Not Equal: Gaza in over 1000 frames (A Mark Fiore Political Cartoon Video)

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro

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139 Responses to Not Equal: Gaza in over 1000 frames (A Mark Fiore Political Cartoon Video)

  1. Tony C. says:

    I notice the right side of the screen doesn’t show any suicide bombers at daycare centers, any of the 15,000 missiles fired into Israel, not one of the Israeli civilians or children killed. How conveniently myopic, to divorce the latest violence from everything that preceded it. I suppose Fiore’s Afghanistan video would leave out 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Center. Because who cares if a country acts in self-defense to prevent overt and voluntary acts of war or terrorism in their country that kills their children? What does that have to do with anything?

  2. Mike Spindell says:

    So if ten people attacked Muhammad Ali in his youthful days trying to kill him and he put all of them in the hospital, he would be the bully and their attacks forgotten? How easy it is to portray Israel as the bully for their response to the Hamas threat. How hard it is for those same critics to understand that Israel has won all of its battles, because they would be destroyed if they lose.

  3. Elaine M. says:

    Mike,

    I have stayed out of the discussions at FFS about what is going on in Gaza. I think neither side is blameless.

  4. Mike Spindell says:

    The Betrayal of the Intellectuals
    Yair Lapid, Israel’s Minister of Finance and the head of Yesh Atid, Israel’s second largest political party

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yair-lapid/the-betrayal-of-the-intel_b_5652216.html

    “I don’t accuse intellectuals of bias or of anti-Semitism but too many of them are certainly guilty of intellectual laziness.

    Too many American and European intellectuals have taken moral relativism to its absurd extreme, falling back upon the ‘validity of every narrative’ and repeating the mantra that ‘every story has two sides.’ They treat those who have a clear moral stance as primitive. For them, if you take a moral stand or choose a side in a conflict you must lack the necessary tolerance to “see the other side.”

    It seems a distant memory but not long ago intellectuals did the exact opposite. They were the ones who helped us differentiate between good and evil, between right and wrong, between justice and injustice. They didn’t delve into the childhood of Senator McCarthy or ask whether the Germans felt a genuine sense of hardship. The debate wasn’t over feelings but the essence of truth.

    The betrayal of the intellectuals was especially noticeable during the days of the operation in Gaza. Ostensibly, there should be no question as to who enlightened people should support; on one side of the conflict stands a western democracy, governed by the rule of law, which warns civilians before striking legitimate terrorist targets. On the other side stands an Islamist terrorist organization, homophobic and misogynistic, committed to killing Jews, which does all in its power to murder innocent civilians and hides behind its own women and children when carrying out its vicious attacks.

    But those intellectuals see it differently. For them, the Palestinians are suffering more and so they must be right. Why? Because they have turned suffering into the only measure of justice.

    The suffering in Gaza is truly heartbreaking, but the causes are not clear cut. When Hamas forces civilians to stand on the roof of a building which is used as a terrorist command center despite knowing that the building will be attacked (and they know because we warn them), who are we to hold responsible? When Hamas places rockets and explosives inside UN schools and fires from within hospitals, who are we to hold responsible? When Hamas fires thousands of rockets and mortars at the cities of Israel and fails to kill hundreds of our children only because of our technological edge and the Iron Dome missile defense system should we blame ourselves for suffering less?

    Those intellectuals betrayed themselves because they refuse to answer these questions or even to truly appreciate the complex global reality in which we all now live. Instead they stare at the photographs of the injured children in Gaza and compete as to who is the most outraged.

    Hamas, of course, is acutely aware of the weakness of many western intellectuals and treats them as a tool in its propaganda war. There is significant intelligence information — not only in the hands of Israeli intelligence — which shows that Hamas believes, theologically, that there is no barrier to sacrificing the lives of the children of Gaza to garner sympathy in the western media. Those who are aware of the intelligence also know how the Hamas sees western intellectuals who buy into their gruesome propaganda — they are a tool, to be used and to be mocked.”

  5. Mike Spindell says:

    “Mike,
    I have stayed out of the discussions at FFS about what is going on in Gaza. I think neither side is blameless.”

    Elaine,
    Part of the beauty of what we are creating at FFS is that it is a “salon of Ideas” created by a group of people, who each bring their own unique perspective to our posts and discussions. We have no “party line” and I suspect we never will. If we all agreed on all things it would soon become boring and stultifying.

  6. Elaine M. says:

    Mike,

    It’s good to be able to discuss politics and other important issues once again without being attacked or labeled or called a cultist or have your intelligence/integrity/reading comprehension called into question.

  7. po says:

    Elaine says:
    “I think neither side is blameless.”
    Couldn’t be any truer!

  8. bigfatmike says:

    It is a good thing to recognize the suffering. But that is not enough. At some point you have to make hard decisions about who is causing the suffering and what it takes to make it stop.

    In my opinion, even the accurate observation ‘neither side is blameless’ is too often used as a shield to avoid recognizing uncomfortable facts.

    ‘Neither side is blameless’ may be accurate but it is also insufficient to guide us to reasonable decisions.

    At some point you have to look past all the atrocities and ask who is the aggressor, who is trying to kill who, which one is willing to make peace.

  9. Elaine M. says:

    bfm,

    “At some point you have to look past all the atrocities and ask who is the aggressor, who is trying to kill who, which one is willing to make peace.”

    *****

    Sometimes people takes sides on issues without knowing the whole truth of the stories behind them. We had many members of the MSM in this country writing and speaking in support of a preemptive war with Iraq. Our country was the aggressor in that war–which led to the killing of many thousands of innocent people and to atrocities committed on Iraqis by our own countrymen.

    Regrading Gaza: Who are the aggressors? Who is trying to kill whom? Which side is truly willing to make peace?

  10. po says:

    And that is the fascinating thing about the state of the world right now, there are no good guys.
    Everyone is tainted either in the acting or the reacting, as an aggressor or in self-defense! And this is where the single narrative becomes incredibly dangerous, whether in Ukraine or in Gaza.
    There is however an added burden put on the mighty, whether it be Assad against the rebels, US against everyone else, Israel vs the Palestinians or Ukraine against the separatists.
    This article discussing the battle between Fatah and Hamas expresses it quite well. Though we tend to see Fatah as the good guys vs the bad Hamas, which side gets our sympathy?
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

  11. po says:

    Also answers some of your questions, Elaine,BFM.

  12. re pete says:

    We have no “party line” and I suspect we never will. If we all agreed on all things it would soon become boring and stultifying.

  13. Elaine M. says:

    pete,

    Are you old enough to remember telephone “party lines?”

  14. bron98 says:

    Yair Lapid has it right.

    Just look at ISIS and what they are doing in Iraq. Hamas and other terrorist orgs are death cults.

  15. po says:

    Bron, what are the similarities/differences between ISIS and Hamas?
    And please, don’t just say “they are the same to me, terrorist organizations!” You know, I just want your insights, not the conclusion.

  16. pete says:

    Elaine

    yep, Wedowee Alabama, our ring was two shorts and a long.

    I recognized Opie in the clip, I think I remember the kid that stood up and walked to the left but I can’t place him.

  17. randyjet says:

    Mike, I agree with most of what you wrote, but there are numerous other factors that I believe motivate those who denounce the IDF and the campaign in Gaza. In many discussions on line and personally, there are some themes that are used. One is the natural sympathy of Americans for those who are the underdog in a fight. Another is the fact that the US government supports Israel, and that therefore, anything the US supports is bad. Then the critics look at the way Israel has established an apartheid society within it and the West Bank and its refusal to live up to its agreements at Oslo and to stop settlers in the West Bank. Another factor is the refusal of the IDF to punish murders committed by some of its troops. While Hamas is worse by far than the IDF, the tendency of such a struggle is to view all the Palestinians as subhuman on the part of many troops. Without public disciplinary court martials, of such troops, the feeling is generated that anything goes. There are too many reports from the UN detailing such crimes on the part of the IDF to ignore, yet nothing is done to reign in such bad actors. The US in Vietnam did many such things too, and nobody was punished which simply lead to more atrocities. This is a normal part of any warfare. At least the US in WWII, did court martial many troops who committed crimes of killing most often POWs and civilians on occasion. This is why so many on the left denounce Israel.

    I view Hamas as a fascist political party, and as I have said often that the only thing to do with fascists is to kill as many as possible, and that they are such a threat that I can care less who kills them or who the allies are. Unfortunately, this also breeds fascists in Israel and fosters such a climate that racism spreads. The thing that many people choose to forget is that Gaza had a climate of peace, the airport and port was open, and the people were starting to do well after the IDF withdrew. It was only when Hamas staged its coup against the PA and started killing off the officials and ran out Fatah supporters or killed them, that Israel took defensive measures to curb them. They also forget that Egypt took similar action since Hamas had NO legitimacy in law or agreements. I have to agree with Israel that negotiating with Hamas is a fools errand. Those who think it is realistic have to remember what Hamas did when they seized power in Gaza. They repudiated all agreements, and declared war on Israel, and ACTED on it. People need to think what would happen if Hamas came to power in the West Bank and started rocketing Israel from there. All that Hamas has done is to show how difficult it will be to get a final two state solution that will address Israel’s security needs.

    As in all such anti-colonial movements, there will always be hardliners who hate anything but total absolute victory of one side over the other. When Ireland got its independence, they had a civil war with the extremists who had to be defeated militarily before there was peace. The same applies to this situation. Israel could make the process easier if it stopped building settlements and show some tangible progress for the PA to show that THEY rather than Hamas can claim success for their methods. As long as Netanyahu is in charge, this conflict will never be resolved since he needs Hamas as much as Hamas needs him. They need each other to buttress their political positions. My preference would be for Israel to take back Gaza and eliminate Hamas once and for all as a military force.

  18. po says:

    By the way, Mike, this “When Hamas forces civilians to stand on the roof of a building which is used as a terrorist command center despite knowing that the building will be attacked (and they know because we warn them), who are we to hold responsible? When Hamas places rockets and explosives inside UN schools and fires from within hospitals, who are we to hold responsible?” is not true!
    Let the record show that the 3 UN schools in which Hamas rockets were found (by the UN who reported it), were empty, unoccupied schools. Secondly, there is no proof of Hamas forcing anyone to act as human shield. It is an Israeli talking point but no entity local or foreign has ever been able to document that. Thirdly, there is no proof that Hamas fired rockets from a hospital. The UN has stopped short of calling it a full blown lie, an excuse to justify the bombing of a hospital (among many) whose coordinates were given to the IDF 17 times.

    This is an Irish senator who is summarizing many of the points that I have made in the previous thread, and following it…talking about propaganda, in the liberal Guardian no less!

    http://electronicintifada.net/sites/electronicintifada.net/files/styles/large/public/140809-full-ad_1.jpg?itok=QB-7VIKV

  19. po says:

    Randy,
    I agree with your analysis, at least the first and 3rd section. Regarding the 2nd section, re Hamas v Fatah, i used to think as you do until I came across this, which i posted earlier. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804

    • randyjet says:

      I think you need to read a lot more than a one sided account. The FACT is that while Hamas did win the elections, they violated the PA Constitution by arming their own political armed faction apart from the legally constituted forces. Then they admit that they started the fighting as a pre-emptive strike against the legal unity government formed by Abbas and Hamas and Fatah. They also murdered one Fatah leader in Gaza by throwing him off a building 15 stories high. In fact, it was Hamas which started the bloodshed. Fatah gave up their positions and abided by the election results, while Hamas did the opposite by seeking to get governmental sanction for its own partisan military. So please read the WHOLE story. Israel simply followed the lead by the US, Egypt, and EU in regards to sanctions against the Hamas government because they refused to abide by the Oslo accords and to reject military actions against Israel. That is why Israel is not the only government establishing a blockade against Gaza. They have every right and duty to do that. There is no law which requires Israel to let arms pass through it en route to Gaza. If you think that what Israel is doing is wrong or a war crime, then you will have to say the same about Gen Grant, who starved Vicksburg into submission while shelling the whole city. Many civilians died of starvation there. You will also have to denounce Lincoln for the blockade of the South which caused immense hardship and deaths in the south of many of civilians.

    • randyjet says:

      Go to Wikipedia about the Hamas victory in the elections. It details all the actions of all the parties. It is quite true that the US did send arms to Fatah and the Presidential Guard because Hamas had demanded that another military force be established apart from the legally constituted forces, and were if fact mobilizing such a force. The so called US plan was in reaction to the moves of Hamas. Even Hamas ADMITS it attacked FIRST. THEY are the aggressors. I denounced Israel for starting the Six Day War, so I sure as hell will denounce Hamas for the same thing. It is like the GOP winning Congress and then starting a new military apart from the US armed forces and under its command.

      As for Hamas being a fascist party, it is true that they do not have a native corporate class within Gaza, but they DO have that with support from the most reactionary elements from the ruling corporate parties in Arab lands. I use the term fascist sparingly if you read many of my posts. So while it is not classic fascism, given their Islamist ideology of the state being an Islamic government, it is essentially the same thing the Nazis espoused of the state being the sole reason for an individuals existence. All must be subsumed to the state interests with no individual rights and all must obey the ruling clique.

  20. Randy,

    Hamas are not technically fascists. Although they are nationalistic and militaristic that lack the corporatist elements normally associated with fascism. They are more theocratic zealots in form and action. Don’t get me wrong. I deplore fascists and fascism in all its forms but it is important to use the right terminology. Using “fascist” as an epithet for a political group you don’t like is a common enough error (Bron does it all the time (I think in part because he cannot accept that by definition some of the ethos he holds dear is pure fascism)) but it is an error that undermines the utility of the word. Fascism is a very specific set of political behaviors every bit as repugnant as theocracy, however, one does not yell bear at a shark attack. It causes confusion which leads to inappropriate action.

    Other than that, I agree with the first and third parts of that analysis.

  21. po says:

    “Then they admit that they started the fighting as a pre-emptive strike against the legal unity government formed by Abbas and Hamas and Fatah.” Huh? You mean that same unity government that they agreed to and gave up most of their powers for? What era are we talking about? Circa 2008 or now? Are you mixing your timelines?

  22. That’s called theocratic totalitarianism, Randy. It’s still not fascism.

  23. pete says:

    It is like the GOP winning Congress and then starting a new military apart from the US armed forces and under its command.
    ===============================

    Grande Armee of the RepubliKochs.

  24. One of the things I like about this forum, and that we used to have at RIL before the Kochsucker trolls moved in, is the intellectual stimulation of discourse in fine-tuning arguments and polishing the preciseness of definitions.

    Now back to your regular programming. It seems to me that both Randy and Gene are correct, but for different reasons. As a psychologist, I am used to persons being imprecise in their use of definitions, but the telling part is behavior itself. It doesn’t matter so much as what one calls a set of behaviors in the general sense, but how the people act. In the original fascism, that grew out of the economic deprivations and humiliation of defeat at the end of WW1. The allies made the mistake of imposing draconian penalties on the defeated countries, and then ignored the growing resentment and racism. Hitler and Mussolini came along promising far more than a “chicken in every pot.” They promised their populace more land, redemption and revenge for humiliation, and the ability to live superior lives at the expense of those who humiliated them on 11/11/1918.

    The fascist solution was to identify one or more scapegoats to blame (Jewish bankers and merchants), and build a powerful military machine that would (and could) steamroller its way across any country who got in the way. Like all too many greedy authoritarians, they let their success go to their heads, and didn’t stop when they were ahead. If Hitler had not been obsessed with Russia, and instead of launching Operation Barbarossa, had focused all that energy and equipment on the British isles, he would have won WW2.

    Hamas is not motivated so much by the desire to build a powerful industrial operation as it is to impose a theocratic ideology, and at the same time seek redress for losing a huge chunk of Palestine to Jewish immigrants from Europe and elsewhere. Arab families were removed from their homes by force, and Jewish families given the properties. I am old enough to remember reading those first stories coming out of Palestine in the late 1940s. There was one letter from an Arab schoolboy about my own age who wrote about going to his former home. He was wistful that he could no longer sleep in his own bedroom, and was only able to see his house from the street. He lived in a refugee camp. The horrors of the Holocaust did not, and does not, excuse people being evicted from their homes and farms where their families had lived for centuries.

    Those kind of heavy handed tactics created resentment in the local population in the same way that similar heavy handed tactics of humiliation and economic deprivation created resentment in Europe following the Armistice of 1918. Psychological fertilizer for ambitious authoritarian leaders to emerge and take advantage of the situation.

    I am working on a long piece about what psychological research tells us about authoritarians and conservative politics. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name is still a rose.”

  25. Mike Spindell says:

    It has almost become a “set piece” that the heartless Israeli’s wantonly inflict deaths and casualties upon “innocent” Palestinian civilians, produced in a vacuum lacking context and motivation for Israeli actions. Thus the Israeli’s can be portrayed as “NAZI’s” demonstrating that their main intention is Palestinian genocide, rather than self-defense and by damning Israel with these charges the underlying propaganda intent is to further de-legitimize any claims to Israel by Jews. Two links from Wikipedia below are far more nuanced in their depictions and quite thorough in supplying psychological contexts. I would hope that the reader would read them in their entirety, which portrays both sides positively and negatively. Thus fortified with historical context the reader might understand that this conflict is hardly the “David and Goliath” one portrayed by the cartoon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_in_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_in_the_Second_Intifada

    • randyjet says:

      Po, the fact is that no one fascist state is an exact copy of each other. So while the Nazis in Germany were quite different from the Italian ones, and Franco different from both, they all had capitalism as their main economic feature which is true of Hamas. All had major support from the leading capitalists of their countries, and Hamas has no such class in Gaza or a very small one. They DO have the support of big capital abroad though, which fits the fascist model. A fascist party does NOT need to hold state power to be fascist. In FACT,Hamas does hold a state power in Gaza and has turned it into a theocratic state there.

      The fact is that the US and others DID try and work with the new Hamas government. They refused. So it should be no surprise that they took measures that tried to force Hamas to act in accord with the agreements that had been signed. THAT is not a coup. There was no need for a “leak” to prompt Hamas to take action. The fact is that Hamas was the aggressor and sought to violate the legal forms of the PA. You cannot whitewash Hamas by selective facts. It is like saying that Japan was only trying to forestall a US attack by striking at Pearl Harbor! The US was arming the LEGAL duly constituted armed forces, and it is revealing that you refuse to acknowledge the FACT that Hamas was forming its own army to use against its opponents. I see that you did not respond to my point about a GOP Congress establishing its own army, as opposed to the normal military. That is what Hamas was doing, and the fact is that Abbas was only buttressing his own position against an armed Hamas attack. In FACT,Hamas has stated it was the aggressor and started the war in Gaza.

  26. po says:

    Randyjet says:
    It is quite true that the US did send arms to Fatah and the Presidential Guard because Hamas had demanded that another military force be established apart from the legally constituted forces, and were if fact mobilizing such a force. The so called US plan was in reaction to the moves of Hamas

    Randy, I offer an in depth reporting that quotes US government officials, you offer wiki! I think your timeline is indeed off. Did you read my piece?
    Hamas won the elections that the US insisted take place against the wishes of Fatah and Abbas. Everyone was surprised that Hamas won, and the US/Quartet worked on subverting that win by any means necessary, including having Abbas dissolve the new government (without the constitutional powers to do so), and arming Fatah so It can enforce that constitutional takeover.
    It is only after the plan was leaked by a newspaper that Hamas reacted violently to the upcoming coup and things went downhill from there.
    It is within the allowance of an established/ legal government to prevent a coup against its authority and the democratic wishes of the people that voted it in power, so to blame Hamas for that fight is disingenuous, when it was obvious that everything was being done, from harassment to arming opponents to subverting their laws to do just that.

    Randy says:
    As for Hamas being a fascist party, it is true that they do not have a native corporate class within Gaza, but they DO have that with support from the most reactionary elements from the ruling corporate parties in Arab lands. I use the term fascist sparingly if you read many of my posts. So while it is not classic fascism, given their Islamist ideology of the state being an Islamic government, it is essentially the same thing the Nazis espoused of the state being the sole reason for an individuals existence. All must be subsumed to the state interests with no individual rights and all must obey the ruling clique.

    Though I see what Chuck is saying, and his historical analogy is relevant, I still agree with Gene here. Either it is fascism or it isn’t. There are enough words out there that define certain situations not to use one in existence to define a relatively similar situation. In light of socialism being thrown around of late, it becomes even more important.
    Iran is an Islamic government, so is Saudi Arabia. Hamas is not. Not yet at least. So the parallels with fascism and the Nazi party are way off. Hamas is a nationalistic militia, a political entity with a theocratic structure, not unlike every resistant group around the world that uses religion as a constitutional tool. Had it not won those elections, the fascism label would be even more off,as it would be just, perhaps, another Tamil tigers. If it ever consolidates power in its hand, it would perhaps would turn Palestine into a theocratic nation, however, it is far from that right now.

  27. “the fact is that no one fascist state is an exact copy of each other.”

    True. There are variations of fascism.

    “So while the Nazis in Germany were quite different from the Italian ones, and Franco different from both, they all had capitalism as their main economic feature which is true of Hamas.”

    Capitalism alone isn’t sufficient to meet the definitions of fascism. It requires a strong nexus of government and industry although it can vary as to which sets the priorities of government and manufacturing. Hamas does not have a substantive manufacturing base to direct toward their nationalistic ends.

    “All had major support from the leading capitalists of their countries, and Hamas has no such class in Gaza or a very small one.”

    My point exactly. That precludes categorizing them as fascists. They are nationalistic, militaristic and authoritarian but without that nexus they are not fascists.

    “They DO have the support of big capital abroad though, which fits the fascist model.”

    Actually that makes them puppets, not fascists.

    “A fascist party does NOT need to hold state power to be fascist. In FACT,Hamas does hold a state power in Gaza and has turned it into a theocratic state there.”

    And by your own admission, Hamas isn’t by definition fascist but rather a theocratic authoritarian nationalist group. Every bit as dangerous as fascists, true, but still not fascists.

  28. Mike Spindell says:

    The reality is that Hamas won the election over Fatah because Hamas has also done a better job in supplying social services, than Fatah, which through its’ history has been a corrupt oligarchy. There is no doubt that through the last 7 decades of their history that this group has been treated abominably. However, it is so easy to ascribe all that bad treatment to Israel, while neglecting the historical reality of their treatment. Into the Arab lands in which they fled in the light of Israel’s war of independence, they were kept in concentration camps by their Arabic/Islamic brethren. Their lives were miserable in these camps with barely enough given to them for sustenance. They were denied citizenship in these lands, since their continued existence as poor refugees was necessary to continue the Arab war against Israel on the propaganda front, assimilation even by those who would wish it was not allowed. Meanwhile PLO leaders like the Egyptian Yassir Arafat,
    lived very well as their people starved. At his death it was estimated that Arafat had over $250 million in Swiss Banks. This was typical of the Palestinian leadership, as they used “their” people as symbols, rater than minister to their needs.

    A case in point deals with the “West Bank”, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 War. In the 47 years that followed doesn’t is seem somewhat peculiar that with all the international discussion of the “West Bank” and the illegitimacy of Israel’s occupation, Jordan has never requested to have the “West Bank” returned to it? After all if the Israeli occupation is illegal and if before 1967 that territory was part of the land of Jordan, why then wouldn’t they want to reclaim it?

    Perhaps this little piece of history might refresh people’s minds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_September_in_Jordan

    Now too, it is curious that Egypt lost control of the Gaza Strip in 1967 as well in that war. Egypt too has never requested that the land be returned to its control either. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Gaza_Strip_by_Egypt

    Now why is it that both Jordan and Egypt while decrying Israel’s illegal occupation of those territories, doesn’t want them back? Is it their tender concern for the welfare of the Palestinian Peoples, or perhaps it is because their own experience with those peoples has made them worried about their own security.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, whose goal is world domination by Islam, represents a threat to all countries in the Mid-East and the Palestinian movement is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps there is grater understanding throughout the leaders of the ME, that the problem of the MB is best left to Israel to deal with, in a classic case of let’s you and him fight.

    Lastly, there is nothing inherently bad about Islam, any more than there is about any religion per se. However, as we can see with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and even Buddhism, sociopaths use the Fundamentalist believers to try to dominate the mass of religious people who are far more moderate in the practice of their religion. It is damn near a given that by imposing the strictest standards of religious practice, these fringe groups tend to cow those more moderate in belief, by asserting that they, the Fundamentalists, are the ones truly practicing the faith. In Judaism for instance you see Modern Orthodox Jews cowed by the Hasidim’s assertion that their practice is the “real” faith. In fact this is not true and the current Hasidic position only stems back to the 1,700’s and the Baal Shem Tov. Curiously, the Wahhabi movement in Islam also stems back to the 1,700’s and Christan Fundamentalism in its most virulent form also comes from that era. The reason I think is that was also the era of the Enlightenment, which threatened the authoritarian basis of all religious Orthodoxy. In an era when the world view of so many was morphing into a more modern era, those masses of authoritarian bent became threatened and frightened. This set up the opportunity for the sociopaths to rise to power by proclaiming an even more strict adherence to their view of religious practice, to avoid the fear brought about by the modernization of the social fabric.

  29. Gene, Randy, et al,

    I only have a minute before I have to run. The use of “fascist” can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, it is much more broad than the noun, which specifies a political party. According to most dictionary definitions from the OED to the Urban Dictionary, fascist generally refers to an authoritarian, right-wing form of government or governing. Period. Of course, that takes us into the definition of “right-wing” which is another lexical maze. Google “right wing” and it gets odd very quickly as you drill down through the links.

    Using those terms, “fascist” can be used to describe the behavior of a politician or a political party, regardless of what they call themselves.
    Questions to ask:

    Are they authoritarian and intolerant of alternative views?
    Are they willing and even eager to punish or silence opposing voices?
    Are they convinced their world view is the only correct one?
    Are they inclined to use force to impose their personal code on others?
    Is negotiation and accommodation anathema for them?

    • randyjet says:

      I agree with Gene on most of what he said, but a party does not have to have the support of corporate capital to be fascist. Mosley was a British fascist, even though he had scant support in Britain. Given the opportunity Hamas would fit the definition pretty closely and as you said, they are fascist puppets of others in the Arab world.

  30. blouise says:

    “Christan Fundamentalism in its most virulent form also comes from that era.” (Mike)

    It was dubbed The Great Awakening and was followed in the 1800’s by The Second Great Awakening. Basically it works along the lines of all other religions … inspire a deep sense of guilt within the congregant then relieve and release that guilt with the promise of redemption through Christ. Emotionalism made its way onto the stage replacing passivity in the congregant in the form of “New Light” preachers as opposed the old style intellectual lecture type delivery from “Old Light” preachers.

    Without guilt the whole process falls apart … “Lord I am not worthy …” Some very clever preachers like to confuse guilt with humility … let the buyer beware. (Mormonism was a direct outgrowth of the Second Great Awakening)

    It was, as Mike referenced, a worldwide phenomenon affecting all religions having much to do, according to social scientists, with the ease of communication brought on by the printing press, industrialization, exploration, etc. In other words … change and the anxiety it brings.

  31. Tony C. says:

    Mike S. says: Lastly, there is nothing inherently bad about Islam, any more than there is about any religion per se.

    On the contrary, the Quran and Old Testament (=Torah) are all inherently bad, racist, misogynist and sociopathically violent and violently coercive.

    It is because 98% of humans have, without any religion, compassion, empathy, cooperation and altruism that religions adopted by many tend toward getting along. Just the text of the scriptures indicates a strong propensity toward dictatorial brutal enforcement and no room for dissent, tolerance, or compassion even toward family. The religions are inherently bad, and only tempered (if they are) by human nature.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “Lastly, there is nothing inherently bad about Islam, any more than there is about any religion per se. ”

      Tony,
      Think about it why did I put per se at the end of that sentence. After you get through the metaphorical stories produced in the context existing in ancient times, which are wrongly presented as historical fact, you come to the core message of any of the “Holy Books” which is a variant on the “Golden Rule”. They were meant to be primers on how people could lead a fulfilling life, but the sociopaths that followed the prophets, changed the message into one of fear and hatred.

    • po says:

      It was 11 commandments, and one was specific to Tony…you shall not speak of something you know little about.

  32. Colloquial usage is not only imprecise, but in this case simply wrong. What you describe Chuck is the colloquial use of the word as an epithet. Fascism as a form proper requires a mixed economy focused on nationalism with the principal goal of achieving autarky to secure national self-sufficiency and independence through protectionist and interventionist economic policies,of which Hamas has none. Again, Hamas are not technically fascists. Although they are nationalistic and militaristic that lack the corporatist elements normally associated with fascism. Just because I use the word “douche” to describe certain private investigators does not mean he is literally an implement for cleaning out bodily orifices. Don’t get me wrong, epithets have their place, even colloquial ones, but in the realm of political science to use a term of art with specific meaning as a colloquial epithet reduces the value of the term of art. You eventually end up with so much semantic drift you get a word that no longer means what it meant (see decimate; etym. to reduce by 1/10th, mod. to destroy). Do they have a lot in common with fascists? Yep. But until their economics prove otherwise, they are not truly fascists in the classical sense. Are some of their puppet masters fascists? Possibly, maybe even probably. Could they become fascists? Yeah, most of the key notes are in place already. But that does not change that today Hamas are not fascists. Authoritarian, nationalistic, anti-liberal, theocratic, racist, militaristic, puppets? Sure. Because of their strong theocratic bent, I might even accept defining them as clerical fascists (again a very specific term of art) but general “fascists” in the Italian or German (or even American) sense? No. Precision in these matters matters. Not all poisonous snakes are black mambas although they can kill you just the same (just maybe slower). Using imprecise language leads to category error.

  33. Tony C. says:

    Gene: Imprecise language is also a major factor in manufacturing acceptance of a false equivalency, like believing all killings are murders or all deaths of children in war were intentionally deaths of specifically children.

    • po says:

      Who isn’t a fascist puppet of someone in the Arab world? Aren’t we to Saudi arabia? Aren’t we to Israel (though isn’t Arab)?

  34. Tony C. says:

    Mike says: you come to the core message of any of the “Holy Books” which is a variant on the “Golden Rule”.

    I think that is a matter of focus, that it is human nature to focus on the one part they believe in, which is an instinct toward “fairness.”

    To me, the core message I see in those holy books is “obey or burn.” It is the core message I see in those proselytizing for Christ, too: “Turn your life over to Christ, do as he says, or live in permanent misery and go to hell.” I can’t count how many times I see that message.

    Shouldn’t the Ten Commandments represent the core message? They are not about the Golden Rule, they are about obedience to basic law, to parents, and to God. Not a thing about love, compassion, charity or helping others.

    The core message of most religions looks to me like obedience to authority without question or you will be punished with eternal pain. But it is our human nature to sift out a few stories of love and compassion with which we can identify.

  35. blouise says:

    “They were meant to be primers on how people could lead a fulfilling life, but the sociopaths that followed the prophets, changed the message into one of fear and hatred.” (Mike)

    Shekels rule or … follow the money.

  36. blouise says:

    Tony,

    Having been raised in a more secular than religious environment, I was told to view the Ten as guidelines to success within a given culture but to understand that said success was culture based and should I find myself within another culture, the guidelines could, probably would, change.

  37. Tony C. says:

    Blouise: Of the ten, only six are rules of behavior, and four of those are common to the vast majority of societies. Do not murder or steal, do not bear false witness, do not commit adultery (as defined by the culture). The other rules are honor one’s father and mother. If they are normal, that is normal; if they are abusive or rapists or slavers, it is an unfair command. Do not covet is a silly command, it is like telling people to not get angry or horny. Perhaps a better commandment would be to make a habit of considering consequences of one’s actions, to learn self restraint against impulse, or something like that.

    Anyway, the Ten Commandments do reveal the core message of religion: they are Commandments; and the core message is obedience to the directives of one’s superiors. I do not consider obedience a recipe for success, unless success is just avoiding pain by being a lifelong slave to an elite to which, necessarily, few will ever belong. And usually a misogynistic all male and patriarchal elite, at that.

    There has to be a better formula for “cultural success” than simple obedience.

  38. “So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:

    Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.

    and . . .

    Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course they pray to a different invisible man than you.

    Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin’ pocket. I wouldn’t mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

    Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.” – George Carlin

  39. Bob, Esq. says:

    Mike,

    That article you posted from Yair Lapid; did that appear originally in The Onion?

  40. blouise says:

    Tony,

    I guess I wasn’t clear … I was raised in an environment that did not explain the Ten (note I left out the word commandments in both this and the above posts) as rules to be obeyed but simply guidelines specific to the cultural dictates in which my family operated. As a result I could easily be part of a War Culture, perhaps join a Travelers’Society or be a Mafioso Dame … simple adjustment to the guidelines is all it takes.

    The Saviour Complex, both for or from religion, is, for me, a tedious exercise to be avoided.

    But I think I might look into that Peacock Angel thing … sitting around a campfire, sippin’ and smokin’ a bit of this and that …

  41. po says:

    Obviously, we will never know, but had religion never been, the world ended ages ago.

  42. po says:

    Tony says:
    On the contrary, the Quran and Old Testament (=Torah) are all inherently bad, racist, misogynist and sociopathically violent and violently coercive.

    It is because 98% of humans have, without any religion, compassion, empathy, cooperation and altruism that religions adopted by many tend toward getting along. Just the text of the scriptures indicates a strong propensity toward dictatorial brutal enforcement and no room for dissent, tolerance, or compassion even toward family. The religions are inherently bad, and only tempered (if they are) by human nature.

    Spoken by he who knows nothing about religions. AS usual it is your single opinion against the legacy of human introspection and scholarship, which tells us that rather than the other way, religion is inherently good and tempers human nature.
    As someone who lives a life where I go out of my way to avoid harming others, and others (fellow believers across the religious spectrum) go out of their way to avoid harming me based primarily on our subscribing to tenets that prohibit it, then encourage us to be better human beings for the sake of goodness, you telling who I am and what I do is beyond arrogance, it is delusional.

  43. bron98 says:

    randyjet:

    “a governmental system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.), emphasizing an aggressive nationalism . . .” [The American College Dictionary,
    New York: Random House, 1957.]

    According to this it seems to me you are correct. Hamas does control many of the affairs of their little “nation”. Economics does play a role but it is more of a byproduct of the mindset of the totalitarian who wants to control. Apparently facism doesnt necessarily need a controled industrial economy to be legitimate fascism.

  44. po says:

    Randy says:
    Po, the fact is that no one fascist state is an exact copy of each other. So while the Nazis in Germany were quite different from the Italian ones, and Franco different from both, they all had capitalism as their main economic feature which is true of Hamas. All had major support from the leading capitalists of their countries, and Hamas has no such class in Gaza or a very small one. They DO have the support of big capital abroad though, which fits the fascist model. A fascist party does NOT need to hold state power to be fascist. In FACT,Hamas does hold a state power in Gaza and has turned it into a theocratic state there.

    SO, Randy, all the examples of fascism you quote were wrapped in a state apparatus along with an industrial/capitalistic structure. In term of state apparatus, Hamas is nowhere near comparable, and in term of industrial.capitalistic structure, where production is used to sustain the politics, Hamas, again, is nowhere near comparable.
    So it neither looks like a water fowl nor exactly sounds like one, but hell since we need a duck, look kids, it is Daffy!

    Come on Randy, not you too, Tony has cornered the market on false analogies, don’t tread on his turf! I’ll dismiss the Japan one outright, try again.
    What agreements was Hamas not acting in accord? Why?
    Why was the US arming the” LEGAL duly constituted armed forces?”
    Why was Hamas ” forming its own army to use against its opponents” ?
    Why was Condi Rice urging Habas to invalidate the agreements with Hamas and call for emergency elections?
    Your Gop analogy is unanswerable! The system is different, the situation is different, the motives are different, the history is different,everything is different about it! Try another one, better examples abound.
    Instead of challenging me and what you think I am saying, why don’t you address my source, and quotes such as this: “Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says.”

  45. po says:

    Bron
    What do you then make of the fact that Hamas has essentially asked Fatah to co-govern Gaza with it? That all the ministers are Fatah? That the Fatah charter governs? That Hamas is/has always been engaged in negotiations with Israel, and agreed years ago for a 2 sate solution and a 50 year truce?
    Again, can’t swim and can’t quack but a duck nonetheless!

  46. Tony C. says:

    po says: Spoken by he who knows nothing about religions.

    I have at least read the entire Bible, which is more than can be said for most people that believe in it (and is true for a larger percentage of atheists than Christians).

    po says: AS usual it is your single opinion against the legacy of human introspection and scholarship,

    As usual for the religious, instead of being able to think for themselves and trust their own conclusions they believe what they are told by “authorities” that cannot prove their claims in any way; as usual you are so impressed by antiquity and power you believe the most ludicrous bullshit imaginable.

    po says: you telling who I am and what I do is beyond arrogance, it is delusional.

    Obviously I cannot be specific enough to describe an individual. And obviously your specific actions are not representative of all of Islam. However, if you think that firing 15,000 rockets into Israel, with the approval of the majority of Gazans and West Bankers, is an example of devout Muslims going out of their way to be kind to others, you are delusional beyond hope. Of course you will deny that the Israeli’s killed have any meaning, or that the Muslims killing Israelis is justified by them stealing land, or whatever. You are a hypocrite of the highest order, po. What you do in your life or with people you like is not known to me, but what is known is your writing here, and it is incoherent and babbling and … delusional.

  47. Tony C. says:

    Blouise: I guess I was inadvertently raised to be a scientist, un-swayed by (and suspicious of) all authority and all received knowledge. My parents were keen observers that spent their nights serving people truth serum.

  48. swarthmoremom says:

    “You are a hypocrite of the highest order, po. What you do in your life or with people you like is not known to me, but what is known is your writing here, and it is incoherent and babbling and … delusional.” Tony C. Wrong….. He seems better informed on the mideast than most.

  49. bron98 says:

    po:

    I dont often agree with Tony C or randyjet but I think you need to think about what they are saying.

    Islam, from what I can tell by observation and some reading, is about conquest and domination. I will say that hard core Christians are about domination and expanding their religion. But the vast majority of Christians are a mix of ancient Greece and Jesus which means regard for the individual. As far as I can tell Islam gave up ancient Greece in the 12th century or so along with any hope of moving forward or respect for the individual. Most Muslim countries are top down affairs with little concern for the individual.

    I dont think it is coincidence that the vast majority of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Jews and Christians or atheists. In other words western thinkers. Which is ironic considering the debt the West owes to Islam for keeping the works of the Ancients circulating. Had they destroyed them, who knows if the Enlightenment would have ever happened.

    On a side note your man Al Farabi really didnt have a model for a perfect state conducive to human happiness. But then neither did Plato so I guess that is a wash.

  50. po says:

    Tony says:
    I guess I was inadvertently raised to be a scientist, un-swayed by (and suspicious of) all authority and all received knowledge. My parents were keen observers that spent their nights serving people truth serum.

    Yep, and it shows! You are as they are, just as I am as my parents are. We are all extensions of our parents, and for most of us, embrace or reject as they embraced or rejected. Had your parents raised you in the faith, more likely than not you would be a devout extremist right now, among those calling for the oppression of gays and the killing of abortion doctors. Thank God you are not a religious extremist, merely an atheist extremist.

    I, on the other hand, was raised to believe in the unknown, to respect authority but to research and learn so as to derive my own conclusions, and to step away from authority if it doesn’t make sense or seems untrue to me. Actually, Tony, the QUran demands that the muslim confirms what he is told, and one of the main tenets of it is that one is responsible for his own actions and his own learning, therefor blind obedience is actually frown upon in the religion. Obviously that does not fit your idiotic narrative so it is easier to dismiss it.

    Yes, keep reading the Bible in order to discuss Islam or Judaism. Pretty scientific of a methodology! Then again this is the same “Scientist” who speaks of Hamas for Palestinians, extremists for Muslims, and is too spooked out by faith to be unable not to go into a pavlovic rage whenever religion is brought up.

    Tony says:
    However, if you think that firing 15,000 rockets into Israel, with the approval of the majority of Gazans and West Bankers, is an example of devout Muslims going out of their way to be kind to others, you are delusional beyond hope. Of course you will deny that the Israeli’s killed have any meaning, or that the Muslims killing Israelis is justified by them stealing land, or whatever. You are a hypocrite of the highest order, po. What you do in your life or with people you like is not known to me, but what is known is your writing here, and it is incoherent and babbling and … delusional.

    Haha! Fanatical Tony at work! Delusional Tony at work! Incoherent and irrational Tony at play!

    What does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with Islam? I am the one who says it is political before it is ever religious! Also, if 99.5% of the resistance to the Israeli oppression is non-violent, wouldn’t that confirm what I am saying? Should I claim that science is evil based on the atom bomb?
    Should I claim that scientists have no morals because Josef Mengele had none? That would be just as idiotic as what you have been spouting here. haha!

    Actually, Islamic jurisprudence rejects attacking civilians in any conflict. The Quran specifically prohibits the Prophet from killing cattle or uprooting trees in their fight against their enemies, and further, edicts that women and children are protected before being given safe passage. The quran also demands one fights back until the oppression stops, while also demanding that one not inflict more harm than he was inflicted with. Try turning all that into a negative.

    So no, I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ISRAELI KILLED HAVE NO MEANING. AND THAT MUSLIMS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL ISRAELIS FOR STEALING THEIR LAND.
    I am saying neither of that because I do not believe either. The quran says that he who killed one has killed all, and he who saves one has saved all. The rules for killing are pretty clear, only those who kill. Again, even preemptive killing is not allowed in Islam. So calling for justice for Palestinians doesn’t require my hating Israelis and Jews.
    If I believe that God created us all, that he created Jews and Christians, and created and sent the prophets whom they follow, and I see God through and in everything, how would I ever get any satisfaction form anyone’s death? The same reason I cried watching Schindler’s list is the same reason I cry watching children being massacred in Gaza. Same thing, my care for humanity.
    Had you known a bit more about what you decry, you wouldn’t have said the dumb stuff you keep repeating every chance you get.
    Also ,how am I a hypocrite when I try to live my life according to my beliefs? ,

  51. Tony C. says:

    SMom: Hypocrisy has nothing to do with how well he is informed. It has to do with his claims he has no desire to harm anybody, yet dismisses the Palestinians war on Israel as not really a war, the deaths of Israelis as what one of his articles call “notional,” the constant barrage of missiles and suicide bombers as some kind of necessity. All from a guy that claims he lives his life trying to do no harm to anyone and he and friends just want to live in peace.

    What a load of bullshit that is while endorsing the random killing of Israelis and justifying the violence of those in the Palestinian lands over property or independence or revenge or whatever. It makes no difference WHY one justifies randomized killing, it is hypocritical to claim one wants to live in peace while randomly killing Israeli citizens trying to get their political way. It is like Napoleon claiming he just wants to live in peace as soon as he owns the entire world.

    Po’s hypocrisy is on full display in his rejection of my proposal; he wants nothing to do with an entirely peaceful offer that would preserve life if it requires the surrender of his political objective. He doesn’t want peace, he wants violence until he gets his way, lives be damned, the individualized desires of the Palestinian people that might voluntarily forgo independence and sovereignty? He’d damn them too and deny them that choice because if enough of them leave then he loses what HE wants, such a solution should not even be attempted, according to po.

    He’s a hypocrite, he doesn’t want peace, he wants victory for his political objective at any cost.

    • po says:

      How should I answer this, i wondered! My God!
      Then the more I read, Tony, the more obvious it became that it is its own answer. Sure, one can read what I write and attack me for the inconsistencies in what I claim, or just read within the lines seeking the things I do not say but are apparently implied.

      Randy,
      Everyone has a bigoted view of history! I’ll answer you later in depth, but the essence is not whether there is bias, it is embedded in how we interpret facts and what we conclude from them, the value is whether one is honest enough intellectually to override that bias and reach a conclusion based more on the facts than on the bias.

  52. po says:

    Thank you, Swarthmoremom!

    Bron
    I do hear what they are saying. I give Randy credit for basing his conclusions, however erroneous, on research. You can tell he is well informed. Tony on the other hand isn’t but expects to be listened to because he is, well, Tony! (I wonder if he was an only child)

    “Islam, from what I can tell by observation and some reading, is about conquest and domination.”
    It actually isn’t. For most of its early history, all Islam wanted was to be practiced in peace. But the Prophet and the nascent community were subjected to all kinds of abuse by their fellow Quraish, which led to a great many of them seeking refuge in Christian Ethiopia where the king welcomed them based solely on the reputation of the Prophet for uprightness.

    I always say that we must separate Islam (the quran, the sunna, the tents of the faith) from Islam, the outer practice of Muslims. I know it is hard to do, but as I said before, to kill an abortion doctor in the name of Jesus is as misguided and idiotic as killing someone for insulting the Prophet. Muhamad. He was insulted while alive and he refused his companions to do anything about it.

    As Noam chomsky explains in his interview on democracy now (it is a must if you want to know more about the Israeli- Palestinians conflict http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/11/noam_chomsky_on_bds_and_how), the arab leaders are not the arab countries, and whether sadaam hussein, King abdullah, Mubarak, the heads of Bahrain, Quatar et al, all have in common that their sole interest in to remain in power, which is human before being religious. They, therefore are not the Arab population, they are the congressman who makes deals upon deals to insure his holding on to his seat, and his constituency is obviously not defined by him.

    “I dont think it is coincidence that the vast majority of Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Jews and Christians or atheists. In other words western thinkers. Which is ironic considering the debt the West owes to Islam for keeping the works of the Ancients circulating. Had they destroyed them, who knows if the Enlightenment would have ever happened.”

    Now let’s take back colonization, let’s take back the taking over of the middle east by the west and the carving out of it and the immiscing in their local affairs, erecting dictators and taking down democratically elected leaders, and let’s see what the arab world does. Same for Africans.

    • randyjet says:

      I see that po has a bigoted view of history. Anything that contradicts his view is left out of his vision. First off the west had little control over the Mideast and then only for a couple of decades, prior to that the Muslim Ottoman empire had control for CENTURIES, not decades. The Ottomans instituted Muslim rule in a good part of Europe as well which resulted in those countries being the most backward and least developed part of Europe. You would to better to remember the harm that Islam brought to Europe rather than any injustice the west brought to the Mideast. That harm was FAR greater than anything the West did or is doing.

      Since you mention Africa, we need to remember that it was the WEST,, who outlawed and extinguished slavery there against Muslim slave trading which I might add STILL exists and goes on. Saudi Arabia only recently outlawed slavery in order to join the UN. So please tell the whole story.

      This view is a part of his view that aggression is justified to forestall a coup that might happen. It is the same kind of “reasoning” W Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq and the Japanese a sneak attack. Both are rationalizations to justify the criminal acts.

  53. Bob, Esq. says:

    Chuck: “Hamas is not motivated so much by the desire to build a powerful industrial operation as it is to impose a theocratic ideology, and at the same time seek redress for losing a huge chunk of Palestine to Jewish immigrants from Europe and elsewhere. Arab families were removed from their homes by force, and Jewish families given the properties. I am old enough to remember reading those first stories coming out of Palestine in the late 1940s. There was one letter from an Arab schoolboy about my own age who wrote about going to his former home. He was wistful that he could no longer sleep in his own bedroom, and was only able to see his house from the street. He lived in a refugee camp. The horrors of the Holocaust did not, and does not, excuse people being evicted from their homes and farms where their families had lived for centuries.”

    Mike: “There is no doubt that through the last 7 decades of their history that this group has been treated abominably. However, it is so easy to ascribe all that bad treatment to Israel, while neglecting the historical reality of their treatment. Into the Arab lands in which they fled in the light of Israel’s war of independence, they were kept in concentration camps by their Arabic/Islamic brethren.”

    So one man’s nakba (disaster) is another man’s war for independence.

    Passive voice duly noted.

  54. pete says:

    I will say that hard core Christians are about domination and expanding their religion. But the vast majority of Christians are a mix of ancient Greece and Jesus which means regard for the individual.
    ==========================================

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

    regard for the individual, join us or die

  55. Tony C. says:

    po says: just read within the lines seeking the things I do not say but are apparently implied.

    Of course that applies only to him, he is not required to do anything of the sort for anybody else.

    FWIW, po, I am one of seven children, and not the oldest. I don’t expect to be listened to for no reason, but because I reason, but reason is not something you are capable of comprehending, you cannot understand an argument that is not made from authority. Which I expected, you are obviously religious because you crave such authority and reject the very idea that people can think for themselves about anything important to life. That is why you refuse to even consider the idea of the living making their own individual decisions to surrender a fight they can very well see will never be won in their lifetime. I have given many reasons why that deal would work, but you have to ignore them all, because actual logic and reasoning does not matter to you if nobody “important” said it.

  56. blouise says:

    “No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie.” (True Believers)

    Benassi and Singer; Hofstadter did a fascinating study on the true believer syndrome in an attempt to understand the mental processes involved in those who are so irrationally committed to a cause like terrorist attacks on civilians, murdering doctors who perform abortions, or following a guru like Jim Jones that murder and suicide result. (I used to have the link to the study but lost it though one can get a synopsis at skeptic dot com)

    In attempting to explain this strong emotional need some people have to believe in something others view as false, Eric Hoffer offers this:

    “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause….

    A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business…. … Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.”

  57. Tony C. says:

    po says: Had your parents raised you in the faith, more likely than not you would be a devout extremist right now

    My mother was and remains religious; my father rejected organized religion but believed in a deity when I was a child, he admitted to be more agnostic when I was a teen atheist. Neither of my parents were ever atheists. They raised their children to think for themselves, not to be atheists.

  58. HELP Tony C. says:

    I lost a comment about a minute before this one; any help appreciated.

  59. Mike Spindell says:

    “First off the west had little control over the Mideast and then only for a couple of decades, prior to that the Muslim Ottoman empire had control for CENTURIES, not decades.”

    Randy’s point is well taken and too often this fact of history gets overlooked by those who would impose their narrow political analysis on what plagues the ME region. There is a strain of analysis on the Left that views “Imperialism” as the catalyst for so much of the World’s ills and to my mind that is a myopic viewpoint, which disregards the obvious. This concept of Imperialism is a super-imposed view of the actions of some White, European States, that beginning in the 16th Century began to dominate/exploit less powerful regions populated by peoples of different colors. From it came the perspective of “The Western World” and the evils of its needs to subjugate others who were deemed primitive due to their skin pigmentation and cultural differences from Christianity. The problem with that anti-Imperialist mindset is that by narrowly focusing on the “evils” of the
    “Western World (Europeans)”, it neglects the fact that all human history is a melange of one ethnicity/religion dominating another for power and profit. Caught up in this short-sighted view of history is someone like Noam Chomsky, whose undoubted brilliance is tempered by this “log in his eye”, which is probably a prejudice against the Western World. “Imperialism” is merely a descriptive term for the actions by Europeans for six centuries affecting specific parts of the world rich in natural resources ripe for exploitation. The analysis falls short because in its sympathy for the plight of people of various colors, it actually disrespects them by minimizing their own forays into the domination of others. Many of these thinkers have reached their conclusion because they have been repulsed by the Western World’s disdainful world view and in that sense I can understand and sympathize with them. The broader view though, which I take, is that almost all of humanity has collectively behaved in this manner throughout history and thus “Imperialism” becomes merely a pejorative, rather than a true description of a particular state of affairs.

    In analyzing the ME situation many superimpose this “Imperialistic” narrative as if the population there are merely naive, backward innocents put upon by those evil “Europeans”. The reality is that it is from this area that most of what we know of the history shaping human societies first arose. The peoples of the ME are the product of at least 7,000 years of social organization and from this ancient cultural heritage the hypothetical “Western World” derived much of its culture. The “European” hubris is that it confuses technological advancement with cultural sophistication. So from the perspective of those whose affinity is for the Turkic/Persian/Arab population of the ME “The Crusades” are viewed out of context as merely Christo/European Aggressions and the Islamic attacks and victories against Christianity/Europe are forgotten. The reality was that from the 8th century until late in the 13th century there was an ongoing struggle for dominance taking place between Europe and the ME for territory/hegemony, waged under the rubric of Christianity vs. Islam and vice versa. In the ME the victors came to the side using Islam as their banner and this held up until the late 19th century as the Ottoman Empire began to crumble under the weight of its own corruption.

    The narrative of Western Imperialism is today used by those espousing the Islamic cause as a propaganda tool in the battle for World Opinion. It is one that works well outside of Europe, since many peoples (those of India and China) particularly have had their own grievances. My position is let’s cut through the fog of propaganda that each side presents to make their narrative seem somehow noble. Human societies, which are almost always Oligarchies of the powerful, covet the resources of those other societies they deem vulnerable. These human societies will use any means to justify their exploitation of other societies and among them the chief narrative propaganda has usually been religion. No matter what the initial doctrines of any religion propose, there will be power hungry sociopaths willing to corrupt the meaning of its prophets into justifications of their personal will to power and thus fight under the banner of the particular religion.

    When it comes to religious views, in the sense of whether the tales of God are human constructs, my own views are not that far from Tony’s. Our differences are that I have personally experienced some miraculous things in my life that don’t allow me to preclude the existence of some creative force informing the Universe. However, I don’t believe that if there is such a force, that human comprehension at present can discern it, nor its intent. Therefore human society must succeed on its own to find means for us all to live together harmoniously.

    Where I differ from Tony is that often his interpretation of things like the Torah are simplistic and focus on the seeming horrors presented there. The best interpretation of what the Torah (Old Testament to some) means come from the Pharisee Rabbi Hilel the Elder, circa around the First Century CE. The description of the “pharisees” in the Christian version is historically counter factual and can be proven as such from contemporary historical writings. Jesus was most probably a Pharisee and the real inventor of Christianity Paul, was probably not though he claimed to be because at the time that was a prestigious title. All that is Judaism today springs from the philosophy and opinions of the Pharisees and among them Hillel was a dominant force.

    There is a characteristic story passed down about Hillel that illustrate what he believed the essence of Judaism to be and that occurred when a non-Jew challenged him to stand on one leg and explain the essence of the Torah: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn”. Clearly, this pillar of Judaism understood that the Torah was a metaphor, not history and that its purpose was a framework for instructing people how to live harmoniously. Jesus “Golden Rule” was also in this spirit, but unfortunately that message got gargled by those ho followed him. I am sure that Po could supply a like narrative from the Koran. In my opinion Tony misses the metaphor simply because he has grown up in a world where the metaphors have been downplayed by many of the sociopaths who pose as religious leaders, in favor of utilizing certain metaphorical passages to foment hatred and prejudice. This is not a critique of Tony, because certainly religious leaders of all stripes have convincingly acted tyrannically under the guise of piety.

    The irony of humanity is that one of its greatest teachers, a man who was not preaching of a God per se, was The Buddha. His message was an attempt to bring peace to humanity and show them a path towards harmonious living, that was not tied to the vengeance of an angry God. However,
    Google “Buddhism and Violence” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_and_violence and you will see how some of his sociopathic followers turned this great man’s preaching into death and destruction. It isn’t the religion that is evil, but the socipaths who use it to justify evil.

  60. Mike Spindell says:

    “So one man’s nakba (disaster) is another man’s war for independence.”

    Bob,

    Thus it has always been. However, if you look beyond your own constructs of what I am saying, I believe you might see that although I am a staunch defender of Israel, I do not disparage Islam, or call for Israeli hegemony. What I’ve presented is a picture of two particular groups, who proclaim and subvert Islam in their cause, which is a will to power far beyond the interests of Palestinians. That a majority of Palestinians might have elected them, is a tribute to the ability of demagogues
    to gain power. A situation not unlike that in the rest of humanity. A message of war and hatred always finds broad appeals among human beings.

  61. Mike Spindell says:

    One last personal point about Judaism and Jews that historically makes their position somewhat unique. Take away the religion and focus on the ethnicity and you will see that in all countries, in all times in the last two millennia, the ethnicity of being a Jew can be deadly. This was true during different eras of the Caliphate and it was certainly true under Christianity. In Europe, during the Inquisition years Jews were given the option of converting to Christianity and many did. Those that did, however, were under a suspicious watch by the Inquisition for hundreds of years, lest they show sign of “Judaization”. One of the epithets cast against the Borgias, for instance was that they had “Jewish Blood”, as if that were a bad character trait. As I’ve previously written about the “Eugenics Science” of the 19th Century defined “semites” as a racial stock of lower order. This was put into practice by the NAZI’s, by researching family trees and if one’s Great Grandparent were a Jew, than that progeny was defined as Jewish. This is what removes being a Jew from religion and what makes our position in the world so precarious.

  62. Tony C. says:

    Thank you James.

    Mike says: However, I don’t believe that if there is such a force, that human comprehension at present can discern it, nor its intent.

    Which, if true, means all of any religious book claiming personal knowledge of a God or his Commandments is necessarily a work of complete fiction and lies, or deep delusion or insanity.

    If true, that belief requires the rejection of any specifics of any religion; even if a belief in the supernatural without any knowledge of what it entails is retained.

    As an example, I can believe that life began somewhere, spontaneously, in an inanimate universe without any knowledge of precisely what that life form was or what it did or entailed. I can still believe there is a demarcation between a hot plasma and life, that there was some first ordered entity reproducing itself from inanimate materials it found.

  63. blouise says:

    Mike,

    Paul was supposedly a student of Gamaliel … or at least he claimed to be. (Acts 22:3)

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “Paul was supposedly a student of Gamaliel … or at least he claimed to be. (Acts 22:3)”

      Blouise,

      In the book by Hyam Maccoby “The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.” as a Biblical scholar, disputes that Paul was indeed a Pharisee on the basis that much of his own words belie a knowledge of basic Pharisee beliefs. The Pharisees for instance were the opponents the Temple priests and considered them Roman traitors/puppets. Paul admits to working as an agent of the High Priest, which would have made him an anathema in Pharisee circles. In the Judasm of that time the Pharisees were the repository of religious knowledge which is why Paul made the claim, to give himself legitimacy. I picked Maccoby, because he is the first to come to mind, of many who have raised objection to Paul’s claim.

  64. Tony C. says:

    Mike: The “best interpretation” according to whose scale? Somebody that desperately wishes to ignore the horrors presented there?

    My view is not “simplistic,” it is factual. It says what it says, it claims to be the word of God, any “interpretation” that it says something other than what it says is a claim that proves too much, because then the Torah can literally mean anything anybody wants it to mean: Which makes it meaningless!

    How can a writing says “put that sinner to death” be interpreted to mean “be tolerant of that sinner” ? Interpretation cannot magically turn all negatives into positives. If the work is the word of God, which humans know the mind of God so well they can tell when he was just kidding about “not suffering a witch to live”? Maybe all those dietary prohibitions are also just metaphorical. Maybe the commandments are metaphorical; after all God couldn’t have meant “thou shalt not steal” literally, could He?

    Interpretation is for ambiguity; there is no ambiguity in the Torah’s endorsement of violence and subjugation in the name of God. Pretending there is ambiguity where there is none, that is just cherry-picking the bits we like because they were written by empathic human beings, and rejecting the bits we don’t like because they were written by human psychopaths.

  65. HELP Tony C. says:

    Dang, lost another post to the filter. It seems to happen when my writing overlaps with another post (blouise, in this case).

    • James Knauer says:

      Tony, I found your post in the spam queue. WordPress rejected it but of course it never tells us why. It is exceedingly unlikely it was rejected due to “overlap” as everything is transactional, and handled in the order it arrives.

  66. Tony C. says:

    Okay, thanks again, James.

  67. blouise says:

    Tony,

    For several years I have wondered about the advent of religion.

    The study done at California State I mentioned above basically found that, after all was said and done, 52% of the students involved in the study chose to believe that the magician had psychic abilities … even after he admitted it was all a trick and showed them how he did it. If one couples that with the information obtained by social social scientists who were allowed to interview Muslim suicide bombers that you referenced on another thread (hopelessness on earth)… doesn’t that suggest that there is something within the human psyche or emotions that requires a belief in the supernatural?

    In other words, if all known religions were outlawed tomorrow, the day after would find that several new ones had been invented as that 52% just can’t live without it.

  68. Tony C. says:

    blouise: I think that is true; some people cannot live without it.

    Belief in the supernatural is a reward. In the case of the students, belief in psychic abilities in the magician means that psychic abilities are real in general and that bit of magic feels valuable. It is something to treasure; it validates other magical beliefs like eternal life, eternal love, an indestructible soul and so on. Who doesn’t want that?

    Further, what does it cost to believe? A lot, perhaps, but the costs are usually very well hidden and obscured; few people see something like the Holocaust or other religious purges as what they are; the direct result of irrational beliefs in magic, or person A’s belief in their immortality being threatened by person B’s belief in their different form of immortality. Instead they will attribute the cost to baser concerns, like economic concerns, or disputes over land or resources.

    I don’t know what it is about the vast majority of people, but they become angry, abusive and eventually violent when other people tell them that their magical beliefs are just bullshit, as if these other people are attempting to steal away their infinite existence in ethereal form (or physical form). They seem to need validation like they need oxygen, and they want to kill the unbelievers as if disbelief itself physically endangers them.

    That is one of the mysteries for me, why people want this validation and agreement so bad they will literally kill for it. As if the validation is what makes it true somehow, and they have to collect themselves into a tribe of believers that excludes and alienates all the unbelievers and considers them sub-human criminals that deserve to be killed and then burned alive for eternity.

  69. blouise says:

    Mike,

    Blinded in more ways than one I guess.

    He was, according to Biblical scholars, constantly feuding with Jesus’s brothers in Jerusalem. I had to do a paper on that fued for an independent study course my second year in graduate school. I’ll dig it out of the trunk in my attic and check the sources sometime. Paul was one of my least favorite characters from that period.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      “He was, according to Biblical scholars, constantly feuding with Jesus’s brothers in Jerusalem.”

      Blouise,

      According to many sources I’ve read the “feud” was about Paul teaching a gospel different from what Jesus brother James and the rest of Jesus disciples, felt were Jesus’ beliefs. Maccoby lays it out most clearly, but there are many sources for that view.

  70. blouise says:

    Tony,

    I know the scientists conducting that study were rather stunned by the 52% number. I am too.

    I wonder if it has anything to do with fear of death. The hereafter assuages that fear and questioning the validity of a hereafter reexposes the fear?

  71. Tony C. says:

    blouise: I’ve always figured religion was driven by a fear of death, combined with a fear of (for lack of a better word) meaninglessness. Belief in magic affirms some mysterious purpose in life. So yes, questioning the validity of the magic could bring up the fear that life is temporary and death is oblivion, and on top of that, the fear that life is small and meaningless.

    It doesn’t explain, however, why the belief in magic is so fragile that it being dismissed is a cause for fear.

    For example, I believe dinosaurs existed. I would not be perturbed by somebody that claimed dinosaur bones and fossils were all a fraud; that would not shake my belief in the existence of dinosaurs. I believe in evolution. If Allison doesn’t, I do not feel threatened, I just feel sorry for Allison. Or perhaps angry at Allison; not so much for her alternate belief but for her attempt to impose that belief upon others.

    What is so fragile about the belief in magic that it is so easily threatened by an atheist making fun of how ludicrous it is? (Oh, they do get angry.)

  72. Tony/Blouise,

    Consider too the natural human drive to have both context (and thus meaning) and the propensity to make patterns from incomplete information (the Gestalt laws of grouping). We are creatures of pattern recognition and not above creating elements for a pattern when we either cannot quantify or even perceive them. We are in some ways like self-aware self-feeding relational databases. It’s fundamental to how we explore the universe. Fear is often a component of religiosity, but it doesn’t have to be nor is it always. It can be simply a metaphorical/allegorical/metaphysical construct for helping make sense of the world around us born out of curiosity or wonder or any number of other drivers of human behavior other than just fear.

  73. po says:

    Couldn’t be better said, Gene. As Bob Marley said, who feels it knows it. For one who is faithless to attempt knowing how the faithful feels is akin to the loveless breaking down the politics of love. How could it compute?

  74. blouise says:

    Tony/Gene,

    Okay … I can see that … pattern seeking. Yep, that could be part of the draw as patterns are part and parcel of our nature and the nature in which we exist. Perhaps an instinctive thing?

    Enough! I’m tired of thinking. I’m going to mix a drink and pull out the latest Sanford book.

  75. po,

    I look at it this way. Empiricism (and consequently the scientific method) is the best tool for understanding the universe, but it is not the only tool. Faith, even though I am not a party to that practice, isn’t the problem so much as blind faith, authoritarianism and dogmatism and the fact that sociopaths will exploit those tendencies to gain control over others. What someone believes – so long as they do not try to force it on others or it results in some kind of quantifiable harm – is of little consequence to me when compared to what one can prove. If someone wants to believe in invisible father figures or magic dragons or whatever? That is their choice and I will not seek to take it from them . . . so long as they do not harm. Personally? I don’t have a problem with mystery. I came to terms with the fact that our knowledge will always be imperfect after reading “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” in the 7th grade. “I don’t know” is an answer I’m fine with. And when it comes to either the nature of God or the existence of God, by the very definition of what a God is, no human being has the frame of reference to understand a being not constrained by the physics of this universe. Do I believe in the God who is a bearded old man who acts like a vengeful spiteful child if you disobey Him? Not in the slightest. Or a God who wants you to kill non-believers? Nope. But I am not quite so certain – “I don’t know” – that there isn’t an Aristotelian kind of prime mover. Some force that said “Be.” I can’t know. Neither can you or Tony or anyone else. We are all constrained by the physical universe. We don’t have the means to factually ascertain the truth of that matter. Faith is not fact though. Ever. But so long as it causes no harm, I have nothing against those who practice it if it provides them with solace and comfort. The universe can be a scary place and not all people are capable of broad or sophisticated or scientific understanding or of dealing well with uncertainty. If their faith helps them deal with that? Okay. Just so long as they don’t try to tell me I have to do and believe as they do to be a good ethical person. Because that? Is simply bullshit.

  76. po says:

    How about we do this, Tony? I take back my attempt at psychoanalyzing you based on your own words that “My mother was and remains religious; my father rejected organized religion but believed in a deity when I was a child, he admitted to be more agnostic when I was a teen atheist. Neither of my parents were ever atheists. They raised their children to think for themselves, not to be atheists.” Since you are better suited to know your origins and familial construct, I take your word for it. I actually say kudos for being able to think for yourself, and of relying on any other opinion in order to define yours. Not everyone wants/can do that, so good job! And I must too extend those kudos to your parents, for that is what parents ought to do for their children.

    Now, if say the following to you: “My mother was and remains religious; my father never practiced organized religion in his youth but came to it as an adult. Neither of my parents were ever atheists, and while my mother taught us religion, my dad focused on forging our intellectual/educational aptitudes. While both (along with the whole society) stressed politeness and respect, both however raised us to ask questions and to (politely) challenge that which we disagreed with, to be leaders and not followers.”
    Now, would you do as I did for you and let my claim stand which would rob you of your main chosen argument against me (that I am follower and refuse to think for myself), or would you challenge my claims by bringing forth past comments I have made as proof of your argument against me?
    I have left out the 3rd option you have chosen previously and recently, you know, the one where you launch ad hominem attacks that are both unwarranted and, more importantly, unsubstantiated.
    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having you make my points about you, but then what?

  77. Or as Chuck just posted elsewhere . . . Alan Watts:

  78. po says:

    And that is the thing, Gene, although I am the devout, practicing one here, I have not one single quarrel with you regarding your post.
    “Faith… isn’t the problem so much as blind faith, authoritarianism and dogmatism and the fact that sociopaths will exploit those tendencies to gain control over others. What someone believes – . . so long as they do not harm. ” That has always been my point, that faith is merely a vehicle through which those are expressed, and where it not faith, it would be through other vehicles such as politics or even recreation.

    “Do I believe in the God who is a bearded old man who acts like a vengeful spiteful child if you disobey Him? Not in the slightest. Or a God who wants you to kill non-believers? Nope. But I am not quite so certain – “I don’t know” – that there isn’t an Aristotelian kind of prime mover. Some force that said “Be.” I can’t know. Neither can you or Tony or anyone else. We are all constrained by the physical universe. We don’t have the means to factually ascertain the truth of that matter.”

    Again, another of my often insisted upon points. I believe in none of those God, but believe in the one in the Quran, who says to be closer to you than your jugular vein, and who also is DIRECTLY PRESENT AND ACTING IN ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.
    And yes,the mere existence of God requires our inability to comprehend Him. Or our nature as creatures necessitates our inability to comprehend God, for otherwise God is no God. And that is what scriptures say, that we know of Him just what He enables us to. And whether it is among my own siblings, my Muslim friends or the Islamic community at large, I have yet to meet 2 Muslims who share the same exact view and approach to God.
    The debate on the nature of God has been ongoing in Islam for 1400 years, and before that in Christianity and Judaism, and before that in every other religion that ever was (and obviously in Greek society), and although the new atheists and their fans claim that we can dispense of religion, that is an incredibly arrogant and short -sighted view.
    Our humanity is tied to faith and the search for God, and the learned among our religious, across time and faith. claim it is innate.

    “If their faith helps them deal with that? Okay. Just so long as they don’t try to tell me I have to do and believe as they do to be a good ethical person. Because that? Is simply bullshit.”
    Agree! Bullshit indeed!

  79. po says:

    I second your point, Mike, just finished Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot, on the life of Jesus, and in it he says just that.

  80. po says:

    Randyjet says:
    The Ottomans instituted Muslim rule in a good part of Europe as well which resulted in those countries being the most backward and least developed part of Europe. You would to better to remember the harm that Islam brought to Europe rather than any injustice the west brought to the Mideast. That harm was FAR greater than anything the West did or is doing.

    Where do you get your information, Randy? When we talk about the islamicization of Europe, what locale do we refer to? Andalusia, yes! And the overwhelming consensus is that Andalusia knew unprecedented development under Muslim rule!

    From http://www.historytoday.com/akbar-s-ahmed/spains-islamic-legacy
    Revolutionised by new agricultural techniques and by the cultivation of new products like rice and vegetables hitherto unknown in the Mediterranean and silk worms, Andalusia became a rich producer of consumer goods which were then carried from Spain all the way to India by merchants of many faiths. As the century drew to a close, weaknesses in the centralised Umayyad system appeared. Provincial cities like Malaga, Granada, Val.encia and Saragossa became the fiefs of rival Muslim kings; but in spite of the increasingly apparent political instabilities, these cities were centres of literature and the arts.

    Here, then, was a thriving, rich and complex civilisation, in the words of Irving:

    The cities of Arabian Spain became the resort of Christian artisans, to instruct themselves in the useful art. The Universities of Toledo, Cordova, Seville, and Granada, were sought by the pale student from other lands to acquaint himself with the sciences of the Arabs and the treasure lore of antiquity; the lovers of the gay sciences resorted to Cordova and Granada to imbibe the poetry and music of the East, and the steel-clad warriors of the North hastened thither to accomplish themselves in the graceful exercises and courteous usages of chivalry.

    • randyjet says:

      Po Once again you prove my point in that you take selective facts to create a false picture. I am fully cognizant of Andalusian Islam and I have even visited many of those cities too. When I wrote about the depredations of the Ottomans and Islam, I was thinking more of Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania.

      You also know full well about the current slave trade of Muslims in Africa today and the FACT that Arab traders were a major force behind slavery, in addition to the native tribes who provided them. The point of course is that the Brits were the force that extinguished the slave trade. You cannot cite ANY contribution Muslims made in getting rid of the trade. So yes the West DOES get credit for stopping slavery, UNLIKE ISLAM. Then I have read that some Islamic scholars are advocating a return to slavery. Try using your head and stop doing what you claim others do when they characterize Islam by its worst elements. It is intellectually dishonest and fools nobody.

      • po says:

        Randy, did you mention Andalusia in your first diatribe?
        No!
        Why not?
        For it woulda made the opposite point you were trying to make?
        Wouldn’t that be selective fact-sourcing by your own definition, which makes you the one trying to create a false picture?
        Perhaps next time I will read your mind and use those exact places you were thinking of, and not the most used example of Islamic presence in Europe.

        Other than in Mauritania, where slavery never really ended, I am not cognizant of any other place where slave trade of Muslims takes place. Enlighten me, please. If you go on my twitter timeline, you’d see I have commented on that ages ago, and shared essays discussing exactly slavery in Mauritania.

        Why are you fighting me on something I never denied?
        I never exculpated Arabs for being engaged in the slave trade, nor did I African tribes that did the hunting for them. Your point that the west ended slavery glosses over the fact that it took it from a intra-national level to an international level, thereby fueling not only the demand but the subsequent system that would swallow the supply.
        Short of the West having stopped slavery in Africa, shouldn’t I assume that the locale where it stopped was…in the west? How could then Britain have stopped slavery in Britain when it never took hold in Britain? Or are you saying that the west stopped slavery in Africa? How? By decree? I am confused!

        Had the West not participated in the slave trade, it would have remained local and America would not be 12% black and Mike Brown would not have been shot dead by a cop on his own block.

        A contribution Muslims made in ending slave trade? Well, I could give you countless quotes from the QUran and sunnah that demand one care for his slaves and treat them well, and also suggest freeing one’s slave as one of the ways of atoning for a sin, and for getting closer to God! Would that do?

        Finally, why is this about the West vs Islam? Shouldn’t it be the west vs the east, or Islam vs Christianity ,or even white people vs Arabs…? You know, apples to apples…?

        “Then I have read that some Islamic scholars are advocating a return to slavery. Try using your head and stop doing what you claim others do when they characterize Islam by its worst elements”

        Huh? What time is it where you are, Randy? Must be late!
        Where did you read that? Who/what am I characterizing by its worse elements? And please answer so I can stop doing it.

  81. Mike Spindell says:

    “just finished Reza Aslan’s book, Zealot”

    Po,
    That book is on my need to read list.

  82. po says:

    And from from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2008/nov/06/how-muslims-made-europe/?page=2

    If the Great Mosque was the most evident material embodiment of the civilization of the Arabs in Spain, their intellectual achievements were even more astonishing. Starting in ‘Abd al-Rahman’s time, the Umayyads sought to compete with their Abbasid rivals in Baghdad for cultural bravura. Over the next few centuries, Córdoba alone acquired hundreds of mosques, thousands of palaces, scores of libraries. By the tenth century, those libraries had hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, dwarfing the largest libraries of Christian Europe. The university of Córdoba predated Bologna, the first European university, by more than a century. And al-Andalus was a world of cities, not, like Europe, a world of country estates and small towns. By the end of the millennium, Córdoba’s population was 90,000, more than three times the size of any town in the territory once occupied by Charlemagne. In those cities, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Berbers, Visigoths, Slavs, and countless others created the kind of cultural goulash—a spicy mixture of a variety of distinct components—that would generate a genuine cosmopolitanism.

    There were no recognized rabbis or Muslim scholars at the court of Charlemagne; in the cities of al-Andalus there were bishops and synagogues. Racemondo, Catholic bishop of Elvira, was Córdoba’s ambassador to Constantinople and Aachen. Hasdai ibn Shaprut, leader of Córdoba’s Jewish community in the middle of the tenth century, was not only a great medical scholar but was also the chairman of the caliph’s medical council; and when the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII sent the caliph a copy of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica, the caliph sent for a Greek monk to help translate it into Arabic. The knowledge that the caliph’s doctors acquired made Córdoba one of the great centers of medical expertise in Europe.

  83. po says:

    And, regarding you statement, Randy, that :”Since you mention Africa, we need to remember that it was the WEST,, who outlawed and extinguished slavery there against Muslim slave trading which I might add STILL exists and goes on. Saudi Arabia only recently outlawed slavery in order to join the UN. So please tell the whole story.

    Are you saying that the West outlawed and extinguished slavery after it turned it into the global phenomenon it became, after it fueled a crazed demand and exported millions across the seas to support the commercial structure that built the West? Damn Arabs, I knew they were somehow responsible for the plight of black people.

  84. po says:

    Very informative book, Mike. There were a couple of moments in it where I did not agree with Aslan’s conclusion based on the facts he presented. At times it felt too much that his conclusion was pre-reached and he was just making the case for it, which I understand is not wrong per se, but still feels forced sometimes.

    Fascinating too how everything ends up being up for debate. Even the facts that the scholars use to derive their conclusions are more often than not disagreed upon.

  85. Tony C. says:

    Gene says: Neither can you or Tony or anyone else.

    I can know Gods do not exist to the same extent I know anything else imaginable does not exist. I also do not believe in elves or garden fairies operating outside the laws of physics, or genies in bottles. Since those hypothetical beings are less complex than a God, I submit they are more probable than God in some relative sense of infinitesimals measuring probability (a la Newton).

    So I am more likely to consider unintelligent magic crystals responsible for some unanswerable question than I am to consider any intelligent God responsible for it. I consider it a fundamental logic error to pretend that thoughts (or intelligence) are magical, ethereal objects outside or beyond the laws of physics. Information processing is a physical process of particles and movement; there is no reason to believe thoughts can exist without particles and energy, it makes as little sense as saying a coffee cup can exist without being made of anything. Even the imagination of a coffee cup is made of something; in particular an arrangement of physical objects (neurons, chemicals and electrons) in every brain that can imagine a coffee cup.

  86. Tony C. says:

    po says: both however raised us to ask questions and to (politely) challenge that which we disagreed with, to be leaders and not followers.”

    A) My parents did not raise me to be a leader, they taught me to think for myself by rejecting authority. Those are different things. Leaders and Followers are not the only choices, there is also thinking for one’s self, i.e. neither following or being followed.

    B) How our parents wanted us to turn out, and how we actually turn out, are also different things.

    C) Being a “leader” does not mean one rejects authority or is an independent thinker. A captain can lead his troops into battle but still take orders and trust the vision of his General, the general can be a leader and following his Commander In Chief; the CiC can be following a Holy Book written by dead men and not thinking for himself at all.

    po says: Now, would you do as I did for you and let my claim stand which would rob you of your main chosen argument against me (that I am follower and refuse to think for myself), or would you challenge my claims by bringing forth past comments I have made as proof of your argument against me?

    I do neither. Your claim can stand, I don’t know how your parents raised you, all I can see from your writing is that you accept a ludicrously illogical and pre-packaged religion that somebody else thought up, and you have betrayed a marked inability to see situations or solutions that do not comply with your highly emotional wants or needs.

    That doesn’t mean you cannot be a leader, many armies and countries (and religions) have been led by people driven by their emotions.

    po says: I have left out the 3rd option you have chosen previously and recently, you know, the one where you launch ad hominem attacks that are both unwarranted and, more importantly, unsubstantiated.

    My ad hominem attacks were not unwarranted, you began the ad hominem attacks by implying to others I am defective in my upbringing, my morality, my humanity, my psychology, my perception of fairness, my ability to comprehend science or think scientifically, you accused me of racism or bigotry, and on and on.

    You have not been able to attack my argument with logic so you have attacked me personally instead. All you ever do is repeatedly assert it will not work or it is not fair or it ignores the legal basis for your claims. Or, you engage in implicit ad hominem attack by claiming my idea is equivalent to psychopathically violent acts which it is not, like death camps or concentration camps or forced labor or genocide. Those assertions and false equivalencies are not argumentative logic, and whether my idea is fair or legally compliant has nothing to do with whether it is executable or would effectively end the violence.

    I am not a leader; I am an inventor, and what I invented is the essence of a way for Israel to buy its way out of its conflict with the Palestinian People at an affordable price, using well-known political constructs that already exist in successful countries. For example, lessening the political freedom of those in territories (like the USA and many countries have done for centuries) and prohibiting seditious or revolutionary speech and association (as the Romans did, as the Germans now do), or laws intended to enforce or favor religious belief (as some secular nations demand).

    I have detailed how in widely tested and accepted sociological terms and marketing psychology my idea can be seen as a product with a plausible chance of success, both immediate and long term, and could be tested at low cost with early innovators (relative to Israeli GDP). I have shown by statistical analysis of past wars and hard-fought battles like the civil war and WW II that around 95% of people will surrender even their most cherished ideologies to put an end to violence and live in peace, even if their surrender is unconditional. By extension,

    Do you answer any of that logic with actual logic that refutes it? Of course not, you can’t, you don’t know how to think independently. You rely on others to do your thinking for you; that is why you are religious in the first place and why you are so insistent upon any ideas being put forward or endorsed by some authoritative source you acknowledge.

  87. po says:

    Tony:
    “My parents did not raise me to be a leader, they taught me to think for myself by rejecting authority.”
    Couldn’t help but notice another example of fallacious reasoning. You keep equating thinking for yourself with rejecting authority.All of us here can think for ourselves, but do not necessarily reject authority. Being human means to accept authority until a certain point. Accepting authority is the default mode to humanity, for that is what enabled us to remain and be successful as a species. There are less of you anti-authoritarians because you have been weeded out.

    What is the generally accepted idea of a leader? Someone with a marked ability to think for himself, to sometimes buck conventions,who is able to be at the head of the pack while guiding others to what is perceived to be the proper path, and depending on whether that person cooperates effectively with others, can implement a communal policy that again is seen as beneficial to the whole.
    What is the generally idea accepted of a follower? Someone who by temperament, wish or qualifications cannot lead.

    Tony:
    you began the ad hominem attacks by implying to others I am defective in my upbringing, my morality, my humanity, my psychology, my perception of fairness, my ability to comprehend science or think scientifically, you accused me of racism or bigotry, and on and on.

    Add liar to that list! Though I did challenge you personally, I did not start the ad hominem attacks, you did by accusing me of having accused you of bigotry and racism, which I challenged you to prove, which you have yet to do. Prove it or stop claiming it (sound familiar?) Then you went into your default mode of suggesting that because I am religious, I am logically defective.

  88. po says:

    Tony:
    Do you answer any of that logic with actual logic that refutes it? Of course not, you can’t, you don’t know how to think independently. You rely on others to do your thinking for you; that is why you are religious in the first place and why you are so insistent upon any ideas being put forward or endorsed by some authoritative source you acknowledge.

    Ah, come on, Tony! I should bronze that quote and hang it at home to remind my kids of what not to do.
    Again, I use logic to answer irrationality. No one is more irrational than he who is devising a solution for a situation without knowing anything about the situation. All the arguments you have advanced regarding this conflict are one sided and rely on your own perspective on the situation, which is, again, childish at best.I have offered facts that debunk them. Then I followed up with a challenge to support your facts, which you conveniently still ignore.
    To your claim that Israel owns the land? I offer international law along with Israeli and Palestinian agreements. Where is your proof?
    To your claim that Palestinians are doing the violence? I offer death toll and timelines that shows that most of the violence is started by an Israeli action, including the latest one. Disprove it!
    To your claim that Palestinians just hate Jews? I offered that it is more political than religious or ethnic, that Muslims and jews have lived together relatively harmoniously for most of our history, and that the conflict’s origin is right there in the displacement and occupation of Palestine.
    To your claim that Palestinians are just violent? I offer that 99.5% of the resistance to the Israeli occupation has been non violent.
    To your claim that Palestinians just want to kill children? I offer that Israel has done most of the killing and, as evidenced by the global call to investigate it for human rights abuse and war crimes, I am not the only one to think so. Bombing UN compounds with sleeping children in it is an obvious and clear proof of that intent.

    So, I am the one who offers facts or demands facts, and yet I am the one who cannot think logically?
    And you who offers no fact, knows nothing of the issue, devise a solution that is biased and unwanted by both parties, are the logical one?

    • randyjet says:

      That list of so called IDF war crimes is absurd since it refuses to address the context of those military actions. When Hamas uses civilians as shields, THEY are guilty of war crimes, NOT the IDF. Since there has been no court or even any legitimate inquiry into the circumstances. that report is simply propaganda and is worthless from a legal and moral point of view. The so called shelling of UN facilities is also an outright lie since the shells did not land IN those facilities, but outside. Of course, there is no reporting of Hamas war crimes either. Any true report would have to cite ALL rockets fired into Israel as a WAR CRIME since they are deliberately aimed at civilians. So on balance, the IDF has acted with FAR more restraint than Hamas. This is like Hitler denouncing the US for its treatment of black Americans during WWII. I suggest that using the rule of proportionality should be applied to the whole picture in who is guilty of greater war crimes. Hamas is far more guilty than Israel.

      I recall my Uncle Bob who was a GI in the ETO during WWII. He stated that when they came to a German town that had Nazis in it shooting at the GIs, they withdrew, and called in TNT artillery which had hundreds of shells hitting the town at once. He said the town disappeared in one second. He said it impressed the Germans so much that after a few times, they figured out it was a bad idea to use towns as a battlefield. It saved a lot of GIs lives and Germans, for which he and I are quite grateful. If you don’t want civilians to get killed, you don’t use such areas as a battlefield. There is something called a open cities rule which was used a number of times in WWII which was respected by all sides. Don’t try and sell this crap to people who know better. The only people this will impress are pacifists who are few in number and support.

  89. Bob, Esq. says:

    With all this talk about “what to do with the Palestinians”, how about a little context?

    How about the statements by Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, and his plan for the total destruction of the Palestinian people in Gaza?

    Is his call for concentration camps and the complete destruction of Gaza a public incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention? (Article 25 (3)(e))?

    How about a discussion of the Dahiya doctrine and the Likud party platform in connection with the U.N. investigation of war crimes in Gaza?

    http://www.preventgenocide.org/law/icc/statute/part-a.htm#2

  90. po says:

    And, Tony, if your concerns is really the children on both sides, the murder and killings on both sides, shouldn’t you outraged at the following, which somehow affects disproportionately the one side? http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/08/tallying-israeli-war-crimes/

    War crimes

    Here is a summary of the crimes, as defined in the Rome Statute, that Israeli leaders have committed and U.S. leaders have aided and abetted:

    (1) Willful killing: Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians (more than 400 children and over 80 percent civilians). Israel used 155-millimeter artillery, which, according to Human Rights Watch, is “utterly inappropriate in a densely populated area, because this kind of artillery is considered accurate if it lands anyplace within a 50-meter radius.”

    (2) Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health: Nearly10,000 people, 2,500 of them children, have been wounded. Naban Abu Shaar told the Daily Beast that the dead bodies from what appeared to be a “mass execution” in Khuza’a looked like they were “melted” and were piled on top of each other; assault rifle bullet casings found in the house were marked “IMI” (Israel Military Industries).

    UNICEF said the Israeli offensive has had a “catastrophic and tragic impact” on children in Gaza; about 373,000 children have had traumatic experiences and need psychological help. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said: “There’s a public health catastrophe going on. You know, most of the medical facilities in Gaza are non-operational.”

    (3) Unlawful and wanton, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity: Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lost their homes. More than 1,300 buildings were destroyed and 752 were severely damaged. Damage to sewer and water infrastructure has affected two-thirds of Gazans. On July 20, Israeli forces virtually flattened the small town of Khuza’a; one man counted 360 shell attacks in one hour.

    Reconstruction of Gaza is estimated to cost $6 billion. Israel shrunk Gaza’s habitable land mass by 44 percent, establishing a 3 km “no-go” zone for Palestinians; 147 square miles of land will be compressed into 82 square miles. Oxfam described the level of destruction as “outrageous … much worse than anything we have seen in previous [Israeli] military operations.”

    (4) Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or a civilian the rights of fair and regular trial: Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces during July 2014, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies. Prisoners include 15 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, about 240 children, dozens of women, journalists, activists, academics and 62 former prisoners previously released in a prisoner exchange.

    Israeli forces executed many prisoners after arrest, either by directly firing on them, refusing to allow treatment or allowing them to bleed to death. More than 445 prisoners are being held without charge or trial under administrative detention.

    (5) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population, civilian objects, or humanitarian vehicles, installations and personnel: “The civilian population in the Gaza Strip is under direct attack,” reads a joint declaration of over 150 international law experts. Israeli forces violated the principle of “distinction,” which forbids deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects.

    Israeli forces bombed 142 schools (89 run by the UN), including six UN schools in which civilians were taking refuge. Israeli forces shot and killed fleeing civilians (warnings, which must effectively give civilians time to flee before bombing, do not relieve Israel from its legal obligations not to target civilians). Israeli forces repeatedly bombed Gaza’s only power plant and other infrastructure, which are “beyond repair.” Israeli forces bombed one-third of Gaza’s hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 ambulances. At least five medical staff were killed and tens of others were injured.

    (6) Intentionally launching attacks with knowledge they will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or long-term severe damage to the natural environment, if they are clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage: The principle of “proportionality” forbids disproportionate and excessive civilian casualties compared to the claimed military advantage gained in the attack.

    The Dahiye Doctrine directly violates this principle. Responding to Hamas’ rockets with 155-millimeter artillery is disproportionate. Although nearly 2,000 Palestinians (over 80 percent civilians) have been killed, 67 Israelis (all but three of them soldiers) have been killed. The coordinates of all UN facilities were repeatedly communicated to the Israeli forces; they nevertheless bombed them multiple times. Civilians were attacked in Shuja’iyyah market.

    (7) Attacking or bombarding undefended towns, villages, dwellings or buildings, or intentionally attacking religious, educational and medical buildings, which are not military objectives: On July 20, Israeli forces virtually flattened the small town of Khuza’a; one man counted 360 shell attacks in one hour. Israeli forces bombed 142 schools (89 run by the UN), one-third of Gaza’s hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics, and 29 ambulances. Israeli shelling completely destroyed 41 mosques and partially destroyed 120 mosques.

    Genocide

    (a) With the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group: Palestinians, including primarily civilians, and Palestinian infrastructure necessary to sustain life were deliberately targeted by Israeli forces.

    (b) The commission of any of the following acts

    (i) killing members of the group: Israeli forces killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians.
    (ii) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group: Israeli forces wounded 10,000 Palestinians.
    (iii) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part: Israeli forces devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant, and destroying homes, schools, buildings, mosques and hospitals.

    Crimes against humanity

    (A) The commission of murder as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population: Israeli forces relentlessly bombed Gaza for one month, killing nearly 2,000 Palestinians, more than 80 percent of whom were civilians. Israeli forces intentionally destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant, and destroying homes, schools, buildings, mosques and hospitals.

    (B) Persecution against a group or collectivity based on its political, racial, national, ethnic or religious character, as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population: Israeli forces killed, wounded, summarily executed, and administratively detained Palestinians, Hamas forces and civilians alike. Israel forces intentionally destroyed the infrastructure of Gaza, populated by Palestinians.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “the massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world.” He added the repeated bombing of UN shelters facilities in Gaza was “outrageous, unacceptable and unjustifiable.”

    (C) The crime of apartheid (inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutional regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another racial group, with the intent to maintain that regime): Ali Hayek, head of Gaza’s federation of industries representing 3,900 businesses that employ 35,000 people, said: “After 30 days of war, the economic situation has become, like, dead. It seems the occupation intentionally destroyed these vital factories that constitute the backbone of the society.”

    Israel maintains an illegal barrier wall that encroaches on Palestinian territory and builds illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands. Israel keeps Gazans caged in what many call “the world’s largest open air prison.” Israel controls all ingress and egress to Gaza, limits Gazans’ access to medicine, subjects Palestinians to arbitrary arrest, expropriates their property, maintains separate areas and roads, segregated housing, different legal and educational systems for Palestinians and Jews and prevents mixed marriages. Only Jews, not Palestinians, have the right to return to Israel-Palestine.

    Collective Punishment

    Although the Rome Statute does not include the crime of collective punishment, it is considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which constitutes a war crime. Collective punishment means punishing a civilian for an offense he or she has not personally committed; it forbids reprisals against civilians and their property (civilian objects).

    Ostensibly to root out Hamas fighters, Israel has wreaked unprecedented devastation on the people of Gaza, killing nearly 2,000 people (more than 80 percent of them civilians) and destroying much of the infrastructure of Gaza. This constitutes collective punishment.

    On Aug. 5, 2014, veteran Israeli military advisor Giora Eiland advocated collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, saying: “In order to guarantee our interests versus the other side’s demands, we must avoid the artificial, wrong and dangerous distinction between the Hamas people, who are ‘the bad guys,’ and Gaza’s residents, which are allegedly ‘the good guys.’” That is precisely the strategy Israel has employed during Operation Protective Edge.

    Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands also constitutes collective punishment. Israel maintains effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services.

    Prospects for Accountability

    Both Israel and the U.S. have refused to ratify the Rome Statute. But if Palestine were a party to the statute, the ICC could exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed by Israelis and Americans in Palestinian territory. The ICC could also take jurisdiction if the UN Security Council refers the matter to the ICC, or if the ICC prosecutor initiates an investigation of the crime.

    The U.S. would veto any Security Council referral to the ICC. And the ICC prosecutor has not initiated an investigation. So the question is whether Palestine can ratify the statute, thereby becoming a party to the ICC.

    In 2009, the Palestinian National Authority filed a declaration with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction. In 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state. During the present war, the Palestinian minister of justice and the deputy minister of justice both submitted documents to the ICC indicating that the 2009 declaration is still valid. On Aug. 5, 2014, the Palestinian minister of foreign affairs met with officials from the ICC and inquired about the procedures for Palestine to become a party to the statute.

    On July 25, 2014, a French lawyer filed a complaint with the ICC on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister. Citing Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories, Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing military operations there, the complaint alleges that Israel committed war crimes and other crimes. The Palestinian government has not formally commented on this complaint.

    On July 23, 2014, the UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry into Israeli violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law. The resolution also called on parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene and respond to the alleged violations. That convention requires parties to prosecute violators.

    Countries can bring foreign nationals to justice for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity under the well-established doctrine of universal jurisdiction. Genocide charges could also be brought under the Genocide Convention, to which both Israel and the United States are parties. That convention also punishes complicity in genocide; U.S. leaders’ provision of military aid would constitute complicity.

    Although the Israeli and U.S. governments continue to maintain that Israel has only acted in self-defense against Hamas’ terrorism, the weight of world opinion points in the opposite direction. There is overwhelming opposition to Israeli aggression in Gaza and calls for justice and accountability.

    Both Israeli and U.S. leaders must be criminally prosecuted for committing and aiding and abetting these crimes.

    Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her next book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, will be published in September. [See Cohn’s “US Leaders Aid and Abet Israeli War Crimes, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity,” JURIST – Forum, Aug. 8, 2014.]

  91. Bob, Esq. says:

    That was quick.

  92. Tony C. says:

    po says: You keep equating thinking for yourself with rejecting authority. All of us here can think for ourselves, but do not necessarily reject authority.

    You are confused. There are two meanings to the word “follow,” one is used as in “follow an argument,” meaning to understand. The other is to subordinate oneself to another, as in “follow orders.” A soldier follows orders, whether they understand them or not. You follow a religion in that sense, and thus are not an independent thinker; you believe what another person has told you (whoever wrote the Quran) because of who they are, not because of whatever logic they used. You admit yourself you do not understand God.

    I follow [understand] the thinking and arguments of mathematicians, physicists, engineers, geneticists, evolutionary theorists, biologists, sociologists and psychologists. I do not “accept” any authority whatsoever in the sense of believing it to be truth, good, or sensible without question. I take all authoritative claims as provisional and disprovable; if there is a lack of time or ability to verify such claims, or if there is not significant risk in being wrong, I will gamble on correctness or experience, but it is a conscious gamble, not trust or certainty. For example, I have taken such bets on lawyers, on doctors, on engineers.

    You seem to have far more faith (literally and figuratively) in authority than I do.

    po says: There are less of you anti-authoritarians because you have been weeded out.

    That’s ridiculous. If there are fewer of us, it is probably because most things in life and nature follow a Bell or Weibull (or reversed Wiebull) distribution, and all of those curves have rarities at their extremums. There is nothing to weed out; people like me are just rarities.

    po says: What is the generally accepted idea of a leader? Someone with a marked ability to think for himself, to sometimes buck conventions,who is able to be at the head of the pack while guiding others to what is perceived to be the proper path, and depending on whether that person cooperates effectively with others, can implement a communal policy that again is seen as beneficial to the whole.

    That’s basically all heroic bullshit. I will take W.L. Gore’s definition; a leader is somebody that people voluntarily follow; meaning that people choose to decide on their behalf. No “marked ability” to think for himself or to buck conventions or the rest of that clap trap.

    Leaders are leaders because they have followers; period. How they acquire those followers varies, some are dictatorial, some use religion, some use persuasion or bribery or violence.

    po says: What is the generally idea accepted of a follower? Someone who by temperament, wish or qualifications cannot lead.

    More bullshit; a follower is somebody that prefers to follow orders. That doesn’t mean they cannot get people to follow their orders, it means they prefer to be told what to do by an authority. An Army colonel can be a leader of soldiers and an authority to them, while being a follower of a General that prefers to take orders from higher authority. Some Generals (like Patton) have great difficulty in following orders; I suspect Patton was an independent thinker that ended up leading an army; much as I am an independent thinker that has been tasked with leading technological groups (to great success, but I do not “lead” them traditionally).

  93. Bob, Esq. says:

    Randyjet,

    While I agree with you on the Ukraine matter, I’m afraid your blanket denial of any wrongdoing by Israel and the IDF is … well, impossible to accept legally and factually.

    • randyjet says:

      Bob, I guess you haven’t read my posts. I have made lots of criticism of Israel, and have called them an apartheid state for non-jews, and advocated court martials for troops who commit outright war crimes. I cannot see war crimes in much of what Israel is doing in Gaza since it is Hamas who is guilty of 90% of the war crimes.

  94. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/11/us-mideast-gaza-un-inquiry-idUSKBN0GB1QR20140811“The U.N. statement said the independent team will investigate “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law … in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014.”

    A month of war, marked by Israeli air strikes on Gaza and rockets fired by Hamas militants into Israel, has killed 1,938 Palestinians and 67 Israelis while devastating wide tracts of densely populated Gaza.

    The panel is to report by March 2015 to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Israel has long accused the 47-member state forum of bias against it.

    Navi Pillay, the top U.N. human rights official, said on July 31 she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.

    Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, Gaza’s only power plant and U.N. premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, said Pillay, a former U.N. war crimes judge.

    Hamas militants in Gaza have violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, Pillay said.”

  95. Bob, Esq. says:

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Giora Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser. Speaking to The New York Times, Eiland said, quote, “You cannot win against an effective guerrilla organization when on the one hand, you are fighting them, and on the other hand, you continue to supply them with water and food and gas and electricity. Israel should have declared a war against the de facto state of Gaza, and if there is misery and starvation in Gaza, it might lead the other side to make such hard decisions.” Noam Chomsky, if you could respond to this?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s basically the debate within the Israeli top political echelon: Should we follow Dov Weissglas’s position of maintaining them on a diet of bare survival, so you make sure children don’t get chocolate bars, but you allow them to have, say, Cheerios in the morning? Should we—

    AMY GOODMAN: Actually, Noam, can you explain that, because when you’ve talked about it before, it sort of sounds—this diet sounds like a metaphor. But can you explain what you meant when you said actual diet? Like, you’re talking number of calories. You’re actually talking about whether kids can have chocolate?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Israel has—Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive. And if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque. I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly. They’re sadistic. Just enough calories to survive. And, of course, it is partly metaphoric, because it means just enough material coming in through the tunnels so that they don’t totally die. Israel restricts medicines, but you have to allow a little trickle in. When I was there right before the November 2012 assault, visited the Khan Younis hospital, and the director showed us that there’s—they don’t even have simple medicines, but they have something. And the same is true with all aspects of it. Keep them on a diet, literally. And the reason is—very simple, and they pretty much said it: “If they die, it’s not going to look good for Israel. We may claim that we’re not the occupying power, but the rest of the world doesn’t agree. Even the United States doesn’t agree. We are the occupying power. And if we kill off the population under occupation, not going to look good.” It’s not the 19th century, when, as the U.S. expanded over what’s its national territory, it pretty much exterminated the indigenous population. Well, by 19th century’s imperial standards, that was unproblematic. This is a little different today. You can’t exterminate the population in the territories that you occupy. That’s the dovish position, Weissglas. The hawkish position is Eiland, which you quoted: Let’s just kill them off.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/11/sadistic_grotesque_noam_chomsky_on_how

  96. Bob, Esq. says:

    Christopher Hayes: “Whenever you here some say Israel “withdrew” from Gaza, keep this in mind.”

    2,279 calories per person: How Israel made sure Gaza didn’t starve
    State forced to release ‘red lines’ document for food consumption in the coastal Strip following legal battle; official: state has right to determine who it assists.

    “After a three-and-a-half-year legal battle waged by the Gisha human rights organization, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has finally released a 2008 document that detailed its “red lines” for “food consumption in the Gaza Strip.”

    The document calculates the minimum number of calories necessary, in COGAT’s view, to keep Gaza residents from malnutrition at a time when Israel was tightening its restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the Strip, including food products and raw materials. The document states that Health Ministry officials were involved in drafting it, and the calculations were based on “a model formulated by the Ministry of Health … according to average Israeli consumption,” though the figures were then “adjusted to culture and experience” in Gaza. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/2-279-calories-per-person-how-israel-made-sure-gaza-didn-t-starve.premium-1.470419?v=1333ED450E412D29464F9CBCAA7295FB

  97. Tony C. says:

    po says: To your claim that Israel owns the land? I offer international law along with Israeli and Palestinian agreements. Where is your proof?

    The proof is in what Israel can do with the land. Offer all the international law you like; law is meaningless if the law is not backed up by force or a threat of force, and no nation is stopping Israel from doing whatever they want in those territories, nor will they stop them.

    As for Israeli and Palestinian agreements, so what? Such agreements are understandably considered nulled and voided by Israel when Palestinian violence first killed Israelis. The territories are lost by war. That is the true international law, and a common way that countries acquire territory. It is how the colonies took property away from the British, how America took the Hawaiian islands from its people, how Mexico lost huge tracts of land to America.

    There is no law without force to back it up, po. Wake up. The Palestinian people do not have the force to take the land, nor allies with force, so they don’t own the land, their “agreement” is not going to be honored with Israel, which is going to claim, in essence, that any former agreement has been long nullified by continuous new acts of war (or murder or “lethal conflict”) by the Palestinians. If one country attacks another, all treaties or agreements or contracts are off; even if the agreement was with the U.N.

    To the victor belong the spoils, right or wrong. Now you can pout and moan about the end of the Ottoman Empire, but the reality borders pretty close to certainty that until the American Empire and Israel are both gone, the USA and Israel will not allow that land to become a hostile sovereign and independent country. Israel has said that pretty explicitly, and as long as the USA is its ally, after the examples of Afghanistan and Iraq no Arab country is going to invade Israel (or the territories) on behalf of the Palestinian People. The U.N. cannot do a damn thing about it, because the USA has veto power there.

    Believe otherwise at your own moral peril, because by your own accounting that continued belief endangers the lives of Palestinians far more than it endangers the lives of Israelis, and it is the continued belief in that lost cause that is the problem, the decision to pointlessly fight and die for what will never be.

    The only logical alternative I see to continued bloodshed is an acceptance by the Palestinian People of the defeat of their dream of independence, sovereignty, and self-determination. A week ago I began from that premise and devised a way that could plausibly come to pass. Israel is never going to be defeated in this conflict, and I’d like to see an end to the Palestinian People being periodically slaughtered! Yes, it requires true surrender and acceptance of defeat. So what? Germans and Japanese were defeated, Russians lost the Cold War. Peoples get defeated and within a generation or two they will find a new reality with happy lives, and new dreams will replace the old lost ones.

    I don’t think your citations of international law or grievances against Israel will ever make any difference at all. I don’t believe your claims about what the Palestinian People think or want because I think you are blinded by your ideology, and because I have plenty of book learnin’ and real world experience in taking advantage of how humans think, and my assessment is that with enough incentives and assurances most of them would surrender independence for peace and prosperity. Which in the current political reality is a product that only Israel can manufacture, and a product that I think would be in Israel’s best interest to manufacture.

  98. Tony C. says:

    Bob: You left out the part of that article that says Israel denies ever doing anything more than computing the guidelines, and says they never implemented the restrictions, that they were computing the minimum in order to ensure they would not create a humanitarian crisis.

    I agree the restrictions they did have seem harsh and inhumane. I think the issue is confused by subterfuge: I remember reading that Israel imposed restrictions on imports because in the past they had found ammunition and weapons being smuggled into Gaza hidden among food and medical supplies and other humanitarian aid supplies.

  99. Tony says:

    “Gene says: Neither can you or Tony or anyone else.

    I can know Gods do not exist to the same extent I know anything blah blah blah”

    Tell me, Tony, do you exist outside of spacetime and the constraints of physics? No? To quote Zool, “Are you a god?” Nope? Didn’t think so. That means at best you are making a guess, educated perhaps, but a guess nonetheless. A god – by definition – is incomprehensible due to the frame of reference issue. You dress up your language in certainty all you like but the bottom line is even if you had knowledge certain? You wouldn’t know what to make of it. “[T]here is no reason to believe thoughts can exist without particles and energy” and yet you cannot prove otherwise. Your statement has no more value than any unfounded opinion. Just because it offends your sensibilities doesn’t make it so. It carries an arrogance beyond scope as well. You are making a pronouncement as truth based on an assumption of (perfect) knowledge of the nature of the multiverse. I’ve know you a good while Tony and while you’re a sharp guy, you are neither omnipresent nor omnipotent and gravity, the weak force, the strong force and electro-magnetism still constrain you like every other being in this universe. A situation that – by definition – would not apply to an extraplanar being. I suggest you (re-)read “Flatland” by Edwin Abbott Abbott for a little perspective on how dimensionality works.

    If one can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a god within this frame of reference, then the answer remains X.

  100. Tony C. says:

    Gene: Theoretically there are an infinite number of untestable and unprovable hypothesis to propose and consider. My point was that once we know something is in the realm of the untestable and unprovable, they are all equally worthy of consideration: 1/infinity is the amount of time we should devote to such contemplation. We humans have already exceeded that budget by a considerable amount, don’t you think?

    As for dimensionality, I may have lost any mastery I once had of differential geometry on manifolds, but I still engage in higher dimensional mathematics on a fairly regular basis.

  101. Bob, Esq. says:

    Gene,

    “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    http://www.phil.pku.edu.cn/resguide/Kant/CPR/16.html#415

  102. Bob, Esq. says:

    Wouldn’t it be funny though if God turned out to be John de Lancie?

  103. Bob,

    Q once said something that could quite easily be this blog’s motto.

    “If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.”

  104. po says:

    Yep, as I said before, I give facts and Tony gives his convictions of what ought to be. Yep, pretty logical, pretty rational and pretty scientific indeed!

  105. po says:

    Palestinians are like black kids in the US, ghettoized, marginalized and killed for sport. Resistance is met with increasingly deadly force.

  106. po says:

    Thanks for the linguistic lesson, tony. Went quite far out of your way to undermine your own argument in the process of fighting mine. Good try!

    Tony says, my addition in ( )
    I follow [understand] the thinking and arguments of mathematicians, physicists, engineers, geneticists, evolutionary theorists, biologists, sociologists and psychologists (and religious scholars). I do not “accept” any authority whatsoever in the sense of believing it to be truth, good, or sensible without question. I take all authoritative claims as provisional and disprovable (if I search hard enough, which is my religious duty); if there is a lack of time or ability to verify such claims, or if there is not significant risk in being wrong, I will gamble on correctness or experience, but it is a conscious gamble, not trust or certainty. For example, I have taken such bets on lawyers, on doctors, on engineers (and on religious scholars).

    you see, I knew we’d agree on something! I know however that since this goes against the crux of your argument, you will deny me the right to be as I say I am,

    Tony :”Leaders are leaders because they have followers; period. ”
    Do the followers make the leaders or the leaders make the followers? Do leaders acquire followers or do followers acquire a leader?
    So to be a leader is just a state of being that has nothing to do with innate/practical/charismatic qualities and skills? One is because one does? How is one put up to doing? It is random? There is nothing about the person that makes them followable? If we are, in terms of biology, higher animals, shouldn’t’ we be subject to the forces at play in the animal kingdom where the leader is qualitative first and foremost?

    Finally, to my request for a proof that the land belongs to Israel, Tony replies this:
    ” The proof is in what Israel can do with the land.” before going on to, again, blame Israel starving the Palestinians on the victims themselves. That horse is dead, Tony, ridden too hard and flogged mercilessly.
    Wow!

  107. po says:

    Randyjet said this:
    Another factor is the refusal of the IDF to punish murders committed by some of its troops. While Hamas is worse by far than the IDF, the tendency of such a struggle is to view all the Palestinians as subhuman on the part of many troops. Without public disciplinary court martials, of such troops, the feeling is generated that anything goes. There are too many reports from the UN detailing such crimes on the part of the IDF to ignore, yet nothing is done to reign in such bad actors. The US in Vietnam did many such things too, and nobody was punished which simply lead to more atrocities. This is a normal part of any warfare. At least the US in WWII, did court martial many troops who committed crimes of killing most often POWs and civilians on occasion. This is why so many on the left denounce Israel.

    Then he says this:
    That list of so called IDF war crimes is absurd since it refuses to address the context of those military actions. When Hamas uses civilians as shields, THEY are guilty of war crimes, NOT the IDF. Since there has been no court or even any legitimate inquiry into the circumstances. that report is simply propaganda and is worthless from a legal and moral point of view. The so called shelling of UN facilities is also an outright lie since the shells did not land IN those facilities, but outside. Of course, there is no reporting of Hamas war crimes either. Any true report would have to cite ALL rockets fired into Israel as a WAR CRIME since they are deliberately aimed at civilians. So on balance, the IDF has acted with FAR more restraint than Hamas. This is like Hitler denouncing the US for its treatment of black Americans during WWII. I suggest that using the rule of proportionality should be applied to the whole picture in who is guilty of greater war crimes. Hamas is far more guilty than Israel.

    Then am left scratching me head.
    I think randy is like Andrew Sullivan , disagrees with anything he hasn’t said first.

  108. Tony C. says:

    po asks: Do the followers make the leaders or the leaders make the followers? Do leaders acquire followers or do followers acquire a leader?

    Doesn’t that vary? Patton was appointed the soldiers that followed him. Napoleon recruited followers, then enslaved more followers. Other leaders talk and get votes, so they didn’t “acquire” them, the people chose them.

    That is the reason for the not-quite tautological definition; there is no one path to leadership; a person is a leader if they have people willing to follow them.

    po asks: So to be a leader is just a state of being that has nothing to do with innate/practical/charismatic qualities and skills?

    You are trying to think in black and white and that won’t work. Many leaders do have charisma. Not all of them do. I have approximately zero charisma, just ask the girls I knew in high school. I acquired friends but not followers.

    po says: One is because one does?

    That is true for some things, like writing. You can claim you are a writer if you write.

    Not exactly, in terms of leadership. One is a leader if one has people that willingly follow them. Focus on the “willingly following,” you cannot simply declare yourself a leader, other people decide you are a leader.

    po says: How is one put up to doing? It is random?

    It certainly can be. Patton didn’t start WW II. Many leaders are born to wealth and reach their potential because they can afford to hire employees that later become followers. Steve Jobs became a leader first through friendship with Wozniak, later by virtue of their making money on a product. But the product was pretty random, like Gates they happened to be the right age at the right time with the right natural affinities, close to the dawn of the microprocessor and the potential for “personal” computers (small affordable computers).

    po says: There is nothing about the person that makes them followable?

    Obviously there is something about the person that attracts followers, but like beauty or skill it is not always the same thing. Patton and Jobs have different personalities, Gates has his own approach, Obama has his, Warren Buffett has his own, too. Some leaders are collaborative and skilled at building consensus, others command people that like authoritarianism.

    po says: If we are, in terms of biology, higher animals, shouldn’t’ we be subject to the forces at play in the animal kingdom where the leader is qualitative first and foremost?

    There are no higher and lesser animals; we are all just animals. Imposing a scale of hierarchy is your ego talking. Pick a measure and you can put animals in a spectrum of sorts, if the measure is well defined enough. There is a tallest animal, it isn’t us. A strongest, it isn’t us. An animal with the sharpest vision, it isn’t us. A most flexible, a fastest runner, the most discriminating sense of smell, and none of those are us.

    Humans are the animal with the best ability to form the most accurate, most predictive, and most explanatory abstract mental models of reality and apply them to the real world. We can call that ability to form the models “intelligence” and a collection of models that works better than random action a measure of “understanding.”

    In the animal kingdom, understanding is often limited, or instinct provides rules of thumb as substitutes for understanding. Those instincts and emotions can backfire. Animals are ruled by dictatorial force of the strongest; the females mate with the male that wins the physical fight for her as their property; it is all about physicality, not understanding or thought.

    The instincts and emotions of animals that lead them to select the strongest, or best looking, or most aggressive alpha dog are definitely part of our psychological makeup, as well. Foreigners in Europe and Asia have a significant chance of picking the winner of low level American political races based solely upon photographs of the candidates that they have never seen before.

    That said, people can come to leadership from other directions, due to intelligence and understanding that overrides our instinctive responses to people, even despite some such instincts. For example, we can follow somebody that makes us angry or that we see as weak or disfigured or highly flawed in some personality traits, just because we understand they have been brilliant in the past and are likely to be brilliant again.

    So no, the leader does not have to be the strongest, in fact physical strength can in modern American culture be seen by many as self-absorbed and preening, a sign of a low-intellect, callous gym rat capable of obsessive mindless exercise for hours on end. Physical strength or height isn’t going to solve our economic problems; My President can beat up your President isn’t a diplomatic strategy.

    Unlike other animals, people can choose to follow somebody based on their mental acuity, social acuity, or understanding. Actors may follow a director, not because he is particularly charismatic or has any animal charm, but because his decisions and story sense produce Oscar winning films.

    In the writing room, writers will follow a fat balding asthmatic writer because on the page, he is a brilliant manipulator of audience emotions. Stephen King is not a naturally charismatic person (by his own admission), but if you are a writer and he is giving you story notes and plot suggestions, you will probably follow him based on his record. People can come to leadership not by any natural personality trait or charisma, but by proving themselves highly capable in some field.

    Sometimes that success becomes “charisma” in the eyes of those that admire it; before Einstein proved himself a genius, nobody was following him or clamoring to employ him, he couldn’t even get a job teaching. His success translated into perceived charisma, and the same is true for many other celebrities today. If you know nothing about the world of investing and you met Warren Buffett in a line at the airport, you might find him far less charismatic than if you knew he was a multi-billionaire and one of the most celebrated investing geniuses on the planet. Knowledge of his success can change one’s perception and the value they put on his opinions (on any topic) and every utterance. Much like the opinion of a wildly successful actor or sports star on some product they are paid to endorse; success in a field can create a volunteer army of followers.

  109. po says:

    Thanks for this, Tony, rather than countering my initial points about leaders and followers, It seems to confirm them, expounding on them too, sure, but confirming them too. I think we generally agree, don’t we?

  110. Tony C. says:

    po: Unless you have changed your tune, we do not generally agree.

    po says: What is the generally accepted idea of a leader? Someone with a marked ability to think for himself, …

    No, they do not necessarily think that originally. I knew a leader in ninth grade that wanted to form a math club. He was the class president, he was the editor of the school newspaper. I and some friends were the best math geeks in our district, so he recruited me and some of my friends. There was no math club. He (with his lawyer father) did all the work to formally create one, he wanted to be the President of it, so we elected him the president of the math club. His objective was that according to the rules at the time, if we had 12 members and we all signed up, we could take college math courses for credit with our electives. Which he talked all of us into doing every semester and every summer for four years. Because it would help him (and us) get a head start on college (my high-school earned credits would not transfer to my eventual GI Bill college in another state; but I did enjoy being in the math club anyway).

    He was not thinking originally or outside the box, he read the rules (which admittedly none of us did) and found something entirely inside the box that he thought we should exploit. He picked me and my friends first because he knew we would sign up, and he could then use us as bait and peer pressure for others to sign up; there were 15 of us.

    po says: … to sometimes buck conventions,…

    No, they do not necessarily buck conventions. See above. Many an entrepreneur is not thinking outside the box or bucking convention, think of all the franchise operations there are out there. A leader is just the woman willing to step up and try something. Often executing a standard business-school approach to provide a service in an area where it is missing. It is possible to be a leader without original thinking or bucking conventions.

    po says: … who is able to be at the head of the pack while guiding others to what is perceived to be the proper path,…

    I don’t think this has meaning, “able to be at the head of the pack.” I think the vast majority of people are “able” unless they have some sort of crippling inability to talk to people. I do not think it takes anything special to be in charge or assign tasks or decide on a path, I think that is a commonality of about 95% of people and not really indicative of “leadership.”

    po says: … and depending on whether that person cooperates effectively with others, can implement a communal policy that again is seen as beneficial to the whole.

    Again, not really. Leaders are leaders because they have followers; period. David Koresh was a leader, he got most of his followers killed. As many leaders do.

    po says: What is the generally idea accepted of a follower? Someone who by temperament, wish or qualifications cannot lead.

    I don’t agree with your assertion that is generally accepted. I followed somebody in high school because he had a good idea and was a natural at building consensus and closing a deal. I have had people follow me for much the same reason, they liked my ideas and thought I could make them work. So I was a follower, and although my style of leadership was much different than the class President in high school, I was able to lead people to success, too.

  111. po says:

    Tony, please reread your posts. Everything you said offers additional situations that make a leader or a follower, but DO NOT refute my suggestions of what makes either.
    I said this:
    What is the GENERALLY ACCEPTED idea of a leader?
    What is the GENERALLY ACCEPTED accepted of a follower?
    That implies that there are many different types of leaders and followers, but I offered the GENERALLY ACCEPTED ideas of either.

    Your response includes:
    No, they do not necessarily think that originally
    No, they do not necessarily buck conventions.
    Again, not really…

    Which means that it applies to some cases, and while I say it is most cases, you say few cases. So the disagreement is less on whether my concept of what makes a leader and a follower valid, and more on how much it is valid, which means that my assertion that you confirm, at least partially, my argument is indeed, also valid.

    Though I give you that I should have said: a follower is someone who by temperament (disposition), skills (training/position) or wish (not wanting or caring) won’t lead, not cannot. Cannot suggests an inability to, while my conditions were supposed to suggest not doing, rather than not being able to.

  112. Tony C. says:

    po: I reject the assertion that your descriptions are GENERALLY ACCEPTED.

    Your concept of what makes a leader or follower is flawed to the point of being useless.

    Those that do not lead in one arena may well lead in another. A person can be a leader in devising a new musical style, but a follower in politics, or in business. Once again, you are thinking in black and white, classifying a person as a “follower” in ALL THINGS, or classifying a person as a leader in ALL THINGS and ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, as if they cannot help but lead. You are wrong.

    The disagreement is NOT on “how valid you are,” the disagreement is on the definition. A leader is somebody that people are willing to follow; qualifying it further than that is no longer the right definition because it excludes people that are leaders!

    You can say that leaders often share some traits that do not define them, like an ability to invent or persuade. You can say that there are reasons many people choose to be followers, like uncertainty in their opinions or a fear of public speaking or a fear of assertiveness and confrontation. Those things do not DEFINE a follower, what defines a follower is that they have for whatever reason chosen somebody else to lead them in some endeavor, be it politics, religion, business, a sport or other leisure activity, a science project. And for each of those things, a person may be a leader or a follower.

    So my friend led the charge in creating a math club, and I followed him. Would I follow him on developing a new implantable medical device? Hell no, he will follow me or I’m not working on it.

  113. bron98 says:

    Tony C:

    I think you are correct about that, excellence in one field does not necessarily translate to another.

    I have seen a few leaders in one enterprise step on their cranks when they started something different.

  114. po says:

    Tony says:
    Those that do not lead in one arena may well lead in another. A person can be a leader in devising a new musical style, but a follower in politics, or in business. Once again, you are thinking in black and white, classifying a person as a “follower” in ALL THINGS, or classifying a person as a leader in ALL THINGS and ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, as if they cannot help but lead. You are wrong.

    Tony, I can see how you can conclude that from my original post about leaders v followers. In effect, I was talking about character, the personal tendency for one to be among those more likely take up the responsibility of being a leader, you know, the one who would ask the tough question, the one who would tinker with the elevator buttons to get it to start going again, the one who would step out of the house to investigate the screams, the one who would volunteer to handle these responsibilities, the one willing to challenge the common narrative and go away from it when most wouldn’t. That is commonly/GENERALLY affiliated with the idea of a leader.
    As the son of an army officer who was just like that, and a homemaker who was also like that within her social and religious structure, I was raised to effectively be that person, and not be a mindless follower, which is also GENERALLY seen as the opposite of that.

    Now, the problem we have is that you want to make my view of the inner character of a leader/follower as the definition of ALL leaders, or ALL leading, which I am not saying. In the realm of inner character, inner natural tendencies, of temperament and personality, some are more likely to lead than others. That is a fact! Though it does not mean that it doesn’t change depending on the circumstances or the state of a person (growth, trauma, fear, experience…)
    A child raised to be morally courageous, to be a humanist, to be sensitive to fairness and justice will more often than not be the person who would lead others when addressing all of those issues.

    Now does that mean that such person would lead everyone everytime, in every situation even those where he has little skill and understanding? No!
    That then becomes an issue of position or responsibility, not one of character or personality. I lead some people, am led by others; as it is for you and each one of us on this blog.

    Speaking of blog, it is obvious to me that Gene, for example is a leader. Positionally, yes, by his having created this blog and leading it, by making himself a leader, but also personally/in character/in temperament, by taking the action to create this blog out of dissatisfaction with the other one. Some would have submitted themselves to the rules over there and swallowed it, others would just faded into no longer participating based on their inner state. Now, had he remained there and not created this blog would he have been merely a follower?
    As inner temperament/personality? No, because he is who he is!
    As outer/Position? Yes, but that is not only temporary but also fluctuating!

    Again, if I am talking inner and you are talking outer, role/position, we are talking about 2 different aspects of a whole. Your aspect being a complement to mine, does not invalidate it, it only builds on it.
    Just as science complements religion but does not invalidate it. (hook!)

  115. blouise says:

    I doubt Gene sees us as followers … stalkers maybe

  116. I think the appropriate term might be “cohorts”, possibly “the usual suspects”. :mrgreen:

  117. blouise says:

    :mrgreen: !!

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