Say what?

Noted Elsewhere as a response to someone’s rebuttal argument about something that I’m quite certain was positively earth-shattering in its importance, was this gem:

“Wait, what’s that? None of these claims can be supported by actual facts and evidence, or even make sense? WELL FUQ YOU, THIS IS MY OPINION, AND OPINIONS DON’T NEED FACTS TO VALIDATE THEM. IT IS IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT THAT I GET TO SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT AND NO ONE CAN EVER DISAGREE WITH ME OR ELSE THEY’RE UNAMERICAN, SLUTTY TERRORISTS.”

Sad to say that this opinion is held by more than a few people, and only the part about opinions not needing facts to validate them is accurate.

The first amendment doesn’t have a damned thing to do with opinions – yours, mine or otherwise – and if our educational system wasn’t so fucked by a lack of funding, the factual amendment might actually still be taught in school.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

That’s what it actually says.

There have been many discussions over the centuries (we are working on the third one for this country) about exactly what ‘freedom of speech’ means, and while more than a few restrictions have been placed on aspects of speech, but you know, the ability to disagree with someone, even on the internet, still exists.

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Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and other lies we tell our children

Since Congress cannot muster the huevos y cajones to actually repeal this crappy piece of law, I think they should amend it.

Below is the pertinent section; now, in your mind (or prefered text manipulation system, change all of the references to homosexuals and their homosexual acts to non-specific people and their sexual acts. (There is some additional text both before and after this section that would need tidying up to bring into compliance as well, but this is the important part.)

(b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that—
(A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
(B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
(C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation;
(D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
(E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.
(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

Let’s see….

(b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:
(1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that—
(A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
(B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
(C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation;
(D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
(E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
(2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual being, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.
(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

Yeah, that would fly real well, don’t ya think?

Lessons to be Learned from Science Fiction

Klaatu: I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure. Now, this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression, we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first sign of violence, they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is, we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war. Free to pursue more… profitable enterprises. Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

Yes, I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still yesterday evening; it’s a movie that has held up remarkably well in contrast to some other films I can think of. Klaatu’s closing speech struck a responsive chord in me, however, which made me think of my government’s attitude on security as achievable only by surrendering freedom, which led to Benjamin Franklin’s statement “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

Ruminate on it a bit…