Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

operation secular democratic humanism...

st marys

[ABC religion and ethics] Editor's note: Few topics are as contentious today as the role of religion in political debate and public deliberation. Rival positions rely on differing accounts of history, conceptions of "religion" and convictions about the role of the state. Russell Blackford (University of Newcastle) and William Cavanaugh (DePaul University) have both written extensively on this topic, and thus their wide-ranging exchange represents an uncommonly sophisticated treatment of the issues at stake and why they matter.


The Moral Neutrality of the Secular State

Russell Blackford,

read on: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/06/24/4031567.htm

 

Gus note: The editor, Scott Stephens, of this section called Religion and Ethics at the ABC appears to be himself a very committed religious person. The actual link to this ABC section Religion and Ethics is: http://www.abc.net.au/religion. As you can note the "Ethics" part does not appear in the link. It's petty of me to point this out but it needs to be addressed. 

This is what Scott Stephens has to say on the subject of religion in regard to Waleed Aly and Andrew Bolt:

 

And yet there is no denying that Waleed Aly and I belong to the two religious traditions on account of whose hypocrisy "the name of God is blasphemed" throughout the West. The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 and the torrent of revelations of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the first half of 2002 produced the ideal conditions of possibility for the emergence of the stridently antitheistic rhetoric and materialist reductionism that would come to be synonymous with the "New Atheism."

I am at least consoled that, within the vast folds of the Islamic and Christian intellectual traditions, the inherent potential for repentance, reform and rebirth is always present, as the unending internal struggle to reflect the Divine beauty in common life goes on. But what resources, I wonder, exist within secular liberalism for the struggle against human ego?

Scott Stephens is the Religion & Ethics Editor for ABC Online.

So on with Gus' rant:

 

I will start by analysing what Cavanaugh writes at the end of his diatribe:

In the United States we face a secular state, armed to the teeth, that frequently goes to war to defend "freedom" and other secular ideals. The secular state I live in is often no less ambitious in domestic affairs. Blackford rejects the idea of state imposition of Christian or Muslim teachings on contraception, as do I. At the present moment in history, however, such an imposition is not even remotely possible. What is real is the Obama administration's determination to force faith-based organizations - like Catholic charities - to provide artificial contraception to their employees regardless of any beliefs that such practices are wrong. The administration's position is based precisely on the kind of argument that Blackford makes: only secular reasons like health and hygiene count when the issue is a "worldly" one. Religion is essentially otherworldly and religious reasons should not matter when it comes to public policy.

The trivialization of Christianity and other faiths is thus accompanied by the "religion of secularism" that Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart warned about fifty years ago. That is insufficiently neutral for me, and it ought to be even for atheists like Russell Blackford.

Russell Blackford is Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle. He is the author of Freedom of Religion and the Secular State and Humanity Enhanced: Genetic Choice and the Challenge for Liberal Democracies.

William Cavanaugh is Research Professor at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University, Chicago. He is the author of The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict and Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church.

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Gus: of course, William Cavanaugh is mistaken. He lives in a fish bowl with pretty plastic flowers and an oxygenator at the bottom that makes pretty bubbles. According to the Huffington Post there is not a single professed atheist in the US congress, though of all "congressmen" there could be as much as 19 hidden atheists. That is to say that their constituents would not vote for them should they know their non-religious position. The US state maybe "secular" but 90 per cent of its constituents are "religious" and so strongly religious that more than 50 per cent do not ascribe to the theory of evolution but most accept that guns to kill is a way of life. 

Secularism is not a religion. Atheism is not a religion. There is no god attached to either. Clear?. A religion is a belief in A GOD of some sort. Clear?

There is no trivialization of faith. There is only the exposure of conflicts within a faith, conflicts between faiths and conflicts that do not fit our acceptance of comforts brought in by sciences which do conflict with adherence to a faith. 

 

thieves and con-men ruling the roost...

 

From Russell Blackford

.....

By appropriate secular standards concerning the relevant things of this world - such as individual and public health - there might be reasons for the state to take some action to encourage certain kinds of sexual behaviour rather than others. But the best policy for the purpose might involve sex education in schools, the encouragement of "safe sex" and other relatively non-coercive steps, rather than blanket criminal bans of supposedly illicit sexual behaviour - let alone bans on an obscure religious cult's sex rites.


More generally, the Lockean model tends to separate the reasons for state action, not only from religious morality, but also from any traditional morality that does not actually assist in protecting civil interests. Locke could, of course, bite the bullet and accept this point; in strict logic, it does not undermine his model. It is not, however, an implication that would have been welcomed in 1689 by either Locke or his critics. Nor is it a welcome conclusion to modern-day religious conservatives and legal moralists.


In a sense, therefore, the Locke created a ticking bomb: his approach had radical implications for the role of the state in imposing moral legislation. Even today, these are playing out in our political debates. Three centuries after John Locke's death, the Lockean model of the state is philosophical dynamite.


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From Gus: yes, the Lockean model of the state is philosophical dynamite. It underpins a model of trusting liberalism between parties of "supply and demand", but, "unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature is characterised by reason and tolerance" which to some extend is also contrary to Gus' belief that "we all have the ability to be psycho-sociopath"...

 

Locke did not skirt this uneasy concept and talks at length about the value of "education", but also related this concept in a religious sense as the devil, rather than, as Gus sees it, a natural extension of our animalistic desire to survive while under threat. Psycho-sociopathy, a derivative of this natural trait, is used by individuals whether they are under threat or not. Thus to some extent Locke is an "idealist" about "human nature" with a lingering godly influence — though he doubted the godly value of Christ.


In a modern world which is presently ruled mostly by greed, this idealism would not work too well due to many factors — including the sheer numbers of individuals, of religious influences and of political systems. The extension of Locke's beliefs and visions into today's world could actually increase the power of greed a few hundred fold.

 

Thus this is the only way the Lockean model could become explosive, in which, despite the value of work and for "men" of good-will trading the value of work, it can only massively plunge the social construct into thieves and con-men ruling the roost — which is presently the case in Australian politics.

 

Note: Gus is an expert on deceit. 

According to some people, Locke was the inspiration for the American Declaration of Independence which founded human rights on the biblical belief in creation: "All men are created equal, (...) they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, (...) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

 

The defining word here being "certain" which in modern lingo can mean uncertain or undefined or "limited"...

 

the democratic ideal...

 

"Nothing's perfect". 


 


A group of people, a country, a pod, is an assemblage of variegated individuals of a species who have been conglomerated by accident of history. For many years since the year dot, chieftains have risen to control the group. Few groups have avoided this "evolution". This process has led to kingdoms, Empires, dictatorship and eventually some various democratic models.

The systems of government are always in a flux, swaying from small variation to another, though modern democracies are more or less stable. The ruthless battles between kings, within realms and outside realms have been fought and hopefully we will never see the likes of Charles the first fighting others, including Cromwell, for a throne of sort, under religious pretence... 

In a democracy, the group itself, through ballot, decide their government, mostly based on their feelings, on various information (true or false) and on the main engines — relationships in which trade, sex, family and other factors, such as ownership, are defined under the desires of the people into laws and attached accepted values.

Whatever style of democracy we create, there will be whingers and people who won't benefit like others. Thus a democracy needs a certain flexibility and some system of lawful compensation for the trodden — even in "accepting" that some people are going to rort the system — at the top, in the middle and at the bottom — as long as the system itself is the fairest possible for all (most) to benefit. Even the Chinese know this. 

This is why there are poor people on benefits and multi-billionaires in most countries, including China. This does not mean that either of those are rorting the system, but generally this could be due to various education level, the will to become rich, the know-how to make money by trade and also of risk-taking (which is often related to our psycho-sociopathy). There are of course many grey areas in which the system allows for "trickery" and "robbery" including in taxation "loopholes", various means such as "trusts" and charity for the poor. 
Presently, the Christian democratic system which exist in Germany and most of Western Europe, seems to serve its people well, as long as people are prepared to toil for a defined amount of rewards. But at best, democracy is still fragile because it can be easily manipulated and/or trumpeted by the government propaganda and the media for the benefit of a few, against the "greater good" while claiming the opposite, eventually stealing from the poorest...

The differential between toil and reward is a big part at the core of the modern democratic system.

But there are convoluted mechanisms that make us accept a given value of our toil, but these mechanisms are so varied that they often lead to what is perceived as unfairness and inequity. 
These mechanism do overlap but can be defined simplistically as follow:


Democratic Rectitude :
Balance and judgement between our altruism and our psycho-sociopathy, socially and personally is paramount... Most of our social constructs though giving a lot of leeway for some people to become "richer" than others, the system still has to help the helpless to survive, albeit not very well — or too well should we believe some of the most ardent adherent of the law-of-the-jungle, in general those who make it rich, though they use philanthropy as a way to regain a certain moral ground — or have a genuine concern which they express through charity. It's not my cup of tea in ideal of democracy. 

Humanity cannot survive well in its own mind, with a system where we do not care about the next person, including the weak. The speech of Graeme Innes today as the retiring disability discrimination commissioner was poignant and brought tears to many by the end. His job has been cancelled by the, may I say heartless, Abbott regime. Though this regime is "committed" to the NDIs scheme, it is now placing more hoops and hurdles in front of the people most unable to jump, especially the mentally ill...

Sure there are fakes and "bludgers" and thieves at all levels of the social ladder, but our desire to flush them out by modify and/or garrotting this aspect of the system, often destroys the very fairness of the entire system. So democratic rectitude is not a belief in dogma or into hammering those who are hard done by, but in our necessity of care. 

This democratic rectitude also includes the protection of the personal freedoms and the duty to the group. There are of course conflict within such concept of freedom, for example the protection of women's rights versus freedom of religion that demands punitive submission. 

So how much can we benefit from the group while being selfish — or presently what can be described as a social disease  —our growing individualistic narcissism: 

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." 
This variation on theme has been one of the main flux of the matter, though the definition of country is limited in regard to the greater humanity and its moires and its greater relationships.... We can only hope. 

It is the role of government to create and maintain democratic rectitude. The present Australian government which I call "the Abbott regime" has abandoned this democratic aspect by lying overtly to get elected and by lying continually to achieve an advantage for the rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of the population.

This is, of course, the way the cookie crumble. We get told porkies by propaganda, via media — especially the merde-och media which got hammered in Graeme Innes speech as being slanted against disabled people —  then we vote, we get a result — a slut of an Abbott government. Sad. Very sad.


Religious Beliefs :
Religious beliefs muddle our understanding of our place on this planet. Religious beliefs do not want to take into account our "natural" history in evolution and have little interest in our physical construct. Sure the psychology of humans resides in the upstairs department, which is the brains and what we do with it, rather than in angel dust and demonic beings. All of our behavioural traits stem from the simple nature of the animals that we are.

Science thus easily debunks a lot of erroneous religious beliefs. But in the end we are facing a simple question: what do we want from this planet? The answer to this are complex and basically only science (and biomathematics) can give the closest result to it. The answer resides in the juxtaposition of many equations that all are related in a giant matrix of the same equation repeated millions of times over and all inter-dependent:

x [next] =rx (1-x) 
x [next] =rx (1-x) 
x [next] =rx (1-x) 
etcetera a million times

This very simple equation is the most power equation in our relative small universe. It basically expresses how we can and are destroying the planet by not recognising the LIMITS of the planet (mostly the limits of its thin surface and of its atmospheric gradient), the bio-limits and the resources limits. But even if we recognise (or not) the LIMITS in the system, the system at one stage WILL collapse before we can do anything about it.
The x value is a number between 0 and 1, where 0 is absence of population and 1 is maximum possible population in the system, but as one can see in the equation, this MAXIMUM CAN NEVER BE REACHED... There is an assured collapse of population due to overshooting the supply, despite all efforts to increase production in regard to humanity's survival. This is why some clever people call for a SUSTAINABLE future.  

There are of course some survival and population growth variations due to the parameter n which in my small head reflects the state of the environmental factors and availability of supplies, which can soon be dwindling at a rate of knots. 

Paralleling the same equation over and over in a matrix represents the various living creatures scope with which we share the planet. As we, humans, modify our environment and increase our occupation of space, the space for other species to live is inevitably reduced (the r factor is diminished greatly) and or is "polluted" — all leading to population stress and extinction. No magic here, no angels, just clear and justifiable unforgiving numbers. The same goes with global warming. 

Religion is imbued with hocus pocus in fantasy land and, at worse, is totally psycho-sociopathic in its application — but religion is powerful nonetheless, because we are all prepared to believe anything of arcane value, especially when considering we are often brainwashed from a very young age in this religious cocoon. And religion is designed to give men power over women. 

"Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."



Here president Kennedy caught on the idea of humanity being in charge of itself, not by godly decrees, but by trying to be its own future maker. But Kennedy had his demons, the same used by George W Bush, basically pandering to an unhealthy competition between nations.

We are seeing a resurgence of humanity's dumbing by religious decree, in ISIS taking over parts of Iraq under an extremist banner and calling for all Muslim to be part of the Jihad... This is not going to end well, unless drastic actions are taken — some contrary to our good nature. 
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-to-understand-the-isis-threat/

Religions, under whatever formats, have been the main source of human conflicts, no matter how much the religious people deny it.

Scientific understanding is the only way to go, though some sciences can also be associated with our psycho-sociopathy, personal and communal, or become entwined with greed. We need to be alert...
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In the next instalment I will develop the concept of :

greed :
This also included risk taking, gambling. 

rights :

defence :

and action (toil)/reward :
Capitalism is not a religion. Capitalism is an pseudo-arbitrary exchange system that evolved from some humans deciding capitalism would manages the values of toil, of rewards and of risk.

 

 

 

Gus Leonisky

 

Your local backstage gofer...

greed and compassion in a democratic construct...

 

greed :
When we see footballers on a field, there are three main characteristics that make the game: possession, brute force and deceit. Without possession you cannot play the ball. Brute force allows you to shoot into the goal or pass with power. Deceit needs precision and ability to swerve around, hide the ball and dazzle the opposition. There are also rules and referees to avoid bloodshed — items which often goes missing in full blown competitive conflicts: wars.

Greed works on the same principles and is very strongly allied to, you've guessed it, my view of psycho-sociopathy, which is an extension of the natural necessity for animals to survive in the wild. One cannot allow a rival on one's territory. Some people call this "competition". But to me the word competition does not encompass the essential ingredient of instinctive brutal reactivity to individually survive.  Resources are limited and these are yours not-to-share, except in some "social" species where abundance of resources removes the need for such competition of supply, but there could still be some sexual competitive practices.

May be I should not call it psycho-sociopathy, but it's the only concept that I can find to describe the process that fits the bill. It is eventually our ability to care more about ourselves than care about others, which in humans becomes an inflated major problem in our social relationships. This has led to slavery, to apartheid, to exploitation, to crime, to realms and to dictatorships. 

Greed is this mechanism applied to possessions and becomes an end game rather than a means. We thus have had to create rules and appoint referees to limit its scope in a social construct otherwise, it is believed pandemonium and gun fights would reign. But there again deceit can alter the resultant game by corrupting the refereeing process.

Greed is the action of acquiring more possessions than others in a social context and far more than what we need to survive at an individual level, while caring little about others... We can justify greed as a need but it's nothing more than an inflated want with bells and whistles. The entire social construct — especially capitalism — is geared to be greedy and make us want more than what we need and to some extent this is how evolution of comforts have come to be. This is house improvements. This is refined cooking. This is money in the bank. This is glorified consumerism with its new products — 99.9 per cent of them being unnecessary. This is supposed to provide comforts to be shared by all, but some of us will get away with more of the loot.

Where this process becomes a major problem is two folds: a) we stop caring about others, especially the less fortunate, making elegant excuses about this and b) we stop caring about the planet on which we live.

There are many gradings of greed. There are gradings of psycho-sociopathy. These issues are not plain black or white. We're not all psychopath but we all have the ability to be psychopath. There are various learned mechanisms that can suppress this "instinct of survival in which we value our life (far) more than others": mostly courage, compassion, drugs. 

With greed, often comes power. With greed comes possession. Deceit often becomes the refinement of brute force and in many circumstances deceit can defeat others' brute force, but not always. We often talk about brains and brawn... But this does not mean that all brainy people do not possess the ability of brute force, nor that all brawny people do not have the ability of deceit. Most of us have the want of greed. Our modern social construct demands this — that we participate in the socially organised greed: consumerism.

The cleverer amongst us often use a mix of deceit and brute force to "achieve". Not all of us have a full blown greedy attitude, and there is a social-formula at which we, as individual, stop "wanting more than what we need" but everyone of us do not stop at the same level and some will push on and on. 

When by accident or luck we manage to acquire more than what we need, the pathway next divides into pure greed when we still want more and a form of generosity in which we share the excess acquired. 

Greed is considered a sin in the Abrahamic religions. This has not stopped many popes and all kings (and queens), to amass fortunes under the banner of religious fervour for power and control. Compassion, one of the limiter of greed, is strongly valued in these religions. 

Most religious adherents though, from the suicide bomber who hopes for a better life in heaven to a Tony Abbott who destroys the social moires by lying, do not abide by their religious principles. Sure an Abbott will pedal for "compassionate" charity but he will send the bill to the government and lie to be elected. That my friends is greedy and dishonest. Tony Abbott will protect his privileges while destroying yours with a plethora of explanations that are no more than excuses for fudgey tricks.

Our social construct such as a democracy, tries hard to limit the scope of such rampant greed with pitiful success. Corruption and inadequate rules "make sure of that". As well powerful interests that profit from greed will make sure the "information" channels (the mediocre mass media de mierda) are also encouraging deceit and greed. The channels are also deceitfully showing fairness as a "problem"... by overstating the importance of "bludgers and loafers" at the low social-economic scale... while idealising the greedy robbery committed by the high end of town.

Sustainability is a form of compassion. Compassion rarely appear as a necessity. And presently sustainability may not appear to be a necessity, but soon the crash of species, including our own, will tell us that we've been too greedy. But the greedy will never see that.

Gambling is a form of greed, in which we justify an "investment" with the possibility of some higher return but combined with the risk of losing the original investment. Most of the stock market is a gambling den where the general investment is more or less guaranted but individual investments are not. This means that usually the general kitty grows and has to grow for investors to be enticed to place their bets. The stock market has a relative value to the world GDP, while the derivatives market is pure gambling by financial institutions, with no real reserves and no limits. This is where mathematics and greed marry at best, otherwise the whole edifice would collapse. 

For the ordinary punter, the illusion of gain will often send him/her bankrupt. The very enticing gains at Lotto are a billion to one in the odds. All in all, the system of gambling is not so much for the gamblers to gain but for the organisers of the game to profit. In the derivatives market the organisers and the betters are one and the same. 

And our present biggest gamble is that we're risking the future of the surface of this planet with our greed. The inevitable result is that we will lose.

Gus leonisky
Your local cleaner...

 

the rights to be...

 



Human rights is a more complicated issue than just declaring "we all have rights"... Well... it should really be as simple as this.
But because we're not all at the same stage of cultural development, psychopathy, deviousness, religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, gender identification, strength and age at the same time, the issue of rights becomes very complicated. 

Same with the "rights of nature" which are mostly altruistic imposts from us — our gift to nature. The inference in the declaration of human rights is based on vague human natural rights and strong godly decrees...

The first codified appearance of human rights in human history seems to be that inscribed in the "Cyrus Cylinder", presently stored at the British Museum... These edicts were engraved around 600 BC for King Cyrus after his conquest of Babylon (ancient Baghdad, see also Blood Rivers of Babylon...)
These definitive engravings decreed freedom of religion, the end of slavery, choice of profession and for the expansion of the empire. Nothing new and even a bit less in the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. 

But the constant need to remind each others of "Our Human Rights" decries that we flaunt them too often. Look at Abbott-the-Miserable-Sod.... He has a human rights' bypass in dealing with asylum seekers to the point he's become a dangerous man if he was not already. 
Human rights definitions apparently go beyond King Cyrus — even back to around 2400 BC. 

Most social construct, even a family developed a scale of "rights", acquired by ways to rule the roost or minimise harm to the group from within. This notion of rights was eventually extended to most of humanity quite recently in the history of humankind.
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We hear or read that "our rights end where someone else's begins". But the boundary between them and us is very very fuzzy. 

Often in order to be true to our psychopath-self, we trespass... and make excuses.

This is part of the Lord's Prayer: "And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us..."
Here is a clue: We demand the Lord to forgive our trespasses but we do not beg forgiveness from those on whose toes we walk(ed) upon... We don't go and say : "Sorry man, I just walked on your toes so I could get ahead in my own life..." Do we? But we do trespass. We walk on people toes, in obvious and covert ways to gain an advantage and we don't apologise — or if we do, it's completely hollow.

But when people walk on our toes, it's often war. Turning the other cheek? You've got to be kidding... And the more religious we are, not so strangely, the more we seem to seek revenge and then beg for god's forgiveness. Or we decide it is (was) god's will to impose our beliefs on more mugs than the next guy.

This is where this edifice of godly ritual ventures into massive hypocrisy. Yes, most of the time, we go to war. We do not forgive. We seek revenge. We may wish a confrontation to assert that we are right in our beliefs that trespass is "necessary", then we beg god's forgiveness for having sorted out things our own way — with "righteous violence". God obliges then, in our own mind, by "telling us" we did the right thing... We delude ourselves.

With the concept of rights should come the unavoidable need for trust. And most of the time we have suspicions instead. We know deceit because we even deceive ourselves by praying to god for forgiveness because we do not have the guts to apologise to the person(s) we've offended... or repair what we broke.

More often than not, we seek to offend deliberately for whatever reason or excuse. This hypocritical trait is more pronounced with religious people who hold the high moral ground of godly beliefs and who want to impose their views on what your life should be... 

I do not pretend not to trespass when I do. I have an intent and I do not beg for forgiveness. I state my intent. I will not attack someone for being religious unless that someone attacks me for being an atheist. But I won't make two bones about attacking the concept of religion. 
Why?

I mostly attack the concept of "enforced" submissiveness within all its forms: religious, gender, sexual, political. This enforcement can be violent or subtle control of our thoughts.
I attack submissiveness because essentially it is foregoing our rights, for whatever "justification". This can start with brainwashing, victimisation, weak laws, personal weakness, fear. Unless strong laws are there to defend our rights, we can be crushed, unable to respond, and unable to even forgive because we may not understand why we need to forgive as we cannot see we are victimised or that our rights have been taken away by a slanted system with decrees. These religious, political, familial pressures on our rights are enforced with punishments and victimisation, that are presented to us as the only way we shall live...

And then there are conflicts between the rights of group and individuals within: the right of religion beliefs that crushes or define women into a specific subservient role. A self-contained decreed abuse of human rights, enveloped in "tradition".

This is why Brandis should not downgrade the present vilification laws under the obvious excuse that one of his mates got hit for six for attacking the rights of white-looking aboriginal people. I heard in horror, a couple of days ago, a whitefellow, I guess, being interviewed on Radio Koori (Live and deadly Aboriginal radio in Sydney) saying that if you are verbally abused and you feel gutted, you have to learn to cope with it or respond in kind. Not a good look. This views make rights second rate compared to the freedom of perpetrating abuse, verbal and physical. Verbal abuse can translate into physical abuse within. That is to say verbal abuse can hurt the "spirit" of another person and induce real medical conditions — anxiety, anger which we do not need, and depression.
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But now, the abuse of rights and the absence of negotiations in the face of such abuses, there is an uneasiness seemingly growing in the human world on this planet... There were various world conflicts last century, two which were on a massive scale and fought in various regions under different justifications: WWI and WWII. Most parties presently agree that any conflicts on such scale would even be more catastrophic. 

The little conflicts that are simmering here and there — in Syria, in Iraq and in Africa, and the territorial disputes between China and Japan  — need to be contained and resolved. Yet again our General-in-Turd (four stars Orstralyan Dork) Tony places his mouth on his foot. He has no understanding that things in history are best left alone and cannot be whitewashed. Nasty conquests have no redeeming features, unless you think Hitler was a good man.

Defence of rights and of freedom is soon muddled into aggression in such climate.
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Humans are mad enough to drive their own follies beyond the pale — religiously and politically. So, in the end, it is the right of nature that I am mostly concerned with...  This recognition of rights of nature should be our sense of belonging to this planet. Our gift to nature — a simple recognition that nature exists not to serve us but because it simply exists. Unfortunately, in most people's mind, we are just transient, travelling to another better world. It's sheer lunacy. Atheism has long let go of this concept of going to a better world... Some "religions" like Buddhism let you come back to the same place, the earth, as a better or worse entity — a worm, a dog or a human — according to your having mucked things up not too much, in your previous "incarnations". But this is fanciful wishful thinking. We are mucking up the place nonetheless.

With our ability to take over the finite surface on this planet and reduce the habitats for other species — plants and animals — with our carbonisation of the atmosphere and of the oceans, with our impressive scientific ways to pollute and poison the four corners of this unique sidereal pebble, we are doing a disservice to "nature", our originator — and should we believe in god, we are mucking up "his" design... Imagine, people are mutilating babies and females with genital "modifications" that are nothing more than painful tampering with the rights of some humans to be "integral", under the idiocy of traditions...

Human rights have a long way to go before we know what real rights are... Too much emphasis is placed on protecting abusers of rights, under the banner of freedom and of traditions in religion, and culture. More often than not, even under the best of human rights, the rights of women come second.

We shall see. 

Gus Leonisky
Your local simplistic simpleton

 

when religious freedom shoots itself...

Inquiry into ‘Trojan Horse’ allegation finds extremism in 13 schools


LAST UPDATED AT 08:17 ON Sat 19 Jul 2014

Schoolchildren were taught that all Christians are liars and attempts were made to introduce Sharia law into classrooms, an inquiry into an alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ plot in Birmingham schools has discovered.

The inquiry, commissioned by Birmingham City Council, found evidence of extremism in 13 schools in the city. It also concluded that the extremism went unchecked because the council "disastrously" prioritised community cohesion over "doing what is right".

Schools displayed posters warning children that if they didn't pray they would "go to hell", Christmas was cancelled and female pupils were taught that women who refused to have sex with their husbands would be "punished" by angels "from dusk to dawn".

The inquiry’s report, which was published yesterday, concluded that there was a "determined effort" by "manipulative" governors to introduce "unacceptable" practices, "undermine" head teachers and deny students a broad and balanced education.

A separate review, commissioned by the Department for Education, found that the schools were trying to impose "segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain Sunni Islam".

Apologising for the council’s handling of the scandal, leader Sir Albert Bore said: "The actions of a few, including some within the council, have undermined the reputation of our great city. We have previously shied away from tackling this problem out of a misguided fear of being accused of racism.



Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/59556/all-christians-are-liars-birmingham-pupils-told#ixzz37xuJhq5b