Free College is for the Entitled

In the wake of Bernie Sanders endorsing Hillary Clinton (and consequently leaving the race, officially), I have been looking closer at his policies, particularly his stance on college; free college. Of course, any knowledgeable person knows that college won’t actually be free: the government will tax everyone at a higher rate, and all of the money will be pooled together into one pot to collectively pay for everyone’s college. I find this idea of “free” college to be a bad idea. I understand the practical side of the argument: that it may help get more people into the work force, but this is not compelling in my worldview in any way. I personally hold to the idea of personal responsibility for all adults: each and every man or woman should be responsible for their own lives, and this includes getting any sort of formal education. If you desire further education in your life, then it is on you to pay for your own college.

This logic applies to pretty much everything else in your life: if you want a computer, or a house, or any sort of good, you have to work for it yourself. And yes, I think that college education can properly be compared to these goods I exemplified. College education is something more than a basis of knowledge: it is knowledge that is specific to your job, and is a choice that you make according to how you want to live your life. To most people, it would be absurd to think that we should tax everybody at a higher rate just so we could provide computers for everyone, so why should it be done for our college education? In both cases, they are something provided to people who choose to pay for them. Under democratic socialism it is essentially asserted that everyone desires these things, so we may as well distribute it out to all of them. This is not true. Not everyone needs college education to get through life: believe it or not, it is not a necessity for every job. Under democratic socialism, any person who makes the decision to not go to college will then be forced against their will to pay for everyone else’s education. I call this extortion. If this is to be avoided, it only makes sense to leave the expenses to each individual person.

A common objection to this idea is that our K-12 education in America is done the democratic socialist way. This is true, but you would be ignoring some important distinctions that set it apart. First, K-12 education is a requirement, so this removes the choice element that is so important when rejecting “free” college. Second, as I stated in the beginning, personal responsibility is something that every adult should have; this distinction matters. Children need to be provided for, even if they generally don’t want it. Every child needs to have a base education in order to get through life, so an exception must be made here. Once you graduate high school and become a legal adult, you enter a new phase of your life where you are forced to make a choice: where do you want to go with your life? And based on that decision comes the choice of whether you go to college; like any adult, you will then have to work to receive what you want.

Another objection would be the cost of college. College is so expensive these days; you literally see the complaints about student loan debts every day of the week. Students graduate college with debts ranging as high as eighty thousand dollars, if not more. This is incomprehensibly large. And colleges do this to them; they go for an education, and they leave worse off than before because they’ll be stuck paying debts for the rest of their lives. But whose fault is that? How could you possibly think that racking up a mountain of debt was worth it? If your education was too important, then you could have gone somewhere cheaper. Here’s a heartbreaking fact for you: not everyone can go to the big prestigious college. I recognize that people grow up being told they are special snowflakes, but they need to get it into their heads that there are some things you quite simply cannot do. Did you get accepted into Harvard? Can you also go into a smaller campus nearer to home? Which to choose? Well, if you want to choose, then you’ll have to break it down financially. If you find that you’ll be able to pay off all but twenty thousand dollars of your expenses each year at Harvard, then don’t go! And if you do end up going, don’t complain when you live the rest of your natural life smothered by debt; that was your choice, so it’s your fault; don’t listen to your parents if they tell you otherwise: they’re wrong.

I deliberately took steps to avoid taking out student loans. First, I worked nearly full time during high school; then I saved all of that cash. I also did well in school and applied for scholarships. Then I went to a local college and paid for all of my education upfront. I transferred to a larger college when my education required it, but this was because it was a requirement. I did really well and the college gave me even more money that carried over into the larger college. But the important bit is that I never took out a student loan. Ever. How could I want to? I didn’t want to land myself into debt, and fortunately, my parents agreed. So, if you want to, or need to go to college, then be smart about it. Most people want to stroke their ego and go to some big, prestigious college like Harvard, but that doesn’t make you intelligent; in fact, more often than not, it is probably one of the dumbest decisions you could possibly make.

So no, college should not be free. College is a choice made by individuals, and in the case that they choose to go some other route they should not have their cash forcibly taken from them through excessive taxes. Adults are responsible for their own lives, and this extends to college education. Just because people are incapable of being responsible when it comes to spending money does not mean they need to be coddled and helped along. Your choices have consequences, and protecting people from them will only make the situation worse: they will never learn from their mistakes. And it is fair by this world’s standards. Whether you like it or not, making people pay for their own college education is as fair as you can get.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=bnF8Eu03me4

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#BlackLivesMatter and the Poison of Collectivism

As I am sure you’re all aware (or I hope you’re aware), there is a series of hot-button topics dominating the political stage, among those being the topic of race. It pains me to see such a vast amount of people being misled on this topic by a certain mindset: collectivism. Collectivism is not necessarily an inherent “evil”, but in today’s day and age it is leading to more injustice and bias. It encourages people to view themselves and others as collectives (or groups) instead of as individual human beings, and to approach social issues in that sort of retrograde manner. This can be dangerous because, although it shuns the idea of individualism, people tend to be individualist due to our self-centered nature. Everything we view is from our own perspective, and through our own biases. So people take collectivist assumptions and try to apply it to individuals, when that clearly does not work.

People generally don’t put all of their focus on politics and discussion of social issues, so they are generally unaware of the impact our mindsets can have on the way we view the world. But, unfortunately, this does not make the impact on society any less enormous. The lens you wear when viewing the world can drastically distort what you see, and can leave you in an entirely different world than the rest: an ideological world. Some have gone down this rabbit hole and have gone completely haywire from what they have seen, while others are just on the cusp. Despite this, I sincerely doubt the vast majority of people are bound to embrace ideological beliefs mainly due to one reason: I am not convinced that the majority of people are aware of the logical consequences of what they are doing, or what they are saying. This is what compels me to write this post. Explaining the logical consequence of people’s beliefs is probably the most effective way to dissuade them, and since I believe most aren’t set in stone on this debate of collectivism and individualism many are probably just waiting for it to happen.

So what does all of this abstract mean? Allow me to put it into more understandable context. I mentioned the race issue in America at the beginning of this post. This topic probably holds some of the best examples of the aforementioned collectivism: Black Lives Matter. This is not going to be a hit-piece on their behavior, as abhorrent as it is, but a hit on the movement as a whole. You often see members of the movement going around asking people, “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?” The point is that people are supposed to be focusing on the group of people who have it the worst. Black people have it the worst, so saying “all lives matter” includes people who do not need help. Black people need help. Black Lives Matter seemingly has a rock solid argument, and most critics only look stupid in contest. White people aren’t the ones consistently gunned down by police, so why the hell is the discussion going to include them?

But there is a problem with all of this. Remember what I said about the lens you choose distorts the way you look at the world? Black Lives Matter has adopted the collectivist lens when looking at the world. If you look at the world as collectives (i.e. black people, white people, yellow people, and so on), then all of their statements certainly are true. But this is because they are making broad generalizations about diverse groups of people. A better way to word the aforementioned claims of Black Lives Matter would be: black people have it worse, on average, and white people have it better, on average. You cannot use averages to make blanket statements about people, but this is certainly what Black Lives Matter does. Their line of thinking leads them to believe they can take this average and just assume that any black person in the country is oppressed and disadvantaged by the system. Even with people like Barack Obama in high positions of power. So any rational human, at this point, should be wondering why people are being viewed as members of a collective at all. If you are required to make generalizations, then why would you think you’re looking at the world in a valid manner?

Individualism simply argues that we scrap the focus of viewing humanity as groups of lookalike people in favor of acknowledging that each and every person is different from the last. This is does not necessarily mean you refuse to notice trends altogether, just that you stop categorizing people according to characteristics that are immutable, like skin color. Once you remove the collectivist lens, the world begins to look quite a bit different. You start to look at each particular event in the news as its own individual occurrence, and consequently stop associating unlike events. Black Live Matter would almost have you believe that police are systematically killing black people, and that each case you see on the media is another step in the process. But is there a connection between two black people being shot on opposite sides of the country, simply due to them and their perpetrators sharing skin color? No. There is no connection, they are individual cases, and they should be treated as such. This is not a denial of police brutality, this is not a denial of racist cops: this is simply an acknowledgement that individual people are the problem, not a coalition of racists. And probably the most important thing to accept, alongside the individualist approach is that this means not every case is a result of racism. People too easily jump on the “racism!” bandwagon whenever a white cop kills a black man. If there is evidence that racism is involved in an individual shooting, then the anti-racist rallying against the cop is warranted, but there must be evidence. And in the event that there is, it only qualifies as evidence of racism in that specific case. It seems that some people think they can justify claims of racism in Detroit because of one racist cop in California. No. They are individual cases. If you want people to believe they are connected, then you’ll have to go fishing for more evidence to support that claim.

These are all issues that need to be remedied if we want to effectively take on police brutality. Taking up an ideological lens does not make the problems go away, it just blinds you to the truth. There is far too much nuance in the world for such a simplistic approach. Collectivism only works in drastic cases, where a particular group is so disadvantaged, and so put down, that the only logical thing to do is generalize. A good example of this would be in the nineteen sixties during the civil rights movement. Jim Crow and segregation systematically held black people back, so it made sense to help them in a collective manner. The “all lives matter” claim would have less justification then. But things have changed so much since then, and even though black people still have it worse, on average, they have integrated enough to the point that it is impossible to treat them as a collective without being completely disingenuous.

As if this could not get any worse, this disingenuousness leads to prejudice and bias in people. And this applies to every demographic. I honestly believe that the country is now moving in the wrong direction, and that people are becoming more and more prejudiced. But you can only blame people so much. They bear a lot of responsibility, but much of it rests on the shoulders of those pushing these ideals (I’m looking at you, liberal University professors). Think on it. When you are constantly bombarded with claims that black people are on the bottom, what do you start to assume every time you meet a black person? When you are constantly told white people have it better in society, what do you start to assume every time you meet a white person? These prejudices plague our society in many forms, mostly in these two words: white privilege. It is essentially an excuse some people use to disregard hard facts like: twenty million white people are living in poverty, according to the latest statistics. White privilege is certainly the most prominent regressive trend in society and the fact that so many people think it is okay to make judgments based on skin color is quite scary, actually. It is almost like they ignored everything they learned in Martin Luther King Junior’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It is quite simple: if we honestly want to live in a world where bias and prejudice are all but extinct, then we absolutely have to take King’s words to heart.

Individualism is what leads you in the direction of Martin Luther King Junior’s dream. Individualism is what leads you away from prejudice and bias. Individualism is what pushes society towards a more fair and inclusive environment. Collectivism is a simplistic worldview that shutters your mind to the complexity of the human race and its interrelations. Don’t let yourself be fooled. I have hope that most people are capable of being rational if they truly want to: therefore everyone is capable of understanding the importance of nuance.

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=cYeMpmooRRA

My inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW8piEF9Lhc

Poverty statistics by race: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/

Martin Luther King Junior’s Speech:

Written: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vDWWy4CMhE

Averages are only averages:

Written: https://stateofthenihil.wordpress.com/always-only-average/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s80Ias-uA54

Bias and prejudice:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/28/news/economy/unstereotyped-white-historically-black-college/index.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6IlGoeDIUQ (Bernie panders)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI9MCvK2MGs (Trump supporter is the least racist)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAeB_yl2E90 (Yes, black people aren’t hive minded)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU3vcvGpALQ (All of them are morons)

Blurred Lines Isn’t Sexist, You Are

There is nothing wrong with the song Blurred Lines, by Robin Thicke. This is pretty late, considering the fact that the song came out in 2013, and it is three years later, but this is a relevant issue. It seems that everyone is convinced that the song is a negative influence on people, or at least that its portrayal of women is negative. But I sincerely think that there is nothing wrong with the song, and that there is no need to be all worked up about the image of women it portrays. The opposition to this statement has two main flaws in their reasoning: they are not looking at women as individuals, and they are trying to take away their bodily autonomy.

When people claim the song has a negative portrayal of women, they are ignoring the fact that women are individual human beings, with their own views and desires. And the worst part is the fact that, at the same time, most are fully capable of viewing men as individuals. They look at the music video and see Robin Thicke being a prick and think: look at that individual man choosing to be a douche bag! And then they look at the women in the video and instead of thinking, look at those individual women choosing to be sex toys, they think: look at how Robin Thicke is choosing to portray women! Can it not bee seen what is wrong with this view? Why is it okay to accept that Robin Thicke is his own individual who is totally not representative of all men, but not so for the women? This shows a fundamental problem with much of feminism and even with much of society. They refuse to accept that a woman can be her own individual without being representative of the rest of her gender in the same way a man can. I don’t know about you, but this seems to be the sexist view.

Another issue, as stated in the beginning, is the fact that the song critics are denying the women their bodily autonomy. Most, I will assume, don’t even realize this, though. They see their criticism of this song as them railing against the patriarchy, or them fighting back against misogynists. In this, they completely acknowledge the agency of everyone in the situation except that of the women. They completely ignore the fact that these women in the video (and the song) are choosing to act sexual and want to have themselves acted upon in sexual ways. What is wrong with that? We have already established that these women should be viewed as individuals and not representatives of their gender, so why should they be denied their bodily autonomy? Why should they not be allowed to do what they want with their own bodies? The answer honestly escapes me. One of the many things feminists want is for women to have the ability to make decisions about their own bodies (at least where killing unborn babies is concerned), but all of that seems to go out the window when they disapprove of another woman’s actions.

This is not to say that it is impossible for someone to listen to this song and have it negatively affect them, though. But there are some important distinctions to make. First is the fact that literally anything can potentially have a negative effect on someone, due to its dependency on who is listening. If some sexist pig, who thinks women are nothing more than a collective, comes along and takes away the idea that all women are sex objects from this song, it is because he is, and already was, a sexist pig. If you aren’t sexist, and you acknowledge that women are individuals, then you probably won’t take anything from this song, other than the idea that those individual women, and those individual men, are sexually oriented. This can be applied to countless other things. Take the crucifix. If you are a catholic, looking at that symbol will remind you of Jesus Christ and how he died and rose again for your sake. If you are an anti-Semite, you may look at it and think: the King of the Jews is crucified! Yeah! Fuck the Jews! The point is that media, or any sort of imagery, reinforces the views that are already ingrained within people. And this can often be contradictory from person to person. You can’t just select the most regressive and negative view possible and assert that that is the only possible take away.

So, not to be accusatory, but if you think Blurred Lines has a negative effect on you, then you yourself are probably the sexist.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=a2keVKNVaXs

Always Only Average

There is this idea going around today that averages can get you down. Specifically, people are looking at their personal demographics and the average success rate, and are basing their own opportunities off of that. It is like they think these averages directly apply to them, despite knowing that they personally aren’t being held back in the ways they’re claiming they are. They then use this as an excuse to demand special treatment and a leg up beyond everyone else. The thing that angers me the most about this is, as I said before, they know that they have it as good as everyone else in many areas, but still take this “average” as gospel. It is like they want to believe it. In this world, no one meets the standards they hold up for themselves. Everyone wants to be heard, everyone wants to be taken seriously, and everyone wants to matter. I think these students have let this desire convince them that they are being held back by something, since they have yet to amount to anything, failing to realize that they are like pretty much everyone else.

The best place to see this is in Universities all over America. Every day, you see minorities in the news complaining about the problem of race in the system. Unfortunately, I have to deal with some of this first hand, as I personally, am a University student. Luckily, not all of them are like this. If they aren’t wet for Bernie and his “free” college, they are completely unaware of his existence (Which really isn’t much better. I have the honor of being part of the entitled millennials, whom are the most politically illiterate, and dumbest generation ever). But there is representation of every idealist and radical ideologue in every University environment: I was relaxing in a hot tub the other day when three girls present started to talk about their place in society. Their discussion was basically about how they were black (and women! god forbid!) and that this was a blight upon their record, and will hurt their chances in life. This whole idea that women and black people are inherently disadvantaged in every facet of their lives comes from the aforementioned averages.

The best way to explain my frustration with this whole mentality is to present a contrived example. These numbers are made up, of course, and the set up is no where near as clean as I will make it, but it is all for simplicity’s sake. The idea being presented will stand true. Say that there are 2 million black people in America today. One million of them are living in poverty making, let’s say, 20 cents for every dollar everyone else is making, because they are surviving off of a part time job that pays minimum wage and have to provide for children. Then there are the other million black people, who make as much money as the rest. If you take the average of all of the black people in this theoretical America, the 20 cents on the dollar, and then the dollar for every dollar, it will come down to 60 cents on the dollar . . . On average. This is the type of average that gets thrown around, and now many, not all, but many minorities cling onto it as if it defines their very existence. Some of them are justified, as they actually do live in poverty. And as is true with my example, many might have it even worse than the actual average. And these people should be helped. But what really grinds my gears is when an entitled University student who is privileged enough to go to college starts toting around that average, as if they personally are making 60 cents on the dollars, when they are clearly making as much as everyone else. Do they honestly expect me to believe that they have it as bad as the millions of black people who are actually living in poverty? What really baffles me is that they know that they are being paid as much as everyone else at whatever job they may be working at, but they somehow convince themselves that it must be otherwise, because of this average.

I will add that this does not mean University students are incapable of being disadvantaged in certain ways (affirmative action comes to mind), and I am also aware that income is not the only way disadvantages can come about. I am fully aware that there are cases of racism against blacks, all throughout the country. But averages of entire groups of diverse people simply will not convince me that there is racism in the system. (And I also don’t care about racism in prison sentencing. They’re criminals, so I stopped caring when they committed their crimes). If you want to convince me that you, personally, experienced racism then I will be happy to listen to an anecdote and sympathize with you. Elsewise, I am hardly ready to listen to you spew out averages that in no way represent your actual life experiences.

This average argument also expands to the far right end of the spectrum in the race debate. You often see many actual racists (Alt-Righters) citing studies that say black people are more likely to commit crime, so they then think it is accurate to make the conclusion that black people are inherently more violent, or at least that it is safe to assume that any black person you meet is a criminal. The same problem of averages applies here as well. Just because the average of all black people says that they are more likely to commit crime does not mean each individual black person is more likely to commit crime. The fact that black crime is so high does not mean Morgan Freeman is more likely to rob a convenience store than Patrick Stewart. You have to look into the reason for the average. In this case, it is quite similar to the income average for black people. Black people disproportionately live in poverty: poverty leads to more crime: and these factors will skew the result. There are probably more reasons for this fact, but the point stands. Just like you can’t just assume a black person is poor because of an average, you cannot assume they are criminal because of an average. Averages are only averages; they cannot be generalized to every individual in that demographic.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=s80Ias-uA54

A Breeding Ground For Stupidity: Abortion

Whenever you enter a discussion about abortion rights, you can be sure that you will be met with two waves of idiocy that originate from both sides. I am almost certain that the two sides either have no idea what it is they are saying, or they are fully aware, but are incapable of giving in to the other side even half a step. Expressly, they are a perfect exhibition of the major issue with political debate today.

I will start by attacking the pro-choice side of the argument. Whenever you get into an argument, or listen to an argument, with someone who is pro-choice (or, even worse, a feminist), you can anticipate their argument before it ever leaves their mouth. It basically boils down to: “it’s a women’s choice, it is her body and she can do what she wants with it”. This is while pro-lifers are claiming that abortion is murder. So, I must ask, how does the pro-choice argument even begin to address the argument made by the pro-lifer? To a pro-lifer someone who is pro-choice is essentially arguing that women should have the ability to choose whether they want to kill a human being. Can it not be seen how this will never register in the mind of a pro-lifer? Every time you see someone arguing pro-choice, they quite nearly go to absurd ends to avoid disputing the claim that abortion is killing people. And when they do, they try to play it off as this dismissive or aloof approach like: “It’s nothing! It’s just a speck of flesh.” There is no argument, there are no points, and there is no substance to what they are saying; they are simply putting their foot down and saying, “it is what it is”. This makes me wonder if they can even come up with an argument for why they aren’t taking abortion seriously.

An effective counter-argument to use would be one like this: “Disregarding the life of a baby from the time it is conceived to the time it is birthed is no different than disregarding the life of the baby from the time it is an infant until it is a toddler”. You will get a similar response almost every time and it leads them right into a logical trap that forces them to question their reasoning. They will probably point out that the difference between those two scenarios posed is the fact that one takes place before the birthing, while the other takes place after the birthing, and that birthing is the significant point in the development of a child. In short: the baby’s real life begins at the time of birth. Respond to this with the following scenario: if the birthing is where the baby’s life begins, would it be okay if a women got an abortion if she was nine months into her pregnancy? It is still before the birthing, but most would find this to be an abhorrent thing to do. At this point the pro-choice advocate will then proceed to admit that the baby’s life does, in fact, begin before birth, at least as a gradient. So then you press the point that there is no way of know when the baby has developed enough to be considered as “life”. They will probably point out that abortions are only legal for the earlier stages, but simply press them for how much development is too much development, and they won’t be able to answer properly. Finally, you assert that the only real benchmark to sit on is that life begins at conception because it is a straight and fluid gradient from conception to birth.

If you really want to piss them off, you should say that pro-choice is the pinnacle of entitlement, because they are convincing themselves that killing babies is justified when covering up their poor decisions. (Don’t actually say that). Now, I will add, that these bully tactics described here are an exaggeration of my beliefs, and are simply to be employed to grill the pro-choice advocates. It is quite fun to watch them squirm. In the end, they simply rely on bullshit accusations of sexism, or hatred of women to dodge any of these points, which you certainly should not fail to highlight for any listeners. The thing to note from this is that deep down, I don’t think they really believe that abortion is as simple as “women’s choice”. They refuse to even acknowledge the other side’s argument simply because they can’t bear to consider the possibility that their opponent might actually be right. I almost want to say that I don’t blame them, but that doesn’t change their actions.

But as I said in the beginning, the pro-lifers are just as bad as the other side of the argument. These guys are the ones going around with the lofty accusations of murder. That abortion is literally the “murder” of children. They use this language to get the attention of people and really put out the fact that they really, really do not approve. So when you find yourself among one of them in a discussion, ask if they want to punish women for having abortions, if it were made illegal; if they say yes, ask them how, exactly, and they will probably hesitate or give a weak answer. This was all that you need, though. If they truly believe that abortion is murder, then they would want the woman charged with murder, and sent to prison, would they not? Most will immediately reject that idea, saying it would be too far. Immediately question why they claimed abortion was “murder”. If they think the punishment for abortion shouldn’t be as severe as it is for murder, then they are admitting that they think abortion itself isn’t as bad as murder. It is a possibility that the human race has become desensitized to it, and this is why we don’t want the same punishment, which is pretty fucking scary, but that aside. You should immediately grill the pro-lifer on their language, asking them why they used deliberately boisterous language to bolster their claim that abortion is wrong. They will have nothing left to stand on.

But this isn’t even the worst claim I have seen made by pro-lifers. Just recently all three republican candidates claimed that they were going to make abortion illegal, but simultaneously would not punish women if they broke this law. Setting aside the impossibly fucking stupid notion that they want to pass a law and then neglect to enforce it, the same issue I highlighted earlier is here as well: if they truly believed that abortion is the equivalent of murder, then they are essentially arguing that women should be allowed to get away with it. Trump, after landing himself in hot water because he initially said they should be punished, later went on to say that women are victims, just like the babies. He is honestly saying that a woman is murdering a child when she has an abortion and that that should be illegal, but she is also a victim . . . HOW? That makes no god damned sense! Can you really believe something is murder, but simultaneously think that people shouldn’t be punished for it? He did claim that the true criminals were the doctors, so it isn’t like no one is being punished. And in the event that abortion becomes illegal, they should be punished, but when the law is broken, you punish everyone involved, not a fraction of the criminals. If a pro-lifer truly believed their boisterous claims of murder, then the woman is essentially hiring a Hitman to kill someone for her, so how could you not think she is complicit? In a similar conclusion to my dissection of the pro-choice advocate’s argument, I am left to conclude that the pro-lifers don’t actually believe what they are saying, and that they are simply too stubborn to give up ground to their opponent. No surprise here.

To finalize this post, I will give my own personal views on the subject, since this post has me attacking both sides of the argument. I do think that abortion should be legal, but there are caveats that I feel obligated to attach to it. Abortion is only legal for those earlier in the pregnancy, but even then, I think that you should get the abortion as soon as possible. The later you get the abortion the more I think you should feel the gravity of your decision, even within the legal boundaries. If you wait until that very last moment to legally abort a baby, then you should really have a problem with that. In response to a point I made at the beginning, stating that the only place to consider life’s beginning is at the time of conception, since it is a gradient, I will say that just because it is a fluid gradient from start to finish, doesn’t mean that the development near beginning is the same as near the end. The fetus at its earliest stages is nothing like an unborn child at nine months, or even five months. Just get your abortion as early as you think you can manage, and recognize what it is you are doing. You don’t have to disregard the possibility that there is weight to what you are doing, nor do you have to act like it is the worst thing mankind has ever done. This is what pisses me off most about political discussions. Both sides want to simplify the issue to the point that they can just ignore the nuance. It is not as simple as “women’s choice”, nor is it as simple as “murder”.

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=1odZM3kZKuQ

Donald Trump on abortion: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/us/politics/donald-trump-abortion.html

The Supreme Court Shouldn’t Be Supreme

On February 13, 2016 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, throwing the United States of America into a state of flux. I won’t go into too great of detail about the circumstances of his death or the state of affairs that the country has fallen into in the aftermath of his passing, instead, I will be discussing what I feel should be the place of the Supreme Court in our government. Justice Antonin Scalia held to a relatively similar idea and is both reviled and respected for it. Scalia stated that the Supreme Court has increasingly changed over the years, from interpreters of the Constitution to the authors. I hold to this belief, acknowledging the danger of handing over the power to essentially change the Constitution to nine unelected government officials.

The conventional method of which the Constitution should be altered in its absolute simplest terms is to have two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate consent to a proposal of a new amendment, followed by the ratification by three-fourths (or 38) of the states. This is still the case, but another method is now being used in addition. Rather indirectly, the power to change the Constitution has been handed over to the Supreme Court. The process is nowhere near as blatant as you would expect it to be: the Supreme Court isn’t convening and adding amendments to the Constitution at their leisure; I won’t even go so far as to suggest that they are doing it on purpose; either way, the issue is that they are setting a precedent for which future Justices can follow. Precedents play a major part in the interpretation of the Constitution, as it helps us understand what the Constitution meant to the country back during the particular ruling, but it also justifies actions, since one can easily point and say: “They did it too!” Here is a short explanation of this precedent the other Justices are formulating when deciding on these cases: the other Justices look at the Constitution and try to see how the words can be construed as support of their stance, while a Justice like Scalia tries to look back at the original meaning of the writing in its time. From this explanation it can immediately be seen that the other Justices have added subjectivity to the approach.

This subjectivity is best explained with the Obergefell v. Hodges court ruling. Here, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. I want to establish beforehand that the debate I will be focusing on is not the debate over whether same-sex marriage should be legalized, but the debate over whether the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically the Equal Protection and the Due Process Clauses, is violated by a same-sex marriage ban. Before I dive in, I will provide my own interpretations of said clauses to help set up my opinion. It should also be noted that here I disagree a little with Scalia’s approach: when he wants to discern the original meaning he wants to discern what the law meant in that time. I, to contrast, am leaning towards the original intent of the Founding Fathers. But all of that said, here are my interpretations: The Due Process clause states: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law.” Interpreted, it means: the government cannot justifiably kill you (life), imprison you (liberty), or deprive you of your property, without convicting you in the court of law. The Equal Protection clause states: (the States cannot) “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” What this means is the government cannot pick and choose whom they will protect: they cannot enforce murder laws in a largely white city and then neglect to in a largely black city.

The majority opinion of the Obergefell v. Hodges case, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, claimed that the same-sex marriage ban did, in fact, violate those two clauses, specifically the Due Process clause. He cited the Griswold v. Connecticut case as a precedent, which held that the Constitution gives the people the right to privacy through the Due Process clause and further expounded on this ruling to say that this also extends to “personal choices”. The Constitution undoubtedly does protect our life, liberty, and property without due process of law, but this begs the question of what constitutes as “life, liberty, and property”, specifically “liberty”. Griswold v. Connecticut argues that “privacy” falls under this idea of “liberty”. I can follow this reasoning, but it doesn’t run consistent with my interpretation laid out earlier, it just does not seem like this is what it should mean. And before you dismiss me as a raving Republican who cares too much about security, I certainly do think we have a right to privacy; the argument comes down to how this right comes about. The tenth amendment helps clarify this. It states in full: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It clearly states that the federal government has no more powers than are specifically given to them by the Constitution, so this, in this case, means that the unless the Constitution says it can, the federal government cannot deprive us of our right to privacy (and if you’re wondering, the Constitution doesn’t allow it to do so). So even if they are going to assert that gay marriage is a privacy issue, not only can the federal government not pass laws like the state law in question in the Obergefell v. Hodges case (a same-sex marriage ban) but it also cannot use its power to say said bans need to be struck down. It isn’t within the Supreme Court’s liberties to take this matter into their hands at all. That is to say, it is an issue for the state governments, or the people. The main point to draw from this is that by stretching the meaning of the Due Process Clause to argue that it is violated by the same-sex marriage ban, they are holding that it is within the Supreme Court’s power to decide on such an issue, which it isn’t.

Justice Scalia was among the dissenting opinions to Obergefell v. Hodges, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment has never been used to assert that marriage is between the opposite sexes or the same sexes in the past; and the way I see it, marriage certainly wasn’t on the minds of the writers when it was put into the constitution so many years ago. Whether you’re looking at the original intent of the founding fathers, or the meaning of the amendment in its time, it reaffirms what I stated earlier: it is an issue in the hands of the states and the people, not the federal government. The greatest point Scalia wanted to press in his written dissent was that the Supreme Court taking the liberty of deciding on this issue was a “threat to American democracy”. Here is an excerpt from his dissent that encapsulates his opinion beautifully: “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court . . . This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

My approach to constitutional reading is not without rebuttal, though. There is another clause within the Fourteenth Amendment that I could not help but notice: the Privileges or Immunities clause (and it is important to note that there is a distinction between this clause and the Privileges and Immunities clause, which come from Article Four of the Constitution). The Privileges or Immunities clause states in full: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” So there you have it, a law that explicitly declares that the States cannot make laws restricting the privileges of citizens of the United States. A privilege is essentially an opportunity given to the people, and what is marriage, if not a privilege? Case closed; let us be done with it. But there is just one discrepancy that I cannot ignore: the fact that absolutely no one sees fit to reference this particular clause. This is why I waited until now to bring it up: none of the Justices even so much as mentioned it. Why is it that the Court saw fit to ignore this clause? On the face of it, it seems pretty cut and dry, right? Well . . . the clause has no real history at all . . . it’s almost like it doesn’t exist. This is probably why it’s never used, the Supreme Court rules based on precedent (or at least tries to) . . . but then, doesn’t it have to start somewhere?

And none of the debate over this clause seems to be on point, either. People are arguing that it is redundant when the other two clauses are considered, which may be another reason why it is never mentioned, but the wording suggests to me that this has a clear purpose that is separate from the previous two: it prevents the State governments from infringing on the opportunities of the people (and that is quite different from my interpretations of the other two). But in the end, this proposed rebuttal is essentially irrelevant; what is relevant is the fact that regardless of whether the Privileges or Immunities clause denounces the same-sex marriage ban, the majority of the Court is ignoring it and citing the other two clauses to enforce their will. This is a clear sign that they don’t care about what it really means, just what they want it to mean, to the point that it now has no meaning. Through this, they are reaching out for issues they should have no hand in in the first place.

If this sounds like a convoluted, bleating dissent to the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, you must realize that this idea of twisting the meaning to fit their needs will hold fast. If you are going to support the idea of giving the power to the Supreme Court in this case, you are allowing them the power in all cases. You may like the simplicity of obtaining same-sex marriage if you agree with the court ruling, but what if they decided to make abortion illegal? Do you still support the idea that nine unelected government officials can decide on such personal issues? Don’t you think it makes more sense for the power to be in the hands of the people . . . to let us vote? This is what is so dangerous about the Supreme Court taking on cases concerned with personal issues like same-sex marriage. Many people simply ask the question “do I support same-sex marriage?” and formulate their opinions based on that, ignorant to the repercussions that might result from it. People are so ignorant, in fact, that you can’t so much as contest rulings like these without being labeled a bigot or, in Obergefell v. Hodges’ case, a homophobe: look at Justice Scalia’s reputation among liberals. If we truly want to live in a Democracy, where we the people have a say in how we live our lives, then the Supreme Court simply cannot have this liberty.

 

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=v6za9aaA2Xs

Constitution: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

Article 5 lays out the process of adding an amendment.

Obergefell v. Hodges: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/14-556

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

Griswold v. Connecticut: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/381/479

Privileges or Immunities Clause: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privileges_or_Immunities_Clause

What Are Your Problems With Feminism?

I am writing this in anticipation to the question at hand, so I can simply redirect them to this essay. There is an intertwined set of reasons why I refuse to associate myself with this ideology, not all of which are specific to feminism. I could go on and point out all of the worst aspects of feminism, like “feminazis”, but that really is just a part of one of my main reasons for being against feminism. I also just want to avoid “strawmanning” some imbecile’s personal definition of what “true feminism” is.

That leads me to my first point, which is more or less why I am not a feminist, not why I’m against some part of it (we’ll get to that): it is impossible to nail down exactly what it is! Everyone seems to think that they have the “true” definition of what it is, but none of them are consistent with each other. Even if I choose to take up the feminist label and I redefine the label to what I think it means, I’m still associating myself with anyone else who takes that label, regardless of what they think. The only way to really disassociate myself with them is to explicitly explain my beliefs on the issues, and doesn’t that make the label redundant? If anything, it’s harmful, since I would constantly have to distance myself from the extremists. And this can apply to any label.

While not all labels are ideologies, all ideologies are labels, and this is the first reason I am against much of feminism: much of it is ideological. As I hinted at earlier, this problem isn’t really specific to feminism, since I could use this argument against any ideology out there, whether it is a religion or some political group. An ideology according to Google dictionary is defined as “A system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.” The main point to take from this is that it is a set of ideas for one to believe and follow. Before I go on, I will say that it can be argued that ideologies can help provide a basis for which layman can understand a person’s stance on an issue, mostly when regarding politics. And fine, it can help someone work out the stance of some political figure, but I would say that everyone would be much better off if they did a little research and just took that particular person’s actual claims for their beliefs. Even laymen are capable of delving a little into politics to discern whom they should choose to represent them.

There seem to be three closely related reasons I am against ideologies. The first being the fact that it essentially tells you what to believe and you are subsequently forced to accommodate your understanding of the world around it; strictly speaking, it provides confirmation bias. This is a major issue in religion, but even feminism has this problem. From what I can discern, the vast majority of feminists are convinced that sexism against women is much worse than it really is. Feminism tells them that women are discriminated against and they need to be liberated from this patriarchal system, so they are quick to point out all the places in life where women get the short end of the stick. And sometimes they do, there is no doubt, but when the only thing you’re looking for is evidence to support your claim, things start to become unbalanced. I have honestly seen a feminist disregard the unfair custody settlements in favor of women because “men aren’t oppressed”. And this feminist couldn’t even give evidence of how women are oppressed.

The second reason I am against ideologies is the fact that it encourages groupthink, or it only encourages ideas from within and completely disregards ideas from without. Again, this is a major problem for religion, but it also applies to feminism. The most extreme example of this is “safe spaces”. This is essentially a tool to eradicate all dissenting opinions to feminist ideals on the grounds of “hate speech”. I could go more into depth at how safe spaces are such a problem, but the important take away is their tendency to be echo chambers. They essentially want to turn themselves into a steaming cesspool consisting solely of feminist ideals. I will be amazed the day an ideology that entertains such practices is proven to be correct. Your ideas simply have to stand up to scrutiny if you want them to be as accurate as possible.

The third reason I believe ideologies are a serious issue has to do with the idea that “protected” figures within a certain ideology are in the right, no matter what they do. Usually if they are not male or white, no matter what some feminist says or does, it seems that every other feminist will flock to this person’s defense with clearly little to no thought on what it is they are doing. Probably one of the best (worst) examples of this is when a feminist by the name of Sarah Nyberg (Butts) admitted to making child pornography of her then eight year old cousin years in the past. She simply wrote off these actions as mistakes in the past and that people should just let her move on . . . and many feminists supported her! I just find it interesting that if it had been a man doing this, his reputation would be utterly destroyed, regardless of whether it happened in the past. And yes I am aware that Sarah Nyberg was Nicholas Nyberg years ago, though I am unaware when she first decided to identify herself as female. But either way, this demonstrates my point quite well: the feminists who supported her have simply labeled her as an ally and are subsequently ignoring the very, very simple fact that she took nude photos of an eight year old! Her writing it off as “edgy” doesn’t lessen the impact, but to her mindless, sheep-like supporters, it apparently does.

And finally, the last problem I have with feminism is perfectly demonstrated by this following definition of feminism: “Organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests.” The definition of feminism is malleable, as I pointed out earlier, but this is one trait that runs consistent throughout all sorts of feminism. What I simply cannot comprehend is how people can think that it’s “equality” to focus on sorts of sexism that women alone face. Is it really so difficult to conceive that there are sources of sexism in both directions and that they should both be addressed. I could go into detail about all of the ways men face inequality to match all of the claims of inequalities against women: the selective service, harshness of punishments towards men, custody cases, expectations for courtesy, but it’s just pointless to argue which side has got it worse. Inequality, or sexism, or however you want to put it, is bad in any direction and it really isn’t helping to simply focus on one side of it.

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=0Do0T3HerJA

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=ideology

http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/09/11/leading-gamergate-critic-sarah-nyberg-claimed-to-be-a-pedophile-apologised-for-white-nationalism/

Free Speech Can Be Useless

The idea of free speech has become more important than ever in today’s society. As can be seen in universities all over the United States, people are starting to demand a restructuring of what free speech means. Their motivations run along the same line of logic: some want to protect the feelings of those they feel have had it worse than most, some feel powerless themselves, and due to either or both of these factors, they feel inclined to force their will on those around them. In this, one thing is consistent: they want to redefine the constitution/law to fit their needs. On the face of it, this can be construed as a good idea. The law is, and even the constitution is, subject to change. But they are unmistakably acting rash and have no idea of the repercussions their actions may hold.

Months ago, a man wanted to test the waters at Yale University to see where they stood on free speech. He claimed to have gone around and asked students if they were willing to do away with the first amendment, giving them the option of signing a petition to repeal it. Quite a few people thought it was a great idea, too. For context, the first amendment states in full: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” In other words, these students were too fucking stupid to realize that they were petitioning to remove their right to petition, alongside getting rid of their freedom of speech (along with the rest!). The man used clever editing in his video presentation, so I am willing to give these students the benefit of the doubt and suggest that perhaps he wasn’t as straightforward as he claimed, but if they just signed the petition without actually reading it, forgive me if I refuse to pay them any credence. I also cannot ignore how that group of Yale students reacted to the Christakis’ Halloween email; free speech doesn’t seem to be such popular thing at the university.

The problems with these petitioner’s actions are quite obvious, but many aren’t this stupid. What if they only wanted to change the part that grants us our freedom of speech, proposing to replace it with something more suitable? I have put a lot of thought into this and I honestly cannot wrap my mind around what they could possibly have in mind as a replacement. Their actions are rash and motivated by emotion, with no consistency or logic to them. They want to ban offensive speech; even if they wanted to be consistent, they would be forced to come to grips with the reality that offense is subjective. You cannot put subjectivity into law, or into the constitution, or any such thing. The looser the meaning, the more dangerous it becomes. And these anti-free speech advocates think they can control it. Not once does it cross their mind that perhaps someone could use their own laws against them. If they decide to add caveats to the first amendment, or have the courts redefine the meaning of free speech to say, “free speech respects the underprivileged in society”, this leaves the meaning of “underprivileged” open to interpretation. What if a bunch of Christians claimed it was offensive to talk about homosexuality in a positive light? Are Christians underprivileged? The left-leaning losers may not think so, but some Christians certainly think otherwise. This shortsighted scum only has one thing in mind in situations like these: Me . . .! Me! Me! Me! I have a suggestion for what they can propose as an addendum to the amendment: “. . . which I might add does not include any right-wing racist, centralist scum, or of any sort that I personally don’t approve of.”

So in all of this controversy of students throwing temper tantrums and beautifully exemplifying everything fascist, there has been a great backlash at the hands of many free speech advocates, standing up for the voices for all people. I support this movement wholeheartedly: if we must protect some speech, we must protect all speech. But this isn’t to say that the opposition doesn’t have its problems. Reality almost always refuses to let you go about your beliefs without a little compromise. Now, I will add that freedom of speech is one of the last things I’ll ever be willing to compromise, if not the last, but there has been an incident in the past months that certainly has exposed me to the greyness of our existence. There was a reprisal when a reasonably large YouTube account, Sargon of Akkad, told his followers that he was going to be forced to ban them if they left useless hate comments of Muslims on his Cologne sexual assault video. He justified his actions by stating that YouTube might use them as an excuse to ban his channel, and since his YouTube account is his job and he must provide for his family, he cannot take the risk. I find myself falling on his side of the controversy: as a father, he should put his family before all else. But apparently not all seem to think this.

Here I think these people have gotten so caught up in the rush for freedom of speech that they seem to have completely forgotten what its purpose really is. Before I go on, I will specify, if YouTube wasn’t actively going around banning channels at the time, I would absolutely not agree with him. But since they were, I will assume that his caution was justified. The purpose of free speech is to allow for open discourse about issues in politics. This said: I also would not be on Sargon’s side if he were violating free speech’s purpose. But he stated clearly that he only wanted to be rid of the pointless hate comments towards Muslims. These comments are serving no clear purpose, there is no reason for them; it doesn’t help further the discussion of the issues, so banning them isn’t going to be detrimental in any direct way. This is a rather cloudy issue though, since the distinction between hate-speech and protected speech is entirely at Sargon’s discretion. This is a valid concern, and why banning any speech should be avoided in any case, but this isn’t the government or some institution, it’s Sargon of Akkad.

After seeing this controversy take off, it brought my attention to the purpose of free speech in other issues as well, and I began to recognize the other side of this “free speech war” utilizing their free speech but still managing to use it in such a way that it serves no purpose. At Rutgers University a man by the name of Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak as a part of his “Dangerous Faggot Tour”, where he criticizes political correctness and the actions of students at colleges like Yale. Some students saw this as a threat to their safety and when they were incapable of banning him (because I’m sure they would have if they could), they resorted to protesting his speech: disrupting him during the talk and causing a massive uproar. They claimed that free speech protected their right to do so . . . and it does. But the fact that protests are protected by free speech won’t stop me from criticizing their actions. It’s no different from pointless hate speech: it should be protected, but it completely defeats the purpose of having free speech in the first place. It doesn’t take a genius to see that shrieking and screaming like a pack of terror wolves doesn’t equate to open discussion, it’s a grab for attention at best, and an excuse to avoid discussion at worst. I am quite convinced that it is certainly the latter in these protestors’ case.

We simply have to be vigilant in preserving the purpose of free speech, because only through this can be used to its fullest extent to make society a better place. Unless you are discussing relevant issues in the world today, then you are simply wasting your speech and your chance to have your voice heard: people like Miley Cyrus and any other degenerate fuck out there are squandering their chance to disseminate ideas and make the public question their current understanding of the world. This is why artists like Lorde and Kendrick Lamar are always among my favorite. Even if I don’t agree with them, I can acknowledge that they are taking the stage and are rejecting the tired, boring cliché of fucking bitches and partying to say something they truly believe in . . . to say something they truly think is important. That alone, is admirable enough.

References

Video: https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=IR462isECXE

Free speech petition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJVZa9_Ha5c

First amendment: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

Christakis email: https://www.thefire.org/email-from-erika-christakis-dressing-yourselves-email-to-silliman-college-yale-students-on-halloween-costumes/

Email reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLvIqJIL2kOMefn77xg6-6yrvek5kbNf3Z&v=NoxJKmuoBmE

Christians are Underprivileged? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYaJjiHr4rs

Sargon of Akkad’s sex assault video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjkUVJ3E2Uw

Sargon of Akkad’s “compromise” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MuC18OTf2s

Rutgers justification: http://www.dailytargum.com/article/2016/02/protesting-does-not-equate-to-censorship

Rutgers protest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s86uGGkkycg

Lorde: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOks2HArHf0

Kendrick Lamar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwR_1EP18eo