Wednesday, March 29, 2006

So What?

So what if I don't post for a month? I do what I want! Between selling my house, planning my wedding, and working on my Master's I've been pretty busy lately. And I'm still pretty busy. I have some things I'm thinking about blogging about, but I haven't had the motivation to commit a chunk of my now-precious free time to it yet. So, until I do, watch these funny videos:

Fear of Girls (+10 Intelligence, +1 Universal Saving Throws, -1 charisma, and +2 melee attacks if you understand everything they say... "Mercy? You wanted mercy?! I'm chaotic neutral!!!")

Final Fantasy - in your back yard


At least I'm good for something, right?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Austria, Oppressor

Austria continues to amaze me with its lack of respect for the freedom of speech. Last week a British historian, David Irving, was sentenced to three years in jail in Vienna. His crime? Denying the Holocaust publicly. Don't get me wrong, I totally disagree with this guy. I think that the cause he champions is evil and that his beliefs are wrong and motivated by hatred. However, I don't believe he has done anything to deserve jail time. But now, on top of that, Austria has banned him from talking to the press because he continued to profess his disbelief of the Holocaust from jail. Austria has made it clear that it does not value freedom of speech. It has unequivocally made the statement that the government has the right to tell you what to believe, and that you are a criminal if you speak in disagreement. This attitude is the root of oppression of the worst kind, and I am amazed that the rest of the Western world seems unfazed. I'm sure that the subject of Irving's work contributes a great deal to this fact -- no one wants to be seen as siding with a Holocaust denier, nor does anyone want to be portrayed as sympathizing with his cause by speaking on his behalf. However, as people who value freedom it is our responsibility, yes I believe we are obligated, to speak out against oppression, even when it is against someone we deplore. Freedom is necessarily universal or non-existent. People in Nazi Germany were free to say what they wanted as long as it didn't contradict the party line. People in Austria today are free to say what they want as long as it doesn't contradict the government's idea of propriety. Neither of these is true freedom. No government should be allowed to tell its citizens what they must believe, and any government that seeks to silence all who hold beliefs other than their own must be viewed as an enemy of freedom.

Additionally, does Austria not realize that they are going to make a martyr of this man?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Honor Among Militant Islamic Groups?

This adds an interesting undertone to world politics: Chechen rebels are mad at Hamas for meeting with the Russian government. Apparently the Chechens thought that one militant Islamic group would stand up for another and see theirs as the same cause across the globe. This echoes the Islamic call to fight against the USSR in Afghanistan, as well as the Communist mantra of the late 1800's up to current times. The idea that people with similar ideals fighting in similar circumstances are united in spirit and really part of the same movement is a common sentiment among radicals. And when such is the case it represents a much greater threat to the people standing against the radical movement. Hamas's actions should give the western world a measure of relief because they show that Hamas, at least right now, is only focused on their domestic issues. They are still a militant group that advocates the eradication of Israel and as such should not be viewed in a friendly light. However, they are not ultra-radicals with a mission to spread their violence across the world to exact global change. Of course they may well become such if they are given power and they are able to find success in their domestic concerns. I think that the question now becomes how to keep these groups disconnected, how to make each group concerned only with their local issues, and then how to resolve those local issues so the radicals can melt back into normal citizens. As long as they are able to maintain an "us vs. them" mentality they are a threat to everyone who isn't part of their "us." When groups with different primary objectives but similar ideals group each other into the "us" it makes them much more dangerous, because then they are fighting over issues of ideals and no compromise can be achieved. As long as these groups can be limited to local concerns and be nailed down to voicing real grievances then they can be worked with and their grievances dealt with. When they become part of a global idealistic movement they cannot be reasoned with and therefore have to be opposed at every step with whatever means necessary.