Friday, April 28, 2006

Abortion and overpopulation--and back again

There might be some errors in the following, becuase I typed it out pretty quickly. In it, I'm responding to another post on a message board for a class. The parts in quotes aren't my view.

"who are you to control a women's body, moreover who is the state to do such?"

By saying that a women can't have an abortion, no one is "controlling their body." Certain drugs are illegal--is that controlling someone's body? Murder is illegal--is that controlling someone's body?

As to the question "who are you..." I'd say the answer is: a member of a representative democracy in which the state is granted a monopoly of the use of force in order to carry out laws created with the consent of the governed. Or some such. Point being: we live in a society where laws can be created to restrict certain actions. This is not peculiar to the abortion issue.

"If it is because it is killing then you have given that argument away and moreover there are thousands killed everyday in this world from hunger and poverty why would bringing a child into this world be good especially when they are not guaranteed a family and state care is less than desirable."

Personally, I consider it a net-positive that I was brought into this world, despite the fact that I lack cradle to grave government teat to latch on to.

The world is not overpopulated--not by a long shot. Hunger and povery are a problem, sure. But my being born did not exacerbate this problem. If you find it comforting, neither did your birth. Breathe easier.

Or, since I am well fed, are you just saying that it would be better if people in third world countries had never been born? Save them the suffering?

But, the fact that they are born is not the problem. Corrupt political regimes, anti-free market sentiments, dysfunctional institutions which debase property rights and so inhibit the manifestation of human creativity--these are to blame for hunger and poverty.

Abortion isn't a palliative on world hunger. Getting rid of people in order to solve world hunger is solving the wrong problem.

In fact, humans are not a drag on Earth's resources. Humans ARE a resource, the most valuable of all resources--and not in a metaphorical sense, either. We are actually resources. Human ingenuity, human creativity, human will--these have created civilization. The more humans there are to add their minds to this amazing noosphere we've created--and are continually renewing and recreating--the better. Humanity is not a parasitic tapeworm, enervating mother earth, stretching through her bowels, wallowing in filth; humanity is that by which Mother Earth claims her maternal status. Humanity is not a tragedy.

There are many reasons to illegalize abortion. But, as I take it, that wasn't the central thrust of Chris's post. His point was that attacking the motives of pro-life activists is a bad way to argue.

I wholeheartedly agree.

Feminists, at least from the arguments presented here, seem to avoid actually answering arguments, and instead try to discredit the bearer of that view. That this is a logical fallacy does not need to be pointed out. That it's effect on contemporary discourse is poisonous, sadly, does.

As I said, there are many reasons to illegalize abortion. I'll give here, only one. Feminists argue that the patriarchal family sends a message of subjugation to women. They say that when women make less money a message of inferiority is sent. They say that when women act as housewives a message of submission is sent. Women, it seems, have an amazing capacity to absorb these messages and be formed in very real ways by them.

And yet, when the most helpless elements of our human society are twisted and torn apart by steel forceps and drained from the body like so much organic waste, no message is sent. None. It is but a silent scream.

A brief word on words

A delightful exchange from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass:
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'

I don't know much about the technical aspects of the philosophy of language. I don't have any substantive philosophical commitments here, either. I take interest only as a writer. And I say, as a writer, that Humpty Dumpty is absolutely correct.

Words don't have objective meaning. I'm a language relativist, you might say--the meanings that words have are given to them by their user. Words are balloons that we inflate with meaning. Through conversation, we imbue the otherwise meaningless medium of "words" with our intentions. Language, meaningful discourse, is depedent on humans, not indepedent. There is no meaning in nature; there is no meaning in words in nature.

Intention--that's key. What we intend words to mean is what words mean. Words hold no sway over us. Words, themselves, are meaningless.

We are the masters.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

First in a series of increasingly unpleasant conversations with Microsoft Word

Me: Oh, uh, I, uh, think you're mistaken here. You seem to have marked "theirselves" as, uh, not being a word.

Word: What?

Me: "Theirselves"--you have it underlined with a squiggly red line. Right there.

Word: Yeah? S'what?

Me: Well, the squiggly line, its...its just ghastly. There it is in all of its accusing redness, just sitting there judging me with its judgmental redness. Like its so perfect.

I know how to write, I really do, and that thing--that ghastly red thing--just sits like some damned glowering raven perched on its infernal perch, shrieking "Notaword! Notaword!" The line, its an obstinately beating heart, pump-pumping that accusing red through that accusing range of tiny bloody mountains.

That red line, its a jagged fissure in my consciousness, is all, which venting, diabolical fissure I can see through to the depths of hell.

Word: ...

Me: So?

Word: Oh no, do continue, you looked like you were enjoying yourself there. Of course, I fail to see how a mountain range can be "accusing"--but I'm just a computer program, so maybe I don't understand your creative, human metaphors. You know me, beep beep boop, blinking-red-light, and all.

And the Poe references? Could they be any more obtuse? But, again, I'm just a string of one's and zeros. What do I know? Not like I have all those enlightened, complex "emotions" you gooey, jello-bodied humans are always going on about. Quick question: So what's it like to constantly eat and defecate, eat and defecate? Do you ever feel a tad oppressed by the futility of it all?

Oh, and beep beep boop.

Me: I hate you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"That's like comparing apples and oranges!"

The fruitist subtext in this metaphor is absolutely overbearing.

I dream of a society where fruit is not compared on the basis of the color of its skin--or even the texture of its rind--but on the oh-so-sweet flavor of its deliciously juicy innards.

Just like with people--it's a holdover from the days of racism and white supremacy to think you can tell how a person tastes just by color of their skin.

Two abortion hypotheticals

Hypothetical 1: Given the increasing ability of medical science to save babies born more and more prematurely, what will it mean when "babies" (scare quotes used in the name of fairness to my INFANTICIDAL friends) are able to be "born" (DITTO) directly after they have been "concieved" (POSSIBLY UNNECESSARY, HERE).

Could abortion be outlawed on the grounds that a just-as-simple operation is available which won't involve the killing of the baby/fetus/OVARIAN-AGGRESSOR, but could raise the b/f/O-A outside the body? Or would religious elements object to the "unnatural" raising of a b/f/O-A outside of a biological mother?

----------

Hypothetical 2: What if babies were injected into male hosts by females through the use of some sort of hypodermic, hollow spine—possibly attached to a whip-like appendage—with the babies then slowly devouring the male incubator from the inside out in order to acquire the necessary amount of protein to constitute their own exoskeletons?

Would feminists then seek to have abortion banned so that their scuttling brood might be safe in it's fleshy food chamber? Would randy frat boys be less likely to hook up randomly at parties for fear that their "Spring Break Body" would be endangered by the destroying pinchers of a thousand whatever-lings?
I think it should be obvious by now that whenever Grant uses the word “postmodern” he is merely trying to express the inchoate, stammering, yet altogether impotent, rage he feels at the fact that some might have the upstart temerity to disagree with him

Shut up blog. Shut. Up.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A rambling, disjointed response to my critics, wherein the line between sarcasm and sincerity dissolves and I fail to establish a coherent thesis

Lisa, in a reasonable tone, with well modulated vocal inflections:

“What means should be used? More people notice protests than read letters to the editor. More politicians will respond to a mass of people outside their office than will react to a series of respectful letters.”

Me *twitch,* *twitch,* *SNAP!*:

STORM THE BASTILLE WITH LIKE-MINDED, PITCHFORK WIELDING COMPATRIOTS, THAT'S THE MEANS TO USE! Reason? BAH! That’s so blasé. It’s elitist of you to demand reasoned argument from the ignorant. Reason is the last refuge of scoundrels. Why, the unreasonable deserve to have their unreasoned demands fulfilled to! This is a democracy--nay, this is a mobocracy—passion, yes, whim, yes, desire, yes, reason, BEEEEEEP. Numbers count, and fervency, but not reason.

Reason won’t take you nowhere. Who’s convinced by reason anymore, anyways? What we need is the democratic will to power! Truth is just the will of the majority; or the perceived majority—enter protest, stage left. With protests we can create the illusion of the shadow of truth--and that's good enough for us!

“But what about Truth?” a voice somewhere in the back calls out, distantly, nervously.

What was that? Did you just say Truth? No way--you really did! And with a capital “T” and all? Hogwash! Bumplegumps! And how quaint, too! Dusting off Truth and taking it out of its velvet-roped exhibit at the Grand Smithsonian of Intellectual Artifacts! Be careful with that, son, you wield anachronism there! A hearty club it seems, but a club in an age of quantum-laser hyper-bazookas. Sure it feels solid in your hands, but, nowadays, take that thing out in the open and it’ll dissolve before your eyes, *poof!* drifting away, a million motes of truth-dust dispersed upward into the sky by the convecting currents of postmodern thought—pleasant against your skin, enveloping your body, tickling the hairs on the back of your neck, and always, always in constant motion, a breezy breeze.

Arguments? Nah. Arguments require Truth at the end of the labyrinth to guide us through its mazy corridors. There is no Truth! The exit to the labyrinth is bricked off! The mice have been sent in there to die.

It’s numbers, baby. That’s what we need. Create a spectacle. Create consciousness. TAKE BACK THE NIGHT! If we can only get enough people to believe the same thing, why, that’s just as good as Truth! Truth is in the eye of the beholder—so if we can get enough beholders, then, BEHOLD, Truth!

“A letter to the editor.” A letter to the editor! Ha! That sounds like the sarcastic punch-line to the modern democratic experience! “…and then the voter said *pause for effect* ‘Why, I think I’ll write a letter to the editor!’” BwaHAHAHA! "Letter"..."Editor"...Oh, my sides, they hurt!

We need change now, or we need change yesternow. No time for reasoned discourse to percolate through the public consciousness and change minds by dint of rationality. The Bastille, up ahead! Light your torches! The greatest injustice is when the greatest can’t define justice, by whim. The laws, if we change them, get them on our side, why, the people will have to agree with us. I’d like to see Truth hold that kind of influence--or reason, or argument, or *pause* “letters to the editor!” Stop, stop, you're killing me!

Embrace us, State—WE NEED YOUR MONKEY LOVE!

----

So, in conclusion, protestors are generally unattractive and friendless, with a mildewy funk about them. Coffee, when ingested in large amounts, has a low- to moderate- hallucinogenic effect on the human physiology.
The post wherein, judging the sub-par caliber of my enemies, I realize I can cease sleeping with a loaded shotgun clutched in my ever-ready hands, thus drastically reducing my chances of accidental death whle simultaneously extending the "Rapid Eye Movement" phase of my sleep cycle dramatically, leading to an overall increase in quality of life

I just realized that I’m glad to live in an age where Dan Brown is considered one of the greatest threats to the church.

Dan.

Brown.

Now, don't get me wrong, I consider hack-prose to be a leading cause of civilizational decline just as much as the next Joe-six-pack, but... Dan Brown?

I mean, it's not even worth bundling the logs for a heretic burning with that guy. Give me a Galileo, give me a Copernicus, whatever, and I swear, I'll bring the marshmallows. But Dan Brown? Puh. I spit on him. Or, rather, I would, if I thought he was worth the exercise of facial-muscles and the waste of precious ounces of mouth rejuvenator.

Mmmm.... mouth rejuvenator....

A prognostication of DOOM

In the year 2070, hats will wear PEOPLE.


Update!:
That's right, I used the word prognostication--I went THERE.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I now declare victory over Iran...

Just give it, oh, about a year or two, and then, like the bile-y spider venom it is, it'll digest them from the inside out.

Richard Rorty--top secret commando and American patriot!

Friday, April 21, 2006

R comes after Q in the alphabet?

Now that is messed up.

And the grasshoppers continue...

In this post, expressing my disgust at the pro-immigration protests, I noted in the comments that my dislike was partly "aesthetic" and "elitist." I think this should suffice to make my point, although, unfortunately, it makes it a little too well.

Reasoned discourse? Personally, I'm left speechless. Utterly, completely, dry-heavingly speechless.

Oh, and, from the comments as well, this is now my new mission statement/motto:

*puff* *puff* Ahhhhhh... Take that, idealism.

You know what's cool?

Depth perception. Seriously, go ahead and try it. It’s like a 3-D movie, starring yourself.

Far out, man.

It's like television broke free from its 2-dimensional glass prison, burrowed deep into my brain while glutting itself on my grey matter, laid a clumpy mass of forty million reality television-larvae, and then entered a pupael stage within the cocoon-confines of my now hollowed-out skull, amidst its quickly hatching kin. Far. Out.

Update: Patent pending, by the way.

I think I'll purchase a mansion on the moon with my perilously high piles of cash. Or maybe I'll just build it myself, directly out of cash. But don't worry, the grotesque amount of wealth I'm bound to make here won't change me.

No, what will change me is the hangers-on and sycophants that will attach themselves to me like starving lampreys on the underside of an insanely wealthy manatee. I may start a cult, actually, kind of a laid back one with minimal castration and drugging of fruit drinks. Y'know, like the Young Democrats got here on campus--something cozy-like.

"Depth Perception--the ultimate reality TV!" Indeed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Humor in the actual

The political science department sent out a mass email to everyone on the listserv about the upcoming "Take Back the Night" March against violence toward females. Anyways, no social commentary here. I just found this couple of lines extremely humorous:
There will be a keynote address by Patricia Traxler, a female poet from Salina. Then a few local slam poets will get us ready to march.

I dunno, did it do anything for you? Like how they had to mention she was a female poet? Relevant how? And how many guys are named Patricia Traxler? Very few I would conjecture.

And what's a slam poet? Is the mental image of a poet getting "us ready to march" by "slamming" not humorous? I would paint the mental picture of a slam poet for you, but it's better that we each indulge our own conception, I think, in this case.

Slam poets. Heh. And not national slam poets, traversing the countryside to slam their poetry to the adulation of millions. No. These are local slam poets, the dregs of slam poetry, one would imagine, unable to take their slam to the next level. They aspire to national slammetry, it is possible, but have found employ only as march leaders for crowds of feminists. And, lets face it, it's not like its very hard to get them to march in the first place.

And the email also stipulates: "For further questions do not contact the Political Science Office" Our hands are clean of this, they say, take your drum circle queries elsewhere.

[Disclaimer: I have no idea what an actual Take Back the Night march is like. But it conjures up images of deranged feminists in throwback '60's attire, for me--and such mental dispositions are enough to find "Humor in the actual." I render no judgment as to their actual content or desirability. But, c'mon, slam poets?]

A Haiku-Riposte to Materialism

Is my brain really
just a gooshy computer
I can take swimming?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Title: "A mini-Portrait of My Life" ; Medium: Anomie ; Year: 2006

Sometimes, when I'm saving stuff onto a disk in the library, I pretend that I'm a top-secret spy stealithily filching secrets from a government installation. I furtively glance side to side and nervously tap the desk.

"C'mon...c'mon...hurry up," I whisper under my breath. And then, snapping the disk from the drive, I hug against the walls and make my escape.

And then I die a little on the inside.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Communing with the past

This passage from Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (surely one of the greatest works of the English language, not to mention the philosophical manual for conservatism) sums up my feelings on protestors, whether pro-immigration, anti-war, or whatever the cause célèbre happens to be:
Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number, or that, after all, they are other than the little, shrivelled, meager, hopping, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour.

Those pro-immigration protestors have managed to change my position on immigration. I used to be completely open borders, from a free market, pro-globalization perspective. But the importunate chink of those insects of the hour have swayed me. I now oppose open borders.

A brief note on protests in general: remember, protests are a sign of marginalization, a sign that a cause is failing. People don't protest when their opinion is held by the majority. They protest that their little, shrivelled, meager, hopping, though loud and troublesome, cause might be artificially inflated by the mainstream media and given the postmodern twist from rhetoric to reality.

I despise protests.

Evolution and Intelligent Design: An Attempted Synthesis

Okay, now the details still need to be worked out, but just hear me out.

Newly discovered fossil records show beyond a reasonable doubt that teaching Intelligent design has nothing to do with fossil records, doubt, or reasonability. It's a political question, see? And, being a political question, it deserves a political answer; a compromise that enrages both sides and ensures decades of future conflict while simultaneously distoring all political processes by its undue emotional gravitation (*cough* Roe v. Wade *cough*).

Therefore, in the name of mutually unsatisfactory compromise: We were intelligently designed by a group of omnipotent monkeys.

Perfect. It contains all the degradation of humanity implicit in evolution, with a dash of the doctrinaire obstinancy for which we've come to know and love organized religion.

Happy? You better be--unsettled vibes anger the Deichimp.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Henceforth,

1 million shall be known as "the seven-digited unicorn of fabled yore."

What? Why do you fear change?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So,

it seems that, on facebook (an internet community for College students), there's a group called "German People Rule."

I'll just let the sink in for a few seconds. Let it oxidize a bit. Seep down to the roots. Deep cleaning, now.

Okay.

"German People Rule."

Well.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Does anyone else have this problem?

Not the itching redness, but the inability to articulate a cyclone of ideas?

Like, say you're talking to someone about a subject that you have thought a lot about and that is relatively complex. You have an idea you want to convey. But.

But the idea has qualifications. And ramifications. Implications. Not to mention presuppositions. And these also need to be conveyed.

The idea is a complex organic whole. To convey it accurately and cogently means to delve deep into ideas from the natural sciences, philosophy and history. Illustrative examples, helpful reformulations, and pithy summaries are also necessary parts so that not only the thought is conveyed, but also the understanding thereof.

But when you (and by you, I mean I) try to explain the idea to someone, every idea in the cyclone of ideas hits the fan at once, and it comes out something like "Burggle-spgagaklRRK!"

Being excited and interested about the problem only makes it worse. People NEED to know this idea, or so you (I) think, and so you must explain it. But its like trying to juggle fully filled cups of coffee. Ideas splash everywhere, examples end up dripping from the ceiling, and your poor interlocutor ends up scalded by a barrage of seemingly unrelated premises and conclusions.

Solution? How do you explain to someone that silence is the answer without disproving that silence is the answer? "-------------"

Now everyone shut up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fantastoriffic!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Leave the prose to the pros

It's amusing because the words sound the same. Get it?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why I love Kant

"First of all, let me point out that by synthesis of apprehension I mean that assembly of the manifold in an empirical intuition whereby perception, i.e., empirical consciousness of the intuition (as appearance), becomes possible."


Oh...oh that's what you meant! Thanks for the helpful note, dude. Continue.

update: After mulling it over, I understand what he's getting at, but now I forget my middle name. This education stuff is hard.

Not to be disputatious,

but where do baby storks come from? That's something they just don't tell you in high school biology. Frickin' puritans.

"Awhile" is one word?

Genius! Whoever made the English language deserves a delicious, delicious Mountain Dew slushy.

update!:
Which, remember when we used to mix all the slushy flavors together down at the ol' Stop-2-Shop, creating the vaunted "Suicide"? ...Only to realize that all slushy flavors taste essentially the same, a realization that was the was the first touchy step down the disenchanting slip-n-slide to our present, American Eagle clad, anti-perspirant coated state?

Yeah, me neither. Collars up, people. Collars up.

Friday, April 07, 2006

If a tree falls on a postmodernist in the forest, does the forest exist?

Leo Strauss, in his classic book "Natural Right and History," answers the relativists and postmodernists who hold that a profusion of different moralities throughout history disproves the notion of an objective morality:
Some of the greatest natural right teachers have argued that, precisely if natural right is rational, its discovery presupposes the cultivation of reason, and therefore natural right will not be known universally: one ought not even to expect any real knowledge of natural right among savages. In other words, by proving that there is no principle of justice that has not been denied somewhere or at some time, one has not yet proved that any given denial was justified or reasonable. [emphasis added]

That's right, he called 'em savages. Y'know, that's what you call people who's morality includes human sacrifice, cannibalism, and a host of other crazy rituals. Just because some group of people believed they were right in doing things that we would think contrary to morality does not prove that they were justified in this belief. Obviously, if a people live a life steeped in ritualism, superstition and ignorance, skittering naked across the savannahs/plains/forests/jungles/etc, it's not like they've developed the body of philosophical thought necessary to undergo a thorough examination of their views from the perspective of universal human rationality.

When a postmodernists and diversiphiles say that since not all cultures have Western-type liberal democratic values then these values must therefore not be objectively right or of potential universality, they are engaging in the logical fallacy of assuming that since people believe different things there must not be one among the various different beliefs that is right.

Believing this doesn't make these people "intellectuals," it doesn't make them subtle, nuanced thinkers, it doesn't mean they possess a sophistication lacking in us cretins that believe in objective right and wrong--it simply means they're idiots (apologies for the brusque choice of words, but I think I'm entitled to at least two raw, personal insults per blog post--consider both of them expended, dumbass).

Postmodernists believe that they have a privileged vantage point in history, that, since anthropology has shown them so many morally diverse cultures, they alone amongst all the philosophers throughout time, now realize that values are historically contingent. They don't think previous philosophers, say Socrates, knew about such profusion of values, and so naively believed in a universal human nature and in universal reason. But Strauss easily deflates this arrogant notion:
Furthermore, it has always been known that different notions of justice obtain at different times and in different nations. It is absurd to claim that the discovery of a still greater number of such notions by modern students has in any way affected the fundamental issue. Above all, knowledge of the indefinitely large variety of notions of right and wrong is so far from being incompatible with the idea of natural right that it is the essential condition for the emergence of that idea: realization of the variety of notions of right is the incentive for the quest for natural right.

The smug relativism of self-proclaimed intellectuals has always bothered me. They wear their intellectual vanity proudly, as if it were a suit of armor capable of deflecting "ignorant" views of universal right based on human nature. But such vanity is not the product of thought or rational consideration of all competing views. Rather, it is a surrender, a throwing up of the hands, a descent into a sort of nihilism at the prospect of actually having to judge between the legitimacy of so many different views. I mean, wouldn't that hurt someone's feelings? Can't we all just be right? Or, better yet, none of us? Best just to retreat into unquestioned socialist utilitarianism and grab-yer-ankles multiculturalist tolerance.

Okay, I need three. Morons.

Monday, April 03, 2006

But at least it's improving diversity, right?

In Anthony Cordesman's "Terrorism, Asymmetric Warfare, and Weapons of Mass Destruction," he includes this in an excerpt from testimony made before a Senate committee:
The activities of American cells of Hizbollah, Hamas, and al Gama'at al-Islamiyya generally revolve around fund-raising and low-level intelligence gathering. In addition, there are still significant numbers of Iranian students attending United States universities and technical institutions. A significant number of these students are hardcore members of the pro-Iranian student organization known as the Anjoman Islamie, which is comprised almost exclusively of fanatical, anti-American, Iranian Shiite Muslims. The Iranian government relies heavily on these students studying in the United States for low-level intelligence and technical expertise. However, the Anjoman Islamie also represents a significant resource base on which the government of Iran can draw to maintain the capability to mount operations against the United States, if it so decides.

Egads man, does this mean that Iran knows about my secret plan?

Anti-social? Nah, I just prefer non-sociality

Ah, there's nothing like finding out that, all this time, you've been the member of an oppressed minority. I'd call for solidarity and such, but I think our chances of meeting up and getting organized are rather slim.

"Introverts, Unite"? Y'know, I think I'd rather go sit quietly.

update: Yeah, I haven't been posting much. So, what's it to you? STOP OPPRESSING ME!