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Everything posted by DocWatts

  1. As a society we can't even agree that other humans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, otherwise things like universal health care and an end to exploitative labor practices would be an uncontroversial as giving women the right to Vote. (I'm writing this as an American). So concern for the well being of animals is sadly a luxury at this point. Which of course doesn't take anything away from how monstrous practices like factory farming are, just that far more people within society need to expand their circle of concern for anything to change.
  2. I was actually thinking of John Vervaeke as I was writing that, and I'll second your recommendation for Russel's 'History of Western Philosophy '.
  3. Sure, but that can be mitigated by seeking out multiple authors who interpret the original work from differing perspectives and with differing areas of emphasis. I wouldn't recommend someone read Heidegger who wasn't already well versed in the history of philosophy, since the entirety of something like Being and Time is an attempt to reevaluate the entire Western philosophic tradition. That said, part of the work of good contemporary academics is to give non-specialists an onramp or starting point to begin to understand what's essentially a circular endeavour.
  4. Problem is that the majority of these texts were written for other academic philosophers, with close to zero consideration given for people who aren't already hyper specialized in that philosopher's sub-field. Then also add to that a language and/or cultural barrier, and the fact that a lot of great philosophers were unfortunately just bad writers. The average person isn't going to get anything out of trying to read Hegel of Heidegger. There are better ways to get the insights of Hegel than by fruitlessly bashing one's head against the Phenomenology of Spirit. That said there are some philosophers that have made an effort to make their ideas accessible to the public (Bertrand Russell comes to mind) but these are the exception. In %90 of cases you'll be better off finding a contemporary author who specializes in making the work of other philosophers more accessible to non-specialists (for example someone like Hubert Dreyfus would be a better go to understand Heidegger than trying to read Heidegger directly).
  5. Also worth keeping in mind for context the brutal survival conditions under which communism was actually tried. Imperial Russia and China prior to communism were both backwards countries under the thumb of brutal and incompetent dictatorships. So it should be no surprise that a revolutionary vanguard consisting mostly of SD-Red had the best chance of winning a power struggle (and civil war) under those conditions. Had communism been tried under more favorable survival conditions perhaps things could have turned out differently. We'll never know. One thing that's certain though is that Marx was dead wrong in his prediction that communism would take hold in the most advanced countries first, which should have been a warning that, his excellent critique of capitalism notwithstanding, his theory of what would replace capitalism was fundamentally flawed. Which isn't the damning condemnation of Marx that it might seem, as plenty of other brilliant people have been insightful in some areas while being dead wrong in aspects of their theory. And I'd argue that there's plenty that can be salvaged from Marx, as people like Richard Wolfe have demonstrated.
  6. Political scientists who study democracy tend to categorize the United States as a flawed democracy.
  7. Okay then a more nuanced take for how to rebuild the US prison system could be use the Scandanvian model of humane treatment as a baseline, with privileges being rescinded for bad behavior, for truly heinous crimes, and for repeat offenses in a reformed criminal justice system where there exist support structures that give individuals a realistic chance to succeed once they leave prison. Build different types of facilities that prisoners are sent to depending on the severity of the offender's crimes. No reason that someone who was sentenced for stealing a car should be locked up in the same facility as someone who's committed multiple murders. The threat of having one's comforts rescinded or being sent to a different type of facility if the bad behavior is eggregius enough would be a better way of incentivizing good behavior; far better than using harsh punitive measures such as solitary confinement (which the UN considers to be torture) for that purpose. And it should go without saying that we shouldn't be sending nearly as many people to prison as we are, so these reforms would have to coincide with sweeping reforms to our criminal justice system, systemic anti poverty measures, and an end to the (racist) war on drugs. Not that any of this is a realistic political possibility any time soon; rather it's what a potential SD-Yellow prison system in the United States could look like someday.
  8. If the choice is between the human rights abuses and hellish conditions of the US prison system, and a system that's humane at the cost of affording a comfortable existence to some of its worst offenders, that's not a difficult choice to make.
  9. The world will never "run out" of uranium (or oil). It's just that the difficulty of extraction and associated costs (including externalities) become too high for it to be a viable energy source, once a certain threshold of scarcity has been reached.
  10. "Our prison system is so inhumane and cruel that it's more merciful to put people to death" is if anything damning confirmation that we need substantive prison reform to end exactly the abuses you describe, than it is a good argument for the death penalty. There's no justifiable reason that prisons have to be anywhere near as bad as they are in places like the United States. Just because it's easier to kill people than to end the numerous human rights abuses in our prison system, doesn't mean that the easier solution is the correct one.
  11. To everyone here who says that the death penalty is more humane than locking someone up in a cruel prison system that's rife with human rights abuses, would that still be your view if we had a far more humane prison system (like the ones that exist in the Scandinavian countries, for example)?
  12. Questions are perfectly okay if they're being asked in Good Faith. That said, not every topic is deserving of respect and consideration (ie Climate Change denial).
  13. Problem is that if someone is wrongly convicted for a life sentence, they can be exonerated and released later. Can't do that for someone who was put to death. Considering that in America at least the legal system is weaponized against the poor, and that two people of different socioeconomic backgrounds convicted of the same crime will have likely very different outcomes in the legal system, I can't in good conscience support the death penalty. If it has to be supported, then the death penalty should be reserved for crimes against humanity. Actions that lead to the deaths of thousands or millions of people (and imho this should include fossil fuel executives who lie and delay action on Climate Change, as well as gross negligence and abuse of power for people in position of authority that lead to deaths).
  14. Well, the context matters a lot here. Eminem is adopting a fictional and exaggerated persona for comedic purposes, which can still be problematic, but isn't remotely the same thing as someone like Trump or Tucker Carlson pushing fascistic rhetoric that's intended to encourage acts of political violence (again, with a thin veneer of plausible deniability). If you want to call the glamorization of violence in certain works artistic expression irresponsible I might agree with you, but it's an entirely different matter when the violent rhetoric is coming from a political party or former head of State.
  15. Thanks. Both sources seem to be in agreement that using commercially existing reactors, we'd have about two centuries worth of Uranium. A new generation of breeder reactors which can use spent fissile material as fuel sound extremely promising, and I'm fully on board with public investments into R&D for nuclear energy alongside renewables.
  16. (Your link wasn't working, fyi). According to Scientific American the existing supply of Uranium would last us about two centuries. Of course that's using uranium based fission, it fusion ever becomes viable that would change things significantly. to the NEA%2C identified,today's consumption rate in total.
  17. On a related note, kudos to Biden for explicitly calling out and condemning the calls to political violence from the Right in his speech last night. Every one of us with a sense of social responsibility needs to be calling out dog whistle rhetoric that's advocating for political violence whenever we come across it, so as to deny those who are using it the plausible deniability they need for this sort of thing to become normalized.
  18. A combination of renewables and nuclear energy seems to be the most realistic path forward imho. There are legitimate concerns about nuclear energy, but those are that of cost, logistics, and waste rather than safety. Newer nuclear reactor designs are far safer than stuff that was built half a century ago, and let's not forget that air pollution from fossil fuels kills tens of thousands of people every year. The primary challenge rather is that a typical nuclear power plant costs tens of billions of dollars to construct, and takes around a decade to become operational. And of course there's the issue of nuclear waste, but again this has to be weighed against the immediacy of catastrophic climate change from carbon pollution. And it's worth keeping in mind that nuclear energy is non-renewable, and if we used nuclear at the same rate as fossil fuels we'd have perhaps one to two centuries of nuclear fuel before it became cost prohibitive due scarcity. So nuclear can be part of a broader move away from fossil fuels, but it can't be the lynchpin of that strategy.
  19. Much of the confusion and antagonism around gender dynamics stems from a more general lack of construct awareness, which leads to black and white thinking about a subject that requires a degree of nuance. Sex is biological. Gender is socially constructed. Socially constructed does not mean arbitrary, but it does mean that gender is not a determinate characteristic. Rather, it's a social identity that correlates with some aspects of biological sex but is in no way synonymous with it.
  20. Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union and the person most responsible for ending the Cold War, passed away at the age of 91 yesterday. RIP Gorby, may you be remembered as a good man who tried your best to make the world a better place, despite the many obstacles you encountered.
  21. What you're most likely looking for is metamodernism. It's an emerging post-poatmoder meta-paradigm which takes a developmental view that transcends and includes both modernism and postmodernism. If you're looking for a book on the subject, The Listening Society by Hanzi Freinacht is the first book I'd recommend. If you prefer fiction / essays, David Foster Wallace was an early metamodern author who might be worth checking out as well
  22. Higher education is pretty much a requirement if you want to Be able to transition into a career doing work that you enjoy and find meaningful Be able to better your circumstances and not be trapped in a series of dead end, exploitative jobs Be able to contribute to society through your career, especially if that career involves any sort of certification (ie bring a teacher, lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc) Participate in democracy in an informed way The only way that any of this happens is through support structures that give ordinary people access to opportunities. Not wanting to spend the rest of your life trapped in an exploitative, low wage job (which is the default for people who don't find a career in our society) isn't a sign of greed, as you project. It's a sign of wanting to self actualize and do something meaningful with one's life. And to be able to self actualize requires first being able to meet one's basic needs, which in our society is acquired with money.
  23. Not really sure what you're asking. Are you asking who here voted for Biden? Who's in support of student loan forgiveness? Or are you asking if an executive action was the right way to handle this?