Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Soldiers and Umbrellas

To expand a bit on yesterday's post:  A soldier makes you free in the same way an umbrella makes you dry -- an umbrella that someone else is holding.  An umbrella can protect you from some of the external threats to your dryness, but not all of them -- it can't stop you from getting wet from the side or below.  Also, if you are already wet, it cannot really dry you off.  Likewise, a soldier can give you partial protection from external threats to your freedom, though some threats might be seen as sneaking in "from the side".  For example, censorship, rationing, the draft, and the like are real limitations to freedom, and these are often imposed in the face of external threats to freedom.  What's more, if you do not have the habits, culture, and internal disposition of freedom, a soldier is not really able to provide you with them.  

But perhaps most importantly, what an umbrella actually does depends on the skill and intentions of the person holding it.  An umbrella can be used to keep someone dry, but it can also be used to make someone even wetter than he was before (by channeling water onto him or dumping the accumulated water on him).  In a similar way, what a soldier actually does depends on the skill and intentions of the government employing him. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Right-Wing Version of "You Didn't Build That"

Remember this?  When it came out, "conservatives" (by pretty much any definition) and Republicans reacted with outrage, as well they might.  

Yesterday, however, was Veterans Day, one of several days a year which generate warm hearts and fuzzy thinking from "conservatives".  On such a day it is not hard to find items like this gem:
It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.  It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.  It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.  It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,  And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

This is exactly the same thing Obama was saying.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Aliens Are Among Us!

I just learned something that will take some time to process.  I had used the "Nyan Cat" before as an example of how alien Japanese culture is.  Although I still maintain that Japanese culture really is that alien, it turns out that the Nyan Cat was not created by someone from Japan, but by Christopher Torres, who is from Dallas, TX.  The song comes from Japan, but the song is not really the weird part of the video.

This is the kind of discovery that occasionally makes me feel as though I have gone to bed in one universe and awakened in a slightly different parallel universe.