Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ron Paul's Foreign Policy

Something I've been hearing from a lot of Republicans when talking about Ron Paul lately is how he would be a great candidate if it were not for his foreign policy.  I admit that I've had some doubts about his "extreme isolationism," but the more I think about it, the more I realize that he's probably right on a lot of points.

Ron Paul has said that he would not invade a country to stop human rights violations.  That seemed a bit fucked up to me at first, because I truly believe that if ever there was a good cause for a war, it would be to stop the opression of a people.

But then you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.  Why do we stop some dictators from brutalizing their people and not others?  We haven't lifted a finger to stop the horrors in Darfur.  Gaddhafi was likely every bit as twisted and maniacal as Saddam Hussein, yet he met his demise at the hands of his own people, not the United States of America.  So who gets our help and who doesn't?  And why?  I think this creates the unintended consequence of making America seem as though it only helps a people if it's in our best interest.

So, as Dr. Paul has articulated, our police actions create sentiments of contempt towards America, the same contempt that has led to the rise of anti-U.S. terrorist cells.  I'm not saying that 9/11 was our fault, as if the people who perpetrated it are blameless, but we have to remember that everything we do on the world stage will have some sort of negative consequence in the future.

Some people think that the U.S. should intervene anytime that a people are being wiped out by their government.  I think the sentiment is okay, but we have to look at the reality of the situation.  As Dr. Paul has said, we simply don't have the resources or the manpower to be the world police.  How badly has Iraq and Afghanistan bankrupted this country?  How wide has the deficit grown, and how deep has the national debt sunk?  We know that the cost of these two wars has been high, not so much in human life on our part--we've suffered a fraction of the casualties that used to be associated with war--but we've run up quite a tab.

Not only is it financially unfeasable, we have to ask ourselves if we even have the authority to be the world police.  When does a sovereign nation stop being a sovereign nation, and why do we get to decide that?  Hypothetical nay-sayer might say that "well the community of nations, the UN decides when a madman must be stopped," but we all know that's not true.  Iraq, although no unilateral as some fools tried to paint it, was invaded primarily by the U.S. against the wishes of the UNSC.  Ultimately, we didn't give a shit what the community of nations thought.

Doesn't that seem a bit dangerous?  We've arrived at the point where we know how powerful we are.  We know that there is no country on this planet that would ever legitimately stand up against our military might, and that fact coupled with our economic importance to the world has made us extremely bold.  I don't think this is a good thing.

Now I'm no idealist.  I realize that even if we had nothing to do with world politics, there would still be people that hate us.  I understand that even if we tried to remove ourselves from world politics that it'd likely be an effort in vain.  But I think we seriously need to look at foreign policy from the eyes of other nations.  Ron Paul is right that our actions have hurt ourselves and our allies, so it would be prudent to consider taking a new approach to how we interact with the community of nations.

Isolationism might not be the answer and is probably not even viable, but Dr. Paul represents a more prudent course in foreign policy, one that a war-weary nation would do well to consider.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick answer to question . . .

In looking at what search terms people have used to stumble upon Christian Fearing God-Man, I cam accross one that was not a single word or concept, but rather a question.

The question was "are mullets lame?"

Well . . .

In case you are all wondering what my answer to that is, the answer is YES.  Mullets are completely lame.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Fucking Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all!  Enjoy the holiday!

And of course . . .

Seriously though, I don't have a thing for blondes . . .

Friday, December 23, 2011

Inspired by Harrison: My Spiritual Evolution

Harrison has a great article over at Capitol Commentary today about how Obama zealots are similar to Jesus zealots.  I encourage everyone to read it, as it inspired me to explicate how I've evolved over the years in my beliefs on spirituality.  Some of this might rehash some things I've already covered, but I think there will be enough new content to keep you interested, or at least get you thinking.

As my profile thingy says, I grew up Catholic.  All 12 years of my school, 16 if you count the fact that I went to a Catholic university, were spent in Catholic school.  I went to St. Anthony's for grades 1-8, and St. Francis De Sales for high school (for those of you who are at all familiar with the North End of Columbus).  At St. Anthony's, they made all of us go to mass once a week, usually on Fridays if my memory serves me correctly.

As compliant as I can be, I've got a bit of a defiant streak in me, so when I feel something is pointless or ridiculous, I'm apt to voice my opinion on how dumb I think it is.  In any religion, the person is told what to do: how to live their lives, how to worship, what is right and wrong.

Why am I told that I have to go to church?  I always complained when my mother made us all go to church on Sundays, because she knew we had already gone once on Friday.  "You're supposed to go to church on Sunday," she told me.  That wasn't an adequate explanation for me.

My dad's side of my family are Protestant, Baptists many of them.  When I was in 7th grade they started taking me to their church, Genoa Baptist.  Needless to say, it was markedly different from what I was used to.  The structure that I had grown up with simply did not exist.  The big thing that stood out in my mind was that the people there didn't seem like mindless drones going through the sitting and kneeling motions.  They actually, truly believed in God, and they felt God's presence.  For them, life wasn't about service or being penitent for one's flawed human nature, but rather loving God and accepting Jesus as their savior.

I admit that it put me through a spiritual whirl.  I questioned my faith in the Catholic church, and I even considered converting at one point.  There was so much about Catholicism that seem inherently flawed to me.  I ended up not converting, because I felt a strong sense of loyalty to my mom and the tradition under which she had raised me.

Fast-forward to the near present day, it was not long ago that I realized why I had such a crisis of faith.  I realize now that the teachers who were supposed to teach us about the Catholic faith at St. Anthony's were not theologians, and were probably not qualified to teach us about the intellectual nature of Catholicism.  It wasn't until college that I discovered the idea of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

It's important that I did, because it was just the other day that I came to quite a big conclusion: I never felt God's presence, I don't feel God's presence now, and I highly doubt that I will feel it anytime in the future.  That's why I couldn't convert, because even then I felt like I was missing something.  Lots of people feel that way, that there's something missing in their life, and then they find religion and are suddenly fulfilled.  That's not the case with me.

I don't pray.  I don't "commune" with God.  I don't even believe that God's presence is a real thing, because an ethereal being cannot possibly be felt or perceived by our crude senses.  I often doubt whether or not God exists.  And this is why the Catholic faith is good for me, because I don't feel that God exists.  I feel nothing.  I believe God exists, because I've reasoned that he probably does. 

I think that's a much stronger faith, because it's not dependent on lies or kidding myself.  Feelings change easily, from day-to-day, and I'll never have to fear the day that I don't "feel" God exists, because it's already here.  I think there are many more people who don't feel that God exists, but I think few are willing to admit it.  They just put it deep down inside, and lie to themselves and everyone else.  I'm not comfortable with lying to myself.

Faith should not be a feeling.  It should be a decision.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Star Wars The Old Republic: My Life is Over

I won't neglect my children or anything, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to take up a lot of my free time.  As a friend of mine described it, "it's twice as awesome as World of Warcraft was at its height."  I'm inclined to agree.

I played WoW for a little bit, and although it was fun to play with friends, it wasn't fun playing alone.  With The Old Republic, there's a robust single-player aspect to it which I like.  What makes that so rewarding is the fact that the game actually focuses on story-telling, and letting your character actively take part in what's going on.

Dialogue helps to achieve that.  Bioware seemlessly integrated its conversation system--made popular by titles such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age--into a multiplayer experience.  Your friends can actually take part in dialogue with the quest givers, and together you can decide the outcome of a quest.  This actually makes the multiplayer aspect of the game more fulfilling than WoW, because instead of just completing the same quests along side your friends, you actually complete the quest together.  Amazing.

Customization is also a major component that sets SW:TOR apart from WoW.  Until recently, everyone in WoW looked the same, because everyone had to get to the same tier of endgame gear.  Not the case in The Old Republic.  The endgame gear is completely modified, and there are many gear pieces up to that point that are modified.  Basically, you can extract the modifications from the endgame gear, and put those mods into the gear piece you like.  It will cause the piece to upgrade in its level, and it becomes as strong as the original piece.

So basically, if you come across a piece of armor that you think looks cool, you can essentially use it for the entire game.  It allows for a much more diverse range of choices in terms of your character's aesthetic, which is something that I think is absolutely essential to achieve in a game that is focused on the Star Wars universe.

Questing doesn't seem like such a horrifying grind.  Flashpoints (instances) are fast paced and fun, and PvP is a blast.  The replay value of TOR is ridiculous.  There are 8 different classes in the game, and each one of them has their very own unique storyline.  For MMO veterans, leveling 8 toons might sound like a horrifying grind, but it's not that bad.  You could very feasably level up through PvP and only complete your class quests and the flashpoints. 

Star Wars: The Old Republic is what an MMO should be.  It's all about making your character a unique player in a genre that tries to streamline people, and it's all about telling a story that is worthy of being counted in the annals of the Star Wars universe.

Hats off to Bioware and what will likely be a massive success fitting of such a massive project.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Official Trailer

Full length, and in my opinion, fairly fucking amazing.  This film is going to blow our minds.  Here's hoping they can live up to the huge standard set by Heath Ledger.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong-Il Dead

Crazy has a way of catching up to everyone, and it looks like Kim Jong-Il has finally been caught.  I think he died sometime yesterday.  This would be a good thing if it actually meant anything positive to the North Korean people, but his son is taking over and will likely continue the reign of shit.

One good thing did come of this, though: because of his death, I didn't have to do an installment of Dumbass Idea of the Week!  Guys like him dying means I don't have to come up with any super-original content and allows me to be lazy.

So thanks Kimmy, wherever you are, for making my Monday morning a little easier =)

(Still, no clever caption necessary)

Friday, December 16, 2011

So a samurai, an Imam, and Mike Tyson walk into a bar . . .

. . . and the three of them, although not friends in any form, are drinking buddies for the night.  The samurai is chilling, looking super-serious and only moderately drinking because he never wants to lose focus and doesn't want to bring shame upon himself or his family.  The imam is not drinking at all because, of course, God commands that he not drink.  And Mike Tyson is drinking liberally, although not entirely beligerent.  Mike is fairly wealthy, so in a show of good faith, he buys everyone at the bar a round.

Well, one of Mike's friend, a little guy, walks in and tells him that some asshat outside the bar was messing with him.  Of course Mike can't allow that to happen to a friend, so he goes outside to sort things out.  It's not the best idea since Mike is a little bit drunk at this point.  Well, one thing leads to another, and Mike ends up decking the guy with a haymaker, knocking his ass out.

By the time Mike comes back into the bar to tell his friend what happened, a bar fight has erupted and violence is in full swing.  Frantically, Mike rushes in to save his friend and his drinking buddies, and to get all the fighting to stop so he can sort out just what the fuck happened.  Mike's solution to stopping the fighting: punch the fucking lights out of anyone who seems to be not on his side.

When everyone is finally calmed down and nursing some broken jaws and black eyes, Mike is finally able to ask his allies what the hell went wrong.  The imam starts, and he tells Mike that his friend (we'll call him Ira Rosenberg) recently evicted some of his family members from an apartment complex that Ira acquired.  When the imam confronted Ira to convince him to let his family members back into their homes, Ira told the imam to go fuck himself, and said that if they even set foot in the complex that he'd call Mike to beat them all up.  And if Mike were to refuse, then he'd just take matters into his own hands, consider them tresspassers, and shoot them on sight.

Another Muslim happened to hear about this, and instead of taking the imam's route of trying to dialogue with the guy, he immediately spit in Ira's face, and told him that if he had the power, he'd set fire to the apartment complex in the hopes of killing Ira and all his jew friends.  Ira didn't like the sound of that, so he hauled off and punched the imam in the face (because the imam didn't look that threatening anyway).

The brawl broke out, and the asshole Muslim started cutting off people's heads with a samurai sword that he mysteriously acquired, and that's when Mike showed up.  So Mike tries to talk shit out between the imam, Ira, and the asshole Muslim, and of course it doesn't help.  Not only that, but everyone in the bar now hates Mike because he punched them all out.  Meanwhile, the samurai has just been chilling this whole time, handing out samurai swords to all the Mike Tyson haters, knowing that they would forget the fact that he bought them all drinks and he was just trying to get things back to normal.

In the end, everyone hates Mike because not only is he a one-hitter-quitter, but he's meddlesome and arrogantly flaunts his wealth.  Poor Mike is left with one friend, Ira, who constantly starts trouble and just can't seem to take a fucking chill pill (because of course, everyone's out to get Ira . . . right?).  The imam is mad at Mike because he punched a fellow muslim (even though he's an asshole, and a bad muslim), and let's face it, the samurai never really liked Mike anyway.

So that was my best attempt at an allegory.  Interpret it however you will.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

50,000 Hits and the End of a War

It's sort of a neat coincidence that the day I reach 50,000 total hits on Christian Fearing God-Man also happens to be the day that the U.S. has formally declared an end to the Iraq War.

I, for one, am fairly happy about this.  Hopefully the men and women coming home won't have to turn right back around just to go to Afghanistan.  With the war over, maybe now our budget deficit will be a little lower without having to spend so much on Iraq.

I hope against hope that Iraq can become a stable and prosperous nation.  The Iraqi people have spent a long time under the yoke of opression and tyranny, so it would be nice if they can work together for a bright future.

It was a bloody and controversial conflict, but we should all respect those who served and supported the efforts, and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the Iraqi people.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ron Paul 2012

As if anyone gives a shit who Jack Camwell endorses for the election, I'm officially saying I support Ron Paul.  I don't agree with him on everything, but I think he's really what this country needs right now.

Ol' Two First Names has my vote.

Seriously.  He will slap the shit out of you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OWS: What Was the Point?

Well it looks as though the revolution is over.  With police removing the last hold outs in cities accross America, I think it's safe to say that the Occupy Wall Street movement is coming to a close.  So what do we do now?  We reflect, of course!

The big question that everyone should be asking themselves is: what did this accomplish?  Well, it managed to disrupt commerce, which is something one would think is a bad idea during an economic rough patch.  It also managed to get some people laid off due to the drop in commerce in some areas.  That also seems like something completely counterproductive to what they were trying to accomplish.
Did OWS achieve anything?  What was it even meant to achieve?  With protesters being removed in Baltimore, business as usual continues.  We're still massively in debt with a huge budget deficit, conditions that are not sustainable.  Unemployment remains at 8%, which is not surprising considering some people in on the unemployed list spent their time protesting rather than looking for a job.  Some corporations still get special treatment from the politicians whose pockets they line.

So I think it's safe to say OWS achieved nothing, so the next question is why?  Well, my guess is that the idiots who thought protesting would change something will likely vote for the same people they've been voting for the last 20 years.  I could be wrong, but my guess is that a majority of the OWS weirdoes vote Democrat.  But you know, it doesn't even matter what party they affiliate themselves with, because both parties are filled with self-serving assholes

OWS achieved nothing because those same assholes are still in office, and they'll probably continue to be in office.  Protesting solves nothing.  All it does is show to the world how pissed off people are, and what good does that do?  Instead of protesting, these asshats should have been getting involved with the upcoming elections.  They should have been doing their homework on the candidates, and exposing the bullshitters for what they are.

They should have taken this time to explore 3rd party alternatives.  They want change, but they don't seem to realize that it actually requires--gasp--change.  So these morons will probably do one of two things: abstain from voting in 2012 because they're disgusted with everything, or continue to vote for whoever they've been voting for all this time.

OWS was a failure because the people involved failed to either recognize or do anything meaningful about the fact that the "1%" is firmly entrenched in our congress.  About 45% of the members of congress are millionaires.  The top 10 richest members of congress consist of 3 Republicans and 7 Democrats, topped with John Kerry (D) in the #1 spot (I think he's worth about $27 million).


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Classical Music Sunday

A good friend of mine is a composition student at the Cleveland Institute of Music.  This is a piece of his that really had a profound effect on the way I look at music.

This piece, titled "To Purify," is about a monk who subjects himself to self-flagellation, basically whipping himself to purge and purify his soul of his sins and failings as a human being.  This was a common practice among monks and clergymen during the Middle Ages, most notably a "favorite" pracice of Martin Luther and Thomas More.

There's a particular way you have to listen to this piece.  The point is not to express the emotion the man is feeling, but rather the heightened state of intellectual awareness that the monk is trying to experience.  Self-flagellation was not only about causing pain to oneself, but it was about achieving a sense of enlightenment about one's sins and the shortcomings of human nature.

This piece focuses on the intellectual aspect of self-flagellation, not the concomitant emotional rush associated with the severe pain.  The practice was more of a meditation than a punishment, and when I listened to this piece it made me use my brain in a way I hadn't previously with music.

It changed my approach to music, and hopefully it can have as profound effect on you.  Enjoy!

Here's the link in case anyone needs it:

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Prison Without Bars

The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.  When you think about it, the mind dictates everything about our lives.  The human brain sustains life, it keeps our hearts pumping and functions functioning, and it determines who we are.  I think a lot of people don't really consider just how much the brain impacts our very being.  It determines your personality, how you learn, who you are attracted to, and how you perceive the world.
As magnificent and awe inspiring the human brain can be, it can also be a major detriment. 

A damaged brain is a terrible thing.  A schizophrenic's brain is absolutely convinced that there are people and voices around the person.  Just stop and think how powerful that is.  Your brain can be so out of whack that you believe that you're seeing and hearing things that simply do not exist, and that's why the brain is a prison.

Many times we get caught up in our own lives, beliefs, and perception of reality.  We become so convinced that we're seeing life as it is, that we forget the fact that reality doesn't always match up with the mind.  When presented with an alternative point of view, a lot of times we just scoff at the person and assert that he or she just "doesn't get it," or that they're looney toons.  Of course, their perception is somehow tainted by some unrealistic perception of reality.

Through our own reason, we become so convinced of the veracity of our perception that we deem ourselves to be the grand arbiters of all that is true and false in this thing we call "existence."  I think we do this for one reason: because it's easier to be comfortable believing a potential lie than it is to suffer knowing the horrifying truth.

For many people--I'd even go out on a limb and say for most people--our beliefs are largely based on what makes us feel comfortable.  We don't like dealing with the concomitant unpleasantries of the horrifying truth.  And so, we imprison ourselves with ideology.  We erect imaginary barriers that stunt our growth, keep us from leaving the prison yard.  Imagine, if you will, a physical prison that has no walls, no bars, no guards, and the only thing keeping you in the prison is yourself.

Why would one stay in such a prison?  Well, the prison is safer.  Life is regimented, you always know exactly where you are when you wake up in the morning and where you will be when you go to bed at night.  Your meals come at the same time, you have your hour in the yard every afternoon in which you wonder what's on the other side of the wall.  What you don't realize is that the wall is false, and it's a construction of your own making.

The only thing holding you back is yourself, because knowing the truth is sometimes more painful than believing the lie.  That's why we go to great lengths to engage in persuasive debate with people of opposing view-points.  We want them to believe our reality, because their reality seems so foreign and so "wrong." 

For example, I believe in my heart of hearts that abortion is morally wrong and abhorrent in most cases.  However, I also believe that I don't have the right to tell a woman whether or not she can have one.  Every time I admit to myself or to others that I'm pro-choice, I think a little part of me dies inside, because I know that my feeling doesn't match my belief.  I wasn't always pro-choice, and in that case my imaginary walls happened to be my feelings on the nature of abortion.  It wasn't until I discovered that the walls were false that I was able to intellectually move forward on the subject.

No one can truly see reality until you learn to break free from the prison of his or her own perception.  Coming to the realization that you're in prison--becoming aware that there are no bars, walls, or guards except those which we place for the purpose of comfort--is the first step in breaking out.  Walk outside your mind, and you discover that the outside world is more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.

What does your prison look like?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Statistics Sometimes Blow

So I wanted to write about education today, and as I was thinking of ideas, I realized that most of my gripes and writings have dealt with the funding side of education.  I don't want to sound like a broken record, so luckily in my search to find some fresh perspective, I seemed to have stumbled upon a little gem.

Now I want to preface this article with the warning that this is all just pure speculation, and I'm going to use my town--Columbus, OH--to illustrate a point I want to make.

I read this article today that says that about 45% of American children live in school districts that have poverty rates over 20%.  "Shocking!" some might say.  "This is outrageous!" others may exclaim, but I think this is a case where a statistic is taken completely out of context and used to further an asinine goal (go figure, right?).

Let's consider a few things before we start saying that there's not enough money going to schools, or that poverty is the reason our kids are coming out of school as complete dumbasses.

Firstly, let's consider where most children in America live.  My guess is that most children in America live in or very near urban areas.  Columbus is a city of 2 million people.  It's a huge ass city, and there's a shit ton of children here whose residence is considered to be Columbus.  Yes, there are some suburbs, but Columbus alone is home to 2 million people.

As of 2009, Columbus had a poverty rate of about 18%. There are some extremely poor neighborhoods closer to downtown and on the West Side.  Don't go to the Hilltop area and expect a comfortable day.  Be that as it may, there are still some really nice neighborhoods in Columbus.  My friends joke and say that I live in the ghetto, but that's not true.  Sure, my neighborhood might not be the most posh, but I live in a pretty good area on the North End, not far from where I grew up (which is a nice, quiet neighborhood).

So although my friends, family, and I all live very comfortable lives, we still live in a city where some pretty nasty poverty exists, and since things haven't improved much, our poverty rate is probably closer to 20%.  But even with near 20% poverty, if you were to visit Columbus, you probably wouldn't think it's a complete shit hole like Detroit.

So what does this have to do with my argument?  Well, part two of my argument has to do with school district size.  Columbus City School district encompasses the entire damn city, poor neighborhoods and not-poor neighborhoods.  So although my children live in a nicer part of Columbus, they're still part of the statistic that says half of American children are living in poverty stricken cities.

Although my children go to Catholic school, and are receiving a really good education, they're stuck in this statistic.  From this we can speculate that the statistic itself is meaningless, because my guess is that many school districts follow this same pattern, lumping in poor, urban neighborhoods with more well-off neighborhoods.

Of course 45% of children live in school districts where poverty is 20%, because a majority of American children live in cities just like Columbus.  So what?  Why is Northland High School nestled in a fairly well-off neighborhood and fails miserably, while St. Francis De Sales high school is stuck in a slightly worse neighborhood yet churns out very well-educated students who generally go on to be successful in life?

It's not the money, because De Sales is a private Catholic school that is typically less funded than the adequately funded public schools, and where the teachers are paid a third less than their public school counterparts.  If only 18% of Columbus is living in poverty, then why does Columbus City School district only have a 60% graduation rate?

Statistics can be used, twisted, and taken out of context to prove just about anything.  That's why I tend not to take them all as gospel, because there are some factoids out there, like this one, that are complete bullshit once you apply a little thought to it.  In spite of that, people will still use that statistic to prove their point that schools are underfunded, and that because of that our children are failing.  Do you buy that?  I don't.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dumbass Idea of the Week

Well, it should come as no surprise to anyone that racism is not dead.  It would seem, though, that we as a society have progressed to a point where it's no longer okay to express racist sentiment publicly (so long as you're white).

Apparently, some idiots at the Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, KY, didn't get the memo that it's not a good thing to be racist.  About a week ago, the church voted to ban interracial couples from getting married at that church, and they banned them from even attending regular services.

Before the religious freedom crowd jumps in, these asshats didn't even make an attempt to put a religious spin on this.  This decision was purely out of a sense that black people and white people should not be married.  There is no religious explanation: this is racism pure and simple.

So congratulations ass clowns.  In one stroke you've managed to not only make yourselves look like awful, hateful, shit head people, but you've also taken a shit on the god you believe to have created all of us in his image, and who loves all of his creation equally and unconditionally.

Christian goodness only goes so far, I guess.  At least the pastor finally decided to void the rule, but how would that have turned out without the media backlash?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Has Civilization Peaked?

I was having a lengthy philosophical discussion with a good friend of mine last night about the types of civilizations on the scale of the universe.  Some guy posited that there are 4 types of civilizations.  Type 0 is the type we're in right now, where the people of a planet are not united under one banner.  It's many factions of the race that are constantly vying for power and dominance over the others.

A Type 1 civilization is like how alien races are generally portrayed in movies.  The dominant race of the planet is part of one system of government.  All of the peoples are united under one banner, and they don't compete against each other for power, but rather they expand out into space as one giant, planetary nation.  Type 2 spans multiple planets.  If we were to colonize other planets, then our boundaries would be decided by the planets we control.  Instead of states like Ohio, we would have provinces like Mars.

Type 3 is like what we see in Star Wars, i.e. government is galaxy-wide.

With that background, the question arose between us: will we as a civilization ever progress past Type 0?  I think not.

There are a lot of barriers to becoming a type 1 civilization.  Right now, it seems as though people are trying to resist the idea of globalization, or growing interconnectedness.  We see this with diversity movements.  People want to distinguish themselves from others, which is a good thing, but I think that many have it wrong.  Instead of just saying, "I'm an individual with my own heritage," it seems like people are constantly trying to cast themselves as "I'm other."

I don't want a planet full of boring cookie-cutter people, but too often do people have the attitude that one culture is superior to another.  It's not that we want people to recognize our individuality, we want people to see that we're part of a "better" culture.  Fundamentalist Christians never want to be mistaken for being Muslims.  Conservative Americans never want to be mistaken for Europeans.

And this is where all the war and suffering has come from.  It's all about what Germany wants for the German people.  It's all about what Britain wants for its great British empire.  It's all about what America can do to keep America on top.  And because there are large groups of people constantly struggling against one another, because they think that their particular group is superior or more deserving of Earth's resources than the other groups, we engage in conflict that prevents us from progressing as a civilization.

"But Jack, it's okay that we're different.  One world government is a bad thing, because people are so different."  Yes, people are different.  As a species, we are sharply divided by cultural differences, but this sharp divide is not a good thing.  If we stay a type 0 civilization, I strongly believe that we will eventually destroy ourselves.

There are now 7 billion people on this planet, and I'm not sure how many of you realize this, but Earth's resources are finite.  Fossil fuel, rare earth metals, copper, food, shelter, land: all of these things are in finite quantity, and they are things we depend on to survive.  As the human population swells, the struggle to control these resources will only increase in intensity and frequency.

Because humans can be ridiculously stubborn, and because everyone is always right, I think that we're destined to be in perpetual struggle for as long as humanity exists.  Hardly anyone ever admits that they're wrong, and because people are still willing to die for their beliefs, we've become intellectually stunted as a civilization.  It's not that we lack the capability to intellectually progress, it's that we lack the will.

Ask yourself this one question: when was the last time you changed your mind about a major belief that you held?  What I've noticed over the past 8 or 9 months that I've been blogging is that both sides produce very compelling arguments.  Both sides pull out factoids, statistics, and theories that actually support what they're saying.  Unless the facts are complete lies and fabrications, then by all accounts both sides are right.

But few of you would be willing to admit that, because few of you realize that you're only right because you're trying to argue a particular point of view.  You're not trying to discuss the larger picture.  That's why all of you always go back to money when trying to prove your points.  "Education is broken because there's not enough money being spent on the kids!"  "Education is broken because bad teachers are overpaid, and good teachers are underpaid!"  You all fail to realize that there are deeper problems underlying all of our ails.

Humans are more concerned about being right than actually fixing a problem.  Until we can learn to get over ourselves, we're going to be intellectually stuck forever.  And as long as we're intellectually stuck, we will never progress to a type 1 civilization.  We will perpetually remain in conflict, and we'll likely destroy ourselves.  The guy who articulated this idea suggested that we may not have come into contact with alien races, because type 1 civilizations are extremely rare in the universe.  Most civilizations likely destroyed themselves, and if we had the capability, we'd likely discover their ruins on other planets.

Is that what we're destined for?  Will an alien race visit Earth one day, only to find the crumbled remains of a once thriving civilization?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I guess it's time I shit on Unions

I guess I'm kidding myself in thinking that I'm going to offend a bunch of my readers by writing this.  I can probably name each liberal that reads this trash heap (probably only Jersey, and your readership and participation are very, very much appreciated).  Anyway, since I haven't really stated my position on unions here, I suppose it's time I do so. 

The inspiration for today's article comes from none other than Political Realities.  Really, if you haven't visited there, I strongly urge you to do so.  Larry is an excellent writer, and he takes a civilized approach to debate and discussion.  Also, I contribute there from time to time =D

How do I feel about unions?  Well, I think the original concept of the union was a good thing, but modern unions, in my opinion, are total horse shit for several reasons.  We all should know why unions even came about in American history.  During the Gilded Age, from about 1876-1900, workers were shit on pretty hard.  Working conditions were extremely dangerous for many in manufacturing, and you were lucky to make a wage that could support your family.

I think everyone deserves a fair wage for the type of work they do.  Does that mean that some guy at McDonald's should be paid as much as a doctor?  No.  Does that mean a janitor should be paid as much as someone that works in manufacturing?  Absolutely not.  And should businesses be pushed to make sure that conditions are safe?  Absolutely.

But unions don't limit themselves to doing that.  Nowadays, they've gained so much power that they're actually able to force a company to keep its facilities open, even if it's better for the company to move elsewhere.  Why?  Because unions operate under this warped perception that a business is not just responsible for treating its workers fairly, but it's responsible for providing jobs to the people.

What is the real purpose of a business?  Why does anyone ever start a business?  The answer is simple: to provide a particular good and/or service to consumers at the lowest price possible (depending on all sorts of market factors, of course).  The jobs and the workers that fill them are just the means to the end.  Jobs are not the goal of a business.  No one creates a business because they just want to give someone work.  In fact, a job that requires a human being is what a businesses wish they could do without.

Why?  Because business is all about providing a product that is superior and/or cheaper than your competition.  Why is Wal-Mart so successful?  Because they can give the consumer the same products you can get at any other store, but at a cheaper price.  If Wal-Mart had to pay every one of their employees $10 an hour, do you think they'd still be able to offer consumers those cheap prices?  No.  There's a cost to doing business, producing and distributing goods and what not.  Part of that cost is how much you pay your workers.

It's tiring to listen to union people and liberals go on and on about how immoral it is for a business to close shop and set up somewhere else, as if they would do anything differently.  If in your own household you would not do something that wastes money, because you want to have the most freedom to do with your revenue as you please, then why would you expect a business to be wasteful and inefficient?

Also, it's maddening that unions have such a tight grip on certain industries that you can't work in said industry unless you join its respective union.  How fucking fascist is that?  Oh right, everyone has a right to work . . . so long as you join our union.  If you don't, then go fuck yourself, because in that case you DON'T have a right to work.  You only have the right to work if the union says you do.  Nevermind all that freedom and fairness stuff they talk about.

Larry wrote about how Boeing was stopped from moving their plant to another state because of a union.  Of course they think it's unfair that their jobs are getting taken away, but who doesn't have to deal with that?  If you're a doctor, you go into it knowing that the job market for it is pretty good, and you'll have good job security (because we always need doctors).  If you go into teaching, you know your prospects are only as good as the demand for teachers in your district.  If you go into an admin assistant job, you know you're a dime a dozen.

So if you go into a technology job or manufacturing, you have to understand that you may one day be obsolete.  Technology is rapidly advancing, and manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly mechinized because it's safer and cheaper.  So just like everyone else, you have to deal with the market factors that affect your line of work.  You're not special just because you and a bunch of other people say so.

And oh by the way, they also force you to pay dues every year.  So the union bosses and what not are actually forcing you to give them a job and pay their wages.  Funny how that works out, right?