As I sit at my desk, slowly and with great pleasure re-reading Book I of the Treatise, I am bombarded by events in the real world that demand notice and some manner of comment. Most immediate of these events, of course is the drone killing in Iraq of a man who was, I gather, the second most powerful figure in Iran. [You understand that I am way out of my zone of even casual knowledge here.] The universal opinion of those who seem to know something of these matters is that this severely increases the danger of a war between America and Iran. At the same time, and entirely unconnected, Modi in India has apparently launched an effort to deny full citizenship to the Muslim minority there, a group of people, as I understand it, numbering roughly two-thirds the population of the United States. As I turn from my Hume to write these words, I read a new report that Trump’s huge Deutsche Bank loans are secured by a Russian-owned bank, thus making him directly and materially beholden to Putin. This pushes into the background the flood of leaked emails and other documents concerning Trump’s direct involvement in the withholding of the 391 million in Ukraine aid. And that in turn all but obliterates the new fund-raising figures that show Bernie crushing the Democratic primary field.
I feel compelled to mention all of these news items, despite the fact that [with the exception of Bernie’s prospects] I do not even have the simulacrum of knowledge of any of them. I welcome comments from those who do.
Meanwhile I turn to the first of three critically important passages in Part III of Book I of the Treatise: Section ii, “Of probability; and of the idea of cause and effect.”