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Political activism

Spinning Earth

Political activism is an exception to the principle of love, which states that you should prefer praise to criticism. When something really is wrong in an important way it is necessary to take a stand against it. Activism stems from the principle that we should leave the world via death a better place than how it was when we were born into it.

1. Global warming

Global warming is the greatest moral crisis of human history. The following Bob Dylan lyric is relevant:

‘‘how many times can a man turn his head, pretending that he just doesn't see?’’

This lyric was probably originally written against racism, but it can be successfully reapplied to the cause of environmentalism and sustainable living. Like the lyric goes, people's current moral preference on the global warming problem is one of denial. People believe that their selfish actions do not make a difference to the state of the planet because one person doesn't make a difference. This belief goes against Kant's categorical imperative because if everybody practised this belief then the prognosis for human life on earth is a bad one.

The opposite belief to this one is the belief that one person can make a difference. This difference can be achieved by following environmentally sustainable practises, both for the good of the planet and to set a moral example to others. Also individuals can lobby their political leaders and convince all of their family, friends and acquaintances that sustainable practises are necessary for the good of the planet.

The state of opinion about sustainable practises is like what we had with sexism twenty years ago, where it seemed like cumbersome ridiculous nonsense to place all occurrences of the word man (when used to denote both men and women) with the word person. But now that is regarded as standard practise. Just ten years ago the practise of recycling was the domain of a few so-called ‘‘tree-hugging green-freaks’’ to quote George Bush Senior, but now it is mainstream. The same change will need to occur in the public's perception of sustainable living or else the Earth's capacity to hold its existing population will be greatly diminished, resulting in inevitable death for many.

1.1 How can you make a difference?

See Al Gore's documentary film An Inconvenient Truth and encourage your family, friends and acquaintances to watch it too. Then visit the film's associated Website for practical advice for how to live in a sustainable manner. Those of you with Websites or blogs should create a political activism page for containing this and possibly other moral issues pertinent to yourself. If you the reader are a New Zealander then with our ‘‘clean green’’ image we are in a uniquely privileged position to show the world there really is a better way. Spread the word! Click on the following link to read more about sustainable living. The person who sent me this link was Angela Hanners (Email: angela <at> accreditedschoolsonline <dot> org).

2. Our finite oil reserves

The world's oil reserves are finite, yet most people carry on their lives as if oil reserves are infinite. This is madness, because if we don't attempt to conserve our oil reserves then it is certain that sometime in the near future we will run out of oil. When this happens we will experience a worldwide disaster of similar magnitude to global warming. The only way out of this problem is if we can find oil on other planets to sustain our thirst for oil but this is a very distant possibility, owing to our lack of progress in colonizing other planets beyond our home, The Earth.

3. Free software versus non-free software

In the future most software will be free as the marginal cost in selling an extra piece of software is zero and the fixed cost of developing the software can be divided by approximately the world's population, assuming that most people use computers in the future. Note that as Richard Stallman says, the word free is used in the sense of free speech, not free beer. By this he means that the most important part of free software is not the fact that it sells for a low or zero price, but rather, it gives the users freedom to study and redistribute modified versions of the software, which requires (among other things) access the the software's source code.

4. Free knowledge versus non-free knowledge

Prefer and contribute to Wikipedia rather than Britannica.

5. Was Kurt Cobain murdered?

An inquiry needs to be made to investigate whether or not Kurt Cobain was murdered. Cobain's suicide note appears to have been faked, cobbled together from a note to his fans explaining why he was going to leave the music business. There are also many people who would benefit from Cobain's death, including the record industry and Cobain's widow Courtney Love.

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