Category Archives: Politics

Politics Suck – Embrace Humanity

Here in the US many folks are embroiled in one of two things: football – and the atrocious calls the replacement refs are making – and political theater.  For once I’m not offended or too annoyed with the football discussions.  This is, perhaps, one of the first times in my adult life where I can honestly say the political conversation is so absurd folks might as well be talking about something as ineffectual and non life altering as a sport they don’t play.  The conversations are rarely about anything substantive with chants of “MY guy/team is better than YOUR guy/team” blaring all over cyber space en masse.

While today I’m slightly more angry and frustrated than I am sad, my words in a recent interview are what stand clearly in my awareness:

The question of “who does this law/regulation hurt” is ignored in favor of the unacknowledged favoritism of a certain group or individual over another. Penalizing law abiding citizens is rather like playing favorites with your children. It hurts an innocent for no good reason other than the self-imposed, self-permitted prejudice.  This is so very sad to me.

This can be said the world over – no matter your politics, nationality, or religion – politics has done what, in my opinion, it was always meant to do: Separate people.  Not from each other necessarily (although between religion and politics this happens a great deal), but each individual from their own humanity.  The conversation during elections isn’t about how one can help another person, about how a politician or party’s actions is bent toward penalizing some individuals simply because of income, sexual orientation, race, gender or, worse in the case of US, geographic locale that permits bombing and drone attacks.  They’re all about the champions each of us has selected and how they’re better or worse than someone else’s.  And as so many of us do this we believe we’re supporting who/what we need to because of humanity while in actuality we eschew it in favor of rhetoric and the misplaced hope that a lesser evil is some sort of good.  The argument is about how to decorate the 90th floor of a skyscraper without ever having looked to see the steel encasing it was brittle.

The hard questions, those we need to ask ourselves, go unanswered.  Questions like – Why do I believe someone who makes more money than me/my family should pay a higher percentage of their income (when the same percentage of their income paid in taxes is more than what I pay)?  What is “fair”?  Why do I think going to war is a good idea?  Why do I want to send others to do it when I’m not willing to sign up?  If I sign up why should I make others pay my salary and weapons when they’re so against anyone, me or my enemies, killing/dying?  Why do I not want “these” people to die?  Why do I want “those” people to die?

In each and every question lies a piece of our own humanity.  With each answer we reclaim more of it.

The rhetoric surrounding the pundit of choice can and will only ever reflect that which the majority of most individuals are willing to confront.  It’s time each person takes a step back, looks into themselves, and asks the hard questions.  Until then each election will bring out more of the same: reflections of the bigotry, resentment, and fear each voter is afraid to confront within themselves.  Without these things a de facto aristocracy could not be tolerated.  Without them the dialogue changes.  Lesser of evils will be viewed as evil and not permissable.  Solutions will come from people, not systems.  Our fellow human beings will exist in our minds and hearts without or apart from the previously prescribed labels.  We will trust our own judgments based upon the ethics each of us have thought of and fought ourselves to have and in so doing will be able to evaluate candidates based upon records, facts.  Change the dialogue and forget politics.  Remember your humanity and, by extension, that of others – even if you disagree with them.

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Security: Sounds Like… Not So Much

Drones.  Many folks know about them.  Certainly if you pay attention to the news you probably hear or see bits about the US’s drones being used in attacks in Pakistan, possibly in Yemen, Somalia and Iran – although these last three to a lesser extent.  Perhaps it might even seem reasonable that we attack using technology that negates immediate loss of life to Americans especially in a country (or four) that seem to house “terrorists”.  There are some folks out there who even know about the US Congress passing a bill that orders the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) to open up airspace for drones by 2015.  I’m sure there are many who don’t even know why this should be considered frightening.

The dramatic pieces of this, in my opinion, comes in the form of an attack in Yemen.  One that assassinated an American citizen who was part of al Qaeda – Anwar  al-Awlaki – without due process and without formal and public investigation.  The truth is the lack of due process means we have just the US government’s word to take that he was a danger although it is my stance that him being a “threat” doesn’t matter.  Not one bit.  There was no war in Yemen the US was fighting, not a single whisper of Yemen’s danger to the US has been made mention of in our propaganda friendly media, and yet there we sent military drones to kill a man guilty of crimes against the US (note I did not say IN) without ever having met the burden of proof in a courtroom.     The little discussed tidbit that seems to always be missing in the news is just how far that little “t” word goes to justify killing others.

An assassination committed by a government that occurs in DIRECT SUBVERSION of the laws that govern it should always warrant attention.  Certainly more than the after the fact justification that was offered instead of the outrage at the lack of evidenciary support being given to any supposed charges before ordering a hit on an American citizen.  Even if one wishes to think that this could not happen here, that this only happens to folks the government says is bad (heck, it’s not like “they’ve” ever lied to “us” before, right?) and aren’t on US soil, then I would have to kindly, gently ask them this:  How do we know these people are a danger to anyone?  What proof do we have?

Some might stipulate that these drones only attack terrorists – the bad guys who wrecked so much damage on 9/11 – that these are specific targets and the drones allow for less errors.  No innocents, as defined (or not) by the US government will be killed.  This has to be better than the open war of Iraq, Afghanistan, or the non-hostile bombings of Libya.   Doesn’t it?  Those drone attacks in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, or even the mere accidental crash of one in Iran could all be summed up by talk of enemies of The State (to say nothing of the accidental crash into a SWAT vehicle).

This begs the question:  Who are the enemies?  Is it in every person who does something we don’t understand as the “if you see something, say something” campaign would have us believe?  Behind every friendly face is there a bomb plot hatching?  An inborn hatred of all that each of us represents?  Is it so dangerous that the US government, whose powers are as far reaching as authorizing drones to kill those selected, can not possibly bring these individuals into court?  To prove the irrefutable guilt of those sentenced to die NOT by a jury of their peers, but by bureaucrats?

The answer came in a recent decision by the Pentagon that says:

The Obama administration’s top Pentagon lawyer on Wednesday said that American citizens who join Al Qaeda can be targeted for killing and that courts should have no role in reviewing executive branch decisions about whether someone has met such criteria.

Let me repeat that last part: “courts should have NO role in reviewing executive branch decisions whether someone has met such criteria”.

Who do Americans then look to for protection from a government that is intent upon its own enemies?  How does an entity that is FOR the people even have enemies?  Surely, it can’t make a mistake like this again when utilizing “new” powers it has granted its self?

 Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.

And after all is said and done the only question that remains is this: If the government can target citizens for killing, can use drones for domestic and foreign expeditions, when it holds its self to no burden of proof before putting citizens on secret lists with no chance for them to defend themselves – do we feel safer?

 


Philosophy: Not so useless after all.

Growing up notions of philosophy were anathema to me. I don’t recall hearing the word brought up in conversation at home, in school, or even in my friends’ homes. A premise of thought was not truly introduced to me until I was 29 and beginning my venture of stay at home mommydom; ethical and moral notions were introduced a mere couple years before during my undergraduate work. For all intents and purposes, my upbringing was built upon the simple notion that you do what you’re told. In hindsight the tasks required of me as a child sometimes made sense, but seldom were reasons beyond “you have to” and “because that’s the way it is/what I said” given. The nature of these tasks was not up for discussion or rationale.

Being in the school system bred little more thought; a series of tasks laid out before me (despite being in “gifted” programs). It seems to me now, in reflection, that critical thought has almost always been abhorrent. Thank goodness for Socrates, but his genius method had nothing to do with my experience of pre-collegiate formal education. My mind, beyond the spinning and whirring that occurred in the process of memorizing copious bits of information, lay asleep. The only exception being the hormone excess where drama was the name of the inescapable game from middle school on.

Abstract notions, the ability to comprehend, explain, and discuss them: These were taught in the nature of giving a busy mind something to do. But to question? To ascertain the premise of a thought? Heck, even discuss what a premise was? These things were sadly not featured in my life until I took an Intro to Philosophy class about six years ago. It seems odd to come to something that intuitively should be so part of life and learning at such a late date. And I have no explanation for it beyond this steadfast belief by those around me that this simply is the way it’s supposed to be.

It was only natural then that I became religious about politics and believed in democracy, that the choices of most people in a vocal society were inevitably right and good while the minority was sadly never even thought of. This is not to say that I felt whoever comprised the minority of voters deserved to be ruled by decisions of the majority, but truly that it was not encouraged to even think of them. That population simply did not exist for me. Education had many failings, but this one, I think, is perhaps the most damaging. It made an entire group of individuals disappear from thought.

Philosophy, the quest for it or even the practice of it, is what leads to questions about the ramifications of empowering one group of individuals who happen to agree, simply because its bigger, over a smaller group. That this echoes of the days of Jim Crow and pre-sufferage should not be discarded automatically due to superficial differences, but explored because of the almost identical underlying premise: A group matters because we, the majority, say it does and another doesn’t matter because we say it doesn’t.

While the issue of racism and prejudice are not viewed in the same light as democracy the philosophical point remains. Jim Crow laws stood in effect because of popularity; same goes with denying women the right to vote. Conversely, each of these legally institutionalized bits of prejudice were overturned due to the outrage of the populace. The categories into which people were handily sorted and marginalized matters not at all. In the examples I gave it was because of the color of one’s skin or gender, presently it’s about income, and tomorrow could be hair color or what hand you use to write with. The REASON for second hand status of rights is always the same: a powerful group of individuals said so. Color, religion, gender, sexual orientation – is any one of these things more important than another? More horrifying to categorize and cast people aside over? No. Why would it? All involve pre-judgment and none required due process of law to usurp or deny rights. It required a majority and, in some cases, merely a very vocal and politically connected minority.

The conclusion I came to as a result of applying philosophy was that a majority should never hold sway over a minority. That democracy was flawed at its premise. Being even a small part of 51% of any given population does not make “right”, merely “might”. Despite these lessons in history the notion of democracy can still hold a certain appeal so long as the underlying premise, the majority is right/gets what it wants, is overlooked. As is so often the case, the philosophical journey is no more complex than asking what something is, how it works, and that ever perplexing why. Without philosophy and the questions it espouses it is easy to go along with simple statements of presumed fact: That democracy allows people to have a voice. With it there is ease in understanding that democracy allows only some people a voice. One doesn’t even need to understand philosophy in all her pretentious glory to shed a bit of light on any given subject – just skepticism.

Looking back it is easy to see that a system of education such as the one I experienced was not about skepticism or philosophy, but about espousing a certain belief set: democracy – good, people who get hurt by democratic decision – non-existent. I do not think for one instant that these beliefs were the end goal of a quite overburdened system. Belief, however, was. There are times, places, and even people wherein faith is a good exercise. However, if anyone demands it, whether this be a system or person, and denies you the answers to the questions or even the right to ask them, they more than likely do not warrant faith. Just a touch more skepticism and its unceasing mistress philosophy.


Plodding Along

As the year comes to a close, thankfully, I begin my year end “oh, crap I need to make progress on that wip!” sprint.  Admittedly, the rough draft won’t even be done by then, but that matters little to me at this point.  There has been almost no motion in my writing over the last several months, excepting some half-hearted attempts at editing, and it’s time for that stagnation to stop.  It’s quite literally as though a fog has lifted.  Finally.  Between the hormones, trauma, and loss over the last few months my mind now feels clear and capable.  Getting back together with the ladies in my very informal writing group has also helped immeasurably.

To this end I am also looking forward to getting back to reading while juggling my Christmas baking AND crafting.  [Nothing lends its self to crafty inspiration quite like an almost four year old always being around and the one car leaving every day with your spouse.]  This all seems like rather uninteresting blather, even to me – but here are the pieces of goodness that have come about as a result of all these things:

1.  My friend passing has recalled to mind how valuable life is.  While it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the day to day drama and bullshit there is still life.  Nothing else matters.  Not really.  That’s what my wip was always meant to demonstrate – my thoughts/feelings on the value of a life and how its safe keeping can never be handed over to an unknown person.  Trust is personal.  And there is nothing more personal to me than the lives I value.

2.  Electricity is a requirement for living in this world.  It shouldn’t be.  My mind became calmer, I spoke more to my son (who definitely did NOT get more quiet), and the necessities became obvious when there was no electricity.  Warmth, food, water – these are necessary for life.  And here’s where I get political:  So why on EARTH do we wind up subservient to town ordinances while we pay taxes on our property that make it a pain in the ass to have a fireplace?  This kind of goes back to number one – why trust people you don’t know with something as valuable as your life – or things that drastically impact your ability to maintain your life?  [For those who don’t know and just want to focus on the Big Bad Utility Company angle of the media – it took CT’s governor FIVE DAYS to call out the National Guard to start cleaning up the Nor’easter mess.  Utilities would have been easier to restore if the freaking trees were dealt with from the get go and with the aid of the guys who had the equipment all us taxpayers have already bought.]  Believe you, me – all that is relevant to the wip.  I also really like pen and paper.  A lot.  My next house will have a gas stove and a fireplace.

3.  Sometimes survival depends upon a community.  Form one.  Be a positive part of it.  Life can be difficult and lonely, sometimes impossible, if not for the aid of those around us.  It’s not about reaching out and taking, but about reaching out and giving.  Sometimes having a little less because you shared means you wind up with more.

4.  Time is precious and totally worth being spent on good food, good friends, good books, and the quiet moments it takes to figure out exactly what qualifies as “good”.

Have you ever been unwillingly without power for a substantial amount of time?  How’s your writing going?  Heck, what kind of books are you reading?

It’s been so long and I really want to get reacquainted with all of you.  Please share.


An Ode to Monty Python Mondays (but the serious kind)

I’m sorry to start off this week with politics.  Even sorrier that it has to be to talk about something that I view as absolutely absurd, too.  Please, bear with me because, honestly, this is something many bloggers might want to be in the know about.  There is a lot of legislation being offered forth regarding copyright infringement and the like and, while I’m not going to get on my high horse and talk about copyright issues right now, I will say that the legislation is BAD.

Here’s the first bit:

If you embed a YouTube video that turns out to be infringing, and more than 10 people view it because of your link… you could be facing five years in jail.

The full article can be found at Tech Dirt.  Now, I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to mind is the amount of policing that’s required to make this kind of thing have any teeth; the second is the concerns that this could effectively make many US citizens into criminals.  Easily.

We can always play devil’s advocate and proclaim that OF COURSE it’s going to be one of those laws that isn’t taken seriously, but it is set up to be dealt with rather seriously and as such should not be diminished simply upon the premise of “they won’t do anything about it”.  Added to this issue is the Protect IP Act which is a brain child of Senator Leahy of VT.  I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again – law needs to be considered first for all the bad it can do and ONLY IF that is amenable should the good be considered.  Never would I presume to defend piracy, but I most certainly will always – ALWAYS- champion the first amendment.  Any law that encourages the shutting down of websites upon presumption of guilt without due process of law is against the first amendment.

Any thoughts on these pieces of legislation?  What about copyright law? 

Wednesday’s Post: A Wall Street Journal article about YA literature that seemed to cause quite a hubub. 

 

 


Lots of Contemplations

The last couple of months (yikes!) have found me in a very contemplative and negative space.  It hasn’t been enough to read about the unhindered and justified hatred running rampant or the devastation wrecked by Mother Nature, but on top of all that I wandered into an emotional space the likes of which I hadn’t experienced in years.  Now, quite obviously, hormones are very possibly contributing to some of these feelings, but it would be disingenuous for me to blow them off simply as pregnancy related mishigas.  [There’s also been the issue of a little one who has been catching everything under the sun thanks to being anemic.]

Because I am hormonal I decided to take some time and simply allow myself to truly think about all these goings on before heading to the internet to write some kind of massively vitriolic or weepy post.  [Luckily, hormonal for me does not mean oblivious.  Usually.]  This led me to the quandary about what to do with the things I like writing about.  Surely politics and philosophy come into play here and, I’m sad to say, these tie in with pursuing home birth as well, but so does writing in general and the things I’ve been reading.  Separate blogs have been contemplated, but I’m unsure as to how on Earth I would manage THAT when I’ve obviously been falling behind on only having the one!  So, what I’ve decided is to work with this blog for all of it and see if I might be able to work out a schedule and a layout that would allow for easy perusing.  I do not have a schedule ready yet, so please don’t ask me.  I’ll dedicate myself to figuring that out this week, though.

In the mean time I am going to do my best to get back to blogging regularly (I know I’ve said that before) and in that includes zipping around to all the blog buddies who I’ve been missing. It’s very scary, but I haven’t checked the email attached to my blog in MONTHS and this will be one of the first *gulp* things I tackle.  Over time.  Probably.  Forgive me.  Puhleeeeaaaasssse…


It’s Been a While

There has been much going on, some of these goings are personal and will be detailed in the coming weeks, but the truth is I haven’t had words for the things I wanted to talk about.  For now I thought I’d share a poignant video from Egypt.

When people are willing to die so that they may be heard, the terror of life has already crossed into the realm of nothing left to lose.  I’m not talking about risk associated with certain absurd adrenaline junky sports, but in real life context.  These protesters can either go down fighting or simply go down.  That is a choice in how to die, not anything else.  And it is upon them because of politics.

Think of these people and pray, send energy, or whatever – in the hopes that these protests come to an end soon and that the resolution is a peaceful and free one.

 

On a personal note:  I have yet to figure out when to get my writing really done without a nap time.  Honestly, I can watch a few clips, search the web – but form a complete thought that takes longer than a sentence to communicate?  Pffft.  The Boy does not agree that this is important, hence I am writing this at 11:30 at night.


Responsibility

Let us each begin with the consideration of our voices.  Many of us are writers and those of us who aren’t are at least either blogging or on facebook/twitter (at least you are if you’re reading this) and this means we communicate with words in a very public way.  What responsibility do we have for those words?  How far does it go?  If you are seeking publication, or are published, then what responsibility do you have for those words?  Other authors- what responsibility do they have?  What about politicians?  How far does the culpability go?  For what?

It is my contention that we are all responsible for our actions.  Nothing more or less.  The varying degree of public exposure matters little to these points for me because, quite frankly, all we can ever be responsible for, with very few exceptions, is ourselves.  I can not rightly be blamed because a neighbor of mine took offense to my words and then went out and committed vandalism (this did NOT happen so please put your phones down).  Why?  Well, because I didn’t commit the vandalism of course.  The person who CHOSE to commit the act is the one that committed the crime.  The most that I would be guilty of is shooting my mouth off to a friend which, let’s be honest, we all do.  Sometimes our friends aren’t exactly mentally balanced (I’m not one to judge my friends – pot calling kettle and all that) and so our trust in such vitriolic outpourings wind up being slightly misplaced.

Let’s change the venue.  Perhaps what I said was through a character in a work of fiction, a reader I didn’t know took it as inspiration and then decided to act out violently as a result.  Am I responsible?  What if it was a work of non-fiction?  Does that change anything?

In my opinion it doesn’t.  The only thing I can take responsibility for are my words and this is, more than likely, what my response would be: Yeah, I wrote them.  I even did so on purpose.  What of it?  When my words become a means for persecution simply because a person made a choice to do something allegedly as a result of them it means we have criminalized words, not action.  If we are forever relegated to this mentality nothing will be written simply out of the fear that one person could act out malevolently and be able to place the blame at the author’s feet.  This is a never ending situation and one that demonstrates a lack of personal responsibility.  It is a way of making the blame appear upon someone else’s doorstep and, in matters of the public, this becomes a public beheading not unlike what occurred in France when the blood of the aristocracy ran through the square.  Those who are unpopular in the masses get beheaded first even if they committed no action.

Assuming we have decided to criminalize words then what do we have left to use for discussing ideas or even spreading information?  Pictures?  Things that in many ways are more ambiguous than finitely defined words?  Would those things not get criminalized as well and for the same reasons?  How could they not be?

When we make every public person out (this person acts in a way that I don’t want young girls to see, and that’s her audience, and how dare she….) to be culpable for the wrong doings of whoever may be in their audience we are saying the audience isn’t responsible.  The public quite necessarily seems to feel more comfortable blaming the outspoken, the people with ill and violent words, instead of the people who don’t necessarily say a thing but instead act violently, with cruelty and depravity.  Actions are things to consider and what this brings home to us is that not all of us are balanced and respectful of others, many want, can, and do cause harm to others.  These are not comfortable things.  But therein lies what we necessarily must acknowledge while walking around in this world: People often do bad things and there are NO reasons that can be given that will make it okay, make them LESS responsible, make the person/s injured less so.

When we assume there is a reason for every bad thing that happens, that there is a causation we can root out, kill, forbid, we are perpetuating a dangerous myth.  The person is no longer responsible, or at least LESS responsible, for their actions and so, too, are we.  Unless we do something publicly.  This isn’t to say we shouldn’t choose our words carefully, that our actions are thought of and the intent thereof addressed – for freedom is absolutely something that comes with responsibility, but that it is the action that must remain the crime lest we fall into the world of Minority Report or 1984.  Each of us has ownership of our actions and sometimes those actions come with consequences.

 


Thoughts on Bullying

For a bit now I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts properly, to find some coherent way of communicating them in hopes of formulating a post.  The truth is, the means of explaining my thoughts on the matter didn’t hit until I saw a few nasty things about Sarah Palin (and, no, this post is NOT about her – but utilizing her as an example) on facebook and of course through our inestimable (*sarcasm*) media.

I don’t like her.  Never liked her.  Probably never will like her.  She is not someone I admire on just about any level.  But you know what?  I’m not calling her names or blaming her for things that, please pardon me, had absolutely nothing to do with her.  The attacks on her are not limited to thoughtful criticism or discourse, but instead remind me of that terrible book from junior high that everyone knew existed: The Slam Book.  [To those unfamiliar with this particular blend of emotionally cruel venom it’s a book with people’s names in it and on those pages not so nice things are said about the individual.  If this still sounds a bit weird and nonsensical then I would advise you to watch “Mean Girls” – it’s seriously a good commentary on such pettiness.]

Some of the people who denounce bullying, who somehow want to outlaw this behavior, are being hypocrites.  Acting out displeasure through ad hominem attacks shows children, peers, students, etc, that this is an appropriate way of conducting one’s self.  It shows that bullying is okay so long as we have a justification for it.

Argument and discourse is a wonderful thing to encourage.  It demonstrates application of critical thought, of self scrutiny and awareness, and moreover that a rebuttal should be pointed and that smearing the subject or the person offering a counterpoint is petty and juvenile.  You want things to improve in this society?  This can’t happen through laws, but through each and every person’s actions.  Don’t denounce bullying while posting messages of hate; don’t stand high on a pulpit marketing yourself as the next martyr for the poor lambs being led to slaughter in a malevolent and over ridden with bully system while calling “those” people you don’t like the foulest of names.  Kids do as we do.  If they’re acting out and being cruel it is not an anomaly, but a testimony to what is perceived as normal or acceptable in society and home.

Same for the victims.  People distraught over name calling and ostracism are not secure in themselves.  And why aren’t they?  Is the message given to be like everyone else or is it one of support for who they are REGARDLESS of if/how they fit into a societal mold?

We want to fix this problem we need to take a good hard look at ourselves, at the words we use and the actions we take, then confront ourselves with it.  As soon as humanly possible we should then proceed to talk about it with those we love and those who might need the words.  Think.  Talk.  Own it.  Show that all of this makes you a better person, not a weaker one.

**  I will have a book review of “Practical Magic” posted on Monday.  This post was near and dear to my heart as well as on the tip of my mind and so it got priority billing as it were.


Amazon in the news – AGAIN!

As many of you have probably heard Amazon was going to sell a book many people were offended/upset by.  While I was planning on not addressing this on the blog (at all) and let the whole thing go by seemingly unnoticed by myself it seemed imprudent to do so.  I’ve spoken about the First Amendment a few other times on this blog and, while that is certainly something that plays out here as well, the larger issues and implications are vital to address.  [I’m currently wishing I had done my post on Corporatism already, but I will nonetheless persevere].

The issue as I see it amounts to a few different things:  Why do we not want this book to be sold?  Why do we hold Amazon responsible for this?  What do we aim to accomplish by getting a massive book retailer to not sell it?

For my part, I don’t care if they sell it.  They’re not hanging out a banner and saying “hey, if you can prove you’re a practicing pedophile you get a discount!” And, honestly, even if they were I probably still wouldn’t do much more than boycott them and encourage others to do so as well.  Power of the dollar and all that.  The reasons I don’t are pretty simple in concept and it does go back to legalities and private industry.  Does the company have a right to sell a book?  Yes.  Does it have a right to sell any book it chooses to?  Yes.  Does Amazon endorse pedophilia by selling this book?  Not necessarily.  Given other people’s hostility about this I can respect Amazon’s decision to not sell the work, although I really wish they would be more stalwart in their defense of free speech by keeping it available to those who want to purchase it.  Truth is, I know few people principled enough to not buy from the guy who has the cheapest deals in town (although that is hardly something one should bank their business practices on) for any significant amount of time.

Amazon is a company whose interests rest pretty solely upon selling lots of stuff to lots of people who, presumably, have varied interests.  Nothing more or less.

By advocating a big seller like Amazon to NOT sell a book like this is nothing more than what other people are doing when they challenge books so their libraries/schools won’t carry/teach them.  What does that solve?  It means a bunch of people offended just told a whole bunch of other people that they didn’t have the right to learn about or read a work.

We can argue about subject matter all we want, but that’s really all it boils down to.  People are offended and upset by the subject matter, which is understandable (yes, I said understandable), but the finger of righteousness is a larger issue at hand.  Where does one limit the reach of that almighty finger that is busy smiting projects it disagrees with from the public record?  How can one do so?

Some people have argued about the responsibility of the company to “society” (I’m reading the Communist Manifesto right now so I’ll hold on my rant about THAT gem for later) in NOT selling this book.  How so?  Don’t buy it.  No one’s making you.  This argument seems to be based upon the notion that a book could encourage people to act on pedophilia urges.  Hogwash.  We can argue until the cows come home about what might encourage certain behaviors, but just as that rampant idiocy about increased violence from video games continues to circulate, so goes this.  People who are prone toward such things are not going to suddenly act out abusive notions on kids because of a book, even if they cited the book as the reason they’d just be denying personal culpability of their actions – and it is not the text that acted (by definition it can’t), nor are people who had no interest in it before reading the book out of potential curiosity going to suddenly feel the urge to attack children.

Even if that’s the reason people are using for their upset there is now something in the US called the Patriot Act (no, I don’t like/support it) that enables the government to track who buys what and put them on a watch list.

And here is my righteous pointing finger as I yell:  How DARE you tell me what I CAN NOT read!  Who gave you that right?!

Matters of interest might be things like Larry Flynt’s impressive efforts in support of the first amendment.

Then there’s this excellent article about legislating morality with the most vital quote as follows:

And again, who gets to decide what’s moral?

I totally admit that I’m actually curious to read this book now simply because of all the vitriol.  Then again, I’m already reading Morrison and Marx so the notion of reading something else that will more than likely raise my blood pressure doesn’t strike me as a good idea.