Tag Archives: democracy

Thought Police Ramblings – 10/12/21

I’m certain the thought police believe Jon Gruden’s resignation is a major victory in the long campaign for individual liberty. I’m also certain those same people would label me racist, homophobic, and whatever else for disagreeing with The Narrative, but this is simply another erosion of individual liberty.

First off, let’s be clear. Political policies that are targeted at specific ethnic groups to inflict pain are examples of racism. So are cops murdering unarmed black men. Gay people being beaten to death simply for their sexuality is an example of homophobia. People being denied opportunities because of their gender or threatened for their religious preferences are instances of hate. These actions must not be tolerated in a free society that seeks equality, and any expression that openly calls for these actions to be taken is clearly a form of hate speech.

However, mean words do not equate to hate speech. Saying a phrase that evokes a negative emotional response is not the same as calling for violent or discriminatory actions. If someone despises people with freckles, that person might come up a colorful expression to insult that group, such as “freckled face freak.” This saying, regardless of how distasteful, how emotionally hurtful, how ugly it might be, does not by itself call for any specific action to be taken against those with freckles. It merely expresses an idea of dislike. A dislike, even one couched in hate, should not be censored or restricted. It should be defeated by superior ideas.

In a nation defined by liberty, freedom of expression is paramount for a healthy democracy. Everyone needs to feel entitled to express their ideas, even unpopular, ugly ones in order for the best ones to rise to the surface. Censoring ideas and making certain words taboo doesn’t diminish hate or increase tolerance. In fact it often breeds resentment. Another way of thinking about is this: if you aren’t willing to afford those you disagree with the right to express themselves, how can you possibly expect to receive the same right yourself?

As far as Jon Gruden goes, I’ll close with this: I doubt very seriously that Darren Waller sees him as a racist. I doubt that the environment within the Raiders organization was homophobic because of Carl Nassib. Those emails contained some awful expressions that reveal immaturity and a foul mouth, but not discrimination or active violence against any group. And that’s an extremely important distinction that seems lost on the thought police.

Wednesday Night Ramblings – 9/25/2019

I’ve made a conscious decision to stay out of politics for the last couple of years, but I think we are at a moment of history when a few questions need to be asked of conservatives who still support Mr. Trump. For most of my life, the stances of Republicans that I have admired most are those on states’ rights, free trade, personal accountability, and fiscal responsibility. My biggest question for conservatives is: Do you believe in and adhere to your principles, or do you support the party regardless of what principles its leaders espouse?

Conservatives claim to believe in states’ rights. However, when the state of California attempts to maintain its own standards for vehicle emissions, the president revokes that authority. Do you believe in this principle or not?

Obviously, Democrats tend to be anti-capitalism, but conservatives have always maintained that they believe in free trade. This president has done more to damage free trade and restrict it than any before him. The trade war and tariffs with China are spiralling the world into a recession. Manipulating markets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to undo the damage the trade war is doing to the economy are NOT free trade fundamentals. Do you believe in markets or not?

For the eight years of Mr. Clinton’s presidency, Republicans railed against his immorality and dishonesty. Slick Willie he was called. Mr. Trump also regularly makes false and misleading statements. Typically outright lies. He also is a womanizer. Do you believe in personal accountability or not? Why are you not as outraged by this person’s behavior as you were Mr. Clinton’s? Is it blind devotion to the party?

When Mr. Obama took office during the Great Recession, conservatives screamed from every outlet possible that the sky was falling because of the national debt and the continuation of the bailouts begun during the Bush administration. Well, under Mr. Trump, in an effort to mitigate the damage done by the trade war, more money has been given to farmers than was used to bailout GM. The national debt has mushroomed to $22 trillion dollars. Where is the conservative outrage over lack of fiscal responsibility? Do you believe in this principle or does it only matter when a Democrat is in the oval office?

My final question for conservatives is this: is there anything this president could do that would make you stop supporting him?

Independence Day Ramblings (a day late) – 7/5/2019

The real problem isn’t Colin Kapernick. Or Donald Trump. They may be the symbols for anger, but they are not the problem. The problem is that we as a society fear and loathe the “other” in whatever form it takes.

The problem is that we don’t listen. We shout insults and obscenities at each other over personal beliefs instead of finding common ground and working towards reasonable solutions to real problems.

The problem is that we take examples of the extremes and generalize that to a whole group. We allow mass media machines, which only thrive when we tune in and consume their ads, to constantly poke at our anger for that other group and inflame our hatred for them, mostly so we will tune in tomorrow to see what new outrage “they” have committed.

Then, we act surprised when someone shoots up a school or a government building or whatever.

The problem is that we no longer respect each other’s right to life, right to culture. We are quickly slipping into a fascist wasteland where any dissent is met not by thoughtful deliberation but violent resistance.

The problem is that we so desperately want to be seen as part of the clever, intelligent side that we completely and utterly dismiss the opposition with straw man caricatures and derisive memes that dehumanize and degrade them as something unworthy of human compassion and rights.

The problem is that we have forgotten that living in a free society means that everyone is free to believe as they wish, and as long as they are not actively calling for harm to another person, they have a right to hold and express those beliefs. If we aren’t willing to defend the freedoms of those we disagree with, we don’t deserve freedoms ourselves.

Freedom isn’t about getting your way. It’s about all of us finding a way to live together. It’s about listening and sharing ideas. It’s about accepting that there is room for all of us in this world if we will just focus on finding solutions instead of inciting hate. We have the most beautiful framework ever created, a framework that has allowed itself to grow and morph and adapt to include more people and more views as time has progressed. Everyone who lives under the umbrella of that framework should take a moment and be grateful.

That’s all for now.