[ExI] Religions and violence.

samantha sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Aug 2 22:44:32 UTC 2010

Tomasz Rola wrote:
> On Sun, 1 Aug 2010, samantha wrote:
>> Tomasz Rola wrote:
>>> On the other hand, one could hardly disagree with these Hitler's words:
>>> "I want everyone to keep what he has earned, subject to the principle that
>>> the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual. But
>>> the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an
>>> agent of the State ..."
>> I disagree vehemently with this!  The "community" is only a collection of
>> individuals.  It has no special rights that trump those of the individuals it
>> is composed of.  The widespread belief that it does is precisely what makes
>> horrors such as Nazism possible.  It is what is destroying even that one time
>> symbol of deepest appreciation of the individual and individual rights,
>> America. 
> And now I also am controversial.
> I have interpreted the above quotation out of context of whatever else 
> Hitler did/said (and without counting how many people have been killed 
> because of his inspiration). My understanding was that everybody 
> (including individuals) should pay attention to the fact, that he is 
> not alone and in fact a part of community. Unless he wants to be in a 
> community of one. Which of course he can. How about founding his own 
> hospital, because, well, health insurance is all about community sharing 
> risks and expenditures? 

Being in a community is wonderful precisely to the degree that you can 
trade to benefit with others freely.  It allows specialization and 
WIN-WIN across the board when that freedom of action is fully 
respected.   Of course it is beneficial to have others around.  That 
does not mean that the collection of all supersedes the very needs and 
rights of the individual which are the context of any benefit derived. 
> As of individualism in America, well while I've been never interested in 
> looking for hard facts, my understanding is, it is as rare in America as 
> anywhere else, including Antarctica. But it's optimistic that there are 
> more individualists in USA than on the Moon and Mars combined (did I 
> mention that I am optimist under my hard skin?). The fact that 
> individualism is praised by everybody has nothing to do with reality.
Empty blather.
> And in rare cases this very same individualism takes such monstrous form, 
> that the whole country, both big and rich, and admirable in many aspects, 
> gets endangered of being drowned to the bottom with financial crisis. If 
> the guys who did this were individuals, I would rather see them 
> controlled, just a little. So that they don't shit into bank accounts of 
> all of us.
The crisis came precisely from massively violating individual rights and 
freedom NOT from upholding them.

>>> Sounds like good presidential candidate, isn't he?
>> I hope this is sarcasm.
> It was... partially. If you didn't know the candidate's name was Hitler, 
> maybe you would feel surprised about his words, but not as offended as you 
> were.
>>> Mr Clark, my philosophy is, everybody should get what he deserves. But
>>> before I tell what he deserves, his case should be examined. Otherwise I am
>>> no better than a mob.
>> Unless given your adulation for the above the mob says he deserves X in which
>> case you think your individual opinion is not relevant, no?
> Why you think so? My individual opinion is always relevant, but 
> realistically, it will not always be paid attention to by other people.

I should have said that your individual right and decision about what to 
do with your own life and property is not relevant under your scenario.  
Not merely your opinion.   Rights are not a matter of opinion only.
>>> It is nothing like being weak minded. Quite the contrary, I think it is weak
>>> thing to go by, flow with the current, without questioning things and agree
>>> with everybody around without objection, just because "everybody does so".
>> You sound like a healthy individualist there.
> So maybe I am one. Surprised?
>>>>>> writer Naguib Mahfouz who's novel is banned in most of the Islamic
>>>>>> world for blasphemy.
>>>>> Well, Nobel Prize wouldn't be worth much if it wasn't controversial.
>>>> I'm not talking about being controversial, I'm talking about using force
>>>> to prevent someone from reading a novel from a Nobel Prize winner. Are you
>>>> really sure you want to defend this?
>>> No. I am sure that I am for allowing people to choose by themselves. I
>>> consider this to be an error on the part of Islamic authorities. 
>> The first error is even allowing such "authorities" in the first place.  But
>> by the Hitler quote above that you admire I suppose you are in principle find
>> with any claimed "voice for the community or collective" "authorities".
> Great. First of all, who should disallow such authorities? You mean, there 
> is somebody on this planet who has the right to insist how people in 
> other, independent countries should make their own choices? How is this 
> different from what those bad authorities do? Because it is "us" telling 
> "them" - so this is better than "them" telling "us"?
The "authorities" are fine as long as they have no power whatsoever to 
force their opinions on individuals.  I mean that even in a single 
country no other person or group of persons has any right to insist you 
do what they wish rather than what you wish unless what you wish 
directly violates the rights of others.   The international case is just 
an extension.

> And yes, I am not sure about it but from what I heard it were people in 
> those countries themselves, who chosed their authorities (at least, they 
> allowed them to rise). Even in Afghanistan, there was communist (i.e. 
> definitely non-islamic) government. How did it fail? There was no support 
> for it. And there was support for Talibans. So they took over. And they 
> were bad. But they were supported, at least for some time. So, if their 
> own people supported them and allowed for their taking power, what we 
> should do?
There is no right to chose someone to take away your rights.  I think 
you know better than to assume that one can always stop the rising of 
oppressors.  So if not enough people effectively oppose a government 
that runs roughshod over human rights of the people then none of the 
people have anything really to complain about and it is OK?

> We can _suggest_ them that being intollerant and violent is a bad thing 
> and they are doing disservice to themselves with it. We should execute (or 
> otherwise neutralise) terrorists who come to us, trying to force us to 
> their way by violence (we can kill them abroad too, if this is the best 
> way of dealing with them). Other than this, we don't have much to say 
> about the lives of ordinary folk (unless they themselves ask for help).
We may not have the right to invade another country to impose our values 
on them.  However we had best be damn clear about what our values are 
and use them to judge cleanly what is and is not acceptable behavior of 
governments and authorities.

>  My 
> personal limits are, when there is a country wide hunger and concentration 
> camps (or when there is another suggestion that masses are being forced 
> to something they don't like). However, from what I see, in such case 
> almost nobody blows the whistle (and this repeats over and over, during 
> last 100 years).
So as long as the lights are on, most fed and most out of prison any 
other abrogations of human rights are just fine with you?

BTW, the US incarcerates more people per capita and numerically than in 
nation ever.   Which is an utter travesty especially considering the 
majority are imprisoned for victimless crimes.   Yet the lights are on 
and people are well fed and there are no concentration camps unless you 
count prisons and perhaps public schools.  :)

>>> As I have mentioned in one earlier post, such overreaction is a sign of
>>> weakness or lack of confidence. This might be connected with possible
>>> cultural shock, that Islamic world experienced after WW2.
>> Are you making excuses for an inexcusable breach of human rights?  Why? 
> Am I excusing them? If I say, for example, that drug abusers and criminals 
> come from dysfunctional families, is it excusing?

No.  But then it is not condemning either.

> One can deal with criminals, and new ones will keep coming. If you don't 
> want to understand the roots of the problem, you will not solve it. Prove 
> me wrong. Really, I will be delighted to improve.
I don't buy that criminals only arise from broken homes and other less 
than optimal conditions.  If you are asserting they do only so arise 
then the burden of proof is on you.

> There was (and is) a lot of unexcusable breach of human rights in a number 
> of countries. Some (not all) of those countries are Islamic. There are 
> also countries, from which I don't hear about such breaches and again, 
> some of them are Islamic. So, bad things happen in some Islamic countries 
> and don't happen in some other Islamic countries.

Yep.  The US abuses human rights quite a bit.  And I agree that it is 
not at all an Islamic problem and that not all Islamic variants are 
problematic.  The main discriminator of when Islam is bad may well be 
when there is not sufficient separation between religion and government.

> Is it logical to blame _all_ Islamic countries? Is it just? If you accept 
> not being just and right, what is your entitlement to survival?

That they excuse abuse of human rights on religious grounds is not 
terribly relevant to me.  The abuse of human rights is what I care about 
and care is noticed and roundly condemned in whatever circumstances it 

>>  Irrational religion (is there another kind?)? Check.
> Other people's belief is not my problem (unless they believe they should 
> come to me with pitchforks and burning torches). If you really believe
> irrational religion is main problem of this world, maybe you should start 
> cleaning your own backyard first?
I don't care what people believe but I have every right to laugh my ass 
off and condemn stupid belief systems.  And they should have no legal 
coercive power over anyone.

>> Militantly intolerant?  In many parts of the world, Check.
>> Anti-individual rights?  Mostly, Check.   What exactly do you need to examine
>> beyond this? 
> Uhum. Like, how many of them are actually guilty of this? Estimates say, 
> there is 1-1.5 bilion of Muslims. If they all wanted our death, we should 
> be already screwed long ago.
It does not matter how many.  It matter that instances of such 
violations are roundly condemned whenever they occur.

>>> I have no intention of moving this debate anywhere. Mr Clark, if you want to
>>> escape from belief, you cannot use belief-based arguments. So, if you would
>>> like to prove that God does not exist, you should use rational arguments.
>> *sputter*  It is up to asserters to prove God does exist. Not the other way
>> around. 
> You can prove me whatever you want. Either God's existance or 
> nonexistance. You are welcome. When you actually show me the proof, I will 
> accept it (if I find it acceptable - my criteria are crearly stated, I 
> think).
You can't prove a negative.  It is up to the asserter.  What part of 
that do you not understand?

> Before any side shows me the proof of their being right, I refuse to 
> choose sides. My choice. It is also my choice to bend more towards one 
> side, mostly because I consider myself a humanist in the first place, and 
> "capitalist" next (well, not big capitalist I am really, having not so 
> much capital). I see no problem with this. I have seen a lot of good 
> people who leaned towards the same side so I am in a good company.

The failure to decide is the failure to actually grasp what is at stake 
and examine and conclude based on one's understanding.  It is more about 
a type of cowardice than about fairness or wisdom.    It does not matter 
how many people do or do not think like you or whether you find them 
likable folks or not.

>> What?  That leads me to think I am wasting my time typing this.
Pretending that proofs from some branch of mathematics are the type of 
thing required to make up your mind in this very unmathematical realm 
shows a lack of understanding and imposition of requirements before 
reaching conclusions that are inappropriate to the domain.

- samantha

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