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December 16th, 2008

Or, As MAD Calls It, Yecchsmas

time-sensitive War On Holiday pollCollapse )

More seriously, having been raised to personally abstain from violence and to believe various things about human rights rather strongly, but without a particular habit of direct action, this strikes home for me:

I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence. Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have done, had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence. Hence it was that I took part in the Boer War, the so called Zulu rebellion and the late war. Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. I therefore appreciate the sentiment of those who cry out for the condign punishment of General Dyer and his ilk. They would tear him to pieces if they could. But I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only I want to use India's and my strength for better purpose.

— M. K. Gandhi, The Doctrine of the Sword
Apropos of nothing, apparently the White House is hosting a Christmas shoe drive.
While the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously condemns the Administration's practice of torturing prisoners, the House addresses the urgent issue of persecution of Christians in America by the militant atheist majority.

The second link includes a convenient list of public servants who are utter worthless clowns. I recommend writing them letters telling them you despise them.

(EDIT: PZ is going off half-cocked again, and me with him. The second bill was from last year, and they haven't done one this year. Same clowns are still there, of course, and still clowns, but it's not timely.)