"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Women Are From Venus, Men . . . are different

Venus, or Aphrodite (a more ancient word for the same conceptual goddess) is the essence of womanhood: soft, rounded, sensual, not whiskery, not callused and hard, like men.

So there I was, watching an episode of "Bones" (do an internet search for it if you don't know the series) and one of the regulars, an attractive female, kissed another woman. Well, the other woman kissed the regular and she kissed the other woman back. And it wasn't just a quick shot, then fade to black. They each kissed each other sensually two or three times.

I am a male and I am turned on by women. I am also an old fart, 62 years old, but the scene was HOT! I guess it was a way for the liberals among us to let us know that women loving women actually exist, and that they are not bad people, or shady characters.

Okay, I know that. I am very accepting of other people's sexual orientation and life styles, as long as it involves consenting, non-coerced adults. And logically, two women kissing, or loving each other in a romantic way, or having sex together does not violate the rights of others. It's a personal moral thing and I believe that personal moral beliefs that do not violate the rights of others is not a matter for the law.

But then the thought occurred to me that, while the TV networks, or cable TV executives might be willing to show a bit of female on female titillation, would they ever show, on a popular TV series, a man kissing another man . . . in a sensual, sexual way?

Ewwww! Ugh!

I don't want to see that! Do you? Does anyone, except for gay men?

Do I have a point? I don't know. Maybe my point is this: Our society, after being inundated with female sexuality on TV and billboards, in magazine advertisements, in the movies for so many year, can accept two women kissing, but they are not ready for the sight of two men doing the same thing. Or maybe, just maybe, women are, by nature, more sensual and sexual than men. Maybe even "straight" women can accept the sight of two women kissing easier than the sight of two men kissing.

Anecdotally, from my experience with women, and I have had a fair amount of experience with them, the impression I got was that those women would much rather see women kissing and making love than seeing men do the same thing.

I wholeheartedly agree with them. But then, I am a man who loves women for being women, for their very difference from men, and for allowing me, when that has happened, to kiss them and to make love with them.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize

It was announced today that President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. For what? Potential?

This reminds me of what has happened with sporting events for small children, where everyone gets a trophy merely for participating. You don't have to accomplish anything. You just have to show up.

Well, President Obama showed up by being elected President of the United States. Why doesn't the Nobel Committee just go ahead and give a Peace Prize trophy to all the other nominees? Some of them just may have actually done something to try and further peace in the world.

I'm not saying that President Obama won't try, or that he won't accomplish something. All I'm saying is that it cheapens the whole purpose of the Nobel prizes to be giving them out just for showing up.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bombing the Moon

So, I was watching the news (Fox News Channel, I'm sure) and they showed a few videos of people protesting, more or less, what NASA is going to do soon...bombing the moon.

I don't know what the problem is with these uneducated nimcompoops. NASA isn't sending any expolsives, especially not a nuclear bomb, to the moon. What they are sending could be called (and, I'm sure has been, because I read about it in a novel) a kinetic energy weapon, much like a meteor striking the surface of the Moon. (That's about as natural as you can get.)

The idea of kinetic energy weapons (as applied to Earth) go back at least as far as the 1950s and Jerry Pournelle: Project Thor. They have also been given the name of "Rods from God."

Think of a telephone pole sized rod of tungsten, or some other equally heavy material, plummeting through Earth's atmosphere at 36,000 miles per hour. When it struck the Earth it would create an atomic bomb sized explosion, but without the nuclear fallout and radiation.

Of course, Robert Heilein wrote about this when, in one of his novels, he had the moon colony people, who wanted their independence from Earth, threatening to use computer aided catapults to throw large boulders at specific target on the surface of the Earth.

There was anothe novel I read some years ago (science fiction, of course) about an alien race attacking Earth and doing the very same thing from orbit around the Earth. They had just gathered up some appropriate sized rocks from the asteroid belt.

The moon will be okay all you silly protesters out there. The purpose of the experiment is to see if spectrographic images of the impact and resultant explosion shows that there is any water below the Moon's surface...at least sufficient water for a Moon based colony.

As for Earth-targeted kinetic energy weapons, well, I would like them a whole lot more than nuclear bombs and all the radiation and fallout problems associate with them. But then, I don't like war or warfare because it tends to be harmful to children and other living things. Of course, one should have the right to defend one's self, shouldn't one? Better KEWs than nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Acorn Woodpeckers

Last Saturday, I was reading out on the back porch, a large expanse of cement with a roof over it. It was a cool day, one of the first of the year, and an even cooler breeze. But, I was comfortable, fully dressed, and wearing a medium weight jacket and knit cap.

I live in the hill country about 30 miles north of Fresno, California, about half-way to the beautiful Yosemite Valley. This is oak and digger pine country and we have a plethora of acorn woodpeckers.

Acorn woodpeckers are black with white around their eyes, as well as wing patches and bellies and a red patch on the top of the head, among other markings. Some people have remarked that they have clown-like faces.

As I was reading, I was also listening to the sounds of several of those birds. It was a beautiful, partly cloudy, blued-skyed, clear-aired, and deliciously cool day. Many of the woodpeckers were sounding off at the same time in what I now call the "chattering cadence of laughing woodpeckers."

This is not important when it comes to health care reform, unemployment, financial crisis, war in Afganistan, and whatever else our instant, up-to-date news media inundates us with daily, which can only cause us stress. But that time was important for my soul. (Although I am not religious, I do believe that people are healthier if they are listening to, paying attention to, and, at least to some extent, in tune with nature).

Last Saturday was a beautiful interlude of sun, blue sky, white cumulus clouds, and a cool breeze rattling the oak leaves and whooshing thought the digger pine needles. And it was made even more beautiful by the chattering cadence of laughing, red, white, and black, clown-faced acorn woodpeckers.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

On Doing the Right Thing

In 1935, Albert Jay Nock, wrote a short essay entitled "On Doing the Right Thing." Mr. Nock was what today we would call a libertarian. I don't think that word had been coined then, in 1935, because he speaks of anarchists, as in those who wanted the government to be as small and non-interfering as possible; as in those who believed that the average person would be a moral, self-supporting, non-rights-violating person if left to himself . . . and to his family and community. The family and community connection is important, because humans do not live as hermits. They are social animals. If they do not fit into their society, they will be cast out, whether by law or by their neighbors and associates shunning them.

I am going quote from Mr. Nock's essay, "On Doing the Right Thing," and I will insert the word "libertarian" for his use of "anarchist." He was not speaking of the wild-eyed, bomb-thowing type of person that we think of when we use the word anarchist today. What Mr. Nock had to say was important then, in 1935. It is even more important today . . . for those of us who know that the "State" is only getting bigger and, as it gets bigger, our personal liberty gets smaller. And, just as important, we also know that morality cannot be legislated and the attempts to do so by the Liberals and Progressives has only cause more problems in our society.

In the essay from which I will quote, Mr. Nock was talking about three regions of behavior in all of the actions of mankind. The first region is that which is controlled by law or some outside force beyond the individual, the second region is of "indifferent choice," that is, what type of car, or shirt, or toothpaste to buy. The third region is the one that we, as individuals, through our culture and society learn and have a choice of obeying or not. For instance, "women and children first," used to be common language and accepted as the right thing to do in case of an emergency. I'm not so sure that that is true today. This is the freedom of moral choice region.

The third region is a region that can build character and make good and morally strong citizens. It is about choices and mistakes and learning from those mistakes to become better, stronger people, and it has to be done by the individual, through experience. It cannot be forced upon people. They must understand and accept it. As the old saying goes: "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Legislating morality is a form of tyranny and it never works.

Mr. Nock said that, in 1935, Americans had very little of that type of personal moral freedom, their lives being controlled more by morality laws, rather than laws meant to protect rights and punish rights-violators. In Latin there are two legal terms. The first is malum in se, which means that an act is, in and of itself, wrong: murder, rape, assault, robbery, child molesting, etc. The other term is malum prohibitum. That means that the act, in and of itself, is not wrong, in the sense that it does not violate the rights of others, but that some people find it to be morally wrong and those people have enough influence to get the government to make a law against such behavior. Therefore, we, as individuals, don't have the legal right to behave in certain ways because of the moral beliefs and influence of some people; we don't have the freedom necessary to a truly free and liberty-loving society. And, that is the type of freedom that Mr. Nock is referring to when he wrote what I have quoted below.

"The practical reason for freedom, then, is that freedom seems to be the only condition under which any kind of substantial moral fibre can be developed. Everything else has been tried, world without end. Going dead against reason and experience, we have tried law, compulsion and authorititarianism of various kinds, and the result is nothing to be proud of. Americans have many virtues of their own, which I would be the last to belittle or disparage, but the power of quick and independent moral judgment is not one of them.

. . . .

"Freedom, for example, as they keep insisting, undoubtedly means freedom to drink oneself to death. The [libertarian] grants this at once; but at the same time he points out that it also means freedom to say with the gravedigger in "Les Miserables," "I have studied, I have graduated; I never drink." It unquestionably means freedom to go on without any code of morals at all; but it also means freedom to rationalise, construct and adhere to a code of one's own.

. . . .

"The [libertarian] is not interested in any narrower or more personal view of human conduct. Believing, for example, that man should be wholly free to be sober or to be a sot, his eye is not caught and exclusively engaged by the spectacle of sots, but instead he points to those who are responsibly sober, sober by a self-imposed standard of conduct, and asserts his conviction that the future belongs to them rather than to the sots.

. . . .

"The [libertarian], moreover, does not believe that any considerable proportion of human beings will promptly turn into rouges and adventuresses, sots and strumpets, as soon as they find themselves free to do so; but quite the contrary. It seems to be a fond notion with the legalists and authoritarians that the vast majority of mankind would at once begin to thieve, murder and generally misconduct itself if the restraints of law and authority were removed."

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Nock. The government, that is, the "State," cannot force morality upon us. And, by having so many laws that govern our personal moral lives, it takes away the ability of many people, especially the young, to fully come to grips with true morality. After several decades of the Progressive and Liberal social engineering of our society, are we more or less polite than we were 100 years ago? Are we more or less violent than we were 100 years ago?