I like this -- you should watch it:
For those of you who didn't watch it, stop reading this post and watch it.
I've been thinking a little about gun control lately (largely because of Miri's post; it wasn't actually the point of her post, but I managed to completely derail it by my comment -- sorry, Miri). I don't think I actually care so much about gun control as I do about the legislation about gun control. I don't own any guns currently. I might later. Shotgun shooting is really, really fun. But if I never own a gun, I'll be okay. However, some people really want guns, and I'm fine with them owning and using them responsibly (<--- deliberately vague term).
These are guns painted like toys:
Hello, Kitty. May I borrow your knife?
Though I don't particularly care about guns, I do care about excessive regulation and legislation. Like Mr. Howard says, "Life is too complex for a software program. All these choices involve value judgments, and social norms, not objective facts." Laws that attempt to cover every eventuality never will... but in the process of trying, they will restrict freedom rather than secure it. Says Mr. Howard: “we've been trained to squint into this legal microscope, hoping that we can judge any dispute against the standard of a perfect society, where everyone will agree what's fair, and where accidents will be extinct, risk will be no more. Of course this is Utopia, it's a formula for paralysis, not freedom.”
I listened to this speech while I was driving to St. George over the weekend. As I was driving, I started to think about the laws for driving. Cars pass me. I pass cars. Cars speed past my car within a several feet -- but it doesn't worry me. And what prevents me from worrying? Paint. Yellow paint and white paint. Yes, sometimes cars cross the paint when they shouldn't. Accidents happen. (I'll use “accident” and “crash” interchangeably, though they aren't the same -- most things people call accidents are avoidable crashes; but that's a tangent) We could try to prevent all accidents by putting cars on rails and making them all go the same speed. That would be insanely expensive and impractical... and idiotic. And, even if cars lived on rails, we would still have malfunctions, and bad weather and accidents.
How beautiful is paint! It's flexible and cheap and works well. In the cases where a human needs to use their judgment and break outside of the boundaries to avoid an accident, he can.
Let people have agency. Let some use it poorly. Let most use it wisely.
And lest you think I'm advocating anarchy or getting rid of all law, I'm not. I am advocating simple paint solutions. Draw some general lines and let people fill in the spaces. It is not a government's job to eliminate all pain or possibilities for pain.
This one about octopus and dragonflies was interesting. So was this one about simplifying legal jargon; and it's short.
...now I'm hoping that I don't get in a car accident tomorrow... or accidentally get shot.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I like this -- you should watch it:
Posted by Matt Haggard at 9:28 PM
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I forgot to write about The Brothers Karamazov! That book is the second, long, boring, Russian novel I've read (Anna Karenina being the first). It took me about a year to get through. I recommend it if you're patient. By boring, I mean that the book is slow, and relaxed. There are times of intensity and suspense -- but it's largely a whale chewed bit by blubbery bit. For example, the opening paragraph informs the reader that the story is about the murder of a man. But that man isn't actually murdered until almost exactly halfway through the book.
I actually finished it before East of Eden, but never got around to reviewing it. Like East of Eden, here's a few favorite quotes:
Father Zossima, quoting a doctor he knew (p.49-50)
Father Zossima, to a lady (p.50)
Ivan speaking to Alyosha (p.218)
Father Zossima (p.296)
Prosecuting lawyer in final "sermon" (p.703)
And here are the words (there's a little overlap from Eden's list):
abashed, abject, abnegation, absolution, accede, acquisitive, adroitly, affable, affably, afface, anathema, antipathies, antipathy, apiary, apprehend, apropos, aquiline, arch, archimandrite, ardent, ardour, arrogate, ascetic, aspect, asperse, aspersed, austere, austerely, avowal, balsam, balustrade, barrister, benefactor, benumbed, bereaved, besmirched, brooked, burdocks, caddish, callous, calumniated, calumny, caprice, cassock, casuist, casuistry, censer, censorious, censure, charing, charlatanism, chattel, churlish, consiliating, convalescence, copse, coquettishly, coxcomb, crape, cupola, cursory, decoction, demur, demurely, derision, derisively, despatch, despotic, diffidence, diocesan, dirge, disavowal, dissipated, dissipation, dissolute, doggerel, doles, drivelling, dyspeptic, echeat, effrontery, effusively, emancipation, emasculate, epoulettes, equanimity, erudition, evinced, expansive, expiate, extant, extenuate, extortionate, extraneous, fain, fixity, foundered, freak, gesticulating, gibes, gibing, goading, gratuitous, hetaira, homeopathic, hurdle, ignominy, imperious, impertinence, importunate, importunity, impudent, impudently, impunity, incisive, incorrigible, indefatigably, indignation, indolence, ingenuousness, ingratiating, inoculated, inscrutable, insolent, insolently, insoluble, inveterate, irascible, jackdaw, kaftan, ken, knout, laceration, lackey, latent, lavished, lenten, licentious, listlessly, locker, lorgnette, loth, loutish, lumbago, lurid, mawkish, morass, mummery, novitiate, obdurate, obsequious, obtuse, opined, opulent, paltry, paragon, paroxysm, parricide, parsimony, particoloured, pedantic, pedantry, pernicious, peroration, phlegmatic, pining, piquant, piquante, poseur, prate, prating, precocity, prevaricate, privation, profligate, propitiate, prosaic, punctilio, pusillanimous, quadrille, qualm, rapacious, repine, reprobate, repudiate, requiem, restiveness, sallow, salutary, samovar, scrupled, scruples, seething, self- effacement, self-immolation, sententiously, solicitude, solidarity, sordid, sot, sottish, sphinx, spleen, staid, stint, stole, stolidly, straitened, subterfuge, suffused, supercilious, superciliously, surmise, surplice, swinishness, tallow, timorous, unexampled, unmannerly, veriest, verst, vociferated, vogue, voluptuary, vouchsafed, waggish
Some of these words I've included because they are used abnormally. For instance: freak and apprehend. From the book:
I like books that are smarter than I -- almost as much as I like "I" supplanting "me" in an effort to sound smarter :)
Sometime soon expect a post more about me and less about me reading.
Posted by Matt Haggard at 9:27 PM