Censoring the internet 6

The internet was a revolutionary environment that liberated individuals to make their own choices. Bloggers could compete with big media. Leaked emails could bring down a government. But the internet is becoming less free. Access is controlled by a handful of tech companies that keep getting bigger and bigger. The survivors of the scale wars will combine cable, content and commerce in new ways. And in a politicized culture, they won’t just signal their political views, they will enforce them.

So Sultan Knish writes at his website on the subject of internet censoring by those who control the technology:

How can you tell that internet censorship is really taking off? Easy. It’s becoming a business model.

Steven Brill is raising $6 million to launch News Guard. This new service will rate news sites on their trustworthiness from green to red. Forget politically unbiased algorithms. The ratings will be conducted by “qualified, accountable human beings” from teams of “40 to 60 journalists”.

Once upon a time, journalism meant original writing. Now it means deciding which original writing to censor.

“Can trust be monetized?” The Street’s article on News Guard asks. But it isn’t really trust that’s being monetized. It’s censorship. It’s doing the dirty work that Google and Facebook don’t want to do.

But nevertheless do, as we know from experience. We will come to that.

The Dems and their media allies have been pressuring Google and Facebook to do something about the “fake news” that they blame for Trump’s win. The big sites outsourced the censorship to media fact checkers. The message was, “Don’t blame us, now you’re in charge.”

Facebook made a deal with ABC News and the AP, along with Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes, to outsource the censoring for $100K. When two of these left-wing groups declare that an article is fake, Facebook marks it up and viewership drops by 80%.

Eighty percent!

Not only does the roster of fact checkers lean to the left, but so do its notions of what’s true and false. For example, Snopes and Politifact both insist that General Pershing’s forces never buried the bodies of Muslim terrorists with pigs. But General Pershing specifically stated in his autobiography, “These Juramentado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice that the Mohamedans held in abhorrence. The bodies were publicly buried in the same grave with a dead pig.”

Both the New York Times and the Scientific American reported on it at the time. Despite that Snopes rated this widely accepted historical fact as “False” and Politifact marked it as “Pants on Fire”.

Snopes also recently marked a story that Christ Church in Virginia is removing a George Washington plaque as false even though the church publicly announced that it was doing so.

Politifact and Snopes are entitled to their incorrect opinions. The trouble is that they don’t extend the same privilege to those they disagree with. And Google and Facebook promote fake fact checks while burying sites that discuss actual historical facts. The big internet companies don’t want to get involved in all these arguments. But nor are they willing to let their users decide for themselves anymore.

And so Net Nanny for news has become an actual business model. Instead of protecting children from pornography, News Nanny protects adults from news. And from views outside the left’s bubble.

By adopting the News Nanny model, Google and Facebook are treating their users like children.

The News Guard model is in some ways even more insidious than biased fact checking because it sets up lists of approved and disapproved sites. Google is rolling out something similar with its “knowledge panels” for publishers. Search for the New York Times and the panels will tell you how many Pulitzers the paper has won. Search for Front Page Magazine and the panel note describes it as, “Political alignment: Right-wing politics”. No note listing a left-wing political alignment appears in the panel for the New York Times despite its recent laudatory series about the Soviet Union and Communism.

The media never has an official political orientation. Not even when it’s cheering Communism. But its opponents and critics always have one. Follow Google’s link for Front Page’s political alignment and the top entry states, “Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable.” 

That’s a wholly inaccurate description of either Front Page Magazine or conservative politics in America. And it’s another example of how the fight against “fake news” by the left actually ends up producing it.

Fact checking has become a pipeline to censorship. The big social and search companies outsource fact checking to third parties and then demonetize, marginalize and outright ban views and publishers that those third parties disagree with. Fact checks are no longer an argument. They’re the prelude to a ban.

Google and Facebook respectively dominate search and social media. When they appoint official censors for their services, those left-wing fact checkers become the gatekeepers of the internet.

And the internet isn’t supposed to have gatekeepers.

Senator Al Franken, of all people, made that point at the Open Markets Institute. OMI’s people have emerged as the leading opponents of big tech monopolies on the left.

“No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t,” Franken said. “And Facebook, Google and Amazon, like ISPs, should be neutral in their treatment of the flow of lawful information and commerce on their platform.”

We never thought we’d have a good word to say about Al Franken. But this time we like what he said.

There is no more obvious example of the lack of neutrality than Facebook and Google’s partnership with “fact checkers”. If Net Neutrality means anything, it should strike down Google’s partnership with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network and Facebook’s use of Snopes to silence conservatives.

When sites picked and chose content based on algorithms, they were deciding which content reached users based on what was likely to be popular. And, occasionally, based on their own agendas. Now they are picking and choosing which content reaches users based on political orientation.

While the advocates for Net Neutrality rage against cable companies, Comcast and Charter aren’t engaging in political censorship. No matter how they disguise it, Google and Facebook’s news nannies are. …

Trust in the mainstream media has never been lower. Yet the big tech companies insist that mainstream media sources are the only trustworthy ones. They want us to trust them, because they don’t trust us.

We do not want our posts to be “about us”. But this time we make an exception. Our Facebook page is being subjected to what is called “shadow-banning”. Fewer and fewer people are “reached”. Day by day the number of “likes” is decreased, stripped away, usually by twos and threes, but now and then by larger numbers. Last week we lost 30 in a few days. (The “likes” at the moment of this writing stand at 10,779; the number of our followers at 10,425.) Sometimes  when we have asked to “boost” a particular post (for which a charge is made), our request has been denied. We posted a complaint about being stripped of “likes” and having ever fewer readers, and sent it directly to Facebook, asking them why this was happening. We received no reply. But a regular long-time reader of our page sent us this information:

Well I just found out it’s worse than you know – I’ve been relying on my “feed” using the FB app for Android to see your posts since I both “like” and follow TAC. However, I just explicitly went to your page and encountered hundreds (yes, literally hundreds, going back many months) of TAC posts that have never appeared in my feed! What the hell can we do about this blatant censorship?

The discouraging answer is – nothing.

The Left, though politically weak, owns the culture. Owns the mainstream media. And owns the internet.

It is not our Atheism which offends our Facebook censors, it is our Conservatism.

A path of agony 5

An ex-Muslim talks about his religion-tormented childhood; his terror of hell; his attempted suicide; his path of agony, to reach at last the relief of atheism.

“The only way to reform Islam is to get rid of Islam.”

Posted under Atheism, Islam by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 17, 2017

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The moral messages of religious myths (1) 12

[Continued from the post immediately below.]

Dr. Peterson says that it is the body of religious myths that carry the “transcendent values” that provide us with eternal guidance to moral rectitude.

So from time to time we will look at the myths themselves.

Today, the myth of the first Man and Woman in the Garden of Eden and their Sin, aka the myth of the Fall of Man.

The message of the myth of Eden presents itself as this: by becoming aware of good and evil, humankind lost its innocence. In a state of innocence, human beings could have lived forever; but  getting to know good and evil made them guilty. Their getting to know good and evil was their Sin. Because they were guilty of Sin, they had to die. Sin made them mortal.

Their discovery of morality made them mortal? Once they could tell right from wrong they deserved to die?  

Yes.

How did they discover morality?

They ate of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They did this despite being ordered by God their Maker not to eat the Fruit of that Tree. Why did they disregard God’s order ? Because they were  tempted to. The First Woman was tempted to eat the fruit by a Serpent who dwelt in the Tree. She succumbed to temptation. The First Man was tempted to eat the Fruit by the Woman who had already done so. He succumbed to temptation. Hence their Fall from Grace, their Loss of Innocence, their expulsion from the easy life of the fruitful Garden, their eventual Deaths.

It could be observed that the real Tempter was God who put the Tree there in the first place. (Also the snake.) No tree, no temptation, no fall.  So why did he put it there?

Religion does not encourage the asking of why. But it is asked, and the usual answer is that God put it there to test them. He gave them the capacity to choose – aka Free Will – and they chose wrong. Point is, they came to know Good and Evil. That’s how humanity came to know Good and Evil, and because our species came to know Good and Evil our lives must come to an end.

So the “transcendent value”, the precept, the moral in the myth by which everyone, consciously or unconsciously, is living by  – or failing to live by – today is … what?

Hard to see. Sure, the myth gives an explanation, if a rather puzzling one, to those who wonder why we must all die; why the God they are told is all-good, all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, condemns us all to death.

Our remote ancestors did something very wicked: they disobeyed God and ate something they shouldn’t have, so  that’s why?

Yes.

Okay, but is there an actual, useful, moral precept in all that? A do or a don’t for us to follow? After all, the Fruit cannot be un-eaten. No action can be taken by you or me now that will undo what the First Man and Woman did, make us immortal again, put us back in the ever-fruitful Garden, wipe  the knowledge of right and wrong clean out of our brains …

And come to think of it, why is it a sin to know the difference between right and wrong?

Sorry. Don’t know. That why does not seem to have been answered, even reluctantly, by interpreters of the myth!

Okay, well how about this for the moral message?: You must not disobey God. Obeying him now won’t save you from death, but it might keep you from getting him angry and condemning you to some awful punishment.

Mm-hmm. So how will I know what God wants me to do and not do?

We can learn that from the myths of the Bible.

Can we?

We’ll try to find out by exploring more of them in the near future.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 29, 2017

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No problem for atheism 9

We much admire Dr. Jordan Peterson when he talks about politics. We agree with all we have heard him say on political issues.

We do not agree with him on the subject of morality as he discusses it here;

Our arguments against Dostoyevsky’s young villain-hero Raskolnikov are too numerous to set out here. Enough to say that one person’s need for something is not a reason why another person should give it to him.

But to come to why Dr. Peterson cites the novel:

He agrees with Dostoyevsky’s declaration (made in the novel by Raskolnikov) that “if there is no god then you can do whatever you want”. He is willing to substitute the word “higher value” or “transcendent value” for “god”.

To explain why he agrees, he asks: “What the hell is irrational about me getting exactly what I want from every one of you whenever I want it at every possible second?”

He adds:  “It’s as if the psychopathic tendency is irrational.”

He asks: “Why the hell not ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’?”

These are arguments very often put against atheism. They are not difficult for an atheist to answer.

He thinks that atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins* do not realize that the ethics they take for granted are predicated on a long tradition of moral principles encapsulated in the myths of religion. The myths convey, down through the ages, the “higher”, the “transcendent” morality – which, he says, “can be personified in the idea of God”.  Those moral principles, he suggests, are not just divinely revealed, they can be said to define and constitute the Divine itself.

The implication is that at certain moments in ancient history, revelations of some “transcendent” moral truths were imparted to certain men. If not by a god at least from some source of divine wisdom. And because these come from that “higher” source, they are the right guides for human behavior.

He is referring of course to the “moral religions”. Most religions contain no moral precepts whatsoever, if the meaning of “moral behavior” is behaving well towards our fellow human beings.

So let’s examine the moral precepts of the moral religions. Convention has it that there are three of them: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (Some oriental religions such as Buddhism and Jainism command your right behavior towards others, but to serve a different end: not in order to benefit them for their own sakes, but entirely in order to put a shine on your own soul.)

Islam may as well be excluded straightaway. It commands Muslims to be good to other Muslims, not to anyone who is not a Muslim. Dr. Peterson is unlikely to include that idea in his notion of transcendent values.

What does Judaism command? That you love (respect) your neighbor as yourself, and that includes even the stranger in your midst. That is sensible. Enlightened self-interest requires the same thing. Judaism is essentially a religion of law. Law is good. The Mosaic laws forbid murder, theft, false testimony, adultery, and covetousness. Divine revelation was not needed for law to forbid murder, theft, and  false testimony. They were forbidden in far more ancient secular codes of law, such as the Hammurabi Code which was written down some 600 years before the Mosaic law is alleged to have been revealed by Jehovah through Moses to the Children of Israel. As for adultery and covetousness, they are not punishable by law or despised by custom in our time. As to the rest of the Jewish religious laws, a reading of the “books of Moses” is very unlikely to support the view that they are of “transcendent” value, fixed stars in the moral firmament by which we may be rightly guided forever. They forbid homosexuality, for instance. Is that a transcendent value?

And then there is Christianity. It too forbids murder, theft, false testimony, adultery, covetousness and homosexuality. It commands you to love (love) your neighbor, to love everyone, to love all mankind however unlovable your neighbor, or your enemy might be. It commands you to forgive sinners, though you may condemn the sin. It demands, in other words, the impossible, and discards the genuinely and supremely moral idea of justice. It recommends self-abasement and self-denial. It asks human beings to act against human nature. Transcendent and eternal values?

No. The bodies of myth that compose the scriptures and moral commandments of certain religions do NOT set a guide to right behavior, or supply a bedrock of moral values.

To answer Dr. Petersons’ remaining arguments:

What is stopping you from getting anything you want (“forcibly” is implied) from everyone else whenever you want to, is the will of everyone else. Your self-interest is best served by taking into account that everyone else is necessarily serving his own self-interest just as you are, and your survival and the satisfying of your needs depends on taking this fact into consideration. Or, as we put it in our own Articles of Reason: My liberty should be limited by nothing except everyone else’s liberty. That is rational. Mankind would not long have survived if many people had not understood the selfish need to tolerate and co-operate with other people. Rational self-interest keeps most of us  from living by the maxim “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost”, because if we did we would be likely to die by it.

Finally, to want to get what one wants from everyone else is, he suggests, a “psychopathic tendency”, and that, he says, is not irrational. But what does “psychopathic” mean if not a sickness of the mind – a breakdown of sanity, of the capacity to reason? If psychopaths are the example of what we should not be, who would disagree?

Our final answer: no god ever spoke to any man. No moral precepts come from a divine source.

All are man-made.

None are set in stone.

Every moral idea, like every other idea, needs to be examined by reason.

 

 

* In the case of Richard Dawkins, we would concede that his Leftist principles derive from Christianity. In our opinion they are not good.

Posted under Atheism, Ethics by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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Republican Atheists 2

The Republican Party is very disappointing. To judge by the way Congressional Republican leaders, and numerous “NeverTrumpers” among “conservative” journalists, actively side with the “Resistance” against President Trump, it seems they would rather have socialism, Islam, corruption, violence, open borders, unemployment, hysterical racism, endless debate about who can use which public bathroom, high taxes, enforced unanimity of opinion in the universities, compulsory payment of huge sums to Al Gore to keep the planet cool, the shaming of white men for being white, and the running of everything by women.

If more Republicans were atheists, would the party become more rational, more principled, and more supportive of President Trump?

It’s an optimistic hypothesis, but who knows?

Some competent Republican atheists have formed an organization that will test the theory, perhaps lure any secret non-believing members of the party out of the closet, and even perhaps “normalize” atheism in the eyes of the religious.

We think it worth trying. So here is a flyer for the Republican Atheist movement.

Introducing Republican Atheists: a new face for secular conservatism

Republican Atheists is a nationally and internationally recognized organization that launched in the USA in February 2017 to build awareness of secular presence in the Republican Party.

President and founder Lauren Ell decided to launch the organization after becoming determined to showcase that being a registered Republican does not require being subscribed to religion. Ell also wanted to make a statement in the atheist community that atheists can have conservative views.

“I decided I’ve had enough of not being represented in both the Republican Party and atheist community,” Ell said. “I launched Republican Atheists to represent those who are in a similar circumstance as me and to give a stronger voice to secular conservatism.”

Ell was born and raised in Southern California. She is located in Sweden most of the year since Spring 2016. Ell has identified as atheist for over a decade and has education background in Marketing and Geology. She currently works as a marketing consultant and business owner while devoting volunteer time to Republican Atheists.

Despite having an exclusive name, Republican Atheists does not solicit strictly to atheists. The organization welcomes those who consider themselves agnostic, humanist and secular. In fact, everyone is welcome to tune into Republican Atheists when they have the time.

Republican Atheists has two official board members who are registered Republicans. First registered board member Republican State Rep. Brandon Phinney from Rochester, New Hampshire, provides insight into state level politics and communicating with the public. Phinney made waves in atheist and religious media outlets in Spring 2017 when he discussed his atheist views while being a Republican representative.

Second board member is well known author and speaker, Robert M. Price, Ph.D. in Theology and Ph.D. in New Testament. Price has taught in colleges and universities and has also served as director for NY Metro Center for Inquiry. He directs his own podcast known as The Bible Geek.

Additionally the organization is pleased to have Raul D. Empaire on board, official correspondent on issues surrounding Venezuela.

Republican Atheists has been featured by United Coalition of Reason, Secular Policy Institute and Friendly Atheist (blog). Ell has also introduced Republican Atheists at well known campus University of California, Riverside, located in Riverside, CA. With a growing social media following on Facebook and Twitter, the organization continues to expand its outreach and influence.

The team of Republican Atheists looks forward to building more awareness of secular conservatism through public speaking engagements, interviews and social media activity. For more information visit the official website:

www.RepublicanAtheists.com.

Posted under Atheism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 17, 2017

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Civilization’s fulcrum moment 13

This is a fulcrum moment in the history of civilized man. (Yes, MAN – the correct generic term for the human race.) What is happening to the Western world now is equivalent to the fall of the Roman Empire.

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, as it is fast becoming by the will and action of the Left – and all the governments of Western Europe are on the Left even those that call themselves Conservative – then where and how, if at all, will our civilization survive?

If most of Europe becomes Islamized, what will remain of European civilization in its homelands?

Imagine a map of Europe showing the thousands of square miles of vineyards. Think of the grapes, and the harvests, and the process of wine-making – the generations of practice and discovery that have perfected it. Do you enjoy drinking wine? Well, there will be no more for you to enjoy. Not from Europe. It will go. All those vineyards will be laid to waste. Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol.

So also beer, ale, whisky … the industries and the pleasure will all be gone. Your cosy village pub? Gone. Your  cocktail hour? Gone. Allah does not permit them to exist.

Now think of the art galleries of Europe. The pictures, the sculpture. Islam forbids the making of images of human beings and animals. Nudes in particular are haram. What will be done with Leonardo, Michelangelo, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Bernini? Their works will be destroyed. The pictures will be burnt. The sculptures will be hammered into dust.

Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne

What will be done with the libraries? They contain millions of books that are blasphemous in the judgment of Islam. They will all be destroyed.

What will be done with the schools and universities? What will they be allowed to teach? What will scientists be allowed to do? We know the answers to those questions.

Do you love music? You will not hear the great works of the European composers performed any more. Not in Europe. The concert halls will probably be turned into mosques.

What will be the position of women in Islamic Europe? We all know the answer to that. If Western women were “liberated” in the twentieth century, come the late twenty-first century their brief age of liberty will be over.

What will happen to homosexuals under Islamic rule? Islamic law decrees that they must be put to death.

If you are a Christian or a Jew, and insist on remaining a Christian or a Jew rather than joining Islam, you may be allowed to live if you pay protection money to your Islamic overlords. But don’t count on it. Muslim powers have not shown themselves to be in a merciful mood lately. Christians are being slaughtered even in comparatively tolerant Islamic countries such as Egypt; and in what used to be Iraq and Syria they are being mass-murdered, tortured and enslaved by the caliphate of the Islamic State. And Jews? How likely are they to be allowed to exist under any circumstances? As for atheists – they will have to pretend to believe in Allah-and-his-Prophet, or die.

There will be no more fair trials. In Britain, the adversarial system with its safeguards for the innocent of guaranteed defense, cross-examination of witnesses, rules of evidence, juries, will be abolished. On the continent the inquisitorial system – examination by magistrates “to find the truth” – will also be abolished. Sharia law will replace the old systems and codes. An example of sharia justice? If a woman claims she has been raped and cannot prove it by producing four male witnesses who will swear to having seen penetration, she is held to be guilty of adultery; her punishment for adultery is death. The method of her execution? She is buried tightly up to her shoulders in a hole in a public place, and rocks are hurled at her head until she dies.

None of this is fantasy. Europe has in fact invited mass Muslim immigration. The Muslim fertility rate far exceeds that of the indigenous Europeans. Islam will predominate and rule.

It is probably too late to stop this happening. Just possibly a strong British government that grasps the horror of the impending doom, might – with Brexit accomplished and the nation being once again in a position to make its own policies – stop the Muslim influx, reduce the Muslim population, and preserve British culture, law, and freedom. Some Eastern European countries are refusing to let the Muslim “refugees” in, so there European traditions and culture might be preserved for a while.

There was some hope for the Netherlands had the voters, in their recent elections, empowered the party and the leader who would have saved them from Islamization. But they did not.

The last chance for Europe comes in a few days from now, on May 7, 2017, when two candidates for the presidency compete in a run-off election in France. If the voters choose Marine Le Pen, who does grasp the horror of the impending doom, France may be saved; and since she would probably take the country out of the European Union  and so break up that corrupt undemocratic pro-Islamic entity, Europe may be saved. Europe’s viticulture may continue. Citizens of Western countries may be able to drink French, German, Italian and Spanish wines. The art galleries may remain filled with pictures and sculpture. Music may be played in the concert halls. Scientists may be allowed to pursue science. Freedom, tolerance, justice, reason, may prevail at least to the extent that they have prevailed since the Enlightenment. The nation states of Europe may continue to exist and govern themselves.

But if a majority of the French vote for the only other candidate, Emmanuel Macron, who wants more Muslim immigration and the continuing existence of the European Union, the doom will be ensured.

 

Jillian Becker    April 24, 2017

The universe wants to kill us 1

Enjoy!

We have strong differences of opinion with both Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher on political issues, but not on religion. They are atheists. (Go here for a video of Bill Maher condemning Islam.)

Posted under Atheism, Religion general, Superstition, Theology, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 23, 2017

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The need for religion – a craving for tyranny 2

Why do tens of millions in the West prostrate themselves before advancing, conquering, oppressive Islam?

Why do millions of Americans still vote for the Democratic Party?

This essay offers a chilling explanation.

It is from Jihad Watch, by Alexander Maistrovoy:

“Progressive man” refuses to recognize the crimes of Islam, not because he is naive, fine-tempered or tolerant. He does it because, unconsciously or subconsciously, he has already accepted Islam as a religion of salvation. As he accepted Stalinism, Hitlerism, Maoism and the “Khmer Rouge” before it 

Joseph de Maistre, a French aristocrat of the early 19th century, argued that man cannot live without religion, and not religion as such, but the tyrannical and merciless one. He was damned and hated, they called him an antipode of progress and freedom, even a forerunner of fascism; however, progressives proved him right again and again.

It may be true of most people that they “cannot live without religion”, but it is not true of all. We wonder how, since the Enlightenment, and especially now in our Age of Science, people can live with a religion. We agree, however, that those who need a religion are not put off by its being “tyrannical and merciless”.

Is there a religion, whether deity-worshiping or secular, that is not tyrannical and merciless?  

In their nihilistic ecstasy, Homo progressicus threw God off the pedestal, trampled upon the humanistic ideal of Petrarch, Alberti and Leonardo Bruni, who relied on Reason and strove for virtue, and … found themselves in complete and gaping emptiness. They realized that they could not live without the God-man — the idol, the leader, the ruler, who would rely on the unshakable, ruthless idea of salvation — not in the other world, but in this real world here and now. And with all the passion so inherent to their shallow, unstable, infantile nature, they rushed out in search of their “prince on a white horse”.

The idols of the progressives were tyrants armed with the most progressive ideology: Robespierre, and after him Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and finally — Islam.

Islam does not, of course, claim to be “progressive”. It derives from – and is stuck in – the Dark Ages. But the self-styled progressives of the West are welcoming it and submitting to it.

In the 20th century, the Western intelligentsia was infected with red and brown bacilli.

Walter Duranty ardently denied the Holodomor.

That is Stalin’s forced famine in the Ukraine that killed many millions. Walter Duranty denied that it was happening in his New York Times reports.

Bernard Shaw and Romain Rolland justified OGPU terror and the kangaroo court in Moscow; Aragon, Barbusse (the author of the apologetic biography of Stalin: Stalin. A New World Seen Through the Man) and Jean-Richard Bloch glorified “the Father of nations”.

“I would do nothing against Stalin at the moment; I accepted the Moscow trials and I am prepared to accept those in Barcelona,” said Andre Malraux during the massacre of anarchists from POUM [the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification] by Communists in Barcelona in 1937.

Let’s guess: who is writing about whom? “Lonely overbearing man … damned disagreeable”, “friendly and commonplace”, possessing “an intelligence far beyond dogmatism” … “sucked thoughtfully at the pipe he had most politely asked my permission to smoke  I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest”. Got it? It was Stalin, as portrayed by H. G. Wells.

How many sufferings – Solzhenitsyn recalled — were caused by progressive Western journalists, who after having visited the GULAG, praised Potemkin villages with allegedly heated barracks where political prisoners used to read Soviet newspapers sitting at clean neat tables? Indeed, Arthur Ransome (The Guardian), an American journalist and a fan of Mao, Agnes Smedley, New York reporter Lincoln Steffens (after the meeting with Lenin he wrote,“I have seen the future and it works”), Australian-British journalist Leonore Winter (the author of the book  called Red Virtue: Human Relations in the New Russia) and many others sympathized with the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union. Juan Benet, a famous Spanish writer, suggested “strengthening the guards (in GULAG), so that people like Solzhenitsyn would not escape”. The Los Angeles Times published Alexander and Andrew Cockburn, who were Stalin’s admirers.

Hitler? Knut Hamsun, Norwegian novelist who won the Nobel Prize, described Hitler in an obituary as a “fighter for humanity and for the rights of all nations”. The “amorousness” of Martin Heidegger for the “leader of the Third Reich” is well known. In the 1930s, the Führer was quite a respectable person in the eyes of the mass media. Anne O’Hare McCormick – a foreign news correspondent for the New York Times (she got a Pulitzer Prize) — described Hitler after the interview with him: he is “a rather shy and simple man, younger than one expects, more robust, taller … His eyes are almost the color of the blue larkspur in a vase behind him, curiously childlike and candid … His voice is as quiet as his black tie and his double-breasted black suit … Herr Hitler has the sensitive hand of the artist.”

The French elites were fascinated by Hitler. Ferdinand Celine said that France would not go to “Jewish war”, and claimed that there was an international Jewish conspiracy to start the world war. French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet rendered honors to Ribbentrop, and novelist, essayist and playwright Jean Giraudoux said that he was “fully in agreement with Hitler when he states that a policy only reaches its highest form when it is racial”.

The Red Guards of Chairman Mao caused deadly convulsions in China and ecstatic [sympathetic] rage in Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Jan Myrdal, Charles Bettelheim, Alain Badiou and Louis Pierre Althusser. In Paris, Barbusse and Aragon created “the pocket monster” — Enver Hoxha [Communist dictator of Albania]; at Sorbonne University, Sartre worked out “the Khmer Rouge Revolution” of Pol Pot, Hu Nima, and Ieng Sary. Noam Chomsky characterized the proofs of Pol Pot’s genocide as “third rate” and complained of a “vast and unprecedented propaganda campaign against the Khmer Rouge”. Gareth Porter, winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, said in May 1977: “The notion that the leadership of Democratic Kampuchea adopted a policy of physically eliminating whole classes of people was … a myth.”

In the 70’s, the whole world already knew the truth about the Red Guards. However, German youth from the Socialist Union of German Students went out  on demonstrations with portraits of the “Great Helmsman” and the song “The East is Red”.

In the USA, they went into the streets holding red flags and portraits of Trotsky and Che Guevara, and dream of “Fucking the System” like their idol Abbie Hoffman. The hatred of “petty bourgeois philistines”, as Trotsky named ordinary people, together with the dream of guillotines, bayonets, and “red terror”, keep inspiring Western intellectuals like Tariq Ali, the author of the revolutionary manual Trotsky for Beginners.

“The middle class turned out to be captured by ‘bourgeois-bohemian Bolshevism’,” Pascal Bruckner wrote.

Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot passed away, but new heroes appeared in their places. Leading employees of CNN – reporter Peter Arnett, producer Robert Wiener and director of news department Eason T. Jordan – had excellent relations with close associates of Saddam Hussein, pretending they didn’t know anything about his atrocities. Hollywood stars set up a race of making pilgrimages to Castro and Chavez. Neo-Marxist professors and progressive intellectuals, such as Dario Fo, Jean Baudrillard and Martin Amis, welcomed the triumph of al-Qaeda on September 11.

The romanticization of  the “forged boot” and “iron hand”, the worship of “lonely overbearing” men with “the sensitive hand of the artist” — this explains the amazing easiness with which recent anarchists, pacifists, Marxists, atheists, after having changed a couple  of ideologies, burden themselves with the most primitive, barbaric and despotic religion of our time: Islam.

Atheists of the Left only, being atheists who dispense with belief in the supernatural but still need a religion.

What they crave for is not religion as such. They don’t want Buddhism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, or even the mild Islam of the Sufi or Ahmadiyya version. They want a religion that would crush them, rape their bodies and souls, and destroy their ego — one that would terrify them and make them tremble with fear, infirmity and impotence.

Only bloodthirsty medieval Islam is able to do this today. It alone possesses unlimited cruelty and willingness to burn everything on its way. And they  gather like moths flying to the flame: communists Roger Garaudy, “Carlos the Jackal”, Trond Ali Linstad, Malcolm X, Alys Faiz; human rights defenders Jemima Goldsmith, Keith Ellison, and Uri Davis, the fighter against Zionism for the rights of the Palestinians. Fathers favor Castro, such as Oliver Stone; their sons accept Islam, such as Sean Stone. According to a public opinion poll conducted in August 2014 (Madeline Grant, Newsweek), “16% of French citizens support ISIS”. There are 7% to 8% of Muslims living in France. Who makes up the rest 8% to 9%?

Ken Livingstone, Jeremy Corbyn, John Brennan, Hollywood stars, Ylva Johansson, Sweden’s Integration Minister, who like her boss Stefan Löfven claimed that “there was no connection between crime and immigration”; Michael Fabricant, a former vice-chair of the Tory party, who said that “some conservative Anglicans are the same as ISIS”; German politicians that established a media watchdog to “instruct the press to censor ethnicity and religion in crime reports” (a modification of Soviet censure); the Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips, who believes that it is inevitable to recognize Sharia courts in Great Britain; atheist-apologist for Islam (O my God!) CJ Werleman; Canadian Liberals, who support  the anti-Islamophobia motion; Georgetown professor Jonathan Brown, who justifies slavery and raping of female slaves; Wendy Ayres-Bennett, a UK professor who is urging Brits to learn Urdu and Punjabi to make Muslim migrants feel welcome; Ohio State University, that offered a course on “how Muslims helped build America”; the Swedish state-owned company Lernia encouraging the replacement of standard Swedish with the “migrant-inclusive accent”; American feminists with the slogans “Allahu akbar” and “I love Islam”, who endorse the BDS movement; Swedish feminists wearing burkas in Iran; “proud  feminists” such as Elina Gustafsson and Gudrun Schyman defending Muslim criminals who raped Swedish girls – all of them and thousands of others have already converted to Islam, if not de jure, then de facto.

They appeal to Islam to escape from their fears, complexes, helplessness, and uselessness. They choose the despotism of body and spirit to deprive themselves of their freedom – the freedom that has always been an unbearable burden for their weak souls full of chimeras. They crave slavery.

They are attracted by Islam today, but it’s not about Islam. It’s about them. If Islam is defeated tomorrow and a new Genghis Khan appears with the “religion of the steppe”, or the kingdom of the Aztecs rises with priests tearing hearts from the chest of living people, they will passionately rush into their embrace. They are yearning for tyranny, and will destroy everything on their way for the sake of it. Because of them, “we shall leave this world here just as stupid and evil as we found it upon arrival”. (Voltaire)

Posted under Anarchy, Anti-Semitism, Atheism, Britain, Buddhism, Cambodia, Canada, China, Christianity, Collectivism, communism, Cuba, Environmentalism, Europe, Feminism, France, genocide, Germany, Hinduism, History, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Leftism, Marxism, media, Muslims, nazism, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinians, Progressivism, Race, Religion general, Russia, Slavery, Socialism, Soviet Union, Sweden, Terrorism, Theology, Totalitarianism, tyranny, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 9, 2017

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Giordano Bruno, atheist 8

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was a Dominican monk who  fled from his monastery in Naples at the age of thirty-six, wandered through Italy and France, lived for a few years in England – and having repudiated Christianity, embraced the Epicureanism of classical Greece.

The Epicureans, who taught that life was to be enjoyed, were essentially atheist, but were careful not to deny that gods exist in case some intolerant authority punished them for holding and expressing such an opinion. They dared to assert that yes, there were gods of course, but they lived very far away from the human world, occupied themselves with nothing but their own pleasure, and took no notice whatsoever of what humans did, thought, felt, or believed.

When Giordano Bruno was fifty-two, and foolishly chose to express his opinions where the long arm of the Inquisition could reach him, the intolerant Catholic Church burnt him to death for doing so.

This is from The Swerve, by Stephen Greenblatt*:

[Giordano Bruno] found it thrilling to realize that the world has no limits in either space or time, that the grandest things are made of the smallest, that atoms, the building blocks of all that exists, link the one and the infinite. “The world is fine as it is,” he wrote, sweeping away as if they were so many cobwebs innumerable sermons on anguish, guilt, and repentance. … And his philosophical  cheerfulness extended to his everyday life. He was, a Florentine contemporary observed, “a delightful companion at the table, much given to the Epicurean life.” …

Bruno found the militant Protestantism he encountered in England and elsewhere as bigoted and narrow-minded as the Counter-Reformation Catholicism from which he had fled. … What he prized was the courage to stand up for the truth against the belligerent idiots who were always prepared to shout down what they could not understand. That courage he found preeminently in the astronomer Copernicus …

Copernicus’s assertion that the earth was not the fixed point at the center of the universe [as all the Christian churches maintained it was] but a planet in orbit round the sun was still, when Bruno championed it, a scandalous idea, anathema both to the Church and to the academic establishment. And Bruno managed to push the scandal of Copernicanism still further: there was no center to the universe at all, he argued, neither earth nor sun. Instead, he wrote, quoting [the Epicurean poet] Lucretius, there were multiple worlds, where the seeds of things, in their infinite numbers, would certainly combine to form other races of men, other creatures. Each of the fixed stars observed in the sky is a sun, scattered through limitless space. Many of these are accompanied by satellites that revolve around them as the earth revolves around the sun. The universe is not all about us, about our behavior and our destiny; we are only a tiny piece of something inconceivably larger. …

These were extremely dangerous views, every one of them. …

Bruno, however, could not remain silent. “By the light of his senses and reason,” he wrote about himself, “he opened those cloisters of truth which it is possible for us to open with the key of most diligent inquiry, he laid bare covered and veiled nature, gave eyes to the moles and light to the blind . . . he loosed the tongues of the dumb  who could not and dared not express their entangled opinions.”  …

[I]n 1591 he made a  fateful decision to return to Italy, to what seemed to him the safety of famously independent Padua and Venice. The safety proved illusory: denounced by his patron to the Inquisition, Bruno was arrested in Venice and then extradited to Rome, where he was imprisoned in a cell of the Holy Office near St. Peter’s Basilica.

Bruno’s interrogation and trial lasted for eight years, much of his time spent endlessly replying to charges of heresy, reiterating his philosophical vision, rebutting wild accusations, and drawing on his prodigious memory to delineate his precise beliefs again and again. Finally threatened with torture, he denied the right of the inquisitors to dictate what was heresy and what was orthodox belief. That challenge was the last straw. The Holy Office acknowledged no limits to its supreme jurisdiction – no limits of territory, and, apart form the pope and the cardinals, no limits of person. It claimed the right to judge, and, if necessary, persecute anyone, anywhere. It was the final arbiter of orthodoxy.

And its orthodoxy was, by its own definition, the truth.

Before an audience of spectators, Bruno was forced to his knees and sentenced as “an impenitent, pernicious and obstinate heretic”. …

On February 17, 1600, the defrocked Dominican, his head shaved, was mounted on a donkey and led out to the stake that had been erected in the Campo dei Fiori. He had steadfastly refused to repent during the innumerable hours in which he had been harangued by teams of friars, and he refused to repent or simply to fall silent now at the end. His words are unrecorded, but they must have unnerved the authorities, since the ordered his tongue be bridled. They meant it literally: according to one account, a pin was driven into his cheek, through his tongue, and out the other side; another pin sealed his lips., forming a cross. When a crucifix was held up to his face, he turned his head away. The fire was lit and did its work. After he was burned alive, his remaining bones were broke into pieces and his ashes – the tiny particles that would, he believed, reenter the great, joyous, eternal circulation of matter – were scattered.

Thus did the religion of love.

As far as the Catholic Church was concerned, the science of the universe was settled.

 

*The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt, W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 2011.  Our quotations come from pages 233, 237-241.

Posted under Atheism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 9, 2017

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The right and the totally absurd (repeat) 1

This essay, repeated here almost in full, was first posted on June 11, 2011.

In the new Alternative Right there are many religious believers. The argument for conservatism without religion is the same for the Alternative Right now as it was for the old right then.

(Also see our post, Religion is the problem, April 5, 2016.) 

*

Most (American) conservative writers take it for granted that those who share their political opinions also share their religiousness, and are surprised, even shocked, that some conservatives are atheist.

We look at the matter the other way round. It is a perpetual puzzle to us why so many persons who are clear-sighted and rational enough to be conservatives yet believe in the supernatural.

Writing in the American Thinker, Lloyd Marcus opines:

Without beating around the bush, I believe the battle being fought in America today goes beyond politics; right vs. left. It is a spiritual battle; good vs evil.

We agree that the battle is between good and evil. We think the Left and Islam – in alliance with each other at present – are evil.

But what do the religious mean when they use the word “spiritual”? We understand “spirit” to be adverbial: one does this or that in such and such a spirit. They believe that spirit is a noun, identical with the “soul”. And what is the soul? It’s the ghost inside “you” which will continue to live when “you” die. Christians believe that it will live forever in “heaven” if it was good on earth, and will suffer forever in “hell” if it was naughty.

As if to strengthen his argument, Marcus quotes a passage from the Epistle to the Ephesians, ascribed to St. Paul, but of disputed authorship. Whoever wrote the epistle put into it one of the most egregiously Gnostic passages in the New Testament, and that’s the one Lloyd Marcus quotes:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12*

In Gnostic systems there were layers of heavens between the ascending spirit of the Gnostic and the highest sphere of the good God. In them dwelt powers called Aeons (heavenly beings and ages in time) and principalities (Archons). A low-dwelling, evil god, identical to Jehovah the god of the Jews, created this world and ruled it with his own set of Aeons and Archons.

That is not orthodoxy to any Christian sect. Christians are hard put to interpret the passage in their terms, which is probably why some argue that St Paul didn’t write it.

But Marcus means that flesh and blood Democrats are the “powers and principalities” he and his fellow Christians are wrestling against, and the Senate and the White House are his “high places”. In other words his battle is within the realm of politics. He just vaguely supposes that good and evil are terms that belong only to religion, so quotations from his scriptures leap to his mind:

The mindset of the American left is a spirit of Antichrist which is man making himself God.

Before writing me off as a Bible nut, please hear me out. Understanding this reality will explain much of the left’s behavior. Because they believe man is God, in their insane arrogance, the left think they can fix everything; legislate equal outcomes and even save or destroy the planet.

Now we agree with him that lefties arrogantly “think they can legislate equal outcomes and even save or destroy the planet”. And we know they cannot. Not because they lack divine power, but because equal outcomes cannot be legislated, and because the human beings who “infest” the planet (as H. L. Mencken once put it), cannot affect the thing to any significant extent.

What the religious right cannot or will not see, is that you can believe in the market economy, small government, low taxes, strong defense, individual liberty under the law – all the important conservative ideas – without believing that they issue from, or are sanctioned by, a supernatural source.

Marcus defends Sarah Palin:

Make no mistake about it folks, we are in a spiritual battle. Ask yourself. Specifically, what about Sarah Palin inspires such visceral hatred from the left? The word is “wholesome.”

We agree that she is wholesome. We like her wholesomeness. We like her decency and probity and patriotism and moral strength. We like what we have gathered are her favored policies. We agree with Marcus that the Left hates her for the very things we admire in her. And we are willing to disregard her religious views, as we have to disregard the religious views of all possible presidential candidates because the time has not come when a self-confessed atheist will stand a chance of being elected to the White House. (We suspect, however, that many a presidential candidate is a secret atheist – and perhaps a few presidents have been too.)

Our point is, good values make good sense and don’t require the sanction of a Nobodaddy-in the-sky. All moral ideas, all ideas proceed from the minds of human beings. A person who knows this to be the case is not one who “thinks he is God”; “God” is superfluous to him or her.

Marcus holds that without God to tell us what to think, none of us would ever get it right.

Because liberal elitists think man is God, they assume moral authority to confiscate as much control over our lives as we simple-minded god-fearing peons will allow them, including procreation. I picked up a government-funded brochure at my local library which basically said birthing babies is an irresponsible abuse of the planet.

Folks, this is leftist control-freak hogwash!

Yes it is.

The seven billion people who live on the planet could fit in Texas enjoying about the same amount of living space as residents of New York.

True. But he adds:

God said be fruitful and multiply. But then, what the heck does God know?

Sarcasm of course. But what the heck does “God” know? If there is a being who knows more than man, how can man know that he does?

The rest of the article (see it here) rambles on about this and that – “Christianity only religion not respected, Jesus is divine, true Christians trust God, zz-zzzz” – the points being tied together only by the buzz in his head that they all represent aspects of wrong guidance by “the Antichrist”.

Like an episode of Star Trek, the left believes universal peace can be achieved via America apologizing and admitting to the world that we suck, surrendering our power, signing treaties and singing a few verses of Kumbaya. They believe the greatest source of evil in the world is warmongering Christian white guys like George Bush. If only Bush had “Given peace a chance.” Liberals always cater to man’s lowest base instincts. They hate standards for behavior, labeling all rebuke of bad behavior as being intolerant and judgmental.

We don’t argue with that. But this follows:

And yet, they believe without divine influence, man is capable of someday achieving universal peace. Totally absurd.

Has he not noticed that a great many wars have been fought over religious issues? What has “divine influence” ever done for peace?

Christians believe that though we strive to do the right thing, the heart of man is critically flawed which is why we were in need of a savior, Jesus Christ.

And just when will his “savior” remove the flaws in the human heart?

Totally absurd.

 

*From this quotation, the title “The Darkness of This World” was taken for 3 sets of essays under Pages in our margin.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Conservatism, Gnosticism, Islam, Leftism, Mysticism, Religion general, Superstition by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 1, 2016

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