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Morality

The Daily Fail falls to new heights.

The Daily Mail has uncovered the staggering fact that being in love with who you have sex with increases sexual satisfaction. I really dunno what to say. I will say it anyway.

On the 14th of October this year I will be celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary. Read into that what you will. But I shall tell you what I feel. I do not consider myself heterosexual anymore. You’re married to a woman so what nonce is this! Yeah, a women – singular. Not the three and a half billion or so on this planet. Sex if done well is not about whatever organs. How can it be? I have been to the site of Troy. Wars have been fought over a specific woman. I have flown over the Atlantic for a woman and that is a hilarity if you smoke and can’t for nine hours. I have several boxes of screws. They are replaceable parts and my wife isn’t. That is why she is my wife. Sex without love is a dismal thing (I did it – I know – not rape or anything just essentially a vaginally assisted wank – to quote my brother). This is partly why our societies view rape so harshly whereas we view consensual sex as perhaps the highest form of love despite it being essentially the same physical act. It is partly because loving sex is so gorgeous rape is so vile.

Now I am not arguing here (I know I have gone off message a bit) that casual sex is wrong and should be banned but that it just doesn’t do it for me. I am arguing that a large-scale university study that essentially discovered that sex with someone you love is better is a statement of the bleeding obvious. I know you can prove anything with “studies” but Gods help me! I do hope that someone who is looking at getting their funding extended is going to be told to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

Otherwise I will re-enter academia with my double whammy of what bears do in the woods and the possible religious feelings of the Pope.

Germans Own Themselves (Or Not).

A notorious German cannibal has described in shockingly graphic detail how he killed and ate his gay lover ‘with his permission’.

Armin Meiwes became one of the most infamous cannibals in history after killing and consuming 43-year-old computer technician Bernd Brandes in 2001.

Is any cannibal not infamous?

‘I decorated the table with nice candles,’ he said. ‘I took out my best dinner service, and fried and [sic - it is from the Mail] piece of rump steak – a piece from his back – made what I call princess potatoes, and sprouts,’ he said, in an unprecedented interview for new documentary ‘Docs: Interview with a Cannibal’.

‘After I prepared my meal, I ate it.

‘The first bite was, of course, very strange. It was a feeling I can’t really describe. I’d spent over 40 years longing for it, dreaming about it.

‘And now I was getting the feeling that I was actually achieving this perfect inner connection through his flesh. The flesh tastes like pork but stronger.

So at least it was civilized cannibalism. I mean a well-set table and all.

Brandes then swallowed 20 sleeping tablets with half a bottle of schnapps before Meiwes cut off his penis ‘with his agreement’, and fried it for them both to eat.
Meiwes later ran a bath for Brandes, and read a Star Trek novel while checking on him every 15 minutes.

He eventually killed Brandes in the early hours of the morning, by stabbing him in the neck and then chopping him into pieces.

It is the Star Trek novel that really gets me.

He put parts of him in the freezer, and buried his head in his garden.

Well that’s OK then. Now there is an issue here. I understand homosexuality but this isn’t it by any ordinary definition so the “eating of the gay lover” is an odd way of putting it? So what is going on? The obvious is to say that both were utterly nucking futz. But why not? I mean if this was with consent then as a libertarian then OK but what is the limit of consent? Anyone who wishes to be eaten (starting with their penis) is by most definitions mental. Now, as a libertarian, this puts me in a quandry. I mean how far does self-ownership go?

I had girlfriend who I didn’t eat (odd that) and she is now a senior lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Lancaster. Her subject is basically philosophy of mental health. We had an argument once (we had a few – I implied she was an ex) over self-ownership and mental illness. I am still not sure. I am seriously conflicted. I mean if you own yourself then like whatever but wanting to be eaten is breathtakingly odd. Is that just wrong?

What “Is-Ought” Problem?

D. Friedman just left a comment at Samizdata making yet again this foolish, anti-real (anti-real: against reality, as one might be anti-State for instance) statement attributed to Hume that “you can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is.’”

Herewith my thought on the subject, lightly edited and tempered with an introduction which might hint at my feelings about it. (I could have added a few more applicable tags to the list just to be snarky, but I was a good girl and refrained. I felt I ought to.)

. . .

Sigh. Listen carefully, class.

You can ONLY “get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is.’”

Because the very concept of “oughtness” implies some sort of goal or objective or state of affairs or value that you wish to achieve or maintain. And that you hold said goal, etc., is itself a fact.

In order to satisfy that wish, one must act in accordance with a whole bunch of facts of reality, or of what you believe or understand or assume to be the facts of reality.

For instance: I ought to go to the Post Office later. [I want my Christmas cards at least to be postmarked prior to Christmas, and I don't want my insurance payments to be late so I lose my insurance (!). Two FACTS about what I want to achieve (or avoid), and implied fact that the achievements are affected by the realities of the Post Office operations, and of date and time.]

Or: I want to live as God has outlined in the ethical strictures of the Mosaic Code, so I ought to follow those as best I can. (To achieve this involves a whole string of “oughts” and the “is’s” from which they derive.)

Or: I want to live as God wants me to live, so I ought to follow the Mosaic Code, which is, ultimately, the source of our knowledge of Right and Wrong. [N.B. -- Don't get funny ideas, Class. Personally I am an atheist.]

In other words, the very concept of “oughtness” implies the existence of a reason for the “ought.”

We very very very commonly say “I ought to do X” with no explanation of why that is. This is either because in context the reason for the “ought” is clear: I ought to go to the P.O. today [because it's important that I get certain stuff mailed today], or because at some level we will feel unsatisfied (“uneasy” in von Mises’ terms) if we don’t do it, though we may not be able quite to articulate this. “I ought not to hang up on this Yay-Hoo.” (Why not? Because one doesn’t hang up on people, even Yay-hoos. Why not? Because….)

One is wrong to conclude from this that “ought” is a free-floating thing, with no criteria (except perhaps feelings — “sentiment”) to go by as to whether one has complied with it.

Now.

I do not know of my own knowledge whether Mr. Hume actually made the oh-so-often-stated claim, let alone why he did so (in what spirit) if indeed he did so. So I decline to argue against Mr. Hume per se, but rather against the claim. However, there is a half-baked conception of what “ought” means that does unmoor the idea from any fact or presumed “fact” except that of its existence, which is totally independent of anything else: No criteria given as to WHY one “ought.” “Ought” is just Out There, free-floating, no reason why one OUGHT to obey “ought” except the existence of the putative “ought” itself. “Why ought I to…?” has no answer, by this conception of “ought.”

This is pure Platonism. This free-floating “ought” exists out there in the Universe and we Ought to obey it because we should; or, you might say, “Because we OUGHT to obey it.”

“Since when isn’t because a reason?” as the mother, at the end of her rope, says to her recalcitrant child in the old joke.

Such a thing is, of course, a pure fantasy, regardless of how one arrives at it.

And one notices that it is this DEFINITION of “ought” that makes it underivable from facts.

It makes of “oughtness” a mirage, something that can never be reached (intellectually understood) because it only gives the appearance of something real, of the lake in the middle of the desert, of the puddle down the highway on a bright sunny day after a month of drouth.

This is the nature of Plato’s putative Forms. They can never be connected to reality, because all the connections have been abstracted away. It is like cutting the bridge over the chasm and then saying it is impossible to get to the other side — impossible in principle. It is this metaphysical theory that in general supports both subjectivism and intricism. (Story for another time.)

Such an “ought” does not mean anything like what people mean when they use the word, except when they are conducting an (acknowledged or tacit) debate, or trying to philosophize.

Hit the Mohorovičić discontinuity…

… and keep on digging.

Well you do if you are the Daily Fail. This is a screen cap from their frontpage. You might find the juxtaposition of stories interesting…

mail

Now the Mail has a bit of history on this. The “Femail” sidebar is almost entirely about female ‘slebs and who is looking fat or not looking fat, who has a great physique and who doesn’t yet much of the editorial on the left is tirades about all of this sort of thing causing eating disorders and rapes and all manner of horrors.

The Mail’s editorial team either has a sense of irony beyond me or is totally deranged. Possibly both.

Anyway I hope Rihanna paid 5p for her placky-bags. You know to keep George Monbiot happy and Mail readers masturbating enough to generate some form of renewable energy. Or something. God knows! I don’t.

Computers in this house…

I did a little audit this morning. My wife and I have approximately 6 desktop machines in various states of repair (got to get onto those), three laptops, two Kindles, two smartphones (which are computers essentially), a ZX Spectrum in Gateshead, a camera with GPS (very handy – where did I take that picture? – well it tells me to arc-seconds – Jebus wept). Just the laptops would make Alan Turing weep tears of blood. I suspect I am not unusual here. I have a plan. I can get Lenovo to supply me (and I have sold my soul to ‘em – I’m typing on a Thinkpad by them) which is to get a trio of Lenovo Intel Core 2 Duos for GBP89.99 a throw and do some Folding at Home. Or maybe something else. There was (is?) an outfit sponsored by Oxford Uni (the other place) and IBM for something similar but I is buggered if I can recall the name. Having said that if I can cure cancer in my shed (for that is where they shall reside) then I shall be proud. If you can recall the name please let me know for the screensaver is much cooler. And I used to have it installed before Thalia went TU (that’s a tech term BTW). I did work my way through the Muses (and me with a comprehensive edumaction!). Some I sold or gave away. Some did go twat-wise (another techie term). I love the things. They make me, me.

No! They made me glorious. I got a Speccy thirty-ish years back. That was wonderful. Computers had been things that Bond Girls tended and I was playing Manic Miner. Wow! I learned BASIC and Pascal and Fortran on the little beast hooked-up to a 14″ Ferguson B&W TV and a tape-recorder from Dixons. It was well cool. When I went to University in 1992 I had to learn to program to drive a robot around. I excelled. I knew what I was doing. I had written the thankfully forgotten game “Orc fighter” so I knew my stuff. My classmates were astonished but I had that key advantage. I had a Lego robot whizzing around. That was cool and people say physics is dull? Not for me. That was much more fun than Swift’s juvenalia or Thackeray’s senilia. It was like stuff, cool stuff. OK, some of the labs were dull. I could live another thousand years without attempting the Guoy method for measuring magnetic susceptibility again. That was bloody dreadful. It really was but there are always bones in the sweetest fish. And building a pico-Tesla magnetometer and knowing exactly who of the lecturers was turning up tardy to the car park was more than a compensation. That cost roughly 5 quid (not of my money). But if Dr Kent was late, I knew. Bloody Hellskis that was sensitive. My lab partner once approached it with a screwdriver and it went FSD. Cheers Rachel. Not only did she dump me for a twat from Macclesfield (of all places!) but she all but knackered my magnetometer.

Nice machines at the Uni of Nottingham – 386DX40s (this was ’92 to ’95) with more interfaces than you could shake a stick at. We also had BBC-Bs for data logging.

I grew up with computers. They are me. People ask me “Why?” and I can’t answer because I just know the answer. They are me. I am nearly 42 (the answer) but I have been surrounded by computers since I was a kid. Since I first played with a Commodore PET and fell in love. I drew a picture of a Chieftain tank in ASCII. I was that sad and have only become sadder.

Weird isn’t it? I am looking down at my Kindle Fire HDX which is a computer only not in name. It cost less (no adjustment for inflation) than my ZX Spectrum did in the ’80s. Wow. I mean Wowsers! That was thirty years ago. I had just spent an hour (just an hour – this isn’t chemistry which is glorified faffing if you ask me) fixing it up despite the ‘structions in very obscure English. Oh, China! “Please to be appointing the USB port”. AKA “plug it in”. I know computers and I am wired on them. From Augsta Ada and Babbage’s cogs to Win 10 count me in. That is why I give ‘em names. My first PC was Urania. I am typing on Athina. (and yes the translit is more accurate than Athena – I know my Greek – physics.). The Kindle is Loki BTW. I’m gonna rebuild Urania as Urania III. I have a weakness for classical female names. Who doesn’t? These things are to us what steam engines were to George Stephenson (who lived walking distance from where I grew-up. They are to me what jet engines were to Clarence L “Kelly” Johnson. Except he was a genius. Bugger.

Hell, but I can program a RS-232 interface in machine code (I could anyway, once). And I could make that little Lego thing do St Vitus’s dance. I just love these things.

I adore them. They are not means of communication. That is a horrid myth. I didn’t do an A-Level in maths but I had an Amiga and I programmed fractals on it out of Sci Am. I taught myself maths. One BSc in Physics and a (fully funded) MSc in Astrophysics later and I think I proved myself. Now I mooch in Ruby and stuff. But seriously mooch. I get to be a proper programmer then bread and cheese will end-up on the table.

10 PRINT “Nick is Great”
20 GOTO 10

I have moved on a bit since then. And I am not blowing my own horn (it would put my back out) but celebrating the sheer fact that I was fortunate to be born in an age and a place where these things I quite simply cannot imagine my life without existed. I couldn’t have invented them but can I use them – yes! Aeroplanes and computers. How the devil did humanity manage for fifty thousand years without them.

I also want to build a Tesla coil. Just for the hell of it. And if it kills squirrels then like whatever. The cat is way too smart to get in the way.

I’ll keep the computers away. This will be purely analogue. Of course many will object to me “wasting ‘tricity” but fuck ‘em. My follow-up will be an Alcubierre Drive. Now that is a bit of a tough call. I mean I’d have to create negative mass for a kick-off. But Barnard’s Star in hours… Kicks HS2 into a most cocked hat. It is a fucking railway. 200 years after Brunel and the politcos haven’t got over it (one was run-over at Rainhill). And don’t talk to me about Skylon A1 or C2. Just don’t. They want to spent ten times the amount on a Stephenson gauge railroad but can’t fund a variable cycle aerospace plane. That fucker could get from Bristol Internal Spaceport (how cool is that?) to Sydney in four hours. And that is on an arctic great circle so as to not piss the Russians off but at that height and speed it ain’t MH17 is it? So fuck ‘em.

I’m a techno-fetishist. I make no apologies. Fuck railways (other than to tie Corbyn to the tracks and ride a shitty commuter train over his beardy commie corpse, back and forth) and build Skylon. But do any of our PPE elites have the imagination? No. Oh, fuck no! Wall, stand against and I’ll get the rifle.

Quote of the Day, June 26, 2015

Loyalty to bad commitments leads to moral incoherence.

–David Horowitz, “The Two Christophers”

Theresa May but I wouldn’t…

PEOPLE who use a swivel chair to make themselves dizzy face up to three years in prison.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, also bans hanging upside down off a bed until your head goes funny, pushing your knuckles into your eyelids to create a psychedelic lightshow and fevers above 39 degrees centigrade [312K - I think in Kelvin - N].

Home secretary Theresa May said: “Maybe you and your so-called friends think it’s funny to spin around on a chair and then stagger across the office like a moron before collapsing headfirst into a really expensive printer and breaking your nose and losing three of your teeth.

“But all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a life of heroin and really manky toilets and no job and therefore no office chair to spin around on like a total maniac.

“You probably think I’m a killjoy but I speak from experience. I tried to spin on my office chair once but I absolutely whacked my knee on the desk. Not only did it hurt like a bastard, it changed me. I hate everyone now.”

May also said that anyone lying on their arm until it goes dead then using it to pretend someone else is touching their genitals will be classed as a sex offender.

Not to put too fine a point on it the Children’s Crusade contra “legal highs” (much like the conflation of tax ‘avoidance’ and tax ‘evasion’ or various ‘hate speech’ stuff is truly Orwellian) and appalling. Let’s call a spade a manually operated earth removal tool here. Yes, people die from ‘legal highs’ but that is because of the eternal game of cat and mouse of drug legislation. I don’t do drugs. Not because the School Nurse in Chief tells me not to but because due to legislation which means I’d be buying God alone knows what from a dodgy geezer in a pub car park.

Of course the fact that people are taking Heaven knows what means there are more deaths. The fact that Chinese ‘chemists’ are knocking out even more bizarre substances to avoid the laws will mean people die. Solution: an enabling act. That’s May’s thought. Mine is legalise the lot and tax and regulate so just like booze and fags you know what you are getting. I mean I used to smoke a bit of weed or resin but now it’s all ‘bang for buck’ skunk which is nasty stuff. That is a direct effect of government.

But you see the problem? The tighter government cracks down due to drug related deaths the more they increase laws as users migrate to more dubious substances. Much the same happened in the USA during prohibition when a nation of beer drinkers switched to spirits. I mean what was the point of smuggling beer in from Canada when you could smuggle whisky at ten times the blast for volume?

Of course the more the steel-heels crush us and the more we get riskier the more the call goes out to get ever more Draconian. It doesn’t work – it is a tango of death. It is evil and it is wrong. The Tories (increasingly occasionally) talk of ‘individual responsibility’ but then add yet another set of training wheels on the bicycle. Well folks, I have been able to ride a bicycle unaided for maybe 35 years.

I am 41 years old and am approximately all in one piece. So Mrs May can go fuck herself with (obviously) a state-approved dildo. Let us be. Not only is that the path of freedom but it actually reduces the ‘externalities’ but of course it would take pointless work away from the (un)civil servants and the rozzers who might then have more time to investigate rapes, murders and burglaries and stuff like what is supposed to be their job.

Just a thought.

Chuckles – the gift that keeps on taking…

So, Prince Charles has been to Washington DC (as have I) but whilst I flew steerage in an American Airlines A330 (and had to change at Philly – the most confusing airport this side of Mars) he went in style. He went on a chartered A320 configured as a private jet that costs GBP250,000 a hop. Or approx. 800 times what I paid (hard to say exactly – there were several hops on that hoilday which included Key West). Well, I guess it evens out because he got to meet Obama and I trogged the Smithsonians until my feet hurt – badly. He got a gong for his tireless crusades (or whatever) on the environment. He almost certainly clocked more CO2 than I can manage in a fecking lifetime. And then he delivers a lecture on the environment… Because the A320 normally carries just over about 160 passengers and not just a dickhead and his moll.

But that’s OK because it is only the little people who deserve to be taxed out of the air and not the nobs and he is a nob in every sense.

Frosty the imam.

It is a winter wonderland outside my window in Cheshire. Apparently so it is in parts of Saudi Arabia. This is rather unusual there…

Here’s a picture

You see how unusual this is? No Brit or Canuck or Swede etc would give their snow personage a hot coffee. So are the Saudis all enjoying the novelty of snow? Yes and indeed no.

There has been a terrible moral outrage about building snowmen (and indeed snow camels – Allah knows about snow-women with snow tits and icicle nipples) and at least one imam has got his pantyhose in a twizzle

But with photos of snowpeople and snow camels popping up everywhere, Munajjid made it clear that Islamic teachings strictly prohibit the practice.

Asked whether the unusually snowy winter in Saudi Arabia meant that parents could build snowmen with their children, Munajjid delivered the bad news.

“It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” Munajjid wrote on his Web site, according to Reuters.

He is also available for children’s parties. I hear his, “Death to all Zionazi Imperialists” act is a side-splitter (possibly literally).

***

“We have snow for fleeting days, maybe even hours, and there is always someone who wants to rob us of the joy and the fun,” wrote a blogger identified by Gulf News as Mishaal. “It seems that the only thing left for us is to sit down and drink coffee.”

***

But Munajjid has his supporters.

“It [building snowmen] is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism,” wrote one person, according to Reuters.

I don’t know where to start…

The first point is to acknowledge this is not a “funny”. Oh, it is easy to laugh. But depriving folk of “play” and “fun” (and how often does a significant snowfall happen in Saudia Arabia?) is horrendous. What is humanity without play and fun? The imam also mentions the creation of images of critters (recall the snow-camels of horror?)

I will tell you what such a life is like. It is Hell on Earth. It is also a complete technological stagnation. I love the society (imperfect though it is) but whist I find in this day and age opposition to gay marriage (say) a bit odd I find opposition to building snow-crits is so far beyond belief as to defy… Well, I dunno but it is but it defies it. Building a snowman is the most innocent thing imaginable (and if we get a bit more snow I’ll build one myself and send a selfie to this “cleric”.)

And it matters. It really does. The more absurd a cultural argument is then in a very real way the more it matters. And not least if it is taken as ridiculous. “Imitating the infidels”? By building a fucking snowman? You wait until said cleric gets the selfie of me drinking single-malt whilst being bummed by a ladyboy who is smoking crack. I mean if building a fucking snowman is strictly verboten why not go the whole hog?

I have to add I have never had dirty thoughts in front of a snow-person – but then you knew that. “Mr NickM was apprehended for a public-order offence at 11-45am whilst he attempted to…”. Gods sakes! Mr Frosty was unavailable to comment but a puddle shall appear in Stockport Magistrates Court.

I though do hate the cultural shuttering. Some think this attempt at cultural monolithism is a strength of the Islamists and they couldn’t be more wrong. Ludicrous defence is a sign of weakness.

Banning fun is ultimately self-defeating.

The best snowman I ever built was as a kid and it was when I was a kid. My brother and me built a huge effigy of a Franz-Ferdinand (one of the Holy Roman Emperors) in the back garden. I have no idea why but it was fun. Which was the point.

H/T Dick

PS the imam also regards gingerbread men as evil.

It ain’t just Islam…

This is arguably one of the more bizarre stories I have read. Ever.

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

And why? Why? because of XX-phobia. Seriously. They also took-out the EU foreign affairs supremo and the Mayor of Paris.

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

Now if Chancellor Merkel had been strutting her stuff in a sling-shot bikini and heels and nowt else then OK but this is the original photo…

Now I’m no fashionista but that is a modestly dressed woman. And she is also the German Chancellor so she ought to be there. God knows what Abbas was doing there but France and Germany are best buddies these days (thanks for small mercis – I mean we don’t want to go through all of that yet again).

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

I am lost. There is no way anyone could take that image as sexually provocative (I assume that was this loon’s point). I mean it ain’t Miley Cyrus. And in terms of the “family paper” schtick don’t families tend to have female members? Call me old-fashioned but I female relatives. I don’t think that unusual. And what the flying hellskis is the desecration stuff about? These people weren’t martyrs. They were just unlucky by and large. Could have been me, could have been you. This site has republished the Motoons of Doom. And in what way Chancellor Merkel takes away from the loss is beyond me. Also one of the dead was a female French cop. If anyone was a martyr she was dying in the line and all.

But this is only sort of about sexism. I mean it is but there is more. The massacre was about freedom of the press and an Israeli paper chooses to Photoshop inconvenient truths like the sex of the German Chancellor out. OK, fine print what you want but don’t doctor photos and then go on about martyrs for press freedom.

Or is it just plain sexism and they object to a female heading a major nation? Is it that simple? Get over it. We did with Maggie when I was a little kid.

What century are these folk in? I mean really? Moshe Dayan fought for this?

PS. And as someone from a culturally Christian background the idea that an image of a woman is a desecration is just weird.

2015

This is a politically based blog. Some of you may have noticed I have been posting less. I am still politically a classic liberal but I don’t care that much about politricks. I never have really. When I was younger I couldn’t give a toss. Quite how I got quasi-interested is beyond me (thanks Mr Marks!) but this is a new year (the cause for calenders and such). I had a Polish New Year’s Eve so I am hung-over but I am clear on one thing – have been for some time. What I shall post shall be my stuff which is about sciencces/tech/philosophy. This Lenovo S440 Thinkpad shall no longer darken your towels with jack-assed political opinions.

Now, here is an interesting one. Should Lesbian couples be able to have biological children? It is doable. I am not sure it ought to be done. There are “issues”. Most revolve around homophobia of some form or another. I am not equivocating here but I know blokes who will log into “dykeswithdicks.com” but would write angry letters to local rags if a lesbian couple moved in next door. I don’t even care about that. Why would I? I don’t even care about the fact this is de-facto sex selection (where would they get a Y chromosome from?). No, I care about the issue (yes!) of the morals of the foetal research. Should technical developments (and it is tech – the basic science is there) be allowed if it involves peril to the unborn. And what do those qualms mean for my usually gung-ho attitude to science or indeed sexuality. And how does that relate to my view on abortion? I don’t know which is why I wish to pose these kind of questions. It is why I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff as to what Lord Palmerston or Karl Marx or Muhammed said. It is why I can’t give a fig for LVT versus income tax. I just don’t care.

In a very real sense being a libertarian means not caring in the best possible way. It means caring for sure but not meddling and not trying to impose morals of any description on others. And I don’t mean “Victorian Values” (whatever we think that means or the thinking (such as it was) of T Dan Smith who wrecked half of the town of my birth (which do you prefer – Georgian elegance or something that looks like a 1970s Albanian car park?). I don’t even see that as political.

I guess what I’m saying is the reason libertarians don’t get much traction politically is we tend (certainly I do) to see issues, problems, opportunities not in an a political sense. This doesn’t mean we don’t care. That is why I mentioned the lesbian motherhood. I am conflicted morally. I don’t see anything wrong in principle but the research needed concerns me. It isn’t a political issue (or shouldn’t be) or even a social issue. It is a sci/tech/phil issue.

So my New Year message is this. Be less political. Stop caring. By all means give a few quid to the dog’s home but if you think politricks will solve anything then you aren’t a libertarian. I have bust ribs from a fall on the ice. I was helped-up by a motorist passing by. Single acts of mere kindness are what make us human. A majority vote in whatever parliament or assembly ain’t.

But you would be stunned by the number of people who think otherwise. There is an Oscar Wilde kid’s story set in winter where a group of forest animals are complaining about the snow and one suggests, “The government should do something about it.”

It is that mentality that leads to T Dan Smith.

Anyway, that’s it. Libertarianism is (or ought to be) totally apolitical.

Not quite it. Obviously. I have wittered on for too long not to wish y’all (and your friends and family) a jolly good New Year!

A couple of the questions for the post Christmas period: Ancient Greek learning and English freedom – religious and political.

The Republic of Venice, like some other Italian States, was in contact with the Greek (Byzantine) Empire to the east, where Ancient Greek learning was preserved, from the most early days – contact was never lost in the Dark Ages. And the other states of Europe were in close contact with the Republic of Venice and the other Italian states. Yet the education system teaches that Greek learning came only from Islamic Spain. Is this theory really true?

Did, for example, thinkers in the British Isles such as the Irish thinkers from the 5th (indeed reaching back to Patrick and Pelagius [yes Pelagius, that free will scholar of Greek and possibly Hebrew, - of course I would drag him into it] of Roman Britain) century to the 9th century (before old Ireland was destroyed by the Vikings), or the English thinkers of the 12th century and so on (not just Roger Bacon there were other great Greek scholars and scientific thinkers also), really get their knowledge of Greek from Islamic Spain? Of course both the Greek Orthodox Church and the old Irish Celtic Church are not known for the delight in the predestination of Augustine – even if philosopher theologians do strange twisted gymnastics to try and reconcile predestination and moral responsibility (the reality of choice – of the existence of the human agent). Just as Judaism has always rejected predestination (unlike mainstream Islam) and stood for individual moral responsibility – the reality of choice, of the human person.

Also…..

In almost every case the Reformation of the 16th century led to a Church that was committed to Predestination and was a department of State – after all Predestination was the central doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin (they both HATED freedom and reason), and Luther taught that the State should control the State and Calvin taught that the Church should control the State – the autonomy of Church and State was utterly alien to both these thinkers. In England it led, by the 18th century, to a Church that was far MORE in favour of moral responsibility, free will, (hostile to Predestination and so on) than the Roman Catholic Church was, and to a Church that was largely part of the landed interest (backed by local patrons and so on as well as being a, largely, independent landowner itself) rather than being a department of state – an “Established Church” rather than a “State Church”. A Church that was theologically and socially radically different from the rest of Protestant Europe. Why?

Even in the 16th century someone like Richard Hooker (the three legged stool – scripture, tradition, and REASON) seems distinctly English – distinctly “Anglican” (a possible misuse of language – but I hope you get my point), by the 17th century philosopher theologians such as Henry Moore and Ralph Cudworth, perhaps the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar of his age, are quite acceptable in England, but would have seemed radially alien in the Protestant nations of Europe (and in the centralised Counter Reformation Catholic world) – with the possible exception of the minority tradition in Holland, the Arminian tradition (and remember it was the MINORITY tradition in Holland).

Why was England so weird in its Church development? Unlike both Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe.

I have asked these questions before – but just received utterly irrelevant answers such as “Ralph Cudworth believed in witchcraft”, yes he did (so did the great Common Law thinkers Hales and Selden), but why did the Church in England (both Anglican such as Granville Sharpe and William Wilberforce and Dissenting such as Richard Price [but also his Anglican political opponent Edmund Burke] – or a bit of both such as John Wesley) contain so many people, such as Cudworth and Moore and….., who believed in religious toleration and moral responsibility, free will – hostile to predestination. Why did the English Church turn out, in the main, so differently from the rest of Europe?

So was there no movement of Greek learning from the Byzantine Empire directly to the states of Italy? Was it all via Islamic Spain? Even though Venice was technically part of the Eastern Empire itself? The “Islamic Spain is what matters” idea seems like a unlikely theory. But I am willing to be corrected.

And why did the Church in England, certainly by the 18th century, turn out so different from both Protestant and Catholic Europe? I suspect that the answer to this question is the key to the different POLITICAL development of this land in the late 17th century and the 18th century, compared to the rest of Europe.

No good deed ever goes unpunished…

Two church pastors and a 90-year-old man were charged for feeding homeless people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, under a strict new city ordinance that virtually bans private groups from handing out food.

Yes, you read that right. In the Bible loins (below the Bible belt) it is very difficult to help the homeless off your own bat.

Despite a looming court date and the threat of being fined or jailed for violating the ordinance, the men said they plan to feed more needy later Wednesday.

Homeless activist Arnold Abbott, 90, and Christian ministers Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs were handing out meals in a park on Sunday, two days after Fort Lauderdale’s ordinance took effect, when police approached them with their sirens flashing, Black said. The three were issued citations and face a $500 fine or 60 days in jail.

So, why?

The ordinance — the fourth one that Fort Lauderdale has passed this year concerning the homeless — requires groups handing out food to homeless to be at least 500 feet away from residential properties. It limits feeding sites for homeless to one in any given city block, and prevent feeding sites from being within 500 feet of each other.

Ah, property prices! The Golden Calf of our generation. A clear example of wishing the homeless, the destitute and generally undesirable away from the shining citadels. There is of course another reason which I shall get to later.

Black said the threat of police charging them again won’t stop him and Abbott, who runs a non-profit organization called Feed Thy Neighbor, from handing out meals on a public beach Wednesday evening.

“As a Christian, it’s pretty clear,” he said. “Feed thy sheep. Take care of them.”

Fort Lauderdale police said they were aware of Black and Abbott’s plans, and said they had clashed with Abbott before.

Don’t they have murderers, rapists, burglars and such to deal with without nicking a 90 year old man and a couple of pastors for trying to help the interstitial?

Legislative action criminalizing the distribution of food to homeless people is picking up speed across the U.S. More than 30 cities have passed or are considering such bans, with advocates arguing that allowing ministries and others to hand out meals aggravates homelessness by luring homeless people away from city-run programs.

See what I mean by “interstitial”? These are folks who walk between the raindrops of government provision. Mr Abbott and his friends are doing an unalloyed good. What the authorities hate more than anything is singular acts of kindness that aren’t regulated and controlled by them. The fact that people are acting directly to help the utterly potless matters not a jot to them. I mean for the sake of God himself how the fuck can giving food to the poorest of the poor off one’s own bat be a crime? Of course it is if it shows up the dismal state provision for the sham it is and if it depresses house prices* for those who can afford a house. Talk about “I’m alright Jack” and pulling up the last ladder on the Zeppelin and twirling your mustache and cackling.

For myself I am disgusted that this is happening in a state I know well (from Panhandle to Key West) which I always found friendly and quite Christian. There is nothing Christian about this law. Surely, by any stretch of the imagination on a public beach giving away food isn’t wrong. It may be illegal now but legality is not the same as right or wrong. A naive person like me would regard a public place as somewhere you can do what you want (within reasonable law) but you decide to commit an act of charity there you find out who really owns it and it ain’t the people is it?

This is a fundamental libertarian issue. It is a marriage made in Hell between the house price fetishists and the statists – or modern politics as it’s otherwise known. It is hideous.

It is wrong. When charity can no longer be spontaneous we have lost something too precious to be measured.

All quotes from NBC but it’s been all over the ‘net.

*I seem to recall one of the major causes of the Great Depression of the ’30s being kicked off by a Florida housing bubble.

Shieldmaidens

Now some of this sounds standard Daily Fail dodgy but I hope there is some truth in this.

It would appear that those fun-lovers of ISIS (or whatever they call themselves) are scared of being killed by a woman. Apparently they fear they shall not go to Heaven (or even Hebburn). Well, quite frankly, fuck ‘em.

And they can join the Witch King of Angmar.

But if even only half of the Mail article is right then swing on sisters!

I raise doubts as to the veracity because near it was a story about ISIS getting their paws on an “airforce” consisting of a small number of Syrian MiGs (21/23) which are antediluvian anyway and the idea these half-wits can train pilots and ground crew to a pitch where they could challenge NATO et al is three stops from Dagenham. With three knackered fighters! Against a squadron of late block F-16s. Give me strength.

The only power ISIS has is their moral depravity and the sheer terror that precedes it and follows in it’s wake. That is why the Iraqi Army downed tools and fled (that and Iraq is not a “real” country in the sense that say France or the USA is). ISIS wouldn’t put you in a POW camp for the duration. They’d crucify you – literally. If you were lucky. Unless you have something definite to believe in why fight? In ’91 Iraqi soldiers flogged their rifles for a bus ticket home.

So, if it is true that ISIS are pant-wettingly scared of being slotted by a woman then…

…Good.

What pathetic scoundrels they truly are!

We in the entire civilized planet will fight – women and men.

Because we believe. I don’t know what we believe in exactly but we do believe.

Carbon Legacies

There is an industry which concerns itself with helping to create these when Mother Nature isn’t quite doing her job. But it needs to be regulated, you know. It really does. Even Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of whom more below, says so, though he otherwise disagrees with Ms. Cristina Richie, whose views are our topic today. (The gentleman’s remark rather sounds as though he approves of “regulation,” and disapproves of its lack, on principle.)

Anyway, it turns out that Carbon Legacies, even when naturally occurring, are not an unmitigated good. Indeed, one might question whether they are a Good Thing at all, even as others are delighted with theirs, or with the prospects of acquiring such.

Here is the abstract of an article from the Journal of Medical Ethics by Cristina Richie, Theology Department, Boston College, which argues that since every human “emits carbon” into the environment,

Evaluating the ethics of offering reproductive services against its overall harm to the environment makes unregulated ARTs unjustified….

“ART” stands for “Assisted Reproductive Technology.” It includes such things as fertilization in vitro and artificial insemination, as well as methods of having babies where the child might be born with AIDS, surrogate pregnancy, and more.

(WikiFootia has a good overview.)

From Ms. Richie’s article:

A carbon footprint is the aggregate of resource use and carbon emissions over a person’s life. A carbon legacy occurs when a person chooses to procreate. All people have carbon footprints; only people with biological children have carbon legacies.

(I have had some non-biological “children,” but only in a figurative sense, such as patterns of words set down on paper or sent into cyberspace. But it seems to me that actual non-biological children are probably rather rare.)

Now ask me what I think. C’mon, you know you want to! *g* Well, lest the multitude of Kounting Kitties hereabouts get to yowling from the suspense….

Views in which “the environment” is seen as of higher moral value than human beings as such — whether conceived in delight or after a fight, or both, or neither — are perverse in the strongest and most serious sense of the word. (Compact OED, Print Ed., 1971, = 1933 OED plus addenda, gives various definitions, several of which boil down to “turning away from right to wrong.”) To me, the word has a connotation of DELIGHT in turning from right to wrong, and a deliberate inversion of right and wrong, so that the evil is embraced as good and the good, as evil.

All I can say is, I place a very high value on my own personal Carbon Legacy, who in early middle age continues to provide joy, light, and warmth to my life. Besides, this person grows houseplants and, in summer, tomatoes and peppers, so I figure that offsets the inevitable “emission of carbon.” (Whatever does Ms. Richie think that means? There’s a huge variety of carbon-containing molecules that are “emitted” by a huge variety of sources, most of them “natural.”) Personally I think that once we’ve gotten fluorine out of the way by banning it (per a suggestion by some doofus over here), we should simply ban carbon. That would solve everything. At least from the human point of view, which would no longer exist.

. . .

I will let Mr. Wesley J. Smith, of LifeNews.com, have the last word. He has a piece on this entitled “Population Controllers Call Babies ‘Carbon Legacies,’ a Threat to the Environment.” Per Mr. Smith:

And Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little carbon legacies to come onto me’….

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