freedom

freedom


Free Speech in Modern America

free speech November 16th, 2022

Freedom of speech is a liberty that is woven into the very fabric of the United States. We have a long history here of continuing the tradition and system set up by the founders of America, such as Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Except for certain periods of a marked diminution of free speech and dissent (such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, McCarthyism, and the juggernaut of the post-9/11 Middle East wars), one could rest assured that if they wished to stand on a soapbox and absolutely trash the POTUS, one would not be prevented from doing so. Of course, there are libel and slander laws, which make it illegal to lie about someone in public (i.e., to besmirch their good reputation). And yes, in the age of social media free speech, freedom of expression, and the liberty to be who one chooses to be are greatly stressed.

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Abortion Rights (and Wrongs)

abortion rights July 6th, 2022

Abortion is one of the hot topics du jour—unfortunately one of ten or twenty that are now crowding each other for center stage. Indeed, America is riddled with social problems and plagued by a tearing of the social fabric that holds this heterogeneous and highly class-based country together. Though gun violence, the vast Right-wing conspiracy to subvert democracy in 2020-2022, and economic troubles do prey on my mind, I think abortion is quite relevant to values—and therefore it concerns me here on this blog.

Indeed, abortion is all about values: First and foremost, the right a woman has to control her own body (autonomy, or privacy, or freedom, or equality, perhaps).

Secondly, the so-called rights of the unborn child.

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Is Religious Tolerance or Fundamentalism More American?

religious April 26th, 2022

Is religious tolerance or is religious fundamentalism a better description of America and what the founding fathers believed we should be?  Did you know that 55% of Americans believe that Christianity was written into the Constitution and that the founding fathers wanted One Nation Under Jesus (which includes 75% of Republicans and Evangelicals) (USA Today)? It is true that Puritan pilgrims came here seeking religious freedom, and that today we are one of the most religious of industrialized nations. In this blog, I discuss this matter briefly and bring in a dozen or so elucidating quotes that are relevant. Bill Maher and Dennis Miller add a humorous flavor as well.

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Meaninglessness and Finding Meaning

meaning of life April 3rd, 2022

This blog is an analysis of the short essay of Richard Taylor’s, “The Meaning of Life”, from his book Good and Evil (2000). Questions of meaninglessness, meaning, will, existentialism, free will, determinism, despair, and hope are touched on. In the end, the questions are asked, what a human is meant for, what makes him truly happy; what makes her have the will to go on? It is an easy argument to follow, and the culmination is fairly hopeful. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is integral to the essay. Quotes about meaning bookend it.

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Responsibility Necessarily Entails Free Will

free will March 10th, 2022

Though determinism has much weight on its side, I have to believe that free will is not an illusion. Imagine there were a god or a supercomputer which could predict with 100% accuracy what I was going to do, 100% of the time. Would I be responsible for my behavior? Could I be praised to doing right or blamed for doing wrong? Is my free will my own, or an illusion? The main reason for believing that if God or a supercomputer could predict my behavior with absolute certainty, I would not be responsible for my actions is that responsibility necessarily entails freedom to choose, to act.

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Existentialism: Authenticity vs. ‘Bad Faith’

authenticity March 1st, 2021

In a prior post entitled “Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility, and Freedom,” I examined meaning in life, Jean-Paul Sartre, existence, etc. In this blog, I would like to go a little further toward examining authenticity vs. the idea of “bad faith.” It will hopefully generate more light than it does heat as far as living one’s life with success, passion, deliberateness, and insight. As always, wisdom is about the highest goal, and happiness is not far behind. 

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Fake News in Trump’s America

fake news January 3rd, 2021

Throughout the country’s short existence, the most authoritarian Presidents have been, in order: John Adams, George Dubya Bush, Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Jackson, and Donald Trump. There are grumblings on the Right that Obama was somewhat abusive of his power, and I think that case can be made (certainly, journalists and Freedom of Information Act seekers were very disappointed in him). I intend this essay to be about the psychology underlying political beliefs, and the hot-button topic in this realm is, perhaps with a plethora of absurdity, uttered by Trump almost daily: the term fake news. Trump most likely coined the term fake news, and though he is but a con-man, truth, lies, and deception predate him – laying bare the idiocy of our whole politico-cultural system.

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Paternalism: The Individual Vs. The People

November 21st, 2018

Paternalism is the idea that the State (one’s country) has a right to determine some rules that citizens are obliged to follow because the State knows better and something important is on the line. So, stopping at a traffic light might simply be a law – and one that everyone can agree with. Libertarians, however, object to some laws made by lawmakers on the grounds that they are unnecessarily paternalistic, and sap the liberty of the individual. Wearing helmets during motorcycling is a good example of an issue that is debated between libertarians and those who feel that the individual is not necessarily the best decision-maker when it comes to things such as safety. Clearly, gun rights are the issue du jour. Here are some thoughts about who gets to decide what, how, and why.

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Does God Exist? The “Problem of Evil”

problem of evil August 26th, 2018

I was watching an episode of the psychological thriller “Dexter” last night (yes, I’m quite a few years behind), and a challenging scene came up. It was that of a woman who was held against her will as a sex slave. The same day, I at my wife’s (Catholic) Church, and the two really got me thinking. Specifically, about whether God exists and if so, how to deal with one of the main objections to the existence of God: the problem of evil. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, “It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist” (Blaise Pascal).

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Americans Aren’t Stupid, We’re Lazy and Misled

Americans aren't stupid August 21st, 2018

In a recent blog entitled “Are the American People Stupid?” I entertained the thought that yeah, we pretty much are. Americans have never been particularly high-brow, are more religious than most other leading countries, and are being swamped by a politics out of control and social media that is abysmally bad. So I wanted to attempt to paint a larger picture, to add some context to my depressing conclusion. In this blog, I explore the idea that Americans aren’t stupid, we’re lazy and misled. Many powerful and pernicious forces act upon us. I will get an assist from hip-hop artists Black Star and their song “Thieves in the Night”, believe it or not.

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