Category Archives: philosophy

Fuzzy Legalism

This might well be my entry for “Stupid Idea of the Month.”

But here goes:

In Snyder v. Phelps, a lawsuit regarding 1st amendment free speech rights is in front of the Supreme Court.

The problem is that almost no matter what the Supreme Court rules, it will drastically change society.

The choices are:

1) Yes, it is free speech that is covered under the 1st Amendment.

2) No, it isn’t free speech to be a complete and total offensive jerk.

I think the Supremes will rule that the Phelps’ church annoying activism is free speech.  After all, it isn’t yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater: it doesn’t actually endanger anyone.  But if it does rule that Phelps’ special brand of buttheadedness is covered by free speech rules, then it also pretty much specifically protects that speech.  There will be pretty much no way to stop it, even though 99.8% (made up stat, but you get the idea) of US citizens consider the speech to wrong, annoying, and offensive.

Those are the only choices we have: complete illegality, or protected by the law with pretty much no restrictions.

Why does it have to be a binary choice?

The Phelps clan is using our legal code.  They believe they will get a favorable ruling that their speech is protected under 1st Amendment principles, and they will be free to say what they want.

This isn’t the only issue that gets this 100% or 0% treatment.  I’m not going to provide any examples, I’m sure you can think of some yourself.

What I want to know is, why can’t we apply Fuzzy Logic to our legal code?  There should be a gray area, that such deliberately offensive speech isn’t restricted/denied, but also isn’t fully allowed, either.

One possible way to do that?  Allow the speech, but significantly weaken assault prosecutions in the face of provocation.

Now, maybe I’m idealizing a mistaken view of the past, but it seems to me that 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, you could give someone a poke in the nose if he was being a jerk, and as long as it was clear the guy was being a jerk, that was about it.  Part of that is that you were supposed to be man enough to deal with annoyances when necessary, and the annoyance himself was supposed to be man enough to take the correction in the physical manner.  And if/when the jerk was a better fighter, you could go get friends.  And if he had friends who could fight and used that power to be a jerk to anyone he wanted, well, that’s where the police would come in.  Run into a door a few times, or carelessly get your hands slammed in a drawer once too many, and anyone can learn manners.  I’m sure of it.

That’s not the only solution, of course. I’m not a legal scholar.

The point is that there must be a way to preserve someone’s right to protected free speech, including the right to be an idiot and/or jerk…but still keep it within reason.




Filed under philosophy, Politics, Social Issues

Great Read on Retribution

Read the whole thing.  Seriously.

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My View On Health Care Reform

We don’t need health care reform as proposed by the President and Congress.

We need catastrophic medical insurance only. The same way we have catastrophic insurance for homes.

The way President Obama and Congress propose it, it is like getting “insurance” to cover changing your filters, vacuuming your carpet, mowing your lawn, etc.

It is all paid for by money taken with taxes, which obscures the cost and eliminates any incentive to be reasonable about use.

If you feel you have already paid to have your lawn mowed as much as you want, why not get it mowed every 3 days to keep it perfectly neat/trim? If you have to pay each time with your own money, you can budget for it and make a rational decision on what you actually need. Health care is the same way.

And since the Democrat health care proposal is all based on taxes and then disbursed, it creates several significant problems:
1) There are more transactions, and every transaction adds to the costs. This means it can ONLY increase costs to taxpayers
2) When there is an economic downturn, the govt doesn’t have enough money to pay for everything, and they will make deep cuts in treatment/care. This is happening in Canada and the UK right now, but the US news media’s support of govt-supplied health care leads them to suppress reporting the growing health care supply problems and corresponding growing dissatisfaction in those nations.

Health care costs could be reduced by no less than $50 billion/year (compared to the Obama administrations proposals that will cost $100 billion/year) by just enacting basic tort reform. President Obama and the Democrat-led Congress refuse to even consider it. Sen. Reid dismissed it as not providing enough savings to be worth it.

President Obama said that his health care reform will be paid for in part by $500 billion in savings from ending fraud, waste and abuse. Why doesn’t he eliminate this fraud, waste, and abuse first? Many Americans fear this is another promise he won’t keep, but we won’t know until it is too late, the fraud isn’t cut and we are yet another $500 billion deeper in debt.

There is an essential dishonesty on the part of President Obama and the Congressional Democrats. They make promises of what is and isn’t in the plan. When those promises are criticized or used to make a case against reform that starts to gain traction, proponents of the plan insist the plan isn’t totally completed and passed yet.
If it isn’t completed and passed, how can any promises of what it contains and projected costs savings be considered valid? But health care reform proponents insist that savings are guaranteed, even if it hasn’t been decided whether there will be a public option or not. Democrats people to believe there is a set plan when it comes to making promises, but want to only have a draft proposal when it comes to fact-checking the costs.

We need a catastrophic care coverage insurance plan. That can be backed by the government at an extremely cheap cost, especially if the insurance is purchased at conception.

All other medical costs should be paid out of pocket. Tax-exempt medical savings plans should be approved. Earned Income Tax Credits (which result in more federal money being paid back to low earners than they paid in the first place) can be set to help cover medical payments the same way they already do Child Care. Tort reform needs to be done now. Government scholarships/incentives for medical school to increase the supply of doctors would help decrease costs (based on immutable supply/demand laws of behavior). Doctors can and should be encouraged to do more pro bono work like lawyers do.

I also want income tax day to be on November 1st, I want the 17th Amendment repealed, and I want term limits for congresscritters. But that’s another issue.

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Non-Zombie Apocolypse

Okay, let’s re-adjust.

I know zombie’s are all the rage these days, but what about other types of apocolypses?

What would you do if there was a 50% chance an asteroid would hit the earth within a month?  What preparations would you make?  Do you think civilization would hold in the US with a month to prepare?


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Super Achievement Through Time Management

The full story here.

The key excerpt:

Super achievers don’t manage their time, they create, manage and maximize their opportunities. At any given time they know the one critical, must complete, task and they work on that task. It is the most important and therefore deserves their full attention.

Read the whole thing.

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Weird Mental Impressions

I’ve noticed lately that my eyes can fool me.

When I’m on my computer, most of the onscreen links (aside from text links) are “buttons.”  They take on shading when you hover the mouse over them, and they “depress” when you click the mouse button.

I’ve gotten to the point where if the computer is working and won’t accept a button click, it doesn’t even “feel” the same.  If I’m worried the computer is stalling, I actually hit the button much harder, as if that will make a “stuck” button work.

It’s probably the same thing as hitting your modern TV or radio when the reception is bad.

Does anyone else have those feelings?

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Sarah Palin is a Lot Like Ronald Reagan…

Which group has the attitude: “When They Figure Out Who You Are And Don’t Like It, Change Your Name”…?

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