Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Trap Of Culture

Culture is basically a construct. Other than artifacts and artwork that a culture may , It exists only in the human mind. And much of culture is both arbitrary and often oppressive.
It is only by questioning the norms of one’s culture that freedom can ultimately be gained. For a culture to be eroded or changed opens the door to new opportunities for freedom and evolution.
As the old saying goes "a blind consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". And the littlest minds never question or challenge anything.
To be sure, culture can give a person a sense of identity and some components of a culture can help assure survival. But, it also become a stifling trap.
The United States has come closest to creating a kind of "anti-culture." America, indeed, was founded on the premise of breaking free from the blind traditions of the past.
This has allowed for great degree of freedom and personal autonomy.
In many traditional societies, every aspect of life is dictated by cultural norms and beliefs. Everything to what is eaten or not, sexual practices, who you can and can’t marry is determined not by the individual but by the "elders" and the rules established over many generations.
To be sure, some of the rules and taboos are in fact nessicary for the well being of society. Unfortunately, many pointless rules are often mixed in with the needed ones.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Illusion of Race..

It should be noted that the genetic differances between the "races" of man are trivial. In my Anthropology class the other day, we were talking about how the American definition of "race" is not universal.
In Brazil, for instance they have over fifty distinct classifications of race! In Brazilian society, people’s "race" is judged on how one looks individually, not on "blood" like we still often do in the US.
And what about "Latinos"? They are after all, of European stock. Yet they are not classified as "white."
Among the "races", in fact, there is tremendous genetic diversity within the each group. Look at any crowd. People In each "race" have a wide variety of diversity in terms of hair color, facial features, and body types.
This makes the idea that one "race" is more intelligent than another all the more ludicrous. Jefferson M. Fish, in the article "Mixed Blood" Decries this idea:
"When examining the origins of IQ scores (or other behaviors) psychologists use the term "heritability"-a statistical concept not based on observations of genes or chromosomes."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Hurricane Of Government Waste

Its amazing how oblivious people can be to reality. More and more people are building houses and businesses on the shoreline of the gulf of Mexico. This is an area very prone to erosion and hurricanes. Yet, millions of people continue to put themselves in harms way.
I big part of the problem is that government backed insurance which lessons the economic risks to developers. This, in the end, is a white elephant. The more the government spends to rebuild, the more development it this area will occur. Then, when the next natural disaster inevitably takes place, the government will have to spend even more money to aid yet another rebuilding.
Many recipients this aid are upper and upper middle class. So much of the government backed insurance is wealthfare.
And development itself can worsen beach erosion and lesson other natural barriers to hurricanes.
And many scientist think that global warming will only increase the frequency of storms like Katrina. This means, of course, that Hurricane damage will be more widespread and the money spent of rebuilding will only increase.
Something has to give eventually..

March Of The Propagandists

March of the Peguins" has been haled by many social conservatives as evidence of God’s plan and affirmation of family values. What they fail to mention, of course, that few Penguins are actually monogamous and fifty percent of baby Penguins die before they reach their first birthday.
Much like some on the far left, they are trying to impose their utopian ideals onto a brutal, often indifferent natural world.
They communists themselves could not have done a better job at pseudoscience and propaganda.

Mother Teresa May Not Have Been So Saintly

There is the argument that Mother Teresa didn’t really want to lift people out of poverty. And, as a fundamentalist, it seems, she didn’t really do much to empower women, either. On top of this, her mission in Calcutta has been accused of neglecting the needy and has provided poor medical care regardless of how much money the mission had received.
Christifer Hitchens argues that "Mother Teresa loved poverty more than she loved the poor." And indeed, her philosophy was that poverty was the key to finding God. In essence, she had little motivation to make anyone else less poor. If she took a vow of poverty, then anyone else in her care had to as well.
All to often, the mask of righteousness hides darker motivations. Was Mother Teresa really such a good person? Or was she really a masochists and control freak? Or was she all of the above? Sometimes the line between good and evil isn’t aways so clear.
Apparently, she didn’t bring people up as much as keep them down. Mother Teresa was more concerned with subjugation than liberation.
In short, she doesn’t really deserve sainthood, nor the blind adulation she still receives in much of the media.
People who are mentally secure and are better educated, they tend, in most cases, to become more skeptical, less religious and more likely to question authority. And people who are paternalistic in their thinking really hate this fact.