Home » Morality
Category Archives: Morality
I’ve recently been thinking about what it would take for me to leave my country to go somewhere else. I’ve wondered what it would take for me to give up everything I own, everyone I know, my family, the familiarity I have with my surroundings, etc.
It would be a very difficult thing for me to do, even though I have the privilege of belonging to a race that will likely be welcomed in most places in the world. Even though I have the privilege of the means to drive or fly there. To come in the front door. To not be rejected out-of-hand due to my skin color. To not be assumed to be entering that country for the sake of taking something from those who were born there.
With all that going for me, I’m still here. Not because I think that America is the only place in the world in which I could live peacefully. It isn’t. Not because America is the only democracy in the world. It isn’t. Not because America is the safest country in the world. Or has the best health care. Or the longest life-span. Or the most honest politicians. It isn’t and it’s not. I stay here because this is my home.
Now, imagine if you take away all the privileges I’ve listed above. The privilege to be welcomed. The means to enter legally, through the front door. The privilege that assumes that I have something to offer the new country.
Imagine if, prior to leaving, I know that I will be rejected for my skin color, assumed to be stealing someone’s job. Imagine if I already know that I’ve got to walk, along with my family, through miles of deserts with little food or water. Knowing that after traveling for days in the hot sun that I might be caught and sent back. Knowing that I, or my family, could die trying.
And yet, I still came.
If some of us would try to imagine the love that these people must have for what we, in America, offer. Imagine what courage it takes for someone to make that journey, knowing that he might be sent back. Or, even if he makes it, knowing that he will be hiding from the law, hated for his nationality, ridiculed as lazy and only wanting something for nothing, like welfare or food stamps.
How many natural-born Americans would go to those extremes to be Americans? Immigrants, both legal and illegal, apparently love America so much that rather than ridicule them, we should be throwing them lifelines when they wash up on shore. Or border patrols should be searching for them to help them cross, rather than turn them away. We should have provisions for them to come and do the jobs that Americans have proven time and again that they don’t want to do, and thank them for it.
If you think about how much you must want to be in a country for you to risk your future at best, or your life at worst, then you understand that many of these immigrants are the ultimate American patriots-and we should be welcoming them.
In the 16th century, many in Europe thought that the earth was flat. Columbus and others proved differently. We’ve grown since then, and learned the truth, haven’t we?
In the 17th century, we didn’t know that gravity existed. Newton proved differently. We’ve grown since then, and learned the truth, haven’t we?
In the 18th century, we believed that we could subjugate the natives who lived here and justifiably kill them by the millions We’ve grown since then, and learned the truth, haven’t we?
In the 19th century, we thought that black people should serve white people, by force if need be, via slavery. After a while, we capitulated to some degree, “allowing” blacks to become 3/5 of a citizen. We’ve grown since then, and learned the truth, haven’t we?
In the early 20th century, we believed that women should be subservient to men, that they weren’t smart enough to vote, go to college, or own property. Later in the century we still treated blacks like third-class citizens, hanging one for whistling at a white woman, keeping them from voting, and referring to them as “niggers”. We beat and discriminated against gay people, just for being gay. We’ve grown since then, and learned the truth, haven’t we?
In the 21st century, we still have people who believe in a book that was ostensibly written nearly 2000 years ago, before any of the above enlightenment occurred, when we still didn’t know where the Sun went at night. When we stoned infidels. When you would kill your wife for infidelity. When eating shellfish or pork was tantamount to murder. When prostitutes were stoned to death. Where stealing or taking the lord’s name in vain was a sin, but raping a woman wasn’t.
We really haven’t learned a fucking thing, have we?
Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth; how can He have a son when He has no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things
They say, ‘God has begotten a son.’ God forbid! Self-sufficient is He. His is all that the heavens and the earth contain. Surely for this, you have no sanction. Would you say of God what you know not?
Such was Jesus, the son of Mary. That is the whole truth, which they still doubt. God forbid that He Himself should beget a son! When He decrees a thing He need only say: ‘Be,’ and it is.
I don’t use these passages to pitch one religion against another, but only to illustrate that another Abrahamic religion, one which, when scrutinized, is extremely similar to Christianity (no, the Quran does not say anything about 73 virgins) can so contradict one of the most fundamental tenets of Christianity.
I’m trying to illustrate that not only Atheists have problems with the entire premise of God having a “son”, but that those belonging to the second largest religion on earth (1.4 billion members) can contradict the premise that the most powerful force the earth has ever known needed to impregnate a mere mortal to have his word spread throughout the earth, then die for some sin that God himself perpetuated.
This is a common thread with those who must anthropomorphize their fantasies in an effort to make them more palatable. God the Spirit needed some walking around flesh in order to make him copacetic to the unwashed masses. Whatever this purported God did to this purported Virgin to create this purported Second God who is, Himself, the only God seems to be so blindingly lacking in necessity and logic as to beg suspension of disbelief.
The premise that an all-powerful God needed the mere flesh of a mortal woman to create a son, whereas he, God, had already created man by the snap of a divine finger, is idiotic to say the least. Oh, right, that was the Old Testament, which we seem to have decided was written when God was young and naive. As Gilda Radner’s character Emily Litella used to say in the early days of SNL, “Never mind”.
Even Thomas Aquinas could only justify this extra-biologic occurrence by suggesting that since sex is so dirty (now we see where that came from) there is no way that God could have gone through history as having gotten a little nookie, so he invented virgin births for one-time use. He claims to have had nothing to do with it. He just laid it all on the bitch (and now we know where that came from too).
When I was learning to fly some years ago, the ability to stop a plane in a very short distance when landing on a runway was a badge of honor. We would practice short-field landings and brag about how few feet we needed to get the plane on the ground and stopped. Sort of like what naval airmen do to practice carrier landings.
Well, the son of the owner of our flight school would brag that he could bring a Cessna 172 to a stop in under 1000 feet at our home airport, which had a 5000 ft runway. (that’s the part to remember in this story). His bragging would be quite irritating at times so we decided to put him to the test. We all got in our planes and flew to a local field that had a 1500 ft runway and gave him a chance to show us all how it was done. Every time he tried, he had to go around, (pilot speak for not being able to stop in time and having to apply the throttle to take off and try again). After numerous attempts he finally gave up and we all started for home. Upon our arrival, we all sat around the pilot’s lounge and ribbed him about it and asked why the short-field king had done so badly. His response was classic. He said, “I’m still the short field landing king…just not on short fields!”
That experience reminds me of the way many Conservatives view the world. To wit:
Remember when we became very concerned with the birthplace of our President?
Then came Ted Cruz, born in Canada.
Remember when cheating on your wife was grounds for impeachment?
Then came Donald Trump with multiple cheating scandals on his various wives. And David Vitter with his hookers.
Remember when first ladies were supposed to be the moral equivalent of librarians?
Then came Melania Trump posing nude.
Remember when having children out of wedlock was shameful?
Then came Sarah Palin defending Bristol’s two out-of-wedlock love-children.
Remember when Richard Nixon bragged that his wife wore a “Republican cloth coat”, to indicate what a humble man he was? (in the 1950s)
Then came Donald Trump bragging about his mansions and jets.
Remember when having errant family members was an embarrassment for a President (Roger Clinton selling drugs, Billy Carter and his beer drinking, Neil Bush losing $1 billion in the bank he ran)?
Then comes Ted Cruz bragging that his father ran out on his mother, defended Castro, then found Jesus.
The point to all this is not that Progressives are any better than Conservatives. They’re not. We’ve had more than our share of scandals. The point is that Conservatives constantly claim the moral high ground. They claim to be the most patriotic and ready to defend the country, but not a single Repub candidate has served in the military. They claim to be the party of morals, but they have had an equal amount of sex scandals as Progressives.
Has anyone ever taken a poll outside a Planned Parenthood office and ask how many of the women seeking birth control are Conservatives? How about abortion clinics? Does anyone want to bet that just as many Conservatives are “baby killers” as Progressives? Go down to the Food Stamp center and see if they’re all Progressives since good Conservatives ostensibly “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.
I talked to a died-in-the-wool, lifelong Conservative the other day who had his lower leg in a cast. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he’d been injured and that the doctors had injected stem-cells into the muscles to facilitate healing. I asked him how he could reconcile his party’s stance against stem-cell research while he as benefitting from it.
His lack of introspection was revealed in his glib response. “Progress”, was what he said. Interesting choice of words, wouldn’t you say?
As the details of the recent terrorist acts in Paris unfold, there have been numerous articles and Facebook posts regarding the futility of praying for the victims of that tragedy when the entity to whom one would be praying should have, if he existed at all, presumably been powerful enough to have stopped the event in the first place. This is a sentiment with which I happen to agree.
One man, an acquaintance of mine, did respond as I had expected others to do as well. His response was that God gives man “free will”, which, by what I take from that response, is to mean that having given this free will to man, he, God, is now powerless to retrieve it, even in small incremental incidents when having done so would have saved hundreds of those of us whom he claims to love so dearly, such as the recent Paris attacks.
Although I do not doubt the sincerity of this man’s feelings and the depth of his religious belief, I must take issue with that response since it is inconsistent with that which appears, to me, to happen all over the world on a daily basis.
If the entity referred to as God is truly all knowing, powerful and present, yet cannot control the actions of man due to his having given us free will, I must question why he has done so with so many other forces on earth. The forces to which I refer are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanos, flash floods, fire and if it turns out not to have been man-made, climate change.
If we embrace the theory that man is uncontrollable by God because God has relinquished control over man’s will, then one must question why God has equally relinquished control over these other devastating and murderous phenomena. How many were killed by Hurrican Katrina, or Sandy, to name only two? How many will die in the next super earthquake which is predicted for California, or the tsunami that killed 19,000 men, women and children in Japan? Climate change may be the cause of the current droughts in California, but there have been droughts throughout history and people have died as a result. Bangladesh in the 1970s comes to mind.
How many lives are lost every year to tornadoes in the mid-west, presumably while some of those lost were huddled in their basements praying to this self-same God to spare their lives as their roofs were blowing off and their children were being carried off by the winds?
If I am to consider the possibility that the rationale for man’s inhumanity to man is God’s having given us “free will”, I must have an answer to the question of why he seems to have given that same free will to nearly everything else that can hurt us as well. Where is all this assumed power in this deity that makes him worth our reverence?
If he can make the earth flood, why can’t he also stop floods? If he can make it rain at will, why can’t he make it rain during droughts that kill thousands of babies?
Failing to answer those questions will help one better understand the position of Atheists.
My various writings in defense of those of other cultures, races and points of view which sometimes vary greatly from that which my pale-faced, conservative brethren tend to hold, can at times cause some of those who have recently discovered Dictionary.com to fire missives my way with a recurring theme of “self loathing”, as if to help explain the defects in my own apparently miss-spent life.
This piece is directed toward those who have done so.
Since you asked, I decided that it was time to respond that it is not me whom I loathe, my slogan-of-the-week repeating friends, it is you.
You see, I am quite satisfied with my lot in life, which allows me the moral heft to challenge those of you who hide behind that with which you were born, simultaneously wearing it on your shirtsleeve as if it were a coat-of-arms, proving some high rank or accomplishment when you, often, have none which would give you license to hold yourselves to such lofty societal hights. You brag about what you were handed at birth because you’ve done little since and, therefore, have little else to be proud of, other than some “heritage” or serendipitously occurring skin color. It is reminiscent of Al Bundy’s recurring braggadocio about winning one football game at Polk High, by simple virtue of the fact that he can’t think of another thing about which to brag.
To start with, I have raised two now-grown children into fine adults, with their own stable, nuclear families and good careers, with no issues of divorce, drugs or infidelities. No one in my family has ever been arrested. I also have a teenager with straight A’s in a gifted school who is on a path to an ivy-league college.
I started out a working man, washing cars at a car dealership and learning to repair and sell cars. Recently, I sold a company I started from scratch in 2008 for an amount approaching seven figures. I have owned a waterfront home on the Gulf-of-Mexico and my own private airplane and sailboat. I single-handedly piloted a 45 ft yacht around the Caribbean for 9 days with my family and flew a single-engined airplane from Minnesota to Florida, solo. I later flew that same airplane, solo, from Florida to New Jersey as hurricane Francis approached from my tail.
I have started, bought, sold and managed internet companies, aircraft leasing companies, construction companies, automobile companies, landscaping companies and real-estate investment companies. I have sometimes failed in my endeavors but more often than not, succeeded quite nicely, thank-you.
I have acted in community theater to acclaim, having had no formal training or acting lessons. I was given the lead role in two out of the three plays I’ve been in and had my share of standing ovations.
I have written two well-received books about management and am working on a third about racism in my lifetime. I write prolifically on all manner of subjects.
I started college at 50 years old and am now an MBA with less than two years remaining in my post-graduate education before completing my dissertation and receiving a Ph.D.in Managment.
Sorry folks, I have nothing to loathe about myself. I am quite confident that I have not squandered my time here on earth. And it is that confidence which allows me to look back at myself and see the privileges which have been afforded me in sharp contrast to the lack of privilege that others with far greater talent, courage and skill have suffered.
I spend no time whatsoever patting myself on the back or holding myself above others due to the simple expedient of certain molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid which happened to align in a particular way to make me a white male. To put it another way…I didn’t build that. It was built for me. And whatever privileges with which you were born were also handed to you.
I don’t defend others due to anything remotely approaching self-loathing. I do it out of self-love.
In doing research for my book about racism, I’ve recently been reading some scholarly texts regarding law enforcement in inner cities. I’ve read numerous books, written by a combination of black prosecutors, black public defenders, white prosecutors and pubic defenders, and one which interviewed retired judges. They all have a common theme, which I’ll get back to in a minute.
The takeaway from all this research has been the confirmation of something which I, and many of you have likely believed for a some time but haven’t had the need nor the impetus to acknowledge. It appears to have become commonplace for white people who are in charge to either ignore or simply delay their reaction to the needs of black people. I’m speaking from a law enforcement perspective here. I’ve read many accounts about cops or other taxpayer-paid first responders either neglecting or simply refusing to go into black neighborhoods when they’re needed, as a way of tacitly determining the futures of these individuals.
One account was a poor family of 8 or so who lived in a small house with a newborn baby sleeping in one bed with his father. One morning they noticed the baby was not breathing and called 9-1-1. No one showed up after 20 minutes. Over the course of the next hour, they called three more times and no one showed up. When they finally called the fourth time, they overheard the 9-1-1 operator ask her supervisor why no one was responding. The supervisor was overheard telling the operator “There’s a shitload of people in that house. Somebody probably just rolled over on the baby and killed it. Tell them to call a funeral home”.
Here is a recent article explaining that Repubs don’t consider racism to be a very big problem I know that it’s from HuffPo, which is not considered to be a paragon of impartial reporting, but it’s a legitimate poll, based on the details of the study.
Other examples are of white judges imposing enormous bail on black kids who have been accused of possessing small amounts of pot. Since they can’t pay the bail, they languish in jail for what is sometimes months waiting for their trial to begin. Once their trial date comes up, many times the prosecutor isn’t ready or the public defender hasn’t had a chance to see the case, and it’s delayed. So the kid goes back to jail. By the time the case finally comes up, even if the kid is acquitted or takes a plea, he likely owes fines or court costs, which he can’t pay because he hasn’t worked in months. He is unlikely to be able to find a job since he’s been out of the job market for a while and has no way to support himself as a result. If the fines and court costs aren’t paid, a bench warrant is issued for him, which lands him back in jail, where he accumulates more fees. This is not an isolated incident. There are thousands upon thousand of black kids who are in jail because they could not pay fines and court costs associated with minor offenses.
The fact is that the same percentage of white kids smoke pot as black kids do. Since there are about 7 1/2 times as many white kids as black kids in the US, why would there be so many more black kids in jail over pot arrests than white kids? Could it be that black kids, what with stop and frisk laws that target them, are simply arrested more often for minor pot offenses than white kids? Could it be that predominantly white judges don’t rule as harshly or impose as large bail amounts on white kids? There has to be a reason that a smaller population of pot users accounts for a larger population of pot users who are in jail.
Dare I use the…”R” word? How many more instances do we need of, not “isolated examples” but of thousands upon thousands of occasions when whites assert their authority by ensuring that blacks stay in the subservient position in which we’ve always preferred them, then blame them for being there.
Folks, look inside yourselves here. If you were a cop or a judge, and you were presented with a good-looking fair-haired white college boy who was caught with a small amount of pot, and contrast that with seeing a black kid of the same age wearing a hoodie committing the same offense, would you treat them the same? Would you assume that the white kid was just making harmless juvenile mistakes, but the black kid has probably committed other crimes and deserves punishment?
If you were a cop and received a call about a fight in a predominantly black section of your city, and your sergeant told you not to bother because “those people are always fighting”, would you protest? Would you agree?
I’ve been hearing white people lamenting recently that they’re tired of hearing about racism. Well, to those of you who are, imagine how tiring it must be to the victims of it. Your boredom is more evidence of your acceptance of it than of any overuse of the word. It exists. And it exists in us all.