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John Hesch
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"Get Your Ass to Mars"

( "Buzz" Aldrin (Apollo 11 LM pilot ) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters)

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Sometimes, in an infallibly human fashion, I just want to destroy something beautiful. 

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The view less than a block from where I live
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Morality, Society, Communication

Normally I am perceived as being a liberal (except, sometimes, to my liberal friends). However, that is not quite the truth. I do hold some conceptions that are in line with conservatives. One of those conceptions is on the objectivity of morals within our society. Let me try to clarify. Morality is objective and morals are subjective. Humanity all has a sense of right and wrong, and hence a sense of morality. Most societies have their own definition of murder but murder is almost universally counts as something “wrong.” Now in the US, the involvement of government on the issue of morality takes a strange direction on the questions of morality. We take a stance that because morals are subjective then the government should remain neutral in these matters. Normally we do this in the name of individual equality. The problem with this liberal point of view is that it is a lie. It is impossible to separate morality from law. Let me illustrate this conundrum of moral neutrality within government using Harvard professor Michael Sandel's argument. He, after all can do it much better than I can.
Sandel makes his case using two civil issues. I will summarize the problem with one of those issues, abortion. We can imagine two sides to the argument. One claims that abortion is wrong because it is tantamount to murder, while the other claims that it is the individual right of the mother to terminate her pregnancy at her discretion. The first is the conservative view; the second is the liberal view. Here in lies the problem. The question court tries to answer is whether a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion (Right to Privacy). However, this is not the question posed to the Court by the conservative claim. The question the conservatives imply with their claim is “when does a fetus become a human life and therefore protected by the inalienable rights of US citizens?”

As I stated before, conservatives claim that a fetus is a human being and thus has the right to life. The liberals counter argument is that a woman has the right to choose because it is her body. The problem with the liberal counter claim is that it does not refute the idea that abortion is murder. In fact, they do not even address it. The counter argument completely ignores it.
The following is the effect of this "neutrality." In law, things are legal or illegal. There may be some special cases but these cases apparent within the law. We know that when things are illegal that an act is wrong. We see this in the case of murder. There are different degrees of murder and killing within the law. We see terms like 1st degree and second-degree murder as well as negligent homicide and manslaughter. What does this have to do with abortion? When an act is legal, that means it is acceptable, and OK according to the government and rules of society. In effect, under the claim of neutrality and the rendering of a Court decision on the basis of that claim states that abortion is OK. Furthermore, abortion is not murder.

Why does this matter? Let us look at it from the conservative angle. Imagine that murder, or rape, or child molestation were all "not illegal" because it is someone’s right to choose what is moral to them. Now some will say, but those things infringe on someone else's right to life, liberty, etc." I would agree. Now, the conservative’s argument is just that. In their view the fetus is a living human being and has the rights there of, hence abortion is murder. In essence, they are living in the paradigm I just illustrated with the extreme example of murder, rape, and child-molestation. Now among liberals there may be a lot of scoffing going on at this point. However, any rape victim who has sat through a trial and seen the circumstances turn in favor of their attacker understands that feeling greatly. Their question has not been answered, the need for justice or at least reasoning has not been satisfied. One can never hope to quell a conflict with this sort of logic. The question, in the matter of abortion that need a definitive answer by the Court is simple, when does human life begin.

So what has happened is that by assigning the liberal idea of neutrality to the issue abortion the Court has now made a moral decision. By saying that abortion is legal it also by default declares that it is not murder and a fetus is therefore not a life. Using this counter-argument (by ignoring the question originally posited) will only perpetuate the conflict. In the end, the government (and liberals) must take a stance on whether or not a fetus is a living human. In the end, all law comes down to a moral question. Society via the government answers these moral questions. In this way, morality is objective. It must be for a society to live a cohesive existence. Taking morality away from humanity makes us inhuman.

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Consider equality in regards to the general human state of being beyond the socio-economic sense of the word that permeates our culture today. Are we equal? Are some people substantially more than others? Is excellence counter intuitive to our notion of equality? In the words of Syndrome (bad guy in The Incredibles echoing Ayn Rand), "when everyone is special, no one is." Something in this sentiment resonates. Is excellence the price of equality? However, equality seems to have an aspect that is intuitive as well. Things like slavery, the sexual exploitation of children and certain discriminations seem instinctually wrong especially if personally experienced. Opposing these things does not seem to hurt excellence. Of course, one could argue that the individual excellence that is able to rise from the state of slavery would not have done so had it not been enslaved to begin with. Does suffering provide a birthing ground for excellence? If we do away with suffering, do we stifle greatness? I wonder how an excellent human being born lifted from these sufferings would answer. The constant pull of these two concepts makes me think of Aristotle’s golden mean. Sometimes it seems like a quick repair (at least when considered over long enough timelines). 
 Do we have to redefine excellence, equality, or maybe both in order to mitigate the paradox of these two intuitively correct concepts that exist diametrically opposed to each other? Can it be possible that all current models are at least just incorrect enough that a new model is required? Is there not a point where we have to reexamine our belief structures on some fundamental level and change them as needed? If there is no such point, then are we at the pinnacle of human excellence, achievement, evolution (choose the fundamental synonym most comfortable to you)? Speaking in systemic terms the current form of human civilization seems poised to close in on itself at some point. If that is the case, are we coming to the end of modern thinking? What is replacing it, or is this it? hit the reset button and start the process over. Thanks.

Torrent storms violently spin and collide within me. A bitter rain of dark desires beats upon the top of my head, covering me in their wet black kisses. The droplets soak into the pores of my skin, infecting me with promises of forlorn bliss. Lies of love. Lies of riches. Lies of dreams beholden to the wretched

With the fury of a Norse god the hammering thunder booms in the overhead sky. It drowns the sound of my voice like an angry father snarling over the crying defiance of a prodigal son. I am meek. I am weak in the shadow of this ominous machination of suffering, this killer of dreams and destroyer of men, this crusher of minds. Yet I am not.

The forces of my soul stand colossal in the might of their winds. This dream is not my own. I will not accept it. I am not alone. I am the resilient mountain, the slow river current. I am the strength of patience. I am the eroding winds blowing inevitability. I am a paradox, so dreadfully human, yet, so much more. I shift paradigms, forge dreams. 

We are the tentative hearts so slow to move to passion. We are the last to stand yet the first to defy. We bleed the sacrifice for others. We are martyrs, saints, criminals, and thieves. We are the liars who whisper the truths in between. We are human and yet so much more. We are all of this for one simple reason, we believe.


Inevitably, when you tell people that you are majoring in political science you will hear the question "what are you going to do with that?" More often than not the verbal question is accompanied by vocal tones and facial features that seem to convey doubt and sometimes even a bit of disdain. I normally give one of two responses. I am going to change the world, or (as i put my pinky finger to the corner of my mouth) I am going to rule the world! All humor aside, there are applications to political science that work in every day life if you know what to do and how to do it. 

All of us, in some form or another, work within small groups to achieve a goal of some kind. Whatever group that may be is consequently governed by some sort of fundamental shared meaning. This group has some sort of doctrine (written or not) through which they plan, work, and communicate. There doesn't have to be a leader per se, but there does have to be mutual understandings between the group members.

Invariably, conflict within the group is bound to arise. In the most rigid of systems (company policies, military doctrine, etc) there is usually an established way to handle these conflicts. In a much looser group structure does not usually exist. How is conflict handled then?

Let's suppose that a person is not part of the conflict within the group. One notices two people whose personalities are diametrically opposed enter a state of conflict. This state of conflict more than likely arises due to an inability of the two opposites to effectively communicate. For each of the people engaged in the conflict whatever is said to them by the other is offensive or takes on a completely different meaning than the sender meant. This skewed perception causes judgments (consciously or subconsciously). AT this point one or both of the individuals begin cultivating resentment. 

If a member of the group notices this resentment and identifies the mis-communications that founded the original conflict they can begin bridging the gap between them. This only works if the person outside the conflict has a shared understanding with each of the diametrically opposed individuals. The person in question must understand what each person is trying to say and why each perceives their opposite with resentment. To clarify they must know why each of the opposites find the others form of communicating resentful. 

The rest is talking. If the groups goal is important enough that will help smooth the conflict down. If each person brings something important to the group that the other can see, then that will also help. However at the end of the day both opposites must begin to communicate effectively with one another to resolve the conflict and reach their intended goal. When working in a small, loosely structured group it is essential to know each member as well as possible. A person must be able to understand where everyone in the group is coming from, without judgement. 

This may sound like a lot of work, however, how many friendships, romances, families... groups in general have fallen a part because of simple prejudices and an inability to communicate? This is politics stripped to its bare minimum. Of course as we increase the size of the group and the different dynamics within it things get more complicated. At its foundation, though, this is the purpose of political science, to understand the nature of the way humanity (in the form of national constructs) defines its behavior and interacts with each other, then we try to determine the best possible system (or even the best inachieavable system given the best set of circumstances.) to oversee these interactions towards the aim of man's progress and how to best implement that system over time. A looooong looooong looooong time.... Thanks to those of you who hung in there on this till the end.

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