Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arizona Atheist: A Year in Review and a Personal Update


Dear Readers,

Happy New Year! I hope everyone's year went well and I wish everyone well. In my opinion this year hasn't been fantastic for my blog since I haven't posted too much original content. For that I apologize. I've been very busy with life in general, work, and self-study. I teach martial arts and I'm also a personal trainer. They keep me pretty busy, along with my own workouts and my self-study.

However, I did manage to write a pretty large summary this year about the bible titled The Bible: An Exposé.

In early 2012 I was contacted by Simon & Schuster and was asked to write a pre-release review for the book titled Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman. I unwittingly became a part of an enormous controversy regarding the book's contents. Apparently, there were numerous Jews who hated it and wanted to smear her and her book, claiming that she was being dishonest. They began a huge discrediting campaign and spread all manner of things about her. A few things looked to have been true, most other things weren't, and a lot of it I was unable to confirm. I had several anonymous people post comments to my review smearing her and whatnot. Eventually I got so tired of all the damn drama that I disabled comments to the review. I just didn't care to listen to these hateful idiots any more. Before my leaving the discussion about the book, however, I was able to post screen shots of some very disturbing and dishonest behavior coming from some of the people who were behind the Feldman smear campaign. Much of the controversy was stirred up in the review section of Amazon.com and also in the customer discussion forums.

Other original write ups this year included my response to David Marshall's ludicrous “faith and reason” argument; the continuation of a series I began way back in 2008 called The Tyranny of the State where in the fifth installment I discuss how the Constitution has been violated since the founding era
. In the sixth installment I lay bare the grusome fact that the United States is just another terrorist organization.

Lately, I've been buying several books on economics from a variety of perspectives. I've bought books by the more mainstream economist Paul Krugman, books on the Chicago school, and more books about free-market economics. My plan is to amass as much information about economic theory as I can so I am better able to sort fact from fiction regarding these diverse opinions. I still think that the free-market is a worthwhile goal but due to the fact that there have never been any true to life examples of it in action I've begun to have slight doubts about it. I've thought about how events like Bank Transfer Day was a small example of the power that the people have over even large corporations. It succeeded in stopping Bank of America from instituting a $5 debit-card fee and demonstrated to all big banks that people won't put up with their antics. A true free-market would see actions like Bank Transfer Day on a national level, involving millions of people, which would surely damage the reputation and profitability of immoral companies, which would hopefully end in their destruction. But again, this is purely theoretical since it's never been done on a large scale, but it is something I would love to see happen because then this theory could be tested in the real world in large scale. If it failed, no (rational) free-market advocate could show their face again. If that's the case I've also been considering the theory of anarcho-syndicalism.

I'm looking forward to learning more and I hope I am able to see if some of my questions might be answered in the books I'll read. I've also been working on a chapter for an anthology that I believe might be published this year but that's all I want to say about it for now.

Other than my intellectual pursuits I've been working on my physicality. Since I began weight training with my friend Bob Clapp I've been very active with fitness and improving my health and physicality. My goal is to get down to about ten percent body fat and when I go for my next body composition scan I'm hoping all of the hard work has paid off and it's even lower. With all of my reading and learning, and my workouts, I feel fantastic intellectually and physically. I think a quote by the Greek philosopher Thales sums up my life's pursuits: “"Νοῦς ὑγιὴς ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ,” or “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”

Before I end this update I'd like to mention that I am beginning to write a post about torture and why it's not only immoral but ineffective.

Hopefully I'll have more original content for you this year.

Take care all!

Ken

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