Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another Vietnam

In the most recent revelation from Iraq, the US military has been murdering civilians for fun. I don't think I can even watch that video. Well, I could, but I don't really want to. Some other day, perhaps.

The goal of peace seems to have been lost in the last nine years. I think even the whole concept has been distorted. There has been a shift from, "Can't we all just get along," to, "Obviously we can't all get along, so just kill or marginalize everyone else." All wrapped up in the patriotic fallacy that it's all about the marginally inclusive "us" versus the poorly defined "them."

The LHC had its first 7TeV collisions last week. The highest controlled collisions ever in the most complicated machine ever assembled. There are still people in the world interested in advancing knowledge, fortunately, but it all seems a little bit pointless right now.

I watched the new Star Trek again the other day. Very enjoyable movie. Star Trek (in general, not just the movie) is a rather interesting view of the future, where people do the jobs they are good at and enjoy for the betterment of all humanity. Of course, you only get to see a handful of starships. I wonder what they do with all of the people who are more harmful to themselves than a benefit to humanity. Really, if you could eliminate all scarcity in the basic necessities of life - food, water, shelter - what would you end up with? How many people are there in the world who want to push other people around, just because they can? What would it actually take to meet all of the basic needs of every person, and then make everyone actually respect one another?

There's a growing movement, particularly in Europe but there are rumblings of such things here in Canada, to ban full face coverings in public. This is obviously a direct assault on some of the traditional (if not specifically religious) clothing worn by Muslim women. I for one think people should be able to wear whatever they want. Your religion doesn't give you extra rights, so you don't get to do something I'm not allowed to do just because your religion requires it. At the same time, fears over "security" are a bit over blown, and the general unease at not being able to see someone's face when communicating with them is hardly reason for an outright ban. That it is a symbol of men attempting to control women is unfortunate, but not strictly a matter requiring legislation, just the assurance that everyone is equal under the law, and should they choose to resist that oppression, they are free to do so.

I have heard suggestions that the immigration and birth rates of Muslims will cause there to be a Muslim majority in various places in Europe, allowing constitutional change to take place democratically, thus eliminating decades of secularism and installing Muslim theocracy. I have no idea how accurate that is, but if people actually believe that, I can see where this "fight for secularism" comes from. A return to the Dark Ages would not be fun.

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