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Peter Says Stuff | Come for the Banter; Stay for the Bullshit

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bring Back The 'Madman'

In the world today, Obama's a jester and Putin's the king who's grasp in Eurasia is unchallenged. In fact, one could even say Putin's favorite hobby (apart from kicking ass in Judo) is making the Obama administration the laughing stock of the international community.

On February 28th, Obama issued one of his usual empty threats towards Russia saying "there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine"...the next day, Russia annexed Crimea. (x) Everything the West does in an attempt to contain Russia is met with Putin laughing in the faces of NATO leaders and doing the opposite. Arms buildups. Weapons Transfers. You name it.

Hell, it's gotten so bad that even The Onion ran an article "written by" Putin entitled, "Thanks For Being So Cool About Everything" which included this beautiful piece of satire:
To be honest, I was really dreading a whole big fight over this thing. When you first condemned the seizure of Crimea as patently illegal and in breach of the Ukrainian constitution—which it absolutely was, by the way—I feared for the worst. But then everybody stopped short of doing anything to actually prevent what was essentially a state-sponsored landgrab, and I just thought, “Wow, these guys are a pretty laid-back and easygoing bunch!” It really was a huge load off when you let everything slide like that.
But all kidding aside, it's clear that if Russia really is the enemy and needs to be stopped[1], empty threats from Obama and NATO leaders or faux pivot attempts with no tangible backing are not the way to deter further aggression. A new strategy is needed.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Part 2: The Races of Humanity or: In Defense of the Biological Reality of Race and Towards a New Understanding of Diversity - Part 1

There's been an interesting trend in critical theory as of late, saying the concept of race is a "social construct". Critical theorists and writers posting from The Atlantic to St. Catherine University to other accredited institutions all seem to be writing about how race amongst humans is not something that is biologically rooted, rather it is created based upon social contexts under which people live.

Writer and theorist for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, explains this view best when he says:
Our notion of what constitutes "white" and what constitutes "black" is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a "Southern race" and not see the Civil War, the creation of an "Irish race" and not think of Cromwell's ethnic cleansing, the creation of a "Jewish race" and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of "whiteness" or "blackness," not even today...When the liberal says "race is a social construct," he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth (Coates).
While there is a lot of truth in the argument that humans construct views of people around us based on the context we're in, claiming that race is solely a social construction or, as Mr. Coates says, "is no more dependent on skin color today than it was on "Frankishness" in Emerson's day [he's referencing Ralph Wald Emerson talking about Race]"(Coates), denies fundamental genetic differences amongst humans.

In what follows, I will lay out my argument that race is not merely a social construct, but rather the claim that race has biological roots and that there are clear and demonstratable genetic differences amongst different races.

Now all that being said, I feel like I must include this note: I do not believe any race is inherently superior, rather that there are differences in abilities between races and these differences, coupled with social context (here is where the social construction comes in), breeds feelings of superiority.

So, join me after the jump and all will be explained in depth!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Case Against The Legalization of Marijuana

Back in 2010 I wrote a post, which is formatted horribly on my current theme, entitled Drugs Legal? Yes! wherein I argued for the complete legalization of all drugs. While I still think the argument I made is valid and impacts of illegality are real, I have changed my position. I think, at best, marijuana should be decriminalized, not legalized (I don't know my political opinion on other drugs).

Thus in this post, I will make my case against legalization in favor of decriminalization.

Before beginning, however, it is important to establish working definitions (I quote from Auburn University and The Free Dictionary, respectively) and set up one assumption:
Legalization: a general policy orientation involves the lifting of all criminal and civil proscriptions and sanctions (x);
Decriminalization: the repeal or amendment (undoing) of statutes which made certain acts criminal, so that those acts no longer are crimes or subject to prosecution (x);
The United States federal government will not legalize all drugs anytime soon, if ever, but there is a real chance and a push for the overall legalization of marijuana. Thus the assumption that the rest of this post will work off of is that the only currently illicit drug that will be legalized (or have a serious attempt made at legalizing) in the near future would be marijuana.
 So, I'll see you after the jump!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Part 1: Ecosophy - Deep Ecology, Anthropocentrism, and Intrinsic Value

So this post will be part one in my series "Ideology in Progress" where I, as the name suggests, try to formulate and explain my ethical-political ideology. These writings are as much for me as for you and as such I will try to be clear and concise, but considering my brain works by jumping around, the "parts" may not be in the most logical order and may be re-arranged later.

Additionally, in my meta post, "Part 0: What Am I (Politically)?" I created a bulleted list of aphorisms/things that I believe and these posts will be where I flesh them out.

Finally, the post titles will be an attempt at stating which aphorisms or ideas that run around my head so you know what to expect. So without further ado, it's time to discuss nature.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Update - Loading Ideology

As you may have noticed, I have instituted a few changes that I want to make everyone aware of.

First and most obviously, I have removed the themed pages and replaced them with "Sorted Posts". Here you will find all my posts sorted by subject. I have also added the "Papers" page where I will be providing links to full length papers I have written that can be read in PDF format. In addition to that, there's the "[IDEOLOGY IN PROGRESS]" page that I will talk more about in a moment.

Second, I have added a blogroll with some of my favorite blogs (this is likely to grow) over in the sidebar. I suggest you check out any one of these fine blogs.
And third, considering I now have more free time on my hands and I've started writing more, I've decided that I need to develop and further explain my ethical-political ideology. Thus far I don't know much about it, just a list of aphorisms and political compaii that are in this post. But as I develop my ideology further, there will be more posts that deal with human nature, the state, economics, ecology, existentialism, etc. These posts are as much for me as they are for you and thus if you don't want to read long posts about philosophy, skip them. I will, however, be writing my usual genre of posts (whatever that is) as well so my blog hasn't completely changed.

Thank you all for being faithful readers and visiting, I just wanted to keep you all up-to-date! I hope you're having a nice day.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why Climate Change Really Is Our Most Urgent, Number One Priority Right Now

A little over a week ago Bill Nye (the Science Guy) was on CNN's "Crossfire" segment where he "debated", and I hesitate to use this word when describing the following people, pundit S. E. Cupp and the Heritage Foundation's Nicolas Loris on the impact that climate change has on our lives. Amidst Bill's clearly superior understanding of climate science and Loris' ">muh federalism" cries, Cupp stepped up and did make one interesting point when she said
[Y]ou can look at entitlement reform which will bankrupt this country long before climate change destroys us, heart disease kills 7 million a year worldwide, 870 million suffer from hunger; I want you to look me in the eye and tell me in good conscience that climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now.
While I loved Bill's response and her reaction, I feel like he could have run with it more. Specifically, climate change directly affects the root cause of each of those issues and solving climate change is a prerequisite to solving any of the issues Cupp brought up. You see, climate change really is our most urgent, number one priority because it will not only be a huge blow to the economies of the world due to flooding and relocation issues, but it will disrupt global food supplies due to crop failures and ocean acidification, and the increased temperatures will create higher outbreak rates for diseases. All these, which will be fleshed out below, are reasons why climate change is a prior question and answers the impacts of Cupp's claims.

My aim in writing this is not to provide a comprehensive list of the impacts of climate change, rather to point out that climate change comes before every issues that Cupp claims is more important.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Part 0: What Am I (Politically)?

The question "where do I fall on the political spectrum" has been one that's been plaguing my mind for months now and, unfortunately, I do not have a good answer. However, I do think it's high time I started formulating and ideology and explaining it and so this post will be the first in a series, untitled thus far, wherein I will examine what I hold true about value systems, the state, "rights", etc.

After the jump I will post the results of my latest round of political quizzes (up to date as of 3/28/14) and, in bullet form, list some of the things I believe (in no particular order, just as they come to me).

Note: the list is in no way a complete argument, rather a starting block with which to build future posts and arguments.The aphorisms below will be fleshed out in later posts as I form my ideology and will be crossed out.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Failings of "Alternative Education"

While potentially great in theory, so called "alternative educational systems" or "learning centers" are a travesty and fail to educate those who are most in need of education. Before continuing however, I think it's necessary to distinguish between learning centers for at risk children, and learning centers for rich white kids who "don't like the classroom". The former, that is different methods of schooling or learning centers for at risk youth, are very successful at educating specific groups of people. The latter however, those that are designed for students who just want to get out of school, have created a new breed of people: the slacktivist.

You see, active learning is replaced with pseudo-intellectual circle jerks. Critical thinking is replaced with mindless regurgitation of teacher's political views. And courses on activism and government engagement consist of, and I quote a friend who goes to a "learning center", lessons saying "if you bitch and whine enough, you'll get what you want".

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

'Transcendence': Heidegger, Standing Reserve, and Gestell

I recently had the pleasure of going of out to see the new Johnny Depp film, Transcendence and despite the film's lack of flair, its critique of technology and the technocratic future which some welcome can be examined through the lens of German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Specifically, Heideggers concepts of bestand (standing reserve) and gestell (enframing, for lack of a better word) serve as perfect tools for analyzing Dr. Will Caster's transformation and subsequent interaction with humanity and his workers.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Attempting the Impossible - Calculating Capitalism's Death Toll


While there have been other attempts to count up the number of deaths that can be attributed to Capitalism (to counter the figures presented in The Black Book of Communism as well other places), most noteably, determinatenegation's list and The Castroists' list, neither critique the methodology used by the the supporters of the "OMG Communism killed 70 trillion people!!1!" nor do they provide easy to verify sources. So while I think both lists are fabulous (and I may use parts), this post will be not only a critique of the methodology used by the other side, but also a more user friendly list.

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