Threats fly over Hobbit document release

“I can categorically assure you that if the above information was released and a similar situation occur in the future, neither myself nor Wingnut Films would be inclined to help the Government again with such a candid level of advice and opinion,” reported The Hollywood Reporter.

It was not clear whether the “I” referred to Peter Jackson.

Oh, so it’s us (the government) who are helping Wingnut Films, fancy that, I rather thought the boot was on the other foot.

CFP: Feminist Philosophy and Pornography

Pornographic speech does not prevent women from making utterances. Rather, the thought is, pornographic speech may create communicative conditions that result in illocutionary disablement of women’s speech in specific contexts. Particularly this may be so with respect to women’s refusals of unwanted sex: if pornographic speech prevents the locution “No!” from being seen to be a refusal in a sexual context, due to which sex is forced on the speaker, she has not successfully performed the illocutionary speech act of refusing the unwanted sex. In this case, there may be a free speech argument against pornography.

From Status to Contract

the movement of the progressive societies has hitherto been a movement from Status to Contract 

Maine’s optimism about the inevitable march of progress is unfashionably whiggish and, I think, overblown.  But his understanding that progress necessarily involves freeing individuals from their status stations — freeing persons from stations assigned by circumstances such as skin color, family name, genitalia, sexuality, nationality — and thereby allowing individuals to determine as best as each can his or her own course through his or her own voluntary choices — that is, through contract — is smack-on correct.

Always worth remembering.

???Give me liberty or ??500??? is no rallying cry

The canonical document of the Scottish independence movement is the Arbroath Declaration of 1320. ???It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom ??? for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.???

Nearly 700 years later, the Scottish Social Attitudes survey asked what respondents would think about independence for Scotland if it would make them ??500 a year better off. They favoured separation by 65 per cent to 24 per cent. If independence would make them ??500 a year worse off, however, it would be rejected by 66 per cent to 21 per cent. Yet ??500 is less than 2 per cent of average Scottish household income.

There were no similar polls in Ireland in 1920, or India in 1945, or America in 1773, but it is hard to imagine a similar result. ???Give me liberty or give me death,??? proclaimed Patrick Henry, arousing American colonists to rebellion with a cry reminiscent of the Declaration of Arbroath. ???Give me liberty or give me ??500??? lacks the same resonance.

The question cleverly illustrates that most Scots do not see the constitutional status of Scotland as integral to their identity or self-worth. That is what differentiates the Scottish debate on independence from that which convulsed Ireland or India, or divided America, and trivialises it.

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

Assassination of U.S. citizens

President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists.

Bill of attainder’s back.