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7/13/2004

LAST BLAST-PHEMY
http://www.theonion.com/infograph/index.php?issue=4027
Some have already complained that itís gone on too long, that they canít bear the sight of degenerate PKís bloodied body taking any more blows. Take degenerate JDP, for example:

>Don't you mean "Hic RhodUS, hic salta"? Dumbass.

I have only ever seen this quotation penned as "Rhodes," and could not find
any sources that stated otherwise. The phrase is Latin, but it is a direct
reference to the Greek island of Rhodes. In modern Greek, it would be
transliterated to English as, "Rhodos," but the accepted English spelling
remains, "Rhodes." According to the OED, the etymology transformed
thusly: Rhodos (Gk) > Rhodius (Lat.) > Rhodes (Eng). I see no basis for
your assertion that the author's spelling of Rhodes is inconsistent with
other translations. Your further assertion that the author is, as you put
it, a "dumbass," would imply that he or she could be characterized as, "An
ignorant or stupid person," (Also from the OED). It seems to me as though
you have shown your readership a - ahem - "classical" example of irony.
The pig's song still hath much the dissonance of the underlying squeal,
methinks. I'm still waiting for my learned, Libertarian colleague to
coherently argue in favor of Ronald Reagan's policies, which is what
started this...debate.... Or perhaps it could be called a monologue of
quotations downloaded from the Internet in mid-sentence, full of sound and
fury, and signifying nothing.... Punctuated by the occasional, puerile,
witless, personal attack... But perhaps it is rather an unconscious
tribute to The Wizard of Oz; heartless, brainless, and as courageous as
can be expected of one who flippantly insults others from the safety of an
IP address. If wit were somewhere within his orbit, and he truly wished to
persuade others of the merits of his philosophy, it might occur to him that
performing a conscious tribute to the ending of Old Yeller might merely
secure for him a similar fate as suffered by the unfortunate, title role of
that film. "For every fool knows a dog needs a home; a shelter from pigs
on the wing." I now await the usual, literate PK reply. Most likely the
post-Norman equivalent of, "I'm rubber, you're glue." It may be that
Bartlett's has a web site from which he can draw fresh material.

And hereís another from degenerate B:
Man you're just fanning the flames on this political debate now. Might as well
just put up a forum on your site, it would save you the trouble of stirring the
shit up - unless, of course, that's your kink.

We had a Blasphemy board that attracted extremists at both ends and had some good debate going, but robotic spam drowned the site so I had to take it down and Iím too damn lazy to rebuild.
But hey, Iím all for open discussion, especially when an election looms nigh. Not to mention thereís some pretty funny shit in here. Crap, weíve degenerated into accusing each other of syphilitic dementia - beat that in your mainstream media! So Iím gonna let RVI get in a few more blows to the soft underbelly (and head) of PK before I call a halt to the match and call the morgue to remove the corpse of PK. If you canít look, just page on down to the Prophesy and such.


RVI: > When is the last time you met all "welfare mothers" in the United States and examined their shopping carts every time they shopped, PK?

PK: Good point. You're right... I have never met ALL welfare mothers. Neither
has anyone else. Perhaps these welfare mothers are best left to their own
devices and freewill since our government has never met all welfare mothers
either. Our government has as much knowledge about the solving the problem
as I do.

RVI: The government has access to two things, one which you are too lazy to research and the other you have no access to. 1) It has statistics about people on welfare, but more importantly it has 2) the actual "welfare mothers" themselves who come into welfare offices and have to answer questions and report certain information on a regular basis. "The government" has never met anyone, so far as that goes, it is an abstract entity like "corporation." But government workers have met everyone on welfare, and the collective databases they have created from these meetings could be said, in a metaphorical way, to stand as evidence that "the government" has indeed met all welfare mothers.

RVI: > In the end, however, the real issue is: are we a moral country if we allow poor/sick people to starve?

PK: Where in our constitution does it say that people have a RIGHT to healthcare
and food? Where?

RVI: Where does it say you have a right to breathe? Or the right to think? Where in the Constitution does it say you have rights not spelled out in the Constitution? Oops, there is this little Amendment:

"Article [IX.]
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Who in the world ever said the Constitution is the final word on your rights? Otherwise, why would we ever need to amend the damn thing and spell things out that were not in the body of the original document? You, sir, are a hermeneutical fundamentalist/literalist, which is not a compliment.

RVI: > you say people don't have any responsibility to do anything for anyone else ever.

PK: Correct. If people had only the choice of taking care of themselves, they would do a better job of it. People will surprise you. They can fend for themselves. I'm not saying "let's go anarchy" where law does not exist. I'm simply suggesting the concept of freedom. It's not up to anyone to determine morals for anyone else.

RVI: Uh, so it's not up to you to determine whether any of us have to employ the concept of freedom as you employ it, then, since that, too is simply a part of an ethical system -- i.e. yours. Your position is so intellectually weak if it were a building it would collapse for lack of internal structure and consistency. Part of law is always grounded in morality; there has yet to exist a civilization that could claim all its laws were just dreamt up provisionally with no ethical arguments for or against them. That is simply senseless. Making laws for a society isn't analogous to making rules for the high school Chess Club.

PK: You say moral freedom is true freedom... but so does every religious wacko
in the world.

RVI: Every religious wacko in the world also says the sky is blue and that doesn't make him wrong on that point. Simply because someone is essentially wrong about many things does not mean they are totally wrong about everything, therefore to have one point of agreement with "religious wackos" does not a) make me a religious wacko or b) invalidate my claim. You need to show that I am wrong on this point, not simply that you think I keep bad company. Arguing like this is employing a logical fallacy that we could just call "guilt by association" for conversational purposes.

PK: But who in this case gets to determine morals? What if your
morals differ with someone else?

RVI: Not every approach to morals is equal. They are not all rational or humanistic, as you are doing a fine job of proving. If my morals differ with someone else's, we must discuss where we differ and seek to find common ground where we can agree. And then we must see whose arguments about the parts we disagree on make more rational sense and are more consistent with the principles we agree with.

PK: Don't you want separation of church and state?

RVI: Where have I mentioned anything about an appeal to God or the Church in presenting a rationally defensible ethic the majority of us can agree on? God and the Church, in ethics, place more responsibilities on believers, not on unbelievers -- if I am a Christian, I have to do many things I cannot argue on purely rational grounds a nonbeliever should join me in; if I cannot demonstrate it rationally, a nonbeliever shouldn't be burdened with doing it unless he wants to. Thus, everyone may be called on to pay taxes to support taking care of the poor; but a Christian, over and above his taxes, may be called on by his religion to contribute another 10% of his income or time to the same cause. No nonbeliever should ever be required to do this latter thing.

PK: There's a fine line between moral standards and religious dogma and
you're about to cross it, RVI. Why does diversity bother you so?

RVI: I don't know. Maybe it's because I never knew I was a fascist. I'm usually called a socialist or a communist, but I think in a minute you're going to reveal the truth: I'm a fascist as well as being a religious wacko. Let's keep reading and see if this happens....

RVI:> My position is at least reasoned on the level of an adult who has to face the question of what is one's responsibility to others,

PK: Are you a part of the Christian Right? They think they have a responsibility
to others as well.

RVI: See that argument above about the logical fallacy concerning "guilt by association."

PK: Are they wrong to push their ideals on you?

RVI: Depends on who "they" are, what we're talking about, whether they're right and whether and to what degree I'm wrong. If you're talking about the Christian Right, I'd say, for the most part, they are wrong to push their ideals on anyone, but even they employ some genuinely moral arguments and values. Oops. I'm not supposed to be that tolerant of diversity, am I?

PK: And you are wrong to push your crap on other people too

RVI: If I'm wrong, I'm wrong to do this. But you haven't shown I'm wrong, only that you don't like what I say or believe law and morality have anything to do with one another, ever, which betrays a level of ignorance about history I find embarrassing to be in the presence of.

PK: I don't want your free bologna
sandwiches. I want steak, dammit! Your responsibility is another man's
prison.

RVI: Go buy your steak and enjoy it, PK. Just don't deprive a person who has nothing of the bologna before you've delved deeply into the principles underlying your beliefs. These principles are niggardly and corrupt and have more to do with a terror that if the "have-nots" suddenly "have a little", you'll wind up "having nothing." It's a non-sequitor line of thought motivated more by paranoia than fact.

RVI: > I am sure such people would be more than satisfied with having basic healthcare needs paid for collectively; basic healthcare needs would include things like regular check ups, dental, and mental health coverage, medications;

PK: I don't think you or anyone wants to leave the diagnosis and prescription of
mental health up to our government. Just imagine a police state determining
the health of your state of mind. eeesh.

RVI: Public mental health departments have been diagnosing mental illnesses and prescribing meds for years without any non-ill people I've ever heard of misdiagnosed at any rate different than in the private sector. Yes, misdiagnoses occur once in a while -- there are occasional underlying physical problems (e.g. micro-strokes) that cause symptoms that mimic mental illnesses like depression, for example. But misdiagnosis like this is the same thing as going to your family doctor with a migraine, getting treated for it, then later it's discovered you have a tumor. These things happen in medicine -- it's part of the territory because medicine is more of an art than a science. But the heart of this is, again, the conclusions don't follow from your premises: A) Our government is not a police state; B) if we had a police state, they wouldn't do what either of us want; C) you pretend the government is incapable of hiring professionals able to make competent decisions in their fields -- this latter bit is so silly I wonder if I need to detail it? But I will. If the government is capable of hiring professionals, like generals or judges, it is capable of hiring professionals like doctors.

PK: A differing or unusual opinion
could be found to be a symptom of syphilis.

RVI: Maybe that's our problem here, someone has syphilitic dementia.

RVI: > it would not include extraordinary life saving measures, elective surgeries,
unnecessary plastic surgeries, etc.

PK: What if the government thought you were ugly? They might just force you into
having some reconstructive surgery on your face.

RVI: Are you talking about our government with the Constitution or some imaginary, Twilight Zone government we don't live in and which I am not talking about creating? If weíre going to fly off into the world of total fiction, letís do so, but letís also be clear weíre no longer arguing rationally - or logically, as you say - by talking that turn.


PK: Or like Hitler's socialist
rule, the government may find that Judaism is a disease and will want to
wipe out this sickness via genocide to save the country from any more future
madcap Woody Allen films, big noses and overbearing mothers.

RVI: And if I lived in Hitler's Germany I'd be terrified to hand him any power whatsoever. But just because the Nazis misused certain tools (e.g. public medicine), it doesn't mean there is anything inherent in those tools that requires us to use them the same way. Again, it doesn't follow.

PK: Socialism
doesn't work, bud. Socialism turns stereotypes into sickness and then into
law. Socialism recognizes groups of people, not individual persons. Even
Stalin was able to see the problems of socialism. If a class warmonger can
see the economic fallout of socialism, why can't you?

RVI: So, you're saying Stalin agrees with you? Oops. I've already said that's a logical fallacy to argue like that so I can't beat you up with it. Again, socialism is a tool. It can be employed in a number of different ways, depending on oneís moral values and practical needs. Hell, George Orwell was a socialist. I think I'll side up with Orwell and then ask you to explain how he wrote "1984" while being a socialist.

RVI:> Private insurance would still be available for that level of thing if you had the money and wanted to buy it.

PK: Thanks, government! Thank you for allowing me to do to my body what and as I
wish. That's the cat's pajamas.

RVI: Pick up your teething ring. I think it just fell on the floor.

RVI: > And, of course, you're always able to pay cash if you have it. Partially socializing medicine would not get rid of the private enterprise aspects, only limit their field of involvement.

PK: I hope this <sic> "feild" of involvement would still allow all of the
research that private companies contribute to society and medical science.
Private companies are the leading cause of breakthrough scientific
discoveries in regard to health, not government research. I dare you to do
the research and prove me wrong, government boy!

RVI: The ground research private companies depend on is usually done in universities which are usually funded to large degree by public monies. Moreover, universities do not exist nor are they valued unless society as a whole chooses to support them.

RVI: > Just look at some of the complete morons in this country and ask yourself if they are qualified to teach their children anything of lasting importance, much less motivated, and if they did teach them, what nonsense would it be? What is it, 60% of men admit they never read
books now?

PK: You believe government should determine best how children are educated. If
that's the case, let's solve the whole problem by not allowing stupid people
to procreate. Abortions for people with low IQs! Freedom for the 40% of men
who admit that they read! Extra toppings for those who do not read "bad"
science fiction.

RVI: Wipe the foam from the corner of that mouth, darling, it ill becomes you in public.

RVI: > And I'm sure when the other 40% do read one it's rarely Shakespeare or Plato, it's bad science fiction, fantasy, spy thrillers, Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard, Tim LaHaye, Sean Hannity,....

PK: "our glory is to follow the better and improve the inferior".
Who's quote is that?
a) Nietzsche
b) Hitler
c) Plato

RVI: Who cares? It's out of context. My guess is Hitler, but it has next to nothing to do with this discussion. -- But just what is wrong with following those who make better sense and improving those who donít? Satan could have said that sentence and itíd still make perfectly good sense. See the argument about "guilt by association" above.

PK: And thanks to Shakespeare, we now have Hollywood - home of your beloved
American Idol. I wish I could kick Shakespeare's ass.

RVI: Learn how to write and maybe you could challenge him on his own terms.

RVI: > You have as much familiarity with the arts as I do with selling SCUBA equipment, i.e. none. Therefore, your likes and dislikes are hardly what we, as a country and a civilization, need to be appealing or listening to when deciding anything about supporting the arts.

PK: You are not a socialist, you are a fascist.

RVI: See? I knew I'd missed something somewhere -- I always thought I was a red shirt, now I'm a black shirt. Hmm. I did spend some time at UGA and red and black are the school colors...

PK: On behalf of the majority of
America, I thank you for speaking for us, and determining what kind of art
we need.

RVI: Since one of my degrees is in the subject and one of my graduate specializations was in aesthetics, I'd say I'm closer to being qualified to do that than you are. Your opinions about art are like your opinions about medicine (assuming you are a layman) -- just because you know a few things about medicine hardly qualifies you to practice it. Same thing with art and public support of it. As someone specially qualified to speak in a couple of fields, I couldn't give a bigger damn what the "majority of Americans" or anyone else thinks about those subjects.

PK: While your at it, why not go burn a few books you disagree with?
Tipper Gore will join in and we'll have a good old fashioned censorship
party!

RVI: Yeah. And maybe I'll kick Shakespeare's ass while I'm at it.

RVI: > culture decides their job is worth - hence a public school teacher makes less than a pro ball player, though the teacher is objectively of more worth. So, if most jobs are rewarded based on cultural preferences, not purely the Invisible Hand of supply and demand, the culture also
has the right to decide whether any of one's earnings can be withheld and redistributed in the name of justice. If you don't like it, take it up with reality, not me.

PK: "Very few Men strive for liberty, most only hope for a just Master." Perhaps
they should just read more Shakespeare.

RVI: I thought we were burning him. Or are you the champion of diversity again? I'm getting confused. Anyway, I think the goal is to be oneís own master, master of oneís passions, greed, desires - reading a little Shakespeare might not hurt, a little "Julius Caesar," a little "Macbeth," a little "King Lear". There is no true liberty outside liberating oneís self from mere base drives to power and control for their own sake. The Just are always a law unto themselves; the rest always require the external law.

RVI: > Everyone also has the same responsibility to see everyone has that opportunity to succeed and can exercise it fully.

PK: Nope. You are not owed a damn thing just because you merely exist. Death and
taxes, man. Death and taxes.

RVI: I've got thousands of years of civilization that says otherwise. You've got nothing worth a hot damn.

RVI: > Hence, no one should go to bed in an alley, hungry, mentally or physically ill or addicted to a substance and not treated, ignorant and uneducated, and used as starvation wage (or less) slave labor.

PK: McDonald's has sold over one billion burgers. That's a minimum wage job that
feeds millions every day. Are you telling me that supply and demand does not
exist? You deserve a break today.

RVI: Who said it didn't exist? I only said it doesn't work like you believe it does.

RVI: > If this means some people, after we help them, are unmotivated or chronically have difficulty fitting into society, that is simply the price of having a humane and humanistic society.

PK: Lazy asses unite! We're gettin' free shit! YAAAAHOOOOO!

RVI: Over 50% of wealth in America is inherited by people who didn't do a damn thing to earn or create it. I'd say the lazy asses already united and voted the neo-conservatives and libertarians into office to protect their scam.

RVI: > Again, just because we might socialize one part of society, it doesn't mean we need to totally dismantle the capitalist system.

PK: You just want to socialize the retards, the poor people and the black man.
People don't strive unless they are challenged... sounds like you want to
keep the black man down.

RVI: I'll leave this for any black person who might want to deal with you. Maybe Shakespeare has been reincarnated as an angry black man and reads this e-zine....

RVI: > Sometimes I think conservatives/libertarians fear abolishing poverty because it would mean their source of cheap, desperate labor would dry up

PK: No way, man - we'd just outsource it to another country. It's just business.
India loves us for giving them jobs.

RVI: From the mouths of babes.

> 'Hic Rhodes, hic salta.' Take your vast private school/college
> education and decipher that. Then come back and we'll talk.

Don't you mean "Hic RhodUS, hic salta"? Dumbass.

RVI: No, I meant what I wrote. Tell me what it means, not how to spell, Mr. Private School genius.

RVI:> So what if some people are happy to just exist?

PK: Then let them, but not on my dime.

RVI: It's not your dime till your responsibilities as a citizen are discharged.

RVI: > A philosophy that can be summed up in a bumper sticker is worth about as much as a bumper sticker costs.

PK: Plato wrote some of the worst bumper sticker prose crap I've ever read: "A
dog has the soul of a philosopher." "At the touch of love everyone becomes a
poet." "We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." "Beauty of style and
harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on Simplicity." blah blah blah..
it's all crap.

RVI: Even if any of this were true -- it's idiotic, but let's pretend it's true -- the fact remains you can't exhaust Plato's philosophy with a bumper sticker. It's not the length of the sentences that is in question, but the depth of meaning. Your philosophy can be summed up by Gordon Geckoís paraphrase of Rand, "Greed is good." Plato's philosophy can be contained by the sentence, "What is the Good?" Yours is vapid and creates such things as Enron; contemplation of Plato's has motivated 2,500 years of the best part of Western civilization and culture.

PK: I win... still. Logic always beats empty prose and balderdash aspirations.

RVI: May you be judged by your own wordsÖ


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