Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Xmas, libertarian atheist style

Still, on this Christmas eve, we can all celebrate the marvelous world, so filled with uncountable comforts and beauty (including Christmas traditions and all its music), that men have built for themselves, whether through their own innate hunger for knowledge or with divine assistance. Merry Christmas!

-- Heather MacDonald over at Secular Right

I know, I know. I'm an atheist, and I suspect I'm walking around without some critical gene that enables people to feel sentimentality. Thus my lukewarm or worse feelings about nearly all Christmas movies. I'm happy to defend Scrooge, and I recognize Hayekian knowledge problems with gift giving.

Yet as MacDonald puts it, I do love the "marvelous world, so filled with uncountable comforts and beauty." Speaking of Christmas traditions and their beauty, many thanks to my kind relative who found online a CD version of the Christmas tape that I loved as a kid. While I can't stand most modern Christmas music, the Placido album is genuinely beautiful. Of course, my parents have been playing this tape repeatedly at the holidays since I was a kid in the mid-80s, and it's sort of on its last legs.

And on other examples of charming generosity overcoming Hayekian knowledge problems, a public thanks to Pnin for his generous gift of Spock Bear. Early in our courtship, we were talking about bears at some point, and Pnin pointed out that he thought that they had pointy ears. I insisted that no, bears have round ears, had he never seen pictures of bears as a child? He conceded that I was right after a Google Image search. I then later speculated that he might actually have grown up on Vulcan, and if Vulcan hominoids have pointed ears, perhaps Vulcan bears have pointed ears too. So imagine my surprise and delight to discover a pointy-eared Vulcan bear.

There's part of me that wants to spit out a dyspeptic post about health care. But not today -- not on my birthday/this festive holiday. Maybe within a couple days. Nobody should read its absence as a signal that I don't care. People should instead interpret its absence as a statement that sometimes, it's good for the soul to leave politics alone and think about the beauty of Placido Domingo's music and the wonderfulness of friends and family.

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