Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Feelings Toward Muslims Are Warming

Pew reports some unexpected good news:  the feeling of Americans in general toward all religious groups have improved since 2014.

Even Muslims, the least-liked religious group, rose on the "feeling thermometer" from an unfriendly 40 (out of 100) to 48.

The only group whose rating did not change were evangelical Christians, who stayed at 61.

The rating of Muslims rose among both Democrats and Republicans.  The two parties differ, though, in how highly they rate Muslims: Democrats today rating them 52, while Republicans rate Muslims 39 on the feeling thermometer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day Is a Useful - and Much Used - Ritual for Expressing Happiness in Love

On Tuesday mornings I get to talk on WKYB, Danville's country radio station. This was our topic today.

Valentine's Day is a structured ritual for expressing happiness to, and with, our loved ones.  A study of 4.6 million tweets over several years found a large spike of happiness tweets each February 14 - just below Christmas as a day for expressing happiness.

Some people think having a structured ritual invalidates expressions of love. I think, though, that getting people to articulate what they are, in fact, already feeling is a good thing.  It is, especially valuable to have a reason, and a way, for men to express -- by action and words (tweets?) -- their love for their spouses and romantic partners.

I can take or leave the more commercial elements - candy, flowers, dinner out.  Whether those particular actions are living or stilted depends on the couple.  But I do think it is a good thing to have periodic reminders to express to your mate, and to the world, your love.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

In Studying the Virtues, Start With Courage

Perhaps courage is the easiest cardinal virtue to study because it is the lowest and most widespread. Plato says it is the virtue we share with animals.

You do not have to master all the higher virtues in order to understand this one.

This is helpful in thinking about how to study what is involved in building up a virtuous society.