Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Odd Splash of Good News

A little while ago I mentioned the importance of recognizing the positive in the culture every now and then on a more frequent basis. While I recognize that the world is definitely getting into a worse place in our presence age, I think far too many people, especially Objectivist activists, have been dwelling too much on the negative aspects of what's happening. It's important to acknowledge and examine the follies, but it's being done to such excess that it's hard to see any positive in the bleakness all these people paint, and at least Diana Hsieh seems to understand. I'm not encouraging ignoring the bad, but rather calling for people to call to attention the good more often, for even one acknowledgement once a week can do wonders for one's resolve to battle a deluge of negativity the other six days. I'm still hopeful, and given the chance the war of ideas can still be won this is perhaps the most essential time to fuel the spirits of intellectual troops, for the tide may have fewer than five years to be changed.

So to follow my own advice, I cite these positive news stories as of late. They're quite unusual since they've been happening very close to one another within the last two weeks, which makes me wonder if I'm living in a parallel universe, if things are actually getting better, or what:

New York has legalized gay marriage. I'm heterosexual, but I also believe in the right to marry whoever you want on voluntary terms. Nobody has any business tending to other people's affairs and forcibly preventing gay couples from marrying, especially the government.

Geert Wilders has been acquitted of hate speech charges. The court ruling was rather sloppy, justifying the decision on the basis that he was criticizing the Islam religion and not its followers, so there's still needs to be more understanding of what free speech entails, but this is a good development. You should be allowed to say whatever you want given you're not violating rights (e.g. divulging information contractually agreed to keep secret) or inciting violence.

From a CNN alert e-mail:

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down California law that would have banned selling violent video games to children.

The 7-2 ruling today was a victory for video game makers and sellers, who said the ban -- which has yet to go into effect -- would extend too far. They say the existing nationwide, industry-imposed, voluntary ratings system is an adequate screen for parents to judge the appropriateness of computer game content.

Still no understanding of individual rights present, but still a victory for them nonetheless. It's the parents obligation to monitor and control what media their children consume, and they have no right to force all people to follow their standards by issuing a ban on violent video game sales to minors. California, I've heard, has a particularly bad reputation regarding nanny-state behavior, so that this comes from here is intriguing.

And from another CNN e-mail:

The Supreme Court has tossed out an Arizona law that provides extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups.

A conservative 5-4 majority of justices on Monday said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to "level the playing field" through a public finance system.

Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.

I'm not sure how ideological the actual court ruling was, but this is rather good. If a candidate receives more donations than another candidate does it is because more people are voluntarily choosing to fund him, not because they're being forced to. To "level the playing field" by forcing tax payers to fund certain candidates is not only stealing, but also forcing them to support ideas and people they choose *not* to support.

This isn't a development within the last two weeks, but recently I've learned that Exxon established its own blog to talk about company happenings and even defend themselves against political attacks. I don't know how good the entirety of the blog is, but here's a good piece. I wish more companies would defend themselves like this, because while people may be very resistant to acknowledging their positions it would at least offer an impediment against politicians doing what they want. The worst thing you can do is not say anything when something you oppose is advocated to be put into law. Will other companies follow suit?

I don't know what all this has to say about the culture in general given that these are small pieces of evidence in a larger body that has yet to be seen, but it's good stuff regardless. It's this kind of content that needs more attention in the blogosphere. Individual rights are under attack, but individual articles here and there show that battles are being won in at least some places, and we can use this to fuel our resolve to continue fighting, securing more victories and generating more of these articles, until the war of ideas is won.

It's stuff like this that shows there's still hope for the future. It's stuff like this that shows it's possible to overcome evil ideas and political laws within our lifetime. And it's stuff like this that give us reason to expect that maybe life is still, and will continue to be, worth living.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me know about the Exxon Mobil blog. I've been following Alex Epstein for awhile, and this will be another good source for learning about the energy industry.


Comment Etiquette

1.) Do not use vulgar swear words that denote sexual activities or bodily excretions.

2.) Employ common sense manners when addressing the author or other commenters.

Additionally, you're welcome to present contrary and challenging positions within these guidelines, but please do not assume that my lack of response, even if I commented before, is evidence of my endorsement of your position.