I really wish that American journalists were not so polite with American politicians. No, let me rephrase that. I wish that journalists were not so formal
with American politicians. We should all try, when possible, to be polite with everyone.
Really, most journalists are being two-faced. Off camera, most of them, with some notable exceptions, call many of those politicians, except for the president, by their first names. I am not blaming them, since I recognize that, in most cases, they are simply following policies. However, that does not make the situation any better.
The United States is not a monarchy. Politicians are public servants, not duchesses or dukes. When people wanted to make George Washington into a king and to address him as your majesty
, he refused. Instead, he asked them to simply call him Mr. President
. Well, the 21sˢᵗ
-century equivalent of Mr. President is to simply address the president and all politicians by their first names.
Is that such a radical proposal? I do not think so. Bear in mind, however, that much of my disdain for this type of formality is related to being a libertarian, or an anti-authoritarian, communist. I absolutely despise
authoritarianism. Politicians, perhaps more than most people, should
be call by their first names. They need to always remember that they are public servants, not dictators.
Natural rights is a social fiction. The problem is that I define freedom as emancipation (freedom) from oppression. You define it as did Aleister Crowley: Do as thou wilt is the whole of the law. We are both using the same word, but we are not in the same ballpark.
I try to avoid waxing religious, but I see no alternative. I believe we have God-given rights, not natural rights. Our rights are based solely on God's Will, not on nature. Natural rights originated in Ancient Greek philosophy. Somewhere along the line, it got picked up, and adapted, by certain theists. God is the Innermost Essence of reality. Nature is God's creation.
Natural rights is a Peripatetic first principle or, perhaps, a Kantian postulate. It is either accepted, or it is not. As a first principle, you cannot deduce a belief in natural rights from another axiom.
Arguing for the interchangeability of rights coming from a Deity or from nature says, in effect, that it makes no difference whether rights are the product of a willful Person or are, instead, an abstraction of that Person's emanation. The principle might work if you buy into Scholastic philosophy. Otherwise, it is just one more idea to add to the marketplace.
Anyway, this subject gets more into my academic area, religious studies, than what we usually discuss here.
In applying these issues to the so-called real world, it certainly makes a difference whether we are talking about God or nature. You must bee willing to bracket (Husserlian epoché) the objective world and intersubjectively engage only with your like-minded others.
Of course, determining whether the First Cause is a volitional Being or merely a force of nature makes a significant difference. That is true in almost any theological discussion. How do you pray to nature? With a Person, there is the possibility of engagement and making a request. How do you make a request to a natural abstraction?
You say, “... the important point in praxis is that we have inalienable, inherent rights.” Fine, and how do you know that? For instance, say I made the statement, “the important point in praxis is that termites have inalienable, inherent rights.” Why is the first one true and the second one invalid? Go ahead. Prove one proposition or the other without resorting to a tautological fallacy.
To be honest, I don't think that either humans or termites have inalienable, inherent rights. All rights come from God. We have those rights only by His pleasure. If He decided tomorrow to take them away, couldn't He? If so, they are not inalienable or inherent, correct? If not, then God is not sovereign, correct? He is merely a passive instrument of nature. Now, if you want to believe in natural law, natural rights, etc., that is your own business. However, bear in mind that your acceptance of these principles was solely based on a personal decision. In other words, you have not proven anything.
What I am suggesting is that, if our rights come from nature, they may be somewhat immutable (assuming that nature remains the same). However, if they come from thinking Personal Deity, those rights can be taken away instantly. In other words, I think that the assumptions required by natural theology require the individual to reject God's sovereignty. Honestly, I doubt whether most believers in natural theology and natural law are fully aware of the implications of their views.
If God is sovereign, why can't He take away whatever rights He chooses and, then, either replace them with new rights or give us no rights whatsoever? For one thing, as someone who rejects the existence of natural rights in principle, how does anyone even know that a belief in natural rights isn't merely the product of self-delusion?
Common sense is circular reasoning and self-confirming. It is simply a way of saying that a particular idea conforms to one's a priori assumptions. There is no way to test it. What is common sense in one group or society can be non-sense in another.
Who gets to define human rights? We have a debate in my social problems classes each semester on the subject. The second textbook we use is called: Social Problems: a Human Rights Perspective. He defines human rights based upon a United Nations document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you read it carefully, as I have, you will notice that much of it is lifted, sometimes almost verbatim, from the U.S. Bill of Rights.
What gives the Universal Declaration of Human Rights its authority? The United Nations. What gives the Bill of Rights its authority? The United States. Say, I wrote my own document, Mark A. Foster's Declaration of human Rights. Who could say that my document — which I hypothetically typed out on one of my computers — has any less authority than either the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Bill of Rights. No one. They are all just human documents. So, what are human rights? Who decides which rights appear in the final draft and which ones are excluded?
Now, I am a supporter of human rights. To me, they are deposited in divinely revealed texts. Now, if you accept those texts, they have authority. If not, they are just paper or bits and bytes. However, as I see it, the only Being Who has the authority to determine human rights is God.
My sister is ADHD, and she hates it (as do many others). I am Autistic, and I have had constant battles with people in the neurodiversity movement who believe that curing Autism is a kind of genocide. I don't buy it. I yearn for a cure. Whatever benefits there might be to Autism (like intensely working on one's special interests) are outweighed by the pain. I hated my life as a child.
Roy Bhaskar certainly developed dialectical materialism in his work, particularly focusing on different moments of the dialectic. For instance, in dialectical critical realism, he described transformation like this: absence→absenting the absence→transformation. However, in his philosophy of metaReality, which he first proposed in 2001, he began exploring the nondual ground state which, he said, underlies everything. Is that ground state material? I don't know. I would say it is natural, assuming that the term "nature" is broadened to accommodate what he called the cosmic envelope. Also, in 2000, Bhaskar indicated that he also believed in something like reincarnation. Roy went through a personal transformation beginning with his transcendental dialectical critical realism in 2000. He also spent some time in his father's homeland of India.
It should be pointed out that Wiccans do not believe in a devil. Most Wiccans accept at least two deities - the Goddess Diana and the Green Man. Some use other names. Others view these deities as parts of nature (or of ourselves). No Wiccan trads, that I am aware of, have a concept of Satan.
The human tendency, I suppose, is to project our own beliefs on others that we meet. For instance, because I support interfaith activities, I have been called an ecumenist. However, ecumenism is a Christian movement, and I am not a Christian.
Because my parents are Jewish, I have run into some Orthodox Jews who have said I need to "return" to Orthodox Judaism. Well, only about 3% of Jews are Orthodox. Most are secular and do not even belong to a temple. (My own family, growing up, was like that.) So, what would I be returning to?
If we want to understand the beliefs of others, we need to listen to their voices without judgment.
Please sign the Earth Proclamation on this page.
I, the undersigned,
aware that human activities are seriously endangering the fragile
ecosystems of our planet,
aware of the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots,
aware of the need to redirect my energies to protect and restore the global Web of Life,
decide to begin right now to rethink my ways and values,
and change what needs to be changed in myself and around me.
I want to contribute to the local and global efforts now underway to
create a better world based on equality, justice and a sustainable
planet - a world in which Peace on Earth prevails.
Understanding that we are all individually responsible for the kind of
future we will create for our children and for countless generations to
come, I will participate in initiatives, locally and globally, to
transform our world and protect this Jewel of Life we call Earth.
I agree with this Earth Proclamation and personally commit myself to
do all that I can to spread it throughout the world and help make our
shared dream of Peace, Love and Harmony on Earth come true.
Please sign the Oneness Declaration on this page.
1. That the message We Are All One, inter-related,
inter-connected and inter-dependent, with God/Life/One-another, is the
one spiritual message that the world has been waiting for to bring about
loving and sustainable answers to humanity’s challenges.
2. That the world does not have to be the way it is – and that
individual people can change it, using the power of spiritual
3. That humanity is good and has unlimited potential, and that
social transformation starts with personal transformation. I therefore
recognize the importance of connecting with my divine essence and inner
wisdom throughout my life’s journey; allowing the finest and the highest
levels of human potential to flourish for the benefit of all.
4. Our aspirations support spiritual principles, global ethics,
and universal values such as respect, justice, peace, dignity, freedom,
responsibility and cooperation, that underlie this declaration.
5. That human beings need each other to survive on this planet. I
recognize that we are all in this together and that community flourishes
as we learn about each other and revel in the wonder and beauty of our
diversities. I declare that I am playing my part to help to bring about a
culture in which we, the peoples of the world, can address our common
global concerns in an holistic, positive and transforming way and live
together in peace with one another.
6. That Oneness contains All of life – also the parts that we
regard as the “other”. I realize that wholeness and togetherness can
only be experienced through the recognition of the uniqueness, beauty
and purpose of all aspects of life, and that this recognition starts
with my Self.
7. That I am part of the emerging consciousness that promotes a
spirit of openness, enquiry, connection and relationship with myself and
the entire universe, and who continues to recognize the wonder, beauty
and mystery of it all.
8. That the time for change is now.
9. That it is important to formally establish a day each year for
all of humanity to come together as one human family, to discuss,
celebrate, and experience Oneness.
A Response to Barbara Oakley's "Pathological Altruism"
First, saying that we don't have enough to meet everyone's rights or needs is
absurd - especially living in a world of tremendous disparities between
the rich and the poor.
Second, IMO, codependence is not "destructive altruism." Altruism cannot
be destructive. Codependence is self-pity, narcissism, and
The U.S. as Anglo-American and Latin American
The U.S., which has no official language, has always been both Anglo-American and Latin American. By making English and Spanish the two official languages (like French and English in Canada), the U.S. can also embrace its heritage as a Latin American country (The Southwest and Puerto Rico).
God Bless You, Phyllis Diller, 1917-2012
There is nothing innate about ownership. It is a learned concept. Some societies have it. Others don't.
"Theft" begins with a model of unconditional individual ownership. I see nothing wrong with limited ownership. However, the question needs to be asked, "What gives people the right to own something?"
Ultimately, societies make those decisions, not individuals. The fact that we pay taxes indicates that limitations are already placed on individual ownership. As a socialist, I believe that those limitations need to be increased.
For instance, some people have argued against aspects of the Welfare State on the grounds that it deprives them of their freedom.
Where justice and freedom conflict, precedence should, IMO, be given to justice.
The Rednecking of America
The violent incident in Wisconsin today is further evidence of the rednecking of America. This country has a gun fetish.
Of course, Sikhs are not Muslims, However, IMO, the politicians who have been recently attacking Muslims, including Secretary Clinton's aid, are especially culpable.
Imagination vs. Reality on the New World Order
First, you are confusing a scenario with reality. The Rockefeller Foundation is laying out a few possible events in order to assist with preparedness training. The fact that we live in a dangerous world, indicated by the security precautions which have been taken for the London Olympics, does not indicate that anyone in government has some nefarious scheme. Use Ockam's razor (parsimony or economy).
Second, when people (including myself) use the term new world order, we are using it to refer to the world as it exists now, not to some possible world government. Now, some folks (again, myself included) would like to see the new world order evolve into a kind of world governance or government. However, that idea continues to be debated. In any event, it is not a secret conspiracy. Those who recognize the changes in the world, and the need to move political and economic institutions into the 21st century, are very open about it.
Many people discuss (and attack) feminists as if they are a monolith (all the same). Objectivizing people may make life easier. However, people are not stereotyped categories.
For instance, whenever you type "feminists," you might replace it (in your mind) with members of a racial or religious minority (or Autists for that matter). It is the same issue.
People can debate whether a country is real. However, debating whether a being is real, while some have tried, is more problematic.
As a Critical Realist, I would suggest that humanity is real. Roy Bhaskar says that we are all connected through co-presence or a cosmic envelope.
On the other hand, countries come and go. Some countries are not even recognized as legal entities by other countries. (For instance, China does not recognize Taiwan as being separate from Mainland China.)
Humanity is ontological. Countries are epistemological (perceptive).
The Concept of “Sexual Orientation”
The problem is that sexual orientation (or sexual preference) is a late-20th-century concept.
The concept was developed after gays and lesbians were more socially accepted. In other words, there had to be a term which distinguished homosexuals from heterosexuals.
Taking the concept of sexual orientation and retrofitting it onto an ancient manuscript, such as a Biblical text, doesn't make much sense to me.
Some of my tax money supports services I may never use. That is the end result of not living on an island.
In light of the recent massacre in Colorado, To be honest, many (not all) of the people I have seen oppose gun control online are precisely the ones who should never be allowed to purchase a gun.
My views are the opposite, in most respects, from libertarianism. However, in fairness, not all libertarians are extremists.
People who post on almost any subject online tend to be the most passionate ones. That can make it appear that everyone has extreme views.
Jefferson apparently changed his mind on that subject several times - going back and forth between deism and theism.
People have argued whether Jefferson was one or the other. In fact, there is good textual evidence that he was both at different times of his life.