Giving the Private Sector a Break

Why do we get angry when a company sells food that makes us fat? We decide what to eat - their job is to sell us what we want to buy. Their job is to make money, period.

We want to save money on gas but we buy trucks and SUVs. Auto companies make them because people want to buy them. We want television to stimulate our minds but we watch trashy 'reality shows' by the score. Studios produce them because people watch them. Health insurance excludes millions of people and denies claims because of pre-existing conditions and statistics that say certain people are higher risks. Like all the other companies, their job is not to be fair or guarantee everyone has coverage, their job is to make money.

We have a right to work for whatever we feel is important or necessary for our society, but as long as we want to maintain an open-market economy, we need to accept that companies don't exist to make our lives better, they exist to make money. If their actions do happen to make our lives better, that's great. If not, we need to look elsewhere to solve the problem.

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Russia Should Be Our Best Friend..

.. not our adversary. Many people mistakenly cling to the idea that the United States must continue to view Russia the way we viewed them during the Soviet era: as an aggressor nation bent on spreading Communism and dominating the world. Those ideas are as absurd as they are outdated.

Russia is large and is growing in wealth and influence, but it's still far too unstable to represent any real direct threat to Europe or America and there is no logical reason for them to pursue enmity throughout the western world, no matter what their recent statements and positions may seem to indicate. Russia merely wants to regain the stature, influence, wealth and respect that they lost during the darkness of the Soviet era. The most obvious way to be noticed is to make waves, and as long as other nations push back against Russian bluster, they'll keep doing it.

President Obama took a vital first step in the direction of creating solid relations between the US and Russia with his recent announcements regarding the ill-conceived missile-defense system in Eastern Europe. This system was intended to protect against attacks on Europe and Israel by Iran, but was opposed by Russia. Russia has no reason to throw their lot in with Iran except as a means to place themselves into the debate, and the Bush Administration's insistence on marginalizing Russia on the issue merely ensured that they would continue to work against the US, not with the US.

With their large, able population, their growing industrialization, the fervent entrepreneurialism and the vast resources Russia has in their energy reserves, Russia is sure to be a major player in the 21st century. A world led by a friendly coalition of the US and Russia would be far better than one torn apart by strife between the two. We have much more in common than we do in difference.

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The Moral Nature of Humanity

People often point to religion as the basis for moral and ethical behavior. The common thought is that people behave morally as a result of God's laws, Jesus' teachings, etc. Though well-intentioned, this is simply not clear thinking.

Much of the teachings of religions around the world does indeed revolve around laying morals and codes of ethics, of defining how we should treat each other and respect each other. But that fact does not establish the morality began with religion. The fact is that morality exists all across the globe, irrespective of any different faith or lack thereof. I personally know many highly moral people who are not religious in any way, and I also know some highly religious people who do not seem to be moral in any significant way. Throughout history, some of the most immoral behavior has occurred as a manifestation of religious belief, perpetrated by people who have spent a lifetime both studying and teaching religious morality.

I would never suggest that being religious specifically breeds immoral behavior, but it clearly does not prevent it. Likewise, being non-religious does not guarantee moral behavior but it also does not prevent it. Mankind developed a tendency toward conscience and morality purely from the need to live peaceably together in societies. Religion may have found ways to codify and often to further the cause of morality, but in no clear sense can it be said to have created morality, or to be a necessary component of essential morality.

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Time for Clear Thinking

Please forgive the questionable pun in the title of this blog, but this world needs clear thought, and lots more of it.

Too much propaganda, illogic, knee-jerk responses and self-serving rhetoric. Let's get back to the world of reality; asking questions others are afraid to ask and speaking out directly about things that really matter. Speaking with the voice of reason, to inspire a rebirth of Clear Thinking.

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