Jimmy Carter — you are a very bad man

MOVED UP TO THE TOP, NOT BECAUSE I HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD, BUT BECAUSE THE COMMENT SECTION HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING TO APPEAR ON MY BLOG, AND I DON’T WANT IT TO GET LOST AS I PUBLISH NEW POSTS.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may recall the episode in which Baboo, an Indian restauranteur, having been deported because of Jerry’s carelessness, wags his finger at Jerry, and repeatedly says “He is a very bad man.” That phrase keeps popping into my brain every time I hear anything about Jimmy Carter or, worse, actually see him speak.

We know that his most recent book about the Middle East is filled with falsehoods and that he plagarized and distorted stolen materials for his book. Cinnamon Stillwell, writing at the San Francisco Chronicle, gives a long laundry list of his policy failures, missteps, stupid decisions, and profound moral errors. Name a modern dictatorship and he’s in bed with the leader. Name a failed peace initiative that empowered the people bent on death and destruction, and he’s at the root of it. I will forever hold him responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today vis a vis the Muslim world because, when the Iran Revolution took place in 1979, it was his groveling ineptitude that emboldened the revolutionaries, not only to take on their own government, but to begin looking at the United States as a reasonable and viable target for their World Caliphate goals.

All of the splenetic feelings that guide me when I think about Carter bubbled up ferociously when I finally got around to watching Monday’s Jay Leno, which had Carter as the first guest. Although World Net Daily has come under some legitmate attack for its more loony news stories, I can tell you that its reporting about Carter’s appearance on that show is absolutely accurate:

Without mentioning the onslaught of attacks by Palestinian terrorists, former President Jimmy Carter told a national audience watching the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” there is “horrible persecution” of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis, and he is urging a return to peace talks between the residents of the embattled region.

“In Palestinian territory, there is horrible persecution of the Palestinians who live on their own land,” Carter said.

“A minority of Israelis want to have the land instead of peace. The majority of Israelis for the last 30 years have always said [they] will exchange their own land in exchange for peace. But a minority disagrees and they have occupied the land, they have confiscated it, they have colonized it, and they forced Palestinians away from their homes, away from their pastures, away from their fields, cut down the olive trees and severely persecuted the Palestinians.”

The 82-year-old Carter was on Leno’s show last night to promote his new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

Leno said to the president who held office more than 25 years ago, “But when Israel gives something back, it doesn’t seem like they get anything for it. It seems like it just moves some angry people closer to them.”

“No, that’s not true at all,” responded Carter. “Israel hasn’t really tried to give ‘Palestine’ back to the Palestinians. They did give up some of Gaza. And then they moved out, and the Palestinians captured one soldier and tried to swap [him] for 300 children – some as young as 12 years old – and 94 women, but the Israelis wouldn’t swap. So then Israel reinvaded Gaza. But if Israel ever wants peace – and they do want peace – a majority of Israelis have always said, ‘Let’s get rid of the land, and let’s have peace.’ That’s what we need to have.”

What was the worst thing about watching that for me was the Mr. Bookworm, who is not the news junky I am, bought into it completely. To him, it sounded reasonable: there should be peace in the Middle East and, clearly, Israel has to make the concessions.

He was surprised when I told him there was a difference between a kidnapped soldier and 300 prisoners who were properly tried and convicted for murdering or attempting to murder Israeli citizens. He was surprised when I told him that amongst these prisoners there was Samir Qantar, who led a group into an Israeli home, and dragged the father and four year old daughter onto the beach. Once there, they shot the father in front of his child, then smashed the little girl’s head against rocks before beating her to death with a rifle butt. In the meanwhile, the mother, desperately trying to shelter her infant daughter, inadvertently smothered the child in an effort to keep her from crying and alerting the murderers. Those kind of people are in prison. Those are the kind of people the Palestinians — and Carter — demand in exchanged for a kidnapped young man whose only crime is being an Israeli citizen.

Mr. Bookworm was also surprised when I told him that, since the Israelis voluntarily left Gaza, giving the Palestinians exactly what Carter insisted would be the paradigmatic land for peace deal, the Palestinians responded by (a) lobbing hundreds of Kassam missiles into Israel (with five more this week alone); (b) digging tunnels to smuggle terrorists and arms into Israel; (c) and breaching the boundaries into Egypt in an effort to augment their munitions supply.

What was most depressing about Mr. Bookworm’s ignorance was the fact that others watching Carter spread his evil lies don’t have someone like me sitting at their side to give them the facts. All they have is that down-home Southern voiced venom trickling into their ears, filling their heads with poisonous misinformation.

The only good thing about Jimmy Carter is his age. He’s 82, which means that his maximum life expectancy is about 6 more years. That’s a long time, but the fact is, he may become infirm before then, which should keep him housebound and, more importantly, silent. Believe me when I say that I am not wishing for anything that would bring an unnatural end to his natural life. I would never, never, never advocate the assassination of a Democratically elected official, no matter how repugnant his views. I’m just happy to know that, when it comes to Carter, the Rolling Stones were right on when they sang “Time is Mine Side.”

UPDATE: David Horowitz also takes on Jimmy Carter’s manifestly anti-Semitic views. Carter vehemently denies being an anti-Semite, but I think that the shoe fits, given his pronouncements about how the evil Jewish state has destroyed the peace and peace-loving Palestinians. An opinion that deviates this far from reality has to be driven by some other force and, in this case, anti-Semitism seems as good an explanation as any. Here is how Horowitz destroys just one of Carter’s many lies:

It is a lie that Palestinians “had their own land, first of all, occupied.” This is like saying that Texans had their own land occupied by Hispanics, ignoring the fact that Hispanics were there first. The very word Palestine is a Roman appellation for the people called Philistines, who were not Arabs but red-haired sailors from the Aegean. The Jews were there as well.

In short, first of all the Jews were in the land before the Arabs.

Second of all, the Arabs who inhabited the Palestine Mandate in 1948, at the time of the creation the state of Israel, considered themselves Syrians.

Third, the Palestine Mandate was not created on land taken from the Syrians or the Arabs. It was taken from the Turks.

It was not taken from the Turks by the Jews, but by the British and the French. They took it because Turkey sided with Germany in the First World War and, of course, lost. The Turkish empire had ruled the entire region including Syrian, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan for four hundred years before Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan were artificially created by the English and the French. Jordan – a state whose majority is Palestinian – occupies 80% of the Palestine Mandate.

So it is a preposterous lie to say that the Palestinians had their own land and that it was occupied by the Jews.

Fourth, the individual plots of land that Jews now own were in the first instance bought from the Arabs who regarded themselves as Syrians and who lived in the area of Israel. The only property that was confiscated was confiscated as a spoil of the aggressive war that five Arab states waged against Israel from the day of its birth. Five Arab armies invaded Israel, a sovereign state, with the declared intent of “pushing the Jews into the sea.” The cry today of the Muslim majority in the Middle East is to “liberate Palestine from the river to the sea.” In other words push the Jews into the sea.

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253 Responses

  1. Oh my, . . . I don’t see how Mr. Bookworm stands it. Jimmy Carter is quite possibly the most upright and honest president the US has had. You just aren’t listening. No wonder our country is in such a mess. There can never be “peace on earth” as long as people think like this. But God gets the final word, not you, not me, not even Jimmy Carter.

  2. Are you being sarcastic, Helen? Are you really saying that a man who lies, plagarizes, was the most ineffective president in modern times, cozies up to every dictatorship, etc., is honest and upright? I’m sure that I’m misunderstanding what you wrote, because writing, unlike speech, doesn’t include sarcastic intonation.

    Peace is a great little abstract idea, but it works only if both sides want it. Israel wants peace, Palestinians want genocide, the Arab world wants a scapegoat for its own manifest failures (to the point where, if Arabs didn’t have Israel, they’d have to invent it).

    It’s not peace, if like the Romans, the Palestinians make a desert, drenched in Jewish blood, and call it peace. That’s a Humpty Dumpty world where words have only the meaning the speaker gives to them. Worse, it’s a NewSpeak world, where words are carefully calculated to have in reality the exact opposite meaning of the traditional definition.

  3. *shakes head*

    I knew a German immigrant who spoke more than 5 European languages fluently, here in America, that thought Jimmy Carter was a saint as well. The re-invention benefits of habitat for humanity, catchy name I guess. Of course, he also thought the German SPD party was Golden as well, but what the hay.

    Jimmy Carter gets the final word, Book, because he is the divinely appointed executor of God himself. And Carter knows this, he has always known this.

    (to the point where, if Arabs didn’t have Israel, they’d have to invent it).

    Been listening to the Sanity broadcast, Book? One thing the dreaded Neo-Cons have in common with the 9/11 conspiracists, is that the neo-cons believe the Arabs are the one creating false flag wars and deaths, inventing an enemy called the Jews. The 9/11 conspiracists believe that the US government is doing the false flag wars and inventing an enemy, called the Islamo Fascists.

    This is great evidence that human beings are all alike! One way or another. Does this mean that peace is in the making? No. What it means is that human beings will keep on fighting because we are too much alike. It is our source of strength and our source of weakness. You ever realized, Book, that the people who fight the most, are the most similar? Sunni vs Shia. Communists vs Fascists. Dictators vs terroists. They all argue mostly about which evil is the Real Evil, and they aren’t afraid to slaughter folks in the process. Only Good can work in harmony with like minded folks, a strength, but also a weakness, again. Because while Good can work as a team, it means that they are vulnerable to infiltration and sabotage (media, Left).

    Jimmy Carter speaks with the Word of God. And we all know that none may stand against the word of God.

    Are you really saying that a man who lies, plagarizes, was the most ineffective president in modern times, cozies up to every dictatorship, etc., is honest and upright? I’m sure that I’m misunderstanding what you wrote, because writing, unlike speech, doesn’t include sarcastic intonation.

    I wouldn’t be too sure of that, Book. It isn’t about lies, Book. People percieve things that they believe to be the truth, as telling the truth. People who percieve things as false, thinks of it as lieing. It is like a joke. If you think the premise behind a joke is true, you find it funny. If you believe it false, you find it unfunny or offensive.

    If a person believes that Bill Clinton was good for this society, then do they really care about lies and legal problems? No. Just as they don’t care about OJ Simpson’s guilt or innocence. People care about themselves most of the time, and are very insular for the most part. Even America in 1937 was quite insular, and America was purpotedly the most advanced and multicultural nation on this planet. You can’t defeat human nature, no matter how hard you try.

    It is like Roosevelt. If you believed that Roosevelt was a patriot and good for this country, then it would be very very hard for you to recognize that he lied or pay attention to his actions with Stalin all that much. Looking at the good and the bad in a person, tallying up the results, and then making a judgement saying that “yes, I’ll accept the good with the bad, and yes he is still an overall good to me” takes more than just base human instincts, as I see it.

    A person has to judge history by his own experiences and his own logic. Looking at the good and the bad, and thinking to themselves, “how do I judge whether a man’s evil outweighs his good, whether a man’s charity outweighs his mistakes”.

    Some fail, some succede, most don’t try. Bad, yes, but can’t do anything about it.

  4. book,

    carter was NOT the most ineffective president in modern times (that dubious distinction already belongs to bush) and he has arguably been one of the most effective statesmen that we’ve had since leaving office.

    i’m not going to debate the merits of your arguments re carters comments since this israel is your pet cause and i don’t have the time right now to source out all of the innacuracies in your post.

    suffice it to say that the situation is a bit more “complicated” than you (and yes president carter as well) have laid out.

    peace

  5. Helen actually scares me. I am afraid that there are all too many people who think(?) as she does.

    I stopped giving Jimmy Carter any credit for honesty or integrity some time back. It has been clear to me that the only thing that matters is his legacy. The only shred of that legacy he clings to is his brokered “peace” deal. Any event, thought, word, or deed that casts doubt on the validity of that achievement must be discredited at any cost.

  6. See, proves my point.

    It’s all about perception, Book. Master perception and you will master reality. Of course, if you master reality, you can also perception. But that’s on a quantum mechanics level, don’t think you want to talk about that subject.

    i’m not going to debate

    Thank God. The Word of God strikes again, I see. All Praise the Lord.

  7. Old, it has to do with peace, in the end. There are two basic philosophies. Peace through superior firepower.

    And peace through giving concessions and making compromises.

    Depending upon which school of thought you are in, you will probably disagree with the other school’s members. *reminds me of Wuxai martial arts, martial arts school rivalries=fight*

  8. y,

    do you ever read your stuff? you make about as much sense as that backwards talking dwarf from twin peaks.

    peace

  9. Bookworm, I am serious, but in a fairness I think we can argee upon, everyone ought to note that I responded to this post before the Update was added.

    I do not believe that the Arabs ought to push the Jews back into the sea. I think the world has had enough pushing. The Jews are “God’s chosen people,” but not God’s only chosen people. It is my belief that God has chosen everyone and that we can have peace any time we decide to do so. For the Jews and the Arabs this is going to mean sharing Israel and admitting that Jews, Christians,and Muslims consider this Holy Ground. It is going to be about respecting people who are not like us and don’t want to be. Any time someone speaks this message clearly, someone else screams anti-semitism. I think that’s what’s happening both on this blog and with former President Carter. Sometimes people even die for saying what others don’t want to hear.

  10. I would like Jimmy Carter better if he was anti-semitic.

    That way, he joins the club of all the other hate mongers who have personal angsts and have to deal with it. I prefer it to thinking he is the messenger of God, personally.

    The logic dictates that if Carter isn’t anti-semitic, then he is truly on the road to hell paved with good intentions. Taking all of us with him as well, also. Far better for him to be anti-semitic and a hater, with the inner rage of Mel and Richards. Far better, far less damage to the world that way. It is true believers that kill, I have never forgotten that once I had learned it.

  11. do you ever read your stuff?

    oh, my bad, I had thought you stopped reading my stuff. I’ll do better next time, when I will know you will be reading. Higher quality, I promise.

  12. Let’s see, under Jimmy Carter’s watch–63 hostages held for 444 days. Ronald Regan takes the oath of office and voila, hostages released! I think this would illustrate that ol’ Jimmy was about as effective as nipples on a male (but he does build a mean house for Habitat for Humanity.) Until he began spouting his current round of idiocy, I was almost prepared to admit he made a decent ex-President.

  13. c’mon kevin,

    you’re a better researcher than that.

    you know and i know that you know about the machinations surrounding the hostage crisis.

    peace

  14. Jimmy Carter is a pitiful person, an angry man who wants adulation from his countrymen for his percieved moral superiority, but he is a liar and a thief. Although grovelling to dictators is his presidential legacy (and present mindset), Habitat for Humanity is his redeeming gift to America, which was part of his personal rehabilitation following his disastrous presidency.

  15. sheesh.

    so says marguerite huh?!!!!!

    what can i say? i bow down to that level of certitude.

    seriously, you guys can’t spend enough time in the political wilderness.

    thank the ‘invisible cloud being’ that your time of influence is over.

    peace

  16. Dagan, Some people just won’t accept this, but the truth is more important than just the facts.

  17. My husband reminds me that Jimmy Carter didn’t actually start Habitat for Humanity, but part of his rehabilitation in the national spotlight was to be seen promoting it.

  18. Dagon,

    I agree that there was a lot of behind the scenes activity with the hostage crisis but I still believe that it was ultimately fueled by the Iranians fear of crossing Regan. I have no doubt that the first “desert storm” would have been in Iran in the 80’s (when, incidentally, I was stationed on an aircraft carrier sitting off the Iranian coast) had they not given up the hostages.

    Marguerite,

    Correct on Habitat but I believe his role as an ex-President promoting it is commendable.

  19. kevin

    I have no doubt that the first “desert storm” would have been in Iran in the 80’s (when, incidentally, I was stationed on an aircraft carrier sitting off the Iranian coast) had they not given up the hostages.

    please don’t take offense but i would say that if you seriously think that we would have went to WAR over a hostage situation, then i think your grasp of geopolitics at the time was a little naieve.

    the iranians wanted something and it seems that via lenghthy discussions with bush senior, they got it. i don’t think fear of reagan played any part whatsoever.

    peace

  20. “It is….about respecting people who are not like us and don’t want to be.” — Thanks Helen

  21. Re comment 9: Helen, yours is a laudable view, but naive. It buys into the canard that the Palestinians want to share land for peace. If it were that easy, the Israelis would long ago have handed off land. Instead, every time the Israelis concede, more of them die. This type of negative reinforcement is certainly not going to encourage the Israelis to give more. They get nothing in return. In addition, while Palestinians talk the two nation talk to the West, amongst themselves (including in their charter) they are remarkably forthright about the one nation solution they envision: a Palestianian one and, increasingly, as they get rid of Arab Christians amongst them, a Muslim Palestinian one. Jews only have to look at Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia to know what happens to them in a Muslim country — they are killed or deported. Unless this Palestinian reality changes, to demand that the Israelis give up all their buffer land, that they allow a “right of return” drowing their population, that they free murderers from their jails, that they take down barriers that protect their citizens — all of that is ludicrous and, indeed, it’s almost evil to ask that of them.

  22. Re comment 16: Helen: How can you have truth without facts? Maybe it’s the lawyer in me, but facts are facts. Some may be disputed, and that’s always a problem, but once you’ve got the facts, you’re stuck with them. Then, the spin takes over (again, that’s the lawyer in me). As for Dagon, he knows that I think he’s big on opinion and criticism, but light on actual facts to support his opinions. There’s no doubt that the hostage crisis in Iran spun out of control on Carter’s watch. I blame him for that fact. Others may not. But the fact is the fact.

  23. bookworm,

    i source out my opinions more than ANYONE else on this board with the possible exception of you. and I always respond.

    i’d be happy to link to the myriad of threads where once challenged about the accuracy of your ‘facts’, you completed vacated the topic once I presented you with a challenge.

    and yes, the situation re israel and palestine is extremely “complex”. and in both your statements and those of pres. carter are needlessly simplistic; and will serve to accomplish nothing long term.

    peace

  24. not really what we were talking about but fair enough,

    “There’s no doubt that the hostage crisis in Iran spun out of control on Carter’s watch. I blame him for that fact. Others may not. But the fact is the fact.”

    well by that logic, the war in iraw was both started and spun out of control on Bush’s watch (not to mention 911); which has thus far resulted in the DEATH’S of thousands. i don’t think carter lost anyone.

    so, i am i to assume that bush is equally despised by you based on the logic tree that you just set up?

    peace

  25. Don’t just give me links, Dagon, which is your habit, or block quotes. Give me a fact-supported essay pointing out where I’m wrong and explaining what you’d do.

  26. Dagon,

    If a country’s citizens being held hostage isn’t a good reason, then name any good reason to go to war. Having been on what would have been the front line (Persian Gulf within 60 miles of Iran for months at a time) and having been privy to some of the military communications, I can emphatically state that we were at a high-level of battle readiness.

    However, let’s put my grasp of geopolitics aside for a moment–since when was Reagan a diplomat? He was an idealist as illustrated by the invasion of Grenada (which was ultimately just part of the rivalry between the U.S. and Cuba.) A bloody coup in Grenada, along with a perceived threat to American students on the island provided the U.S. with an excellent excuse to eliminate a Marxist regime allied to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. A perceived threat to students is significantly less than American hostages held for 444 days and Iran is hardly a top-notch military force. I don’t believe that Reagan would have allowed the world perception of America to be further degraded by allowing that condition to continue. He did have diplomatically astute advisors, however, which through negotiations allowed the Iranians to believe they had bartered a settlement rather than having been bullied. Had they not dealt, however, I still assert that he’d have cleaned their clocks and they were well aware of it.

    We can armchair quarterback on this all day long but I do have some personal experience as to the military presence there as well as time working with neighboring embassies during that time period preparing for possible eventualities. I think Reagan’s character would have ultimately overruled any geopolitical considerations.

  27. Dagon,

    i don’t think carter lost anyone

    And just after claiming you “source out my opinions more than ANYONE else on this board”

    Operation Eagle Claw, which failed and caused the deaths of eight servicemen.

  28. done and done before bookworm,

    but not this time. why hold me to a standard that you yourself never meet?

    aren’t you the one that said, “As for Dagon, he knows that I think he’s big on opinion and criticism, but light on actual facts to support his opinions

    isn’t an essay ‘opinion and criticism’? aren’t links to quotes and timetables ‘actual facts to support my opinions’?

    i really wish you would make up your mind.

    peace

  29. kevin,

    yeah, i remember that. thanks for bringing it up.

    something about proportionality in that statistic i think though. lol.

    peace

  30. Bookworm, I said “just the facts.” For example, as Kevin reminds us (comment # 12) “63 hostages [were] held for 444 days [during the Carter administration.] “Ronald Regan takes the oath of office and voila, hostages released!” Those are facts. But what Kevin surmises is interpretation.

    The truth involves why the hostages were released so soon after Regan’s inuguration. I do not think it was due to Regan’s superior presidential skills, because the fact is he hadn’t had time to demonstrate skill or lack thereof.

    We are going to have to use more than “just the facts” to get at the truth about why (not what) this happened the way it did. We can argue all night, but it is going to take opinion and criticism to get at the truth. That is, if people want it.

    There is power other than presidential in this scenario.

  31. And Bookworm, as to comment #21, it seems that in this context the word “naive” means doesn’t think like Jewish lawyer. Imagine that. :-) Yes, I’m being sarcasic.

  32. Helenl,

    We traded them parts they needed for their military aircraft (among other things.)

    I would like to propose a thought experiment, imagine the following bargaining scenario–I can kill you if you don’t do what I want but I’ll give you some thing you want if you do what I want (but don’t forget that I can kill you if you don’t do what I want.) When you choose to agree to the bargain, a diplomat’s view would be that both of us saved face but you never really had a choice and we both know it. But to those around you, you don’t look like you backed down because you got something you wanted.

    Yes mine is still an opinion BUT it is an informed opinion–not just something I pulled out of the air.

  33. This type of negative reinforcement is certainly not going to encourage the Israelis to give more.

    Olmert is giving more though, but the thing is, giving more still doesn’t work. Israel offered up a huge amount of land in 2000 or the Oslo accords, Arafat rejected it because he knew that he had to have war to stay in power.

    Unless this Palestinian reality changes, to demand that the Israelis give up all their buffer land, that they allow a “right of return” drowing their population, that they free murderers from their jails, that they take down barriers that protect their citizens — all of that is ludicrous and, indeed, it’s almost evil to ask that of them.

    of course, Book, and you already know that Olmert and past Israelis have released prisoners. It hasn’t gone anywhere, except well, back into the streets to kill more people. One murderer released is 500 Israeli body bags, and when Omert and Co release thousands of them… well, let us just say.

    But the fact is the fact.

    If you spin a fact in a centrifuge long enough, does it become opinion? I’ve always wondered about that. Because the Left seems to think that if you spin a cat long enough, he will fall down and not be a cat.

    i source out my opinions more than ANYONE else on this board with the possible exception of you. and I always respond.

    Except when Dagon met the Word of God in the form of Bookworm’s truth, and kept silent. Praise be to the Lord for that silence.

    Don’t just give me links, Dagon, which is your habit, or block quotes. Give me a fact-supported essay pointing out where I’m wrong and explaining what you’d do.

    Comment by Bookworm | December 14, 2006

    You got to weave those stories in front of the jury. Got to connect the dots, I believe. Evidence isn’t enough, it must have a credible story to go with it, to make people believe. Both lawyers and propagandists understand this basic concept. To convince, instead of to pundit or preach to the converted.

    This argument on facts seems to be mirrored over at that AP post as well, here.

    Iran Contra got the hostages released. Isn’t that plain?

  34. Kevin,

    “We traded them parts they needed for their military aircraft (among other things.)”

    A lot depends on who you think “we” is.

  35. Iran Contra got the hostages released. Isn’t that plain?

    Yes, on it’s face it would appear that way but read the thought experiment on post 32 for a more nuanced insight.

  36. re what the iranians got out of the deal, i think helenl just nailed it,

    “A lot depends on who you think “we” is.” bravo!

    peace

  37. “Iran Contra got the hostages released. Isn’t that plain?’

    And thus, Jimmy Carter is a “very bad man.” Do what?

  38. “Iran-Contra got the hostages released.”

    I am sorry but that represents breathtaking ignorance of history.

    I know that many people think that Ronald Reagan was omnipotent. But, even he could not have set up the deal to sell parts to Iranians; make delivery of the parts; collect the funds; then turn the money around to the Contra, all in the 2.5 months or so between the November election and the hostage release, which occurred on the eve of his January inauguration. There may have been overtures to the Iranians before the inauguration; but, to link the hostage release to Iran-Contra is simply erroneous.

    For instance, I will go check after I log off here, but I seriously doubt that Admiral Poindexter and LCOL North, the “villains” of Iran-Contra, were even in the Whitehouse to work their nefarious schemes before the hostage release. (TIC)

    The scheme to fund the Contra with Iranian funds was hatched long after the hostages were free.

    But, back to Jimmy Carter. The simple fact is that the attack and occupation of a U.S. Embassy is a direct attack on the United States. The Government of Iran became complicit in this instance when they permitted the continued occupation of the Embassy, and failed to exert every measure to protect American Diplomats. The Government of Iran’s complicity escalated the situation to a de facto act of war. President Carter’s only acceptable response was to warn the Iranians in a timely and convincing manner; then to bring the full weight of United States power to bear if they did not take corrective action. By not doing this, he was derilect in his duty.

  39. Hi Oldflyer,

    So Jimmy Carter is a very bad man, because he didn’t start a war?

  40. BTW some cursory research reveals.

    Admiral Poindexter entered the White House as a Military Assistant in 1981 after Presient Reagan was inaugurated. He became Assistant National Security Advisor, his first policy position, in 1983.

    I did not find a date when Oliver North was assigned to the White House.

    The Boland Ammendment which was the motivation for the Iran-Contra deal was not signed into law until 12/21/82. Prior to that it was perfectly legal to fund the Contra movement.

    The affair known as Iran-Contra which involved the diversion of funds from Iran to the Contra is considered to have occurred in 1986.

    I hope this information disabuses anyone of the notion that the hostage release and the Iran-Contra affair were linked in anyway.

  41. oldflyer

    “I hope this information disabuses anyone of the notion that the hostage release and the Iran-Contra affair were linked in anyway.”

    you’re kidding right?

    personally, i don’t think the hostage release had anything to do with iran/contra either. but just because some of the principles weren’t immediately in play doesn’t prove anything. bush was there from day one remember? and bush was intimately involved in not just the hostage scenario but also iran/contra.

    from the walsh report:

    “The OIC learned in December 1992 that Bush had failed to produce a diary containing contemporaneous notes relevant to Iran/contra, despite requests made in 1987 and again in early 1992 for the production of such material. Bush refused to be interviewed for a final time in light of evidence developed in the latter stages of OIC’s investigation, leaving unresolved a clear picture of his Iran/contra involvement. Bush’s pardon of Weinberger on December 24, 1992 pre-empted a trial in which defense counsel indicated that they intended to call Bush as a witness.”

    http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/execsum.htm

    peace

  42. Helen.

    The war had started. We just did not acknowledge it. Jimmy Carter was derelict in his duties for not responding appropriately to an attack on the sovereignty of the United States–and protecting the status of American Diplomats serving abroad.

    To be accurate, it was not I who stated that Jimmy Carter was a bad man.

    I did state that I do not believe that he is presently motivated by honesty and integrity. Make your own value judgement on that.

    To go on record, I have stated in the past that President Carter was an excellent “Ex-President” (note the emphasis on EX) because of his humanitarian activities. I obviously do not feel that way any longer.

    He may or may not be a bad man, but he is a disgrace as a former President.

  43. As a pacifist, I think what President Carter did was admirable. And since leaving office, he has helped negotiate whenever possible. I think history will be kinder to this statesman than we have ever been.

  44. Somebody had to say Iran Contra. But it is nothing to me. The thing is, a lot of people on the Left believe Iran Contra was the reason they released the hostages when Reagan got in. Not because Reagan was “tough”, since the Left doesn’t believe that “toughness” is really effective. This includes the Baker Boys too, btw, for the right.

    Jimmy Carter is a very bad man because he is a true believer concerning the wrong and destructive things in life.

    History will judge Carter as they judged the peacemaker Andrew Johnson.

  45. As a pacifist, you should be angry at Jimmy Carter for writing a book that only serves to inflame the situation instead of using his stature to actually *promote* peace. And you should be equally angry that the Palestinians time and again turn down genuine offers of peace in favor of more senseless violence.

    Peace between Israel and the Palestinians cannot be achieved by laying all the blame on the doorstep of one side or the other, by demanding that Israel make concessions to the Palestinians without requiring the Palestinians to give something back (say, an end to blowing up buses, or recognition of the Jewish people’s right to a homeland within the 1967 or even 1948 borders). By smearing Israel as a bunch of racist goons and painting the Palestinians as a defenseless people who are not responsible for the situation they find themselves in today, Carter feeds the fire and proves himself to be a complete and utter jackass.

    Say what you will about Israel’s failings, the Palestinians would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their independence soon had they chosen non-violent resistance over suicide bombings.

  46. I suspect history will regard him as a blithering idiot, personally.

    Since leaving office he’s helped negotiate whenever possible, but what’s he accomplished? North Korea going nuclear,while at the same time being fed and fueled by us?

    Locate a corner of the globe where anything has improved by virtue of him dropping and “negotiating.”

    He and Kofi Annan will enter the history books together, no doubt. But it isn’t going to be a positive entry.

    And as president he was easily the most ineffective of the century – easily. 18% interest rates on the home front, a dead economy, and through his ineffectual dithering he almost single-handedly resuscitated the Soviet Union and gave it another decade and half of life.

    WHAT an idiot.

  47. Bugs make a good point over at Neo’s site. The thing is, the Palestinians can’t make peace, because they don’t control their militias and terrorist camps. There is no one leader you can negotiate with, because that one leader does not represent the Palestinian people. They CANNOT agree to peace, because they are not empowered to make such deals. One group of terrorists or another will disobey and keep attacking Israel. So what is the point to “negotiations”? There is nobody to negotiate with, people.

  48. Say what you will about Israel’s failings, the Palestinians would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their independence soon had they chosen non-violent resistance over suicide bombings.

    Come on, Kettle. When a revolutionary kills, a tyrant dies and a free man is born. /sarc

  49. The Palestinians can’t make peace because they don’t want to make peace. They want to eliminate Israel from the map and kill Jews.

  50. Dagon,

    I am not kidding. Read my lips.

    Hostage release=January 1981.

    Boland ammendment which made official U.S. funds to the Contra illegal=December 1982.

    Iran-Contra scheme=1986

    First, there was no reason for the convoluted Iran-Contra scheme before the Boland ammendment. Funds were flowing openly.

    You can spin things all you want. But you simply cannot turn history on its head to make event which did not occur until 1986 the cause for events that occurred in 1981.

    Perhaps you are using the media generated term Iran-Contra carelessly and inappropriately as some catch all for the negotiations that led to the hostage release. I don’t know–don’t really care.

  51. Pacifists can live free only when others are willing to fight to protect their liberties.

    Fortunately, at least to this point, there have been sufficient numbers of citizens willing to do just that.

    Now, I know you will have a response to that Helen– and that is certainly your right as a free American. And as an American who enjoys more freedom than any individual throughout human history, you might, in your response want to thank not only the troops serving today; but especially those who have sacrificed at critical times in the past to assure that freedom.

    For my small efforts I say in advance, “You are welcome”.

  52. Pacifists are the free riders of history.

  53. Dear JJ and Oldflyers,

    Pacifists are willing to die for what they believe. Freedom is not free; “it costs everything all the time” to quote Maya Angelou. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed (martyred) for his views on the Vietnam War. How exactly is that a “free ride”?

    We have liberties because we use them; not due to the deaths of soldiers. I have the freedom of speech because I am speaking, not due to someone fighting in Iraq. War will never bring peace, only through peaceful (non-violent) confrontation will peace come to pass. And it will come to pass, but only when “we,” which is everyone, decide to make it so. To say we will always have war is to admit that people are not willing to have it otherwise.

    Don’t get me wrong. Soldiers are not the enemy. We are our own worse enemy, because we love war.

  54. Ymarsakar has made an excellent point (see #47). “The thing is, the Palestinians can’t make peace, because they don’t control their militias and terrorist camps. There is no one leader you can negotiate with, because that one leader does not represent the Palestinian people.” So why negotiate? Because it is the right thing to do.

  55. I sometimes wonder what history you read, Helen.

    You in fact do not have free speech because you exercise it, you have it because it was fought for. George III did not want you to have it, and – peculiarly enough, I suppose – he didn’t go away because somebody politely asked him to. His armies had to be physically defeated. Then he went away.

    Had we not emerged victorious from WWII, to bring it forward a few years, do you seriously posit that the heirs of either Tojo or Hitler would now be allowing you free speech? Had we not prevailed in the Cold War, do you seriously suppose that the heirs of Stalin would be allowing you to engage in free speech, because you are speaking? You’d be speaking in a cell, Helen – until your cellmates got tired of listening to you.

    Peace will not come to pass because people will refuse to fight. That’s been tried – oppression has always resulted.

    Regrettably (and it is regrettable) we live in a world that is and has always been ruled by force of arms, ever since the first hand was closed into the first fist. The only time peace has ever resulted has been when someone was beaten into submission, and physically compelled to stop fighting by being rendered unable to continue. Then peace has resulted. But peace does not grow spontaneously: it has always had to be imposed, either directly or through the threat of war.

    The cold war never heated up into a direct confrontation for one reason, and one reason only: the USSR knew we’d level them if they tried. As it was, every time they had a clown like Jimmy Carter with whom to deal, they advanced in their surrogate states, and subjugated new territories. Faced with a Reagan, whom they knew would have no hesitation, they retreated.

    10,000 pacifists willing to die for what they believe can expect to die; the world is short neither of bullets, nor bombs, nor gas – nor people who disagree with them and are willing to kill them. But – when that same 10,000 band together, and announce that they constitute a division, and they may indeed die but they’ll go down fighting, well: that gets respect.

    And it may be a sad commentray on the world, it may be a sad commentary on the human condition – it may be anything you wish to call it. But it is also incontrovertibly true. That’s history. That’s how it is.

    And if you don’t think there are plenty of people not in the least willing to have peace – without first getting their way – then you aren’t paying attention.

    Nobody “loves war,” (except those who do, and I would put the Middle Eastern religious fanatics right there) including those of us who know something about it. But it’s part of the deal, and has been since there was a deal. There have always been those out there who want what you have, and they will damn well fight to get you either (a) dead, or (b) seeing it their way.

    Go tell Putin you won’t oppose him. Or bin Laden or any of his cohorts. Or Hezbollah. Or Hamas. Or… well, it’s a real long list.

    They’ll all be pleased you won’t oppose them. And shortly you won’t have anything, and you damn sure won’t be speaking freely.

  56. JJ, you just don’t get it.

  57. In a society, as I see it, we need pacifists as well as warriors, engineers as well as sappers. (or one and the same for that matter)

    The thing is, to all things there is a purpose. The purpose of artists is not to make peace or win wars. The purpose of a diplomat is not to create objects of beauty. And the purpose of a soldier is not to prepare for peace.

    Balance in all things, as I believe, should be the goal. If you have a society with too many artists and pacifists, like Hollywood, then you will lose whatever you might have gained. Too many warriors, and you tend to have a breakdown in engineering infrastruture, electricity, and roads.

    Humanity will always have war because humanity will always grow and come to accept newness and strange concepts. As people see it in nature, nature does not progress without death and destruction. Death and destruction balances out life, renewal, and ever lasting creation. It is just the way things are. To have perpetual life is just as stagnant and imbalanced as having omnipresent death is chaotic.

    The problem comes when pacifists try to steal the role and purpose of warriors, to end wars. Pacifists cannot end wars, and they cannot fight them, so they cannot end them or help end them. Peace is for pacifists, wars are for warriors. To all things there is a place and a purpose, war just isn’t the purpose of pacifists.

    We can get rid of war, but we would cease to advance as the human species if that were to occur. We can freeze technological advances as well in order to make war less painful, with mind controlling substances and tech, but we would also eliminate human creativity and advances. Everything has a benefit and a cost, peace as well as war.

    That is the ever lasting truth behind “Balance in All Things”. Neo wrote about the concept of war bringing peace, here. Recommended reading for the military historians and military philosophers (Total War advocates) here.

    Neo does it again

    Peace will not come to pass because people will refuse to fight. That’s been tried – oppression has always resulted.

    You have to admit that it did work in India, JJ. But of course, as Neo noted, only because the British weren’t willing to execute the non-violent guys. Non-violence relies upon the non-violence of the guys with big guns.

    The only time peace has ever resulted has been when someone was beaten into submission, and physically compelled to stop fighting by being rendered unable to continue.

    Or when both sides believed that they would not win the war, if they engaged in one, since that would create a deterence. A feeling that the war isn’t worth it, because you will lose more than you will ever gain.

    10,000 pacifists willing to die for what they believe can expect to die; the world is short neither of bullets, nor bombs, nor gas – nor people who disagree with them and are willing to kill them. But – when that same 10,000 band together, and announce that they constitute a division, and they may indeed die but they’ll go down fighting, well: that gets respect.

    In the 21st century, human shields and non-violent protest do work, JJ. So helen has a point. But the counter-point is available readily, which is, non-violence only works against non-violent groups such as the United States, not Iran though.

    So the point I am making, JJ, is that humans operate on the Pavlovian principle. Which is that we will do things that we are rewarded for doing, and avoid doing things that we will be punished for doing. The pacifists and the non-violent protestors, have seen that it works in the West, so can we really blame them for being unable to believe that it won’t work at all against the Islamic Jihad?

    When the United States wages war to reduce civilian and human shield casualties, when Israel refuses a bombing run because of Palestinian shields, does this not send a message to the pacifists that non-violent protests work? Should we not then, JJ, start removing the previous training reflex and start instilling new ones? I at least, believe it is time.

    In peace, negotiations and mercy have their place. In war, ruthlessness and taking off the gloves are required. Many of the relevant arguments have been made more or less on the link to Neo’s site I put up above.

  58. Gee Helen. You really make me laugh. Why don’t you try exercising your free speech in China? How about North Korea? Maybe Afghanistan under the Taliban? There are innumerable examples I could cite of places where people who tried paid a heavy price. Maybe you can think of a few. Even cliches are rooted in at least partial truth–“Freedom is not free”.

    I don’t know about you, but I have traveled through a fair bit of the world. Americans cannot even fathom what life is like in many countries that we consider more or less free. No thanks. I also know that there are a lot of people who don’t really care if you are a pacifist or not. They will kill you in a heartbeat, and never think twice about it. They will kill you because you are in the way; or because you have what they want; or in many places just because you are an American and they have been taught to hate you. When Jimmy Carter goes across the world and feeds the hatred–and surely you cannot deny that he does this–he makes Pacifism even less tenable for Americans.

    I won’t be around to see how history treats Jimmy Carter. As the euphimism goes, I am approaching the twilight of my years. But,I do remember the 1970s very well. This was a very dispirited country; increasingly viewed as weak-willed and vulnerable by many of the predators of the world. It is problematic to consider what would have happened if the seeds he sowed had been allowed to take root.

    But, we are so far apart in our thinking that there is no point in continuing.

    So, go ahead; you can have the last word.

  59. Helen: You need to confront the fact that there are people in this world who would gladly kill you in between the salad and the entree, and never miss a bite. They don’t care about anything you think, or what you want, or your idea of right and wrong. I hate that they are out there, but they are out there just the same. They have clearly demonstrated what they are willing to do, and do proudly. There is no talking with them, and no finding a pathway to peace with them. Concessions only bring us closer to our own destruction at their hands. They might as well be the cockroaches under the sink, for all the good negotiating does.
    I believe you come from a place of good will, and that you fervently wish for peace and understanding among all people. But BW is right in calling that naive. Evil people exist in the world. We have seen them in action. And like cockroaches, the only sane response is to crush them. I wish it were otherwise. It isn’t.

  60. Goodnight Oldflyer. Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Billy.

  61. This was a very dispirited country; increasingly viewed as weak-willed and vulnerable by many of the predators of the world.

    I am someone that believes that if you take an American hostage, we will find you and three of your friends and drop them in a acid vat, video tapped and sent to the AP. If you actually kill an American while hijacking something, I believe that we need to kill 100 people, associates or friends of the one who did the killing. If you can’t find 100 people, then the statue of limitations can be extended until the 23rd century, terminated by the next generation at the least.

    The American government is there to protect the people of America. They aren’t there to worry about international laws, international peace, international agreements, they are there to ensure the safety of Americans. The one criticsm I have against representative republics and democracies is that their leaders are too weak and soft spined to do what is necessary for the greater good. They aren’t dumb, they know, but they are too weak to do what they know must be done. They procrastinate, they rationalize, they delay and talk.

    I hate that they are out there, but they are out there just the same.

    Then it shouldn’t be hard to find them for the execution scaffolds, correct? So long as they are there and numerous, they can be found. When they are small and hard to find, then the problem becomes less serious, like the Nazis. Hard to find, small, little problem.

    Evil people exist in the world.

    What is evil though, Judy?

    And like cockroaches, the only sane response is to crush them.

    What about the people who collect roaches, though, Judy? Are you suggesting that they are insane ; ) ?

  62. He was surprised when I told him that amongst these prisoners there was Samir Qantar, who led a group into an Israeli home, and dragged the father and four year old daughter onto the beach.

    One reason why I don’t prefer to hold terrorists as prisoners, Book. Unless it is to use them as body pieces to force the release of American hostages, of course.

    Those are the kind of people the Palestinians — and Carter — demand in exchanged for a kidnapped young man whose only crime is being an Israeli citizen.

    I believe in exchanges. I believe that if I exchange the eye of a criminal, you should exchange the entire body of an American, unharmed, back to us.

    These are demands I believe, we can reason with.

    Believe me when I say that I am not wishing for anything that would bring an unnatural end to his natural life.

    The bad Presidents never get assassinated, Book. Only the good ones get it. Reagan, Lincoln, JFK.

    It is a rule of thumb that evil knows that which helps evil, and so avoids the useful idiots, for they die last.

  63. It didn’t work in India, Y. Gandhi was perfectly willing to be peaceful – but the Muslim population of India wasn’t. Eventually Gandhi had no choice but to forcibly deport them: thus Pakistan. And, it should be noted (though generally it isn’t, because it would screw up the Gandhi legend) that in the process of creating Pakistan, the sainted Gandhi cheerfully allowed over 1,000,000 Indian Muslims to die during their deportation. A million. That’s a big number, for a guy who wouldn’t swat a fly. Altogether saintly.

    I do not recall an episode in history when both sides simultaneously quit, because neither felt they could win.

    Human shields and non-violent protest work – with us. With western Europe. You are quite correct. But – try it in Iran. Try it in China. Try it on Putin. Try it in Syria. Try it in North Korea. Try it, in other words, where it’s most needed. Good luck.

    It wasn’t me who coined the saying the peace comes out of the barrel of a gun.

  64. Oldflyer-

    Iran-Contra scheme=1986

    Just as a point of interesting historical reference, I was in Honduras working with Nicaraguans on the border in ’84.

    I don’t think the Iran-Contra scheme was ever hatched as a specific/complete plan more than it just evolved over time from various programs. I suspect the term Iran-Contra was just a convenient moniker to reduce a fairly nebulous group of programs into a sound bite for television.

  65. One last word on JC, from Victor Davis Hanson writing at National Review: “Jimmy Carter, silent about Iran’s latest promotion for its planned holocaust, is hawking his latest book — in typical fashion, sorta, kinda alleging that the Israelis are like the South Africans in perpetuating an apartheid state, that they are cruel to many Christians, and, as occupiers, are understandably the targets of suicide bombers and other terrorist killers. Sadly, all that shields this wrinkled-browed, lip-biting moralist from complete infamy is sympathy for a man bewildered in his dotage.”

  66. A definition from Wikipedia:

    “Naïve

    may refer to:

    Naïveté, a French loanword indicating the state of lacking experience, understanding or sophistication”

    My “lack of experience” earned me a MALS degree from Wake Forest University in 2000. My thesis was entitled “Making All Things New: The Value of Unmerited Suffering In the Life and Works of Martin Luther King, Jr.” I spent two years studying non-violence in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. During that time I became a pacifist. So please pick an adjective other than “naive” to describe me.

    Some who leave comments here are so busy defending their current position that they forget to learn. My education will be over when I die. Until then, I search for truth wherever I find it. Is that truly naive?

  67. I’ve searched the article and comments and the word “settlements” does not appear.

    Israel captured the territories in the 1967 war. Israel signed the Fourth Geneva Convention in 1948. This prohibits settling your citizens on land captured in war.

    Military occupation by a democracy’s army, especially by an army of a different religion, inspires desperation and suicide bombing around the world. For example Hindu Tamil Tigers against Buddhist Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. This is documented by Prof Robert Pape of U. Chicago in “Dying to Win”.

    The settlements are therefore illegal and have inspired anti-Western sentiment throughout the Muslim world.

    Carter correctly perceives that they are at the root of terrorism and must be emptied as part of the two-state solution supported by US policy.

    Finally, all this about plagarism, errors, etc. are an ad-hominem attack. Perhaps we may soon be treated to stories about Carter being unfaithful to his wife. Stick to the issue.

  68. As an aside, I have to admit that I’m not very knowledgeable on a MALS degree so I did a quick check and found the following list of courses for the degree at WFU. They also state:

    These programs offer adults an opportunity to explore the full range of liberal arts on their own terms. The courses are interdisciplinary and interactive. Adults who enroll in these programs gain new information, new perspectives, and new insights. Mostly our students are people who are motivated by a desire to know and understand more about the world and themselves than they do now. The goal of the Liberal Studies program is to facilitate the development of a truly educated mind.

    MLS 811 – Wars, Just & Unjust: A History of Interpreting Conflict
    MLS 812 – Utopia & Its Discontents in Literature and Film
    MLS 813 – The Goddess in Myth and History
    MLS 815 – What’s Up, Doc? Ethics of Health Communication
    MLS 774 – History & Culture of Venice (Travel Course)
    MLS 816 – LIfe on a Small Planet: Environment, Science & Politics
    MLS 817 – Living in Mortal Time: Clinical & LIterary Approaches
    MLS 818 – The Image of Shaman as Healer in a Global Perspective
    MLS 819 – Virginia: Stories and Histories
    MLS 801 – Changing World, Challenging Decisions: The History of Bioethics
    MLS 804 – Health, Environment, and the Active Lifestyle
    MLS 703 – Seeing Us as Others See Us: The U.S. and U.K. Compared
    MLS 802 – Shakespeare: His Comedies, Tragedies, and Their Sources
    MLS 728 – Prose Fiction Workshop
    MLS 766 – The Life, Teachings, and Method of Mohandas Gandhi
    MLS 805 – Isle of Saints & Sinners: Ireland’s Literature & Culture (Travel Course)
    MLS 806 – A Delightful (re)Past: A History of Food & Drink in Europe and the U.S.
    MLS 807 – Mathematicians as People: Clearing the Myths
    MLS 782 – Mother Love: The Genesis of Emotional Attachments
    MLS 809 – Modern Legends of Troy
    MLS 727 – An African Atlantic
    MLS 711 – Global Population & the Environment: Moral Choices & Public Policy
    MLS 768 – Love, War, & Wisdom: Hebrew Literature from the Bible to Today
    MLS 731 – The Cultural Politics of American Presidents
    MLS 775 – Twins & Doubles: Carbon Copies in Literature & Science
    MLS 783 – American Paths to Freedom
    MLS 734 – Classical Music in the Twentieth Century
    MLS 712 – Literary Classics of World Religions
    MLS 774 – The History and Culture of Venice (Travel Course)
    MLS 735 – Theatre as Political, Religious and Cultural Protest
    MLS 736 – Architecture, Memory, & Meaning: The World Trade Center & Memorial Architecture in America
    MLS 777 – Paradise or Prison: Utopian Novels of the 20th Century
    MLS 701 – Culture & Spirituality in Contemporary Native America
    MLS 702 – Daughters of the South
    MLS 728 – Prose Fiction Workshop
    MLS 704 – Science, Values, and Culture
    MLS 703 – Seeing Us as Others See Us: The U.S. and U.K. Compared
    MLS 706 – German Culture Clash: Modernity and Tradition in Conflict, 1890-1940
    MLS 709 – Italian Opera
    MLS 705 – Myths of Creation
    MLS 766 – The Life, Teachings, and Method of Mohandas Gandhi
    MLS 707 – Women’s Political & Social Activism since 1776
    MLS 714 – Hearing the Divine Voice: Pilgrimage and the Act of Reading
    MLS 717 – Shakespeare Unbound and Rewound: Adaptations in Literature and Film
    MLS 708 – The Culture and History of Vienna (Travel Course)

  69. thanks robert,

    i really didn’t have the energy.

    peace

  70. Students in the MALS program at Wake Forest take a minimum of four special MALS courses plus theis research and others courses from the offerings to graduate students in any discipline. They may take all MALS seminars. I did not choose to do so. My courses concentrate in African American studies and creative writing. (Some course numbers have been changed since I took the classes.)

    I took
    REL 366 Gender and Religion
    MLS 432 The Medieval World
    HIS 610 Slavery – Viewpoint of Blacks
    MLS 486 Directed Study (African American Religious
    Experience)
    MLS 486 Directed Study (The Search for Freedom in the US and South Africa)
    MLS 437 Art and Craft of Writing Poetry
    HIS 415 Slavery in History
    ENG 684 Advanced Poetry Workshop
    MLS 728 Fiction Workshop – Creating Your Own Voice
    MLS 791 Thesis Research

    I audited HIS 610 African American Biography while I was working on my thesis.

  71. The HelenLs and Dagons of the world mean well. In their proto-marxist view, people are basically good but society, through the creation of artificial inequalities and the disproportionate allocation of power between groups, creates the conditions for conflict. To them, there is no evil, there is simply “social” injustice. Therefore, simply mediating away the economic and “power” differences between individuals levels the playing field, ergo resulting in peace. This is one reason why their hatred of Republican conservative values is so virulent – Republicans and conservatives extol self-determination and the ability (and right) of individuals to differentiate themselves from the mean. The rest of us, however, understand that the world doesn’t work that way. There are wolves, there are sheep and there are guard dogs. Good and evil coexist – in all of us. Although the moral vanity of the HelenLs and Dagons will tell them that they do good simply because their intentions are good, they (like Jimmy Carter…although I am no longer quite sure of goodness of his intentions)become the enablers of the wolves and, therefore, morally complicit. The road to Hell really is paved with good intentions. There is no convincing HelenL or Dagon because, to do so, would collapse their entire moral universe and leave them staring at an abyss they could not bear to contemplate.

  72. Finally, all this about plagarism, errors, etc. are an ad-hominem attack.

    *snickers* You hear that, Book. Saying someone committed an action is an attack on his character, and therefore not admissable in court. Time for Sharia, I’m sure it will fix the problems of requiring evidence and actions to be used as proof in court.

    It’s like a negligent homicide case. The defendant is accused to have lied and known the dangers of his lie, and based upon this lie, caused the death of a person. The defense lawyer says “objection, you have made an ad hominem attack against my client, it has nothing to do with whether he is guilty of negligent homicide if he neglected to tell the truth”. Deeper and deeper down the hole we go, Book. Where it petters out, nobody knows.

    Stick to your settlements, Hume. The Israelis will either win the war by annihilating their enemies, or they will be annihilated one way or another. Either way, the issue of settlements will be decided by whoever survives.

    Two points concerning MLS.

    One, the topic of research (MLKJ) has nothing to do with Palestinians or the Islamic Jihad resistance of occupations. Two different elements, cannot be interchanged.

    Two, naivety is a question of a lack of wisdom, not a question of data or knowledge or intelligence.

    It does reaffirm the point I made before. Here in the West, people flock to pacifism because they mistakenly believe that it will always work. And they base this belief upon data and facts from the Civil Rights and Ghandi’s life. It is not that the facts are wrong, non-violence did work against the West, the British, and the US. It is that the interpretations that the pacifists spin upon these facts, are grossly distorted compared to what goes on in the rest of the world. The West is only a small portion of the world, and you expect civil rights campaigns to succede here. But this is not true in the rest of the world, simply because the rest of the world is not the United States. People have a tendency to believe that the world is a mirror image of their town, village, city, state, and nation. It is the natural parochialism of humanity, that we cannot imagine what is beyond our horizons. This is a limitation that cosmopolites seek to surpass.

  73. Danny dilineates one of the problems with a lack of war. War keeps humans humble. In our vast omnivoracity and overall dominion of the Earth, humans tend to elevate themselves to god like status. When there is no war, as there has a deficit in the West, you will see a decay and a decadence in people’s lives and beliefs. I mentioned before about balance in all things. Not having any war is just as bad and destructive as always having war. Because without war, you have pacifists and those who believe that non-violence works always. Without peace, you have a bunch of war mongers that can destroy but cannot create anything of lasting value.

    Pacifists are already imbalanced in the terms of human behavior and virtue. The Palestinian War Machine is the example of the other side of the pendulum. America, of course, lies smack dab in the middle of moderation and balance.

    Dealing with problems won’t be easy if you maintain balance, but it will be easier than if you do not maintain balance.

    There are two consequences to too much pacifism and lack of war in a nation and people. Firstly and most commonly, the lack of a warlike defense leaves the nation open to barbarian invasions. Those barbarians invade, conquer, and then settle in the cities, and renew the cycle of civilization. The second consequence, is much much less common. The second consequence is the Elf Syndrome, as I call it. Where people live for a looonnng time, and party all day and night, thinking of nothing and nobody except themselves and their pleasures. Why does this happen? Because without war, people no longer are able to bond as a community, in defense of the common good. Without war, people can no longer prove to themselves that they have what it takes to be a defender and protector, decreasing the pool of active defenders, and thus creating an imbalance automatically. Without war, people lose their purpose. They begin to ask themselves, why are they alive, to what should they devote their lives to. Peace is already here. So they devote their times to hobbies, parties, having fun. Not a care in the world, elves dancing in the moonlight. Advanced medical technology assures them that they will not age, that they will not grow old.

    The reason why the second consequence is so very very rare is because usually you don’t survive long enough to get to that level. We have begun on the road to the Second Consequence because of the American military maintaining stasis in this world. A stasis that can no longer be held. The American military is so mighty, that the people they protect (Japan, SK, Germany, Europe, America, Canada, Mexico, Latin America) no longer appreciates or even understand the purpose to which a military is for. Their entire lives, were lived in peace, but a peace that they did not earn, a peace that was only brought to them by the dominion of the United States Armed Forces. And like all teenagers, they will rebel against the authority and their protectors, just because. It is genetic.

    True fullfillment for the human being derives from hard work and individual accomplishments. A person has to know, in their genes, that they and they alone were responsible for their success or failure. Otherwise, they will drift aimlessly in the sea of stars, always wondering, always questioning “what is the purpose of my life”. Those without purpose will live unhappy and unsatisfied lives, and humans being humans, will tend to try and spread the misery around.

    I am writing this piece because what Danny wrote about, instigated a question to me. Which was one I had begun to ask myself quite a long time ago, the question being “why do people act the way they do, and become pacifists or warriors”.

    I have tried to take the logic to its logical conclusion. Meaning, let’s say that pacifism worked, that you could get rid of armies and get perpetual peace. Let’s assume that no Ghenghis Khan will appear in the human race, for the next 1000 years, just because. When you have perpetual peace, what will you do with it though? That is not an easy question to ask. Because the one thing that has always motivated humanity to push past our limitations, was war, was internal strife, was combat against nature, ourselves, and others. When we have the technology to dominate nature, and to increasingly become supreme over nature, as well as getting rid of internal strife and wars, to what then will the human race be motivated by in order to improve ourselves? And even if we assume that the human race can maintain stasis for a 1,000 years, I promise you that invading alien races will screw up your plans for cert. Because a cosmopolite cannot restrict his or her horizons to their own parochial settings, a cosmopolite must always look beyond the veil of limitations.

    Eternal peace is not in the destiny of mankind. Although looking at Israel, eternal war may be if you don’t do what is necessary to End it.

    To all things there is a beginning and an end. All things that live, must die. The cycle of war to peace and peace to war, cannot be broken. Because humans are not Gods, we cannot violate Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. For as much power as human beings hold over this small marble blue of a planet, we are still infants in the larger universe and the rules that bind the physical world.

    Parochialism is about looking around you in a 10 feet circle, and declaring that this is how the universe functions, according to the principles and behaviors that you categorized in that 10 feet circle. Parochialism is the plague of humanity. It has brought about racism, wars, cultural misunderstandings, and many many miscalculations that have lead to death and destruction. Not ignorance, not stupidity, not corruption, not even evil, have brought about as much death and chaos as parochialism.

  74. Helenl,

    Way off the subject but one course seriously begs the question–what is a black’s viewpoint on slavery? If I had to make an educated guess, I would say “it sucks.” Next (just for curiosity sake) did the scope of the course address the black on black slavery that is currently occuring in Africa or did the class only address white on black slavery in America?

  75. To clarify a point made in my first sentence of the first paragraph.

    I mean only that people with too much power tends to see themselves as outside of mortal limitations. They believe themselves exempt from rules, laws, and the laws of physics. It is not true, this delusion creates hubris, and as the Greeks foretold hubris will cause you to fall. The more hubris you have, the higher you will fall from.

    Wars keep humanity humble, by pitting strength against strength, (US vs Nazi Germany vs Imperial Japan vs Communist Soviets) so that no one may argue after the fact who was more or less powerful, because it would be obvious. Whoever survived was the stronger. This forces a standard of objectivity and reality upon human beliefs and ideas. It keeps us humble, so that we don’t float up to the heavens and start crafting up utopian beliefs like communism, and thinking that this will make us angels or something.

    The Islamic Jihad have not been humbled, as people well know. War is to humble humanity. Without war, humanity will become a bunch of egotists and utopian philosophers. Useless and worthless.

    The world we live in is composed of many parts, just as our body is composed of many parts. Each part has a purpose. And while you may remove a few cells here, an appendix there, and an eye here and still function, there is a LIMIT to which you cannot surpass. As human beings create more and more technological progress, we push at these limits and enlarge them, surpass them. But there will always be new limits. Those who wish to remove war are as irrational and illconsidered as those who wish to remove peace, from the human experience.

    People are not gods, regardless of how highly they elevate their social consciousness.

  76. i’m curious about where you’re heading re the question about slavery kevin,

    i’m a black man. i’d be happy to give you my views on slavery if you’re at all interested.

    but if you’re going to open up a discussion on black on black slavery, you might as well talk about it in generalis rather than trying to equate it with the american experience (which was very different).

    currently there are forms of slavery on all continents, from white slavery in slovakia and lithuania to the centuries old practice of indentured servitude that is on exhibit in every chinatown in world.

    peace

  77. exempt from rules, laws, and the laws of physics

    Show me one example of someone with so much power that they believe they are exempt from lets say, gravity. Indiscriminately dropping the word physics doesn’t make one appear any smarter–in fact, it does just the opposite.

  78. Dagon,

    It was more of a question on the basis of the class (HIS 610 Slavery – Viewpoint of Blacks.) No offense was meant; I would just think that there would generally be a monolithic viewpoint on the subject (i.e. show me one black in America that believes slavery is/was good.) And yes, I would be interested to hear your viewpoint.

    The reason for the second question was to see if the class really addressed the subject of slavery or was just the current liberal teaching that whites should all feel ashamed for slavery in America. I believe slavery was wrong but I also refuse to accept guilt for a crime for which I am not guilty.

  79. Kevin, Slavery from the Viewpoint of blacks meant looking at primary (rather than secondary sources) that were written or dictated by slaves and former slaves. We use letters, speeches, biographies, etc. in our study.

  80. HIS 610 Slavery – Viewpoint of Blacks dealt only with slavery in the US. HIS 415 Slavery in History dealt with history in the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

  81. Ah, I see. I assume that this would be along the lines of Frederick Douglass’s writings. Did it cover slavery in Africa? (since it’s the Black point of view being examined) I’m curious because I had an excellent Nigerian undergrad history professor who made a point of discussing slavery from and African on African perspective and he would make the point (as Dagon has) that is is significantly more than an American experience. He would point out that because it is currently going on in Africa, it isn’t some esoteric historical artifact as we usually view it in America. Typically slavery discussions I hear on campus revolve more around guilt than an acknoledgment that (again as Dagon points out) currently there are forms of slavery on all continents.

  82. sorry, you responded first.

  83. kevin

    “The reason for the second question was to see if the class really addressed the subject of slavery or was just the current liberal teaching that whites should all feel ashamed for slavery in America. I believe slavery was wrong but I also refuse to accept guilt for a crime for which I am not guilty.”

    well, this liberal doesn’t view the fallout over slavery as one of enforced multigenerational guilt and i don’t know many blacks who view the situation that way either.

    most of the concerns center around the refusal of some people and entities to own up to the ramifications of american apartheid, which existed well past emancipation.

    that is to say, that a caucasian should not be expected to feel guilt over the actions of people he/she had nothing to do with hundreds of years ago but it is to say that our society should acknowledge the cyclical toll of exploitation that it has visited on african americans; an experience unique among minority groups in this country which saw a systematic DENIAL of opportunity rather than an ambivalence towards it.

    i don’t see this a situation of what whites should or shouldn’t do but one of what AMERICANS should be about and want to do.

    while it is true that no black american was born a slave, it is also true that many of us or our parents endured the american apartheid which has helped create a cyclical cycle of undereducation, state dependence and exploitation at the hands of predatory institutions.

    a failure to acknowlege this as a society and encourage dialogue or legislation that addresses it does a disservice.

    you know the phrase, ‘you broke it…you own it’. while unfortunate in word choice, the meaning still holds. AMERICA broke and exploited the africans that it brought here for free labor and it still owes their descendents (who still bear the marks of that damage) some debt, small or great.

    a great country realizes this and does more to make amends.

    peace

  84. In HIS 610 we used mostly documents compiled by John Blassingame in “Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies” (Louisiana State University Press, 1977).

    I wrote on female slaves and had my paper published in “The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies,” while I was student.

  85. I have posted a poem “Faces Tell That Story” on my blog. Please go to http://helenl.wordpress.com/2006/12/15/faces-tell-that-story/ if you are interested. It is far too long to post as comment on Bookworm’s blog.

  86. Why do I get the feeling that when someone always ends a posting with the word “peace” the word is meant as a personal declaration that they are smarter, deeper, and more wise than anyone else?

    greater peace

    mikey

  87. No, it is mere affectation. Means nothing.

    war (just)

    zhombre

  88. Means there’s a heck load of pasting and typing. If he devoted that much effort to coming up with good arguments, we would all be at peace.

  89. The thing is, if you look at blacks from Ethiopia, they have smaller physiques compared to blacks born in the US from traditional slave descendent families. Why is that, one wonders? And how many Ethiopians blacks grow tall enough to get the big bucks for professional basketball?

    People will never recognize the good and the bad, they will simply choose what they wish to see and that is it. The failure to acknowledge the detriments and the risks in proportion to the rewards, only emphasizing the bad, ends up simply as hackery in the form of Main Sewer Media reporting of Iraq and the Saudi madrasses.

  90. Perhaps, it has to do with nutrition. In the US, we’re a bit over-fed, black and white. :-)

  91. Dagon,

    Thanks for the reply, you bring up some good points and I have a greater understanding of your viewpoints.

    Now I’m curious, what do you think of Bill Cosby’s assertion that it’s time for blacks to step up and assume responsibility for much of their situation? You’re obviously educated so do you listen to gangsta rap? (I don’t want to assume anything but I would guess no.) Do you see a problem with people making a fortune calling each other N****r, and referring to women as hoes and bi****s and that a significant portion of a generation of kids want nothing more than to emulate them? Yes there was an apartheid in America but that has changed significantly. What did that change bring about though? Where I believe you and I have a certain amount of understanding (and interestingly enough agreement) on an intellectual basis, I honestly share nothing with would-be gangsta’s (be they white or black and a significant majority does appear to be black.) And they aren’t going to listen to me because I’m the wrong skin color so it’s really up to the examples like you to turn the tide in the black community and make a difference. How did you become educated and make a decent living (i.e. you beat the odds, what makes you different?) I believe Bill Cosby speaks an uncomfortable truth that it’s time for affluent, educated blacks become the role models for their community; how about you?

  92. Kevin, What you just expressed is your version of the “exceptional black man” theory. It’s just a variation of plain ol’ racism. Dagon has a right to like whatever he wants, just the same as you and me. Don’t shift the burden of racism to the shoulders of “affluent, educated blacks.” All AMERICAN adults have a responsibiltiy to become roll models for OUR young people, black, white, et al.

  93. interesting questions kevin and i’ll try to address them one by one.

    Now I’m curious, what do you think of Bill Cosby’s assertion that it’s time for blacks to step up and assume responsibility for much of their situation?

    he couldn’t be more on the money. i’ve seen him speak in chicago the last 2 times he was hear and the reception from the community was tremendous.

    You’re obviously educated so do you listen to gangsta rap? (I don’t want to assume anything but I would guess no.)

    i had a grudging respect for nwa and the ghetto boys when they first came out but now it’s gone past social protest or irony and into a dangerous place where kids actually believe this cartoonish lifestyle.

    Do you see a problem with people making a fortune calling each other N****r, and referring to women as hoes and bi****s and that a significant portion of a generation of kids want nothing more than to emulate them?

    yeah, i’ve got a problem with it (see above), but i think american kids of all races share the problem of media saturation. nothing means nothing unless it’s fashionable these days. there’s a reason why idiots like britny spears and paris hilton have more influence over our kids than an influential teacher or philosopher.

    Yes there was an apartheid in America but that has changed significantly. What did that change bring about though?

    in many cases, i think that it remains a contract unfulfilled. the institutions were changed no doubt but many of the civil rights era thought that was enough. sadly, many companies have only gotten worse because the infrastructure that fed inequality was never adequately reformed. inequities in education being the greatest culprit imo.

    Where I believe you and I have a certain amount of understanding (and interestingly enough agreement) on an intellectual basis, I honestly share nothing with would-be gangsta’s (be they white or black and a significant majority does appear to be black.) And they aren’t going to listen to me because I’m the wrong skin color so it’s really up to the examples like you to turn the tide in the black community and make a difference. How did you become educated and make a decent living (i.e. you beat the odds, what makes you different?)

    my mom and dad beat the odds. both were examples of the early success of affirmative action, which opened up avenues for college funding for motivated minorities. my father was to first in my family to achieve a college degree (he went on to become a lawyer). i grew up in relative afluence it was expected that i would take advantage of the educational opportunities, rather than that being an extraordinary feat.

    I believe Bill Cosby speaks an uncomfortable truth that it’s time for affluent, educated blacks become the role models for their community; how about you?

    completely, i just don’t think that this fact absolves the plurality of american society of their duty to look at the situation as well. there will always be exceptions who break the curve but i think you and i would agree that most people fall somewhere around the middle of the pact of their experiation. the problem is that bar was forcibly set so low, that middle of the pack in the black community still means languishing to a much greater degree than it should.

    peace

  94. Helen, There’s nothing racist in what Kevin said. If a significant number of black kids dismiss the influence of white role models simply because they are white (do you deny that happens?), but they need better influences in their lives than Gangsta rappers and their ilk, then isn’t it beneficial for black role models to make an effort to turn these kids around? What’s racist about commenting on Dagon’s obvious achievements? You seem to be the one who thinks mentioning a black person’s education and success is racist if it sets him apart from those who aren’t educated or successful. What must you think about the black community? Did all YOUR education just teach you to look for racism under every rock?

    Are affluent, educated blacks exempt from responsibility? Does expecting them to play a role constitute racism? To say that Kevin (or Bill Cosby) is “shifting the burden of racism” for asking accomplished blacks to take the lead here is just nuts.

    Yes, accomplished people of every race can share in taking responsibility for providing good influences for youth. But when kids won’t listen to anybody who isn’t of their race, (and until they get wiser in that regard), it’s a very practical and beneficial thing for black role models to step up to the plate (as many do.)

  95. Judy, what you have said can apply equally to Muslims as well. There is truth in what you say.

  96. By the way Helen, I agree that Dagon has a right to like whatever he wants, but are you also saying that Gangsta rap is as good in its own way as say, Wynton Marsalis? Because that’s a whole other discussion about whether there are such things as objective values. I’m wondering what you think about that.

    (If it seems like I’m ragging on you especially, it’s just that some of the things you say incite me to write – in contrast to inciting me to riot.)

  97. Thanks, Ymar. It’s especially true in the Muslim community, now that you mention it – and with so much at stake for all of us!

  98. Poor old Jimmy C. He seems to have been left by the side of the road in this discussion. I have nothing good to say about him. He should do us all a favor and go back to busying himself with harmless endeavors, like lusting in his heart.

  99. Dagon,

    I sincerely thank you for your input; it has enabled me to realize that we do many see things similarly and therefore many of our real disagreements boil down to solutions (very interesting to quote Artie Johnson.) And yes, I look forward to the day that the Paris Hiltons and Brittany Spears are relegated to oblivion (but I’m not holding my breath.)

    May I enquire as to your profession? I’ll offer that I’m a research physicist working for the government.

    Helenl,

    I have to agree with Judyrose in that you seem to have been educated to look for racism under every rock (which is why I was inquiring about your educational path.) I find it telling that Dagon was not offended by my post and yet you were.

    I happen to be involved with outreach to at risk youth to try to get them to stay in school and maybe choose to pursue a career in science. There is nothing more disheartening than experiencing the absolute lack of respect/attention/concern that I constantly face and I’ve personally witnessed black kids who actually show interest being chastised by their peers.

    Judyrose,

    Yeah, Jimmy got more than his 15 minutes of fame on this post and hopefully will now fade off into the sunset. Thanks for your input on this as well.

    Bookworm,

    Thanks for the venue even though we don’t always stay on topic.

  100. I’ve been fascinated by this thread’s development and, needless to say, I’ve been enjoying it too. It’s like watching a really interesting conversation at a party.

    By the way, Judyrose, your post at #100 also reminded me of the time Jimmy got attacked by a killer rabbit. He seemed sometimes to have a presidency plagued by silliness.

  101. Are you refering to this image, Book?

    They also named a submarine after Carter. That should tell you something.

  102. Shrink has an interesting post about societal progress and stasis.

    Link

    Visit the Shrink, might save you a visit to the therapist.

    I think a lot of problems are due to people keeping others down. Both the fictional variety, the self-inflicted variety, and the actual variety.

    Shrink looks at things in a geological and psychological fashion. I look at things in a historical and warlike sense.

    Someone who is in balance, can change and adapt his stance, but not to the extent that he sways with the winds. Nor is he frozen solid and paralyzed, unable to move, for fear of breaking.

  103. Judyrose, I haven’t any idea where you got the idea that I think “Gangsta rap is as good in its own way as say, Wynton Marsalis.” That’s ridiculous. What I said was all AMERICAN adults have a responsibility to all AMERICAN children and youth. I said it isn’t ALL up to “affluent, educated blacks.”

    No, all my education didn’t teach me to look for “racism under every rock.” Racism is in plain sight. And if you wonder why “[black] kids won’t listen to anybody who isn’t of their race” – (and no, I don’t deny that) – look at the way you attack me for every thought you don’t like. Some white adult do that to black kids and then wonder why they aren’t respected. I might “incite [you] to write,” but not without great (what writers call) leaps. I have no respect for you as a writer. Check your very own web site for tips. Read. Think. Then apply the fingers to the keyboard. And if you’re going to quote me, at least get it right.

  104. Don’t worry, Judy. That is just par for the course.

  105. Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Billy.

  106. Who is Billy?

  107. Ymar, Thanks for your support.

    Helen, you’re getting a little caustic. Take some tums. I’m not attacking you. I’m disagreeing with your ideas. If that feels like an attack to you, so be it. What I said about Gangsta Rap vs. Wynton Marsalis was a question, not a statement. I just wanted to know where you stand on the idea of objective values.

    You may think all Americans have a responsibility to all American children (I disagree by the way. We each have a responsibility to our own children. I’m not responsible for anybody else’s children. A little more parental responsibility and we wouldn’t have as many problems as we do. But that’s another topic entirely.) But when Kevin talked about black role models stepping up, you replied using the phrase the “burden of racism” as though the need to provide good influences to black kids is just there because of racism, and not because all kids need good influences. You came right out an called him a racist. So you’ve made my point for me, as you did again when you said you don’t need to look under rocks for racism – it’s in plain sight. People think entirely too much about race. But then, you made it your life’s study. So why should I be surprised that it clouds your world view.

    As far as respect is concerned, I may respect you as a person (respect your rights) but I can’t respect things you say that are in direct opposition to my way of thinking. I certainly respect your right to say whatever you want. And I respect my own right to disagree, and say so.

    Do you really believe that I don’t think about what I write? My comments are based on my interpretation of the underlying philosophy I perceive in what you’ve written. You may not even be aware of what you’ve revealed, but others see it.

    I don’t need you to respect me as a writer. Your opinion has no value to me. As far as attacks are concerned, I’d ask if your remark isn’t an example of the pot calling the kettle black, but you’d probably call that racist too!

  108. “And if you wonder why “[black] kids won’t listen to anybody who isn’t of their race” – (and no, I don’t deny that) – look at the way you attack me for every thought you don’t like. Some white adult do that to black kids and then wonder why they aren’t respected.”

    I’m sorry but what a load–and this is what qualifies for a MALS? I think you could argue a cause of action for obtaining a refund. You definately have the relativism bug–yes we all have opinions but believe it or not, some ARE better than others. Stating nonsense and then claiming victimhood for being called on it doesn’t fly around here.

    As for Billy, I’ll guess Billy Carter (the only intelligent one in the family.)

  109. “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and … [although] some may see them as the crazy ones, the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs

    Here’s to Jimmy Carter. Without him, we wouldn’t be here now.

  110. Jimmy Carter, the businessman, the inventor, the crusader of human dignity.

  111. Helen, have you ever tried to reason with a person who is mentally ill or whose reality is so different from yours that you got nowhere? What if, for example, it was a man who was convinced his wife was unfaithful and no matter what you said he refused to believe otherwise- even if there was no truth at all to his conviction. Suppose he was paranoid or delusional, do you think you could use logic to talk him out of his paranoia and delusions? What if, based on his delusions, he would have to murder his wife or stalk her 24 hours a day, should she give in to put his mind at ease? Or should she be allowed to live a normal life? What if she was his ex-wife but he insisted on moving into her home to surveil her and make her live under his rules. should concede her house?
    some cultures are delusional and even deranged. We can all agree that the Nazis were deranged, as a society, that German culture had temporarily become psychotic or sociopathic. And you couldn’t reason with them. Helen, I’d have liked to see how far reasoning would have convinced a crowd of brownshirts that Blacks or Jews were their equals.

    So, no, no “understanding” or capitulating, or additional sacrifices by Israel will teach the Palestinians to live with Jewish neighbors, stop wishing to eradicate them, allow freedom to flourish under Palestinian rule in Israel or to allow “infidel” Jews to have a voice in a “shared” government. The Palestinians have slaughtered Israelis every chance they got in horrible ways like kidnapping and stoning to death elementary school age boys, shooting a pregnant mom and her 4 young daughters (including babies) point blank, or blowing up whole families in restaurants and normal activities. In my opinion, this kind of hate is not normal, nor is it a sign of a healthy society that can be reasoned with. Iran threatens regularly to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”. This is also the objective of Hamas, the Palestinian government- and frankly, in Gaza where there is no Israeli presence anymore, Palestinian anarchy, lawlessness, and borderline civil war reign.

    Palestinians, Iran, Syria, and all, could renounce terrorism and accept that Jews have had a presence in Israel for thousands of years- in fact are indigenous to the region- and become good neighbors, not suicide bombers.
    Then peace would flourish. And if Israel concedes more? Farewell to Israel. Israelis might as well commit suicide.

    Carter’s dreams and illusions play with Israeli lives. After the Holocaust, I don’t think Jews will ever again be willing to be pawns in someone else’s utopian dreamworld. Not when the price tag is a second Holocaust.

  112. BTW, Bookworm, what is your strategy for educating Mr. Bookworm? How will you help him to become more informed?

  113. YOu don’t get it, Lulu. In HelenL’s world, the Israelis have power, the Paletstinians don’t. It has nothing to do with right and wrong or Good and Evil, which are artificial and highly relative constructs. Consequently, the only way to solve the “Israel” problem is for the Israelis to surrender power to the Palestinians, who are just like me and thee. This would be the “fair” solution. Once the power has equalized, the Palestinians will no longer have any reason to hate the Israelis, the lion will lay down with the lamb and peace will reign. Since HelenL is standing up for the “oppressed”, she can feel morally righteous, safe in the knowledge that not one Kassem missile will land evenly remotely close to either her or her loved ones. Life is so easy when one has only to deal with abstractions, rather than realities.

  114. LuLu is trying, politely and logically, to convince me to see things her way. She is trying to educate me.

    Danny, you, on the other hand, don’t get it. You have no idea what “my world” is like. The Palestinians certainly have power as do the Israelis. And the solution to centuries of Israeli-Palestinian strife has everything to do with right and wrong and good and evil, which are absolutes: It is not good for people to kill one another. Thus, the Biblical commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” It’s one of the ones we fight to put on our courts but do not engrave on our hearts. Truth is absolute. God has it. The whole thing. Bingo. “We see through a glass darkly.” That means we have part of the truth part of the time at best and no clue the rest of the time, because we are not God and our ways differ from His. I’m talking about all of us, you, me, Israelis, Palestinians, Jimmy Carter, President Bush, etc. No human being sees the whole truth. We deal with the bits (of truth) we gather. Standing up for the weak is morally right. But these two countries have been fighting so long no one can determine all the nuances of the rights and wrongs since Adam. (That’s a figure of speech not doctrine).

    I do not believe I am morally superior to people who see this differently (like Bookworm and 90% of the people who have commented here)and like Lulu who still thinks I might change my mind. If I were morally stronger, I wouldn’t have been rude to Judyrose.

    Judyrose, I owe you an apology, not because I have to agree with you or like it when I think you are being purposely obtuse, but because I have no right to use the tone I did with you, no right to call you names. I am asking your forgiveness. (If this makes me naive, so be it. It’s pretty straightforward Christian teaching.)

    And yes, Danny, ” life is so easy when one has only to deal with abstractions, rather than realities.” Like you, me, Bookworm, and all the others who have left comments in this thread. Like we do every day here in the blogging world. Maybe it’s a bit harder when, like Jimmy Carter, you actually meet face to face with people who seem hell-bent on fighting forever.

  115. Actually, to my surprise, I agree with much that you say in this post, HelenL. However, FYI, the biblical injunction is “thou shalt not murder”, not “thou shalt not kill”. The confusion came about from an error in translation from the original Hebrew in the King James Bible. We shall simply have to disagree with respect to Jimmy Carter.

  116. I want to say that is a well-written missive, Helen. My hat’s off to you. I don’t agree with much of what you say either but I respect your ability to express yourself coherently and sincerely, and with consideration of others.

  117. kevin

    i’m a writer. you’d never know it by the typos (i get to relax in cyberdom). lol.

    i used to work for fox news channel and now i work freelance for local affiliates and ad agencies.

    peace

  118. and you are in Chicago, no?

  119. Helen, have you ever tried to reason with a person who is mentally ill or whose reality is so different from yours that you got nowhere?

    You can still get somewhere, but it takes manipulation powers, Lulu. Most people cannot or will not manipulate others, and those who do, do it for the wrong reasons.

    Consequently, the only way to solve the “Israel” problem is for the Israelis to surrender power to the Palestinians, who are just like me and thee.

    I think it is more about the moral high ground, instead of the elevations of power differences, Danny. For example, non-violent protestors like Ghandi, told the Jews that they would gain the moral high ground if Hitler slaughtered them. Once you have the moral high ground, the pacifists believe, you can turn world opinion on your side and therefore defeat all enemies. So it is like a Total War thing. If you believe that such actions will win you peace, you would do it right?

    Of course, this assumes you believe in the verifiability and veracity of the moral high ground. A lot of people don’t, and will not. But even for those who don’t believe, they believe in other means to peace, like Total War. Which is probably just as objectionable to the pacifists, as the moral high ground is to people like me.

    It is not good for people to kill one another.

    For every terrorist that dies, a virtuous child is born. It is very good to kill those who have evil in their hearts, it paves the way for good to emerge. There is even room for redemption, for when a person faces death, he sees things in a new light.

    I am not like Phil, so I’ll simply use his words in this context. It takes much heart and goodness to recognize when one is wrong and to apologize for being wrong. It is a rare quality.

  120. Consequently, YM, we need to look to the empirical evidence – who did more to bring peace to a troubled world? Ghandi…or William Tecumsah Sherman? Neville Chamberlain, or George Patton? Personally, I have always been haunted by what all those Jews, many who preached pacifism, in Old Europe must have been thinking as they passively marched into the gas chambers. Did they really believe that “this cannot be happening?”. Never again!

  121. “Here’s to Jimmy Carter. Without him, we wouldn’t be here now.” Well, I agree with that. The only thing is, I don’t think we’re in such a good place right now, and I blame Carter for that, I don’t praise him.

  122. “BTW, Bookworm, what is your strategy for educating Mr. Bookworm? How will you help him to become more informed?” Hammering away doesn’t work. It just produces a rebound. I just tap delicately whenever I get the chance, in the hopes that a couple of hundred cracks will crack the ignorance infrastructure.

  123. Helen evidently thinks every time she’s on here she’s reasoning with people who are mentally ill. 90% of us think we’re morally superior to her, after all, according to her post #116. What clearer evidence of illness?

    Interesting you bring up Gandhi, Danny. He did in fact think – and said – that the Jews of Germany ought to keep marching right on in to the gas chambers. This would eventually cause the Nazis to gag on the bloodshed, and rethink their position, and they’d stop. And the Jews would be forever morally superior.

    Dead, of course; but morally superior.

    Then again, when Gandhi himself found out what everybody before and since has found: there’s no living with Islam; his solution was to ship the Muslims in India the hell out. That’s where Pakistan comes from. The fact that a million Muslims died during the forced removal didn’t seem to bother his pacificst little heart.

  124. Hi Helen: Thank you for your apology. Of course, I accept. Asking forgiveness isn’t naive, it’s gracious.

    It’s easy to get a little heated because we care a great deal about the things we are discussing. I got into the swing of battle myself. I believe in your sincerity, even when I think you are wrong. Because we have such a fundamental disagreement, it’s inevitable that I won’t want to let some things you say go unchallenged. (I expect it’s the same for you.) People who participate here do a great job of picking each other’s comments apart, and mine are just a small part of it. If we all just agreed with each other, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
    Judy

  125. Peace, Judyrose. “When we all think alike, no one is thinking” – Walter Lippman

  126. Dagon,

    “i used to work for fox news channel”

    WOW! I can’t say I saw that one coming! Reminds me of a rabidly atheist friend of mine when I discovered his dad had worked most of his life for Billy Graham. One just never knows until they ask. Thanks once again for the insight.

    Bookworm,

    When Helen thanked Jimmy Carter for getting us to where we are, I chose to interpret that as where we are on the thread since I agree with your assessment that it’s been like an interesting conversation. As for where we are in the world, however, I would suggest that for the most part, he was just a place-holder President.

    Helen,

    “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” – Thomas Sowell (2006)

  127. Kevin, You intrepreted my comment about where we are – meaning on this thread – correctly. And yes, it’s been interesting. I don’t care much for the views of Thomas Sowell.

  128. I do agree Danny, that total war has done empirically more for lasting and prosperous peace, than the alternatives. However, I would of course believe that, since i am a believer and proponent of Total War. However, I do understand the opposition school’s thinking as well, at the same time, and the reasons for their beliefs. Which is useful on occasion.

    I just tap delicately whenever I get the chance, in the hopes that a couple of hundred cracks will crack the ignorance infrastructure.

    Death by a thousand cuts, Book.

  129. Dagon,

    One more bit of info I forgot to add; you said:

    “my father was to first in my family to achieve a college degree”

    Same with my dad–his dad was a steel worker out of the hills of West Virginia. My father worked hard in school, won a naval scholarship, and became a career naval officer. It appears that our fathers understood that the basic path to success was a good work ethic. I believe that the poor (prior to the 60’s) made a point of instilling this into their children and I think this was a necessity born of the fact that there was no instant handout for people not willing to uphold their end of the social contract (i.e. work, save, and accept responsibility for their actions.)

  130. Helen,

    “I don’t care much for the views of Thomas Sowell.”

    That really doesn’t surprise me since he’s a black man who expresses the antithesis of that which you were educated to believe (not unlike Bill Cosby and which incidentally, is why I offered his quote.)

  131. Kevin, I don’t know what you think I was “educated to believe,” but it certainly wasn’t to “look for racism under every rock.” It was to recognize it, when I see it. Sowell’s beliefs are rather consertvative, wouldn’t you say? I am probably more liberal than many but certainly not all educated black people. What my education taught me was how to gather information, evauate it, and organize my research findings into a meaningful philosophy. You have seen a few posts from me and may or may not have visited my web site or googled me and read my writings. Isn’t it a bit premature to say what I was educated to believe?

  132. It is premature, I must say.

  133. I’ve seen the arguments on both sides. It is not that I’ve made a judgement either way, and I am just refusing to write it down. I believe there is not enough information to judge, or that there are more factors at play (mentioned to Danny) than what I have seen argued here.

  134. Just can’t help sharing: back in my early College years in the 1970s, I was pretty sweet on a girl (African American/Hispanic)from Gary, Indiana who wanted to go to medical school. She was very intelligent but lacked some of the study skills that many white students had, she having come from lesser quality school. Yet, her biggest frustration was the very Liberal/Left counselors who kept shooting down her dreams and hopes, telling her she should be realistic and be a teacher or social worker. They dragged her down until, finally, she gave up her medical school dreams and dropped out. Then there was my Texano friend, Joe – brought on an affirmative action scholarship from the Texas borderlands, he was left to flounder at a Big-10 School. Way unprepared, he dropped out and probably never went back to college. Later, there was the time I was standing behind a young, very eager African American girl in the lunch line, doing a college tour with her very Liberal/Left tour minder. All this girl heard was negatives upon negatives about how she was destined to fail in this “white” dominated environment and (you guessed it) should think about becoming a teacher or social worker. I recall these moments as milestones on the Damascus Road from Liberalism to Conservatism. And, incidentally, HelenL…you might want to read Thomas Sowell (I recommend “Vision of the Annointed”): he absolutely nails it! You might also want to read Shelby Steele or works by one of America’s greatest intellects, ever, Berkeley’s John McWhorter, about the perniciousness of white American Liberal attitudes toward race. Here’s a test, by the way – can you tell me what percentage of the black population is “poor and uneducated” today?

  135. And, Dagon – until you started posting about “other people’s” responsibilities to resolve or otherwise “make amends” for the problems within the (presumably underprivileged) black community, I thought that I was reading the very convincing post of a die-hard Reaganite. Very disconcerting, my friend. Wasn’t quite sure what to make of you. I would say you are about 90% there…a few more eye-opening experiences and we might have to welcome you into our midst. The water’s warm. HelenL, though…that’s a tough one that will take much longer to germinate.

  136. Danny, I think it’as time to take a break from this. I don’t think you know what I beleive either.

  137. Helen,

    I apologize for my comment about “what you were educated to believe.” I was referring specifically to: “Kevin, What you just expressed is your version of the `exceptional black man’ theory. It’s just a variation of plain ol’ racism.”

    I say that is nothing more than the same ridiculous blather spouted by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Since you pointed out “what my education taught me was how to gather information, evaluate it, and organize my research findings into a meaningful philosophy,” I either have to conclude you were indoctrinated (under the guise of education) to fallacious thinking or mis-organized your research findings to arrive at it. As I stated earlier, some ideas are better than others and the one you proposed falls into the latter category.

    And yes, Thomas Sowell is more conservative but he also happens to be a PhD economist professor at Stanford. Therefore, due to his field of expertise and his personal experience of growing up black in Harlem, I would give significantly more weight to his opinion on what is and is not racism. Also, since he has written extensively on race and ethnicity, I would like to know how many of his books you have read. If you were really “taught to gather information, evaluate it, and organize my research findings into a meaningful philosophy,” you should be very knowledgeable on his writings (otherwise, you have only chosen to read that which already fits your world view and thus only present biased conclusions.) If you haven’t read his works, please enlighten us as to what conservative author’s works on race and ethnicity you have read and maybe a quick explanation as to why you chose to give less weight to their viewpoint? If many of us have misinterpreted your beliefs, as you claim, here’s the perfect opportunity to set the record straight.

  138. Kevin, I am not ignoring you. I am taking a break, because I have some other things to do.

  139. Give it a rest. This thread soon will be longer than Jimmy Carter’s tenure as President.

  140. Zhombre,

    While I agree with your point, and while this subject hasn’t really followed the original post, I do believe we are getting to the crux of a major area of difference that people like Helen and I have. She wrongly accused me of being racist for stating that a significant number (if not most) black kids immediately tune me out because of my skin color and that successful blacks need to step up to the plate as role models. This is exactly what Bill Cosby has been lecturing on and I find Helen’s credibility on the subject to be suspect. She has pointed out that she has a master’s degree in a program that the school website states it is for “adults [who] do not want to limit their interests by studying just one discipline or pursuing pre-professional degrees.” To me, this sounds an awful lot like the general breath undergraduate requirements at any good university (i.e. not graduate level rigor) and the WFU website goes on to state that “the Liberal Studies degree is not appropriate, however, for a teacher seeking licensure.” Again, this would seem to indicate a lack of academic rigor. I will state emphatically that this is just an opinion and I leave it to others to come to their own conclusion.

    I have no problem with people stating opinions but as soon as they introduce their level of education as a premise in a syllogism, it becomes reasonable to question the quality of the education. I cannot speak authoritatively of WFU but the description of the major sound like it’s for people that can’t make up their mind as to what they want to do so they do surveys on many subjects. The end result would be a broad range of knowledge suitable for cocktail party banter but hardly the depth of knowledge to speak authoritatively on any particular subject, thus, my assertion that people like Thomas Sowell (or Bill Cosby or even Dagon for that matter) are infinitely more qualified to speak on the subject of race and ethnicity.

  141. danny

    And, Dagon – until you started posting about “other people’s” responsibilities to resolve or otherwise “make amends” for the problems within the (presumably underprivileged) black community..

    i was talking about the need for AMERICAN citizens to address a worsening situation that affects us all and the future of the nation as we move into an increasingly competitive global marketplace. the fact that you would argue that the black community is “presumably underpriviliged” or fail to realize that it is ALL of our responsibility only serves to underscore your disconnect.

    and your college experiences notwithstanding, i think you make the mistake of associating your own demons with some liberal boogeyman of your own creation. save the labeling and listen to what someone is saying.

    case in point: how did you know the guidance counselors or the guide identified as liberal? just because they happened to be guidance counselors and college guides? that’s sloppy. very sloppy.

    i don’t spend my time singing cumbaya, dancing naked in the fields or passing out che posters on street corners. my liberalism is based on practical realism and the long term health of the united states and the human animal.

    peace

  142. update: I meant general breadth undergraduate requirements not general breath–I really wish they’d come up with a grammer checker to go with the spell checker!

  143. Dear all,

    Just as Bookworm escaped from the “belly of the liberal beast,” I escaped for the belly of a different one. Now I am a poet used to speaking to people who make leaps in their thoughts, taking an image and searching for truth. I find little of this kind of thought on this blog. I find myself being grilled for proof, proof and more proof, as though nothing I can ever say or do will entitle me to the category “person who thinks differently from me but might have a bit of the TRUTH.” Truth matter so much more than JUST the facts.

    Prior to attending Wake Forest, I earned a BSE (Major English) from MSSU. I am certified to teach English in grades 7-12 in two states. I taught school for nine years in the dark ages. No one has ever claimed that the MALS is an MA in a given discipline and that it will get you better pay in your field. However, North Carolina now gives master level pay to public school teachers with this degree. I’m sure that’s a liberal error. :-) Students in this program are required to keep a “B” average like any other graduate student. One student who earned a MALS from WF has been admitted to a doctoral program. There may be more but not to my knowledge.

    I went to WF to study African American Studies, to find a way to work in race relations because I knew that was what God wanted me to do. My thesis, written under the direction of a history professor, concluded two years of study on my topic. (What Sowell thinks about anything was not applicable to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Thus, I did not read his books.) My thesis examination committee included an adjunct professor who is also a professional editor (as well as editing grants for professors). She bleed more red ink that I have ever seen onto my early draft. But when I did what she said, the thesis turned out well. I was commended for my depth of research, which included some undocumented information that happened in Durham, NC when King was there. I was told most students who get the MA in history do not delve so deeply into their topics. But I was motivated to do so.

    Unlike Kevin, who has no link to anything and not even a last name that he publishes, if you want to know something about me other than the hundred facts about myself that don’t add up to “worthy” in some people’s eyes, read my blog or google me. So far exactly one person who leaves comments here has left a comment there, but that does not prove how many of you have me searched out.

    Bookworm, on the other hand, is a kind, gracious host, with whom I have exchanged e-mail more than once. We don’t all have to think alike, but without respect we go no where. Peace isn’t impossible because of people in Iran and Iraq, as much as because people in the good ol’ US of A don’t listen to opinions other than their own.

    And Kevin,

    Not every educated person has not read Tomas Sowell, but every educated person knows there is more he/she has not read than that he/she has. Reading Sowell is not a litmus test for anything. I have been educated to believe that I can find more of the truth than I now know. How ’bout you? I have no doubt Dagan or Bill Cosby or Sowell knows more about living in the US as a black person that I do. My message is white people, not blacks. Racism is alive and well. And if you are white, you are either a racist or a recovering racist. You decide. And if I’ve left anything out, it will not appear on this thread.

    Helen Losse

  144. Helen,

    “And if you are white, you are either a racist or a recovering racist.”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree but that has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard and based on this statement alone, I can now assert quite assuredly that you have been educated to find racism under every stone.

    And proof (via those pesky facts you bemoan) provides the ultimate basis of truth—making up nonsensical statements and then hiding behind some nebulous perception of truth is a pointless exercise. This sounds no different than astrologers, crystal shamans (or whatever they call themselves), or any of the group of people that claim that it won’t work unless you believe.

    Yes, Bookworm is a wonderful host but as she has stated before, she doesn’t like confrontation so she is infinitely more graceful than I and can overlook outright nonsense (or at least address it less confrontationally.) I have a limit that when it’s crossed, I will challenge someone to back up their statements.

    As to my background, it has been pointed out that what one publishes on the internet can come back to haunt one at inconvenient times in one’s career. Since I am employed in a sensitive profession, I do not have the freedom to openly express my viewpoint (or stories from my background) under my full name without possibly affecting my career sometime in the future. I respect your choice to be a poet (not particularly my forte) but some of us do not have the freedom in our lives that is afforded to a liberal art’s major so calling me on my lack of identification is a bankrupt argument. You don’t seem to have a problem with Bookworm’s anonymity so I would assume you really don’t with me either. The bottom line is that I challenged you with some uncomfortable facts (and I’ll be honest, I was uncomfortable doing it) but if we all just say the same thing on this blog or don’t challenge nonsense when we hear it, what’s the point of this discussion? Yes we can all learn from the give-and-take on this blog but it requires getting rid of the chaff to get to the wheat. If you are well educated, you should be able to support your arguments with facts and not just touchy-feely specious arguments otherwise, you spent your money at the wrong school.

    I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable but you are the one who presented your views in a public forum; expect them to be challenged if they are wrong.

  145. Helen,

    “And if you are white, you are either a racist or a recovering racist. You decide.”

    That statement is one that compels me to comment. So here’s what I decide. It sounds like you think racism is the natural human condition for whites – kind of like original sin. The statement is far more hateful than enlightened. I don’t buy into the “original sin” thing. I don’t buy into the “every white person is a racist” thing either. The next step is, “black people can’t be racists”, which you haven’t said – yet.

    Just my guess, but it looks like you chose your field of study as atonement for your own guilt. As for the rest of us, I think you owe an apology to a whole lot of people.

  146. Helen:

    I think you show a great deal of courage to come back here again and again to defend your views. It’s true that the audience here is not very welcoming — not to you personally, because you are welcome — but to the views you express. I think a lot of the problem, and one I see with Dagon’s and Greg’s posts as well, is the assumption that people who are conservatives want poor people to suffer, want war, believe racism is inevitable or even appropriate, etc. That is, it’s not conservative means that are suspect, it’s conservative ends.

    In fact, I have the same ends I’ve had since my die-hard liberal days. I’d like to see people mired in poverty get out of that generational rut, I’d like to see a color blind society, I’d like to see a time without war. The thing is that, as the years have gone by, I’ve concluded that liberal means, instead of aiding society in achieving these ends, are actually antithetical to the ends.

    Thus, in very summary fashion, I think a racism-free society is better achieved if we don’t keep creating ever new racial boundaries. After 40 years of the Great Society, there’s got to be something more than affirmative action to move African-American’s into the mainstream. Constantly focusing on their victim status, getting them dependent on government aid, and giving them spotlighted preferences (which make every black accomplishment suspect), have been tried and have failed for those 40 years. There’s got to be a better way.

    I’m reading about ancient Rome. One of the things it says is that ancient societies waged war readily, especially when they thought a nearby community was vulnerable. I think the flipside is that, if you present yourself as invulnerable, you’re less likely to be on the receiving head of warlike initiatives (these being, for example, 9/11 in America, 7/7 in England, 3/11 in Spain, the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, the Cole bombing, the Bali bombing, etc., etc.,). To me, each of those, and all the others I haven’t listed, represented the jihadists’ belief that the west was vulnerable and it was worth the effort to engage in an act of war. Looking and acting strong is a great deterrent — and that’s the opposite of what the Dems want us to do, which is to look and act weak, self-abnegatory and apologetic. Do that and you’re vulture food.

    I would go on, but I can’t, since I’ve got 3.5 hours left in my constructive day before guests come and 5 hours worth of work to do in that time!

    But back to my original point, Helen: I appreciate your coming to this blog; I appreciate, although I no longer agree with, your political viewpoint; and I think you do a fine job of taking on all comers.

  147. Thanks Bookworm, In some way the responses inspire me. See http://helenl.wordpress.com/2006/12/17/there-is-a-presence/ Some of the commenters found their way into a poem! :-)

  148. Excellent and well-balanced post, Bookworm. To buttress your point about appearing like a strong or weak horse (to use OBL’s terminology). When I taught self-defense courses to women, one of the first things I would say is, “Never, never walk, talk or otherwise appear like a victim – never ever exhibit weakness”. In human society, as in all nature, the appearance of vulnerability invites attack by predators. HelenL, my challenges to you are not designed to offend, only to invite a critical response. If I do not correctly reflect your thoughts, it is only because I associate your views, as so eloquently expressed, with very similar views expressed by so many others, many of whom I know very closely and of whom I am very fond. I don’t have to agree with them to like them. :-)

  149. Thanks Danny. I’m not walking away, but I’m not required to produce my pedigree either. Not to a man who won’t even tell his full name because he might loose his job.

  150. Here’s something I posted up before, on White Guilt. It’s a good article, because what it says is true.

    Link

    It may shed some light on why helenl said what she said about whites.

    It doesn’t matter to me whether helen read Sowell or not. Maybe because I don’t read Sowell, but the thing is, even if she did, that doesn’t really mean views would change. There’s a certain point where logic becomes invulnerable to new information. So instead of finding new data, find new logic. That would be more productive in undermining basic structural supports for certain viewpoints.

  151. The statement is far more hateful than enlightened.

    Not hate, Judy. More guilt like, as I see it. Hate may come from guilt, but rarely does it do the vice a versa.

    I don’t buy into the “original sin” thing.

    I don’t either. I think one of the differences between true liberals and just conservatives who are Christian and religious, is the different focus on original sin. The Christians have one way to deal with bad behavior and evilness in human nature, original sin being a major part of it. Some conservatives rise above doctrine and apply their theology quite well. Some true liberals take the goodness and optimism in humanity, too far, becoming false idealists and false slogan bearers.

    A good balance gives you a philosophy that sees humanity for what it is, neither too good nor too evil. The conservatives I know that believe in Original Sin as well as the true liberal (Bookworm beliefs) beliefs, have reconciled this problem one way or another, through good works. If humanity is evil, then rise above it, resist temptation, do good works.

  152. White Americans are born with unearned privilege. Perhaps some readers would be intersted in Peggy McIntosh’s essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” reprinted at http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking.html

  153. Ymar, It’s just my opinion, but to condemn all whites as racist has an element of hatefulness in it (and maybe some self hate mixed up with guilt and other things.) I am neither Christian nor religious. I don’t think humanity is evil, but I do think there are evil humans and evil ideas. Conduct is what really counts, so I agree with your advice – do good works. Nothing wrong with that!

    BW, good comment. Pointing out what doesn’t work helps to clarify things. Liberal programs have created many of the very problems the liberals now seek to solve by applying more of the same. Didn’t Albert Einstein say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

    Helen, You do challenge me to think about what I think.
    I just reminded myself of this wonderful moment from “Inherit the Wind”:

    Matthew Harrison Brady: I do not think about things I do not think about.
    Henry Drummond: Do you ever think about things that you do think about?

    We may never agree, but your presence here makes it a more thought provoking place to visit.
    Judy

  154. Here’s a quote from the Peggy McIntosh essay Helen linked us to:

    “My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture.”

    Oy vey. Gold medal winner in the Olympic Guilt Slinging event.

    Instead of trying to bring people up, let’s cut everybody down so that we’re all swimming in the same pile of goo. Let’s make sure men/whites have to give up their power, instead of encouraging (insert your favorite downtrodden minority group here) to develop the tools that will help them become powerful. What claptrap.

  155. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

    I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

    You will see that this is its own belief system.

    For example, many of the rationalizations for anti-Americanism come from the American privilege. The privilege of being born American, and thus feeling guilt over the situation of those in Africa and so forth. But the thing is, the system doesn’t recognize that it is racist. Believing your own race to be superior, by any standard, is racism. Race in these terms are delineated into skin color, but it can also be delineated into nationalities and ethnicities. Any American that believes their nation has a duty to alleviate suffering because of American privilege, is extrapolating race to mean the entire nation of America. Most of the time this is confused with real duty. Duty concerns individuals, not race or group or nation. Therefore a person may feel a duty to alleviate the circumstances of others, but it has to be a personal decision and a personal duty that is expected of that person. This is called True Liberalism or classical liberalism. Such things as affirmative action, the belief that skin color marks you as superior or inferior under a set standard, is an example of fake liberal philosophy.

    An example to which I am refering to, concerning America, is the view concerning GitMo. “We should not torture because we are better than that”. That is a belief coming from a philosophy that hindges upon American privilege. The sense that Americans are better. Why? Just because, Americans must have the moral high ground.

    Another thing that complicates the situation is that this really isn’t about race, or nationalities, or even ethnicities. Meaning, when a person is worried about white privilege, he is really worried about himself. That brings into context, narcissism, into the equation of human behavior. You would think that narcissism would affect True Liberals more, because True Liberals are concerned with their individual actions rather than forcing action and duty upon a group of others. But that is the whole point, True Liberals focus on duty as it should be, and therefore is able to achieve a balance within their souls and hearts. Fake liberals have no way to achieve a balance with their guilt, other than by buying into the fake liberal philosophy.

    I mean, what do they do, to get rid of white privilege? Affirmative action? What? It is not like they are going to give up their worldly goods and become monks, you know. So it is a double guilt. Guilt for having money and success, and guilt for not being able to give it up. That is sort of like the problem with Muslims in Britain. First having guilt for being around decadence and corruption. Second, having guilt for not being able to resist the temptations of corruption and decadence. Therefore to alleviate this guilt, one must committ to an action proving one’s worth. Narcissism. It is not about anyone else, it is about getting rid of one’s unwanted feelings. That is not full narcissism, but it has more components of that affliction than true liberals do, in my view.

    Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women’s studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, “having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?”

    As you read this, Judy and Danny and Co, don’t you get the sense that it is based upon the belief that power is finite like wealth is finite? That one must redistribute power as well as wealth, by decreasing one group’s share to balance things out? It is the sense I get when reading the bolded parts.

    True liberals see it as uplifting humanity. If one person is high, then we must lift all others to that height. The bolded portion talks about lessening and ending it, bringing people down. That is different.

    My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow “them” to be more like “us.”

    my analysis of the situation is this. If you strip off all the propaganda and psychological angst from the bolded portion, you get this. “Whites learn that good and evil result from individual action, not the action of one’s ancestors. Morality is based not upon group pride or gansta hubris, but upon individual worth and accomplishment. Thus the belief that anyone may become successful, regardless of the odds, for everyone is born equal, as all human beings are equally human”.

    As Bookworm (or was it Neo) noted about the Islamic Jihad, the problem isn’t that the West is too moral and caring about civilian casualties. The problem is that the Jihad doesn’t care, and isn’t that way, and actually uses that portion of the West to hurt the West.

    If all other ethnicities and skin color other than white, believed and thought as the whites did, there wouldn’t be a problem. Because, blacks would have articles and schools teaching that the superior privilege of black musculature came from their historical and ancestoral slave ancestors, and thus blacks are privileged, a privilege that Africans don’t have. Blacks would, as whites do, talk about the many various privileges there is to be born a citizen of the United States. A privilege non-Americans do not have. You get the picture. If everybody concerned themselves with how privileged they were, compared to that other miserable slob, we would all be miserablly happy in our guilt of having privilege.

    Because if your worth and moral action is based upon the privilege your ancestors gave you, then this applies to everyone and everything. America the most because of the Founding Fathers. Would this make America privileged, would this make it necessary for “America to be decreased”? Yes, it would, wouldn’t it.

    But it doesn’t apply to everyone. Ah, there is the catch. It applies to those with money and power, and that is it. For those who don’t have that status, they simply go in and try to rake in the rewards for not having it. The UN certainly feels like they are privileged to American power and money because of American privilege that Americans have and the UN does not. Hrm, weird logic, but it works.

    So the whites go with the guilt, and the other folks see this weakness and try to cash in. Wouldn’t you? If you saw an Israeli inability to kill human shields, why shouldn’t you use human shields to defeat the Israelis? Humans do what they get rewarded for, and avoid doing what they get punished for. That has always been true. You strip away the ethics and that is what you have. Even with ethics, ethics is developed from achieving maximum long term rewards as opposed to large short term rewards.

    We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

    I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn’t affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see “whiteness” as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

    It is about institutional racism, as I see it. It exists. But not in the way people think it does.

    This kind of philosophy has a consequence. That consequence being that there will be no assimilation, and that there will always be an underclass of blacks and other minorities from which white guilt may perpetuate itself from. Liberal guilt, white guilt, American guilt, it all rests upon the necessity of having and maintaining an underclass to be guilty about. Because the goal isn’t to get rid of the underclass, that would be institutional racism, getting blacks to be white as they deem it, the goal is to make whites feel better about themselves. Having the moral high ground. You know what gets you in war, Danny, right. It get thems the same result.

    And what do minorities and blacks get? They get pride, a sense of entitlement and of accomplishment. The same entitlement the Palestinians feel. You see. It is the glorification. Of death? No. Of gansta and black disenfranchisement? Yes.

    People have to believe in something. If they don’t have Christianity in believe in, they will find some philosophy to believe in. Any philosophy will do, so long as it satisfies and addresses the internal emotions and beliefs of a person. This applies to the majority of parochial human beings. Only a very very minor portion of the human race rise beyond base instincts and emotions.

    (wrote this before reading Judy’s stuff, but she does echo some of my sentiments here, as people may notice. That isn’t a surprise, though)

  156. Ymar, It’s just my opinion, but to condemn all whites as racist has an element of hatefulness in it (and maybe some self hate mixed up with guilt and other things.)

    To be clear, I am not saying you are wrong. But if given a choice, I would have to say that the base of the emotional pyramid is guilt. First and foremost, guilt. Guilt is a genetically hardcoded emotion, designed to make sure that you don’t steal from your group, hoarding food from children for example. Genetically, you wanted people to do their part in a group, a team, otherwise they would die. So the women and the children must have food, in order to perpetuate the group. And if you were a warrior and you were stashing food for yourself while the women starved, well, tthat would be bad right? So nature gave you guilt, in order for you to NOT do that.

    Like many survival instincts, it controls the majority of humans and how they behave. Only a small, a small portion, of humanity (most of them Americans) have risen above such limitations. And also, like many survival instincts, it has turned out to be a weakness that cruel and shrewd individuals have taken advantage of.

    Hate is a survival reflex, as well, but a survival reflex in destroying the enemy before he destroys you. Hate gives you strength to carry on the fight even when your self-survival genes are telling you to run away. White privilege isn’t about destroying an enemy, or if it is, it is about destroying themselves. Because if their enemy is white privilege, and they are the way they are because of white privilege, wouldn’t this turn out to be a revolution that seeks to destroy itself?

  157. Ymar: Guilt. Self-hate. Not too much difference there.

    I like your remark about the underlying philosophy being the idea that power is finite. If I win, somebody has to lose. If I create, something has to be destroyed. If everybody can’t be great, let’s make sure that nobody is great. Rubbish. That’s the goo I was talking about.

  158. One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

    This is an interesting article. Not because I have not seen this kind of thinking, but I just have not seen it connected to so many other false dichotomies I have witnessed. This article is like the Unified Field Theory of Fake Liberalism to me.

    It connects everything. You can’t be stupid and also be a fake liberal philosopher, in my view, because there are too many connections to make. So many, it is just as hard to figure out as Nicomachean Ethics. Harder, since I’ve already seen the philosophical basis and applications.

    But to get to the point. The fake liberal philosophy never asks or tries to discover, how certain groups have attained powerful status or not. I am not here to argue that whites don’t have more power than blacks. Given such things as abortion, blacks have an even greater disadvantage in terms of power and numbers, because of white liberals. But I will point you to this facet of the philosophy. Which says that white privilege is unearned. That is like the Palestinians saying that Israeli technology, money, and green houses were unearned. Somebody had to pay for, build, and learn how to design these works of magic you know.

    We know the founding fathers worked and sacrificed. Did they feel any white guilt concerning blowing up the Brits or the Native Indians? I mean, were they talking about how the Brits had white privilege? In a way, yes, they were. But their arguments with the Brits were solved by one thing the fake liberals will never allow. War. Total War. They cannot allow Total War because war solves the basic underlying question of “who is superior and who deserves to be superior”. There is no guilt after you win. No guilt at all, because you knew you won by your own strength of will and endurance. Guilt accrues because you believe for some reason that what you have, you have not earned, or do not deserve, or deserve less than others.

    The Declaration of Independence reads like the White Privilege article, in listing down the lists of tyrannical things and such. The difference is that wars solve problems, while fake liberal rhetoric perpetuates it. I mean, if white liberals controlled things back then, we would still have slavery right now.

    I’ve read of accounts, just as a side note, of guilt in war. The guilt for killing folks that meant you no harm. The Civil War. Horrendous. The Left calls it war guilt. I just call it humanity.

    never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

    That was from the top, and it is important to note. Because it talks about dominance. How is dominance achieved? The article says that dominance was achieved by folks who happened to be white. There is no belief that the whites achieved dominance because they were “worthy”, if you recall. That they were superior to the local culture, more disciplined, better fighters. No, that is not how they look at white accomplishments.

    The reason why I bring this up is because, if you don’t know how dominance is achieved, you won’t get anywhere. I mean, if you think as the Palestinians did, that the Israelis won because they were religious fanatics and a theology, then you would end up as up as a brainwashed Palestinian believing in the Jihad for god’s sakes. If you believed that the Israelis won their first wars because they were disciplined, valued the lives of soldiers, paid money to train good soldiers, and used Western technology, then you would end up as someone else.

    So that is why dominance matters. Because how you believe dominance is achieved, determines how you see a plethora of other issues.

    But why wasn’t this a problem in the 19th century or even the early 21st? Because, because Americans knew their history, and knew the hard work that got them to where they were. They couldn’t feel guilty because they knew that their status was earned.

    But in the later 20th and early 21st century, people became too decadent, too rich, too plentiful. So they got bored, they started revising history, to the point where you could find nothing noble or worthwhile in American history. Simply stories of extermination using superior tech (superior Israeli tech that is) against native Americans who belonged on the land (Palestinians that belonged with right of return).

    War, to the fake liberals, became not a just and righteous tool to decide which party was a right. War became a tool to simply assert one’s natural dominance in technology or privilege as they saw it.

    It fits, just look at America’s war right now. Colonial powers vs the freedom fighting insurgents. They are so noble, they don’t have weapons, so they use their own body as weapons! Gasp! How noble, how courageous.

    That is why they must get rid of war. If they can get rid of war, then they can forever ignore justified dominance.

    I mean this. There is a reason why nations and people win wars. People win wars and achieve dominance because they better. Better fighters, better poets, better writers, and better builders.

    Cultural non-relativism.

    This dominance has nothing to do with race or skin color, it has nothing to do with privilege, and everything to do with self-determination, willpower, and solving today’s problems for the next generation.

    Every person on this planet has ancestors who bled and sacrificed and killed, in order for that person to be where he is at right now. There is no superiority based upon your skin color. There is no inferiority based upon your skin color.

  159. This is getting to the end of my analysis of the article.

    Disapproving of the system won’t be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a “white” skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems.

    To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

    It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

    It is hard to describe my thinking processes as I am thinking, because I am jumping over several sectors of philosophical conflicts all at once. Bookworm may think of it as reading in chunks while reading the same words in serial (first to last) at the same time. I may not read in chunks, but I certainly think in multi-dimensional and perspective mode.

    I wonder what would they “redesign” the social institution to become. And who would run it? Whites? Technically, how do you get people who are brought up in white privilege, to destroy white privilege. That seems almost counter-intuitive. Unless of course, you are using brainwashing techniques on whites and blacks.

    This neo-Marxist development of class conflict is very interesting. It is much more indepth than what Marx cooked up, yet it also derives from some of Marxist’s fundamental premises for how the world worked. Finite wealth, social stratas, caste systems, and so forth.

    This theme of unearned advantage, I covered before, concerning how war justifies strength and power on an absolute and irrefutable scale. So if you knock off war, as the fake liberals have done, you start to float.

    I think the silence around privilege is the opposite of what the article claims it to be. When people defocus on privilege and focus on individual merit, they destroy privilege by creating a generation that can progress. When that generation progresses to a more advanced level in the heriarchy of wealth and power, their kids gain that status as privilege. It is the American way after all. We all know stories of immigrants who worked so their kids could attend higher education and become doctors and what not.

    Because, the way I see, if a person becomes focused on privilege, he stops working to advance. Because, if where people are is because of how they were born, why would you work? Working is just filling up the coffers of the capitalist fascist pigs, you know. I mean, why would the Palestinians work to rebuild their territories into the green paradise that I see in Israel on Google Earth, when they can just blow stuff up and talk about how much they are entitled to things?

    There is a difference, as I see it, between the hubris of Palestinians that are ultimately self-destructive, and earned pride which results from hard work and personal accomplishments.

    People shouldn’t be proud of things that they should be ashamed of. People shouldn’t be proud that they killed their daughters because of honor. But they are. People also shouldn’t be proud of blowing themseves up and killing women and children, but they are. What else are people proud of inside the United States, that they should be ashamed of? Bill Cosby mentioned some of it.

    Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

    The systemic change that the article is refering to, is categorically anti American. Meaning, it is the polar opposite of traditional American work ethics and philosophy. That means that this systemic change will probably enlarge the unprivileged, and maintain the power of the privileged.

    Kennedy and Byrd, these are the people who support such policies. You can analyze the good or bad of a philosophy on a limited basis, by looking at its internal logic and how that correlates to history or reality or human behavior. But the most effective way to analyze the good or bad of a philosophy is to see who its allies are and who its enemies are.

    Who are the enemies of fake liberals? Who are their allies? Answer that question, and I believe you will see an interesting parallel. When people argue for women’s rights in Afghanistan and petitioning people to do something about it, then take the side of the Taliban against Bush in 2001, there is something very wrong with the philosophy of those activists.

    The most perfect and internally consistent philosophy, will still become evil if all the followers of that philosophy are evil.

    Link to a feminist, inside the rabbit hole so to speak. Tink was the one who illustrated the example of feminists, I used, btw. So read it for the original version if you haven’t already.

  160. Guilt? Self-hate? No.

    Tomorrow I’ll tell you what you can do to rid yourself of unmerited privilege. You’re gonna love this one.

    Goodnight Judy. Goodnight Ymarsakar. Goodnight Bookworm.

  161. Goodnight Helen. I’ll look forward to more stimulating exchanges tomorrow.

  162. I’m not walking away, but I’m not required to produce my pedigree either. Not to a man who won’t even tell his full name because he might loose his job.

    Not a problem; allow me to be upfront and honest. You don’t need to produce a pedigree. My comment was based on the fact that YOU brought up your MALS degree and the ideas you have expressed on racism haven’t impressed me as being graduate level work. You also brought up WFU and based on what I read on their MALS program, I am once again, not impressed. We’ll just leave it to others to make their judgment based on your arguments. I can offer my educational background—I have a bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luio Obispo and masters degree in applied physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology. You see, unlike you, I actually pursued a direction and have become an expert in a field. I am also currently involved in research that will eventually lead to my dissertation. Finally, physics used to be known in times past as “natural philosophy” so like philosophers, I happen to have a decent background in logic (of which you show a lacking amount of.)

    Revel in being a poet; some of us choose government work in order to keep our country free so that people like you have the freedom to spout nonsense.

  163. Ymarsakar

    “It doesn’t matter to me whether helen read Sowell or not. Maybe because I don’t read Sowell, but the thing is, even if she did, that doesn’t really mean views would change.”

    I don’t expect it would but you’ll note that I also said ANY conservative writer on the subject.

    Helen has claimed in post #133 “[w]hat my education taught me was how to gather information, evaluate it, and organize my research findings into a meaningful philosophy.” My rather simple observation is that if she only reads one side of the argument, she is not doing what she claims she has been educated to do and I’m calling her on it. She goes on to claim What Sowell thinks about anything was not applicable to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. Thus, I did not read his books” but I would like to point out his Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality. So you see, once again her bias becomes blatantly obvious; Helen has her world view and she only reads that which supports it which makes for shoddy research.

  164. Kevin, Not all of us belive that government workers insure our freedom. Some of us belive there are too many government workers. For my take on freedom, see “On the Night When Freeodm Came” at http://helenl.wordpress.com/2006/03/25/tony-parent-at-reynolda-house/

  165. Helen,

    We obviously come from opposite ends of the spectrum–reality v. utopianism.

  166. Kevin, I am tired of trying to converse with you. Everything you say implies that you are smarter and more educated than I am, that what you studied and the way you studied it are somhow better. You may say anything you wish (as though I had the power to stop you, or even want it), but I’m not going to address you until you grow up. :-)Please go do some physics and earn some more freedom points, while I converse with the more reasonable people who comment on this blog.

  167. Helen,

    I’m sorry you feel that way, actually, I was trying to give you every opportunity to try to defend your (untenable) position. However, the last bastion of a bankrupt argument is an ad hominem attack so I’m really not surprised that’s the best you can do.

    You’re the one who claims all whites are racists or recovering racists and without being able to defend your assertion, I still say that is pure hogwash (as do others that have posted.) Feel free to not respond to me as I will continue to point out nonsense whenever it surfaces.

  168. [...] Jimmy Carter has been good to my blog, since a post I did about him sparked a fascinating, free-wheeling discussion about America, American politics, the Middle East, etc.  I still don’t like the man, and I like him less after learning that he’s received money from the Arabs, both directly (money in his own pocket) and indirectly (money to his Carter Center).  We’re not talking chump change here — we’re talking millions and millions of dollars from people who are anxious to see Carter’s views about the Middle East gain prominence in the world debate. [...]

  169. Helen,

    “Tomorrow I’ll tell you what you can do to rid yourself of unmerited privilege. You’re gonna love this one.”

    I’m waiting.

  170. Me too!

  171. I think one of the first times I heard institutional racism being described in detail by an intelligent and articulate person, was that black woman on O’Reilly’s show a few months back. She was refering to New Orleans, saying that it was “unconscious racism” in the form of institutions. That if it was white people in new Orleans, services would have been better. That assumes the government is actually efficient or can choose where to be more efficient, which is a wrong assumption, but even without that here is the rub. The belief that New Orleans suffered because people unconsciously treated members who have blacker skin worse, is only half true on its face. Like all good philosophies and propaganda messages, most of it has to be true. The false parts are the gears, however, they determine where the philosophy goes.

    Meaning, it is true that blacks suffer disproportionately more crime and corruption. That their Governors and Democrat Mayors are incompetent and only looking to cover their arse and acquire more money/power. So, I don’t know how this is due to institutional racism because as I see it, if blacks vote in Democrats, that’s the choice of black folks, nothing institutional about it unless the votes are rigged in favor of Democrats anyways. Would there be less institutional racism as folks see it, if they voted for Democrats less? Yes. I mean, after all, if their complaints is that New Orleans got the shaft, while Mississipi and Florida was competently run, why don’t they then try electing Republican governors and representatives? If black folks blame their problems on institutional racism, and keep voting in Democrats, then obviously they are not going to get the superior leadership seen in Florida and Mississippi. Hey, this doesn’t even mean voting in whites, Jeb Bush included. It means voting in conservative blacks as well, Maine for example.

    If people reject good leadership, and keep voting in Democrats, then obviously institutional racism is going to keep chugging along. The more they complain about how New Orleans was shafted, and the more they vote in the Democrats, the more they are gonna get shafted, so the more they complain. Cycle of institutional racism, you might say.

    I said that I believed that institutional racism does exist. But not in the sense that most people believe it to be. Institutional racism is any system or group of laws or people that focus on maintaining the status quo of victimhood and poverty amongst a minority in order to maintain their own power. Now, if you asked the folks in Chicago, 50-80% of black folks would probably agree that Republicans or conservatives are the ones maintaining their power and using institutional racism. I’m just throwing the number out there, but it is guaranteed more than 50%.

    Now this kind of belief dichotomy is like war and peace. Some people believe Total War to be the solution for a lasting peace, and believe negotiations in war time prolong war and suffering. other folks believe the opposite, that Total War prolongs war and suffering, while negotiations is the solution for a lasting peace. In terms of institutional racism, the belief of the two camps are equally diametrically opposite. Some people believe it is the Democrats fighting institutional racism against the shadowy Republicans. Others believe that it is the Democrats maintaining institutional racism, that the Republicans seek to overturn.

    There is no compromise between the two camps. As with Total War. You either win, or you lose. There can’t be two winners. Although there might be two losers.

    Every person who believes in human rights, as Neo and Bookworm does, eventually reaches a point where they have to decide. They have to look into their internal philosophies and decide whether what they are doing or believing in, truly furthers the goal of their heart’s most desire.

    Some people go their entire whole lives either not reaching the point of decision, or delaying it because of a lack of something. Desire, will, knowledge, data, events, time, etc. Neo came to the game late in the timeline because of 9/11, because she just didn’t have time early on in her life to be a news junkie and a philosopher. She didn’t have the internet even 20 years ago, so it took huge amounts of time to do even basic research. Research that can be done on the internet in seconds, what used to take hours or even days if you are trying to find a whole multitude of disjointed information.

    The internet is a technology that has freed men’s minds. Just as technology freed slaves by making slavery economically more costly than buying a machine that would do the same work at less cost. Just as technology freed women by focusing jobs on skills that women can learn, not just back breaking work that men can naturally do better.

  172. “If people reject good leadership, and keep voting in Democrats, then obviously institutional racism is going to keep chugging along.”

    Heck with voting in Democrats–they voted in Ray Nagin after his abysmal job as Mayor during the hurricane (i.e. nothing says competence like a yard full of flooded busses as people need evacuated) and Marion Barry after he served time (i.e. nothing says DC city counsel material like footage of the candidate, when he was Mayor, doing crack in a hotel with a hooker followed by his serving time.) Sometimes it’s really hard to not say that people get what they deserve when they won’t even do the minimum necessary to hold their politicians accountable by throwing them out of office.

  173. Judy and any other interested persons,

    It just ain’t happening. I thought it would be easy to locate on op-ed piece I’d done earlier and edit and post it, but I can’t find it. And the dishwasher isn’t working correctly. And I’ve correspondence with poets (some complete, some yet to do). And even though I try not to promise to do things I can’t do, well. . . I just did.

    I’m not going to be posting any great piece of wisdom or stupidity any time today. But I just got a link to this article http://racerelations.about.com/b/a/257528.htm?nl=1 in my e-mail. Some may wish to pick it to pieces it, also.

  174. Helen, I’m disappointed. Maybe you’ll find it one of these days. The way things are going, this thread may still be active for a while (although your contributions seem to be the engine that keeps the rest of us at it.)

  175. Judy, I did post a poem on my blog http://helenl.wordpress.com/2006/12/18/a-very-old-poem/ that deals with this subject. I know a lot of people don’t understand poetry, but for those who want to give it a shot, it’s there.

  176. Helen: Keep looking. We’d love to see the op-ed. However, I’m entirely with you that broken dishwashers take precedence. If any appliance goes down in my household, I go down with it!

  177. Helen, I don’t know much about Arthur Ashe, except that he was a world famous tennis champion, that he got AIDS from a blood transfusion, and that there’s a stadium named after him in Flushing Meadows. If, as your poem indicates, he thought being black was a heavier burden than having AIDS (which KILLED him) despite all the success and recognition he achieved, then I can only think his life-view was terribly out of focus.

    Perhaps he came from meager beginnings (I don’t know) and perhaps he suffered from prejudice in his life, but look what he became. None of that stopped him from achieving his goal. I can’t sympathize with what he said and so I’m not stirred by your poem. Forget about pretty imagery, it’s the message that matters to me. I get the message (white sunshine). Sheesh.

    I still want to know how I’m supposed to rid myself of unmerited privilege. Even if you can’t find the article, surely you remember what you wrote. So just tell us.

  178. Hint: Judy, you have to want to. And you have to recognize it when you see it.

  179. I had the same problem as helen. Kept not being able to find stuff that I wrote. So I blogged, that way I could find things at least easier than otherwise. Also good place to find links that I found while reading other blogs.

    I think you need a sort of social consciousness, Judy. Meaning, you have to broaden your consciousness in order to find the unconscious feelings of superiority and inferiority. For example, you have to be like Allan (Fox News) and tell blacks that “I am privileged, I understand this, and I know it is an advantage, so let us have an argument based upon that premise”.

    It is sort of like saying in a negotiation, “I need this deal completed in 12 hours, so let’s negotiate a deal in that time”. Other guy is looking at you and thinking “hrm, wonder how much I can skin this guy for if he gets desperate at the 12th hour”.

    You got to look at your ancestors, Judy, and see whether or not they, you know, did bad things like colonialism or slavery and act with the requisite humbleness. This is just derivation based upon similar situations in the world, it is not an exact scenario. I can’t say that people behave exactly in the way I have described, concerning alleviating unmerited privilege. I mean, Hollywood treats their wealth differently than say, Kennedy or Kofi Annan or the wife of Arafat.

    So I try to recognize that there is a big difference between the theory and the application. Theoretically, there is a way to alleviate unmerited privilege. But, and there is always a but, who actually follows it? Who with real power and real unmerited privilege (Hollywood privilege, actor privileges, people living in America privileges) actually follows the theory? Sure, the theory may not be as I have described, but who follows the real theory? I don’t see anybody with real power following it. The Democrats get more powerful and more rich, how is that alleviating unmerited privilege. Jesse Jackson has the Rainbow shakedown coalition down pat with New Black Panther paramilitary bodyguards, what is up with that?

  180. Ymar, somehow I don’t think that’s what Helen is planning to tell us.

  181. Helen, your comment 180. I have to want to what? I have to recognize what? Please explain because I’m too dense to get it from just that.

  182. “Hint: Judy, you have to want to. And you have to recognize it when you see it.”

    So Judy, just walk up to the closest mirror you find and say, “I’m white, I’m endowed with unmerited privilege, and, doggonit, that makes me racist!”

    apologies to Stewart Smalley.

  183. kevin, but what if I’m not white. What if I’m green, like Kermit. Believe me, it ain’t easy.

    Sorry, I’m getting silly.

  184. As far as I know, racism has been redefined (as war and being a liberal has been redefined) into something new age and post-modern.

    It is like, people for some reason, focus a lot of their energies on stuff that don’t matter. I mean ,stuff that really don’t matter. You remember that story about the black women on a flight that heard a female white stewardess say “Enie meanie minie toe, pick a seat, we gotta go” when the black women were not yet in their seats? They talked about how it was racism, you know, how it was like, unconscious you know.

    Alvin Pouissant talked rather eloquently about, in fact, he labeled the term, “microinequities” which refers to the small, subtle acts of discrimination (such as repeatedly avoiding eye contact with the one minority person in a group) that communicate discrimatory beliefs just as loudly as racial slurs.

    You look at that, and you wonder, what the heck is this “small subtle acts of discrimination” thing. What is it? Metaphysically, speaking.

    Avoiding eye contact? I mean technically you avoid eye contact with people that you feel intimidated by. So if you don’t look a large black man in the eye (Charles Barkley’s book), does this mean you are doing the unconscious racism thing by saying that all blacks are criminals? By the new age definition of racism, yes it would be unconscious institutional racism or whatever it is called now a days.

    Technically, isn’t it just as discriminatory to say that blacks are higher in crime as it is to say that whites and asians have higher success rates? Discrimination shouldn’t just be about negatives, but also positives as well. If saying someone is bad is discrimination, then saying whites are good with privilege is also discrimination, and the two shouldn’t cancel each other out. Yet affirmative action, reverse racism, is justified in this institutional new racism definition just because on basic principles. Also, if it is true and a fact, how can it both be a fact to say that things are true and also discrimination? This is one of the consequences of muddying up the English language by the by. Some people don’t think it matters, but it does, and this is one reason why. If you muddy up the language, you muddy up a person’s thoughts, so he starts believing in weird revisionist teachings.

    But to go back to the eye contact thing, what if you are just scared of crime, regardless of where it comes or scared of big men? Why should institutional racism be upon a class or “color” of people, why isn’t it spread out more equally like real individual duty should be? What happened to judging a person based upon the content of his character and not the color of his skin or the color of his “privilege”? Just go pwoof, I guess.

    It isn’t just victimhood, as I see it, it goes beyond that. I’ve said before that a civilization that gets too orderly is just as bad a state as a war like society that is too chaotically warlike. This is a symptom of that. It is an imbalance. Yes, yes, we can argue about the correctness of this belief or that belief, but at its roots (the fundaments of metaphysics), it is about balance. Light and Darkness, good and evil, order and chaos.

    When your society or your group or your soul becomes imbalanced in all things, many corruptions of the truth will result. And many hardships will be felt.

    This is meta-philosophy by the way, philosophy concerning philosophy (institutional racism is a philosophy). Or as Judy worded it, “Helen, You do challenge me to think about what I think.”.

    That was one of the most important things I learned when I was studying philosophy as a hobby subject. That and military history.

    When I first read military history or even just David Weber’s Honor Harrington military science fiction series, I understood nothing. I could give you the events and what happened, but I could not tell you why, I did not comprehend the inter-connections between the battles and wars or even politics. So I worked at this ignorance, I made connections, I thought about my thinking. Meta-philosophy.

    There are two ways to learn things. Bookworm and Neo’s path, which is to start from a pre-set template and then chug along in life, until something happens that challenges one’s basic premises. The other way, is the tabula rossa path, which is to start from ignorance knowing nothing and knowing you know nothing, and trying to figure stuff out without any advantage in knowledge. The reason why I am very interested in the thoughts of folks like Neo and bookworm is because they have somehow combined the two paths. (yes, yes, this will be finished soon) They started from a pre-set template, and then when they challenged their previous beliefs, they started from the tabula rossa just because, just because they were learning new stuff they never knew existed. We can’t all be tabula rossas, we all have beliefs of one kind or another. So the trick is being able to meta-philosophize your thinking, in such a way, that you can wipe it clean if you get into a rut. That way your growth doesn’t stall and get stuck.

    Okay, one last thing. Things would actually be better for immigrants, minorities, blacks, Palestinians, Jews, Sunnis, Shias, non-Americans, anti-Americans, Cubans, or any other victim group you can think up, IF and I say IF things were worse for them. Makes about as much sense as saying to save the child, we must kill the child, to save the village we must then destroy the village, right? Another paradox. Humans are full of them. The reason is this. Human beings need challenges to stay healthy emotionally and spiritually (physically as well). If we live in a utopia or just a prosperous time, things will never be perfectly good, so you will always have problems. But the thing is, if the overall situation was “bad”, then all these decadent philosophies (communism socialism marxism racism or whatever) wouldn’t be believed. And because they aren’t believed in, people are free to actually lift themselves up using useful and applicable belief systems like the work ethic or American dream. So when you have a prosperous time, and you have people believing in some bad stuff, you won’t have that prosperous time for long. So it is cyclical. We’re in a cycle. How do you break out of this cycle?

    War. Get a war, get into it, and win it. This doesn’t apply to the world, but it does apply to America. Whenever America was going down the tubes, a victorious war saved America. Human beings cannot determine with absolute accuracy what belief system is correct. But God and nature can. And you can petition God and nature to determine which side is right, through war. If you win, you are right. If you lose (Hitler and Imperial Japan) then you were wrong, baby. It is inarguable, not because I say so, but because human beings simply believe it. The Vietnam generation thought they won, so they believe themselves to be right.

  185. Ymar, you left out the real reason why many of the people who cry racism do it, and the women on the plane who claimed racism when the stewardess said eeny, meeny… is a good example.

    Cry racism = shakedown = winning lottery ticket.

    If you’re lucky enough to be discriminated against by a company with deep pockets, you may never need to work another day in your life. So why bother with waiting for real discrimination. Just turn any innocent incident into a lottery ticket by claiming that you were offended. Jackpot! With juries awarding millions for “hurt feelings” these days, companies settle for near fortunes just to avoid possibly catastrophic judgements against them.

    This sounds cynical, but it sure seems to happen a lot. I realize that there is such a thing as “real” racism, and I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the over sensitivity to every word and glance that professional race mongers have turned into a very lucrative industry. Look at how powerful Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are. Everybody’s so afraid of being labeled a racist that they bow down to these two crooks. It’s shameful. Racism is big business in this country, and people who encourage us all to nurture our guilt are the biggest supporters.

  186. judyrose,

    i hate to break it to you but revs. sharpton and jackson are largely media creations. they represent the black community to a percent relative to the amount of influence afforded by a jerry fallwell or a ralph reed represents caucasians.

    the black community is hardly monolithic. their overwhelming support for the dems is simply a reflection of their knowledge of which party now houses all of the old dixiecrats.

    if the repubs completely repudiated the “southern strategy”, you would see many more black republicans.

    peace

  187. Hi Dagon, I agree with you. The media have created these guys. Jerry Falwell and Ralph Reed don’t represent me, I’m Jewish. But I get the point. I also know that the black community isn’t monolithic. People like Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams (to name just a few) have little in common with Jesse and Al. I really prefer to consider people as individuals instead of putting a lot of importance on what group(s) they belong to.

  188. judyrose,

    works for me.

    peace

  189. Other that the fact that this particular post has taken on a life of its own, I have been really impressed with some of what has come out of it.

  190. I try not to talk about greed, mostly because it is one of the basic motivation aspects of humanity. So most people know about it. So I seek other things, things that are harder to pin down and defeat than greed. Greed can work for us or against us, or just not at all. It is not that hard to manipulate.

    Dealing with greed is already known. The solution exists. All that remains is to implement it.

  191. This might sound off the wall, but my mother once told me that I (thought and )talked about race too much. I told her it was because others talked about it too little.

  192. Judyrose,

    “kevin, but what if I’m not white. What if I’m green, like Kermit. Believe me, it ain’t easy”

    For that you only have to refer to the irrational charging of racism rule #2–Only white people can be racist because they are in the majority. Therefore, by being in the green minority, you cannot by definition be a racist.

  193. Bookworm, Judy, et al.,

    I have not forgotten you, but still I cannot find the piece I intended to post. Quite possibly it is on a floppy disk somewhere, readable several computers ago. I have the newspaper clipping, but that requires re-typing the whole thing. Right now, I just don’t have the time.

    What I did find was a different piece, from my regular column, “One Step Beyond,” that I wrote several years ago for the local African American newspaper. (My first two essays appeared in the W-S Journal. But the editor lost interest after that when he saw I intended to write about race.) The op-ed piece, “You Be the Judge” is now posted at http://helenl.wordpress.com/2006/12/19/you-be-the-judge/

  194. As he approached this time – at the 8:00 p.m. visiting slot – he spoke to me briefly. Then he continued toward the couple with whom I been speaking (apparently he hadn’t met them yet.) Our son Victor was wearing his usual outfit – a Dallas Cowboys’ sweatshirt which soon became the focal point of the conversation. The man, so poignant in his expression of dislike for black people a few minutes earlier, was now engaging the black chaplain in a great story-telling contest. The obvious hero was the man’s grandson who is probably NFL material according to the emerging legend. When it was my turn to visit Bill’s dad, I left a congenial group behind.

    This reminds me of anti-Americanism. Meaning, there are a lot of Canadians, Germans, and Europeans who are prejudiced against Americans because of what they have seen on the tube or thought they knew about America. But one and the same, they will categorically deny being anti-A, giving their reason that they cannot be anti-American, they love Americans, they are kind to Americans, they are friendly to Americans.

    It is the difference between what people believe, and how people will act in a social situation where they think punishment might be in store for them.

    Sure, some people will spout off. But the great majority of people are not psychopathic, the views of their community matters to them, greatly. Greatly enough for them to not talk about what they believe to be true in their heart of hearts.

    Americans are just too tolerant, in my view. So tolerant, that even obsolete views that are obviously obsolete, goes unchallenged. A very very strong belief in the philosophical meaning of the 1st Ammendment or just sticks and stones. Where a person might act if he saw discriminatory action or potential for violence, that person will not act with the same alacrity should simple words be spoken that is disagreed with. It has been 5 years since 9/11, and people are still talking about peace on earth and being happy with Muslims or the religion of peace. The toleration of even extreme rhetoric is bred in the bones of America. And only great suffering may even begin to unshackle the chains.

    The problem isn’t that people should or should not speak more. The problem is actions. It doesn’t matter what people say, it matters what they do. So sure, some people might protest more at racism, but if they do so based upon a notion that they are out on a crusade to enforce certain standards upon humanity, then those words translate as the vanguard of an action. Most of the time it is action that has great consequences. Only some of the time, are words the cause of great events.

    Let’s say for example, a black woman speaks out against institutional racism. Now most might think that this is good, even better if she is clearly educated and articulate. But the thing, what if she bases her actions upon her words, and her actions furthers the exact opposite of her stated goals? There has to be a balance and a reckoning.

    On average, those who will stop racist actions of injustice, will cause a greater benefitial good than those who simply speak out against racist actions of injustice. Stopping injustice matters a whole lot more than talking about stopping it. If we can have both, that is a good thing. But rarely do we have both. Many times we have the snake sellers and charms folks who talk a good talk, but walk in the shadows, spreading despair to the souls of mankind. Then we have people who are silent, going on with their businesses, like the heart of America, but who rise up against injustice again and again when it matters.

    Everyone knows what justice is, even if they can’t spell it out in words. They know it in their hearts. Justice is equal parts honor code, personal duty, and the meta-golden rule. The meta-golden rule being, punish a person based upon how that person treats his inferiors. It is different from saying treat folks as you would like to be treated. Because psychopaths have no consideration for folks, not even themselves even. And Sadistic or masochistic psychopaths warp the golden rule even further. A rule that cannot cover all contingencies, may be useful, but it isn’t philosophically solid. I prefer philosophically solid ethical boundaries, that way I don’t have to rework every action or even through the loopholes. I have yet to find a loophole in the meta-golden rule.

    Some people know what justice is, and they just don’t care. Or they believe they will never be held to account for their unjust acts.

    As you look back on the 80s and the 70s, you start to recall that was quite a lot of overt racism going on there. As well as how people treated inter-racial relationships. To the extent that parents of teenagers now, have trouble when their teenagers hook up with members of different races, simply because of the experience and trauma of the parents when they were in the same situation.

    So, it is not like the generation of Jim Crow and racism has died out. They are still around. And yet, why has society gotten better and more cosmopolitan? That doesn’t seem intuitive, on its face. If people simply older now than they were 25 years ago, and yet racism has decreased by leaps and bounds, then what exactly changed? Human behavior changed.

    Society no longer toleranted overt or subtle signs of racism. This causes a change in the behavior of people. Just as law and punishment causes a change in the behavior of criminals. Few criminals will repeat a crime when they have seen 50,000 human beings being dismembered for committing that same crime, in front of their eyes, in a row, stacked up like cordwood at the end of the month. Punishment and society’s expectations, changes human behavior on a macroscopic level. There are other considerations. Human instincts, hunger, freedom, dignity, etc. But so long as your laws don’t conflict with such basic human desires and instincts, so long as your laws control the most damaging of human instincts and emotions, then once you change society’s expectations, you change the behavior of most people in that society. Not instantaneously of course, but over period of time that is less than a generation.

    People like Robert Byrd and Kennedy are in power. The Democrats who voted against the Civil Rights Act are still in power. People have not changed, only their behaviors. One of the most radical behavioral changes is that blacks believe that the Democrat party is loyal to freedom and the interests of the downtrodden. They believe so fervently, as do some other minority groups or victim groups, that it has shifted the balance of society towards a new extremity.

    Because the same racists in 1970 are older and more powerful in today’s world, they will simply just change the name of the game, and keep the old rules. Oppression by law, simply becomes, oppression by propaganda.

  195. Helen,

    In your essay you state, “Black people have been speaking for centuries – their words falling on deaf ears. It’s time white people said something. Is it not?

    What you just expressed is your version of the “exceptional white man” theory. It’s just a variation of plain ol’ racism. (re. #94)

    Want to try again?

  196. I collected some of the old but goodie stuff I posted before and added Dr. Sanity’s new post to it. Check it out, because it is a good balance to the soul after reading about white privilege.

    Balance in All Things

    Most of the content isn’t mine, but the good works of other folks and molks. Give you a refreshing view, I believe. Can’t promise though.

  197. The truth isn’t always between two opposites; the truth is wherever you find it.

  198. “Everyone is searching for something… after all, it is a material world” and with yellowbook.com, you “…just type in what and where.”

  199. The product of a chemical reaction is from balancing the reagents, both the limiting one and the excess, in a balanced chemical equation, to produce the product. The reality, the truth.

    There are philosophical ways to look at truth and falsity. But I just go back to nature, and look at how nature works, and apply it to human ideas.

    How nature works gives you a glimpse into the truth of the universe. For example, studying how silk works produced kevlar and better sails and fabrics. Engineers in trying to produce things that work in reality, aka Truth, look to nature for inspiration and fundamental ideas. Truth is binary, and thus it is either there or it isn’t. So there is no opposite, really, it doesn’t exist. It is just a zero, something put as a place holder.

  200. Just came upon this thread. Poor Mr. Carter. All but forgotten.

    I have a few questions. Do poor whites also have “unmerited privileges”? For example, do homeless whites or rural Appalachians count among the meritocracy?
    What about people of mixed racial background? Are they only half privileged, or not at all? What about people who are white but who belong to ethnic or religious minorities or other persecuted groups?
    What about people from upper-class black families?
    What about non-American black aristocracy, such as a Kofi Annan, say, or African or Jamaican elites?
    What about the unmerited privileges, say, of the Saudis, who if they hadn’t had the luck of being born on a huge portion of the world’s oil reserves in an oil thirsty world, would be as poor as Bangladesh, rather than living it up on oil billions?

    BTW, Helen, one experience that shocked me out of my liberal complacency occurred years ago when I was a lone white working mostly with African American professionals. Routinely, I overheard anti-gay, anti-white, anti-Hispanic and anti-semitic comments. I had always assumed that minorities who had been on the receiving end of prejudice would be more tolerant of others themselves. How wrong I was. Moreover, every concern was blamed on race even when race had absolutely nothing to do with the issue, professional decision, or whatever. This made me feel like I had to walk on eggshells, not express my opinions, and so on. It was an oppressive environment, and I was glad to leave it.

    So, Let’s face it, all humans, regardless of race are fallable and we each have to work on ourselves. No one is born a racist. Whether David Duke or Louis Farrakhan, it is learned. Martin Luther King advocated for a color-blind society in which we are judged by the content of our character- and not by assumptions based on our skin color, such as unmerited privilege, all whites are active or recovering racists, or the like.

  201. I thought this thread was finished, but perhaps Lulu has reactivated it with some good points. Let’s see what comes in tomorrow.

  202. Hi Lulu, I’d say when you overheard “anti-gay, anti-white, anti-Hispanic and anti-semitic comments” that what you were hearing was prejudice, not racism. Every human being on earth can be prejudiced: Some are; same aren’t. Racism is a specific form of prejudice that irrationally tries to keep a certain group in their place by believing that one racial group in inferior (not as smart, not as ethical, etc.). Racism has to do with believing people of a given race are not as good as others due to their race (not achievement). This why it is said that only the majority race can be racists, only those on top wish to keep others beneath them. Many people wish to keep others beneath them for various reasons. That can be prejudice or just plain selfishness of hatred. Only when the reason is race is this prejudice called racism.

    As Martin Luther King Jr.’s views. In 1963, at the March on Washington, King was at the height of his popularity. Later things changed. The leaders of the civil rights movement argued among themselves concerning method. (King was non-violent to his death.) And white people tired of the movement; they were tired of talking about race because conditions had improved (lunch counters, bus stations, and school were integrated. Voter legislation was passed), but improvement was not goal for blacks. The goal was equality. The goal was equality. (See King’s “Where Do we Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”)

    Since King’s death, we have a less personal and a more institutional variety of racism. Political correctness stops some from using racial slurs, and they are used much less now. But African Americans ( and women) still earn 75 cents for very dollar white men make. The goal was equality. And we are not there.

  203. Lulu,

    If you’re looking for a logical argument, don’t hold your breath. The following is taken from: http://www.answers.com/racist&r=67

    rac•ism (rā’sĭz’əm)
    n.
    1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
    2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

    Helen says, “This why it is said that only the majority race can be racists, only those on top wish to keep others beneath them.”

    It seems Helen would like us to neglect definition #2

    But that aside, how about this tidbit on black supremacy at http://www.answers.com/topic/black-supremacy:

    “While black supremacism is viewed by human rights organisations and black leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Roy Wilkins, as equivalent to the white supremacy movement, some African Americans consider black supremacism acceptable because of its message about black self-respect, black self-sufficiency and black economic improvement. Jesse Jackson, for instance, ‘has applauded minister Louis Farrakhan, whose basic message is of black supremacy over whites and hatred of Jews’.”

    Or this by melanin theorist Carol Barnes (same link)

    “Melanin is responsible for the existence of civilization, philosophy, religion, truth, justice, and righteousness. Individuals (whites) containing low levels of Melanin will behave in a barbaric manner. Melanin gives humans the ability to FEEL because it is the absorber of all frequencies of energy. Since whites have the least amount of Melanin, this is why they are perceived by People of Color as generally being rigid, unfeeling (heartless), cold, calculating, mental, and `unspiritual.’”

    Sure sounds to me like Helen’s theory that only the majority can be racist doesn’t hold water. You see, Helen (and other liberals that have been conned by this specious argument) wants you to believe that only whites can be racist because it fits her worldview, evidence be damned. Also, she has chosen to refuse to address my criticism, preferring to “converse with the more reasonable people who comment on this blog” (liberal speak for I will only converse with people who buy my nonsense without challenging it.)

    Well I say, like prejudice, racism can occur in all racial communities but we’ll leave it up to the “more reasonable people who comment on this blog” to come to their own conclusion.

  204. “But African Americans ( and women) still earn 75 cents for very dollar white men make.”

    Prove it.

  205. kevin,

    that is true:

    “More than three decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, women and people of color continue to suffer the consequences of unfair pay differentials. In comparing median weekly earnings, last year American women earned only 75 cents for every dollar a man brought home, with African American women and Hispanic women collecting just 66 cents and 57 cents, respectively. Significant wage gaps exist for African American and Hispanic men, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans as well.”

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=52661

    i’ll pull numbers from a more recent study as well, but i believe the percentages still hold.

    peace

  206. and a take from the positive side, which while optimistic, still places the wage gap at around 85% for black males

    http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_48/b3657067.htm

    peace

  207. I’d be most interested in a study that factored in women’s career choices — taking time off to have children, thereby losing time on the career track, and working part-time jobs, which usually entails lower pay. I know both of these facts personally, and I seem them often in the world around me.

  208. book,

    most of these studies factor in job to job comparisons. ie, what a white male corporate lawyer makes vs. an female corporate lawyer or an african-american corporate lawyer, etc.

    peace

  209. Dagon: Even comparing job to job still doesn’t take into account the fact that half the women lawyers I know (and I realize it’s anecdotal), took more than the allowed 6 weeks attorney leave or bargained with their employers for shorter hours.

  210. book,

    that’s a great point for that percentage who need maternity leave. but what about the one’s without children?

    what about african american males? these are the discrepancies that are relevant.

    peace

  211. book,

    maybe this will help. notice the number are gathered for college degreed men and women who worked FULL TIME for the period of data collection. that means no maternity, etc. was factored in.

    http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/C362.pdf

    peace

  212. Dagon,

    Hispanic men and women aside (I’d guess they don’t make an allowance for illegal’s that are being underpaid and just averaging them in which would lower the numbers.) I know that for black males and women where I work, there is no disparity (but then again, it is a highly technical field and good scientists command a decent salary or move to where the money is better.)

    What’s your personal experience? Do you feel that you are only getting 75% of your white counterparts?

    I would really be more interested in seeing a breakdown of pay by race, education, and profession (i.e. is this pretty will distributed across all professions or is there some weighting in certain pay ranges or professions?) As I stated above, it doesn’t appear to occur in my field so that would indicate that others are worse. As for the San Francisco employment agency statistics, they are quite interesting occurring in such a liberal bastion—any thoughts on why this may be happening there? The infoplease link covers all wage earners but does it take into account any disparity in unemployment between races? We have previously agreed that many teens are emulating the wrong role models—if you can’t play the game (i.e. dress well and act respectfully in the interview) you usually won’t get hired. Is there any chance that some of these statistics are skewed because to some cohorts (more than others) it’s not cool to play the game?

    The graphs look compelling at first glance but data can be manipulated so easily, I would also like to know the predilections of the researchers. Not that I am discounting it offhand but when the subject is as emotionally charged as this particular one, there should be some background on the researchers, the methodology used, possible biases in the data, error approximation, etc. People with axes to grind are usually not very forthcoming about their process (e.g. The Lancet article on the huge number of Iraqi deaths.) If everybody was actually getting equal pay, there would be no story so it is in many people’s interest to perpetuate a possible myth. It is also in many people’s best interest not to ask the uncomfortable questions beyond an immediate conclusion that obviously there is discrimination in pay. However, unless we reduce the scope of the analysis to races in a specific profession with equivalent educations, there is really no way to reach any kind of a useful conclusion.

  213. Dagon,

    “notice the number are gathered for college degreed men and women who worked FULL TIME for the period of data collection. that means no maternity, etc. was factored in.”

    Also notice that the research was done by three women for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Would it be unreasonable for a person to question whether they may have begun their research to support a foregone conclusion?

  214. I know, Dagon, that there was an article in the NY Times a few weeks ago saying that black male and female lawyers tended to fare less well in the big firms, where the big bucks are. A sociologist posited that this was affirmative action’s downside, which saw them in an environment for which they weren’t prepared. I thought, based on my own out-of-date experiences, that blacks, like the women of my generation, feel that they don’t need to work as hard, having done their bit simply by having risen so high. That was certainly the case at big West Coast law firms in the 1980s. I wonder what it’s like now amongst all employees who are not white (or Asian) males. Again, that too could account for disparity — not opportunities, but attitude. I know it was a problem for me.

  215. kevin,

    most of the studies that i’ve seen try to factor in things like education and the like.

    there are myriad studies on the web. just google wage discrepecies by race for whatever industry you’re interested in. HR depts. have been wrestling with this for decades.

    personally, i haven’t experienced any of this (at least not to my knowledge) but my background is fairly unique.

    i would expect this to be widespread simply for the reason that once you hit a certain level in your career (doesn’t even have to be that high), social networking and comfortability factors play a larger role in what your next step will be. blacks have routinely been shut out of the clubs and neighborhoods that their white counterparts belonged to; and this is where the deals are made after a certain level.

    case in point, the country club whose 9th green was a stones throw from my childhood backyard just started taking applications from blacks and hispanics 8 years ago.

    it’s a private club so they can do what they want but this is an example of while on its face opportunity seems level, the “institutions” which matter almost as much, are still somewhat exclusive.

    things have been getting better, but the glass ceiling remains very much a reality.

    peace

  216. book

    “I thought, based on my own out-of-date experiences, that blacks, like the women of my generation, feel that they don’t need to work as hard, having done their bit simply by having risen so high”

    ..probably one of the more unfortunate things that you have written in awhile. in my experience it has been the opposite.

    all things being equal, your comment might have some merit. thing is, things aren’t equal.

    sure, i’m aware that there are probably some individuals who don’t have the work ethic to play with the big guns at some firms. but ask yourself who the big guns are. within that group, there is ALWAYS a group of people (usually white) who were ‘grandfathered’ into their positions. ie, their father, uncle whatever virtually assured them of their station in life.

    blacks and hispanics have never had the generational connections or wealth to pull that off and it is routine in mainstream culture.

    also, your comment shows a lack of knowledge about the universal mantras in american black culture. since it is agreed that in general, blacks receive inferior education opportunities and by and large don’t have a pal of pops who owns a company, etc. it is beaten into our heads that in order to have even a shot at equal success in the business world, you have to work that much harder.

    this is something that i know to be true, having grown up in an affluent, patrician town being 1 out of only a handful of black students. all of my friends could turn to uncles, cousins, grandfathers, family friends, mom’s bridge circle, etc. for references, contacts and jobs.

    i just had my dad.

    peace

  217. You’re making some assumptions about the firms at which I worked, Dagon. They were all business, and none of my fellow associates had any familial or social ties to the hiring partners. And I don’t care about universal mantras. I was relating my own experience at big downtown firms, which was that black associates, like women associates, resented being called upon to work, because we all thought we were “special.” My only caveat is that this perception is very dated, and as I’ve admitted all along, I don’t know whether it’s changed.

  218. well, maybe you’re being pc book,

    and i certainly don’t want to question exactly how ‘big time’ the ‘big’ downtown firms you’ve worked at have been but i must say that in my career, i’ve NEVER seen a preponderence of women (enough to make that kind of a generalization) who resented being called on to work.

    MOST of the women executives that i know have been type a bald-busters with poor people skills and messed up social lives. it’s what i used to like to call, ‘lady cop syndrome’. i saw NO slacking but a general attitude that seemed to convey a need to outdo the men. the same can be said for ambitious blacks that i’ve met in the professional world.

    peace

  219. You’ve described some of Mr. Bookworm’s colleagues, Dagon. Woman, you’ve come a long way baby. By the way, you can be a vicious, back-biting ballbuster, and still think everyone owes you something. I’ve known those women too.

  220. book,

    true

    peace

  221. Well, in my micro-environment at work I think that some of my African-American colleagues were not only prejudiced, they were racists according to the definition you used, Helen. In that setting, our boss was black, as were all the senior staff. So was the neighborhood the work site was in. Therefore in that setting, as the lone novice employee, just out of school, and white, I was the minority, and treated as such.

    That being said, it would be ridiculous and morally wrong of me to make assumptions about all black people based on the behavior of this small group of people- who despite their bigotry were, in many ways, very decent. I try to judge people based on their behavior and values, and I have seen that goodness and honorable behavior comes in all colors and ethnicities, just as does pettiness and cruelty.
    Culture is a major shaper of behavior. Some cultures emphasize education, some don’t. Some emphasize family life and child-rearing; some don’t. Some encourage good works, some encourage revenge, some teach self-discipline, some none. Moreover, people are uneven. My colleagues had thier issues about race, but they were wonderful friends to each other, warm, and did good works.

    To blame everything on skin color seems an obsession with dividing on externals, and it seems racist, in the sense that race is the deciding factor in judging people. I think this is very wrong. I think this attitude contributed to the anger and endless feeling of victimization among my successful, middle-class, and professionally powerful former colleagues. It could not have enhanced their lives.

  222. The last word on Jimmy Carter:

  223. The proof doesn’t matter. Because it is individual productivity that matters. Data would of course show that blacks who work less and do less well performance wise, would get lower total wages per hour than whites who do better. That’s not proof of any inequality.

    I’d be most interested in a study that factored in women’s career choices — taking time off to have children, thereby losing time on the career track, and working part-time jobs, which usually entails lower pay. I know both of these facts personally, and I seem them often in the world around me.

    Comment by Bookworm | December 20, 2006

    Another way to interpret statistics, instead of simply worshipping statistics
    Dagon: Even comparing job to job still doesn’t take into account the fact that half the women lawyers I know (and I realize it’s anecdotal), took more than the allowed 6 weeks attorney leave or bargained with their employers for shorter hours.

    Comment by Bookworm | December 20, 2006

    I don’t think a lot of people know how to analyze statistics, Book, for some reason.

    And I don’t care about universal mantras. I was relating my own experience at big downtown firms, which was that black associates, like women associates, resented being called upon to work, because we all thought we were “special.” My only caveat is that this perception is very dated, and as I’ve admitted all along, I don’t know whether it’s changed.

    The sense of entitlement might have decreased book, but the consequences of such however are still felt, simply because the failure rate will increase when the folks who did originally feel entitled, started hiring others based upon prejudice and racial quotas. Sort of like the New York Times with Jason Blair. They will just push and push, until they find somewhere where they can’t go beyond. Most of them end up failing or pushing too far, not because they feel entitled, but rather they simply want to exploit or gain the most benefit. A little bit more ambitious, I believe.

    Well, in my micro-environment at work I think that some of my African-American colleagues were not only prejudiced, they were racists according to the definition you used, Helen. In that setting, our boss was black, as were all the senior staff. So was the neighborhood the work site was in. Therefore in that setting, as the lone novice employee, just out of school, and white, I was the minority, and treated as such.

    It is true, lulu, that humans live in a heirarchy that can always change. Meaning for every strong guy out there, there will be someone weaker and someone stronger than him. As with minorities and majorites. But I don’t think people on the Left really assesses the situation as it is, but rather they go with this rigid definition of minority is never racist, and they just stick with it and never bend. So they go more and more out of balance, and it takes longer and longer to get back on the right road.

    I try to judge people based on their behavior and values, and I have seen that goodness and honorable behavior comes in all colors and ethnicities, just as does pettiness and cruelty.

    That is the path of cosmopolitanism, lulu, in my view. Which is a good thing. Getting out of a person’s prejudiced background or prejudiced belief systems ingested while growing up, is hard to do. But it is worthwhile.

    To blame everything on skin color seems an obsession with dividing on externals, and it seems racist, in the sense that race is the deciding factor in judging people.

    Judging the inferiority or superiority of people, the existence or absence of privilege, as well as the legitimacy of the merits. Instead of judging based upon the content of a person’s character.

  224. “Most Americans think racism is a problem, but few think they are racist themselves, a poll finds.”

    See Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism — in others
    POSTED: 8:43 p.m. EST, December 12, 2006

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/12/racism.poll/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

  225. Dagon,

    Sorry for the length but I believe this to be a significantly more nuanced problem than some would have us believe.

    Since the circumstances on differences in pay that you pointed out did exist in the past, I would not be surprised if some of it still currently exists; therefore, it would be a weak position to argue the contrary. However, the solution (as Helen is so quick to declare) that “it’s plain ‘ol racism”or that laws should be passed to equalize everything is far too simplistic. That answer has become a stereotype due to its historical longevity and the constant braying from the likes of Jessie, Al, etc. This would also explain the disparity in the poll Helen offered—blacks have heard this so often, they immediately assume it without question.

    Bookworm posted a joke back some time ago about a Jew that had been rejected as a broadcaster and the punchline was something to the effect of the rejected candidate saying, “th-th-their n-n-n-nothing b-b-but a b-b-b-bunch of an-an-anti s-s-s-semites.” I really think that this also applies to many blacks (and whites for that matter), they see racism at every turn. While not making a general claim, I would like to offer a possible issue that many black job applicants face—maybe they aren’t hired because they don’t want to “act white” in a job interview (i.e. dress properly, be respectful, speak without using slang, etc.) Much of what passes as current “black culture” (and I’m talking about the “ cartoonish lifestyle” you mentioned) seems to be diametrically opposed to what is expected in the workplace.

    I would like to offer an interesting anecdote from when I was in the Navy. The Far East is significantly behind the United States with respect to racial issues. The black sailors on our ship routinely faced blatant racism in countries like Korea, Japan, etc. where one can still regularly see the Bojangles, Aunt Jemima, etc. images. One day, we were scheduled to pull into Mombasa, Kenya for a couple of days port call and one of my friends (who incidentally happened also to be black) commented that “now I’ll see what it’s like to experience discrimination.” Well, a funny thing happened; after we had been in port a couple of days, one of the locals (black) had two questions for me. The first was, “since the blacks are no longer slaves in your country, why don’t they return home?” and the second was “why do they strut around acting so superior?” You see, many of them actually went out into town with the attitude of “see how prosperous we are—we’re better than you.” The end result was that I was treated exceptionally well as my attitude was that of a thankful guest in their country whereas (and unfortunately) many of the blacks on our ship acted like jerks and were treated accordingly. My point is that when people claim that blacks these days are just expressing their culture, I see it more as intentionally being the antithesis of how whites act (and please, I’m not trying to claim this is in any way the general case) as opposed to reclaiming their African culture.

    Another, more recent example (a couple days ago) would be that of Cynthia McKinney. There is an effort underway to strip her name from some highway in Georgia because she was an “embarrassment to the citizens of Georgia.” Her former campaign manager said something to the effect that those embarrassed were either white or uppity blacks. So uppity blacks are equivalent to whites? This comes back to the problems with attitudes—blacks cannot be seen as acting white.

    The bottom line is that it’s too easy to immediately claim the cause is something that was once valid but times have changed. The courts are so open these days to charges of racism (e.g. “feeding the Big Dog” dog food at the firehouse being declared racism to the tune of millions of dollars,) that I have a hard time believing that blatant institutionalized racism in the form of pay differential at any given company can be easily hidden or overlooked. We are at a time where these cases need to be viewed subjectively and let the chips fall where they may even if some of the answers are uncomfortable.

  226. I find it amazing that people like your ” friend (who incidentally happened also to be black),” have black parents, too. So much for logic, LOL This is joke, Kevin. Peace.

  227. I don’t understand your point so could you please clarify? Yes, it would be logical to say that his parents were black. The point of my sentence was he was 1) my friend 2) happened to be black so he had a diffenent viewpoint of anticipating our port call in Africa.

  228. Asians treat whites well because they have respect for whites, they don’t have respect for blacks. It won’t change because blacks act differently. Things are so different in America and Asia, that the motivations for behavior are diametrically opposite. So one might justifiably say that Cynthia caused the problem, it is actually the other way around in Asian countries precisely because blacks don’t act like menial servants or inferior.

    Cynthia gets treated with respect and acts like she didn’t get the respect she earned. Injustice. Blacks don’t act like slaves or barbarians, so the Asians don’t know what to do with them and avoid them. Therefore blacks in Asia can justifiably act like Cynthia simply because the two places are different.

    Not in the specifics, but the simple expectation that she deserved better. She didn’t. Blacks in Asia do deserve better, so they are justified in expecting better.

  229. My point. Two black parents don’t HAPPEN to have a black child. It isn’t by chance.

  230. Helen,

    Thanks for the clarification; what I was trying to do was keep from saying my black friend since that would open me up to the charge of racism (e.g. why isn’t he just a friend; why do I have to point out that he was a “black” friend–even though that’s a relevant fact to the story.) Even I have a hard time shaking off the PC shackles but I am recovering.

    Ymarsakar,

    I wasn’t suggesting that if blacks behaved differently, that they would be treated differently in Asia–the point was that the my friend expected that in Africa I would now experience what he experienced in most other countries visited on a Westpac. And it was the air of superiority exhibited by many of the blacks on our ship that resulted in their receiving less than optimal treatment in Mombasa whereas my actions as a gracious guest resulted in great treatment and fond memories of friends I made while there.

  231. kevin,

    interesting points. i can only address it from my experience so forgive me if i don’t directly address some of what you’re saying.

    some people in the country, white AND black have a tendency of seeing the black community as some sort of ‘other’ where in reality, they have been one the integral ethnic building blocks of this nation since it’s inception.

    when did the slave trade end? not slavery per se but the bulk of the importation of sub-saharan slaves? most blacks can trace their presense in this country back to the late 1600’s through the late 1700’s. the evolution of american culture can charted in parallel with the evolution of black culture. there is no such thing as ‘acting black’ and there is ‘acting white’. for better or worse, black culture IS american culture so their is nothing to rebel against.

    also, most of what is commonly referred to as acting ‘black’, from the dialect to certain other affectations, can be traced to ALL races from the deep south. many are just ‘expressing their culture’ but it is hardly ethnically based. go to mississippi and find an old white laborer or fisherman; if you closed your eyes, chances are you would think you were talking to an older black man.

    now, this new crop of kids may be another story, taking their cues from the militants of the sixties or more recently, from a glorification of ‘street life’ or gangster culture. but once again, these sort of things occor within all races and are hardly representative of the plurality of black people.

    the problem is that most people don’t know the history; this is certainly true with a lot of young black kids. but don’t ascribe any sort of rebellion to it other than the natural rebellion of youth. i can’t speak to the men on your boat but basically a jerk is a jerk.

    i feel the exact same way when i go to a cubs game and watch how (some)suburban whites treat my fair city.

    btw, the poll that helen was referring to wasn’t a poll of black peoples attitudes towards racism. it’s a poll that states that when asked, most people would say that they personally are not racist, however they observe it as a problem in other people. an example would be the father of one of my past girlfriends, who clearly admitted the racism of his own father, yet refused to acknowledge that his uneasiness towards my relationship with his daughter might be a lingering residual of the racism that he admitted was present in the rest of his family.

    it trickles down from that.

    peace

  232. Kevin, In the case of “black friend,” black is an adjective that describes friend. In the context of this discussion, it was necessary to identify his race. That is NOT racist; it’s just stating the facts in a clear way. All I did was try to joke about what occurs when we go crazy being politically correct. PC ought to stop us from being offensive, but sometimes all it does is cause us to speak in riddles. Pehaps we can agree on that.

  233. Folks,

    Listen to what Dagon says in comment #235. It is only the racism that we find within ourselves that we can change directly. This is not a matter for finger pointing but for self-examination. If that sounds spiritual, it’s because it is. But it’s not something exclusive to a given religion (although it is a part of most.) Taking an inner look at one’s self is a healthy human experience. Fighting about definitions like who can and who can’t be racist will never bring peace. Getting to know people of a different race can break down the barriers of prejudice and racism.

  234. Helen,

    “All I did was try to joke about what occurs when we go crazy being politically correct. PC ought to stop us from being offensive, but sometimes all it does is cause us to speak in riddles. Pehaps we can agree on that.”

    Yes, we can.

  235. Kevin,

    Peace. Merry Christmas.

  236. Helen,

    And a Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

  237. Helen,

    “Getting to know people of a different race can break down the barriers of prejudice and racism.”

    But I also agree with Dagon that “a jerk is a jerk” so when I dismiss someone as being a jerk and that person also happens to be black I resent the racist card being played. So yes, I am biased; typically once someone has impressed me as being a jerk, I don’t waste my time on them.

  238. Hi Kevin, Am I a jerk? Or have you given me a second chance?

  239. No, you’re far from crossing the threshold! (C:

    I do apologize for being “abrasive” but I’m a stickler for proof when statements are presented as fact as opposed to opinion–one of those pesky scientist qualities.

  240. Thanks Kevin.

  241. The citizens of Gardner, KS are currently working to recall two members of their City Council. The recall is tied up in the courts at the moment, but it should go to a vote in March of 2010.

  242. Sorry, aber das bezweifel ich ganz stark…Baer

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