Monday, June 16, 2008

My Thoughts on Conservatism

Conservatism is at its heart a sectarian ideology that seeks to deny the oneness of humanity. It has many ideological manifestations, but whether the factor used to create division is race, religion, gender, nationality, language, age, disability, sexual orientation, class, or any of the hundreds of other groups that some people deem more important than humanity, the result is the same, division and hate. In this capacity conservatism is simply a link in the chain that leads from ignorance to suffering.

Ignorance leads to conservatism which leads to hate and fear which results not only in suffering for the afflicted individual, but also for many innocent people who they are driven to hurt in the misguided belief that they are doing the right thing by harming others. Any human being who has even a basic understanding of the concept of humanity realizes that we share to much in common to be divided over petty differences. Unfortunately, many people are still ignorant of this basic fact. In rejecting conservatism it is important not to reject conservatives, to reject conservatives while embracing their philosophy of division would be nothing more than hypocrisy. That is why we must combat conservatism not only with education, but also with compassion.

Americans usually assume that tribalism exists on a large scale only in other places . This assessment is not only completely wrong, it blinds Americans to the tribalistic nature of many of their own views. Conservatism has been a source of strife in every nation for all of recorded history and it continues to be a source of suffering in America. To illustrate that point one needs only to read the editorial section of a newspaper and note the vitriolic and irrational hatred directed at Arabs, Hispanics, Muslims, and homosexuals, to name a few of the latest targets.


Bar Kochba said...

If you are such a liberal, I wonder why you ally yourself with Islamists who have no interest in democracy or individual freedoms. Honour killings are common in Gaza and the West Bank. Gays are frequently killed (they are hung in Iran and beheaded in Saudi Arabia. But of course, as Iran's president says, Iran has no gays.) Dissidents are shut up and murdered. Do you really think that Hamas and Hizbullah support abortion and feminism?

You are a useful idiot of Islamofasicm.

young_activist said...

I do not support democracy for other countries, I support popular sovereignty. Democracy is a western concept and it would be wrong to impose western ideas on a people who want to live by their own traditions.

This may be difficult for a closed minded individual to understand Bar, but I do not take the side of one side or another and support that side without condition. I am on the side of humanity, the goal of politics, at least for me, is to alleviative human suffering. Sometimes that means supporting the Palestinian narrative, sometimes it does not.

However, to say that because there are honor killings or executions of gays in some Muslim countries that Israel is justified in doing whatever it wants to the Palestinians is logically and morally absurd. You don't really believe that do you Bar?

I don't think I've ever made any comments about abortion or feminism have I? That is your problem, you are so quick to assume you know everything that you make some critical errors in judgment. I do support feminism, however I do not support abortion. See my above comments about not taking the side of a faction, political or otherwise, in arriving at a conclusion.

As usual you sound very bigoted tonight, but I hold out hope that as you grow older you may realize that all human lives are equally precious. Do you know that Uri Avnery thought very much like you do now when he was your age?

Bar Kochba said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul said...

Quite so Bar I agree. The aim of Islamic imperialism is Israel first, then Europe then USA. They have almost gotten hold of Europe through immigration. Countless Muslim 'leaders' such as Gadaffi have said exactly that.

Bar Kochba said...

YA, where are you? Surely you will condemn the attack on innocent Jewish civilians in Jerusalem by an Arab murderer without reservations.

As for your argument that "Palestinian" terror is the result of despair, know that the murderer had two kids, a wife, a house and a job. And yet he prefered to kill Jews and threw it all away.

Chet said...

bar kochba,
Where is your manners, Personally I would rather live in Iran than in Israel. If you are the example of Israel's people that would be the last place I would want to live. Again I bet you have never been to Iran. They are very gracious people. Israel has a problem with the zionist government. I have had Israeli's here at my home, guess what they are not going back because of the racist attitude Israel has. I am not your average joe from the US. Been around a lot more than you. Yes when you grow up maybe you will see things differently.

@ young activist, you have a great blog seem very intelligent. Keep up the great work and you seem much older with the way you handled your comments to bar kochba. I don't seem to have that touch much anymore.

How far are you from Rocky Mount, NC? I have lived there and my grandson and his wife are still there. Take care, really enjoy your blog.

Paul said...

Typical example of Liberal hyperbole "Where is your manners, Personally I would rather live in Iran than in Israel. If you are the example of Israel's people". Well what if you were gay Chet? Would you fancy being publicly hung from a crane? What if you actually wanted a parliamentary democracy instead of rule by the mullahs? Oh hang on Chet what will your response be more name calling? And yet you wish for a more mature debate before telling people to grow up try looking in the mirror. Iran has links to terrorism, no democracy, publicly kills homosexuals and arms terror groups. Oh yes and child marriage there is legal as well. Iranian people are a welcoming bunch their government however are dangerous dingbats.

Chet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chet said...


Does the TRUTH HURT? What goes round comes round. I stand by my statement Iranians are much better people than most Israelis.

You might want to go back and do some research before you decide who is right and who is wrong. I think you will find that what you find is not all true with what you believe. I have known Iranians and a friend of mine has spent time in Iran. I don't need someone to dictate to me what I have found to be true.

Paul said...

"Does the TRUTH HURT? What goes round comes round. I stand by my statement Iranians are much better people than most Israelis." I see sweeping statements concerning entire groups of people. Chet, I am not dictating to you now I do not expect you to actually answer any of this as you seem to run away from debates and issue insults but answer these points if you like:

1. Does Iran execute homosexuals for being homosexuals yes or no? Does Israel?

2. In Iran is it permissible to marry a child (9 years of age) yes or no? Does Israel permit child marriage?

3. Is Iran a theocracy? Yes or no? Does Israel have the death penalty for apostasy?

4. On a Friday in Tehran what do the crowds chant at the Mosque? (clue it sure aint give peace a chance!)

5. How many US and UK troops have been killed by EFPs? Or in direct bombardments of the US Embassy and other bases? Clue Israel never supplied these weapons?

6. Shocking when Israel stormed a diplomatic mission and held staff hostage for 444 days in 1979 wasn't it? Oh hang on that wasn't Israel?

I will gladly provide sources for any of the above, however all you will do is call names and then claim it isn't true because 'a friend told you otherwise or similar. Friends of mine have been there too and I am not criticising Iran's people. You however in your criticisms aim your comments at all Israelis which is bigotry.

young_activist said...

First of, discussion from all viewpoints is welcome. That is a healthy part of any democracy, however personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please keep it civil or your comments will be removed.

young_activist said...

Islam is not Arab imperialism any more than Christianity is white imperialism and that should be blatantly obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of Islam. The Prophet taught that race is irrelevant, it is what is in a person's heart that matters. That was a rather remarkable revelation at the time considering the state of race relations in the rest of the world. Furthermore Islam has adherents from virtually every race, Arabs are in fact a minority of Muslims, of the 10 largest Muslim-majority nations only 3 are Arab.

Gadaffi is recognized as a nutcase throughout the Muslim world, I would take his over-inflated rhetoric with a grain of salt.

I have no problem condemning the attack that you are speaking of, unlike you I am not a tribalist who only condemns deaths on one side of the conflict and regards all of the others as well deserved retribution. For me it does not matter whether the attacker is Jewish or Arab. Although, in this particular case I have reason to beleive that the man concerned was simply a mentally disturbed individual without any connection to the resistance groups. While you are in Israel why don't you travel to the occupied territories and observe the misery inflicted on the Palestinian people in your name. Then tell me if you don't think that much suffering would produce enough anger to push some over the edge and down the path of violence.

young_activist said...

Iranians want a democracy as much as any other people in the world, and barring some ill-conceived operation by the west they will probably have achieved one in the next two decades. At one point Iran did have a functioning democracy, but there was a problem. The person won the election and the U.S and British governments overthrew the democratically elected government and installed a dictator in order to gain oil money.

There were many savage abuses of human rights under the Shah, Israel and the U.S even helped train his death squads. The Islamic Revolution was only a backlash by a repressed people against their dictator. Why do you think that Khomeni had to pretend to be a liberal reformer while in exile? H e was trying to fool Iranians just as much as he was trying to fool the international community.

Don't you think you're being a little sanctimonious with your comments on Iran? How can you begin to talk about what a few American hostages endured for 444 days at the hands of Iranian extremists without ever mentioning what the whole of the Iranian people endured for twenty six years because of the British and American governments?

You cannot talk about Iran's state sponsorship of terrorism without mentioning that the U.S is also a state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S supports groups that are on its list of terrorist organizations in order to destabilize Iran. Do you support terrorist attacks by the west against Iranian civilians?

Paul said...

"Do you support terrorist attacks by the west against Iranian civilians?"

When did that happen? Is it not an accepted fact that Iran publicly hangs homosexuals and arms terror groups against the west? And issues fatwa’s against people for shock horror writing a book! Will you answer that or just issue more obfuscation?

Chet said...

Paul, if you would only do some research you would know what most of the rest of the world knows. And what most of us in the US have known for quite some time.

Paul said...

Paul, if you would only do some research you would know what most of the rest of the world knows. And what most of us in the US have known for quite some time.

Chet, I have done extensive research. I can provide sources for all of my comments Re Iran. Could you address any of the points I make? For starters does Iran publicly hang homosexuals yes or no?

Chet said...

Paul, you seem to have a big hang up with what happens to homosexuals. What happens their is no different from the US by some people. Do some research and you will find out that many have been tortured and killed in the US. That is an internal affair they have to deal with if that is happening. But for someone to put a whole country down for that reason and it seems that you seriously hung up on homosexuals is apparently not looking at anything else. I don't think it is right to treat anybody that way. What is your hangup?

Maybe you are a homosexual, I really could care less. That is your business.

But when a country tries to steal land and destroy people like Israel is doing with the US giving their blessings, that is wrong. THAT IS A FORM OF TERRORISM!!

Karin said...

Young activist - I wholeheartedly support your views! I think they have solid foundation, are well thought through and prove, you gave those issues a lot of thoughts and consideration.

" ... and it would be wrong to impose western ideas on a people who want to live by their own traditions. "

YES and again YES, I could not agree more! Eventhough I naturally strictly oppose ANY kind of killing, be it out of of-course-wrong "honor" or concerning gays or dissidnets - I DO believe each people should have the option to chose THEIR way of being governed and if they opt NOT to embrace democracy (not ALL countries are even READY for democracy), so be it! That does NOT mean I defend dictatorship or worse ... all I am doing is defending people's choice for themselves!

Bar Kochba - to call young activist "... useful idiot of Islamofasicm" does NOT show either the courtesy I would expect among educated people NOR the respect I want to see granted while engaging in any discussion! You shot yourself pretty badly in your own foot!

A word to your choice of blog-name ... I have news for you - did you kow that he was a DICTATOR?? Here are some details ...

"Bar-Kokhba was an imperious dictator who was in charge of both the army and the economy during the Jewish revolt against Rome. He held the title of Nasi, which could be a Messianic allusion or could simply refer to the one in charge of army, administration and economy. Bar-Kokhba had unlimited authority over his army and was concerned with even the most minor details. He was not afraid to threaten senior officers of his army with punishment. The 400,000 soldiers in his army were said to have been initiated either by having a finger cut off or by being forced to uproot a cedar tree. Bar-Kokhba relied on his own powers and, according to aggada, when he went to battle he asked God to "neither assist nor discourage us."

Well - that says a LOT about you ...

Paul - child-marriges are NOT common in Iran's society, I am NOT talking about ETHNIC TRIBES which do follow this horrible "custom" in large pats of this world! About gays - of course it is WRONG, but to condem a whole country because of THAT"? come'on ...
BTW ... I've been to Iran, ALL over the country!

Terrorism of ANY kind is to be condemmed ... not only in Iran - ever thought the one Israel unleashes each day on the Palestinians?

BTW - check WIKIPEDIA ... child marriage is LEGAL in the US - it is occasinally practised in the southern states, I know for a fact!

young_activist said...

I think you misunderstand our position on Iran. No one is here to be an apoligist for the Iranian regime and defend every action it takes. We only take issue with a one sided approach to Iran. There are many things that go inside Iran that disturb me, but those are internal Iranian affairs. If you're really concerned about human rights than you should consider joining a human rights group that works to stop human rights abuses in every country and doesn't use the question of human rights as a sort of political football for hypocrites to toss back and forth. It often seems that people are only concerned about human rights when they are being violated by a country that they don't like.

Iran's internal affairs are, however, for the Iranians themselves to sort out. I have faith in the ability of the Iranian people to realize their aspirations. After all, they achieved a parliamentry democracy once before without outside help. What I do not have faith in is western meddling with the internal affairs of other nations. This is what ruined democracy in Iran, among others. Moral questions aside, this is a strategically stupid approach it will only make things worse and create resentment.

I read on your blog your outrage that an outside group told the British people that they needed to get rid of the Queen. Did anyone elect the Queen? Why then, as a democrat, are you outraged that a foreing entity would sugest doing away with the monarchy? Perhaps you were upset about that idea for the same reason that other are upset about the west telling them what to do. There are plenty of problems in our own countries that need to be solved before we go around telling other people how to live their lives.

Paul said...

YA, thanks for your comments really you are the only person here to have presented a reasonable case. Others have effectively condoned serious human rights abuses on the basis that 'it happens in the USA' which is nonsense anyhow I mean how many nine year olds got married in America recently not even the Mormons do that.

However I seriously take issue with what I regard as a hypocritical approach. You said "It often seems that people are only concerned about human rights when they are being violated by a country that they don't like." Indeed YA you are exactly like that! It is pure hypocrisy to endlessly castigate Israel whilst ignoring the fact that far worse Human rights abuses are conducted daily in Arab regimes and Iran.

For what its worth I condemn Israel using detention without trial against terror suspects. However to condemn that, whilst saying that matters such as the public hanging of homosexuals in Iran or the award of 200 lashes to a rape victim are never to be discussed is pure hypocrisy. Okay well if one is an 'internal matter' for the Iranians why not give the Israelis that same latitude?

The further problem is that none of the abuses of women, gays, apostates and non-muslims that occur under Sharia in places like SA and Iran are internal matters. Both regimes have set themselves upon expanding the writ of political Islam and expanding their realm. Ayatollah Khomeini said exactly that. Another fact about Khomeini one of his wives was ten years old! I do not feel like condoning any of that in the name of cultural relativity.

I disagree with generally but can empathise with some of your criticisms of Israel although it is utterly vile to call their people nazis however. What I don't understand however is why through your silence you give a complete licence to the other side. I feel some of you on here know that, I remember how on another blog one of the commentators here used to fawn over continuously members of Hizb Ut Tahir the islamist organisation that is banned in certain European countries. The posts on that blog were entirely unambiguous. Talk of 'why the apostate is executed in Islam' or how Jews and Christians were inferior in law to Muslims did not draw a single word of condemnation. I wonder what the response would be on blogs such as this and others if Israel executed a Jew for leaving Judaism? it would not happen of course. I'm off now Peace.

Paul said...

Oh and as to my comments Re the Monarchy in UK on my blog. Read what I said I did not condemn foreigners dictating to the UK I condemned the hypocrisy of the fact that it was done under the aegis of a UN human rights body. A body that included members such as Saudi Arabia and Cuba yet there they were lecturing the UK on human rights!

Chet said...

young activist

Here is a link of an article I think you might like.

young_activist said...

I am naturally concerned about human rights abuses wherever they occur. For that reason I have joined and supported Amnesty International which works to fight human rights abuses in every country. However, from a pragmatic standpoint I am most concerned about those abuses which take place with the complicity of my government, those abuses where the actions of westerners could play a positive role in resolving the issue. That is why I am focused towards Israel, without western complicity Israel would not be able to abuse the human rights of Palestinians on such a grand scale. I am just as concerned about abuses of human rights within Iran as I am in Palestine. However, in Iran western interventions have only worsened the situation. It is after all what led up to the current problem. The best approach for the west to take with regards to Iran is to leave the issue to the Iranian people. Iran is really the only country in the Middle East with a populous that is ready for, and wants, liberal democracy. A small group of radicals cannot hold back the tide of social change in the face of such overwhelming opposition from the populous forever. I mean even Khomeini’s grandchildren are actively fighting against the regime.

With Iran, confrontation will only strengthen the position of the radicals. That is why, with Iran I feel that a dovish approach of non-confrontation is the best strategy. We cannot really influence the situation much except to make it worse. I'm wondering Paul, how do you propose that the west ends the human rights abuses in Iran that you are so concerned about? Do you honestly think that western activism can be a force for positive change in that country?

A different approach is required for dealing with human rights abuses in the Arab world. You mentioned the case of a rape victim being sentenced to 200 lashes. A while back there was also a blogger arrested for calling for liberal reforms. In both cases western pressure resolved the situation. The west does not posses enough influence to effect major policy changes within the Arab nations, but we have had reasonable success with individual cases. If you look back on my blog you'll find that I have been very critical of human rights abuses in Arab countries and of the west's close relationship with tyrannical regimes. I personally favor dropping our support for those governments and leaving them to face their people. My criticism is such that if it was to be read by officials from the governments in question and I traveled to those countries I could be arrested for my comments. To say that I am not adequately concerned about human rights abuses outside Israel makes no sense.

Khomeini is dead and Iran and the Arab world are so preoccupied with containing each other that it would be somewhat difficult for them to expand themselves militarily. They can babble on about it all they want, in the end all that is just meaningless rhetoric meant to appease the hard liners. The real concern should be Saudi Arabia using the money we give them for oil to set up extremist madrassas in areas of the world, such as Pakistan, where poverty and lack of education leave the populace vulnerable to recruitment by extremists, but that is a problem to be solved with books and not bombs. People like Greg Mortenson have found a much more effective approach to combating the problems you are concerned about than the western governments have.

With regards to Israel, illegal detentions should be the least of your worries. That is a problem even in the west. I’m much more concerned with institutionalize racism, economic deprivation, settlements, land theft, killings of civilians, and the like. Those are issues that the west is capable of doing something about. The problems in Iran are not.

aoc gold said...

Where Go The Boats?


Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.

It floats along forever,

With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,

Castles of the foam,

Boats of mine a-floating

Where will all come home?

On goes the river

And out past the mill,

Away down the valley,

Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children

Shall bring my boats ashore.
-----by aoc powerlevewling