h/t: Being Liberal
h/t: Being Liberal
The war on Christmas. The war on marriage. Wars on schools, on prayer, on the sanctity of life – we’ve heard countless times that a culture war rages in America. If you believe the fundamentalists, they’re merely defending themselves against an overwhelming tide of secularist persecution.
But a recent report by the Council for Secular Humanism and the University of Tampa confirms that this persecution is really a myth. In fact, the report estimates that the federal government subsidizes churches to the tune of at least $71 billion per year.
The Washington Post called these numbers a “lowball,” and estimates the real number is probably much higher thanks to local tax subsidies, sales tax subsidies and fund-raising subsidies, among other benefits. When these benefits are considered the number is closer to $82.5 billion per year.
I have long held the opinion that the amount of noise that anyone can bear undisturbed stands in inverse proportion to his mental capacity and may therefore be regarded as a pretty fair measure of it.
~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 1819
SLAMMING doors, banging walls, bellowing strangers and whistling neighbors were the bane of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s existence. But it was only in later middle age, after he had moved with his beloved poodle to the commercial hub of Frankfurt, that his sense of being tortured by loud, often superfluous blasts of sound ripened into a philosophical diatribe. Then, around 1850, Schopenhauer pronounced noise to be the supreme archenemy of any serious thinker.
His argument against noise was simple: A great mind can have great thoughts only if all its powers of concentration are brought to bear on one subject, in the same way that a concave mirror focuses light on one point. Just as a mighty army becomes useless if its soldiers are scattered helter-skelter, a great mind becomes ordinary the moment its energies are dispersed.
And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound.
h/t: American Atheists