Thursday, January 29, 2015

Random Thoughts

So, for one reason or another I haven't blogged much lately. In order to maintain the illusion that I actually have a blog, here are a few semi-random thoughts (I keep a word document open and jot them down as they come):

-Is it really necessary for companies to reiterate that they don’t discriminate based on sex, race, etc? I mean, it’s illegal to discriminate that way, right? Doesn’t self-identifying as an equal opportunity employer just amount to “We do not openly flaunt a law that’s been in place for half-a-century”? I suppose you could also say “we do not engage in insider stock-trading, money laundering, fraud, or slave-trading.”   

-We sometimes hear from our intellectual betters that such and such a crime is the fault of 'society.' Well, in the first place, "Society" only means "Other People," so saying that a given crime is 'society's fault' is only a more sophisticated way of saying that it's someone else's fault. In some cases that may even be true, but it's hardly nuanced.

-In the second place, for a crime to be society's fault, in the sense that the criminal himself carries no blame for it, that would require that we have no free will, but be completely guided by social influences. But, if that's true, than none of our actions have any moral character at all, and hence there is no such thing as 'fault' to begin with. So, either crime is the fault of the criminal who commits it, or there is no such thing as 'fault' at all. In any case, blaming 'society' is disingenuous.  

-People like to say that taxation is theft. It's not, though; Taxation means paying for the goods and services which the government provides, such as a common currency, law-enforcement, the military, infrastructure, and so on. The problem comes when taxes are charged for things that fall outside the scope of a government's duties, or when the government overcharges for the services provided. If you hire a plumber to fix your sink, you don't want him to try to tune the piano while he's there, especially not if it's going to double your bill and certainly not if he's completely tone-deaf.

-Modern Liberalism is basically the act of blowing out a candle and then cursing the darkness. When someone suggests that they shouldn’t have blown out the damn candle, the liberals answer that candles are evil, since each person can create their own light. Point out that no, they can’t, and they’ll say they would be able to if only people like you weren’t holding them back.

-There are always alternatives to violence. The difficult part is getting both sides to agree on which alternative to use, especially when the options include things like “stand still and let me kill you” or “shut up and do as I say.”

-The phrase “I find that offensive” has almost no meaning whatsoever in a world where some people find The Chicago Manual of Style to be personally offensive.

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