Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Timothy Hsiao on Industrial Farming



Industrial Farms are not Rockwellian.  Rockwell's vision of agriculture is, perhaps slightly cloudy.  I've talked about it in a few places, such as here and here, and I've had a little bit to say about Rockwell's own uneasy relationship with the rise of mass culture of the sort we have--the sort that is so easily accepting of things like industrial farming.  But you don't need to think super hard about things to see that Norman Rockwell wouldn't have had anything very nice to say about contemporary factory farming.  And I say this despite my rejection of standard hyper-simplified takes on Rockwell's work.

But enough with my clumsy justification for writing about factory farming on a blog that is supposed to be largely about Rockwell.

Timothy Hsiao has recently published an article defending factory farming.  This article is apparently not very popular among facebooking philosophers.  A couple of months ago I decided to more or less pull the plug on my attempt to get with the world of facebook, so I haven't followed the Hsiao-related postings, but I did see a blog post that criticized (justly, it seems to me) the claim that Hsiao's paper should not be assigned in philosophy classes because it argues for a harmful thesis on a closed topic.

More...


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Allowables

This poem is apparently all over social media in relation to these most recent police shootings.

Allowables

-Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn't
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don't think
I'm allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened

The last little bit, of course, is the point.

It is sort of correct.  You are not allowed to kill someone because you are frightened.  Something, I'm not so sure.  But someone, clearly not.  And since this poem is being used in reference to these shootings, obviously the shooting victims are being compared to the harmless spider--and the shooting victims are someone, not something.

So, right, you're not allowed to kill someone because you're frightened.  But you are allowed to kill someone who you reasonably believe poses an immanent threat of death or grave bodily harm to you or to someone falling within your mantle of protection.  (To put it roughly--this is not a law blog.)

I am definitely not in any position to judge whether either or both of the two most prominent police shootings (I'm thinking of Charlotte and Oklahoma) meet that standard.  But I would at least say that I am not in any position to judge with certainty that they don't.

My last post linked to an excellent video of Massad Ayoob explaining some of this.  It's worth watching.

I do not want this to become a firearms blog...just thought this poem is only muddying the waters and could use a word of clarification.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Missouri's new concealed carry law



The Missouri legislature has overturned the veto of their new concealed carry regulations.  The new regulations allow unpermitted concealed carry, and alter some of the permitting processes for buying handguns.  They also introduce a new stand your ground law.

Predictably, the New York Times has denounced Missouri's laws, in effect offering a call for more federal legislation (after all, state government can't be trusted!  Fortunately the federal government can!) and offering another endorsement to Hillary Clinton.  Well, it's the New York Times.  What do you expect?

The thing that bothers me about the media coverage isn't the strong negativity.  I would expect nothing else.  It's the fear mongering.

The always-worth-listening-to Massad Ayoob explains stand your ground laws:


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New piece in Crisis

I had a new article come out in Crisis, to go along with the recent on in the Federalist.  The latter involves Rockwell.  The former does not.  Both are about guns.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tolerance

The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.

                                                                            --Fr. Reginald Garrigou Lagrange, OP

Except, unfortunately, it looks like he didn't actually say this.

Be that as it may.  Tolerance was a major theme for Rockwell.  It's often been said that "Saying Grace," one of his most popular pictures, was fundamentally about tolerance.



The funny thing about this picture is that it's Christian prayer (not to say it couldn't be some other kind of prayer--just that Christianity is the religion that immediately springs to mind--and the two crosses over Grandma's head don't hurt with emphasizing that, though I know of no critic who has pointed this out) that stands out as unusual.  Unusual in the sense that the two young men are clearly surprised to see this public prayer.  Unusual in the sense that the man in the foreground appears equally surprised to see it.  The public prayer isn't here presented with a kind of, "well, that's just what people do" kind of attitude.  It's presented as unusual.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Norman Rockwell Illustrates the American Solidarity Party Platform

I’ve recently joined the American Solidarity Party.  Here’s their platform, which I’ve illustrated for them.  I mean, Rockwell actually made the pictures.  So he should get some of the credit.

I trust it goes without saying that this is not intended to suggest that Rockwell did (or would, if he were alive) endorse the ASP platform.  

Complete Platform
(link)

The National Committee of the ASP offers these planks as a framework for local and national candidates. We welcome your feedback and suggestions!

National Platform of the ASP

The American Solidarity Party is committed to transcending the Red/Blue divide with coherent policies informed by religious values. We offer the following program for a future based on the principles of Common Good, Common Ground, and Common Sense. 


Right to Life
-We support constitutional and legal measures that establish the Right to Life from conception until natural death.
-We call for an end to capital punishment.
-We oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Rockwell and the Gun Culture revisited

The standard-issue view on Norman Rockwell is that he painted nostalgic scenes of the countryside—scenes of an America that never really existed.  But here’s one thing that’s not often noticed about Rockwell’s pictures: they contain an awful lot of firearms.  In a recent piece in The Federalist, I called Rockwell as the artist of the American “gun culture.”  

But which gun culture?