Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Person of the Year

When I heard who Time magazine chose to be their person of the year for 2006, I couldn't help but laugh. As the front cover suggests Time magazine named "You" as the person of the year. Basically, anyone who uses the Internet is the person of the year for 2006. So, congratulations, you too are the person of the year!

I find this to be rather lazy on the part of Time magazine. Rather than do research and come up with a person or organization that had a great effect on many people this year, they have simply said that lots of people are working together on the Internet. Part of their justification for this is:

"But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."

So, enjoy your new found fame, for, along with millions of others, you are The Person of the Year!

Friday, December 15, 2006


Another interesting question was brought up recently as a result of email conversations:

There are so many terrible wrongs, genocides, and oppression throughout the the world perpetrated by immoral governments and brutal warlords. The question is, when, if ever, would it be right for a powerful country like America to intervene?

When is it right to intervene in the affairs of another country? If a country is able, as the United States is, to intervene in, and stop a genocide, is it right to violate national sovereignty to do so? When does intervention become invasion?

Let me try to draw an analogy. If you are armed, and see a murder or mugging taking place, is it not your duty, despite the fact that you are not a law enforcement officer, to intervene? Similarly, if you know that an entire people group is being whipped off the face of the earth, is it not the duty of anyone with the power to intervene and prevent the slaughter?

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it gives a nation with great power near absolute power. Power does, indeed, corrupt, and if a nation were able to justify any military action as an act of mercy, would it not be a simple matter to begin conquering the world to "restore order?" This excuse was one that Hitler used for some of his invasions in WWII, and has been used many other times throughout history, sometimes leading to the most terrible genocides of all time.

The conclusion seems to be that allowing such great wrongs to persist is not the right course of action. It is almost as bad as condoning it. Ideally, genocides must be stopped. However, we must be careful that we do not become perpetrators of that which we are professing to strive against.