Climate Change

See more posts in the Principles series.

It is claimed that the economic activities of humans since the Industrial Revolution have altered the composition of the atmosphere in ways that will affect climate by increasing the amount of energy contained in the atmosphere. One can take a variety of positions with respect to this claim:

Since 1800:
1) The globe (atmosphere/biosphere/hydrosphere/etc.) has cooled.
2) The globe has not changed.
3) The globe has warmed due mainly to natural causes, and this is not dangerous.
4) The globe has warmed due mainly to human activity, and this is not dangerous.
5) The globe has warmed due mainly to human activity, and this is dangerous.
6) The globe has warmed due mainly to human activity, and this will be catastrophic.

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The Conflict between Rights and Utilities

See more posts in the Principles series.

Much ink and server space has been dedicated to the issue of how morality is constructed. My view is that the two prevailing ethical theories, deontology and utilitarianism, are both necessary for a healthy moral perspective. Further, many political conversations can be lubricated by explicit understandings as to what morality or moral ends comprise. I will explain my views here in order to provide lubrication for future reference.

Deontology

Deontological ethics stress the importance of rules and authority in determining moral behavior. Abrahamic and Judeo-Christian ethics are quintessentially deontological. These are the morals delineated by the thou shalts and the thou shalt nots. I’d like to frame deontology as a prescription of the rights one has and does not have. Rights can be described as either positive rights—rights allowing the exercise of a behavior—or negative rights—rights allowing the non-exercise of a behavior. With this terminology, a duty or obligation can be described as the absence of the right to not perform the obligation—the absence of a negative right. A prohibition can be described as the absence of the right to perform the prohibited act—the absence of a positive right. Deontologically, actors cannot be held morally accountable for actions or inactions that they had the right to execute.

Utilitarianism

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Self-driving Cars

See more posts in the Predictions series. 17 December 2013

I have chosen self-driving cars as the first topic in my prediction series for several reasons. First, it is one prediction which I am extremely confident making, it is further one that has not been on anyone’s radar until very recently, and finally it portends large changes to American society and culture. Similar events will take place around the world, and probably even sooner in Scandinavia, Japan, and the Blue Banana.

What are self-driving cars?

Self-driving cars use GPS and computer vision technologies that parse video streams of roads to control the vehicle so that it travels safely and efficiently to its destination without the attention of a human. They can be self-contained, or they can communicate with control centers or even other self-driving cars to optimizing their performance.

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Family Law

See more posts in the Policy series.

I would like family policy in the USA to reflect the realities of the many different kinds of families that exist within its borders and to be fair to the many parties involved. I think the state has an interest in promoting standards that create reasonable provisions for the common issues that arise in familial relationships regarding the transfer of property and other rights in the event of death or the creation or dissolution of unions, and thus I do not side with marriage privatization advocates.

Same-sex marriage

Given the existence of the romantic, sexual, and other bonds between many real homosexual couples and the distinct similarity of these to those shared by heterosexual couples, marriage should be fully and equally extended to same-sex couples. This includes adoption. Adoption agencies already have standards for adoptive parents, and these will effectively prevent inadequate same-sex couples from adopting children.

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Some new ramblings

I haven’t posted on my blog Liberate and Conserve recently, mostly because I used up all the topics that I cared about and to write a full post on. I’d like to start a new blog and write about some other topics that I’ve had on my mind, mainly regarding US policy as I’d like to see it, and my predictions for the coming decades (as an exercise in falsifiabilification). It seems more efficient to create a blog that collects all of my political thoughts, so I made a new one that I’ll use for these topics and probably others in the future. Happy reading!

Edit 12/2014: I’ve decided to try to be a little less formulaic with this blog. Hopefully that will encourage me to post more!