Local letter to the editor

connerman
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Local letter to the editor

This letter appeared in my local newspaper

Graphic had no place in newspaper

Re: "Death by stoning" (In 5 Minutes graphic, Jan. 5)fctAdTag("bigbox",MyGenericTagVar,1);

I am a social sciences teacher at a local high school, and was shown the article by our school librarian. At first glance, it would appear this is a basic 'how to' depiction of a basic skill such as throwing a baseball or improving a golf swing; the graphs and bizarre imagery would further substantiate this initial impression. When I took the time to read the article, and understood its focus was about an archaic method of executing men and women in countries lacking the human rights and voice to challenge this antiquated idea, I was disgusted.

 

As educators, we work hard to instil in students the idea that violence, in any form, is wrong, and to make a cartoon-like image of such a violent act and cultural practice further desensitizes readers to the reality of the situation.

Furthermore, outlining the steps in a manner similar to those found in an everyday recipe or video game does not provide credence to the severity of the issue.

Although as readers in a free, developed country we cannot presume to condemn a culture for its practices (even though to us stoning may seem particularly cruel and primitive), we can, however, emphasize the value of human life and not categorize or presume to simplify death through inappropriate methods such as this article. What's next? A similar graphic article outlining the steps an American on death row would face through electrocution would never make it to print because it would be considered too uncomfortable for the reader. The same consideration should be afforded to stoning.

Just as readers have a responsibility to use critical thinking when studying articles, the same onus should be on journalists to report and discuss events while recognizing the significance and gravity of serious issues.

 

The graphics in question were drawings depicting how the condemned are buried either to the torso (women) or the neck (men).  The act of stoning itself was not depicted. It's curious that the condemned are fully wrapped in a cloth from head to toe much like the heads are covered during a hanging.

The following is my response. Hopefully it will be published tomorrow.

 

  Kelli Orr has missed the point. In her letter (Graphic had no place in newspaper Jan. 6) she says she was disgusted by the depiction of death by stoning. Good!

     I, as well am disgusted. Even more now that I understand graphically (not cartoonish) how a stoning is carried out. This is not a how to manual. The concept of stoning someone to death is not difficult to grasp mechanically. A manual describing how to assemble a bomb, however, would be a different matter. But this is not about a bomb. It's about a practice designed to inflict pain, prolong death, and maximize humiliation.     It's interesting that Orr's letter was printed the same day as an article about softening up Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by removing the nasty racial references "nigger" and "injun". Those words were used by Twain to reflect a reality. By altering the text young readers will lose the impact and tone intended.     The images depicting a stoning also have an impact and a tone. The impact is horror the tone is disgust. How should we soften this up for mass consumption?     For too long the media has been too timid, caving in to the sensitivities of a vocal, politically correct minority. While this approach offends no one we end up losing all provocation for discussion. Instead of hiding the images maybe they could be used in a constructive manner. Is it the culture, the government, or the religion of Iran that allows this to happen? Did our own country use barbaric penal methods in it's history? What can we do to end the practice of stoning?     This reminds me of the Danish newspaper that printed cartoons deemed offensive to Muslim sensitivities. Had the world media joined in and printed the offending images in their newspapers as well, just who would the cowardly Fatwah been directed at. We might have seen a vocal minority of Muslims implode upon itself with it's own absurdities.     Thanks to the Whig for publishing these "disgusting" images and provoking this discussion. 

 

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One would like to believe

One would like to believe that our print media are more interested in publishing Truth than toddler-safe puff pieces designed to please Grandmom.


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One would think . But hey.

One would think . But hey.


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Great Response

That was a good response.

I have a feeling had it not been for the fact that we are supposed to treat religion with some sort of respect, that teacher would have had a much different opinion.

There is a guy that puts out alot of anti-religious cartoons on youtube. ( I have posted quite a number of them on here and find them hysterically funny). But he had one that was poking fun at Allah. Apparently he got some ugly e-mails about that.He touched upon it prior to the actual start of his video. At the beginning of the Allah video, his caption reads :So with all due respect to Muslims :   Due Respect= None , the  video continues right on. LOL.

I do not think that there should be some sort of invisible line that we should not be allowed to cross, just because it is someone's religion.

If I have to put up with the constant threats of eternal damnation and their efforts to impose archaic forms of twisted ideals that they call morals on me, then they can tolerate my rebuttals.

I would be no more worried about this than I would worry about someone claiming that I have no right to talk bad about the Twillight Movies.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Excelent response!I heard

Excelent response!

I heard about the Twain article. Removing those words in a knee-jerk fashion is exactly what a racist would want - us forgetting our own history and culture in context.

I am Danish by the way - I do not agree with you at all on the Muhammed-drawings. The whole thing was a local political stunt with wide reaching consequences. Normally issues of this nature would be handled by building a friendly environment and lowering the tone of voice, but western forces chose to undermine middle-eastern societies (yes, those are social constructs that we piss on and alienate every day) and incite domestic anger and distrust towards muslim communities by hypocritical posturing on "freedom of speech" - the very same people who are now suggesting that long term imprisonment or even death penalty would be appropriate for Julian Assange. This was a short term political move with long term effects.

A small piece of evidence is our then prime minister Fogh - he declined all conversation with 11 guest ambasadors from middle-eastern countries and sent them home, all the while insulting a quarter of the world by condescending explanations of "how things work in the civilised world" and lieing to his own population on everything from who we torture and kill in the middle east to what our goals are down there. This would have been a diplomatic debacle for any prime minister, but it got him a spot as the General Secretary of NATO just months later. This is a clear message from the west to the middle east and no amount of bullshit discussion about the factually non-existing western freedom of speech will change that. Freedom-by-ignorance is not freedom, its ignorance.

harleysportster - relax, none of the retards posting random broad threats are really a threat to you. The only person that can hurt you is you, while you clutch to the fear (or would you prefere discomfort?) planted in you by the people that are currently selling warm civilian blood for cold $

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ZuS wrote:harleysportster -

ZuS wrote:

harleysportster - relax, none of the retards posting random broad threats are really a threat to you. The only person that can hurt you is you, while you clutch to the fear (or would you prefere discomfort?) planted in you by the people that are currently selling warm civilian blood for cold $

Um, I think I am going to have to ask you to clarify that statement as I am not sure what you mean.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:If I

harleysportster wrote:

If I have to put up with the constant threats of eternal damnation and their efforts to impose archaic forms of twisted ideals that they call morals on me, then they can tolerate my rebuttals.

Yea, they tolerate more from you than just your rebuttals. Your representatives literally kill their families in such high numbers that I am astonished at the lack of reprisals. I, the moderate atheist, can guarantee you that given the situation some of these people find themselves in due entirely to our inaction in stopping our criminal representatives, I would be a non-theistic carnage machine.

I'd chill about the threats of eternal damnation - for most of the loudmouths yelling is just venting. For the ones we affect in ways you don't even like thinking about, falling back on some sense of purpose by yelling at you after total destruction of their lives is the least they can do. Victims are not a threat to you even if they are exploding right next to you, your own fear is.

As for the guys who turn blood into monetary value, I don't have to explain that I hope. If I do, google DynCorp and then imagine the whole western hemisphere run by guys like that - you just imagined reality.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


harleysportster
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ZuS wrote:Yea, they tolerate

ZuS wrote:

Yea, they tolerate more from you than just your rebuttals. Your representatives literally kill their families in such high numbers that I am astonished at the lack of reprisals. I, the moderate atheist, can guarantee you that given the situation some of these people find themselves in due entirely to our inaction in stopping our criminal representatives, I would be a non-theistic carnage machine.

I'd chill about the threats of eternal damnation - for most of the loudmouths yelling is just venting. For the ones we affect in ways you don't even like thinking about, falling back on some sense of purpose by yelling at you after total destruction of their lives is the least they can do. Victims are not a threat to you even if they are exploding right next to you, your own fear is.

Care to explain that ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Minority Extremists

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority. It seems that you would prefer we hold our tongues.  I respectfully disagree. The muted majority needs to hear that they are not alone.  Are you going to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she needs to tone it down? She has risked her life exposing the plight of Muslim women, yet, you would prefer she hadn't said anything that would offend sensitive ears.Those sensitive ears are the extremists not the majority. I will put this on a parallel with Mark Twain. The offensive "niggars" and "injuns" in Huckleberry Finn were offensive only to the racists who believed the monikers were true. The racists who are trying to expunge these words (yes, they are racists who think they are the polar opposite) would have us believe slavery wasn't as bad as history purports it to be. 

 

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connerman wrote:I think ZuS,

connerman wrote:

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority. It seems that you would prefer we hold our tongues.  I respectfully disagree. The muted majority needs to hear that they are not alone.  Are you going to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she needs to tone it down? She has risked her life exposing the plight of Muslim women, yet, you would prefer she hadn't said anything that would offend sensitive ears.Those sensitive ears are the extremists not the majority. I will put this on a parallel with Mark Twain. The offensive "niggars" and "injuns" in Huckleberry Finn were offensive only to the racists who believed the monikers were true. The racists who are trying to expunge these words (yes, they are racists who think they are the polar opposite) would have us believe slavery wasn't as bad as history purports it to be. 

 

 

I agree.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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I'm with you

I'm with you harleysportster, I'm having trouble sorting out some of ZuS's comments.


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connerman wrote:I think ZuS,

connerman wrote:

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority. It seems that you would prefer we hold our tongues.  I respectfully disagree. The muted majority needs to hear that they are not alone.  Are you going to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she needs to tone it down? She has risked her life exposing the plight of Muslim women, yet, you would prefer she hadn't said anything that would offend sensitive ears.Those sensitive ears are the extremists not the majority. I will put this on a parallel with Mark Twain. The offensive "niggars" and "injuns" in Huckleberry Finn were offensive only to the racists who believed the monikers were true. The racists who are trying to expunge these words (yes, they are racists who think they are the polar opposite) would have us believe slavery wasn't as bad as history purports it to be. 

 

I couldn't agree more with both this post and the OP. I am sick of people being offended by words and the attitude "you can't say that" because it might offend someone. If you believe it is the truth say it. More speech is always more beneficial than less speech even if some of it is offensive. Racist speech doesn't cause racism it is the result of racism that already exists. Putting your head in the sand and trying to stop the speech does nothing to solve the real problem. 

 

@ Zus- I think I understand what you are trying to say. And yes, there are a lot of perfectly legitimate reasons why people in 3rd world countries would hate anyone from the developed world. I submit that radical Islam, which attempts to stifle development, makes things much worse. I'm not sure how you imagine we could stop criminal enterprises from running rampant through those countries. We are trying our best in Afghanistan and failing miserably. There is only so much you can do to force development both economically and socially from the outside. Until the people in those countries develop stable governments with minimal corruption there will always be those who will take advantage of them to make money through things such as drugs, guns and diamonds. From a governmental standpoint too little meddling causes us to be blamed for not stopping the criminals, too much meddling causes us to be accused of trying to take them over. So what do you think we should do?

 

I don't get your accusation at Harley that it is somehow his fault (or I believe you would say ALL westerners fault) for the horrible things that happen in 3rd world countries. We can try to limit the damage caused by our government interventions and there are a few things we could do better there. There is little we can do about the criminals even when they come from our countries until those countries themselves do something to create order.   

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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connerman wrote:I think ZuS,

connerman wrote:

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority.
 Man, I am an atheist and I am so pissed some times at the crap I see that I cannot fathom every muslim in the US does not get up and charge the White House tonight. And Christian. And Jew. And me with them. Moderate majority in our country is not helping - we need some radicals. I just think we should think this first, then sort out the cultural differences later. 
connerman wrote:
 It seems that you would prefer we hold our tongues.
 On the contrary - I think we should not only not hold our tongues, but unleash the fury. The muslim community is the victim from so many sides at the moment, that we should be blocking every political process in our countries until something is done about it. Its 1939 and we are complaining about the Jews blowing themselves up in a Berlin ghetto. Hell, no. 
connerman wrote:
I respectfully disagree.
 And I agree with your disagreement, but your guns are way off target. We should be slapping the guys that put the wedge there, that bastardise the "freedom of speech", rant on about the imaginary threat of the sharia law and call for executions of journalists and what not - these guys are as white and atheistic as can be and are runing our media, government and basically constitute the top 1% income bracket, minus the exceptions to the rule. 
connerman wrote:
The muted majority needs to hear that they are not alone.  Are you going to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she needs to tone it down? She has risked her life exposing the plight of Muslim women, yet, you would prefer she hadn't said anything that would offend sensitive ears.Those sensitive ears are the extremists not the majority.
 Again, agree fully. We must make it clear that the real threat to cultural progress in the middle east is our own government and business world. Why? 'Cause people down there tell me that in every poll I have ever seen - THAT'S how I'll support them. Because every honest history book tells me the same. We put everything from Pinochet to Taliban in charge; with us around, Christians don't need to dream up Antichrists. In my mind I can't see how you can support them better than stopping what we're doing. Just look at the last 10 years with the wars, need go no further. If you still do need to, look at the last 50 with Israel and the support for dictatorships world wide. Look at how we created Iraq, for <almost said God's there> Pete's sake. I don't see how anyone in the middle east can take us seriously when we go on a holy march with Ayaan Hirsi Ali - they are fucking laughing at us and they're right. 
connerman wrote:
 I will put this on a parallel with Mark Twain. The offensive "niggars" and "injuns" in Huckleberry Finn were offensive only to the racists who believed the monikers were true. The racists who are trying to expunge these words (yes, they are racists who think they are the polar opposite) would have us believe slavery wasn't as bad as history purports it to be.
 

No, don't put that on a parallel with Twain, he's way to awesome for this conversation.

Just like there are monikers that are offensive to the stupid because they think they are true, there are also monikers that are offensive to the smart, because they know they are not true. To name some: western democracy, western freedom of speech, western peaceful intervention. I don't mind you fighting other fights, but let's keep our priorities straight here. Until we actually can say what we stand for here in the west, people from the middle east and the rest of the world will laugh at us for all our corruption and their snakes will follow the lead of our snakes.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.


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    I will always try to

    I will always try to appreciate another point of view. I am respectfully trying to understand yours but the contradictions keep getting in the way. Please slow down, and chuck the metaphores (snakes will follow the lead of our snakes??!!??).  I dunno. Maybe it's me. 

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connerman wrote:    I

connerman wrote:

    I will always try to appreciate another point of view. I am respectfully trying to understand yours but the contradictions keep getting in the way. Please slow down, and chuck the metaphores (snakes will follow the lead of our snakes??!!??).  I dunno. Maybe it's me. 

Ok making it really simple now. The reason there is so much tension with the muslim world is because there is money in it for the people who run our society and the people who run their society, a simple divide and conquer between the snakes. Until such a time as we fix that little infestation issue, any problems you may have with "crazy religious people" are a side show - completely irelevant, except as a distraction. All our disagreements should be brushed under the carpet until DynCorp is not running world's security policies, Monsanto isn't in charge of the food policies and heavy industry is no longer regulating itself.

What I am trying to tell you, apparently with the skill of an elephant trying to open a beer can, is that the "crazy religious" are on our side, or at least in the same boat - losing our rights and our children's futures to Koch brothers and their ilk. If you in light of this still think that getting a handle on our own fascists is not priority #1 (and for a computer scientist ranking priority rather than importance means that #1 really means #1) and that all disagreements with religious folk still stand, even though we are thereby helping our real enemy, then you are less able to grasp reality than the poor schmucks gazing at the sky for answers.

I can understand how this point of view can be hard to empathise with, because you don't know war or real famine. To you this little dance of "logic" and light argument seems to make some sense, since you don't know what it is to have to brush everything but survival under the carpet. Well, south americans know. Middle easterners know. Everyone our snakes ever had the pleasure to bite knows. They're just wating for us to wake up, hopefully before our snakes eat us alive.

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ZuS wrote:Ok making it

ZuS wrote:

Ok making it really simple now. The reason there is so much tension with the muslim world is because there is money in it for the people who run our society and the people who run their society, a simple divide and conquer between the snakes. Until such a time as we fix that little infestation issue, any problems you may have with "crazy religious people" are a side show - completely irelevant, except as a distraction. All our disagreements should be brushed under the carpet until DynCorp is not running world's security policies, Monsanto isn't in charge of the food policies and heavy industry is no longer regulating itself.

Speculation

ZuS wrote:

What I am trying to tell you, apparently with the skill of an elephant trying to open a beer can, is that the "crazy religious" are on our side, or at least in the same boat - losing our rights and our children's futures to Koch brothers and their ilk. If you in light of this still think that getting a handle on our own fascists is not priority #1 (and for a computer scientist ranking priority rather than importance means that #1 really means #1) and that all disagreements with religious folk still stand, even though we are thereby helping our real enemy, then you are less able to grasp reality than the poor schmucks gazing at the sky for answers.

Speculation

ZuS wrote:

I can understand how this point of view can be hard to empathise with, because you don't know war or real famine. To you this little dance of "logic" and light argument seems to make some sense, since you don't know what it is to have to brush everything but survival under the carpet. Well, south americans know. Middle easterners know. Everyone our snakes ever had the pleasure to bite knows. They're just wating for us to wake up, hopefully before our snakes eat us alive.

While the U.S. itself has yet to experience the presence of actual war on it's soil or major famine, it is a hell of an assertion to say that someone does not know war. Particularly when you do not know if you are talking to a combat veteran or not. Or whether or not that the person you are posting to has lost a family member in a war or not.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Ahh! Finally the truth comes

Ahh! Finally the truth comes out. This is all about conspiracies and secret cabals pulling the strings of we the hapless puppets. Sorry, I don't buy conspiracy theories. For much the same reason I'm an atheist. Evidence and proof always seem to be in short supply with Gods and conspirarcies. Thanks.

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Can't help feeling this thread has been

 

pushed in a direction it was never intended to go. I can see the truth in ZuS's comments on the way small countries are devoured by wealthy corporations which do deals with local and national warlords. There is moral inconsistency there. Of course, aside from Iraq and Afghanistan, the West's direct influence in most middle eastern nations is light. 

As an antitheist I am against certain religious doctrines and think christian and islamic doctrine is immoral, divisive and based on threat. It's not really a personal thing. All my family are christians and I don't usually dislike them to much, tho' my sister's belief in Noah's Ark and her subscription to the 'Kinds' model (which hilariously relies on evolution for current diversity) does my head in. It's the ideas that I oppose.

Whether stoning or the electric chair is worse ignores the fact that women are almost always the victims in the middle east, whether it's weirdly fabricated adultery trials or being beaten with iron bars for showing an ankle on the street.

Personally, I don't think we should have been in Iraq. Afghanistan is a different thing but there's still no chance of success there. I think the West should not be involved there either, tho' I can't help thinking that if we are to be consistent we should probably fight every war of majority emancipation on the planet.

I think the correct way to handle the threat from that area is intense border control and an attempt to lobby middle eastern nations to take responsibility for their own back yard. Presumably muslims don't like it when their families are blown to smithereens at the local church, any more than we like our buses, trains and planes exploding.  

Moral consistency is the thing. Pretty obviously it must go in both directions.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Then there's shit like this...

Somalia bans unrelated men and women from shaking hands, talking

  • From: AFP
  • January 09, 2011 7:45AM

AL-QAEDA-linked militants in war-torn southern Somalia have banned unrelated men and women from shaking hands, speaking or walking together in public, residents say.

People who break the rules could be imprisoned, whipped or even executed.

The insurgents already have banned women from working in public, leaving many mothers with a terrible choice: risk execution by going to sell some tea or vegetables in the marketplace, or stay safely at home and watch the children slowly starve.

"It's an awful rule. I feel like I'm under arrest. I've started to ignore the greetings of the women I know to avoid punishment," Hussein Ali said by phone from the southern Somali town of Jowhar.

The edict is also being enforced in the town of Elasha.

Gunmen are searching buses for improperly dressed women or women traveling alone, said student Hamdi Osman in Elasha. She said she was once beaten for wearing Somali traditional dress instead of the long, shapeless black robes favoured by the fighters.

The Islamists' insistence that women wear the long, heavy robes also forces many women to stay at home because they can't afford the new clothing.

Al-Shabab controls most of southern and central Somalia, and the group is trying to overthrow the weak UN-backed government. Analysts believe many Somalis don't support the insurgency because of the harsh punishments and severe restrictions it imposes, and because it often kidnaps children to use as fighters.

But after 20 years of civil war, the government is too weak, corrupt and divided to present a credible challenge to the insurgents. The Somali government is protected by 8000 heavily armed African Union peacekeepers but has failed to deliver any security or services to the population.

The insurgents even control parts of the capital, brazenly carrying out amputations, whippings and stonings in public places. The list of forbidden things differs from town to town and commander to commander.

In Jowhar, the insurgents are now also insisting that men grow their beards but shave their moustaches, said another resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.

The Islamists have also banned the cinema, music and bras because they say they are all un-Islamic. Such restrictions are influenced by foreign fighters practicing Wahhabi Islam, which is much stricter than Somalia's traditional Sufi Islam that incorporates a long tradition of poetry and song.

"The last time I listened a song or music was two years ago, before the insurgents managed the full control of my village," said Bile Hassan. Now, he says, even the memory of music makes him feel afraid.


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/somalia-bans-unrelated-men-and-women-from-shaking-hands-talking/story-e6frfku0-1225984417146#ixzz1AV3Aqnu5

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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connerman wrote:Ahh! Finally

connerman wrote:

Ahh! Finally the truth comes out. This is all about conspiracies and secret cabals pulling the strings of we the hapless puppets. Sorry, I don't buy conspiracy theories. For much the same reason I'm an atheist. Evidence and proof always seem to be in short supply with Gods and conspirarcies. Thanks.

We need to have a conversation on this "conspiracy theory" stuff. I claim its modus operandi, the way business is done, not shady characters in the back room. If you don't see the difference, I will try to help you. Here's an instance of the machine at work: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/05/business/la-fi-insure-rates-20110106

If you don't see the significance of that little article, we're done - nothing I say will make sense to you. But if you realise what 59% increase in cost of health insurance for an idividual within a year means and how indifferent Blue Shield really is to the human factor, we can talk. You can see the same on issue after issue, from health care over pharma, food industry to defense - these people are every bit as ingenious at drawing $ out of public coffers and buying politicians as I am at creating software, and better - they can hire the best heads on the planet to help them along. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is the real logic.

Its not that inconcievable - its just the greek school of philosophy instead of the Christian school. If you think like Odysseus, these things are obvious - they have the money and the contacts - of course some of them will do what it takes to go in one radical direction of trying for more by any means necessary. It might be a very small minority, but given resources and opportunity to subvert the legal system, it doesn't matter how few we're talking about. It also doesn't matter if they are smart or not - they hire people to be smart for them, so their goal can be as retarded as they want it to be and still move in that direction full speed Titanic style.

I know Chomsky says that intellectuals are status quo supporters both by ignorance and interest and are usually the last to join the fight on the right side, but I'm trying to keep an open mind here. So PLEASE recognize the distinction between conspiracy and reality, so that we can have a conversation.

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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Speculation

Look, read the post I just wrote above and lets talk about speculation. Substantiated speculation is absolutely necessary, because this is life and people are dieing due to our inaction. We'll just have to go with the abundant information on our hands and thousands of years of wisdom handed down to us by street and university philosophers. I think this is as close as we'll ever get to scientific proof.

If you think my speculation is not substantiated, we can have this conversation. If you follow the link in my last post, that would be the begining of my substantiation.

harleysportster wrote:

While the U.S. itself has yet to experience the presence of actual war on it's soil or major famine, it is a hell of an assertion to say that someone does not know war. Particularly when you do not know if you are talking to a combat veteran or not. Or whether or not that the person you are posting to has lost a family member in a war or not.

In that post you just offered - "when you do not know if you are talking to a combat veteran or not" - that tells me everything I need to know about the depth of your knowledge of war. Even considering that a "combat veteran" can know war, someone who has another place to go, who's family is not in the combat zone or dead and who is carrying a rifle, this tells me that you don't know war. Its little things like that which amount to huge difference in priority, I can smell it on people.

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

pushed in a direction it was never intended to go. I can see the truth in ZuS's comments on the way small countries are devoured by wealthy corporations which do deals with local and national warlords. There is moral inconsistency there. Of course, aside from Iraq and Afghanistan, the West's direct influence in most middle eastern nations is light.

Hey, a bit of luke warm support - I'll take it Smiling

Atheistextremist wrote:

As an antitheist I am against certain religious doctrines and think christian and islamic doctrine is immoral, divisive and based on threat. It's not really a personal thing. All my family are christians and I don't usually dislike them to much, tho' my sister's belief in Noah's Ark and her subscription to the 'Kinds' model (which hilariously relies on evolution for current diversity) does my head in. It's the ideas that I oppose.

I got you, believing those things is crazy and we can have a conversation about it, as soon as we stop killing people in Afghanistan. Right now we need your sister's belief in Christ's love, or whatever she wants to call basic human compassion and common sense of cooperation, to protest the war with us.

This is just an illustration - we've got our heads on backwards on so many issues that we can't say with certainty that human life will survive another century. Unscrewing ourselves cannot wait a generation or two and it certainly can't wait for us to convince your sister that its her feelings that are the basis for her religion, not vice versa.

Who cares, man? She might be even more motivated because of this sense of purpose - I'll have Martin Luther King over Christopher Hitchens on my side in a social fight any day of the week and I'd be thrilled that he can carry a crowd as well as he could.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Whether stoning or the electric chair is worse ignores the fact that women are almost always the victims in the middle east, whether it's weirdly fabricated adultery trials or being beaten with iron bars for showing an ankle on the street.

Yea, I got that too and I agree - we have to do something about that - as soon as ... you know ... we actually run our government and can direct our representatives to stop selling guns and inciting violence in the region. The problem is right here, in our corridors of power. Today we have an opportunity to do something about it, because we are the Rome - a fairly open place where we can act without the fear of being beheaded. Once this Rome crumbles, some other place will be Rome and we will have lost our chance. The next Rome could be a hell of a lot worse and impregnable than this one. We don't have time to enjoy the view from the top deck on our Titanic.

Atheistextremist wrote:

Personally, I don't think we should have been in Iraq. Afghanistan is a different thing but there's still no chance of success there. I think the West should not be involved there either, tho' I can't help thinking that if we are to be consistent we should probably fight every war of majority emancipation on the planet.

I think the correct way to handle the threat from that area is intense border control and an attempt to lobby middle eastern nations to take responsibility for their own back yard. Presumably muslims don't like it when their families are blown to smithereens at the local church, any more than we like our buses, trains and planes exploding.  

Moral consistency is the thing. Pretty obviously it must go in both directions.

See, we can have a conversation on all that stuff - but we're not going to, as long as DynCorp dictates when, where and who we fight. Here's a line or two about the guys who have huge incentive to fight wars and have our politicians in their pocket: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/142392-Dyncorp-sex-slave-whistle-blowers-vindicated

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ZuS wrote:In that post you

ZuS wrote:

In that post you just offered - "when you do not know if you are talking to a combat veteran or not" - that tells me everything I need to know about the depth of your knowledge of war. Even considering that a "combat veteran" can know war, someone who has another place to go, who's family is not in the combat zone or dead and who is carrying a rifle, this tells me that you don't know war. Its little things like that which amount to huge difference in priority, I can smell it on people.

Which wars have you experienced firsthand or been involved with ? Which combat zone have you or your family grown up in ?

Have you ever been involved in combat ?

I am going to have to ask you to be a little more specific about that.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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ZuS wrote:Look, read the

ZuS wrote:

Look, read the post I just wrote above and lets talk about speculation. Substantiated speculation is absolutely necessary, because this is life and people are dieing due to our inaction. We'll just have to go with the abundant information on our hands and thousands of years of wisdom handed down to us by street and university philosophers. I think this is as close as we'll ever get to scientific proof.

More speculation.

Zus wrote:

If you think my speculation is not substantiated, we can have this conversation. If you follow the link in my last post, that would be the begining of my substantiation.

And yet again, more speculation.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:ZuS

harleysportster wrote:

ZuS wrote:

In that post you just offered - "when you do not know if you are talking to a combat veteran or not" - that tells me everything I need to know about the depth of your knowledge of war. Even considering that a "combat veteran" can know war, someone who has another place to go, who's family is not in the combat zone or dead and who is carrying a rifle, this tells me that you don't know war. Its little things like that which amount to huge difference in priority, I can smell it on people.

Which wars have you experienced firsthand or been involved with ? Which combat zone have you or your family grown up in ?

Have you ever been involved in combat ?

I am going to have to ask you to be a little more specific about that.

Bosnia, different places in Sarajevo 1992-1994. I was 13-14. No food, water or medicine other than scrounging, less than an hour of electricity a day for over a year. Many friends and family got killed sporadically over a 10 year span, some after war ended. 5 family members in one incident in 1994. I came close to death half a dozen of times because I was a tall kid with a wrong name, even though family tried to protect me. I am not sure if you can call having 6 ribs broken with rifle butts for "involved in combat". Basically 2 years of constant fear and pain and I survived accidentally.

I don't think I can begin to explain to you the significance of corporate interest in war and how badly we need to stop that first and talk about religion after. We just can't have it. And we can have religion, really we can - its just people.

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ZuS wrote:I don't think I

ZuS wrote:

I don't think I can begin to explain to you the significance of corporate interest in war and how badly we need to stop that first and talk about religion after. We just can't have it. And we can have religion, really we can - its just people.

I am well aware of the significant amount of corporate crap that is involved in all levels of life including war. I don't like it either.

Got a solution ?

 Prove to me that if religious/non-religious people were to somehow simultaneously accept each other  that it would automatically ensue a massive anti-corporate stance. Prove to me that is ultimately what the common populace wishes for or that they even desire the types of solutions that you would have to offer.

Prove to me there  is any evidence of religious/non-religious people NEEDED to work together to accomplish massive social change.

The Christians/Atheist Community were not united at all about issues like slavery in this country, yet slavery has been ultimately abolished. The church was divided over whether or not to support slavery and slavery was abolished.

No two Atheists can even agree on one subject, how easy do you think that it is going to be to tell them they have to work together to overthrow all of these corporate enemies that you are finding everywhere ? Assuming that I even take anything that you say seriously at this point.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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ZuS wrote:I don't think I

ZuS wrote:

I don't think I can begin to explain to you the significance of corporate interest in war and how badly we need to stop that first and talk about religion after. We just can't have it. And we can have religion, really we can - its just people.

By definition corporations are "just people" too. A corporation is a group of people legally joined together for a common purpose. "Just people" can be the most dangerous and destructive force in the world.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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connerman wrote:I think ZuS,

connerman wrote:

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority. 

 

First off, Great Avatar.

 

But I must disagree with you... The people who we Americans refer to as "Extremists", are the ones following the Koran... The book is replete with calls to violence... and if they are a minority, the remainder are not practicing. We keep refering to islam as a "religion of peace", but that is more wishful thinking on our part.... 

I am of the belief that the reason the "silent" majority" exists, is because they are not in conflict with the more violent members of their faith, and realize that public exposure would warrant scrutiny... surely they would lose this favorable public perception


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... And  I'd like to agree

... And  I'd like to agree with Zus about corperatism being the greatest evil in the world right now.


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Rich Woods wrote:... And 

Rich Woods wrote:

... And  I'd like to agree with Zus about corperatism being the greatest evil in the world right now.

Actually, I am in agreement that alot of the major corporate practices are indeed bad overall. I am no friend to what alot of the big corporations are doing.I am ardently opposed to much of it.  In spite of the what Zus is insisting.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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harleysportster wrote:Rich

harleysportster wrote:

Rich Woods wrote:

... And  I'd like to agree with Zus about corperatism being the greatest evil in the world right now.

Actually, I am in agreement that alot of the major corporate practices are indeed bad overall. I am no friend to what alot of the big corporations are doing.I am ardently opposed to much of it.  In spite of the what Zus is insisting.

 

The problem isn't exactly corporations. The problem is when any person or group of individuals has significant power compared to others. Whether that be a large corporation, large government or large religion you are going to have significant problems. In most of these countries you either have weak governments that have no control what happens within their borders which allows abuses from everyone with power from drug lords to corporations, or you have a strong government being ran by radical muslims.

 

Until some sensible, less corrupt form of government is installed over there the current problems are not going away. Unfortunately, forcing freedom onto people does not work. Any true movement of change has to come from within the population and they need to set up their government themselves. The only country that I think currently has a chance to go through that kind of change in the near future is Iran. 

 

Now as far as mercenaries are concerned, I have never been a huge fan of using them as a replacement for our military. Both because it makes it harder to control potential abuses, and I don't trust them. What is to stop a mercenary from being hired to fight against us? Their patriotism? For someone who is willing to spend their lives in war zones and kill people as a profession, idealism probably isn't high on their list of traits. That being said, I don't think it would make a substantial difference to US - Arab world relations if we stopped hiring all mercenaries. The terrorists would still hate us and all of those countries would still be a violent and lawless mess. 

 

I'm still waiting for Zus to answer the questions of what we should do. Especially since he seems to be blaming us personally for doing nothing. 

 

Would it be enough to simply stop government use of corporations like Dyncorp? Do you believe that would make everything wonderful? I don't think it would make much difference at all beyond the conscience salving of knowing that at least we aren't paying for any atrocities that might be occurring.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

harleysportster wrote:

Rich Woods wrote:

... And  I'd like to agree with Zus about corperatism being the greatest evil in the world right now.

Actually, I am in agreement that alot of the major corporate practices are indeed bad overall. I am no friend to what alot of the big corporations are doing.I am ardently opposed to much of it.  In spite of the what Zus is insisting.

 

The problem isn't exactly corporations. The problem is when any person or group of individuals has significant power compared to others. Whether that be a large corporation, large government or large religion you are going to have significant problems. In most of these countries you either have weak governments that have no control what happens within their borders which allows abuses from everyone with power from drug lords to corporations, or you have a strong government being ran by radical muslims.

 

Until some sensible, less corrupt form of government is installed over there the current problems are not going away. Unfortunately, forcing freedom onto people does not work. Any true movement of change has to come from within the population and they need to set up their government themselves. The only country that I think currently has a chance to go through that kind of change in the near future is Iran. 

 

Now as far as mercenaries are concerned, I have never been a huge fan of using them as a replacement for our military. Both because it makes it harder to control potential abuses, and I don't trust them. What is to stop a mercenary from being hired to fight against us? Their patriotism? For someone who is willing to spend their lives in war zones and kill people as a profession, idealism probably isn't high on their list of traits. That being said, I don't think it would make a substantial difference to US - Arab world relations if we stopped hiring all mercenaries. The terrorists would still hate us and all of those countries would still be a violent and lawless mess. 

 

I'm still waiting for Zus to answer the questions of what we should do. Especially since he seems to be blaming us personally for doing nothing. 

 

Would it be enough to simply stop government use of corporations like Dyncorp? Do you believe that would make everything wonderful? I don't think it would make much difference at all beyond the conscience salving of knowing that at least we aren't paying for any atrocities that might be occurring.  

Well said Beyond. That's  my view as well.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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Beyond Saving wrote:ZuS

Beyond Saving wrote:

ZuS wrote:

I don't think I can begin to explain to you the significance of corporate interest in war and how badly we need to stop that first and talk about religion after. We just can't have it. And we can have religion, really we can - its just people.

By definition corporations are "just people" too. A corporation is a group of people legally joined together for a common purpose. "Just people" can be the most dangerous and destructive force in the world.

I understand what you mean by "corporation is a group of people legally joined together for a common purpose", but this description is WAY too generous and completely deceptive when describing the nature of big multinational corporations of today. Big corporations are NOT "just people". If you want to describe them as individuals, then big corporations are legally, monetarily, politically and in every which way orders of magnitude more powerful than "just people". They have no conscience or social responsibility other than what is forced on them and they have only one legal obligation: optimize profit - and even this can be done by means of deception, force and highway robbery in US right now.

By the way, don't be fooled by the prefix "American" in the "American corporations", these corporations are American only as far as they find it profitable - they are literally killing American men, women and children by denying healthcare, supporting prolongued wars and polluting the environment and they are undermining American industry by moving production abroad. They make this possible by purchasing legislation - they are at this point foreign agents purchasing services from the US govenrment, completely surcumventing the democratic process. The moment USA collapses and has nothing more to offer, they will just shut down/downscale that branch of their operation and continue elsewhere. Which nation would democratically vote for something that stupid? NONE - which is why corporate access to political decision-making has got to become a thing of the past in the US right now, or there will be no US tomorrow.

Now, if the religious institutions turn into something like this, I will be the first to advocate recruiting the religious crowd against the religious institutions, just like I advocate recruiting religious folks against corporations today. The religious folks are our allies here, no matter what institution is threatening us. After all, Jesus supposedly did just that - fight the corrupt institutions and that's one of the reasons for his popularity. It really is that simple.

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ZuS wrote:They have no

ZuS wrote:

They have no conscience or social responsibility other than what is forced on them and they have only one legal obligation: optimize profit - and even this can be done by means of deception, force and highway robbery in US right now.

Corporations have many legal obligations. That is why every large corporation has armies of lawyers that work for them. Now obviously, just because there are laws does not mean that corporations will obey them. They are ran by people who can be corrupt, greedy and immoral. Of course, when you are talking about international corps like Dyncorp then legally punishing them becomes much more difficult, and therefore the likelihood of abuses increases. As I said, I would fully support cutting government funding of Dyncorp and all other mercenaries 100% (as well as 90% of government funding period) but I don't think that would make even a dent in the problems you have pointed out. I don't really see it as the end all solution and you haven't provided any evidence that it would be. Putting a bandaid on a bullet wound isn't going to help much. 

 

ZuS wrote:

By the way, don't be fooled by the prefix "American" in the "American corporations", these corporations are American only as far as they find it profitable - they are literally killing American men, women and children by denying healthcare, supporting prolongued wars and polluting the environment and they are undermining American industry by moving production abroad. They make this possible by purchasing legislation - they are at this point foreign agents purchasing services from the US govenrment, completely surcumventing the democratic process. The moment USA collapses and has nothing more to offer, they will just shut down/downscale that branch of their operation and continue elsewhere. Which nation would democratically vote for something that stupid? NONE - which is why corporate access to political decision-making has got to become a thing of the past in the US right now, or there will be no US tomorrow.

Besides completely overestimating the power that corporations have over government this whole paragraph isn't really germane to the conversation. We aren't talking healthcare or pollution or jobs going overseas. The political reasons for all of these is FAR more complex than simply saying "corporations bought it" and really have nothing to do with foreign relations. But that isn't really the discussion I am interested in having here.

 

ZuS wrote:

Now, if the religious institutions turn into something like this, I will be the first to advocate recruiting the religious crowd against the religious institutions, just like I advocate recruiting religious folks against corporations today. The religious folks are our allies here, no matter what institution is threatening us. After all, Jesus supposedly did just that - fight the corrupt institutions and that's one of the reasons for his popularity. It really is that simple.

And how does that apply to the arab countries being ran by people who vocally want all of us dead? Read the threads regularly posted by AtheistExtremeist where he regularly finds shocking abuses perpetuated by the governments in these countries. When you have that kind of climate how can you possibly believe that international corporations are a large enough part of the cause that getting rid of them (if that were even possible, which I am skeptical of) would make a substantial difference? Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Dyncorp. But this started when you got all over Harleysportster and essentially blamed him/us for not doing anything about all of the abuses occurring in those countries. Once again I have to ask, what do you imagine we could do? It seems ridiculous to me to say someone is to blame because they are not doing anything but be unable to state exactly what that person should be doing to stop it. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote:I'm

Beyond Saving wrote:

I'm still waiting for Zus to answer the questions of what we should do. Especially since he seems to be blaming us personally for doing nothing.

Now we're getting somewhere Smiling

As you might have guessed, my suggestion is to do what we can. Simple, isn't it?

I can embrace the religious community fully, no matter what symbol they are sporting. I can talk to each religious person I meet and try to explain that the enemy is not secular government, but the corporate government. I can explain that we are really in the same boat and talk to them about the history of religious resistance to fascism, starting with Jesus and ending with the priests that burned Vietnam recruit documents and went jail for it, Marting Luther King and Desmond Tutu. I can talk to them about false prophets, about how media works and why they should not trust people like Pat Robertson. I can do all this without sounding the least bit condescending, because I really need their support. I can do this on the next Tea Party rally, or just here on this site.

It won't be easy and I will succeed only partially most of the time, but people remember good arguments, even if its just subconciously and they are ok with cooperation if they see common ground. There are many reasons for religiousity and some of them are way easier to work with than others. For the types that like Dr. King - we're done and can start working together tomorrow. To others I can just offer them a new religious identity - intelligent dissident.

I can also talk to other atheists and try to get them to do the same. Is it working?

Bottom line: these guys have a history of fighting with serious conviction and we should use it. Tea Party only needs the 'intelligent' prefix to their dissidence and we're changing America today.

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As usual, ZuS makes thought provoking points.

 

There are a number of huge Australian mining companies - BHP being one -  that cheerfully destroy highland PNG in search of profit. What's interesting is the prevalence of this company's shares in the portfolios of average Aussies hoping for a 5-7 per cent return on their compulsory superannuation savings. There's no question that when it comes to this stuff we are all involved to some extent. Think the OK Tedi mine and the destruction of an entire river system and the livelihoods of those that depend on it. The shareholders in the company are primarily mums and dad. Nasty stuff.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

Corporations have many legal obligations. That is why every large corporation has armies of lawyers that work for them. Now obviously, just because there are laws does not mean that corporations will obey them. They are ran by people who can be corrupt, greedy and immoral.

This is the core of our disagreement, I think. No, people runing the big corporations do not need to be greedy and immoral for corporations to act in greedy and immoral fashion. Listen to Wendell Potter, ex. CIGNA executive, when he talks about this. People running the big corps can be the sweetest guys on the planet and their machinery can be killing thousands a day - no connection.

Beyond Saving wrote:

Of course, when you are talking about international corps like Dyncorp then legally punishing them becomes much more difficult, and therefore the likelihood of abuses increases. As I said, I would fully support cutting government funding of Dyncorp and all other mercenaries 100% (as well as 90% of government funding period) but I don't think that would make even a dent in the problems you have pointed out. I don't really see it as the end all solution and you haven't provided any evidence that it would be. Putting a bandaid on a bullet wound isn't going to help much.

You are 100% right, we can't be aiming our guns at the tail, we have to shoot the head of the snake. I propose we aim at the money in our political system - get corporate funding out of it by any means necessary. I am open to other suggestions, but this seems to me is the biggest problem.

LATE EDIT: Just heard of an initiative by Americans for Campaign Reform by many former and some current officials to provide public funding for people runing for office. The guy mentioned that research shows that enough money to get your message out is just as or close to as good as a ton of money given by few corporate donors - very interesting and possibly a game changed in many districts.

Now, DynCorp could be dealth with in days - they get yearly roughly 95% of their 2 billion from the federal govt. - get some Tea Partiers in the senate, hold their feet to the fire with the enraged public in the state they came from and DynCorp is over.

The big industry and the financial sector that got over a trillion of tax payer $ and is literally being paid to borrow money from the fed is a bigger problem and those guys we'll have to fight house to house and will probably not win over in our lifetime. Our victory could even be the end of US as a super-power, because these fuckers are so rich and so in-charge, in a losing corner they could do so much damage to the system, that our victory would be very hollow. Optimally, step by step we have to change the mind of their heirs - you can't do everything you want, you can't start wars, you can't, ... etc.

Gradual house-to-house would work and we need religious community for the endurance and motivation and because they are, what, 80% of the US public?

Beyond Saving wrote:

And how does that apply to the arab countries being ran by people who vocally want all of us dead? Read the threads regularly posted by AtheistExtremeist where he regularly finds shocking abuses perpetuated by the governments in these countries. When you have that kind of climate how can you possibly believe that international corporations are a large enough part of the cause that getting rid of them (if that were even possible, which I am skeptical of) would make a substantial difference? Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Dyncorp. But this started when you got all over Harleysportster and essentially blamed him/us for not doing anything about all of the abuses occurring in those countries. Once again I have to ask, what do you imagine we could do? It seems ridiculous to me to say someone is to blame because they are not doing anything but be unable to state exactly what that person should be doing to stop it. 

First I apologize for blaming anyone in particular for anything.

It most certainly applies to arab countries. You have to remembed that western foreign politics had a lot to do with generation of those governments. Our influence is a part of the problem down there.

I realise that things are much more complex than my earlier posts suggested, but us moving to this discussion you must recognize is progress.

Work now, but I will be back.

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I'll maintain that the

I'll maintain that the problemn is not corperations, but rather Corperate political lobbies circumventing our political process by paying for legislative influence.... hence the term, "Corperate fascism"


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Rich Woods wrote:I'll

Rich Woods wrote:

I'll maintain that the problemn is not corperations, but rather Corperate political lobbies circumventing our political process by paying for legislative influence.... hence the term, "Corperate fascism"

 

How many times has legislation been proposed that would limit corporate lobbying?  I lost track ages ago.  As long as a corporation legally has the same rights as individuals, lame ass arguments about free speech and other individual rights will prevail.  The ultimate solution is to revoke the definition of a corporation as an individual.  It isn't, it wasn't and it won't ever be a person.

 

 

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harleysportster wrote:Got a

harleysportster wrote:

Got a solution ?

Yea, read my last couple of posts Smiling

harleysportster wrote:

Prove to me that if religious/non-religious people were to somehow simultaneously accept each other  that it would automatically ensue a massive anti-corporate stance. Prove to me that is ultimately what the common populace wishes for or that they even desire the types of solutions that you would have to offer.

My solution is just getting us far enough to start making decisions through representative democracy, not corporate tyrani. That is, accidentally, what people want. Poll after poll shows that Americans, like the rest of the world, are really progressive if you look at individual policies. I think they'll do just fine on their own.

We need proper public funding for non-party candidates - people who want to run on own tickets and are excluded from the race. They would wipe the floor with both dems and republicans.

harleysportster wrote:

Prove to me there  is any evidence of religious/non-religious people NEEDED to work together to accomplish massive social change.

I can't prove anything to you, just appeal to your judgement. Look here under religion. You want to do something without them, good luck to you. Look, most of them are regular folks who can put 2 and 2 together, we just have to, you know, stop calling them idiots all the time Smiling

harleysportster wrote:

The Christians/Atheist Community were not united at all about issues like slavery in this country, yet slavery has been ultimately abolished. The church was divided over whether or not to support slavery and slavery was abolished.

Yes, the key here is that church was divided, so many were on the side of abolishing slavery - we want those guys. Nothing good came on its own on on this planet; people fought and died for it. Altering our disposition and opening ourselves to cooperation is really the least we can do.

harleysportster wrote:

No two Atheists can even agree on one subject, how easy do you think that it is going to be to tell them they have to work together to overthrow all of these corporate enemies that you are finding everywhere ? Assuming that I even take anything that you say seriously at this point.

I hope we agree on some stuff. I've been yelling about the corporate threat for years on this site, only last couple of days I'm getting some traction with a few people who don't define themselves as communists. I guess sky falling on people's heads shouts louder than I do...

If we agree that money needs to get out of US politics or at the very least that independents need to get some electoral funding in exchange for signatures, and according to a poll I saw recently 85% of Americans agree (that means AT LEAST 70% of all religious people, assuming ALL atheists answered yes), then we've got one thing we agree on. And it happens to be fucking important, don'it?

85%, those are crazy numbers, man. The whole country wants it and needs it, corporate US won't give it. We have to take it. And we need those religious folks to do some million men marches.

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ZuS wrote:I can't prove

ZuS wrote:

I can't prove anything to you, just appeal to your judgement. Look here under religion. You want to do something without them, good luck to you. Look, most of them are regular folks who can put 2 and 2 together, we just have to, you know, stop calling them idiots all the time Smiling

I hope we agree on some stuff. I've been yelling about the corporate threat for years on this site, only last couple of days I'm getting some traction with a few people who don't define themselves as communists. I guess sky falling on people's heads shouts louder than I do...

Actually, I have been hearing and talking about this sort of thing for years.

Both with the religious and the non-religious members of the world that I live in. I live with and interact with believers all of the time.

Not really interested in discussing this issue any further.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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connerman wrote:I think ZuS,

connerman wrote:

I think ZuS, you're making the assumption that the majority of Muslims agree with the extremists. Extremists are just that, a vocal minority that hijacks the moderate majority. Unfortunatly, the nature of some Middle Eastern governments allows them to censure that majority. It seems that you would prefer we hold our tongues.  I respectfully disagree. The muted majority needs to hear that they are not alone.  Are you going to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she needs to tone it down? She has risked her life exposing the plight of Muslim women, yet, you would prefer she hadn't said anything that would offend sensitive ears.Those sensitive ears are the extremists not the majority. 

I think Bill Maher said it best when he said (I'm paraphrasing) "We have to remember that it's only a small minority of Muslims that are extremists, the vast majority just want to be left alone to abuse their women in private".  And I understand where ZuS is coming from, just remember that you support enterprises like DynCorp every time you go to your local Walmart and shop for the cheapest shirt made in a sweatshop in china.  

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 I agree to the majority of

 I agree to the majority of your assessments ZuS.  I've read most of Chuck Palahniuk's novels because I admire the idealistic nihilism from Fight Club.  I also grew up in a third world country, so while I haven't been subjected to any wars, I know what real hunger and poverty mean.  That being said what you're proposing is not realistic.  

You honestly believe that if the US got rid of most of the corporate driven politics, and pulled out of the middle east, we would have peace in the middle east?  I agree that corporate interest is killing people and we're helping that by being mindless consumers, but it is also a necessary evil.  It may sound cold, but at least I'm honest.

Our western society is money driven, all hail the all mighty dollar.  Welcome to capitalism, it's inevitable, you can't separate personal gain from politics or even ethics.  But what's to take it's place?  Communism has failed miserably and for the same reasons as capitalism is showing it's true colours.  Monarchy has been reduced to a joke.  A non secular government perhaps? hehehe. 

All of the major conflicts have religious origin.  The corporations are simply giving the consumers what we want.  I argue that the nihilistic approach is much worst alternative to the existing regime.  

 

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Just to keep this going a bit longer

 

The U.S. could pull out of afghanistan and still the mussies would hate the west. Part of this is a smoke screen for domestic political failure. No infrastructure in Iran? Blame the Great Satan! It'll all be fine when the last Prophet turns up - presumably dressed as Iron Man or some silly super hero and slaughters all the dhimmis and throws them into hell.

I've read the Koran a few times, as well as Robert Spencer and a few others. The muslim doctrine is toxic. You could not bow down far enough to fundamentalist (and that means all practising muslims) and satisfy them.

And you can imagine the caliphate. It will be the most useless, boring, backward, irrational and hateful place. I can't read about Saudi Arabia without thinking of Orwell's 1984. To question is death. To blaspheme is death. To deconvert is death. To disbelieve is death.

I believe there is trouble ahead. Look at the increasing right leaning in Euro politics. The mass prayers on French streets. It won't take too many more terrorist attacks/murders in the west - Europe especially - to tip the balance.

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ZuS wrote:Beyond Saving

ZuS wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

Corporations have many legal obligations. That is why every large corporation has armies of lawyers that work for them. Now obviously, just because there are laws does not mean that corporations will obey them. They are ran by people who can be corrupt, greedy and immoral.

This is the core of our disagreement, I think. No, people runing the big corporations do not need to be greedy and immoral for corporations to act in greedy and immoral fashion. Listen to Wendell Potter, ex. CIGNA executive, when he talks about this. People running the big corps can be the sweetest guys on the planet and their machinery can be killing thousands a day - no connection.

Yes, a big part of our disagreement. People running corps get paid a boatload of cash to know exactly what is going on in their companies. If they do not, they are being negligent both to their company and its shareholders. That isn't to say that a handful of local offices in a corporation might not do something horrible but there is a big difference between a handful of offices breaking corporate policy that are then punished when caught and widespread corporate practice. 

 

Zus wrote:

You are 100% right, we can't be aiming our guns at the tail, we have to shoot the head of the snake. I propose we aim at the money in our political system - get corporate funding out of it by any means necessary. I am open to other suggestions, but this seems to me is the biggest problem.

LATE EDIT: Just heard of an initiative by Americans for Campaign Reform by many former and some current officials to provide public funding for people runing for office. The guy mentioned that research shows that enough money to get your message out is just as or close to as good as a ton of money given by few corporate donors - very interesting and possibly a game changed in many districts.

And here I can't disagree with you more. I agree with Rich, the problem isn't the corporations it is the corporations married WITH the politicians. Public funding of campaigns is simply a way for incumbents to make sure they get to choose who has money. It permanently kills attempts at third parties. I think voters need more choices of candidates, not less.

 

I have worked as a fundraiser for some campaigns and have worked closely with congressmen and senators running for office. Corporate funding of campaigns in the sense of business corporations is low compared to the overall money spent. Most money comes in from individuals, followed by issue organizations such as unions, NRA, AARP etc (which are legally corporations). Businesses follow a distant third. Check out www.opensecrets.org which does a good job breaking down exactly who donates to campaigns.

 

The reason is simple, donating to a political campaign is risky for a business because there is a good chance your candidate loses. So most businesses focus their money on lobbying whoever wins rather than trying to get one horse into office. The last campaign finance reform and the majority of campaign finance reform bills are usually nothing other than incumbent attempts to protect their own jobs.

 

Sorry, CJ, your right I come out with the "lame" free speech argument. Free speech is THE most important freedom we have in America. And it is fucking bullshit that I cannot buy an advertisement on tv saying such and such politician is wrong because an election is nearby. ANYONE who can get enough money together either personally or through a group of individuals (legally defined as a corporation) should be able to run any television ad in support or against any politician at any time. How do you propose we get corrupt bastards out of office if it is illegal for us to run advertisements telling our fellow countrymen how corrupt they are? And if those corrupt bastards are the ones setting the rules to who gets money to run campaigns?

 

Our biggest problem is the amount of power the politicians hold. They pass laws that consist mostly of directives at government agencies to write regulations. Regulations being more flexible than laws allow influential Senators and Congressmen to make exceptions and "waivers" for certain corporations. So of course corporations that are affected are going to do everything they can to buddy up with them, because if they don't their business will be destroyed. Add in all the money that is being flung around and handed out to companies for no good reason and you can see why politicians are getting their asses kissed.

 

The problem isn't the brown nosing, the problem is that the politicians have so much power that makes it worth corporations spending millions to kiss up to them. Why do you think our tax code is so long? It is filled with all sorts of exceptions specifically designed to encourage lobbying. The problem is not the businesses, they are simply doing what is best for their profits, the problem is the politicians and the power they have been taking every year. Name ONE thing in your life that is not influenced by a federal law or regulation. You can't.

 

Considering our federal government was initially set up to be limited it is clear that our country has failed to follow our Constitution. Until we drastically reduce the federal government and the role it plays in all of our lives the mass political corruption we see today will continue. Unfortunately, few people seem to truly recognize the need to reduce government power because they are blinded by all the "free" stuff that is being passed out. 

 

 

Zus wrote:

Now, DynCorp could be dealth with in days - they get yearly roughly 95% of their 2 billion from the federal govt. - get some Tea Partiers in the senate, hold their feet to the fire with the enraged public in the state they came from and DynCorp is over.

The big industry and the financial sector that got over a trillion of tax payer $ and is literally being paid to borrow money from the fed is a bigger problem and those guys we'll have to fight house to house and will probably not win over in our lifetime. Our victory could even be the end of US as a super-power, because these fuckers are so rich and so in-charge, in a losing corner they could do so much damage to the system, that our victory would be very hollow. Optimally, step by step we have to change the mind of their heirs - you can't do everything you want, you can't start wars, you can't, ... etc.

Gradual house-to-house would work and we need religious community for the endurance and motivation and because they are, what, 80% of the US public?

I agree almost 100%. The only thing I disagree with is that DynCorp would disappear from the world. Whether we pay them or someone else does, they are some of the most highly trained and lethal killers in the world. Those with a talent for killing will never have trouble finding employers. And I still don't think it would solve as many problems as you seem to believe but that is just arguing degrees.

 

Zus wrote:

First I apologize for blaming anyone in particular for anything.

It most certainly applies to arab countries. You have to remembed that western foreign politics had a lot to do with generation of those governments. Our influence is a part of the problem down there.

I realise that things are much more complex than my earlier posts suggested, but us moving to this discussion you must recognize is progress.

 

I think a good part of the confusion in this thread is because it started with the idea of speaking out about crazy muslims who stone women. You can't reason with the crazies. The 80% of the American public or probably even the 80% of the Muslim world that is just trying to survive, I agree, we can attempt to reason with. Although you do have to be careful of those who pretend to be on your side and stab you in the back. Having been affiliated with the supposedly "small government" GOP I can tell you from first hand experience some of them will throw your ideals out the window as soon as they are sworn in.

 

And yes, we are quite guilty at getting in bed with nasty dictators for which I wouldn't blame many people being angry at us in the Mideast and Central America. I have traveled a bit in Central America and we really fucked things up through political expediency and our "war on drugs" (which is remarkably similar to our "war on terror" )  I believe as a rule we ought to avoid installing anyone into a government even if it is against our short term national interest. However, since our elected officials tend to be judged on short term interests, I am not sure how a real comprehensive change could be made. Bringing our troops home from Okinawa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea etc. would be a good start. We have planes that can be anywhere in the world within 24 hours with really big bombs, no reason to have troops everywhere.   

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Ktulu wrote: I agree to the

Ktulu wrote:

 I agree to the majority of your assessments ZuS.  I've read most of Chuck Palahniuk's novels because I admire the idealistic nihilism from Fight Club.  I also grew up in a third world country, so while I haven't been subjected to any wars, I know what real hunger and poverty mean.  That being said what you're proposing is not realistic.  

You honestly believe that if the US got rid of most of the corporate driven politics, and pulled out of the middle east, we would have peace in the middle east?  I agree that corporate interest is killing people and we're helping that by being mindless consumers, but it is also a necessary evil.  It may sound cold, but at least I'm honest.

Our western society is money driven, all hail the all mighty dollar.  Welcome to capitalism, it's inevitable, you can't separate personal gain from politics or even ethics.  But what's to take it's place?  Communism has failed miserably and for the same reasons as capitalism is showing it's true colours.  Monarchy has been reduced to a joke.  A non secular government perhaps? hehehe. 

All of the major conflicts have religious origin.  The corporations are simply giving the consumers what we want.  I argue that the nihilistic approach is much worst alternative to the existing regime.  

 

EXACTLY .

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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ZuS wrote:I can't prove

ZuS wrote:

I can't prove anything to you, just appeal to your judgement. Look here under religion.

Look here on my thread :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/28413

ZuS wrote:

 You want to do something without them, good luck to you. Look, most of them are regular folks who can put 2 and 2 together, we just have to, you know, stop calling them idiots all the time Smiling

I never said I wanted to do something without them. Your badly mistaken if you think I just traverse around the country calling religious people idiots and nothing else.

You want to accomplish social change ? Well so do I.

I have family members that are devoutly religious (I was raised devoutly religious and was religious for most of my life). I work with people that are religious. Much of my community "claims" to be religious. But like my above thread stated, that is not quite true. I don't just blindly hate these people. I would like to see them evolve past their religious beliefs.

Let's really talk about how much the religious community contributes to division among the human race. The gay issue, the abortion issue, the faith-based initiatives, the creationism issue, the push for the lines between church and state to cross issue and many more. There is a long road ahead to reach out to people and have the "Come let us reason together" dialogue. I am all for that. I have been lucky enough to have such dialogues with members of the religious community. Problem is, alot of them see non-belief and lack of religion as the contributing factor to what is wrong with the world. Much of the religious community desires nothing more than to see Atheism eradicated. Point out to them crime stats, war stats, and corporate practices and they are apt to tell you that God's wrath upon this evil Earth because so many have turned their back is the problem. How do you solve that one ?

What are you going to say to some of the more religious people when their answer to your concerns is : Well, we are living in godless times, the fact that Satan has his hands into public office is proof that this world is going to end ? Are you going to tell them that they need to embrace the Atheists ? Do you think they would even be willing to do so ? Their going to point to the decline of religion as the sole cause of all the world's problems. Do you think they are ready to have a dialogue about corporatism ?

OF course it would be ridiculous to think that any social change could be accomplished if all of my responses to the religious community was "IDIOTS" and nothing else. That is not a position that I have overall taken. You seemed to have concluded that was my position because of the fact that I sometimes grow impatient with the more fundamentalist types that refuse to discuss anything and push for more theocratic governments. That does not mean that I do not wish to reach out to the religious people. That's the whole point of what I am doing is to reach out to religious people.

It seems that you misread all of my intentions based on one post.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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There are lots of things

There are lots of things wrong with the world and corporatism is one of those.  Most of the largest travesties in the world have happened without much influence from corporatism...world wars, genocides, etc.  The world was a shitty place before corporatism and if we manage to get rid of it the world will still be a shitty place.  Honestly, the world is a less shitty place, overall, than it has ever been.  More people are more secure now than at any time in history.  Perfect?  Absolutely not.  Better?  Yes.  Improving?  It seems to be.

Everyone gets fired up about something, but we can't all devote energy to every cause out there, there just isn't enough time in the day.  For example, I can't get too fired up about Iraq and Afghanistan right now because we're already leaving.  What good is it going to do?  Nothing.  I could go nuts about it and it wouldn't change the timetables for withdrawal any.  Does it suck that people are dying?  Yes, that always sucks.  I don't have the mental energy to piss blood at every human tragedy that happens around the globe though, that might be harsh but there it is.

 

For me, I've chosen to devote a significant amount of effort to combat religious fundamentalism and extremism and general concepts of irrationality.  I think it is important and I feel I have the tools to have some impact because I can do some direct good at a one on one level.  Once you get into politics your voice is diminished terribly unless you are a significant personality with significant influence, and I'm not.  Nor am I particularly interested in becoming so.

 

I'd love to see campaign finance reform and lobbyist reform though.  I personally think the Tea Party is a disaster, but if they can manage to get those things pushed through they might be worth it.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote: For me,

mellestad wrote:

 

For me, I've chosen to devote a significant amount of effort to combat religious fundamentalism and extremism and general concepts of irrationality.  I think it is important and I feel I have the tools to have some impact because I can do some direct good at a one on one level.  Once you get into politics your voice is diminished terribly unless you are a significant personality with significant influence, and I'm not.  Nor am I particularly interested in becoming so.

 

I agree.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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To expand on that, if I

To expand on that, if I devoted my energy towards changing the political ideals of America, I'm one voice in 300,000,000.  Even among the political elite, I'd still only be one voice in 10,000,000 or so.  Even if I had influence far outside my means, I'm not getting far past that.

Even if I try to change the politics of people on a one to one not only do you have a mountain to climb because people don't base their politics on rationality, in the end how much difference have you made?  Best case scenario, your target starts writing a different congress-person.  Yipee.

 

With religion if I can convince someone to moderate their religion or release that and replace their basic ideals and morality with secular processes and rationality I've changed their whole lives.  I've changed how the raise their children.  I've probably changed how they vote.

I've also removed the single greatest influence that divides 'us' from 'them' and people like ZuS are going to have a far easier time convincing them that brown people don't always need to die because they are people too.  I don't think it is shocking that secular nations seem to be more charitable and less violent.

 

I see it as a win-win.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:To expand on

mellestad wrote:

To expand on that, if I devoted my energy towards changing the political ideals of America, I'm one voice in 300,000,000.  Even among the political elite, I'd still only be one voice in 10,000,000 or so.  Even if I had influence far outside my means, I'm not getting far past that.

Even if I try to change the politics of people on a one to one not only do you have a mountain to climb because people don't base their politics on rationality, in the end how much difference have you made?  Best case scenario, your target starts writing a different congress-person.  Yipee.

 

With religion if I can convince someone to moderate their religion or release that and replace their basic ideals and morality with secular processes and rationality I've changed their whole lives.  I've changed how the raise their children.  I've probably changed how they vote.

I've also removed the single greatest influence that divides 'us' from 'them' and people like ZuS are going to have a far easier time convincing them that brown people don't always need to die because they are people too.  I don't think it is shocking that secular nations seem to be more charitable and less violent.

 

I see it as a win-win.

Very well put.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno