One of my frustrations with the state of political discourse these days, is the focus on people rather than on the ideas or principles that they are supposed to represent. For example, during the 2020 US presidential election, most of the ‘reasons’ I heard for supporting a candidate amounted to personal and character attacks against the other candidate(s). When asked what their preferred candidate actually represented ideologically, or what their platform or policy proposals were, many people drew a blank. Usually, the answer was something along the lines of, “Well, he’s not the other guy.”
When I was preparing to give overseas dating a try back in 2017, I heard many stories and warnings about Email romance scams. People (typically men) spend hours corresponding with someone overseas who they believe is a romantic interest. In reality, the person they’re talking to is not who they say they are, and they are most certainly not in love. In fact, these are often sophisticated operations—ran like call centers—involving teams of Email writers who make money ‘stringing’ victims along with hopes of romance, companionship, future visits, and intimacy.
My lease was up in New Jersey at the end of September 2020, so I decided to move to Idaho to save on rent, take an extended break from work, and be closer to family during the COVID-19 pandemic. I drastically downsized by selling or getting rid of most of my furniture and possessions, shipped a few boxes of stuff I wanted to keep to Idaho, and then took Amtrak trains from Newark, NJ to Salt Lake City, UT.
In his most recent letter, my dad shared some thoughts and asked a really interesting question that I’ve been pondering on for the past few of weeks. I decided to share and respond here, mainly so that I could link to some sites and graphs in my response that I found to be of interest, but also to ensure it’s legible!
A good friend of mine messaged me the other day about some drama they’re going through involving a duplex they purchased a year or two ago. It was another reminder of how happy I am to rent.
Another myth I often encounter regarding socialism is that it is somehow antithetical to democracy; that it breeds despotic regimes and runs counter to the American notions of freedom. We often hear about ‘communist dictators’, but rarely ‘capitalist’ ones (though they most certainly exist).
Various suggestions have been floated on how to deal with statues and monuments that idolize people or ideas that have wound up on the losing side of history, and have since fallen out of favor with the general public. Some want them gone completely. Others say to leave them in place—to do anything otherwise would be erasing history.
In part 1, I mentioned being raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and used it as an example of something that tends to be surrounded in a lot of misconceptions and untruths in popular culture and the general public. Bear with me as I use the Church as an example once again.
I was raised in a family that were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and like other children of Latter-day Saint families, I was baptized at the age of 8. My mother was also raised in a Latter-day Saint family, and my father was a convert to the Church in his 20’s.
Last week’s first SpaceX crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) got me binging on spaceflight-related articles and videos lately. Although I knew the space shuttle somehow returned to Earth by gliding in for a landing like a plane, I really had no idea how this transition from orbiting spacecraft to atmospheric glider worked. I imagined it could make for a pretty unusual conversation with air traffic control (ATC) though: