Category Archives: Responsibility

I Hate Debating Abortion

This is one of those subjects that I mostly gave up talking about online a long time ago, mostly because you’re never going to convince anyone of anything because everyone, on every side, has a wholly emotional take on the subject matter.  You have the people on the right who can’t discuss abortion without bringing up God 147 times a minute and condemning people to hell and you have the people on the left who can’t enter the discussion without calling their detractors misogynists and rape apologists. It quickly turns into a giant clusterfuck because no one can step back and talk about the issue rationally.  In that, it’s very much like talking about creationism.  The religious are emotionally invested in their position and whether or not their position is reasonable or true, they’re going to fight to the bitter end.

But recently, I got involved in a discussion, more by accident than by design, with an atheist who believed that society would come to reject abortion for undefined moral reasons.  I wrote about that here.  However, after that ended, more people leapt in and I was forced admit that, no, I don’t think abortion is the greatest thing since sliced cheese.  In fact, I’d much prefer if abortion was extremely rare.  In that, I agree with my atheist compatriot that abortion ought to go away, I just disagree with his methods and ideology.  Where I disagree with abortion comes from people who get them because of irresponsibility, not from necessity.  We’ll always have abortions because of rape and incest.  We’ll always have abortions because giving birth will kill the mother.  We’ll always have abortions because of fetal deformity.  I have no problem with any of those things.  Where I have problems are with people who act irresponsibly and then want to have an abortion to get out of a tight situation.  You know, people who don’t consider the possible ramifications of their actions, who get pregnant out of wedlock and when the father just takes off because they have no real commitment to the relationship, off to the doctor they go.

In particular, we were talking about sex education for teenagers and my opponent started arguing something that I’ve really discussed several times before, the idea that stupid people are stupid and therefore we shouldn’t bother trying to change anything stupid people do.  I entirely disagree with this position.  I don’t think we should accept that stupid people are going to be stupid and just throw up our hands.  I don’t think that we can accept that teenagers are going to be idiots and have sex anyhow and therefore we should just hand out condoms by the handful and whatever happens, happens.  I think there’s a better path to chart between the far-right “abstinence only because God will get you” bullcrap and the far-left “go have fun, don’t worry, you won’t be held responsible” positions we see most often.  But of course, this means we have to start teaching kids to be responsible early on, that we need to have kids that can handle the truth and deal with the actual facts and make responsible choices.  Both the left and the right think that’s impossible.  I disagree.

I think we should be teaching our kids the actual truth about sex and the dangers thereof.  There is no such thing as safe sex outside of abstinence or a committed, long-term, mutually exclusive relationship.  There can be safer sex, but not safe sex. You can never know for sure if your partner is disease free.  You can never know for sure if birth control, outside of permanent sterilization, is going to work.  You run a risk regardless.  Make those risks known.  Don’t throw around ridiculous religious claims, keep it realistic.  God has nothing to do with it, sin has nothing to do with it, the very real risk of getting pregnant out of wedlock and ruining your life has everything to do with it.  The very real risk of getting a disease that is incurable and perhaps fatal has everything to do with it.  The question has to be, do you want to risk ending your life, physically or financially, at a young age because you couldn’t keep it in your pants.  For lots of people, even people who are not religious, that answer is yes, not because of threats, but because they stopped to think about it and had a social group which supported that kind of decision.

But, of course, I’ll never get anyone to agree with me because they’ve all been indoctrinated, either into the right wing religious bullshit or the left wing irresponsibility bullshit.  I guess that’s something that I’ve come to expect from pretty much everything.

Should Kids Get Scared?

This seems like a pretty good topic for Halloween, so good in fact that I’ll do two posts on Saturday.  I subscribe to a couple of movie review YouTube channels and one of them is the Nostalgia Critic.  He’s usually funny, his reviews are entertaining, but you don’t turn to any of these channels for in-depth, inciteful film analysis.  That said though, he put up a video on scaring kids in movies that I thought was quite good and I wanted to aim some people his way and talk about the subject.  I’ll include the video later in the post, but to go take a look at his channel, click here.

Americans, by and large, have really turned our kids into a bunch of pussies. Helicopter parents refuse to allow their children to fail, to face the problems and pains of real life, they want to keep them safe and protected from the world and, to a certain degree, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Every parent wants to keep their kids safe, but there’s a difference between keeping them safe and keeping them ignorant.

Whether they like it or not, sooner or later, and it’s becoming later and later unfortunately, these kids are going to have to face the real world alone, on its own terms, complete with all the horrors and pain that it holds and far too many of them are just not prepared.  That’s why they go running home to mommy and daddy, because they have never been prepared to face reality.

I think this is very true in the movies we let kids see today.  As the Nostalgia Critic points out, older kids films are downright scary.  I think that they should be scary.  I think that children’s entertainment has become far too coddling, due to the increasing intolerance of anything remotely uncomfortable by helicopter parents, and this is not preparing these children for the reality that they’re going to face when they grow up.  Being scared is a good thing.  I’m not saying terrify your children into a paranoid mess, I’m saying that they need to be exposed to the reality around them.  Don’t lie to them.  Let them know the truth, even if the truth is going to make them uncomfortable.  If they cannot deal with the truth, how do you expect them to become self-sufficient and able to raise children of their own?  You are not doing your kids any good in the long run by treating them like china dolls.  They need to learn how to handle the real world because if they don’t figure that out, they are going to break into a million emotional pieces the first time they are faced with any kind of adversity.  Scares in movies and on TV and in books, those help get them ready to accept that things might not always go their way, that things might not always be rosy and that’s a tremendously important lesson to learn for every single person, everywhere.  It’s just a shame that so many will never be taught that lesson by their parents and will spend their lives unable to deal with reality.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tst_xE53Z0′]

Getting “Tagged” Out at Tag

The stupidity of liberals never ceases to amaze me.  They are dedicated to taking everything that is fun, everything that kids enjoy, and stripping it from their lives because it doesn’t fit into their liberal agenda.  Take this case, for example, out of Washington State, where the Mercer County School District has banned the game of “tag” because it involves touching other students and we just can’t have that!  Unfortunately, they’re hardly alone, as other cities, like New York, are going to start fining summer camps that allow tag and don’t have a dedicated medical staff available.

Seriously, is it any wonder our kids have turned into such wimps? I mean the whole no touching thing isn’t new, I’ve written about it before, but this one takes the cake.  Mercer County has released a statement that says that kids have to keep their hands to themselves to “ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students”.  The emotional safety?  What the hell?  Okay, sure, you can argue that kids running around having a good time might result in some skinned knees here and there, but emotional safety?  Oh right, nobody is ever allowed to lose with the liberal security blanket police around.  Kids all get trophies just for showing up and you’re not allowed to acknowledge that anyone is better than anyone else at anything, ever.

But didn’t all of us manage to survive games like tag, Red Rover and dodge ball when we were growing up?  None of us died. None of us were permanently scarred by friendly competition in the school yard.  What the hell is wrong with modern kids, that they can’t just have fun without needing to be medicated for it?  It’s the helicopter parent generation that is screwing these kids up so badly, making them unable to cope with adversity and that gives us a whole generation of college age kids who need trigger words and safe spaces because someone, somewhere, might just disagree with them and that’s just too traumatic to be believed.  But instead of allowing kids to be kids and have fun and learn how to interact on an interpersonal level, the school says “our hope has always been and continues to be an expectation that students respect others’ personal space and respect their individual and unique differences.”  Personal space?  Individual and unique differences?  That means that slow kids and fast kids are going to have to pretend to be the same because you just can’t make the slow kids feel bad for not being able to run fast.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Thanks liberals for ruining even more things that are not bad for you at all.  You are idiots and I bet I can run faster than you do, even now.  You are all failures at the game of life.  Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

 

Following Your Dream

Follow Your Dream… Right Off a Cliff

This really isn’t anything spectacular, but I have watched the ever-growing adventures of someone over on a forum I read, someone who clearly has never learned a damn thing about common sense in her life and continues to make every mistake possible and seems utterly clueless why things keep going wrong.  I’m posting this here because I know that if I said any of it directly to her, she’d lose her shit because she just isn’t acting rationally and I see no good reason to stir the pot.

Anyhow, this woman lived her entire life working in some job in construction, living in Michigan.  After she retired, she and her husband sold their house, and there was a whole long list of problems there that she made sure she told everyone about, everything from her realtor “screwing her over” because she had entirely unrealistic expectations of the process, to the city screwing her over, because she was expected to follow the law, to potential buyers trying to screw her over because home inspections showed that her house was not up to code, etc.  Every day there was a story about how unfair the world is and how all of this was interfering with her “dream”.

So what is her “dream”?  She always wanted to move to Florida, buy a house on the water and spend the rest of her life sailing around without a care in the world.  As dreams go, it isn’t one that I’d adopt, but I think it’s admirable if that’s really what you’re into.  So she finally, after lots of whining and crying, sells her house and she and her husband pack it all up and head off to Florida, only to find that nothing in Florida is as her dreams predicted.  She was so completely buried in her dream that she never bothered to see if the reality matched up.

So they get there, magically thinking there will be the perfect house waiting for them.  It isn’t.  They put all of their belongings in storage, move into a hotel and start looking for a house they can afford.  They can’t find one.  Every house they find has a problem that she insists on telling everyone about.  Too small.  Not close enough to the water.  Nothing fits her dream.  Finally they find a house, right on a canal, built in the early 60s and she thinks it’s perfect, right until she learns that local law requires that if the house ever suffers more than 50% damage, local codes require her to bring the entire rebuilt house up to code and nothing in that section remotely qualifies.  For one thing, the water has risen and now all houses are below minimum elevation required by code.  And oh no, she’s now in Florida, where they have storms and hurricanes and her house just might get damaged, whatever will she do?  Seriously?  You never bothered to check any of the laws, any of the codes, even the climate and weather in the place you were “dreaming” about?  Are you that stupid?  Never mind that the house has been sitting there for more than 50 years and hasn’t gotten washed away by a storm, her dreams are over.  Boo hoo!   Boo hoo!  And she can’t afford the $6500 a year for flood insurance!  Her dreams are dashed!

Well stupid, why didn’t you consider any of this while you had a nice house back in Michigan?  You would have saved yourself all of the time and money and effort of selling your house, moving everything you owned down the coast and finding out that you hadn’t done any research at all, had no idea what to expect, had nothing lined up, you were just following your “dream”! And now, she wants everyone to fall all over themselves feeling sorry for her because she is a complete and total idiot.  Why? She has  done all of this to herself!  And people warned her!  People told her when she first started talking about selling her house, that she had to get all of her ducks in a row.  I don’t think anyone realized just how stupid she really was in any of this. She’s spending all of her time whining about how she has to be able to salvage this because it’s her “dream”.

Sorry, she has an impossible and, at this point, irrational dream.  She needs to deal with this undeniable fact.  She should have planned better.  She should have prepared better.  She should have actually had some clue what she was getting into.  She did not.  Now she’s stuck in a hotel in Florida crying and I can’t say I’m at all sorry for her because she did it to herself.

Debating the Religiously Incredulous

spock
How I feel debating these idiots.

I keep running into people on religious debate boards that are convinced that if they hold a religious position, they have no responsibility at all to defend any of their claims whatsoever, just because they are religious.  Of course, they hold everyone else accountable for answering any questions put to them, but questions they can’t answer?  It’s just not their job!

Recently, I had someone go into a whole long diatribe where he argued that “Christianity doesn’t make factual claims about the real world. It does make theological claims and mythological claims.”  Okay, so he’s saying that the Christian God doesn’t exist in reality, because Christianity only makes mythological claims and not factual ones?  Nope, God is real… but not real enough to actually make any Christians have to back up his existence.

Now forgive me if I don’t understand how anyone can possibly think this way, especially someone who pretends to be at all rational and critical about their beliefs.  If your claims are wholly beyond any kind of real-world evaluation, then how can you possibly test them in any demonstrable way?  And if you can’t test them, then how can you be sure that they are reasonable at all?  This is the big question that I keep asking theists and the question that they all side-step and ignore.  If you have no way of objectively observing God, how can you know anything about the existence or characteristics of God?  If you cannot verify anything, how can you know that it isn’t all a big delusion?  If they refuse to step beyond their own imagination, then why should anyone else take their claims seriously?  How do you get from step A to step B?  They can’t and they know they can’t and they don’t even pretend that they can, or even should have to.  If it makes them feel good, that’s all that matters.

But that doesn’t stop them from continually making claims that must be borne out in the real world.  They claim that God actually exists, that God actually had some hand in the creation of the universe, that Jesus was a real person that died on a cross and rose from the dead, yet none of these claims are demonstrable, yet they all must have happened in the real world. There is a fundamental disconnect between the claims that they make and the reality that must be demonstrably true if their claims are true, yet they cannot bridge that gap and they refuse to acknowledge the requirement that they should.

So what do we do about it?  Nothing.  There is literally nothing we can do about it, you can’t force these people to engage in rational debate in good faith.  All you can really do is point out their hypocrisy and stop talking to them, which I’ve done in many cases, only to have them come back and pretend they won the debate because you refuse to engage.  It makes me just want to cancel my membership to a lot of these debate forums some days.  It’s all just a waste of time.

Let’s Stop Being Different

Confederate FlagFollowing the recent demands that the South get rid of the Confederate Flag, I’ve seen a lot of people asking that, in light of the unpopularity of the Confederate Flag, what the South can use to define its individuality and culture and my instant response was… nothing.  Stop pretending that you’re some other culture.  Stop identifying like you’re from another planet.  Just be fucking Americans and get over yourselves.

But of  course, this isn’t just about the South, I’ve made this point about lots of different groups who both want to be equal to everyone else, but still hold everyone else at arm’s length.  This is clearly the case with “black culture”, where many blacks want to be treated exactly the same as everyone else while holding to this separatist cultural label that makes people with black skin somehow different than everyone else.  This isn’t limited to blacks, Hispanics have the same problems to a lesser degree, so do Asians, so do lots of racial, cultural and religious groups who want to be equal and different at the same time.

You people all need to get the fuck over yourselves.

I’m really, really sick and tired of people who want “fill in the blank”-pride.  Just stop it.  I mean, it’s probably sillier when it comes to “Southern Pride” since the South lost the fucking war and has been the butt of every well-deserved joke about the South ever since.  You lost.  Figure it out.  The South isn’t going to rise again, any more than the Third Reich is.  Grow up. The same goes for black people.  There is no “Black Pride”.  There’s also no “Brown Pride” or “Yellow Pride” or anything else.  If you idiots are  going to try to take pride for something that isn’t even under your control, you’ve got some serious issues.  I’ll even go so far as to say that if you’re for blind American nationalism, or any other country for that matter, you’ve got some growing up to do.

People need to stop sticking themselves into little color coded boxes so they can feel superior to everyone else.  It’s really childish.  Just be decent people.  I don’t care what part of the country you’re from, or what country you’re from to be honest. I don’t care what color your skin is.  I don’t care what genitals you have between your legs.  I don’t care what your religion is.  I don’t care what gender you’re attracted to.  Just be a decent person and stop with all this divisive nonsense.  Isn’t it about damn time humanity grew the fuck up?

Lack of Basic Responsibility, Politeness and Respect

keep-calm-and-take-the-responsibilityOkay, I’m going to go on a rant here and I’m not really mad at anyone in particular, I’m just sick and fucking tired of the lack of responsibility and politeness some people and groups have, where they really don’t give a damn about anyone or anything and it fucking shows.

Last week, The Atheist Experience had some technical difficulties and didn’t have a show.  From what I’m given to understand, their producer didn’t show up and instead, they just aired a rerun.  Okay, shit happens, I get that, but when something like this happens, the first thing any responsible person ought to do is make an announcement that something is going on, there will be no show, apologize for it and move on.  It takes a few seconds.  They have plenty of avenues to do it, they can announce it on their blog, their website, Twitter, etc.  They can even go in and post it as a topic in their Ustream chat room.  It isn’t like nobody knows what’s going on, they have hosts, they have a whole bunch of people behind the scenes, they have the fucking president and vice president of the ACA who ought to give a damn about their flagship product, etc.  Nope, nobody did a thing and this is hardly the first time this has happened.

When we’re missing a week on the podcast, I make sure I announce it.  It goes out on Twitter and Tumblr and anyone subscribed to the podcast feed gets an announcement.  It’s basic respect for the people that want to listen to the podcast. I actually give a damn about the people who show up week after week.  It ought to be the minimum activity that should be expected.

So this week, people were talking about not having a show last week on the Ustream chat and even though I rarely ever post anything there, mostly because it’s chock-full of assholes and idiots, I said something about “it would have been nice if anyone had posted there wouldn’t be a show so people who were waiting would know.”  That was it.  Nothing angry, nothing accusatory, nothing insulting, just a suggestion that someone could have done something instead of just leaving hundreds of people who show up just to see the show to their own devices.  But instead of being thanked for the suggestion, instead of saying “that’s a good idea”, I had assholes yelling at me for daring to suggest decent behavior.  Yup, I’m not paying for the show so I have no right to say anything about the behavior of this organization.  Bullshit.

But I guess that being responsible and being accountable and actually giving a shit about anyone but yourself is a thing of the past.  People don’t know how to say please and thank you.  People don’t care if you live or die.  It’s all about them.  It’s all about what makes them happy and anyone else… screw ’em, they just don’t matter.  It’s not just Atheist Experience, it’s everyone. That’s the kind of thing that pisses me off because people seem to be entirely unable to observe the basic social niceties anymore.  People shouldn’t have to be reminded to be polite.  Sure, people make mistakes, but this isn’t about making mistakes and being apologetic about them, this is about not caring in the first place and when the mistake is pointed out, not giving a shit about it, in fact, not just not giving a shit, but being upset that anyone suggested that you should have done something to begin with.

It’s no wonder this planet is going to hell in a handbasket.  [/rant]

Disobedience of the Law

raif-badawi
Actions have consequences, breaking the law is not a consequence-free game.

This is pretty much guaranteed to piss off just about everyone who reads it, I’m sure, but I recently got into a discussion on a forum with someone who was incensed over the jailings, beatings and executions of atheist bloggers in Muslim countries. Yes, it is likely that most people reading this agree that the laws in these countries, often based on Sharia law, are distasteful.  That doesn’t stop it from being the law of the land.

See, there are lots of people, particularly in the United States, who are wholly misinformed about their place in reality.  They are sure that everyone on the planet lives under the Constitution of the United States and shares all of the rights and privileges that we do.  They are wrong.  Our laws stop at our borders.  Anyone who lives outside of our borders has to deal with the actual laws and rights available in their own little corner of the world.  I fear that a lot of people who spend time online with those in the western world get deluded into thinking that they have these magical rights when, in reality, they have nothing of the sort.

It’s usually not the people that quietly stop believing in Islam and live their lives privately as an atheist, those people don’t get caught very often.  It’s the idiots who go out of their way to antagonize the society in which they live and blatantly shove their apostasy in the face of the authorities that bug me.  Just because you don’t like the law doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow it or pay the consequences.  And these people knew the consequences, in almost all cases, they lived in the society for their entire lives. They openly violated the law and then were shocked when they were carried off to jail for whatever punishment the country deemed proper.  This didn’t come out of the blue, nobody was surprised when the authorities showed up on their doorstep and even if they did, ignorance of the law is no excuse.  People need to stop acting stupidly and stop pretending they have rights they simply do not have.

Don’t give me the “civil disobedience” line either.  Civil disobedience is not a way to break the law and get away scott free.  In fact, the whole point of civil disobedience is to break the law, get caught and be prosecuted, such that you bring attention to the injustice of the laws themselves.  If you’re not willing to suffer the consequences of your civil disobedience, then you’re just being a coward.  I’m willing to bet that none of these bloggers ever gave a moment’s thought to what might happen to them if they were caught.  This isn’t civil disobedience, this is abject stupidity.

People like Raif Badawi, who openly flaunt their violation of the law and get what they have coming to them are not victims. Yes, I think the laws under which he was sentenced are idiotic, that means somewhere between jack and shit.  If he wanted to speak out against Islam, his first move should have been to get the hell out of Dodge, maybe going to Canada where his wife and children now have asylum.  It is not bright to punch the society in the nose and then pretend that you shouldn’t be held accountable for it.  Whatever happens to him is a tragedy, that doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely legal.  No matter how many times Amnesty International claims he’s imprisoned for “exercising his right to freedom of expression”, that doesn’t mean he actually has that right.  People need to disabuse themselves of that silly notion.  It’s nonsense.

So please, before anyone screams about how horrible and awful it is that people in other parts of the world ought to be able to break the law with impunity, realize that you and your local rights and privileges mean precisely dick to the situation at hand. Let’s deal with reality as it actually exists instead of pretending that your political fantasies have any bearing whatsoever on the situation.

Acceptance vs. Approval

approveI know I’ve said this before, probably because I’ve said just about everything there is to say about religion and politics before, but once again, I came across something on YouTube that made me want to present the simple reality to the incredulous once again.  In fact, I came across this on a couple of videos about feminism, where the lunatic left fringe apparently still has this really bizarre idea that just because they have a right to do a thing, that it somehow behooves absolutely everyone, everywhere, to encourage and approve of them doing that thing.  I wrote about this a while back regarding tattoos, that just because someone has the right to draw all over themselves with permanent markers doesn’t obligate me to support their idiotic actions. Just because someone has a right to be a moron, that doesn’t mean I’m not perfectly justified to point out just how stupid they are.  I can’t stop them, I don’t have to approve of their actions.  The way you act and the way you dress and the things you do to yourself, it’s entirely up to you if you want to do it but people are free to think your actions are foolish.  Like it or not, actions have consequences.  Just because someone accepts your right to do a thing doesn’t mean you automatically get their approval.

Of course, it’s not just the left, you get plenty of people on the far right who seem to have the same idea, just more evidence that the ultra-right have more in common with the ultra-left than they do with normal people.  When it comes to religion, these people not only want to be allowed to practice as they see fit, they want to be commended for filing into the churches and rewarded with widespread social acceptance.  Anyone who dares disagree with their choices is suddenly discriminating against their religious freedom.

See, I do care what some people think about me, people who are actually part of my inner circle peer group.  Their opinions matter.  I may act or not act because of what I think they will find acceptable.  For those outside of that group?  Fuck you all. It doesn’t matter to me one whit.  My question is, if these people within your in-group matter so much to you, why didn’t you seek out their opinions before you took the action, instead of expecting them to all blindly accept whatever you do?  If you don’t care enough to consult them ahead of time, why do you care at all after the fact?  More importantly though, why do you care at all about what some random person on the Internet has to say? The whining and moaning and gnashing of teeth among liberals trying to defend their actions is legendary.  Why?  Are they so emotionally weak that they can’t stand it that someone out there doesn’t like them?

Freedom of choice is not freedom from criticism.  Yes, you can get a tattoo that says “Fuck You” on your forehead, nobody is going to stop you but nobody has to respect your action either.  You can color your hair whatever color you want, but as much as you have a right to do it, others have a right to tell you that you look like an idiot.  You can wear any clothes that you want, you can drive any car that you want, you can express any opinion that you want, but there is a difference between allowing you to act and validating your actions.  This seems to be something very difficult for some people to comprehend.  Whether you like it or not, there is no right to be liked or respected or agreed with.  That kind of respect is earned and far too many people simply don’t care to do it, they think it’s just magically theirs to command.

They are wrong and they need to stop whining when they don’t get what was never theirs to begin with.

Explaining Responsibility

personal_responsibility_areaWhile I was writing the post on Gary Johnson’s platform, discussions raged on about libertarianism and libertarian positions. I got into somewhat of a fight over the difference between freedom and responsibility and while my libertarian counterpart refused to see reason, I wanted to go into a bit of detail here because I think it explains the core of my political thinking.

See, to a lot of libertarians, in fact, every libertarian I have ever debated, freedom is infinitely more important than responsibility.  In fact, it seems like they only throw in responsibility at all as a means to do away with the inherent problems with unlimited freedom, they throw it in as a means to keep people from running wild, yet it makes no sense at all.  Anyone familiar with libertarian politics will know that they arbitrarily draw the line on freedom where it doesn’t cause anyone else harm, but why is that?  If someone is supposed to be free, what difference does it make if they harm anyone else, steal their stuff or do things which produce an unfair advantage over your opponents? The reason, although they’ll never admit it, is self-interest. They don’t want others to have the ability to harm them, thus they set this arbitrary limit on how much freedom people actually get to have.  They can’t justify why they set the limits where they set them however, but I can.

Personally, I think responsibility is infinitely more important than individual freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against freedom at all, I think freedom naturally arises from responsibility and not the other way around as many libertarians do.  As far as I’m concerned, you have an inherent responsibility to those around you, simply as a consequence to living in a society. The same is true on a smaller scale if you live in the same house with others, you have a responsibility to share resources, treat each other well and keep the peace.  Scaled up, this works just fine for society as well.

But yes, I know, libertarians aren’t much into the social contract, in fact, their absurd ideas of natural law and  natural rights go completely against it.  That’s why they’re into freedom for the sake of freedom and for anyone who gets in their way, fuck them. It’s one of the primary reasons I have very little respect for libertarians.

Having responsibility first and foremost guarantees freedom, but it also guarantees interconnectivity.  People are responsible for taking care of others, but everyone is also responsible for providing for themselves.  It gets rid of the welfare state that the liberals love, but it also gets rid of the “I got mine, screw you” thing that the libertarians value.  It recognizes that everyone is connected to everyone else and everyone plays an important role in society.  If one part fails to properly operate, it harms the whole, which is why we need to hold everyone to the same high standards, such that all of us in society can continue to output at a high rate.  It’s not rocket science.  It just makes sense, unlike liberalism and libertarianism.

So be responsible, both to yourself and to those around you.  It’s the only way that actually works.

Americans Are Too Reliant on the Government

Government DependencyI came across this list of 21 facts that prove that dependence on the government is out of control in America and while I recognize that it’s a bit of an extremist site, the facts don’t lie.  We have gone way too far over to the liberal side in this country and that’s primarily why we, as a nation and as a people, are struggling.  I might not agree with all of the conclusions provided, therefore I wanted to take a look at these 21 items myself and give my take.

1. According to a Congressional Budget Office study that was just released, approximately 60 percent of all U.S. households get more in transfer payments from the government than they pay in taxes.  Here is more about this stunning report from Mark J. Perry’s Carpe Diem blog

This is just basic bad mathematics by the government, you cannot have a stable economy if you spend more money than you take in.  It doesn’t work for business, it can’t work for government either.  That’s why China owns more than $1.3 trillion dollars of our debt and it’s increasing all the time.  Other countries like Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Russia own significant portions of our debt as well and there’s really no sign that we will ever be able to pay much, if any of it back.  We are not fiscally responsible in this country, neither the people nor the government and it’s not just the Democrats, the Republicans, which are just religiously-zealous liberals today, are just as bad.

2. About 70 percent of all government spending now goes toward dependence-creating programs.

Americans are becoming much more reliant on the government than they have any right to be. The government has an absurd amount of control over people’s lives and a ridiculous amount of input into their ability to make a living. For a majority of Americans, some form of welfare check arrives every month, there aren’t that many of us who eschew all government help because we believe we are personally responsible for taking care of ourselves and our families.  Personally, if I qualified for any government program that I hadn’t paid in for, and I don’t mean paid taxes, I mean paid specifically for, such as Social Security, I would never sign up for that program, no matter how hard things got.  I would be embarrassed.  There isn’t any such thing as shame in this country anymore.

3. From 2009 through 2013, the U.S. government spent a whopping 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs.

That is utterly absurd.  Compared to other programs that are more important, including transportation, NASA and education, the United States government spends almost 5x as much on welfare programs than those others put together.  What’s worse, many of these social programs are so utterly fragmented, food stamps, for instance, are just one of 15 federal programs that feed the poor and this doesn’t include state-based food programs that may overlap federal efforts.  It is impossible, with so many fingers in the pie, to oversee the absurd waste in these programs.  We know we’re throwing away money, the government isn’t interested in cleaning up it’s own mess.

4. The percentage of the U.S. population that gets money from the federal government grew by an astounding 62 percent between 1988 and 2011.

More than 42% of Americans receive some sort of government check each and every month, an increase of 62% over the 24 year period between 1988 and 2011.  In fact, it is suspected that these numbers are actually conservative, that many more people may suck on the government teat.  Some say that the Census Bureau Current Population Survey is “well known to undercount those receiving Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, State Children’s Health Insurance, higher-education support, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.”

5. According to an analysis of U.S. government numbers conducted by Terrence P. Jeffrey, there are 86 million full-time private sector workers in the United States paying taxes to support the government, and nearly 148 million Americans that are receiving benefits from the government each month.

This is just a failure of the system.  It is mathematically impossible for 86 million people to support 148 million people, fully or partially while fully supporting themselves as well.  More than 103 million people work full time in the United States.  Of those, 33,212,000 work for the government in some capacity or another.  That means that nearly 1/3 of all people employed full time in America are effectively being paid out of tax money.  They do not produce any saleable products or provide any saleable services.  They are all leeches on the American taxpayer.  Certainly, we need some of them, but 1/3 of all workers?  Seriously?

6. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare.

It would be bad enough if we counted Social Security or Medicare, but we’re not.  We’re talking about means-tested welfare programs.  That is over 1/3 of all Americans that have their hands out to the government and it’s still climbing.  Since Obama got into office, the numbers have skyrocketed and this has nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis, Obama and his party simply want to  buy votes by handing out money to those most likely to check “Democrat” on election day.

7. Currently, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States.  By 2050, that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million.  Supporting all of those senior citizens is going to be extraordinarily expensive.

But there isn’t really anything that can be done about it without resorting to Soylent Green.  The problem here is threefold. First, people are living much longer than they were before and that dramatically increases costs on an already overburdened system.  Certainly, there’s nothing that can be done about this. Secondly, politicians have stolen from Social Security for so many years, leaving the system gutted, even though they knew that the Baby Boomers would be reaching old age and would require much more funding to cover than earlier generations.  This ought to be criminal neglect, but the government cannot and will not ever replace those funds.  Third, however, is the unfortunate fact that so many people have failed to plan for their own retirement, they expect Social Security to cover their costs and that’s not what it was ever intended to do.  Social Security was meant  to be a safety net, not a panacea.

8. Right now, more than 64 million Americans are receiving Social Security benefits.

Now I don’t necessarily have a problem with that because Social Security is, by and large, paid for by the people who receive it. Where this does become an issue are people who have never paid much, if anything into the system, yet are getting out of the system.  That’s an entitlement and I am opposed to entitlements.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen plenty of people who can get doctors to claim that they are permanently disabled so they get a check for the rest of their lives without so much as lifting a finger. A lot of these people are perfectly able-bodied, they work under the table in addition to taking tax money.  Fraud in the social security system is rampant, yet nobody wants to actually do anything about it.

9. Right now, more than 54 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.

Now I’m not going to say that people ought to be thrown out into the street because they cannot afford insurance, I think that a very basic system where anyone can get low-cost medical treatment for the poorest Americans is fine.  It’s good for public health and safety, it keeps the poor from being breeding vectors for disease.  It’s good for everyone.  However, that money has to come from somewhere and at the moment, there isn’t enough tax money going into the government to cover the amount of money coming out.  Add to that the unmitigated disaster that is Obamacare and you’ve got a massive problem on your hands.

10. Right now, more than 70 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid.

The same goes here.  More than 22% of the American population is enrolled in Medicaid.  While the latest mass increase was in response to the 2008 economic downturn, as the economy recovered, things haven’t slowed.  Financial responsibility anyone?

11. The number of Americans enrolled in the Social Security disability program now exceeds the entire population of the state of Virginia.

The disability program is horribly corrupt.  As people reached their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, they just found doctors who would certify them as disabled so they can get on another kind of government handout.  The sad part is that a lot of people are receiving government disability for being obese, yet there is no requirement by the government that they do anything at all to lose weight.  There are people out there who know exactly how much they have to weigh to keep getting that check and make sure they don’t drop below that threshold.

12. If the number of Americans on Social Security disability were gathered into a separate state, it would be the 8th largest state in the entire country.

I really don’t know how much more there is to say here.  There are people who absolutely deserve disability benefits because they are legitimately disabled.  There are a ton more than absolutely do not.  In 1968, there were 1.2 million Americans on disability.  Today, it’s nearing 5 million.  Are we really supposed to think that 3.8 million more people have become disabled in the past 45 years?  Seriously?

13. In 1968, there were 51 full-time workers for every American on disability.  Today, there are just 13 full-time workers for every American on disability.

Explain that one away, liberals!

14. At this point, the federal government runs about 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.

I hate to feel like I’m blaming the liberals because frankly, the neo-cons aren’t any better.  They’re just spending money on corporate welfare, which I oppose too.    It’s all about buying loyalty, not at all about being fiscally responsible.

15. The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 46 million today.

It’s really sad, I remember not more than a couple of years ago, commercials run by the California welfare people on the radio, telling everyone, even if you had money to buy food, to get on the state-run food stamp program.  It actually said that, even if you can afford to buy food, get on the program and get a card.  I’m sure California isn’t alone, they know that the federal government will send them money if they get people to sign up.  This is your government, people.

16. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

Well sure, liberals don’t really care if women work.  It’s funny that so many of them push for empowered women, then try to sign them up for social welfare programs.

17. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

I’m sure this has increased in the past year or two since these studies were done too.  The majority of these people are not starving, it’s just more money from the government that they don’t have to spend.

18. Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

What’s worse, of the 247 countries and dependencies around the world, only 26 of them have a population greater than the number of Americans on food stamps.  How long until it’s only 25?  Or 24? Or 12?

19. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

The costs are absurdly high, in 2011, SNAP cost American taxpayers more than $72 billion, more than twice what SNAP cost in 2007.  That’s more than the majority of states have for their entire annual budget!

20. According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.

In 2010, 36% of immigrant households were on at least one major form of welfare, compared to 23% of non-immigrant households.  They tend to lag behind native households in virtually all metrics.  This isn’t being racist, it’s being realistic. I’m not saying that immigrants are stupid or lazy or anything else, just pointing out that the data supports the proposition that there’s a problem.  Immigrants, an estimated 28% of which are here illegally, are a drain on our welfare system, a welfare system that is already dramatically overtaxed.  Can this be fixed?  I don’t know.  For those who come here legally to find a better life, I certainly hope so. For those who just want free education and government handouts, who are working under the table and sending money back to whatever country they came from, those are people we just don’t need.

21. Most Americans are not earning enough to support themselves and their families without government help anymore.  The following are some statistics about wages in the U.S. from a Social Security Administration report that was recently released

It’s a sad fact that so many people live in poverty but it’s not the fault of the wealthy, it’s the fault of the poor.  Instead of having a bell shape for our economy, it’s a slope going down.  There are more poor people than there are in the middle class.  I don’t know how to solve this one, it has happened largely since the 1960s when liberal society started to run rampant and it shows no sign of stopping.  If you go back to the 1960s, the average median income was rising year after year.  Today, it is falling. I can’t tell you why, I’ll leave that to the economists, but something has to be done because soon, there will be nobody left that isn’t in the federal government’s pocket.

These are statistics that should scare every American out there, particularly those Americans who understand the writing on the wall.  We simply cannot continue to borrow and spend money on people who refuse to be responsible for their own lives. We cannot allow our politicians to continue to buy votes and not be held responsible for their actions.  We may already be at a point of no return, where we will never be able to pay off our debts and never be able to force people to get off their asses and get  back to work.  America was made great by hard work and innovation.  Today, we have welfare and most things are made overseas.  If you can’t see the correlation, something is wrong with you.

Driving While Black

DWBIt gets so sad talking to some of these liberals who are convinced that everyone is out to get them and this is true no more than with very liberal blacks who are convinced the police are all racists, waiting to do them harm.  I ran into someone I haven’t seen for a long, long time online and while we’ve never been more than passing acquaintances, this pretty much demonstrates why. It wasn’t more than a couple of minutes into the reunion than he started complaining that police keep harassing him because he’s black.  He kept complaining about “driving while black”, that police will pull him over for no reason other than he’s a black man driving a car.

Now I’ve heard these stories before but never really had anyone that I could really question about their experiences so I asked him to tell me about a couple of instances.  First, he told me that he was pulled over by a white cop “for no reason at all” and started to assert that it must have been because he was black.  I asked him what happened, did the officer say anything about his skin color, did he make any disparaging remarks or anything else that could be directly attributed to him being a racist?  Nope, he just knew that it was a racist thing and the cop gave him a ticket for speeding.  Wait a minute… speeding?  So he didn’t pull him over for no reason at all, he pulled him over because he was speeding!  Oh no, that must have been just an excuse, it was all about race!

The second incident, he was pulled over by another white officer and again, no racist language, no threats or anything negative but it just had to be racial in nature.  Oh, and he had a broken tail light that the cop warned him to fix.  No ticket, just a warning and the cop drove on.  But somehow, this is all harassment because this guy was breaking the law and driving with a broken tail light.

Now I’m not going to say that there aren’t legitimate instances where people are pulled over because of their skin color and those cases ought to be decried.  However, let’s be honest, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, even though that seems to go through the minds of liberals on a constant basis.  It has to be racist because that’s the first thing they think of in just about every situation.  Or sexist, some of them go that way automatically too.  Yes, if the cop pulls you over and starts saying some racist crap, you’ve got a legitimate beef.  Unless that’s the case though, unless you have some actual evidence that it was a racist move, let’s stop whining and just do what you’re supposed to be doing.

Payday Loans and Liberal Irrationality

Payday-LoansI know I have to speak very, very, very slowly for the liberals, they don’t actually understand reality well, as comes up a lot in discussions.  This time out, I had a liberal who was complaining that payday loans are horrible for the poor and need to be stopped, especially because they charge over 300% interest.

Except they don’t.  What’s really at play here are people playing number games and others who are gullible enough to believe them.  None of these idiots knows what’s really going on, nor, I suspect, do they care.  It’s just part of the absurd liberal mission to save people from their own stupidity, all the while hurting people in the process.

So how do I know any of this?  A long time ago, I helped a friend of a friend set up one of these payday loan/check cashing franchises, in fact, I was in his store on 9/11, listening to it on the radio.  Before anyone tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about, I invite them to eat shit and die.

What is a payday loan?  Let’s do some history.  Long, long ago, banks used to do low-value, high-interest, no-collateral loans to people but the risk was absurdly high, most never got paid back and the banks stopped doing it because it was a losing proposition. However, just because the banks stopped doing it, that doesn’t mean that the need for the service went away, there were still tons of people who had no credit, no collateral, who wanted money to make it to their next paycheck.  Where there is a desire, there will be a supplier.  That’s how capitalism works.

The whole idea is that someone comes into the store and borrows some money, at what was 15% interest, for no more than 2 weeks, whenever they get their next paycheck.  They leave a check for the full amount plus interest, then they come back, repay the amount of the check and get their check back.  If they don’t return, the store owner deposits their check. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The problem for the store owner is that most of these people are unreliable.  Gee, you don’t say!  Their checks bounce. They run. They hide. They lie.  A certain percentage are there just to scam the store, they have fraudulent phone numbers for their references, jobs and landlords and that’s only been made easier with the modern reliance on cell phones.  They’ll write a check on an account which can be verified, then close the account and off they go with a couple hundred dollars of easy money.

That kind of unreliability makes such customers massive risks.  Store owners do everything in their power to do their due diligence and verify information, but a sizeable number of loans default and run away and need to be hunted down, sued and collected upon at significant cost.  It’s not a business model for the faint of heart.

Okay, that understood, where is the problem?  The liberal asshats are claiming, entirely wrongly, that these industries are charging 300% interest in fees, which is a complete and total lie and an absolute distortion of the facts.  They base this upon the idea that a lot of people can’t repay their loans after 14 days, surprise surprise, because these people are financially irresponsible in the first place, so they “roll over” their loans to give themselves an additional 14 days to come up with the money.  Now I will be the first one to admit that I oppose this, but you have to look at it from the standpoint of the business owner.  This idiot that you gave money to has no money to give back.  You can’t get blood from a turnip.  The only real option is to give them an extension and write another agreement.  Oh sure, they can deposit the check, let it bounce, incur penalties for both the business owner and the customer, that still doesn’t get you any money back in your account.  So the customer hands you the 15% fee, writes a whole new check, gets no more money in return and has another 14 days.  On the store’s books, it looks like they paid their account in full, then took out another loan because, in reality, that’s exactly what happened.  A customer who does this for an entire year doesn’t have one transaction, they have 26 transactions.  This is where it gets important.

The idiot liberals refuse to acknowledge that this is 26 separate transactions, they insist it’s really one transaction where there is 15% interest charged every other week.  This is complete and total and utter bullshit and wholly indefensible.  Nowhere in the contracts that are signed is any term longer than 14 days spelled out.  These are legally binding contracts, they spell out the terms and conditions under which the money is loaned and the requirements for repaying it on time.  That doesn’t work for the dishonest liberals so they spin a whole line of horse shit, complete with fiddly numbers that don’t match the reality, because they’ve got an agenda to defend.

But what happens if they win, if these payday advance places go out of business?  The poor are still going to want that money, that’s why the stores appeared in the first place.  The poor aren’t going to get any more responsible with their money.  But the liberals really don’t want the money coming from private enterprise, they want it coming from the government.  This is just another move to get more tax money handed out to the poor, who won’t have to pay any of it back.  That’s the real agenda here.

We just can’t trust liberals farther than we can throw them.  They don’t care about the truth, only about appealing to emotion. They like to cast payday loan stores and pawn shops as predatory, when they don’t drag anyone through their doors that doesn’t want to be there.  Oh wait, liberalism wants to protect the stupid from themselves, I forgot.  They don’t want anyone to actually have to take personal responsibility for their own finances.  Papa government has to do everything for them.

Is it any reason I hate the liberals and their idiotic agenda so much?

The Problems with School Vouchers

School-Choice1

Libertarians tend to push a school voucher solution to the problems of education but very few of them have bothered to think it through.  I think it’s because there’s a very fundamental problem in libertarian thinking.  What they’re really saying is “give me mine, fuck you.”  They’re only thinking of the individual in the equation, catering to what they consider the best and brightest and most  deserving of special treatment.  While I can sympathize with that view to a certain extent, we cannot limit ourselves to just the individual.  Humans  are a social species, there has to be a middle view which values both individual and societal responsibility.  That’s something you don’t really hear about very often.

Unfortunately, there are some very serious problems with the libertarian view.  I suppose it’s not too surprising, given their individual-centric position, but we have to deal with the whole of reality, not just the parts they want to acknowledge.  In education, we can’t just ignore the problems that are difficult to solve, we have to address them all.

The general idea is that we provide vouchers for all students so that parents can move their children to “better” schools and give them a better chance.  On paper, that sounds good but it ignores the very realities of modern schools.

There are parents who don’t care about the education of their children, as is very common in low-income ghetto areas, and are the least likely to move their kids to “better” schools.  Those are the children who most need to benefit from such a system, but least likely to actually do so.  Parents who don’t care raise children who don’t care.  Parents who were raised not to value education are going to raise their children not to value education.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Even if they did move their kids to a “better” school, they wouldn’t perform any better because the kids still don’t give a damn.  Their parents still aren’t making sure the kids are learning or doing their homework.  It isn’t a matter of better educators, you can do nothing if the students don’t want to learn.  What this really amounts to is educational segregation.  It gives the opportunity for people who already have an educational advantage, a home that values the concept of education and entirely ignores the rest to rot at the bottom of the educational pool.  Of course, those who do not get the benefit of an education are much more likely to end up in minimum wage dead-end jobs, in prison and on the public dole.  They’re also more likely to have unwanted pregnancies, adding even more to the welfare rolls.  By specifically ignoring these people, you’re just causing more of a social problem down the road.  As I said, it’s a vicious cycle and the libertarians would rather ignore it than deal with it because it’s not an easy problem to handle.

Besides, the math just doesn’t work.  Their plan essentially says that school competition is going to make bad schools better because they have to compete for students.  If there are 1000 kids in a district, just to keep the numbers simple, and 1000 spots for students at the schools, then there will be a mad rush for the “best” schools, but as that fills in, kids will have to settle for worse and worse schools all the way down.  Eventually, all of the students will fill all of the slots and no schools, no matter how bad, will close because they have all of their spaces filled.  So much for market forces!

So how do we actually solve the problem?  The parents who don’t care aren’t going to suddenly care because they now have options.  They’re not going to care because they’ve been raised not to care.  They have no impetus to care.  They lose nothing if their kids fail and gain nothing if their kids succeed.  Ultimately, they have no horse in the educational race.  They really do better for themselves, in our self-centered liberal society, by not giving a damn about their kids.  There’s no effort involved to just leave your kids to their own devices.  There’s no actual parenting involved.  Most of these kids don’t have parents either, they just have sperm and egg donors, for whom parenthood is just an unforeseen consequence of a night of passion.  This is a major problem in the ghettos, and I’ll get flack for saying so of course, but parenthood often isn’t an end in and of itself, but as a means to keep a man or to get money from the government.  I’m not saying there are no good parents in the hood, only that most of them don’t understand good parenting because they didn’t have it themselves.  Therefore, we need to gently nudge them in the right direction and, unfortunately, the only real way to do that is to hit them where they live, in their government subsidies.  We need to tie their benefits at least partially to the performance of their school-age children.  Some have suggested we give a bonus for kids that do well in school, I don’t think we should give a bonus, at least not solely, we ought to take money away for kids that are failing.  This is going to encourage parents to get on their kids to do their homework and learn.  It is in their financial best interest to do so.  I’m actually fine with a bonus for exemplary performance, maybe give them $50 extra every quarter for each A the student brings home.  Of course, this relies on the schools not just handing out A’s to help their students, it has to be honestly earned.  The parents ought to lose money for every class the student is failing and anyone who drops out of school and doesn’t get a GED ought to lose any government money the child is receiving at all.  You stay in school or you test out, just dropping out is entirely unacceptable and the parents become targets for the social workers to make sure that the kids are still being taken care of at an acceptable level.  It enforces responsibility on everyone involved and that’s one thing these people desperately need to learn is responsibility.  Some people, particularly bleeding heart liberals, might claim I’m being unnecessarily harsh on the poor.  No, I’m not.  First off, nobody ever said life was fair, but secondly, if you’re not pulling your own weight in society, then you need to change.  It isn’t society’s job to lower their standards, it’s their job to hold everyone accountable to the standards already in place.  Yeah, responsibility isn’t something liberals understand, or that a lot of libertarians give a damn about, but that’s why our society is so screwed up today.

And I know that none of this is easy.  Nothing worthwhile ever is.  Simply throwing vouchers at people and trying to segregate the educational pool isn’t going to solve any problems, it’s just going to widen the gulf.  It will make things worse, not better.  It will cost more money in the long run, not less.  It’s going to make a multi-tiered society, between the care and the care-nots. That’s really what a lot of the liberals want.  I thought a bit better of the libertarians.  I probably shouldn’t have.

Is Religion Good or Bad For Humanity?

EffectsA little while ago, Jerry Coyne, over on the Why Evolution is True Blog, asked if religion is good or bad for humanity.  He asked two specific questions and wanted empirical answers.  I figured it was easier to get into a lengthy answer to his questions here, especially since I don’t think this is an empirical question at all, it relies on subjective determinations and hence, is a philosophical question that needs to be answered philosophically.

So on to his two questions, which I’m sure are going to take an entirely left turn at Albuquerque from what he intended.

1. How do you support your claim that religion is on the whole a bad thing for humanity? NOTE: This is an empirical question and requires empirical data for an answer, not gut feelings or anecdotes. 

The problem is, this isn’t an empirical question because none of the terms are agreed upon.  Whose definitions do we use?  How do we define what is good or what is bad for humanity?  The things that I or Jerry Coyne or lots of atheists might argue are good for humanity, fundamentalist religious zealots might argue are bad.  The things that we might say are horrible, such as flying airplanes into the Twin Towers, might be the highest virtue to extremist Muslims. As someone pointed out in the comments on WEiT, there is a near constant stream of Christians who conspire to blow up the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem so that the Jews can rebuild the Temple and bring about the end of the world.  Unfortunately, the majority of these crazy Christians are American.  How can you hope to find common ground with people who believe the highest positive is to cause Armageddon?   You’ll never find a definition that everyone agrees on for “good”, “bad” or “what’s best for humanity”.  Therefore, this becomes a philosophical question and entirely subjective and therefore, empiricism goes right out the window.  Everything that we can say is based on our own subjective positions that we can try to defend rationally but which can never be proven empirically.

Clearly, I don’t think religion is good on the whole for humanity, I want to see it go away and I think humans will be better off without it.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some positives that come along with religion, but none of those positives are inherent to religion, all of them can be achieved secularly as well.  I also find that some of the things deemed positive for religion actually are not.  Prayer and similar pointless gestures that provide the illusion of comfort are not positives.  They cater to what I view as an irrational human weakness.  That many people have that weakness is not sufficient reason to cater to it, instead we need to work to reduce or eliminate it.  I’ve made the case in the past with my “stupid people are stupid” argument that just because there are stupid people out there, people who are ignorant of the world around them and who have no interest in finding out the truth, that doesn’t make stupidity and ignorance acceptable.  Unfortunately, that becomes a strength for many theists and accommodationists, that some people “need” prayer because they are, in reality, pathetic losers who cannot deal with the world as it actually is, therefore they “need” to talk to an imaginary friend in the sky to get through the day. Well, no, what they really “need” is to get over it and grow the hell up.  We do no favors to coddle people who have not matured sufficiently.  It does humanity no good to lower the standards to the lowest conceivable denominator.  We need to raise our standards and expect those that fall below to come up, not expect everyone else to reduce our barometer as far as we possibly can.  There just isn’t anything that I would deem “good” that comes out of religion that we couldn’t do as well or better from an entirely secular standpoint.

However, all of the bad things that come out of religion, the discrimination, the hatred, the irrational restrictions and violence that are so commonplace among the world’s religions, those are things that should be entirely unacceptable in any civilized society.  Yet to many in the religious world, these bad things are seen as positives.  Honor killing, stoning, female genital mutilation and murdering the infidels are seen as the highest calling in some parts of the Muslim world.  The fact that we’re having any debate at all about marriage equality, gender equality and racial equality comes directly from religion. There is no rational defense for any of these views from a secular perspective.  Religion, although it isn’t the only culprit, promotes bad thinking, it encourages accepting ideas without rational reason, without defensible evidence and rejects critical thinking and intellectual evaluation of one’s positions.  We also know that the more religious one is, the more likely they are to accept other irrational woo ideas uncritically.  Belief in ghosts and other supernatural nonsense is much more strongly prevalent among the religious than among the nones.

Therefore, I have to say that religion is a net negative for humanity.  The positives don’t require religion but the negatives do.  That’s not to say that every religious person is an animal but most people who claim to subscribe to religion aren’t that serious about it in the first place. They just practice religion socially or for emotional reasons, they don’t really buy into it and live as though they really pay attention.  Watered down religion is really one small step to secularism anyhow.  Might as well take that last step.

2. If religion were really shown to have net beneficial effects, regardless of its truth, should we promote it, even as atheists? Should we evince “belief in belief”, as Dan Dennett calls it?

As I’ve already said, I don’t think that religion has any net beneficial effects that require religion to exist and even if it did, I don’t think we ought to promote falsehood for any reason.  Truth is it’s own reward.  Even if religion could be shown to be positive, we should still reject it because it isn’t factually true.  The end does not justify the means.  We would no more accept racism if it brought about some undefined benefit, we would no more accept sexism if something within it could be argued to be good, why then would we accept religion, just because it helps some people who have clearly not given any other method a shot?  I don’t want people to believe in belief.  I want them to critically analyze the evidence and come to a conclusion based on logic, reason and demonstrable fact.  “Belief” and “faith” are nonsensical words in this sense, they do not denote accepting positions on good, rational evidence, but on weak, emotional desires.  That doesn’t impress me at all, even when the crazy accommodationists make the plea that these people are too pathetic to stand on their own two feet. Well maybe if you’d stop handing them crutches, they’d give it a shot.

I don’t want to limit this to atheists because unfortunately, some atheists are just as irrational as many theists, but for all rational thinkers and people for whom truth actually matters and fact is more important than feeling, we simply cannot promote convenient lies because they are more comforting than uncomfortable truths.  I don’t care about comfort, at least not when it comes to reality.  Reality is what it is, accepting reality as it is, that’s part of the basic maturation process.  I don’t care if you’re unhappy that your dog died, I don’t care that you’d feel better thinking that some imaginary man in the  sky is going to get back at those bullies who insulted you.  Your comfort means nothing in the larger scheme of things. You need to get it through your head that some sky-daddy isn’t going to make your life better, that rests solely on you and the people that surround you.  The sooner you get off your knees and onto your feet, the sooner  you recognize that nobody is going to come and save  you and it’s your own responsibility, the better off the whole planet will be.

So there’s my answer, Jerry.  I know you’ll never see it but it is what it is.

Liberals Don’t Get Responsibility

StupidLiberalsGeez, liberals are stupid.  Or maybe I just get saddled with the really clueless ones, I don’t know.  In any case, in a recent discussion about income inequality, a whole horde of liberals wandered in from the rain to declare that everyone ought to make the same amount of money because, you know, equality and all. In fact, this one woman kept insisting that she deserved more money at work because she wanted it.  I asked her how much money she makes for her employers and she said she had no idea, nor did she care, just wanting more was enough and they ought to give her whatever she wants, whether she’s worth it or not.

These people are idiots.

It’s an unfortunate reality that the people who want “equality” really don’t get how the real world works.  The woman I mentioned above could give no reason why she deserved more money, she just wanted it and her desire should be enough to warrant it.  She doesn’t get and doesn’t  care that a business is in business to make money, not to make her happy.  If she doesn’t like how much she’s making, she can either make herself a more valuable employee and get a raise or go elsewhere and find some other company willing to pay her the wage she seeks.  But try to explain that to her, she freaks out.

It’s hard to understand where the disconnect comes in, why these people don’t get that worth is earned, not simply imagined.  The same goes with “equality”, which isn’t earned, it’s just granted.  The employees of Walmart in several states have announced a “strike” over Black Friday because they don’t want to work on Thanksgiving, they want more money, more time off and more “respect”.  Then they shouldn’t be working retail, should they?  That’s part of the retail model.  Black Friday is often the busiest single day of the entire year and that’s been extended back to Thanksgiving.  It is required that the vast majority of people work that way, it isn’t a secret, it isn’t a surprise, people who work retail know that going in. It’s part of the job.  So why do these people complain?  Because they want the benefits of a job without the potential downsides.  They want the good without the bad.  Sorry, doesn’t work that way.  I hope those people get fired.  There are always more people willing to do the job.  Unfortunately, even if they do get fired, we have a system that will just pick them up and keep paying them even if they’re unwilling to work.

Liberals just don’t get responsibility.

Being Right All The Time

i-am-rightIt’s a very common human foible, but lots of people have the psychological need to be right all the time, to defend their views to the death, even if those views are factually wrong, simply because their ego will not permit them to admit that they were actually mistaken.  I think this is very commonplace among evangelical and fundamentalist theists, they hold that their beliefs can never be wrong and, when shown that what they believe is actually false, instead of changing their views, they will double down on the false beliefs because their egos will not allow them to be wrong.

I’ve been suggesting this to theists for a while now, especially those who completely ignore any and all evidence that their beliefs are factually incorrect, and I had one of them come back and accuse me of the same thing.  I want to be right all the time.  Well yes, but not in the same way.  See, they’re going to cling to a belief, right or wrong, because it is the belief that they are emotionally attached to.  I, on the other hand, if I find that a belief is wrong, I will reject that belief and go find another that is better supported by the evidence.  As such, I do want to be right, I simply go find better beliefs if I find weaknesses in the ones I hold.  That’s an entirely different thing than the religious do.  My beliefs are fluid, they can be changed if they are found to be faulty.  Religious beliefs are rigid, they can never be changed for any reason, even if revealed to be wrong.  I suppose in some sense, we both want to be right all the time, I just want to be actually right, they just want to present the illusion of rightness.

So what is best?  I think clearly the ability to change your mind on the issues as new information becomes available is best, but the religious seem oblivious to that.  They believe they have the eternal Word of God that can never change, it must always be exactly the same because otherwise, it weakens their religious beliefs.  Therefore, they cannot ever modify their beliefs for any reason, it reveals a flaw in their God if they do.  I have no gods to keep happy.  I just go where the evidence leads.  It makes for a superior position.

So if anyone tells you that you’re trying to be right all the time, explain it to them in small words how your position is vastly superior to theirs and why.  We all ought to strive to be right, not by defending untenable positions, but by continually following the changing information landscape and planting our flag on those ideas that are best supported at the time.

This is Going to Come Off Racist

Radio TowerI am well aware that this post is going to come off racist to some but it’s a serious question that I think ought to be addressed.  The talk radio station that I listen to, the one I’ve talked about a lot in the past, is a supposedly conservative talk station.  Most of its hosts are very conservative, although virtually none are particularly religious.  I’m actually surprised at how critical the majority of them are of religion and how readily most of them are to say they aren’t religious.  Most of the hosts are white, although there are several Hispanic hosts and two black hosts, all of which can be verified by going to their web site and looking at the host pages.  It’s the black hosts that I want to talk about right now though.

Before I begin, I’ve started to pay attention to how all of the hosts that I  hear, and granted I hear some a lot more often than others, based on when I happen to be in the car, talk about race, particularly their own.  I have yet to hear any of the white hosts spend any appreciable time talking about “being white”.  I have yet to hear any of the Hispanic hosts talk about “being Hispanic”.  I have, however, heard constant references by the two black hosts about “being black”.  It seems to be a major part of their schtick.  Last night, for instance, one was on and spent the entire time I listened, probably close to an hour, talking about “how black people think”.  Isn’t that kind of racist, in and of itself, asserting that all people with a particular range of melanin in their skin all have to think the same way?  So far as I’m aware, I’ve never heard a white host talking about how white people think, I’ve never heard a Hispanic host talking about how Hispanic people think and, even though I don’t know that I’ve ever heard an Asian radio host, I can’t imagine them spending valuable air time talking about how Asian people think.  It’s an absurd concept, why did this particular host think that all black people think alike?  It immediately strikes me as the old canard that you can’t tell black people apart.  That’s just racist.

And these hosts didn’t grow up in the hood, they were both, based on what they’ve said on the air, college educated and raised in at least middle class households.  So why do they spend all their time playing the race card?  What is it about a lot of black personalities that makes them automatically identify with skin color?  Personally, I just don’t get it.

Unfortunately, just noticing such things is enough to get you cast as a racist.  I guess pointing out the facts, especially when they are inconvenient facts, is enough to get you demonized.  My crime, according to some, is just noticing, just like realizing that feminists, who are supposedly for a gender-neutral society, spend all of their time pointing out how different men and women are.  But no, point that out and you’re a sexist!  They want you to do as they say, not as they do.  The fact is, when someone tries to group people together by the color of their skin, they are being racist.  It’s absurd to think that all black people think a certain way, just as it is to think the same of white people.  People are people.  People’s choices, positions and beliefs ought not be determined by their skin color and if they are, that’s really a problem.  I don’t go running around identifying myself by my skin color but there are a lot of people who do and no matter how they try to justify it, they’re still wrong.  It’s still racist.  Identifying race as a defining factor is, by definition, racist.  Oh, I know, blacks can’t  be racist, had another person tell me that today, because blacks have no power.  Tell that to our black president.

I just get so sick of the hypocrisy, where blacks and feminists and other liberal crusaders think that the rules don’t apply to them, they get to be racist and sexist and then they get to shout down anyone who points out their failures as being racists and sexists.  Can’t we all just stop paying attention to skin color and gender and just live together in harmony?  Hell no, that’s how these people make their living!

And that’s a shame.

Disabilities Don’t Make You Special

LPA_BODI walked into a store today and immediately, it was clear there was a problem.  There was some crazed lady at the front counter demanding a refund, quite loudly, for a product that she didn’t have a receipt for, even though the policy was clearly stated, no refunds without receipts.  Now sure, this is probably pretty  common in stores across America, there are lots of self-entitled idiots who think that the rules don’t apply to them, but this one was special and not necessarily in a short bus way.  Her excuse for not having her receipt was that she had a disabled child.  Yeah, I know, what the hell does that have to do with anything, right? How does your offspring’s disability have anything to do with your ability to hold on to a sales receipt?  But that was her excuse and she was screaming at the clerk that her disabled child somehow entitled her to ignore the rules and get her money back because I guess disabled kid trumps personal responsibility.

You know, people are born with disabilities all the time.  Disabilities, as far as I’m concerned, is something to be dealt with and worked with, not to be taken advantage of.  You didn’t see Helen Keller bitching about wanting special treatment because she was blind and deaf.  Yeah, I know she couldn’t talk either but that’s beside the point.  This lady didn’t even have a kid with her, she could have been making the whole thing up for all anyone knew, but what difference does it make?  There’s nothing wrong with her, is there?  Well, I guess you could make the case that extreme self-importance is a form of mental retardation, but you know what I mean.

I actually get to complain about this because, as a lot of people know, I have a disabled daughter, she was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. She’s short, although at the top end of the scale for dwarfs.  She has some physical difficulties and she’s been teased her entire life because of her small size. But have I allowed her to use that as an excuse? Hell no.  She deals with it.  She has been pushed to accept, understand and deal with her difficulties. That’s what responsible people do.

I will be honest that when she was born, we looked at the official dwarf organization, Little People of America. While I don’t want to criticize the whole organization, we found that many of the members were, by and large, really obnoxious, especially the parents of dwarf children.  The ability for these people to delude themselves was amazing.  If you got onto some of the forums and just watched people talk, these weren’t people there to try to deal with their children’s handicaps, they weren’t there to learn how to deal with the difficulties, they were people trying to convince themselves that their kids were special, that somehow, dwarf children were better than kids who were regular sized.  There were literally people who were saying “my kid is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, isn’t that great?”  No.  You’re an idiot.  Unfortunately they are idiots in good company.  There is a difference between accepting something as a fact of life and reveling in it.  These people have taken something they feel guilty over and turned it into something they now celebrate.  What a bunch of morons.

Now I’m all in favor of making the lives of people with legitimate disabilities easier, I’m cool with making reasonable accommodations for wheelchairs and the like.  While, by and large, we live in a world where a certain range of physical ability is considered normal, I see no reason to punish people who fall outside of that range if it doesn’t cause undue restrictions on most people.  However, that doesn’t mean we have to pretend that people who fall outside of that range don’t have issues to deal with, nor that those issues are, at their core, their own problems.  People need to find a way to live in a “normal” world with “non-normal” restrictions.  It isn’t the world’s responsibility to reconfigure the world so these people are never inconvenienced.  Short people and tall people have to live together.  Fat people and thin people have to live together.  People who are disabled and people who are not have to live together.  It’s not about fault, it’s about facts.  That’s the way the world works.  In my daughter’s case, she has no right to demand that everything come down to her level, she has to find a way to go up to everyone else’s level.  We’ve never gone around lowering all the cabinets in the house to her level, we’ve provided her various steps to come up to the level she’ll need to deal with in the real world.  She handles her disability and she doesn’t complain about it.  Maybe some other parents need to learn to do the same and not use their child’s supposed disabilities as an excuse for getting special treatment.

How About Not Driving Drunk?

drunk-drivingThere’s a radio commercial that I hear on almost a daily basis for a shyster legal firm that claims to be able to get just about anyone off of drunk driving charges.  Their tagline is “friends don’t let friends plead guilty”.  How about “friends don’t let friends drive drunk?”  I wrote about this a couple of years ago, I have no idea if it’s the same lawyers or not, but it’s really pissing me off.

The whole thing is a prime example of what’s wrong with our increasingly liberalized society.  Nothing is ever your fault, point the blame somewhere else, if  you get caught, find someone who can get you out of it, etc.  In fact, there’s another commercial on the same station that advertises “if you haven’t paid your taxes in years and your wages are garnished…”  Well genius, how about you just pay your damn taxes like everyone else?  These people are their own worst enemies.

But of course, nobody will ever admit that.  Nobody is ever to blame for their own problems.  It’s not your fault and even if it is your fault, just hire some fat cat lawyer and they’ll make your problems go away!

Whatever happened to responsibility in this country?  It’s become a bad word.  People are supposed to be penalized for doing things wrong, that’s their impetus to stop doing things wrong again in the future! You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, but today, nobody ever makes any mistakes, they just want to get away with it scot free!  That’s why consequences for one’s actions are so important, they are a learning tool that keeps someone from making the same mistakes over and over and over again.  We don’t have that anymore.  We now let people get off without blinking an eye.  When it comes time to do that same action again, instead of thinking “holy crap, I don’t want to go through that again”, we’re conditioning people to say “what the heck, they got me off last time, they can do it again!”

That’s really where our society has gone wrong, we’ve stopped holding people accountable for their actions.  People can hire lawyers to get them off of a charge, even if they’re guilty.  They can plea deal.  They can make excuses.  None of which has anything to do with actually being responsible for your actions and that’s what we need.  The message we need to be sending is not “go ahead and drive drunk, we can get you off”, it’s “don’t drive drunk in the first place”.

It’s no wonder our planet is going to hell in a handbasket.

Liberal Irresponsibility and the Poor

lincoln-lincoln-welfare-political-poster-1272242819In a recent discussion, I found that, once again, liberals are crazy.  The discussion started out with a claim that kids from wealthy families are much more likely to succeed than kids from poor families but it quickly devolved into a liberal whine session about how the poor are so downtrodden and deserve lots of government money because, well, they’re poor.  Now keep in mind, when I describe these people as liberal, that’s what they self-identify as, I’m not just applying a label derogatorily, this is what they call themselves.  I just wanted to make that clear.

So myself and a number of other conservatives started pointing out, as we’ve done many times in the past, that it is the actions of the poor, by and large, which place them in such detrimental conditions.  They generally breed like rabbits out of wedlock.  Their children generally do poorly in school and drop out before graduation.  They generally get involved in things like drugs and gangs.  They generally end up in prison.  They generally do not work and if they do work, they remain in low-paying positions instead of being promoted.  This is why they are poor, because they generally make  bad decisions in their lives which lead to bad outcomes and this goes on generation after generation because very few of them ever catch the clue that they’re doing something wrong. Conservatives point out, quite correctly, that if we’d just help these people to improve their detrimental behaviors, we wouldn’t have to keep sending them government checks because, over time, they could dig their way out of poverty through hard work and personal responsibility.

But the liberals don’t want to hear that at all.  In fact, I realized something after reading a lot of liberal diatribe on the subject.  The liberals never mention the poor at all when it comes to a “solution”.  They aren’t willing to address the actions of the poor at all, or even suggest that they have any part whatsoever in their “salvation”.  They only have one idea and that’s for the wealthy to give more money to the poor.  Money, money, money, it plays like a broken record.  Gimme gimme gimme!  But giving money to the poor doesn’t actually solve the problem, it just makes it more palatable to liberals who want those poor votes. They don’t want the poor to become successful or they’ll lose the votes when it turns out that the conservative method actually works to pull them up out of poverty.  The same is true of racism and sexism and all of the other things that liberals pretend to be against.  They’re not so against them that they want them to end, that would be costly at the polling place!  So they just talk about it and throw around other people’s money, while carefully doing nothing to upset the status quo.  They can’t have that, can they?

What needs to happen is that we have to teach the poor how to stop being poor.  We need to tell them the one real truth that has been denied to them by the liberals, that their culture has ruined their chances for success and the liberals have lied to them for decades.  We need to teach them how to stop breeding more than they can afford and if that means that they have no kids at all, so be it.  Life isn’t fair.  Get over it.  We need to make them stay in school and get an education, even if it isn’t the same education that they might get in a better neighborhood, it is still better than no education at all.  We need to get them off drugs and out of gangs and tell them to stay out of prison.  We need to teach them a work ethic, to get to work on time, go above and beyond expectations and get promoted.  Sitting in the same low-paying job for years on end should be an embarrassment.  If you can’t improve, there’s something wrong with you! Keep improving and as you do, you can have better things in life, you can afford to have more kids if you want, you can afford to have the big screen TVs and the fancy cars, you have to earn them first, not just whine that you don’t have them before you earn them.  It’s not rocket science but liberals still hate it because it places any of the blame at all on the poor.  Sorry, the majority of the blame needs to be placed on the poor.  They need to start learning how to live life for success, not with their hands out for a government check.

But will the liberals ever accept that?  Of course not, it might cost them votes.

Indians Throwing Tantrums

redskinsA tribal chief has issued a “fatwa” against FedEx as a sponsor of the Washington Redskins, asking all tribal members not to use FedEx until the owners of the Redskins change their name.  “Until the name of the NFL team is changed to something less inflammatory and insulting, I direct all employees to refrain from using FedEx when there is an alternative available,” Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear said in an open letter.  Well let me say something to you, Chief Standing Bear.  Fuck off, you whiny prick.

Alright, first off, if you don’t like the name, don’t watch the team.  You have no right not to be offended. It isn’t like the team is named “Fuck the Osage” or anything like that.  Grow up.

Secondly, I doubt that the Osage Nation spends enough money on FedEx to make a bit of a difference. There are less than 15,000 reported members of the nation, how many of them actually use FedEx regularly? It’s a boycott with no balls.  It means nothing.

And finally, and this is the one that I’ll catch the most guff for, I’m sure, I really have no respect for the American Indians anyhow.  It’s a failed culture, people.  Well, it’s a lot of failed cultures, but we’re only talking about the Osage here.  Time to get your ass off the reservation and join the 21st century.

Now I’m not trying to be insulting here but let’s be honest.  Cultures, like nations, are either successful or failures.  They compete against other nearby cultures for dominance.  The various and sundry Native American cultures all failed in that competition.  Other cultures that were technologically and philosophically superior came along and kicked their ass. I’m not going to get into the treatment of Native Americans because I’ll be the first to say it’s been pretty bad, but the fact remains that they were all stuck on various and sundry reservations, generally given the shaft and the world moved on without them.  The smartest among them left those reservations behind, moved to the big cities and made something of themselves.  It’s the ones who remained behind and danced around the campfire and didn’t take advantage of the education and other things that the superior culture provided who had problems.  These Native American cultures simply have not produced anything of any real worth to the world.  None of them are technological powerhouses, they are not financial leaders, business centers or anything else.  They haven’t shown that they have any real value to the planet at large.  To me, that’s a sure sign of a failed culture.  At the very least, it’s an irrelevant one.  Whether or not these Native Americans are proud of that culture or not, objectively it really has no worth to the world.

So let’s stop pretending that not offending people is a valuable thing.  There is no right not to be offended.  If the Osage Nation, or any other Native American group, were a significant portion of the population, such that they represented a large voting or financial bloc, maybe they could get things changed, but it’s estimated that there are only 5.2 million self-identified Native or Eskimo peoples left in North America, lots of them don’t live in the United States and I’m sure that most just don’t care.  The overwhelming majority of them are just Americans of Native ancestry.   They follow no Native traditions, don’t observe Native religions and care about their heritage about as much as I care about mine, that is to say not at all.

It’s time to move on and join the modern world and let Native American culture fade into the morass of failed cultures that have no real meaning to the modern planet.  Let’s stop living in the past.  We’ll never make a better future that way.

Domestic Abuse and Sports

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell And GE Chairman Jeffery Immelt Discuss "Head Health Challenge"Now I’ll be the first one to say I don’t give a damn about sports.  I don’t watch sports, I pay no attention to the teams, the players or anything else involved in any professional sport on the planet.  I consider them all vastly overpaid prima donnas.  Screw sports stars.  However, the recent move for professional sports teams to start banning players who are involved in domestic abuse cases strikes me as a bit bizarre.

Now that’s not to say I support domestic abuse, I most certainly do not, but these cases are criminal offenses, not “jobsite” offenses.  Not one of those players abused their partners or children during a game or on the field.  They just didn’t.  All of these offenses took place on the player’s free time and as such, it isn’t the place of their employers to punish them, it is the job of the criminal justice system to do so and I’m firmly convinced that each and every one of these wife-beating monsters ought to be behind bars.

No, the owners of the NFL teams really don’t give a damn about the women who get abused, they only care about people coming through the turnstiles and since, as I’ve recently heard, nearly 45% of football fans are women, they’re trying desperately to appeal to that demographic.  They don’t give a shit about domestic abuse, they want your dollars!  Bad publicity for their players translates to bad publicity for the teams and for the sports themselves and that costs them money.  They’re just trying to placate their fans when they get pissed off at the off-field antics of these idiot players.

But it makes me wonder where the line is for such activities.  Even if we get away from domestic abuse, what happens when a sports team decides they want to be against drunk driving?  Do they suspend all players who have gotten into a car above the legal limit?  Or how about something not even illegal, what if they decide that their fans are anti-smoking?  Do they fire all players caught with a cigarette in their mouth?  Where does it end?  And even if we get away from sports, what if your employer decides they want to control what you do in your life, outside of work?  Can they?  If you work at Chik-fil-A, can they get on your Facebook page and find out that you’re not a Christian and fire you for it?  Or if you work for Budweiser, can they fire you because they find a picture of you online holding a Heineken?  Where does your off-work time become off-limits for your employer?

Personally, I think the NFL should have just issued a statement decrying domestic abuse and offered any and all help to the authorities in prosecuting these players who are found guilty.  It’s a criminal matter, leave it at that.  If you want to fire these players once they are actually convicted in a court of law, fine.  After all, they have a contract to play and they can’t do that from behind bars, they’ve violated their own contract in that case, no harm, no foul.  But to do it proactively, before they are convicted, before they have even seen the inside of a courtroom, just because they want to placate the fans, I’m wholly against that.  Leave the law to the legal system.  Don’t pretend to pass judgement on people until they are proven guilty, just because you want to keep the flow of money coming in.  If I had any respect for the NFL before, which I didn’t, it’s gone now.

Americans Don’t Understand Ebola

ebolaIn a recent survey, 58% of Americans say they favor halting any and all air travel between West Africa and the United States to stop the possibility of ebola coming to America.  Something tells me they haven’t thought through this very well, which is hardly a surprise.  The fact is, they wouldn’t have to stop just direct travel between West Africa and America, they’d have to stop any and all air travel into the United States altogether.  I guess nobody bothered to think it through that people can go from Africa to Europe and then on to America, or Africa to Asia and then on to America.  In fact, with a 21-day window before symptoms start to show, you can go pretty much anywhere on the planet and then to America and still carry the disease.

But it isn’t even that simple.  I’ve heard people suggest that we don’t allow anyone who has been in Africa in a month into the United States, but what about those who have come into contact with someone who was in Africa and might carry ebola unknowingly?  All it takes is some contact with someone else’s fresh bodily fluids and you can be a carrier.  So how do we figure out who might have come into contact with a potential carrier?  Who might have bumped into someone in the supermarket?  Who might have been sneezed on.  Who might have kissed someone who was an unwitting carrier themselves?  How do we control for that?  The answer, of course, is that we can’t.  Therefore, the only way to be sure is to completely seal off the United States from any and all travellers so long as the ebola plague is a problem.  That’s not just air travel, that’s all travellers, regardless of where they come from, regardless of who they are or how they get here.  It means sealing our borders entirely.  We can’t even do that with our border with Mexico, I have no idea how we hope to do it nationwide.

This just proves that 58% of Americans aren’t that bright.  It doesn’t take an advanced medical degree to know how absurd such a suggestion actually is.  We might lessen our chances by stopping direct travel from West Africa but we won’t stop it entirely.  It will get in eventually.  We have to actually cure it and that’s something that’s proven difficult for a long time.  We can’t pretend that we can protect ourselves with any degree of absolute certainty, sooner or later it will reach our shores and will start to infect the general public.  It’s inevitable, it’s just a matter of time.

People need to look for better solutions than these ridiculous pie-in-the-sky, wholly unrealistic ideas that they come up with.  That’s not how basic virology works and people need to stop being so ignorant.

Opinions Are Not Offensive

Heavily TattooedI recently had a guy run up to me at work, proud of his new tattoo and wanted to know my opinion.  Okay, I’ve said this before, I don’t like tattoos.  At all. I don’t think they look good on anyone and I find them ridiculous and childish and the current desire for people to cover their skin in permanent ink is idiotic, at least in my opinion.  So I told the guy as much, very nicely, that I wasn’t the one to come to for an opinion on his tattoo and he got offended that I didn’t gush all over him and tell him how cool it was.

What he was seeking wasn’t really an opinion but validation.  He wanted to be made to feel good about something and went to someone who doesn’t think it’s a good thing.  Oh sure, he can do whatever he wants to his body, it’s his right, but I don’t have to tell him it was a good thing or that I like it.  Company policy states that no visible tattoos are to be showing and I have a couple of people who have to suffer with long-sleeve shirts all year long because they decided to tat themselves up.  I don’t care about that, I care if they can do their jobs and, by and large, they are a great group of people.  But you know, if you come and ask me what I think about something, I’m going to tell you. It might be diplomatically, but I’m going to tell you.  If you don’t want to know, don’t ask.

We live in a society where people want validation for their actions and they get genuinely upset when someone tells them that they don’t think they did the right thing.  Now I didn’t tell this guy that I thought he was stupid or immature or anything else because he got a tattoo… okay, to be fair, *ANOTHER* tattoo. I just said I wasn’t the one to ask about such things.  He got upset, momentarily at least, because I didn’t immediately gratify his desire to be accepted and admired for his actions.  He got over it pretty quickly, I’m sure he sought out other tattoo-enthusiasts in the office and they made him feel better, but it strikes me as pretty silly that things worked out like that in the first place.  People need to stop asking for opinions when what they really want is approval.  They need to realize that asking someone’s honest impression probably won’t get them to lie to you.  You either want honesty or you do not.  If you want honesty, getting offended at that honesty seems rather absurd.

But I guess that’s what happens when the liberals are in charge.

Dealing With the Real Problem

ronald-mcdonald-96There’s a lot of talk about raising the minimum wage and giving the lowest-income workers a “living wage”, yet nobody ever  bothers to deal with the actual reality of the situation and that is, these people simply do not deserve to make more because they’re just not worth more to their employers.  With the call for $15 an hour for fast-food workers, for instance, McDonalds is now looking into automating their cashiers and terminating a large portion of their minimum-wage workforce.  These people just aren’t worth it for McDonalds, and likely most other fast-food establishments.  But the problem here isn’t McDonalds, it’s the low-wage workers themselves.

This is something I’ve said many times in the past, but minimum-wage jobs are not supposed to be a living wage.  They’re just not.  Yet this is the problem that nobody wants to talk about.  You have people who are simply not qualified for any decent paying job, who have little to no education, who have virtually no job skills, who will go through their entire lives never earning more than minimum wage because they have no ambition, or let’s be honest, brains, and are trying to raise a family and live on their own on these wages.  In short, these are people who are fundamentally personally irresponsible that the American taxpayer is paying to live in a manner they simply haven’t earned the right to and instead of recognizing this simple fact, they get mad at McDonalds for not paying these irresponsible people more.

Seriously?

This is what 40 years of liberalism has wrought in the United States.  We’ve spent so many years with our heads buried in the sand, pretending that everyone just deserves things for bothering to wake up in the morning that now, we’ve run into some serious systemic problems that have no easy solutions and the liberals would rather just keep ignoring it.  There’s only so long that you can ignore the issues before you have to meet them head on.  There is an underclass in this country, but it isn’t an underclass that is being kept down, it’s an underclass that has poisoned itself and done everything it can to keep itself down.  Now, we have this underclass that is firmly ensconced in society because we’ve allowed it to be and there isn’t an easy solution.  Our ridiculously liberal society refuses to simply place the blame where it belongs, on people who have dropped out of school, gotten involved in drugs and gangs, had kids out of wedlock that they couldn’t afford, etc.  We blame the employers who are trying to make a profit.  That’s stupid.  Now, these employers are fighting back, and rightfully so, and these low-wage workers won’t be able to get a job anywhere.  Then what do we do?

Oh yeah, we punish the people who actually got an education, worked hard and earned a decent living, we steal their money to give to the poor who did none of these things.  It’s apparently the liberal American way.  It’s why this country is on the fast track to third-world status.