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Ether Mind

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Friday, February 24, 2006

If I were a dictator...

There're still a few aftershocks from the James Frey non-incident. Basically, it turns out that his autobiography, in which he repeatedly claimed to be a con man, was full of lies.

See, Oprah and millions of other... people... are incapable of applying knowledge. This is what makes life on Earth so hideously painful for the rest of us.

For hundreds of pages, Frey claims to be a horrible person, a thief, a liar, et cetera. Yet his other statements are accepted WITHOUT QUESTION despite the fact he's making money off the book?

He's a criminal, but he won't lie to me, in this mass marketed hardback.

THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO SMUGLY INFORM US THAT "We shouldn't believe everything we read."

That said, the backlash is now just as ignorant, insular, parochial, and clueless about real life.

Take the letter quoted here, and a similar sentiment from other sources: that the stories were ridiculous and shouldn't have been believed on that basis.

One example of a ridiculous story is the "root canal without anesthesia." Why is that ridiculous? Does it violate the laws of physics? No. Is it unlikely? Well, my father had a root canal without anesthetic once, although I never extracted the full story. I think it involved cash under the table or somesuch.

No, the reason that the root canal story is "ridiculous" is that the bourgeoisie of this country cannot contemplate enduring physical pain. They float through life in a pink haze of Care-Bear-esque good vibrations. And, if it can't happen to them, then it can't happen.

I suppose that's the same syndrome that inspires them to tell inventors "It will never work," to tell entrepreneurs "You'll go bankrupt," and to believe that the Government will be here to protect us forever, history notwithstanding.

The same syndrome that leads them to believe everything in a book.

The same syndrome that leads them to believe what they see on CNN and the Reuters feed.

...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A preposition is a fine thing to end a sentence with.

"I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I'm trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to people of the world, we'll treat you fairly." - George W. Bush

"Great British" is a perfectly good phrase.

Frustrating

Everyone I know, which isn't all that many people, is incompetent about personal finance.

I think the S&P is several percent too expensive, but it won't bubble for four years. Stock prices will dip by several percent, maybe 10%, from the end of April to July. Should I wait? The problem is, it's possible that this dip (due to the totally predictable fuel crisis) will be cancelled out by standard market growth. I'm predicting another 40% increase or so by 2010, when the bubble forms.

On top of that, I've sunk most of my play money into the S&P already. I want to invest in developing markets, but I only have a couple of thousand I need to get rid of for the short term. The third world has seen incredible growth since we invaded Iraq, but short term volatility does not match my investment strategy, because I'll probably be pursuing a Last-In, First-Out investment strategy, ie divesting whatever I buy in May so I can spend it on bubblegum and theme park tickets.

I suppose I could start a small business and try to sell it off for a profit, but turn around is 3-5 years for a tech company and several months for a lemonade stand. Savings accounts are barely better than checking, honestly. I don't have any debt... hmmm

There is a couple hundred dollars or so in compounding interest I could pay, for a return of 7%. Then I could buy a pizza with the earnings next year. I can't pay the principal because I need that debt to get reimbursed.

I guess I could start day trading or card counting, but I don't have time to get the skill to beat the house. Or run to Mexico and pick up some natural fibers for resale...

10% of $3000 times 3 months divided by twelve months is $75, right? In fact, the opportunity cost for writing this post would be about $.01 in lost interest alone, if the trading day hadn't already ended. But stores are still open! Value is being created! I'm not in on it!!!!!!

I'm a Burkean Conservative, but Burke was pretty radical.

"And therein lies the significance of "Crunchy Cons." It is a reminder of the enduring tension on the right between those for whom the highest social good is freedom--the emancipation of the self from statist restraint and oppressive custom--and those for whom the highest social good is virtue: the formation of character, the cultivation of the soul." - GEORGE H. NASH

Well that's great, but I can guess which side of the boat Nash is on. Freedom is not a "social good."

It is a moral obligation. I have the right to deny myself alcohol; I cannot do the same to you.

Freedom is a virtue, by definition. The morally 'good' virtue is not freedom, which state is dictated by others, but one's own ability to restrain onesself from theft, murder, enforced socialism, pedophiliac rape, et cetera. Incidentally, forcible socialism is the worst on that list. What is property? What is my physical shell? What is pain? The enslavement of the human soul is more invidious than physical harm.

Character means restraint. The cultivation of the soul can only take place when it is liberated from the control of others. That is the free market of human development. Character, Nash says. Does he mean a strong, conservative character, that allows one to enforce God's Law with an iron fist? What would be the purpose of that?

Do you really think that homosexuality is immoral because of the physical action? If so, by all means, stop the physical action from taking place. That will surely result in the earthly Kingdom of God ten minutes later.

Do you think that Idolatry is immoral because God doesn't like statues, and he would prefer us to worship demons without icons?

Is there any purpose in forcing people to worship God? Will their souls be saved by our force of arms?

That said, I agree with the points in the article about religious asceticism and the triviality of material comforts. However, efficiency and technological process can also be used to protect the environment, feed hungry children, build Moon cities, and accomplish other useful tasks.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We

Here is the mediocrely written Anarcho-capitalist FAQ.

" Virtually all anarcho-capitalists see the transition to a free society to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Some see little to do about proximate politics, and simply wait for the inevitable decline of statism while trying to "stay beneath the radar" of government. Anarcho-capitalists are, of course, ardent supporters of tax resistence. Many strive to support "counter-economic" activity, i.e. the illegal ("black") market, which they see as the only truly free market. (Agorism.) Many achieve an "off the books" income where no tribute is paid to the State. Thus, information about guerrilla capitalism, such as not leaving paper trails, not using tracable money, private mail drops, anonymous bank accounts and debit cards, etc. are of vital interest to these anarcho-capitalists." - a quote

Remember the Alamo?

I rarely read the blogs of my fellow Scrapplers. I have a limited amount of time. Sorry. However, Possumtrot has a post that spoke to me. It relates to some things that I've wanted to write about for some time.

Most people are relatively peaceful. We all have a capacity for violence, which I believe is far greater than most people are willing to admit. There was an article going around a while back that spoke of "grey" and "pink" and sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. Sheep lack the capacity for violence; wolves have it; sheepdogs have it, but use it to protect the sheep. I disagree, although I recognised myself as the wolf. Most males have violent fantasies; our genes carry the capacity for bloodthirstiness. When unlocked properly it can be quite fearsome.

The Army's hand-to-hand and bayonet methods attempt to tap into this source of strength. So do many other martial arts. Many also emphasize calm, restraint, and logic in the face of fear. An angry fighter is a bad fighter.

Our society stresses calm and restraint. Violence is bad, we are told. I disagree. The ultimate fighter can tap into this source of strength when necessary, without losing his head. Government must have the tools of force to maintain order.

I do not pretend to any sort of pacifist nature. I refuse to initiate the use of force for personal gain, but when justified, I use it. I enjoy it. Pulverised flesh and bone and the spray of blood? I have never had to escalate a situation to that point, although I have considered it, once for very little reason. My movements are designed to kill or maim, not to restrain.

There is one concept of fighting that uses five different styles in a sort of rock-paper-scissors fashion. One of these is Tiger style, direct and maximum attack force. When properly employed it is the manifestation of this bloodlust.

Reason is what makes man the most dangerous animal. The fight-or-flight response, hopefully culminating in Tiger style, is not sustainable. The combination of rational belief, emotional belief, and instinct is most dangerous. Threatening someone with a baseball bat may unleash the Tiger. Threatening his wife is much more dangerous. Threatening his civilisation, particularly Western civilisation, will result in a 40-year campaign of murder and mayhem. He will poison your children's milk and indoctrinate his own with the vendetta.

That reminds me, I need to finish reading "The Alien Years." The Earth is suddenly invaded, and after a brief struggle it is conquered by purple blobs or somesuch. Over time, most people get used to their new masters. Some carry on a totally futile resistance, which continues for generations.

Those that resist are those for whom ideals are more important than temporary satisfaction. They care more for J.S. Mill's "Higher pleasure" than for "lower pleasure."

Does this stubbornness equate to superior "honor?" The partisans are pursuing their own selfish goal of idealism, just as the collaboraters are pursuing their goal- bread and circuses. It is not just a heroic pose in Battlefield Earth (The book was incredible) and The Scarlet Pimpernel and Mel Gibson movies; it can be seen throughout history. Were the Free French really doing anyone a favor by irritating the Nazis?

Yet, a certain percentage of the population chooses to die fighting rather than surrender.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Right-Wing Critique of the Week

Harry Turtledove is the unrivalled master of alternate history. I haven't read as many of his books as I should have, but I have read the first seven in his "Timeline 191" series.

In 1862, or thereabouts, Robert E. Lee's 'Special Order 191' was intercepted. This allowed the normally poor General McClellan to force the battle of Antietam, which aborted Lee's attempt to capture Washington, D.C.

The premise of the series is that the order was not intercepted. This small, perfectly reasonable change cascades into the North losing the civil war. The first book of the series, "How Few Remain," covers a short and localised border clash between the Union and Confederacy. The next three books pit the two against each other in World War I. So on and so forth.

The series is truly excellent, although Turtledove has a few quirks of prose that occasionally bother me.

The South seems to have the moral high ground through the first few books, although Turtledove himself does not make this observation. It is more of a judgement made by the reader (me). Let's be honest, we all secretly think the South deserved to win, right? We're lucky that it turned out as well as it did, even though Lincoln created the American Empire we know and loathe in the process of... creating the American Empire. What reason did he have to invade? It wasn't to free slaves. Although he might have wished to do so, he wouldn't sacrifice 600,000 white men to do it.

For that matter, why did the South fire on Fort Sumter? Couldn't there have been a more pragmatic solution?

His worries were well founded

" "All of us ... have been worried about this episode tarnishing the county and making us a laughingstock of the nation," board chairman Henry "Hap" Connors said Friday." -A national news story at CNN.com

And they say cops don't get paid enough.

Simile of the Year Award

"Whirling around like the Sufi doctrine movement," - Political Speculation, written by a member of Al Qaeda

Here's another great quote:

"A third letter is included at the end from Salman Yahya Hasan Mohammed Al-Rabi’I to Furqan Al-Tajiki professing his undying love. This is not of apparent consequence." - Synopsis of 'Letter of Threat to Americans'

I disagree. Furqan appears to be a man. I didn't see any evidence of Salman's gender, but the author of the Synopsis says that Salman is also a dude. I think this release is likely to get one or both of them killed. And no, it is not the brotherly love that is shared between religious fanatics. "I love you as the pure water, as the running river, and as the blooming spring roses." WTF, guys. WTF.

"- Mining the valleys and main roads leading to us with controlled mines. Keep in mind that there are mines in existence in the trenches at Khaladbin ‘Atash.
- Place (10) brothers in combat (illegible).
-If mines are not available, prepare a plan for us.
-Cook dry rice to be served with dates." - Letter of Threat to Americans

Friday, February 17, 2006

New Knowledge

Here's a long, but good, piece chock-full of new correlations. I like the part with the history of the developement of the black underclass in America.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Halliburton gave me a free hat.

I'd post a picture, but I like my anonymity, and my digital camera's busted. Also, my ears stick out like a brit. Also, it fits funny. I don't wear hats, and if I did they would be straw hats. I miss mine. I wonder what happened to it?

Original Reporting by The ManiaC

Anyway, I asked the lady from Halliburton what they were doing over in Iraq and she explained how they were overcharging the government, but only because the government idiotically signed long-term contracts and then didn't need the last year or so. She also said that for most of their contracts, other companies were afraid to bid in Iraq because of the shooting and whatnot.

They have an awesome executive training program for engineers. But really, what's the point of being an executive if you don't own a big chunk of the company?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Supply and Demand

"I typed a form letter and mass mailed it to all the women I know describing in generic terms why they are my "one and only valentine" i.e. "that thing they do when they laugh" The ones who figure out my ploy will interest me, the ones who don't will be easy targets :P" - Lance

Supposedly, there is a shortage of flowers. Shortages are caused by prices set too low. Was this an information failure on the part of florists, underestimating demand?

32 Ways to Die

"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that..." - Antonin Scalia

I love Scalia, although I wouldn't have made him Chief Justice either. Administrative duties diminish one's ability to push xyr agenda.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pip pip

The Dissident Frogman has indeed returned. I'm blogrolling him and giving him a provisional **** rating. He's currently devoting all his posts to the Cartoon Jihad, and since he's in Europe it's just a tad more exciting.

You know,

Dick Cheney can't do anything without being criticised by the Left. Yet, when he shoots a lawyer, nobody has a problem with it.

That just shows you how much people hate lawyers.

Does this qualify as FanFic?

I got the idea for a new book:

ManiaCProvost: I had a great idea for a book
ManiaCProvost: take 24 photos of crowds in different cities
ManiaCProvost: photoshop bin laden into each one
Hackman: lol
ManiaCProvost: print it in a 10" by 10" hardcover
ManiaCProvost: and title it "Where's Osama?"
ManiaCProvost: for extra credit, try finding these other objects in each picture:
ManiaCProvost: 1) Shoe Bomb
ManiaCProvost: 2) Jack Abramoff
ManiaCProvost: 3) Congress' dignity
ManiaCProvost: 4) PFC Jessica Lynch
ManiaCProvost: 5) FEMA
ManiaCProvost: 6) The Beef
ManiaCProvost: 7) Still looking for FEMA
Hackman: lol

According to Leftists,

You have the right to kill your baby as long as you don't shoot it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Every time I leave the internet, all hell breaks loose.

I got home today to find out the the press "accidentally" overheard Bush being consistent in his rhetoric and passionate about the nation's defense. I would link, but CNN has no record of this event and I don't like to steal Scott Ott's links.

I believe it was an accident. Sure. In the first chapter of Hard Sell, by Piers Anthony, the same thing happens- a prospective investor overhears the salesman finding out that the price of Martian real estate has just doubled. The investor, Fisk Centers, then signs the contract that the salesman was pushing at the old price, to the salesman's obvious chagrin.

It turns out the overheard conversation was staged.

Now, I'm not saying that that's what happened; I'm only implying it. I guarantee that we will hear the following contradictory .... ... .. complaints... from the Left.

1) It was fake!!!
2) Despite being fake, the overheard information proves Bush knew the spying was illegal!
3) Spying is wrong, unless it's on the President.

I'm off to confirm my predictive sterotypes.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm a little concerned.

" "We are on the verge of an exciting time," the nation's top nuclear weapons executive, Linton Brooks, said last week at Lawrence Livermore weapons design laboratory. " - Oakland Tribune

OMFG

Does Tipper know about this?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Funnier

Tom Delay is now in charge of funding the Department of Justice. Via Josh 'Mathlete' Marshall.

Funny

"What remains to be seen is whether this time around Bush follows through on forming a bipartisan commission and whether he can get credible Democrats to join it." - Allan Sloan

Well, first he has to find credible Democrats. Barack Obama. uhhh... was Teddy Roosevelt a Dem?

Seriously, you may want to read the article. Apparently Bush stuck his SS Privatization Plan in the back of the budget and no one noticed. Who knows, it may get passed, as per my war of attrition theory from last spring.


Can't find link... so sleepy...

Sounds Bad Too

This is the link to podcast #2, which is still a beta format, but 40% better than podcast #1. That means I need commentary. If no one criticizes me, I will start uploading my rap, and my voice is no longer what it once was. (END threat;)

For best results, right click>save as> play> delete> empty recycle bin.

The Adventures of ManiaC Provost - Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

ManiaC Provost: is it because I'm an idiot?
Subject B: that's possible
ManiaC Provost: watashi wa baka desu ka?
Subject B: I speak English.
ManiaC Provost: you should learn more languages
Subject B: I would love to. Problem is, my town is limited to Spanish, English, and Chinese speaking people, and my school only teaches French and Spanish
Subject B: You find me a good source of multi-lingual people to teach me more languages and I'll learn them.
ManiaC Provost: there are many web sites that teach languages, with sound files made by native speakers. If you want to learn something, just drop out of school so you have time.
Subject B: I tried to convince my mom that was the way to go once. Didn't work too well.
ManiaC Provost: tell her that an internationally known polymathic genius told you to drop out
Subject B: I don't lie.
ManiaC Provost: the school system is designed to indoctrinate you and keep you out of the work force as long as possible
Subject B: and teach nothing but English and Math
ManiaC Provost: the schools teach English?
ManiaC Provost: how many tenses are there in the English language?
Subject B: 3/6 depending on what you consider a tense
Subject B: so says the Grammar Handbook in the back of the English book.
Subject B: Our teacher assumes we've been taught basics so focuses more on broadening our horizons by blessing us with her knowledge on Orwell
Subject B: and teaching us how to see things through the Orwellian lense.
Subject B: Every day

... ... ...

ManiaC Provost: twelve major tenses in English result from combining each of three times (past, present, future) with each of four aspects (simple, continuous (also known as "progressive or "imperfect"), perfect, and continuous perfect)
ManiaC Provost: but more pertinently, most people don't know what a tense is after 12 years of public education
Subject B: they teach honors kids. Busy work is for the academic and general kids. They don't learn anything. The kids that show inklings of superiority early on actually get to be taught enough to stay ahead of the others.
Subject B: It's funny how they put above average kids further ahead of others instead of trying to improve the average.
ManiaC Provost: they only teach you enough to prevent a rebellion, because they have to.
Subject B: I wish I could go to a boarding school.
ManiaC Provost: yeah, but society can't afford that. because it taxes you 3000$ a year to provide public education.
Subject B: and yet they keep cutting education funds in Indiana so the quality of schools keeps getting worse and worse.
Subject B: and private schools get the same funds as public schools, so with the funds and massive tuition prices for private schools, I would be way more educated if I went to a boarding school or at least a private school and distanced myself from the people that distract me and the teachers that don't teach me.
ManiaC Provost: the problem with private schools getting money from the state is that they care about you to the exact percentage of the tuition that you pay
ManiaC Provost: colleges screw their students all the time because of federal financial aid. The student isn't really the customer.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Free Speech, supported by advertising

A few months ago I used some word.. I think it might have been "nigger..." in dialogue in one of my satires. Something like that. The next day, that little flag button appeared on the bar at the top of my blog. It says "click here to flag objectionable content." Was that a coincidence or am I being watched?

<.<
>.>
-.-

^_^ Iniko sez: "Watashitachi wa teh 1337 desu!!! Support the overthrow of all existing government Now!"

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mmm, yeah

There are whispers of the return of the line item veto... It feels so good.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Here's a little ditty I wrote a year or so ago

Here it goes
another freestyle rant
about the left wing demagogues and socialist tyrants
Who lie to you for your good
to make you industrious citizens
then they cry and wonder why some of us
vote for Republicans
who only want to help their industrial friends
but that's horse radio edit, a really bad assumption
that the capitalist rich would ever do something
to help their friends in aerospace or big oil
a capitalist got no friends in a world in turmoil
George W, you kids remember him?
They said he was letting his Dick control him
sticking his hardware in the hottest countries
All to help somebody else make money?
Ridiculous, though I'm sure he would
take the oil for himself if he could
I would and you would we couldn't
but if he could then good, but he didn't,
and everyone got confused.
Wasn't the President greedy? of course, he just refused
for some secret evil reason
that we don't know
and his opposition's dropping hints
about a big show to pull the wool over our eyes.
Yeah, he killed a bunch of guys to get votes. That makes sense.
I wonder if Kerry and the others lied during their lents?

Here I am,
radical polemics
insinuating subsonic
while a million little robotics learn politics by pneumonic
What was that Will? Are you being sardonic?
No ma'am I'm not, I'm just on chronic.
It's my belief that I'm radically right
since the left thinks that you shouldn't fight
everyone should hold hands and get along
share what you have by the campfire,
then tell stories and sing songs,
But what about the grizzly bear that's no fun
Give him little Johnny, we can't have guns
And what about the fat kid that ate all the marshmallows
and what about the councillor
politics makes strange bedfellows
but some of them don't like it
and what about the other kid
grabbing the fat kid's breasts
because we never get to the peak
because he needs frequent rests
and what about the dumb kids
who spent their money on comics
so I'm forced to buy sunscreen for them,
instead of a supply of narcotics?
And what about me, that's the important thing
nobody ever asked me if i would go camping
they showed up in my cabin
and said quarter the troops
but i give no quarter and their water's
contaminated with my

Here we are,
It's such a relief,
that capitalist fascists fight for their beliefs
they may be greedy and stubborn and ready to fight
but that just means less deceit from the radically right
the socialist guerrillas may fight for their cause
but that's ironically reactionary faith in the laws
not a cryptologically sound, publicly held solution
of property rights and equality and national dissolution
They could have what they wanted if they just got their head on this
that radical policies should be antifederalist
if half the country hates utilitarian ethics
and you can see the red stain across census metrics
if geography's a factor in electoral eclectics
then maybe they should stay home and just bone
or shun my politics
leave my state of being alone
I'm done with these rich chicks
these trust fund kids all grown up
I'm done with debate tricks
they've all been shown up
lived and lied by the tongue
fought and died by the tongue
They come and argue and chide
and just snide with their tongues
and I turn it around
throw facts down on the ground
show the crowds how I found
abstract truth all around
but they refuse to concede
though philosophies bleed and it sounds
like they're fools and their schools of thought rot
and the irony they're wrought with
twists like the truth
and finally falls out, sick
like one more decayed tooth

Here it ends
So they want to to force peace
but I live by the gun
If they live by a pen
then they'll die by one
You can't end violence by being polite
so I'll fight for my rights
Shut off their lights
get their skulls in my sights
and wish them a good night
and all because spite-
it sounds trite but it might
be quite true that they rue what I write
when we rise up to the skies
and get rid of these guys
and renounce all their lies
then they'll see the light
and if not, we'll be free
and still radically right.

New Link

The newest link in my blogroll is Stefan Molyneux at Freedomain.blogspot.com. His latest post is about charity. >: )

Or Die

The thing that moderates don't understand about Freedom is that we don't want freedom because it's a luxury. Freedom is not just something that makes the wheels spin better and makes my salsa taste extra fresh during the superbowl. (Note to self- buy salsa?)

Freedom is not a nice thing to have like the Patent Office. It is not a fun decision-making opportunity like what color Outlander to buy. It is not there to make our society run more smoothly, like democracy.

The reason we want freedom is because Freedom is the absence of slavery. It is an undeniable moral and ethical right of every human. There is no Law of Diminishing Returns that says we can take a little bit of oppression in exchange for better public services.

Oh, that tradeoff makes sense from an economic perspective, and money is everything, right? Who cares if the huddled masses are indoctrinated and forced into an opium dream for their natural lives, if it makes them better workers? We must have progress.

I spit on this economic rationalising and this attempt to justify slavery "because we reallllly want it." I'd like to meet a practicing Marxist in a dark alley in our official capacities.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Amazing, really

People want a Utopia, but Utopia cannot exist because of people. Here's part of the problem: people are ignorant and enjoy being thus.

For example: What is "wrong?" Why is murder "wrong?" It's amazing how many people have no explanation... they consider things to be "wrong" because they just are. It's wrong because you shouldn't do it.

Assuming the existence of a God who created the universe, could He kill with impunity? Would it be "wrong" for him to take human form, cut some throats, and vanish? I sense your outrage. God wouldn't do such a thing! Why not? Because it's wrong! But it wouldn't BE wrong if He did it, so why wouldn't He?

"Wrong" can be defined many ways. I see three logical ways of defining it, but there may be more. The problem is, without a God, they are all relative. They are all pragmatic moral codes that serve a purpose, not absolute right and wrong in themselves.

That's fine, say the atheists. Perhaps. If moral codes are designed pragmatically, and it would benefit me to break one, then shouldn't I? Put this way, aren't moral codes just rules of behavior we feel somewhat strongly about, like covering one's mouth while coughing?

I follow an absolute moral code based on the simple premise that "things are Wrong because God says so." That's a fine definition, assuming God, but the first practical problem is which holy text to believe. The next practical problem is the vague generality or incompleteness of the texts. I can't find "p2p file sharing" anywhere in Numbers.

Therefore I, and presumably many others, have a second system, which I call an ethical system to distinguish it from the moral system. Ethical systems are ALL relative and based on some set of axioms. Bear in mind that this is my definition. I suppose that someone reaching different conclusions would have no need for two systems; they would say that some ethical systems are absolute, because those systems assume a God; I have classified those as moral systems for my own personal reflection.

So what is "wrong?" Well, I gave one definition a while back as:

Something is wrong if the individual doing it doesn't want his act to be known to others.

That's based on evolutionary psychology and should mirror the "conscience" fairly closely. Then there is the "God says so" rationale above.

Returning to my hypothetical question- and this will be interesting to the atheists too- "If God kills someone for no reason, is it wrong?" I don't think so. Under neither of the standards I put forward is it wrong. Under Rights ethics it is okay because He would theoretically own the humans, and under Utilitarianism.. well.. you can't argue with God, right?

So here's the next question. If I create a human clone, is it wrong for me to kill it? Of course it is!!! But why? I own it.. I created it. I have all the property rights of God. Presumably I have a good reason, so Utilitarianism doesn't apply. I don't feel bad about killing her. Let's make this more fun and say it's a fully functioning adult human clone. The only moral code that would make killing her "wrong" would be the religious one. Would it?

The most nebulous part of rights ethics is determing who gets rights. A fetus? A child? A 20 year old man has no legal right to put alcohol in his own body, even if he makes it himself from corn. A ten year old has no liberty, property, or right to pursue happiness or a better education. Why should my clone have any rights? Even if she does, well... That's just a relative ethical system.

Ah ha! you say. But it is clearly covered by Christianity. Thou shalt not murder. Cease thine sophistry at once, knave. God would not want you to kill her. Really? Are you sure? Why would God care if I made a clone and then killed it? Does this not fall a little outside the realm of bronze age theology? If the zygote is made synthetically, which is within the realm of theory, what claim does He have on it moreso than on a rock? There's no copyright on human DNA.

So what's wrong with harvesting her organs?

In this case I think it would be immoral to mistreat a clone. Oh well.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Warblogging

Every generation believes it is the last. We have been living in the end times for millenia. The revolution is always just around the corner.

This is usually the vagary of age and human nature, but history shows us that revolutions happen quite often. Civilizations can fall.

With the current trends in American politics, I wonder whether it would be wise to switch from my current mix of drivel, pop culture, and philosophy to some other format that includes practical information on conducting revolutionary activities. I have had the need to go "spec ops" on several occasions myself. Perhaps it is time to start training our children for the Great Day of Comeuppance.

I have none, as yet. Revolution... war... most on the Right side of the spectrum say that war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. They hate war, but see it as a necessity. I dislike war, but only because it is not violent enough. I prefer the thrill of single combat. War is a dispassionate struggle of numbers and planning, different from the current state of affairs only by virtue of the excercise of force to achieve its goals. I prefer peace, freedom, and prosperity, of course, if only for the benefit of my posterity.

The United States appears to have another 150 years left in it, and perhaps it will last longer. In its current form, it is not so bad, although it threatens the sanity of anyone intelligent enough to understand how flawed, inefficient, brutal our social structures are.

We deride public education, and in truth it has slipped from the quality of its heydey; however, when compared to what is POSSIBLE, the system is truly pathetic. Without education, our other institutions can only improve slowly and by evolutionary chance. Our leaders are imbeciles, and public education can be blamed. What is worse, the current crop of teachers is now a product of that same flawed system; the decline in quality has achieved feedback loop status, and its effects are being felt in every other field.

The picture is not so bleak as that, though the positive factors are harder to paint. I am too young to comment on the change in society over the last 50 years or so, but based on the 50 - 100 year old books and documents that I have read, fiction and nonfiction, I think that the ether mind is improving.

the ether mind, the network, the collective consciousness, "Society..."

Those who understand, at least partially, the nature of the network mind can change the world. So, would it benefit from more knowledge of counterintelligence? Survivalist doctrines? Insurgency tactics? The spread of these things may make them unnecessary or obsolete. The network mind has only a limited processing power, and a lot of it is dedicated to finding the next American Idol.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

This post is secret because no one will read it.

"That was a reference to Bush's much-debated secret program..." - NEDRA PICKLER, AP

Do ya ever wonder if they read what they're writing? There are various ideas to be debated here:

How secret was it? Cuz the NSA is good at keeping secrets.

Some members of Congress knew.

Has there really been "much debate?" I haven't heard a lot.

When did the media get ahold of this? Is most of this presumed "secrecy" simply because the media wasn't paying attention until they picked up the meme in January?

I discussed the fact that the NSA monitors international phone calls with several different people over the last 5 - 10 years. I thought it was common knowledge.

If the reporters knew about the Carnivore program, would they freak out even more?

Maybe none of my points are valid, but a "much-debated secret program" seems rather unlikely.