Tuesday, April 5, 2011

 

Many worthwhile items in John Derbyshire's latest diary. For instance:
We — some colleagues and I — were discussing the two pieces National Review published recently on homosexual marriage. . . .

The problem with both pieces, I tried to tell my colleagues, was that they were scholastic, in the pejorative sense — angels on pin-heads, the cooking up of elaborate rationalizations for positions you are determined to take anyway. As Bertrand Russell said of Aquinas: “The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading.”

Such arguments are persuasive to nobody whose personality, circumstances, and life experience have not already made the conclusion appealing to them, or mandatory.
Another:
The life of a content provider improved immensely through the 19th and 20th centuries. Now it looks as though we’re headed back to Grub Street.

For example: I have an acquaintance whose life ambition was to be a musician and producer of music. (Pop music, that is.) He labored away at it, at one point having his own studio and equipment. He had to give up at last. “Nobody wants to pay for music anymore,” is his explanation. Now he’s a computer programmer.

Writing is headed the same way. . . .

“Nobody wants to pay for music anymore.” And pretty soon nobody will want to pay for TV shows, or movies, or journalism, and the content-provider business will be like professional sports: a handful of superstars making megabucks, the rest of us sleeping on ash heaps for the warmth. . . .

As the Turks say: İt ürür kervan geçer — “the dogs howl, the caravan moves on.”