5 y ago in Blog

Two things that piss me off

I support the rule of law as it underpins society.

The rule of law also underpinned Nazi Germany. The quality and source of a law does matter, and just blindly saying "it's the law" puts you in real bad company. Furthermore, it's upside down: Society underpins the rule of law! Just laws are made by just people, not the other way around, and following laws does not automatically make you righteous if those laws are not righteous.

There are two sides to every story.

This is bullshit on two levels. First off, there are not just two sides to every stories, there are many. Secondly, not all viewpoints are equal. Charles Manson had his side of the story, too; does that make it valid? When he is accused of murder, saying "but there are two sides to this story!" is not a neutral thing to say, it's not objective or wise. It's at best stupid, at worst sophistry. There is being crude, but there is also being so "nuanced" that you never arrive at any conclusion, ever. I despise that. I'd rather be wrong than be nothing at all.

Also see: Argument to moderation
  5 y ago in Quotes
I can have no other notion of all the other governments that I see or know, than that they are a conspiracy of the rich, who, on pretence of managing the public, only pursue their private ends, and devise all the ways and arts they can find out; first, that they may, without danger, preserve all that they have so ill-acquired, and then, that they may engage the poor to toil and labour for them at as low rates as possible, and oppress them as much as they please; and if they can but prevail to get these contrivances established by the show of public authority, which is considered as the representative of the whole people, then they are accounted laws.
"Utopia" (1517)
  6 y ago in Quotes

The horseman serves the horse,
The neatherd serves the neat,
The merchant serves the purse,
The eater serves his meat;
'T is the day of the chattel,
Web to weave, and corn to grind;
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.

There are two laws discrete,
Not reconciled,--
Law for man, and law for thing;
The last builds town and fleet,
But it runs wild,
And doth the man unking.
'T is fit the forest fall,
The steep be graded,
The mountain tunnelled,
The sand shaded,
The orchard planted,
The glebe tilled,
The prairie granted,
The steamer built.

Let man serve law for man;
Live for friendship, live for love,
For truth's and harmony's behoof;
The state may follow how it can,
As Olympus follows Jove.

"Ode Inscribed to W. H. Channing"
  6 y ago in Quotes
There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because the law makes them so.
  6 y ago in Quotes
Well, law is a bit like a printing press - it’s kind of neutral, you can make it do anything. I mean, what lawyers are taught in law school is chicanery: how to convert words on paper into instruments of power. And depending where the power is, the law will mean different things.