My Faults My Own

…willing to sacrifice something we don't have

for something we won't have, so somebody will someday.

IN WHICH Ross Rheingans-Yoo, a sometimes-poet and erstwhile student of Computer Science and Math, oc­cas­ion­al­ly writes on things of int­erest.

Reading Feed (last update: July 28)

A collection of things that I was happy I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.


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Blog: Marginal Revolution | How well is Germany dealing with the migration crisis? — "Whatever respite Germany may have gained this week is offset, and then some, by the arrival of a new and frightening political dynamic. Mr. Seehofer succeeded by going nuclear; chances are, he won’t be the last. The politics of fear and menace may be here to stay, undermining the foundations of democracy. In sound democracies, policies are the results of compromise between parties representing a majority of the voters. Through the politics of artificial crisis, minorities take the system hostage. They create policies redeeming fictional problems for fictional

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Is Patriotism A Virtue?

Alasdair MacIntyre, The 1984 Lindley Lecture at the University of Kansas. excerpted to 1787 words.

One of the central tasks of the moral philosopher is to articulate the convictions of the society in which he or she lives so that these convictions may become available for rational scrutiny. This task is all the more urgent when a variety of conflicting and incompatible beliefs are held within one and the same community, either by rival groups who differ on key moral questions or by one and the same set of individuals who find within themselves competing moral allegiances. In either of these types of case the first task of the moral philosopher is to render explicit what is at issue in the various disagreements and it is a task of this kind that I have set myself in this lecture.

For it is quite clear that there are large disagreements about patriotism in our society. And although it would be a mistake to suppose that there are only two clear, simple

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A Verse for the City

From the top of the towers,  
    you could see past the narrows,
        past our lady of the harbor,
      to the broad, open sea.
See the curve of the earth  
    on the vast, blue horizon
        from the world’s greatest city,
      in the land of the free.

All the brave men and women  
    that you never would notice,
        from the precincts and fire halls---
      the first on the scene.
Storming into the buildings  
    on the side of the angels,
        they were gone in an instant,
      in the belly of the beast.

We are children of slavery,  
   children of immigrants,
      remnants of tribes and their tired refugees.
As they tumbled down,  
   we were stronger together—
      stronger than we ever knew we could be—
         as strong as that statue that stands for the promise
of liberty here in this city of dreams.

All the flags on front porches  
    and banners of unity
        spanning the bridges
      from the top of the fence—
as we
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A Verse for the Memorial

These kids have learned some history  
   and they know what warfare used to be:
tanks and guns and soldiers  
   that moved across the land—
with strategies and battlelines  
   converging at a place in time;
and lives were lost for reasons  
   that the world could understand

On the History Channel, war  
   can look exactly like before,
when you were certain it was over  
   by the ticker tape parade.
They could come back home to safety;  
   they could celebrate the victory;
and the landmines were all buried  
   ’cross the ocean far away.

But a different kind of war  
   has reached our shore,
and you never see it coming anymore.
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A Verse for the Fourth

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep (where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes), what is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep -- as it fitfully blows -- half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam; in full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ’tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


As a friend reminded me recently, the better-remembered verse is a question, which is almost always left unanswered.

But today, what is our answer to the question "O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?"

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