Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I've been working my way through Dawkins' The Selfish Gene over break, among other activities, but I am breaking from that before beginning the last chapter to read some Orwell. My sister gave me a copy of "Why I Write," and within four pages I have a gem I feel like sharing. (The "power of facing unpleasant facts" is a great line but it was referenced in an Econtalk not too long ago, so I don't think I'd be doing anything unique by mentioning it.)
The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty they abandon individual ambition - in many cases, indeed, they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all - and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, wilful [sic] people who are determined to live their own lives to the end.

The first line seems almost silly to me, until I realize that I fully place myself (rightly or wrongly) among the gifted minority. Upon further reflection, I can conclude that I am not sure whether or not this is true, but I would place the probability it is true above 50%.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Airport Security

What would it take to make American airport security more like Israeli airport security?

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty