Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Pedant Necklace

I was amused to recently read about a quirk of US Law: there's a region of Idaho that, because of how the right to a jury trial works, in theory is an area where some kinds of crime could not be prosecuted (anything requiring a jury trial) because there are no residents of the area. This is more of a problem for textualist interpretations of the Constitution; while the author would like this "fixed", I actually hope it is not, at least not by legislature. This is because I think textualists are both completely wrong in a common-law legal system, and because while I think rule of law is very important, it is societally pathological and ugly to try to insist that rules can or should be entirely rigid and understood a priori. The Ex Post Facto prohibition generally retains force, but laws must be flexible and judges should be free to fix gross injustice as well as gaps in the law. The more we treat law as a pneumatic system, the more we lose sight of this.

Cuba is holding a convention of the Communist Party, a surprisingly rare event for a nation theoretically run by the people. Raul Castro's slow implementation of market reforms has aided Cuba's economy, but the Castros are looking at old age and seeing few people to replace them to carry on the nation. As they've neglected the democratic aspects of communism for so long, the party is dying of old age as much as they are; chief on the agenda are ways to get new leadership and change traditions of governance.

US warmongering in Iran may have serious consequences. Our assasination of an Iranian nuclear scientist did not help matters.

I have found the claims that we're becoming like Europe to be surprisingly common in online politics. It's a delightful charge to answer because it's defused with such easy responses. "Have you ever been to Europe?" "Most nations in Europe are doing very well" "The current economic crisis in Europe is tied to our own, not some longstanding problem". Most of the people who trumpet the anti-Europe line are clueless nontravellers who are willing to abandon the claim against the slightest pressure. It only survives in conservative circles because the conservatives who repeat it don't travel.

One of the ways arguing philosophy on the net sometimes feels unsatisfying is that one is arguing with people who are not peers who show up in great numbers entirely because of their stance on some issue. Having even confrontational arguments on politics/philosophy with people one knows is nice because we have traction; if we convince someone of something, or plant an idea, or something, we know it stays planted and build a history with them. Online, that's not the case. If we confront a bad idea, we're dealing with thousands of yahoos who hold it who will just diminish slightly in number of we convince a few. We expend our emotional energies in an activity that builds nothing (even if it is important that we do so because otherwise a consensus might be built that excludes us). Even blogging here is more satisfying, not because I ever really talk to my readers in person anymore, but at least occasionally conversations are started. Same way with Plus. And occasionally I am forced to admit that I was too sloppy in some way with my arguments. That's really valuable, both because it's a social-intellectual tie and because it helps keep everyone honest. It's hard to have that when everyyone's so numerous and relatively anonymous on forums like Youtube and Slashdot.

I like the idea of password sharing as part of dating. As you probably know, I'm a big fan of monogamy, and the values that make it possible. A good relationship, in my view, is one where the partners come to a somewhat shared social identity, and eventually a somewhat shared personal identity. I know that temptation to stray is also part of this commitment; to counter that we both aim to construct people who are inclined towards monogamy (both positively in wanting it and negatively in feeling a lot of guilt when they consider straying), and to have other parts of society aid in this commitment. If a third party sees a member of a couple being inappropriately intimate with someone else, the third party ideally mentions it. I personally want to put my entire life on the table with a partner; I share my passwords, my journals, everything. I don't want to get in the habit of hiding things from a partner because I know that that habit is corrosive of the values and relationship style I want. This is part of radical openness (a doctrine I once held much more broadly in life, from my formalist days) that I've kept.

I'm starting to get proper, unsolicited, decent-looking things that look like job offers from companies in NYC. Full-time only, unfortunately, but this is giving me the inspiration to push a bit for an answer from $perfectcompany, so if I end up with a no from them I won't have ignored so many other opportunities. Also talking with a few recruiters which might be able to hook me up with something part-time. Maybe. It's surprisingly easier to get full-time work.


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