Category Archives: Philosophy

On the very idea of ISIS – Part II

In the first part of this post I argued that beliefs held by individuals are not a good basis on which to analyse geopolitical events. Both beliefs and their associated collective-level behaviours are the result of other forces operating in the environment … Continue reading

Posted in Human Nature, International Politics, Media, Military, Philosophy, Political Psychology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

On the very idea of ISIS – Part I

The very idea of wanting to explain a practice–for example, the killing of the priest-king–seems wrong to me. All that Frazer does is to make them plausible to people who think as he does. It is very remarkable that in … Continue reading

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The politics of the empty tomb – Part I

An advantage of a few days holiday is that it allows time to let the mind reflect and run free from the routine daily tasks it has to perform in work-a-day life. Given the last few days holiday (‘Holy-day’) were about … Continue reading

Posted in Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy | 3 Comments

‘And then she goes and spoils it all …’

[I’ve awoken from my summer slumber and find I have a lot to write. Apologies about the length.] Well, what was that all about? As Colin Peacock said when he introduced the Mediawatch item on it, what exactly “put a Catton … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy, Political Psychology | 9 Comments

Adam Smith on the appeal of the iPhone

“How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it.” (Part IV, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Freedom, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, Philosophy, Political Psychology, Poverty, Welfare | 10 Comments

Adam Smith and the Left and Right of Moral Sentiment – A Christmas Tale

[I’m on holiday in a place with very limited and irregular cellphone coverage and access to the internet. That means I haven’t included links in this post but, when I’ve quoted from Adam Smith’s work, I’ve referenced the ‘Part’ and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Free Market, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, National Identity, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A bit rich

The National Business Review has released its 2012 ‘Rich List’ of the wealthiest New Zealanders. Well, the wealthiest people who occasionally drop in to New Zealand … or, maybe, own some land in New Zealand … or, maybe, have an … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Human Nature, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy, Political Psychology, politics of envy | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Not aspiring to a spire?

The earthquake has turned everything upside down. The Wizard is at war with the Anglican Church – and I’m in agreement with Councillor Jamie Gough. Whatever happened to life’s eternal certainties? Looks like we’d better not ask Bishop Matthews – she … Continue reading

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The science and politics of the ‘politics of envy’

The release of Labour’s tax policies – which include a new top tax rate (39cents for income over $150,000), a Capital Gains Tax (at 15%), no GST on fresh fruit and vegetables and a tax free $5,000 threshold – have … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Human Nature, Human Wellbeing, Labour, New Zealand Politics, Philosophy, politics of envy | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Working hard for the ‘unearned increment’

In the spirit of How Many Elephants in a Blue Whale?, I thought I’d do a quick calculation of how much hard work was in Bill Gates (variously estimated) fortune. At one point, Bill Gates was said to be worth … Continue reading

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