Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Becoming more and more sickened . . .

I like to know a bit about my "followers," so I clicked on Jenny's picture (at the moment, the second one in from the left on the top line in my "Followers" box on my blog). Something motivated me to click the link to the first blog she listed as having joined, Commandments of Men.


Subtitle: "Examining the dark, hyper-fundamentalist side of the Christian faith, including movements such as Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Courtship, Family Integrated Churches, Christian Homeschooling, the Religious Right, and many more." Written by "a guy following Christ, intent on knowing His truth alone, dealing with my own wounds and scars from hyper-fundamentalism - having lost my bride on the threshold of our wedding ceremony to a Patriocentric, fundamentalist family, and never being allowed to see her or speak freely to her again."


I'm astonished by the guy's controlled and astonishingly mature response to unspeakable . . . --yes, let's call it what it is--abuse.

I'd like to call your attention to a remarkable summary of his story (via commentary on someone else's story of similar abuse) in Between a Rock and a Heart Place.

But check out, too,
. . . and whatever other posts strike your fancy. The author is correct, I'm afraid, when he points to at least a portion of the Christian homeschool movement as encouraging the problem.

Are you familiar with this kind of behavior? Have some insights into how to help victims (including moms and dads who have been sucked into this kind of ideology and behavior) to escape it?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Approval voting

Were coming up to primary election time here in Colorado and I am trying to learn about the candidates in "my" official party.

From what I'm told, this is the first year that "my" party is actually having a primary! And we get to vote in two races!

If you haven't guessed by now, yes, I am registered as something other than Democrat or Republican.

"Oh, no!"

How could I do that? I'm just "splitting" the vote, aren't I?

Well, no. I'm also attempting to express my personal convictions.

It fascinates me how distressing "third-party" really is both for those of us who are members as well as for people who are members of one of the two major parties. Dan Sallis, one of the Libertarian candidates in Colorado, has written an article about this issue titled Voting Libertarian is a Wasted Vote–Wrong! It's an interesting article. I don't like some of his language. (A warning for those who are easily offended.) But I think it makes a lot of sense: The candidates you vote for do NOT have to win for your vote to have an impact. When the numbers change, the major parties do take notice.

More interesting to me, however, than Sallis' article is one written by his opponent, Jaimes Brown: Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Comments on Tancredo's Entry in the Race.

In case you're not familiar with the name, Tom Tancredo was a five-time US Congressman from Colorado any one time Republican presidential candidate (2008). He made a name for himself a few years ago through his strong and outspoken positions with respect to immigration into the United States.

Brown comments:

As a Libertarian candidate for governor in Colorado, I have watched with amusement and wonder at the hand wringing that Republicans have gone through over the past two weeks with the entry of Tom Tancredo in the governor's race.

Republicans have come out of the woodwork to condemn Tancredo for "splitting the vote", being a "spoiler" or "wasting your vote". As a Libertarian, we are typically painted with those descriptions, whether it is the perceived taking of votes from Republicans or Democrats.
And . . . ?

Brown suggests a solution I have never heard of before. I am intrigued.
Approval voting allows you to vote for multiple candidates. The candidate with the most votes wins. Pretty simple. This method allows you to vote for your favorite candidate, but also vote for the other "lesser of the evils" if you think that you could prevent the worst candidates from winning.

The whole issue of Tancredo in this race would be a moot point for the Republicans, with approval voting. Plurality voting splits the vote of similar ideologies. Approval voting would encourage the nearly 50% of eligible voters who don't bother voting because the two parties do not represent them.
Can something like this work?

A while, here is what Americans for Approval Voting has to say on the subject:
Approval Voting is similar to the plurality system that is generally used in America today except for one twist: Instead of voting for just one candidate per office, Approval Voting allows you the option of voting for any number of candidates for a given office. The candidate who collects the most votes wins.

Approval Voting in effect allows you to vote up or down on every candidate in every race. The election results are therefore most easily expressed as an "Approval Rating" for each candidate.

Approval Voting in public elections has a long history going back to 12th century Venice. Its use has been growing in recent years. Several private member associations have used Approval Voting to elect officers for over 15 years and are pleased with the system. A form of Approval Voting was also used in the Security Council of the United Nations in 1996 to narrow the list of potential candidates for Secretary General.

Approval Voting has been used for municipal ballot propositions in the United States as well as for internal elections of state political parties in Pennsylvania.

Approval Voting is overwhelmingly supported by mathematicians, political scientists and other specialists in the area of elections. While no system is perfect, Approval Voting is the only easy-to-use and simple-to-explain alternative system that can be used with existing election equipment. Fortunately it has marvelous properties that will dramatically improve elections in the United States.

Check out Americans for Approval Voting and Citizens for Approval Voting for more information.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Taking a survey about world leaders during WWII gets me thinking . . .

An acquaintance of mine wrote on Friday:
I have a theory about Americans' opinions about dictators in other countries, so I'll be using a series of online surveys to see if my hunch is correct. If you think you or your children might find my first survey interesting, please take a look at it. I'm asking few demographic questions so as to not cause any privacy concerns. Thanks.
I took it. I think it may have required about 10 minutes of my time, all told.

The majority of the questions were of the form, "Who was worse, _________ or ________?"

For most of the pairs I had no difficulties answering. But there were a number that caused me to scratch my head.

For example, "Who was worse: Hirohito or Hitler?"

I got thinking:
  • How much of my opinion is based on familiarity? (I know of both men; I am at least somewhat familiar with both men; but am I biased toward viewing Hitler as "worse" because his atrocities impacted "my people" while Hirohito's atrocities impacted "others" [particularly the Chinese and Koreans--of which atrocities I am aware but with which I am rather less familiar], and, therefore, am I more likely to judge Hitler more harshly than I will Hirohito?)
And then this thought:
  • How much of my (or anyone's) perception is a result of the particular leader's mere opportunity to do evil (he happened to rule a large and/or already powerful country) and how much was the result of some kind of megalomaniacal internal commitment to wicked behavior? . . .
  • And so forth.
Take the survey yourself and tell me what you think.

By the way, the author of the survey is a woman in her 20s. I asked her if she would provide a little explanation of what she is hoping to do with the survey, what she hopes to achieve . . . as well as explain how participants might hear of her survey's results. Here is her response.