Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Clearing out the crawl space = arachnophobia

As our old house nears the completion stage in its renovation---well, as complete as it's going to get---we're getting down to the last little nitty gritty things that need to be done---touch up painting, cleaning out the remaining bits of clutter and tools we used for the remodel,  a little bit of mudding in the unfinished basement, and fighting Shelob in the crawlspace.

I've purposely left this job until the end, because, quite frankly, I do not want to deal with potential behemoth spiders lurking behind whatever we've shoved in the crawlspace because we had no place to put it. In all honesty, I thought that we'd have to clean that out one day as a last resort, or rather, our descendents would get that honor. I was hoping they'd have a sword like "Sting" around to do the dastardly work of killing her.

I'm frankly too tired to deal with the creature. But what needs to be done, needs to be done. You can bet I'll be dressed head to toe in long sleeve shirts, pants and long socks, a ski mask, gloves, and a flak jacket. I think I'd better pack the bazooka along too.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest": Playing out in real time

The story "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" for those who've never read the book, nor seen the film, is basically about a free spirit individualist, named Randall P. McMurphy, who tries to buck the system, pleads insanity for some crimes, and finds himself in an insane asylum. Once there, his individualistic attitude helps to transform some of the other inmates--even improving their lot in life. McMurphy finds himself confronted on every turn by "Nurse Ratched", a power hungry, controlling person who's power comes from forcing other people to conform. (coming spoiler alert) In the end, McMurphy cannot beat this system and finds himself at the wrong end of a lobotomy. He doesn't win his personal war with Ratched, but he inspires one of the other inmates to escape, thus breaking the hold Ratched has upon the escaping inmate.

Much like the story of Randall P. McMurphy, the United States has been a renegade, individualistic nation. There are the Nurse Ratcheds on the left who wish to make all Americans conform to their view of how the world should be. They do this by trying to force gun control laws, by enacting other laws and regulations, causing mountains of paperwork, red tape, and cost at the tax-payer's expense. They do it in myriad other ways, all designed for gaining control over the people, eliminating freedom (for it there is too much freedom, someone could get hurt, they say), and forcing Europeanizing of America.

The question is, who has the most will power? Will the Americans represented by McMurphy win out in the end with their irrepressible desire to remain free? Or will the folks represented by Nurse Ratched end up winning the day? Will we become a nation of children, cared for by a supposedly benevolent government or will we fight for the right to stand on our own two feet and live and breathe as free men and women, taking the consequences of our own actions, being able to make mistakes, then make up for them ourselves? Will we continue down the road of despair and poverty generated by the dregs of socialism, or will we continue to fight for  our grand experiment of a republican form of government, in which liberty wins the day and in which personal responsibility is the key player?

We have a choice. Wake up dear people and make the right one. Start paying attention to what's happening around you. Take action. Write to your Congressmen, march in the streets. Do something positive to influence the world rather than sitting back, watching your favorite tv program, and vegging. The world you fail to fight for, will become the world your children and grandchildren inherit.

Monday, September 09, 2013

What is morally right behavior when it comes to self-defense, or the defense of others?

The conundrum comes because of topics currently in world news. Few would argue that defending one's self from an attacker is wrong. Most people believe that if your life or well-being is in danger, you can act to defend yourself, without any qualifications. Most people also believe that if you see someone else being brutally attacked, raped, tortured, or threatened with deadly force, you can come to their aid. In fact, if you turn your back on such a person and do nothing, you are most likely a coward. An individual acting to help others is considered one of the highest forms of altruism. This is how the prototypical hero is born.

So, how does that translate into world affairs? Most people would say that a country has a right to defend itself. That being said, should a country go to the aid of people in another country who are being brutally attacked, raped, tortured, or threatened with deadly force?

If  I saw a woman on the street being brutally beaten and did nothing, I would consider myself guilty of if not the crime itself, of aiding and abetting, and a virtual nodding of consent for the crime to continue. What then of the women in Afghanistan who have acid thrown in their faces for talking to an unmarried man? What of those who are killed in the name of honor for holding hands with a young man whom they have taken a liking to?

If a nation has the power to act and does not, is this not the same thing as if an individual has the power to act and refuses to? For what individual would refuse to come to the aid of someone being attacked if they had the power to do something about it?

I'm not saying there are any right answers here. I've never believed that countries had the same responsibilities as individuals in acting, but as a collective of individuals who would act on an individual basis to stop a brutal attack (and after recent stories in the news about people who have done nothing to stop such attacks, I'm wondering at the veracity of my point), would in not therefore be likely or even expected that the collective would act?