Humor and History

If you are unaware of the Flappr YouTube channel you are in for a treat. There you will find some of the funniest and informative historical videos ever made. The Good Thing, Bad Thing series is a must watch. There are separate videos on the French, Chinese, and Russian revolutions. I recommend them all. Don't be put off by the length. All are time well spent. 

More Comedy Unleashed

The earlier Nicholas De Santo bit was from Comedy Unleashed, and they have a number of funny comedians on. Here's Mary Bourke, "I Feel Sorry for Millennials":

Here's Konstantin Kisin:

And here's the channel. Pretty funny stuff.

5/18/23 Update: When I first found this channel, I watched maybe 5 comedians in a row who were all funny, so I thought I'd share it here. Since then, I've hit about 4 in a row who just weren't that funny, so I'm less enthused. Anyway, it's a comedy club, so I should expect it to be hit or miss.

Cowboy Poetry: Bear Tale

The Biblical reference is to Ecclesiastes 11, if you don’t recognize it. 

Ireland, Free Speech, and God-Given Rights

There is no reasonable defense for Ireland's new law on 'hate speech,' which is the kind of law one couldn't hope to comply with because it places the burden of proof on your opponent's feelings. 'You are guilty if your opponent feels that you are' is an insurmountable burden for any citizen to meet, no matter how well-intentioned and inclined to law abiding. 

However, it's Ireland's problem, and they'll have to deal with it. When the consequences of it become evident, the Irish have established traditions for throwing off tyranny as necessary. 

I won't, therefore, bother discussing the law at length; but the frame raises an old debate in an interesting way.
To begin: freedom of speech is not a "God-given" right; no rights really are. We may hold certain rights to be "self-evident," but that is simply a comforting fiction derived from the American Revolution. Rights must be taken, not given and, once won, any attempt to nullify them must be resisted by (in the Communist Left's favorite phrase) "any means necessary." ...

Nor are the enshrinement of rights in a nation's constitution any guarantee of perpetuity. Countries come and go; regimes change. The populace undergoes a philosophical and ethnic shift -- a quiet revolution -- and no longer feels any loyalty or allegiance to even bedrock cultural notions from hundreds of years ago. Constitutions become "living," which is to say, dead. 
Joel and I had a lengthy debate about whether or not that was the right conception of rights back in 2007, which was itself part of a subset of a debate that had already gone on for quite a while. I was taking roughly the same position as the fellow here: whatever God wants us to have in terms of rights, we have to do the work, in the same way that God created a world in which men could have wine, but there will only actually be wine to drink if we make it anew every year and all the time. 

You can find this debate on the sidebar under the heading "Frith & Freedom," it being the first several entries ("The Endowment of Rights" and then several posts citing Beowulf and the Founders). 

If you take the position that "a right" belongs to whatever level at which it practically comes to be, the only "natural rights" are the right to die and the right to think. The right to die Nature will defend herself; no matter what efforts are put into trying to force you to stay alive, your right to die really cannot be denied but only delayed. (That formulation puts an unwanted division between Divine Law and Natural Law, but Nature is said to be fallen; in at least this one way the Natural Law is out of order with God's Law). 

The right to think, likewise, is beyond human power to deny you. You can be drugged, deprived of sleep, tortured, or killed, and these things can delay thought or prevent it. But as long as you are not dead, during whatever moments of clarity your torturers leave you, you have the power to keep your own counsel. You may not be able to say anything about it or do anything about it, but your ability to think through the world is something they can only try to influence from the outside.

I have, in more recent years, argued that this inalienable right to thought implies also a right to speak: if your ability to think rationally about the world is a source of your human dignity (or the source, as Kant has it), then we ought also to respect your right to express those thoughts. By the same token, I have argued that the dignity that inheres in human beings implies an inalienable right to self-defense, which in turn grants necessarily the right to the means to defend one's self. 

Those things I think are rational truths that ought to follow from the limited things that Nature really does defend. They can be said to be natural rights because they are direct or necessary logical consequences of natural rights. In that way, they really ought to be part of any political system whatsoever; no government, which is always and only a human-created institution, ought to violate these pre-political truths about human nature. 

Even so, if that view is to be realized in the face of all the human beings who desperately want to exert their domination and mastery over others, it must be defended. These defenses may morally be as emphatic as necessary, and furthermore they ought to be, because something more fundamental and important to humanity than that particular government's survival is at stake. 

Religious Humor

Tex's comments in the post below reminded me of an old post on religious jokes, from way back in 2007. There was a follow-up post in 2009, in both of which I retold one of Jerry Clower's jokes. It's better when he tells it.

In any case, the posts are in line with Tex's complaint about jokes being "all hostility and no punchline." There's some bad jokes out there, and some great ones too.

Nicholas De Santo, Right-Wing Italian Comedian

Discovered this fellow in the comments over at the Sage of Knoxville's place. Mostly not vulgar and there's no profanity, but it may be hazardous if there are left-wing passersby. In my work environment, it would be NSFW.