11 August 2017

Random observations for August 2017

"Heaven" as most religions envisage it would be boring because it is supposedly "perfect" and therefore eternally unchanging (any change from perfection is for the worse, by definition).  Immortality here on Earth, with its endless cultural, social, and technological development, would be anything but boring.

o o o o o

Sometimes the greatest form of bravery is that which is the least respected.  To defend yourself or a weaker person from the mob takes courage, but to do so when that "mob" is most of the society you live in, enforcing its taboo system, and when you receive only contempt or ridicule for what you are doing -- how much more courage that takes!

o o o o o

If love potions actually worked, they'd be classified as date-rape drugs.

o o o o o

The most naïve and gullible people of all are the cynics and conspiracy-theory believers.

o o o o o

Taking any holy book as eternal and absolute truth traps you at whatever stage of scientific and moral development had been reached by its authors.  Fundamentalist Christians are stuck with creationism, homophobia, archaic gender roles, etc. because that is what the Bible's authors knew.  Even if a new religion were founded today, accepting all of 2017's scientific knowledge and moral values as part of its dogma, within a century or two it would seem hopelessly outdated because that dogma could not assimilate the further progress made since its foundation.

o o o o o

The "fascism is leftist, not rightist" scam (promoted by Jonah Goldberg, but now a common wingnut talking point) exemplifies the essentially dishonest and pre-modern outlook of the modern right wing. One of the biggest differences between the pre-scientific medieval way of looking at the world and the scientific outlook was that the former concerned itself with essences, what things "are", whereas science looks at how things behave and interact. The important question is not what fascism "is" (what category it goes in), but rather, which present-day party is behaving in the classic fascist manner — demagoguery, anti-intellectualism, whipping up ultra-nationalism, scapegoating minorities, encouraging violence, etc.

o o o o o

The Paris accord was signed by every country in the world except Syria and Nicaragua (and the latter rejected it because it didn't go far enough).  Does Trump think they're all participating in a "Chinese hoax"?

[For previous random observations, see here.]


Blogger Green Eagle said...

Jonah Goldberg's book was growing pretty long in the tooth, I guess, because the right has now published a brand new book alleging that leftists are the real Nazis, written by that Conservative man of honor, Dinesh D'Souza:"The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left." It is now in the process of being adoringly reviewed at just about every wingnut website in existence.

11 August, 2017 10:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heaven is what it is. Don't really know about Hell. Hades is like a Florida retirement timeshare, or Valhalla.

I have never understood how humans think Christianity is all about them.

If I was planning some jailbreak of imprisoned demigods, I sure would not want that to be some damned cargo cult for the groupies.

Moral geometry returning into clock time is a price being paid.

11 August, 2017 16:36  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

98% of African-Americans support the Democratic Party, the liberals. By Goldberg's and D'Souza's reasoning, our African-American citizens are Nazis or Nazi-like Klans people.

The people who marched in Charlottesville yesterday and who are marching today are yelling anti-semetic slogans while carrying Nazi flags; they are people who are waving the Confederate flag that is a symbol of Jim Crow and the violence and lynchings done to African-American citizens with impunity for over 100 years. They'll argue that it was southern Democrats who committed those atrocities, and that was true then, but the south is now solidly Republican/conservative, so how do they explain what is happening today in the solidly conservative/Republican south?

PS. Both the Nazi and the Confederate flags are symbols of the losing sides of two major wars. The marchers in Virginia and other places where those flags are waved are waving the flags of losers.

12 August, 2017 10:44  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

Re heaven, another thing that'd end up making it intolerable would be the fact you'd probably be spending eternity with a bunch of religious fundamentalists! I think Christopher Hitchens was onto something when he described heaven as a celestial North Korea - basically a place where people spend all their time singing the praises of a dictator.

Good point about bravery. Sometimes, true courage is the opposite of what most people think it is.

The thing I always find funny about conspiracy theorists is the way they always know about whatever super secret conspiracy it is they're currently ranting about (despite said conspiracy being, well, super secret). Similarly silly is the way they always claim that the people behind the conspiracy will stop at nothing to silence those who know about it ("And yet here you are," I'll find myself thinking in response, "still alive and at liberty to continue posting your bullshit on the Internet!").

Your observation about religion reminds me of claims I've heard that Islam was actually quite progressive regarding the status of women when it was formed back in the 7th Century. Sadly, however, now that the rest of the world has moved on since then, its views on women are very regressive. I think this was one of the reasons Communism (something that was arguably just as much a religion as it was a political and economic philosophy) failed too. In a lot of the countries in which it was implemented, it actually produced quite impressive results initially (to give one example, North Korea outperformed its southern neighbour economically for several decades). As the world continued to change, however, Communism's dogmatic nature made it unable to adapt, and its prescriptions grew more and more detached from reality as a consequence.

13 August, 2017 06:29  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

On the subject of Jonah Goldberg's crackpot beliefs, my library actually has/had a copy of his book, Liberal Fascism, on its shelves. Out of masochistic curiosity, I had a flick through it one day, only to put it straight back when I saw the author approvingly quote Scott Lively's The Pink Swastika as a reputable work of history. Like many American wingnuts, he's probably not all that well-known here (not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!), but, yeah, now that I've done a bit of research on him, I've discovered he's a complete crank. I've seen at least one Australian blogger parrot his claim that the Nazis were actually left-wingers; said blogger also makes many other outlandish claims that, when I research them, invariably turn out to be wingnut PRATTs (Points Refuted a Thousand Times). I've occasionally toyed with the idea of trying to debate him, but I doubt it'd do much good - he strikes me as the sort of person who if I were to show him concrete evidence of Nazis considering themselves right-wing (such as the recent "Unite the Right" rally), would just scream, "False flag! False flag!" in response. (It probably won't surprise you to know he just loves Trump.) Interestingly enough, he professes to be Catholic, and seems to have the very medieval obsession you mentioned of viewing everything in terms of "essences" (for example, he hates homosexuality, seeing it primarily as a "sin against masculinity", and also seems to think various behaviours are inherently undignified for the members of one sex or the other to engage in, no doubt because they'd be in conflict with a person's "masculine" or "feminine" "essence").

Re Shaw Kenawe's comment about the Confederate flag, sadly a growing number of our own right-wing lunatic fringe are starting to venerate that odious thing (and spout all that nonsense about it being nothing more than a symbol of "Southern Heritage" that needs to be respected and protected). It seems there's no bit of American wingnuttery too ridiculous or outrageous to find enthusiastic fans here; indeed, many of those fans seem to be members of the party currently in power, scarily enough!

13 August, 2017 06:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Green: I saw that on your blog. Funny how the actual Nazis don't seem to agree that they're liberals.

Shaw: The fact that what was once the party of Lincoln has become the party of the Confederate flag shows how thoroughly they've switched positions.

Zosimus: Good point about conspiratards. I'll have to remember that next time I'm poking them with a stick.

In some ways Islam was progressive for 7th-century Arabia. It banned female infanticide, for example, which had been practiced up to then. But it never works to just freeze moral evolution at a given point and declare it immutable forever.

PRATT -- I love that! I've run into how they always yell "false flag!" and "fake news!" to ward off any inconvenient facts. Eventually reality will catch up with them, though.

14 August, 2017 08:14  

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