Monday, 26 June 2017

Monday quote

Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.

C.S. Lewis. "Equality," Present Concerns.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Comparisons and the downgrading of harm

It is human nature to compare and it is also common to want sympathy. As such it is common to compare our experiences or our situation to other situations, especially situations that evoke agreement and concern. If our friends and colleagues are sympathetic to, or affirm, a specific scenario, they are likely to affirm a related one.

Everyone acknowledges that Fred was unfairly dismissed from his job. If my dismissal had similarities to Fred's then there will be agreement that my dismissal was also unfair. If renal colic is seriously painful then my renal colic was very sore. If Jane had all her money stolen and struggles to pay the bills then others may empathetic with my privation.

Whether or not a comparison works (or should work) depends on the validity of it. Are similar circumstances involved? Similarities to Fred's dismissal may be largely superficial. An episode renal colic may have been treated with effective analgesia early on. Poverty may be due to laziness and frivolous spending.

So not all comparisons are valid. The problem with invalid comparisons can be greater. This can occur when we share an experience with our interlocutor. If I share a experience with the person making a comparison then I compare his experience to mine. Let's say that John, Steve and Fred all got fired. Steve thinks his situation was unfair and in talking to John, Steve likens his situation to Fred which was clearly unfair. But if John thinks that his own situation was predominantly his own fault, and John works with Steve and not Fred, then rather than agree that Steve was unfairly dismissed like Fred was, John is more likely to think that Fred probably deserved it.

Equating the serious with the less serious often does not make people think that the less serious is more serious than it is. Rather they downgrade their opinion of the more serious. If you ran so hard you had a serious cramp that felt like you had broken a bone, and say so, someone else may think that that cramp is all part of hard training and perhaps broken bones are not as painful as he had been led to believe.

This is the principle of extreme comparisons. When we compare the less extreme to the more extreme in order to invoke passion about the less extreme, our listeners may depreciate the more extreme. Further, subsequently less passion may be elicited for the more extreme.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday quote

The evidence is not responsible for satisfying the biases of the historian; rather, the historian is responsible for setting aside his biases and considering the evidence.

Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday quote

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Monday quote

Some people confuse incapability of a certain vice with virtue.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday quote

Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism.

Ludwig von Mises

Monday, 15 May 2017

Monday quote

Measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you would not take money.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Monday quote

There is a difference between not concealing and flaunting.

CS Lewis

Monday, 1 May 2017

Monday quote

A taste for kitsch among the well-to-do is a sign of spiritual impoverishment; but among the poor, it represents a striving for beauty, an aspiration without the likelihood of fulfilment.

Theodore Dalrymple, Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Monday quote

Liberty is to be measured not by what the law permits you to do, but by—to use a whimsical criterion—how far from your house you feel comfortable allowing your child to play.

Anthony M. Esolen

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Resurrection Sunday

Two millennia ago our Lord was put to death. Not just any death, death on a cross. The Law of Moses pronounced: Cursed is the man who hangs on a tree (Deu 21:23; Gal 3:13). The Romans reserved crucifixion for non-citizens. It was a shameful death. Dealt out to criminals. Jesus became the lowest: dead, and death in shame.

But he rose again. As Paul writes about God's mighty power in us, that God also
worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, (Eph 1:20-22)
Jesus, from shameful death to:

The right hand of God. Next to God and above every created thing.

Above the mighty angels, above the spiritual beings who rule in this world, above the demons and all evil spiritual powers.

Above every person of fame. Above all kings, rulers and emperors on this earth.

And not just in this current epoch, the world as it is from Adam until now. But in the next age, the ages after Jesus returns.

And Jesus now rules the universe. He is over absolutely everything. There is nothing in all creation that is not under Jesus' command.

From the lowest death to supreme ruler of the universe.

And one day all will confess that Jesus is Lord of all (Phi 2:11).

Monday, 10 April 2017

Monday quote

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

Charles Mackay (1814–1889).

Monday, 3 April 2017

Monday quote

What modern people want to be made to understand is simply that all argument begins with an assumption; that is, with something that you do not doubt. You can, of course, if you like, doubt the assumption at the beginning of your argument, but in that case you are beginning a different argument with another assumption at the beginning of it. Every argument begins with an infallible dogma, and that infallible dogma can only be disputed by falling back on some other infallible dogma; you can never prove your first statement or it would not be your first.

GK Chesterton

Monday, 27 March 2017

Monday quote

Economic freedom cannot guarantee political liberty and the just autonomy of the institutions of civil society, but, in the absence of economic liberty, other honorable personal and institutional freedoms are rarely secure.

Robert P. George


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