Ayaan Hirsi Ali at her best!
Ayaan Hirsi Ali at her best!
Four years have passed, and I can’t say I’m disappointed with Obama, as I’ve heard many people proclaim; however, I admit that he didn’t turn out to be the president that I expected when he took office. I really did expect him to be someone who was going to fight tooth and nail for his positions; I was really surprised to find out that he was such a great compromiser.
Yet, I do understand why this happened. The entire Republican Party revolted against him, and he needed to make a great effort to allay their fears and anger in order to get anything done. Could I have done better myself? Of course not! That’s definitely not what I’m insinuating. I’m insinuating that I thought Obama could have done better. But, this is just idle speculation. I am appreciative of his achievements while in office thus far.
But now is his second term. If the Republicans are still not happy with him, then they have a serious problem. He has been a puppy dog in comparison to their quarrelsome behavior. It’s time for Obama to become a junk yard dog.
He’s shown glimmers of it in the past when talking to reporters and when teasing Donald Trump’s birther conspiracy theory activism, now he needs to focus this energy against the immaturity coming from the Republicans, in a relentless fashion. He’s been elected to a second term: he’s earned this right.
Republicans are still unwilling to compromise on issues such as taxation and gun control, among others. So be it. Obama must be just as unwilling to budge on his positions. Further, Obama should be seriously critical of the behavior of Republicans. We have seen that Obama clearly has enough intelligence to embarrass people who act foolishly. Now is the time to employ this superpower and let everyone know just how foolish the Republicans are being every time they disagree for disagreement’s sake.
Of course, it is not only Obama, I understand, that must make this choice: his fellow Democrats must also be willing to stand united with their leader, just as the Republicans have decided to do against Obama for the past four years.
Perhaps this is too audacious of a hope, but I can dream 🙂
End to democracy! End to capitalism! End to tyranny!
What’s the solution? ANARCHY! Of course!
I’ve always wondered, how would these anarchists react if their dreams came true? How would they cope in a civilization in anarchy? My guess is they’d be the first to go running back to their middle-class homes to cry to their mommies, but that’s just speculation. What is it about anarchy that is so appealing to them? Do they really understand what they are advocating?
An excellent case study for anarchism in the modern world is Somalia from 1991 to 2006. This period provided a unique chance to witness the results of a state of anarchism on a society. The results were not good.
The level of daily violence became “catastrophic,” according to Doctors Without Borders and “a statistic from 2000 indicated that only 21% of the population had access to safe drinking water at that time, and Somalia had one of the highest child mortality rates in the world with 10% of children dying at birth and 25% of those surviving birth dying before age five” (CIA World Fact Book). Adult literacy dropped to 24%, civil war erupted, and diseases like tuberculosis and measles ran rampant.
I am not quite sure what it is about the above example that is so ideal or worthy of fighting for. Actually, I have a hard time believing that the anarchists you see at any protest are actually serious about bringing about a descent into anarchism. To be honest, they seem like young kids who just want to make unnecessary trouble and enjoy the verbal masturbation of talking pseudo-intellectually afterwards.
I recently saw this picture of a dead child on a site with a caption of, “Is this dead enough for you?” and I thought, is this an acceptable form of political attack? Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you’re on, using the image of a dead child to make a political statement seems like a low-blow, to say the least. The fact is, there is no evidence that America tries to kill children with drone strikes — this is childish, unnecessary demonizing of the Obama administration and America in general. So, what is this image really showing? That war is bad? I think we all know that.
But, of course, we all know that this isn’t the point of the picture and the caption. The point goes something like this:
1) See dead child
2) Be horrified
3) Wonder why the child died
4) Be told that Obama did this
5) Hate Obama
I hope people can think a little more deeply than this.
I have also seen similar pictures used for the Palestinian cause recently. I hope that these kinds of pictures and this form of reasoning doesn’t really affect people as much as I suspect it does, but I do know that the image of a dead child is something that is hard to push out of your mind. As a result, I presume that many people will allow their emotional reaction to overcome their logical thinking, unfortunately.
Why did I decide to write this blog post? I am not quite sure, precisely. I could say it’s because I’ve read Sam Harris’ book “Free Will” or because I’ve had somewhat recent encounters with people who hold steadfast to the belief that we have free will. However, truthfully, I have no idea why I actually decided to write this. I cannot know this. It came from a part of my brain which I cannot access.
It seems that the default position is to believe in free will. I did until I read Harris’ book. I am sure most people believe in free will. However, there was one scientific study that pushed me away from believing in free will. Apparently, via fMRI machines, subjects are told to raise either their left or right hand, and seconds or milliseconds before they actually raise it, the desire to raise the selected hand is spotted in the subject’s brain. The scientists know which hand the subject will choose before the subject does.
I told this to someone recently (an atheist, so their views weren’t clouded by religion), and he stated something that I didn’t expect. He said that the unconscious part of our mind is a part of us, and therefore, we still retain free will. I didn’t expect this argument, and I hadn’t finished Harris’ book by that point, so I didn’t really know what to say.
However, Harris does deal with this counterargument. Your unconscious brain is not “you” in any sense that we can conceive because your unconscious mind is also doing things like creating red blood cells and making sure your heart beats. We are not in control of these things, in the same way we are not in control of our subconscious thoughts. I could suddenly say, “Putting spaghetti on my head feels strange,” and I’d have no way of accounting for why I didn’t say, “Putting puppies on my head feels strange.”
So why do we do what we do? It’s simply a highly complex amalgamation of our life history, our DNA and our current circumstances. Think about anything you do. Why did you do it?
For example, I drank two espressos today. Why did I do that? Because I’m addicted to coffee.Why am I addicted to coffee? Because it keeps me awake. Why didn’t I drink tea? My experience with tea is that it doesn’t have the same kick as coffee. Why does it give me a kick? Something in human DNA causes me to react in this way to caffeine.
The details of every decision can be explained in every detail ad nauseum. There is no mystical “me” that fits into this equation.
Just because it feels like we are making decisions, doesn’t mean it’s not an illusion.
I am not an expert on this subject, for sure. I am quite a tyro, in fact.
As Michael Shermer states, “Sam Harris has the unique ability to translate difficult subjects into really crystal clear writing”
So, for a better, more in depth understanding of what I’m talking about, check out this speech by Sam Harris:
I honestly watch John Boehner every time he defends not taxing the richest Americans to see if I can find a valid reason why this is so. I have yet to hear it. The only argument I hear is that taxing the richest people will kill jobs created by the “job-creators.” This is nonsense.
First this is because there is one thing that humans do that is logical but doesn’t help the economy: we save money.
It doesn’t take an economics degree to know that the circulation of money stimulates the economy.
So, unless all CEOs are constantly on the brink of bankruptcy because they are perfectly hiring the maximum number of workers to maintain a maximal production level, taxing them will not affect the economy, it will simply reduce the money that goes into their savings accounts.
Further, what do you think would happen in the conundrum of a large company being taxed at a rate that made them choose between going into the red temporarily and growing the company by hiring the number of workers required or staying in the black and letting the company stagnate because it doesn’t have enough workers? If you have any sense, you would take the hit and go into the red because the competition, which is dealing with the same taxes, might try to grow their company larger than yours. Therefore, intelligent CEOs would still take a hit to grow their company, so long as the increased taxes were reasonable (which Obama’s suggestions are).
I admit that this argument that taxation reduces hiring does actually apply to small- and medium-sized companies because many of these companies are actually often in jeopardy of going bankrupt with or without additional taxation. However, we rarely see a company the size of Walmart go bankrupt by minor disruptions in its business.
So, in short, since a CEO is always going to try to maximize their company’s growth, this argument that taxation on the wealthiest Americans will kill jobs doesn’t hold water.
I remember watching a YouTube clip in which Richard Dawkins interviews a Muslim guy, seen here. In this clip, there was one quote that was particularly annoying. I will paraphrase to make the statement neater since it was a back and forth discussion. Essentially he stated that Western men dressed their women as whores. I assume he meant, we let them dress like whores; regardless, it’s still a ridiculous statement.
This statement is rude and offensive due to its sexist slant; however, I will let feminists attack this point. I am more concerned with something more overarching: it is an ignorant and unfair comparison.
Ignorant because Muslims who make these kinds of statements don’t realize why it is an unfair comparison.
The explanation of its unfairness of this comparison may not be intuitive; however, once dissected, it is quite easy to notice. There are many aspects of culture, and for this reason, it is quite easy to compare apples and oranges without realizing it.
In this instance, the Muslim being interviewed is comparing modern Western culture with traditional Islamic culture. This is not fair. Of course there are traditional Western women who never reveal their bodies in a sexual manner. Of course there are Islamic women who dress provocatively and behave sexually (there are brothels in Islamic countries).
Now, of course women in Western countries are more likely to dress provocatively, but why is this? Is this what Western culture was like traditionally? No. Not at all. The reason why more Western women dress this way is because they can. Specifically, it is because of the continuous fight against the oppression of women in Western culture. In modern Western societies, women are free to dress as they please with little risk of being given dirty looks and no risk of being imprisoned or beheaded.
This same fight against the oppression of women has not happened in Islamic countries. This is not something to brag about. This is something to be ashamed about.
The same advancement of the rights of homosexuals and religious minorities has not occurred in Islamic countries either and we see the same desire by many Muslims to be proud of this lack of advancement. This can be illustrated by the infamous quote by the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “Our country doesn’t have homosexuals.” Again, was this always the case in Western societies? Have Westerners always loved homosexuals and religious minorities? Again, no. The acceptance of the rights of these aforementioned groups are not Western ideals: they are universal ideals.
So, when a Muslim compares Western and Islamic cultures, they should either compare modern Western women and modern Muslim women or traditional Western women and traditional Muslim women. Muslims have no reason to be proud of comparing traditional Islamic culture with modern Western culture. This is an unfair comparison.
Moreover, this is desire to brag about how “modest” Muslim women are in Islamic countries is actually something to be ashamed of, not proud of, since it illustrates how backward the rights of women are in their country. That is, Islamic countries have failed to discover these universal ideals.
There is no evidence that women in Islamic countries innately desire to cover themselves more than any other women. They are products of the society in which they live and these products have not been taken care of. So, whenever a Muslim asserts that their women are more modest than Western women, it is our duty as global citizens to criticize this behavior for the protection of minorities everywhere.
A very short post. What do you guys think would have been the ramifications of a Romney win?
My guess is a widespread forced conversion to Mormonism.
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