April 30, 2007

What Are We Doing Here?

ALL OPINIONS ARE NOT EQUAL is not meant to be a permanent project.

It is an exercise in thought. The point of this project is to question that which you currently believe to be true. The goal is to create a community of people who are able to think critically and objectively. Not for the sake of thinking, but for the sake of action. If our goal here is to become smarter than everybody else - to be able to think at a higher level than everyone else - we're missing the point.

The goal here is to learn how to think so that we can think about what needs to be done and the best ways to see that happen.

Are we on the same page?

April 27, 2007

Civil War Week Pt. 5

We're going to end our Civil War discussion with a topic that will assuredly make people angry at me. And while the Civil War was a vitriolic part of American History, this only seems fitting. I don't believe that you can hate George W. Bush and still like Abraham Lincoln. Let me explain. For example, Lincoln completely ignored habeas corpus laws as President in order to imprison his opposition unjustifiably. When, I told this to my friend, not a Bush fan, his rational was, "Well, Lincoln was involved in a war at the time." I guess he contends that we are not. And therefore the Patriot Act and other executive power-wielding by this administration is unjustified. Or, is it because of the fact that Lincoln won, whereby we give him the benefit of the doubt? If Bush had won this war two years ago, would we ignore his executive slightings of civil liberties because of the greater good that was accomplished? We shouldn't. But, it seems like, in history, the end justifies the means. Because slavery was eventually abolished, Lincoln is a hero. Not because the confederacy had the constitutional right to secede from the Union. Not because he used a militia force to attack his own people. Not because he used tyrannical power to ignore civil liberties and achieve his goals. Not because the Emancipation Proclamation didn't free all slaves, but only slaves in confederate states. But, because a result of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery, Lincoln is widely deemed our greatest President.

April 26, 2007

Civil War Week Pt. 4

So, as I learn more and more about the tactical mistakes of the Civil War on both sides, it seems like besides Robert E. Lee, pretty much all of the generals were fairly incompetent, strategically speaking. This rings fairly close to our prior discussion of the seemingly small presidential pool from which we have to choose our next leader every election. Why is it so hard to get the best man for the job? I have to believe that there were much more capable generals in waiting, fighting in the battlefields, following the ridiculous orders of men they should be leading.

April 25, 2007

Civil War Week Pt. 3

So, there were two sides to the abolitionist movement. One side believed that the best way to abolish slavery was through reasoning and progressive legislation. The other side believed that slavery was SUCH a ridiculous hypocrisy against the liberty that the United States claimed to espouse, that violence against current slaveowners was a legitimate response. Looking back, both sides seem to have merit. A violent fight for the rights of a person, who at the time was censused at 3/5 of a person and treated like a mere animal, seemed worthy. Today, you have people fighting for the rights of a person, who is currently censused at 0/5 of a person. And if they blow up an uninhabited medical facility, it seems wrong for them to go around the law like that, even if they don't hurt anybody. Is it simply the legitimacy of the argument that causes our differing responses? Will time change our response? Or like we discussed yesterday, will something only be "wrong" when the law says it is?

April 24, 2007

Civil War Week Pt. 2

The following is a continuation of my 'why did people who thought slavery was bad continue to own slaves?' posing from yesterday. Well, why do WE continue to do things that we know are wrong? Do we really need to create laws and punishments to simply enforce universal behavior ethics and prevent ourselves from doing things that we know we shouldn't? It looks like the answer is, yes.

April 23, 2007

Civil War Week

Upon realizing that I didn't learn anything in high school, I am recapping with the help of Kenneth C. Davis, and his "Don't Know Much About..." series. This includes short and thorough revisits through history, the universe, etc. My audiobook for this week is "Don't Know Much About the Civil War." The first chapter talked about how the author, when writing the book, was informed by a person that "their fascination with the Civil War started from watching the film, Gone With the Wind." After hearing this statement several times, and realizing that most people's history of the Civil War is based upon a 60-year old, fictional film, he was reassured that this project was necessary. I think this book is going to open up a lot of questions this week about this topic, so let's start it off. Why did people who voiced the err of slavery (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, included) keep slaves themselves? And is there any similarity here between the cry against open borders and the constant hiring of illegal immigrants? Or, perhaps more similarly, the business owner who wants to ban smoking in his bar, but only if every other business agrees to it to, in order to stay competitive?

April 20, 2007

Dave Coulier

So, originally, Joey slept behind the couch. Then, he moved into the basement. But, later, the basement becomes Jesse's recording studio. So, where did Joey sleep after that?

April 19, 2007

The Supreme Court

Yesterday, our highest court voted in a 5-4 majority that partial-birth abortions, a procedure that involves partially removing the fetus intact from a women's uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion, are unconstitutional. Quickly, future presidential contenders on both sides voiced their opinions. Every Republican candidate rejoiced that this restriction on abortion had passed. Every Democratic candidate thought it was a horrible day for women's rights. Ok, but I don't really care what you think about the moral implications of what the decision means? I only care if you think that the Supreme Court correctly interpreted the Constitution. If you think they acted within their means, even though you disagree with the moral sentiment of the outcome, shouldn't you be content with the Court's ruling? Similarly, if you think that the Court ignored countless precedents and interpreted the law incorrectly, shouldn't that be your argument? Not just, "I believe in women's rights" or "I believe in the rights of every unborn child".

April 18, 2007

Majority Rule Democracy

Doesn't the democratic victory of Hamas in Palestine show us that a majority rule democracy does not work? Especially in a democracy where the different parties seek to create different theocratic states where certain classes are defined as the righteous, and the others, the subservient. Or do we get around this problem by creating constitutional laws that ensure certain freedoms, rights and liberties to all citizens, and only let the majority ruling party tinker with certain economic and social practices?

April 17, 2007

Two Kinds of People

So, in a discussion yesterday, I stumbled across a very intriguing conclusion. One of us believed that "Man is inherently good." And that man will typically do the right thing because they know it's the right thing to do. The other believed that "Man is inherently fallen." And that man will only do the right thing when there is a strong enough incentive in which to do so. These differing viewpoints may be the true backbone from which opposing worldview and political schemas stem from. This also led me to wonder that perhaps Christians don't tend to be conservative simply because they're scared of gay people (even though this may be true, too), but because to become a Christian, at one time, you came to the realization that your heart was corrupt and you needed to be redeemed. But for the man who believes man is naturally good (because they believe THEY are naturally good, and there probably isn't a heaven, but if there is, I'm good enough to get in), then a socialistic economy can work, because most people will try to work for the good of everybody.