Minutiae
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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Sunday, October 27, 2002
Ballistic fingerprinting= junk science.
posted by Rachel 10/27/2002
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Aren't you glad you live in the US?
posted by Rachel 10/27/2002
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Denbeste has something interesting to say. I excerpt extensively since he says a lot that's not as interesting (to me).

"But that deep division to which I referred, elitism versus populism, comes down to this: do you believe that the "common man" is wise enough to make up his own mind and pick the right answer if he's exposed to all sides of an issue?

The elitists do not. From their point of view, the common man is foolish, stupid, gullible, careless and intellectually lazy (not to mention being uneducated and simplistic). If he is exposed to the wrong information he will be seduced by it and will make the wrong choice. Thus it is important for that small segment of the population which is sufficiently intelligent, sophisticated, well educated and wise to evaluate the issues, and then to only let the proles see arguments for the right answer.

At its most fundamental, this point of view is based on deep contempt for the majority of the population.

I'm a populist. I have confidence in my fellow citizens, and I'm not afraid to let them see all sides of an issue. I'm willing to present my opinions and to see opposing opinions also be presented.

No right is absolute, and that's the case for free expression. There are certain kinds of speech which are not protected in the US by the First Amendment, but those things are very well defined and very limited: "fighting words", any speech which directly threatens the life or heath of someone else (child porn falls under this), active promotion of sedition, and revelation of classified information pretty much fill the list. But outside of that, the way to deal with speech you don't like is to argue against it, not to suppress it.

Which is why I think that the American Nazi Party and the Man Boy Love Association should be permitted to have web sites and to present their case, as long as they don't actively commit any crimes while doing so. The right solution for Holocaust Denial or advocates of white supremacy is to present the opposite side of the issue to prove that Holocaust Deniers and white supremacists are liars and fools.

I find the message delivered by the Nazis and the MBLA and the Klan (and Jerry Falwell, for that matter) to be profoundly repugnant, but I would be far more worried if I never encountered anything which I did not find repugnant. I want to see all points of view represented and available for everyone to see, in part because I know that most people will be just as revolted by the Nazis as I am. I trust my fellow citizens and I'm not afraid to let them be exposed to "dangerous" ideas.

That goes for political discourse, too. My nation now faces the most profound crisis of my adult life, and I feel an obligation as a citizen to be involved in the process of public discourse about those decisions. So I write what I think, and I try to present it clearly, and to make arguments for it. I have tried to seek out opposing opinions, and when I find them I try to demonstrate why I think they're wrong. When others who disagree with me find my opinions and criticize them, I link to them so that my readers can decide for themselves whether my arguments are faulty. In some cases I will respond in turn to those criticisms.

But my goal is to persuade. I want the policy I advocate to prevail and to guide national policy. That is what the Founders hoped free press would do, and I now have the ability to use the Internet to fulfill their dream.

Out of this process of give-and-take, of public debate and presentation of arguments and ideas, our nation will reach a political consensus and act on it. That's how our democracy is supposed to work, and I have enough confidence in my point of view and faith in the judgment of my fellow citizens that I'm willing to submit my point of view to that process, and to let them see not just what I say but what my opponents say, because I think my case is stronger and will indeed prevail.

People who are not willing to engage in this process have no right to complain when their points of view lose out."

posted by Rachel 10/27/2002
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I understand why the news people are chattering incessantly about Wellstone. To give them some credit they've made a lot of room for eulogizing. But I'm saddened by all the politics that are mixed in. I have to turn away from all the politician's crocodile tears. I understand that for a lot of people the loss was of the role he filled, but I have to ask myself how his sons must feel to have so much the focus on his senate seat. They say politics robs people of their humanity. I don't think that was true for Wellstone in life but I think it may be in his death. I can only hope that his family isn't distracted by all this, that they may grieve for the man he was not the position he occupied. His daughter left behind a husband and daughter. Those pilots and staff members had loved ones too. I think that the political circumstances will only compound the tradgedy for those families.

This is
loss. This is what's important. People who forget that can go straight to hell.
posted by Rachel 10/27/2002
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If the name 'Hell In A Handbasket' weren't already taken I'd change the name here. Shit. What the hell is happening to the world?!? Are the planets out of alignment or what? If so how long will this continue? My God. WTF?
posted by Rachel 10/27/2002
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