Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object of which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Darwin was an eloquent guy, it turns out. Who knew?

Also, the apparent fact that many evolutionary biologists never read The Origin of Species totally supports my suspicion that many economists never read Adam Smith until it's time to write their books, at which point they skim for support until they hit the infamous butcher quotation. I will recommence my righteous, crotchety anger.

Random Edit:

This is really just dumb, if you ask me. Not quite as monumentally dumb as not letting Palestinian Fulbright scholars not leave the country to make use of their scholarships, but that's a pretty high bar to meet.

I understand intellectually why people do this sort of thing: it falls into the same camp as refusing to talk to Iran, for example. But I can't actually comprehend it in my gut. What on earth makes people think that angry people who have nothing to lose will be made more reasonable and friendly by making them angrier and taking more things away from them? The surest way to get people to cooperate with you is to tie their interests to yours--economically, politically, whatever. That's why isolation never works unless you explicitly try to starve or bomb people to death (which isn't exactly isolation working, it's just isolation eliminating the problem--different things), which you're not allowed to do in international policy anymore. Unless you're in Africa, in which case no one will pay attention.

I understand that in cases like this one the point is definitely not cooperation--it's punishment and oppression. That doesn't change the fact that tantrums, as we all should have learned as children, will get you nowhere.

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