Why don’t U.S. conservatives support gay marriage?

Answer by Peter Flom:

I've written this answer before, to a different question, but I think the best way to separate liberals, conservatives and libertarians (at least as those terms are used in the US in the 21st century) is "souls and bellies".

Conservatives think the government should be concerned with our souls; gay marriage should be illegal because (in their view) homosexual acts are sinful. 

Liberals think the government should be concerned with our bellies: People shouldn't go hungry or homeless.

Libertarians think the government should be concerned with neither.

We don't really have a group that thinks the government should be concerned with both.

Why don't U.S. conservatives support gay marriage?

I love my boyfriend and he loves me in return, but I know he doesn’t think I am beautiful. How can I handle this fact?

Answer by Anonymous:

My wife is not pretty. Really not. She is short, very fat and her face is plain.

But I love her to bits. I wouldn't trade her for anything. I've never been happy, had a crappy childhood, a crappy adulthood for the first part and a hard adulthood for the second part. Now, in the third part, I am finally happy. And that's because of her. She makes me laugh until we lay in bed howling with laughter, or giggling like two little girls.

And when I see her, I find her beautiful. She has a little tell with a lift of an eyebrow when she gets aroused and it gives me shivers and a thrill when I see her do that. I love kissing her, I love having sex with her, I love her body. When I caress her, even where she is fat, I think All mine.

Her being not pretty is not of any importance. I see it, but it has no consequence for how I feel about her. Yeah I'd like it better if she was a bit less fat, but I am totally fine with her if she doesn't lose weight. It doesn't change how I feel about her.

I find her beautiful.

I love my boyfriend and he loves me in return, but I know he doesn't think I am beautiful. How can I handle this fact?

What are some things that school could do to better prepare us for whatever lies ahead?

Answer by Andrew Gumperz:

Include real life training:
  • How to respond when questioned by a Police Officer
  • How to plan a trip or vacation
  • How to manage a budget
  • How to make a shopping list and shop at a supermarket
  • Cooking healthy on a budget
  • How to open a bank account
  • How to obtain and manage a credit card
  • Why good credit is important
  • How to pay taxes (especially for those who work for cash)
  • Techniques for avoiding dangerous situations
  • Learn some reality about drug use and addiction
  • How to understand a mortgage
  • How to study efficiently
  • Recognizing one's own emotional issues and finding help
  • Sex education
  • Basic legal rights
  • How to file a case in small claims court
  • How to make a resume

I am sure others can add more life skills that could usefully be taught in school.

What are some things that school could do to better prepare us for whatever lies ahead?

Is it ethically permissible to cheat when you know the game is rigged against you?

Answer by Christopher Lamke:

There is no general answer to this question. It depends on the stakes of the game,  your own moral principles, and your motivation. This could easily turn into a dissertation, but I'll keep it as short as practical.

Why Is Cheating Wrong?
Borrowing from Kant, we can see that cheating is wrong because we cannot wish for everyone to cheat and still hope for a viable society. That's a pretty good objective reason to conclude cheating is morally wrong. By definition cheating involves bad faith (dishonesty), which is prohibited by every major moral system, perhaps for varying reasons. We can go into more depth on this if necessary.

The Hierarchy of Moral Principles
Most of us will agree that there's a hierarchy of moral principles. I would place the preservation of life at the top of this hierarchy. Others may place honor, liberty,  or some other principle.

Can Cheating Be Justified Based on a Conflict of Moral Principles?
Cheating involves (at minimum) a violation of the moral principles of honesty or good faith. If these principles are at the top of your hierarchy, then it will never be permissible to cheat. If you have higher principles and these are relevant here, then you may be able to justify cheating. Anyone who's been in a difficult situation, whether characterized by fear, hunger, or compassion, has likely struggled with the conflict between moral principles. It's easy for me to come up with scenarios where I would cheat, in a fair or unfair game, rather than see someone suffer.

This question appears to be asking whether it's acceptable to cheat to win against an unfair system, to make the system fair or to gain an advantage, to right a wrong, or perhaps specifically to "punish" those who made the system unfair. The answer depends on your hierarchy of moral principles.

Is it ethically permissible to cheat when you know the game is rigged against you?

One Thing Computers Cannot Do

The most creative innovations of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and sciences. They believed that beauty mattered.

Steve Jobs Speaks At Apple Web Developer Conference

This short essay from Walter Isaacson is well worth reading. I believe he’s right about the necessary intersection between art and science. I like to say that science makes our lives possible but art makes them worth living.

Great Advice for Those Who Hate Small Talk

I can’t stand small talk. Like many very technical people, I’m relationship challenged, but I’ve developed skills to help me engage others. I’m very popular at work because I’m a nut (funny and rant-y) and because I solve people’s problems. This post offers great advice on engaging others in conversation.

All but the most challenged communicators will be approachable and able to hold a conversation with you if you ask them about the challenges they’re facing. It’s as close to a sure thing (outside small talk) as exists.

What People Are Really Doing When They’re on a Conference Call

I try to avoid formal meetings and telecons whenever practical. I’m not sure which is worst for productivity. I prefer conference calls because I tend to think pretty fast about familiar ideas and a telecon allows me to work on something while I’m waiting for someone on the phone to say something that matters to me.

Here’s an HBR post on what people tend to do when they’re on conference calls.

What is it like to be a prisoner of war?

Answer by John McCain:

That’s not a question I can answer briefly. So, I won’t really try. I wrote a book, Faith of My Fathers,which gave the experience the space I needed to describe all my thoughts about it. Suffice it to say, it was a mostly terrible experience but not all of it. I hated it, and yet I made some of the most important discoveries and relationships of my life in prison.
I was treated poorly by my captors, but not as poorly as they treated other POWs, and the treatment improved as the years passed, though it never met Geneva Convention standards.
My contact with the outside world was pretty much limited to conversations with new prisoners, who would bring the old timers up to date on world events. Otherwise, we were stuck with Hanoi Hannah’s propaganda broadcast for news, which for all her enthusiasm wasn’t exactly fair and balanced.
I adjusted instantly to life after prison. It was nothing but a pleasure to get used to the freedoms and conveniences of American life again. My experiences in Vietnam didn’t change me as dramatically as you might think they would or as much as some people probably wish they would have. I learned two big things though. I learned I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was, but I was strong enough. And I learned there were things I couldn’t do on my own, but that nothing is as liberating as fighting for a cause that’s bigger than yourself.

What is it like to be a prisoner of war?

Good Read on the End of Religious Right Dominance


I agree 100% with the facts and conclusions drawn in this piece. I live in Virginia, home to many serious progressives and many Escalade driving, Obama hating, Tea Party reactionaries. I have three kids under 20 and they all have lots of friends over. I know exactly one kid who’s likely to vote Republican, and it’s because his parents are Christian Extremists.

Many kids here have conservative parents, but the kids see their parents’ views on the poor, same sex marriage, immigrants, and progress generally as hateful and grossly outdated. This is great news for the US and the world. By the mid 21st century, the current US right wing dominance will be seen as a period of reactionary madness, a period ended by the refusal of children to buy into their parents’ fear and hatred of a different but better world.