January 27, 2004

One More Thing About Cancer

Heather brought up another good point that I would like to comment on "out loud" so to speak:

If you smoke, you a dumbass.

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ACS and Me: A Story of Young Disgust

Heather took exception to my half-joking post about charities on the grounds that she is a cancer survivor. She pointed out that I should support ACS because I might have cancer today or one day in the future.

For the record, I'm acutely aware that the risk of me getting cancer is for all practical applications 100%. That's not why I oppose them now and that's not enough reason for me to renew my support.

Last year I helped raise with my company over $100,000 for ACS, almost $4K of which was raised by efforts I personally planned and managed. I supported them openly but blindly. I had reason to look into their efforts but I ignored and evaded reality because I didn't want to know. The upper management of my company strongly encouraged participation and I felt like it would be unwise to stand on my principles.

That was a very wrong thing to do and I regret having done it.

Since then I looked into the ACS's efforts and made up my mind not to support them. Here are just a few reasons why.

What does ACS do?

1) ACS support government-funded medical care. Click Here. Here, too.
2) ACS supports government-funded medical research. Click Here.
3) ACS supports legislative efforts to control tobacco consumption. Click Here.
4) ACS supports government spending (read: higher taxes, y'all). Click here. "DON'T PLAY POLITICS WITH CANCER." Indeed.
5) ACS supports forbidding businesses to allow smoking in their establishment. Click Here.

That's just a small list of things they do to which I strongly object and I was a fool not to look into their efforts in greater detail before supporting them last year. My opportunity to stand up for my convictions will come around again soon and I won't make that mistake again. I can only apologize for my conduct before.

I don't deny that the efforts of ACS have accomplished many good things in the fight against cancer, but whatever good they've accomplished is outweighed by the evil they've propogated at the very same time.

I'm also not opposed to charities as such. But there aren't any charities that I'm aware of that conduct themselves properly especially when it comes to encouraging government action. ACS is but one example. I, for one, reserve the right to refer to the enemies of liberty as "rat bastards."

"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win." Ayn Rand

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January 26, 2004

Now Boarding Rows 1 Through 5, First Class on Flight 666: Handbasket to Hell

So, after cleaning the Augean Stables for the American Cancer Society last year, I've gotten it in my head that I don't care much for charity-- especially in light of the deductions Uncle Sam grifts from my paycheck every two weeks.

I really thought all that time would amount to nothing worth much at all, but I was wrong because lately one unforeseen benefit has been paying off: Junk Mail.

Not just any kind of junk mail but junk mail from charities. MWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAA!!! See, those rat-bastards at ACS or maybe LLS (the charity from the year before last) gave my address out to all of their tender-hearted friends, so now they send me mail.

The benefit is, however, that they include these little address labels and I get to keep them all and use them for whatever I want! (I'll get down with online billpay one day soon.) Can you believe this? And I never ever intend to use them to send a donation! SCORE!

These stupid charities actually spend money to have labels made with my name and address on them and then they send them to ME to use. I'll bet they're thinking, "Oh no one would actually keep the labels and not give a donation." Ha HA! I WILL! They think, "Most people are driven by Christian decency and would be too wrought with guilt to keep what we give them without giving something back." La la la! I'm Objectivist. Not me! I don't do guilt. La la la! You got nothin' on me, pinko, pan-handling swine!

So, I'm not doing the charity thing these days, but I sure am loving all these free address labels. Of course, someone sent me ones with the American Flag on them and seeing as how THE AMERICAN FLAG IS NOT A DECORATION FOR AN ADDRESS LABLE, I had to cut that off of there. That was a pain. Idgits. But I got more labels now than I think I will ever use. WOOHOO!


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Superfluous Remarks of a Modern American Revolutionary

  • I also took note of this remark:
    Marriage has been around for thousands of years. Sodomy, as a sexual act, goes back just as far, but homosexuality, as a recognized condition, dates only from the late 19th century, and gayness, as a 24/7 social identity, is of even more recent vintage. Who’s to say it isn’t a passing phase?
    First of all, Mr. Conservative, it doesn’t matter if it is a passing phase or not. We’re talking about an unreasonable, unethical, and unjustifiable constraint upon the actions of a portion of the citizenry. Just governance requires that gay marriage be permitted.

    Secondly, that modern homosexuality is unknown to history is not surprising given the violence and denigration with which homosexuality has been met, particularly in the recent past and even present.

  • I also hate Mark Steyn's use of the expression "state's interest." The state HAS no interest in that sense. He speaks of the state as if it were a living entity concerned with its own existence. As I stated in my previous post, that's exactly what he means, too. I damn him for it, too.
  • This bears repeating:
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  • As does this:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
  • A person in politics today treads upon holy and unsteady ground.
  • I hate people who argue that tradition as such should be respected. Tradition means absolutely, positively nothing without a rational foundation.
  • The same that goes for tradition goes for legal precedence.
  • It's pitiful that people abandon a thought just because it's never been done before, but that's the impact of assigning a value to tradition based on how traditional it is rather than how rational it is.
  • How free can America be these days when the very height of American politics is perverted by Steyn's, Bush's, Sharpton's, Dean's, Clark's, Kennedy's, Powell's... hell, the likes of almost every single person in politics?
  • And for crying out loud when are people going to stop with the religion and astrology and pseudoscience? Come on already! It's 2004. Shame on you all!
  • Of course, the same questions can be asked about when people are going to abandon socialist economics. I mean, really, folks.
  • But don't take my word for it or the word of anyone for that matter. We can easily demonstrate principle in reality. Oh but it's too bad all this tradition stands in the way. What do you suppose we should do?

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A (Semi-)Solemn Vow

As your president, I will not use government funding to go hit on rough-and-tumble Canadians.

For one The Good Doctor, I am sure, would not approve. I've already told him that I'm using all my coupons on Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, Ryan Phillipe, Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGreggor, Sean Astin, Christopher Masterson, Brad Pitt and Pierce Brosnan. And Kate. And maybe Catherine Zeta-Jones. And Nicole Kidman. And Heidi Klum. What?

Second, Canada. Are you joking me? I'm the President. If anything, I'm headed to Australia, the only country that is even close to having as many badasses as America.

Hat Tip, Rob.

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From The Good Doctor

Last night The Good Doctor and I were watching television and a woman said she felt nauseous, at which point The Good Doctor informed me that her usage of the word "nauseous" is one of his pet peeves. Merriam-Webster, by way of their newly redesigned website says:

Main Entry: nau·seous
1 : causing nausea or disgust : NAUSEATING
2 : affected with nausea or disgust

usage: Those who insist that nauseous can properly be used only in sense 1 and that in sense 2 it is an error for nauseated are mistaken. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, usually after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent. Use of nauseous in sense 1 is much more often figurative than literal, and this use appears to be losing ground to nauseating. Nauseated is used more widely than nauseous in sense 2.

This is a good example of descriptive linguistics and the function and purpose of dictionaries. Dictionaries tell us how words are most commonly used. Dictionaries do not presume to tell us how a word ought to be used.

Considering the widespread epidemic of malapropisms, grammar errors, and general linguistic ignorance it is not surprising that M-W says that this use of nauseous is common and accepted.

Let's remember that "normalcy" wasn't even a word before President Warren G. Harding's gaff became popular usage.

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Aquí Vienen los Hombres Machos

I was looking through my referrer logs and was reminded of this post on masculinity that I wrote a while back.

This weekend The Good Doctor and I took our luncheon (How manly is that word?) with a friend who had recently visited Puerto Rico and informed us that finely plucked and sculpted eyebrows are the way of the manly men these days. That's right. Straight latin men have taken to eyebrow grooming that extends well beyond correction of the unibrow.

And who's manlier than los machismos?

I can't wait to see the likes of Tim Allen in the salon having his brows threaded. heh heh heh...

Please click here.

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About My Driving

I was telling Mama Laverne about my incident this morning on the bridge and she commented, "You drive too fast."

I do drive fast. I do not drive too fast, though.

No matter how fast one drives, there will always be an element of risk due to people doing terribly foolish things. The faster one drives the more risk there is. I am willing to accept more risk than some but not "too much" as too much is defined by my ability to deal with adverse traffic conditions.

Mama Laverne may point to the bridge incident as an example of me driving too fast. I would point to the bridge incident as an example of my ability to deal with adverse conditions.

The problem here is that when I say "too fast" I'm referring specifically to me. When Mama Laverne is saying "too fast" she is referring to a generality. According to the people who set speed limits, I drive too fast 99.9% of the time.

I'm not sure how one would prove that I drive too fast in light of the fact that there isn't any evidence that the speed at which I drive is more than just a mitigated risk.

I suppose that if ever I cause a collision we might say that in that instance I was driving too fast, or doing something else foolish, but that hasn't happened.

That's all I wanted to say about that. I need to get back to filming my "It won't happen to me" public service announcement now.

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January 25, 2004

No Blogging Today

Because I really am going to work on my homework and that's final!

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January 24, 2004


OK I finally gave up on the idea that my homework would do itself last night around 4AM and came home. The problem: I just woke up and the whole day is gone and I feel like I was out drinking or something. (I wasn't.)

If you elect me President, I will do Presidential things (perhaps on the first Blog of the POTUS) instead of my homework. THAT'S the kind of dedication we need in the White House.

Trey Givens for President!

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January 23, 2004

A Thing I Like

My iPod. I like it lots. And tonight I am listening to every song I own that is self-identified as belonging to the "pop" genre.

ABBA, meet Aerosmith. (I don't know how Aerosmith got here.)
Aerosmith meet Maroon 5.
Maroon 5, meet Robbie Williams.
Robbie Williams, I think you already know Ms. Spears. (Mrs?)
Robbie, Britney, I'd like you to meet Madonna. Oh. Britney, I KNOW you already know Madonna.
Well, Madonna, Robbie, Britney, this is Aqua.
Aqua, please meet Len.
Len meet Ace of Base.
Ace of Base, please muster up some English and meet Emilia.
Emilia, Pink.
Pink, Mary J. Blige.
Mary J. Blige, Temperer.
Temperer, Nick Carter and Gang.
BSB, N*Sync, whups!
You guys should say hi to the Coors.
Coors, say 'top o' the morn' ' to Ja Rule.

Please everyone take a moment to introduce yourselves to one another.


Now I want you all to pay attention to ABBA again. This is how you do it, OK. Take notes if you have to.

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One More Thing...

I'd also like to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America.

I don't have a party, yet, but I'm a little bit of the Marx mentality in that "I don't want to belong to a club that would accept me as a member" or at the very least I'm a little suspicious of them.

Under my administration the United States will:

  • Continue to kick the asses of bad guys. (I'm warning you Congress, I can get a lot done in 90 days.)
  • I will veto a vast majority of laws that reach my desk. My reason will likely be found in the Constitution.
  • I will fire most of the people in the government and associated agencies and not replace them. (Don't worry. I won't do it all at once.) Resulting budget surplus funds will be returned from whence they came.
  • I will have heart-to-heart discussions with world leaders. The UN will not likely survive.
  • However, I will refuse to speak to dictators and leaders of countries that are patently slave states. (I hope they know what that means.)
  • "Diversity" is not going to be an issue for my administration at all. Translation: Straight, White, Male folks welcome, too.
  • I will probably be impeached and removed from office, but I won't care. I only make that prediction because I know how Congress is these days. Once upon a time I might have been offered a crown for my administration's policies.

On the whole, I think people make far too big a deal out of the President's job and due to the radical changes I will make, most of my time will really be spent saying, "No," in very much the same manner that one addresses a dog begging at the dinner table.

So, get your ballots ready. I won't take the country back. In November, I'll be letting the country go back to Americans. Still working on a catch phrase.

*insert charming wave here*

P.S. I have not chosen a running mate yet. Apply within.
P.P.S. Actually, I have no staff at all. Apply within.

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Ray of Sunshine

My last post made me so happy, that especially in light of recent frustrations, I decided I'm taking a little break from snarking and paying attention to stupid people. More importantly, I'm going to try not to think about how many stupid people are really out there bothering me with just the thought of their stupidity.

So, blogging for the new future will contain talk of things I enjoy.

Like the Starbucks Grande White Chocolate Mocha I am going to get in a little while. Mmmmmm... Life is good.

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You Give Me Fever

So, I'm surrounded by Martha Stewart. Not really. But you know how something will catch your eye and then all of a sudden you see it everywhere? Marth Stewart is like that for me right now.

In my strategy class my group has been assigned Martha Stewart Omnimedia. We have to come up with a strategy for the corporation to mitigate the recent impact that the allegations against Martha have had on the firm's income.

Then, and first let me give a big thanks, Brett brings back this quote:

"You know, in China they say, 'The thinner the chopsticks, the higher the social status.' Of course, I got the thinnest I could find." After a pause, she added, "That's why people hate me." - Martha Stewart
That makes me want to give her a big kiss right on the lips. Hot!

And can I say I support Martha Stewart 100%? Of course, I can.

I don't really understand why we have insider trading laws at all. No one has been able to explain that to me sufficiently and as such I strongly suspect they are one of those things that just should not be.

Martha Stewart rocks the party that rocks my body because she isn't scared of perfection and she's definitely not scared of money.

We all know about her perfection. Remember that one time that she bought a rice patty in the Himalayas just so she could have fresh, authentic Tibetan cranberries for a garnish on that delightful coney stew? And then there was the time when she recommended building a coke furnace for making your own washing boards. Awesome!

Can a person really be a homemaker the Martha Stewart way? Sure. If that's to which you dedicate your every waking hour of the day. That kind of incredible requires supreme dedication and Marth Stewart's magazine isn't called "For the Weak." No. It's called "Living." Why? Because you better damn-well be on your game if you're going to bring it the Martha Stewart way.

It is in home-making, I imagine her saying, where a person can truly engage in the act of living without the contraints and confines of corporate policies and legal licensing. It is the task of creating a home, an evironment of comfort, luxury, pleasure, and beauty. Home is 'welcome to planet you.' Home is where you recreate the world, in the metaphysical sense, and experience your virtue.

Remember when Martha Stewart taught us all how to make our own root beer? Remember how the next week she told us about her favorite cookie cutters come from a kitchen supply store in Finland? And right after that she demonstrated that it is possible to recast Degas' Ballerina of 14 years in chocolate in 15 minutes? You just need a special knife from Bogota.

And money. Woo, buddy! She is definitely not scared of a little green-in-hand disease. Some people are, you know.

Here in America, making money really isn't that hard. It just takes a little effort and risk, but it's totally been done before. It's been done so often here that it's even considered 'played.' That's ok. I'm a fan of old skool faves myself and so is Martha.

People who are scared to make money are people who are scared to spend it lots of times. They're also people who take days off of work to sleep. How lame is that?

When Martha Stewart takes a day off she does it to mine perfectly-shaped chrysanthemum ice cubes from her ice burg which is tethered just off of Nunataks. They're for a garden party for which she's charging $17,000 a plate. You want some? There's no such thing as a free lunch and this lunch will be so good you'll slap your mama.

Some may think I'm making fun but I'm not. Martha Stewart can kick your ass and she will, too, if she wants. I'll watch. I'll probably laugh. And if you're real dumb, I'll even help.

What does she want? The best. When does she want it? Now. How will she get it? She'll make it herself if it's not for sale somewhere and you'd best just get the hell out of her way.

Anyone who begrudges a person for having Martha's drive and determination is a coward, a fool, and a minion of evil.

I love Martha. She is awesome.

I think I will now reminisce about the time that she spun a pinafore out of dew-soaked gossamer and daffodils. Ahhhh.... Living.

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"Post-Capitalism" ~OR~ Made-Up Words != New Concepts

Today's class opened with remarks on "Post-Capitalism." Because Capitalism is a non-temporal entity and stands at a polar end of a spectrum the term "post-capitalism" bears no meaning to me; thus, I went and looked it up on the Internet:


For our present purposes we can think about the concept of "Post-Capitalism" as having two basic meanings

Firstly, it refers to the argument that post-modern societies are characterised by a different form of economic organisation to that which exists in the modern period. This form is still, at root, Capitalist (that is, it retains the basic features of modern Capitalism - the pursuit of profit, the private ownership of property and the like), but with one very big difference: whereas in modern society the concepts of production and producer are most significant, in post-modern society it is the concepts of consumption and consumer that take centre stage.

Secondly, post-capitalism also refers to the wider economic picture of global forms of economic organisation. In this respect, the argument here is that for much of the modern period Capitalist forms of economic organisation competed with - and were in some ways shaped by - alternative forms of economic production (Communism, in particular).

However, one characteristic of 20th century economics has been what Fukuyama has termed the "triumph" of Capitalism over all other forms of economic organisation. That is, the idea that Capitalism is now the major global economic system.

My lecturer cited Peter Drucker as the source of this neologism. If that's true, methinks Peter Drucker has never had a sound grasp on the concept of Capitalism in the first place.

Legitimate free-market economic theory has never divorced production from consumption or consumption from production, in fact, it has never even made a distinction.

I've noticed that people often coin new words just to create their own little fad, especially when they're trying to sell things. We all know how the media is prone to this. Jobless recovery, what? And not news to Blackfive or anyone else the Ivory Tower of Academia is not immune to this phenomenon to support for the sake of all sorts of agendas.

There are plenty of words in the English language to describe most everything we know about right now. Of course, we'll need new words as we discover new things, but I have strong objections to making up new words to describe things that already have names or things that simply do not need names.

The word "post-captialism" is a word that describes capitalism. The concept capitalism describes "a social system based on the explicit recognition of private property and of nonaggressive, contractual exchanges between private property owners." In terms of consumers and producers, both are owners that engage in contractual exchange. The organization of a social system around these principles does not and need not recognize any distinction between “producers” and “consumers.” Truly, all consumers are producers and all producers are consumers in any given context. The creation of the term “post-capitalism” splits hairs and it’s an unnecessary multiplication of words.

In the end fad language is harmful to true academic accomplish because it makes it more difficult to clearly identify the entities under study. Truly, Academia, more than any other area of life, is prone to this sort of intellectual corruption.

I got their number.

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The Best Theories Reflect the Best Practices -OR- Chickens Lay Eggs

I'm in class all day today. In exchange for coming to class from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, I only have this class three times this semester. The class is Revenue Management.

Wanna know what revolutionary concepts are being taught here? Basic Micro-Economic Theory.

Oh yes. That's right. Apparently, one of my professors discovered that free market dynamics is something that actually happens in reality and can be used to make more money and satisfy more customers.

Since we like to look at the bright side, I should point out that he is providing lots of colorful examples and corroborating market data to support the theory. Praise Him*!

I'm now giving some thought to writing a better book than his. Hmmmm...

*Ludwig von Mises

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January 22, 2004


I'm not really in a bad mood. I just need a nap.

Good night.

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I Am in a Bad Mood

I haven't been able to blog much lately. I could blame it on the fact that things have been super busy at work and I've felt a need and desire to pay closer attention in class and while those things are true, I'm obliged to also admit that I'm coming down with a bit of a bad mood.

The Good Doctor tells me I shouldn't get so upset by what people think or do, but the problem is that those things affect my life. I mean, the things that upset me the most are people trying to steal my money and get up in my business all the time. I'm also frustrated by the fact that there are so many people in this world who do not have a proper sense of justice or rationality about them.

Consider the headlines these days and the various philosophical attrocities being committed.

GW makes yet another assertion that amounts to creating a theocracy out of our country.

Other say GW has pulled a "Clinton" because he didn't say "gay." (Context droppers!)

A certain someone kills a person albeit by accident and only gets 100 days in jail. HELLO! KILLED!

Meanwhile, a poor man is threatened with legal action because he puts a possum in a cage.

In other realms, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a bajillion dollar business. Can someone please be serious for a second?

J Lo's engagement to Ben Affleck is finally off, for real, this time. Britney Spears got her marriage anulled, probably justified by the fact that they didn't have sex. And some states are still trying to keep me from smooching on The Good Doctor!

You know, there are so many folks in this country alone who just suck. They're ignorant or stupid or mean or just plain broke-down. Why? All because of this notion that ideas don't mean anything.

People say, "Believe whatever you want to believe."
"Different strokes for different folks. It's what makes the world go 'round."
"Your reality is whatever you believe."
"Who's to say your logic is logical?"
"Can't we all just get along?"
"I respect your beliefs even though I don't believe them."

I could make a list of these bromides as long as I am tall.

I need a vacation to a sunny place where everyone is rational. Where people already know that reality is objective and that action follows ideas and philosophy is important. I'm just so tired of so much wrong when I KNOW there can be so much more right.

Click Here.

Ahhhhhhhhh.... That's the spot.

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Of course there are tons of people out there for whom I have little care. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that most of the people in the world fall into that category if for no other reason than I don't know them.

But among the people I do know, there is still a high percentage of people I don't like and there are millions of reasons I might not like any particular individual. The origin of my distaste can be generally stated as a philosophical difference, but the specific manifestations of those differences are legion.

Tonight, I have identified one particular manifestation that both irks and bores me.

I don't like contrary people.

You know them. These are the people who disagree just for the sake of disagreeing. These are the people who offer dissent in light of perfectly reasoned and accepted argument just to "play the devil's advocate."

The less skillful of this type of person is the common troll. They don't know why they disagree. They do not present a good argument. They aren't entertaining. They're foolish, brash, and rude. It doesn't take them long before they've run out of distractions and are reduced to "nuh uh."

The more skillful types are harder to spot but are no less irksome. These contrary folk have learned to temper their disagreeable nature and may have even taken up a daily hygiene routine. Do not be fooled. These folks ask too many questions in an attempt to spark debate even when the subject has been fully explored. They are also people who like to slip in the last word in a settled argument to somehow establish a pretense of uncertainty. They're like that hand that is always thrust up out of freshly dug graves.

It is a sad fact of nature that the most highly developed, 10th degree black belt disagreeable person is British. These are people who may contend a statement without saying a single word. They may just raise an eyebrow or give a blank stare where a response is appropriate. Sometimes, these people are female.

Disagreeing just to disagree is the sign of an adolescent intellect and just as most people outgrew that stage in life and are no longer amused by the petty contrivances and machinations that color an adolescent life, so have most outstripped that stage in rational development.


My teacher is British and contrary. I'm bored.

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Help Wanted: Baby Names

OK. There is some discussion over what the best way to spell a certain name which Mama Laverne would like to use for her little girl and I would like my readers' opinions.

It'll be hard to get you to tell me your spellings without telling you how I'd spell it, but I can give you some hints.

  • It's the first name of President Clinton's Secretary of State M-- Albright.
  • It's the name of a little French girl who wears a yellow hat.
  • The spellings being considered do not involve the letter Y, so don't even bring that to me.
If you click the links I've provided you will see the two spellings over which there is dispute. The question is which spelling is more popular and/or which would be the best spelling for the child to use.

So, please give me your feedback.


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I Know a Secret!

Mama Laverne is having a girl!

I am so excited!

I told her that I'm still going to buy the baby a dinosaur, though. Little girls can like dinosaurs, too, you know.

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January 20, 2004

There is No Soap, No Soap Like Zazz No Detergent, Lotion or Oil with Such Power in the Shower

Do you know where I got that? I don't have points or dollars to give out, so you'll just have to guess for the sake of personal accomplishment.

On Saturday, The Good Doctor noticed some detergent on my jacket. I'm a groady person now and then and this case it is entirely possible that there is detergent on my jacket because I've never had this jacket cleaned in its entire life. There's a little spot where I dripped something on the sleeve and there are fuzzies stuck to it and loose hairs and what not. I mean, my jacket isn't gross and smelly, it just needs to be dry cleaned and brushed.

But for the record, I have learned that it's not detergent on my jacket. It's dandruff.

I am a person who is fortunate to have a rather not oily complexion. But simultaneously, my skin dries up in the winter and because I've not used conditioner in my hair in a while (it's short so I often just shampoo) I had a touch of dandruff.

I've since moisturized my scalp and conditioned my hair and all is well again.

/End Dandruff Blogging

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January 19, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance Quick List

Quick post before I really get crackin’ on some superturbofun managerial accounting homework. (I’m trying to psych myself up to it.) This is a list of things that just bother me a little. They aren't things that really make me mad or anything but they make the inside of my skull itch.

  • Open cupboards
  • When someone opens the microwave door before their time is up and doesn’t cancel out the remaining time.
  • When gay men refer to each other with female pronouns. It confuses me because I think they're really talking about a lady named Dick and then I start to think about how unfortunate her name is for her.
  • Lables on jars that are only partially removed.
  • When the waitress sets my drink down in a different spot from where it was when she picked it up for refill.
  • Subscription stickers on the covers of magazines.
  • Stacked food.
For the sake of being fair and balanced, here's a list of things that actually bug me-bug me:
  • When people dog ear books.
  • When gay men refer to each other as "queen," "fag," "sister," or "girl."
  • Twistie-ties like those that come on bread packages.
  • The sticky plastic strip on the top of new CDs that doesn't come off easily nor in one piece.
  • Organized protests, parades, and other things that involve people milling around in my way without any apparent purpose other than to simply be in the way.
  • When stores put price stickers on glass where it leaves a glue residue in an important place like the glass of a picture frame.

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More Goodness at CapMag

Check out this article at Capitalism Magainze: Reflecting America: World Trade Center Memorial Should Celebrate America's Producers

All around New York and the United States, one can see memorials using expressive human figures in positive ways. Think of the Maine Monument at Columbus Circle, with its dramatic, gilded allegorical figures commemorating the sailors who died in an 1898 explosion in Havana Harbor. It doesn't show shattered remains, it shows the virtues those sailors lived and died for. Think of the Firemen's Memorial at West 100th St., with its narrative relief of firemen doing their jobs.

Think of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, which shows our sixteenth President not lying in a pool of blood, but quietly meditating on momentous affairs.

What should we say with the memorial at the World Trade Center site?
We should say that although an unforgettably horrendous event happened there, we choose to celebrate the positive. We choose to erect a monument to the productivity of our family, friends, and colleagues, whose efforts we will continue; and to their lives, which we shall not forget.

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Proper Discrimination

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

- Martin Luther King

Only an astonishingly stupid person would make the claim that all discrimination is bad. Everyone is a unique individual from all others and it only makes sense to treat each individual as distinct from all others.

The question becomes "Upon what basis is discrimination between individuals proper?" M.L.K. gave us the answer in the quotation above: by the content of their character. Not all men are created equal in this respect. Moreover, character is an aspect of an individual that is entirely volitional!

Individuals choose to be who they are.

You don't get to pick your race, your height, your genetic composition, your sexuality, your eye color, your parents or the circumstance into which you are born. To judge a person on any such characteristic is a refusal to think, to be rational. It is the recognition of this fact is what has prevented America from developing a caste system seen in places like India and even Britain.

We're getting away from this rationality, though, and it all started by forgetting that one crucial element: Individuals choose to be who they are.

An individual chooses: Think or don't think. Rationality or irrationality. Honesty or dishonesty. Just or unjust. Productive or unproductive. Responsible or irresponsible. These are aspects of character. These are entirely volitional and they are characteristics of moral value.

The manifestation of these characteristics shows up in a person's actions. Do they speak the truth? Do they work hard? Do they treat people fairly? Do they practice rational judgment? All of these are choices. This is how we judge a person; it is in this way that we must discriminate between individuals.

Unfortunately, we live in a day where it's even considered a virtue to ignore certain volitional characteristics.

I did a search for Equal Opportunity statements on the Internet and came across JP Morgan Chase. They say

Our non-discrimination policy clearly states our goal of an open, supportive work environment:

An employee will not be discriminated against because of his or her race, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status. These factors do not affect our decisions about any aspect of a person's employment or our decisions about applicants for employment.

JPMorgan Chase has a harassment-free workplace policy which prohibits sexual harassment as well as other forms of discriminatory harassment. [Emphasis added]

I picked out the ones that are chosen characteristics.

I don't know why some of those listed would even be characteristics by which a person would choose to discriminate, but I think it's funny how in many cases it is considered "progressive" to actually embrace an undesirable trait just because that's the same type of discrimination but with reversed values. What's more, often times, we see that people consider these to be non-volitional characteristics.

Does anyone really think that I didn't choose to be an atheist? Do you think that I remain an American against my will? Has our court ever failed to annul a marriage that took place against the will of one of the parties? Of the things listed, only draftees can claim that their inclusion in one of those groups is not due to a conscious choice.

Our choices are how we construct our character and it is upon our choices and character for which we are to be judged.

Equal Opportunity precedes Affirmative Action philosophically down the slope to collectivism. Equal Opportunity eradicates the importance of choice and character in judging an individual but stops short of the only alternative. Affirmative Action takes that next step obliges people to judge others by involuntary characteristics.

Today, on M. L. King Day, it’s nice to reflect on what has been accomplished in terms of eradicating racism against black people since the beginning of the civil rights movement. Today the tragedy is that the barnyard collectivism Dr. King fought has simply changed hands.

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