Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

I've got a bone to pick. I keep seeing the same handful of "arguments" (which falsely implies some sort of logic) being hurled about the Interwebs lately (at me privately, on my blog, and repeatedly assaulting my eyeballs on my news feed). And I think they're a bunch of baloney.

First things first.
Credit: Notions Capital (Flickr Creative Commons)
1. Donald Trump and his latest blatantly racist douchebaggery chicanery.

Just no.

Remember how in my last post I was like, hey, let's practice tolerance, if you actually sit down and share a cocktail or a quesadilla with someone you'll find out they're human, just like you. Well. Let me tell you. I am having a REAL hard time practicing tolerance and understanding with this piece of ... work. And hey, if he was just some lone (crazy ass) ranger who was totally off the reservation, that would be one thing. But this PSYCHOTIC YAHOO is the front running republican candidate?!? I'm sorry but what in the fucking fuck, people?! I AM SO CONFUSED. Confused, and also, filled with an overwhelming urge to scream, cry, or bury my head in the sand. If I sat down across the table from Donald Trump I would have to try very, very hard not to throw my conciliatory community-building beer in his face. At first it was kind of amusing, like a sociological experiment. Then it became unbelievable. Then it became disturbing. Now? Now I am absolutely terrified. Please PLEASE tell me this is all just a terrible joke???

THIS GUY JUST HELD UP JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMPS AS A POSITIVE EXEMPLAR FROM AMERICAN HISTORY. AND HE IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The land of the free. A country of diversity and acceptance. A nation that was founded by immigrants. (Okay, well, more like stolen from its original, rightful owners by immigrants but you get my point). He thinks Islam has no place in America? No place in the 21st century? HE has no place in America in the 21st century. He is a fear-mongering bigot whose beliefs go against everything that American stands for.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,*
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.**
Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me,***
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

* Except Muslims.

** But actually, really really ridiculously rich Muslims are cool.

*** Excludes Syrians and other people who are browner than me, but ORANGE PEOPLE ARE WELCOME! Send me your overworked Oompa Loompas, I've got just the factory for them!

PS, If Dick Cheney's like, "Bruh, you went too far," you done CROSSED THE LINE.

2. The meaning of "well-regulated" in the Second Amendment (from my recent FB post):

An anonymous reader commented on my post about guns. I still can't get over the fact I have anonymous readers. DM doesn't really believe it, he thinks my post hits are all Ukrainian hacker bots. Anyway. S/he wrote this:

"Nice piece, but you might want to look up what "well regulated" means in the vernacular of the late 18th century, when the second amendment was written. It means "well equipped". :)"

This was my response:

"Thanks. Actually, according to the Supreme Court in DC v Heller (whose holding I vehemently disagree with but it is the supreme law of the land, after all ;)), per the vernacular, "well-regulated" means "the imposition of proper discipline and training," which sounds to me like a great place to start!

In any event, even without the qualifying clause, no individual rights granted by the Constitution (Bill of Rights) are without limitation. They are subject to a balancing act of the rights of the individual vs. legitimate government interest, e.g., the general welfare of its citizens."

In fact, the Court in Heller said that "the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited," and pointed out that "the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

Like I said, I'll talk about this stuff until my face turns blue!

3. "In 1789, Thomas Jefferson said 'Cross my heart, hope to die, the Federal Government will never steal your guns, pinkie swear, no take-backs.'"

You know what else our "Founding Fathers" said? That white people could OWN black people. That blacks had 3/5 the human worth of whites. That black people could not vote. They were not allowed in white schools, restaurants or places of business. Women could not vote and were considered chattel. Native Americans were systemically displaced and slaughtered. So, forgive me if I don't find this to be an ironclad argument. The Constitution is an amazing document and the backbone of American democracy, but it was written over 200 years ago and has to adapt as we learn and grow as a nation.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou

PS, You're not the only one who can quote the Founding Fathers in support of your argument. They also said that gun owners should be subject to discipline and training, as noted above.

PPS, See also, section 2.b re: no individual rights being absolute, including but not limited to, the right to keep and bear arms.

PPPS, How do you know the framers weren't talking about THIS?

4. This meme has come across my news feed no less than five times in the past week. There's so much wrong with this analogy, I don't even know where to start. 

I guess my main issue is this: No one is saying "make guns illegal," are they? I know I'm not. I mean, we can't even vote to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, so I don't think rounding up all the guns in the country and throwing them in the ocean is on the agenda. All people are saying is "make guns harder for baddies to get," and also maybe "you don't need a grenade launcher and a high powered assault rifle for 'self defense?'" If I were in charge I would also say we must take further steps to ensure that all the "good guys with guns" know how to safely maintain, store, and operate them. Is this really so unreasonable?

In any event, as I said in my last post on the subject, laws against drunk driving and prescription drug abuse don't completely eradicate those behaviors, either, but its a place to start. (And hey if you're arguing for a cease-fire in The War on Drugs, I'm all about that conversation.)

5. "Thank God I don't live in crazy Commie California!" Amen to that.

6. "I still don't believe Muslims are generally good people."

I'll ask you again: Do you actually know any Muslims? That's what I thought. Go befriend an actual, real-life Muslim, then get back to me.

If you still feel that way after you actually know a person from the faith about which you so freely cast aspersions, watch this:

Here are the Clif Notes: Yes, some countries that are predominantly Muslim (e.g. Saudia Arabia) have some messed up laws. Some countries that are predominantly Christian (e.g. Ethiopia) have some messed up laws. Balancing human rights and multiculturalism is a messy thing and (much) more work needs to be done. And yes some terrorist organizations have bastardized the religion for their terrorist purposes which I've already said is not a trait unique to Islam. But that is on the country and the organization and the individuals who carry out these acts, not on the religion itself.

"Islam doesn't promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion, and like every religion in the world, it depends on what you bring to it. If you're a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism is going to be violent. There are marauding Buddhist monks in Myanmar slaughtering women and children. Does Buddhism promote violence? Of course not. People are violent or peaceful. And that depends on their politics, their social world, the way they see their communities, the way they see themselves." - Reza Aslan

6. "No Christians have done anything bad in the name of Christianity since the Crusades." Wrong again.

The KKK.

Neo Nazis, skinheads and other non-Muslim extremists.

FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Now, I assume members of mainstream Christianity would decry, "But those aren't Christians!"

And now you know how Muslims feel.

That is all. I swear I have some non-political posts for you. I just need to get to a place where my fingertips aren't autonomously driven by a blind and fiery rage.

Unless I get picked up by the US Government for my search history: guns, terrorist, Muslim, Christian, KKK, neo-Nazi, skinhead, child marriage. Don't worry though, I'll still be able to get a gun!

Until then:

On the subject of religious bias, watch this video, I implore you.

The Paradox of Tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. 

- Karl Popper, Open Society and its Enemies, Vol. 1

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

- Martin Niemöller

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

- Edmund Burke

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