Friday, August 31, 2018

Slick Willie at Attention

   Bill Clinton appeared bored at Aretha Franklin's memorial service earlier today. Bored until Ariana Grande performed. The former president is a fan of the young singer. Or a fan of her behind, at the very least. I cannot help but be disturbed by this lecherous old man.
     The bishop presiding also felt up Grande's left breast when the opportunity presented itself. It must be an epidemic. Watch video of the incident and you can see how uncomfortable the bishop putting his arm around her made Grande feel.
     Grande is cute, but a huge diva. Beauty is only skin deep.  Nevertheless, she ought not be ogled and fondled by men old enough to be her grandfather.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

John McCain (1935-2018)

     John McCain, war hero, Senator, and 2008 presidential candidate, has died. It was clear when his family announced yesterday McCain was ending his cancer treatment the end was near. It is still surprising his passing came so quickly. Hopefully, his death was the peaceful end of him suffering from illness.
     I admired McCain for a long time. Still do, in many respects. I knew of his torturous imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton. It is impossible not to consider him a war hero for his endurance. His war experiences became more clear to me after reading his family memoir, Faith of My Fathers, in 2002. I also admired McCain for his statesmanship. He was, for most of his career in the Senate a staunch conservative.
     I speak no ill of McCain when I note his shift from conservative loyalist to party scold starting around 1998-2000. I confess to supporting George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary and Rudy Giuliani in 2008. I ultimately voted McCain in the general election. No Republican was going to win the White house that year. It was sad to see McCain being nominated as a sacrificial lamb rather than burn off a legitimate candidate. The nominee would otherwise have been Mitt Romney, who actually fared worse than McCain in 2012. A little vindication for McCain, maybe.
     I am not going to dwell on McCain's leftward turn during his later years. Such was his prerogative and the people of Arizona appeared satisfied enough. There are plenty of conservatives out there right now offering criticism of McCain later track record. Seek them out if you want to see that sort of content. In this obituary, I accentuate the positive.
     Godspeed, John McCain.

Into the Mythic

     What would a utopia be like? How would it function and sustain itself?
     There can be no such thing as a utopia. Humans are fallible, corrupt creatures who can neither form, nor maintain, a perfect society.

How Do You Perceive Yourself?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

You Are Only President for Life

     If you could start a country from scratch, what would it be like?
     I will not lie. I would become a fly by night dictator of a tropical island. My country would allow wealthy people to stash their money in secret bank accounts as both a way of financing the country and keeping larger countries off my back. I would not be a cruel dictator. Just one who believed it is good to be the king. I cannot deliver utopia, but my citizens will enjoy the best life possible for a tropical island with all the modern amenities in exchange for my dictator for life status.
   Of course, I want to participate in state dinners, speak at the United nations, and all the cool things a world leader gets to do. In order to do all that, I would need to remain in good standing with the “good guy” nations. This desire would grant assurances to my people that I will never rule with an iron fist.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

No Nanny State

     How far should government go to prevent citizens from harming themselves?
   Not far at all. While governments should take reasonable steps to prevent citizens from doing harm to each other, citizens have a right to self-destructive behavior if they so desire.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In Harm's Way

     What causes the most harm in the world, but is completely avoidable?
     Nothing that causes harm in the world is completely avoidable. If any harm could be completely avoidable, we would already avoid it and there would be no harm.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Charity Begins at Home

     Do people in wealthier countries have a moral obligation to help people in poorer countries?
    The question comes across awkwardly. It sounds as though it is asking whether individuals in a wealthy country should feel obligated to aid individuals in a poorer country. To that, I say no. It is great to be charitable, but a wealthy person can choose to be charitable to anyone and any manner he so chooses. There is no moral obligation to do anything at all.
     The question probably means to ask if wealthier countries have a moral obligation to aid poorer countries. The desire to aid poorer countries might be justified morally, but it is in reality a matter of geopolitics. Helping other countries is a way of winning friends and maintaining stability. Such could probably be rationalized as a moral obligation depending on the circumstances, but the underlying motivation is more practical and self-serving.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Poor You Have with You Always

     Is poverty in society inevitable?
     Yes. No economic system has ever been devised, nor will one ever be devised, that can completely end poverty. Anyone who tells you otherwise will likely kill millions inadvertently with whatever economic plan they are selling. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Human Factor

   Would a world run with algorithms, artificial intelligence, and statistics be better or worse than what we have now?
     The world would be worse. Algorithms, artificial intelligence, and statistics might be more efficient, but it would remove from governing some of the most valuable human traits—creativity, justice, and mercy. The world would otherwise run in a cold manner.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

     The Queen of Soul has passed away. 

The More Things Change

     Would the world be better or worse if everyone looked the same?
     Human nature would not change even with everyone appearing the same superficially. Not much would change. We would just find other things to quarrel over.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Breaking Bread

     If I steal a loaf of bread from you and eat it, when does the loaf of bread cease to be yours and become mine?
     The loaf of bread never becomes yours. Transfer of ownership can never be granted if the property was stolen from the owner. Even if you eat the entire loaf of bread, it is not and never was yours. You would still be subject to criminal charges.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Poking Exposed Nerves

     How much effort should one put into not offending others?
    One should make a good faith effort not to be offensive. Never offend someone deliberately out of malice. However, sometimes harsh truths need to be said for the greater good. 
     There are some overly sensitive people lurking about seeking to be offended. You cannot do anything to satisfy such people. I am generally skeptical such people are offended so much as are utilizing the only method they have of asserting power. It is pathetic, to be honest.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

     Why are people so fascinated by mass murderers when their actions are universally condemned as evil?
     Mass murder—I assume we are talking serial killers like Jeffery Dahmer and not dictators like Pol Pot—is a rare enough crime to be a curiosity. Factor in serial killers often have a strange motif and manage to blend in with society in spite of committing such vile acts and people are bound to be fascinated by such killers.
     Everyone has a dark side, but extremely few have the capacity to commit mass murder without conscience. It is interesting in a macabre way to ponder how a person can become so depraved within a relatively stable society.
     The media makes serial killers famous, too. People are fascinated by the famous no matter how they became so well known. Whenever there is a high profile crime like the murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey, a lot of losers in life come forward to confess even though they have nothing to do with the crime in the hopes being found guilty will give them some recognition in life. Sad, but true.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Value of Inequality

     Do all people have equal value regardless of their actions or do one's actions affect their value?
     All people have an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. This equal value can end quickly based on a person's actions. I think it is fair to say a 28 year old Wall Street banker with an MBA from Harvard has more value than a 28 year old heroin junkie who cannot hold a job flipping burgers. It is an extreme example, but the former clearly has more value than the latter. I am not saying the latter has no right to exist or should not be sympathized with or supported if he makes an effort to clean himself up. But the two are not on equal footing.
     This goes for everyone.. there are great dads who to be honored and deadbeat dads who ought to be forgotten by their suffering kids.. Incarcerated people who can be rehabilitated and those who deserved to be locked away from society forever. There are terrible students who should never attend college and skilled students who deserve financial aid. It is all a matter of deciding who is who.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

A Quality of Mercy

    Should euthanasia be legal? Why or why not?
   Euthanasia should be legal. A person of sound mind should be able to mercifully end his own life if he chooses to do so. Ending one's life should certainly be an option for those suffering towards the end with horrible, terminal illnesses. It makes no sense will will offer our pets a peaceful exit, but not our loved ones.
     I refer only to a fulfillment of a person's wishes here. I do not support the idea of euthanize a person against their wishes or refusing to treat a person who has reached a certain age or health condition. I place the weight of my support for euthanasia on individual freedom to choose one's fate. Forcing someone to be euthanize is the complete opposite of my rationale. So id abortion, if you are curious as to how I feel about it.
    It is worth clarifying I only speak here of legality. While the option of euthanasia should be available, I am not saying euthanasia is a moral action. Anyone who chooses to end his own life will face whatever eternal consequences come from such an action. I condone having the choice, but I with hold offering it my moral seal of approval.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Geopolitical Good Guys

    Is it just and right to deny entry into a country even if it means certain death for the person and their family?
     Yes. A country should be able to maintain its borders as it sees fit. By letting in a person who may be threatened in his home country, the act would be considered taking sides in a conflict we mat not fully understand or have any interest in taking part in. This is a harsh reality of national sovereignty and international relations.
     If a country does decide to offer asylum to a person and his family whose lives are threatened, I applaud them. The country has done a good thing. But the country was not morally obligated to do the good deed.

Careful About Those Unrealistic Goals

     You can waste a lot of time and effort for nothing.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Earth First. We Will Take the Other Planets Later.

   Should we terraform other planets even if it means destroying microscopic alien life?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Definition of Evil

     What is your definition of evil?
     Profound immorality, wickedness, or depravity. I often measure evil by how cruelly its effects are on other people.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Big Tech and Legacy Media Combine to Ban Infowars

     Alex Jones' Infowars was banned by four separate Big Tech entities within a twelve hour period yesterday. YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify sought to remove all traces of Jones' conservative, often conspiratorial content. While unfounded collusion accusations are all the rage among the left, they are deafeningly silent when it comes to demonstrable collusion by Big Tech. At least at this early point. If the situation changes, I will give credit where credit is due.
     Allow me to preface the rest of my comments with my thoughts on Infowars. I am not a fan of Alex Jones. He believes 9/11 was an inside job, Sandy hook was a false flag event, and something about frogs being turned gay that I do not even want to think about. He has been inflammatory in the past, but nothing to to the point of inciting violence as someone like Maxine waters has. I am not interested in Infowars' content. Nor do I think there is much value in it. But there is a general principle involved for which there is much value.
     All four of those Big Tech companies mentioned above are private entities that can choose to host whatever content they deem appropriate, this is not a First Amendment issue. It is a First Amendment issue in spirit, as the four companies host the presentation of various opinions which may be unpopular and/or offensive. So perhaps these companies should be more inclined to honor free speech even if they are not obligated to do so because of the content they are hosting and from which they are earning revenue. This does not appear to be the case.
    What is the case is an attempt by legacy media to silence new media through its ties with Big Tech. Infowars had 2.5 million subscribers and far more views on YouTube than did CNN. There are many more people than ever before going to alternate news sources for content. Legacy media is losing their ability to influence the public because of the competition. New media must be silenced!
     Infowars is only the beginning. Big Tech is testing the waters by removing a controversial outlet to see how the public will react. If there is an outcry, Infowars will return with an apology Big tech acted in haste. If there is no outcry—and there is not one at this moment—Big Tech will move on to other targets.
    Yours and my social media accounts may the ax eventually. I am small potatoes and I have seen some odd happenings going on with my follows and followers. Recall PewdePie was a streaming gamer before The Washington Post, who still has fewer YouTube follows than him, wrote a character assassination piece on him that lead to the demonetization issues users still face now. It does not matter how big they are or how tiny you are. They will go after you in order to keep their tenuous grip on the public's attention. Big Tech and legacy media's re-assertion of power is likely inevitable, but it needs to be said anyway to not just let it quietly happen.

Fear and Loathing

  What is the most fertile soil for hatred? Is it possible some people are genetically predisposed to hatred?
     Fear. People hate things that scare them. Ignorance often plays a part. People can fear and hate things we do not understand. But there are a lot of times we hate something because we do understand it. So fear is a better answer.
     Are some people genetically predisposed to hatred? People are tribal, so they tend to group together with similar people. A consequence of grouping with similar people is a fear and distrust of the dissimilar, so there probably is a predisposition towards hatred.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Aim to Misbehave

     Does anonymity on the internet compel people to misbehave or does it reveal how people would act if they could get away with it?
     Both. Anonymity allows people to do what they would like to do normally, but are afraid of the consequences. That said, there are also many people acting out a fantasy of being someone online they could never be in their everyday lives. These individual's online activities do not necessarily reflect how they would like to act if there were no consequences but more escapism for the real world. In this sense, anonymity is more a protection from embarrassment than an aim to misbehave.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Bad Samaritan

     Is a person morally obligated to save anther’s life if he is able?
     It certainly is moral to save another person's life if you are able, but that does not mean it is immoral to not save a person's life. It depends largely on your relationship with the endangered person, whether you definitely have what it takes to save them, and the risks to yourself. All that said, most people will probably assure you there is nothing you could have done. Good Samaritans are a rarity, and sometimes they make things worse.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Question of Civil Disobedience

     If you can save another person's life, but don't because taking the action would break the law, is your decision ethical?
   Yes. If taking the action is generally known to be illegal, it would be considered ethical for you not to break the law regardless of someone being killed. Of course, this depends on the law. If littering is all it would take to save someone's life, then you would be condemned for not committing the crime. As a more uncomfortable example, the average citizen in Nazi occupied countries is not condemned for not hiding Jews to escape the Holocaust because of the consequences those who hid Jews would have suffered. Looking back, some may judge out of the idea they would have saved Jews in spite of the risk, The vast majority would find a way to rationalize not taking action.
     There will always be those engaging in civil disobedience in the name of following a higher principle. Whether those actions are ethical depends on how much you value the higher principles being upheld.

Why is the Rum Gone?

     Captain Cat Sparrow.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The End of the Innocence

     If babies are considered innocent, when do people cease to be considered innocent?
         It is not exactly a set time. When people can discern right from wrong and deliberately make the choice to do wrong, they lose their innocence. This is true the vast majority of the time. With all sorts of causes for diminished capacity for understanding the distinction between good and evil, the question must be decided on a case by case basis.
       In another sense, we all lose our innocence when idealism is inevitably replaced by realism. There is no definite point in life when this occurs, either. It hits some people harder than others.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pre-emptive Strike

     If scientists could accurately predict who was most predisposed to commit crime, what should society do with the information?
     There is some ambiguity in the question prompting two different answers depending on the question's intent. Is the question asking if scientists could identify genetic traits that would make one more likely to commit crime or is it asking if scientists can identify external, societal factors that would make it more likely one would be more likely to commit crimes? The only thing to do is answer as if both are the case.
  As for whether scientists could predetermine criminal tendencies genetically, the idea of eugenics makes me uneasy. Add in the idea of thought police assuming someone's mind is dangerous and taking some action beforehand is guilty with bothering to about proving innocence. I definitely do not go for that. If some people are genetically predisposed to be criminals, they will still need to commit a crime in order to be a criminal.
If the question means scientists can predict external, societal factors that make a person more likely to commit crimes, then society should take reasonable steps to either ease those factors if possible or offer ways to help at risk people cope with those factors.
    The bottom line is I do not advocate condemning people beforehand. Everyone ought to get a chance before proving they are a danger to others.

Social Media Dumb-ination

     I mentioned yesterday blogging as it was around 2005 or so has gone nearly extinct in favor of the micro-blogging provided by social media like facebook and Twitter. I am guilty—if that is the right word—myself of spending more time waxing poetic on social media rather than writing more in depth blog entries on the same subjects. There was a time when I focused almost exclusively on the latter.
     Social media has hit a crossroads of late. While Facebook and twitter played a huge part in the 2016 election and the victory of Donald trump, the powers that be have been clamping down since. I do beer care to get into the more conspiratorial theories about conservatives being censored and banned, but I can speak of my own experiences with friends suspended over alleged “hate speech” within guidelines so loose any SJW worth his salt could find offense and 250 followers declared bots in one night before twitter realized its mistake mislabeling around 230 and restating them. Both Twitter and Facebook have paid the price recently for their shenanigans with plummeting stock value. So maybe social media's high point is now in the past.
     What I have found difficult about social media is getting my point across. It is not easy to be clear in 290 characters. I am misinterpreted all the time. The problem is two-fold. One, my sense of humor is cynical bordering on nihilistic. My philosophy of humor is not for everyone, particularly if one is not open to accepting the shades of gray in morality in practice versus the black and white of morality in theory. . Two, there is no room for nuance in short bursts. Readers can only take what I give and run with it. These two problems ought compel me to return to more comprehensive blogging.
     But you know the real motivation? Facebook has eliminated the ability to connect to Twitter. My tweets no longer automatically publish as Facebook status updates. If I want my tweets to show up on Facebook, I now must cut and paste. The added inconvenience forces me to be more discerning about what tweets I transfer. The reality is my Twitter followers and Facebook friends are two distinct groups. One size does not fit all. Oddly enough, I suddenly feel like my commentary ought to be in a central place now and shared as I deem appropriate. This arrangement is exactly like the old days of blogging. Maybe I am finally coming full circle. Or maybe social media is dying the same as blogging and I will soon be completely out of luck. We shall see.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

No Service

     Do businesses have the right to refuse service to customers?
    Yes, a private business can refuse to offer service to any customer it chooses for any reason it chooses. But it is incredibly bad business to refuse to serve a certain type of customer, particularly if service is being refused for a racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted reason since the business will likely alienate other customers who are offended by the refusal to serve others.
     It is an all around bad idea to exclude certain customers because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever else. But if you principles demand it, you do you. I suggest you brace yourself for some tough consequences as a result.

Late Summer Selfie

     It is not a holiday, but here is a selfie regardless. It is a long stretch from Independence Day to Labor Day to do without a holiday selfie selfie. We shall just consider late summer on occasion that ought to be marked and go with it. So here is a late summer selfie. Not that there is much to mark. It has been a remarkably uneventful summer thus far. No complaints from me, though.
     When I opted to lay off posting music videos for a while, I thought I was in enough of a writing groove to compensate. I guess not. July's blogging content was chopped in half and so were my visitor statistics. It would appear I have lost my daily blogging groove without a long term plan to follow. Duly noted. I must develop a big picture plan in order to produce regular content. At least I am still working through the philosophy questions with regularity. The list is going to run ought in a little over a month.
   Does anyone blog any longer? It appears blogging faded away sometime during my internet exile from 2013-14. many old blogging friends dropped off the grid. Those who stuck around have greatly reduced their output. As established, I have, too, but it is for my new found undisciplined writing routine. Surely that is not everybody else's reason for diminished output. It looks like blogs are dying out in favor of social media. Blogs would be a tough loss, if true.