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Posts Tagged ‘control’

Forbidden Speech

August 3, 2013 Leave a comment

The ability to end a conversation is the finest measure of communicative power. One who can deny a conversation controls the very existence of ideas. Indeed the very birth and death of thought rests with these figures whose personal perspectives decide what can be spoken and considered.

Disgust is often utilized as weapon of choice for those with this control. Some offensive feature of a topic is presented and used to justify the end of its consideration. A topic is discarded and no matter how keen the insight, the speaker’s perspective left ignored.

Political correctness broadly categorizes this process of topic consideration. Certain ideas deemed “beyond the pale” simply go without discussion. Ironically by the very act of denying their existence we often perpetuate them and multiply their power. The comedian Louis C.K. considers this process in a joke about racial vulgarity. In essence, he suggests that by using abbreviations for these words we force the listener to speak the unspeakable in their minds. The joke seems to ask that if we’re so offended why do we insist the other person think the word? Might a better tactic be to use the word constantly as a means to desensitize its content and make it stale?

Unfortunately we latch on to certain powerful words and use them as a means to control conversation. These verboten terms function less for their actual meaning and more as weapons to control discourse. We know who is aware of our cultural norms by the words they use. Speak the wrong word and reveal yourself as an outsider.

Communicative power stems both from speaking and not speaking. To control a conversation is to decide the existence of ideas. Is this power ever beneficial? Often groups in power use this ability to discard the discussion of certain topics as a means to perpetuate their existence. If we never speak of Topic X does it even exist? Never can we register our disgust if we’re not allowed to discuss the topic. Keep it silent and it forever will exist: ever hidden in plain sight.

The Graduated License: Smarter Gun Rights?

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

A better way to award gun licenses is a “graduated form” where one begins with limited rights and gradually earns more rights through testing, education and experience. The current system awards a gun license with total rights: the newly licensed with zero experience has just as much access as the seasoned veteran. Is this the best way to award licenses?

A better way to award licenses is to begin with a basic level license. Initial rights will limit the individual to a small number of bullets and available weapons. Want more? Earn it via classes and testing. Gradually the individual can earn more rights by proving the capability to responsibly handle the additions.

Such a format would work to stop individuals whose mental states prove too unstable for high capacity weapons. And while nothing can stop illegal weapons and the desires of those who wish to harm on a massive scale, this new form would create a system of prevention that might catch unstable individuals and re-route them to the help they need.

This alternative form should appeal to both gun control advocates and detractors. In this system there is no control imposed on individuals who prove capable. Merit earns rights and the NRA should not only celebrate this format but recognize it as an incredible opportunity. The enjoyment of weapons that comes from expert use will only increase with greater education.

Advanced testing in this form could be completed with NRA guidance and perhaps experienced shooters could proctor these exams for discounts on their own classes. This allows for a community of gun owners to blossom, a group whose entire existence centers around the enjoyment of weapons and the development of skills relating to their use.

What matters less in gun control is the actual control of the guns. We need to recognize the real problem: irresponsible use by those who either don’t know or don’t acknowledge the power of their weapons. Safety stems not from taking away or limiting access. The best system is one that works for more experience and uses merit as the means of greater access. You can have your guns. Celebrate them and use them as much as you want, but show us that you’re capable of respecting what you use and fully understanding just what power you hold for both you and your community.

Authority and Chaos

February 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The level of chaos created by one’s absence is an excellent measure of importance.

Stay away from one’s responsibilities and take stock of how the system copes. How quickly does chaos set in? One’s authority is often a recognition of this power and; likewise, one’s ability to maintain control and avoid this chaos. One gifts authority on those considered capable of maintaining stability in the system.

It is in our ability to control a system that we both earn and expand our authority. An initial provision of authority comes with oversight from others and a limited ability to interact with the system. Protectionism reigns at the early stages as those who hold control reluctantly grant access to those just entering the fold. This makes sense and, as the new actor performs satisfactorily, access and authority will gradually shift to new blood. Transitions are difficult but strong systems are stocked with multiple levels of control. Stifle variation and one can significantly reduce potential chaos.

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