Thursday, January 28, 2016

OPPRESSIVE SPEECH


I recently read a post on Facebook which lauded an elitist organization for "condemning oppressive speech".  This is absurd. Speech cannot oppress. Cowardice in the face of oppressive speech can lead to oppression by violence and unjust laws. 75% of U.S. citizens owning guns is much more likely to lead to oppression of one sort of another than speech of any kind. Condemning oppressive speech does absolutely the opposite of its hypothetical intent. It simply engages the potential oppressor instead of defying and ignoring him/her. 

The recent preemptive whining of Liberals against free speech in the name of averting a new holocaust simply belies the weakness of their politics and real-world ethics. While defending corporate capitalism, they decry economic and social disparity, the source of all injustice. Liberalism, once the choice of the educated middle class, is now the province of the hypocritical elite. Why? Well, there isn't much educated middle class left in America, for one reason. The Liberal elite have stolen the wealth from the middle class under the nose of the most recent Liberal President of the United States. 

Howling against free speech, a la U.K.'s Parliament, is a symptom of the rich circling their wagons against the inevitable onslaught from both Left and Right. In the U.S., Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent the more civil sentiments of those two revolutionary camps. The mush in the middle, represented by the rest of the presidential candidates, represent the general mediocrity of politics with which rich Liberals and rich Conservatives are most comfortable. 

Perhaps it is time for some oppression. Oppression of the 1% for the benefit of the 99%. 

"SORRY"



Being a conscientious registered nurse in charge of the care of inpatients develops observational skills. The acute psychiatric units where I worked were dangerous places. Our attempts to avoid over-medicating patients to help rehabilitate them for social reentry entailed daily risks to our own personal safety. I worked in environments which were very different from the stereotypical psychiatric ward portrayed in fictional movies. Patients walking the edge of their psychoses can have sudden outbursts of violence, usually directed at staff.  My work in a residential hospice also required intense observation to prevent dying patients from experiencing unnecessary pain and isolation.

Now that I am retired, I still watch human behavior with the same intensity. Poor Peter listens to my ongoing clinical assessments as I drive or when we are just walking in public spaces. I am grateful that he often asks challenging questions about my spontaneous critiques of certain interactions and behaviors. I edit and maintain many of my thoughts in silence. 

We agree fully in one observation of urban humanity here in Greater Boston. "Sorry", whether expressed verbally or gestured/mimed from a car window, is the new "F**k you." 

Waiting on a subway platform is a good place to observe this. When the train pulls in and the doors open, inevitably someone will aggressively push into the car with no regard to anyone exiting or entering. That person often will utter "Sorry." in the process of elbowing and pushing. The same individual usually rushes to a handicap/elderly seat and immediately stares at his/her phone with earplugs inserted. I have been coaching Peter, who relies on a cane, on methods of getting the attention of these passive-aggressive airheads. An antidote for rude stupidity is a loud observation of it to the air of the train car.

Driving is the ultimate laboratory for testing my theory. So far, the evidence supports my premise fully. Intersections are reliable sites where you can find the "Sorry." move which really means "I know I cut you off, and I'm letting you know that I know you noticed." This is the wave and smile response of the offending driver, who sometimes mouths "Sorry" as they are doing their offensive maneuver. Sometimes it is simply a cheery wave as they proceed in front of you after cutting you off without a turn signal on the highway. 

Yesterday I was walking briskly to an empty self-check lane in the supermarket. A middle-aged man with an empty cart saw me approaching and immediately pushed his cart rapidly to the entrance of the check-out lane. And stopped. He had nothing to check out. He nervously mumbled "Sorry." and pretended for a second to look at a display of women's gossip mags by the check-out before rapidly skittering away with his empty cart. I have no idea what triggered this passive aggression. Was it the dozen eggs in my right hand? My wardrobe? My height? My eyeglasses? My facial hair? My pace? 

The problem with these dysfunctional discourtesies is simple in an ever-more-crowded world. It diminishes us as a social species. Each passive-aggressive move is another affirmation that we are each becoming less significant to each other as human beings. It doesn't take genius to figure out where that will eventually lead. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

WHINING VS COURAGE


Yesterday I wrote an ironic essay on hate speech. I am following it today with some ideas that came to me after publishing that piece.

It seems to me that today's chief method for calling attention to injustice is whining. Journalists are prone to use sentimentality and anecdotal sob stories to illustrate points about social injustices. Often the adult subjects of these stories are no angels or hapless victims. They have participated in some dance which has led to catastrophe. 

I am not blaming true victims. I am perhaps redefining for myself who is a true victim of injustice. For example, a small child under the age of twelve who goes to school and is beaten up for talking, walking, dressing or simply appearing a certain way is a victim. No question. And authorities, rather than wheedling out of their responsibility with a lot of goofy talk about helping the attackers to learn sensitivity, should intervene with intelligent sanctions against violence. If this happened more often, the amount of escalating violence in schools would decline rapidly.

An adult person who holds a gun in an unarmed person's face is never a victim. It doesn't matter whether the gun is a loaded weapon or made of licorice. In America especially, a pointed gun is potentially lethal. Whatever happens to to the holder of that gun is justified, in my opinion. Some communities have become mentally poisoned by violence, drug culture and indoctrination with a distorted social history transmitted by people who exploit it. Adults who decline education in favor of that kind of community culture are not victims. They are participants in their own oppression.

Declaring independence from family and social environment to pursue a better path takes a great deal of courage, especially if you are born poor. The standard for social advancement in poor communities has shifted from individual courage to group/gang whining. Whining in these groups often progresses to tantrums. Riots and looting result. 

I have chosen to work hard for my intellectual and fiduciary independence despite a considerable series of obstacles. I found very early in life that whining got me nothing but contempt. And I feel that was a precious lesson, despite the pain involved in learning it. I am grateful to the few good teachers who opened doors to me which my family were unequipped to offer. Those teachers, some harsh, saved me from a great deal of unnecessary pain and failure in my life. 

I see social media and mainstream press teaching quite a different gospel to the underprivileged youth of today. I see an obsession with sheltering and coddling that is irrational in the face of a challenging global human environment. I see demonizing of legitimate authority and elevation of criminality. I see invasive intrusion of masses of people who have turned their backs on their own domestic problems in the name of wanting to make more money. I see these people using their children as shields, despite taking their children on hazardous journeys which put their lives at risk. I hear men and women whining about having to care for too many children in impoverished conditions without anyone asking them why they had so many children in the first place.

The whiner is looking for someone else to control the greater environment for him/her. I believe the most courageous act anyone makes is the unconditional acceptance of full responsibility for his/her actions. This act is the doorway to true liberation from oppression, the worst oppression, the oppression of oneself by oneself. 


Monday, January 25, 2016

HATE SPEECH


I think it is about time we eliminated all hate speech with legislation, shaming, shunning and maybe even beheading. As an anal cancer survivor of 13 years I would like to see anyone who uses the word "asshole" arrested and placed in prison. The use of the word causes me deep pain and refers to my deprivation and oppression by the medical establishment which deprived me of a full and healthy sex life by treating my cancer. 

I think anyone who uses the word is anal-phobic. I think the British parliament should deny entry into the UK to anyone who uses the word. Think of the dangers of yelling "asshole" to a straight man in a crowded gay bar, for example. Imagine the encouragement that uttering this hateful word gives to sodomites of all varieties. The danger to our children is inestimable. 

I hope anyone who feels victimized by any word gets the constitutional right to have that word permanently stricken from the world's dictionaries. Just think how much smaller all the dictionaries would be. It would be so much easier for all of us to be more multicultural by learning foreign languages with fewer words. Humans might even simplify their lives by reverting to nods, head shakes and grunts. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

MORALISTS

Torgny Segerstedt (1876-1945) 

I viewed a biographical film (available on Netflix) last evening about a famous Swedish moralist, Torgny Segerstedt. The film is entitled The Last Sentence in English and The Reputation of a Dead Man in Swedish.  This difference in titling is in itself fascinating. The English title refers to the dying Segerstedt's last words, which related to his portrayed personal rivalry with Adolf Hitler. The Swedish title refers to a quotation from a Norse saga. The full quote, as I recall, is "The reputation of a dead man never dies."

As represented in the film, Segerstedt is a dour moralist, a professor of comparative religion and philosophy, who was chief editor for a Swedish newspaper during Hitler's rise to power and subsequent ravaging of three continents. The prolific columnist was in his sixties during the period. He had a failed marriage with two grown children, a neurotic wife, and a married mistress, who also happened to own the newspaper which he ran. 

The film depicts the hypocrisy of this moralist beautifully. The cold, heartless man in his personal life, who can be suspected of railing against Hitler as part of his ongoing affair with his Jewish mistress as much as for ethical reasons. Segerstedt denounced the  Nazis over and over again in the face of Swedish politicians who advised caution in order to maintain the country's neutrality. His personality is presented as more stubborn than rational, more moralistic than compassionate, more antisocial than socially conscious. 

Meanwhile, in his personal life, Segerstedt appears to have psychologically abused his wife and the supportive co-owner of the newspaper, the husband of his mistress. The mistress publicly humiliated and dominated her husband and Segerstedt's wife. The mistress was also presented as an IV drug user, a nasty habit which both husband and moralistic paramour enabled. Segerstedt was repeatedly accused of preferring his three omnipresent and pampered dogs over the human beings in his life. 

My mind turned to the current outcry by some moralists against Donald Trump. While Trump displays genuine personality flaws, he is certainly not as evil as many who wear vestments and Roman collars, purveyors of a Christianity which allows for child abuse and misogyny. He is certainly not as evil as  those who call themselves disciples of Allah in organizations like ISIS. He certainly is not as evil as imams and rabbis who pervert young minds to violence against women and others in the name of righteousness. And Trump is most certainly not the same as Adolf Hitler, despite the repeated comparison by nitwits who do not understand the difference between free speech about ideas, no matter how outlandish, and acting on those ideas. 

Morality in these times is a tricky thing. Fundamentalist Christians would make it moral to condemn LGBT people to lives which are unequal in the law. Fundamentalist Muslims feel it is moral to decapitate, stone and crucify anyone who refuses to submit to their morality. Saudi Arabia, as a state, sees public decapitation and stoning as moral. Iran feels it is moral to hang gay men from cranes in public squares, and anyone else, who strays from its moral code under Islamic theocracy. 

Perhaps cruelty is the signature of the moralist as well as some of those whom the moralist condemns. Perhaps moralistic crusading is just another way of shutting up discussion or debate. Perhaps moralistic behavior is simply the sign of a compulsion to be right, as Segerstedt was indeed about Hitler, over a considered decision to be practical, ethical and compassionate in all things.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

HILLARY BEHIND OBAMA


I will begin by once again saying that I would very much like to see a female U.S. President in my lifetime. That I even have to say this in the 21st century seems absolutely absurd to me, but women are still being mutilated and executed worldwide by religious and cultural misogynist bastards. My world and the world outside of my mind have seldom seemed to roll along in sync. Hillary Clinton may well be elected as the first female U.S. President. But one choice is no choice. 

Hillary Clinton, whose autobiography I have read, is an expert opportunist, like her husband. This is not rare in politics, but the hypocrisy of the Clintons is noteworthy. Seldom do two people get so much press for being exactly what they are not. They are neither progressive nor middle class. They are part of the international elite who are determined to keep power in the U.S.. They live in luxury. They mouth Liberal ideals. They court minorities. Meanwhile, they associate with the Bushes and their ilk. They are neck-deep in the Wall-Street-Big-Bank world. 

Watching Hillary Clinton hiding behind Barack Obama's accomplishments, as they are perceived by the Democrat faithfuls, tells me that Hillary stands for the same old crap that Washington has been doling out to the middle class since Ronald Reagan was the Alzheimer President. She is pro-business and pro-banks because those are her allies and contributors. As Secretary of State under Obama, it was their interests she represented during her endless globe-trotting, an expensive parade from one ally to another at great expense with nothing to show for it. In fact, the Middle East caught fire during her stint in that job. 

How sad it is that the United States has only two viable female candidates for president. And I am stretching by calling Carly Fiorina "viable". A Trump-Fiorina ticket would most likely be more representative of true American values, but not a real winning one. Americans will likely vote for their hypocrisy on election day, whichever way that blows. They might even elect Bernie Sanders, as they elected Obama. And, as they did with Obama, they may continue to elect a cut-throat conservative Congress to obstruct their stated ideals. 



Sunday, January 17, 2016

POLITICS OF EVIL


There is great rejoicing in U.S. media. Iran is our friend. Isn't that nice. We can add Iran to our other list of great buds: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Thailand, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.. 

U.S. politicians are playing the same 18th-century monarchic chess game that failed to bring peace to Europe. In fact, the opposite is true. Balance-of-power politics led to two disastrous world wars which were the culmination of nation-building in central Europe in the 19th century. 

Turning a blind eye to Iran's brutal theocracy's disregard for human rights is convenient to soothe the desperation of the world's bankers over Syria and Iraq. What do bankers and stock brokers care about human rights? When the flood of illegal migrants into Europe brought repercussions, the pressure increased on Washington and Brussels to bring resolution in Syria. They have slowly caved to Putin and now will cave to Tehran. Eventually, they will accept and shelter the butcher, Assad. 

World politicians are living in pathological denial within their aristocratic clubhouses. By refusing to address climate catastrophe and overpopulation which are unsolvable with free-market capitalist dogma and manipulation, they are dragging out all the old methods which have never worked, like addicts looking through their dresser drawers for a neglected stash which they used up years ago. They refuse to look evil in others in the eye because they are not willing to look at their own in the mirror. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

WHAT IT'S LIKE.


Getting old in the city if you are not rich has never been easy. As a registered nurse who worked in Boston and Manhattan, I have always known this. It should be easier, you might think. It is not. And the rich simply do not care. 

The density of urban infrastructure, like supermarkets, public transit and clinics, should make a city ideal for any older person. In fact, wealthy older people, empty-nesters, are selling their suburban manses and flooding city neighborhoods here in Boston. These folks live downtown and can walk to just about anything. It is becoming an urban shopping mall of sorts. The Boston Police presence downtown is noticeable at all times. There are a growing number of security cameras and concierge buildings. There are people walking the streets at all hours due to the feeling of safety. 

Poor older people must live on the periphery of the inner city in more affordable neighborhoods. When I say "urban poor" today here in Boston, I mean anyone making less than $40,000 a year. Social Security recipients make considerably less than that. And even poorer neighborhoods are hardly affordable. We do not see police cars patrolling regularly. They pass through in SUV's at high speeds, always seeming to be responding to something somewhere else.

A couple of days ago, Peter set off for our local shopping center in late afternoon. He walks with a cane due to a neurological problem in both legs. He is 66 now. Like me, he has learned to cope with two disabling diseases over the past three decades. Unlike me, he also had to recover from nearly being stabbed to death in Boston's South End in 1990. That incident made all the papers and the TV for an instant, back before gay hate crimes existed in the law. It was a gay-bashing by a Black street gang. The Boston Police did next to nothing about it. Peter's neighbors, who watched the event from their stoops on a hot summer evening without helping, refused to identify the perpetrators, who were indeed well known in the neighborhood.

When Peter returned from the shopping center the other evening, he was very upset. On his way home, he was spat at simultaneously by three approaching Black men in a group who passed him on an isolated sidewalk which exits the shopping center into our neighborhood. The three young men laughed and mocked him as they continued on their way. 

This is what it is like to be growing old in the parts of the city where the rich do not live. We do not have security cameras all over our neighborhood.  One respondent on a community website, where I posted Peter's incident as a caution to others, stated with certainty that there are police all over the shopping center. That has not been my experience, unless I have witnessed one of the frequent arrests or saw a special-duty officer guarding a particular store. In any case, there were no police available for Peter the other evening.

And, what if there had been? Imagine dialing 911 while balancing with a cane. Once on 911's line, imagine describing the incident to a harried dispatcher. Would the Boston Police have taken action because an old Caucasian gay man was disrespected by three young Black men in my neighborhood? I sincerely doubt it. The first question to Peter, I would speculate, would be "Did you say something to get them angry?" This is what it is like to grow old in my city. 


Thursday, January 14, 2016

GOODBYE, OBAMA. HELLO, THE SAME.


Much is being made of President Obama's final State of the Union speech. His leadership is already being eulogized. Unlike eulogies of the deceased, the farewells to Obama's leadership, even from those of us who see ourselves well to his Left politically, will be far from universally glowing. Honest criticism of Obama enrages many of his fans, and is too subtle for many of his detractors. 

Obama the Man is a figure of historic significance. From his intriguing ancestry to his equally intriguing rise through education, law and politics, he is an impressive person. His calm demeanor, bordering on open-eyed slumber at times, is a powerful tool which he may well have learned as a student in Asia. It has been less effective for the achievement of progress during his presidency. Obama has done a tremendous job of maintaining the Obama brand within his own fan base, despite the mediocrity of his presidential accomplishments. 

In 2009, Obama was hailed throughout the Muslim world after his inauguration. He made a victory tour of the region early in office. Now the crowds who hailed his coming are perhaps enthusiastic at his going, since the region has fallen into more murderous chaos during Obama's presidency. American foreign policy, largely under the control of the U.S. Executive, has remained based in selling armaments to the highest bidders or those with the best goods to barter. Obama did not change the currency of American foreign policy from war to philanthropy by any means. Islamic extremism, while growing from seeds planted by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, has flourished during the Obama presidency.

The U.S. has major domestic problems, financial and social. Global corporate capitalism is foundering on reefs of its own construction. The huge disparity between rich and non-rich is beginning to corrode capitalism from within. The 90% will soon be unable to fuel the greed of the top 10%, since the 10% already own almost everything. There will be less and less capital to be spent by the non-rich to maintain "growth", the poisonous life-blood of capitalism. Another global economic crisis, akin to 2008's, is being predicted. 

Obama has done little to deal with the environment. He has sided with the religious against dealing with overpopulation. He has coddled African governments as they pursue corruption and bigotry over raising the education levels of their populations and liberating their women from misogynist oppression. The effects of climate change on the U.S. coastal areas has gone unaddressed in any practical sense. The Obama administration has continued the government's outmoded crisis-melioration model. The Keystone Pipeline, while vetoed by Obama, was defeated by low oil prices and wide opposition in The Heartland, represented widely by Republicans in Congress. In other words, its failure was not actually environmentally based. As for fracking and Obama, read this

America's tsunami of elderly will not be adequately addressed by Obamacare. Obama squandered the first year of his presidency taking victory laps. Had he pushed a one-payer healthcare system through the Democrat-controlled Congress of 2009, the economic and social future of the U.S. would have been greatly bolstered. With an improved one-payer healthcare system, the embedded problems of healthcare costs and fairness of distribution of resources could have been addressed. Now the insurance companies and greedy medical providers will simply run the system, and perhaps the country, into the ground. 

Great advances in LGBT rights have occurred since 2009. Little credit for this can be given to President Obama, who had to be embarrassed into support of LGBT rights by popular polls and state-based initiatives, supported by his political allies. The polls reflected the relentless hard work of LGBT activists, supported by the pro-LGBT citizens financially and in social media. Obama was generally behind the curve of that social movement and the changes that came about. Ironically, the relatively conservative Supreme Court in its decision on marriage rights did more for LGBT legal rights than Obama's administration. 

As for urban crime and the state of urban minorities, the Black Lives Matter movement stands as an indictment of Obama's domestic policy failures. From not dealing with the corruption in Homeland Security to failure to significantly change the drug-gun culture in the U.S., Obama's administration cannot be given high grades from my perspective as a city-dweller in a diverse middle income community. 

The chief lesson of the Obama administration is this: The American Presidency is one position on an international board of proxy directors. Politics have become global and financially controlled. Global control by increasingly repressive and propagandist regimes is apparently inevitable as long as militaristic capitalists own 90% of the world's assets. Orwell's 1984 is being actualized. The next big face on your HD screen will look different from Obama but will represent the same dark forces, seated in corporate boardrooms and private jets.


Monday, January 11, 2016

TRIBALISM AND SEXISM


Listen to this edition of BBC's HardTalk if you are a woman who is interested in feminism and female health.

The worldwide condemnation of female genital mutilation (FGM) by its victims and medical experts is now being faced with opposition from a tribalist, perhaps racialist, position by  Fuambai Ahmadu, a female African anthropologist and some colleagues. Ahmadu's position is based in her own experience of choosing a lighter form of FGM as an initiation into a secret Sierra Leonian tribal sect. 

I think it is fair to say that Ms. Ahmadu has identified very strongly with her subject matter. Perhaps to the point of losing rational academic distance. She has become a voice of tribalism over ethical common sense as applied to health. That common sense dictates that cutting into the genitals of a perfectly healthy child has repercussions for life which are imposed on that child without consent. 

I am happy to report that Ms. Ahmadu is opposed by an overwhelming majority of women. However, I understand how she would obtain access to a microphone at the BBC. She has gathered statistics from FGM surveys done in cultures where FGM is an entrenched practice. She presents these statistics as objective science. She does speak to the brainwashing of women in sexist cultures or the coopting of mothers by their oppressors to victimize their female children as they have been victimized in the name of "tradition". 

Ms. Ahmadu is an African reactionary. It is understandable. Africa's painful transition from exploited colonization through corrupt dictatorship is still happening. The continent is reeling from its rapid ascension out of primitive rural and tribal poverty into urban-based global capitalism. Clinging to atavistic ethnocentrism is one way of asserting some form of control. However, it seems odd in a highly educated academic, like Ms. Ahmadu. Her need to identify wih tribe seems to outweigh her compassion for the women worldwide who are crying out for relief from sexism and physical abuse. 


I was left with deep respect for Nimco Ali, a Somali activist against FGM, who sat across from Ms. Ahmadu on HardTalk. She gave Ms. Ahmadu her attention and allowed Ms. Ahmadu ample air to voice her position. This could not have been easy. It reflected a respect and compassion to which Ms. Ahmadu might well aspire. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

SEPARATION OF MOSQUE AND STATE


A Muslim woman, identifying herself with head scarf and yellow-star name tag (particularly ironic), was ejected from a Donald Trump political rally. Rose Hamid, the 56 year-old flight attendant, is articulate and seems to have good intentions. She explained to CNN that she went to the rally in North Carolina to let Trump supporters see that Muslims are not scary people. Her goal was to help stop hatred between people. Point taken. 

Her sartorial subscription to a religion which is misogynist, homophobic and quoted as inspiration worldwide by violent terrorists does take some of the power away from her methodology at a Republican media event. RuPaul walking on platform heels into a conservative mosque might not expect to deflate homophobic hatred. 

Trump's stupidity in introducing religion into his political campaign invites this reactionary injection of more unwanted religion into the campaign for the U.S. Presidency. Obama fell prey to a similar Constitution-wise failing in his campaign when he tried to court born-again and religious Black voters. His minister was later castigated for his passionate preaching about the U.S. government's racist and militaristic past. 

Similarly, Rose Hamid would do well to keep her religion out of national politics. We have had enough of that from Roman Catholics, fundamentalist Christians, Mormons and Zionists, thank you. Islam has polluted the politics of the Arab and Persian worlds for far too long with obvious results. Let's all try something different here. 


Thursday, January 7, 2016

SOCIOPATHS


Children who are raised without boundaries or lessons in ethics can easily develop the behaviors of sociopaths. Child-rearing and educational models have veered toward hands-off approaches for decades. The middle way of rational, positive conditioning (e.g., Skinner) has lost ground. The "babies are natural geniuses" movement of child-rearing is beginning to bear its fruit. Brutal, irrational child-rearing of fundamentalist religions bears similar results. Anyone who spends time on YouTube or Facebook probably knows what I am talking about.

I noticed recently, thanks to my broadband provider's improved metrics, that my data usage measured astronomically higher than what we are actually using within my house. Perhaps as much as five times higher each month. I manage my home network and have taken all the usual security precautions with little result. 

I decided to do some deeper research. Rampant theft of broadband, mostly unnoticed by those being ripped off, is a global problem. Stolen broadband is bought and sold on the Dark Web by hackers. It can be garnered stealthily from any home wireless or wired network invisibly. There are even how-to pages on line which explain how to do it. This is a large shadow economy. The Russian mafias are particularly adept at it. 

Broadband providers, running out of bandwidth, are developing plans to meter internet usage, just like electricity or gas. Soon, most users will most likely have to pay monthly bills considerably higher for broadband. If your broadband is being stolen and resold on the Dark Web, you will be subsidizing criminals. Broadband providers and the Federal government in the U.S. seem to be ineffectual at addressing the problem. Typically, white-collar, or bourgeois, crime is given a pass. And, internet crime requires some resources and education. 

As the world becomes overpopulated and resources dwindle, criminality will inevitably rise. This is simply how human beings have always acted in response to deprivation. And, the perception of deprivation is changing due to information technology in a time when wealth disparity is more and more obvious. Only those human beings who have an ethical foundation in their personalities will cooperate for the common good (social action) rather than plunder for selfish gain. That ethical foundation is instilled into the human brain very early in development by ethical parents and teachers. 

Overpopulation devalues the individual inevitably. Information technology, while creating an illusive virtual world for the narcissist, actually contributes to socially enslaving conformity in developed societies while exaggerating the sense of deprivation in underdeveloped societies. The internet is where alienated human beings live. It seems logical to expect that it will eventually display the symptoms of social dysfunction in measurable ways. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

CHRISTIAN TERRORISM

Head of Russian Orthodox Church and Christian Terrorist 

I recommend Campaign of Hate:Russia and Gay Propagandaa documentary, now on Netflix. 

Yesterday I wrote about the Middle Ages in Western Europe. Christian terrorism was rampant in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. Women were declared witches whenever they stood up to male authority or gained their own property. Geniuses were declared heretics. Pacifists were killed. Those who did not submit to Christianity were often tortured or slaughtered. As I wrote yesterday, one of the sanctified heroes of the Christian histories of the Middle Ages is Charlemagne, who massacred 4,500 prisoners of war in Verden in 782 CE because they were non-Christian.

The current obsession with the terrorism of ISIS and the terrorism of Saudi Arabia's aristocracy within its borders is understandable. However, perhaps this terrorism gains public outrage worldwide because it is directed at heterosexuals as well as LGBT people. 

In Russia, organized gangs of violent men are being supported and encouraged by the Russian Orthodox Church. They show up at any peaceful LGBT protest with printed homophobic sign boards. They stand in organized ranks. They then attack, maim or kill LGBT people with impunity in front of Russian police who do not intervene. If this is not terrorism, what is?

Vladimir Putin has mobilized the Orthodox Church in the same way Adolf Hitler mobilized his S.S. ideologues in his rise to power. Deniability allows him to operate a shadow progrom against LGBT people in Russia. By keeping LGBT people in the closet with mortal terror, he hopes to keep Russian citizens ignorant of the presence of LGBT people within their families and communities. Putin has bent the Russian psychiatric establishment to homophobic theory. Psychiatrists in Russia use homosexuality diagnostically as a tool to torture and imprison LGBT people for the government and Orthodox Church.

The basic human right to experience individual sexuality and loving sexual relationships is being denied Russian LGBT people. This is indeed terrorism. It is a form of torture and imprisonment in itself. While The West's governments whine over Russian territorial expansion, they largely ignore the plight of LGBT people in Russia. And this choice to look the other way is made by the LGBT population in The West as well.

Support Immigration Equality if you care. Support the Russian LGBT Network through ILGA.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

MISSIONARIES


I have been reviewing the history of Europe from 500 CE to 1000 CE, one of my ongoing interests. I am delighted to find the reassessment by academic historians of that era, obscured by the deceptive descriptive, Middle Ages. There was nothing middling about the period. 

Christian power-brokers had captured the remains of the Italian Roman Empire. The Catholic Church in its early development had fused with political power. Literacy was its weapon. The one unifying written and spoken language of that age, like English today, was Roman Latin. That vestige of empire determined much of the history of Europe as English, the vestige of another great empire, determines much of today's history-in-the-making. Some day the same may be said of Chinese.

The Roman Church deprived the masses of literacy with determination. They sold literacy to aristocrats in exchange for money, power and land. They used Latin to pull down the Roman Empire and to rebuild a Christian Empire, ruled from behind thrones with whispers and promises of absolution for atrocities against the people. There are parallels to today's technology class and its relationship with power. 

The Eurocentric history of the 19th and 20th centuries portrays the spread of Christianity across Europe as a positive civilizing force. Christian missionaries are portrayed as wise, saintly men and women, often associated with converted aristocracy in opposition to another heathen aristocracy. These missionaries are portrayed as passive, peaceful men and women, often killed in the line of duty, whereupon they became beatified martyrs. 

Nothing could be further from the true history which is gradually seeing the light of day. Many of these so-called saints were political operatives within the inner circles of power. They manipulated aristocrats to wage brutal wars against their opponents for the acquisition of vast amounts of acreage. They used their literacy to write their own history and then taught this to the children of the aristocracy. They established vast monastic estates, wherein scribes worked like galley slaves producing these histories. Many of these monasteries had accompanying convents, where women were used for manual labor and occasionally for sex.

A great example of the warlike nature of the early Church were the pre-Crusades incursions into Denmark from Germany. Charlemagne, a sanctified hero of the French and German historians of earlier times, was actually a war criminal who massacred 4,500 non-Christian Saxons at the border between Germany and Scandinavia after they had surrendered to his army. He did this at the urging of his Christian advisers. 

It is now thought that this massacre at Verden in October of 782 began the subsequent era of Viking raids into Europe, the British Isles and Russia. Rather than being ruthless maniacs, the Scandinavians can now be seen as reactionary defenders of their native cultures against fundamentalist Christian incursion and massacre. Christianity's "civilizing influence" in Scandinavia was to first unify the Scandinavians who understandably feared it.

Missionary zeal stemming from any dogmatic ideology has been shown throughout history to create more suffering than progress. Today, secularists have been struggling with this propensity of some, like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, to bring the message of non-religion under a banner of us against them. The key word of any dysfunctional situation is "against". Being non-religious could be the antithesis of being for or against anything. In other words, ignoring religion in pursuit of advancement individually and socially.

There is no need for atheist or interfaith missionaries to convince an educated mind of anything. The best way to defeat the corruption of religion is to be truly and intelligently non-religious. 




Friday, January 1, 2016

ANOTHER YEAR.


The application of numbers to life has always intrigued and confused me. I am not uninitiated in the practice. I tested quite well in Physics with Calculus, taught to me by a funny Lithuanian Jesuit who was also a concert violinist. But my later life experiences placed the hopeful predictability of algorithms applied to life in perspective. I understand the arrogance of computer geeks. It is a heady experience to see your math bring results and great wealth. The illusion of control in the human condition is like a drug. 

Control and process are two different things. Developing process brings greater influence over randomness. Randomness, however, is still the state of being in The Universe. Life does come at you. The best I can do in the most fundamental way is to learn to work with my own variables to my best ability to foster peace in my mind, in my body and in my immediate environment. All else will follow.