Monday, April 21, 2008
Built into our genes?
It has always seemed to me that a significant morality was instilled into human beings from the start. A morality, and an awareness of the idea of God was there. It can be rejected and covered over, but it is still a potent, transcendental force for most of us. This morality burgeons forth when needed to solve the problems of life, even when unbidden, and even when unwanted and ridiculed.
Similarly, a good education from the early years on most often predisposes one to seek one’s own way, and to live by a code that is agreeable to the self. If that education is slanted by religion, informed by religion, and instilled by religion, it too will burgeon forth with or without conscious assent in future years.
Thus there are these two factors—inherent morality and education—that are not really capable of being totally suppressed by the minds of most people. They can be an embarrassment to conscious thought as well, particularly if one has decided to run counter to their moral instincts and teachings. It is a massive internal struggle, I believe, that each of us has to go through (or to avoid, by accepting the morality, accepting the religion, and accepting the teachings without challenge.).
Rejecting God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost, and all of the rituals, ceremonies, dogmas, miracles and trappings of formal religion is indeed a massive mental and psychological undertaking. I suspect, however, that the truth is as I have said—it is all still there, that religion, just lightly covered over with evasions, counter arguments, misbelieving, and misunderstandings.
One question I posed to myself is: why does the universe, life and man exist at all? Is there a purpose, or not? I find it exceedingly difficult to ascribe it all to pure mechanism.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Guns, God, and Likeminded People
Clinging to the last!
There is an elitist idiot out there that used the word "clinging" to describe Middle American people and their definite preferences for God, Guns, and Likeminded People. Thus, in his mind, there are only two types of Americans: God and Gun lovers, and Elitists like him.
I pray to God that this Obama idiot does not get one vote from Middle Americans.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
America's Image on Torture
It is not only the military that needs examination
I have three points to offer:
Point 1: Has anyone ever surveyed or done a deep investigation of US police departments’ treatment of captured offenders? We have seen isolated Vcam instances on TV, but I suspect such behavior is far more rampant.
As to publicity of such actions, we have shipped overseas many films that depict just such actions by our police every year, for the “enjoyment” of foreign audiences. Even in Holland, a number of Dutchmen have commented on the brutality seen over and over in flim after film, and have asked if such behavior was the norm in the US. The point being that if the films are a success at the box office in the US, what does that say about the public’s thirst for brutality?
Yes, it is most often a fictional portrayal that they see, but to see these films year after year raises questions. Are we really this brutal? Does this happen often? Why does the film industry spew out ths sort of thing in volume every year? It sells.
The America haters seize on our penchant for brutality in films as evidence of a failed culture, and they are not at all surprised to see evidence coming from Iraq (and from the US, too!) that we do in fact practice forms of torture and brutality, though they have been shocked by it—for sure. This only confirms what they have suspected all along, I suggest.
We therefore have fostered a negative image in many places that has been nutured by our export of films showing lawlessness, brutality in jails, and violence on the streets, and then confirmed it all by published scenes from our overseas prisons in Iraq.
The bottom line is that we have a lot of cleaning up to do to reverse this image of brutality—and the fact of brutality—in the US. However, I sincerely doubt that we can shift the film industry, and the public, away from their current love of violent films.
Point 2: The next President should not only have the Justice Department investigate and prosecute US violators of the laws regarding real torture in the US and in overseas theaters. He should also have them perform deep investigations nation-wide into our police departments and their violations of the rights of citizens and others in their custody.
Point 3: Of course, I have left out the definition of “real torture,” but it most certainly must include serious bodily harm. I reiterate my previous position, however, that regardless of the definitions, investigations, prosecutions, and the laws passed, some forms of torture will continue to be practiced as the situation warrants it—but now by using far more circumspect and secret measures.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Torture should not be legal!
To get to the point, codifying torture in the law as an acceptable practice is wrong. The issue should be left alone, and we can declare our moral revulsion of it as much as we want, and make all of the declarations we can dream up against it, as Bush has done more than once.
Meanwhile, in certain situations, torture will be used to gain information not available in other ways. The practitioners will accept condemnation and any penalties forthcoming for using torture because of their conviction that they were doing the right thing to protect lives.
However, 99,999 out of 100,000 men will neither face this issue in real life nor even know that it has occurred. On that point, it is very easy to cry out against torture if it is safely abstract and a purely moral issue.