First of all many thanks to the kind folk of Afoe offering me the possibility of expressing my views on some European reactions to the Mittal Steel bid for the European steel giant Arcelor. By now most of you must have heard about this sitation. Mittal Steel is the worldâ€™s largest steelmaker and was founded (and is still currently run) by the Indian-born steel maker Lakshmi Nivas Mittal, the third richest man in the world. Continue reading →
The catastrophic tsunami in the Indian Ocean gave many of us reason to crack open the dictionary and reacquaint ourselves with the term ‘theodicy’. Crooked Timber‘s Brian Weatherson, for example, saw in the catastrophe an opportunity to discuss the ‘problem of evil’ (i.e., given the manifest existence of evil in the world, is it not correct to say that God, if he exist, may be all-good, or all-powerful, but in any event cannot be both?).
Now that is is a very proper thing for a philosopher to discuss. As for me, though, I have never found the problem of evil very interesting, as it seems to presume that God plays a much more direct role in the day-to-day running of the world than I think he does.
But this is not the place to explore my unorthodox religious views. I wish instead to consider the religious views of Paul Johnson, which are presumably much more orthodox than my own and are at any rate, I think, far more offensive. For Johnson regards the tsunami from the perspective of classical theodicy, and concludes that it was a Good Thing.
So, today I’m blogging from Idaho where I’m visiting the in-laws. This is the first time I’ve been back in the States long enough for the place to feel foreign since decamping off to Belgium a couple years ago. Actually, the strangest part of this trip has been the feeling of being in a foreign country, even though it’s a country that I’ve spent almost half my life in.
Some of that could be Idaho. I’ve lived in California, Colorado, Indiana and New Jersey, and this is a bit like Colorado. Of course, I haven’t lived in Colorado in 20 years. But, considering that I’ve spent most of this trip either working on a white paper for my employer or planted in front of basic cable, I have to at least consider the possibility that Idaho isn’t really the problem.
[Warning: This post is long and will contain extensive references to life in America. The Americans will probably all get it. You may not.] Continue reading →