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Friday, August 10, 2012

I actually agree with Michelle Obama...about some things

Check out this radio interview with our First Lady.

I gotta hand it to her. She's a real campaigner. An evangelist, of sorts.

When she says that people who are complacent or undecided are knuckleheads and confused, I AGREE! Totally. In fact, given the state of the economy, I can't believe her husband's approval rating is as high as 43% and his disapproval rating is as low as 51%. We haven't had an official budget during this administration. Unemployment remains as high or higher than when he took office. The dirty campaigning. Accusing Romney of felonies, not paying taxes (what idiot would run for president and be wanted by the IRS? Geesh, it insults the intelligence), for a guy's wife's cancer. I could go on and on. But in this economy, if you are undecided about this presidential election, then yeah, Michelle Obama is right: You are a confused knucklehead. Well, at any rate, you shouldn't be undecided as to who should not be reelected.

And when she delineates what's at stake in this election, I AGREE!! But, I don't agree with who she feels are the ones who want to fundamentally fix our economy and who wants to write big checks. Yes, the stakes are high. I agree. And yes, for the thing she mentions, one candidate is horrible and the other not so much. But I don't agree with her as to which candidate is which.

I want to say that I'm not real happy with the choice of Romney. Never have been. But I will unhesitatingly vote for the guy considering who the alternative is. I mean, he's not the worst candidate the GOP has nominated in my voting lifetime. (McCain was worse.) I'm okay with voting for him. He's not ideal, but he's okay.

At any rate, I have mentioned Our Fearless Leader (remember Boris Badenov, the communist spy?) in the context of bioethical issues. And he comes up short on those things, too. If the economy were ok and he weren't a dangerous socialist, I would still oppose him for his bioethical reasoning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

This guy was an intolerant, hateful coward, too

I'm talking about the apparent perpetrator of the massacre at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The fellow's music and history speak for themselves. White supremacist, punk rocker with a penchant for violent lyrics and all manner of hatred. He was the prototypical target of hate laws.

What I've written the past few days was not advocacy of any position on recent events, except insofar as I distance myself from American liberalism in a general way. I am pointing out the tactics and the actions of a few, and not the positions of anyone. I happen to think the positions of the Sikh temple gunman are unconscionable and irreconcilable with the US constitution and a rational concept of justice.

But it is not only people who target those of non-white skin and non-white religion who can be perpetrators of hate crimes. The typical victims can resort to them, too.

Ethics is not about justifying what we want to do. We can "justify" using hate crimes against people who commit hate crimes against us, but that is not ethics. Ethics pertains to the rightness and wrongness of the action we propose to take. Having been a victim of a heinous act does not give us the right to commit the same heinous act in return. If the act is heinous, then it is heinous, and we shouldn't do it. Killing innocent people is wrong. If some of "us" innocent people get killed, as horrible as it is, it does not give us the right to kill innocent people who belong to "them." Ganging up on a harmless guy reading his Bible is wrong. Having been ganged up on while minding our own business does not give us the right to gang up on a harmless stranger. Vandalizing a building is wrong. Going into a house of worship and shooting people is wrong. Having a racial epithet painted onto my front door does not give me the right to vandalize someone else's property. Do the Wisconsin Sikh's now have a right to go to the perpetrator's church (if any) and kill the congregants? No. Of course not.

Justice is not about getting even. Justice is about doing the right thing by others, even when it is not what we want to do. The lex talonis ("eye for an eye") is misunderstood if it is understood to mean that "I" get to do to others what they do first to me. No. The point of the lex talonis is to prevent excessive retribution. If someone puts out my eye, I cannot have their head. Its purpose is not to ensure a perpetrator is adequately punished, but to prevent victims from exacting excessive punishment.

Justice too quickly becomes vengeance. Ethics too quickly becomes an exercise in coming up with a good excuse.

Justice thus depends on an unbiased forum for adjudication. Ethics depends on squelching anger self-interest, and thinking clearly and objectively about the intended action. Vandalism, bullying, massacres all have in common an attitude of taking vengeance, and for what one believes to be a good reason. But, they are neither just nor ethical.

Anyway, there are all manner of intolerant, hateful cowards in the world. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Intolerant, Hateful Cowards

But they obviously consider themselves brave crusaders against hate and intolerance.

Check out the video here. If these are Chicago values, I'm glad I live 1000 miles away from Chicago.

This isn't about any position on the issue. It's about tactics. It's about what they do, not what they stand for.

Brave homosexuals harassing an innocent and helpless homeless guy whose big crime was to be reading a Bible at a Chick-Fil-A. They ganged up on him and berated him, lectured him, were such models of tolerance and justice and decency.

I challenge them to do the same thing there in Chicago -- but better yet, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iran -- but to target guys reading the Koran and berate them for their hate against homosexuals. I would call them brave then. I would call them consistent.

But as long as they continue to gang up like this on harmless individuals, I call them hypocrites. Cowardly, immature, hypocritical bullies.

You  know, but it's stuff like this that make me wonder about whether the gay rights movement is rooted in justice or something else. I'm thinking something else. If anyone wants me to think differently about the movement, well, talk to me when this sort of stuff stops.

Friday, August 3, 2012

(Update) ...because some people can only be victims and not perpetrators of hate

What idiotic hypocrisy.

Go and perpetrate a hate crime to protest against what you call a hate crime. Because it is so mature to engage in playground justice, to strike back against someone who wants to play tag when you want to go on the swings, and yell, "well, HE started it! HE hates me!" It's like the guy who bullied people about bullying. Playground justice.

And here's the thing. It seems that the people who painted that hate-filled, and hate-mongering, graffito feel that it is impossible for them to be anything but victims of hate. No matter how they act, they cannot possibly be perpetrators of hate. It goes against the definition of hate.

It seems to me that the people who yell loudest for tolerance really mean others must tolerate them, but they do not have to tolerate anyone.

(From the LA Times: "Denise Spencer, who visited the restaurant on Friday, said she was sad to see the vandalism and that it hurts the tolerance message that gay marriage proponents are pushing." Hmm. Maybe they're not really pushing a tolerance message after all, Ms Spencer.)

Those who yell loudest that it's wrong to impose your morality on others are the first to do it. And what they really mean is that it's wrong for you to tell them what is right and wrong, but they have every right to tell you what's right and wrong.

Those who most vehemently accuse others of being closed-minded are the most closed-minded of all, and what they really mean is that they resent you disagreeing with them.

And those who are most likely to accuse the owner of Chick-Fil-A of hate -- HATE!!!!! -- are the people most filled with hate directed at those who disagree with them. Look, all the guy said was that he believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that whatever else same-sex couples do, it isn't and can't be "marriage." Does that means he's filled with hate? -- HATE, I tell you, H-A-T-E!!!!!!!

No. It means he disagrees with people who feel otherwise.

And unless we live in a tyranny, he's perfectly entitled to it. So, is he entitled to it or not? Are people who disagree with him the only ones with the right to speak their mind?

But vandalism is a crime. What is the difference between what they did and spray painting a swastika on a Jewish person's front door, or burning a cross on a black person's front yard, or putting pig's heads on spikes at an Arab heritage event, or using ethnic slurs? It is both vandalism and a hate crime.

So nowadays, "hate" just means people that disagree with the contemporary liberal agenda. It's the only possible reason people could possibly disagree with the liberal agenda, by the way. Well, if you don't count profound ignorance and total stupidity. HATE.

I think they tip their hand.

And it's bedfellows like that, that have driven me away from the liberal end of politics. Seriously, I would be a help-the-poor, stand-up-for-the-little-guy kind of liberal. But I just don't like the tactics of the whiners the liberal party attracts.

And it isn't because I hate them or anyone else. Just the opposite, in fact. They're the haters.

And I know why. They are deprived of love. And I don't mean that in the 1960s, Beatles, what you do to a cute puppy kind of love. I mean CHARITY. But out of charity I must oppose their agenda and their tactics, just as I out of charity oppose my kids' tantrums, both the tantrum itself as well as whatever it is they're trying to get out of me. Charity does not let the recipient define the terms of what "love me" means, which is exactly what the tantrum is about. "I WANT THAT TOY!" Yeah, well, I love you, therefore you're not gonna get the toy and you are gonna get a time out, because doing otherwise will only encourage you to manipulate me and others, and that is not a good way to grow up.

Some people will not be manipulated. And that is when the tantrums start. The lashing out. The exhibitionist attempts at getting attention.

And the playground justice.

UPDATE: God bless Mr. Charlie Daniels. I used to play his music in a band when I was a kid. I met him in Nashville once. Here's what Mr. Daniels has to say about all this:
Muslims don't believe in same-sex marriage either, but have any of the stalwart mayors attacked any Muslims or Muslim businesses or told them they were not welcome in Chicago, Boston or San Francisco?
Like Mr. Daniels says, I don't give a hoot what your position is on the issue of same-sex marriage. I say, if you're a supporter and you like protesting at Chick-Fil-A, then I dare you -- I DOUBLE DARE YOU!!! (keeping with playground justice) -- go spray paint a mosque with something about how they are filled with hate because the Koran puts down homosexuality just like the Bible does. Go have a same-sex kiss-in in front of a mosque. Go dress up like Mohammed like has been done with the Pope and protest in front of the Egyptian embassy. It is hypocrisy to target Chick-Fil-A and let all the Muslim business go without equal attention. Of course, since I abhor the vandalism at Chick-Fil-A, I would equally abhor anything of the sort against a Muslim business.