Category Archives: Soapbox Mode

I hate “one bad apple” politics


I should probably elaborate on what this means:

This is a term I’ve devised for the mentality, mostly found in right-wing politics, in which the existence of one person abusing a thing in ways that cause very little harm is proof that that thing should be banned.

You see it in the assertion that boat people are the biggest threat to Australian security, even though the 15,800 refugees to arrive in the past year are outnumbered approximately 2000 to 1 and 85% of them are legitimate refugees anyway according to the UN.

You see it in the idea that the (fictitious) existence of “welfare scroungers” in the US means that the entire welfare system should be shut down and screw the people who are dependent on it to scratch a precarious living.

Oddly enough, usually the main field you don’t see it in is gun rights, in which the people who misuse them – usually in ways that cost multiple lives – are brushed under the carpet and dismissed as fringe nutjobs so that the people speaking can keep their firearms. Weird. You’d think that consistency would at least obligate them to apply this to everything – people text while driving? Ban both cars and mobile phones! That kind of thing.

All I will say is that “it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent be punished”.

– OSM out

 

(Worse than WBTC will come eventually! I just think I’ve been trapped in the Valve-Time Continuum.)

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Dear Christian parenting groups, kindly go away


WARNING: RANTY. OKAY TO SKIP.

(This is going to be an angry one. You may want to stand back. Maybe move pot plants away from the computer.)

Another push toward gay marriage, another group of smug Christian parenting groups claiming that it contradicts federal legislation and therefore will be shot down. Even assuming this is true, why are you happy about this? Nobody’s going to force you to marry another person of the same sex at gunpoint. Same-sex marriage is not going to affect you in any way. Meaning that you are happy about the failure of something that will have no relevance to your life simply because…what? Do you consider other people

In fact, a *lot* of anti-same-sex-marriage arguments are dumb. My favourite has to be the slippery slope one that asks whether the next plan is to legalise marrying dogs. I mean, wow. I’m not even gay and I find that offensive. No, seriously. If you’re using that argument, you are comparing gay people to nonsapient animals. Do you not see how this could be taken as hugely rude and stupid? Are you so devoid of empathy that you don’t see how obnoxious that is?

“If you let people worship God, next they’ll be worshipping pixies!” Did you find that rude? Good! That’s exactly how your argument is structured! I don’t regret giving you a taste of your own medicine at all. A little bit of empathy might even make you less of a dick!

This is the key problem Christianity has picked up. After more than a millennium as the dominant religion in the Western world, Christian groups have started to feel entitled to control. They don’t seem willing to accept equal status; they want greater. It’s not enough to keep your religion’s rules yourself; you need to legislate them, force them on other people. Even the loopy rules. After all, other people’s religions are just hokey superstitions or mockery of your own true religion.

Stop it. Your religion is not entitled to special privileges just because it is yours. You will have equal status and you will like it.

If you believe your religion requires you to be a homophobic tool, I want you to do two things. First, I want you to look deep inside yourself, to the darkest place you can see, and ask why you consider this religion to be a good thing.

Then I want you to go looking for a different religion, because you’ve just proved that the one you have now is not good for you.

– OSM out

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Politics Corner: Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel


Australian politics has finally reached rock bottom. As far as I’m concerned, politics has now come down to Greens vs. Idiots.

What has produced this breakdown, you ask? Labor’s new asylum seeker policy. Yeah, here’s a thing, Labor: that you are shoving people to a different location does not mean your policy is substantially different from the Coalition. In fact, a lot of your policies are not substantially different from the Coalition’s, except that they tend to involve throwing money away rather than pouring it into a giant Scrooge McDuck money vault and refusing to let anyone look at it. (Except John Howard, who would revert to his true form, curl up on it and sleep, at least until a party of dwarves and one wizard recruited Bob Brown as their burglar and set off on a quest to liberate it.)

And this is what we call a problem.

Why do we even have multiple parties if the three biggest are all the Liberal Party in different hats? How is it good for democracy that the primary choices are three batches of clone troopers?

I know it’s not going to happen, but I can’t help but want the Greens to win the next election. If nothing else, it’ll indicate to Labor that they can’t get away with just photocopying the Liberal policy documents and sticking on different colour covers.

– OSM out

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Filed under Guide to Life, Rants, Soapbox Mode

Today’s challenge: punch a Youtube commenter


First things first: I’m not going to name names. I’m going to mention a Youtube video and you can track it down and figure out the name yourself.

Second things second: I’m sorry this is nearly two days late, but I forgot. Then I found this moron and decided it merited a reply.

So I watched a Youtube video depicting President Bartlett from The West Wing chewing out a homophobe by quoting the more bizarre, disproportionate, almost insane laws found within the books of Exodus and Leviticus. And then I read the comments.

Yes, you’d think I’d have learned by now not to do that. No, I haven’t. Hopefully with some therapy I will recover.

As you would expect, given that this clip involves the idea that LGBTQ people might actually be human and deserve consideration*, there was one loud, ethically myopic, arrogant, stupid bigot who, by his** very existence, makes the human race slightly less worthy of survival. He made a lot of bad points and I think a few of them need to be addressed.

Point 1: “Opposition to Gay Marriage Isn’t Hate”

Yes it is.

I mean, let’s think about this. You’re denying someone the right to equality under the law. That’s hate. That is categorically a hateful act. There is no way to formulate “[group] should not be considered equal under the law” that does not boil down to “the law should hate [group]”.

Okay, it’s theoretically possible you’re not motivated by hate***. That actually makes it worse. That means you don’t even have the excuse that you were blinded by strong emotion. That means you are calmly engaging in a premeditated betrayal of all that is good in humanity. You are, without the slightest qualm of conscience, discarding empathy for a group simply because you do not belong to it****. That’s a terrible thing to do and a terrible person to be.

So you might not be a bigot. You might just be a sociopath. I don’t consider that a point in your favour.

Point 2: “Why don’t you tolerate my intolerance?*****”

There’s an old saying. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Since you are agitating for a policy of uncloaked spite towards a certain subset of the population, I think it would be fair if “we”, that is to say the left, showed you what that felt like.

Except that wait. We’re not. We haven’t driven your family to shun you; we haven’t fired you from your job; we haven’t demanded bans on straight marriage, oaths of atheism, or posting the Laws of Thermodynamics in public places. The degree of intolerance you are shown largely consists of a) people disagreeing with you, b) people calling you on your prejudice, and c) people not permitting you to wield unchecked legislative power in the name of that prejudice.

As a result, I suppose it makes sense that you have no sense of proportion. It makes sense that you have such a loose definition of disenfranchisement and prejudice, since you’ve never been on the receiving end. It makes sense that you’re afraid of the Other, because you’ve never associated with it.

It makes sense that you are all of these terrible terrible things. It just doesn’t make sense that you seem to think this is a good state to be in.

Point 3: “Most LBGTQ people are hateful bigots!”

Um, no, that’s not even slightly true. You are in fact thinking of the voices in your head. Most LBGTQ people are like most other people – they’re calm, sensible, reasonable people. This is true of virtually every group except “extremist wingnuts”.

Frankly, I’m amazed more LBGTQ people aren’t outspoken heterophobes. Given the quantity of crap they have to deal with, mainly thanks to people who agree with your nonsensical, bigoted, incoherent rants, it’s astonishing how few gays and lesbians succumb to “he who fights monsters”.

Of course there are a few outspoken loons. There are outspoken loons in every ideology. In fact, your own form of religiously annotated homophobia has produced rather a lot of them******. I’m pretty sure that makes you a hypocrite – “the more out-there of your side discredit the whole thing! …Please ignore the more out-there of my side.”

Point 4: “Marriage is not a right.”

Actually, it kind of is.

Have you perhaps heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from the UN? Article 16 states that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.” It does not specify that the men and women have to marry each other.

Plus, Article 7 states that all are equal before the law.

Meaning that yes, marriage actually is a right. More to the point, gay marriage is also a right, since if you can only legally marry the one you love if that person happens to be the other sex, that’s inequality under the law.

 

Anyway, I apologise for trying to address actual significant issues rather than ranting about cheese or theodicy for 800 words. Normal service should be resumed on Monday.

– OSM out

 

* That this is in any way a contentious stance makes me despair just a little bit.

** I’m assuming this person is male because their username contains a male first name.

*** Although given that the comments in question are heavy on capitals and short on logical argument, I doubt it somehow.

**** Or, in some cases, because you are a member of that group and have no idea how to constructively deal with it, leading to a tragic spiral of self-loathing that culminates in you being caught in flagrante delicto with a male prostitute and yet somehow remaining in denial.

***** Phrased rather more clumsily and stupidly in the fantastically dumb posts I’m reading, but honestly, this is the most well-known formulation so let’s go with this.

****** Insert a cough, then your preferred right-wing loudmouth, then another cough here.

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Filed under Rants, Soapbox Mode

Don’t take up Pascal’s Wager


WARNING: SOAPBOXY, OKAY TO SKIP

Just yesterday, I had a freak encounter with a wild Pascal’s Wager. It’s the argument that even if you don’t find the (lack of) evidence for God convincing, you should believe anyway, because if you believe and you’re right you go to Heaven, but if you believe and you’re wrong, you’ve lost nothing, right? It’s a surprisingly common argument. A lot of people find it compelling.

It’s also a load of horsehockey.

When you get right down to it, it has two parts and both of them are terrible – three if you count the assumption that believing something is a little switch you can just toggle on the spur of the moment, but I don’t see any reason to waste time on that one. The part aimed at the listener basically goes “atheists are bad people who need an incentive like self-preservation to believe.” Yeah, no. I disbelieve in God because I have never seen compelling evidence that He exists, and thus I do not find the argument that He does particularly compelling. It’s not “because Christianity didn’t give me pie.” It’s “because Christianity can’t back up its claims.” Totally different phenomenon.

But if the implicit disrespect to not just me but all atheists wasn’t enough, then there’s what Pascal’s Wager says about Pascal’s God. And what it says is not good.

Fundamentally, it says that Christian morality has all the sincerity of a bratty seven-year-old becoming a Perfect Little Angel (TM) when the Christmas decorations go up. It’s not about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. It’s about doing the right thing because you want stuff. And moreover, it says that God doesn’t care. It says that God cares more about getting compliments that flatter Him than he does about whether those compliments mean anything.

And frankly, if that’s what you believe your God is like, then screw Him with a drill press. Because if I’m wrong and there is a God, and he cares more about His ego than He does about truth, then frankly, I’d prefer Hell. It may be a lake of eternal fire and pitchforks being inserted into places pitchforks aren’t meant to go, but at least it’s an honest lake of fire. I’d much rather have torment that’s honest than an enormous garden packed with pretty flowers and two-faced vipers.

Come on. If you’re going to believe in something, at least believe in something that isn’t a complete self-obsessed tool. Come up with a God I can respect, even if I can’t believe in Him.

(As an aside, if applied consistently, the logical conclusion of Pascal’s Wager is that we should all devote ourselves to all religions simultaneously, just on the off chance that one of them is right. Because hey, just because Beni from The Mummy is a sleazy, spineless rat who would feed his own mother to alligators to save his own miserable hide, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t emulate him, right? Scene, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

– OSM out

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Filed under My Disbeliefs, Soapbox Mode