I will be adding more, so check back, er, come on back, y’here!
They’ll be in small galleries; not necessarily related.
(I just discovered a cache of photos I had thought to be lost in a hard drive crash. Yippee!)
The tunage is tremendously catchy. And it’s an editing masterpiece!
Like so many, I feel a massive amount of relief after the past presidential election in the United States.
As the election season drew to a close, I was near my wit’s end. I just wanted it over. My preference was for a Trump victory, but either way I wanted it over.
For me, the past 8 years have been like a hell on earth with every day bringing some new atrocity perpetrated on my spiritual homeland. The worst were those inflicted by the man elected to protect that which he sought to destroy—the Constitution of the United States of America.
With the election of Trump, my very worst fears have been abated. Permanently, I hope; temporarily, I fear.
No matter. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, I feel joyous! Thank you Mr President-Elect Trump.
In his Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington laid out the essentials for the rise and prosperity of America:
[“]Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may [due to] influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.[“]
This passage stood out to me because I am an Objectivist. Here’s why.
The vast majority of thinkers† on the topics of morality and ethics reject outright the idea that morality can exist in the absence of religious faith. Thus, they reject Ayn Rand and Objectivism due to its explicit irreligiousity.
This has always irked me because Objectivism has a fully explicated ethics so this rejection is, at the same time, both dogmatic and uneducated, while, sadly, largely true for the population at large.
Thus, the extremely nuanced position espoused by President Washington – when translated from the original 18th century American English – shows how the idea was accepted by the thinkers of the Founding era as a fact of life. By focusing on the added emphasis, it is clear that Washington’s view is that it is, in fact, possible for people with minds of certain structure and educated [in the ways of critical thinking, I assert] can be moral without that morality being religion based.‡
He concludes, however, that the above is rare and therefore an electorate with a morality based on religious values is necessary in order to elect a government protect the natural rights of the individuals.*
I believe he nailed it. Religion for the masses is a good thing because it provides for a common morality that requires neither “refined education” nor “a mind of peculiar structure” to understand – its obvious appeal to authority, nothwithstanding.
30 October 2009
My friends have heard me rant and rave about the disappearing gay ghetto, or village, if you prefer, in Toronto. It has shrunk so much in the 13 years since I relocated here that it has become but a shadow of its once vibrant self. I cannot help but think that the recent senseless murder of Chris Skinner is both a consequence of this phenomenon and a discouraging sign of things to come unless the community reintegrates itself and–dare I say it?–actually celebrates its wonderful diversity and inclusiveness and grows!
While this newly-acquired “acceptance” of gay people I’ve heard about (or is it “tolerance”?) in the urban social scene may be comforting, it should also be viewed with skepticism for it is based on the acceptance of yourself by others and acceptance can turn to approbation as easily as to adulation. And this acceptance of us by the straight society is leading to the destruction of our community. We’ve allowed ourselves to become a “lifestyle,” just another among many living in their midst, and in the process we’ve become the great Gay Diaspora. As a community, we have splintered and willfully thrown ourselves into the wind.
We’re now found all over the city, sprinked, a few here, some over there. We’ve won “acceptance” wherever we leave our bucks behind, having lost, in the process, opportunities to build our own community. We have been absorbed by the glob of establishments willing to be tolerant of us if we spend our bucks there, and in the process, by spending our bucks in non-gay village establishments, we’ve contributed to the constriction of the Village. Yes, the constriction of the Village because the opportunity cost of supporting these tolerant straight establishments is that Village establishments go unsupported! It is a zero-sum game. It really is as simple as that.
Which brings me back to Chris Skinner.
I cannot help but wonder if this murder (beaten to death by a group then run over by a nutjob in an SUV) would have happened were our community more geographically constrained? (That is to say, all establishments near each other in a Village of whatever size it needs to be.) If the gay community stretched further south into the city, would this have happened, assuming it is a bashing incident? My gut says it would not have happened.
Sure, it’s nice to spend time with one’s straight friends. But not at the expense of having places at which to spend time with your gay friends. Bring your straight friends to the Village, if they’re so accepting and tolerant. This way, you’re among your people and not among those whose acceptance might turn to approbation without warning.