• The alliance between the Left and Islam
    That being said, is this turn of the thread supposed to to invigorate "white saviour complex / white guilt" or something? The Indonesian mass killings in 1965-66 weren't exactly pretty, as was the Rwandese genocide. The role of the UN in the latter can be debated, as can the role of the Dutch in Screbrenica ..."damned if you do, damned if you don't".

    I would not want to make the latter imply as if I'm making an excuse for the Indonesian atrocities, but it does shine a nice light on "moral relativism". And yes, questions can (and should be!) posed towards the previous interference of western nations in non-western continents which might have laid the groundwork for these atrocities to happen but then?

    My fiance was a baby during the killings in Indonesia, but she remembers being shown a pit in their back yard where they were supposed to hide in case the communists came around. The propaganda since then had been very anti-communist in the subsequent decades. I managed to get her to watch "The Act of Killing". She probably knew some of the people re-enacting those killings, but in the end, she was upset that they associated some current politicians with the more militant groups. I watched "The Look of Silence" by myself, but haven't showed it to her yet, even though it is much more compassionate, (the survivors refuse to seek revenge, despite the pain they still feel). However, I heard that after 50 years, the government is officially considering looking into the facts after all these years.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    I've already explained what's wrong with this sophistry. It is possible to acknowledge the misogyny and gender equality in one's own country (the U.S. in my case) while decrying the far worse plight of women in some Muslim-majority countries (such as Saudi Arabia, which we've been discussing here**). This is nothing like a case of "cognitive dissonance," as you've claimed: cognitive dissonance in this case would amount to dismissing, ignoring, or even favoring gender discrimination in one's own culture, while also decrying it in others' (including in Muslim-majority nations). That's not the case here.Arkady

    The classic example: you believe smoking is bad for your health, but you like to smoke. That creates cognitive dissonance, a contradiction between belief and action. There are several ways the brain tries to deal with it. It can simply minimize the health effects of smoking, or to trivialize the desire to smoke. That's what most people would do with such a conflict. But there are also extreme positions appeals to shadowy conspiracies to eliminate one side of the conflict.

    Your plaints about "white savior complex" are little different than cries of "Islamophobia" in such discussions: it serves only to deflect and discourage criticism by implying some sort of racism or white paternalistic/colonial mindset without at all engaging in honest discussion. It is good propaganda; it is, however, a poor way to do philosophy.Arkady

    I'm not discouraging criticism. I criticize FGM and even male circumcision, forced marriages or child marriages. I admit that they happen. I just think if you really want to do something about it, you politely reason with people and respect their identity and beliefs.

    Islamophobia works on hatred and fear. It looks just like the days of the "Red Scare" which kept pointing to irrational fear to drive people into throwing out reason or any chance of dialog. The white savior complex is also real, (and just as much on the "left" as the "right"). It plays on feelings of compassion and generosity, but without thinking how it affects the target of those feelings. In NGO circles, there are many talks about how too much charity can disrupt an economy as much as a disaster.

    You won't get any argument from me. Saudi Arabia is a bit of an extreme example, though, and most Muslims around the world complain and shake their heads -- but feel like nothing can be done as long as the rest of the world backs them up for oil. I haven't been to Saudi Arabia myself, but I did sponsor an Austrian guy and his wife who were driving from Europe to South-East Asia. They got pulled over by the police in Jeddah because they thought his wife was driving. The police opened the door, then stood there stunned when he didn't see a steering wheel in front of her. The Austrian guy said, "looking for this officer"? It was a right-hand drive car, like the UK, not left-hand like Saudi and the US. But things are rapidly getting betted since King Abdullah died. A prince there said that he thought women should be able to drive legally, (and royal opinion is basically law there). Actually, women can and do drive in remote areas. Also, there are many ways of going around without a member of their family. I've been told there are many different levels of society. There are the royals, the loyal government workers, the regular Saudi, who has 100s of ways to get around the rules, then there are many villages which have been ignored for historical reasons who still don't have electricity. If you really want to fight these problems, I'm all in favor of economic and political sanctions out of concerns for human rights -- but of course, most people will just expect them to become BFF with China and Russia then. Ultimately, it is the west that is supporting that treatment. It was the British who brought the Saud family there in the first place, and we give them money and weapons to crush or bribe any attempt at democracy or overthrowing them.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    Male circumcision was Jewish and wasn't embraced by Gentiles until early to mid 20th Century unless I'm mistaken. If the transmission of the custom happened as you describe... is there evidence of this?Mongrel

    Hopefully you aren't eating right now. To give you some context, one of the most popular breakfast cereals is Kellogg's Corn Flakes. It was invented in 1878 by John Harvey Kellogg. He was a homeopathic physician that believed sex harmed health, (it is said he never consummated his own marriage and adopted all his kids). So he invented a cereal that was so boring, (unlike the usual ham and eggs wealthy people ate at the time), that people wouldn't be so sexually frustrated. (Same story behind Granola and Graham Crackers). He was also part of the "Orificial Surgery" movement. That group believed that many sicknesses could be cured through circumcision of both males and females, as well as other bizarre treatments. It had a brief moment in the UK, but it was in the US that it really took off. Male circumcision in US hospitals became almost routine, by the 1950's. Even female circumcision was performed as recently as the 1960's. It was only finally banned in the 1990's. I did manage to find a few secondary references to how missionaries brought this practice to Africa in the early 20th century. They tell you it is for "cleanliness", (which is still debatable), but originally it was to prevent masturbation.

    For evidence, just search for "Orificial Surgery" or "Edwin Hartley Pratt". If you are in a hurry, try this badly made video:
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    I think you missed the point. As a Muslim, both in America and living in Muslim countries, I get a chance to chat with others in my community. When subjects like circumcision or honor killing come up, I politely point out how those practices were not Islamic and were actually introduced by European colonialists centuries ago, but the source was forgotten, and they spread the word around. When the west got rid of those laws, the colonies didn't get the memo. So I believe I've actually helped those victims. When self-appointed non-Muslim "Mullahs" go around insisting it actually is an Islamic practice, without a shred of evidence, he helps to gradually undo that work and oppress them even more. It sounds like they are insisting on keeping that oppression going so they can keep up their righteous indignity.

    So I am accusing these Mullahs of falling victim to a "white savior complex" mentality, (which can actually affect anyone of any race or gender -- so not the best name). The symptoms are a commitment to dismissing the possibility of oppression in their own back-yard. This "white savior complex" works to assuage guilt by shift all the blame on foreign men as "the other". Another symptom is that implied solutions tend to be impassive and drastic. The "white men saving brown women from brown men", comes from a Spivak essay which points out that those "brown women", (the "subaltern"), have a voice and are capable of making decisions on what they would like to do, but that voice is completely disregarded. Instead, the implied solution is to invade their countries and free them from their religion and even their identity. Think about how it would feel if anyone tried to do that to your community? Based on the number of people in America scared senseless about "Sharia Law" taking over the country, they ought to be able to empathize -- but they apparently can't. It seems to me that the descent thing to do would be to let them decide what they want to do for themselves.

    As for the "niqab", (the black robe that covers everything), I don't have that much experience. I've spoken with a few, (through a female intermediate), and they say they don't mind and even feel proud to wear it. I've even heard a white American convert to Islam who wore it says she gets a lot more respect from people than she did before. She was actually a bit of a feminist and thought it helped avoid the "male gaze" of objectifying women. Maybe that is why a lot of men feel uncomfortable around it. I figured out it actually serves some function in the Arabian desert. I once saw a woman eating a hamburger outside a mall, in direct sunlight, around lunch time. I think it was about 45C, (113F), outside. Then I realized that everyone, (even desert bedouin), was wearing some kind of robe, it keeps the sun off and circulates air underneath. Also, I've had the chance to join a few conversations to point out that full outer covering is not Islamic or "hijab', but a bit of overkill.

    The word "hijab" refers to the areas of the body to keep hidden in the presence of people outside the family. I saw an article which said that they wanted to ban "hijab" -- I thought it was funny, because to follow that law to the letter, it would mean I would have to walk around without pants! When areas of France were banning the niqab, I had a long debate with my fiance. I was opposed to the ban because I don't think the government should be telling people how to dress, but she was in favor of it, because she thought people need to adapt to the local culture. That reminded me that I really have no say over how someone else is supposed to think, and no right to think I have some kind of moral obligation to force people to change their minds.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    This might be a good example of my point. Maybe at some point, you may have gotten a vague impression of a contradiction with fighting for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, while simultaneously oppressing women in your own country. So you broke that cognitive dissonance by denying that your society is oppressing women at all. It goes much deeper than wage inequality. Every week, the news comes out with a story about how a woman was raped, and the rapist gets away with a really minor sentence, while many leaders say "she was asking for it by her behavior". It is especially bad in the military, (chances of being raped has been estimated at 1 in 3).

    Isn't that essentially what is wrong with "honor killing", that the officials in that country don't treat it as murder, like they would in the modern west? Take a look at any historical reference and you will see that "honor killing", started with Augustus Caesar's, "Lex Julia de adulteriis coercendis", and carried around Europe as part of Napoleonic code. I agree that FGM, honor killing, forced marriages, etc is evil and must be stopped, but it is easier to do by reinforcing identity than seeking to destroy it.

    I put that statement about western women dressing up like porn stars in quotes because that is what people in strict Islamic countries are saying, not me. I also know that they would use the same excuse as you do, that most do it out of choice and for complex social interactions, not because it is strictly enforced. After living in a Muslim majority country, then coming back to the US, I was impressed how similar was the controversy over American women going topless during the "free the nipple" campaign, (ironically protests were carried out where it wasn't illegal). The west certainly has a lot to say about how women dress in their society, just look at how any female public figure is judged more by appearance than political views.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    There's that (very much so!) and, like people organizing in groups, there are probably a bunch of other innate tendencies which make it easy / pragmatic for people to take on a specific stanceGooseone

    It seems to me that organizing into groups is part of the problem. Take any group and their list of causes and you find a lot of contradictions. By organizing in groups, you tend to sweep those contradiction under the rug of identity. In a more consistent universe, this thread should be called "the alliance between the Right and Islam", as the majority of the members of both groups share the same ideals. Perhaps implicit animosity between groups that share so many values in common is a kind of competition or shifting blame for unpopular beliefs onto the other group. You would think that a group that passes laws to defend religious beliefs would be defending Islam from the evil liberal humanists and atheists.
  • PopSci: The secret of how life on Earth began
    Wallace agreed with Darwin on the biological principle of natural selection, but he didn't believe it accounted for human intellectaual and moral factulties.Wayfarer

    I was talking about giving credit for the discovery of evolution. Wallace and Darwin are credited as co-discoverers, working independently. It seems strange that they don't even get a mention. I was challenging the idea they propose that Darwin was the first to even think of evolution. It wasn't that nobody had thought about it before, but because the official British science at the time actively repressed those kinds of ideas.

    Also, wasn't the reasoning or evidence for a material source of intelligence and morality only to come about much more recently? It also seems to me that the vast majority of people still cling to some form of dualism and human exceptionalism. Just try to make a hard determinist argument in a free will thread. Most people are essentially compatibilists like Wallace.
  • Russia and the West
    In real politics, what guarantees that the winner will be your ally if you back them? Once they have power in their hands, they could just as well turn on you if that's more profitable for them.Agustino

    I didn't say it was a good plan, (and Chomsky would probably agree). I guess it is like voting for the candidate you think has the best chance of winning instead of who you agree with ethically.
  • Russia and the West
    My father served in the military in Europe during the cold war. From the stories I would hear, there has always been a lot of back room collusion between the US and Russia.

    I have been entertaining a theory that the US backed the Syrian rebels, during the "Arab Spring" uprisings because they thought Assad would lose. When that didn't come about so easily, they tried to get public support for direct intervention, (remember that "red line" business with chemical weapons), which failed. Then Russia was brought in, (or "given permission"), to help settle the conflict on the side of Assad again. I don't think your theory is "deluded". In an alternate timeline, if the US had avoided Syria, you would probably get the same outcome with far less casualties, but the US would have lost a lot of diplomatic ground for abandoning a tentative ally to Russia.

    Chomsky says it is practically written in the US "playbook". Always back whoever looks like they are winning, so they are your ally afterwards.

    I don't think the fact the currently selected Secretary of State has ties to Russia means less than his connection to Exxon, which will be just business as usual, as far as the US and Russia is concerned. The biggest problem with the incoming administration is the fact that the US president-elect hasn't figured out when to keep his mouth shut. I'm sure the president of "Taiwan", (actually the Republic of China), has always called whoever is elected president in the US, and all of them accepted the call and kept quiet about that fact. China knows we have a good relationship with Taiwan and its government, we sell them billions in planes. But to talk about it publicly caused them to "lose face". The "One China" policy is a really, really, sensitive subject for them. They won't go to war over it, or do much of anything else, but they gain the diplomatic high ground from this gaffe.
  • PopSci: The secret of how life on Earth began
    Every single person who died before Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859 was ignorant of humanity's origins, because they knew nothing of evolution. But everyone alive now, barring isolated groups, can know the truth about our kinship with other animals.Wayfarer

    Except for Anaximander, Empedocles, Carl Linnaeus, Pierre Louis Maupertuis, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon and even Erasmus Darwin? Also, Alfred Russell Wallace, (who everyone keeps forgetting), independently discovered the same thing, based on different observations. I think there quite a few cultures that had origin stories of animals transforming into humans or being related in some way to animals. It was probably more post Plato view of "fixed forms", later adopted by Christianity, and taught this "traditional" view. Sounds more like BBC is a bit subconsciously biased toward British history.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    FGM is difficult to discuss rationally in the west. I'm afraid it falls under that "white savior complex", or as Spivak described it, "white men saving brown women from brown men", (intentionally provocative, and I realize, postcolonial poststructuralism). Spivak was talking about British rule over India, and how the rare practice of "sati", or throwing the living widow on the husband's funeral pyre, was used to demonize, oppress and silence Indian society. So, I asked my fiance, who is Indonesian and Muslim about FGM. She said it is an optional practice. It was done to her, but not to her niece. It is FGM level I, which is just a "nick", not full-on surgery. Also, everyone she knows is aware it is for the purpose of cleanliness and doesn't have anything to do with Islam. In my own interactions in the area, I was told a few times that the fathers either object or don't care, but it is the mothers who usually push for it as they think it will improve her chances of marriage later in life. I'm still a bit confused about that part, because I don't think it is something I've heard advertised, and quite a few women have no idea whether they had it done or not, and could probably get away with lying about it. I have a theory that the "cleanliness" aspect was adapted from colonial and missionary messages about male circumcision. All I heard about the more extreme FGM levels is that it is practiced only in Africa, based on local tribal traditions. The Islamic justification is that there are no concrete rules in Islam to prevent it, and some local traditions were tolerated, so they rely on the current social environment.

    But back to the "white savior complex". I think we are all subject to being manipulated by "damsel in distress" themes. It is a powerful means of getting people worked up to support war and violence. The problem is that it is also powerful enough to cover up guilt. It allows us to be temporarily hypocritical. We can ignore all the oppression we put women under at home, or how our treatment of the target country might have brought about the very conditions we are fighting -- and go on a sacred crusade against the infidels. I'm also sure the extremists on the other side are thinking the very same thing. "Those westerners are oppressing their women by dressing them up like porn stars, we have a holy mission to rescue them". The problem with hypocrisy I've seen is that our brains can't handle the cognitive dissonance for long. It seems that people will eventually settle on an extreme side of the issue, while seeing the other side as a fantasy. Side A trying to dismiss that any oppression is happening in that foreign country, while Side B trying to dismiss that there is any oppression going on at home. Both sides are ultimately trying to help, but both methodologies can become destructive. Both sides find, and sometimes even share, their champions of their arguments. Sometimes the message of those champions is completely twisted around to serve their position. Sometimes the champions are serving their own interests, others are truly trying to serve their own people and culture, but get misrepresented and exploited anyway.

    My own opinion comes from the old-fashioned notion that we serve by example. First take care of the mote in your own eye. You start to deal with tragic issues like FGM by not being the cause of the conditions that promote it and clean up your own society first. Most of the worst practices in the world were often inspired by things we take for granted.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    Wait ... so you guys don't want her either?
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    This is an outright smear. Nothing in her history shows her to be supportive of "right wing extremists" (I suspect you've set the bar rather low for this) or racism. Quite the opposite in fact.Thorongil

    She came to the US at the invitation of the AEI, a "conservative think tank", and she is still on their list of "scholars" in 2006. By that time, the group was already getting a few Islamophobia types. She ended up associating with's owner Robert Spencer and head of SOIA, Pamela Geller. She ended up on Southern Poverty Law Center's A Journalist's Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, ( started a petition to get her removed).

    But maybe she just hangs out with a bad crowd. Look at this controversial interview she did with "Reason" magazine:

    Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

    Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

    Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

    Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

    Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

    Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

    Reason: Militarily?

    Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

    Reason: Are we really heading toward anything so ominous?

    Hirsi Ali: I think that’s where we’re heading. We’re heading there because the West has been in denial for a long time. It did not respond to the signals that were smaller and easier to take care of. Now we have some choices to make. This is a dilemma: Western civilization is a celebration of life—everybody’s life, even your enemy’s life. So how can you be true to that morality and at the same time defend yourself against a very powerful enemy that seeks to destroy you?
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    Divide and conquer is probably oldest strategy around. And it is working on us so well that you will see another civil war in the Ununited States, before you see a parade celebrating both sides. And that potential civil war would be just fine with the status quo.0 thru 9

    I agree it is an end result of a "divide and conquer", (dīvide et īmpera), strategy. But that strategy is usually employed by an external power wishing to conquer a region. Come in, find some minor ideological difference, then keep the locals fighting over their identity so they have to come in and take control to "maintain order". It is a bad strategy for just one local side. Historically, this strategy doesn't last for very long as the locals tend to unify and revolt. So, who is this external power? Could it be Russia? It would have a lot to gain by keeping the US and Europe under control and out of the picture.
  • What's wrong with being transgender?
    I can see why you would say that, but I am just talking about practicality here. I am not saying what is natural is best but what is most practical is best. It just so happens that what is our fundamental biological nature (reproduction) IS most practical and therefor to say it is the opposite is false.intrapersona

    This is just redirecting the naturalistic fallacy. Something being practical is is beneficial toward some purpose, which you have already defined as reproduction, so it is circular logic. Nature doesn't necessarily insist on universal reproduction. Many species only mate during certain seasons which seems to promote the species by not exhausting all the available resources or avoiding predators. Humans have similar evolved tendencies, so that we spend a lot of our time doing other things. It seems to be a male sexual fantasy that nature is only concerned about reproduction, which is probably another byproduct of keeping the species moving forward. Evolution works by trial and error over long periods of time. Unless you have run many controlled experiments and have an extensive model of human behavior, you can't conclusively say that some desire for a few humans to disagree with their assigned gender isn't a healthy experiment.

    By definition, a female baby is always born as a female. A woman is a mature female and therefor de beauvoir is right in that you grow in to one. BUT to be a woman necessitates you be a female in the first place, by definition that is. To say you are a woman when you are a man is frankly absurd, I might as well say I am a peanut and not a human.intrapersona

    There is no scientifically strict definition of "female". Is it just genitalia? There are cases of babies being born with ambiguous genitalia. In some cultures, there are communities built around children with this ambiguity. In the west, doctors usually look at DNA and then perform a kind of "sex change" to align them closer to what is socially accepted. There are many degrees of "intersexed" individuals. While developing in the womb, we are all "female" according to genitalia, it is only hormones that push us to develop one direction or the other. So is a "female" XX on the last chromosome? There are individuals born with androgen insensitivity syndrome, or AIS, who have XY chromosomes, but develop fully female bodies because their bodies don't respond to male hormones. The Olympic committee thought this is enough of an issue to require DNA tests for athletes so they can eliminate individuals with this syndrome. Simone de Beauvoir's point was that men are not defined by sexual characteristics, but women are defined by how they are different than men. It means that gender is ultimately a social construct, a way of putting people into general categories. If it were not a social construct, we wouldn't be talking about "men dressing like women", because there is no genitalia or DNA definitively associated with clothing. (In fact, there is a long list of fashion choices that were reversed -- high heel shoes, for example, were considered masculine until the 18th century).

    It hasn't worked? Like it hasn't worked in making 7 billion people over the last 50,000 years?intrapersona

    It hasn't worked in the sense that humans are still not binary. Nature seems to have settled on a certain percentage of hermaphrodites and people who are unwilling or unable to reproduce, and the proportion seems to be globally universal. There is still nowhere in the world where every family can reproduce as much as they want without some negative social consequences. Having that many people is only possible because humans took time out to work on technology and managing their environment to make that number possible, besides just having non-stop sex.

    You agree that society takes on the role of deciding what individuals are required to believe is ethical and that social conventions currently force people to accept gays, transgender etc. and that such a thing is oppression.intrapersona

    No, I don't think society should dictate ethics. A society is a collection of individuals who agree to respect each others rights and not cause harm to each other. Doesn't matter if you are talking about homsexuality, someone being transgendered, or heterosexual rape and abuse. That's not oppression because it doesn't prevent you from living your life as you wish. The only negative feelings seem to come from your own feelings of discomfort in having to accommodate people with different viewpoints. I'm just saying, logically, you need to accommodate others if you want your own freedom accommodated. I'm sure there are a dozen things you currently tolerate which would have made your ancestors feel really uncomfortable that we accept without thinking.

    You disagree with me in that transgender is a disorder. You seem to view it as "an adaption towards novel conditions". But what is novel about pretending to be a peanut? Or saying that you are God? It is all deranged thinking and is in no way any more practical, reasonable are novel in any way shape or form.intrapersona

    Evolution works by trial and error over a long time. All humans share the same DNA. It is only a poorly understood mechanism which chooses between XX and XY chromosomes, from which we develop into a bimodal distribution. It isn't a disorder for a female to identify as female or a male to identify as male. It would be inevitable that, just like there are genetic outliers, there would be a few psychological outliers, just from chance. The only way you could get clean binary genders is by somehow developing men and women as separate species, (which would throw out the whole practicality of reproduction thing).

    Logically, too, I think most people would resist having our motives biologically determined. We like to think of ourselves as free agents. Without it, we are nothing but animals set aside for breeding purposes and condemn anyone who dares step outside. Maybe, in some way, evolution is helping us find our way beyond our biological constraints.
  • What will Putin ask for?
    The US has no interest in allowing Russia anything. If Assad wins the war with Russian help it is much more advantageous for the US to finally invade on humanitarian grounds and control the port themselves. Germany needed a port during WWII and preventing its acquisition would have prevented all hell from breaking out. Russia is the Bear waiting to escape its cage with the real question being what will the US be willing to trade with them instead. Putin's provocative international politics give him something he can leverage at the bargaining table with the remaining question being how much is it worth, but the idea the US or even China will allow a dictator in charge of that kind of industrial power and resources to run wild is laughable.wuliheron

    If I were in Putin's place, I don't think I would see the US as being able to offer anything except to get out of the way. The US has already destroyed itself socially and economically and burned most of its bridges with its allies. China would a great ally as it would pragmatically shift toward a similar political and economic structure. If the US burns its bridges with NATO and China, Russia would be looking forward to a new golden age.

    NATO is a US organization just like the UN. We pay half the bills and provide all the real resources and if nobody else likes it they can go to hell. We are the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room that already brought that bear to its knees and nobody trusts that bear as far as they can throw it, while the US has been called an enemy you can trust, if for no other reason, because all we care about is the money and weapons which we already control.wuliheron

    I remember the stories my father told, serving under NATO exchange projects. The US has fiercely guarded relationships with member countries. I remember stories about how many things had to be done to maintain those relationships that was rarely shared with the general public. It seems to me that we aren't so much in control as we are a guest who has long overstayed our welcome. Even the suggestion of trying to change the current arrangement is enough to create an economic and political crisis.
  • What will Putin ask for?
    Now is the opportune time as you have an American administration which is willing to collaborate with you (read - compromise) in order fulfil American interests. The stronghold you hold over Syria - as that is where ISIS is located - is of geo-strategic interest to the Americans in their war against terrorism - that's your leverage. In exchange for helping the US eliminate ISIS and terrorism, what will you ask for back? Is it Ukraine? Is it Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Hungary? Is it the dissolution of NATO?Agustino

    Don't underestimate the strategic importance of Syria, (which goes back more than a century). Russia is the largest country in the world, but really only has one reliable warm water port, (I suppose they could just wait for global warming instead).


    If you study military and political strategy, a lot of the efforts between the US and Russia in the area make perfect sense. Why Russia wanted to "liberate" Crimea and supports Assad, while the US help "rebels" seeking to overthrow Assad. The whole area has been a "proxy war". Remember the "red line" that, if crossed, would mean direct US intervention, (which was almost unanimously rejected by Americans)? It is currently in a very precarious position. The dissolution of NATO would be a disaster for the US side and many of the allies it has built up in the region.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    Sure, here is the Dutch documentary on her:

    So this kind of gets into "unreliable testimony" territory.
  • What's wrong with being transgender?
    Now look I am not an a close-minded arsehole, people can do whatever the hell they please as long as it doesn't cause dis-ease or impact on to someone else's life. But I just can't for the life of me see any reason in why there is acceptance over such a thing in society.intrapersona

    Because a society which decides what is acceptable, (if it doesn't bother anyone else), is oppressive and nobody wants to live in an oppressive society? Does it have any benefit on society whatsoever to enforce arbitrary rules? If so, why not enforce even more arbitrary rules?

    It is completely against our survival in evolutionary terms and looks like an aberrant disorder of the mind that serves no purpose and is completely backward to procreation as a species. For if everyone was a transgender and/or gay that would mean no one would have babies (assuming IVF does not exist). Even if such a world did exist with IVF included and boys looked like girls and girls looked like boys... it would be incredibly weird and look more like something out of a freakish absurd comedy-horror film.intrapersona

    That's "naturalistic fallacy". But there is an axiom, "evolution is always smarter than us". There may be valid reasons for a species to not be exclusively preoccupied with reproduction. We don't go around killing people off just because they can't become parents. There are many theories about the ways that people benefit society by working and engaging in an economy. Evolution has probably already found a balance for humanity, and strict binary gender roles apparently hasn't worked yet. Also, look at other species where males and females are virtually indistinguishable, (ever try to sex a chick), or may even naturally and spontaneously swap gender, (possibly some frogs), or role in reproduction, (seahorses).

    That aside, can you imagine pretending to be a women your whole life? Does not that image seem related to a slightly psychotic child who never stopped wearing mummies dresses/lipstick and still sucks on his finger?intrapersona

    There are theories that we all do exactly that anyway. Like Simone de Beauvoir says, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman". In that sense, the social definition of "woman" is not biological, but how closely someone conforms to social expectations. But it is good that what you say means that "maturity" is rejecting pretension and choosing another role.

    It seems to me that in order to quench the rowdy disorder that comes from different people's opinions on what our social codes should be (moral relativism) people end up saying they accept all sorts of outrageous things in life (like transgender people) but secretly on the inside they keep their opinions to themselves because they know it would cause unrest due to the social order we formed to quench the rowdy disorder that comes from people offering or rather shouting differing opinions (moral relativism).intrapersona

    As above, I don't think we should be ruled by "rowdy disorder" or "social codes". I don't think it is moral relativism, but more apply the current standards of individual rights and responsibility. Once society takes on the role of decided what individuals are required to do, then it robs individuals of their rights and responsibility. We are no longer rational agents, but just extensions of some arbitrary social conventions.

    In a way, maybe your reaction, (that a transgendered position), being so offensive is exactly the point. It is evolutionary pressure pushing back on being too restrictive, preventing us to adapt to novel conditions and experiences. If nobody ever dares behave in any way that might offend you, we might very well be headed for extinction for failure to adapt.
  • Islamic sociological problem or merely a Quran problem?
    There are a few things I learned from years living among Muslims. One thing is that most Muslims have never really "read" the Quran, (in the way we mean it). There are people who can recite the whole Quran from memory, verbatim, but don't even understand Arabic. You see, most Muslims don't speak Arabic as their native language. Take all the Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, (Urdu), and Iran, (Farsi). Even those who speak Arabic, might find the 1400-year-old "standard Arabic" a bit difficult to understand. There were many times I managed to pull off a small trick. I would tell them a story, then reveal at the end that it is from their Quran. The Quran is held in such high esteem, it is often read as a ceremonial thing without thinking too deeply about what it says.

    The Hadith are a different matter. A lot of "sayings" were collected, then rated according to levels of authenticity, but they were all preserved, even if what was said contradicted the Quran or each other or were simply absurd or political assertions. But the majority of Muslims I have known aren't really clear on which statements are from the Quran and which are Hadith, or whether they are simply traditions passed down from forgotten sources.

    I think it is a common, but mistaken, stereotype that Muslim countries are regressive and backwards. Back when Europe was in its "Dark Ages", Muslim countries were more advanced in social and scientific progress. One of many factors that lead to the Renaissance, was the translation of Arab "Golden Age" documents. Many of the countries that currently get condemned as "backwards" got that way from the age of European colonialism. In fact, a lot of the evils cited above can be traced back to European laws that were introduced to those colonies. Even today, there are advances within Muslim societies that the west has yet to adopt, (I'm looking especially at my own country, which still has never had a woman president or even legal equal rights for women).

    Today, the Quran has become more of an image of identity, like a national flag, (think of Jean Baudrillard -- the image is more important than the message, the copy is more real than what it represents). Destroying the Quran means to destroy an identity. You couldn't reform a country by burning its flag as much as re-invigorating the country around the ideals upon which it was based. Sometimes people forget the ideal and idolize and pervert the intent of the symbol of that ideal.

    There are Muslim social reformers who have already making advances in Muslim society. Many of them tend to emphasize the Quran and reject or lower Hadith to secondary importance. I've attempted to change the minds of some more conservative Muslims to progressive ideas. I knew one woman who liked to claim all Israeli Jews were evil. So I would send them evidence to the contrary, like some Israeli Jews who go out into the olive orchards with Palestinians to act as human shields to prevent nearby settlers from shooting them, for example. I've found that every human, deep down, has the capacity and preference for acts of compassion. Fear and anger is easier, but positive emotions are ultimately stronger. People don't want to live in fear and hatred is exhausting. Everyone wants to live in peace and harmony.
  • The alliance between the Left and Islam
    “More perplexing to Ms. Hirsi Ali is the hostility leveled at her by some on the left for her efforts to challenge Islamic law and teachings.”Emptyheady

    It is complicated. Remember that Ms. Ali rose to prominence in Dutch government based on claims she suffered abuses in a Muslim country, then, just when she was exposed by Dutch journalists that evidence showed that her real life story was completely different than what she claimed, she left the country to help right-wing extremists fan anti-Islamic sentiment in the US. They probably don't mind her criticism, (they are quick to criticize Islam, too), but she represents a trend toward racism.

    My first impression is that it seems bizarre because those two ideologies are at odds with each other. Islamic cultures are notorious for their contra-leftist (or progressive) behaviour and beliefs, especially regarding women’s rights, LGBT rights and oppressive violence.Emptyheady

    That's true. The values of the majority of Muslims tend to be what would be considered "right" relative to western society. They would oppose abortion, gay rights and insist that religion be raised to prominent importance in society and politics. There are similar conservative values for gender roles in society. I remember back in 2000, most US Muslims were backing Bush for president.

    The mind boggling part is that I often hear leftist excuse such behaviour or they become unreasonably sceptical, which is ironic given that the same group are known to proclaim ‘rape culture’ [in areas with the lowest rates of rape]. Ben Affleck called it “gross” and “racist” for pointing this out. — Emptyheady:d635

    If you a referring to the incident I think you are, remember that he was speaking to Bill Maher and Sam Harris, who are as "left" as you can get. They criticize all religious beliefs as ridiculous and that they lead to social disparity. I think that Ben Affleck was correctly pointing out that their criticism of Islam was only fueling racism, fear and hatred in the left. Some of their claims of bad behavior tended to conflate social and religious beliefs. Their opposition to all religious beliefs only created yet another island of intolerance.

    I don't think there is any alliance between Islam and the left. It should be clear that politics these days is not defined by any ideological or political alliances, but oppositions. There is opposition between the left and the right-wing religious extremism. They might overlook the absurdity of embracing virtually the same values and irrational beliefs in an attempt to fight against the more persuasive mass hysteria. Once you allow that to spread, it is more difficult to reason or argue for progressive values of liberty and tolerance.
  • Work
    My father was the "if you love your job, you never have to work" type. He started flying airplanes when he was just 15, and has never stopped. He is now 75 years old and still flies despite losing an entire leg to cancer, (probably caused by the mushroom clouds he flew through during Operation Plowshare, when he was in the Air Force), in a plane he built himself.

    I guess I got that from him, and have been working on computers since before many people had them and am at the top of my game even after all these years. I got some pilots lessons, but I could never be a pilot, I grew up around that so much, it seemed like I would just be a glorified bus driver. I worked out my commute, I live 1.5 miles from my office, so I can easily walk to work when I feel like it.

    I'm not really into reality TV, but caught a few shows. It appears to me like they make up most of the story line just to ramp up the drama. If it was really reality, it would be too painfully boring to stand. I think work is a way to build up drama in our own lives. All those things you look forward to on the weekend would be boring if you did it every day, and household chores would be far less rewarding, (which is probably why I support feminists). Although, I suppose travelling the world, if you could afford it, would be a good substitute for that drama.
  • Moving Right
    Is anyone going to start a "dead pool" for the "right"? I remember there were quite a few websites tracking all the Silicon Valley startups as they were doing layoffs and collapsing during the big "dot-com bust". It is inevitable that the "right" is already nearly dead. First, it won't be long before they realize what they did, (like the left did back in the day), isn't going to work out for them. Even 2 months before Trump takes office, "drain the swamp", has become, "more snakes and alligators won't hurt". Second, they ran on a platform on fear and distrust of the government. How long can they stay away from their addiction, before they find reasons to fear and distrust the new government? When the jobs all leave and they find themselves paying even more in taxes for even more ridiculous gold brick projects without any benefit? Can they handle the pressure of actual responsibility for their actions, or will they just blame others and rethink their party alignments, (see above)?

    There was no real "left", but more of a shared sentiment that we couldn't justify our rights and benefits unless they applied to everyone. There could be no "moral high ground", since morality was all relative to individual "world views". The country has always been skewed to the right. Even the abortion issue mentioned above is a bit backwards. To be consistent, the right should have been pro-choice/personal responsibility, and the left should have been pro-life. It seems like people chose sides just to oppose the other side. The "left", (of far-right), is paying for its sins too. Nobody is really switching sides, they are just bringing some issues of cognitive dissonance into focus. How could you be trying to save a group while simultaneously killing them? I recently came to the conclusion that the current protests and discussions are not so much about political ideals, but about how to reconcile ideals with reality.

    As for me, it is too late for left/right discussion. My main concern is how to dress for the inevitable relocation camps.
  • Is the golden rule flawed?
    Among the ancient philosophers and religious figures, the negative of the Golden Rule seems more popular: "don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you". We are probably more alike in what we would avoid than what we would desire. There are many variations, from just about every discipline:

    Also, regarding the criticism:

    Mr. Bernard Shaw's remark "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different" is no doubt a smart saying. But it seems to overlook the fact that "doing as you would be done by" includes taking into account your neighbor's tastes as you would that he should take yours into account. Thus the "golden rule" might still express the essence of a universal morality even if no two men in the world had any needs or tastes in common. — Walter Terence Stace
  • 'See-through' things (glass, water, plastics, etc) are not actually see-through.
    I seem to remember similar theories a long time ago on PF.

    Anyway, light is passing through two different medium, through transparent air, then transparent water, the only difference is the arbitrary distinction between gas and liquid. I suppose you could try to compare looking at something while in a vacuum, but it might not be a comfortable experience.

    A good way to test that theory would be to drop some colored liquid in the water. If the straw changes color, too, then you are looking through the liquid. If it is merely projecting onto the surface, the straw ought to be unaffected by the change in water color. Of course, water has a color, but you need enough of it to start affecting the light, so go to a deep swimming pool, stream or clear ocean. The water tends to appear blue, and things at the bottom of deep water turn blue, proving the light is filtered by the water between the object and the surface.
  • Brains do not cause conscious experience.
    If your conscious experience is caused by your brain, this means that the body (including your head, which you believe contains a physical brain which is causing your experience) and the world around that you perceive - perceptions being conscious experience - must therefore be caused by your brain.dukkha

    What if you substituted body/brain with "camera" and perception/experience with "image"? Does it make sense to say that cameras don't take pictures because they could potentially take a picture of themselves, (in a mirror)?

    So you're left in the horrible epistemic position of the brain state that gives rise to/is equal to your conscious experience not being within your head that you feel, see, touch, etc. Rather, all those sense experiences, and the perceived world around you, and the people you interact with, must all already be caused by/equal to the particular state of a brain.dukkha


    The treachery of images is that the image is not the thing. A picture of a pipe is not a pipe, but it is possible that some real pipe was involved in the process of making the image. It is only horrible if you assume that images and the things they represent are identical and have some vested interest in everything being real. So it is a kind of paradox -- trying to deal with the contradiction that everything is an image, but everything must be real.

    Basically, if a brain is giving rise to your conscious experience, it can't be located within your head. Your perceived head would already be being caused by a brain, and so the brain causing this perception can't be located within this perception. You can't locate the brain that is causing your conscious experience, within your conscious experience of a head. It has to be the other way round, with perceptions being located within a brain, perceptions of your head included. But if this is so, then from your epistemic position you can have no knowledge of this brain which is causing your experience, including whether it even exists or not.dukkha

    Well, even if an image/perception isn't the same as the thing being shown/perceived resolves the first problem, you might still have a problem that you ultimately can't completely perceive your perceptions, because you end up with infinite sets-of-sets. I don't think that is a problem, just a hardware limitation. It is still possible for something else to be capable of perceiving everything you perceive without contradiction if perceptions are finite.
  • So Trump May Get Enough Votes to be President of the US...
    On election night, I lost my entire family. My fiance, who I've been working for 7 years to clear the way to finally get married is now probably barred from entering the US. Most of my family are Trump supporters, so they essentially pushed for me to be shipped off to a concentration camp, so I won't be seeing them for Thanksgiving or Christmas, obviously. Only my daughters are not Trump supporters, but they are mixed-race, so life is going to get really bad for them.
  • How do I know I'm going to stay dead?
    When you came into this existence, you were a baby, (I presume), with no memory of any prior existence, your consciousness and identity were formed by genetics, environment and experience. Everything that would prove your specific identity with respect to other identities you gained during that existence. Therefore, I think it is a contradiction to say "you" woke up again. The individual at that future point in time won't be "you", violating the law of identity. That consciousness becoming aware in the future is not you and any connection to this other identity would be arguing for some special connection.

    I came to this conclusion thinking about those "duplicating machine" thought experiments. If a machine somehow duplicated everything about you, including memories, then whether that duplicate shared the same identity ended up relying on how we assign identity, by convention. It also made me wonder about those groups who anticipate some afterlife existence, especially if our genetic, environment or memories were altered in anyway would require special pleading for a connection of identity that we might or might not grant. Who is granting it and can they be objectively justified in granting identity in a way that contradicts our current conventions? If you took some historical figure and duplicated that person down to every detail, would we still be able to grant them the same identity without a physical "story" of how they were connected, or were they just a simulation of the original.

    So, no need to worry about it. If something wakes up and thinks it is you, it won't be you. It also leads to the fact that we will never be able to "upload" our consciousness into computers or robots or inhabit other bodies.
  • Tolerance - what is it? Where do we stop?
    Regarding your previous comment on being and immigrant way back - this made me want to check into my past, and my ancestors were all from this (or sometimes the neighbouring) country. The question on immigration is quite different to US and European citizens.Linda

    I was including Europe, and pretty much every other area of the world, (except maybe eastern Africa). You are right, it is important to know who you are. A lot of DNA and archaeological research has lead to the conclusion that the first Europeans, just after the last ice age, came along the same route as many of today's immigrants:


    Financially: the current influx of refugees / migrant is putting a huge strain on our state budget. Almost all of them aren't working at this moment - yes, we have to keep in mind that the process of becoming a citizen takes one or more years. Still, they are currently fully dependant on government spending when it comes to housing, food, education, health care and 'living money' (to spend as they like).
    Because of EU regulation we're only allowed to have a 3% deficit - meaning we have to cut back on social securities for the elderly and students. I've looked into rapports about refugees in Europe and quite a few articles and tbh, they don't lie.. It's putting an enormous strain on our budget. This used to be different with previous influxes, in where the migrants did many low-paid jobs.

    There are other EU laws, such as they must find employment within 2-3 years or they lose refugee status. Many of those problems have been taken into account. Every new group of immigrants struggle at the start, then most become productive, hard-working, members of society. Here is the DIW's analysis of economic impact under optimistic/pessimistic scenarios:


    Culturally: yes! Immigrants do bring a lot of culture with them and we've enjoyed this a lot here with the Italians, Spanish, Germans etc. However, this is because they bring a similar culture, one that just differentiates on 'details' and general less important aspects such as speech, expression and religious (Christian) branches. They usually take 2 or 3 generations to merge into the main culture. Now we're faced with much bigger cultural differences.. Some freedoms which we've accepted for decades are intolerable in the foreign culture. Instead of the foreign culture 'enriching' the host culture, it's making the host culture adapt itself to the guest culture.Linda

    You have to ask why they are similar. It is probably because there was a lot of interchange of cultures for centuries. How much did the Romans have in common with the Visigoths? Nearby cultures integrated over time. Look at Christmas celebrations, an outside observer would see it as a strange blend of Middle-Eastern religion/mysticism and local "pagan" traditions. History is full of integration and mutual benefits.

    Socially: what I see is not so much an abandoning of their own culture. As just mentioned, the cultures don't easily merge - not surprising when looking at their markup. Also, we're witnessing a polarisation in society. Some have faith in the idea that this will work out over time and some have had bad experiences: cut back on social security, houses being redistributed or being unsafe in public (as I can confirm myself).Linda

    They said the same thing just about every immigration. The immigrants arrive, broke, not owning any property, so they end up in cheap neighborhoods. It happened when the Irish, Italia and Jewish refugees arrived in the US. There was plenty of literature written at the time about how they were uncivilized drunkards who couldn't even control their violent or sexual urges. At the time, it wasn't unusual to see signs saying, "Irish need not apply". Then the locals like to complain that those immigrants never try to integrate. I always thought that was odd. When I lived in far away foreign countries, I saw "expat communities", where Europeans huddled together and never bothered to even learn the local language or eat local foods. (I was always the weird one, and a bit of an outcast for treating locals as equals). But I guess that is human nature. I don't expect people to immediately integrate -- it is a process that takes time -- but I think it is important to imagine yourself in their place. If your government and a bunch of foreign factions had reduced your house to rubble and you had to go to their country and beg for help, wouldn't the claim that you refuse to integrate into their culture a cruel and inhumane response? Those immigrants would probably be as desperate as you to find a solution so this emergency arrangement would be as friendly as possible.
  • Tolerance - what is it? Where do we stop?
    Sure, I believe that some tolerance might have helped us in the past. But how about today? We're experiencing an influx of many different cultures that are still dealing with issues which we have already dealt with.. What do you think we have to win from this? Because I see very few cultural, societal or financial gains at the moment.Linda

    Financially, in general, immigrants bring an economy with them. They tend to look for jobs, earn some money, they spend it on food and rent and pay taxes. That's more money for businesses and more money for government services. Add onto that that many groups in the new influx of immigrants have needed skills. Some people panic at the idea that they are taking their jobs, but often what it means to locals is that they get promoted to leadership positions. There are economists who believe that additional competition has beneficial results. It drives down prices and gives people more choices, helping to improve product quality. Even local companies who run factories in foreign countries, (who often get burned by the host government), might consider returning to take advantage of the situation.

    Culturally? Immigrants tend to add more variety to life. I couldn't imagine life here in California without a Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Middle-Eastern resturant somewhere in town. If it weren't for German immigrants during World War II, there would probably be no NASA. There are many other inventions which were the result of immigrants interacting and adopting our culture. That was the whole basis of the Rennaisance in Europe bringing them out of the Dark Ages, (adopting all that foreign technology and concepts).

    Socially? It is a bit complicated, while they might bring different practices, (some are technically superior), one of the main points of conversation with immigrant families is how the children tend to abandon their old ways and adopting the social values where they are. Sometimes ithey even take what they learned back to their own society. Eventually each culture can reach a consensus on a better way.
  • Leaving PF
    I helped Paul fix ModBot during the PHP 5.5 upgrade. It is basically a program that scans posts for key words and phrases and sends out canned responses. That was apparently enough to convince a lot of people that she was human, ("she" because the avatar is feminine).

    After fixing it, I quickly wrote up ChomskyBot, (hated by thousands), based on another ChomskyBot program and sent it to Paul. It ignores what you post and just strings together a bunch of phrases from his essays which is very frustrating to read because it seems like it should make sense, but rarely does.
  • Tolerance - what is it? Where do we stop?

    Yes, and it was a Jewish commandment, (considered #13 out of 613), too:

    “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. — Leviticus 19:17-18
  • Tolerance - what is it? Where do we stop?
    I think, basically, western culture has cut it own spiritual roots; I see scientific materialism as a major cause of that. I'm not advocating a return to some imagined golden past, because I don't think there was one, but I think a reconnection with the spiritual values fundamental to the Judeo-Christian tradition is badly neededWayfarer

    Maybe Western culture is finally returning to those original Judeo-Christian values. Wasn't tolerance the foundation of many of the original teachings? The Jewish commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, the Christian amendment to even love your enemies? Wasn't their a mission to spread the message of love and tolerance to all nations and all people? Maybe the interpretation of those teachings gets colored by political views, but it seems there is more interest in the really radical views of not condemning and rejecting people because they were poor, or doing something not socially acceptable. I think the majority of Christians these days owe their faith to being tolerated and even accepted.
  • Tolerance - what is it? Where do we stop?
    What does it mean? When can one consider him- or herself as tolerant? And
    should we (Western Europe, US) be 'tolerant' regarding the current
    developments with immigration and multiculturalism?
    — Linda

    "Willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behaviors that one does
    not necessarily agree with" -- dictionary

    Go back far enough up any branch of your family tree and you will always find
    an immigrant, maybe even with a different culture than the ones practiced by
    those who were there before you, even if the land was empty. Someone either
    tolerated their presence, or were unwelcome invaders who ultimately established
    productive roots.

    I think one cannot name himself tolerant, because it's not black and white.
    For instance, I would consider myself not very tolerant - meaning that my
    "borders" or "line in the sand" will be crossed earlier than the one of my
    friend. But until that border is crossed I am tolerant and after crossing
    I'll be intolerant. Some people may have their border at gay marriage and
    some will have it at transgender rights.
    — Linda

    I think "line in the sand" is either an odd or fitting analogy. If you
    actually drew a line in the sand, any strong wind will erase it. As for
    borders, I thought they were a bit odd as they nearly disappear from a
    distance. You go back far enough in history, and you will see that acceptance
    of most things have fluctuated over time and distance.

    Coming back to the question of whether 'we' should be tolerant.. Are we really
    aware of the consequences that mainstream tolerance brings? I think the
    current focus is too much on "we're tolerant" instead of "where is our line
    in the sand". Shouldn't we think about this more before we make fundamental
    changes to our society that may not be undone?
    — Linda

    Yes, I think we have a long history of reaping the rewards of tolerance. You
    could actually reduce it down to scientific and mathematical algorithms. Take
    expected return, for
    example. That is the value that can be expected, based on probability,
    over the long run. Tolerance means accepting low risk in exchange for
    the potential benefits. That shows why it isn't black and white, there is
    an element of risk. Everything in life involves some acceptance of risk, but
    we usually don't think about it. When we do, that risk seems emotionally
    unacceptable, but if we objectively look at the benefits, it may be worth
    considering. If I really thought about how many people die in car accidents
    every day, I ought to never want to drive again -- but the benefits of being
    able to travel around far outweighs the risk.

    Where are certain groups of people fighting for today? We’ve got LGBT rights
    (most of it), we’ve got quite a lot of religious tolerance.. and what I’m
    seeing in the most frontrunning progressive media outlets now (which are
    basically a glimpse of the future if we continue our social and cultural
    developments like this) is for example pedophilia. Now it’s mostly discussed
    as an idea and the “pedophiles” are seen as a group whose ‘rights’ are
    currently not recognised. When the idea of pedophilia is turned into action,
    one can see the most horrible, evil things happening we now know. I think that
    over 90% of people would agree with me on this. However.. the same thing was
    said about homophilia a couple of decades ago.
    — Linda

    Maybe there is a different trend at work here. Progressives are moving toward
    respect for rights and consent. Pedophilia is not at the end of that slippery
    slope because it inherently means without consent as children can't consent.
    When I was little, it was still okay to beat women and children, and now it
    is no longer accepted. Doesn't that mean social tolerance is being reduced?

    First, when discussing ideas which are currently being discussed as to whether
    they’re tolerable or not, we must consider what happens when they become
    actions. What actually happens to the peoples involved and society as a whole?
    — Linda

    We have considered what happens. Marriage is apparently a good thing for
    individuals and society. It decreases STDs and places an obligation of
    financial and legal responsibility. Why would we block that benefit from
    a portion of society? It seems the only cost here is a bit of discomfort
    among some people. Actually, there was a time in Europe when only Catholics
    could get married. The problems that caused among protestants lead to the
    institution becoming secular.

    Second, where does this end? It seems to me that many have become blinded by
    the idea that we must be tolerant. And that we all eventually will be. Where
    is our line in the sand? Are we going to draw one that actually holds and can
    thus also be applied in the future?
    — Linda

    Obviously, this ends when there is no more benefit to tolerating the
    behavior. Currently the trend in progressiveness is toward more universal
    acceptance of human rights. The benefits of human rights is a bit hard to
    pin down.

    How do you think we can make ourselves more aware of who we are? How can we
    get people to realise that the acceptance of certain acts or rights can/will
    eventually be our downfall? Again, this may sound somewhat pessimistic, but
    when you think about it.. A culture can only exist and survive when it’s well
    aware of its history and traits.
    — Linda

    There is a psychological tendency to paint history as virtuous and beneficial.
    Go back a few centuries and there are a lot of real horror stories. Things
    like slavery, proverty, disease and raw sewage. Those paragons of virtue from
    our history books engaged in all of that, even gay and child sex. You can
    also see the real causes of social downfalls isn't usually due to inability
    to tolerate changes, but inability to adapt to them.

    - that is exactly one of the biggest problems in our society these days.
    No privacy, public shaming, bullying (calling someone racist etc.) - this all
    causes people to censor themselves and that is not only harmful for a
    discussion, it's also very dangerous.
    — Linda

    This is very new feature of society. When I was a kid, it was very hard to
    say anything and be heard. Maybe you could write a letter to the editor and
    hope it gets published in a newspaper. Now you have the greatest communication
    and socialization invention in history and you want to complain about how your
    ideas aren't accepted? Those ideas were always there, and some of them were
    probably more accepted than today. You could get away with saying a lot of
    racists things in the past, mostly because those ideas were shared by the
    dominant culture of the time. What is really seems to be annoying is that
    some of the ideas we used to tolerate, which were damaging to society, (like
    racism and sexism), are on a footing of equality with the rest of the world
    and there is no more protection from dominant societies and societies can no
    longer dominate or have to submit to each other.
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged
    Uh, so to offering what I can. Psychologically, the growing controversy over climate change will I think escalate throughout the next decade, this should in turn increase the amount of voters considering voting Greens. From what I understand, the threshold to get into the debates is 15%? Climate change is not exactly a casual topic and with that I do not feel as though reaching 15% would be overly difficult for a party that literally advocates environmentalism by way of it's name.Lexovix

    Sometimes you feel like this in the US:


    In US debates, nobody is talking about climate change. It seems most talk, even within the US Green Party has been to change the subject to investing in clean energy or carbon taxes. I've lived in several countries, even spent a month in Australia, and know that all that talk is useless. In fact, I've been following a lot of scientific discussions saying we have less than 15 years. The Green Party seems to have put more focus on Bernie Sander's promises about cancelling school loan debts.
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged
    Elections are absolutely rigged, have been for some time, the obviousness is reaching new heights as the desperateness of the regime to cling to it's shroud of legitimacy increases. Literally going to be like watching someone you 100% know is lying, try continue to sell the lie onto self destruction.Lexovix

    It seems like a lot of people are saying that the "elections are rigged", but then refer to the campaign not the election itself. What Trump seems to be saying is the actual ballot/voting process is "rigged", so if he doesn't win, you will know that it was due to some conspiracy to make sure he doesn't win, and not the true voice of the people. There is very little information on how they think the election will be rigged, although some are mentioning many people being registered to vote who "shouldn't be". But the evidence is that there have only been 31 official cases of voter fraud in the past 16 years.

    If we are talking about campaigns. Well, we have evidence of tampering from every side for a long time. The Watergate scandal was probably the most public evidence. There was some evidence that the Democrat party had sought to sabotage Bernie Sanders' nomination. Politics was probably always dirty, we just have a better lens into it.

    That said! There is over 4000 words in this thread and only two references to Jill Stein.
    Don't vote for the idiot or the corrupt one, vote greens.
    Having problems with that? Rewatch the Idiocracy scene when the discussion on watering plants with something other than Brawndo takes place. - Voting for Jill is literally as plainly obvious as watering plants with water. (

    I've been planning on voting for Jill Stein since the election got started. But it is maybe not good advice for everyone. I live in a "blue state", with a 95% chance of going to Hillary. That is where my state goes no matter how I vote, so I might as well vote for whoever I want just to give them a chance next election. I would even support people voting for Gary Johnson since he has the largest following of any 3rd party candidate, voting for him might push him into "major party" status and a 3-party election would be more choices even if he doesn't win. Also, nobody has mentioned Gloria la Riva, of the Peace and Feedom Party, who is on my ballot, (3 women and 2 men!). If you are in a swing or battleground state, then you need a really good reason for not voting for Trump or HIllary.

    Even though I like the movie Idiocracy, I don't think it is that persuasive an analogy, (anyone could say the same thing). Maybe a better approach is that Jill Stein is much closer to Bernie Sanders on issues, (main difference is she isn't silent on the issue of guns). She is the highest polling candidate who is against further military action in the Middle-East. I don't agree with her on a lot of the issues, or even what she says about the other candidates.

    We could also all get behind Gary Johnson, because, as the Libertarian Party likes to say, "they want to get hired to a job so they can make it obsolete".
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged

    There is no implication about Obama denying anything. He, like previous presidents can call it a matter of "national security", and the condemn the wikileaks as a threat to that national security. But for some bizarre reason that issue is more important than, say, publicly targeting a US citizen for assassination for his political views, or finding out that the NSA records and searches records of US citizens without a warrant, (a violation of the 4th amendment). (Many liberals denounced and swore never to support Obama over those issues). Clinton has rarely even commented or disagreed with any of those policies.

    By focusing on relatively minor issues, on both sides, it sounds to me like someone is trying to make sure that both sides are kept about even.
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged
    Is it illegal to send covert US foreign policy details via an insecure server to someone's gmail account, who doesn't even have security clearance?tom

    I have a tiny bit of experience in high security stuff. Imagine it is World War II and you have just intercepted a telegraph from Churchill. Are you going to take it at face value, or maybe be suspicious that they meant for you to intercept it. They still do things like that. I have worked with companies where most employees know to put "confidential" anywhere in the subject line to have the message encrypted -- and only send it to emails within the same server. My guess it is just a big distraction so people don't pay attention to the really heavy and dangerous crimes going on. I'm pretty sure you could pin treason or war crimes on her, which is really just a continuation of Bush and prior policies. The fact that nobody is addressing that part makes me wonder if there is a bigger con game going on.

    I noticed during tonight's debate, there was a lot of blame for things in the past, without mentioning those who were responsible -- like blaming each other for supporting the invasion of Iraq, without any mention of Bush, Cheney or the rest. It seems weird that Republicans always have to reach all the way back to Reagan to find a Republican president they can be proud of. It seems like a lot of deflection and deception to avoid some deeper honesty.
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged
    Just out of curiosity... where did this business of "dog whistle" start.Bitter Crank

    Apparently, the term originally came from opinion polls in the 1980's.
  • Of Course Our Elections Are Rigged
    So, are elections rigged, or not? I agree with Trump on this issue: Elections are most definitely rigged.Bitter Crank

    They are "rigged" -- but I don't think as explicitly as they think. The system reached some basic evolutionary balance -- like predators and prey, in nature -- one can't survive without the other. In fact, the system seems to be rigged to protect Trump, regardless of whatever he does or whatever comes out of his mouth. Either side could have easily completely defeated their opponents if they wanted to, but they need each other to keep some psychological forward momentum.

    But then, a lot of these calls for the election being "rigged", are really just "dog whistle" calls to create trouble during and after the election.