Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for June 10th, 2012

News Roundup: Nuns On The Bus, Bogus Regnerus Sex Study, Recovering Ayn Rand Fan Tells All, Rick Wolff On Success Stories

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 10, 2012

Lots of news this Sunday morning:

— Conservative Christian activist researcher Mark “Marry Those Chicks Off Young (So They Can’t Go To College)” Regnerus has another slanted gold-plated study out there, one that manages to ignore years of research to the contrary. His target this time: Families that aren’t two-hetero-parent ones. Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin has a preliminary dissection, and also lets us know who is giving Regnerus such lavish funding for his cherry-pickings:

I made a brief mention of the huge amount of money that was spent on this study, a sum that comes to $785,000. The lion’s share came from the Witherspoon Institute, a think tank in Princeton, New Jersey (and not affiliated with Princeton University). Members of the Institute include Robert P. George, who drafted the Manhattan Declaration and whose recent paper in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy on same-sex marriage was critiqued at length by BTB’s Rob Tisinai. The Withersoon Institute reportedly has close associations with such organizations as the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and the secretive Catholic order Opus Dei. George also sits on the board of directors for the Bradley Foundation, which also provided funds for this study. The Bradley Foundation is considered one of the country’s largest and most influential right-wing foundations, although its contribution to this study is “only” $90,000.

— Speaking of Christians (h/t Toby Wollin), some American nuns are now on a bus, fighting back against Paul Ryan, Pope Ratzi and their ultra-conservative allies’ calls for them to stop caring about the poor and harass women who use birth control and abortion instead:

[Sister SIMONE] CAMPBELL: All over our nation, Catholic sisters are working at the margins of our society to serve people who are struggling in this economy, people who are hungry, people who are left out of the economy, people who have lost their jobs or people working at low wage jobs.

We thought the best way to bring an education to our nation about what’s happening here in Washington is if we went on the road and lifted up their work and the consequences they would face if this Republican House budget goes through.

More on the Nuns on the Bus can be found here.

— Speaking of Paul Ryan, whose very recent denials of his Ayn Rand worship ring rather hollow, another Randian Objectivist has now made a somewhat more believeable disavowal of the amoral guru of right-wingers. After spending a number of paragraphs delving into Rand’s character, she gets to the heart of Objectivism — and why it’s a bunch of nonsense:

Of course, all that doesn’t actually say anything about her “philosophy”; it just makes the case that she’s a jerk and a hack. That said, her theory – and summarily, its corollaries – are belied by the abject sketchiness of their most basic premise: rational egoism. Far smarter, more articulate people than me have pointed this out, but what needs to be emphasized is that Rand conflates descriptive psychological egoism (people act in their self-interest) with normative ethical egoism (acting in self-interest is the right thing to do). Part of this “ought-from-an-is”-type assumption is that altruism does not exist – very much the backbone of her belief system. 

West Valley College’s Sandra LaFave does a great job following this line of thought and pointing out why it doesn’t work. The basic claim of egoists, LaFave notes, is that people “always and invariably act in their self-interest”. However, most moral codes call for altruism, which, in egoists’ account, is “demanding the impossible”. Moral codes, so egoists’ thinking goes, should not demand “the impossible”, so we should take up a “more realistic” system such as – ta-da! – ethical egoism.

To accept this conclusion, you have to accept the premise that psychological egoism is a given fact in the first place. To date, neither Rand nor anyone else has been able to prove definitively that the proverbial soldier who dives on a grenade acts selfishly, not altruistically.

— And as an antidote to Ayn Rand, I give you the esteemed Prof. Richard D. Wolff’s latest Economic Update, in which he discusses the following: “Montreal students fighting tuition hikes, global economic slowdown (again) and Spain’s bank crisis, and big pay for CEOs of top financiers. Analyses of (1) Wisconsin and California elections, and (2) huge Mondragon cooperative corporation.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: