Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Freer And Safer World?

You gotta hand it to President Bush. He says he wanted to "transform the world" Well, since he's been in office, A fundamentalist was elected president of Iran, Hamas has taken over Palestine and anti-American leaders are being elected in Latin America.
Yep, a freer and safer world alright...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Brothers In Arms

Its ironic that there should be a conflict between fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Islam. After all, they are very much "brothers in arms." They are both homophobic, patriarchal, anti-science, and would love nothing better than to see non-believers burn. The only differences is that for the Islamists, they will send a Jihad to burn aposolites, In the case of the "Christionists" it is Jesus himself who will return and engage in mass carnage. (As described in last book of the "Left Behind" series.)
In both cases, however, is the almost gleeful embrace of "cleansing the world with fire." As the left of the sixties liked to say "burn baby burn!"
It should be noted that some of histories greatest tyrants were trying to create a "perfect order." The truth is, no utopia can be created without using totalitarian methods. Because no "perfect order" can be achieved if people are free to make up their own minds or do what they wish.
In essence, utopianism and personal freedom are incompatable. And too many people cant get this fact through their thick skull. Human nature is simply too complex and contradictory to be brought under the heel of some "perfect order." And anyone who thinks otherwise simply doesn’t understand the way humans really are.
The universe too doesn’t our best yield so redialy to such fantasies of perfection. It is complex, unpredictable and may not have best interests at heart.
What has made America so successful is its precise balance between utopian ideals and stark realism. The Founding Fathers were indeed some of the best thinkers the world has ever produced.

Sexual Puritanism Tends To Backfire

Extreme conservative views on human sexuality almost always backfires. Moslems, for instance, tends to have some of the most conservative attitude towards sexuality in the world. Yet, they too have a growing AIDS crises.

Drug Free Kids?

Whenever I see a sign for "drug free kids" I have to chuckle a little. I wonder how many of these "drug free" kids are on prozac or ritalin? So, we are telling are youth that drugs are "bad" yet, we are increasingly use drugs to solve all of our problems. This is the ultimate mixed message.
Very few drugs are inherently "good" or "bad". The laws of this country seem to neglect this fact. The issue is often not the drug itself, but rather the dose and frequency of its use.
The native population of the Andes has been using coca leaves and coca tea for centuries with little ill effect. Why? Because the cocaine in the leaves they consume is unrefined and therefore, a much lower does than what you would find on the street.
If our drug policy were truly realistic, we would legalize coca tea but still make powdered cocaine and crack illegal. Of course, some people might take the legal coca leaves and refine themselves. So the government would have to closely regulate the amount individuals can posses.
As the bible says: "all things in moderation."

The Good And Bad Of Religion

People too often look at "faith" as an all or nothing proposition. A non-believer might get inspiration from the spirit or sentiments of a creed without taking it literally. And someone might have a strong belief in God, but not give up all trace of logic or objectivity.
Faith and belief, like all things, is by degree.
Many people go to church just be social, or simply out of ritual or because the people in the community expect them too.
Much of the doctrine and rules of many religions might be quite nonsensical and often illogical. But, that’s aside from point. Even the most contrived and loopy religions give their followers a sense of hope and purpose.
Every culture ever encountered has some kind of belief system. This desire for meaning in purpose may very well be hard-wired into the human brain. Even many non-believers have a belief system of some kind.
Of course, if you put virtually any religion under the microscope, it doesn’t make much sense. But faith isn’t based on logic, its based on emotional needs.
Of course, faith can have a dark side. One only has to look at the Inquisition, the Salem Witch trials and attacks of 9/11 to understand that. But, the good of belief must be weighed against the bad.

Population Growth Overlooked

One important issue which has been put in the back burner is population growth. Part of the problem is the potential racial overtones that this debate can take on. Another complication is that over that of "carrying capacity." What, for instance, is a "reasonable standard of living", exactly? Or what does one define as "sustainable development.."
While some of the dire predictions (such as that depicted in "Soylent Green") havn’t come true,
Eienstein said "you can never predict the outcome." Never before in history have over six billion humans lived on the planet. It is questionable if there will be enough food available in the long term to feed so many, much less a higher population. Something has to give eventually.

Value of Creativity

The lack of creative expression or inspiration can really put a damper on a person’s mind. This is why schools put more emphasis on the arts and music.

Losing Sight of True Evil

In the midst of the so called "culture war" in this country, we to easily lose site of what true "evil" actually is. There are some real monsters in this world, and they are neither liberal nor conservative.
Around the world, all sorts of tyrants engage in genocide, the prostitution of children and unambiguous acts of tyranny. Most on the left and right find these things profoundly immoral.
So, while we debate such things as a bogus "war on Christmas", gay marriage and intelligent design, millions of people suffer and die.