Why Paying Your Taxes is Morally Obligatory

There is a considerable body of philosophy–such as it is–that begins with the assumption that any form of government seizure of personal wealth is morally wrong and is a violation of rights. This might bring to mind the libertarian movement, but I want to specifically state right now that I in no manner intend to disparage libertarianism. I believe there is a great deal to learn from that philosophy, though like every philosophical framework I have encountered, it is perhaps not as strictly catholic (read: universal) as they might assume.
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The Libertarian Case for Basic Income

Today I read a very interesting article about basic income by libertarian philosopher and essayist Matt Zwolinski, writing for the Cato Unbound journal. I know nothing else about him or his writings, and he hasn’t the slightest idea I exist and I encourage you not to assign any praise or condemnation for my ideas to him. I just read his article.

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Orbs

Thought I’d share a tip regarding one of my pet peeves, often found in fanfiction but not exclusively so. It’s this: eyes, though spherical, should never be replaced by orbs. I’ll give you an example:

“His emerald green orbs shone like gemstones.”

First of all, unless he’s holding a two or more spherical pieces of chromium-doped beryl, this sentence is wrong at best and jarringly so at worst. For one thing, only part of the eye (the iris) is colored green. The rest is, in a healthy eye, white sclera. The exception is for alien or otherwise non-baseline-human characters which might actually have eyes that are fully colored. Otherwise you get into purple prose.

Purple prose, for the uninitiated, is what happens when you decide that language is good for its own sake and not a means of communication. That isn’t to say that phraseology cannot be used to good effect: Adams and Wolfe and Michener and Stross and Rajaniemi wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as they are without their particular patterns and choice of vocabulary (in order: humorous, grandfatherly, didactic, technical, and WOAH).

However, I draw the line when I stop being able to understand who is talking, what they’re talking about, or what any of it has to do with anything else. The biggest offenders I have encountered (based on what little I could stomach) are Hawthorne and Pynchon. The Scarlet Letter, if my high-school memory does not deceive me, goes on for a while about trees before it settles into anything approaching the plot. Gravity’s Rainbow is so frustratingly thick that I can hardly call it literature. Much of the first few pages is dedicated to bananas and the preparation thereof–at least, that’s what I remember; it’s difficult to learn anything from that pile of vocabu-vomit–even though the story is about spies in World War II-era England, going after the V2.

The point of all this is: unless you’re good enough with the rules to know when and how to break them, stick with simple words in simple sentences. This is true of many things–for example, for my fellow My Little Pony fans, there is “lavender unicorn syndrome”. Lavender she may be, but just call her by her name. Pronouns are acceptable.

Call things what they are. If you’re referring to a character’s eyes as orbs, they should be holding them in their hand and playing peek-a-boo with themselves.

Basic Income and a Different Direction

This was always intended to be a blog where I could discuss some of the things that interest me–primarily stories, yes, but other things as well–and here is where that begins. Please note: everything you see here is my own opinion except where explicitly noted otherwise, and as any place to which I refer is not responsible for my opinions or other actions, so to am I to be held not responsible for their opinions or other actions. It’s just a discussion of some very interesting ideas. With that in mind, here we go:

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Hal

I won’t go too much into spoilers, actually, because it’s not very long–less than an hour–so it’s worth watching if you have some time to kill.

Hal is, to obfuscate a bit, the story of a therapist who is attempting to help his client by enlisting the help of a robot to play the role of his client’s lost lover, as a means of therapy. I can’t say much more without getting into plot territory and its accompanying spoilers, so I’ll just talk about the meta aspects.
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Aldnoah.Zero

Spoilers

So I originally began watching Aldnoah.Zero–this season’s quasi-realistic mecha anime series–because of an older blog to which I once contributed (in case you were wondering from where the older posts on this blog originated…that’s where), as one of my weekly reviews. Originally, I was kind of excited about it: a mecha show by Gen Urobuchi? Last time that happened was Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, which turned out to be both gorgeous and satisfying. After a couple of episodes, though, I was getting bored. The first two episodes were laughably predictable, and I lamented the show ever getting good.

Well, thank goodness for the three-episode rule.

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Lucy -or- Not This Bloody Hoax Again

Spoilers.

When I saw that a movie was coming out combining two of my favorite things (transhumanistic cerebral enhancement and a badass female main character), I was understandably, unbearably, excited. When I heard it was a somewhat softly intellectual yet still exciting “thrill-ride” (uuuurrrrrgh I hate that expression), I was still pretty pumped.

What I got…well, it wasn’t Limitless in a dress, but maybe it should have been.

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