Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Enabling Terrorism?

I was just thinking about this on the bus. What makes terrorism effective? Clearly, the "terror", which is right there in it's name. Take the fear away from terrorism, and it's something else. Sabotage. Murder. Of course, we think of 9/11. The big terror event that will leap to the fore in such discussions, hopefully for years to come. (That is, I'm hopeful something worse doesn't come along for years.)

While tragic, it's not an issue of lives-lost, and statistics bear this out. In America, more people died in 2002 from choking on non-food objects than died from terror attacks in the last ten.

Financially... I'm not sure about direct financial losses, but I'd argue most of the losses are in the form of market behaviors, which leads to my next point:

Fear. It is the essence of terrorism. To act to spread fear, and to influence a country through that fear. I see some conservatives label others as "enablers" of terrorism. Often, this accusation boils down to not being willing to give up our rights in order to "protect" them with foreign-policy escapades. Or believing in rule-of-law. Objecting to the torture of prisoners. etc.

It's a loony accusation. So I have my own accusation, which is also a bit loony. I wouldn't want to straight-out advocate it, but here it is: Many of the war-hawks are also enablers. They enable terrorism... by spreading fear of terrorism, constantly trying to refresh that fear, enhancing it's main detrimental effect for their own ends. In the current UAE ports deal kerfluffle, it's interesting to see that this blade has two edges, and has rebounded against the Bush Administration.

A second, far less loony accusation, can be made in terms of what the war-hawks of today have done in the past. Training and arming Osama Bin Laden and his compatriots (as a force against the Russians) comes to mind. Or less terror-ish items, like giving Saddam Hussein biochemical weapon components, even after his alleged gassing of civilian Kurds. Installing a dictator into Iran, and trying to send him nuclear technology... But I digress.

Why can't they remember that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Where does a person begin?

... Probably not at Birth. I'm posting prompted by something I saw Firedoglake.

There's been a push by certain sectors of the "Religious Right" (read: Evangelicals, megachurches, mixes of politics, religion, and business) against abortion for quite a while. One of the major rifts in the debate is where life begins. Or, to be more precise, at what point we have a "person" deserving of legal protection by the government, and when that protection trumps the rights of the mother to control her own body and biology.

One of the more extreme views (but surprisingly common) is that once the sperm and the egg meet, you've got a person, and killing that person is like murder/manslaughter/homicide/etc. I really disagree with this viewpoint.

Here's something I posed to some Campus Republicans two months ago:
Through whatever circumstances, you are faced with a really shitty choice:

  • You can see two TV screens, one with a microscope's view of a hundred little post-conception cells on one video screen, and another of one newborn baby in a cradle.
  • You know neither personally.
  • You don't know where they are in the world.
  • You know nothing more about their circumstances.
  • You know you will never personally encounter any of them or experience external repercussions from your choice.

Now, for whatever reason, you must choose between them, and failing to choose means the death of the cells and the baby. What will you pick?

If the person undergoing this choice really believed the rhetoric, they would choose to save the hundred little cell bundles, correct? A hundred lives, compared to one? But I cannot see anyone seriously choosing the blastocysts or embryos over the baby.

So here's what I'm trying to get at: You express your real belief through choices. The rhetoric of the "un-born baby" at or closely after conception is hollow, because I cannot imagine any sane individual actually going through with the hypothetical situation presented and choosing to save the petri dish over saving the newborn.

None of them gave a real answer. It's a wildly improbable situation, but the rhetoric being used by the person-at-conception folks is so strong and clear: According to them, you save the cells. Period. Strangely, I haven't found any of them (yet?) who really want to give an answer to this question, even when their stated beliefs are so unambiguous. Probably because it shows how silly they are when actually applied.

So to any conservative readers (10% of zero readers total?): If you want to answer, choose. If you don't like the question because it's too vague, tell me why. That's why I put all those bullet points in about what you do and don't know about the situation.

P.S.: Experimenting with HaloScan comments instead of Blogger comments. No important comments were lost in the transition, needless to say.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not Dead...


After March 27th I may be able to commit to posting more stuff here. Time-wise, I don't think I'll be a daily updater. Heaven knows I'm enough of a shut-in to manage it so long as I don't procrastinate on real-world projects.

I have a large three-month-long project starting in a few weeks, which I will just hint (ever so archly) as an original creation that may be marketable. It could also end up like unmarketable crap which I would be horrified to have in my digital portfolio, but that's all in the future. I'll try not to let it induce me to go on hiatus again.

Lastly, I re-enabled comments (not that there were any worth reading) but I enabled moderation as well.