Friday, August 24, 2007

Well Said. Wish I were the author . . .

and before I get to the meat of it, I have been thinking a lot this past couple two-three weeks about one of those recurring themes of my interest -- hate and the haters of the world.

(Yes, I have been spending way too much time reading ugly garbage at the message board. I confess. I know I should not. I know it is self imposed torture to suffer the goons and thugs of the world, when I could be doing something more wholesome like watching Shakira videos. Anyway . . .)

Moving on here, I have to say . . . NO! NO NO NO! During my net search for a very intelligent essay on that or related topics, I did see that most insane argument -- that hating haters is as bad as being a hater on account of the usual irrational reasons?

Sorry, but that sort of apologia, even if the innocent product of a enfeebled mind, is just not freaking getting the point! Irrational hate is baseless and therefore condemened by polite and decent society. And as far as what are the possible areas of "rational hate?" Well, time to calibrate, kids. Perhaps hate is too strong a word (but it does cut through the fog, quickly), so instead what we really are talking about there is a collective refusal to condone, at all, a violation of one of the gravest socially-agreed standards of decency.

No doubt. There surely is an objective baseline for minimum decency in a society, and here in the USA in the 21st century all manners of irrational hate are condoned. Now, tolerance (the goal of decent society) is not (to borrow the often-misused phrase) a social suicide pact that requires that we put Nazis and Islamic Terrorists, and anti-semitic polemicists, and delusional demagogic partisans, and your barely-concealed basically-really racists on the same level as Kindly Aunt Hellen, who never has a bad thing to say about anyone (bless her little heart.) Nope. Tolerance is about fostering and encouraging More Tolerant Thinking and Behavior in society.

(Apologies, I saw the mostly-same idea expressed somewhere else tonight and do not have the cite. Grr.)

Anyway, That being that, time for the goodly quote:

Arabs, by the way, are a minority of the world's Muslims, and not all Arabs are Muslim. Some are Christians. Christianity, after all, was born on the West Bank in Bethlehem. It would be as stupid to try to racially profile Muslims as it would be to racially profile Americans. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and so do Muslims. If he shaved his beard and moustache, Osama could easily pass for an American.

I learned a long time ago that if you want to know something, go to the source. If you want to know what communism is like, talk to people who lived under it. If you want to know about Islam, talk to Muslims. The great thing about America is that whatever country you want to know about, you can find people who were born there and lived there. Whatever subject you are interested in, you can find people who know it firsthand.

Don't be a sheep. Don't let demagogues, politicians and special interests herd you hither and yon for their hidden purposes. Use your public library. Use the Internet, and recognize that television is an unreliable source, especially those yahoos who have to yakety-yak for a living. They are celebrity talkers, not newspeople – though God knows, print journalism has its own faults.

Life is too short to hate, and public policy is too important to be based on fiction, imagination and propaganda. We have the capacity to be rational beings, but only if we have the will and are willing to learn how to think accurately. The world is complex, and none of us can afford to stop learning.

It really is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness, and it is certainly better to add to the light of reason than to contribute to the darkness of ignorance and hate.

That is the end of the essay, and I recommend you read all of it.

Good stuff, I think!


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