Words are not violence

Young Christopher Machold has trouble understanding the English language (and, perhaps all language) when he accuses the NRA of using language in a “frightening way.” The Frightening Way the NRA Just Co-Opted the Term “Hate Speech”

When the lines of these categories are blurred and our understanding of what constitutes violence is so contorted, it becomes possible to unironically argue that the answer to speech you don’t like is hurting people.

It’s shocking that he makes the same case that the video makes that he is attempting to refute. He, like so many of his generation, confusedly assumes that somehow the video is a call for violence. If the young man understood English, he would see that the video makes the very case against violence that he mistakenly makes against his malformed idea of what the the video communicates.

The fact that young Christopher Machol does not like the NRA does not mean that the NRA constitutes a call to violence. If young Christopher understood language, he might understand that the natural right to be armed (protected by the Second Amendment) is a safeguard against violence.

Prepackaged opinions


“The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements— all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics— to make it easy for him to “make up his own mind ” with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and “plays back” the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think.”

“How to Read a Book” by Charles Van Doren, Mortimer J. Adler



Take a moment to imagine another hypothetical situation. There is a rapist walking across campus looking for a potential victim. He passes two women in the dead of night. One of them is wearing a tee shirt that says “Glock.” The other woman is wearing a tee shirt that says “Pink.”
Mike Adams,  “Pistols, Panties, and Personal Protection

The Miracle of Words – quote

Words are sensible Signs, necessary for Communication of Ideas. Man, though he have great variety of thoughts, and such from which others as well as himself might receive profit and delight; yet they are all within his own breast, invisible and hidden from others, nor can of themselves be made to appear. The comfort and advantage of society not being to be had without communication of thoughts, it was necessary that man should find out some external sensible signs, whereof those invisible ideas, which his thoughts are made up of, might be made known to others. For this purpose nothing was so fit, either for plenty or quickness, as those articulate sounds, which with so much ease and variety he found himself able to make. Thus we may conceive how WORDS, which were by nature so well adapted to that purpose, came to be made use of by men as the signs of their ideas; not by any natural connexion that there is between particular articulate sounds and certain ideas, for then there would be but one language amongst all men; but by a voluntary imposition, whereby such a word is made arbitrarily the mark of such an idea. The use, then, of words, is to be sensible marks of ideas; and the ideas they stand for are their proper and immediate signification.
– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book III,  Chapter 2, OF THE SIGNIFICATION OF WORDS

Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups on EconTalk

Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups EconTalk


Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book (co-authored with Kevin Munger), Choosing in Groups. Munger lays out the challenges of group decision-making and the challenges of agreeing on constitutions or voting rules for group decision-making. The conversation highlights some of the challenges of majority rule and uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as an example.

Blind Faith is NOT Biblical Faith

“Do You Have Blind Faith that Faith is Blind?”.

You might be wondering, “Why does it matter?” The answer is that whether you believe faith is blind or based on evidence, there is no escaping the fact that it is indispensable to Christianity. While there are different ways of understanding the passages mentioned above, it is hard to escape the meaning of Hebrews 11:6: “without faith it is impossible to please God.” So it is vitally important to know what the biblical view of faith is.

Schneier on Security: Fake Cell Phone Towers Across the US

Schneier on Security: Fake Cell Phone Towers Across the US.

We have one infrastructure. We can’t choose a world where the US gets to spy and the Chinese don’t. We get to choose a world where everyone can spy, or a world where no one can spy. We can be secure from everyone, or vulnerable to anyone. And I’m tired of us choosing surveillance over security.

Smartphone kill switch will be flipped on July 2015

This is wonderful!


I’ve never lost a phone, but this is a fantastic example of the industry solving a problem WITHOUT government intervention.

A jewel within a larger setting

Timothy blooged, “The Counterfeit Bride” this morning. It is an excellent and insightful post, but there is a small part of that post that I want to not get lost…

We can be married to the person we thought what the perfect one for us, and still be unsatisfied. All because God never intended marriage to satisfy us. I know, this goes against popular thought. We hear preachers all the time tell us that if we find the perfect mate, or read the right book, we will have a marriage that satisfies. Usually, those preachers have something to sell us. Marriage wasn’t intended to satisfy, neither was the world.

Continue reading

Apparently, I am not paranoid….

All my life, people have dismissed me and told me that I am “paranoid.” I had to look up the definition as a young adult to make sure that I was using the word the same way.

2 :  a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others


Here is what the NSA leaks reveal that my government has been doing to its citizens for years (source):

The NSA collects much more metadata about Internet traffic: who is talking to whom, when, how much, and by what mode of communication. Metadata is a lot easier to store and analyze than content. It can be extremely personal to the individual, and is enormously valuable intelligence. Continue reading

Your logical fallacy is middle ground

middle ground

middle ground fallacy

You claimed that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.

Much of the time the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Half way between truth and a lie, is still a lie. Continue reading

Your logical fallacy is the texas sharpshooter

the texas sharpshooter

Texas sharp shooter fallacy

You cherry-picked a data cluster to suit your argument, or found a pattern to fit a presumption.

This ‘false cause’ fallacy is coined after a marksman shooting randomly at barns and then painting bullseye targets around the spot where the most bullet holes appear, making it appear as if he’s a really good shot. Clusters naturally appear by chance, but don’t necessarily indicate that there is a causal relationship. Continue reading