Reflection

August 13, 2017



In the wake of the violence visited on Virginians in the incident in Charlottesville yesterday, I am hearing more and more hate speech.

Hate the Nazis. Hate the White Supremacists. Hate the Alt-Right.

I am seeing fully conscious and normally rational people reacting with “we should not allow Nazis here” and the usual “my dad died fighting Nazis and he didn’t die to let them come here.”

Actually, people, the veterans who were killed died for exactly that.

In America, we have that complete freedom of speech guaranteed by the blood of the patriots who have fought to defend that right.

Last election cycle we saw the birth of the rallying cry to “punch a Nazi” after seeing a video of a man being interviewed blind-sided by a person who then raced away through the crowds.

Striking a blow against “Nazis”! And the groundswell of support reverberated throughout the Facebook universe with the hashtag “#punchanazi” and everyone rallied around the flagpole.

Yes, the freedom to assemble that we so often take advantage of becomes a powerful voice.

If some group preaching a mantra we find offensive, we choose to exercise the right to assemble right beside them to protest their right to assemble for hate. Yes, and the hate spills over by the anti-protesters and, seemingly very humanly predictable, violence starts.

In this very Christian nation which cannot seem to remember what Jesus might do, most often allow our basic instincts to control and we answer hate with hate.

The attitude becomes: You want to preach hate? Okay, we will preach hate of you for preaching hate. We will attack you physically to show you hate is not the answer…

Really?

Now I hear people going completely off the reservation and trying to pass laws against Nazism in America.

No. Most emphatically, NO!

To go down the road of censorship is a treacherous and slippery slope and once undertaken can only lead to more of the same until we become a monotonic nation best reflected in the pages of Orwell’s classic, 1984. If you believe in freedom, you believe in freedom for all.

The heroes who’ve defended the Constitution in the past with the ultimate sacrifice did so NOT to ensure that we could pick or choose who can come, who can talk, what can be thought, what can be said… You include ALL this in “freedom” or you have no freedom at all.

If some group wishes to preach hate… Let them! But if they grow violent, shut them down. If they speak violence and yet do so peacefully, who cares? If you start the violence against them – who has actually won?

Let them peacefully assemble and – if you somehow feel the counter-argument must be made – do so at some other place, at some other time. To try and shout some other group down is usually called incitement to riot. (and in this case it would apply to the protestors against the alt-right march)

Don’t you realize that by violently opposing them you have strengthened their arguments? If you want to marginalize them, diminish them, then do not attempt infringing on their freedoms.

Trying to shout them down is a strategy from weakness.

America has overcome these sorts of things before. When I grew up we had just recovered from the Red terror crackdowns. It is not an America I should want to return to.

If we are not going to be free, then let’s just admit it, bring it out in the open, and tell the ghost of Mister Jefferson (at whose campus this incident occurred) that we no longer support his dreams of equality and freedom and the essential goodness in Man. Tell him we reject everything the Founding Fathers stood for. Tell him he and his patriots died for nothing because there are some ideologies we simply cannot abide.

Like freedom of thought.


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Limbering Question

November 3, 2013

octopus

Researchers were amazed to find out that octopi do not have eight legs, only two… with six arms.

Prolonged studies of these marvelous creatures discovered that they quite often stood on the same two “hind limbs” and used the other six for other tasks.

This got me to thinking… I have had many pets in my life – mostly dogs and cats – and I noticed the same sort of behaviors with them. Many could stand on their “hind legs” and walk around just fine. But it was always their two “forelegs” that were used as “hands”.

It seems rather odd but perhaps we are no longer the only “two legged” beasts around. Dogs, cats, horses and many others all move around on four limbs because it is easier but they have the other limbs as “arms”.

Maybe we need to update our thinking.


The Problem of Illegals

October 20, 2013

us-mexico-border

I understand a lot about this issue as I was born and raised in Texas and spent twenty-five years of my life in Arizona where the wall against the illegals could not be built fast enough, it seems.

Not only did I grow up with many Hispanic friends, my wife is the granddaughter of two illegal immigrants as well. Her grandfather came across the border at age eight to make a life for himself and met his wife when her family skipped across the border when she was fourteen.

They raised ten kids and many grandkids who have become valuable neighbors and productive citizens including doctors, accountants, and lawyers. And my wife, of course.

The problem with the illegals is more involved than simply trying to keep them out. The will to survive is what drives them northward, into the land of milk and honey, the United States.

Of course, their country could become a better place too if our big monied interests would quit their manipulations of the markets and politicians in that country.

No, I don’t see it as any sort of conspiracy but I do see it as a business model that has worked remarkably well. So well that it has pressured the citizens of Mexico to leave their dwindling economic system for one that is superior.

It is a problem we have created on our own, a problem made by our own system.

We bled their country to make ours greater, then we object when they are drawn to the light.



the Uncomfortable Side of the Brain

October 13, 2013

We all have it, that area of the brain where our thoughts just do not seem to jibe.

Many who are mathematically inclined cannot seem to communicate well on emotional wavelengths, though some can.

Many who are quite well-versed in other areas have difficulty resolving some higher math concepts.

Other artists can grasp the technical side of music and excel in the math but seem to fail at being creative in their field. Their “technical proficiency” seems to hamper creativity.

Everyone has some area they do not feel real comfortable being, or thinking.

So, we should cut others some slack simply because they cannot see or visualize some things as clearly as we.

Because, rest assured, there are subject areas where you too could be called less than average.


the Magic World of Harry Potter

October 6, 2013

hogwarts

The novels of Harry Potter deal with an under-culture of magic in our modern world. Why is it then that the magical sub-culture lives in a medieval setting?

I would assume that if they had separated from us in the Middle Ages they would have evolved along similar lines even if they had kept separated from the muggle world. So wouldn’t they have evolved more than they have?

And the flying brooms… is it the power of the magician to make the broom go, or is it the spell in the broom?

Or is it both?

It seems that the scene where Harry makes the broom jump up into his hand makes one of those hypotheses wrong but the later appearance of the more powerful broom makes the other one wrong.

Even all the spells seem to be in Latin… another medieval hangover.

Can magic exist in a scientific world and if so, where is it?

Has science put something into the ether (some sort of mental magnetic fields) to prevent magic or is it just the scientific attitude that dominates our present world?

Strange, but the Star Wars franchise also seems to be steeped in the medieval flavor as well. Jedi knights, light-sabers, and channeling the force.

Why do we see so much of the “magical” clothed in medieval garb?



the Magic of Middle Earth

September 29, 2013

rivendell

A world of magical creatures and many lifeforms that can DO magic. Spells, potions, amulets, the power of magic permeates all things.

How different is that world than the one in which we now live, but there are those who hold that the legends of a magical “Middle Earth” portray the true history of our world. Before the scientific world came into being, this world was the magical world of Middle Earth.

Some psychics have even said that before Middle Earth was a former world of science, and before that an even earlier world of magic.

Back and forth from science to magic, and back again, they would have it.

If the world switched from one to the other, what could cause the change? If the civilization was advanced along either scientific or magical lines, why would they discard their mode of operations?

I can see that IF this scientific world led us to WW III, the remnants might distrust the “evils” of science and so go toward magic.

But what sort of thing would drive people from magic to science?

It is probable that not everyone could do magic – just as in today’s world not everyone can “do” science – and that led those who could to take advantage of the have nots. Possible, since we see a lot of that happening in our present world.

This is all hypothetical, of course… or “impossible” if you are of the scientific bent… but it could answer a few questions…

If they were the right questions, that is.


Stupidity

September 22, 2013

genius

I have seen a lot of people over the years mock and deride others for “being stupid”.

What they seem to forget is that it is an inherent human right to be stupid or smart or anything else for that matter.

And just because one may assume they are being stupid about one subject, let me assure you there is someone else thinking you are being just as – if not more – stupid.

So, let’s just all agree that we can be considered “stupid” by other stupid people and leave it at that.

Einstein, a brilliant mind if ever there was one, probably could not bake a puff pastry if he tried. Does that make him stupid?

Aristotle was adept at a wide variety of mental feats but he could not program a VCR.

Sure, I’m stretching things to make a point but isn’t that really what this talk of “stupidity” is really all about? Not everyone can be expected to be as brilliant as us on what we consider to be the correct mindset.

Differences of opinion are nothing more than “opinion” and most of the verbal flaming begins from those differences (and the ego to back it up).

It has nothing to do with “science” and “facts”, but everything to do with ego.


Who said “size doesn’t matter?”


Specialization

September 15, 2013

My feet are specialized for what they do… I would hate to try it on my elbows. But some people – without feet – have adapted to let their hands or elbows do the job.

My stomach has a specific function too and I don’t think we have a backup organ to do what it does. Specialization is great but with the connective systems to keep them working together, they would flounder around with no purpose.

The same is true for people.

Specialists in chemistry or law, history or astronomy are great but without a few interdisciplinarians, where would we be?

This becomes especially important in today’s world where the specializations are getting more and more narrow, experts have less knowledge of the current development in other fields, even some whose work is closely aligned.



a Problem of Epidemic Proportions

September 8, 2013

popgrowth

A friend of mine recently talked about a science fiction book I was editing. He said it is not rational that population would be a problem in the future.

He said it has quit growing. If not for the illegals coming into America, he claimed, our own population would remain a constant.

Unfortunately, his estimates were a little off. According to the world population clock, our country gets a immigrant every 44 seconds, but a new citizen every 13 seconds.

In fact we have gained more than 2 and a half million people in the past year alone. And that’s not anywhere near any sort of equilibrium.

It may be only 1.14% – lower than previous times – but that is still a bunch of people. About 2 new people in the world every second.

Overpopulation is epidemic on planet Earth and it is growing daily.

The most populous nation on the planet, China, took a harsh step and made having a second child illegal.

And it has done pretty good as far as it goes but they are now experiencing another problem. It seems the only child in each family seems to be getting a little spoiled. Without syblings as natural competitors, it has turned out now that the rising generation is completely lacking in the skills built in by nature to be competitive.

It is like they now have a nation of wimps.

In history, the population has always been regulated by epidemics and by wars.

And no one I know really wants much more of either of those.

So, what is left?

We can follow the Chinese model and simply legislate births to decrease, or we could just wait a few years until the resources run out and massive numbers die of starvation, or we can expand our horizons into space.

To ignore the problem and act like it is already “stable” is no better than putting on a blindfold and sitting on a keg of dynamite.

We need to get pro-active.

(If we could only figure out how, huh?)

Bill Gates and “educational reform”

September 1, 2013

dunce

Bill Gates thinks he’s large and in charge.

First, he conquered the computer landscape with his programming (& plundering tactics) and moved on to other things.

His foundation delved into health issues and after much work they “eradicated” malaria. Another feather in his cap.

After seeing how well his Windows performs (not very, thank you) and knowing how viruses once-eradicated seem to come back bigger and stronger, I don’t think we need to thank him just yet.

Now, flush with the victory over an age-old disease, Gates has now set his sights on another major problem: education.

Call me skeptical but after the “advances” he has made in his earlier two conquests, I really don’t see how he is either 1- qualified to lead this fight, or 2- innovative enough to take us where we need to go.

Most revolutionary educators that I have read lately complain about the testing and “standards of learning” matrix now in place.

So, has Gates come up with a way to creatively evolve that process?

Heck no! He now insists that the way to improve education is the expand the practice to include teachers.

That seems a bit like patching a tire to fix it and, when the patch leaks, put some bubble gum or scotch tape of the leaky patch.

But what sort of thinking would one expect from a person who dropped out of school and even thought he could trademark the word “innovate”?


I shudder to think what product our educational system will produce if this dilettante is given free reign.

dunce2