An Example of Economic Progress

When I was building my computer in Sep 2012, solid state drives cost 80 cents per gigabyte, 10 times more than old HDD. Now they are just 40 cents. As I write in my book, "wage and price deflation is a human right."

I'm probably going to wait until Windows 10, Skylake, and DDR4 come out to build a new one. Well, DDR4 is already out, but Intel's 5th Gen Broadwell processors don't support it.

The Trinity and Time

The Father relates to the world as an eternal cause to the whole temporal effect.

The Son relates to it in time: at some point His incarnation was in the future; then it was in the present; now it is in the past.

The Holy Spirit relates to it through the immediate personal human experience of living. Not just the "now" of some unrelated accidental co-presence of two events but as integral to and intertwined with the very process and feel and striving of an individual's life.

Effectings and Causes

Physical effecting (i.e., causation so called so that it is not confused with the Aristotelian 4 causes) has the cause before the effect.

Teleological effecting has the cause after the effect.

The Aristotelian 4 causes are co-present with the effect.

Grounding effecting has an eternal divine cause over the entire temporal effect.

Disney’s Future

I give Disney 15 years to make a full-length animated movie featuring lesbian love (if there is such a thing).

Dershowitz

I wrote the following in a personal note some time in the late 90s:

If forced to choose between Alan Dershowitz and Jesse Jackson, I'd go with Jesse Jackson any day of the week. Dershowitz is the only person on television who actually disgusts me. Geraldo Rivera comes in distant second, but he merely creeps me out. Dershowitz, on the other hand, I find to be genuinely repulsive, not unlike some wriggling slimy worm or a poisonous snake. I just know that before he is interviewed, someone always comes up to him with a bag of money and says, "Here you go. Now get out there and insult everything that's good and true."


And now there is an accusation against him "by a woman who claims she was kept as a sex slave by billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein. ... Epstein forced her 'to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.'" I am not saying that Dershowitz is guilty, of course, but it's fun to watch him, a member of the left-liberal elite (or what passes for such), get his just comeuppance.

Stuff I Still Don’t Get About America

Why is the first day of the week Sunday, when the weekend clearly ends on Sunday?

And what's the deal with the Fahrenheit temperature scale? Who defines a scale by making "32" and "212" degrees special, as opposed to the reasonably decimal 0 and 100 degrees for Celsius?

I agree, however, that the metric system is a tool of the devil.

Update. I see now: Sunday is the first day of the new week and at the same time the eighth day of the old week, "as it symbolized the new world created after Christ's resurrection." Saturday is the seventh day when God rested as per Genesis. This is how we differ from the Jews. This then interacted with the "legal workweek" which is Mon-Fri, etc.

Half-Sour Pickles

Any idea why I could get them in the New York City and now while living in Akron, Ohio, only in the Russian stores in Cleveland?

Is it a federal law that all pickled cucumbers must be full-sour or something?

Politicians and Actors

The defining feature of the art of acting is separation of outward behavior and inward feelings. One does things, such as perform on stage as a character, toward which he feels nothing. It's just a persona he adopts to entertain people. He is not at all the person whom he is playing, even if he may try to "get into character." It's "all an act."

Politicians are just like that, too. When they campaign or speak, they feel nothing inside. They project an image; they pretend; they say only those things that make them look good.

A cynical politician is someone who has not fully abandoned his true beliefs. He hides them, but he still has them. Most politicians believe nothing at all.

I probably could not go into politics, because I wouldn't want to be a puppet.

Libertarian Tolerance

It means that morally objectionable practices, such as homosexual sex, are not punished by force of law.

It does not mean that one needs to approve of or champion those objectionable practices.

Russia, 2

Regardless of what sort of conflict there is between Russia and Ukraine, an American citizen is a neutral party with respect to both nations.

He neither helps nor hinders either Russia or Ukraine.

He freely trades with both, travels to both, and is cordial and friendly with the citizens of both countries.

He is uninterested in so much as learning which party -- Russia or Ukraine -- is more or less guilty.

Above all, he takes no side in the conflict. He is an American: a free man, and as such, has nothing to do with collectivist wars.

Putin Is a Red Herring

An American does not have to like Putin or approve of his policies in order to aim at peace and free trade with Russia.

Education

The government has an interest in an ignorant and stupid populace; hence it does everything to encourage ignorance and stupidity.

I wonder if that is why public schooling is free and compulsory, yet higher education is so preposterously expensive.

My uncle and mother both say from personal experience that public education in America corrupts both the minds and morals of the more vulnerable young people to such an extent as to make them virtually unteachable in college.

The Meaning of the Incarnation, 2

The Incarnation was a test: of us, which we failed; and of God the Son, which He passed.

Well, technically, Christ passed one test the moment He was conceived, not the moment He rose from the dead in so doing joining humanity to Himself; but He passed the other test in the sense that He proved Himself to be divinely Good.

And maybe it works like this in other areas of life: where we are weak and fail on our own, our Lord makes us strong.

Torture for Jesus

I wonder if today's solid respectable conservative Americans would cheer torturing and murdering our Lord if he came today and was accused by the state of being a terrorist.

New Bumper Sticker?

"God bless our CIA agents."

Torture, 3

Again, torture is impermissible in any but the most unrealistically contrived set of circumstances.

In particular, this means that all the instances of torture actually performed by the CIA in the last, say, 10 years, have been utterly morally wrong.

The Ways of the World and God

Yesterday I recalled being bullied as a kid on several occasions. One instance stood out: some older kids tormenting me during a trip to another country. I asked one of them: "Why are you doing this?" A stunning reply came: "Because I am stronger than you. If our positions were reversed, if you were stronger than me, than you would bully me instead."

Interestingly, it never once occurred to me to resist with violence or even to fantasize about doing so. Now, of course, I'd never permit this sort of abuse. I might call the cops. Even if I were not prepared to defend myself with deadly force, at the very least I might be able to bluff. I'd get a knife, and say to the bully: "If you touch me again, I'll kill you. I'll cut your throat. You will die and turn into a corpse. The only way to avoid this is for you to leave me alone. This will be your last and only warning."

Now consider Christ. St. Thomas writes about Him that

He did endure every human suffering. ... First of all, on the part of men: for He endured something from Gentiles and from Jews; from men and from women, as is clear from the women servants who accused Peter. He suffered from the rulers, from their servants and from the mob... He suffered from friends and acquaintances, as is manifest from Judas betraying and Peter denying Him.

Secondly, the same is evident on the part of the sufferings which a man can endure. For Christ suffered from friends abandoning Him; in His reputation, from the blasphemies hurled at Him; in His honor and glory, from the mockeries and the insults heaped upon Him; in things, for He was despoiled of His garments; in His soul, from sadness, weariness, and fear; in His body, from wounds and scourgings.

Thirdly, it may be considered with regard to His bodily members. In His head He suffered from the crown of piercing thorns; in His hands and feet, from the fastening of the nails; on His face from the blows and spittle; and from the lashes over His entire body. Moreover, He suffered in all His bodily senses: in touch, by being scourged and nailed; in taste, by being given vinegar and gall to drink; in smell, by being fastened to the gibbet in a place reeking with the stench of corpses, "which is called Calvary"; in hearing, by being tormented with the cries of blasphemers and scorners; in sight, by beholding the tears of His Mother and of the disciple whom He loved. (ST, III, 46, 5)

St. Thomas then goes on to argue that "the pain of Christ's Passion was greater than all other pains."

At that point, Jesus had a choice whether to condemn us or to redeem us. And since He was perfect as both man and God, as two natures in one person, He would have been fully justified as a response to our murdering Him to blow up the Earth Star Wars-style, send every human being to hell, and spend eternity despising us and laughing at us.

And because this choice was -- had to be -- genuine, Jesus must have felt some attraction to this very course of action, namely to taking full-bodied revenge against us. But we know now that also in Him there was a drive that was stronger than this desire to take vengeance against the sinners, and that was His love and mercy for us.

God had not only a right to condemn us but every reason to do so. No impartial observer would have failed to understand and sympathize with Christ's decision to destroy the world.

The choice that Christ made, to redeem rather than condemn us -- the choice that He did not at all have to make -- and moreover keep forgiving us as we live indicates the glory of God the Son that is almost inconceivable. It suggests the goodness of God that cannot be surpassed. The decision was so difficult, and Christ was so conflicted that it took Him three days to sort things out. Only then did He "rise again in fulfillment of the Scriptures."

During this Christmas, let us meditate on the merit and glory of God who refused to condemn humanity in one swift stroke for our ultimate crime.

Why Am I Bothering to Save These People…

... who would hurt and destroy their fellow men, who feel a thrill when their boot stamps on a human face?

Vengeance and Justice

It is proper to bring vengeance upon those who refuse to submit to justice.

Torture, 2

We must always distinguish between good torturers and bad torturers. We, Americans, are the good torturers; they, whoever they may be, are bad.