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Good question!

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Well, that explains a lot!

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

The Horror!!!

Happy New Year!

13 Jan 2017 1 comment

Ah, Political Clarity at last!

20 Sep 2016 1 comment

How to Unite

31 Aug 2016 1 comment

Ben Shapiro’s essay, We Have Nothing Left Holding Us Together, says it well.  Read the whole thing below (emphases added).  Despite what they say, liberals/progressives/the Left are not pursuing unity.

On Friday, a South Carolina high school stopped students from bringing American flags to a football game against a heavily Hispanic rival school. Why? The principal was presumably worried that waving the flag might offend the Hispanic students. According to the principal, “This decision would be made anytime that the American flag, or any other symbol, sign, cheer, or action on the part of our fans would potentially compromise the safety of all in attendance at a school event.”

This isn’t the first such situation. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that a public school in California could ban students from wearing a shirt emblazoned with an American flag on Cinco de Mayo thanks to fears over racial conflict at the school. The lawyer for the children complained, “This opens the door for a school to suppress any viewpoints that are opposed by a band of vocal and violent bullies.”

Meanwhile, has-been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been widely praised in the media for refusing to stand for the national anthem during football games. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” explained the man earning an average of $19,000,000 per year for sitting on the bench. He continued: “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

We’re watching the end of America in real time.

That doesn’t mean that the country’s on the verge of actual implosion. But the idea of America required a common definition of being American: a love of country on the basis of its founding philosophy. That has now been undermined by the left.

Love of country doesn’t mean that you have to love everything about America, or that you can’t criticize America. But loving America means understanding that the country was founded on a unique basis — a uniquely good basis. That’s what the flag stands for. Not ethnic superiority or racial solidarity or police brutality but the notion of individual liberty and equal rights before God. But with the destruction of that central principle, the ties that bind us together are fraying. And the left loves that.

In fact, the two defining philosophical iterations of the modern left both make war with the ties that bind us together. In President Obama’s landmark second inaugural address, he openly said, “Being true to our founding documents … does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way.” This is the kind of definition worshipped by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has singlehandedly redefined the Constitution. He said, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

But this means that liberty has no real definition outside of “stuff I want to do.” And we all want to do different stuff, sometimes at the expense of other people’s liberty. Subjective definitions of liberty, rather than a common definition, means a conflict of all against all, or at least a conflict of a government controlled by some who are targeting everyone else. It means that our flag is no longer a common symbol for our shared definition of liberty. It’s just a rag that means different things to different people based on their subjective experiences and definitions of reality.

And that means we have nothing holding us together.

The only way to restore the ties that bind us is to rededicate ourselves to the notion of liberty for which generations of Americans fought and died. But that won’t happen so long as the left insists that their feelings are more important than your rights.

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Voting Like a Robot

Isaac_AsimovIsaac Asimov (1920-1992) was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century, having authored or edited more than 500 books.  The level of his genius is evidenced by the fact that those works have been published in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification systems used in libraries.  A professor of biochemistry, he wrote nonfiction in popular science, science textbooks, essays and literary criticism.  He is, however, probably more well know for his hard science fiction, mystery, and fantasy writings.  A contemporary of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, Asimov was considered one of the “Big Three” writers of science fiction during his lifetime.

One of his more well known science fiction series is the Robot series, a collection of 38 short stories and 5 novels, the first one being I, Robot.  Yes, this is the book upon which the 2004 movie of the same name, starring Will Smith, is based.  Alas, the title and Dr. Susan Calvin are about the only things in common between the book and movie.  Read the book; it’s more interesting.

That said, “the unique feature of Asimov’s robots are the Three Laws of Robotics, hardwired in a robot’s positronic brain, with which all robots in his fiction must comply, and which ensureltc data that the robot does not turn against its creators.”  And again, yes, Trekkies, Lieutenant Commander Data’s positronic brain originated with Asimov, not the creator(s) of Star Trek Next Gen (or any other Star Trek version for that matter).  It is to those three Laws of Robotics that I want to turn our attention to at this point.

These three laws were essentially how Asimov solved the problem (and introduced some very interesting unexpected consequences…see the Robot series) of how to define and constrain robotic behavior in such a way that humans would not, indeed, could not be harmed by their electronic creations.  Let’s look at those three laws:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

What I want you to notice is that these laws form a hierarchy.  The first law supersedes and overrides the other two.  The second law is just as important as the first, but if obedience to the second law conflicts with the first law, the first law “wins.”  Likewise, the third is dominated by the first and second.  Think about it.  In order to ensure the most benefit, robotic behavior cannot be defined by only one principle.  It requires several, and they must be structured and inter-dependent in their relationships.

In a similar vein, how does God go about defining human behavior that pleases Him?  Does He have only one principle for us to obey?  No, He summaries it in two that are also hierarchical (Matthew 27:37-40):  loving God and loving our neighbor.  Loving God supersedes loving our neighbor, but both are important.  And these two actually summarize what, when presented with more detail, require ten such principles for human conduct (Exodus 20:1-17).

OK, you say, so what does this have to do with voting???  Patience, dear reader.  We’re almost there.

Based on the above considerations, I would assert that most complex behaviors and decision processes, of which voting is one, can not be determined by applying only one principle.  Unless you have more than the wisdom of Solomon, no one principle will encompass all possibilities that can be encountered.  Applying this to voting:  for those who say they cannot vote for a candidate with whom they have principled disagreements (i.e., they must vote their conscience; dare I point out how nebulous and subjective “conscience” can be at times?), they are really attempting to apply just one principle to the process in a simplistic and naïve fashion:  if a candidate doesn’t share my values, and have shared them for an adequate period of time so that I know he’s really a photocopy of me, then I can’t vote for him.  The reason this is simplistic and naïve is simple:  unless you personally run for office and vote for yourself, there is no one candidate that will agree with you 100% on every issue, let alone on all the issues you may want to list as important to you.

It is rare that we will have someone who shares all our positions and values, so what do you do?  First, acknowledge that you can seek to vote for the one who comes the closest even if that is still so far distance from you that you have to hold your nose to do so.  Second, it is perfectly all right, indeed, a duty to vote for someone as a vote to prevent someone else who is far worse from taking office.

So I would propose the following Three Laws of Voting, tailored after the Three Laws of Robotics and with a bow to Dr. Asimov:

  1. A voter may not injure his/her country or, through inaction, allow his/her country to come to harm.
  2. A voter must place a vote for the candidate who conflicts least with the First Law.
  3. A voter must protect his/her own conscience as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Laws.
      Perhaps not as eloquent as Dr. Asimov, but still more inclusive of the possible eventualities we might face in elections in this country than the simplistic “only vote for your twin” that many are seeking to apply this election cycle.

Think about it.

Much has been written on the comparative damage the two candidates from the two parties could do to the country, so I’ll not rehearse those considerations here.  Suffice it to say that Clinton would do more, being more of Obama’s destructive policies than Trump.  Voting for Clinton violates the Second Law.  Voting for a third party candidate violates the First and Second Law, primarily because it would ensure another Clinton presidency.  Voting for Trump might require a nose pin to withstand the stench, but it would not violate any of these laws (and I did not vote for Trump in the primaries).  Regardless, please don’t…