Not good, but now we know eh?
Also they’re funneling arms to Afghanistan.
Not good, but now we know eh?
Also they’re funneling arms to Afghanistan.
I won’t format this well, but I’ve finally came around to the idea that Hitchens was right about Iraq. A little background first…
Years ago I thought that since Saddam was a dangerous dictator it was a good idea to depose Saddam, but then I thought it was a mistake because the war didn’t seem to go well and we didn’t seem to have an exit strategy or a way of making the place democratic and stable. When we found out there weren’t WMDs, the liberals became pretty powerful, George Bush made the case worse by speaking like an idiot, and it was the popular thing to dislike the war and the Republican led government. (I don’t think I ever totally stopped supporting the initial intervention, but for me I questioned why we stayed there if it weren’t to gather oil, and I thought it was a grey conflict I didn’t need t care that much about.)
Anyway, I read when Richard Dawkins condemned the war like a typical European back in 2003, and he didn’t seem to have the insights of Christopher Hitchens. I think he was wrong about Iraq and that Christopher Hitchens is right. I was cautious of accepting Hitchens’ arguments since Iraq did seem to get worse after he died, but his moral convictions were right, and I think history will show his view was better than that of his opponents. (Incidentally, I tried to be charitable and understand his contrarian position by watching a few of his interviews and he gave them right up until his day where he spoke about it, and the debate he had on Iraq.)
Hitchen’s earlier views might have been wrong and blinded by Anti-Americanism of the Marxists he hung out with, but ever since 9/11 he seems to have had an epiphany and realized that America could be a force for good. Like he did, I do feel that kind of clarity again.
When you look at the counter-factuals, sooner or later we would have had to confront Iraq. The Europeans would always have opposed us because they were frankly morons and have a European guilt complex (and look at what is happening with Muslim violence in their countries now.)
Yeah it’s convenient to be right, but I did fight it for a long time and to be skeptical of it. I considered some of the conspiracy theories like it was about oil or some vendetta left over from his father. Ultimately though, we couldn’t let such dangerous people control such a vital part of the world. It might take decades, but if we can make Iraq democratic, that would be a huge improvement and might lead the Middle East upward. (I’m not so sure about Afghanistan.)
Of course, it does limit our military options when we are bogged down in the Middle East, but since the Europeans won’t help and much of NATO is useless, we have to do it, and American exceptionalism has a lot to say for it. I guess I’m onboard with the neocons as fellow travelers; the American revolution really is the only one that hasn’t been put out yet.
I can take some pride in that aspect of my American identity, because we do have a better foreign track record abroad than most countries. (Certainly better than the peaceniks in Europe.) Sure we’ve supported lots of dictatorships in fighting the Communists, but it’s pretty obvious that a lot of those decisions were forced when we were in ethically gray areas. Moreover, in cases like Iraq, we had to go in because France and Russia kept vetoing our sanctions.
(I’m not sure that I can agree with torture, but the Americans are basically the good guys compared to everyone else on the stage right now.) You see the other side beheading people in Iraq, you see the Russians poisoning spies, you have seen the ungrateful Europeans contributing nothing for decades while relentlessly criticizing the American policy in the Middle-East from under the umbrella of protection America gives them. It’s sad that they get to enjoy their socialism and get fat dumb and happy, while Americans actually sacrifice our freedoms and our lives to keep them free. China is a dictatorship; the Middle-East and Africa are a mess, and the Australians are probably just as Anti-American as the Europeans (although they send troops.)
I’m starting to think actually that although most people don’t like the neo-cons and foreigners understandably resent being forced to follow someone else, the critics don’t actually really understand how much thought the neo-cons have given to trying to make the world freer. It’s so much easier to be a bien-pensant liberal. If you don’t defend democracy abroad, you will lose it at home; just look at how the Russians tried to subvert our election.
You know, one of these days I should go to Taiwan for myself as a private citizen and talk to some of those people and make friends there, in the name of defending democracy. I know they don’t want to be part of China. I need to start thinking about how people who want freedom everywhere regardless of the language they speak or the country they live in are my fellow travelers. There’s something in all of us that wants freedom, and doesn’t want to be oppressed, and that’s why you had all the revolutions against the USSR in Eastern Europe, and the slave riots, and so forth. There are some universal rights, and contrary to what those liberals and isolationist conservatives say, they do exist.
Europe (especially Germany, France and Spain), Russia and China are off-limits! No more supporting the peaceniks or autocrats with my tourist dollars!
How do you feel about marrying someone who from your perspective is greatly less educated? (By “younger and stupider”, I just mean people who are greatly less experienced in the world or who know much less. For an example of what I mean, picture if a professor from Seattle married a high school drop out in rural Alabama.)
Throughout history women have been less educated, and men just dealt with it. Seasoned men used to marry younger women and they told them not to talk about politics because they were highly illiterate and therefore annoying to listen to. Only fairly recently have standards risen, and we have set our sights on marrying someone who is equally knowledgeable. Continue reading Would you marry a theist who had the mind of a child?
Pretty good information to have at hand the next time someone finds a survey that claims religion correlates with happiness. (Of course, I think it’s more important whether religion is true than if it makes us feel good!)
You might be familiar with structured debates where afterward audience members will vote on who “won” the debate. Or what happens in a courtroom where a judge decides what she believes, regardless of the truth. We also call the organized arguments of American politicians “debates” even though they sound dishonest and rely on ad homs, put-downs, deflections, and psychological tricks to try and make themselves more appealing and to preach to your biases. Rather than to try and inform you of an issue if you disagree with them they preach to their base and usually talk past their opponent. Moreover, they engage in these debates with a script they’ve rehearsed, and they have no willingness to change their own minds. All 3 of these formats are called “debates.” But what should debates aspire toward?
What we do know is that testosterone levels decline with age, which correlates with stupid, grumpy, and stubborn old grandpa. Testosterone calms you down which is important for clear thought; we’ve proven it reduces anxiety by injecting male and female mice with two doses of it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330791/
Science is wonderful, but there are still many unanswered questions in dick science. What genes affect dick length and pleasure, and can we know how to genetically engineer a change in vitro? Can we know why are masculine women and transsexuals so angry, and why do they want to destroy all dicks? Did testerosterone deficiency cause Sam Harris to decide to go to India to get a sex change? Because there is no reliable way to prove Sam Harris has a dick over the Web, I consider myself agnostic, as with the other questions.
Good is also just a social construct that results from religious entitlement and prejudice.
Why don’t Christians convert to Shinto?
>Great shrines in natural settings
>Can believe in whatever the fuck you want
>Can expand or reinterpret mythology however you want without creating controversy
>Free to borrow from other religions/traditions
>No prohibition on sex
>No prohibition on same sex
>The driving philosophy is to take nice baths
>Other philosophy is to celebrate life, i.e. through dancing
>No eternal damnation
>People quietly pass on when its their time
>Gods are fun to talk to
>Thousands of kami to fill up your pokedex
>The gods don’t want to end the world
>No compulsory church on Sunday
>No compulsory 10% income tax levy
>No annoying evangelicals
>Hermits have chuunibyou powers but would rather train in the mountains than usurp the government
Note: I set this to post in a couple years.
Lately I have begun to feel more patriotic. I do not like most Americans, and I would be fine being called unAmerican since the majority of my country cannot think critically and over half of us are nuts. But I have began to really value the institutions that have tried to check Donald Trump amd the Republicans from creating an irrational ruling hiearchy.
I see why we need a bit of a deep state–an FBI to investigate the president when all the other branches were conpromised by cynical Republicans who care only for power and personal gain, and who don’t stand for the truth.
I feel awful about what is happening in America and how powerless I feel to change minds. So much of the country has been radicalized and will support Trump, and similar alt-right or religious ideas no matter what. The Republican platform of lower taxes on the rich, big government when it suits them and no long-term planning, and dumb I g down the education and not believing in Global Warming or any gun control…it’s so indefensible.
Gradually I have recognized that the Democratic party is more logically consistent than I thought it was. It’s much more based on reality and facts. There are fewer illiberals there.
I feel very sorry for all of the Americans who will never learn how to think critically as I can. I often do not know about things, but unlike them, I don’t accept beliefs on faith and I can learn about things and be more confident that I am right than someone who believes in a trinity.
I certainly feel affection towards Thomas Jefferson, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who are all great Americans. Hitchens was one by choice, and was right about how we the secular world will have to fight against religion and totalitarian Islamic idiocy someday, and everyone needs to be prepared to take a side. Such ideas won’t leave us alone, and religiosity will just grow in the Middle East if left unchecked.
Perhaps I should have studied Arabic so I could have written a blog criticizing the Qur’an, to do my part in that struggle for secular liberal freedom. Oh well…I cannot take back the past years of my life, and I do not think I was born strong enough to waste time so I could do that starting from today. But I must support anyone who does that in my place, and I now see that I probably do have to support American troops to some degree. No other country in the world is willing to try and invoke positive change in the Middle East, and even if America keeps fucking up, or keeps wrongly electing religious sects to rule the countries, we can still learn from our experiences and someday get it right. It’s still better than not doing anything about the problem and letting the cancer become so strong that we cannot fight it anymore.
Yeah, I’ve stopped being a dove and now I am a hawk. There are plenty of stupid wars and conflicts America should not have gotten involved in, and there were unwinnable ideological wars like Vietnam. But it’s wrong to aay america should never invade another country, or that America should just leave other countries alone. How has that worked for Africa where the world turned it’s back on Somalia? If America can actually learn how to fix problems abroad and bring secular liberal democracy to the world, then the cause is just. I just wish America would make that more of a priority and not get caught up in selfish conflicts of interest.
At the same time, America has a poor track record. We cannot even fix our own problems or irrationality, so it’s hard to imagine us fixing problems abroad. That said, we are more rational than the Middle East so any improvement we bring there would be welcome. (We can just keep out of Latin America since they’re ok, especially Costa Rica.)
The Muslims will wage more and more jihad on us no matter what we do. We need to keep soldiers in the Middle East. We need to get experts who can start fixing the problems there so there will be stability and peace and liberalism in a century.
And it does seem that Russia and China will be our enemies and there is nothing we can do about it. It would be great if they would help us, but they’re autocrats, and Russia sees itself as engaged in a zero sum game with the USA.
After a few years of confusion, when America seemed pretty bad, corrupt and meddlesome, the world has become more black and white for me. Liberalism is good, illiberalism is bad. My moral compass has started to atune itself to true north again.
I guess a lot of what I was taught wasn’t so wrong, but you have to think it through like I did or you wouldn’t know.
Of course there will be times in the future when I won’t have the time for moral clarity. I will probably forget things, or find my knowledge turning obsolete. I will forhmget the facts, the proofs, and maybe even the conclusions. I will certainly turn vulnerable in old age.
But isn’t it great to be young enough, and yet seasoned enough to have some co evidence in your own conclusions?
Btw I do not think I am a socialist nowadays. It is trye I am progressive, and want more government, and agree with a lot of what the sociaidts want. Even so, I don’t see a viable way to replace money (labor vouchers don’t seem to have worked), and the prophecies of Marxists didn’t come true as Hitchens pointed out.
I am more of a vanilla liberal, and a Democrat, who opposes neo-liberalism and deregulation. I am concerned about corruption in the government less than allowing businesses to get all the power they do to lobby in the first place. I am convinced the Republican party can never drain the swamp, because to begin with they believe in having hiearchiercal government!
I think deeper mass education is key right now. Without more of it direct democracy would just be mob rule and we would have creationists setting up a theocracy, and doves who refuse to tackle the problems of the Middle East and increasingly Europe.
Better education is probably more fundamental than focusing on bettering income inequality right now. The Republican party should not have the following it does, and that’s only possible because of the widespread intellectual vulnerability. Right now the country is in survival mode, and if we do not fix the problems of critical thinking soon, we will not be able to fix all of the other problems like income inequality, and a coeeupt hiearchcal government.
If we don’t do somethig to allow the population to wake up to how stupid they are and to seek better knowledge, then the Republicans will keep voting in morons, and someday the Democrats too.
Maybe I won’t be in America anymore, but at least I know now what I believe needs to be done to fix some of our problems. I’m not agnostic about gun control anymore like I was about 6-15 years ago or when I watched Pier Morgan tirading.