“Seven Blunders of the World”

“Seven Blunders of the World”

1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle

-Mahatma Gandhi

Writing on HPV vaccination

I wrote an editorial on the HPV vaccination and the ludicrous nature of it promoting promiscuity.

It can be found here

Here it is:

On Friday, Gov. Rick Perry used an executive order to make it mandatory for girls entering the sixth grade to get a vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer. Some groups of concerned parents worry that this required vaccination will make their daughters more sexually promiscuous and more prone to having underage and pre-marital sex.
What begs some questioning with this concern is how being exposed to a sexually transmitted disease makes someone less willing to become sexually active. If the growing infection rates tell us anything, it is that people are having sex carelessly even with the many diseases out there. This seems to clearly debunk any suggestion that sexually transmitted diseases are a deterrent to sex, and so there would not be any harm done by having girls immune to a sexually transmitted disease that can give them cancer. Instead, what would be accomplished is the removal of a major risk to women’s health.
Another question begged by the concern of these parent groups is how being immune to this life-threatening disease is going to change the moral conscience of their daughters. It does not seem that getting a tetanus shot makes a person want to cut themselves with a rusty blade, and so it is just as ludicrous that girls will want to have sex just because they are immune to a single STD. Simply being safe from a life-threatening consequence of unsafe sex does not mean that the girls of Texas will want to start defying their morals and the way they are being raised.
A girl being immune from a known cause of cancer does not have anything to do with the illegality of underage sex, nor does it change how her parents raised her to act and behave. Being safe from a disease is not an open door for promiscuous sex because what a girl does and does not do has more to do with how they are raised, what they are taught is right and wrong.
This is where the real concern lies, that these parent groups are insecure about how they have raised their own children and they are channeling their insecurity toward others. Again, parents organizations are asking the government to act, or in this case not act, to make up for their own unwillingness, inability or insecurity to parent their children in the way they see fit, and in the process put the lives and health of girls, who later will be women, at risk.

Rick Perry makes HPV vaccination obligatory

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, though often making dubious decisions in the past, has done something very good. He has made the HPV vaccination obligatory for girls in schools, which in turn means that they have been given immunity to cervical cancer.

The response from concerned parents is that this STD/STI vaccination means that girls will become more sexually promiscuous. What begs questioning is this: how does being immune from sexual diseases equate a person is going to suddenly start acting outside of their regular moral conscience? It also begs questioning in that it seems to assert that sexual diseases are a deterrent to sex, which doesn’t seem to be well supported.

This would be equivalent to saying a tetanus shot means a person is going to start cutting themselves up with rusty metal objects.

Furthermore, regulating sexual practice shouldn’t be a primary consideration over well-being by a government entity.

Habeus Corpus in question

Alberto Gonzales has recently questioned the right of Habeus Corpus in the Constitution, asserting that though its denial is only permissible in certain circumstances, it is never actually guaranteed. If we follow this reasoning, then really we have no Constitutional rights as only their removal is prohibited and their existence never affirmed.

This tells us two things:

  1. The Bush Administration has little to no respect for the Constitution, or at least no understanding of it(and thus no understanding of their sworn duty to serve it).
  2. That the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, though designed with good intentions, were not worded and designed properly in a way that asserts these basic and fundamental human rights.

To go into more detail on point number one, the entire concept of the removal of a right being prohibited means that the right itself exists by the assertion that it cannot be removed. It would be absurd to suggest, for example, that it could be illegal to walk on the grass if there is no grass to walk on; in the same way, it’s absurd to suggest that the prohibition against removing a right does not expressly mean that the right itself exists.

To go into more detail on the more important point, point number two, we have to appeal to a concept of universal human rights and Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Any republic that is intended to protect and guarantee rights should have that concept expressly inherent in its founding. Instead, the founders of the United States made a mistake in giving out a thin laundry list of specific rights, and so open the door for any other inherent human right to be tread upon. Now, we’ve traditionally been able to understand that these rights fundamentally exist without them necessarily needing to be spelled out in our Constitution, but under current circumstances the government-of-the-day, with its specific motives, are taking advantage of these universal human rights not being explicitly spelled out and using that to mean that they aren’t conceptually understood to exist. In the case of Habeus Corpus, though, and other Constitutionally spelled out rights, they are treading too far as the rights are inferred through their denial behind prohibited.

How Republicans win if we lose in Iraq

Here’s an article that discusses how a failure in Iraq could mean a big win for the Republicans choosing a future candidate, by drawing parallels between the problems in Iraq and the failures in Vietnam. The link is that the current party controlling Congress, the Democrats, have to show opposition to what’s becoming now a very botched and failed effort, and the most obvious way to do that is cut off funds. Then, when Iraq fails, and like Vietnam failed, they will get pinned with being the party not “tough on world security” and in power when things fall apart.
The sad thing is how it’s more an issue of political maneuvering than an issue of doing what would be right. It’s another case of capitalizing on bad circumstances for personal empowerment.

New Rome?

President Bush has declared that he can continue and escalate conflict without Congressional approval. The repeated rhetoric is “if you knew what I knew”, or what essentially can be summed up as “President knows best”. Repeatedly in the past Congress has restricted Presidential escalation of conflict, often explicitly through the limitation of funds. The present situation would be easily exploited by political pundits to suggest that Congress does not support the troops when the reality is that Congress is not showing a complete disregard for troops’ lives by using them for personal politics. These pundits are also subverting the independence of American opinion by inserting pre-assumed stances on all political issues, making Straw Man positions for opposing viewpoints.

This situation presents some serious problems for America and its conceptual principles. A major premise is that a President is not a temporary king, is accountable to Congress, is accountable for her/his actions(via Congressional oversight and Judicial authority), and is supposed to be the custodian for the will of the people(both directly and through the proxy of Congress). The current President is failing in all of these fronts, and is tempting a Constitutional Crisis. The reason for this is because a President making decisions outside of her/his authority, and explicitly within the authority of Congress, is a conceptual invalidation of the Constitution. If we think of this specifically, that a President can act widely without Congressional approval on actions that are within the purvey of Congress, or countermand Congressional acts, then it is essentially an arbitrary elimination of an entire branch of government. One historical example of when this would be a problem was when Nixon was impeached, as he could have then decided, in contradiction to Congress, that he is not impeached and not subject to Congressional authority; as demonstrated, this means no accountability to the people for an elected President.

John Stuart Mill

I can’t believe it, but I’ve found myself defending John Stuart Mill’s placing liberty on a pedestal.

A person is trying to argue that we should have the freedom to kill ourselves or allow ourselves be put into slavery. The problem is that these actions remove our freedom, and anything that removes freedom would be unacceptable, under a viewpoint that liberty is the most important and the hindrance of it is not allowed.

A right to freedom means that the right should not be allowed to be removed, as it is a universal right always applicable. The irony is that freedom means responsibility to ensure freedom.

So no, a person’s freedom, even if it only affects their own self, does not authorize them to do whatever they want. It needs to be within respect for freedom as a whole.

Political censorship

In lieu of recent events I feel the need to talk about censorship. Censorship is any intentionally act to inhibit speech that a person otherwise has a right to make. Speech that may be politically damaging is not something to be censored. It may be acceptable to censor in the sake of national security, but minimizing political backlash is not national security; a line is crossed when censorship is used not to protect national security, but to protect a political party in the name of national security.