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Comment: What's in it for us? (Score 2, Insightful) 323

by Argumentator (#27783277) Attached to: US Says Canadian Copyright As Bad As China's, Russia's

Even if we, for the sake of the argument, ignore the practical and ethical issues of current copyright laws as a matter of principle, and buy the argument that infringing copyright hurts the producers and not just the pockets of *AA execs, still, the fact remains that Canada (as well as China, Russia, and the rest of the world) is under huge influx of American corporations, who profit from out-of-border sales while not offering jobs in foreign countries, paying anywhere near the taxes they pay at the states, contribute to foreign producers or foreign culture in general, or otherwise benefit foreign countries in proportion to the profits they make, or seek to make, from them.

Reciprocal treaties, aka "you respect my copyright, I'll respect yours", really are not appealing to foreign governments because the US, by far, exports more of what they call Intellectual Property than other countries export to the states. So pray tell us, if you want our governments to spend our own taxpayers money to enforce your copyright laws so that YOUR companies can make a profit... What's in it for us?

Comment: Purpose of partisan politics (Score 4, Insightful) 1124

by Argumentator (#27750393) Attached to: Senator Arlen Specter Becomes a Democrat

You are basing your argument on the classical philosophy that a vote, when cast for a person, essentially places trust in that person to serve as he or she sees fit, for the duration of his term.

I call that position bullshit and reject it in principle. I refuse to place unconditional trust in a politician, or be so naive as to believe that he is indeed there to serve his constituency. Politicians will always do what is in their self interest (wow, just like the rest of us). That's why we have the party system, so we have an extra layer of protection. We don't JUST vote for Specter, just like we don't just vote for any Republican. We vote for both. We vote for Specter AS LONG AS he maintains the principles of the party he was running under, in this case, Republican.

Partisanism has lots of problems, but I firmly believe that the extra layer of safeguarding against do-what-I-fuckin-like politicians makes it worthwhile. We don't place unlimited trust in the guy, we only vote for him as long as he maintains integrity to the party under which he ran.

If someone WANTS to run under the platform of "unlimited trust", he should run as Independent. There's a reason why almost nobody gets elected as one.

Comment: Ugh... (Score 4, Insightful) 1124

by Argumentator (#27749917) Attached to: Senator Arlen Specter Becomes a Democrat

While I may support Democrats more than the Republicans, I find the general principle of changing parties mid-term a disgusting and cowardly betrayal of trust.

You were elected as a Republican, for better or for worse. You should either finish your term as one, or if you can no longer consider yourself a Republican, resign. At the next election, feel free to run as a Democrat or whoever the hell you want. But for this term, you should act for the people who elected you. That's the principle of representative democracy.

I'd even accept the compromise of, when one leaves or is kicked out of the party, he/she should have the right to stay as an Independent member until the next election. But joining a party different from the one you were elected under, in the middle of your term, should be outright unconstitutional.

Comment: Re:Leap Forward? (Score 1) 213

by Argumentator (#27735281) Attached to: IBM Computer Program To Take On 'Jeopardy!'

Remember that the machine does not have to be 100% correct. Human contestants aren't either. The machine can lose the obfuscated/joke questions if it can make up for it in other questions. Furthermore, given a machine's godly reaction time as compared to humans, it can be programmed to only decide to answer questions that appear clear and simple to answer, since its highly likely to get first dibs on anything it chooses to try and answer.

Comment: Re:Holly crap. (Score 1) 8

by Argumentator (#27724887) Attached to: Couple's Home Mistakenly Used For Artillery Practice

Negligence does not require malicious intent. As long as the party had to provide a certain level of duty of care, and failed to provide that level, they are liable. Analogy: If some gangster was randomly shooting his gun just for fun, and one of the bullets happened to stray and kill someone, he'd still be liable, both civilly and criminally, even though it wasn't his intention to kill anyone. However, unless there were actual damages (which according to the article, weren't), the couple have no standing to sue for money.

That being said, whoever authorized that shelling should be disciplined/fired/charged, depending on their exact role and the level of duty of care they were obliged, and failed, to follow.

Comment: Re:A mini-essay on cultural welfare (Score 1) 554

by Argumentator (#27456207) Attached to: Quebec Says 'Non' To English-Only Video Games

The US has no official language. English is used simply as a matter of convenience, since the majority of the population is (still) native English speakers, and even when they will no longer be, far more people will know English as either first or second language than any other language.

Whatever language is in power should be the one most convenient to most people. If in certain parts of the US Spanish is the most understood language, then it should be the language of the government, yes.

Comment: A mini-essay on cultural welfare (Score 2, Insightful) 554

by Argumentator (#27455613) Attached to: Quebec Says 'Non' To English-Only Video Games

Instead of taking a circumstantial approach as many do, trying to save the P.C. face while arguing about inefficiencies, heavy-handed approach, etc... I'll go straight to the heart of the issue -- WHY THE FUCK DO WE HAVE TO PROTECT FRENCH, or any other language for that matter? And even if you buy the argument that protecting the language == protecting the culture, I'm going to ask, why should culture be protected?

The fundamental essence of all cultures is that they change over time. They are born, they are developed, and when the time comes, they die off or are absorbed into other cultures. From the beginning of human history that has been the case. None of our modern cultures have existed from the beginning of civilization -- they are all an amalgamated product of hundreds of independent cultures which have evolved and intertwined over time. Different cultures merge and split, traditions come and go, beliefs, values, ways of thinking and doing things, they all change over time. The very reason we evolve and progress as a civilization is that we accept the concept of changing culture. Language is part of that. Do you see any sizable part of the population arguing that we should go back to, say, ancient Greek, because Greece was the birthplace of western civilization and thus (obviously) we must protect and preserve its language? How about ancient Roman? What about the Medeival Frankish? Or the Beowulfian English?

A culture is representative of a way of life that people who follow that culture observe. When the way of life changes, culture changes accordingly. If language is part of that culture, then the language will change accordingly too. If using a particular language is no longer representative of a way of life that the population follows (as is the case in the anglo-americanization of Quebec, for example), then that language is naturally fated to go from the dictionary books into the history books.

But only recently we have a bunch of self-righteous moralizers that claim that "preserving" a culture is the right thing to do. In other ways, they wish to (forcefully) impose measures on a population and stop the natural course of progress and cultural evolution that the population decided to take, and hang on to something that cannot stay on its legs independently. And if that wasn't enough, they want to pay for this enforcement out of the public purse.

This is a fundamentally and patently wrong approach. Cultures aren't supposed to be "preserved" in any context outside that of a museum. Cultures are supposed to represent the way of life undertaken by the followers of the culture. When a cultural element (in this case being the use of French) goes out of fashion, it should be let dying in dignity, not persistently preserved as a decaying corpse by the high-horse cultural necromancers. And certainly not being funded at public expense.

Cultural attributes come and go. Don't entertain yourself with the delusion that the French language will be preserved henceforth and to eternity. It won't. English won't be either. Sooner or later everything changes, and it's absurd to even speculate what language will be used in a thousand years from now. It's just a matter of time. All the cultural welfarists accomplish is putting the dying body of a cultural attribute on extended life support, using our money to turn what should have been a dignifiend passing away into a long, painful, and quite pathetic freak show.

Let the dying die in peace.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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