Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who still believes in Communism? How bizarre . . .

I was reading an article today about Communism in China and how, on the 90th anniversary of the formation of China’s Communist party, there is still a big debate on whether or not the government should become more Democratic.  So that got me to thinking: why the hell are there still people in Western civilization that think Communism is a good thing?

How many truly Communist countries do we have on the planet today?  A handful, maybe.  Off the top of my head I can think of China (of course), Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea (?).  Only one of those countries is actually successful, and it’s because that country has become more capitalistic over time.

Cuba and North Korea are abject failures.  The people are impoverished, toilet paper is rationed in Cuba, and North Korea can barely even feed its own people.  If anyone thinks that Cuba is a Communist paradise, then I am extremely confused as to why so many Cubans make the swim to FloridaChina, although it has been economically prosperous the past couple of decades, still has a huge roll of human rights violations attributed to the government.

The Chinese government censors the internet, stages brutal crack-downs on dissidents, and actually places child-bearing limits on families.  The worst part is that many, many Chinese citizens have been conditioned to believe that all of the shit the government does is for their own good, that chaos would reign if China were democratic.  They’re even conditioned to believe that the students that were ground under the tanks at Tiananmen Square were violent political revolutionaries that were gloriously quelled by the valiant Chinese military.

And lets not forget the actual abject failures in Communist experiments.  It’s not like the Soviet Union was an economic powerhouse in which the people were finally treated equally and fairly.  Stalin saw to that.

So isn’t it purely fucking nuts that there are people living in Western civilization that still think Communism is a good idea?  What’s the definition of insanity that people keep throwing around?  “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”?

What gets me is that Communists seem to think that the “government,” is some sort of benevolent entity that is separate from humanity that will be fair and just if we would only give it enough power over society.  They seem to ignore the fact that government is just another institution of humans, and humans, as we know, are very prone to greed and corruption.

So why do they think that humans who participate in government will be any more just than humans who participate in corporations?  We’ve seen plenty of scandals from our government officials, so why do they pretend that government would somehow be different simply because it has more control?  Or will an American Communist government function because Americans are better people who aren’t hungry for power?  I seriously doubt that.

All it takes is one chairman, one comrade that doesn’t believe in things like human rights to gain power and then all is lost.  No matter where you go, people are all the same and are subject to the same temptations inherent to wealth and power.

Given the numerous examples of how Communism has failed on an epic scale, isn’t it kind of retarded that there are still people who cling hope to that asinine form of society?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Shit Sherlock: The Language Barrier and Hispanic Achievement Gap

I work in a call center, and I get a lot of non-English-speaking Hispanics that call in.  So when I saw the headline to this Time article, language barrier was my very first thought when considering the Hispanic achievement gap in America’s public schools.

Thank God the article mentioned the language barrier, because I was going to shit a brick if there was any mention of racial inequality.  But the article also mentioned that there are low expectations placed on the kids that are also partly the cause of the problem.  Let’s tackle the language barrier issue first.

While I think that it’s a good idea for immigrants to learn the language of a country they want to live and work in, I can understand that it takes time.  When you think about the language barrier and the whole standardized test horse shit, you kind of realize how dumb it is to measure a Spanish speaking kid’s performance in academia when all the material is given in English.  It doesn’t really matter how smart you are: you can’t learn in a language you don’t know.

Does this mean that we say “fuck it” and accommodate them entirely and allow them to test in Spanish and what not?  No, not really.  Not requiring them to learn and be proficient at English is a disservice to those kids.  However, basing their performance and intelligence solely off of English standardized testing is probably not a good thing.  Consider this:  a child with a high IQ and real ability to succeed in academia can only take English standardized tests his entire public education career.  He was brought to America by his parents past the point when a child acquires his or her primary language, and is now forced to learn English.

This kid would probably flourish in an academic setting in his native tongue, but American standardized testing would tell him that he’s a moron.  Is this just?

Now I know what you’re thinking:  no one forced them to come here.  Well, these parents are forcing their kids to come here.  I’m not saying that these kids need to be segregated into their own Spanish-speaking classrooms.  I am supportive, however, of the idea of making accommodations for them to bridge the language gap so that they can not only become proficient in English, but so that they can also live up to their full academic potential.

This could be one of those unfixable situations.  Kids that excel in school are often very positively supported by their parents, and if your parents don’t speak English, how can they help you with your homework?

As far as low expectations go, I don’t think this has much to do with race.  I mean sure, we can assume that when a kid is Hispanic and doesn’t speak English that there’s going to be a great bit of difficulty in helping him reach his full potential in the American education system.  But to be honest, I would think the same thing about someone who emigrated from Eastern Europe and only speaks Ukrainian.  It’s not that the kids are dumb, it’s just that they’ve got a huge barrier to overcome, especially when you consider that not every person is equally capable of learning language.

This leads me to believe that it is a good thing to want immigrants to learn English when they come here to America.  This is not xenophobia or Nativism, this is about practicality and wanting people to succeed.  Not only would it be less annoying for English speakers who are not equipped to deal with language barriers, but it would be extremely beneficial to them.  They would be able to navigate American society more fluidly and help their children in their studies.

This is actually the opposite of racism and cultural intolerance.  Learning another language does not destroy one’s cultural identity, and wanting immigrants to be able to succeed in American society is an admirable goal.  It’s unfeasible and unfair to ask a nation to change everything about itself to accommodate every single person that comes here.  Most other countries make no such accommodations, and rightly so.

It makes sense for a Middle Eastern country to adopt English signs when nearly half its population speaks English.  It would be unfair to suggest that France should have all English/French signs simply because a fraction of its population speaks English natively.  So why don’t we shit on other countries for simply trying to make life as easy as possible for its natural citizens?

Everyone in America deserves the chance to be the best that they can be so that they can lead happy and fulfilled lives, so getting them to learn English can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Deconstructing "The Watchmen": Dr. Manhattan

This will probably be one of the last Watchmen articles I do, as I don’t think that characters like the Night Owl or the Silk Spectre II are very interesting.  Dr. Manhattan might be the most interesting of all the Watchmen characters simply because of his powers.

For those that are unfamiliar with The Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan was a physicist that was involved in an accident during an experiment.  The experiment basically dissolved his matter.  I think the device was called an intrinsic field generator.  It didn’t so much dissolve his matter as it did sort of make it exist in a different way.

Anyway, over time he eventually is able to piece himself back together, through the power of his will which apparently exists beyond his physicality, and once he reassembles himself, as it were, he has the powers of a god.  He is able to manipulate time and space and alter reality to his will.  He can be anywhere, at any time.  He is omnipotent, nearly omniscient, and can be omnipresent.  He has the power to destroy life through thought and to create it from nothing.

At one point, one of his colleagues was quoted to have said “Superman exists, and he’s American.”  The man corrects the misquote and says “what I actually said was ‘God exists, and he is American.’” 

Manhattan has a quantum perception of time instead of linear.  He basically sees all time—past, present, and future—simultaneously.

So what does this mean?  What would it be like to have god-like powers?  What is interesting is that Dr. Manhattan, for all his ability, never once tries to take over the world, rule it, or re-shape it into his image.  In fact, one story line shows that Manhattan meets President Kennedy, and at the time of the meeting he knows that Kennedy will be assassinated.  Although he knows this, he doesn’t tell Kennedy and doesn’t try to stop it.

When the Comedian shoots a Vietnamese woman carrying his child, Manhattan was with him and stood idly by.  “Why didn’t you stop me,” the Comedian asked.  “We both know you could have turned that gun into snowflakes if you wanted, but you didn’t.  You’re losing yourself doc.”  Because of his power, Dr. Manhattan begins to become uncaring to anything.

How could you are about the matters of humanity when you’re omniscient?  Manhattan knows that humanity is only a fraction of a tear in the bucket in the grand scheme of the universe.  As he says “humanity can completely destroy itself, and the universe will not even notice.”

He’s right.  We’re small and relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  I mean think about it: if there was an alien race out there somewhere that obliterated itself a thousand years ago would you give a shit?  How about if there was one that annihilated itself yesterday?  Would you give a shit?

Maybe if we knew about such an event we might be moved to compassion, but the point is that the universe is so huge that we don’t know, and it’s reasonable to assume that other races wouldn’t know and/or care about our self-destruction.  Existence will go on existing whether humans are in the equation or not.

That sounds fairly nihilistic and depressing, but the story ends on a positive note.  **SPOILER ALERT**  When Manhattan learns that Silk Spectre II is the daughter of the Comedian, the man who tried to rape her mother, Manhattan understands why life is valuable.  Out of such chaos, out of such horrifying conditions, something beautiful still manages to grow and flourish.

Manhattan still doesn’t try to change anything in the course of human events, but he at least understands that humanity is worth saving.  He regains his sense of humanity, the sense that all life is somehow precious, and that life itself is a magnificent gift that is not to be squandered.

How would you handle being a god, or to be less blasphemous, how would you handle having god-like powers?  Would you become uncaring about humanity?  Dr. Manhattan raises a very important question: is humanity even worth saving, and if so, why?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dumbass Idea of the Week

I happen to like the advent of texting.  I'm the type of guy that doesn't always like talking to everyone who wants to talk to me, so texting is a good thing.  I means I don't have to always answer my phone, yet people who need to convey information to me can still do so while I can respond at my leisure.

This 17 year old girl, however, is a stupid bitch.  Apparently she got botox injections in her hands so that she could reduce the sweating of her palms while she texts.  Botox causes muscle weakness in some cases, and that's what happened here.

Now, the moron has lost some capability to text because of the botox.  Here's a suggestion: go read a fucking book.  Watch a movie.  Call someone once in a while.  Go do something other than texting.  Or better yet, how about you just deal with your sweaty palms?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Something Truly Amazing and Beautiful

Ludwig van Beethoven is probably one of the most well known classical composers in human history.  Even people who know nothing about classical music have probably heard of him.  Most people probably also know that eventually Beethoven went completely deaf.

Imagine that for a moment.  Your entire life is music, and in the middle of your career you begin to go deaf.  It would be as if your life were cooking and you lost the use of your hands, or if your passion was reading and you lose the power of sight.

What is amazing is that Beethoven continued to compose and perform music even after he had lost the power to hear.  It might not be something that we think about often past the superficial notion that the fact that he could do that is ridiculously amazing.  But here was a man so dedicated to the art of music, so passionate about creating something beautiful that he was willing to continue to give it to the world although he would never physically hear it himself.

This piece, Beethoven's String Quartet 132, mvt 3 is nothing short of amazing.  Beethoven's music reproduces a sort of maturity of the human experience, emotions that are not overly passionate but still complex.  It should be noted that by the time he composed this piece he was, indeed, completely deaf.

This is what it means to be human: to give something beautiful to this horrifying world even when its beauty will never befall your own physical sense.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why I Like Sweet Potatoes

When I was a kid, and even now really, I loved potatoes.  Mashed, baked, twice baked, au gratin, hash browns, home fries (if you're familiar with Bob Evans); potatoes prepared in just about any damn way you can imagine.  I'm not really a fan of potato chips, however, because they can be entirely too salty and greasy for my taste.

But when I was a kid, I fucking hated sweet potatoes.  The whole thing just seemed asinine, because why the fuck would I want my potatoes to be sweet?  Potatoes, to a young child, are supposed to be all about savory tastes.  Add some sour cream and butter, maybe some garlic and chives.  Give me an onion-like taste, but not sweet.  Don't put cinnamon in my fucking potatoes.  Why the shit would I put sugar on it?

Now that I look back on it all, I can't even remember if at any point I actually tried a sweet potato when I was a kid.  I think that the idea so disgusted me, the notion that someone could actually fuck with the consistency of something that I perceived to have been already perfected was ludicrous.  So literally, up until about age 25 or so, which was about 2 years ago, I thought that I hated sweet potatoes.

My grandmother seems to always make a sweet potato casserole for damn near any family get-together, and a couple of years ago I finally said "fuck it," (quietly to myself, as I am not nearly as foul mouthed around my family) and tried her sweet potato casserole.  Well, I'm glad I did, because it was like my tongue had an orgasm.  It was *so*fucking*good* that I couldn't believe I spent all these years not eating it.  My preconceptions, irrational and ridiculous, about how a potatoes should taste were completely dashed.

On my article about sex addiction, KP made an excellent observation about the human brain and what it is capable of doing.  I mentioned that when I first heard about sex addiction, my instincts told me that it was a load of bullshit that people shit out in order to not have to take responsibility for being douche bags.  But knowing what I knew about the human brain, and the varied and fucked up compulsions it can cause us to have, I had to reconcile what I knew to be true with what I felt inside.

KP said that he thought it was admirable how I always question things, whether it be myself or others, and that my ability to reason comes from my spirituality, and in part from my intelligence and humility.  It's funny how often someone else teaches us something about ourselves.

My spirituality is a bit different from many people--probably different from most people--in that it's truly about faith and hope.  I'm not the type of person that has any sort of comfort on the notion of God and the afterlife.  Neither faith nor hope have anything to do with knowing, and in fact, both of them assume that you can't know.  I can't know whether or not God exists, but I have some degree of faith that God has given us many clues that he does exist.  And I also hope that my reasoning is correct on it all, and that there is more to existence than just this life.  I doubt my ability to understand the unknowable, and I doubt the ability of others to do the same.

So if I can understand that there are some things that no one can know for sure, then there must be other things that I can't be certain on.  I can't always be right.  Knowing that there is at least one question that I will never be able to answer with any complete certainty, I have to admit that there are other questions to which I have not the answer.  So I am one of those rare people that assume that I am probably wrong on most things that I hold to be true.

As far as intellect goes, it's true that I'm a smart guy, as arrogant as that might sound.  I graduated summa cum laude from college without so much as breaking a sweat (intellectually), and my professors were tough on me, because they knew I needed extra challenge.  But true intellect comes from one's ability to question.  Because once you question yourself and others, you're forced to consider arguments that oppose your own sentiments.  When you've done that long enough, you then realize that your brain has its limits.

And that brings us to humility.  I'm humble enough to admit when I'm wrong, and to admit that I know there are people out there who are far more knowledgeable than myself on every subject.  I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong, and I'm not afraid to change my philosophical outlook on something.  It's only been in the last few months that I've come to the realization that I'm pro-choice, and that the death penalty is probably immoral.

So for those of you who think I am just like any other pundit out there, that I've got my ideological guns that I stick to whether or not I think they're valid, then please banish that thought from your minds.  I've changed my mind too much over the years and endured too much philosophical discomfort to be called closed-minded.  In fact, I still feel like shit over being pro-choice.

To quote the great Albert Camus again "certainty is not gaiety of heart."

Friday, June 24, 2011

What the fuck should we do about Afghanistan?

I honestly don’t know.  Although I find the idea of making the motions of getting the fuck out of there is a good thing, I also think that it would be immoral to abandon the Afghans.  So, what do we make of Obama’s move to start scaling down the troops?

Well, a lot of people are saying that this is purely political, that he is ignoring the advice of military leaders, and he is only doing this to get more votes in 2012.  That could very well be the case, but we need to consider a few things before we roast him on the spit.

First, one of my cohorts posted two charts, one showing that troop levels have steadily increased during Obama’s presidency, and the second showing that casualties have also increased.  Now, Obama made the troop surge happen on the recommendation of our military commanders in the hope that it would help stabilize the country.  Has it?  To be honest, I’m not so sure.

What I do know is that the increased presence in American troops has led to the increased death of American troops.  That’s fairly logical: more troops = more combat missions = more targets for terrorists.  Many people argue that we should get out of Afghanistan because the cost in American lives is just not worth it.  Those who make that argument have little other choice than to support a move that has the potential to reduce American casualties.

Of course you have the choice to reject that, but then you’re not being logically consistent.  Speaking of logical consistency, if you’re a Liberal who believes in human rights and defending those who cannot defend themselves, then you can’t be totally foaming at the mouth to just completely tuck tail and run from Afghanistan.  Would it not be immoral to deny aid to those who cannot help themselves?

And for those who are arguing this from a fiscal standpoint, according to this article from the AP, the war occupies only $120 billion of our annual budget.  I know, “only $120 billion?!?!”  How can I trivialize such a huge amount of money?  Well, when you consider that our budget deficit is over $1 trillion, freeing up $120 billion may not have as large an impact as we would like it to have.  It’s definitely a good start, and it’s admirable, but there are other things that are eating away our money at a more staggering rate.

Besides, only some of the people that want to end the war for fiscal reasons actually give a shit about the deficit.  Most Democrats seem to want to free up that money just so that we can turn around and spend it on some more shit that will likely produce zero results.

Would a withdrawal be equivalent to fucking over the Afghans?  Maybe.  But the security of a society and the enforcement of its laws is not the responsibility of a foreign nation.  Karzai seems to think that the Afghan people are up to the task, and as long as they don’t start harboring Al Qaeda again, what’s to stop us from leaving?  The likelihood of the Afghan government starting to harbor terrorists again is unlikely, because they only have to look to the former government of Afghanistan to know what consequences those actions portend.

The Libertarian in me says we need to get the fuck out.  We need to finish the job as best we can, stop sending our boys and girls to the meat grinder (although it’s not nearly as voracious and destructive as previous wars), and not fucking so much as THINK about touching the savings we will get by ending the prosecution of this war.

The humanitarian in me, however, says that we need to make sure that we’re not consigning them to even more death and misery by leaving.

I clearly don’t have any good answers for this question, but I’m not going to shit allover Obama for this one.  He did promise to get us the fuck out of there, and by all accounts most Americans want to get the fuck out of there as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why I Can't be a Libertarian

"Well why the fuck not???"
Most Libertarians I know are very intelligent people.  A good personal friend of mine considers himself to be a Libertarian, and he’s the person that got me switched on to Ron Paul.  Ted, author of Country Thinker and fellow contributor to Political Realities, is a Libertarian, and I place a good amount of stock in what he has to say about “pawlonics,” as he puts it.

I agree with the general principle that people are happiest when they are free to live their lives as they choose.  I also believe that a person is generally the best judge of how to live his or her life.  So the notion that we should be as free as possible sits very well with my philosophy and political theory, but the problem I have with Libertarians is the degree.

I know that not all Libertarians are anarchists, but I feel as though they advocate a level of “freedom,” that human beings simply can’t handle, or a level that would at least be very detrimental to the health of society.

When I think of a Libertarian society, I think of the western frontier in the 19th Century.  It’s not fondly referred to as the “Wild” West for no reason.  There were many towns were there was little to no law.  And even in some places where there was law enforcement, it didn’t really matter because they feared banditos and the like.

Was society better then?  Would we prefer a society in which the person with the biggest guns gets to own everyone and everything?  Some Libertarians might look at the government that way, that the government only does what it does because it has the guns.  The difference between the government and some random rich person who can afford the Pinkertons is that we, as a people, consented to the government to arbitrate in large-scale affairs such as law enforcement.

“Well I didn’t consent to the government controlling me.”  If that’s how you feel, then you are “free” to get out.  Someone recently balked at my suggestion of the “social contract,” saying that he never was offered to sign it.  Remember that if your family is ever murdered and you demand justice.

Anyway, if visions of the Wild West are too vague for you, then we can always look to the Gilded Age, the period roughly between 1876 and 1900.  If you want to have a glimpse into what Libertarian society is like, do some reading on that time period.

There were very little laws governing business.  Child labor was used, wages were a mere pittance, and many people in urban settings lived in the squalor of tenements.  Many immigrants, to whom most of us owe our very existence, came to America thinking the streets were paved with gold, only to find that they were paved with shit.  There was no such thing as minimum wage or a social safety net.

Needless to say, life was not pleasant, and people were not happy.

And how did the obscenely rich monopolists like Andrew Carnegie justify it all?  The Gospel of Wealth, or the Protestant work ethic.  It was an asinine assertion that poor people are poor because God doesn’t favor them.  Although I admire Carnegie’s success because of his humble origins, it was wrong for him to try to convince the poor exploited masses that they didn’t deserve any better than to be treated like cogs in a machine.

Quality of life was poor, politics and elections were a sham, and law enforcement was only good as long as you were paid up with the right people.  The Gilded Age is an example of how bad society can get when there is not enough government oversight to prevent and put a stop to injustice.

Do I think the “gubmint” is the solution to every societal ill?  Absolutely not.  The government is made up of fallible human beings as well, and they are also prone to corruption and overstepping.  But we have to remember that liberty requires a balance.  Too much freedom stifles liberty, too little freedom stifles liberty.

Does this look like an appealing fruit of Libertarianism?
I get that we are all free to fuck up our lives, as we should be, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do something to help steer people in the right direction.  If humans weren’t morons, and if they didn’t have passions and desires that are difficult to control, then we wouldn’t need laws.

But since we have ample examples of how greed has consumed humanity and destroyed lives, we know we have to have laws and oversight.  Of course, it sucks when those charged with enforcing those laws and conducting the oversight also happen to be greedy douche bags, but Libertarianism calls for a society in which the proper balance for maximum liberty cannot be achieved.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is Sex Addiction Real or an Excuse: My Conclusion

This was the cleanest "sexy" picture I could
find without being lewd.
Firstly, thanks to everyone who contributed to the sort of open discussion about sex addiction this Sunday. As I said, at the time I wasn’t ready to draw any conclusion as to whether or not I think it’s real, but now I think I’m close enough.

I suppose it makes sense that someone can be addicted to sex, just as someone can be addicted to gambling or eating. I can see how someone can be addicted to sex. Sex is fucking awesome. I’ve long said that it’s the most fun that two human beings can experience together. But I suppose that the problem arises when one’s sexual drive begins to negatively impact normal relationships.

Even that is a bit murky, though, because although I admit that sex addiction is probably real, I still think that some asshats use it as an excuse for poor behavior.

Take Tiger Woods and Jesse James for example. Tiger had all sorts of affairs and what not, and apparently got into some sort of car wreck over it. His excuse? Sex addiction. And then there’s Jesse James, Sandra Bullock’s former husband. He got caught cheating on her, publicly humiliated her, and then he blames it on sex addiction.

Are we really supposed to believe that?

Here’s the thing. Sex addiction is probably real and probably shatters real lives. There are men out there who have families, have been married for years, and for whatever reason cannot help but fuck every piece of tail that goes by. Then it gets so bad that he actually goes out looking for it because he can’t get enough. The appetite becomes so insatiable that it’s almost as if there’s a black hole left where his soul used to be.

The difference is, though, that he might recognize the wrongness of what he’s doing, he probably wishes that he could stop, but for whatever reason he lacks the will to stop. He can’t help but destroy his family, his career, and everything around him to feed his addiction. I don’t see this being the case with celebrities.

When you’re famous and at least mildly attractive, there’s probably at least a thousand women that would be willing to fuck you without you even knowing their names. These celebrities know that all they would have to do is ask, and they could have their pick of the litter. I like to think that I am fairly virtuous and that I would resist the temptation to be a total fucking douche bag, but I have to admit that it does sound awfully tempting.

So although Tiger might be sick because he had a family he was willing to throw away, I highly fucking doubt that Jesse James has anything wrong with him. I mean, he’s already getting married to that tattooed chick he was apparently banging while he was married to Sandra Bullock. So one moment he’s a sex addict douche, the next moment he’s willing to get married and be exclusive again?

Shit heads like Jesse James are just trying to save face. Although their sex life is not really anyone’s business but his and the people he’s fucking, it bothers me that people like him use sex addiction as a way to save face. “It’s not my fault! I have an addiction!” Bullshit. Guys like Jesse James are just like any other person who chooses not to keep it in their pants.

It’s probably not that he has an addiction or illness, it’s more likely that he just plain doesn’t give a shit about fidelity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Liberals Snicker at "Personal Responsibility"

When I first got into the whole blogging scene and started ruffling Conservative and Liberal feathers alike, I was very confused at first when Liberals derided me and balked at my mention of “personal responsibility.”

Just as a preface, I arrived at the conclusion of personal responsibility on my own when I recently made a case against limiting the sodium content of food. The logical conclusion, for me, was that one’s sodium intake is a matter of personal responsibility: you should know that too much salt is bad for your health, and you should take steps to ensure that your daily sodium intake is healthy for your body.

So when I mentioned this phrase to some of the folks at Crooks and Liars, many of them accused me of “rolling out the talking points.” I was sort of taken aback, as my conclusion was so clear and logical to me that I couldn’t believe that it is dismissed as a “talking point.” Usually, talking points are perceived as tired arguments that generally don’t involve any explication beyond simple phrases.

After a series of discussions I’ve had recently, I think I’ve figured out why Liberals roll their eyes whenever a Conservative brings up personal responsibility: it’s because some people use it just as vacuously as a Liberal uses the phrase “help those who can’t help themselves.”

Both of those phrases actually have ideological and moral merit. The problem is, however, that the people using them I think are hugely mistaken in their view of human nature.

In my recent article on Political Realities about the War on Drugs, someone used personal responsibility to prove his point about why drugs should be legalized. The argument was that this is a case of the government being a “Nanny State,” and that personal responsibility should be the guiding policy for drug use.

Well, I’d buy that for a quarter if I didn’t think that most people are stupid. Do we need the government to force us to live healthy, productive lives? No. You’re allowed to be a complete moron if you choose, and you’re allowed to destroy your life. But does that mean we should not at least try to deter people from destroying themselves?

Why is drunk driving illegal? Because it’s dangerous to the drinker and to everyone else. Do we simply rely on personal responsibility for that? Do we say “well he should just be responsible enough to do the right thing”? No. We have severe punishments in place not only to exact justice for the wrong-doing, but to try to prevent it as well.

The funny thing is that Liberals and Conservatives are not very different in the sense that they place too much trust and confidence in human beings. The difference is in whom that trust and confidence is placed.

Conservatives trust the people themselves to be good and forthright. If only that fantasy were true, then there would be no need for law whatsoever. Why do we even have law if everyone just follows the notion of personal responsibility? Well, that’s because there are many people who don’t care about the consequences.

Liberals seem to place their trust and confidence in the government, apparently not realizing that the government is not some sort of weird, non-human entity. The government is made of people, the same people who are either too stupid or undisciplined to be counted on to always make rational decisions.

When Conservatives start using personal responsibility as a response to nearly everything, the idea itself becomes laughable because it almost seems like we’re advocating lawlessness. If you believe that people are colossally stupid, then why would you want to make it easier for them to destroy themselves just because you believe in personal responsibility?

I can’t imagine ever turning to drugs because I count myself responsible for my own actions. But that’s only from my perspective. I don’t expect everyone to have the same level of integrity that I have.

The whole of human history is enough to prove that “personal responsibility,” only goes so far, especially when it comes to human-beings’ penchant for destroying themselves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dumbass Idea of the Week

This is why we can't have nice things.  Some idiot serving jury duty apparently tried to contact the defendant in the trial via facebook.

Did it start out as a poke?  Did she eventually send a friend request?  Did she write on her wall?

Well, this goes to show that people, in general, are complete dumbasses.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sex Addiction: Does it really exist?

I haven't given it enough thought.  I planned to put a little contemplation into it, but I sort of got side tracked this weekend (thank you Fallout: New Vegas and Minecraft).  So for now, what do you all think? 

I've put up a poll to the right for a quick answer.  For those who would like to explicate, please feel free to do so.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A rose by any other name smells just as shitty

In one of my early posts on CFGM, I half ass supported Obama’s decision to help out with Libya.  In an attempt at a play on words with a popular phrase from the American Revolution, I titled the article “Libya Free or Die!”

Although I still believe that helping a people throw off an oppressive government for the sake of having a more democratic one is an admirable pursuit, and although I questioned before whether or not Obama clearly violated the War Powers Act of 1973, I think that now is the time to reflect on the absolute bullshit coming from this whole damn thing.

What I’m confused by is how Liberals continue to say that the Iraq war was “illegal,” but they get quiet whenever anyone brings up Libya.

Why am I confused?  Well, for starters, Bush sought congressional approval before tearing into Saddam’s despot paradise; Obama didn’t.  Congress passed resolutions authorizing the continuation of the Iraq War; congress has not done so for Libya.  Bush made reports to congress on the progress of the war and the goals; Obama has actually refused to do so.

So how is Obama any better than Bush?  I know, I know.  “Bush is evil!”  “Bush was just getting back at Saddam for trying to kill his daddy!”  “Bush wants to get his greedy hands on all their precious oil!”  Knowing that all of those assertions are baseless and false, I’m still at a loss as to how Obama and Bush are any different in this regard.

Are they different because Bush was all about regime change?  Nope, because Obama said that he fully supports regime change in his speech on our Middle East policy.  Are they different because Bush says to hell with the Constitution and Obama follows it to the letter?  Nope, because we all know that Obama has clearly overstepped his Constitutional bounds.  Is Obama different from Bush because Bush ran up the budget deficit?  No, again.

My question to liberals is why do you kid yourselves?  Why do you ignore the similarity between Obama’s transgressions and Bush’s?  Why do you lambaste Bush for following the rules, but stay silent when Obama outright pisses on the rules?

Not all liberals ignore the hypocrisy.  The ones that call themselves Progressives are usually the loudest voices of opposition to Obama’s policies in the Democrat Party.  But there are enough Democrats staying silent, or shying away from debate, whenever words like “Libya,” or “Guantanamo Bay,” or “Afghanistan Troop Surge,” are mentioned for me to condemn the party as a whole.

And don’t give me the “lesser evil,” bullshit line.  Obama turned out to be just like every other fucking politician out there, and you’re too afraid to admit it.  You’re too afraid to come to terms with the fact that he built up so much sentiment about hope and change only to dash it within a few short years.  Partisan hackery runs so deep that you’re willing to keep silent on the failures of your team.

So I’m sorry that Obama wasn’t the beacon of hope and change that you all thought he would be.  Perhaps you will remember this lesson the next time you’re regaled and seduced by the promises of politicians.  They’re all the same, especially the ones that say they aren’t.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Today's article on Political Realities

I wrote a piece here on the war on drugs, and Larry asked me to write something for Political Realities on the subject.

Check it out here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mitt Romney, Too Comfortable Being Front Runner

My cohort Harrison, over at Capitol Commentary, has been so kind as to grace this awful patch of internet space I call Christian Fearing God-Man with an excellent article about why he thinks Mitt Romney has more going against him than for him.

Enjoy, and be sure to visit him at Capitol Commentary.

______________________________________________________

I'm going to make a prediction that Mitt Romney will not win the Republican presidential nomination.  We can look no further than to Hillary Clinton's campaign to see why.

Hillary Clinton was the presumed Democratic nominee until someone named Barack Obama came along and, using a bit of deft planning, knocked her off her dais.  Mitt Romney will not lose the nomination for the same reasons Hillary Clinton did, but the result will be the same.

Mitt has three things working against him:

1. He signed Romneycare into law in Taxachusetts.  Investor's Business Daily wrote:

Health costs have gone up in the Bay State significantly since Romney's overhaul, and polls show residents believe RomneyCare is the reason. The uninsured still number over 100,000, despite his promise of "universal coverage." And hundreds of thousands among the newly insured pay nothing for their state-mandated coverage, freeloading off those who do.

RomneyCare's mandates, enforced by a new, multipronged state government bureaucracy, resulted in another negative consequence, which anyone who knows the law of supply and demand could have predicted: a physician shortage that has caused European-style waiting lists for doctor visits. That, in turn, has led to lots more emergency room visits, another cause of cost increases. And so goes the vicious cycle.
There is no way Romney will ever get this albatross off from around his neck.  How can he take the high road when he enacted something as evil as Obamacare?

Fiscal conservatives will not support Romney.  I will not support him.

2. Mitt Romney has said he believes in man made global warming.  Romney said this:

I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that, because I know that there have been periods of greater heat and warmth in the past but I believe we contribute to that.
So Romney isn't a scientist, can't speak for them, but he read a few articles that said the world is getting warmer and he believes it. Romney hedges by saying who knows what can be done about it but isn't this just a way of leaving the door open for a later retraction? We all know Obama and his cronies have used global warming as justification to empower the EPA to regulate the stuff everybody exhales - Carbon Dioxide - as a pollutant and to try and pass Cap and Trade to take money away from Americans to use on Obamacare.

Again, Romney makes no friends and sounds like he doesn't know what he's talking about.

3.  Romney is a Mormon. I have nothing against Mormons but many Americans are suspicious of them because they believe they don't believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Romney knows this is a problem to the extent he casts himself more as a CEO than as a man of the cloth. I don't think Romney would push his religion on people but if there's one thing Americans love it's a conspiracy theory.

Sure, many think Obama is a Mulsim but he's half black so this made him more exciting to the press and Americans who wanted to see a non-white male become president. Romney doesn't have this type of thing going for him and he's a Conservative so, naturally, the press will come down (unfairly) doubly hard on him.  Expect to see a lot of pieces on polygamy and Mormonism. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

I think the biggest threat to Romney's nomination is Texas governor Rick Perry. He has led his state towards job creation and has stood up against the Obama administration regarding their encroachment on economic and personal liberty. Perry might have his own issues.

Lastly, Romney, like Clinton, is the early front runner and this is never a good thing. Every other candidate is drafting behind him while he is taking all the rock chips and bugs in his face.

Romney seems like a decent man but his past decisions, as well as his early front runner status, means he's doomed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check me on Capitol Commentary

Harrison was kind enough to allow a guest post about Michele Bachmann from me on Capitol Commentary.  Check it out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

San Francisco is about as backwards as Alice in fucking Wonderland

It's straight up Mad-Fucking-Hatter shit in San Fran.
Because this focuses on San Francisco, I originally thought that I’d submit this to Harrison at Capitol Commentary.  He lives there and always has something to say about how cooky it is out there.  After I read the first paragraph of this article “San Francisco: Circumcision Ban a Religious Issue,” I decided that I would write it for CFGM because I plan to say fuck and shit a lot.


These psychotic retards who call themselves “intactivists,”—which has something to do with advocating for infants’ rights to their own genitals—want to ban all circumcision from the city of San Francisco.  They said that they straight up do not give a shit that the practice is part of a thousands-year-old Jewish religious tradition.

They claim that the practice causes unnecessary harm, and that boys should have the choice of whether or not to keep their foreskins.  Never mind the fact that the World Health Organization has said that there is absolutely no drawback to being circumcised.  And let’s just forget the notion that apparently circumcision actually helps fight the spread of HIV. 

And these fucks try to equate it to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a cultural practice often found in Africa that is actually damaging to a girl’s long-term health, and is done for the purpose of killing the pleasure that she would have otherwise had from sexual intercourse.

Antactivists say: Fuck you, Jews.
In a recent rebuttal to Gerard over at A Calm Voice in the Storm, I mentioned that a person’s beliefs don’t necessarily make that person stupid.  Well, this is one of those cases where these people’s beliefs do actually make them fucking dumb.

For starters, it might cause the babies harm, but oh well?  Does this mean we shouldn’t draw blood from infants?  Should we forego vaccinations, too because it hurts them too much?  I mean holy fucking sheep shit people: they will never, ever remember it.  Oh, I see.  We should hold off until the boy is old enough to decide for himself.  Right, because every dude is lining up to get surgery done to his cock.

It’s not so much the idea itself, but the blatant hypocrisy and complete and utter lack of ideological consistency that makes these “intactivists,” mentally challenged.  Lets examine the ridiculousness of it.

First, I can guarantee that they are probably pro-choice.  So they think it’s okay for a woman to kill her baby, for whatever fucking reason, but it’s not okay to have her baby go through a medical procedure that is safe and beneficial once the kid is born?  And never mind the sheer religious freedom hypocrisy.

"Yeah, circumcision is like, totally lame guys."
I honestly don’t get it.  They posit that women are allowed to choose whether or not their child lives or dies while they’re inside her body, but once that child is alive a woman is not allowed to make decisions about the child’s health and well-being?  I’m fucking sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.  Either you believe people have the freedom of choice or you don’t.  Either you believe in religious freedom or you don’t.

Please, stop being fucking stupid.  An unborn child who has no way of choosing doesn’t have the right to live if the mother says it doesn’t, but a days old infant who also has no way of choosing somehow has dominion over his genital health?  In-fucking-sane.

Pro-tip to the intactivists: mind your own fucking business.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dumbass Idea of the Week

This is some pretty over-the-top revenge.  Even though it's probably a stupid idea to make a billboard that chastises your ex-girl friend for getting an abortion, I guess you have to admire his dedication.  What a waste of money, though.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Electronic Arts is Evil

I think some time back when I did a top 15 list, I threw Electronic Arts (EA) into the mix.  The significance of that might have been a mystery to some of my readers, so I think on this fine Sunday morning it deserves a little explication.

I'm a gamer, so I have strong opinions on certain games and developers.  Bathesda Softworks and Valve, in my opinion, are the two developers left that actually give a shit about making quality games that make no sacrifices on quality or complexity.  Games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 were big hits in terms of both sales and critic acclaim.  For Valve, Half Life 2 has the all time highest metacritic score, and Team Fortress 2 is a masterpiece.

Bathesda is dedicated to making games that are all around awesome.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is set to release November 11, 2011, and from everything I've seen the game is going to be absolutely amazing.  Bathesda has been developing a whole new engine in house that makes the game look visually stunning, and they are changing some of the mechanics of the game without sacrificing complexity.  ESV will likely be a masterpiece that will make them a pretty penny.

Valve has Steam, and because of Steam, Valve never has to make another game again.  For those who don't know what Steam is, it's a cloud-type service that allows you to purchase games online; just about any game that has existed within the last 10 years or so.  So they don't really seem to care all that much if their games make a ton of money.  They have been constantly adding content to Team Fortress 2 over the last 3 years or so, and they've not asked for a dime in return.

Fallout 3 by Bathesda.  This is an amazing fucking game.
So that brings us to EA.  These fucking douche bags will sacrifice anything and everything if they think it will make an extra dollar.  What's sad is that they've got their tentacles on what was once a developer every bit as amazing as Bathesda and Valve.  They publish everything for Bioware now, and we can see the influence.

EA got it into their minds that it's more important to appeal to the "casual gamer," than the "hardcore gamer," because there are more casual gamers than hardcore.  So instead of following the Bathesda model, they rush their games.  ESIV: Oblivion was released in 2006, and they're just now releasing ESV, 5 years later.  EA got their hands on Bioware's Dragon Age: Origins.  That game took Bioware about 4 years to make and it did really well in terms of sales.  When EA saw how popular sales were, they forced Bioware to shit out a sequel only a year and a half later.  Believe me when I say that the sequel isn't even on par with the original.

And EA is fucking blatant about it, too.  Everyone that has played Mass Effect 1 and 2 knows that ME2 was severely dumbed down to appeal to more people.  And the silly thing is that it wasn't even that complicated to begin with.  Will Wright, the creator of the Sims, was asked if he would rather make games that sell a lot or make games that have a high focus on quality.  He said that he'd rather make games that sell a lot, not because he's a sell-out douche, but because publishers like EA fucking demand it.  Wright said that he would be out of a job otherwise.

Team Fortress 2 by Valve.  Also an amazing fucking game.
Because of EA and their bullshit, there's a huge push to make video games more accessible.  EA doesn't give a god damn about the experience: they only care about the sales numbers.  Activision has gone that way as well, and that's why we see a new fucking Call of Duty title released every year or two.  EA is trying to make video games easier, "more accessible," at the expense of quality and complexity.  One might say, "well they're all in it for the profit," but if that were true then why is Bathesda different?  They're under no fear of going out of business, and the funny thing is that they're committed to making quality games.

So here's to EA for making games that suck ass, and for making games so easy that even the biggest moron can play it.  Thank you for trying to make video games little more than hollow, visual eye candy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Response to Gerard

Over at A Calm Voice in the Storm, the author Gerard is a good writer with some very valid points to make. Because I am twisted and a complete egomaniac, I was flattered by his article yesterday in which he expressed that he enjoys my blog and then seemed to rake me over the coals about some of my ideas. This is not meant to be combative or anything like that, but I think perhaps Gerard has misinterpreted some things I’ve said.

First, about the liberal Hollywood “myth,” it’s not really a myth when several movie and TV executives admit, on camera, that there’s an agenda that they themselves are pushing. Now of course I understand that it’s not the only voice in entertainment, and I know that not every person that works in the industry is a liberal, but I hardly think that the notion of that particular industry being dominated by liberals is refutable.

Secondly, in no way do I believe that any American citizen should be denied any rights due to him or her. Rights are based on personhood, not race, class, or gender. How can you say that I want to deny rights to the disenfranchised? I advocate for gay rights, I’m pro-Choice, and I think that we need to fix the American education system so that everyone gets a high quality education.

As for trying to make everyone think the same, I fully recognize the fact that people can and should reject the ideas I put out. Of course it would be nice for people to agree with me, but they don’t have to. I’m not trying to pull anyone into a specific “conservative,” line of thinking. In fact, if you read the comment sections on my blog there are plenty of my conservative cohorts that disagree with me on a lot of stuff. The purpose of my blog is not to promote a specific political agenda, but rather to advocate a more political rather than ideological view of politics.

I also take huge issue with the assertion that I am factually inaccurate, which I’m guessing is in reference to my Liberal Hollywood article. Unless those interviews with the Hollywood executives, including the guy that actually said that there is a barrier in the industry for conservatives, are complete fabrications then I’m not sure how I’m being factually inaccurate. I also don’t recall saying that there are no conservatives in Hollywood, just that it is dominated by liberals. How is it a myth when the people in question admit to it being true?

As for my comment about letting idiots be idiots, that’s a blanket statement that doesn’t apply to only or all liberals. In fact, I've written about how dumb and inconsistent the Republican Party has been.  I’ve said countless times that not all beliefs are indicative of a lack of intelligence. I might disagree with someone, but I won’t call that person stupid simply because we disagree. Do I agree with limiting sodium content in food? No, but I also don’t think that people who take that position are stupid. Do I think the guy that people who believe homosexuals are going to hell and that it’s the duty of the “virtuous Christian,” to cause misery for grieving families at funerals are idiots? Yes.

And at no point did I suggest Americans need to be “educated by the Right.” Partisan education is ridiculous and counter-productive. In fact, in my article today about religion, I mention that the only good education that involves religion is one that is unbiased and objective. Political indoctrination, left or right, is wrong. Period. And seeing as how I wrote an article lambasting my party for being filled with unthinking morons, I would hardly consider that a call for people to be “educated by the Right.”

And Gerard, this rebuttal is not a dig on your intelligence at all. You’re not the first person to misunderstand me. The problem that I run into with this is that I try to keep my articles fairly short while at the same time presenting some fairly large ideas. Because I try to keep the length down, that leaves my explication on some ideas severely lacking. This is why I’m very glad that some of my readers actively comment and take me to task on things because that gives me the opportunity to clarify what I’m trying to say.

Some people immediately and completely understand my message right off the bat, others don’t. I don’t think less of the intelligence of those who don’t get my meaning because I expect people to not understand it right off the bat. I’m not in this to convince anyone of anything other than being more thoughtful. I personally don’t care what conclusions people arrive at as long as they’re not harmful, hypocritical, or based on shitty logic.

Lastly, as for the Stalin photo, that was purposely meant to be over-the-top.  Christian Fearing God-Man is not meant to be partisan politics.  It's meant to shit all over partisan politics in the hopeless hope that something positive can actually get done.

Gerard, there are no hard feelings from me, and if only blogger didn’t suck so much ass I’d be able to comment on your blog. I particularly liked your article about the therapists who try to “treat,” homosexuality. Cretins. Thank you for reading, I hope you continue to read, and I’ll definitely be reading your blog daily.

Oh, and should I be able to comment once blogger gets their heads out of their collective ass, I always clean up my language and presentation for other blogs, as I respect the decorum and standards that they wish to maintain. I don’t wish to bring others’ patch of internet space down into the gutter with mine =)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Quick Post: Gerard

Because either God or blogger hates me, I'm still unable to sign in to leave comments on blogs that don't force the comment section into a new window.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, comment moderation is not enabled on my blog, and I will never, ever delete anyone's comments.

So I just want everyone to know that I did not delete Gerard's comment on the Hollywood article.  The infinite wisdom of blogger's spam filter saw fit to determine his post to be spam (this happened to Silverfiddle once before, I think), and since I rarely pay attention to my email, I didn't notice that there was a comment sitting in my spam queue.

So Gerard, I promise I'm not a free-speech hating tyrant.

EDIT:  Gerard amended his article today, and for that I am greatly appreciative.  Also, it's only fair that I give him a bump since he did so for me.  Here is his article on A Calm Voice in the Storm about me and CFGM for today, and that's the one that I will respond to tomorrow.

Again, I'd respond to it directly on his blog, but blogger seems to hate my fucking guts.

Separation of Church and State *eye roll*

I once got a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch published on this very subject.  Of course it was met with fairly vehement criticism, because I posited that most Americans have misread the establishment clause in the Constitution.

Many Americans don’t know that the phrase “separation of church and state,” or any near verbatim iteration of that phrase does not appear anywhere in the Constitution.  Anyone who has read it knows that religion is only mentioned twice in the Constitution.  One is the establishment clause, I’ll leave you to guess the other.  Bonus points to whomever can respond with the right answer first without looking it up.

Anywho, I get that we’re supposed to be all about religious freedom.  Even if we disagree with someone’s religious beliefs, we’re supposed to tolerate that because it is every human being’s right to decide for himself what he believes in.

What I don’t like is how some people wish to banish religion from all facets of public life.  Does this mean that I support people proselytizing or pandering their religion to “win souls for God”?  Absolutely not.  I also do not support this movement to strike religion from all discussion in schools, though.

I know that some of my readers are atheists, and I totally get that.  You might be raising your kids to be atheist and don’t want them to believe in God, and I respect that.  It’s no different than a Christian who doesn’t want his kid to believe in Buddha.

The fact of the matter is, though, that you can’t just ignore religion and pretend that it is not an important thing.  I don’t mean “important” in the sense that everyone should be religious, but it’s important in understanding the human condition and civil society in general.

How can any social studies class be effective without discussing religion?  When I was an education major, I had to sit in on some classes with a 7th grade world history group.  The lesson was actually on the Crusades, and it was very awesome because the curriculum, surprisingly, gave an equal amount of time to present the Christian and Muslim perspective on it.  Since both religions were given the same amount of time, there was no conflict.

Perhaps the problem is that it’s probably tough to find teachers who would be willing to teach their students about world religions in an objective manner.  When I taught the lesson on how the principles of Christianity helped facilitate the call to Crusade, I did it objectively although I am Catholic.  The kids loved it, even the little Muslim kiddoes.  Why?  Because I wasn’t pushing the religion onto them, but merely helping them to understand it.

My cohorts and I get into a lot of arguments, it seems, about religion.  The arguments usually involve our sentiments on Islam.  The overall message that I always try to convey is that we have to understand the religion on its own terms, not necessarily in how the zealots interpret the religion.  The same can be said for Christianity as much as Islam.  Would we really want other cultures to understand Christianity from the Westboro Baptist perspective?  Jesus, I fucking hope not.

Understanding the religion doesn’t mean you accept it to be true.  Similarly, learning about the religion is not a bad thing.  We need to stop pretending like we can actually separate our religious self from our civil, secular self.  Although morality is not an invention of religion, most people’s morals are shaped by their religious upbringing.

Yes, I am intentionally trying to be offensive.
Should the state sponsor a particular religion?  Absolutely not.  Should we call ourselves a “Christian Nation”?  That’s a big negative.  Instead of promoting the separation of church and state, we should promote the scholarly engagement of religion in our public forums.  Of course, that would require a certain level of decency and open-mindedness, both of which are qualities that many Americans lack.

Think of it in the mindset of those debate assignments where you’re supposed to support the side you disagree with in a debate.