Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Faith and Reason

Religion has a long and troubled history upon earth. Nonetheless, there have been numerous individuals guided by reason who have attempted to reform the brute by moderating or rejecting it's worst aspects and amplifying those aspects that are deemed proper by a reasoned conscience.

Then there is the fundamentalist. Rejecting reason completely, the fundamentalist says "The flaws are an integral part of my faith, and I'll die on this mountain before I let you take it!" For the fundamentalist sect, there is such a perverse desire to preserve error at the expense of all else, that indeed, error becomes that which such a system comes to revolve around.

The evidence of faithfulness can be found in justice and humility, but error shows itself in misanthropy and arrogance

Friday, November 11, 2011

Money and Politics

Here in Washington state we recently had a ballot initiative to end the state monopoly on liquor sales. While I am not sure if it will do good or harm (and am not prepared to go into that at the moment) the measure passed, perhaps in part because of the massive amount of money spent by various retailers to influence the public. While such use of money may be argued to be unseemly from a purely moralistic point of view, I cannot join in the collective outrage that some feel in this particular instance.

In the case of direct democracy, where each vote cast is a direct proportion to public sentiment, governance by may be truly be said to such as the people deserve, and as the majority believe right. So long as no individual's rights are denied by means of this collective action, the objection to monies being spent to influence the public mind to that extent that they allow themselves to be so influenced, seems to fall flat.

The matter of representative democracy is another matter entirely. That intermediary between the people, and the laws that govern them, can not be said to be a direct measurement of their sentiment, or subject to the influence of money in a manner that could be remotely described as simple. When the coercive force of either the favor of monied influence on the one hand, or of the unmitigated destruction of reputation on the other, there is no possibility that the public servant who is subject to the unregulated influence of monied interests can serve the interests of a the remaining majority of constituents with any significant degree of faithfulness.

But in treating all influence of money in politics equally, we allow this obvious maxim to go unnoticed. And in our haste to knee-jerk reaction to what we may find distasteful, we miss a fine opportunity to explain the obvious maxim, by means of showing this glaring distinction, to those who wish to label us hypocrites

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Process Due (dedicated to the victims of the increasingly violent police-state)

The way he was raised turned his heart hard
and left his mind testosterone scarred

He learned to enjoy seeing others cry
his worst instincts became amplified

Not much for labor or serving customers
so he chose to become society's curse

Not much for reasoning or using his head
he took the oath and pinned on a badge instead

He feels so at home under a darkened sky
So no one sees the gleam in his delinquent eye

I wouldn't trust him even to mow my lawn
Why should we trust him with a gun and baton

We are all equal before the law. In theory that is true
But is there any law at all when the anarchists wear blue?
Process due! So long overdue...

A call comes from dispatch one fateful night
Mistaken identity. prejudiced fright

He arrives on scene chan'ling Dirty Harry
That night the Rule of Law would be disparaged

Salivated stalking his prey into a store
beat his helpless victim until down to the floor

the thrill of killing is all that he lives for
His blood is pumping now he feels engorged

We are all equal before the law. In theory that is true
But is there any law at all when the anarchists wear blue?
Process due! So long overdue...

Backup helps finish the kill then congregate
bask in the afterglow and get stories straight
good old boys at precinct look the other way
hoping for a taste of that action someday

Cheif lies to the press and the citizenry
Honor among swine is no greater than theives

cover for each other like corrupt brothers
bad fruit in the bushel rotting the others

We are all equal before the law. In theory that is true
But is there any law at all when the anarchists wear blue?
Process due! So long overdue...

every day that passes
deferring just retribution

testifies to non-stop
systemic collusion

if we can't stop self-appointed
judges and executioners

then it is about goddamned time
we started a revolution here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Markets and Prohibitions

There has been much said about the theory that a social safety net inevitably leads to totalitarianism. Though quite enough can be said to the contrary, the complete lack of historical examples says much in itself. It is well to note, as well, that even under an iron fist, markets come about spontaneously in accordance to demand for goods and services. Under totalitarian government, such activity is naturally limited to the criminal underworld, and indeed, the lasting legacy of Soviet Socialism is the Russian mafia.

Two lessons can be taken away from this analysis:

1). That markets are genuinely most just when access to both sides of the market are available to as many as is practicably possible, lest lawlessness be rewarded

2). That outright prohibitions will generally lead to corruption of government and society

In answer to the first, markets should be as open to new competitors as practical. Legal structures that perpetuate meritless accumulations--thereby stifling competition--should be limited in every instance practicable. In those instances where the required capitals must be of such size to carry out a necessary or public spirited function, the owners of the capital ought to protected against the corruption of those officers who are employed to labor on their behalf. This should either be by means of some democratization of the decision-making with regard to compensation of the officers, or other matters that pertain to the long term profitability of the company( As presently, this is generally taxed by the short term gain of unfaithful servants). Or, short of this, the appropriate functions should be enumerated by a charter, for which officers should be legally responsible to abide by.

With answer to the second lesson, those goods and services which cannot be demonstrably tied to the direct harm of innocents ought to be let be and let pass. By "innocents" I should include those who are unaware of ill-effects or who are likely to be harmed by the irresponsible use of others. It is well to require advisements be included upon a label, or to forbid false advertising or false promises. However, the informed consumer ought to be free to decide and take responsibility for their own safety, so long as in does not present a hazard to others. As such, it ought to be understood that prohibitions on those activities which are likely to harm innocents (such as the impaired operation of automobiles or other heavy machinery, manufacturing in such a manner as presents a public hazard, recklessly spreading contagious disease, etc) are a just and proper object of laws. But care should be taken as well, to not encourage black markets any more than absolute necessity demand, so that not only can people freely choose their lifestyle as much as possible, but that enforcement and response is available for those most urgent measures -- this last object being spoken to, in different instances, by BOTH answers!



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"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." -- Constitution of Massachusettes (1780)