Skip to main content

Witch Hunts

The thing that I most enjoy about watching Star Trek: The Next Generation is the philosophical insight that is granted.  The writer makes so many good points in every episode.  I just watched an episode called "The Drumhead" (Season 4, Episode 21).  In this episode, a Klingon is discovered to be a spy for the Romulans (who are at war with the Federation).  At that point in time, a witch hunt ensues to try to capture any of this man's confederates.  The admiral conducting the trial even accuses Captain Picard of being a spy.

The entire time (including before he was ever accused), Picard urges caution and insists that people must remain innocent until proven guilty, and yet those conducting the investigation declare people guilty and go about trying to prove that guilt through means of intimidation and circumstantial evidence.  At the very end, Picard makes the point that even though civilization has advanced so far, humans are still susceptible to fear and witch hunts.

There was a time when there were actual witch hunts--people accused of witchcraft burned to death.  There were witch hunts for communists during the last century.  People even known to associate with known communists were accused and found guilty without evidence.  And now, with the hysteria that we have created in our society over terrorism, we have the same problem occurring.  Just this year, President Obama signed into law the NDAA 2012.  Among other things, this act enabled the military to indefinitely detain someone suspected of being a terrorist without ever having the right to a trial.  This has to be one of the most grievous attacks on the United States Constitution since its original signing.

And yet, many (even most) of the people I talk to actually believe that this terrorism hysteria is real.  That there's an actual threat of terrorists living among us and trying to destroy our way of life.  Sure, there is the possibility that some people are terrorists (clearly acts of terror are committed).  However, that should never be justification to revoke people's natural rights.  The right to a fair trial is guaranteed by the Constitution.  The NDAA completely overrides that.  Gone is the day of "innocent until proven guilty".  But, the scary thing is that this act doesn't even change that to "guilty until proven innocent", it jumps all the way to "guilty forever".  This is no way to live our lives.  This is wholly un-American.  Even if the only people who are ever detained by this act are all legitimately guilty of terrorism, it is still immoral and unethical to convict them and detain them without trial.

I am impressed with how insightful Gene Roddenberry (the writer of Star Trek) was.  I feel like I gain so much wisdom when I watch--especially when I watch Captain Picard.  Because of this television show, I will forever see Patrick Stewart as a man of high principles and nearly endless wisdom.  Let us learn from our history.  Let us learn why the principles of individual freedom are so important and how easily those freedoms can be, and have been time and time again, taken away.

Popular posts from this blog

What's a gainer?

If you haven't already done so, I would suggest reading my previous post before reading this one.  It's sort of an introduction and gives the motivation.  Also, by way of disclosure, this post is not sexually explicit but it does touch on the topic of sexuality and how that relates to the subject at hand.

So, what is a gainer?  I'll relate, as best I can, the experiences I have gone through myself to help answer the question.  I remember when I was a young boy--perhaps around 6 or 7--I would have various fantasies.  Not sexual fantasies, just daydreaming about hypothetical situations that I thought were interesting or entertaining.  I had many different fantasies.  Sometimes I would fantasize about becoming very muscular, sometimes about becoming very fat.  
These fantasies varied in degree of magnitude and the subject of the fantasy.  Sometimes I myself would change weight--I would become muscular or fat.  Other times, I would do something to make other people fat or musc…

The scientific method vs the religious method

I find it interesting when people cite the fact that science keeps changing as a reason to disbelieve it and to believe instead in the "eternal" doctrines taught by some church or other.  Let's examine why science keeps changing.  Here's the scientific method.

Develop a hypothesis (this means "have a belief").Design an experiment to test the hypothesis.Conduct the experiment.Determine whether the hypothesis is believable based on the results of the experiment. This is why science keeps changing--because people notice flaws in it and correct them.  People once thought the solar system was geocentric, but now know that it's heliocentric.  How did this happen?  By using the scientific method.  Scientists are willing to admit that they're wrong.  They're willing to give up a bad idea when they see evidence that it makes no sense.  Contrast this with the religious method (simplified version). Have a belief.Look for evidence to support that belief.Ignor…


Like many of my posts, this one has been floating around in my mind for a couple months.  I know many people avoid the gym because it is intimidating, so I'd like to share my thoughts about this phenomenon.  First of all, obviously going to the gym isn't the only intimidating thing in life, and many of these thoughts are things that easily translate to any other of these intimidating things.

So I'd like to share some of my personal experiences with gyms.  The first time I recall ever going into a weight room to use it was my first year of college.  I had PE classes all through K-12, but I don't remember ever using the weight room--just group sports, etc.  I recall being intimidated by all the machines.  Some of them I could figure out on my own, but many of them I just stared at and couldn't possibly conceive how it was meant to be used.  Fortunately, I occasionally went with friends and one friend was very familiar with all the equipment so he could help.  So, kn…