Thursday, March 30, 2017

ACHIEVEMENT WINS RESPECT.


The current victim culture in the developed world is perhaps the least effective way of gaining progress with the issues of those who utilize it to shame or embarrass others to cede to their demands. Whiners are not activists. They are whiners. Whining is passive complaining. The emotional immaturity in current victim movements is stunning. Individual whining flips into mob outrage unpredictably. This is the behavior of children, not adults. The lack of sane leadership in these victim-oriented groups should inform the more intelligent to go elsewhere to contribute to society. 

I believe the current wave of anti-Trump outrage is fueled by a victim mentality among some groups in mass media and on campuses. Adjusting effectively to the Constitutional reality that Trump is POTUS requires some gumption. Living in the challenging world of conservatively led government requires smarts and mature resolve. I know. I lived through the Reagan administration while the AIDS epidemic blossomed around me. I worked with the mentally ill throughout the Reagan administration as it dismantled public (free) psychiatric centers (with long term residents) in favor of private prisons, soup kitchens and shelters. 

Casting any group in society as universally victimized is not a way to help that group ascend into public recognition and respect. The disabled and mentally ill are often pointed to as victims in the same breath as minorities and the economically disadvantaged. This is the height of hypocrisy in a wealthy country which has withdrawn free and accessible medical care for the disabled and mentally ill, who deserve both acceptance and accommodation because they are in need of them. They are indeed the victims of life's precariousness and heartless public abandonment in the USA.

Systematically disadvantaged minorities who are healthy, however, should not be simply accepted or accommodated like disabled people. They should be aided in their ability to achieve equality and prosperity. Achievement, not whining, yields respect and cooperation. Respect and cooperation outweigh acceptance and accommodation, because respect and cooperation form a solid foundation for propagating advancement. Unearned acceptance is tokenism. Those who are accommodated without skill or incentive eventually fail. Their failure simply enforces negative stereotypes of their perceived group identities.
  
What do I mean by achievement? I simply mean hard work at any socially worthwhile endeavor within the law. Achievement can mean keeping up a subsidized rental property while contributing time and effort to improving your community if you are poor. Achievement can be raising your children to be well-mannered, well-groomed and literate. Achievement can mean being a happy, unmarried and childless woman. Achievement can be growing up in a rough neighborhood and still managing to get an education which can lead to honest employment. Achievement can mean staying away from the drug culture by getting involved in an alternative culture in the same neighborhood. Achievement can mean adopting institutionalized children. Achievement can mean acknowledging a fundamental personal difference, learning self-respect and devising functional ways to exist in the world. Achievement might mean not having children to avoid passing on identified genetic illness. These achievements are not out of the reach of any healthy person who chooses to pursue them. 

We have had two generations of emotionally overindulged children in the USA. Many have been raised on an addictive form of acceptance and accommodation. They have been taught to believe that losers are winners. They have been told that they have an innate wisdom, despite their actual competence. They have not been taught that "No." means "No.". They have not been taught respectful regard for legitimate authority and mature wisdom. They have been subsidized and sometimes enabled in dysfunction by helicopter parents.

Is it any wonder that they readily identify with law-breakers over law-enforcers? Is it any wonder that they have no skeptical judgment of social behaviors in themselves or others? Is it any wonder that they see acceptance and accommodation despite their own disrespectful behaviors as their unquestionable right?  And is it any wonder that whining, mixed with gang tantrums, comes so readily to them when that acceptance or accommodation is denied by rational human beings?  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

ENOUGH WITH THE NAZIS ALREADY.


This morning, after kill-switching the BBC World Service with disgust at the level of its propagandizing, I tried to listen to Scott Simon on NPR's Saturday Morning Edition. I've been listening to Scott Simon for decades. However, in recent years I have listened much less. Why? Well, something happened to Scott and to me along the way. 

Simon used to be a quick-witted punster whose glib reactions to the news were refreshingly spontaneous. I could perceive an independent mind behind his broadcasting persona. I noticed a difference after he became a father. He began telling me ad nauseam that he was a father, for one thing. He went all puppies and kittens for some years. His edge blunted, then turned to cotton wool.

This morning, Scott Simon committed the unpardonable journalistic sin, in my view. He hosted an author of an apologist book about Germans and their Nazi past. This author, granddaughter of a German immigrant, should be congratulated on her timing. And I do not mean that as a compliment necessarily. Simon coaxed and led his witness like an ambulance chaser in front of a sleepy jury. He gradually drew from her a limp insinuation that these political times are somewhat reminiscent of 1930's Germany. I turned the dial to my classical music station. I was hoping they would play Beethoven or Wagner as antidote. Instead I was soothed by classical Spanish guitar.

The USA is not closely analogous to 1930's Germany. If you think it is, I recommend you read more about post-WW-I Germany and politics in general. And I recommend you use that knowledge to grow up a bit by honing your skepticism, if not also your active participation in the electoral process.

I do not dismiss valid Nazi analogies. One of my two grandmothers was the descendant of German (Bavarian) Jews. As a gay man, I have skin in the Nazi-vigilance game. Gay rights and gay culture in the developed world were set back 100 years by the Nazi persecution of organized Leftist homosexuals of the Weimar Republic. Homosexual academics and political leaders were purged after the rise of Hitler. Many gay men died in labor camps, a fact which is often contested (denied?) by those with vested interests in Holocaust exploitation for religious, social and political reasons. As a gay man today, I see the bulk of Nazi-wannabes in ANTIFA mobs and cadres of transgender-obsessed pawns of demented college professors. 

Simon's insinuative leading of his radio guest smacked of the current Progressive Left media's lockstep propaganda against the Trump presidency. I suggest they look elsewhere for Nazi sympathizers. For example, George Soros, a major Jewish-born patron of the Progressive Left, worked for the Nazi regime in Hungary in his youth. His revelation of this on U.S. broadcast television in the 1990's came without the hint of remorse from him or reaction from others. The Progressive Left might also look to the Jewish Rothschilds, owners of the Bank of England. Their forebears actually funded the Third Reich. Finally, one might look more closely at Angela Merkel, whose father, Horst Kasner, was a troop leader of Hitler Youth in high school. Perhaps Nazi-guilt, combined with her Bilderberg-Group credentials, has a little something to do with Saint Angela's politics. 

I think dredging up the specter of Nazi Germany belies anyone's ignorance of the dynamics of European history in the 19th and 20th centuries. The same airheads who gush over Queen Elizabeth and her offspring overlook the fact that their ancestors were entirely responsible for WW I. They ignore the support of Hitler by King Edward VIII, who was forced to abdicate but remained a popular royalist figure. Their fans ignore the fact that British royals live an exalted lifestyle on the backs of millions of dead soldiers and Jews due to their alliance with the Rothschilds' Bank of England. And they ignore the fact that the economic and social devastation of WW I by these bankers was largely responsible for the rise of National Socialism in Germany, alongside the utter incompetence of Left-Liberal leadership in the Weimar Republic. 

Trump is an elected POTUS. His conflict with Congress and the US courts is a healthy sign of the Constitutional process of governance. He is not a fascist. The fascists in our midst are those so-called Progressives who would censor dissent from non-Progressives because they are angry that Hillary Clinton did not win. Their fantasies about how this nation would be significantly different under Clinton are just that ... fantasies, bordering on delusion. 

Many of those howling "Nazi" at Trump today have been smugly silent during 16 Obama-Bush years of American invasions abroad which have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly Muslim, and displaced millions more. They cheered our invading and internationally destabilizing military. They thanked soldiers in these invasions and occupations for their service. Who among us are more likely to resemble the crowds who cheered on Hitler as he invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia? I suggest we all stop pointing and complaining. This country and our entire planet are falling apart on a purely physical level. All this political wrangling is distraction from real hard work that needs to be done, while it might still make a difference in the fate of the human species. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

IT'S COMPLICATED.


Human life is complicated by our own awareness of it. Our own propensity to evolve quickly as a species in response to environmental influences is also our potential downfall. Our evolution as a species has gotten us into the polluted and overpopulated mess we find ourselves in today. This may lead to a major, more intentional, change in our evolution as a species. I am sure some elite power-brokers have their ideas on that, like the elimination of Euro-American culture in favor of a more manageable and chaotic multiculturalism. Dividing and conquering is harder when a population has a solid cultural identity and uniform language for easy communication. But what then? I shudder to think of where that mentality leads. 

7+ billion other people make things more complicated. For example, transgender issues may directly effect less than 1% of the human population, but that is now around 70 million people. Is there any wonder that their voices are being heard? The confusion caused by radical religions is amplified in the same way, by sheer numbers. A "minority" with such large numbers cannot be considered a shivering handful of helpless victims. The onus falls back on them to organize their own numbers to support themselves by developing better coping strategies. Crying wolf at every turn is simply counterproductive. 

Human consciousness is also complicated. There's what you think you think. There's what you actually act out based on what you really think. There's what you want to think, based on nothing evident in the reality around you. Hell, few of us have any idea of what we truly look like or sound like to others, despite all our video and audio technology. Control of our reality through mind or myth is simply an illusion, easily disrupted by events.

Much of what I do in my life is an attempt to make my own life less complicated. I wish I could say that the world around me cooperates. It does not. 

Life as a modern human in a developed country is measurably easier as compared to developing countries or the past in developed countries. The availability of machines for just about every domestic chore from robotic vacuum cleaners to computerized dishwashers has reduced physical labor to the point that obesity has replaced the chore-related accident as a public health nightmare. This relief of physical stress has been accompanied by the increased stress of environmental degradation caused by our sheer numbers and our use of space and resources. We have become inured to the stress because it has so permeated our urban lives. 

Stress ignored is more lethal than stress recognized. Three peers of mine have recently had strokes. These are people whose lives are fairly typical in today's urban environments. All three are careful about their diet and exercise requirements. All three were relatively healthy prior to their cerebral vascular accidents. So why would they suddenly suffer from a condition related to a peak in high blood pressure in their 60's? Part of that answer, I am convinced, is the baseline stress of modern life.

I am not surprised by the rise in cults of victim identity here in the USA. When the environment has become too complicated around you for you to make a dent in improving it, increased stress is inevitable. Your impotence in the face of this environmental onslaught can easily be perceived as persecution, consciously or subconsciously. This bubbling feeling of impotence can fuel many things from ulcers to depression to rage attacks to screaming nonsense in a silly pink hat. Repressed feelings of impotence can spawn violence if sparked by the wrong messianic message. There is evidence throughout history of mobilization of this sense of mass victim identity for evil.

My own experience of impotence, real and imagined, has been assuaged by meditation, reflection and action. First, I must accept the simple fact that there are 7+ billion other people on the planet. Too many people, of course, but that's where we are. If I were a fertile young woman, I might take that into consideration when assessing my own stress and life plans. Rather than railing against men and expecting 'the patriarchy' to make my life better, I might consider not having children as an option. That would be one way to reduce the complication and stress in life overall. It would also be a worthy sacrifice for those to come.

I am an old man, older by virtue of being chronically ill. I have made my life uncomplicated in as many ways as I can without unnecessarily increasing my stress, but age itself will complicate it inevitably until I finally die. I am not a victim of aging. That mindset, despite being exploited commercially in thousands of ways by capitalism, is absolutely ridiculous. Aging is as much a part of the human experience as fucking. However, fucking feels better. And that quest to feel better is perhaps the most complicating human flaw of all. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE RUSSIANS?


The U.S. Congress dithers in public over Russophobia. It's a safer gambit than holding public meetings on what people would like from government's intervention in health care. I laughed quietly yesterday when I came across a biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the stacks of a public library. It was just a few shelves away from Mao's biographies. I mused that they were both better summarized in print than in the flesh.

All this nonsense about spying is simply public theater. It is so old. It's older than Mata Hari. It is a ploy of governing elites to maintain the illusion of public choice of political systems. There are corporate equivalents in this age of corporate domination. Apple vs Windows. Android vs Apple. 

I hold the dubious distinction of being old enough to have been subjected to sheltering drills during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite Nikita Khrushchev's unseemly resemblance to my maternal grandmother, who had the most nuclear temper in my little world, I doubted the sincerity of the whole business. This was confirmed by my father when he was enlisted from our local police department to become Civil Defense Director for our city of 40,000 inhabitants. He was disgusted by the corruption he witnessed from inside that government propaganda program (not unlike today's Department of Homeland Security). So disgusted that he fended off several future solicitations to run for public office. He quickly returned to police work. 

If you doubt that the current posturing of anti-Russian politicians is simply a distraction from the dismantling of health entitlements and the obvious alienation of the common citizen from the Democratic Party, I encourage you to consider that Russia is perhaps the single most powerful developed country (in military and natural resource terms) which has not submitted to the globalist ideals of the Bilderberg mafia which attempts to rule through Brussels and the United Nations currently. The 2016 Presidential election has shaken its grip in the U.S. just when they had Canada and Mexico wrapped up as part of creating a North American Union, similar to the E.U.. Obama was their man. Trump is not. He is calling them out. And out they come. 

And they are coming out swinging. Pseudo-Democrats, like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, are livid. You can see their outraged confusion whenever they speak against the Trump presidency. Hillary Clinton was the Bilderberg candidate, groomed and chosen decades ago to succeed her husband eventually. The George Bushes were in their pocket as well. This thirty-year project, furthered by Cheney and Greenspan starting in the Reagan administration, had suddenly met popular resistance by the masses, the "deplorables" in Clinton's own words. The banner slogans of "Islamophobia", "Xenophobia" and "Racism" had not scared them off. Like the Brits who voted for Brexit, these victims of globalist manipulation by co-opted banks and politicians have stood up straight and said a resounding "No!". The look on Merkel's face during her recent state visit to Washington reflected the weariness and disgruntlement of the frustrated global elite. 

The death of David Rockefeller, one of the Bilderberg founders along with the Rothschilds and the Dutch royals, has most likely shaken the security of the globalists' agenda to expropriate the wealth of Northern Europe and the United States even further. Trump's 'Make America Great Again' strikes at the globalist sell-off of major American infrastructure projects and utilities to foreign-owned entities. 

Here in Boston, for example, our commuter rail system, a publicly constructed and subsidized transit system, is now operated by a French corporation. Other projects like the Trans-Texas Corridor, a Spanish-corporate scheme to possibly use American interstates, built by U.S. taxpayers, to collect tolls to fund political unification of North America, was defeated by the Texas legislature in 2011 after mass protests against it. Despite corporate and nationally funded media's attempts to dismiss any public awareness of globalist schemes as conspiracy theories, a significant percentage of the U.S. and British population have risen against those schemes through democratic means. 

Tapping fear of Russia is just silly. It displays the narcissism of Washington. It also reveals its shameless contempt for the U.S. population, which it has overtly deprived of decent public education and decent public health care for decades in an attempt to subjugate and plunder.  The lack of any straight answers from FBI and CIA officials makes the whole shadow play even more ridiculous. Putin must be having a good laugh. He couldn't have done more damage to Washington's credibility than what they are accomplishing themselves by trying to make him the super villain in their lame comic-book drama. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

ISNESS

Medicine Buddha

I'm into isness (IS'-ness) more than business. What is isness? It depends. I will digress and then return to the business of isness, which is neither somber nor frivolous. 

I fortunately pursued a Jesuit education when I was twelve. My parents were astounded. I was a shy kid, but had good grades in my nun-staffed Catholic elementary. One of the more benign women in black had pointed me in the direction of the Jesuits, who had a prep school on the other side of Boston. I managed to contact the school and apply to take the rigorous entrance exam. My parents reluctantly assisted with transportation and fees. They stated their preference for a local Catholic school in a neighboring working-class city. My working-class Catholic elementary education got me admitted into Boston College High School's lowest entry homeroom, tenth out of ten, Class J.

This is a long way to my point. I did eventually have seven years of Jesuit education, back in the day when it was actually education by Jesuits. Now, like Mr. Trump, the Jesuits have sold their brand to their old schools which are staffed predominantly by non-Jesuits. When Jesuits structured education, they founded it on theology, philosophy, logic and European history. Then a student was encouraged to move on to Classics (Arts/Humanities), Math-Science or Business. I chose Math-Science. 

My basic education in theology and philosophy brought me to independent study of Eastern (Asian) religions as a hobby while I continued in Science. I was also interested in the writings of Freud and Jung, especially in the context of Nietzsche's work. I began to see a progression of thought beyond the Christian-biased official history of Western civilization, which I had been thoroughly taught. 

When I began reading translations of Eastern sources, they spoke clearly to me. Bhavagad Gita, Upanishads and Dhammapada became my favorite sources for some time. I have simply opened them at random throughout the years since. I don't pretend to have any special insight into these texts. I am not a scholar. They have been useful to me in forming my own daily mental process. They speak a comforting language to me. 

Now back to isness. 

Reading Martin Buber's I and Thou in college started my quest to deconstruct metaphysical and philosophical writing in order to see if there was any practical merit in it. After reading sufficient long tomes on being and becoming, I realized that the writers were all grappling with a shadow in the dark, as was I. This didn't sit well with me at all. I am a minimalist at heart. Not rigidly so, like a religious Zen monk, mind you. I am willing to try on new things while maintaining loyalty to my own developed core practice and ethics. I believe this ongoing process fertilizes the soil of my mind, my consciousness. 

Isness came to that mind recently, when I was reflecting on meditation. Actually, isness came to me while I was meditating, to be honest. Isness is more fun than the overused being and becoming. I see isness as being consciously aware of having been, being and becoming all at once in the moment. It is the timeless consciousness so hard to enter and even harder to sustain. Perhaps this is the spark of enlightenment. I have experienced isness few times in my nearly seven decades of life. I will share one example.

One crisp November night in 1987 I was unable to sleep. I left my one-room cottage in Provincetown and walked deserted streets to the edge of town and beyond. I eventually reached Herring Cove without really thinking much about what I was doing or where I was going. It was a cloudless night. I looked above. There was The Universe. Stark and clear. A mosaic of tiny lights against infinite blackness. I realized in a stunning moment that I was propelled, flying, in the vastness of Space, far from the beach in soundless, breathless, effortless joy. My whole was that joy, without body or mind. 

I have no idea how long I was in that state, but I know it was the second profound psychological point in my life. Whenever times have gotten rough, I have tried to recall that particular experience, or its shadow in memory. It has sustained me, erased fear, brought me to a certain peace with earthly existence. It was my most intense experience of isness, though I have had others subsequently. And I do not believe it can be sealed in a can and marketed as religion or self-improvement. I believe that isness comes when fertile consciousness least expects it. All the chanting, fasting and praying to some deity will not bring it unless that fertile consciousness is open to simply being what it is in a special moment. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

HEALTH IS NOT A COMMODITY


Mr. Trump is arguably the most animated POTUS of my lifetime. I was taught at one time in my life that saying nothing was better than saying something negative about a person. That was my lame attempt to tone down my true estimation of the man in The Oval Office. 

Mr. Trump seems to think that fixing The Affordable Care Act is possible. As a retired registered nurse and very experienced consumer of health care by virtue of bad luck, I'd say he hasn't a bloody clue. The Affordable Care Act was broken when it was built. It continued to keep alive the notion that health is a commodity. This is delusional nonsense.

Health care, however, is a commodity when you refuse to give it to those who need it on an equitable and readily available basis. In other words, in America, you need to buy health care, no matter how desperately you need it. You must go through the humiliation when desperately ill of having someone question whether you are insured. Then, even if you are, you are forced to sign a contract saying you will be personally responsible for the bills if your insurance will not pay. Otherwise, they may well just not treat you, depending on how nasty the facility is, or they may just treat you badly. After all, how is a desperately ill person going to gather the strength to get a good litigation attorney or even submit a consumer complaint to a government body.

The other health care business model is like slumlords who collect huge government rental subsidies for housing the indigent. These health care providers treat anyone in an emergency room, as they must by law. Then the taxpayer ends up paying for those who cannot. These providers get an incentive for not promoting preventative health, follow up or health education. As long as they know the game, they collect. Big time. But the average taxpaying citizen hasn't a clue how this all happens and how expensive it is.  It's like waging war ... there is no referendum about it ... the government decides for us. 

But none of this makes health itself a commodity. You cannot actually provide health to anyone. A person must maintain his/her own health with whatever skills and tools are available. Some people will never have health, due to being brought into this world with genetic disorders which were entirely predictable by parents who were ignorant or willing to gamble with developing the life of another human being. Others will never have health because they contract diseases which cannot be cured. And others will never have health because of accidents or trauma sustained while engaging in violent activities, such as war. And others will never have health because they have neither money nor education. 

A core question that faces Mr. Trump and Congress preceded the lousy Obamacare placebo: Are we a nation which truly cares enough to provide health care to everyone who needs it within our borders? People in our government have been trying to avoid answering that question for decades.

The behavioral answer so far on both sides of the aisle and in The Oval Office has been a definite and resounding "No!" Congress, Mr. Obama and now Mr. Trump, it seems, do believe in caring for all the health insurance companies and medical centers within our borders. And most of them seem quite healthy already, since they are usually associated with other investment entities. Their CEO's are paid vast sums. Insurance companies hire thousands upon thousands of nurses and doctors to review claims and fend them off whenever possible. (I know this because I briefly was one.) Medical centers get reimbursed by insurance companies and government. They even have the audacity to run donation campaigns.besides. They too hire thousands nationally to submit claims and argue with the insurance company reviewers. Its a real bureaucratic wet dream...which makes both sides rich at the expense of sick people and taxpayers.

There is only one way to fix The Affordable Care Act: Abolishing it entirely. If Americans were not kept so stupid generally about health maintenance due to bad educational systems, they would be marching on Washington for universal health care as a civil right of U.S. residents. This march would not require pink hats or superstar lunatics. It would require the American population's health education by those who are most knowledgeable about health. But, wait! How can that happen when those same people work for pharmaceutical companies, medical centers and insurance companies? Heartless capitalism wins again. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

WHAT'S NOT HOMOPHOBIA

This mother has labeled her own child "transgender"
before that child has the brain capacity or adult sexual experiences to label him/her self. 
Questioning the mentality of this mother is not homophobic. 

I am becoming as sickened by the casual use of "homophobia" as I am by casual use of "Islamophobia" by the ideologically ignorant and those in media who indoctrinate them. "Homophobia", irrational fear of homosexuality, had its day in the sun as a useful and accurate tool in the fight against anti-homosexual discrimination and violence. It grew from the vast conversion of the mental health providers in the U.S. and Europe from frustrated purveyors of ineffectual and sadistic cures for homosexuality to supporters of mentally healthy gay men and lesbians, as that group became more visible and politically powerful  in society.

Some background might be helpful. I am in my late 60's. In grammar school, I was attacked on my way home from school by a gang of eight classmates, led by a mentally disturbed boy my age who perceived me as a sissy. They encircled me, tore my clothes, punched and kicked me. I got my punches and kicks in too. They retreated eventually, and I was never bothered again. I take some grim satisfaction that the gang leader later died young of alcoholism. Life wounds all heels. 

I live with a man who is also in his late 60's. In 1990, while eating ice cream with his male lover in Boston's South End on a hot summer evening, he and his lover were attacked by an adolescent gang of several Black-Latino residents from a nearby city housing project. They were both nearly stabbed to death with dozens of wounds, as well as being punched and kicked unconscious. Their neighbors, out on stoops in the heat, simply watched. None would give a statement to the police. And the police asked the victims when they came out of coma what they had done to provoke the attack. The Boston Police failed to find even one suspect for this horrendous attack. 

These are two cases of anti-homosexual violence which could be related correctly to the fear-hatred which is called "homophobia". One of the markers of true "homophobia" is its general social acceptability, even among those who know homosexuals they like or even love. It is irrational. Imagine if the these same stories above had been placed in a context of anti-Semitism when they happened. 

Today's LGBTQ+ mob (from whom I dissociate myself as a gay man) have taken the word "homophobia" as a weapon against anyone who expresses any opinion, no matter how scientific or considered, which diverges from their goose-step political line. I believe the political elite of that mob foster this kind of fascistic blind loyalty and enforcement of their ideology to keep themselves in six-digit Washington jobs. Every elite needs an enemy against whom to mobilize its followers against threats to its validity. American-European corporate capitalists need "The Russians", for example.

Since "homophobia" refers to a senseless fear-hatred of homosexuality, a  sizable segment of the LGBTQ+ mob cannot experience "homophobia" when getting negative responses to their behaviors or appearance. Why is that?  Most transgender activists demand that their condition not be associated with homosexuality. They strongly differentiate between sexuality and gender. So, how can they be subject to "homophobia"? And, logically, how can they be considered part of a gay (homosexual) rights movement?  "Transphobia", another term of dubious merit today, should be better defined by those who throw it about. It should not be considered relevant to a gay (homosexual) rights cause.

I do not maintain that senseless fear-hatred of homosexuals has evaporated. To the contrary, I feel that hatred of homosexuals has rebounded, largely due to their association with ideologies which are either irrelevant to homosexuality or directly a threat to homosexuals, like religious ideologies. A blind complacency in the gay and lesbian population has allowed this to happen by enabling through unquestioning financial support organizations like Human Rights Campaign and local Pride non-profits who have surrendered to religious, transgender, queer/questioning(?) and bisexual subgroups within. The bullied have now become bullies in LGBTQ+ contexts. They have hijacked the gay rights movement. 

What's not homophobia? It is not homophobic to resent a mob which tries to silence an intelligent and articulate opinion about anything. It is not homophobic to resist mind and speech control of any kind. It is not homophobic to question the sanity or medical ethics of castrations and mastectomies, performed on disturbed adolescents with or without the permission of their parents. It is not homophobic to react negatively to a screaming mob of people who dress and act like rejects from a circus audition while demanding to be taken seriously. It is not homophobic to defend homosexuals in the face of murderous religious ideologies, such as fundamentalist Islam, Judaism or Christianity. For example, it is not homophobic to protest the defense of Islam by misguided LGBTQ+ activists. It is not homophobic to suggest that you are not a homosexual unless you naturally desire and prefer to have sexual intercourse with a person of  your same gender. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

PRINCIPLES VS ABSOLUTES


The term "operating principle" (similar to Latin's modus operandi) implies movement. This is the crucial difference between having principles and following absolutes. Principles are evolving, living processes. Absolutes are prescribed commands or rules to be followed as devised and handed down. This may explain why so many religious people are sadly unprincipled. 

Principles are not given or handed down from above. To have principles, a person must actively commit to some consciously chosen standards of thought and behavior. This takes education and work. Yesterday's principle can easily turn into stale stubbornness for lack of its being nourished by fresh information and thoughtful challenges. 

The two great commandments of the Biblical Christ illustrate the difference between religion and principles. I have always been impressed with these as the symbol of the Christian revolution against Old Testament absolutism. The first cardinal directive from that Christ reinforces Old Testament monotheism, the foundation of Jewish identity: Love the Lord, your God, above all else. However, the second is revolutionary: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. This second commandment stabs at the heart of a hierarchic, absolutist society, based on hereditary provenance and economic status. It is a principle by which to live daily life outside the temple of absolutes. Its elevation to equal monotheism by the Biblical Christ is perhaps the best thing in all Christendom because it is an exhortation to nonviolence and compassion simply on the basis of shared humanity. 

Human beings appear to naturally prefer absolute directives over individual principles. Two thousand years after this suggestion of principled living by the supposed icon of morality in The West, human beings are still living selfishly and greedily while justifying that behavior through hollow theology, cleverly devised over centuries to absolve disregard for Christianity's basic message. Even secularists are slowly sliding back into those shadows of conformist denial of principles in favor of popularity and acceptance. Top-down economics simply reflect top-down morality, practiced by the educated elite to control/exploit the uneducated masses. This isn't Marxism. This is simply an observation of modern life.

Principles are integral to science. The scientific method is based on principled behavior, based on agreed conditions for research, experimentation and reporting within disciplines. What some scientists do with their scientific discoveries may be totally unprincipled. This usually entails using their discoveries for profit or politics. I back this up by pointing out that the Soviet Union, a dysfunctional mess economically and politically, was far more scientific than The West in its time. The quarantining of Russia by Western capitalists has deprived and still does deprive The West easy access to some of the world's great scientific minds.

Dogmatic ideologies, based in absolutes, are meant to bend individual principles to a common purpose, usually involving violence and power historically. For example, the Biblical message of the Christ of Christians is explicitly nonviolent and anti-capitalist. The Christian West is greedily capitalist and violent by political will. Capitalism is rapidly evolving toward totalitarian absolute as the global economic model. No wonder truly Christian Vatican pronouncements are seldom given much air time, as opposed to the papal announcements which support globalist-capitalist politics. 

Non-religious Buddhism, "Source Buddhism", accessed by individual reading and practice based on that reading, is perhaps the most credible principled ideology alive in today's world. It is amazingly atheistic and non-dogmatic for its time. It speaks to the individual without any prescribed reliance on rabbi, priest or imam. Its closest thing to an absolute is this: "Unintentional human life in a material world is suffering." And this has been substantiated scientifically thousands of years later. We are all inevitably doomed to decay and death, but we know mental health and physical well being are achievable through mindful living in practice. 

Developing principles through any chosen means is the process of maturing as an open and educated human being. Learning about our ancient forebears' prescriptions for behavior is helpful as long as it is not twisted into a method for subjugating minds to some group-think purpose. Studying religions, without falling prey to their seductive laziness of mind, is a good start for becoming a person of principles. Dawdling there, however, is counterproductive and corrupting.  Education without application is selfish, in my opinion. "Do as I say, not as I do." is the height of hypocritical lack of principles. This is the disease that comes with religious fundamentalism of any kind. 

Whether human beings will turn from their current course toward absolutism (and away from individual principles) is most likely the test of whether we grow as a species or devise our own decline. The seemingly unavoidable pressures of mindless capitalism, overpopulation and environmental decline may simply push most humans into the waiting arms of those who wish to dictate and control. This may be an inherent flaw of our species, part of a an evolutionary balance. It may also be an unnecessary waste of an exceptional evolutionary development, the human brain, on this once-beautiful and very rare planet. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

IT'S JUST JUSTO.




I have shared this wonderful video from RT International's documentary collection on YouTube. It profiles the life of a Spanish man, named Justo, who has been building a cathedral in his small Spanish hometown for about 50 years. Justo has had no formal architectural or engineering training. He is designing and building the cathedral as he goes along. The town's people call it "Garbage Cathedral".

Justo tried to belong to a local monastery in his youth, but was ejected. Given the fact that he was then the potential heir of a family fortune in real estate and agriculture, I have to speculate that his behavior was too crazy for the other monks to tolerate. They used the excuse that he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. His longevity seems to provide evidence that he was not that severely ill.

After a short time in Madrid, Justo returned to his village and worked on his parents' land. He had hoped to find a wife in Madrid, but says that he could find no woman prettier than the Blessed Virgin Mary. So, he vowed celibacy and resolved to build his cathedral. He inherited his parents' property. He has used the proceeds from selling it off to finance his project.

The story of lovably eccentric Justo says so much about Roman Catholic indoctrination's hold on Spanish life. The entrenched sanctification of family by religion is shown as empty. Justo inherited despite his impaired mental capacity. His mismanagement of his family's wealth had serious impact on the people of the community. Subsequently, his three nephews, who had profited from Justo's management of his estate by extracting money  and land from him in exchange for some grudging labor at the cathedral site, tried to undermine his efforts by beating up Justo's devoted assistant, a man who sold his own house to help Justo pay off some debts. 

Money, family, religion ... a troubling triad, exposed beautifully in this short documentary. I strongly recommend it.