I must not be important: nobody insults me.
- 2 I try to do justly and to love mercy, and two out of three will have to do.
- 3 Taxes: Regressive vs. Progressive
- 4 When does life begin?
- 5 Prejudice
- 6 God's Chosen
- 7 War and Peace
- 8 Murder and the Death Penalty
- 9 Dialog concerning the Neutral Point Of View: (and giving some insight into the religious mind)
- 10 Heaven and Hell
- 11 Lying by Bill Clinton
- 12 THE OWNERS OF THIS COUNTRY
I must not be important: nobody insults me.
Update: I am gaining importance; I've been insulted.
I try to do justly and to love mercy, and two out of three will have to do.
Taxes: Regressive vs. Progressive
Consider two families, Smith & Jones, each consisting of a man, a woman and two children aged 8 & 10. Suppose that each pays the same effective tax rate.
Name Income 25% Tax necessities disposable income ====== ======= ======= =========== ================= Smith 40,000 10,000 25,000 5,000 Jones 400,000 100,000 125,000 175,000
By necessities I mean food, and the means of storing and preparing it, clothing and the means of making clothes, essential transportation, educational expenses, medical expenses, including prescription and non-prescription medications, and housing.
Jones's income is 10 times Smith's. In spite of the fact that Jones spends 5 times as much for necessities, Jones' disposable income is 35 times Smith's.
I submit that the net effect of this tax system is regressive.
This example is unrealistic: a family of four with an annual income of $40,000 ($20/hr) would have a negative disposable income. This would cause some of the essentials to be curtailed.
When does life begin?
A right-wing acquaintance of mine asked the question in an attempt to get me into a debate about abortion. Not being in the mood, I evaded the argument. On later thought, I realized how ridiculous the question is; the sperm and the ovum are alive even prior to conception. The question should be "when did life begin"; that is, conversion of non-living matter to living matter. Surely, unless some scientist has succeeded in doing this artificially, or - far more likely - there is a continuing natural process at work at this conversion, it occurred once or several times far in the past.
Since writing the preceding paragraph, I have learned that, in 2002, Professor Eckard Wimmer together with his associates at the University of New York at Stony Brook, did "chemically synthesize [a] complete viral genome and regenerate a live virus from it." That is, he succeeded in producing living matter from non-living matter. No need for God or gods.
- We humans classify everything -- it's the way we think.
- That thing is an animal, a human, red-haired, and light-skinned. He has a gun, a peaked cap and a badge on his chest. We see he's an Irish cop. He's been classified (prejudged), so we can now assign to him characteristics we associate with humans, males, whites, red-heads, Irish, police, etc. We do this automatically. It's called prejudice.
- We do this prejudging all day long -- it's how humans think. We can't avoid it.
- But we can, and should, strive to be conscious of our prejudices and avoid being unjust.
God has shown His preference by making His Chosen to be prosperous and persistent, by making their lives easy, their offspring numerous, their generations many. By these favors you may know them - the cockroaches.
War and Peace
War and Peace are separate and antithetical. You can't get peace by making war, nor get war by making peace.
Murder and the Death Penalty
- Murder is committed when a person takes thought and kills a person.
- It makes no difference what the victim has done: still murder.
- It makes no difference if two people act in concert: it's still murder, and both perpetrators are murderers.
- The same when ten people act: still murder; ten murderers.
- The same if a town acts: still murder.
- The same for the State or Country, or all of Mankind.
- The color of law is immaterial. Laws are made by the powerful, not the just.
- Stalin and Hitler employed judges, as has almost every other tyrant.
Dialog concerning the Neutral Point Of View: (and giving some insight into the religious mind)
- Tom: God made the world in six days.
- me: That is your belief.
- Tom: No, that is a fact.
- me: It is your opinion that it is a fact.
- Tom: No, it is a plain fact, opinion is irrelevant.
- me: Well, in order not to offend those who believe differently, I will have to represent it as a belief or opinion.
- Tom: If you do that you will offend me. And you will be saying a lie.
- me: But I have to maintain a Neutral Point Of View.
- Tom: By all means: say that it is a fact that God made the world in six days, and there are some people who don't believe that fact.
- me: Suppose that I say that it is a fact that you assert that God made the world in six days.
- Tom: That implies that my assertion is just a matter of opinion.
- me: Well, that's my opinion.
- Tom: So your opinion trumps the facts.
- me: No matter what I say I am bound to offend someone.
- Tom: That is true, but a NPOV compels you to stick to the facts, and it is a fact that God made the world in six days.
- me: I think I see the problem. In order to maintain a NPOV I must either represent all points of view as facts, or as opinions.
- Tom: That is certainly a solution. But, in either case I can't see what value your wiki can have. In the first case you will be inconsistent, since competing points of view can contradict each other. In the second, all facts become irrelevant. Why would anyone be interested in reading either? You should just stick to the facts, and the fact is that God made the world in six days.
- me: Can you give me a reference?
- Tom: Surely. The book of Genesis.
- me: Aaaghk!
Never argue with a True Believer.
It's good to have an open mind, but it shouldn't be so open that everything falls out.
Heaven and Hell
There is no difference between heaven and hell; an eternity of anything would be hell. As a
76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 year-old I prefer to believe in simple non-existence after death.
Lying by Bill Clinton
$40,000,000 was expended during the six years that Ken Starr attempted to find something that Bill Clinton could be indicted for. After all that the only thing that could be argued was that Bill lied about his sex life. It seems apparent that more significant transgressions would have been uncovered if there had been any. Bill must be the most honest man ever to occupy the White House!
THE OWNERS OF THIS COUNTRY
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it." -- Abraham Lincoln - First Inaugural Address - March 4th, 1861
We are the proprietors of this country, and have both the right and the duty to supervise the doings of our government. But to do that we need information from that government. Not lies.