It seems that Obama and the lame-duck Congress isn’t going to pass the darn bill – for people who do not know what DREAM Act is, here are some facts and summaries about it. The bill was conceived by a few Democrats and Republicans to give tuition assistance to children who were brought to this country illegally to go to college. Cast aside the various issues regarding immigration from foreign countries and how we deal with undocumented aliens, the kids did not choose to come here and knew nothing about the legal process. They grew up in America and become accustomed to American culture and values. They have spoken English as their primary language, and the people they interact with are first and foremost Americans just like us – so essentially in any kind of attributes they are just American kids like us, except their parents might have not followed American immigration law. To be such a child one is bound to face some sort of existential crisis – a kind of society, a kind of life, a world that initially seemed promising was imposed on you, and you have tread forward in this world surrounding you since time immemorial, and you’ve known little about alternatives to this world – yet suddenly the world declares you an outcast to be driven away. You have nowhere to go. They tell you to go home, but “home” is another world unknown to you. Returning to “home” may be to face poverty and misery you’ve never faced before. The kid’s illegal status is not fault of his or her own, it is unfair and just quite immoral to let those children bear the undue burden for what their parents have done. I support eventually giving a path to citizenship for all immigrants, documented or otherwise, as myself came to U.S. first as an immigrant and was naturalized just a few years ago. However, even if one may be hawkish on illegal immigration, his conscience should remind him that it’s never right to punish innocent children.
Done with my little schpeel, now tell your Senators and Congressmen to get back to work – tell them to pass the bill!
Posted: October 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: China, democracy, dissent, freedom, literature, Liu Xiaobo, Mario Llosa Vargas, Nobel Prize, peace, Peru, politics
The Nobel Prizes on literature and peace are in — Mario Llosa Vargas, the Peruvian novelist, and Liu Xiaobo, Chinese dissident, activist, and academic, won them respectively. They are both advocates of liberal democracy, and in the case of the latter Liu is currently imprisoned by the authoritarian Chinese government for his commitment to freedom for China. Although the Nobel committee has done very poor decisions in the past (such as giving the prize to world leaders who harmed rather than promoted peace, i.e. Kissinger, Carter, or T. R.), this time they have improved much. Yet, there are many other freedom fighters who also deserve this prize equally if not more, such as Gao Zhisheng, the attorney in China who has risked his life to defend the most vulnerable in the country and who has disappeared for half of a year. We should pray for his life and freedom.
Many places in this world are imperfectly free, like here, while others are totally non-free, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, China, and Burma. Like Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson said, “compulsory unification of opinion achieves only a unanimity at the graveyard”, a society will turn towards oppression, corruption, and degeneration if no dissent is allowed to keep it improving and flourishing. Only freedom, not brute force, through which the humanity can maintain its moral compass, and Nobel committee has at least tried to do the right thing this year by giving the prestigious awards to two individuals striving towards human freedom
Posted: October 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
New England’s weather is indeed unhealthily mercurial. Today I believe it’s getting below ten degrees celsius (that’s what everyone else in the world uses, :P) and I don’t think I feel very well at this moment. Over the years my body isn’t exactly very adaptive to weather changes (or climate changes) and if I don’t get miserably sick I will consider it a blessing
Aquinas, by Francisco de Herrera
I was reading articles written by St. Thomas Aquinas as he was discussing the questions “Is the Will Evil if It Wills Contrary to Erroneous Reason” and “Is the Will Good if It Wills in Accord with Erroneous Reason” – in which he answered in both cases the will is evil. In another word, if a person’s reasoning on an issue is wrong, he would sin no matter which way he acts – it seems that Mr. Aquinas wasn’t very forgiving or accepting towards people who are ignorant of right reason, but it’s probable that many other philosophers think the same way.
If one acts against his reasonings, he’s acting against what he understands to be the right values, therefore willing against goodness as he perceives. Although he did not say it explicitly in the article, I understand it as that if he “wills against erroneous reason”, it would show that he has an attitude against reason itself (he wouldn’t know that his wrong reasoning x is wrong, so in essence his will is “I know x is what right reason gives, but I act against x and thereby against right reason”) and it’s because of this attitude toward contempt of reason in general that the will is evil. Since reason according to Aquinas is given by God, the person would be willing against God. For example, if a person believes that it is according to right reason to commit murder, but refuses to commit murder, he is still acting evilly because he signals a defiance of reason. However, if he does commit murder, it would still be evil because Aquinas believes knowing right from wrong is an obligation, and failing this obligation is also evil.
So for someone who is ignorant of right values, he cannot be not evil. I am not sure if I can be comfortable with this position of Aquinas, because more often than not morality is taught in different ways in different countries in different times of history, and only very few people can get ahead of their times and location to have an open-minded and enlightened moral disposition. And many people are born with mental illness or personality disorders that prevent them from learning about ethical values. Labeling all of them to be evil is too unsparing. But on the other hand, Aquinas does have a point – we need to strive to be good no matter how societal/conventional values deviate from goodness and right reason and how society is dumbing us down/infusing ignorance in us – there is no excuse of anyone at any time to treat another human being in a way disregarding their humanity. Collaborating/acquiescing with evil because of one’s moral ignorance should still be blameworthy, otherwise willing participants of genocide and oppression would go scot-free
Posted: October 1, 2010 in Uncategorized
Hello, world. I am Yes Zebra, the name coming from my given intials and my appreciation of Zebra as a carefree and indomitable animal. This is the Nth blog that I have started – but this time I promise to keep it alive. I will talk about different things, such as life, especially life as an urban student in America, arts, books, and a little bit of politics (reasoned discussions, of course, not knee-jerk partisan strife). Without much ado, I would like you to enjoy my posts that are to be published here from now. Before that, though, there’s a beautiful dance video I found on Youtube that I thought I’d like to share: