CISPA is a nightmare.
So, yeah. You know that thing we did to SOPA/PIPA, internet. Can we do that again? Please!?
- Mr. Dawkins speaks of belief upon evidence, yet, when the onus of providing on evidence fell on him, he failed to do so.
- Dawkins’ justification of his failure to give proof for his sweeping statement is intrinsically flawed; as it could be…
Dawkins is an Islamophobic shithole, and this would be true whether he were an atheist or not. The thing that bothers me is how Dawkins uses his personal, absence-of-religious doctrine to advance bigotry in the same way various religious institutions do in order to bolster their own power and authority. The problem in all cases is not the religion but the presence of shitty human beings, who exist everywhere, in all religions, Dawkins being a prime example if we view militant atheism as its own religion.
I’d been told before that he’s a bit of a dick. Reading his twitter stream confirms this.
This kind of intense, hateful stereotyping gives atheists everywhere a bad name, and that Dawkins has been appointed the leader of a movement through this sort of drivel is proof that there are blind idiots everywhere…it doesn’t matter what they do (or don’t) worship.
Saying “there would be no war without religion” is similar to saying “there would be war without people.” Except that only the second statement is actually true. But neither matter, because they suppose a world which is impossible and cannot exist, y’know, unless we’re talking about genocide…or asteroid impacts.
He’s just intensely (perhaps willfully) ignorant of how individual humans and collective cultures operate.
In the end, Dawkins seems to be mostly concerned not with the betterment of mankind, but with the betterment of Dawkins.
Edit: After hearing from some people who know Rand better than I do, I feel like a lot of this is overstated, though I stand by the qualitative tone, a quantitative change is, I think, in order. I’ll keep this posted but, after the discussion peters out, I might write another piece about how my opinion has changed.
In a suburb of a small city on a small island in the pacific, a teenage boy sat down at his computer and began to type. This is what he wrote.
“I’m not sure if you know this, but I hate Ayn Rand. That surprises a lot of people when I first meet them because I am a very outspoken libertarian. Usually within about five seconds of hearing about my political views, the person I’m talking to invokes Ayn Rand’s name. This is always awkward because they pigeonholed me into a hole where I don’t belong and, depending on their views, started attacking me or cozying in right next to me. I then need to extricate my self from said hole before the conversation can continue.
On paper, I can see why they make the mistake they do. Rand supports free market capitalism, limited government, etc. That’s a laundry list of my political views. However, there are subtle differences in how we would have it practiced which make all the difference in the world. But more on that later. First, I want to talk about why her books are awful and would still be even if they were pushing an agenda I agreed with.
I want to begin by saying that this part will be pretty shaky since I haven’t actually read any of Rand’s books. But, I have spoken with proponents and opponents of Rand about this as well as people who are undecided. I have also consulted with the all knowing Dr. Wiki. That being said, here is my understanding of Rand’s books. Her books are unabashed apologies (in the classical sense) for Rand’s view of capitalism. This argument is scantily clad in paper thin characters, a completely predictable plot and filled to the brim with drawn out exposition by said paper thin characters. Close enough? Even the Rand supporters I’ve spoken to have said that Rand’s books are of extremely limited literary value.
Here’s the deal. Stories are just that. They’re stories. They are about people doing stuff. If you want to write something about an idea, write an essay. You may be wondering about my first paragraph. I’m making a point with that. This post is a story in exactly the same way that Atlas Shrugged is a story. The only difference is that Rand puts slightly more work into hiding that fact. If you want to give a story a strong theme, great. A lot of wonderful books do. But, you can’t be hamfisted about it. The Great Gatsby does it right. So does Fahrenheit 451. But I’m going to talk about Bioshock as a middle finger to Rand (don’t worry, no spoilers).
Bioshock is a video game, yes. But, it’s also a very clever indictment of Rand’s philosophy. It makes if’s philosophy very clear. If you know anything about Rand, you can’t help but see the criticisms in every splicer-filled corridor. But, the way it does it is absolutely brilliant. Instead of having the characters take breaks from killing each other to exposit (is that a word? I think it means to give exposition) about how Ayn Rand is a mean lady and you shouldn’t listen to her, it scatters small hints throughout Rapture, where the game takes place, so that you know that this crumbling, mutant filled, seasteading was once based entirely on Rand’s philosophy. Once you understand that, all you need to do is look around to see what becomes of such places.
It’s a masterful use of setting, characters, and plot working with the theme. Rapture, it’s splicers, and your journey through them would just be another survival horror game if not for the philosophy which permeates every aspect of the game. Likewise, Bioshock is such an excellent indictment of Rand’s philosophy because there’s such an engaging story pulling you through to both the climax of the plot and the ringing condemnation it represents (so tempted to spoiler up but I’ll resist. If you’ve played it, just know that I’m not talking about the end boss fight.)
Not only is Bioshock expressing a philosophy contrary to Rand’s, it also does it in the opposite way; by showing you, rather than telling you; and there can be little doubt as to which is the more effective. I could talk for ages about Bioshock but that’s not why I’m here. Instead, lets lay aside the story and move on to the main attraction.
(Note: I’m just going to talk about Rand-style capitalism. I’m not going to talk about her atheism which I do disagree with but that I’m not here to address)
I’ll be blunt. If you took the most eloquent, cleverest, subtlest, and most fervent communist; put him in front of a computer; and told him to write a condemnation of capitalism by writing a story in a sarcastic tone which would show all the follies of capitalism by presenting them as virtues, he could hardly do a better job than Rand did. There are a lot of authors out there who I disagree with. However, the reason I dismiss them with a roll of my eyes and a smile while Rand gets hatred and rage is because Rand completely misses the point of capitalism. Basically, she imported her communist upbringing wholesale. She changed some of the words around, but the mindset is the same.
A common criticism of capitalism is that “people are only concerned about their own self interest”. However, this is true in any socioeconomic system. The difference is that in zero-sum systems like communism, that self interest is adversarial and, therefore, doesn’t get talked about as much. That adversarial element is what Rand brought over into her philosophy of capitalism.
“So,” you must be asking yourself “why do you believe in libertarian capitalism, if not so you can climb over the bodies of your fellow man in the hopes of reaching some pot of gold?” That’s an excellent question. The reason is simply because I’m an idiot. I am simple, close minded, and ignorant. I can never know everything I need to about my own wants, needs and circumstances. One of my few virtues is that I’m self-aware enough that I don’t and hopefully never will have the audacity to believe that I, or some other government bureaucrat can effectively plan someone other life. If I had a full time monitor whose only job was to take from me according to my abilities and give to me according to my needs, I might survive. I certainly wouldn’t be happy. If that monitor was responsible for any more than one person, it’s doubtful whether you could even say that much. Generalize that to a whole society and you have Communist China, Soviet Russia, or North Korea. I could defend capitalism point by point and if you want me to, by all means, leave a comment or reblog with a rebuttal. For starters, though, that should give you a general idea.
“But aren’t you just picking nits? Does motive really matter? Doesn’t it come to the same thing?” both the Rand supporters and the Rand-haters should now be asking. No, actually. It doesn’t and the difference will become increasingly relevant as 21st century technology makes it easier to get away with crimes. In a Rand-style system, there would be no reason not to commit crimes beyond the fear of legal retribution. In a libertarian system, people are watching each others backs rather than looking for the best place to stick a knife. Instead of seeking their own interest because doing otherwise will get them trampled, they look for the most valuable way to serve one another. They do well by doing good. In this system, you don’t have a “Red Queen” scenario where you need to run as hard as you can to stay in the same place. Libertarianism doesn’t facilitate unethical business practices the same way Rand-capitalism does.
So now that I’ve pissed off both my Rand-lover friends and my Rand-hater friends, I’m going to go take a walk.”
Having typed what he wanted to say, the boy posted what he had written and, as he said, took a walk.
~ A Manual of Etiquette with Hints on Politeness and Good Breeding, by Daisy Eyebright, 1852
Moments like this, messages like this one, are probably at the top of my list of reasons I’m proud to be part of Star Trek.
5:45 Love the new intro. Also, really creepy hook. Also, This new companion’s going to be great.
7:32 “Dr. Doyle is basing his writings on your own fantastical exploits.” Well played, Steve. Well played.
9:22 “A grenade!”
10:22 Wow. Sontarins=funny. Post-Pond Doctor=not so much
18:26 Really creepy. Also, great companion.
26:42 Steve, you’re brilliant. Thank you. As far as I’m concerned, you earned yourself a place in heaven next to Shakespeare.
28:15 THAT’S my Doctor.
31:37 That Sontarin really is something else.
34:32 The Doctor is, like, stupidly well written in this episode.
41:15 LOVE the new command deck
42:40 Ooooohhhh snap.
52:40 That’s bizarre and ominous. Also, Game of Thrones reference?
58:30 What? Also, awesome! Also, what!?