IMG_0569
Blog powered by Typepad

« Two halves, but still whole | Main | World without end, amen »

Comments

Julie,
Said by a privileged one from her horse farm in the bucolic English countryside. Sorry sweetheart if you don't have a house to live in, electricity, food and clean water, all of the PhD. dissertations, movies, microchips and rap songs in the world won't help you to survive.

Yes Julie, some contributions are more valuable than others. Somewhere in the depths of your tortured soul, you know that!- AOD

Mark Green said:

“America is, and always has been a racist society.”

Can’t argue that.

And yet, at the same time, is it not also the most successful experiment in segregation—the most extraordinary melting pot—the world has ever known?

But that’s just a little aside, Mark, because I like what you have to say about racism.

“But that does not change the fact that they supported someone who was saying some pretty abhorrent things, and their support was ultimately to have some disastrous consequences, both for them and the rest of the world.”

The analogy with pre-war Germany is important. I’m glad you made it!

Luckily, our Hitler is being reined in by the checks and balances we have in place. At least so far.

Julie said:

“someone should have pointed out to Joe that by supporting Trump he's selling both himself and his family right down the river.”

Exactly.

Apparently I don’t understand what ‘Fascist’ means. I often hear or see this term used when discussing the current American government administrators or people who support the current government. Part of the dictionary definition of fascism is a “. . . centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” I must be blind because I don’t see this in the current administration. In fact my apparently erroneous belief is that those who espouse conservatism in the current government, that is, ‘Conservatives’ are the exact opposite of fascists. - AOD

AOD, I think a minority of Trump supporters can be described as fascists, not in the strict sense of the definition you offered, but in the sense that they want a strongman figure as president and they are prone to indulge in angry, violent rhetoric -- and sometimes violent acts.

I've encountered these people online. They're the ones who tell their opponents, "Everything will be okay once Trump deports you." There is a thuggish, brownshirt mentality to the worst of the Trump voters. But I still think they are only a minority -- probably a small minority -- of his supporters.

Of course, there are thugs on the other side, too. Look at the violent demonstrations carried out by Antifa and Black Bloc, or the "humorous" comments about assassinating Trump and his family.

As far as racism is concerned, I always wonder what standard of judgment is being applied. Which countries are less racist than the US? Japan, China, and other Asian nations are far less welcoming of ethically different immigrants. France is notoriously bad at assimilating its large North African immigrant population. The UK became a world power by maintaining an empire that subjugated nonwhite peoples in the name of the White Man's Burden. Historically, the aborigines were not well treated in Australia. I have read that in Africa, tribal and racial animosities still abound, with discrimination often based on the comparative lightness or darkness of a person's skin. Slavery was practiced in Africa before it was exported to the West, and indeed it is still practiced in parts of the Middle East and North Africa today.

Racism seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, probably most prevalent in more isolated, traditional societies, and less prevalent in cosmopolitan, dynamic societies. But I can't think of any utopia that has ever been free of racism and bigotry. By real-world standards, the US has been quite successful at overcoming racism, especially over the last 50 years. There was far more bigotry (and it was far more socially acceptable) when I was growing up in the 1960s than there is now.

Eric,

You have cited a number of examples of alleged racism which you claim are false. This may or may not be the case. I don’t know. But my opinion of Trump’s racism is primarily based on what he has been caught saying on camera. Therefore your examples are not at all relevant to my personal opinion of Trump and his racial based prejudices.

Also I am aware that racism is not confined to white Caucasians, and that there is often conflict between different ethnic groups. I originally come from near London, and remember a time (going way back when I was still at school) when there was conflict between Afro-Caribbeans and Asians in my home town, which culminated in a series of riots. But the current president of America happens to be a xenophobic white Caucasian. If the president were a person of colour who was prejudice against white Caucasians I would be critical of that as well. I am, after all, a white Caucasian myself, and have no reason to be biased against my own race. But that is not the reality. I am commenting on what is actually the case, and not counter-factual possibilities.

You mention police racism in America, and seem to deny institutional racism exists within the US police force. I am not in a position to directly challenge that, but have certainly witnessed institutional racism within the UK police force, particularly racial profiling. The only time I have ever been randomly stopped by the police whilst driving is when I have someone of colour as a passenger in my car. There is no way this can be put down to coincidence, as it has happened too many times. It is interesting that the people who deny police racism in the UK say very similar things to what you have done here – that people of colour tend to be more problematic. That is certainly not my personal experience however. Of course that does not mean a similar situation exists in America, but I think I can be forgiven for being slightly suspicious of people who say what you have just done. So no, I cannot directly refute what you say, but am certainly highly suspicious of what you say, and for good reasons.

I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty by bringing up slavery and segregation (to be fair I only bought up segregation). I was making the point that the last thing America needs at the moment is a racist president, given its track record, and I stand by that comment. It is not an attempt to make anyone feel guilty.

You mention problems associated with immigration in America. Some people over here have concerns about immigration in the UK too. I am not saying that all these concerns are completely unfounded, and I am happy to have perfectly amicable discussions with people who express measured and balanced concerns. But the minute the conversation descends into highly emotive language which misrepresents the situation and starts to introduce hateful and biased prejudices reflecting something more fundamental than the legitimate concerns they are ostensibly talking about, I quickly detach myself from the conversation. And this kind of dialogue is all I ever hear from Trump. It is simply hate-filled rhetoric, and any reasonable person would recognize it as such. I am hearing similar rhetoric from you as well, when you state that our country has been invaded by Muslims. If you feel this is a reasonable balanced statement then I can see why you don’t have any problem with Trump.

I have already provided some free tuition on this blog on the subject of special relativity. I will extend the same courtesy to you, but this time the subject is history, specifically American history. You mention the American revolution. Don’t get too fixated on your perceived moral high-ground there. I have suspected for a long time that Americans take their Hollywood movies way too seriously. I remember watching those movies as a kid as well, and being naïve enough (because I was so young) to believe that the cowboys were the ‘goodies’ and the ‘indians’ were the baddies. I have some disturbing news for you Eric – John Wayne was one of the ‘baddies’. That’s right! The Indians were the indigenous population who were displaced by the imperialists referred to as the ‘goodies’ in Hollywood movies. So don’t pretend you have any kind of moral high-ground there. And to boot, you were importing slaves left right and centre. So no lecturing please. You have absolutely no basis for doing so. Oh, and that reminds me, didn’t America get its ass well and truly kicked by a “raggedy ass little third rate country” a few decades ago. That’s right, a bunch of peasants beat the fuck out of the full force of the American military! And you only entered WW2 when Pearl Harbour was attacked, so don’t make out that Americans were the knights in shining armour helping out poor old Britain. And similarly, you only entered WW1 because Germans were sinking so many of your ships. Do you actually buy into your own bullshit or do you actually realize you are talking complete crap? Just curious.

Michael,
OK! But we either understand what words mean or we do not. Communication is difficult between conflicting views when there are differing definitions of words. Since ‘fascist’ is such an inflammatory, derogatory word I prefer not to use it. (I don’t believe that I have ever called anyone a ‘fascist’ in my entire life. It is just not part of my vocabulary. My mother however called me Mussolini when I was a defiant toddler.)

Perhaps another label should be applied to those on-line “thugs” and “brownshirts” you encounter on the internet. After all, there is no way that you really know whom you are blogging with. They could be teenagers who like to bluff and brag on the internet but would never express those violent and angry attitudes in real life and in fact may know little or nothing about politics.

I am encouraged to see that you rightfully pointed out that racism and slavery in the world are not dead and that perhaps in the U.S. there has been some success in overcoming racism. (It's been almost 152 years ago that slavery was prohibited.) - AOD

Mark,

Last I checked neither Muslim or Mexican (Salvadoran, etc) are not a race. It's more a religion and a nationality...and a third world condition.

Have you ever met a Mexican?

I have never heard Trump say anything racist. He wants to enforce immigration laws that were put on the books a long time ago and he wants to limit Muslim immigration, which, IMO are wonderful ideas, since the population contains many that are totally backwards, abusive to women, homosexuals and others and a proportion of them are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. Even those that aren't a direct threat via terrorism/murder are a threat to our way of life once sufficient numbers have been reached because sharia and the Constitution are incompatible. I have had Muslims themselves tell me that.

I am 50% of Middle Eastern lineage myself; albeit Christian. I guess I'm racist against myself. Virtue signaling rules are so complicated.

Basically, you're a fool of the first order. Enjoy your future under Muslim mob rule and sharia. Or do you also live far away in the countryside where you don't have to be concerned with being accosted should you stray into a muslim established "no go zone" or get run over/blown up by terrorists?

You're also a coward wrapping himself in a cloak of shallow virtue. "Yes, our women and children are getting raped and homosexuals killed....but...but....AT LEAST I'M NOT A RACIST!!!"

Eric - You seem to spend all your time online being angry, saying offensive or insulting things to others, and generally being unpleasant. Maybe go outside and try doing something positive with your life.

I think I was talking about innate character. The dogs I mention were picked from breeding stock with gentle, calm demeanors- both parent dogs. My sister in law always made sure of that. I do think there are personality characteristics influencing the way we act in both animals and humans, irrespective of training. Lyn x.

Eric,

No I do not live in the countryside. I live in the naval city of Plymouth, which is delightfully multi-cultural these days. And no, I have not met any Mexicans, but have certainly met plenty of Muslims, all of which are really nice people to know. I am sure there are some which aren’t but that goes for any category of people. I do not condone all their religious doctrines but that also applies to virtually all other religious denominations. I treat people on the basis of how they behave, not what they believe.

I will try to be more precise and with my terms in future, and use words such as ethnic group/religious denomination/discrimination etc, rather than racism (yes I saw your nit-pick). I am sometimes sloppy with my terms as I regard all these kinds of prejudices as resulting from the same basic underlying mind-set, so tend to conflate some of my words a bit.

Why exactly do you believe I am a coward? You don’t even know me. I might be some badass ninja for all you know.

I do not feel that not being racist is virtuous in the sense you imply. I am not proud of myself for not being racist, it just comes naturally to me. My consternation of intolerance of any kind does not imply I believe I am a wonderful person for not being a racist. Your suggestion is quite ludicrous in fact.

You have really revealed yourself to me. I now have a meaningful insight into what I am dealing with. Thank you. (BTW I am no fool, I can assure you of that!)

"They're just well-meaning traditionalists who feel disrespected by the type of liberal intellectuals who would, you know, nominate them for a Darwin Award.

When certain people keep telling you you're too dumb to live, you have a natural tendency not to vote for those people, right?"

Please don't label me in any political direction, Michael, because I genuinely am non-party political. The description of the hypothetical Joe you put forward earlier could have been penned by Marx himself (and I'm not talking about Groucho here). Hence I was surprised to see it put forward as an anti-liberal argument.

I don't know who has said exactly what about the unemployed working classes in America, but certainly here in the UK the political right-wing parties have never been friends to people such as Joe. Nor have they ever been happy to lift a reforming finger to help them (with the exception of Winston Churchill who, I believe, was one of the early proponents of the National Health Service - I'm sure our Mark will correct me if I'm wrong).

That aside, I have never equated poverty with 'dumbness'. Oddly enough, most intellectuals come from non-wealthy backgrounds. Traditionally, our aristocrats rarely ever achieve anything in life for the sole reason that they already have everything. And they certainly have little incentive to question the status quo.

But, I would still say that any Joe who voted for Trump is, by his own volition, lending support to the notion that he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the box. Nevertheless, he and his family still deserve to live and prosper. But if they do, it won't be because Trump cares about them or the plight of their family.

"I do think there are personality characteristics influencing the way we act in both animals and humans, irrespective of training."

Yes, so do I. :)

"Yes Julie, some contributions are more valuable than others. Somewhere in the depths of your tortured soul, you know that!- AOD"

Amos, I haven't the foggiest idea why you make such comments. I have close friends from all walks of life. And I regard them all equally - in every possible way. Believe it or not, I do genuinely value people for what they are at heart.

"I think a minority of Trump supporters can be described as fascists, not in the strict sense of the definition you offered, but in the sense that they want a strongman figure as president and they are prone to indulge in angry, violent rhetoric -- and sometimes violent acts." - Michael

I suspect there are many extreme right-wing fascists supporting Trump. There's a reason why he and Farage are so fond of each other. Trump and Farage are both fascists - and unapologetically so. Fascists attract fascists. And hadn't you noticed his connection with KKK white-supremacist figures?

" Joe ain't no philosopher, but he knows if it looks like crap, smells like crap, it's crap."

Then Joe must have a serious olfactory problem if he places his confidence in Trump.

"I'm sure that our local Guatemalan was on all kinds of government assistance (or at least the six children were)."

Your government pays out assistance grants to illegal immigrants??

"Basically, you're a fool of the first order."

I don't think Mark's that at all. Most fools are hot headed and unable to keep their temper.

"You're also a coward wrapping himself in a cloak of shallow virtue."

Strange you should say that, Eric, because I think it's you that's the coward - as, I suspect, are many of the gun-toting, would-be roughy-toughies who stand behind that big, soft lad, Trump who talks big, couldn't fight his way unassisted out of a wet paper bag and is scared of everyday germs.

'Tis said we choose our heroes in our own likeness. I think that says enough about the Trumpers.

But, to be fair, he's big and brave enough to tie down and rape a thirteen-year-old child (or did someone tie her down for him?). Anyway, he knows how to grope and molest grown women too. And all this, despite having failed to develop his adult tastes beyond a love of burger, fries & soda; the preference of the average two-year-old infant.

It's all really quite astonishing. Truly, it is.


From the perspective of opposing materialism, I would dare to suggest the current political climate is largely on track.

Immigration from more religious countries, even illegal immigration, could re-infuse progressivism with respect for religion - similar to libertarian concerns overlap with conservative Christianity in some instances. Look at the concerns of the day (regardless of how you feel about them)- Religious Freedom in business/government, Native American sacred land, Islamophobia & Islamic fundamentalism.

The anti-establishment concerns that lead to political ascendancy of Trump and Bernie also shift us away from the already dying momentum of the "skeptic" movement. It seems to me less and less young people feel like they should be contributing, even financially, to the "skeptic" materialist evangelism.

All of this - Trump/Bernie, millenials, immigration, terrorism - may lead to future positive outcomes for the existential problem of materialism...well assuming it doesn't all collapse in flames. :-)

Addendum - For the record I'm actually against illegal immigration though how one deals practically with immigrants on the ground and those coming in is another question.

I just think it's interesting how infusion of religious populations shapes the conflict w/ materialist evangelism, one of the great meta-problems facing the world....but admittedly I lean toward being a "one issue voter" in that regard.

Julie wrote, "Your government pays out assistance grants to illegal immigrants??"

Any children born on US soil are US citizens, regardless of their parents' status, so the children are eligible for assistance.

"Nevertheless, he and his family still deserve to live and prosper."

And yet you nominated him for a Darwin Award, which is given to people who are regarded as literally too stupid to live. (From their website: "The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it... Natural selection deems that some individuals serve as a warning to others. Who are we to disagree?")

"[Trump is] big and brave enough to tie down and rape a thirteen-year-old child"

There's as much substantiation for this claim as there is for the claim that Obama is a drug-addicted gay Muslim married to a cross-dressing man.

I'm bored with this increasingly acrimonious exchange, so I'm going to tune it out. Continue to argue among yourselves if you like.

SPatel wrote, "From the perspective of opposing materialism, I would dare to suggest the current political climate is largely on track. Immigration from more religious countries, even illegal immigration, could re-infuse progressivism with respect for religion."

If I have to choose between materialism and fundamentalist Islam, I'll pick materialism by a mile. We don't make progress by going backward. The idea is to transcend traditional religion, not embrace it.

Julie, you are not tracking well today---are you? Well, have a cup of tea and put your feet up and rest your broken arm.

You said,
"Amos, I haven't the foggiest idea why you make such comments. I have close friends from all walks of life. And I regard them all equally - in every possible way. Believe it or not, I do genuinely value people for what they are at heart."

Julie, we were not talking about your friends, neither were we talking about regarding all people equally. Think back; read the prior comments. We were discussing contributions made by people to the furtherance of civilization and that some contributions may be more valuable than others. Actually it just could be that many of your ideas are foggy!

For instance, look at what you said about Trump.
"I suspect there are many extreme right-wing fascists supporting Trump. There's a reason why he and Farage are so fond of each other. Trump and Farage are both fascists - and unapologetically so. Fascists attract fascists. And hadn't you noticed his connection with KKK white-supremacist figures?

And---
" But, to be fair, he's big and brave enough to tie down and rape a thirteen-year-old child (or did someone tie her down for him?). Anyway, he knows how to grope and molest grown women too. And all this, despite having failed to develop his adult tastes beyond a love of burger, fries & soda; the preference of the average two-year-old infant."

Tell me Julie what information do you have to back up these statements? And pray don't tell me you read it in the checkout tabloids or other British scandal sheets. You can't keep making things up and insinuating things that are not true and remain a respected commenter. Go back to typing with your left hand; your thinking process was so much better then. I know you are a good person Julie, somewhat misguided and misinformed but nevertheless good at heart. - AOD

"Any children born on US soil are US citizens, regardless of their parents' status, so the children are eligible for assistance."

You mean the authorities pay out for six successive children without checking the immigration status of the mother??

'"Nevertheless, he and his family still deserve to live and prosper."

And yet you nominated him for a Darwin Award, which is given to people who are regarded as literally too stupid to live. (From their website: "The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it... Natural selection deems that some individuals serve as a warning to others. Who are we to disagree?")"

It was a humorous comment that led directly from the premise that a vote for Trump was/is concomitant with Joe's final economic demise. Remember, Joe is a hypothetical character that you used to demonstrate your perspective.

""[Trump is] big and brave enough to tie down and rape a thirteen-year-old child"

There's as much substantiation for this claim as there is for the claim that Obama is a drug-addicted gay Muslim married to a cross-dressing man."

Don't be naive, Michael. If there was no substance to that allegation then the terminally litigious Trump would be suing the pants off the woman who made that claim.

But I understand if you feel the need to lie down in a darkened room for a while. ;)

"And yet you nominated him for a Darwin Award, which is given to people who are regarded as literally too stupid to live."

This is beneath you Michael Prescott. You do not believe for one minute that Julie's humorous comment entails that she believes people who naively support Trump do not deserve to live.

Although I disagree with many of your views, your comments are generally far more sensible than comments appearing from certain other people (I won't mention names). The above comment however is definitely an exception.

@ Michael - I hate to say it, but if forced into a corner I'd probably make the opposite choice. I think we're more likely to reverse the damage of even a Handmaid's Tale type scenario than the materialist catechisms of no free will and no objective morality.

But I don't think it's an either/or. Scriptural literalism is definitely trending down in the Western World, but I also think in East Asia and India (harder to be sure w/ respect to Muslim South Asia + Indonesia).

My point was more that political concerns even among those once most friendly to New Atheism - progressives and libertarians - now have sympathy for religious believers. We can see some positive effects already - no more Randi Prize b/c no one cares enough to fund it.

And as religions' political power wanes we'll also see further lack of motivation to support "skeptics" and their materialist evangelism.

All good things, after all we proponents are the true caretakers of humanism, as William James & Frederick Myers were at least partly motivated to study parapsychology in order to save the concept of the human from the encroaching nihilism of mechanistic materialism.

I'm checking out of this convo too.

I do want to leave a parting thought. Our buddy "Joe" has no problem with immigration of actual Asians - people from what used to be called "the Orient" and from India - as opposed to the euphemism used by Brits to refer to Muslims. He doesn't see such immigrants as competing for the jobs he seeks and he sees them as being respectful of their country.He sees them as largely following - not subverting - immigration laws.

When you call Joe a bigot, fascist, Nazi, etc; you have to take into account all data points.

Why anyone would want unfettered Islamic immigration is beyond me and it has nothing to do with skin color or "fear of the other". These are people from backwards cultures that kill homosexuals, kill women for things that are considered normal freedoms in western society. They have a long history of hating and killing "infidels".

My paternal grand parents barely escaped a genocide against them; a genocide that killed 2 million + Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. I lived with my grandfather. He told me the stories of what it was like to be a Christian under Islamic rule in the days before the Turks implemented their "final solution". In fact, when Hitler was mulling over his plan for the Jews and was asked how he thought he could get away with it his answer was, "But who remembers the Armenians". The Germans paid the price and have owned up to what they did. Whereas in Turkey it is a crime punishable by jail time to even mention what Turks did to Armenians. They have owned up to nothing because they do not feel guilty. Armenian children that were considered "fair" were sold as sex slaves to the Arabs (just as ISIS does today). Islamic law allows for a lot that we consider heinous. When they are small in numbers, the Muslim immigrants will keep quiet, mostly. As their numbers grow they will demand more and more that the adopted country adhere to their values and their values have no place in modern Western society.

Joe knows this. Only a philosopher or virtue signaling social justice goodie two shoes could create some way of deceiving himself into believing otherwise.

People that hate Nazis and fascists shouldn't welcome Muslims. That is the foolishness.

The cowardice is one of a deficit of moral courage to stand up and call out right from wrong even if one's friends are for the wrong.

A few more points for our non-American friends;

Liberals hate to be reminded, but when slavery was still an institution in the USA, many free black men owned slaves themselves.

There were, in the South, actual black plantation owners, blacksmiths, livery stable operators, etc. They bought and kept slaves to help with the work.

All of the "Joes" I know that served in the military do so side by side with minorities. They got along fine and, if in combat, had each others' backs. Joe works with minorities and they're buddies after work. Joe mostly feels that if you bleed, sweat, drink with him, you're his brother. The minorities he has teamed with are just darker Joes (per USMC boot camp; there are light green Marines and dark green Marines, but you are all green Marines).

The whole divisive perception of racism in the US comes from a small group of agitators hustling the minority side, the media (who likes to shock and create controversy) and then a bunch of 60s wannabees ensconced in college campuses that feel directionless now that the civil rights movement is 50 years past resolution.

Light Joe knows he's not a racist and doesn't like people that live in gated communities and ivory towers telling him that he is. Dark Joe - who also voted for Trump in numbers that surprised the media and the elites - doesn't see racism as a problem and wants the elites to stop treating him liked a handicapped beggar. He is embarrassed by the thugs that are held up as example "victims". Dark Joe has no problem with police taking out someone who attacks police or anyone else. He just wants a good job that pays the bills and together with all of the light, medium and dark Joes after work for a beer and a laugh in a safe community, like he used to have.

Obama can demonstrate those things aren't true. Trump was almost sued for that very act, had the case dropped because of filing errors, and then it was refiled. He definitely is closely involved with Jeffrey Epstein, who's been sued several times over child molestation (Bill Clinton was associated with him and credibly accused of rape too, so my believing the accusers isn't a political thing), and definitely has groped adult women and bragged about it on camera.

How many immigrants are or continue to be fundamentalists, though? I'd have thought a lot of people are leaving fundamentalist countries so they don't have to be fundamentalist anymore. If they are when they arrive, many probably become less so after living among people who aren't.

"You mean the authorities pay out for six successive children without checking the immigration status of the mother??"

The mother's status is irrelevant. If the child was born on US soil, he or she is a US citizen. These children are called "anchor babies," because pregnant women will cross the border in order to give birth in the US just so their child will be a citizen.

The fact that you don't know this basic fact about US law, which has been the subject of vigorous debate in recent years, reinforces my impression that you have little knowledge of the United States. Which is fine - I don't follow U.K. politics. But then, I don't lecture Brits on their domestic political issues either.

"This is beneath you Michael Prescott. You do not believe for one minute that Julie's humorous comment entails that she believes people who naively support Trump do not deserve to live."

Having argued with Julie for a long time on both this blog and Facebook (until she unfriended me for being insufficiently critical of Trump), I'm not prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt. I think she probably does harbor ill will toward all Trump voters. She is, as you may have noticed, something of a fanatic on the subject.

"Although I disagree with many of your views, your comments are generally far more sensible than comments appearing from certain other people (I won't mention names). The above comment however is definitely an exception."

Sorry, but I'm not seeking your approval. As Pilate memorably said, "What I have written, I have written."

Oh, by the way ... John Wayne was definitely one of the good guys!

""You mean the authorities pay out for six successive children without checking the immigration status of the mother??"

The mother's status is irrelevant. If the child was born on US soil, he or she is a US citizen. These children are called "anchor babies," because pregnant women will cross the border in order to give birth in the US just so their child will be a citizen."

I'm seriously interested in this, Michael, and I will take your word for it if you answer in the affirmative. Are you saying that this woman would be able to give birth on six successive occasions, in the USA, without being identified as an illegal immigrant and deported?

"Go back to typing with your left hand; your thinking process was so much better then."

I am typing with my left hand, Amos, what's your excuse?

As for the rest of your post, I refuse to dignify it with a response.

Michael writes: “Which is fine - I don't follow U.K. politics. But then, I don't lecture Brits on their domestic political issues either.”

Not strictly true. You have had plenty to say about Brexit.

Michael also writes: “Having argued with Julie for a long time on both this blog and Facebook (until she unfriended me for being insufficiently critical of Trump), I'm not prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt. I think she probably does harbor ill will toward all Trump voters. She is, as you may have noticed, something of a fanatic on the subject.”

Julie's basic point is that people who voted for Trump should have known better. She also believes that generally speaking people do not arrive at conclusions by intellect, but rather are motivated to arrive at particular conclusions by emotion. Therefore by supporting someone such as Trump they are revealing something about what they really are. Now even if one does not agree with these points, I can hardly see how it is possible to feel that these notions are completely unreasonable, or that it indicates someone holding such views are effectively saying they think Trump supporters do not deserve to live. On the first point (they should have known better) Trump voters have clearly overlooked some VERY obvious things which clearly show Trump has no interest whatsoever in helping the common working man. I don't think it is reasonable to state words to the effect “Well they felt let down by other politicians who lied about having their best interests at heart, so decided just to take Trump's similar alleged concern for the average working person at face value.” (Arguably it should have made them even more suspicious). This smacks of wilful ignorance. So the question is - why are they are ignoring these very obvious things? On the second point, there is some research to back up the idea that opinions are made and then a pursuit to seek some kind of rationale to qualify these opinions takes place (really it should be the other way round of course). And certainly this tallies well with what I personally observe. So the idea that people reveal what they are kind of follows on from this key observation. Now even if one disagrees with this, these views are neither preposterous, nor do they indicate that a person holding such views believes that Trump supporters do not deserve to live.

And Michael writes: “Sorry, but I'm not seeking your approval. As Pilate memorably said, "What I have written, I have written."

You're not seeking my approval!!! That's so hurtful!!!
It is clear from posts we have both made that neither of us are sycophants and trying to seek the approval of others. We are both speaking our mind, as it should be. But I believe my claim that the post I was referring to was uncharacteristically bad was fully justified. And I have further qualified that claim above.

Also he writes: “Oh, by the way ... John Wayne was definitely one of the good guys!”

The cowboys were part of the imperial invaders, the native Indians the displaced indigenous population. Which of these categories of people do you think were the bad guys??? Unless I have severe memory problems John Wayne was always one of the cowboys. I don't remember him ever being an Indian. Correct me if I am wrong.

Eric writes: “Liberals hate to be reminded, but when slavery was still an institution in the USA, many free black men owned slaves themselves.”

If you notice, I have primarily been referring to legal segregation rather than slavery. I made one reference to slavery in relation to your mention of the American revolution (implying that you thought America had some kind of moral high ground). There is a good reason for my emphasis on the former and not the latter. Slavery was simply a case of people in power exploiting those who had less power, which is slightly different to racism (although possibly interlinked to the degree that it was rationalized by appealing to the superior rights of the white man). Anyway, I have already stated that racism is not the exclusive province of Americans. So I don't really know what your point is here.

Eric also writes:
“Why anyone would want unfettered Islamic immigration is beyond me and it has nothing to do with skin color or "fear of the other".......when they are small in numbers, the Muslim immigrants will keep quiet, mostly. As their numbers grow they will demand more and more that the adopted country adhere to their values and their values have no place in modern Western society. ”

I have also conceded that people can have genuine issues regarding immigration, and sensible discussions can be had about preventing unfettered immigration (of any sort). But the tone of some of the discussions has been distinctly xenophobic. You state that Britain has been invaded by Muslims (don't believe everything you see on Fox News). British Muslims have so far not been problematic. This seems to fly in the face of your claim above.

And Eric writes: “The cowardice is one of a deficit of moral courage to stand up and call out right from wrong even if one's friends are for the wrong.”

I had some idea of what you meant by “coward” despite my tongue-in-cheek comment. Whichever side one takes on the issue of Trump, you are going to be standing your ground against some of your friends. This is inevitable. I stated previously that the reason I found it hard (emotionally) to accept Julie's claim that people are showing what they really are is because I have a number of friends who are either Trump supporters or Trump apologists. In both cases I have stood up against them and told them what I think. Anyone who knows me (and you don't) will never accuse me of being a coward in that regard (or indeed in any other regard).

"She is, as you may have noticed, something of a fanatic on the subject."

LOL! The words kettle, pot and black spring to mind.

I can't remember the exact details of why I unfriended you Michael - and I'm flattered that you even remember that I have. After all, it was some time ago now. But I'm pretty sure it must have had something to do with the way it began to appear that you were looking for any excuse to view Trump as a worthy leader of the Western World, despite what he clearly represents. In short, you disappointed me, you really did. But, of course, you don't care about that because, as you said earlier to Mark, you don't concern yourself with issues relating to your stature in the eyes of others.

As an aside, I could never understand why the German people gave their support to Hitler, and I always hoped that I would never have acquiesced in such an abominable regime as his. In the end, I concluded that they must either have shared his mentality or been too feeble in mind or character to think for themselves.

Thankfully, the French Resistance became somewhat fanatical about what was going on, so much so that they risked their lives for the greater good and helped a huge number of British soldiers return safe to their homeland and, from there, fight another day. But I can understand why many Germans, while silently disapproving of Hitler, felt they had little or no option but to keep their heads down if they hoped to survive the war.

There's a time for sitting on the fence and a time for making one's stand clear. Trump has presented the opportunity for people to show their true colours and they have.

​Michael remarked about the increasing acrimony manifested in the comments here. Whenever I think the conversation has drifted, I often go back to the original post to compare the current comment thread to the source from which it sprang. One thing that always impresses me about Michael’s postings is the humanity and humility exposed in his writing. Though he makes provocative statements that don’t always resonate with my personal beliefs, I always sense a welcoming spirit inviting perspectives that differ from his own. So, it’s a bit sad to a witness a very interesting and deep beginning degenerate over time into something of a cesspool of petty bickering. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” I feel like I’m watching a little morality play, complete with flickering serpent tongues.

The challenging commandment of Jesus to “love your enemies” has practical merit in dealing with people whose beliefs you hold to be despicable. We are all part of the sacred web of life and the muck and mire of the human condition is our joint inheritance. There are no saints here, nor evil geniuses. We’re just folk bearing the human stain like a full body tattoo, who have flocked around a kind soul with many interesting ideas.

I haven’t commented on this particular post previously because it’s taken awhile for my thoughts to coalese on this very challenging topic of the problem of pain. The spiritual tradition that I come from holds that there was a time when humans harmonized with cosmic law, and that there was a gradual deviation (perhaps over centuries or millenia) before the divine presence on Earth was TARFU. The biblical story of the fall and expulsion from Eden, metaphorically describes the essence of this belief. I don’t know if there is any factual truth to this story, but it is a powerful myth that is continually reenacted in the melodrama of human experience. How do we escape this dreadful loop of rising and falling, rising and falling?

There is an expression "love the sinner, hate the sin" which strikes me as, at least, partially correct. I would substitute the word "understand" for "hate" in the above saying. Virology would be a dreadful profession if it required hating the object of your study and, is the mission of medicine to hate injury and disease, or should it be to promote health and well being? There is, for instance, a world of difference between being for racial justice and being intolerant of racism. Racism itself is a form of intolerance and being intolerant of intolerance bears no small amount of cognitive dissonance.

Besides "racism", the afflictions of "psychopathy" and "narcissism" have been trumpeted (pun intended) here. Narcissists can be obnoxious as hell, but I feel great pity for someone so blinded by their own reflection that they often fail to appreciate the beauty in others. And, to lack empathy for other humans and creatures, is a kind of blindness that some manage to cope with successfully while others succumb and break badly.

So, when Julie called my president a "narcissistic psychopath", she might just as well have called him a gimp or a cripple, which is not just politically incorrect, but rather cruel. If there is truth to Julie's diagnosis, then pity and compassion seem more appropriate feeling to direct towards Donald Trump than hatred and shunning. Love the sinner and understand the sin. And by the way, many of Julie's comments in this very long thread exhibit a kindness and compassion that I fully endorse. And there are many other fine comments made by others, particularly early on, that have been quite insightful. It is just that a gradual corruption and, dare I say, evil has crept into the discussion and brought the vibe down.

Being human is a bit like being in Alchoholics Anonymous. Hello, my name is David. I'm a human being and I foul up on a regular basis. But I'm trying to let the better angels of my nature lead me into the way of compassion and understanding. Please forgive whatever harm I've caused you.

"I'm seriously interested in this, Michael, and I will take your word for it if you answer in the affirmative. Are you saying that this woman would be able to give birth on six successive occasions, in the USA, without being identified as an illegal immigrant and deported?"

Of course. There is little or no effort made to deport illegal aliens unless they have committed crimes while on US soil - and even then, they are often allowed to stay. One of the reasons Trump's message resonated with roughly half the population was that there has been no serious effort at controlling illegal immigration.

From the American Psychological Association:

"How many undocumented children and youth live in America? There are one million children under 18 and 4.4 million under 30 living in America out of the estimated total of 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in America. ... Nearly half of undocumented adults are parents of minors, many of whom are citizens. There are an estimated 5.5 million children with at least one undocumented parent, 4.5 million of whom were born here making them U.S. citizens. These kinds of 'mixed-status' family situations are very common with an estimated nine million people living in families that contain at least one undocumented adult and one citizen child."

http://www.apa.org/topics/immigration/undocumented-video.aspx

"LOL! The words kettle, pot and black spring to mind."

How childish. My position on Trump is that, having won the election, he should be given a chance (within limits) to show what he can do. The American presidency is not a very powerful institution; there are many legal and political restraints on a president. This is already clear enough, since Trump's effort to overturn Obamacare has failed. So far, I'd say Trump's presidency has been a very mixed bag. He has made some good decisions, such as nominating Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and some very poor (and stupid) decisions, such as tweeting all kinds of nonsense. My other position, this time with regard to Trump's voters (I did not vote for him), is that most of them are not bad people; they are frustrated and desperate, and they have legitimate complaints about being ignored and disrespected by the coastal elites. This does not mean they made the right call, only that they should not be demonized.

Your position is that Trump is Hitler, anyone who opposes him is a hero akin to French Resistance fighters, and anyone who has mixed feelings about him is a spineless Quisling.

Sorry, but "fanatic" applies to only one of these viewpoints.

At this point Mark will chime in to say that Julie obviously didn't mean to be taken literally when she talked about Hitler and the French Resistance. Well, if she doesn't, the burden is not on me to divine her true intent.

Mark wrote, "You have had plenty to say about Brexit."

Have I? What did I say? Since I have no particular opinion about Brexit, I can't imagine that I said much about it. The only thing I recall saying was that the vote showed weaknesses in the EU and a growing populist distrust of the "elites." This is just a statement of fact. Whether or not Brexit will prove to be a good thing, I have no idea, although so far the predictions that it would plunge the UK into a recession have not panned out.

In general, I think people in the UK overestimate how much attention is paid to their country in the US. The vast majority of Americans have never heard of Theresa May and have only the foggiest idea (if any) of what Brexit is. Americans are vey insular and rarely focus on international politics, except in wartime. Brexit is undoubtedly a big deal in Britain, and it should be, but it gets little coverage in America. Similarly, Nigel Farage, who appears to be a right-wing bogeyman in the UK, is almost unknown in this country (even to me - I know vaguely that he has something to do with a nationalist movement or party, but that's all; I don't even know if he holds elective office).

Great comment, David Childstrom. I didn't see it until after I'd posted my last one.

As far as I'm concerned, your words serve as a fitting epitaph for this troubled comments thread. I'm going to bow out (this time for good), though others are certainly welcome to continue if they wish.

I actually live in the U.S.A. in the 'fly-over' center of the country. From my perspective it seems rather simple to me that many or most of the 'Joes' I know voted for Trump because they could not bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Unfortunately, that was the choice. It's as simple as that. My guess is that little or no political thought was involved in the choice.- AOL

Yes, Michael, I can see from what you write that your basic internal immigration controls in the US leave much to be desired.


"How childish. My position on Trump is that, having won the election, he should be given a chance (within limits) to show what he can do. The American presidency is not a very powerful institution; there are many legal and political restraints on a president. This is already clear enough, since Trump's effort to overturn Obamacare has failed. So far, I'd say Trump's presidency has been a very mixed bag. He has made some good decisions, such as nominating Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and some very poor (and stupid) decisions, such as tweeting all kinds of nonsense. My other position, this time with regard to Trump's voters (I did not vote for him), is that most of them are not bad people; they are frustrated and desperate, and they have legitimate complaints about being ignored and disrespected by the coastal elites. This does not mean they made the right call, only that they should not be demonized."

You can see what the man is and you can see what he represents - if you so choose, Michael, anyone can. So far he is proving to be everything his character, reputation and rhetoric suggest. But anything's better than a Democrat in office, I suppose?

I don't believe you anticipated his airport immigration measures failing and I don't suppose you expected his healthcare reforms to fall flat on their face. I don't know if you have any dislike of his rampant nepotism or his appointing his elitist billionaire buddies to prime governmental positions, but then I haven't been following you online of late. In short, I don't see much protest from you about the dangers this man presents. However, like you, I'm very grateful that your judges and other learned, highly-intelligent, figures have well and truly got the measure of him. And I say that despite the fact that I'm not, for the most part, an establishment supporter.

"Your position is that Trump is Hitler, anyone who opposes him is a hero akin to French Resistance fighters, and anyone who has mixed feelings about him is a spineless Quisling. Sorry, but "fanatic" applies to only one of these viewpoints."

It disturbs me greatly that twice, in the last couple of days I've felt that you are gaslighting me. I made an obvious joke about your fictional character, Joe, voting for his own economic demise making him a candidate for the Darwin Award. You turned that into a death wish against all naive and economically desperate Trump voters. :(

And now, because I point out where the kind of fascism that Trump espouses and demonstrates leads if people do not take these matters seriously in their early stages, I am in some way mentally and emotionally unstable. That is ad hominem attack of the lowest order, Michael. Shame on you.

You may hope for the best. But I prefer to prepare for the worst in a situation as volatile as the Western World now faces with Trump as it's leader.

"If there is truth to Julie's diagnosis, then pity and compassion seem more appropriate feeling to direct towards Donald Trump than hatred and shunning."

If Trump was not the president of the USA and was, therefore, not in a position to exercise his narcissistic psychopathy traits on an entire continent and its political allies, then I would have every sympathy with Trump. Indeed, I have been one of the very few voices here speaking compassionately about people suffering with such mental conditions. Remember, I am one of the few posters here who doesn't see such conditions as evil?

The diagnosis of 'narcissistic psychopath' is not my diagnosis, it's the diagnosis of many highly qualified American psychologists and psychiatrists. Perhaps you might like to put your case to them?


And as for Trump's 'clever' move regarding Gorsuch:

http://bipartisanreport.com/2017/03/26/just-in-all-8-supreme-court-justices-stand-in-solidarity-against-trump-scotus-pick/

Please keep up at the back! ;)


Michael, I do sort of agree with you about the hypothetical Joe and a left-wing blogger already wrote something to that effect: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/
Studies have shown that immigration actually creates jobs: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-immigration-immigrants-jobs-brexit-remain-what-happens-unemployment-a7091566.html
But from the point of view of Joe it certainly LOOKS like the opposite is happening. The main problem with lack of jobs is automation, which nobody can really do anything about now.

Also, this might be interestingly relevant: http://www.cracked.com/blog/trumps-bizarre-religion-weirder-than-scientology/

David Chilstrom,

I really enjoyed reading your post. It was refreshing and uplifting to read what you had written after enduring so much negativity and conflict on this thread, and your prosaic writing style was a joy to behold. You made many good points, and I emphatically agreed with much of what you stated. Unfortunately however I am going to pull you up on the few points I did take issue with. Here goes:

“Being intolerant of intolerance bears no small amount of cognitive dissonance.”

Possibly some truth in this, but if one chooses to be intolerant of anything at all in this world, then intolerance is probably the thing to be intolerant of, wouldn’t you say?

“Narcissists can be obnoxious as hell, but I feel great pity for someone so blinded by their own reflection that they often fail to appreciate the beauty in others. And, to lack empathy for other humans and creatures, is a kind of blindness that some manage to cope with successfully while others succumb and break badly.”

Excellent appraisal of Trump! Kudos for this! Couldn’t put it better myself. I would at this juncture however echo Julie’s wise words. Trump is in a position of power and must be stood up to. In the words of Edmund Burke, "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." We can pity him all we want once he’s fucked off out of public office.

“So, when Julie called my president a "narcissistic psychopath", she might just as well have called him a gimp or a cripple, which is not just politically incorrect, but rather cruel.”

The only way you could be cruel to Trump is to shackle him and then throw him in a vat full of cow manure and play perpetual loops of Cliff Richard xmas record no.1s whilst leaving him to fester for a week or two (at least that might be cruel). On a more serious note I would take issue with your wording “my president”. The fact is that “your president” of yesteryears was responsible for the needless deaths of many of my countrymen (the pscho Bush jnr I’m talking about). My point is that “your president” can have repercussions which extend well beyond the borders of ‘your country’. Please refrain from using language which insinuates that us Brits are out of place for commenting on “your president”. Ta very much.

“And there are many other fine comments made by others, particularly early on, that have been quite insightful.”

Thank you!

“Please forgive whatever harm I've caused you.” – I forgive you brother. Go in peace.

Michael says: “At this point Mark will chime in to say that Julie obviously didn't mean to be taken literally when she talked about Hitler and the French Resistance. Well, if she doesn't, the burden is not on me to divine her true intent.”

I have to say your predictive powers far exceed your ability to find genuine fault with Julie’s comments. Again, I can scarcely believe you are serious with that comment. Julie was NOT saying that Trump was Hitler. She is using this as an analogy, something I think you probably understand despite your comment. Please be more humble and accept when you are in the wrong instead of switching to defence mode and blindly lashing out with totally ungrounded (and slightly potty) comments.

“Have I? What did I say? Since I have no particular opinion about Brexit, I can't imagine that I said much about it.”

You seem to have a bit of a short memory if you don’t mind me saying so. You engaged with me in a debate about Brexit on Facebook, and then bragged that you could even argue about something you know little about. If you genuinely do not remember this (and perhaps you don’t) I will spend however long it takes going down your Facebook wall until I find the relevant comments (yes I am that sad!)

“In general, I think people in the UK overestimate how much attention is paid to their country in the US.”

Yes, I’m sure us Brits living on this pathetic little geographic pinprick of an island of ours is completely unimportant to the most important race of people on the planet, living in the good old US of A. Trouble is, the misbehaviour of your statesmen tends to impact us somewhat from time to time, especially when we have spineless leaders such as Blair who follow the whim of whichever psychopathic president happens to be in office at the time.

"She is, as you may have noticed, something of a fanatic on the subject."

I would like to cast your mind back to February of this year if I may. I posted a single comment about Trump on your Facebook wall and you accused me of being trolling you. In your defence you were very good about it afterwards, when I responded and exclaimed that I thought your accusation of trolling was somewhat disproportionate considering the fact that I had made a single post on your wall (this had the unfortunate unintended consequence of activating a couple of rabid fruit-loops who happened to be monitoring your FB wall at the time, who really did become convinced that I was trolling you!) But do you think this temporary mental aberration of yours was indicative of something. After all, you did mention at about this time that you had posted so much about Trump on your Facebook wall that you had been accused of being "obsessed". Indeed, the words ‘kettle’, ‘pot’ and ‘black’ do spring to mind!

In summary I will write the following: I did not come to this blog to constantly argue about the lunatic nutjob who is currently president of the United States. I would like to get back to more constructive discussions which are more characteristic of this blog. To that end I will make no further comments about Trump here, save for responding to other comments about Trump (basically because I want to have the last word).

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)