Eff's Rambles (Archive)

9/30/2005

Homicide/Suicide Bombers and Rational Thinking.

An AP article I read in one of the local papers earlier yesterday went into the subject of why some people commit the act of blowing themselves up to kill others. The article sought to dispell, or at least lessen the presumption that they are the main reasons for said act, the idea that poverty, poor education and indoctrination into a radicalized religion are the main motivating reasons people commit the act. It showed nationalism and wanting liberation as some major reasons. It also showed that the backgrounds of at least some, if not most, of the people that have committed the act were not those of poor and ill educated people, but of productive members in their societies who were from middle class homes.

But what struck me about the article is that, if the education of these people has been under estimated, the rational thinking ability of them might not have been. For it seems that even with education, the human mind is still capable of justifying committing acts, for whatever reasons, that seem to be so wasteful and tragic, and that many outside observers see as unecessary and counter productive.

One could ask, as I am now, are these people any smarter with their education? And what are they being taught?

9/26/2005

The blogs in order: Oldest to youngest

The Presurfer
RatBlog
Rob Instigator
Ergonomic Blogic
Eff's Rambles
Iraq Blog Count
Monstercow Unplugged
Mel's Diner
SeaWitch
Ellas Devil
Duskie's Place
Maquinna's Poop du Jour
Phylax
Misti
THIS IS NOT MY COUNTRY
Morgue's Mess

US Debate: Flag wavers or dissenters: Which are more "patriotic?"

The answer? The flag wavers.

Here is why.

First, there is a distinction to be noted: While it is true that some dissenters wave the flag, the term generally applies to conservative people who are generally content with the state of affairs.

With that in mind, we can see that the waving of the flag by such persons is meant symbolically as an expression of support for the status quo.

Does this mean that dissenters wave the flag with animosity toward the US? No, but that is not the relevant element in assessing the comparitive patriotism of the two groups.

The reason the dissenters lose in general on this one has to do with the far stronger presumptive nature of their motives and desires. One must presuppose that the dissent is intended to bring about beneficial change, and that said change is in keeping with American philosophy. Granted, that philosophy, what it is and should be, is subjective, but that does not negate the primary point being made here. The greater civic involvement of the act of dissent over that of flag waving does not refute this. Because the flag waver seeks to maintain while the dissenter seeks to alter, the far more uncertain nature of an individual dissenter's goals and motivations, which might be for the betterment of the nation, even to return it to what it "should" be, makes the logical default on the question of which is more patriotic the flag waver, for his is the more solid of the two.

Are dissenters unpatriotic? No.

9/24/2005

Feeling "Most Daunted"

I don't know about anyone else, but I've always liked most ghost stories and shows (I've heard of perhaps dozens if not at least a hundred), so I began to occasionally watch a show out of the UK called "Most Haunted." Sounds interesting. Well, no. The problem is that the "psychic" is often wrong or unverified, and much of the time it's fourtyfive or so minutes of the crew investigating each house, hearing something I, most of the time, can't hear (maybe I'm going deaf), and yelling "what's that?" and "fuck!(censored)" I congratulate it on being the most profane paranormal show I've ever seen. I might keep watching it on an occasional basis but the anti climactic nature of the show is very disappointing. When does something exciting happen on that show?

9/23/2005

Troops: Suporting them

A while back I commented that it is basically a fallacy, an over extention if you will allow, to say that dissent is patriotic, as is suggested as being its inherent nature. Dissent simply is disagreement, and can be spurned on by very unpatriotic motives. What is it to be a patriot? That is a personal matter, and I have my views on what leans more toward that way, but the definition of patriotism is not the main focus of this commentary.

Moreso, I am going to focus on what it means to support troops. This is not a long argument, but I believe the logic I apply here to be sufficient, and I hope, if the reader agrees with that characterization, that he will consider, before any offenses he might have over my opinion helps him to form a negative opinion of me, my argument.

But first, I am not attempting to resolve the question of whether or not it is patriotic to support troops leaving a war and, by some standards, losing it. To me, sincere belief in the futility and, most especially, the unconstitutionality of a war is enough to preserve the patriotism of a call to end a war and stay the course. Intent is obviously very important to me, though knowing what that is might not always be easy; I suspect that it rarely is.

And here is what I am attempting to resolve: Are you supporting troops by calling for their removal from where they are performing their duties?

Conclusion: No.

While it is true that calling for the removal of soldiers from an "unconstitutional" war is not unpatriotic, generally speaking it is patriotic, though some could make a necessity argument for a war in some current, I suppose, or hypothetical cases, that is largely a separate matter, in my view irrelevant, and no effort to disparage someone's patriotism is intended.

A soldier, while human and carrying many of the emotional issues civilians have and face, is primarily not primarily defined by his similarity to everyone else, but by his profession and association. A soldier works for his government, or through it for his people. (Unless, in some cases, he is a mercenary, but that type of soldier is not intended to be commented on here.) A soldier does not exist as a single person where only his preservation and humanity are relevant. A soldier is part of a larger unit, each of which are banded together to implement actions which they soldier hope will improve the lives of their nation's people, and sometimes the peoples of other nations. War is reprehensible, beyond our understanding or beyond our acceptance, even if we understand it. A given action in a war can make us want to call back every last grunt in the field; and little to no progress can make us see the futility of our troops efforts that we often call noble. But, disdain or support an action, it still does not address one key issue: the soldiers that believe in what they do, or simply have faith in the wisdom of their leaders, are soldiers partly because of where they are; the very functions they are performing. Leaving a war does not mean a soldier is no longer a soldier, but it does mean he is acting opposite to within his tranied capabilities. When one supports the removal of troops from combat, it is not automatically unpatriotic, but it is also not support for the human as the soldier that he is, for his safety and honor, but for the human separate from what he is, a soldier. By calling for their removal, you are supporting the human being in each of them alone, with the caveat being a strategic basis for your call of removal. But you are not supporting them as soldiers.

9/20/2005

Where is credit due?

Here is a hypothetical to consider. I am interested in knowing how much acknowledgement and accolade this person deserves.

Suppose that someone predicts an outcome, and it comes to be. But suppose that his predictions were, at the time they were made, speculations stemming from limited knowledge and sources of dubious quality. Also suppose that his logic was highly flawed, and that he was presumptive and ignorant of, or choosing to ignore, the nuances which could be used to counter at least one, or more, of his contentions.

Does it matter if his arguments were weak in their bases? Should he be forgiven for at least some errors if his understanding was sincerely developed and without intent to be unfair? In fairness, I doubt most people have the time, let alone the commitment, to look into all aspects of any issue, and I believe people are influenced by majority commentary, so I am not sure how much some errors in factual understanding should undermine that person's right to credit when he is correct about an outcome which he hypothesized. But if the argument was inadequately formed, should its poor quality be ignored only because it happened to turn out to be right?

And, since some might require it, here is a reality based example of what I mean, with conclusions which might not be accurate, but, for the sake of the example, let us please assume that they are.

Some argued that because of religious animosities [supposed to whatever degree] between Shi'i and Sunnie muslims, and Saddam's poor treatment of the Shi'i muslims, and the Iran-Iraq war, along with many other unknown reasons that I am sure exist, Saddam Hussein would not ally with such groups as al-Qaeda and those with al-Qaeda connections, if only in proclaimed association. While the known evidence appears to support that conclusion, and I would agree that it is the most probable one, I find it difficult to agree with the characterization of it as an absolute, even if absent evidence to the contrary. The basis for that contention seems to be historical discord, but I do not think that would preclude consideration of the concept of acting in self interest. Whether or not Saddam would be acting in his self interest or against it to work with al-Qaeda is another matter that I do not intend to be dismissive of, but I do wonder if it can be rejected because of moral and philosophical disagreements. I think that the old adage, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," is not sufficiently defeated by hatred alone. I would doubt that Saddam would be the first to ally with someone that was a former enemy. To me, being correct about a non al-Qaeda connection to Saddam, with hatred as the sole predicate and premise, is not quite as impressive as the person that made it might think.

9/15/2005

Kids and Reality

I suppose it is easier for parents and full time caregivers, if anything is really easy, but for those of us that only watch children occasionally, it is much harder. What I speak of is communication with the imaginative but irrational minds of the young. The concern, as I have heard and read many state it, is that we supress that irrationality to the detriment of children. I think there is some truth to that. I used to have stronger and more frequent dreams. I used to be afraid of shadows and superstitions which I see more and more as silly. Have I matured? Not enough. And I do not proclaim myself to be the most rational and logical man alive. My ineptness at figuring out simply logic puzzles proves to me that I am no Spock. Still, I have some longing for those days when a shadow was as much sorceror's portal as it is the result of scientific principl . I am glad that I have some decent reasoning skills, but I feel incomplete. As I age, I think that I shall continue to want to go back to old dreams, maybe even the nightmares, to see
  • her
  • again.

    But, as much as I miss it, I find it difficult to interact with children that are still in that mode where they still believe in emerald palaces and magic swords. With limited time, my natural impatience, and my tendency to forget and not appreciate the value I see now, the seeming nonsense from a child loses some of its adorable charm and becomes an unwanted exercise in trying to make sense of what they are saying.

    I am often interested in the truth. Children are not logically consistent, though they might believe what they say is true. Their minds are susceptable. Ask a child how its day was and this what you might find: that it had dreams, dreams which sometimes seem to relate to the last thing they looked at, even if it was the first time they had ever seen it. And that pattern of claims about dreams and events in this world that occur prior to the influential experience, or before, but with the dubiousness of their validity still present, stays. For them, laws of time and probability, indeed, the very idea of being realistic, means far less than they do to us. And the problem in all of this is that when you have such limited time and want to be sure you understand the child, trying to decipher their stories is not so much the joy it should be. It turns more into a task. It is not so easy to cultivate the creative mind and keep it growing as some think. It is not easy to help with that, high minded ideals not withstanding.

    But, of course, those are my views.

    9/06/2005

    Too often our forgiveness and tolerance knows almost no limits

    And, damn Hell, they should.

    I wish I had a kinder or more benign topic for what is at this moment my 125th post, but right now I only have seething anger.

    I watched half of Montel Williams, and after it I was too wrapped up in the tragedy of the first story, and upset enough, to finish watching the rest of the episode. There were other stories on it, and I might try to check out one of the repeat airings when they come.

    But, for now, let us get on to the first travesty.

    Ortralla Mosley's mother Carolyn, recounted the brutal manner of her daughter's murder, and how the school, knowing of the threats (Montel mentioned that there were at least 3, possibly 4, incidents of McTears, the Ortalla's murderer, brandishing knives and saying he was going to kill her), did almost nothing. Those bastard kids simply talked about it. Who the fucking Hell raises kids that just talk about a person armed and making threats?! What kind of advice is it to give an endangered student that she should tell school officials is the person threatening her gets to close? Could it be that the school did more that I know of? Yes, that's possible, but whatever they did do was damn sure not enough. I am sick of us excusing kids amoral indifference and the blatant incompetence of officials. The previous girlfriend of the murderer spoke of how he admitted to dreams that would be a siren to anyone that is not a complete idiot. Every lazy, cowardly little shit in that school who did nothing and could have, should be made to pay, and very dearly so. And anyone that wants to lecture me on being reasonable toward those kids and the school staff, et al, should remember one thing, by saying that it could happen to anyone, you confirm society is, at times, shit.

    Keep these in mind as I mention one last thing, I missed the first 7-9 minutes, at least, of the episode, and I believe I am missing 1 or 2 stabbings in this heinous list.

    Stabbed through in the back, through the heart.

    • Stabbed through the lungs from the front.
    • Stabbed in both temples, not through, one in each.
    • Stabbed through the skull or forhead.
    • Severe throat slitting.

    She was on her knees at one point.

    She forgave him.

    Fuck Reagan High

    Impressed too easily

    Some people seem to be enamoured by the shoot from the hip, straight talker. I agree that this trait in a person can be effective, but so can nuance. It disturbs me the way someone can go around yelling invectives and complaints about something and be put on a pedestal. This person is sometimes asked to run for high office. Why? Because they called some politician an idiot? Because they took a commanding tone? Being in office certainly should have more competency requirement that the ability to complain in a way that appeals to emotions. Speaking truth to power is not enough to be a mayor, let alone a president.

    The whole idea is absurd.

    That guy is an incompetent bastard! Do this and that!

    Please send campaign contributions, for I know you are impressed to Hamlin, c/o The Pied Piper.

    9/04/2005

    Instinct or paranoia?

    Sometimes I wonder, ok, often I wonder, if instincts, that hunch one has about his surroundings, including the people around him, is more often accurate than the objective person, or those trying to be, wants to be true. Is the basis for instinct in the form of what would appear on the surface to be a paranoid react or conclusion weak? I don't know, but my own hunches plague me even with rationalizations. I think I can read people better than they give me credit for. And I think that statement smelled strongly of paranoia.

    PSTD of women

    I have to admit this does not surprise me, but perhaps I am sexist in some ways. I suspect it's true regardless of this, "Women tend to seek help. That could be one reason the rates of PTSD appear higher for women—they show up at the VA and, therefore, in the statistics." I would presume women to be more effected by war than men. I think they are just more empathic than men are. I rather wish I was so empathic.

    Why does it sometimes take years for PTSD to show up?

    I suppose our natural rationalizations breakdown over time. But I don't know.

    I've been thinking about nurses, somewhat about nursing, on occasion, but with more frequency lately, for a bit of time. I can't say it's something I've felt a strong interest in. But nurses or other medical professionals seem to surround me, in family, friends and casual acquintances.

    9/01/2005

    Ok, GoStats time

    Well. let's see what's new.

    In hits for the past month it's 288, but substantially less since I often look into my own blog and sometimes have to reblock my ip and pc from counting.

    Hosts: 146
    Visitors: 147
    163 sessions

    Rank is 229 in Gov. & Society.
    In overall ranking I'm at 6074

    So that puts me below and ahead of
  • SGA Connections Internships
  • and
  • NOAA Research International Activities


  • In the overall I'm at these places, below then above:
  • Evervigilant Official
  • ;
  • My Photo Blog


  • The search words that have brought up this blog are:
    and
    moral
    war
    e-harmony
    monstercow
    manogomy
    musical
    mastery
    damascus
    iraq
    in
    have
    nice
    noddings"
    www.monstercow.com
    web
    virginia
    video
    usa
    to

    And the phrases are:

    moral reasoning to end iraq war
    2003/08/23
    "i have nice feet"
    monstercow video
    "shasta groene" "scarred

    My what is a liar post ranks well, as does the war and moral consistency response thread. That one seems to be checked on occasionally.

    Well, that's it for the month of August.


     

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