Liberty and Equality

In the times of the Greek democracy, the Roman republic, the American founding, and most of American history, liberty and equality were thought to go together.  That changed, says Danielle Allen, author of a book on the Declaration of Independence

First, Karl Marx taught that individual liberty must be sacrificed for the greater  goal of social equality.  Then, in the Cold War, conservatives and libertarians taught the opposite, that equality must give way to individual liberty.  Today, she says, Democrats are stressing the ideals of equality while Republicans are stressing the ideals of liberty.  She argues that we need to recapture the sense in which the two go together, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence.

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Two wild cards in the World Series

The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will meet in the World Series starting tomorrow.  That will be only the second time that the two wild-card teams played each other in the World Series.  Since the wild card–not the division champions but the teams with the next best record–was instituted in 1995, a wild card team made it to the series 10 times and won it 5 times.

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Family synod’s final statement is more conservative

The initial statement from the Roman Catholic synod on the family was hailed for its welcoming language for divorced Catholics and same-sex partners, but the final version emphasized more traditional moral teachings.  But votes on the sections show a very divided group of bishops.  The deliberations will continue next year with a broader selection of participants. [Read more...]

Vatican pushes back against initial report

There are liberal Catholics and there are conservative Catholics.  The latter faction at the Synod on the Family is criticizing the revisionist views of sexual morality that appeared in a preliminary working document. (See here and here.) [Read more...]

Ebola symptoms & flu symptoms

Ebola starts with a fever and aches and pains, sort of like the flu.  Then comes vomiting and diarrhea.  Then comes a red rash.  If the disease progresses, the whites of your eyes turn red.  You start to hemorrhage  internally.  Then you start bleeding from your eyes, your ears, your mouth, and every other orifice.  Then you die.

Ebola is uncommonly grisly and horrifying, but it starts like the flu.  And just as detecting its symptoms is especially critical in dealing with the disease and stopping its spread, ordinary flu season is upon us, making the task even more difficult.  Screening measures may confuse flu with Ebola, and people with the flu will panic, thinking they might have Ebola.  (Then again, experts are saying that more people will  die from flu than Ebola.)

A friend of mine, a nurse, was at our local hospital and saw a horde descend in hazmat suits.  Sure enough, we have a possible Ebola case.  Or maybe it’s the flu.

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Nobel Prize for justifying government regulation?

French economist Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics for showing the inter-relationship between markets and government regulations.  According to Matt O’Brien’s explanation, government regulation of company’s “excess profits” is assumed to be a good thing. [Read more...]