Here are some brief responses to recent questions from anonymous readers. I may expand my responses one day.

1. “Personal Question! What meaning does your religion (or philosophy) hold for you and how does it impact how you live day to day?”

It generally keeps me from having other gods, making graven images, taking the Lord’s name in vain, forgetting the Sabbath, dishonoring my parents, committing murder, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting my neighbor’s stuff. Generally.

I abide by the Golden Rule as much as possible. I figure since, in some form or other, it shows up in virtually every religion and philosophy and in game theory (read The Evolution of Cooperation), it’s pretty solid.

As an aside, the book of The Good Book that has most influenced me is Job. Here’s the short version: God can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, to whomever He wants, and doesn’t have to answer to anyone… because He’s God. You don’t get to argue about things like goodness, justice, mercy, or fairness with the guy who invented them. Don’t like it? Tough noogie. If God exists, then this is incontrovertible.

For similar reasons, I also like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20), but probably more for its commentary on property and exchange than its commentary on getting into Heaven.

We are owed nothing by God, by God. You can substitute “the universe” or “fate” for God if you’d like, but it still holds. If you happen to get good stuff thrown at you, just be grateful.

2. “…[I] was wondering what your opinion is on the legalization/decriminalization of Marijuana; the Constitution and the Amendments to the Constitution, as well as the founding father’s views on Cannabis, seem to point to the states being allowed to legalize/ decriminalize marijuana, but the presidents over the last few decades have been heavily against marijuana (The War on Drugs).”

I think that the federal prohibition of marijuana should end, and that the states should legalize, criminalize, and/or regulate it as they see fit. If a constitutional amendment was necessary to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol throughout the entire country, then it seems to follow that a constitutional amendment would be necessary to similarly restrict any other ingestible substance throughout the entire country.

That said, I have little patience for stoners. They deserve to be eaten.

3. “Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck and why? This question should be on one of your questionnaires.”

This is a stupid question.

4. “You should write a blog post about gay marriage. The issue has been slowly shifting in favor of gay marriage. How long do you think it will be before it is legal in all states?”

Eight hundred years, tops.

5. “On January 15th, in a post named ‘On Austrian Economics’ you said, ‘A more interesting question (not that Austria vs. Keynes is uninteresting) would have been whether I favor the Austrian/Vienna school or the Chicago school. I’d need time to ponder that one, preferably whilst eating a Chicago-style Vienna Beef hot dog. I just discovered Let’s Nosh down on San Jose this weekend, so my mind’s wandering thataway right now.’ I was curious as to whether your pondering has led you to a preference yet.”

It has. The Chicago-style dogs and Italian roast beef sandwiches at Let’s Nosh are far superior to those at Carmine’s. The key is that Nosh has the right ingredients: the right brands of beef (Vienna), the right toppings, the right type of bread, and so on. Carmine’s (in Riverside) definitely has the best Chicago-style pizza in the city, but their beef sandwiches are mediocre. Not enough beef, the bread’s wrong, they can’t pronounce giardiniera, the gravy isn’t right… I don’t want to think about it anymore.