Monday, March 31, 2014

Good or Bad? College Students Don't Know American Government

Mixed feelings, that's what I have regarding videos like this. On the one hand, it suggests a failure in government education (big surprise) and an ignorance that will probably not help any political cause except allow the status quo to continue. On the other hand, it's encouraging how little many Americans think of the government; they are much more concerned with their own lives and interests. Such persons are much more open to libertarianism, and that's why education, particularly of the younger generations, has always been the key to changing politics.

For better or for worse, I can name a lot of sitting Senators, from memory: Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, John McCain, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Orrin Hatch, Patty Murray, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, Chris Murphy, Kristen Gillibrand, and uhhh... that's all for now. Two years ago when I followed politics much more closely and might have named over 50. Thankfully, I have better things to do these days.

P.S. How did I forget Ted Cruz... oh well, he's just another scumbag.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Environmentalist Professor Attacks Free Speech

Lawrence Torcello recently penned a controversial article for, titled "Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?" He argues yes, and I was curious to see how he would justify what seemed like a attack on freedom of speech. Here it goes:
"We have good reason to consider the funding of climate denial to be criminally and morally negligent. The charge of criminal and moral negligence ought to extend to all activities of the climate deniers who receive funding as part of a sustained campaign to undermine the public’s understanding of scientific consensus.  
Criminal negligence is normally understood to result from failures to avoid reasonably foreseeable harms, or the threat of harms to public safety, consequent of certain activities. Those funding climate denial campaigns can reasonably predict the public’s diminished ability to respond to climate change as a result of their behaviour. Indeed, public uncertainty regarding climate science, and the resulting failure to respond to climate change, is the intentional aim of politically and financially motivated denialists."
In other words, Torcello wants to criminalize certain speech that he believes is influencing people to make bad choices. This is a complete rejection of free speech: the same charge can be levied against a million other ideas, some of which are undoubtedly causing much greater harm.

Perhaps ironically, Torcello denies that he is discarding free speech:
My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions. Protecting the latter as a form of free speech stretches the definition of free speech to a degree that undermines the very concept.
"Beliefs" and "opinions" are synonyms, so it's impossible to see a distinction here. His same arguments can be used against all other "unpopular", "uniformed", or "controversial" speech; what he advocates, then, undermines and abolishes the very concept of free speech.

Fortunately, Torcello is not going to get anywhere with his bizarre attack on free speech, which will probably do nothing but give fodder to the very people he wants to shut up. If we are going to start criminalizing speech, how about we start with Torcello and his statist allies. I jest; free speech extends even to those foolish enough to call for its end.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

USA no more: Welcome to the United Provinces of America

It occurred to me recently that the left and right wing nationalists, which is pretty much everyone, whether they realize it or not (just ask who their favorite President is; Lincoln will come up quickly), cede too much ground to their Constitutionalist, historically enlightened foes. So I am going to help them out a bit: you need to give up on the name United States of America, and go with something like United Provinces of America.

Why? Because you deny the 50 states their statehood, which in case we forgot, means:
a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially :  one that is sovereign 
Meanwhile, province seems much more accurate for the nationalist's view of the Constitution:
any one of the large parts that some countries are divided into 
an administrative district or division of a country 
And that's exactly how nationalists view the states: the federal government is the only sovereign in their minds, with all 50 states making up one nation ruled by Washington D.C., which both retains the sole power of defining the Constitution and also forbids secession. That this came about illegally and through violence doesn't seem to bother them, but that's beside the point.

Nationalists are a bit late fixing this oversight, but better late than never, right? And you're welcome.