Monday, July 25, 2011

Somali and Norway

I spent an idyllic week in Nantucket ignoring the news. Now that I'm back I have two observations. Firstly, I am glad I never got on the bandagon with the "Somalia is the proof that anarchy works" crowd.

Secondly, anti-Islamic wingnuts spend a lot of time arguing that all Muslims are somehow responsible for all Islamist terror because Islam is a religion of violence. Given that, isn't it fair to argue that anti-Islamic wingnuts are culpable for the acts of the anti-Islamic Norwegian nutbag who killed all those people because militant anti-Islamicism is a philosophy of hate?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rob Bell

This morning I started reading Rob Bell's "Love Wins". It is deceptively pithy, and it took me longer to read a few pages than I would have expected given the large type and simple writing style. An earlier work of Bell, "Velvet Elvis", was very influential in my spirtitual journey and very liberating.

I suspect that this book will advocate some form of universalism. I have universalist tendencies myself. Hell makes no sense to me at all. The whole concept of this fleeting life as a test with eternal ramifications makes even less sense to me. It causes me to question the very notion of an afterlife.

In one passage, Bell writes about how someone had once remarked that the great peacemaker Gandhi is in hell. I have been thinking about this all day. Some folks reckon that Gandhi is right there with Hitler in eternal torment. And maybe Hitler was introduced to the Four Spiritual Laws in his bunker in Berlin and prayed the formulaic prayer to receive Jesus as his "personal Lord and Savior" right before he died, in which case Hitler's in heaven! Does this make any sense at all?

I'm not saying that Gandhi deserves to be in heaven and Hitler deserves to be in hell. Nobody deserves anything. For me, it ain't about deserving. It's about what a loving God might be expected to do. It's about the boundaries, or lack thereof, of grace. Would a loving God create weak mortals, predestine them to act in certain ways and then torment them forever because they acted as they were ordained to act? I suppose that it's possible, but it boggles the mind and confuses the heart to contemplate it. I suppose that if I end up in hell, it might be for my own good or for the furtherance of some grand unfathomable purpose.

Maybe the suffering of the damned is meant to entertain and amuse the saved in heaven and to enhance their experience by serving as a contrast to the bliss which they enjoy. Think how lucky and grateful you would feel if you were spared the torments which were inflicted on people who had been no worse than you in life, maybe even better. Of course, if you really enjoyed the suffering all that much, you'd be kind of a douche.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Public Schools

Is it morally wrong for me to enroll my newly acquired daughter in public school while at the same time opposing the coercive organization of education? After all, I have been paying school taxes out the wazoo for years now while reaping no benefit, and the alternative is to pay tuition at a private school in addition to school taxes. I'm going to do it anyway and rationalize it somehow, but I'd prefer to learn that I've still got some antigovernment cred even though I receive a government benefit.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Retiring the R-Word

I've been finding out lately that I can't use the R-Word any more when talking about stupid people and stupid things. For the time being I've reverted to "feebleminded". I did the same thing when the word "illegitimate" and "illegitimacy" became problematic. I dusted off "bastard" and "bastardy".

Stop Saying the American People Aren't Stupid

I frequently hear pundits of all stripes state "the American people aren't stupid." They don't really believe that, do they? A quarter of us are positively feebleminded. Half of us cluster around average intelligence where abstract thought and complex reasoning are just beyond our ken. The remainder of us have the theroetical capacity for abstraction and reasoning but lack the inputs to utilize this capacity. Clearly, the American people ARE stupid.

Look at the evidence: a GOP majority in the House; the existence of the WWE; the use of the word "intellectual" in connection with Jonah Goldberg; the election of GW Bush, twice.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Debt Ceiling

If I were O'Bama, and Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, I'd just keep paying the country's debts anyway on the basis of the 14th amendment. They could try to impeach me for all I'd care. Then again, I'm not like O'Bama.

I don't assume that my opponents have the interests of the country at heart, and I don't think that the problems of government can be fixed simply by manning it with good people. Every 4 years, the electorate is apt to put a complete douchenozzle in the White House, and then the structural deficiencies of the system become glaringly manifest. We need to restructure the system so that evil and incompetent administrations simply can't do that much harm. Also, I don't generally like to start negotiating from the point where I think me and my opponents should probably end up. I like to let my opponents negotiate for what they want after I put what I want on the table. That way, if my opponents are not negotiating in good faith, I won't have bargained against myself.