Archive for the ‘Core Principles’ Category

Yes, some of you have even claimed as much in your responses to my various postings and comments.  The charges are also levied against various people speaking out against the current ‘majority’ (in government at least) who have a say in various public forums.  So let’s own up to what it is you accuse me of and how it relates to what I actually think, say and understand.

I am a Radical!

Yes, I am a radical.  I have read my history books.  I have understood the history of man, of religion, of government, of society.  I have read on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, I have read on the growth of humanity.  I have read about the dark ages, the inquisition, on philosophy and science.  I have read from Aristotle, Socrates, Descartes, and Locke, Nietzsche, Kant and Rand.  I learned of the rise of collectivist thought and read from Marx, read on the Russian revolution and the rise and the eventual fall of communist Russia.  I have read the history of Nazi Germany.

I am a radical as I have read the history of the Americas, it’s discovery, it’s slave trade, it’s various successes and failures, it’s revolution and it’s civil war. I have read the Magna Carta, the Letters of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  And I have read many letters and correspondence from the founders and many other great Americans that have come since.  And I am a radical because I agree with the cause for freedom, I treasure my liberty, I place value on my life and the lives of my fellow country men (and women).

Along with that value for life, I am a radical for I place value in the products of that life – in property, possessions, family, friends, businesses and other ventures of man’s mind, muscle and efforts.

I am a radical because I presume hate to be as valid an emotion as love.  For I am prone to hate anyone who’s primary conscious thoughts and actions direct them to erode or outright destroy the things I love; my life, my country, my family and friends, my possessions and the other products of my thoughts and toils and those of the people I cherish.

prejudiced by objective reality

I am a Racist!

I too am a racist!  I am a racist for I think that any man who holds onto notions and actions of the past instead of examining properly the conditions of the present, any man who casts judgments  upon others out of ignorance or without a complete understanding of the facts, is acting immorally, unethically and fundamentally wrong.  I am racist for I think no one should place special favors OR adverse restrictions on anyone due to their race, skin color, religion, lifestyle, gender, physical condition or any other factor beyond their own control and determination.

I am racist because I think anyone, regardless of the past or conditions related to their specific ‘class’, should be judged equally – and because I think for the most part, THEY ARE.  I am racist because I think that everyone faces adverse circumstances in life, and many times those adverse circumstances can be unreasonable or unjust, and that such ‘illogic’ is not always based simply on class prejudices.  Because I think that anyone ‘can’ overcome any number of adversities and should – AND HAVE –  if they want to really succeed and truly be proud of their accomplishments.

I am racist because I think that when someone is considered for a college, or a job, or any other facet of admission or acceptance it should be based upon their abilities, knowledge and skill as pertains to the position in question, their history, and yes – their individual personality and character – and not upon anything else.

I am a racist because I think that no one should be handed additional ‘gifts’ or given special preference and that to do so creates, re-enforces and perpetuates stereotypical prejudices as well as demeans anyone that is allegedly described by those stereotypes – not just those receiving the gifts.  I think that to do so not only does not help the person but that there is sufficient documented proof that it creates in such people a dependency mindset and encourages others to join in that dependency role.  And I am racist because I think it borders on outright evil to intentionally and knowingly denigrate any man to such a lowly condition as to be dependent on another when it is far superior to help a man become independent for his own sake – and because I dare think that the latter is better for them and for society as a whole!!

I am a lunatic

I am lunatic because I choose to speak my mind, and in doing so cite facts, reasons, logic, and relevant fragments of the history and knowledge I have come to understand.  And I am lunatic because I am passionate about those things I have struggled, exerted and spent a long time coming to know and understand – and to dare think as a result are ‘right’ and ‘good’.

I am a lunatic to declare that I am taxed too much, that my liberties are infringed upon too greatly, that my ‘representatives’ do not represent me any longer, that the ill-gotten ‘public tithe’ from my hard-earned revenues are being spent in far too many ways of which I don’t approve.  I am a lunatic to suggest that forces are at work which are intentionally redirecting people to assume ‘right’ and ‘good’ in ideas that are abhorrently and outrageously wrong and bad.

I am a lunatic to think that what I have worked for and produced with my hands, my efforts, my mind and my time are ‘mine’ and mine alone.  And that anyone that assumes to have dominion over what is mine is morally, ethically and fundamentally wrong in taking it.  I am a lunatic for suggesting that when they do take it, they can only do so without my consent and at the point of a gun or other use of force (or similar threat thereof).

I am a lunatic for daring to think I am free and willing to fight to remain so if necessary, that I love what this country was founded upon and will fight to preserve that if necessary as well and that I love liberty as much as I love my own life and would risk losing it to stand up for any or all of the above.

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I once had a teacher who was rather adamant about people NOT apologizing for things they did wrong.  He instead expected whoever was being addressed to understand what they did wrong, hopefully feel some level of remorse for the adverse effects they caused and to say instead that they would do their best not to repeat the same mistake.  His thinking was that the apology only serves to make the apologizer feel better after doing wrong to another.

Another lesson I learned rather recently from another great teacher of mine, mainly my father, was in regards to thank you’s.  I learned through one of his former students (he taught junior high for over 30 years) that he never thanked his employers upon receiving his paycheck.  When asked why, he said “because I earned it! ”  In essence, what point is there in thanking someone for doing what they were contractually obliged to do as an exchange for something you did for them?

I am not one to do things because (ad populum fallacy)  it is a generally accepted practice.  I do things because they make rational sense.  The average person upon hearing either of the above two principles (without the associated explanation) would likely think “how rude!”  Yet when they are explained, ([unreasonable] notions of ‘common courtesy aside’), they make logical sense.

Another similar situation that comes into play relates to intentions and motives.  I tend to live my life as such that I do the least harm (by my own doing) to others as I am physically and logistically able to do.  In this practice, I am very specific to differentiate between ‘harm I do’ and ‘harm others presume’ or ‘bring upon themselves’ as an indirect result of my own actions and as a direct result of theirs.

As an example, I am a hunter.  I am an outspoken hunting advocate.  Many people are not either.  Some people are anti-hunting for reasons of their own.  I used to ‘not’ be an outspoken hunting advocate for the latter two reasons, I did not want to offend anyone that didn’t share my views on the subject.
What I eventually learned (check my posting of “First Blood”) was that many people who may have been offended, were in fact ignorant as to what hunting was really about.  The end result was that many times by being outspoken, I could enlighten people who simply didn’t know enough about the subject and practice.  And for the others who ‘chose’ to remain ignorant, that was their own choice and therefore not my problem.

Similar can be said for other actions I have taken.  I am prone, for example, to tell various off color jokes.  I am very specific as to the ‘color’ I choose most often: Pollock jokes, musician jokes, blond jokes, hunter jokes.  Is it because I wish to degrade the Polish, the musically inclined, blond haired people or hunters?  In case you haven’t guessed, I choose those because I am a member of all four categories.
One might argue that it still helps proliferate stereotypes, but in fact, it is in a way a small means of protest.  Our society today has what some have established as ‘protected groups’. (that don’t really include any of those I just listed)  A black person, for example, has a far lesser negative stigma for referring to another black person with the ‘N’ word than someone of another race or skin color.  Similarly, a gay person can refer to another with the ‘F’ word with the same consideration.  So, as I often say when telling jokes from the first category above “I can use the ‘P’ word – so unless you are [also] Polish you better not!

The above example comes down to motive.  We live in a hyper sensitive, overly politicized society where more often than not, people are being called upon to apologize for things said where the ‘perception’ of it did not match the ‘intention’.  If the intention did not contain malice, then where is the ‘reason’ for an apology?   Or as per the first example with my teacher in regards to these kind of modern inanities, where is the reason for remorse and a will ‘not to do it again’.  Do what???

A mistake that does another harm is when you knowingly take an action that will obviously or through carelessness do another harm (without their intervening to make it so).  If another miss-takes [pun intentional] something you say or do as malicious or insensitive when it wasn’t intended to be, it requires judgment on their part to lead to their misconception, not (necessarily) anything of your own doing.

Does this mean that there may not be the occasional misunderstanding or confusion?  Of course not.  But if the litmus test for life is to not do anything that ‘may’ cause another harm because ‘they’ may pre-judge your intentions or motives as being less than admirable, we’d all be tiptoeing around life way way too much to exist reasonably!

(see also: Selective Accountability)

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Originally posted to Facebook Notes

I was just commenting on someone else’s link about how I got involved with countering extremist activism. I don’t like activism. I’ve generally thought most activists are a bunch of whack jobs with marginalized ideas otherwise they wouldn’t need to make tons of noise to get them accepted. Sure, public dissent has lead to a great many positive changes, but I mark a difference in my mind between someone who dissents for a reason and someone who is – for lack of a better way to put it – an activist by trade.
There just seem to be some folks out there who either have completely unacceptable ideals they are demonstrating on behalf of, or who just simply like to complain and protest. I generally focus my attentions on the former because, over the years I’ve seen some rather insidious tactics being used by these groups to try to get their ‘beliefs’ into the main-stream culture. The worst of which is hiding their true purpose by only telling half-the-story or by clinging to the widely accepted portions of what constitutes their full agenda.
Euphemisms, sensationalism, celebrity endorsements and all sorts of other ‘strategies’ are utilized in a well-conceived scheme of illusion to push forward radical ideas that most people wouldn’t accept. But since I find ‘activism’ itself inane, I wasn’t about to go in a full out counter protest. Yes, I do show up on occasion at such side-shows well prepared with ‘the other side’ and whatever facts and I can bring along, but I’m not really looking to go waving a sign and marching to Washington or Lansing or whatever else.

Since I conceived the big problem was the obfuscation of the real motives of these groups, and since it occurred to me that many other people ‘tune out’ as soon as any substantive debate on the ‘real’ issues turns into a shouting match, I conceived of my ‘Ant-activist’ approach. Some of the folks pushing these extreme ideas have been doing it a long time. They get off on making asses of themselves to get attention. I don’t – so as long as they are drawing attention on their antics, what a better opportunity to shed light on their full desired purpose?

Speak against them and it turns into white noise. But speak on their behalf and how can they possibly refute you? Just don’t mince words! Don’t play their euphemistic shell game!

I’ve had more damn fun on many an occasion putting on a smile and standing amongst a group of socialists, animal “rights” activists, environmental extremists or other such groups speaking their message – their full message – with no reservations!

When you don’t soft-sell extreme ideas, they are not palatable and it really knocks the wind out of the sails of the people trying to ‘sell’ them to people who otherwise wouldn’t want them if they really knew what they were getting. The first time you do it, you feel like crap for saying the things you hate – when you start to get ‘good’ at it (too good) it starts to really become enjoyable!

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The original post was a specific reply but I thought some of the examples I cited were cute and worthy of reposting. I was trying to get across the concept of ‘indifference’ and thus cited some examples to him to try to elucidate the point:

So how do you get the point across on just how little I care?

Let’s say you are married…. You come home to find your wife hanging curtains…. she decides to tell you at length of the subtle differences and multiple variations of color between the shades of ocher and salmon when picking floral patterns for curtain valences….

no? that one doesn’t work? OK, how’s about this? You are at work… some geek from the accounting department is by the coffee machine and corners you and starts to tell you with impassioned fervor the history of all the subtle tax code changes from the day he graduated college until present. He was born in 1939 and graduated at 20 years old!

Still not quite? OK, one of the nerds from the computer department comes to your desk to fix your PC. It’s broke, you don’t care why. While he’s working on your computer he starts to lecture you on the importance of cleaning your mouse regularly, then begins to tell you about the fascinating world of assembly language programming on Z80 microprocessors.

How about this one? Some extreme feminist animal rights environmental kook who lives down your block is passing out fliers at the latest neighborhood mixer. She corners you in particular to tell you of the benefits of eating a diet based around mostly tofu, soy milk, fungus burgers and sprouts then decides to drone on in great detail about the horrors of animal testing.

Still don’t get it? OK, You open your email box and you have 200 letters describing how you can get a share of $30 million from some dipshit in zimbabwe, how to increase the size of your penis, where to get discount viagra substitutes and how to save money on printer cartridge refills versus replacements….

Or… Your old high school friend calls you to lunch. You show up, get your food then he pulls out an Amway folder….

Two jehova’s witnesses show up at your door…..?

Are we beginning to understand yet?

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

A lot of the topics I discuss hinge on the principle of ‘value’. A topic that seems simple enough but that requires further clarification because ‘value’ is a very subjective concept.
Since I am often speaking about – or at least from – an objectivist standpoint, value plays a very important role in that one of the key tenets of Objectivist philosophy is that any interactions between men, to be ethical and moral, must involve an equal exchange of value. So what is value and how do we define it – especially in the case of these interactions? In this case, the value is relative to each person involved in the exchange – i.e. they must mutually agree that what they are giving and what they are receiving in such an exchange is a worthy exchange of value.

To demonstrate this fact I often use an analogy, interchanging the nature of the allegory to suit the circumstances and to better suit the audience. The most basic form is essentially as follows:

Imagine that at some point in your life, someone you care about and have great admiration and respect for offers you a gift. Perhaps you are seeking your first job or leaving home for the first time, and this person you admire – for example your grandfather – hands you a copper penny. You ask them “what is this for?” and they tell you that when they were first going out on their own, their grandfather handed them a penny as a gesture to get them started. They explain to you that they carry that penny with them always and even go so far as to pull out their wallet to show it to you and you see the tell-tale circle worn into the outside of the leather to back up the claim that he always had it with him.
You too carry this penny with you until you find that first job and continue to carry it with you always as a reminder of your grandfather’s gesture to teach you a lesson or show you support when you got started.
How much then is that penny worth? To everyone else it is worth $0.01 but to you it may be something with a sentimental attachment that you would not give up for all the money in the world.

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Originally posted to Facebook Notes

To explain my perspective on various types of behavior I often use these definitions to define said behavior. It is important to understand the reason(s) people do the things they do, especially when framing how to respond to those behaviors or when speaking of ‘love’ and ‘hate’. (in my opinion ‘hate’ is just as legitimate and emotion as ‘love’ so long as ‘hate’ is confined to those people or actions that threaten to destroy the things or people you love) For the purposes of this discussion, I focus specifically on misguided actions or behaviors and their causes.

Ignorance: not knowing something
Ignorance by itself can be excusable. I, myself, am ignorant on a great many things. Simply not knowing something, or not knowing all there is to know about something is not an inherent ‘wrong’. We are all ignorant about a great many things.
More often than not, the relevance of ‘ignorance’ comes down to a ‘need to know’. For example, I don’t ‘need to know’ how to fix the carburetor on a car engine – as a result I am ignorant on how to fix a carburetor. I have no doubt I could learn how to fix a carburetor, but I don’t need to.

Stupidity: the inability to learn or know about something
Stupidity again is excusable. It is a lack of ability to know something. I fully admit I am stupid when it comes to interior decorating. I don’t get it, I never will get it. I have no desire to ‘be’ an interior decorator, and if I ever really desire for top-notch ‘interior design’ I can always hire someone to do it for me.

Idiocy*: being ‘ignorant’ about something but acting in spite of that ignorance. Or making a conscious choice to remain ignorant when you really should not do so.
*This one is a bit tougher, because I could not find a precise word to assign to it based on ‘denotative’ meaning. So instead I chose the term ‘idiocy’ for it’s connotative interpretation. A more accurate word would be ‘ignoramus’, but the connotative perception of ‘idiot’ works.
With that said, I describe ‘idiocy’ as someone that can or should know better, but acts in spite of their ignorance. To use the prior examples, if I really needed the use of my truck but decided to attempt to fix my carburetor myself, I would be an idiot. Similarly, if I took a job fixing carburetors but still chose not to learn how, I would also be an idiot. Or if I were to claim to know something about interior decorating, when I do not and cannot understand it, I would again be an idiot.

Incidiot*:  (Ihn-sih-dee-oht) Someone who does know better, but either feigns ignorance or tries to justify it when ignoring the facts about their course of action.
*this is a term I coined by merging the term ‘incite’ with my concept of ‘idiocy’
This term refers to someone who would seem to be behaving like the ‘idiot’ described above. Someone that acts inspite of not knowing something. However, they either do know or are in a position that it is highly likely they should know about the subject in question. i.e. a trained mechanic who intentionally fouls up a carburetor in the process of fixing it could fit this definition.
My concept of the ‘incidiot’ is therefore important to note, because someone that is feigning ignorance about a subject, and takes an action that is inherently immoral or wrong, is therefore intentionally behaving in a fashion that could be described as ‘evil’.

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A few years ago I came up with an analogy to signify what it is I seek in people with whom I have relationships (all types of relationships mind you). At that time, I came up with an analogy to help explain it. I have referred to that analogy ever since as the ‘other side of the card’. The analogy basically goes like this:

“If you hold up a playing card between two people sitting on opposite sides of the table, then ask each of them to describe what they see on the card, each will describe something completely different but neither of them is incorrect.”

The concept being, that everyone has different perspectives. Sometimes the matter of where you ‘are’ in life will make a difference on how you see things. The person sitting on one side of the table will, for example, see something like the jack of hearts – the person on the other sees a white-on-blue pattern of someone riding a tricycle in front of a lot of elaborate circles and lines.

In any situation in life, there are going to be people seeing the same thing from different vantage points. At the same time, there will be some people that won’t even be looking at the card, but will instead be checking under the seats for gum or examining the interior decorating of the room. My interest was to find someone who would be looking at many of the same things as me (e.g. the card) but seeing it perhaps in a different way than I had because they would come at it from a different vantage point.

It is a very interesting way to go forward and it has brought me some interesting friends and relationships. But even when I coined the analogy, I still felt there was something missing. I eventually added the thought of someone ‘looking around the room’ as one thing I would not be interested in – I was definately seeking to be around people who were looking at the same things (e.g. the card) and not focused on other things around the room (at least as far as the analogy was concerned and as related to those things I find important in any particular situation).

There was one other thing that I missed, however. I have sought to enter relationships (of all types) that allow me to get the perspective of that ‘other side of the card’. I seek to find people who can help me see the same things I am interested in looking at from a different perspective. But there was another big problem hiding somewhere that I wasn’t able to put my finger upon.

The problem comes in when the people with whom you are interacting fail to recognize that the side of the card you are seeing may in fact be different than theirs. Yes, I am trying to go forth understanding that what they see (based on where they ‘sit’ in life) is different from what I see. But when you find someone who fails to recognize that what YOU see (based on where ‘you’ sit in life) is going to perhaps be different from what they see, then troubles are bound to occur.

So what do you do then? Don’t ask me, that’s the part I am going to have to figure out next. *sigh*

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