This is a followup to Part 1 in my series exploring flaws in the reasoning behind current widely-held social ideals. Put your thinking cap on and take this opportunity to consider what’s written here. If you prefer to abdicate your responsibility for critical thought, and you’ve come just to loudly expound on the dearly-held ideas that were given to you by others, please take advantage of either the “back” or “close tab” button on your browser. Otherwise, disagreement and reasoned debate are welcome. Enjoy.
This is part 1 in my series exploring flaws in the reasoning behind current widely-held social ideals. Part 1b, the followup to this post, is here. Put your thinking cap on and take this opportunity to consider what’s written here. If you prefer to abdicate your responsibility for critical thought, and you’ve come just to loudly expound on the dearly-held ideas that were given to you by others, please take advantage of either the “back” or “close tab” button on your browser. Otherwise, disagreement and reasoned debate are welcome. Enjoy.
This morning I was playing Trivia Crack because my wife likes me to play with her even though my win rate against her is almost two out of three, and there was a question about nuclear weapons. Specifically, it asked where the first use of nuclear weapons against civilians was, and because I didn’t take the time to read it thoroughly, I got it wrong and put the United States (the country who used the nukes). But after that I thought about that event and felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and nationalistic shame.
To continue the thread started with my earlier post on the ideal of equality, it seems extremely strange to me when people oppose that ideal. It just doesn’t make any sense given my worldview, though I suppose I can understand how it happens. It’s the same as the way that often people like the idea of competition, imagining how great it would be to be the best, when statistically they will almost certainly fall short.
What does the idea that we are all equal really mean?
Well, to begin with, we have to define “we.” Because if it’s one of the more obvious definitions, including everything about us, then we’re obviously not equal. We’re all different, and constantly changing. Of course we are. How could anyone believe we’re all equal? Well, without specifically discarding things from our definition of what we are in order to find something that can be considered “equal,” what are we, really? What is the core of each of us? What are we that doesn’t change?
Suppose you want to be president of the United States. How would you get there? Well, assuming you were born into a wealthy family, you might start with law school and local politics. Make sure to practice public speaking and cultivate as much personal charisma as you can muster. Campaigns are expensive, and you wouldn’t want to squander all of your family’s wealth on them, so seek sponsors. After all, you understand that a personal investment of wealth in your own campaigns is a gamble, but for sponsors it’s an investment. Use the money donated by wealthy corporate and individual sponsors to advertise. To attain these donations, of course, you must support the interests of donors when in office. Those are the interests important to you for keeping your office; the lower classes can be influenced well enough by advertising and speeches, and you don’t even have to bother trying to earn the votes of partisans at all, as long as you purport to be a member of their party.
There’s an interesting contrast between these two views of what it means to win a Nobel Peace Prize:
Hint: it isn’t for our freedom.
Ranked by income inequality, the United States is now ninety-fifth in the world, just behind Nigeria, Iran, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast. Continue reading Just one representative data point
Why should the President be the only one who presents his views on the current status of the nation? This is my assessment of the State of the Union.
Gotta get this in fast, since it is probably being worked on right now, or maybe I’m too late and just haven’t heard about it. Obama and Romney both will attempt to exploit Hurricane Sandy to gain more power. Obama will likely be successful. Expect it. Resist if you can.
If you are an American, or are interested in what is going on in America today, you should read this book: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald. The things that are happening now, described in this book, affect you.