Category: Education

Republic vs. Democracy

A simple explanation of the differences between a Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Republic, and Anarchy. I’m posting this for my own easy reference in the future but I consider it to be required viewing for anyone wanting to at least make an attempt to have an intelligent conversation about government.


My prior post (“Cross-hairs, targets, and surveyor symbols…”) has generated a bit of interest.  I originally started composing that post on my Facebook account and parts of it got picked up by Dana Loesch and pushed up to Big Journalism.  (That was cool!)

Blogging for me is just a way to let me record thoughts that I suspect I may want to refer to in future conversations because I dislike repeating myself.  It’s easier to throw a link at someone and let them read what I’ve written previously.  Regardless, I don’t expect my posts to go anywhere but I’m amused that this one did because many people have fallen into a logic trap in it.  And I REALLY love it when that happens…especially when they trap up the faux-intellectual like this one did.  This trap wasn’t intentionally set…this time…but originated from my desire to keep the post brief.

Here’s the trap: Cross-hairs are a component of surveyor symbols.  Now that the trap has been set…albeit, unintentionally…let’s spring it.

What this all comes down to may be summed up in a phrase that faux-intellectuals like to quote frequently: “Correlation does not imply Causation”.  You see, it’s a matter of which came first: cross-hairs in surveying or cross-hairs on weapons?

Surveying has been around since at least as long as recorded history…more than 5,000 years…and cross-hairs (more precisely, Reticles) have been used in surveying for some time as well.  I believe the origin of Reticles comes from an instrument known as a Theodolite, which itself dates back to at least A.D. 1512.  The Theodolite itself owes it’s existence to instruments such as the Astrolabe (150 B.C.).  So, when were Reticles first used on firearms?  That would be sometime between 1835 and 1840 when the telescopic sight (a.k.a., Scope) was invented for the rifle.

So what we have here is an instance of cross-application of technology.  Cross-hairs are not violent, they’re just cross-hairs.  So where does this association with cross-hairs and violence come from?  Well, let’s look to Hollywood where the use of a view through a scope has been used as a dramatic device for some time.  The leap from cinematic device to symbol of violence, however, exists only in the mind of the individual.  History doesn’t make that connection.

So what’s the bottom-line here?  The bottom-line is that how a person reacts to a symbol is a view into the mind of the person and not a commentary on the value of the symbol, nor the use of the symbol, nor on the state of mind of the person who utilizes the symbol.  If you look upon a symbol and see violence, then the violence is in your mind…not in the symbol or the person who used it.  This is a Rorschach Test and a lot of people failed it.

**UPDATE**  Oh, and for those who still disagree, please uninstall any graphics programs you may have on your computer, such as Paint.  Scary cross-hairs are frequently used for things such as the Select tool.

…because some people are too stupid to know the difference.  Therefore I’m having to waste time on providing remedial education for people who should have known such things as this before exiting primary school.

THESE are cross-hair symbols:

They represent the optical aiming system of a ballistic weapon, such as a gun.  That image comes from the Wikipedia entry for “Reticle” in case you wish to learn more.

THIS is a target symbol:

It represents the destination or objective to which a projectile will travel.  Said projectile is understood to be launched from a ballistic weapon of some sort.

THESE are surveyor symbols:

These represent points of interest, typically on a geographic map.

Now, let’s take these facts and practice a little applied knowledge.  Check out this screen shot:

That is the Democratic Leadership Committee’s targeting strategy map from 2004.  Please note that they are using ‘target’ symbols.

Now looks at this screen shot:

That is the map from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page.   It shows the locations of politically vulnerable Democrats that voted in favor of the 2008 Health Care legislation.  Please note that it uses a ‘surveyor’ symbol.  If you don’t believe this, please further note that the “cross-hairs” extend OUTSIDE of the circle.  Cross-hairs DON’T extend outside of the circle.  Anyone who has used an optical sighting system knows this.  If you still don’t understand the differences, please scroll back to the top of this post and start again.

(h/t to John at VerumSerum for his article that inspired me to put this post together.)

Just a little fun with this post. Tea Party people are often portrayed as ignorant (among other charges). Actually, they’re statistically better educated than the average population so imagine the chuckle I got when I found this little video from the Restoring Fear/Sanity rally held in DC on 10/30/2010. Keep in mind that the crowd was less diverse than a Tea Party rally but composed mostly of college age kids…pretty representative of the demographic of Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s respective comedy shows…so I should be able to expect they have at least a minimal educational background. Actually, I don’t expect that, but I’m seldom wrong.

And, if you don’t know what a Keynesian is, then this video should be able to explain it sufficiently.

This is why I blog…because it’s too difficult to make a point with more than one reference on Facebook.  Subject on hand: NJ Governor Chris Christie comments on James O’Keefe’s expose’ video.

Here are the O’Keefe videos, “Teachers Unions Gone Wild”:

Chris Christie’s comments on video can be found here.

(h/t The Blaze)