Thursday, June 04, 2009

So what do y'all think of the speech? 

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Small tower of shit installed at Capitol 

I hope visitors the Capitol will "polish" this statue by smearing feces on the statue.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Internet liberals are deeply unfair to the right's cavilling about the Sotomayor nomination when they critize it for not being intellectually sophisticated. They ignore the best arguments and objections and focus on the worst. Thus is their elitism revealed. Consider this tour-de-force op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which lays bare the dangers we face:

While announcing Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama praised her as a judge who combined a mastery of the law with "a common touch, a sense of compassion, and an understanding of how the world works and how ordinary people live." This is in keeping with his earlier statement that he wanted to appoint a justice who possessed the "quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles."


But what about compassion and empathy? Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy for those stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; empathy is the ability to share in another's emotions, thoughts and feelings. Hence, a compassionate judge would tend to base his or her decisions on sympathy for the unfortunate; an empathetic judge on how the people directly affected by the decision would think and feel. What could be wrong with that?


One can have compassion for workers who lose their jobs when a plant closes. They can be seen. One cannot have compassion for unknown persons in other industries who do not receive job offers when a compassionate government subsidizes an unprofitable plant. The potential employees not hired are unseen.

One can empathize with innocent children born with birth defects. Such children and the adversity they face can be seen. One cannot empathize with as-yet-unborn children in rural communities who may not have access to pediatricians if a judicial decision based on compassion raises the cost of medical malpractice insurance. These children are unseen.

One can feel for unfortunate homeowners about to lose their homes through foreclosure. One cannot feel for unknown individuals who may not be able to afford a home in the future if the compassionate and empathetic protection of current homeowners increases the cost of a mortgage.


Calling on judges to be compassionate or empathetic is in effect to ask them to undo this balance and favor the seen over the unseen. Paraphrasing Bastiat, if the difference between the bad judge and the good judge is that the bad judge focuses on the visible effects of his or her decisions while the good judge takes into account both the effects that can be seen and those that are unseen, then the compassionate, empathetic judge is very likely to be a bad judge. For this reason, let us hope that Judge Sotomayor proves to be a disappointment to her sponsor.

Which reminds me of a conversation I once overheard while defecating in a Copenhagen Airport toilet:

Rozencrantz: Guildenstern, what qualities would we like to have in a judge?

Guildenstern: Why compassion of course!

Rozencrantz: But, my naive benighted Guildenstern, one can only have compassion for the seen, not the unseen.

Guildenstern: Really?

Rozencrantz: Obviously.

Guildenstern: Why?

Rozencrantz: Because I have asserted it.

Guildenstern: You can do that?

Rozencrantz: Of course I can.

Guildenstern: But can’t we have compassion for the unseen as well? What about people without job offers, or children who can’t afford pediatricians, or people who can’t afford homes, or corporations whose decisions affect innumerable people?

Rozencrantz: Of course you can, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Guildenstern: You haven’t?

Rozencrantz: No, I’m getting to that. You see when I point out the possibility of injustices done to people such as you describe, then you will feel compassion for them.

Guildenstern: Just so.

Rozencrantz: And so you will fear injustice.

Guildenstern: The mere thought of it ignites a furious tremor in my heart.

Rozencrantz: Which is why we do not want compassionate judges.

Guildenstern: But if I can feel compassion for the unseen, why can’t a judge?

Rozencrantz: On the contrary, a judge can and should!

Guildenstern: But only if they are not compassionate?

Rozencrantz: Precisely.

Guildenstern: My, Rozencrantz, what a subtle intellect you have! How noble in reason! Have you ever considered being a professor of law or even penning an editorial for the Wall Street Journal?

Rozencrantz: Oh ho, my friend! You do me too much honor! Would that I could someday attain such heights!

exeunt omnes (bowels evacuate)


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