Saturday, July 19, 2003

Building on my previous post, I didn't realize that the situation with swapping music files had already gotten so bad. That's actually really scary if you think about it.

Friday, July 18, 2003

This [Courtesy of The Second to Last Resort] is a pretty scary bit of news. Apparently, there's a bill being considered that would actually put you in jail for swapping songs on the internet. For a while, I thought this seemed like a really iffy issue. It was sorta stealing. Though, after giving it some thought, I don't think "intellectual property" rights can really be enforced.

The easiest way to break the problem down is by comparing it to other situations; mainly whether or not it's wrong to invite your friends over to listen to music, or even to let them borrow a CD. I certainly don't think it's wrong, and I doubt anyone else does, either. So then, why is internet file swapping so bad? Ultimately, both actions are based on the same principle. If I buy a CD and choose to rip MP3s from it, or even to burn a CD for a friend, am I not just sharing something I paid for?

Maybe the real debate should be about what you're paying for when you buy a CD; the actual disc and packaging, or the music? If you've paid for the music, there's nothing wrong with sharing your purchase with others. If you're paying for the packaging then, well, clearly the music is free anyway. Either argument would just fall flat on its face. If a musician tried to say that you've paid for their music, but you're not allowed to share it with others, then clearly, you've been ripped off. When buying property, it's the right to dispose of said property that you're paying for, and that includes sharing the property, and yes, even duplicating it. As long as you haven't forcibly taken anything from anyone, then you're not stealing.

The best musicians can really hope for is getting credit for their songs. Since songs are downloaded by artist and title, of course they'll be credited. It's not wrong to copy an excerpt from a book, magazine, or newspaper, as long as you don't try to claim the credit for making it, and also make sure to credit the author that did make it.

In the case of recording bootleg movies, I think it's wrong, but only because movies are seen on private property. Since it is, movie theater owners have the right to ban cameras in their facilities if they please. So my argument against bootleg videos isn't against recording movies itself. There's nothing wrong with taping a movie on TV, or making copies of a video you own, but it is wrong to make copies of something on someone's property when they've banned making copies of stuff.

On the bright side, though, at least the government didn't install explosives in all our computers yet.

I'm typing out a post right now on MS Word, and according to it, internet isn't a word. The odd thing is that MP3s is. These crazy computers.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Looks like Bob Graham is hinting at impeaching Bush.

"If in fact we went to war under false pretenses that is a very serious charge," Graham, the senior U.S. senator from Florida, told reporters in New Hampshire.

Indeed it is. That's exactly why I doubt that we were deliberately lied to. Bush would have absolutely nothing to gain by lying to go to war. He's a politician, and politicians like being re-elected. Even if the war were to bolster support for him, there's know way he'd think it would fly with voters to lie about the war, and there's no way he'd expect to avoid getting caught. Only the most paranoid of people would think Bush's goal in becoming president was to start a war with Iraq, and that he's somehow managed to keep his entire staff quiet about his diabolical schemes to conquer the world... er, start a war with a small country on the other side of the planet.

Think about Tony Blair, too. Think about every other country that supported this war. Think about how many people were involved in collecting and distributing intelligence. Would such a massive number of people all be thoughtlessly throwing away their careers, reputations, and soundness of conscience, so they could fight with Iraq? Of course not.

I'm not a big Bush fan. There are plenty of possibilities other than "Bush lied to us". There have been numerous rumors about Saddam having buried or sold the weapons before the war. I recall another good explanation, which I don't remember the link to. Essentially, Saddam tried buying chemical/biological weapons containers, but he turned out to have been cheated. The containers were mostly just filled with sand, so he didn't acquire much in the way of weapons. Though, he continued to act as though he had them, because if the Arab world heard that Saddam Hussein, the invincible dictator, had been duped, he'd be made the laughing stock of the region. I don't remember how credible the story really was, but it's at least fairly plausible.

The fact can't be denied that Saddam did act like he had weapons. Was he bluffing? Maybe. Did we have bad intelligence? That's possible too. However, none of these amount to Bush deliberately lying to us about Saddam. There's a difference between lying, and being led by mistaken facts, and Saddam didn't exactly do a whole lot to convince people that he didn't have weapons, lending a lot of support to the notion that he did in fact have weapons.

Plenty of people think Bush is stupid, but you have to admit, terrible grammar is one thing; deliberately lying to the world when you know they'd find out eventually is an entirely different matter.

Another policy-breaking post, I know, but I was admitted to UTSA today. Hooray me! It's real college instead of taking crappy community college dual-credit courses. I feel like I'm doing something cool with my life, being admitted to college when I really should just be entering my junior year in highschool.

Anyway, now that that's said, I'll post something with some real content soon.

I usually try to really avoid making posts where all I do is link something, but screw that for now; it's important! This is possibly the most hilariously disturbing news story I've ever read.

Is international law feasible? Is it moral? Is it even logically consistent? Thinking it over today, I'd say no; at least not with the way things are now. Most people consider the concept of international law to be pretty much axiomatic; just look at how many people criticized the war on Iraq for the sole reason that it didn't have official UN approval. In fact, I'm sure most people would assume that the world would be thrown into chaos.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to advocate a government-free world. However, I don't think that we need a government to govern the governments. Logically, this would lead to an infinite amount of governments, all trying to govern each other. An internationally governing body would just be a group of governments from various nations, so why is it even necessary to establish in the first place? Can't they just govern themselves without being in a group, forming an even bigger government?

An internationally governing body also can't work because of the various belief systems and forms of government that the nations of the world have. Eventually, someone will disagree with the international laws, leading to rebellion. It seems that forcing them to comply with international law would be violating the nation's sovereignty. Ultimately, a nation should be able to do whatever it wants as long as it doesn't violate anyone's rights. That's how it should be for individuals, too.

Though, there doesn't necessarily need to be a governing body to enforce this idea. If every nation agreed on it, then there would be no need to make laws, as the basic premise would be accepted, and for the most part, remain inviolate. That would take an almost absolute, world-wide moral and intellectual renaissance, though, and expecting that would just be wishful, idealistic thinking.

Right now, international law suffers from the very same problems as regular government, but on a much bigger scale. Ultimately, it doesn't respect the absolute sovereignty of the individual (assuming he doesn't violate someone's rights), and so, it will inevitably run into problems, contradictions, and immorality. Every government in the world violates the rights of the individual in some way. It's a disgusting problem that has yet to be fixed. Though, pushing for an international government, which will just repeat the problem on a grander scale won't fix it at all, it will only serve to make it harder to fix. The first step towards fixing the problem is establishing a moral, rights-violation-free government.

There isn't any real need for establishing a formal group to govern the world. In conclusion, I don't think proper international law could be established unless it were there to replace all of the individual governments. In other words, if the people of the world shared fairly similar viewpoints, and the world basically acted as one large country. So yeah, I think international law is feasible.

[Written while really sleepy, so don't be too hard on me if it's not put together exceptionally well.]

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Blogging's been light today, and by light, I of course mean non-existent. I ran into a bit of trouble when our phone bill for the month ended up being fifteen hundred dollars, so my stream of thought is a little blocked at the moment. More stuff soon, just give me a few hours.

Also, I think I fixed the color scheme problem that people were having with the blog. Score one for me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

One of the things I like about Reasonable Man is his stance on "Ageism". He has posts about it here and here. What you really need to read is this, which he recommends on a few occasions.

Basically, for those that didn't read the article at least, it deals with the way children, for the most part, aren't taken very seriously in our society. It's not saying that people don't care enough about children, but rather that most adults are fairly prejudiced against children when it comes to their minds and reasoning capacity. The article even goes as far as to call it "the final prejudice," which, to a certain extent, it is. After all, you can get away with assuming and saying a lot of things about someone based on their age that you'd be severely persecuted for if it were instead based on their skin color or background.

Though, I don't think the preconceived ideas extend only to children, but instead to younger people in general. A perfect example can be found in this argument between Drizz, and Amy Seager, who is pushing for a ban on cell phone use while driving. Read a few quotes:

You have a lot of growing up to do. You speak of individual rights. When you mature, you will understand that we are not only a society of individuals, but a society of individuals that have to make sacrifices and concessions for each other.


Grow up and quit whining about not being able to do every stupid thing you want to do regardless of who it hurts.[..


What did your parents teach you? To only think of yourself and what is right for you as an individual? How sad. How very, very sad for you. [I bring up this statement because, implicit in saying this is that Drizz is too young to form his own ideas and judgements about the world, and is left merely relying on his parents' word.]


That means rules, kid.


Your indignation regarding "rights" is aimed at the wrong people, kid.


I don't know why I'm bothering with you. I guess it's the mother in me.

Now, I'm going to admit that I'm not entirely sure how old Mrs. Seager is. Judging by her daughters' age, I'd say she's probably somewhere in her mid to late forties. Notice how many times she bases her argument on the premise that Drizz needs to "grow up" or "mature" some before he can possibly expect to be right. In fact, she even seems to discard some points simply because Drizz is much younger than her, making it more acceptable to talk down to him, rather than at least treat him with some respect as an opponent in a debate, rather than a bad little hellian child that speaks of breaking the rules and needs some scolding.

That's just one example, but you can see things like this happening all around us. A great deal of people automatically equate age with life experience, and then assume that more life experience means first of all that you're going to be right about things more often, and secondly that you're in a more wisdom-oriented position than those younger than you. This all rests on the assumption that people will necessarily draw the correct conclusions from their life experience, but we all know that doesn't always happen. If people draw faulty conclusions, then their life experience is actually a bad thing, serving only to keep them in the wrong, thinking they're right because they've been through more.

Hopefully, sometime in the future everyone really will be judged individually according to their own merit and reasoning capabilities. Until then, I'd like to thank all of you reading my blog that take me seriously, despite the fact that I'm younger than most of you.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Looks like I'm in my teenage punk rebellion phase. I'm a rebel without a cause. I'm wild and reckless. In fact, I should probably go out and buy myself a leather jacket, some hair grease, and a motorcycle. Then I'm off to join a gang and hopefully participate in a rumble. Participate in a rumble? That sounds way too nerdy. "I'm'na rumble!" Slightly better.

That's right, I broke curfew. Not a parentally-imposed curfew, but the legal curfew. I'm pretty sure it's eleven P.M. here, and I didn't get home until about 12:40 A.M. It was daring and adventurous! Well, just ignore that I was checking in with my parents, and all I did was see a movie and go to the arcade. But wait! This movie was rated R. I had to buy a different movie and sneak in, and I'm seven months away from being old enough. So there. I think I've proven that I'm thoroughly hardcore. Now where's my damn motorcycle?

Joking aside, though, I'm pretty paranoid when it comes to the law. Not the law as in the laws, but as in the law. You know, the heat. Fine, the police. I was driving behind some person who wasn't even going the speed limit, and, having somewhere to be, I was getting impatient. So, when the guy turns, I start speeding up, but then think to myself, "You know, this is probably one of those things where I'm going to speed up now since that guy's out of the way, but then a cop will show up right after I do." So I stuck near the speed limit, and oddly enough, no more than two minutes later, I see a cop car. It was really gaining on me, so I got scared that I was being pulled over, but it's lights weren't on. So eventually I stay at the speed limit and he's just right behind me, following fairly closely. Then, I get worried that he's going to get mad for me being so slow, and give me a hard time about it. But then I got scared that this was some kind of crazy new cop trap scheme, where he was trying to get me to speed, so he could pull me over. Well, as you (most likely) expected, nothing happened.

For being such a nerdly, good little boy, I sure am scared of authority. Maybe it's why I'm always being so goody-goody.Whatever the reason, the cop had a cowboy hat, and you have to watch your back around people like that.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

There's a pretty good argument going on over at Drizz's blog. Even if you don't get involved, it's a good read.