Category: "Tolerancia"

Of Dinosaurs and Bigots

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Museum_of_Natural_History

I have been a member of the American Museum of Natural History. I think it is an amazing place. Every time I go, there is a nice crowd, with lots of kids, mostly mesmerized by all the incredible sights: dinosaurs, giant sloths, ancient fishes, and display of the mind-boggling variety of current species, arranged by taxonomic order.

I support the Museum; I consider that a worthy cause. I think the Museum itself is amazing (see link on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Museum_of_Natural_History). The story how the elder Roosevelt (the president's dad) helped Albert S. Bickmore's vision become a reality.

Today, the Museum is one of the biggest of any museum, of the entire world. It's staggering size is only surpassed by the breathtaking beauty and diversity of the exhibits. The diversity, which is reflective of the amazing diversity of our Earth, due to the plants and animals that populate it.

Evolution, driven by natural selection (first realized and shared with the rest of us by the genius Charles Darwin), is everywhere. You cannot look at all these exhibits and not see that. This is the 32 million specimen testimonial to evolution, driven by natural selection. Another genius of evolutionary biology, Stephen Jay Gould (who BTW built a career on the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which is contrasted to phyletic gradualism or gradual pace in evolution, more or less what Darwin seemed to have believed). Gould, as a child, spent time in the Museum and I don't think it is far-fetched to suggest we can largely thank the Museum for the inspiration that ultimately helped create the genius of Gould, who is one of my heroes (besides of course Darwin).

As I was going through the fantastic exhibits of the Museum and saw the children with apparent natural joy and fascination with the animals, present and past. I could not help ask myself: would those that deny evolution (who tell their kids that the world was created by god in 7 days and no more than 10,000 years ago) let their children fully delve themselves into these joys? Or would they view the astonishing display of biological diversity these exhibits offer as evil that bother them for being ideologically "wrong"? As if nature is wrong?

I don't know. But as a parent I certainly cannot imagine any ideological agenda to take away such joy from my kids; the discovery that is one of our core values as humans, the opening of their minds. I don't think any caring and loving parent should let anything compromise all that.

I feel something may be wrong with blocking and meddling with science when it comes to kids, interfering with the way they could acquire the beauty of this world we happen to live in. Crippling the future objective vision of these kids, who are in a fertile age and can absorb anything. Of course we do have much bigger problems, poverty, suffering, disease, etc. But blocking our future generations chance to become free-minded scientists and thus the ability to tackle our future scientific challenges is a great liability. Who knows how many Stephen Jay Goulds (or Charles Darwins, for that matter), Nobel prize winners, discoverers of new therapies, pioneers of biotechnological breakthroughs those bigots have managed to let never be, taking away their chance to be inspired by those dinosaurs and the fascinating diversity of biology as shown in the American Museum of Natural History.

Aurora: There Will Be More (Unfortunately)

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-v-taylor/aurora-no-more_b_1691814.html

...and there isn't much you can do about it. That's more than upsetting. It is horrible. But this is one of the aberrations of our society, the "democracy" we love, the American history, and human nature.

The link on Huffingtonpost is to an article by Robert Taylor to ask your advocacy, with a title "Aurora: No More". But realistically, as much as I wish advocacy could help, it is a lost cause. Politicians operate by polls, liability, and their perception what gets them re-elected. That's why gay marriage is becoming interesting, electorally speaking, as the public polls cut it right around the middle, 50%. Therefore, you cannot safely bank on either side for political gains any more. I suspect the gay marriage issue, as much as it is so intriguing to most, will be marginalized and pushed off of the top of electoral rhetoric (which I think is good, because this issue, while important to an important minority, definitely isn't the most critical issue we have to spend a lot of time addressing).

Not so with gun control. In this case the split is NOT in the middle, but per latest polls only about 44% of people support stricter gun laws and declining (there may be a transient surge as a result of each mass murder committed by a psycho with "legally" obtained guns, but the general trend is downward). Which is a clear and unconditional victory for the gun lobby.

To somebody who grew up in a country where guns were essentially outlawed and thus gun violence was essentially non-existent, on the surface it is baffling how in the face of incomprehensible tragedies there isn't a massive outcry, uprising, and riots for profoundly stricter gun controls on the federal level. How one tragedy like this after the other, getting only greater in their scope, won't produce a reaction of sense, humanity, and reason (which is a society wide full and uncompromising overhaul of gun laws).

But then again, we are dealing with the US population, bred increasingly on a culture of hate and intolerance, and justified violence. It is honorable to kill fellow humans, for whatever reason, in another country, as long as they are labelled by somebody as "enemy combatant" or something like that. We encourage violence as long as it is directed against foreign cultures and "dictators" we decide are against our values or (in our assessment) are trying to destroy us. (Don't get me wrong, I do realize we have to defend our interests and that there really are people who are trying to hurt us, but then how we deal with them is what the major decision point is.)

That culture, i.e. encouraging and honoring the killing other humans as long as that happens under an arbitrarily established set of circumstances, plus the romanticizing of violence in pop culture will definitely mess up minds. BTW on that notion of circumstances, the soldier who went on a rampage killing residents randomly (including women and children) got confused and probably still does not get it why he isn't a hero instead of a villain some now try to label him (and investigate, criminalize him, etc).

Unfortunately, looking at the 44% figure, if you follow Mr. Taylor's advice and do the right thing to call your representative, even if all the 44% of us will do (who support tougher gun control laws), we will still be weighed, in the eye of our representative, against the other 56% of constituents, who are against tough gun laws. You do the math. Of course this is not as simple as this, as that 44% figure is from a national poll. I am sure in Colorado we are probably looking at a sub-10% figure.

Why would a senate or house of representatives candidate listen to you, preparing their next campaign, when they know promising an agenda toward tougher gun laws would surely mean a good number of lost votes going (as the majority is against tightening gun laws) and in fact could even effectively mean a lost seat (and what else can matter more). Or why would either of the presidential candidates take this on? To save human lives? To start creating a culture of sense and humanity? Are you kidding me? With this electorate and what they feel about stricter gun laws, it would be a stupid move, possibly a political suicide attempt to step up there and advocate tightening gun control.

As pessimistic that sounds, I suggest that calling your representative is not the only thing you can do. I think we can only help this society if we educate and ultimately change the culture of guns, the minds and hearts. There is no other way in the present construct. You could litigate this through courts, doing the right thing against public majority opinion, like what's happening with gay marriage (assuming opponents are still is a slight majority), but there the constitution is on the right side. In terms of gun control, it is on the wrong side.

You can write about this (like what I am doing), talk to people, discuss, educate, fund related causes, whatever you can do. Like the public opinion changed so much on gay marriage, it can happen with gun controls, too. That will likely take years and many massacres, but that's what will have to happen, I don't see an easier way out of this.

The problem of Republicans run into when it comes to God, religion, and the public eye

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/is-rick-perry-as-christian-as-he-thinks-he-is/243616/

I found this article particularly helpful and relevant. It talks about Perry and his prominent denial of landmark laws separating state and church, in the context of his recent joining the race for presidency, but I think the points made in the article are actually farther reaching than anyone's presidential bid.

I think the main point, well and often (but perhaps not visibly enough) made and discussed before by others, is about the contrast between the hypocritical, double-standard embracing "religious" evangelical right-wing America's faith (God this, God that, church going, etc) and what they actually fight for (deprive the poor, basically).

Jesus taught of tolerance, not intolerance. What seems to emerge from evangelical subtext supported by the religious right aligns much better with intolerance.

I know religious people, who believe in God, and feel that whatever humans have used the name of God for (and abused) is despicable. To love God, you don't need church, political affiliation, none of that. All you need is a personal relationship with God and whatever you believe in. That is your business. What you believe in does not make you better or worse than your fellow human beings who happen to believe in something else, or happen not to believe in something supernormal at all. Most importantly, you are not supposed to announce and show off your religion to score political points with a certain group of phony and hypocritical individuals.

On tired dictators and tired analysts in the context of Clinton's North Korea visit

Link: http://clivecrook.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/08/north_korea_tests_the_limits.php

I read the linked writing on "The Atlantic" with interest. Especially, for it being exceptionally short (its greatest asset; I clearly have work to do in that department to come close). But besides it is short, I'm afraid not much praise is due.

This and many other "analysts" commented in all sorts of negative ways about Clinton's trip. Some including the cynical view that he was trying to help his wife's diplomatic clout and success (which is clearly a less than analytical comment, given it was the North Koreans who apparently picked Clinton, over other candidates.)

Even the analyses that sort of positively approached the issue almost invariably failed to even mention a rather significant aspect: this whole trip was about 2 unfortunate individuals, whose lives (or at least a likely horrible 12 years of it) were at stakes. That bothers me to the point to making me write this.

It is quite disturbing how a "know-it-all" wisecrack "analyst" comments in the above referenced article that "But what more is there to say? Precisely nothing. Watching cable news and especially CNN give this topic blanket coverage and color commentary from all hands, for lack of anything else to report in a slow week, was sometimes almost harrowing." (which kind of includes about half of the entire writing BTW). Nothing, huh? I am sure the families of the 2 freed journalists would rather sharply disagree. I am not sure if Clive Crook considers himself a journalist, but if he did, some professional sympathizing wold have been nice, too.

Crook sums up the story as "Tired megalomaniac dictator trades ego-stroking photo op with former US president for two US hostages." In turn, Crook himself seems to be tired of the media coverage of this "nothing", while talking about the 2 lives as subjects of the trade, nothing more.

Well, in my opinion what is truly "harrowing is exactly the process of this all-crusted and tired, bordering apathetic, approach, which completely ignores the fact there actually was saving of 2 human lives here. I know we all see much greater human suffering and toll on a day-to-day basis. We are tired of that, of course. But that should not make it less significant when we witness good will and humanity, which leads to saving human life, even if it was just a couple of them, even if there is a major sensationalism component associated.

So who is having a prejudice problem here?

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/24/haberfeld.police/index.html

Did the President of the United States speak out prematurely on a sensitive issue? Where he probably would have done service to himself (and the police, most of the public, etc, etc) by being more cautious? I believe so.

Well, here is the problem. Nobody was there, except Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley. They have stories that differ in some critically relevant details. You can never ever get objective and verifiable record of what happened. Those critical differences clearly decide who is at fault.

Usually, in similar disagreements, it turns out that the truth is somewhere in the middle. That is perfectly possible here, too. We just don't know and have no way of knowing. Can it be that Crowley's story is closer to the truth and Gates, being a racially conscious and proud individual overreacted, creating a legitimate circumstance for arrest on the grounds of "disorderly conduct"? Or is this closer to the all too familiar police rational profiling situation, just as claimed by Gates? Does it really matter?

Well, I am not sure. But the stakes became higher now that the president decided to call the police, as a whole, "stupid", over this unfortunate event.

I really can't know more than anyone else regarding what really happened. All we can do is use the information we have at hand to try to figure what has likely happened. Information, such as past behavior and other objectively verifiable data.

I must say if Crowley happened to be an individual, whose background was "decorated" with reports of racial profiling, brutality, racially insensitive comments, etc (something perhaps some other police officers have, so goes the public stereotype), we would have very little question as to whom we should believe in this case. A Harvard Professor, a high achiever, a clearly credible individual, or an officer, who already was in trouble not dissimilar to the one at hand.

But that is not the case here. Far from it. In fact, as far as anyone can know, Crowley has been an exemplary officer, even with regards to race issues, including being involved in education of officers about racial profiling. As far as we can tell, he is a professional, only following procedure.

Hm. That makes this more complicated. I don't meant to be cynical, but just to play the devil's advocate, can we rule out that Gates, somebody who takes into heart African American issues so much, did not mind an opportunity to bring national media attention to this issue? I am not suggesting he set up the whole break-in and all, purposefully testing the response of the police in a break-in case where they find a black man at the property. Again, no one knows and not knowing leaves us with lack of verifiable knowledge of the events and cannot exclude any possibility.

I think that is where that story should have ended. The police could conduct their own review/investigation and conclude whatever, likely to find no evidence of wrongdoing (although then the question comes why and who decided to drop the charges?). Gates, on the other hand, will likely continue his personal crusade against police, clearly increasing his own visibility (although the leadership of Harvard could ask whether such visibility is 100% wanted or not).

The problem is when the President of the US gets involved. It makes no sense. He declares he does not know everything. To complete logical contrast to that he then goes ahead and blasts the police. Excuse me? Why? He felt personally indebted to Gates, so much so to take this huge risk and go that far? Not good.

I believe the best thing the President can do at this point is to issue a formal apology to the police, stating he was mislead by prejudice and he is very sorry. The President of the United States should definitely excuse himself from commenting on issues like this. (The fact he is black and friends with Gates does not make the situation a bit less complicated...)

The President is no god, nobody expects him to rule and judge on everything, from petty crimes to world peace (in fact I am disappointed with the media for even asking him on this issue; what purpose was that for other than to create a great, but completely unconstructive story). He could have politely bowed out of this one and he should have. (Of course if he were to do that, I would not be writing this blog and using my time for something more productive myself :))

We are all human, we make mistakes, and I wish this was the biggest mistake Obama was ever to make. It will be a test of his maturity and humility whether he issues an apology. I hope so. That would likely short-circuit this pointless media brouhaha, a distraction the President hardly needs right now at a time of major national and international emergencies.

Mammutokról és toleranciáról az SZDSZ bukása kapcsán.

Link: http://www.magyarhirlap.hu/cikk.php?cikk=173335

Hát persze, h már megint Bayer Zsolt és Magyar Hírlap és persze, h a tolerancia (illetve annak hiánya), az örökzöld témakör, ami írásra ragadott. Igen, örökzöld téma ez, talán mondhatom, h sajnos. Mégis olyasmi, ami mindig nagyon érdekel. És a jelek szerint kimeríthetetlen.

Nem érdekel a politika. Kifejezetten előnytelennek hiszem a demokrácia olyaténképpen történő; megvalósulását, ami politikai pártokba való rendeződést jelent, mert ezáltal sokkal inkább a csordaszellem és "másik" csoport ELLEN történő hadakozás (ami törzsi harcos múltunk csökevénye) kerül előtérbe, mintsem a tényleg fontos kérdések alapos megértése, a társadalom szervező erőinek az emberek tényleges érdekében történő mozgósítása. Az érdekeink minden mástól függetlenül megvalósítása, az adott kérdésben véleményünk és akaratunk kifejezése talán nem pártos, képviselős, reprezentációs, hanem referendum formában volna a legszerencsésebb, mert egy ilyen elven működő rendszer egyszerűen az emberi gyarlóságggal és megvesztegethetőséggel nem kompatibilis. Ugyanakkor a referendum alapon működő társadalmi szerveződés ma már a technológiailag egyre inkább lehetséges (pl. egy Wikipedia típusú törvényhozási mechanizmus, abszolút profi és karrier alapú végrehajtó hatalommal).

Messzire kalandozok. A lényeg, h nincs semmilyen politikai motivácóm, egyik pártot se szeretem vagy támogatom, úgy az egész párt alapon működő rendszert tartom korruptnak. Magyarul abszolút nem célom egyetlen párt vagy politikai vagy egyéb csoport védelme sem, nem ezért írok. A tolerancia ellen irányuló támadásokat érzem veszélyesnek és köteleséggemnek érzem, h ha veszélyeztetve látom a toleranciát, illetve kifejezetten egy csoport, rassz, nép, stb ellen képződik retorika, azt csírájában igyekezzem elfojtani vagy legalább felhívni rá a figyelmet, tenni valamit, bármit, amit én egyszerű kis polgárkánt tehetek.

Blogomon már találtok egy korábbi cikket, aminek megírására Bayer korábban megjelent nyíltan rasszista hosszászólása késztetett (http://zneuro.net/blog2.php/2009/02/14/velemeny-a-ciganyba-369-noezes-es-politi). Most pedig az újabb SZDSZ-hez kapcsolódó szösszenete döbbentett meg (http://www.magyarhirlap.hu/cikk.php?cikk=173335).

Bayer pezsgőt bont az SZDSZ összeomlására. Hm. Miért is? Hol jó ez neki? Nem teljesen világos számomra, h ez is csak vmiféle sötét gyűlölet, amit egy másik csoport minden tagja iránt érez pusztán a másságuk miatt avagy cask a “dögöljön meg a szomszéd tehene is” típusú ősi káröröm vezérli Bayert, esetleg mindkettő.

Bayer írásából cask az nem derül ki, h pontosan mi is az, amiért az SZDSZ ilyen végtelenül feketelistás nála és ezzel mi is az, ami az SZDSZ kárában ilyen eufórikus pezsgőbontásos reakciót vált ki belőle. Mik azok a konkrét politikai nézeteltérések, filozófiai, társadalomszervezési, hitvallásbéli konkrétumok, amik ilyen jelentős érzelmi alapokra csúszó szembenállást indukálnak?

Azt hiszem minden magát legalább közepesen intellektuálisnak tekintő ember egyetért a dialógus fontosságával, a másság tisztelettudó elismerésével és az egyet nem értés, nézeteltérések előre vivő hatásával és jelentőségével. Feltéve, h a dialógust civilizált síkon, a másik fél legalább olyan tiszteletével, mint amilyet magunk is elvárunk, tudjuk lefolytatni. Olyan módon, hogy a véleménykülönbségeket a legkonstrukívabban, lehetőleg minél kevesebb primitív érzelmi behatás és ősi zsigeri ösztönök befolyása alatt tudjuk megtenni. Valahol éppen attól vagyunk homo sapiens (úgy értem mindannyian, cigányok, zsidók, SZDSZ-esek, FIDESZ-esek, és bőrfejűek egyaránt), h erre képesek vagyunk.

Sajnos az érzelmi alapra helyezett “politizálás” sok jóval nem kecsegtet. Viszont óriási hagyományokkal rendelkezik. A gyűlülködés, uszítás, vitathatóan a legintenzívebb hatásokat tudja produkálni, a leghálásabb módszer a tömegpszichózis eléréséhez. Mi, európaiak, sajnos nagyon súlyosan éltük meg az ilyen módszerek és hozzáállás “sikerességét” és “eredményét”, amikor sikeres.

Kárörvendeni emberi sajátság. Szinte mindannyian átesünk szociálpszichológiai fejlődésünk bizonyos primitív szakaszában ilyesmin, amikor óvodában a másik gyerekre ömlik a forró leves, vagy amikor az iskolában a padtárs kap rossz jegyet vagy büntetést. Van, aki ezen a szinten felnőttként is megreked, de ez még nem igazán jelent veszélyt és ha Bayer megmaradt volna a pezsgőbontásos bejelntés szintjén, most nem írnék.

Ami viszont ijesztő, az ahogyan a kommunistázás és zsidózás be lesz csempészve az írásba, az SZDSZ bukásának "örömhíre" kapcsán. Mintha csak a kommunisták és zsidők bukása volna itt az igazi örömhír. Megintcsak nem a konkrétumok felsorolása és elemzése a cél Bayernél, nem igazán az, h pontosan MI IS a gond ezeknek az embereknek a programjával, elég csak a kommunistázás és zsidózás úgy önmagában. Az úgyis mindent elmond (annak, aki érti az ilyesmit, félszavakból is). Bayernek a jelek szerint untig elég ennyi és úgy tűnik a kiadónak és talán az olvasók egy részének is. Ez talán az egészben a legszomorúbb és riasztóbb. A józan észt és jó érzést alázó. Mármint az, h mi magyarok, társadalom szinten nem vagyunk elég érettek az ilyesmi teljes lenézésre és kiközösítésére, h ne legyen érdeke a kiadónak ilyesmit publikálni, mert senki nem eszi.

Azt hittem, a kommunistázás megszűnik egyszer, ahogy telnek az évtizedek a szabad választások megjelenése óta és kihalnak az egykori aparátcsikok és velük együtt az őket gyűlölők is. De Bayertől megtudhatjuk, h a kommunisták “csemetéi” is ma már ott viszik tovább a stafétabotot és vele a gyűlöleti céltáblát. Feltehetőleg öröklődik a dolog. Mint ahogyan a zsidóság is, tehát az ő csemetéik is megérdemlik Bayer haragját.

Vajon mit is kéne csinálni ezekkel a zsidókkal és kommunistákkal és csemetéikkel, úgy 'en bloc', úgy értem ezen csoportok minden tagjával (még inkább ha ezek keresztmetszetében vannak!)? Nem az a gond, h mit csinálnak, mondanak, képviselnek (hiszen aligha elképzelhető, h MIND ugyanazt tennék vagy képviselnék), hanem az a gond, h kommunisták és zsidók és persze ezek csemetéi ők (és aztán vélhetőleg majd a csemeték csemetéi és így tovább). Mit kéne velük csinálni, h Bayer elégedetten megnyugodjon, h ne érezze magát fenyegetve tőlük, h végre nyugta lehessen? Hogy minden este pezsgőt bonthasson? Hiszen attól tartok írását olvasva, h pusztán az SZDSZ feloszlása, bár kétségtelenül nagyon örömteli fejlemény, még nem tesz pontot az i-re, hiszen a feloszlott pártból bizonyára ezek a kommunisták és zsidók (és csemetéik) be fognak várhatólag szivárogni máshova, ki tudja miféle pusztítást okozva majd ott ezáltal.

Hiszek benne, h a józan ész és humanitás felülkerekedik a tolerancia hiányán, a gyűlölködésen, a zsigeri ösztönlény mivoltunkat stimulaló alantas uszításon. A Magyar Hírlap nyilvánvalóan nem ennek jegyében járt el Bayer írásának leközlésekor és szégyelheti magát.

P.S. Úgy érzem a fenti témához kapcsolódik egy írás a Népszabadságban, ami viszont közel áll a szívemhez: http://nol.hu/lap/hetvege/20090725-alompart