Thursday, March 30, 2006


I had a hot debate about two years ago about whether people should be allowed to possess guns. A worth mentioning argument of the person I was debating with was that criminals ignore the law anyway and have guns, so why the decent people should not be allowed to have means to defend themselves? Also, she said, people must be taught to bear this responsibility.

Today my opinion has not changed.
Some reasons why guns should not be sold freely and why the number of guns among the population should not be allowed to increase that drastically, which we would certainly witness:

- A tremendous number of accidents will happen.
- Domestic violence.
- Violence at school.
- Culture of drinking and "i've got the power" feeling after that too widespread here.
- Culture of "i've got the power" feeling even without drinking.
- New year's eve - see also fist bullet.
- Citizens should not be encouraged to believe they are the law.
- Any number of victims is not an acceptable price for learning this kind of responsibility (which I doubt would happen anyway).
- Responsibility should be taught step by step. While there are pedestrians crossing at red light and drink drivers I will not reconsider.
- The photograph above (see also bullets 4 and 5)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Emigrants' party

S. will certainly remember how I freaked out when we talked about the emerging "Party of the Bulgarian emigrants". I've been re-thinking this morning the issue of emigrants' right to vote and it reminded me of that conversation.

First I would like to come to clear with my negative feelings on the matter. Yes, I do have a negative attitude to the over-active emigrants who wish to get involved in the national politics. Yes, to me it is not "getting involved" but "interfering". And yes, I am perfectly aware it is an emotional reaction provoked by the "oh-we-are-so-much-better-than-you" attitude shown by some emigrants. I can't help it, and no political correctness, or tolerance, or even logical arguments will make me to pretend else.

Now we come to the rational part. Here the two things - emigrants' party and emigrants' right to vote - should be separated.

Emigrants' party:

According to the Bulgarian Political Parties Act, art. 2, "Political parties are voluntary associations of Bulgarian citizens possessing right to vote" (excuse my English). Double citizenship is allowed (art. 8). I need to check if a political party can have its seat outside of the country - I think it cannot, although the Political Parties Act remains silent on the matter - which is certainly a gap. In either case political parties can have local structures abroad if it is allowed by the legislation of the correspondent country - or even if it is not, they can still gather informally.

Thus it should be clear that therе is not and - even more important - there cannot be - any legal obstacle before the establishment of an emigrants' party, so far as its founders and members still have their Bulgarian citizenship and irrespective of their place of residence.

My argument is that such a party would not have a legitimate founding principle and cannot represent - by definition - a legitimate group of the society (I am not explaining here the difference between "legal" or "legally allowed" and "legitimate" - if you have an issue mixing them, solve it yourself). There is not a legitimate group interest to be politically represented at the legislative body of a country none of the group members lives in. I have heard many times the point that they are being united by their common desire to return to their home country and therefore they want the country to be better. Nice, I have no issue with this. I also want the country to be better since I already live there, but I am not making a party of the residents on this basis. Emigration or returning is a matter of personal choice, not a political issue. "I will return when the economic growth reaches 10%" - my ass. "Impoving the standard of living will lead to crowds of emigrants coming back" - err... ok, it might prove true in the long run but now it is just political talk en gros.

I am not even going to delve in detail into the argument that long time emigrants do not know well enough the local situation and context. You either understand that creating legislation is something much more complicated then just putting together a text according to an algoritm and avoiding possible bugs, or tranferring foreign know-how, or you don't.

And then imagine how absurd will be the situation of the Emmigrnat party's MPs. What are they going to do? Come to Sofia temporarily as their colleagues from other places in the country do? Travelling regularly to visit their voters - either on parliament expenses or bringing forward the most noble sacrifice of covering the expenses themselves? How often will they be able to afford it? Settle back for good, thus stopping being emigrants? So petty of me discussing such minor inconveniences, isn't it - we are speaking here of Making the Country a Better Place after all.

Emigrants' right to vote

Now this is much more simple than I used to think and this is the conclusion of this morning. I used to speculate over parallels with local elections as well as over the effects of the globalisation but it is all not necessary. I might not be happy because of the emotional reasons descibed above, but it is clear: emigrants with Bulgarian citizenship have the right to vote. Period. People who don't really care, don't go anyways.

Before closing the topic, I want to make something clear. I have just admitted, some might say, that emigrants who want to vote, really do care. Therefore, it may be argued, I am inconsistent when denying the idea of an Emigrants' party. I am not inconsistent. I welcome every emigrant becoming a member or participating in the activity of any party in their home country. I reject specifically the idea of an "emigrant" party - a party supposed to represent the group interests of the emigrants, who I do not accept as a valid group in the context of political representation.

I am also aware I have not defined "emigrant" (e.g. number of years of residence abroad). Use your common sense, it usually helps, ok?

Monday, March 20, 2006

M.A.S. Report

Now this will certainly put an end to the assumed secrecy of our small discussion meetings at my place.

I have a major problem with setting the topics for the dicussions. H pops up two days before the meeting and requires me to come up with a topic within a few hours. I then suggest something that is seeming so interesting at the moment, but two days after I am either not interested in it anymore, or I have forgotten the context in which it was interesting, or I have entered too deep in a context of which the others have no clue. Therefore the discussion on the concept of "objectivity" was not quite successful. I think we need a mechanism to involve everybody in the process of topic selection. Probably everyone should suggest a topic and then we could choose among the so created set of topics. Maybe even starting the meetings with topic selection will give them that air I wished to achieve from the beginning.

Probably the most useful thing that came up from saturday discussion was F's statement on the laws of the market and the morality. Paraphrase: the laws of the market have the same level of objectivity as the laws of physics - both being laws in the sense of a cause-effect relation and not in the sense of legislative acts. Thus they can be judged in terms of neither legitimacy nor morality. To say that the market is "immoral" is as nonsensical as to say that the morality of gravity is unsatisfactory.

My addition: indeed what we can state to be moral/immoral or proper/improper is not the market itself but the state interventions and attempts to regulate it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

test post

Is it meant that figuring out how does this work is more time consuming than a computer game? Will need help.