Friday, September 05, 2003

Torcon and Economics in SF

Interesting blog entry from CrookedTimber: The Economics of Abundance.

One of the more interesting sf phenomena of the last fifteen years or so has been the creation of a more economically literate science fiction...
...if future scientific progress allows us to produce material goods effectively for free (as some sf writers postulate), then what happens to society?

Sehr interessant.
Boy, I want This

Privacy and Human Rights 2003, from EPIC.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Right and Wrong at the Same Time

NOW endorses Carol Mosely Braun.

Ampersand writes:

There is a time, I think, for progressives, leftists and liberals - including progressive feminists - to band together and concentrate on knocking Bush out of the White House. That time is later, after a candidate (hopefully one who is at least marginally acceptable to progressives and feminists) has been selected by Democratic voters. Meanwhile, however, it's perfectly appropriate to vote our dreams and principles. Maybe later it'll make sense to vote for something else, but if you can't vote - and endorse - your dreams in a primary, then when on earth can you?

I read this and winced hard. And then came back and re-read it, realized I'd completely misread it, and then winced hard again. I'm genuinely unsure where I stand. Should 'we' (liberals, libertarians, liberty-lovers and librarians *) band together now, pre-primary, and get someone electable selected, or wait and see who is selected and then make them electable?

One of those seems much more viable as a tactic, so, I may have just answered my question.

Yet, one should speak and vote one's mind. And that includes voting for the best candidate in the primary.

Interesting to note that the argument we must band together is self-evidently going to be the basis for Bush's re-election campaign next year, from a slightly different perspective. They'll be arguing "you can't afford to change horses midstream"! (Well, you can if the horse is rabid.) So the public 'we' will be asked to 'come together during this difficult time and support the sitting president' -- out of fear of what will happen if 'we' don't, not hope for what we can do together. This administration has never been about hope.

[*] Sorry. Poetic license.
Neocon Conspiracy

The chocolate-makers crack is the last straw. I now officially believe that the Bush Administration and its proponents are actively trying to destroy all of the US's alliances.

Why? What have I said before? Power, and fear. Let me add to that an overwhelming sense of one's own righteousness in the One True Path™, that justifies the means by its very existence as an end.

This is (and let me beg the pardon of all the honest Christians who really do try to live their faith, to walk the talk*) missionarism taken to its utmost extreme. And that, in an ever-more-rapidly globalizing world where SARS can be in mainland China one day and Toronto the next, is evil.

[*] I know I bitch about Christianity a lot, but do I bitch about Jesus's teachings? No. Nor Mohammed's (may the blessings of Allah be upon him). But the religious institutions that have sprung up around both? You bet.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Iraq Polls has collated a variety of polls on Iraq. One of the things that's interesting is if you look at different polling bodies and the phrasing of similar questions. Iraq.

Gen X Cynicism Fully Justified, IMO

The Promise and the Threat

The Joy of Capitalism

Confessions of a Terrorist

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Not Surprised. At. All.

Confessions of a Terrorist. Author Gerald Posner claims an al-Qaeda leader made explosive allegations while under interrogation.

Saudi connections, anyone?

Monday, September 01, 2003

Singing out the Truth

Ten Propositions for The Democrats. Read 'em.

What Do Liberals Really Want. Read it, too.

One of the things the latter article touches on is the worthlessness of the terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' today.

Remember when conservatives supported sound fiscal policies and limited government? The current administration, which is theoretically "conservative," is plunging the country into unprecedented debt and operating the largest secret police force the nation has ever known. If that's conservative, then so was the Soviet Union.

The thing is, the current administration ISN'T politically "conservative". The current administration is Conservative Christian. And that is not necessarily the same thing as supporting sound fiscal policies and limited govenment.

And, while I was googling 'Conservative Christian' for a definitive definition, which I did not find, I stumbled over this article, A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage, which I found to be quite interesting. It was published in 2000. To quote:

I suppose we can continue living in denial, stubbornly bailing water out of the rapidly sinking ship of "Christian America." Or we can get in touch with reality and realize that we need drastically to change our political course. The future of the Christian church in America lies with the preservation of civil liberties, not with the dogged pursuit of our Christian moral agenda to the annoyance of everyone else. Christians of all people ought to take interest in making the preservation of civil liberties in this country a top political priority, because as a group of religious people in a pluralistic society, we uphold moral standards and traditions that the rest of the country thinks are at best outdated and at worst harmful...
...The problem is, our political aim was not simply to protect the rights of Christians. It was to enact moral change in society that would affect everyone regardless of whether they agreed with our views. We have sought to push a moral agenda instead of lobbying for civil liberties as we should have. If we had focused on civil liberties, we would have made progress in securing the rights we wanted for ourselves, and made a valuable contribution to securing the rights of our fellow Americans in the process. We could have still taken on abortion and concentrated primarily on defending the rights of the unborn child...
...Therefore, since the church's primary concern with relation to the state ought to be the protection of our right to freely practice our religious beliefs, our political strategy ought to be twofold: 1) making sure we don't turn public opinion against us by being pushy, overbearing, and malicious; and 2) supporting the rights of other people also to exist peacefully in this land, because in doing so we secure the same for ourselves
Supporting other people's civil liberties doesn't say that we necessarily agree with their views of morality or religion. For instance, we don't agree with Buddhists and yet we don't hesitate to stand up for religious freedom. What it does say is that we are willing to get along with others and demonstrate the same respect for them that we wish for ourselves. This is not some radical new idea. It is simply practicing The Golden Rule: "However you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

Well worth reading.