February 7th, 2007

(no subject)

Laws were originally based in religion; we do this because God told us to. We don't live in that world any more, and know our laws to be made by legislators who are selected on a who-is-objected-to-least basis. So on what basis are we supposed to respect that law?

best,

Joel. Still lawful, but not sure why.

Outlining

I've already brought up the "Where did Law come from?" topic.
Need to bring up Corruption, and how Individual differs from Organizational.
The proper role of individualism.
The proper role of collectivism.
Being A Good Person.
Lawyers, Cops, and Thugs, Oh My!
Forgiveness, and Welcome.

(no subject)

One of the lovelinessess of keeping a journal is the ability to multi-thread. I've got a Serious Philosphical Thread going, that I'll get to in a minute, that should keep everybody's intellects well-occupied. And I just took a walk up the hill behind my folk's place and got to rumple a mutt in the park up top. Mutt's human was amused. Mutt herself did the usual dog hip-check gesture meaning "*You're* not allowed to stop!"

So, corruption. Schmookler, my favorite source on such things, defines corruption as when the goals of an organization are in conflict with the goals of the individuals that compose the organization. That's fine as far as formal organizations are concerned. It can also work for individuals, if we accept the "human as emergent property of a group of intelligent agents" model. But ordinarily, what we're speaking about when we talk about the integrity of individuals is *not* their personal integrity, but the integrity of their *word*, which is not the same thing. If you keep your promises to me I tend to see you as having integrity; if you make promises and don't keep them, I end up with a lower opinion of your integrity.

I know some people whose words have very poor integrity who are nonetheless lovely people, and I'm sure at least three of 'em I know personally will be reading this, and probably quizzing me about it in the comments, to which I will reply not at all helpfully. If you're a good human being, but have trouble keeping your promises, I don't want you to go into spasms of guilt, I want you to go on being good. If you *happen* to get a bit better-organized, that's good,too. But don't waste time and energy sweating over it.

Cultures can also be corrupt. I'd define that as when the stated values of the culture are in conflict with the behavior the culture supports, and cite American Conservative culture as a textbook example of corruption in a culture. I like and agree with the stated values of conservatism -- small government, low taxes, personal freedom, fiscal responsibility -- all great stuff. (And, I'll point out parenthetically, not conceptually opposed to liberalism; it's a false duality. Conservatives just want to use particular methods to *pay* for being liberal.)

But American Conservatism is corrupt because the people who constitute that culture don't practice what it preaches. I don't think I need to cite examples, here, but ask if you feel you need 'em.

The question I want to be able to address is: Is there an identifiable point at which a culture is beyond salvage, and if so, what does one do when it is reached? Well, okay, I've got dozens more questions, I'm like that. But I can also limit myself to one at a time, and this is a good one. May I have the benefit of your thoughts, opinions, and brainstorming?

best,

Joel. Who needs to take some steps about some incipient *real* raindrops, too, though not much.