Capitolism

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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

Penn State Football Avoids the Death Penalty

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Tough sanctions by the NCAA, but still unsatisfying. Probably no penalty would have satisfied, even the death penalty. Somehow, though, the NCAA comes off badly, perhaps because so many presidents passed the buck to Emmert.

For the football team, I still think the NCAA and the school should have: kept the statue at PSU, and team got the death penalty. Colin Cowherd of ESPN got the statue question right — keeping it would have warned PSU (and many others) not to foist godliness upon mortal, fallible men. Juxtaposing that reminder with the death penalty  — “This is the man you loved, but he helped destroy his and your football program” — would not have helped with the healing at PSU, but it would have powerfully reminded many other schools to shine cleansing daylight upon all corners of their worlds, including athletic teams.

As an aside, ‘healing’ at Penn State doesn’t matter a whit. The healing of the victims– as much as possible in this case —  does. But how silly to think that a senior at PSU, whose view of Coach Paterno has shattered and who now faces a far less boisterous last year at the school because of the penalties, needs “healing”. Ridiculous.

With regards to Paterno, the NCAA sanctions do somehow seem appropriate. For years, observers bemoaned his remaining the coach. In hindsight, those commentators appear both right and wrong. Right, because they perceived something had gone wrong. Wrong, because they worried whether Coach Paterno, as he aged, could maintain control of the program. We now know he exercised far too much control on it, and on the university at large.

Finally, I empathetically repeat my Facebook post from July 12: “Penn State Trustees: You are all pieces of shit. If you had any decency left, you’d give up your cushy, esteemed posts and let better men and women assume the mantle of leadership to restore the university’s good name.”

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Written by Russell S.

July 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

A Crisis of Male Ambition? Part II

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Yesterday, I posted on an article that I contend shows a disparity in mean male and female ambition.  I also noted one caveat using data from the Princeton University Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership.  Yet, spinning a convincing narrative of the ambitious male is as commensurately difficult as spinning an explicative narrative of the unambitious male—the male on the opposite end of the bell curve.  One take is that American society failed to spin a compelling and inspirational narrative for young men to follow.  Most importantly, we do not ask young men to think of their lives in terms of generational advancement (beyond increasingly vacuous narratives, such as the ubiquitous “American dream”).  Such a successful narrative may proceed as follows: “Your father worked as a small businessman in small town America.  However, you now have the opportunity to run a global firm out of that town, or a larger city if you prefer, except you will have manufacturing plants in India, China, and Brazil, too.  The great opportunities of this global and interconnected world mean that you can be more prosperous than your father was, or have a more diverse, cosmopolitan, and compelling lifestyle.  Yet, you will need to work and plan for it.  You will need to cultivate a global vision.  You will require greater education, for instance, a degree in Industrial or Mechanical Engineering, and perhaps an MBA.  And, by the way, there is a broad framework of federal and private student loans to allow you to achieve these goals and become an effective businessman.”  Lacking such a narrative, young men risk missing the context of generational advancement and progress within which they ought to position their educational and vocational goals/ambitions.  Read the rest of this entry »

On Personal Libraries and Book Collecting

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I visited a used bookstore in Oxford yesterday.  While I worked assiduously to fight off my desire to buy the whole shop, I came away with a nice collection of old, hardcover books: Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition; Walter Lippmann’s The Good Society; and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, to name a few.  Upon returning to my flat, I made room for these new purchases on my bookshelf and realized just how elated I was with them.  It is manifest that I love books; yet, this experience was different.  What was it about a used bookstore that augmented my experience of purchasing books for my personal library? Read the rest of this entry »

Investing Illusions and Delusions

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The latest issue of my company’s newsletter, Chiefist Positions, went out today. In it, we examine “investing illusions and delusions,” through the lens of two powerful and outstanding books:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig

You can find Kahneman’s book on Amazon or in most bookstores. You can find Rosenzweig’s book in used bookstores, Amazon marketplace, Alibris.com, Abebooks.com or Bookfinder.com. With shipping, it will cost you about $6, which will be the best $6 you spend all year. Get them both, and read them.

Written by Russell S.

January 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Internal Action of the Old West Revealed

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Always a source for excellent books, especially Westerns, my uncle gave me Heart of the Country, by Greg Matthews, for Christmas. Anticipating the receipt of a good book for the holiday, I uncharacteristically brought no books on my travel to Louisville, and began reading it immediately. From the start, I could not put it down. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Review: Robert Morgan’s Boone

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My uncle recommended Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan to me. Morgan has crafted that rare biography in which the critical lessons of the subject do not become lost in the details of his life. Indeed, Morgan evokes those lessons in the best pieces of writing in the book; the lessons seem to haunt the pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

November 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

The Body, Riches and Virtue from Plato’s Apology of Socrates

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“I think no greater good has ever befallen you in the city than my zeal for the service of the god. For I go about doing nothing else than persuading you to take no care either of the body or for riches, prior so much as for the soul, how that it may be made most perfect, telling you that virtue does not spring from riches, but riches and all other human blessings, both private and public, from virtue.”
— Socrates, The Apology by Plato

Written by Russell S.

September 14, 2011 at 8:24 am

Posted in Ethics