I don’t know what’s right any more – my first intuition pump

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional philosopher, I’m just some guy who enjoys reading philosophy in his free time. I am likely far too under-read to fully appreciate the context of some of the issues I’m talking about  in this post. If that’s the case, then perhaps some of my more well-read friends and readers can point me in the direction of what to learn next.

Not as if I ever knew what was right. Rather, as time goes on I continue learning that “right” is a far more elusive grey area concept than I envisaged earlier in my life. There is no black and white when it comes to moral questions, and perhaps the best we can do is use critical reasoning to move ever forward, step by step, in our understanding of the world and apply this knowledge to the way things “ought” to be. We will disagree, we will likely make mistakes (yes, there are moral “mistakes” – look no further than slavery for an example), but we can all set off from the outset with an open mind and willingness to be wrong publicly, then perhaps we can edge closer towards some better concept of “right.”

Continue reading

On Truth

On Truth

A self-evident truth is the most deceiving of all truths. A self-revealed truth, however, is the least truthful of all truths.

Continue reading

Is SNAP (Food stamp program) really as bloated as it’s made out to be?

Recently, legislation has been enacted to significantly reduce the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.  Frankly, prior to this legislation I had not followed the issue too closely.  But as debate flared up, rhetoric surrounding the national debate became increasingly public and, of course, was replete with standard Washington flair.  “Culture of dependency,” “Wasteful,” “Bloated,” and “Excessive” were the soundbites underpinning the justification for these cuts.  How bloated and excessive is this program? Looking at the data in this particular case can actually be quite an enlightening exercise, as they can tell us something about the rate of change in the cost of the program. This growth rate can better help us understand whether or not SNAPhas grown at an unusually rapid rate, which would be an indicator of excess or bloat.

Continue reading

The war on terror is over – the terrorists have won / And why the Bush and Obama administrations are complicit in the terrorists’ victory

The war on terror is over – the terrorists have won

And why the Bush and Obama administrations are complicit in the terrorists’ victory

As 21st century Americans, we have seen the “War on Terror” become a phrase increasingly used to invoke unbridled, unfathomable, unimaginable fear.  With the 9/11 attacks, terrorists wanted to not only bring fear to our soil but to make it an endemic characteristic of our culture.  This is one critical aspect by which terrorists measure their success – how afraid they make their enemy.  Instead of rationally assessing the true damage that could be wreaked on the American people by terrorism (which is far less than common wisdom or the national dialogue would suggest), our government succumbed to this fear-fuelled (indeed, some may even say fear-mongering) mindset.

Continue reading

John McCain is no longer fit to lead this country in any capacity

 In response to Vladmir Putin’s New York Times editorial [1], John McCain recently penned his own response to the people of Russia.  McCain was, no doubt, attempting to show Putin that two can play at this game, but where McCain went wrong was, well, in a lot of places.  For starters, as this Salon article points out, while Putin published in at least a somewhat reputable news source, McCain published in the equivalent of a Russian tabloid.

Continue reading

Why you shouldn’t feel pressured to get married just because your friends are

I was at a party once when a good friend of mine (a 25 year old female) began to discuss how she felt pressured to find the right guy and get married.  After all, she said, so many of her friends were taking the leap, and here she was single.  This sentiment was then repeated by another friend (same age and gender), and then another.  At this point, I said something along the lines of: “That’s ridiculous.  You’re all wrong, here’s why.”  Half the people in the group laughed, a couple called me an asshole, and one said that I needed to start a blog with that title.  I guess you can figure out who I listened to.  Below is more or less what I said at that party (somewhat expanded, I’m not that much of a bore over drinks), but with a little more data to back it up.

Continue reading