Healing from toxic group thinking

I recently stumbled across an article written by Establishment Liberals.

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Everyday Feminism presents:

Healing from Toxic Whiteness 

~ an online training program for white people commited to racial justice ~

If there was ever a time in recent history for white people to take action to end racism, this is it.  

Trump’s presidency has shaken white people’s understanding of racism to its core. It’s revealed what many people of color have known and been naming for generations – that the US has deeply normalized white supremacy and is built on a foundation of systemic oppression.

As a white person dedicated to social justice, you knew how racist Trump’s campaign was – but perhaps you didn’t know how capable so many white people, perhaps including your own family and friends, were of electing him.

You may be finding yourself coming to terms with just how prevalent and harmful white supremacy is – and how your white privilege has kept you ignorant and in denial of this reality in the first place.  

So with Trump’s policies starting to roll out, you know you want to be fighting alongside people of color. But you also know that you may feel frozen in place by the feelings of shock, confusion, denial, and guilt that many white people have been dealing with since the election.

It’s understandable for white people to have those feelings as they begin to notice we don’t live in a post-racial society as we’ve been taught and how pervasive systemic racism actually is. 

You just don’t want those feelings to stop you from taking action. 

This starts with not running away from the racism that exists both within yourself and your communities. Instead, it means acknowledging it – and that is a painful process. 

With our unique Compassionate Activism approach, you can learn how to hold that pain of racism in a way that’s healing and comes from a place of love and justice. 

That way, you become increasingly free to take action against white supremacy – from a sense of wholeness and shared humanity.

Once you notice just how insidious and ingrained racism really is – and how often you find yourself unintentionally upholding it – it can feel like your whole worldview is being shaken.  

As you think about what you personally can do to address racism, you may find yourself wrestling with questions like:  

  • How can I make sure I don’t accidentally say something that’s racist and hurts people I care about? 
  • I know I need to speak up against racism more, but when does speaking up cross the line into speaking over people of color? 
  • What do I do when I discover I’ve been subconsciously stereotyping and judging people of color?
  • I feel so guilty about having white privilege, but am I really willing to give up that privilege? Do I even know what that means? 
  • How can I figure out what I should be doing to fight racism without burdening people of color by constantly asking them what I should do? 
  • How do I deal with the fact that I’m scared to talk to other white people about racism when they often get really angry at me?

 

Once you notice just how insidious and ingrained racism really is – and how often you find yourself unintentionally upholding it – it can feel like your whole worldview is being shaken.  

As you think about what you personally can do to address racism, you may find yourself wrestling with questions like:  

  • How can I make sure I don’t accidentally say something that’s racist and hurts people I care about? 
  • I know I need to speak up against racism more, but when does speaking up cross the line into speaking over people of color? 
  • What do I do when I discover I’ve been subconsciously stereotyping and judging people of color?
  • I feel so guilty about having white privilege, but am I really willing to give up that privilege? Do I even know what that means? 
  • How can I figure out what I should be doing to fight racism without burdening people of color by constantly asking them what I should do? 
  • How do I deal with the fact that I’m scared to talk to other white people about racism when they often get really angry at me?

 

or white people to truly engage in anti-racism work, they must first engage with their unconscious conditioning to think and act in racist ways.

This is often the first obstacle in approaching this work – and because it is so normalized and insidious, it can feel insurmountable. 

While white people are not inherently or inevitably racist, they are all raised in societies built on systemic racism and have been bombarded since birth with conflicting messages that teach them to: 

  • Think and act in racist ways that personally benefit them at the expense of communities of color 
  • View these racist behaviors as either racially neutral or even actively anti-racist (like being “colorblind”) 
  • Believe that since they don’t personally benefit or intentionally engage in racism, they have no personal responsibility to do anything to end it 
  • Not notice how our society is structured so that white people are seen as full human beings and treated as “normal,” while people of color are seen as stereotypes and treated as less then
  • Believe that being racist is one of the worst things you can be, in order to scare them from acknowleding the racism inside of them

This means the question needs to shift from “Am I a racist?” to “How will I work towards undoing the racism I was raised with and have internalized?” 

Because while we’d all love it if we could jump from being raised in a deeply racist society to becoming completely anti-racist, it doesn’t work like that.  

The desire to not be racist is not enough, by itself, to stop someone from being racist. 

By becoming conscious of your own conditioning, you will be able to choose whether or not to continue to do as you’ve been taught, or to act in accordance with your values of justice and humanity.  

This can be a painful and disruptive process – but the only way out is through.

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I hardly know where to begin with.

1) How do you DEFINE “white supremacism”?

Is it the will to uphold a privileged place for white people?

If so, many (and probably most) electors of Trump aren’t white supremacists as they have nothing against blacks sharing their worldview (such as Ben Carson) being in a position of power. Actually, most of Ben Carson’s electors voted for Trump.

2) That sounds like preaching to the convert to me. To an outsider like myself, this rings as weird as the proclamation of a fundamentalist preacher. Basically, Establishment Liberalism has all the hallmarks of a dogmatic religion.

3) All the racist attitudes she describes can also stem from blacks and latinos. You cannot fight white racism while tolerating or promoting a racist mindset among other ethnic groups. We should all refrain from depriving other people of their individuality because of their ethnicity.

4) It is true that we all have unholy prejudices against other people, even if we don’t want to.
But there is no evidence that it is systematically directed towards black and brown people.
In France, many people who passionately hate Muslims would have no problem hiring a black Christian or secular woman.

5) “Not notice how our society is structured so that white people are seen as full human beings and treated as “normal,” while people of color are seen as stereotypes and treated as less then

This was entirely true at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King. But nowadays, I think that many upper-class and middle-class black people are treated like their white counterparts.

6) Many white people are “defensive” because we have the feeling that we are unfairly SINGLED OUT as the worst type of human beings and that we can never be the victims of oppression.
What about the holocaust where 6 millions of white people were butchered by other white people?
It is extremely frustrating that these Establishment Feminists ignore the Arab slave trade against black Africans and white Europeans which was very soon associated with systematic racism.

arab-slave-trade
What about the genocide of the Indo-European Arminians by the Turks?

I totally support an anti-racism which fights both the prejudices of whites and non-whites.

7) What about other causes of oppression such as poverty and mental health problems which affect whites and non-whites alike? Why is it that Establishment Liberals almost never say anything against that?

One likely explanation is that they are the USEFUL IDIOTS of corrupt oligarchs who want to uphold their economic privileges.

8) I’d be truly delighted if social justice warriors reading that were to call me a “white supremacist” or even “neo-nazi”.

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Can we define the truth of materialism?

In a previous post, I explained why I believe that materialism (the belief that matter is the only reality) cannot make sense of the truth of materialism.

The Red Spider Nebula: Surfing in Sagittarius - not for the faint-hearted!

My reasoning was hard to follow and this prompted me to try to reformulate my argument.

Platonism and Nominalism

According to Platonism, abstract objects not existing in space and time (such as numbers, mathematical operations, concepts such as “everything“, “nothing” etc.) are real and  necessary to talk about the world.

For instance, while considering the sentence

All roses in my garden are red

rosengarten-seppenrade

a Platonist will consider the words “all” and “red” as examples of abstract objects (or universals) which determine its truth or falsehood.

A Nominalist rejects the existence of abstract objects which are considered to be useful human conventions.

According to them, the above sentence can be rephrased as

“Rose number 1, 2, 3…. and N have roughly the same colour as tomatoes”

thereby seemingly doing away with the indispensability of abstract concepts.

It is important to realise that the plausibility of Nominalism stands and falls with its ability to reformulate such statements without the use of any abstract objects.

If abstract objects can be shown to be indispensable to give a meaning to a true sentence describing the real world, Nominalism is false.

What is the truth of materialism?

Materialists MUST be Nominalists as they reject the existence of anything not located in space and time.

At face value, the truth of materialism can be expressed in different equivalent ways:
Everything is material
There is nothing immaterial
If (any object)* A exists, A is material

If (any object)* A is real, A is material“.
…………..
But is there a way to formulate this proposition without (explicitly and implicitly) appealing to any abstract entities?

It seems to me that in that specific context, all words I have underlined are abstract entities or require the meaning of abstract entities such as existence.

The sentences “there exists no such thing as the concept of existence” or “the concept of reality is not real” appear self-contradictory to me.

Note that I am not saying that the underlined words cannot be interpreted nominallistically in other situations.

But here it seems impossible to me to express the truth of materialism while only appealing to material entities.

If I’m right about that, whenever we assert the truth of materialism, we must resort to non-material concepts. In other words, if the truth of materialism is meaningful, non-material concepts must be meaningful as well.

Conversely, if non-material concepts are meaningless, so is the truth of materialism.

Another way of looking at this is to consider the  truth-value of  materialism, that is to say the state of affairs of the world that would make it true.

Suppose that 2 billions years later, our highly advanced descendants feel confident that they know everything that exists.

Would the state of affairs corresponding to materialism simply be: “Object 1 is material, object 2 is material…object N is material“?

No, for it must also include “And objects 1 to N are everything that exists” or ‘”there is nothing else than objects 1 to N”.

It thus appears that as an ensemble, objects 1 to N must have a non-material property (namely that of exhaustiveness) that is not localised in time and space and cannot be identified with any set of interacting primary particles.

Therefore, the impossibility of defining materialism without relying on immaterial concepts goes hand in hand with the impossibility of it being true.

The Cosmos of materialists
The cosmos in a nutshell. Materialism implies BOTH that the entities in the oval are material and that the oval is all there is. This property of the oval is non-physical in that it cannot be localised in time and space.

I’d be interested to learn if you think I’m wrong and that you know such formulations which do not merely shift the problem. Of course, one solution of the issue might be to use more modest definitions of materialism that do not try to convey the idea of “nothing else”.

Footnotes

*Some might object that the sentence

If (any object) A is real, A is material

can simply be formulated as

If A is real, A is material.

This clearly raises questions about the implicit meaning of A.

The sentences

If love exists, love is material

If telepathy exists, telepathy is material

can obviously  not serve as the definition of materialism, although they naturally follow from its truth.

Nor can this role be played by the sentence

If Lyurmur exists, it is material

which concerns a specific entity called “Lyurmur“.

It is because of mathematical conventions and our use to them that we automatically assume that “A” in the original sentence means “any object having that property“.

It thus follows that we cannot do away with that concept in such a manner.

Objections

A creation of human brains

Someone answered that this isn’t a problem as “everything” can be viewed as an abstraction created by human brains.

If that is the case, without conscious lives in the cosmos, materialism couldn’t be true! Materialism would be a fact of the external world that would not be true if there were no consciousness. That’s certainly a very odd position to hold. Many would say it is plainly absurd as one of the main claims of materialism is the denial that consciousness is anything fundamental.
Moreover, if the concept of “everything” is only a useful convention to simplify our daily talks and theory building, then what does it mean in such a situation where it cannot be reduced to anything else?
I think that the following argument can be developed:
***********************************************************************************************
1) If the sentence M “everything is material” is true, then the concept of “everything” must exist either as such or as something reducible to other concepts or objects and not *merely* as a creation of the brain.
2) In that specific context, “everything” cannot be reduced to more fundamental objects.
3) Hence, if M (materialism) is true, “everything” exists as a fundamental object.
***********************************************************************************************
I have argued for 2) above and believe it is very implausible that anyone could reduce “everything” to something more fundamental and do away with abstract objects.
I shall thus take it for granted.
Denying 1) would mean that “A is…” can be true even though A does not carry any external meaning and is only correlated to a bunch of neurons. That too seems very implausible as the proposition “The fountain of youth is material” and “The fountain of youth is immaterial” are both false if the fountain of youth does not refer to a putative object.
Consequently, it is very hard to see how a materialist can consider that “everything” is nothing more than neural currents without meaning while believing that the sentence “everything is material” is true.
Not a noun?
Another person asserted that “everything is material” is perfectly fine for a materialist as “everything” is a pronoun and not a noun. I don’t think this is the case.

For an abstract object not existing in time and space does not have to be a noun in a specific language.
Consider for example the sentences:
0 roses are red
3 roses are red
7 roses are red
9 roses are red
NO rose is red.
ALL roses are red
EVERY roses are red.

“No”,”All” and “every” are as much abstract objects as “3”, “7” and “9” are.
If “0”, “3”, “7”, “9” have no meaning, neither do the four first sentences.
If “no”, “all” and “every” have no meaning, neither do the three last sentences.

“all” and “every” depend on the concepts of everything in the same way as “something” depends on the concept of something.

The sentence “Fijhfhdfgx is blue” is meaningless without a concept of “Fijhfhdfgx“.

What is more, everything in that context can only mean “every OBJECT” as opposed to “every pineapple or “every wild bears”.

So, I still don’t see how “everything” (every thing) can have a meaning here without the concept of everything and the concept of object.

Replacing “every” by an enumeration
Someone suggested I could just replace “every” by an enumeration of all elements making up reality.

I also first thought of “everything” as a summation (U).
If all the materialist was claiming were that the objects KNOWN TO US are material, an enumeration such as
– This laptop is material
– This rose is material
– Donald Trump’s brain is material
….
would indeed be perfectly correct.
The problem is that most materialists also include all potentially unknown object.And as such, the summation (U) will also have to explicitly mention
and all potential objects we know nothing about are material

so that the problem does remain the same.

This seems to be inevitable. Our descendants in 200 000 000 million years would also face the same problem as they too could not rule out the existence of unknown objects in, say, parallel universes.

So I remain convinced that phrases such as “and nothing else exists” cannot be replaced by any combinations of concrete objects.

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 Actually, in order to avoid a tautology (such as ‘all material things are material’), it appears to me that you must allow for the possibility that the object A could be non-material. And as such, A cannot be considered a physical thing of our universe from the outset without begging the question.

Have sexism and racism lost any meaning?

Robert Cunningham, a good Australian friend of mine, asked the following questions:

When everything is sexism , nothing is ?
When everything is racism , nothing is ?
When everything is mental illness , nothing is ?

sexism

My answer follows.

Sexism means that ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, you treat a person differently because of his or her gender.
Racism means that ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, you treat a person differently because of his or her ethnicity.
Mental illness means you suffer from a condition which makes your life significantly harder than those of members of the general population.

The definitions of words stem from the intuitive understanding of ordinary folks and not from the wishes of ideologists.
I think that what I wrote corresponds very well to how the man (or woman) in the street understands these terms.

This has important consequences.

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Let us consider that in the field of mechanical engineering, there are 20% of women and 80% of men. According to most feminists, there should be 50% of women having good jobs, otherwise sexism is at play. This is bullshit. The right proportion of hired females under those circumstances should be 20%.
By trying to force 50% (as they do in Germany and Austria), they unfairly give a female candidate much more chances to get employed just because she’s got two X-Chromosomes.

If feminists want 50% of women having jobs in that field, they should encourage more girls to orientate their studies accordingly instead of discriminating qualified men.

To the dismay of my liberal friends, I also believe that Arabs calling an innocent child in French suburbs “Jewish bastard” or “white bastard” are racists.

A lot of innocent Arabs suffer from discriminations in France but there are also Arabs who attack innocent white people out of racial hatred.

I’m an egalitarian. If I had a white-skinned son and an adopted black-skinned Lesbian daughter who had the same qualifications, I would like them to have EXACTLY THE SAME CHANCES.

This is why I think that any positive discrimination should be based upon the wealth and well-being of a person rather than on skin colour or gender.

It is a shame that the irrational notion “statistical disparities -> discrimination” has become a sacred dogma of the Liberal Establishment.

Racism against minorities is undeniably real but by using flawed reasoning and ignoring the economical oppression of poor whites, Liberal Elites gave over the White House to Trump.

As a contrast, Dr. Martin Luther King reached out to poor whites and sincerely wanted to alleviate their suffering.

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How so-called “leftists” react to heresies

Do you want to be bullied, ridiculed and dehumanised by a LIBERAL culture warrior?

 

Classical liberalism "I disapprove of what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it". "Progressivism" I disapprove of what you say, and I will publicly shame you, lobby to have you censored and demand you be fired from your job.
Pseudo-progressivism in action.

 

Say to him or her any of the following things.

 

1) Systematic racism against afro-americans is alive and well in America in 2016. This shouldn’t be tolerated. But there are also innocent white kids who get bullied and battered just because of their skin colour. This should be called racial hatred and equally combated.

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2) Nowadays, there is still an intolerable level of homophobia and misogyny in the Western World. We must not deny this but eagerly fight it. However,in 2016 the oppression of gays and females is MUCH worse in Muslim countries. They (and liberal Muslims who defend them) are much more in need of our support than Western females and homosexuals.

No Trade with Saudi, killers of gays
A true progressive protest

 

3) Arabs/Muslims in France (especially after the terrorist attacks in Paris) suffer from a very strong discrimination and exclusion. This is awful and despicable and must be combated by all means.
However, young Arabs in French suburbs beating innocent white children to avenge themselves are guilty of racial hatred and should be condemned accordingly.

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4) A man whose life has been destroyed by a false rape accusation is as much in need of our help and compassion as a woman whose life has been destroyed by a true rape.

Despaired man.
False rape accusation. Truly, pain, sadness and depression know no gender. And no: statistical numbers comparing men and women do not feel anything at all. Only individuals do.

5) While assessing the existence of real discriminations in the here and now in a given society (say America), you shouldn’t directly compare the whole groups of non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, blacks and Asians  because these populations can be extremely different in terms of poverty, culture and many other factors.

Instead, while investigating academic success, unjustified police arrests, discriminations etc.,  you should compare homogeneous groups such as:

a) wealthy whites and wealthy blacks coming from wealthy neighbourhoods

b) poor whites and poor blacks coming from poor neighbourhoods

c) qualified men and qualified women applying for academic positions in philosophy or mechanical engineering.

**********
6) Anti-black racism isn’t only a Western phenomenon. There are awful cases of persecutions of black Africans in Arabic countries as well. This is something progressive Arabs clearly expose and fight. Curiously, this is something progressive Westerners choose to completely ignore because it destroys their most fundamental beliefs.

**********
7) Race-based affirmative action is unjust and inevitably upholds artificial divisions of humankind.
Instead, it should be replaced by a set of three measures

i) wealth-based affirmative action
ii) any enterprise must have the same amount of employees belonging to the ethnic minority as the amount of that ethnic minority among qualified candidates.
iii) public education in poor neighbourhoods must be extremely strengthened and improved through the intervention of the State. Much more money needs to be spent in these areas.

**********

8) Discriminating a person because he or she is obese, unattractive or behaves oddly due to a mental health condition isn’t any less immoral than discriminating him or her based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

*********
9) Stealing the wallet of a person swinging it around in the street is as immoral as stealing it from his or her closed pockets.
But given the bad mentality of a large number of people, it might not be wise to hold it in one’s hands while walking down certain streets.

 

Raping a sexily dressed and attractive woman is as wrong, egregious and wicked as raping a “modestly” dressed woman.
But given the bad mentality of a large number of men, it might not be wise to dress oneself provocatively under certain circumstances.

Slut walk: naked or clothed, respect is what I am owed.
The phenomenon of “slut-walks“: young women protesting for their right to dress attractively without getting harassed. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with the slogan this girl is wearing. Respect OUGHT to remain the same. But living in a world full of wicked men, it might be extremely UNWISE to walk at night dressed like that. I just fail to see how pointing this out makes you an evil sexist.

 

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Liberalism, rationality and morality

 

I want to make it perfectly clear that what I wrote does NOT concern all liberals, but only the true “culture warriors” among them.

These people view themselves as the champions of truth, reason, decency and intelligence.
Actually, my numerous interactions with them have shown me they aren’t any different from nasty religious fundamentalists aggressively defending their cherished dogmas, without evidence and often even in the face of evidence.

I consider myself a progressive Christian because I believe that the Bible contains contradictions and errors and that we need to use our God-given conscience in order to figure out what is right and what is wrong in a complex world and to make moral progress.

I passionately oppose wild capitalism, the oppression of the poor, the exploitation of the third world, homophobia and anything I sincerely find unjust.

And this all too often leads me to think outside the box, as the content of this post proves.

Frankly, I am ready to give up any of the nine “heretical” beliefs I laid out if you give me compelling rational arguments against them.

Insulting and dehumanising me would be definitely most entertaining (to me) 🙂

Alas, it is unlikely to change my mind in the least.

It is particularly embarrassing that many of these self-righteous “leftists” are self-professed Christians.
By bullying their respectful opponents and treating them like the scum of the world, they are dishonouring Christ who taught us to even love our enemy.

Jesus: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Jewish woman: certainly he doesn't mean the Romans? Jewish man: I hope not.
Jesus preaching love towards our enemies. Has there been any progress during the last two thousand years in that respect?

 

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The cave where death never was

Die Höhle, wo der Tod nie war.

La grotte, où la mort n’a jamais été.

English

Deutsch

Français

The Scream.jpg

Then I said to myself, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise? I said to myself, “This too is meaningless.”
For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!”
Kohelet.
Da sprach ich in meinem Herzen: “Wenn mir doch das gleiche Geschick widerfährt wie dem Toren, warum bin ich denn so überaus weise geworden? Und ich sprach in meinem Herzen: “Auch das ist nichtig!” Denn dem Weisen wird ebensowenig wie dem Toren ein ewiges Andenken zuteil, weil in den künftigen Tagen längst alles vergessen sein wird. Und wie stirbt doch der Weise samt dem Toren dahin!
Kohelet.
Et j’ai dit en mon coeur: J’aurai le même sort que l’insensé; pourquoi donc ai-je été plus sage? Et j’ai dit en mon coeur que c’est encore là une vanité.
Car la mémoire du sage n’est pas plus éternelle que celle de l’insensé, puisque déjà les jours qui suivent, tout est oublié. Eh quoi! le sage meurt aussi bien que l’insensé!
Kohelet.

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/~/media/NPWS/Images/Parks/Borenore-Karst-Conservation-Reserve/park/sandstone-cave-02.ashx

Raymond saw that the whole cave of Saint Barbe, by the village of Falck in Lorraine, was shaken.
Raimund sah, dass die ganze Höhle der Heiligen Barbe beim Dorf Falck in Lothringen erschüttert wurde.
Raymond vit que toute la grotte de Sainte-Barbe, près du village de Falck en Lorraine, où il se trouvait avait été ébranlée.

He looked at the apparition which was glaring at him in a way no mortal mind could have ever interpreted.
Er schaute auf die Erscheinung, die auf ihn auf eine Weise blickte, die kein sterblicher Geist hätte je deuten können.
Il observa l’apparition qui lui lançait un regard qu’aucun esprit mortel n’aurait jamais été en mesure d’interpréter.

“If you truly seek salvation, you won’t fail to heed my words and lay down the weapons you’ve deceptively acquired”, the otherworldly creature said.
“Wenn du wirklich das Heil suchst, wirst du ganz bestimmt meine Wörter beachten und die Waffen fallen lassen, die du dir auf eine betrügerische Weise angeeignet hast”, sagte die Kreatur aus einer anderen Welt.
“Si tu cherches vraiment le Salut, tu ne manqueras pas de prêter attention à mes paroles et tu laisseras tomber les armes que tu as acquises à travers ta tromperie”, dit la créature d’un autre monde.

“What are you talking about?”, he answered in a defying tone while swinging his sword.
“Wovon redest Du denn?” antwortete er mit herausfordernder Stimme, während er sein Schwert schwang.
“Mais de quoi parles tu ?”, repondit-il avec une voix de défi tout en brandissant son épée.

A sound vaguely resembling a laughter resounded in the cave.
Ein Geräusch, das etwa an ein Gelächter erinnerte schallte in der Höhle wider.
Un son ressemblant vaguement à un rire résonna dans la cave.

“I know you aren’t quite satisfied with the fate which awaits every creature of your kind.”
„Ich weiss, dass Du nicht ganz mit dem Schicksal zufrieden bist, das jedes Geschöpf deiner Art erwartet.
« Je sais que tu n’es pas tout à fait satisfait du destin qui attend toute les créatures de ton espèce. »

You know, the thing you call…Ah, what’s the word? Death?
Ich meine…das Ding, das ihr so nennt…Ach, was ist das Wort? Tod?
Je veux dire…cette chose que vous appelez…Ah, quel est le mot? Mort ?”

All your feelings, desires, dreams, longings and noblest achievements will inexorably trail off into space one day, am I correct?”, the unknown being replied.
All Deine Gefühle, Wünsche, Träume, Sehnsüchte und edelsten Errungenschaften werden sich eines Tages unausweichlich in die Luft auflösen, nicht wahr?”, erwiderte das unbekannte Wesen.
Tous tes sentiments, désirs, rêves, soupirs et tes accomplissements les plus nobles disparaîtront un jour inexorablement, n’est-ce pas?” répliqua l’être inconnu.

He sighed.
Er seuftzte.
Il soupira.

fading-flower

“Yes.”
“Ja”.
Oui.”

“I am aware you would do anything you could to quench your thirst for immortality”, the thing added.
“Ich bin mir bewusst, dass du alles mögliches tun würdest, um deinen Durst nach Unsterblichkeit zu stillen” fügte das Ding hinzu.
“Je suis conscient que tu ferais tout ce que tu pourrais pour combler ta soif d’immortalité”, ajouta la chose.

“Indeed. How could I not? My own life is what matters most to me”, he answered while whispering, fearful of being heard by other sons of man.
“In der Tat. Wie könnte es anders sein? Mein eigenes Leben ist das, was mir am Wichtigsten ist”, antwortete er mit einer flüsternden Stimme, da er befürchtete, von anderen Menschensöhnen gehört zu werden.
“En effet. Comment pourrait-il en être autrement? Ma propre vie est ce qu’il y a de plus important pour moi”, répondit-il en chuchotant, craignant d’être entendu par d’autres fils de l’homme.

This time he unmistakably heard the creature laugh in a shrill voice.
Dieses Mal nahm er das schrille Lachen der Kreatur auf eine unverkennbare Weise wahr.
Cette fois-ci, il perçut nettement le rire strident de la créature.

“My master wasn’t wrong about you.
Mein Meister hat sich nicht über dich geirrt.
Mon maître ne s’est pas trompé sur ton compte.

If you show us unconditional obedience, we shall grant you the deepest wish of your fragile heart.
Wenn du uns bedingungslos gehorchst, werden wir den tiefsten Wunsch deines zerbrechlichen Herzes erfüllen.
Si tu te soumets à nous sans conditions, nous exaucerons le souhait le plus profond de ton coeur fragile.

If you slaughter all our enemies in the tainted city of Gehenna, we shall save your soul from the eternal unconscious slumber in the colourless valley of Sheol it is currently heading to.”
Wenn du all unsere Feinde in der befleckten Stadt Gehenna schlachtest, werden wir ganz bestimmt deine Seele vor dem ewigen bewusstlosen Schlaf im farbenlosen Tal von Scheol retten, wonach sie sich gerade  richtet.”
Si tu massacres tous nos ennemis dans la ville souillée de Géhenne, nous sauverons ton âme de l’éternel sommeil inconscient dans la vallée de Shéol, depourvue de couleurs, vers laquelle elle se dirige.”

https://i0.wp.com/www.thehistoryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Overlapping-skeletons-room-5.jpg

He wanted to ask for more details, but the being disappeared instantaneously in a blur of reddish mist.
Er wollte ihn nach mehr Einzelheiten fragen, aber dann verschwand das Wesen augenblicklich in einem Wirbel rötlichen Nebels.
Il voulut lui demander plus de détails, mais l’être disparut instantanément dans un tourbillon de brouillard rougeâtre.

It didn’t take long before he decided to completely surrender his own heart to darkness.
Es dauerte nicht lange, bevor er sich entschloss, sein eigenes Herz der Dunkelheit völlig zu übergeben.
Cela ne dura pas longtemps jusqu’à ce qu’il décidât de soumettre complètement son propre coeur aux ténèbres.

Woods of dark despair... by wolfcreek50

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Rethinking affirmative action

I’m an egalitarian. This means I strongly believe that the well being of every human being is equally important regardless of his or her gender, skin colour, ethnicity or any other feature he is not responsible for.

This conviction of mine leads me to have some ideas many proponents of political correctness and Progressives view as profoundly heretical.

I believe that the current notions of affirmative action and positive discrimination are flawed and unjust and should be redefined with respect to (low) life-standards solely.

In an article written in 2011, the British telegraph stated this on this topic.

****

It will mean that employers can choose to hire candidates from under-represented groups provided that they are as qualified for the role as other applicants.

A manager will be able lawfully to hire a black man over a white man, a woman over a man, or homosexual man over a heterosexual man, if they have the same skill set.

It is not the same as filling quotas or giving someone a job just because they are a woman, disabled or from an ethnic minority – that would be unlawful.

Positive action is also not the same as positive discrimination, which gives applicants from disadvantaged and under-represented groups preferential treatment in the recruitment process, regardless of their ability to do the job.

An employer cannot offer the job to a woman, or someone from an ethnic background, purely to improve the company’s gender balance.

*****

I want to go into the sentence I emphasised.

Let us consider the following situation.

****

Lawrence is a straight white man struggling with poverty to such an extent he can no longer afford paying the rent for his cheap flat despite his best efforts.

Laura is a straight white woman coming from a rich family and possessing two houses.

Lawrence and Laura have the same skills with respect to the job they’re applying for.

According to the principle of affirmative action, the employer shall say what follows to Lawrence:

“I’m afraid I cannot give you the job because a woman with the same abilities wants it as well and I’m morally obliged to privilege her. I’m well aware you’re extremely poorer than her. I know that if she doesn’t receive the position, she would still lead a very wealthy life whereas you would plunge into an unspeakable misery. But that doesn’t play any role at all. You must understand that (historically speaking) white males have oppressed females whereas the reverse isn’t true. Therefore, you should accept the fact you have to be discriminated by virtue of having the same gender as the oppressors.”

*****

This is obviously a thought experiment but I think it illustrates very well the problem of current notions of affirmative action.

I must say that in such a situation I can’t help but feel a profound moral indignation. It is hard not to conclude this is collective punishment, the idea that individuals ought to be punished for features they’re not responsible for.

To see how morally problematic this really is, let us just consider what a Hebrew (and brown-skinned) prophet (namely Ezekiel) wrote more than 2500 years ago.

The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
Ezekiel 18:20 preaching against the notion of an inherited guilt.

Western liberals and progressives like to pinpoint moral flaws in the Bible (and sometimes quite rightly so).

But in that specific case, their own morality is inferior to that of the ancient Hebrew prophet.

He spoke out for justice and emphasised the fact that children aren’t responsible for the sins of their parents and shouldn’t be punished or disadvantaged by virtue of their being their sons or daughters.

Western fans of political correctness think that someone ought to be disadvantaged by virtue of his or her having the same gender or skin colour as people having systematically committed wicked acts.

This isn’t moral progress, not even moral retardation but moral regression.

Rethinking the foundations of affirmative action

I don’t think, however, that the whole concept of affirmative action needs to be jettisoned. I just believe it ought to be redefined.

As a Christian, I do believe in self-sacrificing love and in the moral duty to care for the poor, disabled and excluded (see my post about the central message of Jesus).
Jesus and social justice.  Steve Maraboli: "Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you".
Jesus’ call has many challenging implications with respect to social justice.
Obviously,many non-Christians agree with these principles which resonate well with our deepest moral intuitions.
This leads me to the following definition of what positive discrimination ought to be.
PDLS (Positive Discrimination based on Life Standards): all things being equal, a person with a lower quality of life and well-being (he or she isn’t responsible for) ought to be privileged and advantaged.
I also think this ought to be related to the consequences of not being hired on well-being, as my example with Lawrence and Laura made it clear.
I even think that it may be moral to hire such a person even if he or she has slightly inferior skills in comparison to the other candidate.
It is worth noting that my own definition of positive discrimination would still lead African Americans (and Arabs in France) to benefit on average from more advantages because of crying inequalities resulting from history.
I strongly believe, however, that we are falling into a moral trap if we define this more favourable treatment in relation to skin colour, gender or sexual orientation in and of themselves, for the reasons I gave above.
So, if a black and a white man, a gay and a heterosexual, or a male and a female have the same level of well-being and quality of life and not receiving a particular job would have the same impact on them, I don’t see why one of them ought to be discriminated or advantaged.
 If, however, a black person not receiving this job would have far more difficulties than a white person to find another one (owing to lingering racism), then her well-being is certainly going to be more affected in the future.
Consequently, according to my own concept of affirmative action, she ought to be favoured.
But this is going to be context-dependent.

Conclusion: more political humility is needed

Politically speaking, I’m pretty left-wing and passionately reject wild (uncontrolled) capitalism while also defending the morality of Gay marriage.
But in that particular case, I just can’t follow the progressive crowd in good conscience.
Still, I do respect their right to disagree with me on that point.
It is a pity that many of them don’t have this attitude towards me and don’t try to engage any rational conversation but instead resort to emotional bullying, calling me a sexist pig or a white supremacist for holding my egalitarian views.

In many respects, politically correct Liberals can be as callous, self-righteous and arrogant as Conservatives.

On average, both camps seem far more interested in defending their cherished dogmas and making ideological points than in humbly seeking the truth and walking towards authentic justice and love.
Fortunately, I also got to know quite a few folks who respect other views and strive for a friendly dialogue.
It is my genuine hope that this blog post will provide people with food for thought, regardless of whether or not they’ll end up agreeing with me.

Racism has no color: an affront against political correctness.

Rebecca Trotter, a Facebook friend of mine, wrote an incredibly insightful comment on one of my last posts I want to reproduce here.

(You can visit her own blog here).

It was about my pointing out that anti-white racism is real and should be combated as much as any other kind of racism.

While I don’t necessarily agree with everything she wrote, I find her thoughts really profound.

***

I have come to think that part of the reason we have failed in the Western world to handle the problem of race productively is because we don’t really understand the problem we are dealing with. We tend to think of racism as interpersonal animus motivated by an irrational dislike for certain races. So the answer must be to fight this interpersonal animus where ever it shows up. However, as we have seen, this isn’t all that effective.

We want white tenants in our white community.
Racism and discrimination in America.

The thing is that back when racism was motivated by this sort of irrational hostility towards a group of people based on race, people didn’t just walk around being nasty to certain groups. They actually set policy which had as its goal putting certain groups at a disadvantage and not allowing them to escape that disadvantage. Often this was done openly for the benefit of the dominant group. For example, it was quite common for discussions of employment to revolve around the need to protect jobs for white men, thus justifying discriminating against women and people of color. We tend to think that these discussions from the past aren’t particularly relevant to the present since we no longer engage in that sort of thinking. However, that doesn’t mean that the problems created by the past go away all by themselves. A good example of this is housing discrimination. After WWII, while white Americans were able to buy houses using the GI Bill, neighborhoods where African Americans were allowed to buy homes were excluded from eligibility for GI loans and other conventional forms of financing. When African Americans figured out ways to buy homes anyways, realtors and bankers engaged in shady practices which resulted in many African Americans losing their homes and those who didn’t were left with homes that were worth less than people had paid for them. Those who lost their homes or never could manage to get a house, were forced into unsafe, poorly serviced neighborhoods. And this is how we ended up with our crime ridden inner cities. We forced people to live there and then blamed them for not being able to overcome all the obstacles placed in their way. So that’s a problem which we created and which is still with us today. But because we think that racism is only about whether one particular person is nice to another particular person, we don’t really understand how unsafe minority communities are the result of racism, much less what to do about it. A lot of people don’t even understand why we might have an obligation to do something, in fact. So we don’t.

Then there’s the fact that people rarely dislike other groups of people for purely irrational reasons anymore. Generally, they have reasons they dislike other people. They don’t like the way they act, talk, dress, their attitudes, their morals, etc, etc, etc. So a lot of people feel like they are being forced to pretend that what they find unacceptable is not problematic for the sake of PC. However, what I have learned is that the things that people are most likely to point to as legitimate reasons for disapproving of another group of people was the direct result of a wrong done to them or their people and a set of insurmountable obstacles they were facing. For example, I have known some of these infamous black men who have children with multiple women, wind up in jail, etc, etc. Every single one of them suffered horrendous abuse growing up. (I am completely convinced that it should be possible to look at any pathologies present in any given African American family and trace them directly back to their people’s experiences during slavery. Women who were raped by their owners did not go on to have healthy relationships with other men. Men beaten by their owners and overseers did not go on to raise their children with patience and time-outs.) All of these men were raised without dads. (The US government went through a period where it would not provide assistance to families with a man in the home. So we’re not innocent in creating that situation.) All of them had witnessed terrible violence both inside and outside the home while growing up. They usually desperately want the love and approval of a woman, but have poor relationship skills and they are attracted to women with similar trauma histories who also have poor relationship skills. These men didn’t just wake up from comfortable lives one day and decide to act an ass. They needed help long before they got to the point of impregnating people and causing trouble. But we have nothing but contempt for these men.

Two black boys in a poor suburb.
Black ghetto produced by a wicked housing policy.

At the end of the day, I think that we simply have not faced the depth of the damage done by our racist past. What we see as increasing levels of pathology, immorality and the like are actually the fruit of seeds planted in our societies long ago reaching harvest time. I think that once we understand the problems that way, we can start finding practical solutions that will make a real difference. But Americans are obscenely immature. Any solution that starts with having compassion on someone who they don’t think deserves compassion is a no-go. Poor Americans vote Republican because they believe in a world where good people get rewarded and bad people get punished. It’s a fantasy, but one that they put their trust in because, after all, they are good people. So if those who share their belief that good people should be rewarded are in charge, they will be rewarded. Or at least they will be able to take some satisfaction in knowing that the bad people (who just so happen to be disproportionately African American) get punished.

Anyhow, sorry this is super long, but it’s a complex topic and one that I’m convinced is generally poorly understood.

**********

There is absolutely no doubt that the white dominant class in America committed atrocious crimes whose consequences can still be felt.

I certainly want justice to be achieved and the wounds of the past to be healed.

Interestingly enough, France has a similar history concerning the housing policy.

After World War II, French capitalists fostered a massive immigration of workers from their Arabic and black African colonies. They did that because this manpower could be paid much less than the salary they would have had to give to Europeans. They decided to put all of them into public housing apartments plagued by poverty and bad life standards.

The ethnic tensions experienced by modern France are a direct result of this shameful policy.

It was sheer madness to have massively imported workers with a very different cultural background, concentrated them within poor suburbs with awful life conditions, discriminated them and then expected that everything would be just fine.

That said, I must also emphasize that I reject the idea of a collective culpability of the white race (if there really is such a thing in the first place).

I once discussed with a former colleague from Morocco and I told her:

Racism hasn’t any color. The seeds of hatred, intolerance, bigotry and xenophobia can take root everywhere” and I then went on evoking the case of French children being bullied in schoolyards owing to their being white.

She became really angry.

“But haven’t you seen what France did to us? Aren’t you aware of all the horrors they inflicted to us during the colonial time?”

I wasn’t willing to engage an unproductive verbal fight and so I just left.

"Colored" rowdies are kicking a white victim who has fallen on the ground.
Anti-white racism during a demonstration.
The victims are left-wing French people who were, ironically enough, protesting against inequalities. The racist character of the aggressions is recognized by even mainstream left-wing medias.

While she isn’t an evil person by any means, her words (reflecting what countless people think) are extremely offensive from a moral standpoint.

To see how, let us first consider what a Jewish prophet loudly proclaimed 1600 years ago.

The one who sins is the one who will die.  The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
Ezechiel 18:20 preaching against the notion of an inherited guilt.

This ancient text is extremely strong in that it went against the widespread concept that children of wicked people should be retributed for the misdeeds of their parents or that their current suffering was a divine punishment (a notion which can, incidentally, be found in other Biblical passages).

More than twenty centuries later, this very notion hasn’t been erased everywhere, alas.

The conversation I had with my former colleague is a sad example of this state of affairs.

If punishing children for the crimes of their parents is morally abhorrent, how much more horrendous is it to bully and hurt someone just because he or she has the same skin color as a group of oppressors.

It is depressing that if anyone dares to speak out about the reality of anti-whit racism, the Slaves of Political Correctness (SPC) shoot from the hip and become morally indignant.

I’m convinced that far from promoting peace, their fanatical denial of this phenomenon fosters a vicious circle of hatred.

Indeed, white folks who have been victim of such hateful acts are likely to join far-right groups after having been ignored or even ridiculed by all mainline politically correct parties.

The racist is the other man.  Really? Are you sure?
The racist is the other man.
Really? Are you sure?

I’m persuaded that a society where skin color no longer plays any role can only be created through a battle against every kind of hate regardless of its source and object.

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