But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

New Page: The Culture of Safety Does More Harm than Good


culture-of-safety-tall-300px

But Now You Know has a new permanent page, a useful list of many ways in which today’s worry about safety is actually dangerous.

The increasing obsession with safety in the US has the opposite effect of the one intended. As with a mother determined to keep her child from all pain, the actual result is greater danger, more harm, and less actual living and happiness.

  • Avoiding germs gives you a weak immune system
  • Mandatory safety standards often cost lives
  • The FDA’s years-long approval process dooms terminal children
  • They need to suspend our rights…in order to fight for LIBERTY in the war on terror?

Let’s start with something even the caution-mongers can understand:

Avoiding risks can actually be physically dangerous. SOME exposure to risk prevents atrophy, giving the mind or body the opportunity to learn how to care for itself.

And then something the fear-freaks can never understand:

Life without risk ends up being barely worth living. Take away the freedom to choose what risks to take, and you take away the liberty to choose how much life to enjoy.

YOU may not want to do X, because it’s scary for you, but other people may find it worth the risk.

Issues explained and carefully footnoted on the page include:

  • Exposure to Germs is Good for You
  • Gun-Free Zones CAUSE School Shootings
  • Even Moderately Frequent Hand-Washing Increases the Risk of Dermatitis
  • Protecting Wall Street with Bailouts Causes More Crashes:
  • Always Wearing Sunblock Promotes Skin Cancer
  • The FDA Kills
  • “Dangerous” Playgrounds Help Kids Learn
  • Big Brother and the Nanny State
  • Safe Play Makes Kids Fat
  • Too Much Safety KILLS
  • Outward Bound is Crippled with Safety

Read the actual page, here.

Advertisements

September 25, 2009 Posted by | environment, Family, Health, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secrecy is Tyranny


(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

Secrecy, even in and of itself, is a form of tyranny.

No, this doesn’t mean when you don’t tell your friend about his surprise party, nor concealing the recipe for Coke Classic, not even the hidden initiation rites for that fraternity…

But when you cause someone to do something they would have otherwise not chosen, because you conceal information from them, then you are coercing them, the same as if you pointed a gun at their head. 

And, in the case of government, when the People are supposed to control policy through elections and popular support, any government-concealed information that changes how they would vote is tyranny, same as if they sent stormtroopers to help fill out ballots on election day.

Any pundit you see complaining that a government official told the American public too much is, in effect, advocating tyranny.

It’s one thing to hide when troops are making an attack for a few days, or to openly refuse to tell exactly how a nuclear bomb is made…but it’s another, entirely, to conceal information that will change how people vote, no matter what “national security” excuse they invent.

This is most painfully transparent when the actual “national security” excuse is “this will embarrass [some government official or office]”. Embarrassment, shame, and general changing of how someone sees something are obviously not legitimate excuses. What’s more, it would not matter either way, because that is the price of liberty.

America is supposed to be a free country. This requires responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, including when it means something embarrassing, whether to your neighbor or the foreigners who will be horrified or disgusted at our government’s behavior.

In fact, without secrecy, many of those evils would not occur in the first place, just as in our real lives. If the government can’t hide when it bribes a foreign official, or tortures someone, or other evils, then it will face public and international shame, and the threat of voter retaliation, and hopefully not do it in the first place.

By preventing voter retaliation, a government does not make itself more stable…just more tyrannical.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Unamerican Policies Are Great Tiger Repellent


We are told that it's the abandonment of our principles that has prevented any terrorist attacks...forgetting that we had no terrorist attacks for ten years before 9-11, either

We didn't get attacked for the ten years prior to 9-11 either.

 
Little Old Lady: [Long Island Accent] This tiger repellent is so expensive, I may have to cut back on my groceries to keep getting it! 

Sane Person: But…tiger repellent is a scam! Why would you buy such a thing? It’s a waste of money! 

Little Old Lady: Well, I started buying it when that magician got mauled. And obviously it works; I haven’t been attacked by a tiger, since!

No matter whether Bush’s policies violated every American principle or not, one thing you can definitely say is that we haven’t had a terrorist attack on US soil in the seven years since he started them.

Nor have we been attacked by tigers.

In fact, we did not have a terrorist attack on US soil for almost ten years BEFORE 9-11. Crediting Bush’s violation of every American and Conservative principle with this “safety” is actually somewhat more foolish than the little old lady buying tiger repellent.

Unless it actually attracts tigers.

Because Bush’s evils, committed in our name, like:

  • Torturing now-helpless captives
  • Attacking countries without provocation
  • Rounding up people at random from suspected areas and keeping them for months, or years, without outside contact or even determining which ones, if any, are actually the targets
  • Handing out billions in cash and military supplies to top state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

All have increased likelihood of attacks against America.

It is no coincidence that terrorist attacks worldwide increased with each implementation of these policies. That they didn’t happen in the US is because zero times some amount is still zero.

These evils are a perfect recruitment system for terrorism. What other way do these people have to stop us? Would YOU not fight back, if these things were being done to your family?

Evils we would not normally commit, we should not commit just to gain some benefit…but especially when the benefit is imaginary. “We haven’t been attacked since 9-11” is as ridiculous as “I haven’t been attacked by a tiger since Siegfried and Roy were attacked”.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Why Don’t We Waterboard Criminals?


The original version of this article, with the horrifying, graphic depictions of neocons in their natural habitat, is here.

The neocons have been making a big deal of how waterboarding and other “psychological” tormenting of prisoners is not actually torture, unless you cause permanant, serious harm or death.

They also say that we GAIN things by using these “harsh interrogation techniques”, so that makes it OK:

The End Justifies the Means.

Well, yes, that is a Marxist/socialist slogan, which has produced millions of deaths and more suffering than any other idea in history.

And sure, real Conservatives spend their lives fighting against the End Justifies the Means philosophy…but we’re talking about neocons, RiNOs. The Neocon movement originates with self-described Trostyites, which is why they still have most of the underlying Marxist mindsets.

Anyway, I’m wondering why we’re wasting this technicality, in our own justice system.

Why Not?

 

If we can harm suspected terrorists in case it might make us safer, why not suspected criminals?

Protect Us from Criminals

Why not waterboard a possible serial killer, and then flush his bible (don’t ask me why so many psychopaths are strongly religious) down the toilet, in order to find out who he’s killed?

Why not strip an accused child molester naked, have women laugh at him, leave him in a forty degree room (still nude) all night with no sleep, in order to find out whether he did, and to whom?

These things are not torture, and anyway they are justified because we profit from them.

The neocon talk show hosts, and surviving neocon politicians (vote carefully, next primary) will quickly protest “but the 8th amendment bans that”. Apparently, interrogation can be cruel and unusual, yet not be torture, even though many court cases citing the 8th amendment actually bandy about the T-word interchangably.

But then we need only use a constitutional amendment to revoke this man-made priveledge.

Or why even bother…why not pass a law suspending the citizenship of anyone accused of a serious crime? And then rent space in an Indian/riverboat casino to conduct the Harsh Interrogation off of US soil?

Frankly, I need the neocons to answer the question, at that point, because I don’t see how their Philosophy of Cowardice could but DEMAND that we do this, in order to have greater safety from murder and rape.

Why Not

 

But I can explain why, to an actual Conservative, classic liberal, or any other decent human being, we must not “harshly interrogate” criminals.

We should probably set aside basic human decency versus evil, because if you don’t get THAT reason, then you probably never will. 

Rights

Let’s start with that 8th amendment:

Yes, it (and a number of other parts of the Constitution) prohibit “harsh interrogation”.

But they do not grant a man-made priveledge  only to Americans, that you can suspend with some Clintonian wordplay, the way the neocons and other socialists argue.

In fact, the 8th amendment protects a Natural Right. You, I, and any other sapient being are BORN with a right to freedom of speech, religion, self-protection, and many other choices, including not to be tortured without our consent.

The Founders knew this, and said specifically they were only mentioning certain rights in the Constitution to keep future sociopaths from finding excuses to violate them…but that ALL natural rights were still to be universally protected.

So using some technicality to violate those rights would not magically make them go away. Torturing the criminal would still be wrong.

And remember, “universally protected”: The Founders did not believe that those natural rights only apply to Americans. That wouldn’t be very “natural”.

They simply did not have the power to force the French government to protect natural rights. But they intended the protections to apply against the Federal government of the US, which was what the Constitution created and limited. 

So when the Federal government violates the rights of a foreigner, it is absolutely against the spirit of the Founders. Something, once again, a Conservative understands, but a Marxist-cum-neocon does not. That, obviously, includes torturing them, as well as censorship and the many other violations the Bush administration committed against foreigners, showing themselves not to be Conservative at all, just neocons.

Principles

When people try to justify evil means, because the end is desirable, they are like a child who wants to spend his money on candy now, instead of saving it so they have enough to eat supper later.

This is because the “end” is always something short-sighted. You are giving up the thing that causes more good in the long run, the investment, in order to get a quick fix, the instant gratification.

Short-sighted is not always short-term:

Perhaps you’re going to kill ten million people now, so that in a generation your empire is small enough to feed itself. Ask Stalin and Mao about that. But you’re still abandoning the principles (everyone has a right to determine his own life) that makes society stable and healthy in the big picture. Even “easy way to feed the next generation” is short-sighted, if you’re murdering to do it.

So violating people, no matter what euphamism we use, brings harmful, evil precedents into our society. The REAL, long-term end is violated, even the safety that the neocons pretend to value above all else. 

We cannot let government officials torment suspected criminals, because we are setting a precedent of condoning that evil behavior. If it’s OK to non-torture molesters and mass murderers, then why not rapists? How about people who stole, and still have hidden, the life savings of elderly people? Regular investors? Tax cheats?

Not protecting your principles makes the slippery slope, sometimes a fallacy, become real — nearly inevitable.

This is why we throw out ANY evidence gotten in violation of the Constitution or our natural rights.

And it’s why letting our government ever violate natural rights is wrong.

The very minimum standard for how we treat foreigners should be “Would we tolerate treating an American, who accused of a crime, this way?”

May 8, 2009 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Global War On Terror” is a Lie


 

The neocon philosophy of cowardice demands that we surrender our essential freedoms, in return for the promise of temporary safety

The neocon philosophy of cowardice demands that we surrender our essential freedoms, in return for the promise of temporary safety

The neocons are parroting Conservative words, loud and shrill, these days. Suddenly they’re against the very same socialism and police state that they defended when Bush was doing it. 

But you can be reminded that they’re neocon frauds, when they start fearmongering “terrorism”, which they seem unable to stop doing.

Recently, it’s been this insane pretense that the Somali pirates are terrorists.

Of course, you and I and every other rational person know:

Terrorists commit random acts of destruction/killing, to create an environment of fear, in order to work toward some political goal.

Pirates attack vessels in order to obtain wealth, either by looting or ransom. In a way, they are the opposite of terrorists.

The Somali ship-stealing guys are doing nothing but attacking vessels for loot/ransom. They are pirates, not terrorists.

Really, given the two definitions above, it takes a fool incompetent in the subject to confuse them.

Great way to identify some of the neocon fakes in talk shows and punditry.

But it doesn’t stop with the pirates.

They still pretend the resistance fighters in Iraq are terrorists.

Resistance fighters attack a foreign occupation force, in order to drive it from their country.

That’s what is happening in Iraq. 

But the charade isn’t just one of pretending anything they don’t like is terrorism. The neocons also have double standards about whether terrorism is bad.

They support, for example, the training and funding of terrorists, as long as their mass murder is useful to us.  

  • When we trained and supplied Al Qaeda in the 1980s in Afghanistan, it was at their behest.
  • When we supported Saudi Arabia’s building of Wahabi hate schools all around Asia in the 80s and 90s, the neocons were the reason.
  • When we backed, and funded, the Pakistani fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship’s overthrow of the Afghani government by the Taliban, it was to the joy of the neocons.

Of course this hypocrisy extends beyond terrorism…the neocons fought to keep us openly supplying Weapons of Mass Destruction technology to Saddam Hussein in the 80s. But we’re dealing with their fake Terror War here, not their general sociopathic nature.

So, getting back to the topic, the neocons have undermined democracy in the middle east, refusing to deal with the elected government of Palestine, claiming they won’t support former “terrorists” in government…and yet backing, no matter what war crimes they commit, the former terrorists who run the Israeli government.

Blowing up buildings full of innocents in a land where you were not even born, as the future rulers of Israel did in the 1940s, is OK, but blowing up soldiers occupying your homeland and keeping you in concentration-camp conditions today is “terrorism”

Actually, it’s not. They’re resistance fighters, of course. Whether the Jewish people who moved to Palestine in the 1940s and started killing people there count as resistance fighters (you’re supposed to be locals fighting foreigners) is debatable. But there’s no question the Palestinian fighters are resisting foreign occupation.

Side Note: Precedent

We were all disgusted when the mass-murdering Russian government started calling resistance fighters “terrorists”, to parrot Bush. The problem is that Bush set that precedent, by abusing the word just as laughably.

Precedent is one of the practical reasons to not blindly defend “your guy” when he’s doing something wrong. Bush built many of his abuses on Clinton’s precedents. Clinton coined the phrase “war on terror”, and attacked both Iraq and Afghanistan in order to distract from domestic problems, while claiming to fight terrorists…a perfect lead-in for Bush. Likewise, Obama’s current socialist agenda, nationalizing banks, spending trillions on fake “stimulus”, is identical to what Bush was doing before he left office.

But, getting back to terrorism, precedent is its most ugly with the case of Obama using the police state Bush created, for his own domestic agenda. Verbally supporting liberty is literally being described in official government  documents as terrorist, by the new, unconstitutional, and definitively police state Department of Homeland Security.

On the other hand, he has stopped referring to our inconsistent, hypocritical foreign policy as a “war on terror”, to the horror of the neocons, who are essentially saying this amounts to treason.

There is no actual Global War on Terror. Just a bunch of dishonest men advocating evils that they appear to believe will benefit themselves, while using fear to get you to submit to it. THAT is preying upon terror, as much as anything.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | International, Politics | , , , , , | 6 Comments

India, an Evil Empire, Draws Attacks in Mumbai


The terrorists attacking India are as evil in their chosen tactics as were Catholic terrorists in Ireland in 1920,  Jewish terrorists in Palestine in 1948, or American terrorists in Oklahoma city in 1995. 

But, as with those and most other terrorists, what drives the madmen who attacked India is a laundry list of wrongs and evils committed against those terrorists’ people. When there is such horror, and all reasonable ways of getting justice are exhausted, some small part of the victims will always turn to unreasonable ways.

Just as the British Empire committed many evils, earning it strife with Ireland, Palestine, and many others, so India (once fighting that very British Empire with terrorism) is an evil empire today, repressing and oppressing people within its own borders, plus occupying lands it illegitimately occupies, like Kashmir.

There are more Indian troops per capita in Kashmir, than any other occupation force on earth, including Communist China in Tibet, Israel in Palestine, Americans in Baghdad, or Russians in Chechnya

There are more Indian troops per capita in Kashmir, than any other occupation force on earth, including Communist China in Tibet, Israel in Palestine, Americans in Baghdad, or Russians in Chechnya

In 1947,  India and Pakistan were being formed from the shambles of the British Empire. Each state of that region was supposed to choose which of the two countries to join.

When Kashmir’s ruler was slow to decide who to join, India attacked Kashmir, invading and occupying their land, robbing the 80% Muslim population from what was an almost inevitable decision to join Pakistan, or else declare independence.

When India persisted in occupying this region, preventing its union with Pakistan, the United Nations declared that it Kashmir should have an election, referred to as a “plebiscite”, in order to determine whether it joined India or Pakistan.

Since Kashmir is 80% Muslim, there was never any doubt which way the election would go…so “democratic” India has not, in the 60 years since, EVER allowed that election, continuing to illegitimately occupy Kashmir.

This was part of India’s very aggressive, violet habit at that time. For example, they  also invaded and forcibly annexed the states of Junagadh and Hyderabad, one of which wanted to become Pakistani, the other wanting independence. India’s excuse was that both were majority Hindu…yet it ignores the fact that Kashmir is overwhelmingly Muslim.

People in Kashmir resist their country’s occupation, as any patriots should be expected to do.

When they do this against India’s troops, not only is it not “terrorism”, but it’s actually legal and legitimate, under international law, international humanitarian law, and Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. All people have a right to fight foreign occupation forces, not only a natural right, but even a legal one.

The repression and violence brought on by the extreme Indian military occupation, killing thousands of Kashmiri, ends up driving them to ever greater desperation. The Pakistani government takes advantage of this distress, funding militant movements because it wants the benefit of Kashmir as a territory, as illustrated by its opposition to Kashmir simply voting for its own independence.

Terrorism, in this situation, is almost inevitable. The war spills over from the Indian troops terrorizing the people of Kashmir, to Kashmiri terrorizing people in India. It’s not right, but it’s a natural result of the Indian government’s evil.

The same happened when Russia occupied Chechnya, the Soviets occupied Afghanistan…when you wrongfully occupy a people’s homeland, bringing them terror and suffering, eventually they bring it back to you.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | International | , , , , , | 5 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: