Tuesday, November 07, 2006

asininus redevivus

Oh boy.

This should be interesting.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Maybe I noticed this one word because I don't really speak their language anymore

http://wsws.org/articles/2006/apr2006/iraq-a27.shtml

Just for auld lang syne I went to "World Socialist Web Site," a place I used to go all the fricking time when I was young and irresponsible and talked juvenile smack as if I were president of a one-member Khmer Rouge chapter.

Reading along, okay, a little shrill but still inside the pale. Then this caught me (subtly at first, then with growing creepiness). Emphasis added:

"Maliki was an ally of Jaafari and is reputed to be a religious extremist, who zealously implemented the "de-Baathification" program that saw large numbers of Iraqi professionals expelled from their posts for serving under the old regime."

Well. Since we're evaluating intensity ("extremist,") what's with that vague, all-encompassing "professionals?"
Granted, I'm sure plenty of innocent folk got swept out by the de-Bath broom. Teachers. Agronomists. Customs inspectors.

Still, that the thing that wrote this could frame the issue like this without thinking about all the less ... savory people caught up under that term "professional." I guess anyone is a pro in a way.

Either he doesn't understand what the BP was, or he doesn't care. Niether is acceptable. Boom, bam, now more than ever I'm done with this shit and I ain't never coming back. Anyone who at this date thinks "world socialism" is going to solve all of this is either braindead or a nazi, as far as I can see. The movement's done gone rancid and the idealism's too stoned.

Quibble

I have great respect for Morris Dees.

Although he doesn't know me from Adam, a (late) relative of mine (by marriage) is commemorated on the sundial/waterfall memorial outside his office in Montgomery (which is more moving than most memorials manage to be).

No matter where I am on the political spectrum from year to year, I'm always mindful that civil rights, whatever constructions are sometimes put on it these days, used to have very concrete meanings in this country, that people were tortured and/or killed over. (My relative died in the north, by the way. No part of our country is entirely free from this sour legacy).

The SPLC does the Lord's work, which is why I was chaffed to see Ace use them as the butt of a "liberal whiners" joke recently.

Still, Dees' "Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat" (pub. 1996) seems sort of quaint now. Haven't heard much out of these kooks lately. Maybe they've re-joined the fold of normality now that we're Letting the Eagle Soar. Or maybe (despite Oklahoma City, as callous as that sounds) the threat was exaggerated.

It's an interesting book, though, and it works the different events (Ruby Ridge, Waco*, Freemen) into a narrative well. Creepy stuff ... if, as I said, sort of quaint. (Watch the next attack be from some yahoo in Sagebrush, instead of Al-Qaidal. It'd serve me right for shooting my mouth off like this).

Anyway, the quibble is this (p. 75):

"[The NRA] called Waco the opening salvo in the war ... [to] strip Americans of their God-given right under the Second Amendment to bear arms."

I don't own a gun. Closest I've come to them is a pistol shooting class for gym credit - haven't touched one since. So, don't worry, I'm not going to start shouting about my cold, dead hands.

My quibble is this: I don't think anyone suggests that the *content* of the constitution is divinely inspired or protected.

What is held to be divinely mandated is that a people has the right to choose its own form of government.
The Constitution is what we've come up with through exercising this right.

(By syllogism, anyway: the rights to life liberty pursuit come from god; to protect these rights, we use governments; in order to be just [which god presumably would like us to do], these governments must be based on consent; ergo, consensual, non-arbitrary government is god's true plan. This doesn't mean that our *particular* system of government is based on god's own private rulebook).

In theory, the Second (or, for that matter, the First) Amendment could be repealed.
Should that day come to pass, some people might say this was ungodly - that self-protection is in fact one of those creatorally (not a word) endowed rights. There's a particular NT verse they coul
d use, in fact, for those to whom such evidence is dispositive ... but that is beside the point.
This is a distinction that seems to elude people. Their opponents could respond by reading recipies for apple crumble, if they want. You don't have to believe in Jeebus if you don't want to. You can find it creepy if others base political arguments on WWJD? (I'm normally not a fan of this type of speechifying myself).

But they wouldn't magically get to put the amendment back in by quoting scripture; they'd have to get the votes. They could solicit those votes BY quoting scripture.

The Second Amendment's only relationship to God, even in the eyes of hairy-knuckled believers who love them some rifles, is that it was ratified under this process which we established exercising our yadda. That we have the right to write these amendments does not guarantee we won't write stupid ones. It just means you should repeal them the same way you done made them. When supermajority consensus nationwide decides they don't like 'em, they can yank those bad puppies right out again. God's invoked for the process, not necessarily the content.


Okay, I'm making insanely much of this. Dees is just poking mild fun at the NRA, not engaging their philosophico-constitutional is. But it still gave me pause.



* I felt a twinge including Waco in this list. While the Branch Davidians had waaay too many guns for my comfort, they still got the rawest of raw deals.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Progress

Plato: People should do what is good.

Aristotle: People should do what fulfils their nature.

Liberalism: People should do what they want.

But what should they want to do?

Whatever they want.

So people should want to do what they want to do?
That's setting the bar high.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Nothing New Under The Sun

"Now bad men, when their parents or country have any defects, look on them with malignant joy, and find fault with them and expose and denounce them to others, under the idea that the rest of makind will be less likely to take themselves to task and accuse them of neglect; and they blame their defects far more than they deserve, in order that the odium which is necessarily incurred by them may be increased."

Plato
Protagoras, transl. Jowett
346a

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

As Good As It Gets

All leaders are going to cheat, and feather their own nests.

The best we can wish the wretched of the earth is that one day they'll have leaders who are merely crooks, not crooked sadists.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mostly Say Hooray For Our Side

So outside the building they are yelling with microphones. Each of them in turn is very angry, and some of them urge what sounds an awful lot like violence.

I'm far from the disaster area. (So's the rally outside). We've donated fifty dollars, and probably should give a lot more. I feel guilty about this on reflection, and will do it tonight.

Doubtless these yellers' trajectory is more selfless; one cried his imminent program to tour a Traveling Revolutionarie Revue down in the BEZ. And I'm sure those my hastily amplified earphones drowned out went on to (loudly) tell people to donate money and time to rebuilding (after dehydrating) the redneck riviera. Sure as sugar.

Friday, April 22, 2005

It's that time again

Yes. The urge to post, or rather the nagging sense that I really should either write SOMETHING new, or else scrap the whole site, has come upon me.

Republicans suck.
Democrats suck.
Everyone sucks but me wife and me and I'm not so sure about me.

Thoughts on what's been going down:

(1) No, the Pope is not a Nazi.
(1) (a) Yes, he looks like Nosferatu. But with kindly grandpa eyes.

(2) John Bolton is probably not a nice guy. This probably isn't reason enough to Bork him.
(2) (a) The mustache might be.

(3) Depending on whom you ask, Iraq is either poised on the brink of total collapse, or a nice place for a holiday. Not being there, I don't know. Two completely distinct pictures of what's going on are available. I'd normally say the truth must be somewhere in between but that doesn't really seem possible in this case. Rather, the truth is probably at right angles to both scenarii.

(4) I know the Hitchikers' movie will suck, and yet I'm going to stand in line, possibly in a Marvin costume, to get tickets. If there is a line. Which there won't be.

The End, By Me.