Monthly Archives: July 2006

Tax Day.

Well, I got my Wake County property tax bill today.  It was about $100 more than it was last year, and better than 70% of the money goes to the Wake County Public School System.

Well, I have one word for the Public Schools and their incessant demand for more of my money.

AUDIT!

Social Justice

One thing that invariably comes up whenever you discuss Left of Center ideology is the concept of “Social Justice”. Since there doesn’t seem to be one clear, concise definition of Social Justice, I’m just going to throw something out…

The concept amongst the “Left Wing” that any society where there is any difference between two individuals qualifies as unjust. Commonly equated to the desired goals of Communism, wherin all members of a society are to share in everything equally.

I really don’t like the concept of “Social Justice”. As far as I’m concerned, Social Justice is antithetical to actual Justice. We are often told that in America, everybody is entitled to “Equal Justice Under the Law”, but does Social Justice entitle me to Equal Justice? I say the answer is a profound no.

Justice says that everybody plays by the same rules and gets the best outcome that they could given the rules in place. Social Justice says that everybody gets the same outcome regardless of the rules that they play by.

As a “For Example” I have a college degree and a full time job. In my view of Justice, I should be able to earn as much money for my services as the market will grant me. Under the view of Social Justice, somebody who dropped out of high school and doesn’t bother showing up for work and thus can’t hold a job is entitled to the same kinds of benefits that I am (especially if he is defined as a “Disadvantaged Minority”). I would say it’s fair to call this a worst case example, but I still think it’s fair.

In my view, the society is pulled upwards by the highest performers because they are unencumbered by concepts of social justice and rather are encouraged to do the best that they could possibly do, and everybody plays by the same rules, so that anybody could be the next Michael Dell or Bill Gates. Under the social justice view, society is weighted towards the lower performers because such is necessary to create an “equal society”.

I am an individual, a living, breathing human being. I am unique. I have things in common with other human beings, but I am not their clone. Some are smarter than me. Some are not. Some are more talented, but some are not. I should be allowed to make the most of my talents. The Free Market works, it encourages the talents that the majority find useful and discourages the talents that society finds least useful. Justice is about prosecuting a rich man the same as you prosecute a poor man when they commit the same crime. Justice is not about taking money that a rich man earned and giving it to a poor man simply because he never made it big in his life.

Thoughts?

Continuing with iBiblio Discussion…

I wanted to give a forum to the response I got to this post and go into some specifics about why I feel the way I do about the whole Indymedia thing.

Robert-

Thanks for emailing me about your blog post. a few responses: To clarify, the signature was my own, and not that off the email list. I had meant to keep the signature up for a couple weeks as a joke around the office, and I certainly didn’t intend to ridicule anyone publicly. Also, I think when Joey said that he was being insulted by proxy, he meant that he takes an insult to ibiblio as an insult to himself, and not that you were insulting ibiblio in a roundabout manner. Also, the only reason I used Tiny URL was to be able to cut the size of my signature by one line, and not for any sneaky referrer obfuscation :)

Regarding Indymedia, it is ibiblio’s mission to provide technology resources for essentially any non-profit information oriented entity which requests it.

Independent of our mission though, I’m not sure why you refer to Indymedia as left-wing. Many (perhaps the majority of) Indymedia volunteers have anarchist political/philisophical views. They have what has typically been considered a libertarian view on government. The majority of the issues they cover and the stances they take are concerned with local autonomy, decentralized government, states’ right, and civil liberties.

In fact, all of the indymedias in the world don’t have any formal relationship with one another. They are all autonomous organizations which don’t share much but a domain name, an email list, and an attitude.

I suppose because of their views on civil liberties, they end up with what is typically today considered a “Liberal” view on sex legislation (such as the criminalization of certain sex acts), and since many regard health security as a civil right, universal health care might also be part of their discussion.

If you live near a city with an indymedia, I’m pretty sure they would love to have you help them report on states’ rights issues and the continuing problem with an increasingly powerful federal government and executive branch. There is no formal process for “joining” an indymedia, it’s a “do it yourself” organization with members who disagree on as many things as they agree on. I can’t speak for other indymedias, but the one with which I was involved in Houston had such an environment.

I reference Indymedia is being largely a “Left Wing” voice is because of certain things I see on their website, for example, their Mission Statement

The North Carolina Independent Media Center is a network of activists that are committed to using media and journalism as a tool for promoting egalitarian change. As a collective, we will make all decisions through a consensus process and do our best at representing the diversity of our local communities. Though based in Chapel Hill, the NC-IMC will cover all related issues within North Carolina that are not being given adequate coverage by any other media. The North Carolina Independent Media Center will also work to network with existing independent media and publications that are committed to social and economic change throughout North Carolina. The NC-IMC will continually oppose hierarchy within its structure and the structure of the surrounding community. The North Carolina Indymedia Center advocates and promotes media democracy through free skill-share workshops and teach-ins, which are to be open for the benefit of all. Along with web publishing, we will also produce print resources and videos to spread the message amongst those who may not have access to on- line resources. The North Carolina Independent Media Center will actively oppose racism, homophobia, classism, sexism, and nationalism within our framework and within the framework of society. Since we are a regional media center, we will serve the cities and counties of our state by allowing them to have their own categories within our site and autonomy from the main IMC-working group, which is based in Chapel Hill, NC.

That mission statement is not only left wing, I think it would be fair to call it Marxist (particularly, opposing “Nationalism” in that the pure Marxist communism holds in the destruction of the Nation-State model of government and thus opposes nationalism). Also, the parts about “egaltarian change” seems to be buzz words for Left Wing/Socialist ideology. I’m also uncomfortable with the listing of the long list of “isms”, especially considering that a good number of those “isms” can be defined in such a way as to contridict traditionally held values.

Also, right now, on theNC Indymedia front page (due to the dynamic nature of the internet, I’ve made a PDF of the page for viewing here) I count:

  • Protest the Minutemen
  • Protest “Neocon Warhawk”
  • May Day Marches
  • May Day in Charlotte
  • May Day in Carrboro
  • Boycott for Immigrants Rights
  • Southern Girls Convention (Social Justice)
  • Several incidents of “Bush Protests”

I’m willing to grant that Indymedia may be a non-partisan outlet for news, but its volunteers seem to be overwhelmingly tilted to the left. And in a nation where blogs are easier to come by than food, I’m not entirely sure that it’s a good use of iBiblio’s resources.

I’m not trying to attack iBiblio, I actually quite like the concept of an online repository of our knowledge (and have used the Project Gutenberg and Linux Archives on occassion, and if I ever wanted to expand my blogging to more than one blog I’d probably go with Lyceum {but considering my posting history of late, I doubt I’m going to have that problem})
Which actually makes me start to think that I need to produce some more posts on why I think what I think. A little late to start tonight, but probably in the future (if my current task of mastering Asterisk doesn’t kill me)

Declaration of States Rights

El Cid has pointed me in the direction of the Declaration of States Rights.

I don’t see anything in there that I really disagree with, and a lot that I do agree with.  I would definitely encourage folks to at least read through it.

Regarding Alaska…  since it was bought from Russia, should it opt for independence, some sort of restitution should be in order, which is not to say that Alaskans don’t have a right to self determination, but it is not of the same order of things as Hawaii, for example.

The Rules

In the discussion of my previous post regarding an ill considered remark about me on the Lyceum mailing list it occurred to me that I’ve never posted the rules that I play by.  This is because I’m pretty much making them up as I go along, but there are still a few things that really get me.

The first big thing is, if you don’t like what I have to say, the comments are open, my e-mail is posted in the sidebar, and trackbacks are open as well.  The whole point of a blog is to be able to present your thoughts and get feedback on them.  Running around and calling me names behind my back doesn’t encourage an exchange of ideas, it doesn’t improve the relations between two groups of disparate philiosophy, it only serves to upset people and leave hard feelings in their wake.   In the interests of this, I try to notify people that they’re being posted about in my blog (the autotrackback feature in WordPress is enabled in this blog).  Most of the time I try to send a trackback.  If it’s a big faceless organization, I usually don’t bother, but if there’s clearly an individual, I usually do try to make some sort of notification.

2.  Keep it civil.  I like sarcasm, mirth, and the like.  I prefer to keep the profanity to a minimum around here.  There are limits, but they’re pretty much whatever I say they are.  in other words, if you’re a newbie and you insult somebody I’ve come to see as a friend, I’m going to be harder on you than if you’re somebody I’ve known for a while and come to trust and respect.  Kind of a standard social reaction.

That’s pretty much it.  My place, my rules.  By and large, I don’t moderate comments except where they are mean or profane.  If you ever make a comment that doesn’t show up, the e-mail is on the sidebar of the main page.  Akismet spam is the only anti-spam I’m running as far as automatically trying to weed out spam, so it is possible to get automatically thrown into the spam filter (but if you let me know soon enough I can fish it out).

Brave as long as they think you’re not looking…

My my, what a little Google search on your internet handle will reveal…

I love the fact that we’re reviled by a guy with a paunch who drives a Chevy (as a matter of religious conviction), calls himself the “flannel avenger”, and earnestly believes in the principals of the confederacy. If I have to be anonymously maligned by proxy, then I’m glad this guy’s the one doing it. -Joey Carr, re: http://tinyurl.com/zhvbn

Where to begin…

Well, first off, only a moron would believe that I’m insulting anybody anonymously or by proxy. Anybody who is interested in spending 5 minutes reading my site can find out everything they need to know about me.

Secondly, don’t you love how they used a Tiny URL instead of the Real URL? You wouldn’t want anybody finding that sort of thing in the referrer logs and being able to trace it back to you, huh?

Thirdly, nobody has yet to explain to me why iBiblio, a service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, should be providing webspace for Indymedia, an organization that blatantly spreads left wing propaganda.

And Fourthly. Comments are open. If you don’t like it, you had a chance to complain in the post as it was written. Of course, that would have given me an opportunity to repudiate anything you had to say, and we can’t have that. After all, leftists are all for free speech, which is to say, anything any left wing nutjob has to say is free speech, but dare to criticize anybody on the left and you’re a fascist ignorant bufoon.

Canadian Lumber Dispute Resolved?

It seems that the long running feud between the US and Canada over softwood lumber is set to be resolved.

US Producers felt that the Canadian government was unfairly subsidizing the Canadian softwood lumber industry and allowing them to dump their product in the US markets as below the market price for US lumber.

This has been one instance where the US government actually put up a fight rather than let us be our own worst enemy.  I hope that this agreement keeps the US producers from being overrun by subsidized Canadian lumber.