Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan

My earliest memories are from the time my family lived in USAF housing in a suburb of Tokyo (Chofu/Fuchu). Before moving to Tokyo, we were in Okinawa, where my dad was part of the team to help oversee transfer to the Japanese government. He was very impressed with how prepared their people were for every meeting. My parents had great praise for the hard working professionalism and civilized nature of the Japanese. We kids loved watching "Utala Man" cartoons and going to the Yomiyuri Land amusement park.

Billy Beck has expressed similar praise over the years, having worked there a number of times.

It's heartbreaking to see the devastation, but important to realize that life goes on in most of Japan and they're quite civilized not to engage in looting.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I am TJIC


I criticized Corcoran on the comment section of his article on the day of the shooting. However, on Jan 12, he posted a "flow chart" (his website is down, but you can see it on the RSS feed):
TJIC: Next question: do you think that a schizophrenic individual shooting up a politician, a judge, and a dozen civilians in Arizon served any purpose at all, or advanced civil rights in any way? If you answer “yes”, stop here. Your conception of “useful” differs radically from TJIC’s. Step 6: Congratulations – you agree with TJIC that the Arizona shooting was a tragedy, of which no good will come. Next question: do you think that an armed revolution, including assassinations, is morally legitimate in the US today? If you answer “Yes”, stop here. If you answer “No”, congratulations, you agree with TJIC.
If he had said that on the day of the shooting, I probably wouldn't have bothered to comment.
Radley Balko: "But he isn’t remotely libertarian, an ideology where the non-initiation of force is a pretty fundamental principle."
As I've argued here and elsewhere, I think the most effective action at this point is time is massive, non-violent civil disobedience. Not because I think that violence against particular individuals in government is an aggressive initiation of force—as has been documented on this website and elsewhere, many in the government have been employing the use of force against people who have done nothing to hurt anyone else—but because (1) such an act will be widely perceived as an initiation of force, ignoring what the government has done to people, and (2) the net result will be a pointless waste, accomplishing nothing positive. But at some point, if the government gets sufficiently awful and if peaceful attempts fail, I will change my mind about engaging in violence, as was done in the American Revolution, so long as attacks don't involve the killing of innocents. I hope like crazy that we never get to that point in my lifetime. With that in mind: I am TJIC.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Political Violence

In response to the ghouls who are trying to exploit the mass murder at the political gathering in AZ, blaming the politicians and pundits for the tone of their rhetoric being too combative:
"Yes, the quality of political debate is abysmally bad. That is a direct result of how the exercise of political power has more intensely affected the lives of citizens. Voters recognize how all the government programs, laws, regulations, taxes, etc. are dominating their lives and threatening their futures more and more each day, so they are understandably alarmed and getting more desperate to stop the “other side” from taking advantage of them.

"All of this is the predictable result of putting moral questions up to a vote, of rulers making election contests into mock battles, pitting one “side” against another. (Warren mentions the “Coke vs. Pepsi” mentality, which is spot on.)

"Around the 2010 election, I read somewhere [added: here via Beck] that an election is nothing more than two or more armies getting dressed up, marching to the battle field, then counting which side has the most soldiers and awarding the spoils of victory to that side without actually drawing blood. And, as Billy Beck has pointed out for many years: “All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.”

"My solution? Stop voting. Stop giving your permission to politicians to wield power over your neighbors. Work with your neighbors to solve problems via reason and persuasion, instead of resorting to force. Government, by definition, is the use of force.
"
(My comment here and here.)