An image post – 2014 in pictures. Continue reading Twenty Fourteen in Images
I turned 27 this past Friday. The night before, I had the good fortune to attend the unveiling of the new Tesla Model D. Friday night, a small group of incredible people I am so grateful to call friends gathered for dinner to celebrate my birthday. On Saturday, I went to the premiere of a new documentary called The Culture High (which I recommend highly). On Sunday, I spent the better part of a day playing with my adorable little niece-of-the-heart. It was an amazing weekend. I am tremendously lucky for all the incredible events and people in my life.
I haven’t done a formal update about my life in quite a while. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m calling it The State of the Avens, because we all know I’m a little too obsessed with politics and nerdy references. Continue reading The State of the Avens
On Wednesday, my Facebook friend Antony Davis posted an excellent comparison in a status update that I had to share because I thought it was too good to ignore:
“Liberals see government as a complement to community. Libertarians see government as a substitute for community. So when liberals say “government should care for the poor,” and Libertarians say, “government should not care for the poor,” they are both saying that we should care for the poor.”
He posted a comment afterwards that I also thought was too good to get lost on a Facebook Timeline:
“This is the sort of thing we must stop doing: liberals characterizing libertarians as heartless, and libertarians characterizing liberals as brainless.
To be complete humans, our hearts and brains must work together. Without the former we are machines. Without the latter, we are mere animals.
Some Liberals are indeed brainless, just as some Libertarians are heartless. In both cases, they are minorities who should be ignored.”
This is something that I’ve noticed for a very long time (as in: my entire life) in the corridors of communication between and about liberals and libertarians: a lack of understanding of each other’s terms. To top it off, it often feels like there’s a willful desire to be misunderstood.
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So, in the interest of terminology: I’m going to start by telling you that I dislike calling liberals “liberals” for dozens of reasons (one being that I refer to myself as a Classical Liberal) but I’m going to go ahead and accept the term here as being somebody who wishes to advocate progressive policies by government with the intended consequence of making a more equal and just world in their eyes. That’s the general definition I’m using here, for clarity’s sake. Some of my libertarian friends prefer the term “statist”, which also displeases me, as it’s tremendously divisive and doesn’t foster respectful communication. So, “liberal” is the word, and the working definition is as stated above.
The word “libertarian” in this instance is going to apply to anybody who is at least aware of and somewhat guided by the non-aggression principle (the NAP).
Now that we’re defined our terms, let’s talk about how we respond to them:
An excellent example here is the knee jerk reaction of libertarians to the liberal proposal that “we should do something” is immediately equated to a proposal that the government must do something. If a liberal ever says the slightest hint of “but, how will we help the [insert oppressed group here]?” a libertarian instantly assumes that government is the proposed answer (it might be) and rails against that with such fervor that it scares the shit out of the liberal.
Ironically it’s what causes more people to feel government must because people freely won’t. Continue reading To Win Hearts & Minds
So, a certain bigoted hate-mongering beacon of controversy passed away on Wednesday night. I don’t blame a single person who wants to protest his funeral, or dance on his grave. The man was hated almost as much as he hated others, and he deserved it.
But he’s dead now, and though his church and family is still around and may protest more funerals and cause more ruckus, he’s dead, and there’s one less bigot in the world. This appears to be a plus for humanity in general.
So what to do, to mark the occasion? Protests, celebrations — all of that is fair. Does he deserve the peace and quiet he refused to allow so many others at their funerals?
The world has plenty of hate. I don’t want to add to it. I want to improve something, try to make things better than Fred Phelps ever did.
If you’d like to join me, I’m planning on donating to a few organizations, and I just might send each donation noting “In Memory of Fred Phelps”. Continue reading Let Hate Die With Him
So, Freedom Fest was held in July here in Las Vegas. I didn’t attend much of it, as I was busy, but I was around for a day – it was definitely interesting to see John Mackey and Peter Schiff and other big-shots of the quasi-Libertarian variety.
I believe there’s an album on Facebook of all the photos I was tagged in, but here are a few of my favorites:
I’ve got to warn my readers (wait, do I have readers?): I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I’ve voted for both parties, as well as Libertarian and Independent candidates in various levels of government and election cycles. I used to study politics, and yes, I do have a number of political ideals I hold dear, but I’m actually far more interested in the play of politics than the idealism. I read speeches and try to figure out how they will be received by various consumers – those who are inclined to agree with the message-bearer, those who are inclined to disagree, and the undecideds. It’s a careful game, you see – an ideal speech energizes your base, appeals to some undecideds, and doesn’t give your opponents any ammo.
This can be hard to accomplish. Continue reading What happened to “Yes, We Can”?
I was camping in the woods on July 22nd, when Anders Breivik opened fire and killed over 70 people in Norway.
I missed the American media mess of misplaced blame and inaccuracy. I got back into civilization on July 25th, by then they had figured things out. However I heard about it, and I feel like Steven Colbert did an excellent job of summing up my thoughts on the subject of knee-jerk journalism.
Along the lines of knee-jerk reactions, I enjoyed this article on how it’s not Islam, it’s Fundamentalism of any faith that causes these sorts of problems.
I’m amused by The Right now claiming Breivik isn’t really a Christian. They are outraged and offended by the media “labeling him a Christian”. Sorry, O’Reilly, he is.
I definitely found this particular article interesting, where the writer discusses the crisis of legitimacy – the similarities between American “Birthers” and Breivik’s belief that his own government is illegitimate.
At the end of the day, the events in Norway shocked myself and the world. They remind us that terrorism can’t be marginalized to a single demographic – it’s not just one religious path, not just one skin color, not one social class. There are people out there who believe that killing other people, innocent people, will help their cause against their “enemies”. They are motivated by rationalizations that terrify me, a sincere belief that there is no chance that they are wrong, no perspective to their idealism. They are fundamentalists – and blood is a perfectly acceptable cost for their cause. Continue reading Thoughts on Norway