Consequences: The results or effects of an action or condition. There are several varieties of consequences at play in the world, they can be broadly categorized as follows; Natural Consequences, Consequences of Consent, and Unnatural Consequences.
Natural Consequences are those that exist simply by and because of the nature of the world in which we exist. For example, light a match and throw it in to a bucket of gasoline and it will ignite - the results dictated by chemistry and the laws of thermodynamics. If one jumps out of a third story window they will accelerate towards the ground at a rate of 9.8 m/s/s eventually coming to an abrupt injurious stop - victimized by the laws of gravity and motion. Neglecting to chew ones food well can result in choking and eventual death, this is because the essential life process of cellular respiration occurring in each of the trillions of cells composing the body is halted without oxygen. These are certain outcomes dictated by nature itself, avoidable only through active intervention or active avoidance. We are all equally subject to this form of consequences.
Consequences of Consent are those to which we have collectively agreed. They are man made rather than wholly natural and have changed throughout time and place. They are a product of and a defining component of our civil society. For example, it is generally agreed that stealing is wrong and as such we have as a society agreed upon a definition of stealing and a set of consequences commensurate with the degree of the theft. Knowing that operating a vehicle weighing a ton at high rates of speed presents dangers to the operator and others around them we have agreed to certain rules of the road so to speak and accept that there are consequences to violating them. Being aware that there are aspects of human nature that cannot be captured within text on a page we have collectively agreed that a person accused of a crime is entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers and we collectively accept the outcome of such procedure. These are just some of the things to which we have generally agreed and as such have consented to the associated consequences. These are entirely man made and but for our collective consent to them these consequences would not exist.
Unnatural Consequences are those that are neither dictated by nature, nor consented to by the civil society at large. They are instead imposed by individuals or by segments of the society to achieve desired ends. This form of consequence is antithetical to the American Civil Society. It is currently best exemplified by the actions of the leftward end of the political spectrum. For example, there was the recent “punch a nazi” trend exemplified by a man striking a self-described white nationalist while he was speaking with a reporter. Many of late are fond of the expression that “yes, you are free to speak, but you are not free from the consequences of your speech”. This would be unremarkable if the consequences in question were of the natural or consented variety, but they are not. When this motto is spoken it is typically meant to convey that I and those who agree with me are going to see to it that you suffer for holding an opposing view. This has recently been embodied in such efforts as pressuring employers to fire people of dissenting views or driving public figures out of restaurants and other public spaces. The natural consequence in these cases would be to meet speech with speech, to oppose policy with policy, especially when one has the better argument.
The effects of imposing unnatural consequences are several fold and cancerous. First, it undermines the civil society and the structures we have consented to. Second, it can make sympathetic parties of otherwise fringe, outlier individuals or organizations. Third, it often has a crippling effect on ones own argument. Fourth, it can spread to and pollute our institutions.
The only consequences we have any right to impose upon our fellow Americans are those in the category of Consequences of Consent. Heaven help us all if we continue down a path where the Nazi speaking is met with fists rather than opposing arguments, or where a political opponent is assaulted rather than honestly and vigorously campaigned against, or where a neighbor who espouses a different perspective is forced from his job rather than welcomed to an honest debate.
I would also offer a word of caution to those who support the imposition of unnatural consequences. Consider carefully the following: It is, among other things, a respect for the civil society and for the first two categories of consequences that guides the behavior of your fellow Americans. The continued imposition of unnatural consequences upon them will undoubtedly erode these guideposts and once that occurs, what is left to prevent your opponents from choosing to impose unnatural consequences of their own design?
The Yellow Canary
According to the Smithsonian Magazine (Eschner), British Coal Miners began the use of Yellow Canaries as a warning measure for the presence of life-threatening conditions within the mines as early as 1911. This practice ended in 1986, when the canaries were replaced with technical measures. In that time many a canary undoubtedly served the miners well. Consider however, the sacrifice of those canaries would have been for naught if the miners had neglected to notice, or willfully ignored the canary’s demise.
This week a meteorologist, Jeremey Kappell of NBC’s WHEC-TV in Rochester, NY was fired for having been perceived by some to have uttered a racial slur in referencing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a broadcast. His firing was immediately demanded by local politicians, most notably the Mayor of Rochester, Lovely A. Warren, and the City Council President, Loretta C. Scott. Less than three days later Mr. Kappell was terminated.
Upon reading about the incident and subsequently listening to the audio of the event, it is clear that there are two distinct possibilities; either Mr. Kappell intentionally referred to Dr. King as Dr. Martin Luther “Coon” King Jr, or he simply misspoke and quickly tried to correct himself. Supporting the former possibility one has the sound itself, the phonetic sound kun is clearly heard and is believed by some to in fact be the word “coon” an inarguably historic racial slur. As best as I can gather there is no other evidence of this man having a history of uttering such racial slurs, or of any other racist acts. Therefore, one must presume that an accomplished, career broadcaster decided on this occasion to begin such behavior, or that he has effectively concealed such behavior to this point. Concealment in today’s environment however, is rather unlikely. Supporting the latter possibility is again the sound itself, the phonetic kun is heard, but may have in fact been the merging of the words King and Junior in haste, at which point Mr. Kappell seems ever so briefly to pause catching his mistake. Further support is provided by the absence, thus far, of any evidence of previous racially charged language or behavior. Additionally, how many of us have ourselves misspoken in mechanically the same way, merging the beginning of the word you are speaking with the next word that you are about to say? I know I certainly have, though thankfully not in this context.
I highly recommend that everyone listen to the audio for themselves and draw their own conclusion (https://youtu.be/BSimVJ4vYDA). I have formed my own opinion on what most likely occurred, but it is in the scheme of things irrelevant. The simple fact is that under the circumstances as they are, Mr. Kappell should have received, and was entitled to, the benefit of the doubt.
Another yellow canary just dropped dead, the question is, did anyone even notice?
Step back from the brink America, lest the gentlest breeze tumble us all into the abyss!
Eschner, Kat. “The Story of the Real Canary in the Coal Mine.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 30 Dec. 2016, www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/story-real-canary-coal-mine-180961570/.
The Top 10 Reasons I Am Your Candidate
If you believe that the tax code is meant to be a tool to be used to reward and persuade those who you favor or to punish and silence those you oppose, then you already have the Republican and Democrat Party Candidates to choose from.
If instead you believe that the tax code should exist for the sole purpose of raising the funds necessary to fulfill the essential, and limited, responsibilities of the Federal Government as defined by the Constitution, then I am your candidate.
QUALITY OF GOVERNMENT
If you believe it is acceptable to be governed by scoundrels, so long as they are “your” scoundrels, then you already have the Democrat and Republican Party Candidates to choose from.
If however, you believe that those who we empower to govern should not need a committee to tell them right from wrong, and that they should promote and exemplify our best qualities, then I am your candidate.
If you believe that America's immigration policy exists to be milked for political purposes for decades, then you already have the Republican and Democrat Party Candidates to choose from.
If you believe that our current immigration policies are an existential threat to our Country and must be addressed in a straight-forward, honest, unapologetic manner, then I am your candidate.
If you believe the Criminal Justice System and the rule of law are merely a field upon which to play a game of emotion and half-truths, then you already have the Democrat and Republican Party Candidates to choose from.
If, on the other hand, you believe that they are in fact part of the very bedrock of our civil society and that they should embody the protections guaranteed to all of us by the Constitution, then I am your candidate.
If you desire a candidate who champions the 10th Amendment when it suits them and ignores it when it hinders them; or who supports or opposes the 2nd Amendment based on who they are speaking to; or who generally treats the Constitution and its Amendments as garments to be adorned and shed at will, then you already have the Republican and Democrat Party Candidates to choose from.
If instead you desire a candidate who respects these foundational principles irrespective of the circumstances of the moment, then I am your candidate.
If you believe that hypocrisy is a virtue both in principle and in practice, then you already have the Democrat and Republican Party Candidates to choose from.
If you prefer, just as I do, a candidate that is genuine in word and deed, then I am your candidate.
If you seek a candidate that will devote 40-50% of their time to raising funds for their party, who will blindly run with whatever their party hands them, and will then give their remaining time to represent you, then you already have the Republican and Democrat Party Candidates to choose from.
If you would rather have a candidate that commits 100% of their time and effort to representing you and to studying the issues at hand with no distraction or confliciting interests, then I am your candidate.
If you desire a candidate who believes that they and their party alone are the sole source of good ideas and virtue and that anyone who disagrees with them is evil, unintelligent, or both; a candidate who will discard the rules to achieve their "virtuous" ends or to hinder their opponents "evil" designs, then you already have the Democrat and Republican Party Candidates to choose from.
If you instead want a candidate who will value the merits of an idea over its source, who will work with anyone who has shown themselves to be of good faith to seek solutions to the many problems we face, then I am your candidate.
If you prefer a candidate who believes that simply by speaking that the words they utter create reality, then you already have the Republican and Democrat Party Candidates to choose from.
If you seek a candidate that speaks about reality and has no illusions that their words alone make anything so, then I am your candidate.