Tag Archives: ethics

Judging Women and Fast Food

So I found a couple short pieces that I wrote years ago and forgot about, sitting in my documents folder collecting dust. I think I wanted to expand on them and then never got around to it. So here’s the first about judging women based on the content of their character:

People often say that porn and movies with gratuitous sex are degrading to women, and I don’t know if that’s inherently the case or not, but even if it were, isn’t it just as degrading to judge a woman by whether or not she shows off her body or by who she has sex with instead of judging her by her character, intelligence or ethics? Many individuals– often the religiously motivated– would like us to believe that a woman is less of a person if she chooses to celebrate her beauty or sexuality, and allow them to be judged by their sexual choices instead of by their contribution to society or their intelligence or ethics. And to make such a big deal out of the supposed degrading nature of sexuality unfairly removes attention from the truly degrading aspects of our society, like the woman who works overtime at the McDonald’s drive-thru but still has to pay a %7 fee to get a payday loan so she can feed her kids.

Very short, I know. I wrote that years before I started working in porn, by the way 🙂

And here’s another one about fast food, I mean, how can the big wigs running fast food joints actually feel good about themselves with the current rate of poverty and obesity.

Fast food essentially tricks the customer into thinking they are paying less by providing an environment where they feel okay about stiffing the waitress.

I guess neither of those was really an article, and they were pretty unrelated, but I squashed them both into this post anyway.

Destroying Lives Based on Time of Day

Someone sent this around an email chain today, kind of as a joke about wanting to only work half days. This is an article about “decision fatigue”, the idea that if you make tons of decisions in a day you just kinda get worn out and your brain just doesn’t want to keep going. It’s an interesting idea, but my point has nothing to do with this.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? – NYTimes.com.

The article is talking about a parole board in Israel who judged the prisoners, not by what they had done or how they had improved, but by what time of day they appeared for their hearing.

Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

Now think about that. This isn’t just one judge. This article is talking about a trend in human thinking, something that may be affecting all judges and parole boards all over the world. 70 percent versus 10 percent. That’s a ridiculously big difference, and when you’re dealing with human lives you’re talking about phenomenal levels of unfairness. If you compare black and white people going to parole boards I doubt you would see a difference that huge. Why is race-based unfairness such a horrible crime but time-based unfairness is just a light-hearted side note?

What I find amazing is that we can have these kind of articles and information printed for all to read and yet people still try to tell me that criminal justice is fair.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior.

Seriously? Nothing unusual? And sure it wasn’t malicious but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s cruel, wrong, and makes a mockery of our sense of justice and fairness. (Upon re-reading this, I remembered that putting people in prison is inherently malicious. That’s the whole point. It’s designed to make people suffer.)

It’s funny too that the New York Times can start off an article describing a horrible injustice, but because it’s an injustice against criminals they just move on to the psychology and how it affects our lives, never stopping to care about the human lives. I think this really illuminates society’s total lack of compassion for anyone labeled, for whatever reason, a criminal. We don’t even see them as people. How can we seriously expect them to reform and have respect for society when we treat them like this?

The Arctic Rose Tragedy – The Conspiracy

So I wrote this post several months ago and have been sitting on it, afraid to post it because I feel guilty for not talking about this earlier and also because I’m embarrassed that it might all be totally false, someone just pulling my leg, and because some of my facts may be wrong. Then last night, April 2, 2011, I saw a news program talking about The Arctic Rose Tragedy:

So I guess it’s been ten years as of yesterday since this occurred, so I think this is a good time to finally publish this post.

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Around the turn of the century I was working for an all-you-can-eat fish and chips restaurant, up in Bellingham Washington. We had some of the best and the cheapest fried Alaskan cod in the city.

One day I saw on the front page of the local paper a tragedy had occurred up in the Bering Sea. A ship called The Arctic Rose went down, killing all 13 on board. The ship had been from Bellingham. If you look at this link you’ll see it’s considered “the worst fishing tragedy in U.S. waters for 50 years”.

However, at first I didn’t think anything of it. People die on the highways every day. There’s no reason to think arctic waters are any safer. But then, the manager mentioned the incident, and seemed surprisingly upset about it, and said, “we don’t know where we’re gonna get our fish now.”

“We were buying our fish from the Arctic Rose?” I asked.

“Yup.” He put his finger to his lip. “But don’t say anything. It’s kinda hush-hush… we kinda… well… it’s kinda our fault this happened.”

“I don’t remember reading anything about this place.”

“Of course not. It wasn’t on the books.”

“I read they got way off course or something.”

“Nope. They were right where they were supposed to be, fishing for our cod. Officially though, they were supposed to be miles away fishing for Sole. How do you think we keep our fish prices so low? By not paying taxes or obeying fishing laws. John and the captain of The Arctic Rose had a special agreement.”

“So the investigation is completely off base?” I asked.

“They’ve spent like $100,000 on investigating this, and they don’t even have the basic information about what was going on. They’re probably gonna say officially it was a navigation error which sent them into stormy waters, which is just ludicrous. What we think happened was they over-filled their hull with a big catch, the freezer went haywire and the ice accumulated and they didn’t want to call for help because their hull was filled with illegal fish. They got greedy. But we’re certainly not gonna say anything. John would have a fit if he knew I was telling you about this.”

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I payed attention to the story after that, but kept my mouth shut about what I’d been told. In fact, I haven’t really talked about this until now, and I still don’t know what to think. The manager may have been talking out his ass, making up stories. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d seen him tell a lie, though I had never seen him lie simply for the fun of it. I certainly never discussed this with the owner. However, we did have problems getting fish after that, and we raised our prices shortly after.

I knew if I talked about this, and it wasn’t just a lie, I would lose my job. I was just a prep-cook, and certainly didn’t have the programming skills I have now so keeping that kitchen job was necessary for my well-being.

So over the years since this I’ve thought about what it means to my anarchism.

If not for our system of capitalism I could have talked about this years ago without the fear of destroying my ability to feed myself. If not for our economic system, they never would have had a motivation to fish in such a dangerous and environmentally damaging way in the first place. If not for the fear of governmental retribution, we all could have been open and honest about this incident.

Then I think about all the people out there who think conspiracy theorists are all wackos, that it’s simply ludicrous that, for example, someone in the White House may have known about 911 before it happened, or that the average police officer occasionally frames innocent people.

I was a prep-cook, making $8.50 per hour, and I was–possibly–a part of a conspiracy where 13 people died. Just imagine what kind of conspiracies are possible with people who are trained in the art of deceit and dealing with millions of dollars.

Dangerous Drive-Thrus and Laws Justifying Laws

Yesterday I got a comment on my story, The Sacred Rules of the Drive-Thru, disagreeing with my idea that banning bicycles and pedestrians at drive-thrus is counter-productive to safety and that there are moral issues with the fact that they are promoting drunk driving. After reading it, I realized that I’d forgotten to add a link to the blog post I made about it, which kind of addresses a couple of her points. Anyway, I felt her thoughts did a good job of illustrating how many people perceive law and order and how it relates to our moral values. I know it’s kind of a mundane subject and nothing to get upset about, but I felt it was a great opportunity to show the difference in my own anarchistic way of thinking with a topic that’s not too offensive for either perspective. So here’s her comment:

i’m sorry but i disagree. It is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to be in the drivethru, and it isn’t the restaurant’s problem if the person is drunk or doesn’t have a car, they are a business and so it is in their best interests to obey their insurance rules….much more important than a drunk’s measly ten dollars and need to eat. I don’t have a car but i dont go screaming discriminatiom when i can’t have a big mac at 2am….i either make sure i have food in the house or go without.

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Okay, first you say that it is dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to be in a drive-thru. I did a Google search and couldn’t find a single instance of someone being hurt in a drive-thru, but did find a number of instances of drive-thrus allowing pedestrians and bicyclists. I’ve been through hundreds of drive-thrus and never seen so much a dented bumper. What is your “drive-thrus are dangerous” theory based on? Have you seen statistics about this, or witnessed accidents?

What I think is that in cases like this people are likely to believe something is dangerous based on the laws surrounding it, rather than on actual statistics or things they’ve seen. It doesn’t make logical sense that something would be banned if it wasn’t problematic, so we assume that it is, and the idea is just kind of drilled into our minds. (We see the same thing, of course, with marijuana. The vast majority of people who are opposed to marijuana know little to nothing about it and are just running under the assumption that our laws know what they’re doing.)

People get injured doing just about anything and I doubt that a pedestrian in a drive-thru would be much more dangerous than a pedestrian crossing an intersection, and certainly not as dangerous as a bicyclist riding through the city. Countless other things in our society are more dangerous than a pedestrian in a drive-thru. That doesn’t give us the right to ban them unless they’re putting someone else at risk.

Then you’ve got the argument that these slight dangers could be mitigated with policies, warning signs or a number of other things. The only time the foot-customer would need to be in the line would be when ordering and picking up. He could stand to the side the rest of the time.

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Then you state, “it isn’t the restaurant’s problem if the person is drunk”. Well, this is true from a legal standpoint, but I’m an anarchist and I think and write about stuff from a moral perspective, not a legal one. If you have a friend who is totally drunk and decides to go drive, it’s certainly not your legal responsibility to stop him, but is it the moral thing to do? It’s not illegal to ask him to drive to get more beer, but is it the right thing to do? Doesn’t it seem like you should do the right thing, even though it’s not legally required of you? By this same token, shouldn’t businesses do the right thing and do their small part to prevent drunk driving? Why are businesses exempt from this sense of moral obligation? It seems like in our society, all expectations of a moral code are out the window as soon as you’re doing something that makes you or your investors money. Suddenly the only thing that matters is law. This, I believe illuminates one of the fundamental flaws in capitalism, or at the very least, the way we currently run capitalism.

Next you wrote, “they are a business and so it is in their best interests to obey their insurance rules.” This is certainly true, and admittedly if I owned a drive-thru there is a chance that I would be a hypocrite to everything I’m saying for my own financial best interests. I’m not faulting the restaurant owners for this. I’m faulting the fundamental ways that our laws and capitalism function. This is the overall point I was trying to make. These rules are based on insurance policies and fear of getting sued, not on actual safety. They tell us it’s for our safety to keep people like me from getting pissed off, but in reality, they just don’t want to get sued. The fact they don’t refuse service to drunk drivers is pretty good evidence they’re not concerned about safety directly.

So this is basically a law justifying another law. The rules of the insurance company dictate the rules the customers must follow at the drive-thru, and those insurance company rules were dictated by even bigger rules about who can sue who over what, which in turn were dictated by the rules of capitalism and exchange of money. Rules based on rules based on rules in a self-perpetuating cascade until we’ve lost touch with our moral values and the reasons why we even had rules in the first place.

The laws of our society should be dictated by our lifestyles, situations, and moral values; not the other way around.

Do Suicidal People Deserve to be Punished?

Whew… so many of my entries are so depressing. I promise I’m not this depressing in real life. I wrote this piece several years ago, just a few days after it happened.

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I recently visited an old friend who happened to be having some dramatic fights with his girlfriend who was also the mother of his child. At one point she called on the phone and threatened to kill herself, and my friend responded by telling her that she was a horrible bitch, a worthless person, a horrible mother, and called her all sorts of horrible names that I believe are worse than I have ever heard directed at another human being in an attempt to punish her for even thinking about suicide.

Now, to you and me I’m sure it seems obvious that telling a person she is a worthless human being and a horrible mother is counter productive to convincing her not to commit suicide, however, you must understand my friends perspective.

In our society, if you burglarize a store you are sent to jail. The idea of jail is that it is a place that makes you feel really bad so that you realize there are consequences to burglarizing stores and won’t want to do it again because you won’t want to face the punishments.

When a child misbehaves, he is spanked or sent to his room or otherwise punished, and parents and would-be parents all over the world insist that there must be consequences for misbehavior, just as most of society insists that there must be penalties for people who break the law.

Now, this same concept can often apply to language, and we will call people names to punish them for things they have done or said. We’ve all done it at some point where we say something we don’t mean in order to get justice on someone who said or did something we felt was wrong.

So my friend decided that the right thing to do in this situation was to punish his girlfriend for threatening to kill herself so that she would feel so awful that she would never want to do it again. There is no doubt that threatening to kill yourself, especially when you have a child (this woman had five children, only one with my friend) is morally wrong and selfish, so doesn’t it stand to reason, under our normal concept of justice in this world that she be punished for her wrongdoing? There needs to be consequences for wrongful action, right? If he doesn’t punish her for what she was threatening to do, then she would just get away with it and there would be nothing to stop her from doing it again, and using his horrible words was the only punishment he had available.

Now, my friend’s reasoning seems crazy to you and I, but can you pin down exactly why it’s so crazy? What exactly is different about a mother threatening suicide from say, a burglar, and why do we react differently to them? Both burglary and suicide harm the people around you, and often times suicide can do a lot more harm. Both burglary and suicide are clearly illegal, and both are considered by society to be reasonably wrong in most situations. So what is different?

You might say that it is because the woman threatening suicide is suffering from severe depression and low self esteem, but a significant number of criminals in our society suffer from all sorts of mental disorders, and many criminals are just as depressed as our suicidal mother.

You might argue that feeling horrible is what drove the mother to want to kill herself, so that making her feel more horrible is only going to make things worse. However, the same is true of a significant number of criminals. They feel horrible about life and about society so instead of choosing suicide they choose violence or thievery, sometimes in an attempt to take out justice upon the society they feel wronged them somehow. So why is it so rational and normal to purposefully increase the negative emotions that caused a criminal to commit a crime, but it is not logical to purposefully increase those negative emotions that caused a person to want to kill herself?

In my opinion, there is no difference. I believe it is counter productive to tell a suicidal person that they are a worthless person, and I believe it is counter productive to send criminals to prison simply as a punishment. I know I might sound like a crime-loving monster here, but I truly believe that the most efficient and effective way of preventing a person’s suicide is to show them and tell them that you love them, and that you care about them. I believe the same is true for criminal justice. I know that sounds utterly backward to reward criminals with our love and compassion, but if you look at it from your own eyes, who is more likely to get you to behave the way they want you to: a person who cares about you and shows you compassion and understanding, or a person whose goal is to make you suffer?

So logically, you must forgive my friend for the horrible things that he says to the woman he loves, the mother of his children, because he was taught that with love comes discipline, which sometimes means making another person hurt. His parents at home taught him this and the police and criminal justice system in society taught him the same thing. You can’t really blame him taking those basic concepts and applying them to a situation that was slightly different.

Even More Atheist-Theist Debate

This is a continuation from yesterday’s post, More Atheist – Theist Debate. Here’s what he had to say about my response:
You responded:”That’s interesting you say, “That stuff is messed up” but that kind of ‘determinism’ is a very common way that Christians see it, and it seems to me that the more devoted a Christian is, the more likely they are to see it that way. I always hear that people should ‘just have faith’ and trust in God and ‘God works in mysterious ways’. I simply took those concepts to their logical conclusion and came to what you called ‘determinism’.”

^ That view of God and “providence” is prevalent, but totally baseless. It’s often the theology of self-consumed “Christians”, who thing the world revolves around them. I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.

You also commented:”Moral values are one of the things that motivates me to be an Atheist, because when you place all your moral willpower on an invisible Guy In The Sky, the moment you have a little doubt in His existence, your whole moral structure collapses, and you fail to recognize the myriad of biological, emotional, spiritual and logical reasons to be a good person.”
I agree with you that it is (typically) advantageous to “be good” or “do good”, both personally and societally. I believe is good because it IS good, not simply because “God” says it’s good. And I agree with you, people’s decision to do good should be based on their desire for mutual good for all (i.e. their character and compassion/love for others). And I think that many atheists know and do what is right because I think that everyone has been given the grace to discern both good and evil to a greater extent (i.e. conscience).But the flip side of this (like I was mentioning before) is that if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want. Maybe Stalin and Manson have it right… Do whatever the hell you want before ya die! Cause it’s all meaningless anyways.

So I replied with:

Okay, you said “I find theistic determinism (i.e. classical theism/calvinism) to be even more disturbing then materialistic determinism.” and that’s cool, but you’re acting as though your disagreement with them somehow means that I shouldn’t be counting them as Christians. If you’re defending Christianity as a whole, you need to accept that there are many Christians who don’t see things exactly the same way you do. You can’t just say that they don’t count because you happen to disagree with some of the details. They’re still coming from the same holy book and the same network of churches.

When you mentioned Stalin, I could have used the same argument. I mean, my website clearly shows that I disagree with Stalin on a fundamental level. I believe that atheism is about (or at least should be about) more than just not believing in God. It’s about replacing your God-based decision making structure with something based on logic, reason, compassion, and of course, science, and it’s about not having blind faith in un-proven concepts. Stalin didn’t really use good psychological science in his overall policy of forcing atheism on people. I mean, you can’t use brute force to affect people’s feelings. It just doesn’t work and basic psychology would have told him that. He supposedly also rejected the theory of evolution, which seems to be a standard atheist rallying point. By this argument, I could say Stalin was not a true atheist, so he doesn’t count. But that would be unfair to the argument, and that would be me simply trying to avoid the real issue of the example of an atheist doing horrible things.

And for your comment, “if there is no “God” and we’re not “accountable” for what we do in this life, then why not do whatever the hell ya want”, I have a few responses.

First, is that this seems like a nice theory, but without real-world examples or statistics, it’s still just a theory. If it were really true, we’d be seeing it happening, and we’d see many violent criminals who don’t have any faith in God, but we don’t.

This may still be a viable theory, however, and I believe it probably is true to a certain extent, particularly with people who are raised on a God-based moral structure, then for some reason suddenly lose their faith in God when they don’t have time to re-evaluate their moral code and motivations. However, if you’ve read my page 22 Ways Religion Promotes Crime, I have 22 counter-theories that I think turn the scales in the other direction.

Third is that many religions, including Christianity, don’t actually hold people accountable for their actions. I’ve had several very devoted Christians tell me that it’s really just a myth that God rewards or punishes people based on how good they are. Getting into heaven is about accepting Jesus, not about whether or not you actually do good in the world. Granted, most Christians don’t see it this way, and do equate heaven and hell with good and evil deeds, but I’ve been told by people actually quoting scripture that it’s about what you believe, not about what you do. So in a way, your argument is based on the assumption that people are not going to be absolutely true to their religion.

I also had this random comment about bees:

Have you ever watched bees coming and going from a bee hive and wondered what they’re thinking? Do they have a God that has been taught to them by the queen and they’re collecting pollen out of a desire to avoid retribution in the afterlife? I’m certainly no biologist, but I think they are just doing “whatever the hell they feel like” in a world where “everything is permitted”. It just happened that their biology tells them to support the hive and that’s what they want to do more than anything else. I believe this is inherently the same with humans. We are a hive culture. We need each other for our basic survival and comfort so we’ve been hard-wired with a desire to support the greater good, because supporting each other and helping our society grow is how we’ve survived and thrived as a species. I believe that religions and governments too often teach us to ignore these hard-wired desires.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back from this person since I wrote this 🙁



Here are a few more blog posts about my theory that religion promotes crime:

New study raises questions about religion as deterrent against criminal behaviour
Religion vs Methamphetamines
Masturbation, Homosexuality, and Christian Impostors
Atheists Don't Believe in Love?
Religious Criminals are Liars?
Response to 22 Ways
More Atheist-Theist Debate
Jeffrey Dahmer Interview Segment
Crime is not Logical
About My Page, 22 Ways

Thou shalt place thyself into the perspectives of others

I ran into some old writings from a religion I tried to start years ago called Kalinism. Pretty funny idea, I must admit, and most of the pieces to my religion were lost when my old website was stolen from me by an advertising robot. However, the idea here is not such a bad idea and worth re-posting here. This is commandment 10. If I remember correctly, I got up into the 20’s before I decided to change their name from ‘commandments’ to ‘recommendations’.

Commandment 10

Thou shalt place thyself into the perspectives of others.

Being able to understand the motivations and emotions of others is very important to understanding and dealing with the world in which we live, and is very important for people to get along with each other with so many widely varying viewpoints. As a result, a good Kalinist must strive every day to not only understand the perspectives of others, but to feel those perspectives for himself. Essentially, you are expected to at least occasionally imagine that you are someone else, and to really feel the emotions of that person, and to examine the cause and effect that caused that person to evolve.

Doing this will help build a stronger community, as people will be more understanding of each other, and having a better understanding of various common viewpoints will help you to figure out your own.

But this commandment is even more important with people you dislike. It might seem evil or wrong to imagine yourself as a Nazi or child molestor,and to feel those kind of emotions, but you must have faith that understanding the thoughts and feelings of horrible people is condusive to helping cure those people, despite how creepy and wrong it may feel… however, you should also have the confidence in yourself to know that you will come back from those feelings, and that you will use them to help understand and to put an end to the types of actions in the world that harm the Happiness Graph.

Under Kalinism, it is not acceptable to merely say, “Oh, well, that person is just stupid”, or “that person is just evil and corrupt”. You must always think deeper than that, and examine what specifically caused the person–using REAL WORLD cause and effect–to come to make the choices that they’ve made.

In order for the human race to attain peace, we must have understanding and compassion, and allow basic human dignity for even the most monstrous of people.

True Story About Isaac Zamora: Middle Finger Vengeance

I just put up one of the most important true stories that I’ve posted so far, about the guy I knew growing up who murdered a bunch of people in 2008.

Some of my writings I have been very hesitant to post because I’m afraid that they will seriously offend people, and specifically with my true stories I’m worried about people either claiming that I remembered the incident incorrectly or that I shouldn’t be writing about people without their permission. My newest story, Middle Finger Justice, is definately one of those stories.

This one involves Isaac Zamora, the guy who lived next door to me as a child then murdered a bunch of people in the name of Jesus. It also involves a few of Isaac’s family members. I changed their names, though obviously anyone could figure out who they are by reading a couple of the news stories about Isaac. I didn’t want to have the story tie back to them at all because they’ve been tortured enough by what happened and the last thing I want to do is cause them any more grief, but I also felt I needed to give Isaac’s full real name so that people could confirm that at least the part about him killing a bunch of people in the name of God is completely true. I must apologize to the people in this story, but I feel strongly that these kind of experiences need to be talked about so that we have a better chance of understanding why people do things like go on killing sprees.

In this story I address a bit about religion, of course, but more importantly this concept that swearing and middle fingers are somehow evil and wrong as opposed to being simply avenues of communication. Every time I hear a bleeped word on the radio or hear someone carefully tiptoeing around certain words while in the presence of children, I think about this event, and about how these types of moral issues can overshadow, much more important things.

One person in this story felt completely justified in breaking someone’s legs over a middle finger, and from her perspective it made perfect sense. She believed the middle finger was a curse, and that curses were real. This is a belief that I was told as a child that I needed to respect, even if I knew it was far removed from reality. This is why we don’t allow swearing on TV and why even very liberal individuals will avoid swearing around children. We are showing respect toward the feelings of those who believe that demons will come and swallow them up and drag them down to hell if they hear too many curse words. But by doing this, we are giving credit to those beliefs, making them socially acceptable and helping fool people into thinking they’re reasonable.

Over the years as I was growing up I would occasionally have the desire to go over to the Zamora’s house and try to convince them to see some other ways of thinking. One reason I chose not to was because I didn’t want to seem like the intolerant atheist. Now I must admit that if as a kid I hadn’t had so much respect for their belief system, perhaps I could have set a few thoughts moving in Isaac’s head that, while certainly wouldn’t have convinced him to reject his religion, may have given him enough of an alternative perspective that those six people wouldn’t have had to die.

20 Logical Fallacies

I just found this page listing 20 logical fallacies examples at http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx and thought I should share. It basically lists off all the different specific ways, that human beings–myself included–are morons. Reading through this list I can see numerous examples of flawed logic in just about any argument I’ve been in, and more frighteningly in a large number of arguments used by legislators. This kind of human fallacy is one of the main reasons I’m an anarchist; because these psychological processes can distort our large-scale social perspectives as easily as they can on the small scale, but when we have these fallacies, the damage that can be done by a large organized group with laws and police is far greater than the damage that can be done by a few individuals.

I wanted to point out a few examples of the fallacies on this list and how they have been used against me and some of my political positions. (I’m not going to list any religious arguments because that would be too easy.) (I’m also going to conveniently neglect to point out the times where I can’t help but revert to these fallacies.)

The most common one for me as an anarchist is the Straw Man, or “Arguing against a position which you create specifically to be easy to argue against, rather than the position actually held by those who oppose your point of view.” This one happens to me whenever I say that I don’t support police, criminal justice or putting people in jail. Most people will immediately start arguing about how horrible some folks are and how much suffering certain kinds of crime can cause. Their ultimate goal seems to be to convince me that crime is bad, as though I just announced that we should all start killing and raping each other because it’s fun. I think deep down they know what I really mean: police, prisons and criminal justice are counter-productive to our commonly held goal of crime prevention. However, they have no facts, figures or examples that support the idea that police are preventing crime (this isn’t their fault of course, because this is such a commonly held belief that no one bothers to collect facts and figures), so they have no choice but to go to logical fallacies to make their arguments.

Another interesting one is the Slippery Slope, or believing that to hold a position, you must hold the extreme of that position. Now, I have another very unpopular opinion that’s very important to me that I might not have blogged about yet, and that is my belief that it is morally wrong to create children until we  have solved the world hunger issue, the overpopulation issue, and when there are no more orphans on the streets. In the past, people have argued that my opinion would cause the destruction of humanity because everyone would forever believe that making babies is wrong, regardless of the situation.

My personal favorite, Tu quoque, “an attempt to justify wrong action because someone else also does it.” This is the core psychological motivation for police and military. Whenever I argue that these things destroy people’s lives and cause misery to everyone, including innocent bystanders, one of the most common arguments I get is “Well, yeah, but those other people did horrible things too.”

The “He’s Crazy” Explanation

When someone kills a bunch of people or does something else horrible that normal people can’t understand, the natural reaction from many of us is to say “he was just crazy”.

But I don’t buy this. First of all, this attitude seems like a mental trick to avoid thinking about the rationality of what the person did, to avoid sympathy for the person and to distance yourself from them. Sure, many people are quote-unquote “crazy”, but we’re all crazy in some little way, and we all still have thoughts going through our brain and rationales for what we do, regardless of how unpopular or incorrect they may be.

I feel the concept of “they’re just crazy” instills unnecessary fear in people because it implies that there are people out there who have no rationale and simply do things blindly, like robots, and can’t be reasoned with. The concept is sort of the agnostic/atheist equivalent of “The devil made him do it.” This is counterproductive to actually dealing and communicating with these types of people. I believe this emotional distance, fear and stereotyping ultimately serves to make these “crazy” people even more crazy.