This is actually quite interesting:
This is actually quite interesting:
Here is a most excellent rant by a 14-year-old of my acquaintance:
Diversity. It sounds pretty good in theory, right? Lots of cultures and ideas coming together to get the best out of all of them. However, due to each culture’s history, some jobs attract different classes of people more. Office jobs often attract lots of white people, mostly males, basketball has a lot of African-Americans, and so on. That’s ok. People can do what they want. However, some people decided that everyone needs to be so politically correct that they not only avoid using derogatory terms, but actually make sure that they get a certain amount of visible minorities in certain jobs.
Why? That makes about as much sense as going through each box of Smarties and making sure each has an equal number of each coloured Smarty. There’s so much political correctness going around that even if you meant no harm, if you accidentally say something someone somewhere might find offensive, you can get sued for thousands of dollars by people who aren’t even the offended party, and they don’t even give that money to those who are offended.
When you own a corporation, you need to make sure you have at least a certain number of visible minorities working for you, or else the PC police get all up in your jimmies. Let’s say you start a company with lots of computers involved. Let’s say when going through your applications, you hire the best people for the job, ignoring their race. Then when they show up for work, they’re all white males. You now need to look in the applications for the next best application of people who are also visible minorities, even skipping the application of a boring white male who is better qualified. All this so you don’t seem racist to the PC (Politically Correct) police. Do you see the problem? You need to hire people NOT by how qualified they are, but how qualified they are AND their race/gender. That is almost a textbook example of racism or sexism. You need to be a bigot to look like you’re not a bigot!
And this is no small issue; this is a huge problem. You don’t really hear people talking about this in public, and that is because they don’t want to be sued. This is holding back freedom of speech, while taking lots of time and money to ensure people follow regulations. Not many people even know that this is a problem.
So you see, diversity is not always so good. Especially when it’s enforced. In fact, it is counter-productive a lot of the time, and puts a huge metaphorical boulder on everyone’s back. Toss away the boulder, get a back massage, work on your posture, and choose your employees based on skill, not race or gender.
My post on the Warman vs Free Dominion and John Does verdict has received an unusually high amount of comments – especially for an obscure little blog like mine. While this is flattering, it does not really diminish the pain this verdict has inflicted on me – even if my interest was not financial (as I was not associated with either the plaintiff nor the defendants, though, I have developed great respect and affection for the defendants over the years that I have followed this case for).
No, my interest may not have been financial, but it is as personal as it gets: this verdict, as it currently stands, restricts freedom of speech to such a degree that had major media outlets dared to honestly report on it, the populace would rebel. I honestly believe that to be true – though, some of the comments I received do make me wonder…
For example, one commenter, ‘harebell’, said:
‘You keep posting a series of quotes, that is not an argument for anything it’s a list of people’s opinions.
To claim there are some inalienable, a priori rights based on individual preferences and desires is fine in theory. But each of those individual ideas on rights and preferences will come into conflict with those of others and then both sets will be accused of infringing on the rights of the other and therefore wrong. A person’s rights are what a community agrees they are especially if the community has the power to enforce what it says. It really doesn’t matter whether that community is based on a moral system or an ethical system they will create laws limiting behaviour because my idea of what constitutes freedom will be different to yours. Giving up absolute freedom is the price we pay to live in Canada because we have to live with others.’
Obviously, I tried to explain this, in the following, highly imperfect way:
Individual freedoms are the cornerstone on which our society is built – just read up on our history.
While Americans valued equality, Canadians have always cherished individual freedoms – until, that is, Cultural Marxists re-wrote our textbooks and educated the last generation in revisionist history, depriving it of even the knowledge of its true heritage.
Historians like Professor John Robson have written extensively on this.
But, if you wish to go into some detail here, let me give you a very, very short version:
Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy: this is a form of democracy which is not an absolute democracy ( ‘absolute democracy’ is also called ‘the tyranny of the majority’, as exemplified by two wolves and a lamb taking a vote over what to eat for dinner).
This form of democracy recognizes that each and every citizen has inalienable rights which, no matter how large a percentage of the majority votes to take away, must not be violated. The only legitimate role of government is to protect these rights, so that each and every citizen may exercise them freely.
One such basic right – one we can most easily understand – is the right to bodily integrity. This means that if there are 4 people who need a kidney, a liver, a lung and a heart each, the government cannot arbitrarily appoint a 5th person to be the organ donor, on the grounds that ensuring 4 citizens live outweighs the 1 citizen’s right to live.
(There are very good books by much more intelligent people than I that explain this well – I do urge you to read up on our history.)
In other words, our society is based on the proposition that the majority must not be permitted to harm minorities – even the smallest minority of one citizen. To the contrary, when a government begins to strip citizens of their human rights, that government becomes illegitimate and loses it justification to govern.
It is sad that this was not covered in your civics class in high school…
Of course, the wise and eloquent CodeSlinger answered her much better:
You write “To claim there are some inalienable, a priori rights based on individual preferences and desires is fine in theory.”
Well, no. It’s not. It’s a contradiction in terms. Rights, being a priori, are derived from first principles and therefore cannot be based on individual preference.
You also write “A person’s rights are what a community agrees they are especially if the community has the power to enforce what it says.”
This, too, is a contradiction in terms. A person’s rights are derived from what kind of creature a human is, and therefore cannot depend on anyone else’s agreement.
Like most Canadians, you have been taught to confuse privileges with rights, and lulled into accepting the poisonous lie that the collective supersedes the individual – in other words, that might makes right. As soon as you accept that, you have enslaved yourself: you cease to be a free individual and become a ward of the state.
The whole idea that rights can somehow be based on consensus is fundamentally flawed.
Consensus, to be productive, requires that each individual contribute independently out of his experience and insight. When consensus comes under the dominance of conformity, the social process is polluted and the individual at the same time surrenders the powers on which his functioning as a feeling and thinking being depends.
— Solomon A. Asch
This concept, “powers on which [a person’s] functioning as a feeling and thinking being depends,” is the core of what we mean by a right. To clarify this, let’s go back to basics. Let’s start with some definitions:
privilege: a special advantage, benefit, or exemption, selectively granted to some but denied to others.
right: a freedom, entitlement, or immunity, so fundamental to human nature it cannot justly be taken away or given up.
See the difference? See how you are disempowered by confusing privileges with rights? See how the government benefits at your expense by using the schools it runs to confuse you in that particular way?
When we speak of “inalienable individual rights,” by the way, the words “inalienable” and “individual” are added only for emphasis and clarity. Strictly speaking, these qualities are already inherent in the definition of “rights.”
Okay. So, what are these inalienable individual rights? They are:
Life, liberty, property, privacy, self-defence, and self-expression.
Why these and only these?
Well, the rights to life and liberty are the essential primary rights and the rights to property, privacy, self-defence, and self-expression are necessary and sufficient to guarantee life and liberty. By necessary and sufficient, I mean that nothing more is needed, and anything less would not be enough.
These six rights form an irreducible core: you either have all of them, or you may as well have none of them.
The inalienable individual rights give form and substance to the idea that every individual is inherently entitled to live and to act in his own self-interest and is immune from being interfered with in so doing. Further, since man is a rational animal, mental life and liberty are as important as physical life and liberty. Neither has value without the other.
Now, these ideas are crystal clear and incontrovertible when people live alone in a state of nature. It is when they come together in groups that confusion often starts – but it need not, if we think carefully and ignore those who have a vested interest in confusing us.
After all, the whole reason individuals form communities is to increase the benefits they derive from exercising their rights in return for accepting some responsibilities to the community – be it a family, village, city, province or nation. This, in a nutshell, is the social contract.
The crucial concept of a contract is quid pro quo: you give something in return for receiving something. Meaning, unless the community increases the benefits you derive from exercising your rights, you owe the community nothing at all.
Thus we must never allow the collective to take precedence over the individual, otherwise we negate the whole reason for forming a collective in the first place! Unless we hold inviolate the principle that the rights of the collective are derived from – and subservient to – the rights of its constituent individuals, the entire social contract becomes null and void, and any attempt to enforce it amounts to tyranny.
From this we can immediately see that the primary duty of the state must be to equally guarantee the equal rights of each and every individual. Whenever the government oversteps the boundaries defined by this primary duty, it breaches the social contract and thereby forfeits its legitimacy.
The whole foundation of the legal system follows just as immediately: a crime is committed whenever any person’s rights are violated and harm results. The severity of the crime is proportional to the harm which results. Thus, where there is no harm, there is no crime. Any law which is incompatible with these principles is unjust, and an unjust law is no law at all.
In other words, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, and vice versa.
The whole purpose of the law and the state is to guarantee that to both of us equally, and anything else it does is unnecessary or illegitimate.
Yes, it really is that simple.
And it all rests on the absolute primacy of inalienable individual rights.
The quotes I posted say all that much more clearly and eloquently than I ever could – and also give proper credit to the great men I learned it from. Read their words again, and you will see what I mean:
A right is not what someone gives you, it’s what no one can take away from you.
— U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.
— Thomas Jefferson
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’, because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
— Thomas Jefferson
It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson
Must a citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? … It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
— Henry David Thoreau’
Lately, I have been contemplating some philosophical questions – and I would love some feedback from all of you.
When I was a teenager, I read a story (I don’t know if it was fiction or not, but that is irrelevant to the philosophical questions it poses) about a woman and her children, stranded in the frozen North, far from help and food. The woman resorted to trying to fish with an improvised fishing rod to keep her children from starving – but, the fish would not respond to an un-baited fishing rod. So, she used bits of her own flesh to bait the hook in order to catch the fish to keep her children from starving….
I found that story deeply inspirational and, then and there, I knew I would do no less to ensure the survival of my progeny.
As I read more ‘stuff’, I encountered stories of sons and daughters sacrificing themselves to save their mothers or fathers – and these had infuriated me to no end….and I could not understand the reasons for such depth of rage and revulsion these stories had evoked in me.
It took me years to mature enough to realize that my subconscious reactions were the product of my genetic programming: we are but vessels for our genes and their immortality – through our progeny. Thus, stories of parents’ sacrifices to ensure the survival of their progeny (genetic immortality, if you will) inspired me while stories of children sacrificing themselves for the parents (the reversal of the ‘genetic immortality vector’, if you will) enraged me.
Yet, over the years, I have found that not everyone is as subject to their genetic vector programming (for lack of a better term) as I am – and that in some people’s ideas, it influences the ‘first principles’ they consider ‘core’ or ‘basis’ of their reasoning.
Which, of course, makes peoples’ answers to some ‘classical’ philosophical questions very different: different ‘core’ leads to different ‘weighted values’ and all that.
And that is why I’d like you to indulge in some reflection on your own core values and see how you would answer the following questions:
Say you are stranded somewhere far from help and food – perhaps a plane crash in an inaccessible place – and the only potential food source around is the corpses of other people. Would you cannibalize them in order to survive?
Same situation – but everyone survives. One person, grievously wounded and not likely to survive long enough for rescue to come, volunteers to be killed and eaten. Would you kill them and cannibalize them to survive?
Question 2b: What if the volunteer was perfectly healthy – and others were wounded. Would you kill the healthy volunteer to feed yourself and the injured?
Same situation, again, with everyone surviving. One person is grievously wounded and unconscious (unable to give consent), but is the only one hurt so badly they will not likely survive…yet to wait for their natural death would mean everyone else would starve. Would you kill them and eat them to survive?
That grievously wounded person (the only person not likely to survive) is conscious but refuses to agree to be killed and eaten – yet everyone else, perfectly healthy and likely to survive, would die unless somebody is killed and eaten now. Do you kill the injured person and eat them, even against their will?
Same as in 3b – but the deadly wounded person says they don’t want to be eaten… and then succumb to their injuries. Do you eat them to survive?
Same situation, but everyone survives without any major injuries. Starvation knocks on the proverbial doors. Do you draw straws to see who gets killed and eaten first?
Same question, everyone survives – and someone suggests drawing straws to see who gets killed and eaten first. This divides the group into two – those who want to draw straws, take their chances and hope to survive through cannibalism, and those who don’t. So, the first group draws straws, on person is killed and cooked….and, now, some from the other group ask to share in the food, promising to take part in future straw-drawing. Do you share food with them?
What if there are children in the situation: too young to give informed consent. Do you include them in the straw-drawing?
Same situation as Question 5: the group is divided and some choose tp participate in straw drawing, some don’t. Do you share the food with the children of the people who choose not to participate in the draw?
Same situation, all are healty. There are sevral adults, each with a different number of children. Only the adults will participate in the draw, yet everyone will eat. Do you assign the amount of food to be proportional to the number of lots (as in, if there are 5 adults participating, do you divide the food among the 5 families, regardless of the number of children, because the risk was equal 5 ways) or to the number of ‘mouths to be fed’? How would you accoun for the children of the early casulties in subsequent draws?
What does it do to society when you regard other members of it as potential sources of spare parts?
Is that any different than cannibalism?
And does somebody’s ‘volunteering’ to be cannibalized make it morally OK to benefit from it?
A couple of days ago, I mentioned to CodeSlinger that one of my sons was doing research in the branch of Mathematics known as ‘Combinatorics‘. His response was not only informative, it was just as passionate as my son gets when he talks about the subject.
So, for your pleasure and elucidation, here is CodeSlinger’s commentary on Combinatorics:
Spencer-Brown, G, 1969: Laws of Form, London: George Allen & Unwin.
Parker-Rhodes, A F, 1981: The Theory of Indistinguishables: A search for explanatory principles below the level of physics, Synthese Library, vol. 150, Springer.
Parker-Rhodes, A F, & Amson, J C, 1998: Hierarchies of descriptive levels in physical theory. Int’l J. Gen. Syst. 27(1-3):57-80.
Noyes, H P, & McGoveran, D O, 1989: An essay on discrete foundations for physics. SLAC-PUB-4528.
This is an excellent video that demonstrates some of the big differences between libertarians and conservatives.
Even though I am not a fan of Ann Coulter, I do think she represents the conservative position rather accurately – or, perhaps that is why I am not a fan of Ann Coulter…
What would you do?