The Guilt Stare

Many years ago, Nano mastered what I like to call the “guilt stare.”

I took him to get his nails trimmed a couple months ago. He was very good for the employee working on him. He did not fuss or jump around or try to get free. He sat very still and allowed them to work on his nails. But he stared directly at me the entire time as if to ask why I took him to Petco to hand him over be tortured.

It is the exact same look when Tera takes something from him or kicks him off his blanket or dog bed. He stares at me because he wants me to protect him or take back whatever it was he lost.

The “guilt stare” is totally adorable.

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The danger of government-mandated “fairness”

Here is a critical point:

When politicians have taken it upon themselves to promote “balanced” speech, it’s been a disaster for conservatives. Until 1987, the Federal Communication Commission’s fairness doctrine required broadcasters to provide honest and balanced viewpoints, and that’s what kept the Rush Limbaughs off the air. But that’s just what conservatives are now asking for when it comes to Big Tech.

Read the rest at the New York Post.

Looking to 2019

Unless I get really fired up about something and want to write about it right away, there probably won’t be any more original long-form blog posts until after the start of 2019. I do have some shorter content scheduled for several days over the next week, though, and I already have posts scheduled for January 2 and January 3.

The Outrage Mob and “shame” culture

You really should go read this article on shame culture at First Things. We need to stop feeding the online Outrage Mob, and ruining people’s lives and careers (and sometimes endangering their lives) over things they say online. This has been out of control for a long time, turning private matters into public spectacles and taking sinful things said in public over the top beyond all sense of rational proportionality.

Before I go further, let me say this: Shame in and of itself is not a bad thing. We have come to think of shame as bad, so “(whatever) shaming” is seen as an immoral act. But if you do something shameful, you should be shamed for it. My pastor says that God gives us “pain to protect our bodies and shame to protect our souls.” When properly directed, shame points to our sin and leads us to the cross. Shame over our sin makes us realize how helpless we are before God and how we need the blood of His Son. Shame leads us to restrain our bad impulses and put more of a filter between our brain and our mouth and/or keyboard.

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Debating online vs. debating in person

I recently attended a workshop that was very helpful in how to have a productive in-person conversation between people of differing viewpoints on issues. That that made me think about is how it is often much easier to have a civil face-to-face discussion than a civil online discussion.

This is ground that has been trampled often, so we have all heard it before. Online, you do not get tone of voice, facial expressions, body language and instant feedback that you get when talking in person. Online, it is very easy to take things in a way not intended and then attack based on that mistaken perception. There is also a natural calming factor that happens in real life, where people are less likely to be nasty in person.

Online, all of that changes. If you’re discussing something on Facebook with a family member or a IRL friend, you may want to be more restrained in order to preserve the offline relationship. But when debating a hotly contested issue with strangers, it is much easier to see them as pixels instead of as people. Therefore, it is easier to go on the attack, and there is much less social cost to getting nasty.

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The problem with Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management (DRM) can be a great thing. Wanton piracy of games greatly harmed the market for PC games, and services like Steam have led to a resurgence of the PC games market. Preventing piracy is obviously a good thing for developers, but it benefits gamers as well. Piracy raises costs and restricts consumer choice. All gamers pay for the selfishness of a few.

But there is a dark side.

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