Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why people fear Socialism

One of these damn internet forwards that is probably not true but is also probably accurate:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
- Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

The happiest society:

  • There is an agreed-upon values system and goal.
  • People agree it is a privilege not a right to be part.
  • Those who do good are rewarded.
  • Those who do bad can expect to be punished.
  • Those who do nothing exceptional get the minimum.
  • Those who do some exceptional get more.

That's as simple as it gets, and there are more elements like having higher IQ/higher character people, but this formula will get any society on the path to health.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Until the Light Takes Us" black metal movie

Music fans: the film Until the Light Takes Us is showing worldwide starting this month.

This movie is a documentary about why people make black metal. It's both a movie about metalheads, and a movie about people trying to change their world with music.

It won a ton of awards. Not bad for a DIY, shoestring budget film.

Support this movie as it shows in your town:

* Facebook
* MySpace

Until the Light Takes Us is about the birth of what we now call "black metal," which was the fully-developed form of the music inspired by Sarcofago, Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer that erupted during the early 1990s in Scandinavia.

What makes this movie better than most "metal movies" is that it digs into the psychology of metalheads, and these specific metalheads, to show what inspired their music -- and radical acts of violence.
- Brett Stevens, Examiner

Austin, TX - Alamo Drafthouse Ritz

New Orleans, LA - Zeitgeist Arts center
Detroit, MI - Burton Theatre

New York City, NY - Cinema Village
Providence, RI - Cable Car Cinema
Grand Rapids, MI - UICA

Los Angeles, CA - Laemmle’s Sunset 5

Denver, CO - Starz Film Center

Check out the official trailer:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Censorship of racial slurs

The question here isn't censoring "racism" -- an ill-defined word -- but whether to censor racial slurs:

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to request that our visitors keep civility in mind and speak using the terms we find make the most sense out of politeness, for example, “African-Americans.”

It won’t kill you to do it, and it ensures your message is expressed clearly without throwing emotional bombs into the mix that are going to drive people away from responding logically.


It would be great if other people saw the wisdom in what I’m trying to do here, and would voluntarily comply with civility, so that we don’t need censorship. As we like to say around here: no tyrant exists without a thoughtless population that needed and deserved him.

Human rights and censorship at this blog

I guess to me this was always a given: you can be a foe of diversity without (a) blaming the parties involved or (b) calling them derogatory names.

Similarly, you can be a foe of conservatism without (a) claiming that conservatives are vicious people who simply "don't care about others" or (b) calling them derogatory names like Shrub and Chimpy.

Further, in general, it seems to me that civility is useful because when we violate it, our leaders use that as an excuse for more power and more expensive, arrogant bureaucracies.

I don't write off the idea that at some point we will need to throw out some of the rules wholesale and achieve regime change, but I like the idea of avoiding uncivil manifestations of this like reckless revolutions that hand power to oligarchs.

The question of civility, or need for censorship, is one vital to civilization.

We either get ourselves organized or we require a centralized babysitter.