Friday, June 01, 2012

On Sun Talk for May 31, 2012.

Quick one, as I'm pressed for time.

The Magnotta obsession continues! Standing by what I said yesterday, BTW. Giving the guy too much attention is exactly he wants. Report on the situation, then move on to other news. Giving him hours and hours of airtime is letting him win (and scaring people for no reason).

Daily Brief

Yeah, I got nothing. Mostly Magnotta last night. A bit on Mulcair and the oilsands, but I've already talked about that: Mulcair is right, and the fact that execs are starting to try to sell the oilsands to provinces other than Alberta proves that they think he has a point. And then some malarkey on the US Presidential election; their politics is so screwed up that, were I to ever live there, I'd probably have to put blocks on the web and TV to avoid reading news about it.

The Arena

Oh, dear. Coren was in fine form last night, pretending to be some sort of moderate intellectual who is bullied by the devious left -- while shouting people down, talking over them, substituting rhetoric for logic, and lying his ass off.

It's hard to pick on just one of the topics he covered -- media bias (it's left-wing, doncha know, despite most major media outlets endorsing the Cons in the last election), atheists (who are all angry and dishonest, totally unlike certain Catholics I could name), same-sex marriage (which is a violation of natural laws, where "natural laws" are whatever the celibate Pope says they are), and abortion (there's a right to life, y'know, unless you're Iranian).

Let me just say, then, that I'm still waiting for the day when Coren grows up and realizes how empty and detached from reality his ideology really is. Last night's show was a perfect example of how deluded he really is.

Oh, and, Dave Silverman's ability to retain his sense of humour is superhuman.

Adler

There was a profoundly bullshit segment here trying to excuse the failure of Baby Boomers -- as a generation -- to build a society which would leave their children better off than they are. The facts really speak for themselves, and the failure of Bonokoski to even mention them shows how dishonest he is.

Generation X on down will, clearly and objectively, have worse lives than the generations before them. And it's not the post-WW2 generation who's to blame here. Either the Boomers can realize, finally, that the world doesn't revolve around them and they have to start giving back. Or, the rest of us can stop taking their shit and make 'em.

Or we can do what Gen X has always been good at, and the Millennials are learning how to do, and whine pointlessly rather than do something constructive.

News Update

Magnotta, Magnotta, Magnotta. Whatever.

Byline

I loved the "Hunt for a Killer" graphic Lilley was using here. Dark background, metallic lettering, a splash of blood (literally, an animated splash of blood spattering on the letters), a slab-of-meat sound effect -- glorious.

Unfortunately, he meant it seriously, not as parody.

The death penalty discussion came up again, this time in relation to Magnotta. I'm very tired of how dishonest the arguments about capital punishment are amongst those who are in favour of it.

Here's the thing. The moral arguments against capital punishment don't work. They either turn on implausible general principles -- pacifism, anti-violence -- or deliberately misrepresent the intentions of capital punishment -- e.g., the intent to execute is the same as the intent to murder.

However. That doesn't mean we should reinstitute a policy of capital punishment. The moral principle is only part of the issue; the other part is whether we can make that principle work in our world. And I think Lilley realizes we can't, at least dimly, hence why he kept referring to needing to have "incontrovertible proof" of someone's guilt before executing them.

The problem is that such proof doesn't exist -- unless we're doing certain kinds of mathematical or formal logical problems. Even in the sciences, "proof" is always provisional, always at least in theory subject to refutation. In law, it's even less likely that our proof is actually incontrovertible -- it might be very strong, but it's never going to be perfect.

Which means that any policy of capital punishment will, inevitably, lead to executing someone who was proven to be guilty, but who was actually innocent. (And, indeed, someone proven guilty who is, post-execution, proved innocent.) That's the question that has to be focused on: can we justify a policy which is intended to punish the guilty but ends up killing the innocent?

In my calculation, killing the innocent is worse than not punishing the guilty. Perhaps Brian Lilley adds things up differently; if so, he should be honest about it, tell us so, and offer what justification he has. Otherwise, this is all just air.

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