In defense of the passive voice, argued by Harvard linquist Steven Pinker

If you’re interested in improving the quality of your writing, watch or listen to this lecture by Steven Pinker based on his book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. Or check out his recent articles in The Guardian, and other publications, such as Passive Resistance – The active voice isn’t always the best choice in The Atlantic.

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What FDR knew about welfare: “Continued dependence upon relief … a subtle destroyer of the human spirit”

In the Wall Street Journal, Independent Institute research fellow James L. Payne writes that FDR understood that welfare recipients need to be productive and build skills and a work ethic. Payne writes:

Franklin D. Roosevelt was clear as well. “Continued dependence upon relief,” he said in 1935, “induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” Yet government programs, being shallow and impersonal, tend to drift into handouts. They are like the superficial giver who drops a dollar into the beggar’s cup and walks on, feeling self-satisfied.

Source: What FDR Knew About Welfare (WSJ site). Full text here if WSJ link does not display it.

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Administrative Law as the King’s Prerogative

Donald Boudreaux writes:

… from page 26 of Philip Hamburger’s learned, timely, and important 2014 book, Is Administrative Law Unlawful? (footnote deleted):

The relevance of absolute power for administrative law became more clear when one realizes that Anglo-American law has a history of an extra- and supralegal power in what what known as the “prerogative.”  This was the name of the power claimed by the English kings, and it corresponds to the administrative power claimed by the president or under his authority.

U.S. presidents today, with the complicity of the courts and through the cowardice of Congress, routinely issue diktats of the sort that rightly stoked the anger and fear of the great Anglo-American constitutionalists such as Sir Edward Coke and the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

Source: Quotation of the Day… – Cafe Hayek

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Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students?

When kids don’t get a chance to play on their own, they grow fearful and depressed because only during playtime do they get to be the adults—to learn how to make decisions, deal with consequences, solve problems and really be a person instead of a precious possession or pet.

Source: Does Helicopter Parenting Turn Kids into Depressed College Students? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

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Alain de Botton’s “The Art of Travel”

I highly recommend if you plan to travel, and I just listened to it (during my commute). Surely it’s better with the video. It’s based on the author‘s book The Art of Travel.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kETN114A4IE]

THE ART OF TRAVEL, presented by Alain de Botton (and based on his bestselling book of the same name), looks into the philosophical impulses behind travelling and in doing so offers a profound and often witty view of some of the deeper issues underlying travel and our desire for it.

Thanks to Russ Roberts for interviewing Alain de Botton at EconTalk about his book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

 

 

 

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How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on College Campuses

College students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education.

Source: How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus – The Atlantic., By Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt.

Related:
Victimhood Culture in America: Beyond Honor and Dignity – Americans increasingly want and expect adult supervision

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Store named Unfinished Furtnitu sells unfinished furniture. My not-so-original joke.

I thought my idea was so (arguably) funny and original — until I Googled (with quotes) the term unfinished furnitu.  Clearly I’m not the first to think of this. At least it’s still funny … to some people.pinebedroom3

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