et tu obama?

The reason there are so many people on government aid is because it’s there and available for the taking! Here’s a hypothetical question: What if we just cut all government aid to these people? Do you think that MOST of these people would find a way to get by anyways, or do you think the entire country would just slip into a state of anarchy? Either way, its all fucked up. Either people really can make do with what they have OR humans cannot exist in a state of peace without government concessions.

The entire concept of government rule WITH peace and freedom, is that you must provide the people with the MINIMAL amount of concessions needed to prevent violent outbreaks, so that the government itself can function with as little taxes as realistically conceivable.  This provides both peace, and prosperity for THOSE WHO HAVE THE DRIVE TO GO AFTER IT!

This is why we have Dems and reps going back and forth with politics in this country. The only way we can sustain is to continually argue back and forth, wobbling to maintain the balance mentioned above. What you DON’T want is either side getting so much control over an extended period of time as to exhaust the flexibility of the fundamental foundations of the system itself.  That is what you should fear.  That is the matter which should concern us most.

Having said all of that, I will now turn you to one if the biggest debates that has plagued the human race since inception, that is, “what’s the best form of government”?

“The real difference between democracy and oligarchy is poverty and wealth. Wherever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few of many, that is an oligarchy, and where the poor rule, that is democracy”.

-Aristotle, Politics






I know it’s been a while since I’ve been seen here, but I’m taking another go at it.  Just a quick entry for now thought.  You guys should check out this blog:

The Human Condition

I stood by today watching a half dozen South American foreign nationals (here on work visas) setting rebar on a building expansion and thought to myself “these guys work twice as hard as I do for at most half the pay, only because they were born into different circumstances than I.”  While it is time’s like these that I am glad to be an American, I was also a bit perplexed as to why exactly we make it so difficult and time consuming for others to pursue the same citizenship status, and furthermore call many “outlaws” for border jumping.  Here I am, considering all of this, while our elected government officials work half as hard as I do debating immigration reform getting paid at least twice as much as I.

I was troubled by the same question many people before me have been troubled with.  After some thought, I considered a scenario discussed with a good friend of mine some time ago.  Theoretically speaking, let’s say we were to take 100 people and put them on an island; take away everything that they have and redistribute it evenly among them.  After a month or so, we would return to the island and likely find that the people who had more to begin with will still have more and the end.  The same would likely apply to those who had less.

This thought led me to recall the story of “The Good Brahmin,” by Voltaire.  The story, in short, can be summed up with the all too well-known phrase “ignorance is bliss.”  Voltaire was simply presenting the question of why those who are not ignorant would not give up all their knowledge and understanding if it meant living a happy life.  It’s a paradox of human nature.  Those who live a less lavish lifestyle only understand enough to find complacency living in it.

In light of all of this, it just means that I don’t really have much room to complain about my lot in life.  This is the human condition defined, plain and simple, and sometimes it requires reflection to maintain sanity in spite of the absurdity of reality.

The Good Brahmin, by Voltaire


The Egg, by Andy Weir

For those “life philosophers” out there who have not yet enjoyed the brilliant short stories of Mr. Andy Weir, I highly suggest at the very least you take a read over The Egg.  I stumbled upon this gem a few years back, and was quite beside myself at the ideas it conveyed.  I had often wondered if this was the meaning of life, but I couldn’t have summed it up better myself, let alone in an entertaining and ingenious short story.  It’s an easy read.  Please check it out.

The Egg, by Andy Weir


Image courtesy of Mr. Barry S. Goldberg.

On debating gay marraige…

So I have had the last few decades of my life to really kick this debate around in my head.  I’ve never been one to voice much more of an opinion on the matter than “who cares who marries who?”  Over the years, I’ve become more aware of the root of the debate, and the tragic flaws that it holds for the conservative people who wish to “protect” that holy matrimony.

First off, please understand that I have no desire to cause outrage to anyone on this subject, especially those who take the time to read my blog.  I have no personal vested interest in either side prevailing to be quite honest, but I am a pretty firm supporter of the pursuit of happiness.  In that, I would honestly fall on the side of support for gay marriage.  Fortunately my personal opinion isn’t what I’m trying to illuminate here, so I digress.

I see two sides to this debate.  When I say sides, I mean those who have real motivation and vested personal interest in the question at hand. 

The first is that of gay marriage supporters.  The primary arguments for this side usually revolve around the fair treatment and opportunity of all.  The GLBTQ community argues for the same rights and recognition in legal matters for themselves that is given to straight couples.  They feel that gay couples deserve the same tax breaks, insurance coverage, and official recognition as anyone else.  This is the major motive for this side of the fence.  It’s not complicated, and well worth consideration.

The second is that of gay marriage objectors.  The primary arguments for this side have shifted over time, which earnestly only weakens the overall strength of the position.  The most recent and supported idea is that marriage is a religious ideal.  It is a holy and blessed arrangement, not only between two people, but between those people and God.  The thought is that marriage is, and always has been a thing of faith.  Whatever the gay couples are proposing isn’t marriage, as marriage itself has been ordained by the church and defined by the bible and other religious texts.  This is probably the strongest and most reasonable opposition to the former perspective.  It shouldn’t matter whether gay people are born that way or choose to be that way, we still need respect it in the eyes of constitutional law.  Shear hate or disgust is not solid enough ground to fight this battle politically.  We can’t seriously even consider most of the other alternative arguments (see pic below).

Seriously, we’re arguing semantics here.  In light of this, a real problem has formed in my head with regards to opposition of gay marriage.  They argue that marriage is spiritual and religious in nature, but the government shouldn’t be recognizing any one faith or ideal over another.  The reason we have separation of church and state in this nation is not to protect the government from the church, but to protect the church from the government.  At least, this is what Thomas Paine clearly expressed in The Rights of Man.  With that being said, the government must recognize marriage as a sort of civil union.  There may be more than one type of civil union, and marriage is one of them.  Gay marriage must be another one in the spirit of the constitution and recognition of minority rights.  I make this point because if opponents of gay marriage continue to push this issue, the government will be forced to recognize that marriage is a religious concept.  Tax breaks and other beneficial laws made by either the states or the federal government should therefore be removed and overturned.  In the way of the American ideal, the government simply cannot unfairly provide these incentives to one group of people while withholding them from another based on religious affiliation.  In short, if marriage is a religious union only, then all those nifty tax breaks and insurance coverage options mandated by federal and states laws should be immediately suspended and withdrawn.  Uh oh, you mean to say all of this fighting for the government to recognize that marriage is a commitment in the eyes of the Lord alone just lost us our tax breaks?

Yes sir!  And this is where your current argument will eventually end up.  In my opinion, I’m all for wiping out tax breaks and special treatment to married couples over singles and gay couples.  It’s a huge deficit burden for this country.  This is coming from a happily married man to boot.  In the end, the conservative’s best position is to simply let the gay marriage proponents laws come to fruition.  At least then they won’t lose those tax incentives which allow them to keep popping out babies at the expense of the federal government and the American taxpayers. 

Alas, there is a sound and reasonable option that should satisfy both sides.  Why don’t we recognize marriage as one form of civil union, and then recognize the gay equivalence as a different form of civil union?  Allow the laws to apply to civil unions, not to marriage.  Let the religious folks keep the definition of “biblical marriage” being between and man and a woman, and let the gay couples get the fair treatment they are fighting for.  Everyone wins.

By all means, if anyone should find any major fallacies in my approach, please let me know.  I’ve been pitching this rant for months now.  I’d hate to think I was sounding like a babbling idiot this whole time. 


One Decision

The next time you are approached by a homeless person and asked for spare change, give them a few dollars and stay and talk with them for ten minutes or so.  It’s important that they are reminded that they are only one good decision away from a better fate, and just as important that you are reminded that you are only one bad decision away from theirs.


Philosophical Suicide

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus claimed that realization of the Absurd arises when the human need to understand meets “the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle.”  He asserted that the universe was so vast and complex that it was beyond the abilities of human understanding, and that our hunger for understanding the universe is doomed to failure.  Once one realizes this absurdity, life is literally brought to a standstill.  The dilemma results in three paths of selection.  One can embrace faith and relinquish control to God, choose to self-destruct or battle with the notion of the Absurd directly.  Camus recommended the latter of the three.  He claimed that the concept of suicide was even more absurd than living itself, and that turning to God would be committing “philosophical suicide.”

So what exactly did he mean by “philosophical suicide?”  For many people, the notion of abandoning reason and accepting a belief in God isn’t philosophical suicide.  Camus wasn’t addressing those who have devoted themselves to a religious lifestyle by finding and building a relationship with God.  He was addressing those who have come to realize the absurdity of human life.  In order to truly be cognizant of the Absurd, one has to recognize that it is impossible to conceive the complexities of the reality we live in.  A devout theist has already acknowledged that God provides the reason, and that by affirming a relationship with God, they are providing an end to the means.  A true theist is never confronted with the Absurd, and if they were, they would be abandoning faith.  Camus was arguing that once an individual realizes the Absurd, turning to God at this point is “philosophical suicide.”

By living with the Absurd in spite of it, one leaves themselves open to many different philosophical ideals.  An Absurdist has the freedom to see other practices from a neutral, uninvolved perspective.  An Absurdist doesn’t accept atheism any more than they would accept theism.  To an Absurdist, there might be a God, but humans can never know for certain.  Any meaning they define is personal, and faces the Absurd.  There is no way to tell whether the meaning they construct conforms to any universal meaning.  So an Absurdist may consider many philosophies when developing meaning for living.

My take is simply this:  If one fully embraces any one philosophy over others, then they have hindered their ability to view life from another vantage.  That isn’t to say that it is impossible for a true theist to understand an atheist, it is just very difficult and highly unlikely.  How can one earnestly and truly consider that there is no God, all the while living a life in full and utter acceptance that there is?  Just the same, how can one earnestly and truly consider that there is a God, while they have chosen a lifestyle that concludes unequivocally that there isn’t?  How can either expect to truly bridge any gap of understanding between themselves and the others if they cannot take a step out of their own faith?  If they are able to step out of their own faith and consider the alternative, are they truly living honestly with themselves?  I dare not say it is impossible, but reassert that it is incredibly challenging.  I’m also willing to consider the possibility that it is not humanly possible.

Many would argue that they have experienced both lifestyles, and that their first hand exposure allows them to understand both.  I would argue that it is a matter of current perspective.  For instance, I could attest that I recall what it is like to be a child.  I was once a child, and therefore I must know what it is like to be one.  The fact remains that I was ONCE a child, but am no longer.  I might recall some aspects of my childhood, but I cannot conclusively state that I still know exactly what it is like.  Why is it that so many parents have difficulty connecting with their teenage children?  If they truly remembered what it was like to be a teen, why can’t they effectively communicate with a teenager?  The fault in the idea lies in the fact that although they might recall what it was like to be in youth, there will always remain a disconnect.  They not only know what it is like to be a child, but they also know what it is like to be an adult.  The experience of both alters perspective, therefor preventing complete association with the other.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot”

-Anonymous, “Gospel of Matthew 6:24”