Friday, November 28, 2014

Media Bias: An Analogy

Bias in political opinion is the philosophical equivalent of the concept of relative velocity in physics. When one is moving with the same velocity as another object then one does not notice the motion of that object. By the same token if one’s opinions are in agreement with an article or media report we tend not to sense the bias as that would call into question our personal asymmetries (and it is of course human nature to see ourselves as intrinsically fair). Hence Liberals don’t see the obvious bias in the MSM as it gels with their worldview. Conservatives, as well as those of the far left, are removed from this frame of reference and can clearly see the bias. The far left will argue that the MSM is right wing (which in their reference frame it is) and conservatives will claim that it is either liberal or leftist depending on the individual stance of the conservative making the call. The problem with the liberal mindset is that its synchronous walk with the MSM autopilot allows it to shelter in default position that can foster ‘lazy thinking’ and a blinkered vision of the world. A specific case in point is the inability to see that the rhetoric offered by networks such as MSNBC and CBS is just as slanted in its degree of bias as those of Fox.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Good bye Chucky

Chuck Hagel, the anti-Israel Secretary of Defense appointed by Obama in 2013, has resigned. I wonder if he will complain like his predecssors Robert Gates and Leon Panetta about the administration's micro-management focus and lack of consistent strategy in the Middle East. I never liked Hagel so I can't say that I am loathe to see him leave but considering the POTUS's poor record in cabinet apointee's (John Kerry ranking amongst the worst) it won't surprise me if Hagel's successor drags the bar even lower.

Thoughts on what is greater

I am not an orthodox jew but I do believe in a transcendent entity that for convenience I call G-d. Essentially I am a rationalist theist. There have been times that I have gravitated toward both atheism and deism. I rejected the former as it fails to adequately explain the reality of why there is something as opposed to nothing. The latter while addressing the origin question leaves us with the harshness of a world without intrinsic purpose. Yet I struggle with some big qu...estions that were further highlighted by last week's brutal synagogue attacks. How could G-d let this happen in a house of worship geared to him? If he is indifferent then surely he is not worthy of our worship. If he lacks the power to stop it then he is clearly not the Almighty. These are questions that have been asked over and over again yet with each horror they naturally re-surface. The best that we can posit as theists is that we don't have a complete understanding of the bigger picture. There are greater forces at play but we a humans, being limited by our rational and sensory constraints, can only comprehend a sliver of the vast mosaic. This is not entirely satisfying explanation but to abandon it would leave me floating in the existential abyss of the relativism of the mind. I cannot stomach that. A world where a position of evil is only in 'opinion' worse than that of good is a world of nothing that passes into the night with no worth. For me that would be hell. So I continue to believe. My faith is shaken at times, but the alternative is much more frightening.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yet another outpouring of evil

Tuesday 18th of November marks yet another tragic event in the tortured history of our people. Five Jews were killed and eight others wounded in an act of hatred and evil that furthers reveals the malignancy that resides in the Palestinian mindset. It is a depravity born from a self-destructive yearning that values death over life, ridicules rationalism and wraps itself in the barbarism of cult-like fanatical behaviour. In practicality it finds sustenance in a media machine that dehumanizes the... Jew and teaches from a young age an anti-semitic bile that constantly invites such atrocities. The killings have happened before and they will unfortunately occur once again. While Palestinian leaders may decry such evil, with an insincerity that only a fool could believe, their hands drip with the same blood that grace the hands of the terrorists. In their rhetoric and support for a corrosive education and values system these leaders have nurtured demented and extremely hateful thinking. This is the tragedy that they have catalyzed. However Israel will survive and it will grow stronger. The Jewish people have a history of outliving our tormentors and we will defeat this scourge as well. At times we are isolated and it feels like that again. However our strength is in our solidarity, not just with ourselves but with those like-minded voices, who value the human spirit, the sanctity of our shared civilization and the need to be vigilant and not tire in the defence of the great values that separate us from those that seek to reduce our species to the lowest possible moral depth. Am Israel Chai.