Archive for Thoughts

On Protest

In my Mass Media class, we were talking about protests, and how they are successful. I think that some people (**cough**anti-WTO folks**cough**) could use to hear what my class came up with. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t You Want Your Country to Win?

Bill O’Reilly has been asking liberals whether they want the US to win in Iraq recently. Ignoring the question of whether or not it’s possible for us to win, my answer is a definite no. I don’t want to win in Iraq, because winning would be bad for both Iraqis and the United States.

First of all, in order for us to “win,” there has to be a government in place that is friendly to us. In other words, a dictatorship. Think about it. Every one of our Arab allies in the Middle East is a brutal dictatorship: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Uzbekistan, among others. The only three Arab governments that approach democracy are Palestine, currently controlled by Hamas; Lebanon, where Hezbollah has a majority in parliament; and Iran, which Bush apparently wants to nuke.

Winning would be bad for us, as well. The fact is that we are no longer the empire we once were. When the USSR fell, and no one needed us to “protect” them anymore, we lost a lot of international power. Now, we can’t to pump out manufactured goods as quickly as China, and soon we won’t be able to compete with India in technological industries. We are losing what was left of our international power quickly.

This is very similar to what happened to France and Great Britain after the Second World War. Their empires started to crumble. England decided to slowly let go of power, and the Brits essentially resigned themselves to not being a world power anymore. France, on the other hand, clung desperately to their colonies, and got walloped in Vietnam, Algeria, and their other colonies. Yet France still has an attitude that would be more appropriate for Napoleon’s era.

Now that we are losing our empire, we have two choices: accept our fall gracefully, like Britain, or fight it every inch of the way, like France. If we bow out gracefully, we can keep some of our stature and influence. If we don’t, we will be like France—annoying and ignored. If we lose in Iraq, maybe people will wake up to the fact that we’re not an empire anymore and will stop acting like we are.

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Who Needs LSD?

I had an interesting experience this week. I was recovering from a stomach flu, and couldn’t sleep, so I was watching old Sherlock Holmes movies on Google Video, and ended up staying awake all night (not a common occurance, I like to sleep). Around 5:00, I started thinking about what would have happened if we had evolved from something other than chimpanzees. Somehow I got the idea of evolving from gazelles, and I figured that if we had, math would be completely different.

If we had evolved from gazelles, we would learn calculus before arithmetic. Think I’m crazy? I don’t blame you, but read on. The reason we needed the ability to do simple math is so that we could tell that if three lions go into a cave and two come out, it’s not a good idea to go in. Only as a last resort did we calculate how fast we have to run to escape from the lions.

Gazelles, on the other hand, do these sorts of calculations all the time, when they need to figure out if they’re fast enough to be able to afford to stot. They don’t need to know how many lions there are so much as how fast they are.

This is why I’ll never try drugs. I don’t need them.

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