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A Friday Hodgepodge

The author will be commemorating Memorial Day with family. I expect to return here on May 30 or May 31.

1. In a post at New Ideal, Ben Bayer draws a brilliant analogy between how he and others have come to reject religion -- and why similar reasoning demands a similar look at morality:
I know many who have had the courage to abandon religious belief when they too realized the provincialism of their own religious upbringing. I want to encourage them to take one more step. Too few secular people have thought to extend the same skeptical attitude toward another set of beliefs that is just as crucial to the way we live our lives, even though it is often packaged along with beliefs about deities. I'm referring to our basic beliefs about moral values. It's time that more secular people decided to challenge the moral doctrines they've absorbed from religion along with the rest of its theology.
Bayer's mention of a nearly universally-missed alternative to the dominant morality in the West both strengthens this parallel and points to the rest of the way out of being in thrall to religion.

2. From a blog post at How to Be Profitable and Moral, Jaana Woiceshyn shows us that 'pay what you can' is unsustainable (in any rational sense of the term) as a business model:
This photo was almost certainly not taken at the Anarchist... (Image by Nathan Dumlao, via Unsplash, license.)
The proprietor of the coffee shop has disdained profits, used "pay-what-you-can" pricing for brewed coffee, barred police officers and military personnel, lectured customers about oppression of workers and "genocide" in Canada, and sold apparel and stickers blazoned with slogans "do crime," "all shoplifters go to heaven," and "all cops are bastards").

Despite its 3,000+ followers on Instagram, The Anarchist has not made a profit -- unsurprisingly -and its main supplier, the micro-roastery Pop Coffee Works will stop subsidizing its rent and providing coffee beans at a significant discount. [link omitted]
The impending closure was poised to provide a near-comic example of just how important it can be for secular moral theologians like those discussed earlier to Question More as it were -- but for an addendum reporting a bail-out.

Sadly, too many people are too invested in anti-capitalism to let it suffer the fate it has earned. So much for "impartiality" ...

3. Writing at Thinking Directions, Jean Moroney draws a distinction between goals and values -- a distinction many of us can use to address productivity problems.

Early on, Moroney explains how these related concepts differ:
In an article from a couple of years ago on how values form, I explained that they are that which you have acted to gain or keep in the past, because you thought they were good in some way (whether explicitly or implicitly). One's first values are formed in relation to biological needs; more complex values are formed in relation to previously established values.

Over the course of your life, you develop thousands and thousands of values. You have people you love, work that you find fascinating, fashions you prefer, exercise that you seek out. Whenever you feel value-oriented emotions such as desire, joy, love, and gratitude, the object of the emotion is a value of yours. By the same token, whenever you feel threat-oriented emotions such as fear, aversion, anger, and despair, the object of the emotion is a threat to some value of yours.


Your goals are rather different. A goal is an intention you set to achieve a particular outcome. Unlike values, you can and should be able to list all of your goals, and some of them can be a little theoretical. Rather than being a product of past choices (as values are), goals are a choice you make now about how to shape your future. When you set a goal, you use your conceptual knowledge of yourself and the world to project different outcomes that you'd like to create by further intentional action. A goal is a conceptual intention that helps you remember to act differently in the future. The purpose of a goal is always to change the status quo in some way. [emphasis in original, link omitted]
Later on, Moroney explains how to use this important distinction to overcome the common problems of " overcommitment, lack of motivation to follow through, and micromanaging with metrics."

4. Recently, Brian Phillips briefly reported that the Pacific Legal foundation scored two big Supreme Court wins.
In Sackett v. EPA, the Court significantly narrowed the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act. The ruling will enable many property owners to use their land as they deem best without the arbitrary edicts of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. In Tyler v. Hennepin County, the Court ruled against "equity theft" -- seizing and selling a property to satisfy tax debts and then keeping the excess funds. [links added]
This is great news. The interested reader can learn more about these rulings at the links above.

-- CAV

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