Saturday, May 31, 2003

Pick-up lines are so terrible. Terribly hilarious. My brother and I were talking about them last night for some reason. That's after we had fun talking about them one night about a month ago. It's a topic that could never go stale! Just like the pick-up lines themselves. Off the top of my head, I know:

"Do you work for UPS? Because I think I just saw you checking out my package." [I'm not sure this one, or a few of the others, are punctuated correctly. Usually, it's one sentence, but I broke them into two, because it looked wrong. Please be kind!]

"Do you wash your clothes with Windex? Because I can see myself in your pants."

"Did it hurt? [After being asked "What?"] When you fell from heaven."

"Is your dad a baker? Because you have nice buns."

My personal favorite just happens to be, what would most likely be considered the most offensive of the group:

"I wish you were a door so I could slam you all day."

I accidentally came up with one a few months ago. I forgot how it came about, but I remember it went:

"Do you need some Nicorette? 'Cause you're smokin'."

Sure, it's lame, but I was proud of it. Damn proud.

Yeeees, I'm immature for thinking they're funny, but... Uh, they're funny because people use them. Yeeah, that's all I've got. Let's just pretend it's a serious philosophical discussion about the moral impact and value of pick-up lines. Make sure to contribute any good ones you have.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Speaking out against media deregulation

If you read the article, you might be a little surprised. I know I was. At least read this part:

On a sidewalk in front of Clear Channel Communication's headquarters Tuesday, two consumer advocates and the head of Texas State Rifle Association protested next week's Federal Communications Commission hearing on media ownership.

"Clear Channel is the poster child for media deregulation gone bad," Luke Metzger, advocate with the Austin-based Texas Public Interest Research Group, said in a news conference. [Emphasis added.]

I'm pretty sure that the Texas Rifle Association is like the NRA on a local scale. In other words, the same people who argue for their right to own guns also assert that media bigwigs have no right to own radio stations. Ironic, isn't it? Unfortunately, it's true, and sickeningly so.

Also note that Metzger doesn't specify how Clear Channel is the poster child for media deregulation gone bad. They own a lot of media outlets and broadcast what they want. What's so wrong about that?

"We are part of a growing coalition opposed to a government plan to allow a few media conglomerates to control what you hear and see on TV, radio and in newspapers," Metzger said. "The FCC wants to restrict access to minority opinions."

The FCC doesn't want to restrict anything. Metzger is the one advocating restriction. Real restriction can only be done by the government, which has the power to legally coerce media to broadcast specific programs.

The minority does not have a right to be heard. If I would like to go on the radio and advocate infanticide, what station would pick me up? Mine is a minority viewpoint. Maybe we should also ask the KKK if they'd like their own hour-long radio show to discuss white supremacy. The minority can hold and express its opinion, but no one is obligated to give them a forum in which they can do so. If someone wants to put a minority opinion on air, then good for them. If they don't, then that's just too damn bad for the minority.

Also, if you examine his statement, Metzger implies that no one cares about the minority opinion. He assumes that every media outlet will become part of a huge conglomeration bent on controlling what we hear. However, such would not be the case if small, independently owned radio stations actually had listeners. If people continue to support the dreaded conglomerate media outlets, then they are clearly satisfied by the information and opinions presented by it. Radio stations aren't immune to the market, no matter how big and deregulated they get. The only way they could be immune to the market is through more and more regulation.

"Clear Channel is committed to our communities and our local audiences, and the fact that none of them were there in support of this group speaks for itself," said Lisa Dollinger, the company's spokeswoman.

Once again, if a sizable group of people continues to subscribe to the services provided by Clear Channel, then it's clearly being supported.

"We're united by our love of free speech," said James Dark, executive director of the Texas State Rifle Association, based in Richardson. "Everyone stands to lose — conservatives and liberals across the spectrum — if the right to free speech is diluted." [Emphasis added.]

His association wants the FCC to keep the rules intact and resist further deregulation that "will allow corporate giants to own more and more of America's media, placing the press under an elite few in corporate America," Dark said.

You just knew the free speech argument was going to be made. Why? Because most people like free speech. However, Mr. Dark committed the fallacy of equating the right to free speech with the right to an outlet to share your opinion through. Limiting free speech is something that only the government has the power to do. Freedom of speech means freedom from the government coercing you to say/not say certain things. Free speech does not include private organizations having to put everyone who has something to say on the air. Refer to the argument made earlier.

Besides, the government telling radio stations that they're only allowed to say and broadcast certain amounts of certain materials is the violation of free speech here.

Last week, the FCC received more than 100,000 comments from the National Rifle Association and more than 100,000 signatures collected by a group called, all concerned with keeping the current rules in place.

Once again, it's going to be really interesting to see how the pro-gun crowd intends to support its right to bear arms, while denying people the right to own radio stations. The NRA has lost any credibility it may have had, if you ask me.

Large corporate ownership of radio stations makes it difficult for local musicians to get their songs played on the radio, Metzger said. It limits the variety of music available to the public, he said.

Clearly, almost no one cares.

I could go on and on about this, but I'm too disgusted. I'll discuss it on the radio when those damn conglomerates stop limiting my free speech.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

It's a bit troublesome

Considering that I will hopefully be enrolled in college this fall, some of the things mentioned in the article bother me a bit. By a bit I mean a lot. All of the italics are mine unless otherwise noted.

She recommends activities that show a "continuing commitment" to a project or cause and demonstrate "some leadership development or a deeper community-service orientation."


Do look for ways to serve others.


Most important, do remember to plan from the heart. Neill Seltzer, author of the Princeton Review's "Guide to Summer Programs" (2004) reminds students that admissions officers are looking for "a student with genuine interests and passions, a student who has learned about him or herself by giving to others, a student who has sought out new experiences and engaged with them.

There seems to be an unhealthy emphasis here on volunteering and contributing to the community. Supposedly, it builds "character." However, the last time I checked, implicitly acknowledging that someone else's misfortune entitles them to services provided by the more affluent members of society does not build character. Sacrificing yourself, and regarding the interests and desires of others as ultimately more important than your own does not build character. It helps to cripple self-esteem, to train people to think of themselves as something to sacrifice for the good of the community. However, there is no "community good." There is only my good, your good, someone else's good.

The worst part about it is that most people not only think that you should participate in community service, but that you are morally obligated to do so. I dare someone to think of a plausible reason for me to believe that I am morally obligated to the less fortunate. I could be considered less fortunate than some people who live down the street. How much are they morally obligated to do for me until they've earned the right to be called "good people?"

A moral obligation suggests that the "obligation" is required in order to warrant your very existence. If some people are morally obligated to serve others, then it logically follows that other people have every right to initiate the use of physical force in order to extort this service.

As was mentioned earlier, there can be no "public good." The public is not an entity. The public is a loosely-collected group of people. The public as a whole has no specific definition, order, or identity. The public could lose members, or gain them, and it would remain unchanged. So, generally, "the public good" means the good of the majority. However, the idea that the public good supersedes individual rights ultimately falls flat. For the sake of an example, let's suppose that somewhere, the public is comprised of three people. If two of the people consider it to be in their best interest to force the third to do their bidding, then, by the principles "public good" utilitarians advocate, they are more than justified in doing so. Since the good of most prevails over the rights of all, the third man has no rights if the first two men decree that he doesn't.

I'm sure some would argue then that the public good should be upheld sometimes, but not all the time. Here, they've completely lost control of their argument. There is no way to rationally determine when the public good should be used as the basis of morality, or when individual rights should be. The fact is, you must have one concrete, fundamental principle by which you determine what is morally acceptable and what is not. To switch between different fundamental bases of morality, whether because of emotions, or for convenience, is to completely renounce morality as a whole. Morals that you don't have to adhere to in order to be moral aren't morals.

Ultimately, the best thing for the public (In the most literal sense of the word. That is to say, the best thing for everyone.) is strict adherence to the principle of individual rights. Some people may be rich. Some people may be poor. However, as has been shown by the many failed collectivist societies established over just the past hundred years, the institution of collectivism does not make everyone better off. In an attempt to provide everyone with things they'd like, they strip them of their most valuable asset- their freedom. A poor man with freedom is at least free to live his life and pursue his own goals. In other words, he can do something about his situation. The same isn't true in any form of collectivist society.

Quite a few people advocate the idea of a rightless society, and seem to have an honest desire to live in one. Good for them. However, their ideas don't entitle them to enslave everyone else, too.

[On a side note, my apologies if the post doesn't seem to have much structure. I was sort of a spontaneous thing, and turned into a fairly long editorial there. I got interupted a bit, and I'm posting it without reading it over because I'm tired. I might fix things later.]

Canada is Decriminalizing Pot

Or so the article says. I wouldn't exactly consider fining people as long as they have a small amount of pot "decriminalizing," but it is a start. Being uncomfortable with the idea of altering my consciousness, I don't intend to do pot, and even seem to recall turning down the chance a few times while hanging out with Drizzten. However, I would be ecstatic if drugs were ever completely legalized, as it's another one of those huge steps necessary for the government to take if it is to recognize individual rights.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Billy Graham's done it again

Well, I suppose there's never a time when he isn't saying something nonsensical. Though, the column in today's paper struck me as one of the bigger mistakes he's made. That I've seen at least. In his response to a question, Graham writes:

Would it offend you if I replied by saying the same thing you said to me -- that I feel sorry for people like you? I hope not, because I sincerely feel sorry for anyone who deliberately turns their back on the joy and peace God offers them.

Notice in that statement, Graham assumes that the reader has turned his back on something that he actually believes to exist. Graham commits the epistemological fallacy of assuming God as an axiom implicit in everyone's understanding of the universe. It doesn't even seem to occur to him that the reader might have critically evaluated the subject, and come to the conclusion that there isn't a reason to believe that God actually exists. Instead, Mr. Graham chooses to think that atheists really do believe in God, but deny it, and defy him for some inexplicable reason.

Well, it is Billy Graham.