Whew! LOFF56 in a seminal piece on: "Semantics, Gun Control, Affirmative Action and the Chicken or the Egg!"

[PL: I'll need to go out to the beach for a few days to respond to this, so for now, I'm just putting it up for my readers to study!]

This is all Loff56 - here it is:

Ooo, ooo, ooo, let me get in on this one...

I know PL's gonna' hate me for this, but Semantics IS important. Language is how we communicate. If we don't do it correctly, our views get misconstrued.

PL: "But it seems that you want to exonerate the diseased collective because of those good individuals..." on Rick trying to explain that there are in fact some good cops out there. PL is correct in stating that you can't say every cop is good if not exactly 100% actually are. But in the same breath PL states: "Being a cop is a psychiatric disorder", and then says there are exceptions. Again, take your own advice, "you can't drag down the good because of the bad."

PL is making the argument again that there is a good reason to generalize (as long as you acknowledge the exceptions). But only if the generalization is something that he agrees with. ??? Right??? Clearly, when Rick generalizes as he did about cops being good, that's apparently wrong, but when PL generalizes that cops are bad, that's OK??? PL is discrediting the semantics of Rick's argument while simultaneously using the same language to advocate his own. Personally, I see the whole generalization is good for the argument as an intellectual, psycho-philosophical side-stepping of just plain being stubborn. Furthermore, PL, you're right to hold Rick accountable for his reckless generalizing, but you have to hold yourself to the same standard.

How about the real truth, plain and simple - however messy it is. Some cops are good, some cops are bad. Period.

When you make the "generalization" argument you reduce the debate to true and false, when in fact it deserves a lot more detailed analysis. Like, why are these particular cops bad? What makes these cops good? How do we make the bad ones like the good ones? That debate would be far more interesting, and far more productive. Though, I'm sure it wouldn't be such of an attention grabber. (I hope that's not what your after PL.) The proof is in the pudding. The response that PL got out of Rick wasn't about why these cops have these problems it was literately about defending the true/false nature of the statement. How is that helpful?

Gun Control - Here's my take on gun control. One side of the argument says that guns kill people, the other says that people kill people. That's basically what it boils down to. Again at the risk of sounding too wishy-washy, here's my response: "People with guns kill people!" Both guns and people are the problem, not one OR the other. If you remember "Bowling for Columbine" Michael Moore pointed out pretty remarkably that there are more guns in Canada per capita (by a lot - don't remember the number exactly) and much fewer murders per capita than in the United States. That's the people problem. There are too many crazy people in this country, (whether they have legal or illegal guns doesn't much matter, they're still crazy). There's also too many guns that are easily available. Moore also points out how easy it is to get a legal gun and ammo in this country. That's the gun problem.

Here's the thing, you have to deal with both. Making it illegal to buy an AK-47 is a smart idea because there's no other use for it but to kill people. I've never seen a deer hunter with an AK-47. But it also lets us know that our government - thus our society - is responsible enough to say that we know what owning an AK-47 is for, and we don't stand for that. Leadership by example. But we also need to improve our education system. Obviously intelligent, productive citizens don't kill each other as often. That's an easy one.

Here's the Chicken or the Egg problem. The old philosophical question asks which comes first - cause after all you can't have an egg without a chicken and you can't have a chicken without an egg. Trying to apply that paradox to the gun control argument makes as much sense as it does with the chicken species. For the chicken and the egg, the way out of the paradox is evolution - they developed together. So too the whole killing people with guns problem is the same. The solution to both problems simultaneously is essential. After all what's the point of educating people not to kill people if our Government says it's ok to own an AK-47? Similarly what's the point of banning AK-47s if we don't educate people to not kill people with illegally obtained AK-47s.

Here's my take on Affirmative Action - First of all I think Pete's right here that there is a difference between racially conscious and racist. But I think perhaps because the number of true hard-core racists in this country is rapidly decreasing, the term "racist" is becoming more and more a politicized inflammatory rendering of what's probably more accurately represented as "racially conscious". I'm half defending Rick's (and many of the other politicians that used that word to describe the situation with Sotomayor and the firemen) use of the word "racist" the way he did in the sense that he doesn't say it to actually mean "to hate another race". However, Rick and co. are no less accountable for the use of that term as a political contrivance. There was no "racism" (reverse or otherwise) going on in that case, and Rick and co. know that, and should know better. Note that I'm not making a judgment about Sotomayor's decision in this case, just pointing out that the use of the word "racism" either way is bogus. Even if you think she was wrong in the case, you're disagreeing with her racially conscious decision, not claiming that she's actually racist.

At the heart of the matter is whether or not being racially conscious through means of Affirmative Action is still a moral imperative.

Personally I think the usefulness and effectiveness of Affirmative Action has almost run its course. I can't imagine that it was ever intended to be a permanent fixture in our society. There's a point where it starts to become counterproductive. And if we're not at that point yet, I don't think its very far off. Obama's take on this is pretty good I think. His encouragement to the black community in saying, "look, we don't need this affirmative action stuff, we have the power to do it on our own", (I'm paraphrasing) is very spot on. The danger of keeping Affirmative Action around is that it will ultimately just serve as a reminder to white people that black people still need an artificial advantage and are therefore still inferior. And for Black people to be reminded that they may in fact still be inferior.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." - MLK Jr.

Well, as long as Affirmative Action still exists we're still judging by the color of their skin. Whether that judgment in this case is helping or hurting doesn't matter, it's still judgment.

That's not to say that Affirmative Action didn't help us bridge the gap to MLK Jr.'s vision, but ultimately it needs to be done away with before this vision is totally seen.

Going back to the Chicken or the Egg. Again, let's fix education and do away with Affirmative Action together, not either/or. Here's the paradox - with Affirmative Action, kids don't need to try as hard in order to succeed so even with a better education system, they're still underachieving. Just getting rid of Affirmative Action without fixing the education system gives them less hope and no tools so underachievement is inevitable. You have to fix both at the same time.

Well, I'm sorry to take up so much space but I just thought that a more detailed driven argument was called for on these issues. I know my solutions can seem convoluted and/or compromised to some, but the truth is that I believe that everyone possess at least a tiny part of some truth, and I'm completely interested in investigating if two (or more) seemingly disparate ideas can actually create a better whole truth than any pure version of any one. I don't consider this a compromise at all but rather a genuine solution to a seemingly unanswerable question such as "Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?"

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