Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wait... the Terrorist is... White?

And he's Christian?

Blue eyes and gorgeous blonde locks?

[Deleted picture of Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian far-right terrorist who killed 8 people with a van bomb and 69 summer camp participants on the island of Ut√łya on 22 July 2011.]

I don't know why everyone is so surprised.  Is Oklahoma City ringing a bell for anyone?

Well, I do know why everyone is so surprised because this is an issue I've been railing about since September 11th. Although Islam has become intertwined with terrorism in the minds of Westerners, the fact is that no one religion or ideology is more or less likely to produce violent terrorists than any other.

The key to understanding this kind of behavior won't be found in skin color, religion, or culture. There is one common thread; and that is extremism. Extremists are certain of the superiority of their beliefs (and/or race) and fearful of groups who have different beleifs (and/or skin color). Their self-righteousness and fear inevitably leads to hatred of other groups, which inevitably leads to violence.

In 2005, in my first published work, I imagined a scenario where we could rid the world of extremism by letting all the militants battle eachother to the death while leaving the rest of us out of it.

One can dream...

At any rate, I hope that the people of Norway will re-think who they consider "one of their own." For the moment, however, I am wishing them the best as they try to cope with this atrocity. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, heavy with the knowlege that so many of those victims were young, eager, and involved in the political process in a positive way-- unlike their vicious, hate-filled attacker.

Let's Play the Name Game: Republicans are Anarchists

I once had a coworker who had grown up quite wealthy and pampered (seriously, she was only working for something to do until she got pregnant). She was extremely conservative in her political views, so she and I had a lot of friendly debates about politics. Her husband was an anarchist.

She thought taxes were an abomination. For instance, she went to expensive private schools, so why should her parents have to pay to send other people's children to school as well?

I tried to appeal strictly to her own self-interests, rather than talk about the greater good of society as a whole. I pointed out the fact that she needed the services of the working class; wouldn't she prefer mechanics and x-ray technicians who could read and write? And how about the doctors and nurses who would at some point have her life in their hands? Would she rather they be the best and the brightest society has to offer, or just the ones whose parents could afford them an education? I even tried appealing to her basest self-interests; if the masses are not reasonably educated and given an opportunity to be productive in society, they will become quite destructive. How safe could her home, car, or money be in a country full of ignorant, desperate, starving thieves?

But alas, no argument could sway her from the belief that the government should not have the right to take any of her money for any reason. She would prefer total anarchy to coerced taxation. Her arguments were rooted in trickle-down economics. If rich people were allowed to keep their money, she reasoned, they would willingly fund schools for the poor or the paving of roads or whatever their personal pet projects might be.

So... if rich people were not forced to share their money... they would share it willingly?

How can one argue with such sound logic?

Ultimately, what I'm wondering is why the Left doesn't play the name game. We are called "communists" and "socialists" because we believe that everyone should put a portion of their money into a common pot in order to assure that everyone in our society has a reasonable opportunity to be healthy and productive citizens.

Our opponents on the Right want to dismantle the social programs that have made our country great so that rich people and corporations can hoard even more of their precious, precious money.

Republicans elect government officials who run on the platform of hating government, and now, they are openly and unabashedly attempting to dismantle our government.

At first, their methods were a little more covert: dramatically cutting taxes for the wealthy while reasoning that such cuts would help the economy, because the "job creators" would have more money to "create jobs."

But they didn't create jobs; they just pocketed the money and left us high and dry. Now the bills are due, we don't have the money to pay the bills, and we need to raise the debt ceiling. But the same folks who cut the government's revenue are now demanding that we balance our budget before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling... oh, and we're not allowed raise more revenue (i.e. make rich people pay their taxes again).

The solution to balancing the budget according to the Right? Dismantle the government. Cut welfare, cut medicare, cut education, cut regulatory agencies, cut, cut, cut, and then cut some more.

We call them crazy, but only because the truth seems unfathomable. They are not crazy or stupid enough to believe that the government can function without revenue; they want to destroy the government. Republicans are anarchists. Let's start calling them out for what they really are.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"FREEDOOM" -Libyan Revolutionaries

[This picture was also deleted by the internets. I had taken a picture of my TV screen of a news clip of a war zone, I think in Libya, with graffiti on a broken wall that said "FREEDOOM." This is a drawing from my foggy memory. Hopefully the internets won't delete this also.]

I know this is probably just a spelling error made by people for whom English is not their first language.

But perhaps a beautifully ironic commentary on war could be a brilliant accident.

Freedom isn't free and righteousness cannot guarantee success.

Never stop fighting the good fight, brothers and sisters.

Hasta la victoria siempre!