An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Life’

The Lost Liberal

What can a person be, if they are unaware of who they are?  This is a question that has rattled around the base of the mind since this evening.  The great question that probably all people have asked themselves since the moment that people began to question their own existence, and to ponder the greater existential meanings of all of the things that life has to offer.

A friend of mine offered the perspective that one can never truly know themselves, since a person changes on a day to day basis.  This seems like a more intelligent perspective than most.  Most people tend to think that by a certain age, they will or have got it all figured out.  This, however, seems to be rather simple-minded.  Life isn’t so simple that just one night of sitting like the famous statue by Auguste Rodin, deep in contemplation.

Perhaps it is a curse to look at the world and be able to see what is true.  The truth doesn’t set you free.  Seeing the reality of the political and cultural degeneration over time really makes finding the points that one is to be happy about increasingly difficult.  I will agree with perhaps 5 out of 100 positions that my political philosophy teacher makes, but he made a rather poignant one last class.

The problem with the liberal mentality is that unlike conservatives, which tell you how to operate and move toward a given direction, there is little to no group to it, except where the common interests are shared.  We are only allied to the point where our needs and desires intersect, and after that, there is very little true camaraderie between us.  That was a rather profound way to look at things.  We are not a true brotherhood.

The reality of our situation has begun to sink in, now that the end of the college road is staring us in the face.  The reality is that we have no idea where we are going, or what we are going to do.  It’s a cold feeling, when one feels this absolutely lost.  Our advisor said that we are going to fail at life, because we don’t have all this stuff under our belt.  Well, she was wrong about one part.  We do have a portfolio.  It grows a few times every week.

We are lost, in a sea of confusion and uncertainty.  There is so little opportunity to be able to get by in this country these days.  Jobs are getting more and more scarce, and the competition is heating up.  Not being the most competitive person has really stuck us in that sense.  Where do we go?  What do we do?  These are not easy questions to answer.

I could see us ending up working at some company, writing up manuals, editing business documents.  I am a damn good editor.  I have a gift at spotting the problems with a document, that go beyond just spelling and grammar.  Those are actually kind of immaterial in a lot of ways, because most people don’t notice them.  If the essence of your work is flawed, the rest is for nothing.  Whenever I am writing something, I know exactly what I am writing for, and who I am writing to.  That is why we got an A on the last paper for that Political Philosophy class.  To be able to see the end goal, the true skill of an editor is to get at the heart of what needs to be said, and how it can be said.  Of course, spelling is another nice skill too.

There was also the idea that we could write about what we write about here – politics.  There is a mixed blessing in being informed.  To truly see what is going on is to accept the absolute ugliness of it.  To present things, after careful consideration.  You see, facts are meaningless.  William Faulkner once said, “Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.”  Any news group who gives you the facts, without any interpretation of what this all means, is just lying to you.  Of course, given our health problems, and the need for the green pieces of paper, writing biased work doesn’t present itself as too much of a problem, though that would be a last resort.

But the truth is, we are a lost liberal, drifting down this ocean of uncertainty and doubt.  We are a good writer.  We know this.  But, if that isn’t enough.  If having a passion for the truth, and a passion for following what fewer and fewer people care about isn’t enough to get by in this world, what can one do?

Maybe Fox News is hiring.  I could sell my soul for some serious dough.

Peace out,

Maverick

The Question of Morality

There was a question that was posed by a public figure who isn’t known as a great intellectual, and yet he has some very poignant message about the way things are in the world.  His name is TJ Kincaid, also known on YouTube as The Amazing Atheist.  In a video on Bing, he posed a question –

If morality controls human behavior, then who, or what controls human morality?

While he furnishes his own answer, I thought that, while it is late and I am unable to sleep, I would write up what I believe to be the answer to that question.

The first thing that one has to accept when they are looking at this question is that morality is a human invention.  There will be those that argue for absolute morals.  If that is to be taken seriously, then the question comes – where did those morals come from?  Many will respond to this – God.  He created the world, and gave us this moral code.  However, this cannot be taken seriously.

There is no evidence for the existence of God, and if something cannot be proven to exist, saying that we must follow a code that is by it, and even more disturbingly, unchanging is absolutely false.  To do so is madness, in every sense of the word.

The reasons why are obvious.  What if the religious figure which you get your morals from is not the real deity?  What if it is something completely different?  If that is the case, then you are deliberately disobeying that absolute morals that you claim to cherish.

The next is that the fact is that the predominate source that Christians claim to be the source of their morality, the Christian God, has a holy book that is filled with inconsistencies and contradictions.  To obey such a text, absolutely to the letter, is not only impossible, but completely ridiculous.

The final reason is that to obey any set of principles, absolutely, without change or even the ability to discuss change, is nothing more than a way to be manipulated.  A moral code of any kind must be flexible, it must be open to change.  It must be willing to accept that there may be issues that one can take with it, and willing to change to accomodate that, along with changing social values.

According to the Bible, slavery was not only acceptable, it was encouraged.  God encouraged his various armies to take their slain enemies families and cities as their slaves.  He made rules about how much a master could punish their slaves.

The bible had a lenient punishment for rape, and virtually no punishment for murder.  While The Ten Commandments stated that murder was wrong, this didn’t stop those from murdering others in the name of God, did it?  Not only that, but God, on numerous incidents, commanded his followers to murder, telling his armies to kill the girls and women who were not virgins, and to tear open the bellies of pregnant women.

So, by that logic, the absolute moral code that is given to us by religion is a farce.  But if that is the case, then where can morality come from?  This brings us back to the question at hand, who controls morality?  Well, take a look at the previous statements about religion, and how it works.

Back before the days when literacy was high, the Bible was taught to the people by priests and preachers.  The growth of education and the growth of skepticism has led to the increas in the atheist population, because reading these books and judging them on their own merits naturally leads to questioning the absolute system they are taught.  However, these religious leaders are giving people the system as they believe it to be from their holy book.  These people have power over their congregations and give them the values that they have.

Next up, we have governmental systems.  The laws that we make are secular in nature, designed to be fair to all parties, while still using a metric that is within the purview of people’s understanding, such as how killing and rape is wrong, and should be severely punished.

There is a pattern that you are seeing with these systems, aren’t you?  The people in power.  The religious leaders have power over their congregations.  They are informing their congregations of the values of the book that they are teaching, since it has been shown that most Christians are unfamiliar with the bulk of what is in their Bible.  Likewise, the people in government have power over the entire nations.  This power gives them the ability to dictate the morality of a nation.

Take Sparta, for example.  In the ancient city-state, there was the belief that kindness was weakness, and to show any kindness took away some of your honor.  In the Hindu-guided states, if you were suffering, it was your fault, for what you did in a past life.  There are parts of culture, even here in America that encourage hate, seperation, bigotry and being divided.  This tactic has been used by the powerful to keep the lower-classes in line.

So, where do morals come from?  Well, the answer is simple – they are a tool that is used by the powerful to control those without power, or those who are ignorant of their power.  Moral systems are simply a device that is to keep order in a society.  But what of morality?  How do we know that things are right and wrong?  How do atheists like myself know that killing people is inherantly the wrong thing to do?

The answer is empathy.  Those have this knowledge within them based on their ability to empathize with other people.  Through that, the real natural morality is born.  Perhaps, when we abandon these systems that we are taught and embrace empathy, then real progress of acceptance and kindness between people can be born, away from the systems that drive us apart, and teach division, rather than working together.

Of course, given how gullible people are, probably not.

Peace out,

Lefty

The War Against Women Isn’t Over

In fact, it’s just getting started.  The really ugly thing is that women in this country don’t seem to realize that while it is being fought on some fronts, other fronts have them losing ground with incredible speed.  It is something that few women are realizing, and they need to start focusing on.  The worst part is that it is everywhere.  Even my home state of Alaska is taking some hits.

The stuff that is so bat-s*it crazy, like the law forcing women to get a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion, those were all just window dressing.  It was stuff so insane, that women’s groups would immediately attack with all haste, failing to see where they were losing ground.  The irony is that most of this has been on the state level.

Take the issue of abortion.  The number of restrictions to abortion skyrocketed in 2011.  The number of supportive and neutral states in this battle has rapidly been shrinking.  From between 2000 to 2011, it is almost staggering how many states that were in the middle suddenly jumped ship over to being hostile to women getting an abortion.

Next, there is the battle against birth control.  In some places, there are efforts to deny women access to it altogether.  In Arizona, there is a new bill that would allow prospective employers the ability to sniff through a woman’s personal life.  Effectively, a company could ask their women future employees for proof of the medical prescriptions to show that they are using contraception for non-sexual purposes, like treating ovarian cysts.  It’s an invasion of privacy, and all because these group can also deny coverage of contraceptives for “religious reasons.”  The worst reasoning of all time, and our government has given it to them on a silver platter.  Seems that the First Amendment never meant much to anybody.

Religion has had a very big stake in this game.  The Conferance of Catholic Bishops has made a committment to redouble their efforts to stop women from having access to birth control.  They call it, “religious freedom.”  The freedom to do what?  Force your dogma on other women?  Seems to be a good case for it.

A rather frightening turn of events is that Republicans have also suddenly about-faced on legislation that was never and issue, until the LGBT community got involved.  The Violence Against Women Act, something that has never been a partisan issue before now, is under attack from the conservative right.  In the Senate, there is dwindling support, and why?  Because it was up to extend the benefits of it to LGBT, Native, and other minority groups.  This really kind of kills the argument that Republicans are for everyman (or woman).  They are only for their constitutency, and of course, you have to be straight, and not use birth control.

The sad fact is that while women in this country are fighting, they are playing purely defense.  The right wing of this country has always been good at pushing the goal line so far to the right that no progress can truly get done.  And because the liberal crowd will absolutely not fight, for fear of being called “partisan,” women in this country are losing ground.

Ladies, it is time for you to accept that you can no longer just play defense.  The bills like the one for trans-vaginal ultrasound, or ones in Kansas and Utah, they are just fronts.  While people are fighting against those, the real hits to women’s rights are everywhere.

There has got to be some liberal action taken here.  It is time to take the offensive.  People will call us partisan, but the fact is, we literally can’t do anything else now.  It is way past the point of no return.  This is the point of no sanity.  It is insane how this has been allowed to go one, while anybody who says that we need to start being a little bit more proactive in a political countermeasure is called bad.

It’s not a bad thing to have an agenda.  It’s not a bad thing to fight for it.  Republicans have figured that out, and until the liberals realize that we are in a culture war, and are losing, fast, we are eventually going to see all progress destroyed, and all because these people don’t want to stand up for what is right.

The war against women isn’t over.  It’s just gotten started.

Peace out,

Lefty

Free Viagra is a Scam (and other pieces of home-grown advice)

From one Alaskan to anybody in the world who may be listening, here are some pieces of advice that will help your days get better –

  • Free Viagra is a scam.  I hope you already knew that.  If not, well, you’ll find out soon enough.
  • Don’t sit in the dark for too long.  It depresses the crap out of you.  A little sunlight can go a long way, even if you don’t tan well.  A few seconds won’t hurt, and may just make all the difference to brighten up your day.
  • Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot on the dance floor with the girl or guy you want to dance with.  Half of the guys and gals there will be jealous of the fact that you were brave enough to go onto that dance floor and rock it out in the first place.
  • Ladies, you are NOT as fat as you think you are.
  • Beauty magazines are the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction to a girl’s inner beauty, because it only makes you care about your outer beauty, and if it doesn’t do that, it will hurt you, anyway.
  • The future will be what it is, so don’t get too scared by it.  There will be days when it gets pretty hard, but guess what – it won’t be because of war with whoever, or because of nuclear power plants.  It will be something that comes up at 6 in the evening, and it will be the most trying thing you never saw coming.  But don’t worry about it, because in the end, it all works out okay.
  • Being who you are is the best thing in the world.  If what you like to do with your friends is to dress up as a video game or anime character, good for you.  There is nothing wrong with you, and anybody who looks down on you is too scared to do what they want to do, or too simple to like to do anything really fun.
  • Don’t be afraid to sing the lyrics to the song you’re listening to.  If it makes you feel better, just go for it.  Let people judge you later.
  • Don’t get jealous over the love other people have.  I won’t demean your intelligence by saying that there is that perfect somebody for everybody, but there is always another chance.  And when you seize it, that person who you were jealous of may look at you, and I will give them the same advice.
  • Tell somebody to have a wonderful day, even if they look like they are having the best day ever.  But find those who don’t look like that and also tell them.  You’ll feel loads better when you do.
  • Never get rid of your love letters.  They will be a part of that special relationship that you have worked so hard to make.
  • Understand that love isn’t something that just happens.  Modern music will tell you about all the great parts, but also remember all the hard ones.  Anyone who hasn’t hurt, hasn’t loved.  Real love does have pain, but that pain allows you to grow as a person because it makes you appreciate the good times more.
  • If you don’t know what to do with your life, it’s okay.  The best parts of life are when you are trying to figure these things out.  And it will make for some great experience in life when you finally do figure it out.
  • Do what makes you happy.  If you go to college, don’t get the smart degree, get the degree that leaves you feeling passionate.  Trust me, you’ll feel better when you do.
  • You might get married and have a bunch of kids, or maybe you’ll never get married and never have a single child to your name.  But it’s all good in the end.  Don’t do what people say is the right thing for you to do.  Do what feels right.
  • Friends will come and go, but cherish the ones who stick with you, because they are the rare and best friends of all.
  • Travel as much as you can.  Seeing new places will make you feel better about your life, and give you more perspective about the world and all the people in it.
  • Don’t just give people respect.  Respect is earned.
  • If you need to cry, do so.  It’s not a crime.  If you are a guy or girl, if you need to shed tears, do it.  You’ll feel free when you do.
  • But above all, remember – free viagra is a scam.

Peace out,

Lefty

The Truth about 24-Hour News Networks

This should be short but sweet. Here is a video telling the ultimate truth about what 24-hour networks are like.

Learn something?

Peace out,

Lefty

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