Friday, December 12, 2008

might as well go for a soda

Reality is the harshest drug I've ever taken.

Friday, January 12, 2007

maybe they could give out social worker bobblehead dolls

So, as a bit of a caveat, I should say that as I write this I'm looking at and listening to old video of Jean Luc Ponty and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Jazz/rock played on a violin. Pretty trippy. I think this makes me what atrios calls a "dirty fucking hippie." So be it.

What I want to write about tonight is a bit sensitive. I feel like I should duck while I'm writing it. Since it has to do with "supporting the troops," I open myself up to obvious ad hominem style attacks. But it's not just the fairly obvious idea that authorities tend to use the message of "supporting the troops," as cover to make people feel guilty for not supporting policies that send troops to their death, such as the Iraq mess. My awareness of this fact made me feel a bit sheepish when I was home for Christmas driving around in my dad's truck with his "Support the Troops" bumper sticker on it.

Really, honestly, genuinely, of course I support the troops. I have general issues about how armed forces like the army or the police can be used to enforce the will of powerful minorities over the wishes of unarmed majorities. But at the same time, I recognize that in many, many situations the police would be the first people I'd turn to for help if I were in trouble. I have the luxury of running away from an assailant and allowing the police to protect me. Police officers have agreed to risk their lives for schmucks like me. In a different way, so have soldiers. That's awesome. Thanks. Seriously. I'm glad there are people willing to do this.

But one thing I long admired about Canada was that it traditionally hasn't fetishized the military in the same way as the U.S. We haven't really needed military jets flying over the Grey Cup to make us feel like big men. But I fear that I sense that changing. One way I've noticed it is by watching the NHL this year. Every Canadian city with an NHL team, it seems, is taking one night this year to honour the troops. I was reminded of this tonight while waiting for the subway, and seeing Toronto is doing it before this weekend's game against Vancouver.

Now, by itself, these kinds of "honour the troops" nights are fine. Soldiers have what seems to me a shit job. Especially ones in battle zones like Afghanistan. I guess what I find weird is that soldiering as a profession seems to have been singled out for this kind of an honour. Again, I am grateful for what soldiers do, but I'm grateful that there are people willing to engage in a whole bunch of professions.

Where would we be without social workers, for example? They often clean up society's crap, are underpaid, and work in dangerous and hostile environments. But, of course, social workers are mostly women, and they deal with problems not by "fighting" them but by nurturing. Isn't it odd that we are supposed to so regularly pay hommage to and be grateful for those who fight while those who nurture go unrecognized. Thanks Dad. Now go make me a chicken pot pie, Mom. Y'know?

So, I know what soldiers do is tough. But lots of people help in different kinds of ways and also have it tough. And it seems like it's only soldiers who are deemed worthy of being lauded in these kinds of most visible ways. Ways that ultimately reinforce values that support aggressive responses to the world's problems. It reminds me of reports of the recently announced Iraqi plan to escalate attacks against insurgents, that was described as a "war on violence." I mean, once you declare war hasn't violence already won?

I won't hold my breath for a social workers night at the ACC. But it's important to remember, I think, that institutions that use care and nurturing as a response to the world's problems deserve at least as much respect as those that use violence.

Friday, January 05, 2007

the moral ambiguity of the mundane world

I live about 5 or 6 blocks from a retirement home. While walking to the subway today, I saw two men about a block ahead of me. One of them was white-haired, and was on his knees beside a walker. The other was dark-haired, and was helping him back to his feet. It seemed to be a bit of a struggle as it took a while. By the time I got up to them, the white-haired man was back on his feet, and was turning around as if heading back to the retirement home. I had thought maybe the dark-haired man was a carer, but when I got close he looked old enough that he might have been another resident of the retirement home. I'm not sure, but in any case, he was not a spring chicken. They were now about 2 blocks from the retirement home.

When I saw the man on his knees I figured I would ask if they needed help if he still hadn't been able to get to his feet by the time I reached them. But when I got to them, and he was off the ground, I had a strong approach-avoid conflict around helping. On the one hand, it seemed like he could have used the help. The white-haired man was stable on his walker and moving slowly, but the dark-haired man was providing support under one arm. It probably would have been useful for me to support him under the other arm.

But I was hesitant to offer the help. As a social psychologist, I know that people often fail to help in situations where they should, so I feel a particular burden in these kinds of situations. At the same time, I am aware of the potential for shame in these kinds of situations. As a younger, independent man, I could make the white-haired man's frailty more obvious. I was in some ways a symbol of what he had lost. I think younger people encounter these situations and dissociate themselves from their elders, as if that could never happen to them. But I am acutely aware that I will not always have my present vitality and, if I am fortunate enough to live that long, I will have to resign myself to the fact that a walk of two blocks is too much for me.

More to the point, I thought he might feel ashamed by my offer of help, taking it as a sign of pity. When I lived in North Carolina, I had a neighbour who drank heavily and walked with a cane. I came out of my apartment once and found him on the ground, struggling to get up some stairs. I helped him up and he went into his apartment without acknowledging me. I felt that he resented my intervention. I suppose he resented his own condition more than me, but again, I was a symbol of what he had lost. I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing. I think this experience informed my choice today - I walked past without saying anything.

What would you have done?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

that which cannot be seen

I didn’t think things like this really happened. But this blunt hollowness has drifted with me long enough to break down my formidable powers of repression and rationalization. I mean, the explanation is so simple on its face; the sort of intuitive, sub-linear explanation that makes scientists suspicious. I can’t imagine it being endorsed by an empiricist of any serious standing. Such psychodynamics must be both feared and attacked by steady men with grim faces. But I know better. You do not dwell with a Freudian Frankenstein monster without understanding that truth is safer than science. Is monster the right word? That seems too noisy a term to describe what I have come to know. Monster is figure whereas this is the silent ground, its dull gravity slowly winning through patience and omnipresence. If it were something it could be dealt with. Were it even the unknown a solution could be found. But how do you solve the absence of the unknown? I think it goes without saying that I simply don’t know. It’s not that I am terrified, but I am starkly curious in an urgent and disquieting sort of way. When certainties appear one day as dust, spreading in all directions on shifting winds, that is enough to get the attention even of stoics. As it stands, I cannot accept the outcome. All I can do, then, is make peace with the process. When you value mystery your only choice is to accept the occasional unpleasant surprise. It’s just that, in the end, it doesn’t seem to me like too much to ask for some sort of resolution to this discord between love and affection.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

i think you are full of mysteries

Man, I haven't been here in a while. Funny how I used to think about this site every day and now it rarely crosses my mind.

A lot can change.

Think about the people you work through their names and faces. Now think about people you worked with or went to school with 10 years ago. How many of them do you remember? How long will it be until the social network you have now passes into similar oblivion?

A lot has changed.

It was funny reading my old posts. A lot of them seem like crap to me, but they were still comforting somehow. I think I like the sound of my own voice. I think I like using the word I. I think I've earned the right to like these things.

A lot will change.

I don't know when I'll be back here again. It's comforting writing this. It feels like I'm being heard, even if the only person who's going to hear me is a future me who will think this post is crap.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

context-free quote of the week

It wasn't perfect, but it was beautiful, and that was vastly more important.

Friday, December 09, 2005

everything fine the way it is, officials say

In my human sexuality class, I do a lecture on sex and the media. One point I'd like to think I make fairly well is that we are not media's customers, especially in regards to the large, over-the-air networks. A customer pays for the product or service, but television viewers do not pay. The customer, then, is the source of revenue for television, the advertiser. You and I are the product.

The analogy I draw in class is with fishing. You and I are no more the customer to a television network than a fish is the customer of a fisher. Programming is the bait, not the product. The bait must be designed to find the product the advertisers want.

I find compelling the argument that advertisers do not want people engaging in deeply critical thinking - such actions make it more difficult to convince us that we should buy a mobile phone because the actress they paid to appear in the ad has large breasts.

I've been meaning for a while now to write about a pet peeve of mine. News stories, especially headlines, frequently make reference to "officials." Whenever some relatively major event (as defined by media itself) happens, these "officials" (usually government flaks well-trained in pr) are reflexively turned to for their authority and expertise. This paradigm bugs me, because the term "official" implies that there is some higher degree of objective truth to this person's viewpoint.

But, because these "officials" represent government organizations with an interest in maintaining their positions of power, their inherent bias is in defending the status quo. So the structure of news reporting reflexively provides those in power the means to maintain their power.

This really came to light for me yesterday, with the incident where air marshals shot an innocent, emotionally distressed man in Miami. The wave of stories that followed was predictable, with variations on the theme, "Authorities act appropriately again, officials say".

I mean, there's a general media culture of talking a lot of shit about things people don't know anything about. Very few people, officials included, saw the incident in Miami, so can there be any doubt that the lauding of the air marshals is underpinned more by hope than by fact? Because, frankly, it freaks me out how eager the media is to print cavalier dismissals of the killing of innocent people. I know this is really a minor case compared to things like the genocide of American natives, Central American death squads, or state-sanctioned torture.

It's just that it bugs me that when we see the word "official" we're supposed to shut off our brains, shut up our faces, and bend over to receive conventional wisdom.

I mean, imagine if "officials" were not routinely quoted and instead Amnesty International was given an obligatory quote on every major news story? Or the Ku Klux Klan? Or the crazy fucking Raelians?

I'm just sayin', is all, that the government is a set of vested interests like any other organization and unless you see the grip they hold over the news (and this is all setting aside the business interests part of the story) don't be surprised if you're the next to get blamed for making an air marshal shoot you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

spelled phonetically, i believe it's "reeeeefourrrrrrrm"

Down here in Australia, the conservative party (in a brilliant touch of 1984 macabre humour, the party is called the "Liberals") has taken control of of both houses of parliament and is in the middle of going apeshit with power. Among the pleasantries being introduced are sedition laws (such that I could be arrested for calling the Iraq war "illegal" in one of my lectures) and "industrial reform" (would that there were proper accents to induce my reader to read the word "reform" in the manner of Preston Manning, take it as read [assuming you are Canadian enough to remember Preston Manning's accent] that the word reform is to be read aloud in that manner for this entire document). But I digress from my digression.

Seriously, the Liberals have introduced a legislative agenda that I imagine people like Newt Gingrich read while sitting on the toilet and can't help but masturbate to it.

This industrial relations "reform" (pronounced, as noted, as if you had a very sore colon) is particularly galling. In the guise of making Australia "more competitive" (yes, more competitive with the workplace morals of the pre-industrial American south), the government is basically openly busting the unions' balls. What particularly irks me is the winged monkies the government's mob bosses have unleashed to justify these reforms (again, be sure to read this as though impaled by a gross of rusty fish hooks).

In a fit of pique worthy of Dr. Laura on acid, they claim that these reforms (editor's note: reading this as though you are being lap-danced by Donald Rumsfeld will only add to its effectiveness) provide workers with an unfair advantage over poor employers. Hasn't anybody thought about the children?

The notion that unions are somehow unfair drives me crazy. These are days when the corporation is held as a model of business efficiency, where money-holders band together to coordinate their investment to obtain an outcome as a group that they could not achieve as individuals. Yet, this same corporate structure somehow manages to convince people that when workers use the same strategy, that is somehow morally reprehensible.

There was a time during my days as a conservative that I fully drank the kool-aid on the union issue, believing they'd had their day but that day had passed. But I am fully convinced that there is far more a need for unions now then there ever has been. Corporations remove the owners from personal contact with those who toil to earn their returns. Corporations have absorbed government as a useful limb for their amoral purposes.

These are sad and hypocritical times for Australian politics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

one good way to get back on the horse is by taking cheap shots at easily disproved ideas: to wit...

So, I've been thinking about the debate around intelligent design lately. The biggest problem I have with it is the sheer vanity that support for intelligent design represents. The fundamental argument is, "I don't understand how something so complex as life could happen randomly, so it must have been designed." With this line of argument, it pays to be ignorant. Like, "I don't understand the physiological systems involved in alcohol intoxication, officer, therefore I COULDN'T have been driving drunk."

Sure, I joke, but I did actually see an argument along these lines by John Gibson, author of the War on Christmas and Fox News contributor. Here was his argument for why Bush didn't lie about WMD to build support for the Iraq war. He said, basically, that if Bush was lying about WMD he knew his lie would be exposed after the invasion, and surely Bush isn't stupid enough to purposely expose his own lies, so he must not have been lying. Paraphrased in my new Ignorance is Strength motif, that's, "I don't get why Bush is so stupid, so he must not be a liar." This is the level of American political discourse.

Anyway, it just bugs me that not getting something can be used as an argument against that something. There are limits to the ways that humans can understand the world. Kind of like how we can't see ultraviolet light, but bees can (I read in New Scientist this week that if you showed a film to a bee, they would see a series of still images rather than one moving image because they process visual information more quickly - how cool is that?). I like to imagine what the conscious experience of other animals is like, and the knowledge about the world they have that we can't. Just because humans are the smartest animals we know (and only then because we define intelligence by the things that humans do well) doesn't mean we can know anything and/or everything. To say that our ignorance is proof of God, rather than proof of our own ignorance, is well, ahem, ignorant.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

odd, hackneyed, and amateurish but published without apology


“Yeah, Chip.”

“You don’t look right.”

“No, I imagine I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve been up all night, Chip.”

“All night? Is something wrong? Is it the kids? Is one of them sick?”

“No, everything’s fine. Or at least, everything’s the same as it was yesterday. Nothing has changed. Everything’s the same as it always was.”

“So, why couldn’t you sleep? Are you going to be all right for Sunday school?”

“No, I think you’re going to have to take the lesson today Chip. It wouldn’t be a very good idea for me to be there this morning.”

“I’m getting worried, Dave. What is it?”

Dave pauses a long time, resting his hand on his chin, his arm on his other arm. He removes his hand from his face to speak.

“Chip, when you teach the kids, do you ever feel like a huge liar? When they come to you and say, ‘Are you sure there’s a God?’, and you say yes, how do you feel? Do you ever lie awake at night and realize that something in you cringes when you say yes, because you don’t know, and you’re scared, just like they are?”

“Oh, jeez, Dave, is that all this is? A little doubt? Oh, man, you had me really freaked out for a minute there. I thought something was seriously wrong.”

“So you don’t. You don’t cringe and you don’t feel like a liar?”

“Well, no. I mean, you know we’ve talked about this before, Dave. God is the one thing, the one constant I’ve had since I was a little boy. When Marilyn came out and left me and the kids, I knew God was with me. When the business went under, I could bear it, because I knew God was by my side. Even now, especially now, in your moment of doubt and pain, I feel God here. I am not afraid, Dave. I wish you could share this feeling. I know you will some day.”

“I feel neither doubt, nor pain, Chip.”

“Don’t lie to me Dave, you know I don’t think that’s right. I see the despair on your face. I see the exhaustion it’s caused you.”

“You do see the despair, Chip, you’re right about that. But I feel no doubt and I feel no pain.”

“Then you’re lying to yourself, not me.”

“So you believe in Noah, and Moses, and Jesus. And not just in them, but that they spoke to God.”

“Of course, you know I do, it’s the basis of my whole faith. Of our whole faith.”

“But you didn’t believe your neighbour when she said she spoke to God.”

“Mrs. Polly, with the seven cats, you mean?”

“Yeah, her. She said she spoke to God.”

“Well, no. I mean, she also told me she recorded with the Beatles, so no, I didn’t put much stock in her talks with God.”

“See, that’s the thing. I know she talked with God.”

“What do you mean? Why would you believe her?”

“I don’t believe her. I don’t have to. God Himself told me.”

Chip paused, and blinked, and moved his torso slightly backward, as if a strong breeze passed through. Dave took this as Chip’s turn in the conversation, and went back to his story.

“So perhaps you can understand why I was up late. I saw God, Chip. I did. I truly did. I have no doubt, Chip. None. It’s not possible.”

“ mean, I believe you. I do, I have to. But, you’re so sad. Are you sure it was God you spoke to? Where’s the joy, Dave? I mean, this is a miracle, isn’t it?”

“It is. My prayer was answered. Truly. I prayed for certainty, for clarity, and He heard my prayer.”

“Dave, the joy in my’’s starting to overwhelm me. Are you just tired, is that it? Where’s your joy, Dave? This is, I mean, this is biblical!”

“I feel no pain Chip. I asked for my pain to be taken away, and it’s gone. I feel no pain. I feel almost nothing.”

“It is a miracle! I am a witness to a miracle! Praise God! Praise Jesus! Praise the Holy Spirit! Dave, your joy!? Where is the joy that surely must have rushed to fill the void in your heart!”

“You haven’t asked me what His answer was.”

“That He is God, the King of kings, and he loves you! There can be no other answer!”

“You’re right. You’re exactly right. The doubt is gone, and I know what you say is true because God told me Himself. That He is Lord of love, and I am His holy child.”

“Praise God! Dave, where is your joy?! How can you not feel this rapturous joy?!”

“Is that all you need, Chip? A loving God?”

“That is all I have ever needed, and all I have ever known, and I am vindicated on this day, this holy, miraculous day! But you, Dave, your despair. I am afraid for you. Your sorrow verges on blasphemy. You have seen the face of God. I ask you again, where is your joy?!”

“You’re going to die, Chip.”

“Well, what difference does that make? Of course I’m going to die. But there is God’s love. With certainty, I have the protection of the love of my eternal God!”

“Chip, look. I have seen God, you’re right. And I have felt His love, and He has spoken to me. And he told me...”

“That it is true, the prophecies are true!”

“That there is no heaven.”

Chip paused. His face showed anger, briefly, then calm.

“You’re a liar, Dave, a damned liar.”

“There’s no heaven, Chip. There’s the love. All the love you want. Incredible, and rich, and immense. But that’s all there is.”

“You’re a damned liar. You have always been a damned liar. You will be in hell.”

“No, Chip. I will be obliterated. As will you.”

“What you’re saying is madness! My loving God would never do such a thing! That God would be an evil God!”

“But you still have the love, Chip. That love is yours until the day you die. That hasn’t changed. He told me. You should still be happy.”

“You are a liar! A damned liar! You are in league with Satan!”

“I’m not lying, Chip. This is what I understand now. I feel no doubt and I feel no pain. But love is not protection. It is only love.”

Monday, October 24, 2005

how do you feel?

"Depression is a choice."

"What the fuck are you talking about? A choice? You think we evolved serotonergic systems due to free will? Fucking ridiculous."

"Sure, but yesterday you were fine."


"And today you're in the shits."


"And what has changed?"


"Nothing at all. She left you just as much yesterday as she did today. But today you're depressed."

"Yeah, but I didn't choose to feel like shit today."

"And I think you did."

Thursday, June 30, 2005

i remember this place

It’s dark and cold in here. There’s just enough light coming in through the window to see the empty pizza box lying open on the floor. I guess I wasn’t the last person here. The echo is a bit unnerving, and the crickets don’t exactly take the edge of it either. Most of the mirrors are missing or broken. I think it smells vaguely like urine, but that could just be a case of paranoid synesthesia.

This is one of the many times I wish I smoked cigarettes. That, at least, would give me an excuse to stand around and look at things. As it is, I don’t know how long I should stay. Like the day I walked around my grandmother’s house before it was sold. That transition between mine and not mine. That transition between now and forever. I remember being absorbed until becoming aware of the thought that I “should” go. It wasn’t true, objectively. I could have stayed until the police dragged me away, if I’d really wanted. But shoulds are very comforting.

I just realized that I’ve been standing here with my eyes open, but not really noticing my surroundings. It’s a good thing I wasn’t attacked by a ferocious tiger, because I’m not certain I would have responded in time. Close call, really.

I guess there’s no reason to stay. There’s no reason to leave either, other than to resolve the ambivalence. I’ll leave a note, in case anyone else wanders in. “Hello friend. Two human paths have crossed in this place. I would never say this to your face, but I genuinely hope you are well, and free of fear, and appreciative not only of the joy you bring to other people, but of the fact that you were NOT attacked by a ferocious tiger today. Take care.”

Friday, May 13, 2005

thanks for visiting my blog, jerkface

It’s been harder to make friends in Australia than I thought it would be. I know the cultural differences between here and back home must seem insignificant to people like the Japanese guy I met this week. But they’re still noticeable enough that my fellow North Americans have noticed them too. For example, we North Americans are more likely to self-disclose personal information to a stranger than Australians, which can make people here seem a bit distant from my perspective.

I think I might have been clued into another difference this week. I was reading an article in the latest Adbusters about an Australian’s perspective on the torture of Iraqi prisoners. The author’s take was that the torture might seem kind of normal to Americans because humiliation was a part of North American culture – things like hazings, and just general joking put downs (of course, the author was clearly ignoring Australia’s parliament – that place is cut-throat). Indeed, some American commentators tried to brush off the torture as being no worse than a hazing. This is a weak defence in the first place, but even if taken at face value is an even weaker defence. This relates to my post a while ago about cultural differences, and how even seemingly universal motives like happiness are culture specific. Even if in America it would be okay to torture people because it’s just good college fun, that certainly doesn’t make it right to do so outside America where those values are unlikely to be shared, especially when inflicted by Crusaders.

Aside from the torture angle, this article made me realize how much of my interactions back home, especially with males, involve a lot of teasing and put downs. In that context, it’s understood (I think.....I hope) as good-natured and as a bonding gesture – you don’t tease people who you don’t like. I kind of understand now that I need to watch that here, that people may be confused if I try to tease them.

The Adbusters article, in fact the whole issue, was a good one on justifications for violence and non-violence in the push for social change. This was my last issue in the subscription, and I’m unsure whether to renew it. Adbusters really helped me open my eyes to a lot of things, but I’m getting tired of it in a very specific way. After you’ve read it for a number of years, you kind of get tired of the constant cry that change is just around the corner. I feel a lot of this is fuelled by young people who have recently come “on board” and really believe that if they can just get their message in mainstream media that people will be swayed by the beauty and justice of the arguments. This explanation doesn’t hold for Kalle Lasn – I really don’t know how he maintains his “victory is at hand” attitude after so many years of, well, not winning. Anyway, I support many of the ideals that Adbusters advocates, not because I think they will be implemented, but because they’re just morally right. In fact, those who know me well could make a strong case that I’d be more likely to support these ideals if they stay unpopular than if they become popular, what with my anticonformist streak. So, I dunno. Right now, I’m leaning toward renewing my subscription, if for no other reason than I like that my money would go toward some good shit-disturbing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

why would anyone have pie in their socks?

Fuck, I can’t believe that loser who got into my blog yesterday. What a fucking prick. I even tried deleting one of his comments, but he just came back and reposted it. Asshole. God, he sounds like exactly the kind of guy I hate. I’ve changed my password, so I don’t think he’ll be bothering us again. I guess that’ll teach me for not paying attention to my blog.

Anyway, I was watching a real treat of a show tonight – A Current Affair on Australia’s Channel Nine. This show cracks me up; they wander the country looking for easy targets to sanctimoniously denounce so that unfulfilled wage slaves can receive momentary emotional respite and reaffirmation of the rightness of the mainstream middle class. Tonight, they had a report on what they call “hoons” here, or young men who drive souped-up cars, often racing them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m really not into macho car culture at all. There’s nothing like the combination of environmental degradation and testosterone amplification to make me feel like I don’t belong. In fact, I remember my cousin used to be a bit of a “hoon,” and taking a ride with him one night was scary as hell. He and his buddy in the car ahead of us thought it was fun to speed and weave through traffic. At one point, his buddy decided to pass a car at the crest of a hill – a move of such profound stupidity that even my macho (at the time, now he’s all religious) cousin was dumbfounded. That friend eventually died in a car accident, which is just more evidence of the ridiculousness of being a hoon (as if being called something as silly as a “hoon” shouldn’t be enough in itself to dissuade one from the lifestyle).

The thing that burned me about this report, though, was that a Channel Nine reporter was riding along with the cops who were on a mission to bust the hoons. They pulled into what the reporter conspicuously called “Beirut Row” or something like that. See, there’s a lot of bad blood in Australia towards Lebanese people, so it was important to make sure that hoons were identified as something other than “real Australians.” The cops were taking the cars off the road by citing them for illegal modifications, such as some kind of illegal tire (or “tyre” as they say here). I thought the reaction of the hoons was awesome – they started examining the police cars and discovered that they too had illegal tires. Of course, the reporter and the police completely ignored this, and when they cut back to the anchor he smugly commented how the hoons were just upset that the law was being enforced. Well, yes, fine, except who was there to enforce the law against the police?

It reminds me of the huge bullshit which is the U.S. pressuring other countries not to have nuclear weapons. Look, I’m all for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of North Korea and Iran, but on what basis does the U.S. have the moral authority to enforce this position? Seriously, when the guy with pie all over his face, and down his pants, and in his socks tells you not to eat any pie, you mock him mercilessly (I assume this has happened to lots of people, not just me). But when the U.S. says nobody should have any nuclear weapons, the American media salutes and goose steps their way to the newsroom to dutifully report another example of the advance of democracy and freedom.

See, the police and the Americans want weapons that others can’t have because it’s just easier to assert their will that way. Now, it’s up to you to decide whether you want the police to have that power, and whether you want the Americans to have that power, but can we just be honest about the fact that it IS about power, and not about righteousness?