How Well Can You Get to Know a Person Through Their Blog?

I have now realized that reading a person’s blog on a regular basis can give one very deep insights into the author’s personality. Here is an example.

A reader of this blog traveled to a far-away country and, being an exceptionally kind and generous person, got me a gift. This gift turned out to be a beautiful scarf.

What this reader cannot possibly know (because they never met me) is that I adore scarves and shawls. I have a collection of them and special hangers to house all of them. What’s more, I’ve spent years telling everybody in sight how much I want a scarf precisely from the far-away country where this reader got me the scarf.

I just did a search of my blog and there is nothing about my scarf collection on it. So this was pure inspiration on the reader’s part.

You’ll say this is a coincidence but I think this is more than that. Careful readers perceive hidden qualities of my personality from my writing.

Thank you, dear reader! I totally dig this gift.

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Coercing Citizenship and Community Service

My university has introduced a new requirement for all of its incoming freshmen. Before the beginning of the semester, the new students are obligated to participate in a series of activities aimed at developing their feelings of responsibility as citizens. What does that mean in practice?

Freshmen will be loaded into buses and will be taken to perform community service activities. This will somehow teach them the value of responsible citizenship and communal action.

As of now, there is a total of 3 faculty members at out university who seem to be bothered by the idea of coercing community service out of students. As you might have guessed already, I’m one of them.

For one, this forced socialization bothers me on a visceral level. When people start college, they are already adults. Doesn’t it mean that they should decide for themselves when or whether they want to socialize, be charitable, do things for the benefit of the community, etc.? Isn’t it extremely patronizing to imply that they need to be forced into all of these activities?

Then you have to remember that we are a state university. Making students perform tasks that the state needs seems dangerously close to coercing free labor out of people who don’t have a choice in the matter.

Of course, there are also the autistic students who often thrive in the classroom and do extremely well academically but who, at the same time, are made intensely miserable by the forced cheerfulness of such collective public outings.

The idea that people need to be forced to spend a lot of time together as a group, involved in some sort of a collective action for the benefit of the entire society, and that it is perfectly fine for the government to force people to dedicate their weekend to provide free labor for the benefit of the state is, once again, a deeply Soviet idea.

Yes, I know that I keep repeating the words “the Soviet Union” like an obsessive parrot. But what else can I say if the bailouts, the “too big to fail,” the puritanical hysteria, the forced gynecological procedures, the war on contraception, and the coercion of community service are very familiar to me precisely because I have lived in the the Soviet Union?

We either choose to guide ourselves by the respect for the rights of an individual or we don’t. There is no middle ground and there are no other options. I strongly believe that only through cultivating the respect for the individual rights as the highest value, can we achieve a civilized society worth living in. You know why that is? Because “collective interests” do not exist. There are simply shrewd individuals who manage to sell us their own interests as somehow hugely valuable to everybody. Such people force us to sacrifice our interests for theirs because they hide behind some completely spurious collective good.

Sex Strike

It is extremely aggravating to see deeply conservative (and not in a good sense) people dress up as Liberals and make every progressive cause look ridiculous as a result. Here is the most recent case of such annoying trickery:

A group that supports health care coverage of contraception is calling for women to withhold sex from their partners between April 28 and May 5.

“This will help people understand that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant,” Liberal Ladies who Lunch says on its website.

These people are deeply convinced that women only engage in sex to please men. It does not even occur to them that having sex is only normal, healthy and acceptable when it’s something you want to do for yourself and not to please somebody else. For these weird folks who cannot even imagine a woman as a subject, rather than an object, of sexual activity, sex is something women only engage in to get things they want out of men:

“Once congress and insurance agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex. Until then men will have to be content with their left hand.”

Women, you see, are normally content with getting something they need in exchange for sexual services they provide. They don’t actually need sex. I’ve got to wonder why, according to this warped logic, women need contraceptives at all. To enable them to engage in an activity they are physiologically incapable of enjoying?