Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Kenya to fight hate speech

For any group of people that put a value on free speech, a powerful tool for progress, it will always be the things we don't want to hear and things that make us upset that need the most protection. Discouraging people from talking about how they feel, and going so far as to ensure what they have to say does nothing to eliminate the ideas and feelings that people have.

It is not a bad thing to imagine a world where everyone loves each other and can get along in peace, but hate speech is a symptom than a cause of a real problem. In medicine, a sick person can be running a fever, but putting them in cold water does not heal the sickness.

Some people will always find excuses to be violent, no matter how quickly the excuse of the day can be censored. If what you want is to discourage violence, property damage, and fear, educate people on the principle and value of the free expression of ideas. Free people from the fear of expressing their opinion, and free people from fear of the opinions of others that they may disagree with, albeit strongly.

This mutual respect for will be a necessary tool for peace. Let people know what is really intolerable and come down hard. Creating a gray area for non-violent hate mongers is corrosive to law and the civil society, and too often what can be considered 'hate speech' yesterday, today, or tomorrow changes with the political atmosphere.

I am not denying that there are real problems in Kenya, just saying that a cautious (not to imply slow), structured, pragmatic approach will be necessary to make real change.

1. Educate for speech tolerance and against violence.
2. As much as necessary, swat / riot teams PROTECT protesters / non-violent expressions of all people equally.
3. Quickly and aggressively (zip ties are good for this) break up physical confrontations and acts of violence.

Targeting the problem as directly and narrowly as possible prevents resources from being spread thin, and builds public confidence of governmental objectivity.

Please, do not make 'hate' the gray area of violence any more than you desire violence be the gray area of free expression.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Re: Sex Workers Rights Reform Challenges

(in response to the linked article)

Another thing I would add is that while prostitution itself is a misdemeanor, efforts made by prostitutes to protect each other for safety falls within the scope of pimping, a felony. Lower personal risk means higher legal risk.

Not as a reason not to legalize, but a challenge in legalization that I see is in the area of contrast and parental rights / obligations. To my understanding only in recent years at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada girls may turn down offers by clients without penalty. Previously if a girl did not want to serve a client she would be held liable to the house for their share of lost profit. Not wanting to put girls into uncomfortable situations, girls are free to accept or decline offers as they please.

But what if this came down to a legal battle? In the exchange of most goods contract law can provide equitable relief on unique goods and services. How would the law remedy such a situation as in my experience every woman is unique in both beauty and talents.

Also, the US has unique anti-discrimination laws from other countries. If a girl does not want to be with men but only women, has issues with people of certain cultures, only want to be with older or younger clients, married or single clients? How do we address and remedy these civil rights issues when the law needs to be blind? Should sex workers get a special pass?

Also, would a sex worker that gets pregnant, despite all precautions, be entitled to the same child support as in other circumstances? Is it an assumption of the risk? Could abortion as an individual policy of a sex worker be advertised? Could it be legally enforceable? I would think that if it wasn't a legally enforceable provision of a contract (with advertisements being 'offers') then it could not legally be advertised, but it still makes the matter complicated. What risks would be assumed by the client and by employees?

I am not a fan of anti-bigamy laws for many of the same reasons listed above, and while I reject the common "ethical reasons" for a ban on bigamy, I see the greatest challenge being a legal one. As if family law is not complicated enough.

Finally, a major challenge I see is from liberal progressives that still hold egalitarianism as a social ideology and goal. I agree that many people get into prostitution because there are low financial and educational barriers to market. The most well educated and subsequently skilled sex works are always going to make the most money as in any business, but I am certain on the job training is always allowed. Not to mention that since sex work is typically commission based, brothels would need to be having exceptional difficulty with someone to turn them away. Most sex workers not bringing in good money get out of the business first. I believe all people pick goals based on their circumstances, but to an egalitarian opportunities that exist in nature for poor people are immoral and "unlovely". Thus, while people have sex for free, this punishment where appropriate to apply is seen as morally equitable.

Defeating socially conservative opposition to prostitution might very well be easier.

Recognizing that, sex workers rights is an issue that is exclusive to libertarians. "centrists" will go along with anything, but the further you get from the center either left or right I expect one to find a more difficult time getting actual support for any real reform. Even in this age of budget crisis, solutions, imo, have become even more aggressively partisan. This leads me to believe that an issue such as sex works rights that do not split on the political line, despite having very different reasons for supporting their position, I see it even less likely in this current environment that anything will change in the near future.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When would Slavery have ended without Lincoln?

As to the call at the end of the [Mike Church Show] today, I appreciated the humility of the answer you gave. Slavery was on its way out in the western world, but as you said, it is all speculation as to how something might have turned out under circumstances that never took place.

Right now I am in the middle of reading "The Lincoln War Crimes Trial: A History Lesson" [1] on Lew Rockwell's web site. I look forward to pointing people to that article, but that is aside from the point.

As far as "what would have happened" I sometimes wonder how history would have been written had Adolf Hitler been more successful. Hopefully not in my opinion and understanding alone, many people were very concerned about the violence against many groups of people, but with the piles of propaganda produced by the state, the passive supporters of the Nazi regime accepted the belief that the parties ambitions had a moral imperative.

Similar to global warming, there was a belief that (rather than carbon dioxide) bad genetics was going to wipe out the human race if drastic measures were not taken to stop this downward spiral. If you believed this argument, what could possibly be more important than working together to combat this problem eventually by any means possible.

If people revered today the legacy of Adolf Hitler with the degree of revisionist history taught in our public schools and espoused by neo-cons about "Honest Abe", I expect that instead of the question "How would slavery have ended?", you would get callers asking how else the human race would have been saved.

And sadly [Mike Church] would have to give exactly the same answer: "I can't speculate about a history based on circumstances that never took place".

If I could speculate, slavery was on its way out as it was losing economic viability on its own as in the rest of the Western world. A spontaneous order would have been an economically strong south without slavery, and without the slaughter of a Civil War. The institution of slavery would have faded into the past and regarded with a disdain between the treatment of American Indians and Chinese railroad workers.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Democrats vs. Republicans

(Click above link above link for context)

And this isn't simply filled with hate?

What I make of this is that if I tell you I am a "Republican", then this is what you are going to assume about me and my beliefs and the only philosophical grounds I stand upon is racism, homophobia, and equally support any and all proposals by any person that has ever identified themselves as "Republican" or "Conservative".

And if I told you I have never listened to Rush Limbaugh, never watched Fox News, and was never a political fan of George Bush, I don't live in a Trailer Park, and I have never hit a woman could I guess that you would say that I am not really a Republican?

You want a real list of conservative values, why not ignore the BS on BOTH sides and get a better understanding of the argument, then try to look for people that stand on the principled ground from which good policy is going to come from.

Some sites that have attempted to delineate conservative values for conservatives to focus on and debate:

And of course you have rating scales that measure how certain candidates stand up. By some measures I have seen, Jim DeMint has a good prospect among Republican members of Congress for being elected President in 2010

On The Nolan Scale, I know where I agree and disagree with Jim DeMint. I believe his proposals for Health Care reform are among the very best that are comprehensive, but I do not agree with his positions on everything.

The Nolan Scale is very interesting in my opinion and is a good measure of political ideology, and I think a discussion over why one might be in a particular position pn the Nolan Scale (beyond, of course, just the issues at question in The World's Smallest Quiz) that could actually give people some insight into why two moral people that disagree with each other can still respect each other.

Of course there are other political spectrum theories. I was impressed with the Wikipedia article on the issue and was impressed by how similar and yet not so similar arguments over political spectrums were, and the quality with which they support their arguments, particularly in how some compare and contrast socialism and communism. More and more I have felt like each "side" has a very different perspective on the political spectrum itself and where other people lie :

But if you would prefer baiting by which we take anecdotal evidence of wrongs or downright hypocrisy on one side and stereotype individuals that put themselves out as members of that party, don't be too shocked when those not intimidated by your remarks don't come running to vote democrat.

To be a Democrat you need to believe...

1. The Civil War was over the right to keep slaves.

2. People that support States Rights want to bring back slavery.

3. American Jurisprudence begins with Holmes and ends with Warren.

4. Economic Theory began with Adam Smith and ended with Keynes.

5. There are ten articles to the Constitution, beginning with Free Speech and the Separation of Church and State.

6. Democracy is the process by which we make our laws.

7. It is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution.

8. Free Markets are great, but Congress needs to make sure everything is fair first.

9. The president is the leader of the nation.

10. Murder should not disqualify you from being a member of Congress as long as you are really sorry, or just too drunk to remember.

11. "This is a White Man's Government!" is the slogan of the Republican party.

12. If you went to college you are an authority on every subject, unless you are a Republican then you are an authority on no subject.

13. If you worship a big white man on a little black cloud you are crazy, but if you worship a little black man in a big white house you are enlightened.

14. #13 is proof that I am a racist.

15. #14 is proof that I am a racist.

16. People other than you or anyone you know that have a lot of money got that way because they are greedy and therefore can not be trusted to spend their money in personally or socially responsible ways.

17. People other than you or anyone you know that don't have a lot of money got that way because they are stupid and therefore can not be trusted to spend their money in personally or socially responsible ways.

18. In Brown vs. Board of Education the defense shared findings that Black students in segregated schools more greatly preferred playing with white dolls than those students in integrated schools.

19. Ernesto Miranda was set free because his constitutionally protected right against self incrimination had been violated.

20. The purpose of a corporation is to give people jobs.

21. People are elected to office because the average person is too ignorant and stupid to understand complicated issues like buying health insurance or healthy food, but also explains why republicans sometimes get elected.

22. People that believe in personal responsibility and getting things when earned have been brain washed by right wing extremists.

23. The Tea Party is the militant branch of the GOP, and every non-white is a token. All the white ones wish they were Timothy McVey, but gun control stops them from fulfilling the dream.

24. Eugenics isn't politically correct, but probably necessary because the world is over populated.

25. Al Gore

26. Immigration Laws are fine so long as they are not actually enforced.

27. The Lost Decade was due to a lack of government regulation, with bailouts and stimulus money that didn't come as big, as fast, or as often as they needed to be to combat the problem.

28. Any time Barack Obama makes a wish and it doesn't come true, a Republican did it.

Yay, now we both have lists. Want to discuss conservative principles, or what democrats believe?

Monday, April 05, 2010

In re Constitution

The biggest different between VAT and Fair Tax is that a VAT would just be another turd on the pile of crap that is our tax code. The Fair Tax, AT LEAST, makes the number of people that would be potential criminals for trying to work and earn a living WAY down; Fair Tax repeals the income tax.

And as long as we are talking about sobering reality, I heard some unfortunate news that I can not dispute. The Constitution is dead... and as much as it is not dead it is simply meaningless. Thomas Woods and Kevin Gutzman make a strong argument that the Constitution was on its way out the door with the Wilson administration and the philosophy of Oliver Holmes. The Constitution today is like British nobility: It is an interesting piece of history and a symbol of our cultural heritage, but other than that it has absolutely no force of law. The Constitution was a contract between the states for mutual self interest for which the federal government is an agent, and anyone that believes that is utterly delusional. Today we have much more a democratic republic, not constitutional federalism.

Many people today, to me, seem to think that kings and dictators are bad because they are evil, greedy, and selfish rather than finding the philosophical superiority in self governance.

Today the freedom many people desire is the freedom from responsibility. It only further breaks my heart that these people get away with calling themselves "liberals", for which they are anything but.

Today we have a compassionate, but none the less absolute, tyranny. The fact that government does not exceed anything greater than its own desire for control is no limit at all. It just means they are nice... except when they are not. We also find it acceptable because remember the other problem with kings is that we didn't vote for them. If we could just vote for our king, then everything would be fine, right?

btw, this isn't blaming anyone in particular, just pointing out the end result.

So basically, there is no question of constitutionality because there is no Constitution.

I am curious what is going to be the result of the April 9th Article V summit in Washington DC. The hosts have some great suggestions, not to mention some good ideas from state legislatures on how states can protect themselves (for which naming would go beyond the scope of this comment).

But remember, any amendment will still only be a symbol on an already dead symbol. An amendment would only be a formality for the real process of fortification (protect citizens from being individually attacked by the fed; take a look at what Montana and Arizona are doing) and nullification (reject federal authority).

Anything less and all the amendments you pass are just make a bigger constitution to wipe your tears with.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

On Capitalism & the Free Market

I am no scholar on the issue, but a friend was telling me about the history of Sudan with the rise and fall of their socialist system through the 70's until the oil embargo. As a strong proponent of the free market and capitalism, but I think one of the ironic about human beings and what makes a free market system and capitalism is that people will work their ass off to be lazy. The thing is that once people get what they want, they stop wanting.

Leave people to their own dreams with delusions of great inventions and great societies free of responsibility. They are going to believe it in their hards and it will become a religion, and people will work till their hands bleed and keep going.

But as soon as you convince a person we already live in a perfect world, or be already got it figured out, or don't worry just HOPE because there is someone else assigned to the job; the lazy inside of us doesn't cheer (but maybe a little) but instead just says "ok, nevermind."

We don't need to encourage hardship to "watch the human spirit overcome great adversity" as I think many liberals believe what the free market is about, but leaving people alone, free to have wild delusions and make it a reality for them and anyone else that choose it for himself, or moves on to make his own dream.

I love my dreams, dreaming is one of the greatest experiences of life. There are so few things we can really have much power in this world. Why in the world would anyone want to pay (or vote) someone else to do that for me.

I can't imagine a more important purpose for our being here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In response to "Universal Health Care is not Socialism"

As with everything including socialism, it isn't an argument about whether or not it should be regulated or rationed or whatever but about WHO gets to regulate and ration. When things are not regulated they can get out of control when it is important. That does not provide any basis or argument for any particular person or group to step in and do the regulating.

Every moment of your life and all things around you are regulated in one manner or another. For example rainfall is heavily regulated by temperature, and how often I see my doctor is regulated by how well I am feeling and how much money I have. Whether or not a person opens a business is regulated by ... err.. you get the point.

Before trying to fix something and reaching for the biggest tool you can find, ask yourself this question: What is a government? Where does it come from? What can governments do? What can government NOT do? A really fun question is what are some good things governments can and can not do vs bad things governments can and can not do contrasted with should not and list why.

Sometimes I wish I could punch Thomas Hobbes in the face for not explaining his work to people that would wish to take his observations out of context and try to reason that they were laws of nature and society. His observation was that the mass majority will comply with ever increasing government because any single step towards greater control always seems less harmful than the idea of "returning to a state of nature", or no government. Further, people tend to look at government control as freedom from responsibility, which is generally true, and for the consumer relief from responsibility by government means it may or may not only be easier for them such that it is a win win situation. Health Care for example: the class of individuals needing medical care mutually exclusive of medical providers believes that either 1)they are going to get something for free, 2) nothing is going to change for them. This class so greatly out numbers health care providers that their opinion is irrelevant. Therefore, logically, median voter says government takeover of health care can be good thing. It would also baffle the mind of most people to understand why anyone could possibly oppose a perpetually more powerful government. Also, if you agree with Hobbes (which is so deeply rooted in modern western thought anyway) we "know" that government only gets larger because the only way for it to get smaller would be for a significant number of people so opposed to whatever the government is doing that they would be willing to do without it completely. Such a situation is SO rare, who cares, right? Next, once we have accepted that government is going to only get bigger, and just take the leap forward that since progress is directly correlated to the size of government therefore government tends towards improving society.

Yeah, so all your arguments about how if it is important then we need to create a government bureaucracy, or more so, you are going to keep sitting on your ass while someone else both creates and another becomes the victim of a government bureaucracy is no argument at all, just a shibboleth of your political ideology.

And can you please explain your signature? Is your argument: Socialism = bad, Universal Health Care = good, therefore Universal Health Care != Socialism? It is almost like you make an argument against socialism, but then don't ... therefore you are right. What?!? Back to the earlier check your reality and try again questions. What is a government? What is the general structure or philosophy behind a socialist ideology? Where when and how does it work and for what purpose? Where may or may not this ideology be incompatible with the theory of what a government can and can not be, and under what circumstances or steps might be taken to mitigate possible shortfalls of socialism?

So how about this:
Health Care is a good thing and universal elements of it are tried and true rules of the industry. We love, value and honor people that enter the profession when it is what they choose to do so freely with the time, intellect, and resources that they are given on earth, and despite however they may choose to organize, or whatever mistakes they may make, we will not inflict the will of the people upon them because universality of any particular system is no measure by which others may make judgments of them. Also, indirectly related, we believe that life is both not so important and yet too precious at the same time that our lives or anyone else's life would be better managed by another than the principle individual without their consent as aspects of socialist philosophy might have us believe.

So get over it.