Bret: I’m here with His Lordship, the Gun-Toting Atheist, of the blog of the same name.
His Lordship: It’s ‘Your’ Lordship to you.
Bret: Right, my mistake. A thousand lashings. So, His Lordship, are you burned out on talking about bin Laden or do you want to throw in your two cents?
His Lordship: Bin Laden is dead, let’s move on. No matter what Alex Jones says.
Bret: What is going on in the news that you find interesting? What should we be focusing on?
His Lordship: I think the general state of the economy is worrisome.
Bret: Do you think the government can do anything about it?
His Lordship: I’m not an economist, but I think they can influence it. I think as long as wages keep up with inflation we’ll be ok. I worry about raising interest rates.
Bret: What would be the repercussions of rising interest rates, in your view?
His Lordship: Personally speaking, I hope the housing market rebounds so I can sell some property I own before rates go up. I think many other people in this country are in the same boat. But if you look at France, they are in a seller’s market right now. Compared to Canada, the US is not doing too good right now.
Bret: Do you have any interest in the 2012 race that is prematurely shaping up?
His Lordship: I’m independent, so I generally lean towards independent or fringe candidates. I vote my conscience, never along party lines.
Bret: I assume the fringe isn’t campaigning yet, given their budget.
His Lordship: Is Ron Paul fringe?
Bret: Not really. He’s fringe like Hot Topic is punk.
His Lordship: How about a Ron Paul /Bernie Sanders ticket?
Bret: Maybe if you flipped it... I can’t see Bernie Sanders playing second fiddle to Paul.
His Lordship: He’s a character.
Bret: I would vote for Bernie/Old Gym Sock
His Lordship: He’s the only one who’s ever been able to make Steven Colbert shut up mid-sentence.
Bret: I’m more impressed with his speeches. I once sat down and listened to his marathon filibuster speech that was like 8 hours. Ahh, unemployment.
His Lordship: Conservatives call Sanders a Socialist, but he really fights for the middle class.
Bret: I don’t know how I would classify him, he’s sort of a liberal libertarian. So you like Sanders?
His Lordship: I think he is one of the few uncorrupted politicians out there.
Bret: Yeah, and it’s uncommon for a senator.
His Lordship: Not sure if he has mass appeal to the point of being electable on a national level though.
Bret: I don’t think Paul is corrupted by money, either, just religion.
His Lordship: But Paul doesn’t believe in imposing his religious views on people. At least not that I know of.
Bret: Unless it’s abortion or taxing churches. I guess the latter is never going to happen in my lifetime.
His Lordship: Well he thinks the Federal government should stay out of the abortion debate and let the states decide.
Bret: That’s all code, though. “Let the states handle it” is code for “Let the states oppress people.”
His Lordship: But I do think churches should be taxed. Some of these mega-churches especially, that make millions. All tax free.
Bret: Oh, but they give back to the communities... like by going overseas to hand out bibles.
His Lordship: Ministers getting million-dollar housing allowances. What a farce.
Bret: Oh and don’t get started on their cars...
His Lordship: It’s unfair to other tax payers.
Bret: Where is the atheist lobby?
His Lordship: Is there one? Do I stand alone?
Bret: Every interest group has people in DC
His Lordship: Herding atheists is like herding cats (says Dawkins).
Bret: There are more atheists in America than black people and Jewish people combined, so I can’t believe there isn’t a market for the atheist vote.
His Lordship: Independent, free-thinkers hate to organize. And a lot of us don’t want to come out of the atheist closet. By fear of alienating business clients, among other things.
Bret: But no one sees you vote.
His Lordship: Oh that’s true. But what politician is going to come out and commit political suicide and say “I’m an Atheist!!!”
Bret: We need an atheist business league. Then atheist-only drinking clubs. Then we get the votes.
His Lordship: Atheist-only restrooms. Atheist-only seats on the bus.
Bret: Hey, I want to sit in the back. What of it? And I have an atheist only restroom, in my master bedroom.
His Lordship: I guess I do too.
Bret: We are a couple of bigots. I still think there’s enough common ground. I mean, most atheists are on board with taxing churches, right?
His Lordship: I sure hope so... except perhaps atheists who pretend to be ministers to get the tax breaks. Is religion a right, or is it a choice?
Bret: Religion is more like an accident. And Lenny Bruce is dead, so I think we’re set. So that’s one issue. And in this time of high deficits, it seems like a brilliant plan.
His Lordship: That and bringing the troops home. These foreign wars are useless.
Bret: From where? Just Iraq and Afghanistan?
His Lordship: That’s a good place to start.
Bret: Or also Libya and Pakistan. And Germany and Japan... and I know we have bases elsewhere.
His Lordship: There too. I think the CIA can run small-scale, more surgical operations that cost a fraction of deploying a full armored brigade.
Bret: I’m all for disarmament, don’t get me wrong, I’m just curious how far you’re interested in going, as a gun lover. Also it’s my understanding that we have troops in Germany and Japan because of WWII treaties.
His Lordship: I think the military should be used in self-defense only.
Bret: They aren’t allowed to have their own armies, I believe. So our army there functions as their army.
His Lordship: Germany has an army. The Luftwaffe is still around. Still the same logo, too. Germany also has a navy.
Bret: I’ll have to check then, I know there was some stipulation about post-war disarmament and permanent US bases.
His Lordship: When I went to Germany as a teenager, teen magazines were full of Luftwaffe recruiting ads.
Bret: Maybe it was literally no “army…” I say as I try to hold onto a shred of credibility.
His Lordship: I mean, didn’t Germany send troops to Afghanistan?
Bret: No clue, to be honest. At any rate, you have no problem with reducing the military. Is this because the US as a nation is so heavily armed?
His Lordship: Japan, I think, has a ‘self defense’ force, which is like an army but small. But there is a growing movement in Japan for remilitarizing. Especially in light of North Korea’s arrogance. I read something, and I posted that on my blog a year ago or so, to the effect that the US spends more on its military than every other country in the world combined. Are we safe yet?
Bret: I also just checked, there are about 67,000 US troops in Japan and 68k in Germany. And yes, there is a German army and they were deployed to Afghanistan. I can only assume Japan is the same.
His Lordship: The US Army’s purpose should be to defend US soil, period.
Bret: Yeah, we have an insane military industrial complex. Millions work in the defense industry. Do we make war because that’s the only thing we produce anymore?
His Lordship: We should have a strong Navy, and a strong Air Force, but that doesn’t mean we should spend nearly as much as we do. I think the arms manufacturers like wars because war - or at least the fear of it - means business.
Bret: Yeah, but you know how Boeing and Lockheed-Martin give such great deals when you buy in bulk. They’re like the Wal-Mart of the defense industry.
His Lordship: They sell better quality products than Wal-Mart. No offence to Wal-Mart stockholders.
Bret: I dunno, it would be a close call to see which one killed more people each year...
His Lordship: I realize that defense contracts mean jobs, but come on. These jobs are subsidized by my income tax.
Bret: Couldn’t the government subsidize another industry? Why defense?
His Lordship: Healthcare perhaps?
Bret: But then we would be communists.
His Lordship: No we wouldn’t. I was born in Canada, we had free healthcare, and it wasn’t communist. It’s a big load of BS, Communist my ass.
Bret: But then we’ll have death panels that don’t answer to shareholders, only voters. It will be chaos.
His Lordship: Isn’t it chaos now?
Bret: Well, actually it’s peaceful. Like... deathly peaceful. Brisk business for mortuaries.
His Lordship: Aging of the population is going to change demographics.
Imagine what a cure for aging would do.
Bret: You know insurance would never cover that. Aging is definitely a pre-existing condition. They better not cure aging until the baby boomers are all gone. Or we’re doomed.
His Lordship: Well, if a thousand-dollar shot (of a hypothetical cure for aging) could save millions of dollars worth of aging-related diseases, it would be preventive. And a good return on investment.
Bret: Wouldn’t an aging cure not prevent other health problems? People would still die though. Of heart disease or emphysema or what have you.
His Lordship: Definitely. And you could stay productive longer, wouldn’t need to retire anymore, it would be great for the economy, except for too many people accessing the same natural resources.
Bret: Maybe all new problems that come from living to over 200 or whatever. So, could I opt out of that?
His Lordship: Jump off a bridge.
Bret: Well, I don’t want to be a slave worker for centuries instead of just 50-60 years. You’re talking about not retiring like it’s a good thing. Some people see retirement as the carrot they’re chasing.
His Lordship: You could save for a few decades at a time to afford 5-year vacations every now and then. I’ll never retire. I’ll work until I croak.
Bret: A five-year vacation or one hell of a weekend in Vegas.
His Lordship: That would be, yes.
Bret: I have things I want to do that don’t involve work. I see work as bullshit I’m stuck doing. I can’t even imagine thinking “Oh boy, I get to go to work today.”
His Lordship: I thought you were unemployed
Bret: Well, I have worked. I understand the concept of waking up and working 9-5.
But the idea of that makes me cringe.
His Lordship: So buy farmland and go feed some chickens at 4 AM. Be your own boss.
Bret: I don’t think producing food would be something I would find very rewarding. And I never had a boss I hated, so it’s not the boss. Plus, do you realize how screwed farmers are these days? They can’t even break even. If I’m going to be waking up at 4am to fucking around with fowl, I want to be able to buy stuff.
His Lordship: It’s funny, with all the corn subsidies.
Bret: Well, it’s all going to corporations.Small-scale farming isn’t profitable in a world were so much can be automated.
His Lordship: You could be a subsistence farmer. And sell google ads on your blog.
Bret: If I had ads on my blog, it would be ugly, and I would have sold the aesthetic for pennies. Maybe if it would make money... But they’re so damn ugly considering how little return you get.
His Lordship: Last time I checked my google account, I had made $1.23.
Bret: Wow, $1.23... I could buy a small box and a bow with nothing in it. I’ll tell you what I would do, sell billboard space if I had a farm.
His Lordship: What if your farm is in the middle of nowhere?
Bret: I wouldn’t buy a farm that wasn’t highway adjacent. Location, location, location.
His Lordship: That’s what they say.
Bret: I don’t see the appeal in being your own boss, especially these days when you have to provide your own health insurance..
His Lordship: But seriously, I think farmers could turn a profit if they started planting other stuff than just corn.
Bret: Sure, if they grow cannabis, they’re set.
His Lordship: Not if we get universal healthcare. It’s a big relief off the small business owner’s back when the State offers free health insurance. (Well not free, there is still taxes, but the burden is shared.)
Bret: Big time, it would create jobs. Both in the small-business sector and healthcare. Though insurance would lose jobs...
His Lordship: Another factor for the cost of healthcare is the cost of medical school. It is absurdly expensive to go to medical school. So, doctors have to pass the cost onto their patients.
Bret: Do you think government should do something there?
His Lordship: I think there should be more grants for medical students. Merit-based, not based on how wealthy your parents are.
Bret: Do you think the cost of medical school is something up for debate? Or is it a private sector commodity off-limits to regulation.
His Lordship: I think it’s of vital public interest to lower the cost. Right now conservatives want to douse me with boiling Holy water for saying these things.
Bret: Do you consider yourself conservative, or do you just find they gravitate to you because of your love of guns?
His Lordship: I consider myself not conservative at all. Guns aren’t conservative. They’re just inanimate objects. I got the inspiration for the title of my blog from a site called Gun-toting Liberal.
Bret: Do you own guns?
His Lordship: Next question.
Bret: Why do people who love guns also love privacy?
His Lordship: I think we are people who love independence. Self-sufficiency and privacy go hand-in-hand, I think.
Bret: I find privacy kind of suspicious.
His Lordship: Dammit, you found me out. I’m Elvis Presley. In my line of work, I have to be really careful about the image I project. Some clients do not have a sense of humor.
Bret: It’s unfortunate privacy is so important to people, in my opinion.
His Lordship: It’s not unfortunate. I’m not after fame.
Bret: Right, but if people were more open, the world would be a very different place.
His Lordship: It would. But some people would freak out if they knew of my position regarding firearms. And some people would flip out if they knew I secretly make fun of their faith online.
Bret: But wouldn’t there be such a wealth of information that our little liberties would be of little import? Could you imagine someone caring about your view on firearms if they find out their pastor is gay, for example.
His Lordship: I am wary of sharing too much personal information online. I don’t even have a Facebook account. Not every pastor is gay? Just kidding, for religious folks reading this.
Bret: Only like half are gay, and the other half... let’s just say you wish they had sex with adult men.
His Lordship: Red Hot Catholic Love
Bret: Oh it’s not just Catholics. That’s what shocked me when I looked into it.
His Lordship: (from the South Park episode)
Bret: Right. I just think society needs to be more open... I think people are better off losing the business of bigots. And bigots should run themselves into failure by refusing to do business with the best people because of their foibles. But instead, everyone fakes it and we just go on unhappy.
His Lordship: There’s a scary amount of data-mining going on online. I googled myself the other day... and I found some stuff that surprised me. Apparently I graduated from college in 1977 with an Afro hairstyle.
Bret: Now I’m going to google “1977 college graduate afro” and I’ll have your name. You’ve played directly into my trap. You’ve revealed too many cards, His Lordship. Or should I say... Jerome Brown.
His Lordship: Seriously, some of the stuff I found about myself is really accurate, but I have no idea how they got to the data.
Bret: But who is googling you?
His Lordship: Me.
Bret: Anyone else you’re worried about?
His Lordship: A crazy ex. I mean, really, really crazy.
Bret: You didn’t kill her and dissolve her body in lyme? You have to think ahead, my friend.
His Lordship: No, but she tried to burn my house down because the voices in her head told her to.
Bret: Why do the voices in people’s heads never tell schizophrenics to do nice things? Like, why are there no schizos on corners handing out flowers, being like “Sorry, the voices in my head told me to.”
His Lordship: I don’t know. In college, my friends and I were fantasizing that our calculus professor would fall asleep during her boring class and that we would secretly implant a wireless earphone into her ear canal, then stream speed metal 24 hours per day.
Bret: Did a voice tell you to do that?
His Lordship: No. The voices quiet down when I turn up the volume. But seriously, innocent looking pieces of information could be the answer to your bank account security questions. Mother’s maiden name, name of favorite pet, make and model of first car, etc.
Bret: Doesn’t that just mean banks should come up with better security questions?
His Lordship: That means the NSA recommends that you lie when setting those up. The government telling you to lie. Now that’s awesome.
Bret: I always select “Favorite color” because no one can guess what it is. The drawback, if you lie, and then you forget the lie, you are screwed and can’t get back into your account if you forget your password.
His Lordship: What is your favorite color?
His Lordship: What is your quest?
Bret: I seek the grail. Hehe. I think banks can figure out something. They make billions off of us just playing with money. I’m sure they can pay someone very smart to solve this, but they don’t.
His Lordship: I am so fed up with passwords. Just at my job, I have to memorize 24 different ones.
Bret: I have the same one I used since I was like 12 when we got AOL. Do you write them down?
His Lordship: Against regulations. And they change all the time too. I think passwords are a necessary evil, only it’s a very f*g annoying kind of evil.
Bret: I imagine. Maybe some day we’ll have biometrics take care of it.
His Lordship: Then they’ll just cut your finger off to get into the ATM.
Bret: Well, then I definitely hope they don’t use retina scans. What about a spit cup that analyzes your DNA?
His Lordship: A semen analyzer. Sorry, your Y chromosome does not match.
Bret: “Damn, I wish I could log in, but my aunt died and I’m just not in the mood.” Yeah, someone smarter than us will have to work on this one.
His Lordship: I’m not sure how I feel about DNA for identification purposes.
Bret: Is your DNA private?
His Lordship: There was a recent case in France where a cop planted someone’s DNA near the scene of the crime.
Bret: But they caught the cop planting it?
His Lordship: How else would we know about it?
Bret: Maybe the guy had an air-tight alibi, and they deduced it.
His Lordship: Not sure. What I have seen is that jurors take DNA like gospel. To them it’s like the Word of God. Ignoring circumstantial evidence.
Bret: Well, there was corruption and poor decisions on the part of juries before DNA. It’s good to talk about, though, so that the word is out.
His Lordship: Agreed, but this one type of evidence is put on a pedestal by uneducated people who think the science is too complex, “so it must be true”. It’s good that it is used to exonerate innocent people who have ben wrongfully incarcerated, but it could be misused.
Bret: Maybe the government should regulate CSI.
His Lordship: You mean the TV show?
Bret: The show, not the police... though also the police.
His Lordship: “It is unlawful for any producer of a TV crime drama to put DNA evidence on a pedestal.” The cops I know are good people.
Bret: Same here, to my face. I don’t blame the police as a whole for what individuals do, but there could be better over-sight. There is a blue code that prevents bad officers from being brought to justice. It’s always a small miracle when you hear a story like that one out of France.
His Lordship: I heard of a really bad case of corruption out of Canada a few years ago. Cops screwed up, beat up the wrong suspect, started blackmailing him so he wouldn’t rat them out. Well he did. I think the key to prevent corruption is to pay them well. Many police departments pull the recruits credit report. You cannot become a cop if you have had a bankruptcy.
Bret: That helps bribery corruption, but does it prevent violent abuse?
His Lordship: No, they need something else for that. Psychological screenings and such.
Bret: What about more stringent internal investigations? Or a more fully independent department for internal investigations.
His Lordship: I don’t know how every single department operates, but the ones here are pretty well run. But I live in a really low crime area. Except for stupid kids smashing mailboxes.
Bret: If that’s your worry, then it’s a low-crime area. Most gun-lovers aren’t very trusting of the police. Which is part of why they love guns; they see the police as inadequate. Or worse.
His Lordship: The police can’t be everywhere at once. Where I live, the police department is closed from 9 PM to 7 AM. Then I have to call the State Police if I need help. And God knows what town they’ll be in when they get the call. But again, I’m in a low crime area. I just need to install a motion-sensing night-vision camera in front of my mailbox.
Bret: But having a gun can be a comfort?
His Lordship: I guess it can be. There’s freakish wildlife where I live.
Bret: New Jersey?
His Lordship: I mean rabid things with teeth and claws.
Bret: Oh, I get you. Texas.
His Lordship: You’ll never know.
Bret: I think a person’s right to own a gun is proportional to how far away their nearest neighbor is. If you can’t see your nearest neighbor, you can own an AK-47. If you share a wall with your neighbor, tasers.
His Lordship: If I walk my dogs at night, and shine my flashlight onto the side of the road. I can see eyes staring me down. Whole packs of eyes.
Bret: See, you live nowhere near civilization, I don’t care if you own a machine gun. How else can you thin the herds properly? Plus, what else is there to do in the sticks? Shooting beavers is like a night at the opera in some rural areas.
His Lordship: So anyway, I think that a basis for justifying firearm ownership is to give people the ability to defend themselves. I don’t buy into this whole ‘revolution’ crap.
Bret: Well, I hate to bring up an annoying current event we’re all sick of talking about... but there was a famous person who was recently shot dead while within arm’s reach of a gun. Are guns really protection?
His Lordship: Are you still talking about bin Laden?
Bret: I suppose, but there are plenty of times it happens besides him.
His Lordship: They are for protection “if used correctly at the right moment.” A gun is not a guarantee that you will survive, but it gives one a fighting chance.
Bret: Would you agree they are used more for harm than good? That is, when actually used, as the majority just collect dust.
His Lordship: You said it, the majority of guns rust away collecting dust, true.
Bret: The overwhelming majority, something like over 90% never get used in a crime or self-defense.
His Lordship: So they are not that dangerous then.
Bret: Well, there are those who say this is largely because of the sheer numbers involved, and that the gun-soaked American market makes it easy for the wrong kinds of people to get guns. I know you’re for gun control. But there are many loopholes, both legal and illicit. I know for example you oppose crazy people owning guns.
His Lordship: I don’t think everybody should have a gun. I think it is acceptable to do a background check on someone, and check someone’s mental health record. A kid who’s been treated 6 times for depression and attempted suicide shouldn’t pass the test.
Bret: But in some cases this is difficult, like at gun shows.
His Lordship: I think transfers should be performed by a BATF licensed dealer who can perform the correct background checks. I have no intention of buying a gun from some dude in the classifieds. Who the hell knows what it’s been used for?
Bret: How about a national gun-owner’s license. You could carry it with you and it would denote that you have passed the background check at gun shows or any other gun purchase. Because I’m thinking specifically of how hard it is to buy and sell guns, and I think that is something that could be addressed this way.
His Lordship: I wouldn’t mind that, unless I lived in Vermont or Alaska, who don’t currently require a permit. I still think transfers should be done in the presence of a licensed dealer. The NRA will shun me for saying this, but I think it is a small common-sense concession gun owners can make to appease the anti-gun movement.
Bret: I’d be happiest knowing people are qualified to own their guns. I’d even be down with government funded gun classes. Spend my taxes on making more responsible gun owners, sounds good to me.
His Lordship: Many states require training before a license issued. I just don’t agree with outright bans. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with semi-automatics, even if you live in Brooklyn. If you are licensed, you are licensed.
Bret: What good can come from amateur crossfire from a semi-automatic weapon in an urban setting? I mean, honestly. It’s a travesty that cities can’t impose bans on types of guns, keeping in mind they can ban stun guns and mace.
His Lordship: NYPD officers carry AR-15 semi-automatic rifles in their patrol cars, they don’t seem to hit too many bystanders. I think stun guns and mace should be allowed everywhere.
Bret: What about background checks on them? Because those are favorite weapons of serial killers. Stun guns are notoriously a serial killer stereotype.
His Lordship: Bottom line, Ginx, if someone is too much of a wildcard to know how to safely use a firearm, they shouldn’t have passed the background check in the first place.
Bret: But millions do pass and commit crimes every year, at higher rates in the US than elsewhere.
His Lordship: I think a very small minority of licensed gun owners are responsible for crime. If you want background checks for stun gun purchases, I won’t have an aneurysm over it. But I’m really not worried about serial killers using them. They can use clubs just as effectively. Jack the Ripper didn’t need a stun gun.
Bret: But can you imagine if Jack the Ripper had a stun gun?
His Lordship: He would have stunned people?
Bret: Craigslist personals would become sparse very quickly.
His Lordship: Stunning possibility. And if he had had a car, he would have driven people over?
Bret: You mentioned something earlier I should bring back up. I think police should be disarmed. You mentioned police with assault rifles. In Britain, most police don’t even carry a side arm. Sure, there are special forces teams that are heavily armed, but not the average officer.
His Lordship: Well, I don’t think they should be disarmed. They do a dangerous job, and they have a need to protect themselves. Same as the average citizen in a high-crime area. Or a high wolverine area.
Bret: I’m all for wolverine massacres, but there has been a silent arms race on the streets of America.
His Lordship: Really? A silent arms race? How come I’ve never heard about it?
It must have been silent.
Bret: You have heard about it. Do you think police carried military grade assault weapons 40 years ago?
His Lordship: Some PD’s carried M1 Garands.
Bret: When they needed that kind of fire power, they called in the national guard.
His Lordship: I think it all started with the Prohibition. The rumrunners were heavily armed.
Bret: Modern drug prohibition is certainly a factor. But things have seemed to get worse since the Brady bill lapsed under Bush. Especially on the southern border.
His Lordship: I think poverty is a major factor behind crime.
Bret: Maybe, but poverty stricken citizens don’t own assault rifles, usually. The poor commit a different sort of crime.
His Lordship: But when they turn to drug dealing, they do. Rich kids don’t go become drug dealers
Bret: You don’t know a lot of rich kids, obviously. As someone who is a spoiled rich kid, I can finally call on my expertise.
His Lordship: Educate me.
Bret: Rich kids sell the best drugs, are you kidding me? No one wants to buy from poor people, their shit is whack, dog.
His Lordship: Do the rich kids go into turf wars with other rich kids. Oh yeah they do, it’s called the government, sorry.
Bret: There is no turf for rich kids, they just have a cell phone and their home. Poor people sell on the street.
His Lordship: So they’re not the ones with assault rifles, then.
Bret: Well hold on there. I wouldn’t go that far. But they are the sort that have guns just rusting away. I can’t picture a rich kid actually using a gun. I think he would pull a bin Laden and just die reaching for it.
His Lordship: “Is it gonna blow?”
Bret: The other thing, though, is that police target poor people for enforcement. I think the arms race is not over turf so much as with the police. The turf war is a person asserting themselves in a place, not against other dealers, but against the police. The real violence that is like what you’re talking about is happening in Mexico.
His Lordship: Well, now you have BATF illegally selling guns to Mexican drug dealers, what a farce. And then turning around and blaming American gun shops.
Bret: Maybe they just want to boost jobs at Colt?
His Lordship: I thought that’s what Iraq and Afghanistan were for.
Bret: Colt can never have too many jobs... and I couldn’t even begin to understand why various unregulated government agencies do what they do.
His Lordship: I couldn’t care less about drugs, but maybe they should be legalized, and sold at Wal-Mart. There, no more drug crime. Drug use is a medical issue, not one that should be criminalized. Ooh listen to me... gun-loving flaming liberal hippie.
Bret: Lots of libertarian gun lovers are pro-legalization of drugs. I think it’s just logical policy at this point, I don’t even understand how drugs can still be illegal. What would the DEA do then?
His Lordship: The DEA, I don’t know, integrate it with the border patrol or something. Not that we would really need a border patrol anymore if drugs were legal.
Bret: Oh no, say it ain’t so... you support immigration control?
His Lordship: Look, I grew up in Canada. I don’t think we need borders
Bret: I couldn’t agree more. So what should the border patrol do, then? Teach math and science?
His Lordship: Look for illegal wolverines? The kind that tried to eat my neighbor’s cat?
Bret: Too long the wolverine menace has gone unpublicized.
His Lordship: Here’s one issue though with immigration. How do you keep welfare programs sustainable? Do you hand it out to everyone, or are there rules regarding how you can get on it?
Bret: Personally, I think proper economic policy allows total coverage for all applicants, even if they come here to be a leech. I mean, we could feed the world if we reduced our military.
His Lordship: Maybe. I would have to see the numbers.
Bret: We have very low taxes, and yet we could have a huge budget even if it were balanced. And I’m not talking gourmet food, just Ramen Noodle, but still.
His Lordship: How much welfare is too much? At what point is it going to break the bank?
Bret: I guess that’s for each year’s budget to determine.
His Lordship: Ramen noodles, come on, rice and beans is healthier.
Bret: They’re already poor and you want to give them flatulence... for shame.
His Lordship: As an environmentalist, I worry about the effects of a growing population on ecosystems and natural resources.
Bret: So you are pro-death?
His Lordship: What I’m saying is that as a species, we have no predators. We are destroying this planet. This is where I become an apathetic nihilist.
Bret: We have predators. Like... AIDS. And serial killers with stun guns. And lest we forget the wolverines.
His Lordship: AIDS is almost curable now.
Bret: Yeah, it’s just like Chris Rock said, not cured, but you can live with it on medication for decades. Very suspicious…
His Lordship: My major concern is the long-term sustainability of our civilization on this planet. There are a finite number of resources. Thankfully, industrialized countries have low birth rates. Maybe that’s an instinctive survival mechanism?
Bret: There are sociological factors there, that as more children survive, women have less kids. My wife actually studies that, demography and fertility and what not.
His Lordship: But global population is still growing.
Bret: Right, because women in poverty have more children because less survive and she couldn’t afford birth control either way. Plus education is a big one. Women with more education have fewer children.
His Lordship: At what point do we say; “Dang! We just cut down the last standing tree on this planet! What do we do now??”
Bret: I’m not worried about the trees. Fuck the trees. They’re doing fine.
His Lordship: “Dang! No more tuna fish in the sea! What do we eat now?”
Bret: Okay now you have my attention. Do you think they’ll run out of cake?
His Lordship: Let them eat cake.
Bret: Just not tuna, or salmon, or... what else are we running out of? I heard bananas might disappear at one point.
His Lordship: Topsoil in the Midwest.
Bret: Well, that’s disturbing.
His Lordship: Soil erosion, ocean dead zones.
Bret: Yeah, and the plastic continents.
His Lordship: My favorite author is Jared Diamond. I read his book called “Collapse” about the factors that historically cause civilizations to collapse, and wanted to jump off a bridge after I was done. We are screwed unless we get our act together.
Bret: So we’re screwed.
His Lordship: No other civilization in history has used resources on such a scale. We risk literally eating ourselves out of a planet to live on.
Bret: Do you think it will come to cannibalism?
His Lordship: Well, the good news is that once civilization collapses, population will go back to sustainable levels. The Earth has survived massive extinction events over the past few million years. But life goes on.
Bret: I don’t know of any that were caused by life forms, though I know life forms have changed the environment.
His Lordship: In the greater scheme of things, we are insignificant. We are a puny little species on a tiny rock in the middle of a big cold Universe.
Bret: True, but we are the first to realize that. So that’s interesting of us.
His Lordship: Nothing we are building here on this planet will survive 3 billion years from now when the Sun expands into a red giant and bakes the Earth to a crisp, after, of course, boiling off the oceans.
Bret: That’s not true, we sent objects out into space.
His Lordship: Yeah, some 1970’s piece of crap technology with dead batteries.
Bret: Well, it has a gold plate with information on it. I’d like to see wolverines do that.
His Lordship: It has electrolytes.
Bret: LOL. I seriously laughed at that one.
His Lordship: from Idiocracy.
Bret: Yep. It has what plants crave. Well, I think you hit on an ultimate goal for humanity, which is too leave the planet.
His Lordship: Conservatives will say “Well, I’m not going ANYWHERE!!!”
Bret: Good, stay and die, I say. Don’t adapt for all I care.
His Lordship: Even if our descendants leave Earth, what will they do? Enslave alien civilizations? Destroy distant ecosystems? Deplete worlds of resources? Then what? next planet?
Bret: Float around in suits that feed and sexually pleasure them for all eternity...
His Lordship: Until thermodynamic entropy freezes us to death as the last red dwarf goes dim in the dark infinite sky.
Bret: I’m optimistic about the end of the universe. I think people could fix it. The universe, I mean. Just fix the whole thing.
His Lordship: With electrolytes. I often wonder... what will the last person (or being) think just before they die... knowing that they are the last living creature in the Universe.... freaky thoughts.
Bret: Will they know they’re the last?
His Lordship: Not with dead batteries they won’t.
Bret: So you’re saying we need to pass along to that person a message: bring extra batteries.
His Lordship: I find astrophysics terribly depressing... the authors I’ve read don’t paint a rosy picture of the end.
Bret: Yeah, everything just falls apart in the end.
His Lordship: I think this is why the superstitious mind turns to religion for hope.
Bret: Well it’s not like people knew this information long ago. Most people saw existence as cyclical, not linear.
His Lordship: Oh that’s right, my grandmother believed the world was flat and rested on the back of a giant tortoise.
Bret: Most people before we understood the universe was expanding thought the universe was more or less sitting around still.
His Lordship: I like Buddhism and Jainism in that respect. They teach that the Universe is eternal that it has always existed and will always exist.
Bret: Is there any religion you can think of where the world just ends and nothing is left?
His Lordship: I don’t know. Norse mythology is pretty grim. The world will burn, then it will freeze.
Bret: But two people live. And some of the gods. It’s not too bleak, just violent, like Christian Armagedon.
His Lordship: Depends what version you read. I think there is a version where no one survives.
Bret: I choose not to believe such a version exists... I’ll have to check into it.
His Lordship: Tell me how depressing it is
Bret: I should know this already, since I would say I know Norse mythology more than any other besides Christian/Jewish. But I know there are many versions of the story of Ragnarok.
His Lordship: I’ll bet you these two people who survived didn’t have extra batteries.
Bret: Wouldn’t it suck if they hated each other? That’s like the one time where rape has an exception.
His Lordship: Like Freja and Fenris stuck together in the end?
Bret: I know they both die though.
His Lordship: Oh so now we are going to argue Norse Theology. What is the gender of angels?
Bret: Well, Fenris has to die, because Odin’s son kills him to avenge his father’s death. I bet angels are hermaphrodites.
His Lordship: Freaks
Bret: Aww, I didn’t go that far. To all of my intergender readers, no offense intended. I know you’re out there because you send me pictures, no matter how much I tell you to stop.
His Lordship: That’s right, I shouldn’t make fun of angelic birth defects.
Bret: Well, if they’re all like that, is it a defect? Wouldn’t the one Angel with a penis and no vagina be mocked?
His Lordship: Probably, but that’s how God made it, so it’s perfect.
Bret: I bet God’s “perfect” is really just an exhausted “good enough.”
His Lordship: I bet you God was drunk off cheap tequila when he made the world.
Bret: Was that the deep that he looked out over before he created everything? A giant vat of tequila? Look at us, practically sprinting to hell here.
His Lordship: In my line of work there’s two possible things to blame for a bad design : a stupid designer, or a stupid accountant. Or a combination of both
Bret: Maybe God had funding problems. Which explains the collection basket.
His Lordship: “Sorry we couldn’t get you the titanium flux capacitors you wanted, you’ll have to make due with tin foil and these two paperclips.”
Bret: And that’s why we have an appendix. It all makes sense.
His Lordship: There you go.
Bret: Okay, last question: would you rather give up guns or eating meat?
His Lordship: Eating meat. Believe it or not, I am a part time vegan.
Bret: I am stunned. Well that wraps it up, thanks for chatting with me.
His Lordship: Stunned? Watch out for those serial killers with tasers. You’re welcome, thanks for having me.
Bret: I would probably become a eunuch to keep eating meat, so long as I could keep some semen on ice for later. But that’s too much info. Good night.
His Lordship: Good night.