Saturday, May 12

Survey: Meet 'The Perfect Man'

I read this amusing article, here is a list of things that you need to be a perfect man.  

  1. 6 feet tall
  2. Toned and athletic
  3. Brown eyes
  4. Short dark hair
  5. Smart dress sense
  6. Beer drinker
  7. Non-smoker
  8. Wears smart jeans, shirt and a V-neck jumper
  9. Gets ready in 17 minutes
  10. Stylish
  11. Wants a family
  12. Earns £48,000 ($77,000) a year
  13. Loves shopping
  14. Eats meat
  15. Clean shaven
  16. Smooth chest
  17. Watches soaps
  18. Enjoys watching football
  19. Drives an Audi
  20. Educated to degree level
  21. Earns more than his other half
  22. Jokes around and has a laugh
  23. Sensitive when his wife/girlfriend is upset
  24. Says 'I love you' only when he means it
  25. Admits it when he looks at other women
  26. Has a driver's license
  27. Can swim
  28. Can ride a bike
  29. Can change a tire
  30. Calls mom regularly

I am SOOO screwed. Thank God I got married before lists like this came out. How many did you tick off? Smile with tongue out

What a man, what a bibliophile

What can be better than a house full of books? A house made of books

What do you do when you face a problem like Haiti?

Haiti, along with so many other countries which are in distress, is a problem which was made worse due to the help of the United Nations and the white saviour complex. Or the white man’s burden. Read this brilliant book by William Easterly on this. I quote:

The world's poor need more focused, trial-and-error programs like the Malawian net distribution and fewer ambitious plans to cure poverty, Easterly argues. There are two tragedies of the world's poor. The first is the one we hear about: that so many people suffer so much for lack of inexpensive remedies.

The second, he says, "is the tragedy in which the West spent $2.3 trillion on foreign aid over the last five decades and still had not managed to get 12-cent medicines to children to prevent half of all malaria deaths. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $4 bed nets to poor families. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $3 to each new mother to prevent five million child deaths." The West is not stingy. It is ineffective.

This is the primary reason why I never donate to any of the international appeals. Ever. I am simply not sure that my contributions (the voluntary sort) and the contributions that the government does on my behalf (the involuntary part) is being used effectively. I cannot do much about the government’s donations but I can stop spending my hard earned money being frittered away at incompetence. I wouldn't do that to my money with a bad fund manager, why not for charity? After all, both are investments designed to provide good outputs, no? Basically, in many ways, this entire western world aid industry to the other world is a colonial and frankly racist exercise. It is just dressed up in some “do good” clothing and we are done with it. The disasters committee shows some heart wrenching images and video on tv and we, the poor saps, think, awwwww, SOMETHING must be done, money is thrown at the vast aid machine and nothing (usually) gets done and if something does get done, its usually the wrong thing. Think back on the Kony madness. 2 months after that ridiculous bout of videos and facebook updates, what has actually happened? nothing. See what I mean? This is feel good hypocrisy at its best. Dont worry, this is not just for charity, same with foreign policy as well. See the current Arabian revolutions, when the revolutions were happening, then everybody was jumping up and down to help and object and moan and groan. Now that the problem in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain is worse (they are still ruled by despots, they are still no jobs), nobody cares. Heck, the USA is back to selling arms to Bahrain. Brilliant.

Haiti is a classic example of how the western world has managed to screw it over. It is one of the classic cases of how good intentions lead one to hell. Here, read about what one aid worker says. For example, the USA used to do good sometimes, but these days? Every time it intervenes in any country, it usually manages to screw up things and leave things behind which are more broken that others. You don't have to look at Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. etc. just look at Haiti. I quote

1. Good intentions aren't enough.

2. Rose-colored glasses are bullshit.

3. The white savior industrial complex is real, demonstrated daily by feel good aid programs that probably don't work, or feel good causes like Kony 2012 that generate plenty of buzz but don't add up to much when people are actually supposed to do something.

4. You can't help people who don't want to help themselves.

5. True altruism is an incredibly rare thing. (See #3)

6. Little victories must be celebrated if you want to protect yourself from the crippling effects of the larger failure.

So what do you do? the author says this

If I were to do it all again, I wouldn't design a solution. It isn't my place to do that. What I'd do is try and be a useful resource for a group of people or a community that have a much better understanding of their problems than I do, and want to work together toward finding solutions. I wouldn't come in as the guy with the answer. I'd come in as the guy willing to try and help them in any way possible as they find their own answer, and act as the bridge between that answer, and the money and resources needed to make it happen.

Or, perhaps if I really wanted to help, I wouldn't ever come to Haiti to begin with. I'd keep my fight at home in the United States, rallying people to try and build awareness that places like Haiti suffer because of policies benefitting our government, our corporations, and ultimately, ourselves. Policies created by our politicians, sometimes with our consent (the Iraq War) and sometimes as a result of special interests (the Supreme Court's campaign finance reform ruling), result in massive problems for other people in the world. Sometimes I wonder if that truly ever can be remedied. 


Friday, May 11

What do you expect out of marriage?

Amusing study here.

I quote the abstract

This study examines whether communication and culturally embedded concepts influence cross-cultural similarities and differences in marital role conceptions. Young adults from the US, China, South Korea, Japan, India and Malaysia responded to a series of open-ended questions about marriage and marital roles. Analytic induction methods produced categories across six topics (good wife/bad wife, good husband/bad husband, good marriage/bad marriage). Results showed even greater variation in marital role conceptions than hypothesized. Only East Asians nominated a family home focus more and only Chinese and Koreans considered respectfulness and gentleness more for the good wife role than did US participants. Loving/caring nominations did not differ across the cultural groups except for greater nominations by US participants for the good marriage and good wife role conceptions, and proportions of controlling/abusive behaviors did not differ except for the Indian group's higher nominations for the bad wife role. Communication expectations for marital roles showed some cross cultural similarity, as both US and Asian participants rated communication characteristics as more important than attractiveness/ability characteristics, but only for the good wife/husband roles.

its a bit of a d’oh question, but would help raise a chuckle at the entrenchment of national stereotypes. Indian groups seem to be highly interested in the bad wife role, lol

Wednesday, May 9

What did Mark Twain say about censorship?

Chuckles, the man is a genius. Every time I see anybody saying something has to be banned, I feel like asking them to go back to school and demanding their school fees back for turning them into blithering idiots and imbeciles.

Tuesday, May 8

Did the Jains cause casteism in Tamil Society?

I got this reference this week.

I quote:

Like any other human being, the average Tamil also functions at the intersection of many
overlapping identities. In spite of the persistence of a  linguistic identity over two
millennia, and a self-conscious Tamil nationalist political movement of the 20th century
which argued against caste differences among Tamils, for many Tamils of today, caste is
a significant, if not the primary, identity still.

One of the results of this caste identity is that many Tamils who are members of the Scheduled Castes or Dalits feel alienated from the interests of the Tamil Nationalist movement. Many Tamil nationalists like Pāvāṇar (1992: 169) held that the early Tamil society did not have a birth-based hierarchy. But Classical Tamil texts which are the earliest sources for information on the early Tamil society do employ words which are traditionally interpreted as ‘low caste person’ or
‘outcaste’. These words include ‘pulaiyaṉ’ (base or low-caste man’, ‘outcaste’), “pulaitti”
(the feminine form of ‘pulaiyaṉ’), ‘iḻiciṉaṉ’ (outcaste, low or  uncivilised person),
‘iḻipiṟappiṉōṉ’ (person of low birth, outcaste) and ‘iḻipiṟappāḷaṉ’ (synonym of
In these texts, ‘pulaiyaṉ’ is used to refer to a bard, a drummer, and a
funerary priest; ‘pulaitti’ is used to refer to a priestess, a washerwoman, and a basketmaker; ‘iḻipiṟappiṉōṉ’ is used to refer to a funerary priest; ‘iḻipiṟappāḷaṉ’ is used to refer
to a drummer; and ‘iḻiciṉaṉ’ is used to refer to a drummer and a cot-maker. These usages
seem to suggest that the above-mentioned professionals were considered to be outcastes
in the Classical Tamil society. The Tamil nationalists have not satisfactorily explained
how these usages could be reconciled with their idea of a casteless Tamil society.  On the
other hand, scholars such as K. K. Pillay (1969) and George Hart (1975a, 1975b, 1976,
and 1987) have suggested that the concept of untouchability and hence the notion of caste
were already present in the Classical Tamil society.

When the Classical Tamil texts are analyzed using information from the fields of
philology, linguistics, religion, anthropology, and epigraphy, however, we find that Tamil
social history is inextricably linked to Jainism. The notions of untouchability,
occupational pollution and caste were not indigenous to the Tamil society and the word
‘pulaiyaṉ’ which later came to mean ‘a polluted man’ originally meant ‘a man who
causes auspiciousness/prosperity’. It will be argued in this essay that, ironically, the nonviolence principle of Jainism was an inadvertent catalyst in the development of violenceridden untouchability among the speakers of Dravidian languages. 
Jains have made fundamental contributions to Tamil literature and grammar.
Zvelebil (1973: 137) considers Tolkāppiyaṉ, the author of the  core of the oldest extant
Tamil grammar, the Tolkāppiyam, to be a Jain who belonged to the pre-Christian era. 
Jains also authored major post-classical literary works such as the Cilappatikāram, and
the Cīvakacintāmaṇi as well as many didactic works. While the contributions of Jains to
Tamil literature and grammar are widely recognised, the influence of Jainism on early
Tamil society has not been understood well till now because the Classical Tamil texts
have not been studied from an inter-disciplinary perspective.

I did not know that Jainism had such a strong influence on Tamils. I always thought the influence of Jainism was more in the North of India and to learn that it extended down south was a new thing to me. One lives and learns. To the email, which I responded,

interesting research paper, although for an empirical positivist like me, the logic was lacking in some rigour. But I found it amusing that the Jain concept of 7 hells was used as a theological basis for casteism. But the author did not take the argument forward, if the concept of bad actions lead one to hell and that cycle of rebirth means you are born in a lower caste to expatiate the sins, then pretty much every other religion is the same, bad actions make you a bad man and hence a lower caste..

bit of a logical stretch there

Top 10 Books in the world /facepalm

I am ok with every book and the choices are understandable and explainable but THE TWILIGHT SAGA?????????? I am ashamed of you world!

Monday, May 7

A troubling case of freedom of speech

The fact that this chap was posting inflammatory material on the web is not in doubt. But that doesn't mean that it was wrong. Completely disagree with the sentencing of this man in the USA. If the courts can imprison you for saying that you believe in, then where is the first amendment? I am not happy at all, this isn't good.

See this summary first. I quote:

Civil liberties advocates say the case represents a slippery slope. In the 2010 case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which decided whether or not providing nonviolent aid (such as legal advice) to terrorist groups constitutes material support for terrorism, the Supreme Court ruled that even protected speech can be a criminal act if it occurs at the direction of a terrorist organization. Based on that ruling, you could be convicted of materially supporting terrorism merely for translating a document or putting an extremist video online, depending on your intentions.

"If he's doing it on behalf of a designated group, he's providing a service, and that's the crime," says Georgetown University law professor David Cole, who argued against the government in Humanitarian Law Project. "It doesn't matter if the speech is itself violent or nonviolent." The question is whether Mehanna's actions were done at the direction of a terrorist group or whether his actions constituted "independent advocacy."

Convicting Mehanna on conspiracy charges stemming from his alleged attempt to seek terrorist training or lying to investigators is one thing. Convicting him based on his alleged pro-jihadist internet advocacy could establish a legal path to stamping out extremist propaganda on the web. At the same time, in the view of some civil libertarians, the case could narrow the right to free speech by allowing the government to successfully prosecute the expression of radical or unpopular views as a crime. The verdict could come as soon as next week.

Mehanna's defense team has argued that his views have been misrepresented and that he doesn't share Al Qaeda's extremist worldview. Holding radical or abhorrent beliefs, however, is still protected by the Constitution. The basic legal standard for when speech becomes criminal is referred to as the "Brandenburg test." Stemming from a 1969 Supreme Court case, the rule essentially stipulates that speech can't be criminalized unless it is deliberately meant to incite "imminent lawless action" and there's a reasonable belief that action could take place.

After all, if the government can kill someone for posting extremist sermons on the internet, why can't it put someone in prison for doing the same thing?

"That's a very hard standard to meet," Cole says. "The court saw from experience that prosecutions for advocacy of illegal conduct often became politically motivated prosecution of dissenters where there was no actual nexus to crime."

But, as Cole points out, the decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project created a key terrorism-related exception making even nonviolent, nonmonetary aid to a terrorist organization a crime.

The government has tried to argue that Mehanna's speech isn't protected for two reasons. One, that his actions reflect Al Qaeda's call for its followers to preach its twisted gospel to Westerners. The second is that Mehanna posted extremist propaganda and responded to requests to translate materials from individuals associated with terror groups.

Scholars of Islamic extremism, however, frequently translate and post jihadist material on the internet for the purpose of study—something Mehanna's attorneys have noted in their defense.

"The Supreme Court says the law makes a distinction between independent advocacy and advocacy at the direction and control of a group," Cole says. Prosecuting someone for obeying a "general call" for extremists to spread Al Qaeda's message, Cole says, seems like a reach.

He was convicted and this is what he said.

APRIL 12, 2012

Read to Judge O’Toole during his sentencing, April 12th 2012.

In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful Exactly four years ago this month I was finishing my work shift at a
local hospital. As I was walking to my car I was approached by two federal agents. They said that I had a choice to make: I could do things the easy way, or I could do them the hard way. The “easy ” way, as they explained, was that I would become an informant for the government, and if I did so I would never see the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. As for the hard way, this is it. Here I
am, having spent the majority of the four years since then in a solitary cell the size of a small closet, in which I am locked down
for 23 hours each day. The FBI and these prosecutors worked very hard-and the government spent millions of tax dollars – to put me in that cell, keep me there, put me on trial, and finally to have me stand here before you today to be sentenced to even more time in a cell.

In the weeks leading up to this moment, many people have offered suggestions as to what I should say to you. Some said I should plead for mercy in hopes of a light sentence, while others suggested I would be hit hard either way. But what I want to do is just talk about myself for a few minutes.

When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists.” I wasn’t born in a Muslim country, though. I was born and raised right here in America and this angers many people: how is it that I can be an American and believe the things I believe, take the positions I take? Everything a man is exposed to in his environment becomes an ingredient that shapes his outlook, and I’m no different.  So, in more ways than one, it’s because of America that I am who I am.

When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ehical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.

By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.

I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,
and the civil rights struggle.

I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.

From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed be many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “X” by Spike Lee, it’s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm’s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it’s not a culture or ethnicity. It’s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised.

This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we’re supposed to exist. And since there’s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.

With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon – and what it continues to do in Palestine – with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq.

I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how – according to the United Nations – over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a ’60 Minutes‘ interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were “worth it.” I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of ’Shock & Awe’ in the opening day of the invasion – the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking but of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN).

I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims – including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers – were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don’t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims – mostly mothers and their kids – shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses.

These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of
brotherhood – that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn’t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters – including by America – and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.

I mentioned Paul Revere – when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There’s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about.

All those videos and translations and childish bickering over ‘Oh, he translated this paragraph’ and ‘Oh, he edited that sentence,’ and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to “kill Americans” at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government’s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little “terror plots,” but I refused to participate. Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.

So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.

But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed ”terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are ”killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism.

When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him-his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home-as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they’re not real, they’re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they’re my “impartial peers,” I mean, come on. I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me – not because they needed to, but simply because they could.

I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask: ’what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ’What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective - even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a ”terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with ”killing Americans.” But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic.

-Tarek Mehanna

This wasnt right, I think the American courts fell down on the job, but then again, my faith in American justice is not that high anyway, specially when it continues to hold people without charging for years and years. And kills American citizens without due process.

Sunday, May 6

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity

Dear Son

while driving to Beachy Head, we were talking about stupidity. I mentioned about the laws of human stupidity to you. When you grow up, if you are really unlucky, you will be faced with stupidity. In that unfortunate event and to prepare to deal with this unfortunate event, its best to learn about stupidity. So first some quotes and then the laws.

"Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory." - Sir Bernard

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice" Heinlein's Razor

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Hanlon's Razor

by Carlo M. Cipolla

1.Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
2.The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
3.A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
4.Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
5.A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

You can read the full article here.

First and foremost, remember this, you WILL be stupid sometimes. Don't make the mistake of thinking that stupidity occurs to other people. No it doesn't, you will be stupid yourself. Its the BD law of stupidity. If you do not believe me, just ask your mum, she will corroborate the statement that I am frequently stupid. (for that matter, all women in your life and my life will corroborate this). But I am getting away from the main argument.

The laws are pretty self explanatory. Have a think about it, son, you will find these people in every walk of life, from the checkout girl to the doctors, from the politician to the immigration clerk, from the banker to the journalist. They are everywhere. And the first law states that there are more stupid people than you think. And you can be stupid, 10 academic degrees and you will still be finding stupid elements in that man. But worse is the 3rd law. If these people kept to themselves, then their stupidity will not be an issue for you other than being vaguely funny. But their stupidity is going to impact you one day or other. They will muck up your medical diagnosis, they will screw up your credit card bill, they will write bad things about you, etc. etc. Be warned. And the fourth law says that the impact of their stupidity will be much higher than what you would expect, not least because the person who you turn to help get out of the stupidity impact of the first person can be stupid themselves (count yourself in this category) therefore making matters worse. Ergo the fifth law, a stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. Stay away from them, Kannu, they can really muck up your life.