Looking for the Ideological Turing Test results? I could still use about 15 more participants, particularly in the second round, so please recruit your friends to play.
You can listen to “Fights in Good Faith,” my weekly radio program, streamed Saturday at 5pm ET and tomorrow (Sun) at 1pm. And it’s now available to download and stream.
Every week, I put up a “Radio Readings” post, so you can track down the books, articles, and (this week) superhero movies that I cite on the show. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m talking about this week.
Is there Such a Thing as “Too Wealthy?”
- This month, my living room debate group’s topic was R: There Is Such a Thing as “Too Wealthy”
- One sentiment we picked over was this quote from St. Basil the Great
When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.
- I wound up talking about money as power–as a way you influence the world (actively and passively) for which you can be culpable.
- Rep Pat Schroeder: Half of the people in the world go to bed at night wishing they had the same power you do
It Depends on What the Meaning of “Moulder” Is
- Can hoarded wealth be wasted? One of my friends saw the St. Basil quote and commented: “One of these things is not like the others, and the way in which it is not like the others is surprisingly informative.”
- What, if anything, rots when wealth is stored up and not used? Possibly the wealthy person’s connection to/quasi-proprioception of their own wealth
Directing Disconnected Charity
- Matt Gerken had a couple of questions for me about the lack of caritas in effective altruism when we spoke at Philanthropy Daily.
- I like to find moments of fellowship and let that help fuel my donations to people who I don’t have a close connection with — at my debate, I put out a plate for donations to Give Directly (does cash transfers to the poor, one of GiveWell’s top recommended charities). I matched what was given, and, all together, we donated $300 as a group.
An Embarrassment of Riches (of Superpowers)
- Last segment this week is on Avengers: Age of Ultron and has a few spoilers.
- From my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
When Captain America faces his childhood friend Bucky Barnes, who has been transformed into the robotic Winter Soldier, he offer Barnes his weakness, not his strength. Rogers drops his shield and stops putting up a fight. He’s asking his friend to show mercy, instead of removing the choice, and it’s easy to for the audience to hear echoes of a Martin Luther King Jr. sermon, “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.”
That makes it all the stranger that, in order to make his way to Barnes, Captain America punches his way through approximately fifty mooks. Maybe he was carefully doing non-lethal damage, but, more likely, the film didn’t expect us to care, since it had already told us that all of Rogers’s antagonists were fanatics and Nazi-collaborators. There were limits to the movie’s mercies.
P.S. Here’s the cake I served at the “There Is Such a Thing as ‘Too Wealthy'” debate. In case the pic is too small, the cake says, “Ceci n’est pas ‘trop cher’”