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Friday, December 11, 2015

My thoughts about the Issue of the Day

This might upset some people.
  • If you yourself have never gotten to know personally at least three Muslims, observed how they live, and listened to them talk about their religion, then please shut the hell up about Islam and Muslims. You literally don't know what you're talking about. You're merely parroting what somebody else says without knowing its veracity or its motivations.
  • America is predicated on freedom, but not every culture in the world believes that freedom is the paramount concept around which societies should be designed. Accept this difference of opinion because it's not going to change anytime soon.
  • Psychopaths live among us everywhere. Every country has some. We ignore them at our peril, but we do ignore them because they frighten us, we don't know how to identify them cost-effectively, and there is no consensus about what to do with them when we can identify them. This quandary is not limited to Americans and Europeans. By the way, some psychopaths say quasi-religious things when they go berserk. So? They're crazy.
  • Remember what Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K said in Men in Black: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals". Be on the lookout, constantly, for fearful people en masse like Germany in the 1920s. This is why political leadership matters so much. There are a lot of panicky people at present, and there are politicians ready to exploit those fears. (The verdict is still out, though, whether Elvis Presley and Dennis Rodman came from another planet. Let's add Donald Trump to that list.)
  • Crime, terrorism, and hostile governments are different things and so must be fought differently. Take the time to read this book. And let's be clear, we must fight all three. The first step is being brave. The second step is identifying, classifying, and understanding the threats.
  • Without justice there is no peace. History teaches this in a thousand ways. Prolonged oppression and hopelessness, including economic oppression and hopelessness, will inevitably incite violence in a few people. However morally repugnant the violence may be, it will persist despite all attempts to stop it until the outlook for the oppressed persons improves. Americans, of all people, should know this from the prelude to 1776.
  • Those few incited people, when armed with explosives and AK-47s, can do disproportionate harm. We would be safer if we could keep such weapons out of their hands (and out of the hands of psychopaths too). No one knows how to do that, whether Raleigh or Paris, without imposing totalitarian conditions.
  • The notion that a public armed with pistols — the NRA scenario — can defend itself against psychopaths carrying AK-47s is ridiculous. Even highly trained police have only a 20% hit rate in firefights. Amateurs will just kill each other.
  • Islam is deeply divided, just as Christianity has been deeply divided at various times in history. This isn't going to change anytime soon.
  • I want to see Islamic nations and Islamic leaders do more to quell violence. But before we villify them for being slow to react, let's recall that some Christian clergy were hardly helpful in Northern Ireland.