kerravonsen: What is essential is invisible to the eye (essential-invisible)
One thing that has baffled me quite a bit in these angry arguments about things like abortion and gay marriage, is the protest "religions shouldn't impose their morals on other people". To me, that has sounded completely unfair, because it's like declaring that anyone who follows a religion shouldn't have a say in a democracy, because obviously their opinions and their votes are going to be informed by their morals, their conscience, their beliefs.

I had an "aha!" moment recently, during a discussion on Twitter. (yes, very unwise to try to discuss anything on Twitter, but it was initially a cordial and respectful discussion, I think.) There are two classes of moral rules: those that apply to everybody, and those that only apply to some people. I think we can agree that things like "don't murder" and "don't steal" apply to everybody. The usual rule of thumb is "if it harms someone else, it applies to everybody". The ones that only apply to some people (I think?) are in the form of a promise made by a person to do or not to do something. Like promising to be faithful to your spouse; doesn't apply to those who don't have a spouse. My "aha" moment was the realisation that non-believers in (Judeo-Christian Abrahamic) religions think that ALL of the religious moral rules ONLY ever apply to followers of that religion; because they're in the form of a promise to obey those rules when they follow that religion, and if you didn't promise to, you don't have to. Whereas followers of Judeo-Christian Abrahamic religions believe that since God/Yahweh/Allah is the ruler/owner of the entire universe, there are some rules that He has laid down which apply to everybody, believer and non-believer alike, and that these rules are self-evident.
Read more... )
The basis of any cordial discussion of differences is the assumption of good will on the part of the participants. Without it, there is no discussion, just an acrimonious argument.

I'm leaving comments on for the moment, because I am interested in what you think, but the moment someone starts engaging in verbal fisticuffs, I will turn commenting off; I can't deal with the stress.
kerravonsen: Gandalf and the Ninth Doctor, with lightning: Storm Crows. (StormCrows)
To my local MP. (via GetUp)
Please explain why the government has $1Billion dollars free to give to the Adani coal mine, and not enough money to maintain Medicare. The Medicare rebate freeze causes financial hardship to the Aussie battlers who need it the most. The Adani mine gives money to rich foreigners who don't vote. Guess who is going to vote you out? The Aussie battlers are. Be sensible. Support Medicare, not foreigners.


Blunt, and far too pragmatic, but I didn't have the energy to be more subtle.
kerravonsen: Miles: The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart. (trade-heart)
I would rather be thought of as naive and gullible, than to treat innocent people with suspicion and fear.
kerravonsen: The words of Martin Niemoller, about Nazi Germany. (first-they-came)
One does not truly believe in freedom of speech until one defends the right of someone else to be Wrong In Public.

It's easy to defend the rights of someone you agree with. It's not so easy to defend the rights of someone who is "mistaken at the top of their voice".

(This post brought to you courtesy of an argument I had with someone on a completely different topic.)
kerravonsen: Dayna pointing a gun: "I don't NEED to kill you with my brain" (Dayna)
Douglas Adams had this to say about war:

Three stages in the history of warfare:
RETRIBUTION: I'm going to kill you because you killed my brother.

ANTICIPATION: I'm going to kill you because I killed your brother.

DIPLOMACY: I'm going to kill my brother and then kill you, on the pretext that your brother did it.


(The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

If he'd been alive today, he might have added another one.

TERRORISM: My brother will martyr himself killing your sister, so that you will martyr his family, so that my cousins will kill you and I'll run away laughing.
kerravonsen: Draco Malfoy: Turn back (Draco)
"Russians" by Sting came up on my randomplay.

Thinking about nuclear bombs (and I followed a few other links which gave me more information on the scale of destruction they are capable of)... it's a bit like Avada Kedavra, isn't it? Not the scale, obviously, but the feeling of a death that there is no defence against. Or like the Deplorable Word - the weapon that is too horrible to use. Too horrible for any sane person to use. Unfortunately, I am certain that there exist human beings on this Earth who would not hesitate to use them if they had them. People who are not interested in their own survival.

There's no such thing as a winnable war
It's a lie we don't believe any more.


War only benefits vultures.

Maybe I should start wearing a Peace Sign. It originated with the Nuclear Disarmament movement.
kerravonsen: The words of Martin Niemoller, about Nazi Germany. (first-they-came)
In response to this:

I decided to write to my MP.
Here is what I wrote:
Read more... )
Considering that my last letter to a politician was completely ignored and unacknowledged, I expect this is a pointless exercise, but at least I feel a little less like exploding in all directions.
kerravonsen: Avon: I see stupid people (Avon-stupid-people)
The world is so full of FAIL at the moment. Misogyny, injustice, hate - and from my own government!
I don't want to feel angry, frustrated and helpless. I did my bit to try to prevent Abbott getting in, I did! He got in anyway.

So tell me, friends, what can I do, in the time between now and 2016, to improve my little corner of the world? Because that would cheer me up more than just retweeting Abbott!Fail.

Edited to add: To get a better idea of my frame of mind, the following is the start of the song from which the title of this post comes:

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do
Do not wait to shed your light afar
To the many duties ever near you now be true
Brighten the corner where you are.


Brighten the corner where you are
Brighten the corner where you are
Someone far from harbour you may guide across the bar
Brighten the corner where you are.


So I want to be able to do something, myself, very local, just to make things brighter. Not something necessarily big.

Edited to add some more:
Well! An answer to unspoken prayer, I think. I just got an email from someone who uses one of my Perl modules - uses it in many websites and likes it a lot. I just need to update the documentation, because he had some questions. But someone is Using My Stuff! And likes it!

So that's something I can do. Me on my little lonesome. Get back to my FOSS and fix some of the things that need fixing. I don't need to do it all at once - I've been daunted when I looked at the list - but just do some of it. Because some is more than nothing. And somebody is using my stuff!!! \o/
kerravonsen: map of Australia: "Home land" (Australia)
So... those of you who aren't Australians and don't follow me on Twitter, may not even be aware that we're having Federal elections today, or may be confused about strange Australian politics even if you do know.

So in this brief lull, where the polling stations in the eastern states have closed, but those in timezones further west are still open, I shall attempt to explain just a few little quirks we have. (Illustrated with excerpts from Twitter)
Read more... )
kerravonsen: Dayna pointing a gun: "I don't NEED to kill you with my brain" (Dayna-kill)
What I think of both Liberal and Labour's Asylum Seeker policies:

Abhorrent, abominable, amoral, atrocious, awful, bad, beneath contempt, blameworthy, contemptible, criminal, crummy, damnable, debased, deplorable, depraved, despicable, destructive, detestable, detrimental, dire, disgraceful, disgusting, dishonourable, disreputable, dreadful, egregious, evil, execrable, fetid, filthy, foul, grievous, harmful, hateful, heinous, horrible, horrid, ignoble, ignominious, illegal, ill-thought, immoral, indecent, inferior, iniquitous, knavish, lamentable, loathsome, lousy, malicious, malign, mean, monstrous, nasty, nefarious, noisome, notorious, objectionable, obnoxious, obscene, odious, offensive, outrageous, petty, poor, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, rotten, rubbishy, scandalous, scummy, shabby, shady, shameful, shocking, shoddy, sickening, sinful, slimy, squalid, terrible, unacceptable, unaustralian, uncouth, unforgivable, unfriendly, ungentlemanly, ungodly, unjust, unpraiseworthy, unrespectable, unsavory, unspeakable, unsporting, unworthy, valueless, vicious, vile, villainous, wicked, woeful, worthless, wretched, and wrong.

(Edited to add additional adjectives suggested by others. These are in italics.)
kerravonsen: (Default)
Am currently arranging my Senate preferences as Below The Line, which means I'm reading a lot of minor party policies.

To note: the "Australian Independents" are not independents, they're a party.

Observation: if the front page of a party's site features an old man in a suit, they usually have policies I disagree with.

The "Animal Justice Party" policies are only about the treatment of animals; not a single word about the treatment of human beings.

Amusing thought: if, in a parallel universe, ALL the minor parties got elected:

The "Shooters and Fishers" would form a coalition with "The Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party", the "Country Alliance" party and the "Stop the Greens" party.
The "Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP)" party would form a coalition with the "Drug Law Reform" party.
The "Secular Party of Australia" vote against everything proposed by the "Australian Christians" party, whether or not it made sense. And vice versa.
Joseph Toscano would turn his back on everybody and refuse to participate.
The "Citizens Electoral Council" would be frothing at the mouth in a corner.
kerravonsen: map of Australia: "Home land" (Australia)
Title: Ms
First name: Kathryn
Family name: A#######
State: Vic
Country: Australia
Subject: Asylum Seekers
Comment:

So you're going to be tougher on asylum seekers? What on earth FOR?

You make me ashamed to be an Australian. You make me ashamed to be party to this inhumane treatment of those in need of refuge.

It's not just inhumane, it's bloody stupid. How much does it cost the government to keep asylum seekers in detention? What is the social cost when they're let out, traumatized? How many of these people are going to hate Australia when they're let out? If you want build-your-own-enemy factories, you're doing a great job.

And of course there's our international reputation, but you obviously don't care about that either. Indonesia? Yeah, let's aggravate one of our closest neighbours. Great idea!

Since you're so set on being a TOUGH GUY, why not just shoot them on sight? It would put them out of their misery so much sooner, and it would be cheaper too.

WAKE UP, Mr. Rudd. It's time to dismantle these insane detention policies, bring these people into our society, and put them to work, helping to build a more prosperous Australia. Take all that money you're spending on detention centres, and use it to employ these people. Build up the public infrastructure. Build railways. Do GOOD.

Make me proud to be an Australian.

Sincerely,
Kathryn A#######
kerravonsen: The words of Martin Niemoller, about Nazi Germany. (civil-liberties)
Okay, so someone had this idea to boycott the Hollywood moguls who are behind SOPA/PIPA by refusing to buy stuff in March, and decided to call it "Black March".

Really unfortunate name.

Look, folks, this boycott is not going to work. (And I'm not the only one who thinks so)
there are a lot of reasons )
(Screening comments from folks not on my flist, because I learned my lesson from the last time I voiced an unpopular opinion)
kerravonsen: The words of Martin Niemoller, about Nazi Germany. (first-they-came)
Save the Internet. It's kind of a big deal.

Though you can only do anything about it if you're a US citizen, of course. But considering how much of the internet goes through the US, we're all affected.

ETA: Here's an international petition that non USAians can sign:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_internet/

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kerravonsen: (Default)
Kathryn A.

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