Friday, April 20, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Chris Rock on the Columbine shooters, because I've been thinking about it recently:

Everybody wants to know what the kids was listening to, what sort of music was they listening to? Or what kind of movies was they watching? Who gives a fuck what they was watching? Whatever happened to "crazy"? What happened to "crazy"? What, you can't be crazy no more? Did we eliminate "crazy" from the dictionary? Fuck the records. Fuck the movies. Crazy!


Josh said...

Well, "crazy" is more productive than "evil" (and more accurate, given the VTech guy's history of mental health), but it still doesn't explain much.

Of course, maybe that's the problem -- people always want to identify an explanation and therefore a cause, so they can eliminate it and stop this sort of stuff from happening. But it may be that the silver bullet just doesn't exist -- see Warren Ellis' take on the subject. Not entirely sure I agree with his conclusions either, though.

Josh said...

Of course, the best lesson to take from such tragedies is this one. (Swiped from a comment at the Fundy Post.)

Hewligan said...


. <-- Point

0 <-- The head of everyone except Eric discussing evil with you at notpc. It's actually kind of impressive to see people get it that wrong.

Josh said...

Yeah, that's the trouble with arguing with objectivists -- they insist on defining words differently to the rest of the world without actually telling us that they have. I was willing to concede fine, use "evil" as a shorthand for "really, deliberately bad" and go on to argue against their main thesis -- that VTech could have been avoided by someone having the "courage" to stand up and say <Grampa Simpson>"that boy is eeeevil!"</Grampa Simpson> -- but pretty quickly realised I'd have to argue against half of objectivist ethics to do it, and just didn't have the energy...

Hewligan said...

Okay, I just sat down and read that discussion properly and... and I really don't get it.

It seems they're trying to argue that evil is some sort of inherent characteristic of some people (and that therefore the real problem is those of us who are not willing to identify evil).

Huh? If that's the case, then I don't understand Objectivism nearly as well as I thought I did.

Eric, help! You're the one who usually manages to make some sort of sense of this stuff.

David S. said...

"evil" as a shorthand for "really, deliberately bad" -- Josh described it pretty accuractly.

Since free will is the main belief behind objectivism, if someone deliberatly initiates an action that leads to impairment of what they define as human life, they're commiting an act of evil, and since a person is defined by their actions, they become evil.

Josh: I don't think they're saying that standing up and saying something's evil will change anything, I think they're saying that by clearly labeling evil stuff as evil they can then proceed to shoot evil in the face - Mission accompished, America, FUCK YEAH.. etc

Afterall, if everyone at that uni was carrying a gun, that crazyasian would only have gotten away with killing one or two people before getting gunned down by all the fine upstanding objectivist citizens and their sidearms, amiright?

I do not endorse any of this crap.

Hewligan said...

Okay, here's the thing (Please keep in mind that I am drunk while riting this and doing my best...).

As far as I can tell, Objectivism is a philosophy based on the primacy of man and reason. All that is wrong with the world, as far as they are concerned, is the result of the shackles that have been placed upon man's reason by the actions first, of the state, and second, of society.

Yet here, a group of them seem to claim that the actions of this man are a result not of his reason, nor of those shackles placed upon him, but instead of some intrinsic characteristic beyond those that defines him.

That makes no logical sense to me.

Now, I suppose it would be pretty easy to dismiss them as just crazy-arse objectivists. Still, Objectivism, much as it is with the crazy, seems to be mostly internally consistent (its problems lie, as far as I can tell, elsewhere), so I'm curious to know how this fits in.

David S. said...

Actually the "problem" has got SFA to do with society, is has to do with individuals not acting solely in their own rational self interest, while respecting the rights of others to do the same.

The problem with the state is that it deprives people of the ability to act in their own rational self interest.

Objectivism says, "Yes there's fuckwits in the world, but they choose to be fuckwits. It's got nothing to do with you. You don't owe them anything, so heres a gun to shoot them with when they try and steal your stuff."