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I had decided that I would try to watch Yojimbo before Rob G's piece about it went up, to be able to engage meaningfully in the discussion (regretting not being able to do much more than take note of the films Janet and Stu discussed, not having seen them). I have seen Yojimbo, but many years ago on late-night television. I watched the first half an hour two nights ago, then was interrupted and have not been able to get back to it. So hopefully, by the time Rob G's piece does appear, I will have found an opportunity to watch it through completely.

We watched Colonel Blimp a few years ago, but I just barely remember it. Now I want to see it again.


I'll have it in in time for next week, Paul. I ran into some unplanned scheduling problems, but it's about 3/4 done.

I'll have to get a move on then :-/

Colonel Blimp is listed on Netflix but with only the "Save" option, which means it's in limbo and might or might not be available someday. I haven't checked beyond Paul's clips, but I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing were on YouTube. Certainly looks like something I would enjoy.

The dvd is from Criterion Collection, which is about as close to a guarantee of quality as one is likely to find.

I wonder how we saw it? Of course, Netflix cycles things in and out.


Right, it may well have been there. Recently they've been moving more out than in, it seems.

I had no idea that Colonel Blimp was a movie character

What Alasdair MacIntyre says at 49min50 in this video throws an interesting light both on Blimp and on One of Our Aircraft is Missing.

One year in NYC is 55 weeks away from A. MacIntyre


Does absence not make the heart grow fonder?

I actually heard 45 minutes of glacial horror from him at the Ethics conference - he was talking about the many expressions of free speech which the government ought to ban, such as, criticism of vaccination.

the ethics conference in November was on 'Freedom'. Mac was agin it.

That took me aback for a moment until I figured out you weren't talking about our Mac.


I'm agin so many things that I didn't reject the idea immediately. But I couldn't figure out why I would have been agin a conference.

I discovered MacIntyre's ND talk on YouTube the other day, and started watching it, but gave up after a few minutes.

I also found the one with DB Hart and J Betz, which I remember Grumpy mentioned here at the time, but I haven't been able to watch it yet.

Well, I'm not sure his point that it is no harm to freedom for pollution, tax evasion, truancy from school, draft dodging, drug dealing, gang violence, and various other activities to be constrained and discouraged by coercion is one I could disagree with.

In the speech on YouTube he doesn't mention banning any form of speech. He says it is important for children to learn to understand what others are saying, not that anybody should be prevented from saying anything. Was there a discussion afterwards that went in a different direction?

His main point is that while punishing wrong-doers is justifiable, long-term investment in public education is far more important in producing good citizens than any legal disincentive to bad citizenship might be.

The video is here, if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaH9wjpam98

Turns out there's a much longer version here, in which he does clearly say that propagating false information about vaccines is ot something people can get away with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHZYI9FnC9g

I take him there to be referring to the doctor who was struck off for doing just that. But yes, a couple of remarks in the full version that is (strangely) not on the conference YouTube channel does show his early inclination to Trotskyism more than anything he has written since the 1980s.

The Q&A session at the end I found very interesting.

Half an hour--maybe I can find time to watch it later today. I did listen to the relevant bit in the video you linked to earlier. Very interesting--I had no idea there had been an argument about bombing civilians that initially involved an actual refusal to do it.


One would expect a Thomist in most situations to take the view that since in choosing or rejecting opinions of this kind a person should not be influenced either by a liking or dislike for the one introducing the opinion, but rather by the certainty of truth, he therefore says that we must respect both parties, namely, those whose opinion we follow, and those whose opinion we reject. For both have diligently sought the truth and have aided us in this matter. Yet we must “be persuaded by the more certain,” i.e., we must follow the opinion of those who have attained the truth with greater certitude. (Commentary on the Metaphysics, book 12, lesson 9)

well no, I was sitting in the audience and he was giving examples of the many forms of coercion he thinks are wise and prudent in contemporary America, and he specifically mentioned that anti-vaxxers should be severely penalized for expressing their opinions because these opinions are false.

I'm quite sure this is not just faulty memory because other people who were present at MacIntyre's talk, who do not have my habitual dislike of the man and his thought, were also horrified by his talk.

I've listened to the relevant parts of the recording of his talk three times now, and he doesn't frame it as a question of free expression at all. He says that the government should ignore the opinions of anti-vaxers and vaccinate their children against their wishes, because not to do so endangers the lives of their own children and of other children. One can take issue with this, but it is not at all the same thing as saying that people should be penalized for expressing an opinion. He does think it was quite right to penalize the doctor who fraudulently claimed to have established a link between vaccines and autism, but again that is a rather different question.

I don't have much of a prejudice either way about Macintyre (a slight tilt toward favorable, I guess), because I've never read him. But the whole question of free speech is a pretty fascinating one. I think there are good reasons...ok, fairly good...arguments in the abstract for suppressing ideas that are truly harmful. The utilitarian idea of a free market of ideas pretty much crumbles in the face of the reality of the way most people's minds operate. But I find it difficult to imagine a scenario in which the ability to suppress harmful ideas would not be abused, most likely to the detriment of the cause in which the suppression is being done.

Mac that was the main reason for the horror expressed by everyone I spoke to about MacIntyre's talk. To put what he said into practice would lead directly to the suppression of all freedom of belief, in the contemporary context.

Paul it must have been in the QandA that MacIntyre gave opionions about vaxxing as an example of opinions that should be penalized.

Im not interested in being in a conversation with anyone who is good with MacIntyre's speech.

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