that, while it seems that everything is a federal case, more and more people are acting like actual criminals.

2. At How to Be Profitable and Moral, Jaana Woiceshyn argues that "Capitalism is not the problem -- but a solution worth defending."

En route, she names a nearly universal misconception and contrasts it with the truth:
But is capitalism to blame for climate change and the ills that the anti-capitalists accuse it of?

To answer, we need to understand what capitalism is. The term is used casually today to refer to the dominant mixed economy system, where some elements of capitalism, such as free trade and private ownership of property, are mixed with government control and public ownership. Even corrupt mixed economies where politicians hand out favors to businesses that make political contributions are called capitalism, albeit with the label "crony" attached.
In the rest of the post, Woiceshyn nicely demonstrates how actual capitalism would more effectively solve the problems many anti-capitalists claim to be concerned with, and why just going along with the agenda of the anti-capitalists is a terrible idea.

3. At Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney takes on the following question: What if I don't have any goals?

Who doesn't have any goals? you might be tempted to ask. Anyone familiar with her work will be unsurprised that she has a ready answer:
Image by Ashley Williams, via Pexels, license.
Let's start by explaining why you might have trouble coming up with goals. This is a perfectly understandable situation, which likely has something to do with your recent history.

For example, if you have just graduated, or have just retired, or have just been promoted, you might find yourself with no goals. In these cases, you have been so focused on achieving a major goal, that it had pushed out any thoughts about what would be next. Once you succeed, there will be a gap in your life. Your major goal has no obvious successor. You will naturally feel some blankness about what goals to set next, because you haven't been thinking about it. What you need is some way to warm up the context of your values, so you can start considering possible new goals to set.
For anyone in such a situation, the rest of the post describes a four-step process for finding candidates for goals based on one's values and willingness to commit to pursuing them.

4. Not too long ago, I noted that "A mistake in an inductive argument may or may not invalidate it."

I hand-waved a bit in the way of elaboration, but I learned this morning that Harry Binswanger has explored the use of counterexamples far better than I did or could in "Not a Good Way to Argue:"
The counter-example approach is not a good one, except in the fields of math and logic because they don't require weighing competing factors in a complex whole.

When someone makes a philosophic claim, a single counter-example does not at all refute the claim. It does provide a reason to think about the issue, but doesn't call the claim into doubt. The reason is that the counter-example could be:
  1. A clear refutation of the principle
  2. A special case to be handled as such, which doesn't refute the principle
  3. A misinterpreted case that actually does not serve as a counter-example
The listing is quite helpful in part because arguing from counterexample is so common today that it can be helpful to have already thought about what the proposed counterexample might mean about the matter under discussion or the thinking behind itself.

-- CAV

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