Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

According to Dante, a temporal monarchy is necessary to fulfill humanity’s purpose to actualize its intellectual potential. He asserts that one person must lead and only this individual can be just. This is because he would own all the territory and therefore have nothing to want and so would not compromise justice to acquire things for himself. Because he is completely just, the monarch would love everyone equally. He would not, however, regulate the day to day running of everyone’s lives. There would be, lords, city councils and village leaders under him to handle geographically specific laws.

Dante is wrong about the nature of monarchy because one person cannot have enough knowledge to rule, and no one is immune from want of immortality or personal bias.

A monarch would have to decide only the most controversial cases, however, these are the cases that require very specialized knowledge to understand and solve. Given Dante’s hierarchy of authority, only the most controversial cases that could not be resolved by local rulers would come to the monarch for judgment. For example, proponents of nuclear power say the risks are minimal and containable; opponents say there is no safe way of disposing nuclear waste and the contingency plans for power plant failures are not enough. To solve this conflict the monarch must have extensive knowledge of nuclear physics and power plant schemata. Another example of a controversy that requires specialized knowledge is the use of genetic engineering in agriculture. Genetically engineered crops have a higher yield than normal, do not need much fertilizer and increase bio-diversity. However, there are concerns about their effects on human health, the unknown consequences of gene flow into non GE crops and their effect on the balance of the ecosystem. The monarch needs to have considerable knowledge of genetic engineering and ecology to solve this controversy. There are also controversies regarding non-scientific issues, such as the virtue of company bail outs. Some argue bailing out companies would maintain economic stability and prevent unemployment. Others argue it would lead to inefficiency in the economy and lead to more long run unemployment.  The monarch would need in depth knowledge of economic theory and current economic trends to pick a side. The monarch could specialize in one field of study. However, it is not possible for the monarch to specialize in everything since the capacity of the human mind is not infinite and neither is the time the monarch has to learn. Therefore, the monarch would not have enough knowledge to solve major conflicts.

The monarch would not be completely free from want and would use resources for personal gain. Although the monarch would own all the territory in the world this would not diminish his mortality. In an attempt to avoid death he could have the best doctors cater only to

him, over-fund research for extending life, aging reversal, and cloning, and over-fund Churches in the hopes of ensuring a good after life. This would divert resources away from infrastructure development, education, and public health and safety, which would have benefited society as a whole. The fear of the after-life could also interfere with the monarch’s judgment. For example, he could let religious dogma guide his stance on abortion instead of science, women’s rights issues and the concrete consequences of making abortion illegal. Similarly he could align his view on homosexuality with that of the Church without consideration to human rights. Thus, the monarch would not be just because of his want of immortality.

In addition to being motivated by a greed for immortality, the monarch would be biased towards his friends. Owning all the territory would not free him from the need for friendship, which he is most likely to find among the kings since they are whom he would have the most in common with. Caring about his friends would make him sympathize with their views, which would affect his judgment. For example, if the kings were strongly against abortion and empowering women then the monarch would be more inclined to shut down Planned Parenthood. The monarch would also empathize with his friends’ wants, which would make him disposed towards fulfilling them. For example, if the kings wanted gold monuments built in their names then the monarch could divert resources from social development projects towards doing so. Therefore, the monarch would not be just because he would be influenced by the opinions and wishes of friends.

In conclusion, it is not possible to have one perfect ruler. Irrespective of material possessions, a monarch would have desires, personal biases and a limited knowledge set. A council of people would be better suited to rule the world since they could keep each other in check and have a diverse knowledge base.

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Posted: April 13, 2011 in Philosophy
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In Woodinville 28 year old man sexually assaulted (possibly raped) a 13 year old girl. He was an acquaintance of the girl’s father and broke into their house at 3 am. His bail is set at $1 million

Read the full story.

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Philosophy
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Posted: April 12, 2011 in Philosophy
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I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.

– Anaïs Nin

This made me think of My Man.

You can buy this cup at Zazzle

Privilege

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Philosophy
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a poem for men who don’t understand what we mean when we say they have it

privilege is simple:
going for a pleasant stroll after dark,
not checking the back of your car as you get in, sleeping soundly,
speaking without interruption, and not remembering
dreams of rape, that follow you all day, that woke you crying, and
privilege
is not seeing your stripped, humiliated body
plastered in celebration across every magazine rack, privilege
is going to the movies and not seeing yourself
terrorized, defamed, battered, butchered
seeing something else

privilege is
riding your bicycle across town without being screamed at or
run off the road, not needing an abortion, taking off your shirt
on a hot day, in a crowd, not wishing you could type better
just in case, not shaving your legs, having a decent job and
expecting to keep it, not feeling the boss’s hand up your crotch,
dozing off on late-night busses, privilege
is being the hero in the TV show not the dumb broad,
living where your genitals are totemized not denied,
knowing your doctor won’t rape you

privilege is being
smiled at all day by nice helpful women, it is
the way you pass judgment on their appearance with magisterial authority,
the way you face a judge of your own sex in court and
are over-represented in Congress and are not strip searched for a traffic ticket
or used as a dart board by your friendly mechanic, privilege
is seeing your bearded face reflected through the history texts
not only of your high school days but all your life, not being
relegated to a paragraph
every other chapter, the way you occupy
entire volumes of poetry and more than your share of the couch unchallenged,
it is your mouthing smug, atrocious insults at women
who blink and change the subject — politely — privilege
is how seldom the rapist’s name appears in the papers
and the way you smirk over your PLAYBOY

it’s simple really, privilege
means someone else’s pain, your wealth
is my terror, your uniform
is a woman raped to death here, or in Cambodia or wherever
wherever your obscene privilege
writes your name in my blood, it’s that simple,
you’ve always had it, that’s why it doesn’t
seem to make you sick to your stomach,
you have it, we pay for it, now
do you understand

—D.A. Clarke

reprinted from Banshee, Peregrine Press

Copyright (c) 1981 D. A. Clarke. All Rights Reserved

To the generation before us I say: What sort of example have you set for us? What have you given us to believe in? You teach us morality but then you tell us one must be practical, there is no room for idealism in the real world. You tell us one must be fair, but then the moment your son or daughter needs and internship you scramble to call in a favor with your family and friends, you “pull some strings” as they say. How is that fair? How is that honest?

“It’s just how one survives in the world,” you say. “If I didn’t make the call, then someone else will.” But while the rich and the connected are fighting over who can pull strings first, what happens to the poor and unconnected? Perhaps you should stop and consider if your child isn’t qualified enough to get an internship or job on their own merit then they don’t deserve to get it. Consider also the psychological ramifications of what you do on your children. How will they believe in fairness and honesty when they see them trampled upon all around them?

That’s the issue though. You don’t really want us to believe in fairness and honesty. They’re not things you actually take seriously, just things you like to talk about over tea. You want us to succeed and that’s not possible with lofty ideals in a corrupt world. But what sort of success do you really want for your children? Prestige and money are good to have but what about our souls? Do you care about that at all? All the prestige and money in the world won’t hide the stains on our souls or yours.

“Calling in favors isn’t a big deal,” you might say and maybe it isn’t. But that’s not the only thing you do wrong. You talk about kindness one second and you beat your servants the next. You talk about honesty and you take bribes. You talk of gender equality and you shun rape victims. You talk of justice and you let rapists roam free. You talk of patriotism and working for the country and steal money from the government.

Elders, politicians, what legacy are you leaving us? It is only of material success and spiritual mutilation. If there is a just God, if there is such a place as heaven, the gates will be closed for those who lie and steal and exploit the poor. Is that what you want for us? You teach us to pray five times a day, to fast during Ramadan, to sacrifice cows when the time is right, but you’re mistaken if you think that’s enough to save us.