Friday, November 12, 2021

Don't be afraid; it's just history.

     There are two ways to be great.
     The first is by actually being great, doing great things, winning victories, achieving big goals.
     That’s the hard way.
     The second path is to be great by pretending to be great, insisting you’re great now and always have been, while ignoring or denying all the stuff about you that isn’t so great.
     The easy path.
     Look at Communist China.
     Much about China is truly great: a civilization nearly 5,000 years old. Culture. Cuisine. More than a billion citizens. Proud, strong, rising.
     Not great enough, apparently, for its totalitarian leadership. They demand that everything be considered great, and banish all that is controversial, complicated or embarrassing.
     In April, China’s cyber censors set up hotlines that allows citizens to denounce each other, turning in those who “defame national heroes.” Questioning the party’s version of the past is branded “historical nihilism.” People go to prison for quips about history.
     This is not great, but petty. Not strength, but weakness. There is a reason our nation’s First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
     The idea was that dictating what religion to practice, or what citizens can say or not say, is the work of tyrants. The reason we broke away from England is because we were sick of that. And because permitting all kinds of speech is like permitting free scientific inquiry: it allows ideas to compete, and the best to rise to the top. It fosters greatness.
     Or at least it did, before social media put its thumb on the scales, and encouraged Americans to isolate themselves in their own personal echo chambers.

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  1. The photo of the girl holding the sign saying she isn’t an oppressor is probably accurate, for now. Her dad however is a suppressor.
    Social media has allowed a fact-free world to proliferate. The Zuckerberg’s of the world need to be held responsible. The excuse that they are just a platform does not relieve them of responsibility.

  2. Coincidentally, we see a local example of the futility of trying to show only the good side. Police and their admirers are irate that Officer Ella French, recently killed in the line of duty. was included in a list of police officers cited for infraction of police rules. Her wrongdoing was minor, by no flagrant and did not in any way reflect on her character or devotion to duty. And had not the aggrieved cops in demonstrating how hardhearted the department is to its faithful servants succeeded in spreading the news of her failings (minor though they were), very few people would have heard it. Ella French wasn't perfect and her reputation is not going to be sullied by noting that she broke a rule and would have been punished with a couple days off had she lived. And I'm pretty sure George Washington was capable of telling a lie. So there!


  3. "To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain ever a child."


  4. A couple years ago I went to diversity training for work. At the end of the first day the presenter announced that all white people were racists and that our homework was to go home and tell our families that. When I contested her conclusion she asked where my grandparents were from as if that settled the matter.
    Before that, I thought we were on the same side but then I wondered if she thought so, too, or even thought it was possible. If am genetically unable to participate, don’t invite me.

  5. I would argue all people are racist in that we notice the differences between ourselves and others. we are inherently suspicious of strangers, and different appearance is an easily noticed indicator of the other.
    a refusal to accept that skin color different from ones own can be associated with bad action, and this goes in both directions, is born in a desire to have nobly overcome what is considered a negative human trait.
    while some dont even try to overcome racist thinking and behavior , others make a point of learning the egalitarian way. studies have shown our biases stubbornly linger through our efforts to rise above the prejudice we learn growing up.
    I have found admitting to this flaw is very helpful in the continued effort overcoming it .
    not that my opinion settles the matter but it often begins dialogue instead of ending it
    while I feel there is only one race based on science , the social construct of race is so ingrained in all of us the idea that appearance groups us and makes us different must be acknowledged before it can be overcome.
    there are different nationalities , ethnicities and tribes. but we all share one race

    1. Absolutely. One major problem in the thinking on this topic is the idea that some slice of the population are "racists" and the other are pure. Racism exists in everybody, in varying degrees, and some people recognize and overcome it, somewhat, and others don't even see it's there. It's part of our human nature, alas.

    2. The term means different things to different people. I consider it an insulting criticism. That’s how I mean it when I use it. If I say that Person X is a racist, it is understood that I don’t like that person, especially if I label them “racist scum.” There is a negative intention or action involved in racism and there are degrees of nastiness. To label every single white person a racist, based solely on their race, is in my opinion, racist. I think the word means this (or used to.)

      Racism: The judgment of people based on their race, generally attributing negative characteristics to everyone in a group,

    3. A negative connotation in calling people "scum"? Really? Thanks for sharing that, MC. And who labels "every single white person a racist"? As I said, elements of racism exist in everyone, and hunting racists is ultimately futile. I'm not sure who you think you're arguing with here, but it isn't me.

  6. I didn’t mean to argue with you. I stated my opinion and hoped to hear yours. I would like to see your definition. Many people, including the presenter I mentioned earlier, believe that all white people are racists because they benefit from white privilege. (And I understand that white privelege obviously exists.) I have been told this to my face. Also I apologise for using sarcasm, where things are sometimes overstated.

  7. Please see “Yes, My Dear, All White People are “Still” Racist ” by Marley K. She explains her viewpoint directly and clearly.

    1. As Aristotle said, "One swallow does not a summer make." The practice of finding extremes and then passing them off as significant is not something I find either persuasive nor laudable. Your "many people" is just a guess. Nobody is a bigot because they're so brave, and this is the kind of squishy thinking that bigots do. Maybe you just slid into it gradually or unaware. I'd encourage you to slide out of it, at least for purposes of posting here.

  8. Sorry, I was hoping to see your definition of racism. I believe that the different understandings of the word have led to, or contributed to, some of our problems. I thought we might agree on that.

  9. I realize now that you didn’t understand that my comments regarded the other comments as well as yours, like a conversation. I thought FME’s comment was interesting though I don’t agree with it. I usually consider the comments of Les, Tate, tom, and others.


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