David Kirkpatrick

March 7, 2009

One conservative take on the abortion issue

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:08 pm

Here’s a well-reasoned take on the issue of abortion by John Derbyshire at Secular Right. Pragmatic and realistic, not two words that can often be applied to the arguments of the right or left.

From the link:

And what do the right-to-lifers want? A total nationwide ban on all abortions, at any time? Yes, that seems to be what they want. Do they really imagine that’s going to happen? What a waste of political energy!

My reader is correct, though. If you’re not in lockstep with the right-to-lifers, you’re never really quite the thing in U.S. conservative circles. It’s a marker of acceptability. I was phone-in guest on a radio show recently. Waiting for the on-air, some glitch allowed me to overhear the two hosts talking behind the commercial break. “Funny sort of conservative,” said one. “I mean, he’s OK with abortion …?” Yep, I’m OK with it. Sorry, guy.

December 9, 2008


Filed under: et.al. — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:49 pm

I’ve learned a new term today from Derbyshire, er Bradlaugh, at Secular Rightmysterianism.

From the second (Wikipedia) link:

New Mysterianism is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness will never be explained; or at the least cannot be explained by the human mind at its current evolutionary stage. The unresolvable problem is how to explain sentience and qualia and their interaction with consciousness.

December 4, 2008

Secular conservative reading list, the shortest version

Here’s a pretty solid (and very short) reading list for anyone seeking secular conservative thought from Derbyshire at SecularRight. org.

From the link:

If it’s godless conservatism you’re wantin’, I’d offer A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken, I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On: A Samuel Beckett Reader, ed. Richard W. Seaver, and the Loeb Horace: The Odes and Epodesby Q. Horatius Flaccus, with an English translation by C.E. Bennett.

You may quibble with Beckett, who must have, er, palled around with commies in his days with the French Resistance, but who, as best I can gather, found politics merely amusing in the 0.001 percent of his time he spent thinking about the subject — an admirably conservative point of view, in my opinion. You may quibble with Horace, whose works frequently suggest a belief in the Afterlife (visendus ater flumine languido Cocytos etc.); but I think that was just style and habit. He knew the lights go out. Now try quibbling with Mencken!

November 28, 2008

Take research papers with a grain of salt

Filed under: Media, Science — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:57 pm

I post a lot of science press releases and many are on research papers. This post from the excellent new blog, Secular Right, makes a great point.

Just because something was published does not make it correct. Not too sure about the stats statistic since it looks like a casual sample, but it should remind you to keep your skeptical mindset whatever the source.

From the link:

Just a quick addendum to my previous post where I advised caution about skepticism of science.  A biomedical scientist recently told me that the journal Virology had a statistician audit all their papers within a 1 year interval with statistics to see if they were using them correctly. Turned out that 2/3 of the papers which had statistics made basic elementary errors!  The moral here is to be very cautious of, and therefore skeptical of, new science, especially sexy new science.  Junk statistics are especially an issue with medical science because of the incentive structure of these research.

(And on another note for all those at Secular Right — thanks for the shoutoutfor my shoutout. That’s right, I’m thanking you for thanking me for thanking you for starting the blog. Er, or something.)

November 25, 2008

The right wing fights back against the far fringe

After the Palin veep picked proved to be an electoral disaster — and exposed a very ugly theocrat faction that before Bush 43 has always been coddled and marginalized. Now they seem to want blood of some sort. Right now that blood is taking form in the GOP brand. Beaten down, sullied and starting to rend where does the GOP go from here?

Well, there’s a lot of opposition to this electoral suicide. The American Conservative has fought against Bush 43 anti-conservatism for quite a while; a relatively new blog of young conservatives, Culture11, is seeking a new way as well; Taki’s Magazine also has been a fierce critic of Bush 43 politics; and now John Derbyshire of National Review fame has started a new blog, Secular Right.

And coming in January is another new blog by a National Review alum, David Frum. His offering is NewMajority.com and should be a very interesting entry into this moment of conservative/GOP/right wing soul-searching.

I’m very excited about Frum’s site because I’ve been offered the opportunity to blog at the launch. I’ll be coming at this debate from farther left than most I’m sure, offering my take on little “L” libertarianism — quite fiscally conservative and culturally liberal to moderate. I’m betting I ought to expect some very exciting feedback from the more partisan contributors, and especially readers. The challenge is welcome and I’m already planning topics to hit the gate running.

From the NewMajority pre-launch splash page:

NewMajority.com is a new political group blog edited by David Frum, and is scheduled to go live on Inauguration Day, January 18th 2009.

Update — I left Rebuild the Partyout the above list because I didn’t know about it until right now. Actually read about it first on a left wing site — Daily Kos. Looks like there’s going to be a total explosion of critical thought on fixing conservatism in general and the GOP in particular.

I’m still not certain the GOP as a national party is fixable right now. Something new may well arise out of all this intellectual activity and the GOP may become a party of marginal theocrats. Hopefully the theocrats get booted to their own little marginal party and the GOP returns to its small government roots and accepts a live-and-let-live cultural stance. Maybe too much to ask for, though.