Only the Strong Survive

March 15, 2009

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If you take the conservatism to the extremes, only the strong ones survive.  At birth, every able human being has a comparable amount of potential. If you only look at the child, potential is going to be similar across the board.  That potential is either nurtured or stunted depending on the socio-economic position of the family the child is born into.  Either way, beneficial or detrimental, conditions exist that sway the outcome of that infant’s future.  Right out of the womb this individuals future success is biased.  What happens if the bias serves the less capable?

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People seem to forget that a civilization is in fact a technology.  It allows individuals to become tools for everyone else, instead of having to re-invent the wheel every generation.  Civilizations are good for everyone included.  In ours we state that everyone is equal and therefore on this equal battlefield, we all compete to obtain a high quality of life.  Out of that competition the the winners then provide the best amenities for the rest of us.  If I can build the best house, then I get all the business, while the people get better houses, it’s a good system.  

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However, what if there’s a builder that’s better then me, who just couldn’t afford to get their company started (for reasons that don’t include incompetence)?  What if there could yet a better product out there then the one that I’m providing?  The greater good would be served if that ‘maybe’ better product was out there somewhere. 

Our government is the central component to the function of this civilization-technology.  Like a piece of computer software, the government keeps things as efficient as possible by  creating if-then statements for our civilization to then operate from.   Because society keeps evolving, the best hard-and-fast rules in which to govern it doen’t yet exist.  Until the magical formula for fairness/prosparity is discovered, we have no choice but to tinker or socially engineer, mainly when times are bad.

…I think anyway.

Elrond vs. Enron

March 2, 2009

Today was the first legitimate snow day all winter long. This morning I watched Enron “The Smartest Guys in the Room” and later on Ashley and I watched Lord of the Rings: “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Both movies deal with absolute power and nothing thinking about the little people.  However, Enron never had a elf such as Elrond!

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He’s to be taken seriously.

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Enron was a fantastic scam, kudos!

Poverty’s Boring.

February 24, 2009

The middle of the county is poor. Ashley and I spent the weekend with her side of the family because of the passing of her grandmother. We drove from Maryland to Illinois, an extremely lengthy drive, and most of that distance is in stupid, stupid poverty. Don’t get me wrong the drive is beautiful, all the trees, and fields, and intermittent snow; but I would not trade civilization for rolling hills any day. The novelty of being “way out there” loses its luster after a while.

My Stimulus Question

February 16, 2009

I have an economic stimulus question. Instead of bailing out companies, what if the government only gave a stimulus to individuals?   The money would pass through individuals and eventually get to the businesses that the collective people wanted to save.

Pretending that politics aren’t a factor, is there a practical problem with stimulating the economy this way?  It seems that pushing more money through the people helps those people and allows a more capitalistic way to bail out worthy businesses.

Social-Networking Atheism

January 21, 2009

I know what I believe, and I feel very strongly about it.   I really believe that when things matter to you, honesty is the best policy. In the past year or two, I’ve morphed into a hardcore Atheist. Having been a guilt-ridden Christian all my life before prior, Atheism is so exciting to me. Imagine, coming to the realization that one of the most important things to you, all your life, was wrong, It’s life-changing.  It’s inspired me to question everything, to be skeptical. With the loss of religious faith, I have gained excitement about the world I live in.  Learning is a wonderful thing instead of a dangerous thing.

I’m super excited about my new look on life and I want to be open about it.  However, my openness has exposed me to my parents. My Mom joined Facebook and thus the cat was let out of the bag. Side note: I’m super proud of my Mom for being hip with the kids on the coolest social-networking site ever. However, I feel so sad for her.  I know how Christians see Atheists and it’s not too good.  I imagine that she’s very sad about it, and for that I feel terrible.

However honesty is the best policy.  I am passionate about my beliefs, and I also love my Mom. If I chose one over the other, then both would be diminished.  If I’m honest then I can trust my Mom fully and believe how I want.

The Grey Area

January 14, 2009

I believe that all questions have a black and white answer. So-called “Grey areas” are times when we either have an incomplete logic system, or are not fully abiding by the one we have. However hypocritical, I seem to have fallen into a grey-area. What’s the value of life? Is exploiting animals okay? Currently, I’m in favor of all the advantages brought to us by exploiting humans as well as other creatures. I think abortion is okay, and I’m okay with the death penalty. What I’m unsure of is, should our goal be to eventually wean ourselves off of the exploitation of animals? My current logic corners me into an unclear answer.

With the understanding that there is no god, and therefore anything living or nonliving must be judged as relative to everything else. The value of animal life according to humans must be decided by humans based upon out selfish best interests.

In society, we protect ourselves by not allowing humans to kill other humans, this way an individuals vulnerability goes down which makes us all better off. When it comes to animals, we typically aren’t faced with any of the same dangers that exist when someone commits murder. An animal doesn’t seek revenge, doesn’t form gangs, doesn’t start wars, people are intellectually superior (which then also means we are physically superior) without too much personal risk. Okay, so from a survival of the fittest viewpoint, animal exploitation it’s okay.

But it still doesn’t feel right. Are people reduced to be compassionate solely because we feel empathy towards other living things? If a spider had a more familiar face and If I could see it, would I then not stomp on it when it creeps across the floor?

Okay, a spider doesn’t contain the same level of intelligence that a dog does, so is the value of life measured by how intelligent something is? So what’s the value of intelligence? Intelligence means that you have the ability to learn and therefore carry out more complicated tasks. So if we want to use animals to do beneficial work for us, we could also benefit from animals by exploiting them to death.

Animals work their way they live, they work our way they die.

Our way, we get what we want.

Their way, we get more living neighbors.

We don’t need neighbors, we need what we want.

So I guess it’s okay to exploit animals, logically it looks to be okay, but it still feels like a grey area.

Hitler Was Not a Monster

January 4, 2009

Every TV show about Adolf Hitler has the powerful music and deathly serious narration. usually they offer an extremely biased account of how bad Hitler was. What would be helpful to see is Hitler’s point of view. I want to see what Hitler as a passionate person with one of the largest scale objectives of all time. The holocaust may be the most important event in recent history and every documentary and TV show cops-out and simply calls Hitler a monster or evil. Hitler was not evil, he wasn’t a monster, he was an unfortunately defective person who happened to be in a position of power.

Not unsurprisingly, the thought of killing innocent people is a frightening one. If someone was after me to kill me, my fear would make clear as to where is safety, and where is danger. It’s good for our survival if we can simplify all the way down to “safe” and “danger” or as more popularly stated “good” and “evil”. Hitler’s been dead for over 60 years, most people are no longer in immediate danger from him. Calling him “evil” or a “monster” only sums up one of the most interesting events in recent history into a single vague word. The holocaust is important, we know it didn’t go well, we know people suffered, but what we need to understand is, how did it happen.

I’m not a historian, I don’t know all that much about this event, I don’t know what Hitler’s mental/emotional state was at the time. Whatever the cause was, something inspired him. For some reason he thought, “This is a straight up good idea.” Why would someone think that genocide was a good idea?

Hitler was way ahead of his time. He worked with eugenics controlling human breeding, trying to create perfect men. What if he had succeeded? If you ignore the method for a minute, every man woman and child on earth would have ended up a super-man. People would have lived extremely long and healthy lives. Sacrifice the few to serve the betterment of the many, the Jews might have been seen as martyrs. Or maybe not, maybe the holocaust would have been seen as a war like the crusades. But none of that happened, Hitler failed. And we need to learn why he failed. It wasn’t the evil that ruined him, it’s more complicated then that. We’re not in survival mode anymore, those one word, overly-simplified terms no longer serve us. Understanding Hitler does not equal being compassionate to genocide but it does equal attempting to not repeat the same mistake.

These value judgment terms; “good” and “evil” require a context to be useful. What’s “good” to me might be be “evil” to you. There’s no level of intensity that brings these terms to universal meanings. In other words, at no point, do these kinds of terms mean the same for everyone and everything, they’re always relative. So when someone’s chasing after you, think of them as dangerous, but when your out of danger, be more thoughtful with your descriptions.

Prop 8 Musical

December 7, 2008

Check out this 3 min musical about Prop 8, which was by the creator of Hairspray: featuring Jack Black and John C. Reilly:

Yesterday Ashley and I saw Four Chirstmases. As limited as Vince Vaughn’s acting range is, he’s still extraordinary. I gave this a 7/10, Ashley gave it an 8/10.   The premise is that they go on the ultimate Christmas tour and visit all of their divorced  parents making “Four Christmases”  The final leg of their Christmas tour was a little slow, but other then that short lull, the movie was awesome.  No doubt the best scene in the movie was the nativity scene where Vince Vaughn upstages Reese Witherspoon with his improvisational Joseph.

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Apple iPhones are going to be sold for $100.00 before the new year at Wal-Mart!  Remember when iPhones were $500.00 about a year ago?  Also some other poor guy died at Wal-Mart.  He stole a bunch of stuff and an employee and some other guy held in face down in the parking lot until he mysteriously died.

Apple pulled a virus warning from thier website because it was “Bad PR.”  Apparently there was a page that recommended users use anti-virus software, but that scared Mac users so they took it down.  Some big wig just claimed the page was outdated and therefore no longer relevant.

Obama was caught using a Zune!  Some news website crashed the other day because word of him using a Zune caused so much traffic that it temporarily went down.  According to the report, he usually uses and iPod, but this particular day, he was Zuning.

Mac the Oval Office

November 18, 2008

Last night I fell asleep watching a dry On-Demand documentary about military contractors. The whole movie was just talking heads pointing fingers at the evil contractors, it was too one sided to get a fair account. Anyway around 8PM my wife Ashley attempted waking me and I was a little grumpy. What can I say, I was tired, I was celebrating some me-time, I was a man on his couch. She was being needy and rude. True, I was about 7% in the right, but that percentage doesn’t take you too far. I didn’t go to bed last night on very good terms. However, god bless the wife, despite my behavior she still kissed me goodnight. She always takes good care of me.

In other news, Obama is going to be the first U.S. President with a laptop in the Oval Office. It never occurred to me that the Oval Office desk was always missing a computer. He has to give up his Blackberry but rumor has it that Obama is going to Mac the Oval Office!

Check out Ashley’s Frederick News Post Column Unintended Consequences.