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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Politically Correct...or Politically Stupid?

     A while back I was tasked with the job of teaching a class on the US Constitution and the separation of church and state myth. 
     Our modern legal minds claim that it was the intent of the founders of the Constitution that the government should stay out of religion to the extent that the mere mention of God must be eliminated from all public institutions. 
    What the Constitution really says is that not only no church but no religion could be made the official faith of the United States. That's all and that was the intent of the men who ratified the Constitution.
    Actually, by 1702 all 13 American colonies had some form of state-supported religion ranging from tax benefits to religious requirements for voting or serving in the legislature. Many representatives to the Constitutional Convention were afraid that at some point the Federal government might interfere with their state constitutions which supported religion to some extent and so they were threatening to refuse to ratify the new Constitution unless it included a prohibition of federal meddling with their existing state established religion clauses.
     It's pretty well known that early politicians like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison were extremely skeptical about what they called "revealed religion." And, often in private letters they poked fun at preachers and their congregations. When the time came to ratify the Constitution men like Jefferson, Madison and Adams were forced to agree to a compromise despite their personal religious beliefs.
     What we see today are lawyers and courts who are not looking at what the Constitution says or the intent of those early legislators. Instead they are foisting upon us the personal opinion of three men who were in the minority. 
     Let's face it, you can't write a law that covers every conceivable situation. Sometimes common sense as to intent has to be applied. There are always nitpickers who look at rules and laws trying to find loopholes to wiggle through.
     We saw it with the rule against consulting notes during a game. The intent was to prevent players from pulling out a 3 x 5 card with opening analysis printed on it or running up to their room to consult Basic Chess Endings or wandering over to the booksellers stall and “browsing” an opening book. 
     Common sense says writing down a move before you play it is not consulting notes and preventing that practice was never the intent of the original rule.
     As of January 1, the FIDE has made some new rules for Blitz and Rapid. GM Peter Heine Nielsen and others have pointed out the new rules are open for debate and they give some absurd examples of what might happen. You can read about them on Chess.com HERE.


     One example...black has accidentally played 2...f6. Instead of getting an extra minute (in blitz) or two (in rapid), white can also decide to deliver mate with 3.Qh5. Black, on the other hand, might claim that it is white who has now made an illegal move.
     Should white be awarded the win or should black? Is it fair to punish white for the illegal move made by black? Under the new rules there might be situations where it is more advantageous to make a move instead of claiming the win. Utilizing loopholes might be possible in some situations: you could win material rather than just be awarded a time advantage. All this requires further fine tuning of the rules. Stupid. 
     Conta-Clip, a German company manufacturing components in the field of electrical and electronic connection technology, said it best. Their rules of conduct are general in nature because, as they state, it is not possible to draw up rules of conduct to cover every conceivable situation. They envisage that the core elements of individual and company responsibility will provide all employees with a clear understanding of the valid principles and ethical values. It's a rare view these days.

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