Through Thick and Thin
Well, my gun control posts got a lot of comments. Not surprising, it’s a topic that people tend to have strong opinions on. However it looks like long time commenter Steve finally got pushed over the edge and will be finding new blogs to comment on. I’m not sure why he hung around so long, he usually vehemently disagreed with just about everything I wrote. In his final comment he claimed I had a serious mental defect. I resent that. My mental defects are comical and preposterous, there’s nothing serious about them at all. I’d say he’ll be missed, but I doubt it. I will however be writing more about gun control, in my researches I discovered that “fact lite” describes a tremendous amount of what is written on the topic by all parties in the debate. Even the serious (there’s that word again) research is often badly tainted by ideology. Lastly, the research by its very nature is statistical and thus easy to manipulate to get the desired results, consciously or unconsciously.
I guess the thing that gets me about the gun control “debate,” is that it’s like health care. Despite the fact that by every measure the USA has the most expensive and least effective health care system in the developed world, millions of Americans are convinced we have the best health care system in the world. And by the same token, despite a level of gun violence that dwarfs that of the rest of the developed world, millions of Americans are convinced there is no problem. When I was young wilful ignorance wasn’t considered a patriotic value, now it’s a point of pride. Jesus wept.
Speaking of consciously manipulated: Missouri Votes Kids Shouldn’t Have To Study Evolution, Climate Change, Or Anything Gay. This is wrong on so many levels. Education is for broadening the mind and exposing children to different perspectives so they can use the brains God gave them for what they were intended. Channelling a child’s education into “ideologically safe” areas is the ultimate admission that a philosophy can’t stand on its own merits. If Fundamentalists really believed that Evolution was false, shouldn’t they welcome it in the schools so that their children can discuss it, see its flaws, and point them out to others? Why are they afraid to expose their children to ideas they disagree with?
Atomic bombings. This week was the anniversary of them. I’ve written a number of posts about them. I wasn’t up to it this year. They tend to be controversial. That’s being diplomatic. Another topic where many or most Americans have learned propaganda substituted for history and fact. The fact is that under the laws of the era, they were terrible war crimes. They played little or no role in the Japanese surrender. They served no military purpose. They were opposed by the US military, Eisenhower and MacArthur were against them. There was no need to invade Japan, they were already beaten. Potential American casualties of a million in the planned invasion of Japan were made up by the Truman administration to justify the bombings after the fact (ignoring the point that it’s a war crime to kill any civilians in order to protect your soldiers. They are noncombatants, that means soldiers aren’t allowed to shoot at them.) And Japan had already been trying to surrender, they would agree to anything as long as we agreed not to prosecute their emperor. A condition we granted them anyhow. This is one of the best examples of how patriotic hypocrisy works in a nation, where people justify terrible crimes committed by their government, while casting terrible aspersions on the crimes of other nations. Probably a good thing Steve left, he’d be having a heart attack and a stroke now.
Yeah, I use religious language and imagery frequently. I’m a free thinker. Isn’t that a contradiction? From some perspectives I suppose. It would be more accurate I suppose if I used “hypothetical-Jesus wept” or “hypothetical-God bless.” I think God and Jesus are myths, but I still live my life in such a way that if I die and find myself at the gates of Heaven, I’ll be able to look them in the eye. Why would anyone do anything less? So I don’t have a problem with using them as a literary device, and as a way to speak to people who do believe in God. That would be a lot of people, including the majority of my friends and family. I imagine a Jesus (or Moses or Buddha or whoever) who would be appalled at some of the stuff done in their name. Any religious person who can’t find common ground in there somewhere is a fool or a liar.
There are a lot of fools and liars in the world. Science has in fact shown that people can lie to themselves. Try to think about that.
(The above image has been shamelessly copied from Facebook, whoever holds the copyright is waycool. I like it because of the sentiment, and I like it because it is an interesting photograph. I’m gonna be posting more photographs soon, brace yourselves.)