Hello internet. Again. 🙂
Just in case you’re part of the 99.999% of all humans who have never read anything from my blog before, allow me to take you on a brief tour:
There are (currently) five major categories of articles (Books, Humor, Movies/TV, Philosophy, and Politics), although there is significant carry-over from one category to the other. Some of the “humor” articles have political references, some of the “politics” articles have jokes, etc.
Also, it should be noted that “Philosophy” is more or less my default category. I used it in place of “Musings” or something, I suppose, and many of the articles in that category are just me rambling about whatever happened to be on my mind at the time. You may have noticed that this article is categorized as “Philosophy,” well, that’s just my go-to category.
I am not a philosopher, is what I am telling you. And I don’t really have a well-defined “personal philosophy,” but it’s somewhere along the materialist spectrum, though I am not sure exactly where.
Perhaps you can tell me… here are a couple of “musings” I wrote that at least use the word “materialism” in them:
Here’s the first one…
And here’s the second one.
Moving on, my “personal philosophy” also includes a heaping dose of nihilism, but I would not describe myself as a “nihilist” per se. I.e. I agree that morality and “meaning” and that sort of thing are not an intrinsic part of human existence, but that is not (is *not*) to say that I don’t place any value on morality, nor do I contend that life has no meaning.
On the contrary, I contend that morality and “meaning” are two of the most valuable things about life as a human, it’s just that each individual person has to work those things out for themselves. People aren’t born with moral values encoded into their DNA, I mean. Morals are things people are taught by other people, and they vary significantly from culture to culture and person to person.
My own sense of morality was taught to me by my parents, grandparents, other relatives, friends, and so on as a child. And after that, by various books I’ve read, TV shows and movies I have watched, people I have interacted with from different backgrounds than mine, and even through music I listen to.
That particular song (click the link in the previous paragraph) helped me distill my own sense of morality down to one question, one I ask myself whenever I consider any issue, whether it’s a political issue or whether it’s something mundane, like whether to kill a non-poisonous spider I find in the house or just catch it and take it outside. That question is, quite simply:
“Does this cause harm?”
In the case of a non-poisonous spider coming into my house, the spider itself is not causing any harm, beyond giving me a temporary surprise/scare when I first see it. But ignoring it could lead to a spider infestation in my house, which could potentially be harmful… or at least gross.
So, the way I see it, this non-poisonous spider is not causing any harm now, but just leaving it alone *could* cause harm later. So naturally, I want to get rid of the spider.
So what should I do? I see two options:
1. Squash the spider.
2. Catch the spider (these things work amazingly well, btw) and take it outside.
Both of these options eliminate the potential harm of a spider infestation, but are both of these options harmless?
No. Option 1 snuffs out the life of a harmless spider, who didn’t do anything other than startle me. Option 2 gives that spider a chance to set up shop elsewhere and perform its tiny little spider function of catching and eating insects, who, unlike the harmless spider, may end up biting me.
So squashing the spider directly harms the spider, and has the potential to harm me. There’s no way I know of to calculate the actual odds that a spider I don’t squash will end up catching a mosquito (e.g.) that would end up biting me (those odds are pretty low, I would imagine), nonetheless, that spider can’t catch anything if I squash it. And mosquitoes carry diseases, in case you forgot.
As a matter of fact, I caught the non-lethal strain of malaria from a Korean mosquito years ago. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience. Maybe I will tell you about it some time. 🙂
So anyways, I generally try not to squash spiders that aren’t harmful to humans. Though I don’t hold anything against anyone who does, for the record.
Getting back to the point, my “philosophy” posts aren’t always about philosophy. But I like to at least tell myself that my own “personal philosophy” bleeds through, and that the reader will at least get some semblance of it as they read. The things I write about are meaningful to me, and hopefully they’ll find their way to at least a reader or two who can also derive some meaning from them.
Back to my flirtations with nihilism: the things that I find “meaningful” are only “meaningful” because I find meaning in them. On some level or other, I choose to assign “meaning” to them, or else they remind me of other things or people that have given my life meaning.
I regret that I can’t write the previous paragraph any better than that. I am not a philosopher, to repeat yet again.
I’m not a bad cook, though.
And since this particular aspect of my personal philosophy is also political, now is the perfect time to mention that I am also a feminist, and as I mention in the linked article, I don’t ever expect anyone to talk me out of that, though you are welcome to try.
For all practical purposes, I am a Democrat. In my personal life, I definitely have libertarian leanings, but I do not support the Libertarian Party in any way, shape, or form. (See here and here.)
That second article is one that could fit into the “humor” category (unless you support the Libertarian Party, I guess), but none of that stuff is inaccurate. Exaggerated a little, maybe (*maybe*), but not inaccurate.
And yeah yeah yeah, I know: not everybody who votes Libertarian just does it because they want “legal weed” or whatever. But there are a great many Libertarian voters who were attracted to the party because of things like that who don’t realize that the LP’s economic policies are further to the right than those of the GOP.
And just in case you didn’t realize this, DEMOCRATS are responsible for marijuana decriminalization, nine times out of ten. Gary Johnson’s medical marijuana initiatives in New Mexico were significant, but that goofy-looking SOB is also a big supporter of private prisons, which incarcerate thousands and thousands (and thousands and thousands) of non-violent pot offenders.
So yeah, I am a Democrat. And I am all for legal weed, for the record. And yeah, I have something of a personal vendetta against the Libertarian Party: they tricked me into supporting them briefly a few years ago. I went around telling people I was a “Libertarian” without really looking into their actual platform, and I am willing to bet there are a lot of people like that.
As to the Green Party, strictly going on ideology, I am probably a little more closely aligned to them than I am the Democratic party. But I can’t support them in good conscience because, quite simply, they have no chance whatsoever of making any sort of actual impact on the nation… other than (like the LP) taking votes away from Democrats.
Here’s another key aspect of my “personal philosophy”:
Ideology < practicality.
For example, the Green Party and I would both like to see single-payer universal healthcare become a reality in the USA. The Green Party and I agree that the ACA is far from ideal, in that it maintains a largely unnecessary (and arguably parasitic) corporate entrenchment in people’s lives.
Ideologically, the Green Party and I agree on the healthcare issue. But practically speaking, the ACA enabled millions of people in the USA to get healthcare when they had been denied it before. And practically speaking, for me to vote Green in the last election would have put those people’s healthcare in jeopardy, simply because a vote for the Green party would have been ipso facto a vote against whichever major party ended up losing the election.
Let me explain that:
There were four candidates in the 2016 election. Only two of those candidates (Trump and Clinton) ever had any chance of winning. I know that, you know that, and every American voter with any connection to reality knows that.
But before I start ranting and raving like my cousin Ronald, let me just provide a graph with 2016 election data and go from there.
President Trump got 46.4% of the popular vote. Clinton got 48.5% of the popular vote. Trump won because of how the electoral college works.
Just for the record, no, I am not going to blame third party voters for Trump’s victory, even though I am well aware of the results of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and possibly other states that went to Trump by a narrow margin, where that margin was smaller than the percentage of third party voters. Johnson got way more votes than Stein in all those states, and to assume a Libertarian Party supporter would vote Democrat over Republican is a seriously misguided assumption. LP economic policies are not all that different from Trump’s, whether Libertarian voters like it or not.
As a sidenote, pay attention to how my “ideology < practicality” statement is essentially reversed in that article; i.e. the author admits that LP goals are being realized under Trump but insists that his personal ideology insulates him from being compared to Trump, and that simply because the author defines Trump as “aggressive,” that means he can’t be a Libertarian. But I will save that rant for another post. 🙂
Getting back to numbers, let’s ignore the electoral college for now and just think about a hypothetical election with four candidates, one where two of the candidates have no chance whatsoever of winning. For convenience’ sake, let’s just say that there are only 100 voters voting in this election, and we’ll round off Trump’s percentage to 46 and Clinton’s to 49. The remaining 5 votes will be split between the other two candidates. And just to avoid confusion (since the winner of the popular vote in 2016 isn’t President), let’s just call the candidates A, B, C, and D.
Follow me? OK:
Candidate A has 49 votes. Candidate B has 46 votes. Nobody has voted for C or D yet, let’s say, but the five people who haven’t voted haven’t decided who they will vote for, and none of those 5 voters wants to vote for A or B. All 100 people are required to vote in this scenario.
Assuming that the 5 remaining voters vote for candidate C or D, candidate A will win the election. And while those 5 votes were made with the intent of supporting candidate C or D (and made in good faith), the practical effect of those votes is to support candidate A’s victory.
It’s not quite the same as “support,” but it isn’t quite the same as non-support, either. If, hypothetically, candidate B is ideologically closer to candidate C or D, supporters of candidate C or D *could* have voted for candidate B, and thereby put a candidate in office that would support at least *some* of the things they cared about.
Look, I apologize for going on and on about this. If it wasn’t something that happens over and over again in presidential elections in this country, I wouldn’t flipping have to keep going on and on about it.
The sad truth of the matter is that *if* Donald Trump is still President in 2020 (and he probably will be) and *if* he runs for re-election (and he probably will), chances are he’s going to win.
I am basing that assumption on the fact that Republican voters vote Republican no matter what…
And also on the fact that “the left” is hopelessly divided in this country.
And during that election, there *will* be third party candidates, and they *will* be telling you, the voter, to “vote your conscience” when you go into the polls.
I would absolutely encourage you to do exactly that, with one addendum:
Voting third party (i.e. supporting a candidate with no chance of winning) in an important election, one that will have a huge impact upon the nation, is not “voting your conscience.”
It’s voting your ego.
Yuh-huh, it is, too.
And that’s all I am going to say about that right now.
To say that I have a weird sense of humor would be an understatement. I mean that sincerely. I have been told I have a “dry” sense of humor many times in my life, and more than one person has compared me to Stephen Wright, though that’s more due to my general low-key demeanor than anything else. (He’s way funnier than me, is what I am telling you.)
Anyways, I find funny what I find funny. I think this is hilarious, and I think the same thing about this.
You may not find either of those things funny… and if you don’t SCREW YOU!
(That was a joke. Humor is subjective. Tee-hee.)
Moving on to “Books”:
I haven’t written as much in this category as I should have. I spend more time than I should watching TV and playing on the internet, and not enough time reading books. Nonetheless, every now and then I guess that’s a good thing. Or maybe it’s not. I still haven’t written part one of this series, which is going to be me reviewing a novel I wrote.
Yep, I wrote a novel. You ought to check it out; it’s pretty good, if I do say so myself.
And on to the last category, probably my personal favorite category, “Movies/TV”.
The last couple entries in this category have been a little haphazard. But there are a couple I really like, such as this one about M*A*S*H and also this one about a Korean monster movie with political overtones.
My next “Movies/TV” post will (tentatively) be an informal Marxist critique of the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys. Emphasis on “informal”.
And before anyone who didn’t click the “Marxist critique” hyperlink in the last paragraph gets confused, no, I am not a communist. All I plan to do regarding Trailer Park Boys is take a largely superficial look at the socioeconomic aspects of the show, how Ricky, Julian, and Bubs et alia function in the arguably minarchist environment of Sunnyvale Trailer Park, and how Sunnyvale relates to the rest of Canada, etc.
It’s going to be fun… at least for me, ha ha.
And if anybody is wondering why I intend to inject politics into an awesome and funny show like Trailer Park Boys, first of all, I am not injecting or otherwise putting politics into anything. Politics are already there, I just intend to take a look at them and tell you what I see.
Everything is political, on one level or another. Including apathy toward politics.
So anyways, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in the comments section. For the record, I allow all comments from actual people. I delete spambot comments, but I allow literally everything else, including personal insults against me.
So… if you read something here that just really makes you mad, don’t hesitate to say so.