Friday, 16 November 2012

A Call to the Autistic Community


This is, first and foremost, an appeal for unity, for united we stand, divided we fall. If we're ever going to win the fight which we were born into, if we're ever going to forge a better world for everyone - everyone, from the most severely Autistic to the NT's - we need to put aside our differences. Some of us wish for our own separate communities. That is okay, as long as we always remember that everyone is equal in intrinsic worth, and no-one is intrinsically superior to other people just because they are better suited to the environment they are in.

So this is my call. I call upon everyone to unite. There's been a lot of talk these past few years, a lot of arguments, pitching both ends of the spectrum against each other, the Autists against the NT's, and yes, different Autism groups against each other. This needs to be done away with. I know, the Autist community is young, and will mature as time passes. But the problems we are facing leave no time for juvenile bickering. It's a tragedy when people are sent to institutes rather than the problem that is posed to society by their existence - and I use problem in the sense of a puzzle to be solved, not as a comment on their worth - being dealt with. But polarising the matter does not help them, and accusations will not quicken their release. Working to build a better alternative will. So we must stand together, or we will be dealt with individually. No-one poses a threat to a rotten system when they are pounding their fists futilely against the walls, but united together with others, they can build a battering ram.

However, we cannot pretend everyone is the same. Does an ear feel inferior because it is not a hand? We all have things we can contribute - we must not be afraid to admit that we are not all as able to do the same thing. It is vital that we always remember that we are all equal in value. But it is equally important that we remember that we are not all equal in ability; pretending otherwise is the path of foolishness. Once we grasp this, we can utilise our strengths and cover our weaknesses. Though I am not a Marxist, or by an stretch of the imagination all that left wing, those who are the most capable must shoulder the most burden. Only those who can speak can be spokesmen, but in such a position, they bear the awesome responsibility of speaking, not just for themselves, but for those who cannot speak or who will not be listened to. In this we must always remember that extrinsic superiority is no reason to boast, when for want of complications during birth one may have been severely brain damaged and reliant upon others for ones entire life. So do not be so quick to boast of alleged superiority.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." These words are as true today as they were back then. We have a choice facing us. If we choose wrongly, we may as well fade back into the woodwork, back into stealth, back into trying to make it in a world that does not understand us. I am not willing to choose that option.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Gary McKinnon and the purpose of extradition

This seems like a topical subject to write a post about.

First off, whilst I am glad that he's not being extradited, I disagree with the grounds for blocking his extradition.Obviously, handing him over the American's for them to lock him up until he dies, never seeing his home country again, would have been excessive. However, there are far better reasons for him to not be extradited than worries about his mental health.

Such as the fact that America has no legal claim on him. The purpose of extradition is to prevent people from breaking the law in a country, then fleeing said country to avoid justice. In McKinnon's case, he had not done this - the offence was committed on British soil, breaking British law (the Computer Misuse Act), and as such, the appropriate forum is a UK court. If McKinnon had been guilty of hacking into the computer of an American individual, as no-doubt happens daily, I highly doubt that extradition would have been on the cards.

Then there is also UK law to consider. Such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), which provides "That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void." Whether or not this can be taken to prohibit extradition without a conviction in the UK depends on whether one considers extradition a forfeiture; however, there is also the Magna Carta to consider: 
"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land." Unfortunately, the Extradition Act in question is now part of the law of the land, so I would hesitate in using this as a legal defence (although it does show that the Act could be considered unconstitutional).

However, I believe it can be shown that extraditing McKinnon would have been an illegitimate action by the UK government.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Government legitimacy and revolution

A government is only legitimate as long as it enforces legitimate law, and law is only legitimate insofar as it is founded upon moral (natural) law. This is not to say that an illegitimate government cannot perform legitimate actions, say by criminalising murder, theft etc. - yet, if the Mafia criminalise murder within their jurisdiction, they are performing what I would consider a legitimate action - but a legitimate government cannot perform illegitimate actions without entering the fast track towards losing it's legitimacy, and thus becoming one which can be legitimately overthrown. Laws do not derive their legitimacy from being made by a legitimate government, but from a higher law, from which government also derives it's legitimacy. As Paul writes in Romans 13... 'there is no authority except that which God has established... ... For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.'  If a ruler holds terror for those who do right, it could rather easily be argued from Romans 13 that the ruler lacks authority - power, perhaps, but not authority.

Such a radical view, of course, has ramifications. A government which permits the murder of unborn children, or the torture of autistics, is violating basic moral law, and has thus, in my mind, lost it's legitimacy. Unfortunately, by this measure there are few, if any, legitimate governments existing in the world; rather, there are a great deal many tyrannies that have succeeded in deluding themselves into a fantasy that they are somehow a legitimate governing authority. By shedding innocent blood, they are violating a law far more fundamental than they would by criminalising cannabis usage in public (which could be argued on the grounds of state ownership of public spaces to be a legitimate action, if home use is not prohibited), and thus I consider it to be acceptable to overthrow such organisations.

Disclaimer: yes, I am advocating the overthrow of almost all existing governments, though prudence dictates that it should not be done in a spontaneous, improper way - personally I advocate the practice of counter-economics, possibly combined with clandestine operations which do not result in injury to humans and ideally leave property undamaged, to bring down the whole corrupt edifice and replace it with a legitimate government or million.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

We can rebuild him

The trigger for this post is actually the song The 59' Sound, by Gaslight Anthem. Specifically, the lyric about how young boys and girls ain't supposed to die on a Saturday night. Indeed. They ain't supposed to die at all. But what can we do it?

What can we do, indeed? For we are only human, and as God said, we're severely constrained in what we can do. Oh wait, where did he say this? Ah yes, Genesis 11:6..

'The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them."'

See? God Himself says that... we have the innate talent to do whatever we wish to do. That's straight from the mouth of God. So, why do we still have people dying of diseases which we damn well ought to have cured by now? Why should millions starve to death? Why do we tolerate autistics and others being tortured, in our own countries no less! Why? Even if we can't stop something, we can at any rate sidestep it - if the lungs don't work, we'll oxygenate the blood directly. If need be, we'll put them in cryo while we fix the damage. We have that ability now, and we could have had it a lot sooner if our priorities were right.

So, why don't we? Because we are too lazy. That's it. That, and we're too greedy - cancer could - would - have been cured by now if certain businesses didn't have a thriving range in anticancer drugs. We're also too scared - genetically engineered crops which help prevent blindness in children from poverty stricken countries were actually opposed by Greenpeace, who seem to consider technology a name to run away from very fast. Possibly worst of all, some things just simply don't occur to us, or rather, don't occur to the ones who have the required resources to make them a reality. All the while, people are dying, while we stand around and do nothing. Because we're lazy. Because we're greedy. Because we're scared. Because it just simply didn't occur to us to maybe take a third option. A fourth option. A fifth, sixth, seventh option. Collectively, we would rather burn to death because the door was on fire than jump out the window. As Edmund Burke once said, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. What excuse do we have for doing nothing?

I have full confidence in our technological ability. What I lack is confidence in us.

Everything's better with marshmallows. Especially milkshakes.

This is, as one might guess, my new blog. Do not visit if you are prone to using the words homophobic, islamophobic etc in a serious manner, support the republicans, support the democrats, are libertarian, are adamantly opposed to capitalism, are adamantly opposed to socialism, being technology should be unrestrained, believe technology should be restrained... actually, do visit, because I've got to have some viewers, and that was just my hook because I know people rarely follow advice. Besides, flame wars are funny - for a bit, after which I will start decimating your comments in a way that will make both flamers look bad, and if you continue, I may even delete more than 10% of your comments.

Alas, I digress. In this blog I will post measured rants and other thoughts about topics such as neurodiversity, the open source movement, the threat of radical islam, the hypocrisy of claiming to be for small government while wanting the government to tell people what they can and can't do to themselves, what has jumped out (metaphorically) at me whilst reading the bible, what the implications of the biotechnological boom will be, why being a monarchist and supporting the royal family is inherently inconsistent...

I will, of course, probably post on consistency quite a lot, because it is one of my most treasured principles, what with it being one of God's, being the foundation upon which all moral and ethical systems much rest, yadayada...

Anyway, in writing this, I've just written my opening post...