Core Value 3 – Tolerance

I am, believe it or not, an extremely tolerant person. I will argue my views most fiercely but will also stand vehemently in support of anybody whose beliefs are threatened.

I don’t care what colour, race, politics or religion a person has. I stand firmly against racism, prejudice, misogyny and elitism.

I believe in the strength of a polyglot, pluralistic society. I believe that a culture is enriched by diversity and weakened whenever it seeks to impose a single belief – either in a narrow political view or a theology. Cultures flourish when they are tolerant of many political, religious, spiritual, artistic, cultural and social views and structures.

I am extremely intolerant of intolerance.

That is why I find fascism and theocracies utterly abhorrent.

I have a global view. I believe in one people one planet and love to travel the world to appreciate the diversity of thought, culture, perspective and philosophy. I find that very broadening of the mind.

I am quite happy to share my community with people of different races, cultures, politics, views, colours, sexuality, religions and creeds. I will happily argue and rant at them. I find that stimulating. However, when any group attempts to make out that its nationality, religion, culture or creed is superior to any other then I take exception. If any religious group or political cult attempts to indoctrinate, groom or intimidate anybody, particularly children, then I shall fight it (non-violently) and oppose it forcefully. If a religion or social group is misogynistic, homophobic or racist I believe it should be countered most strongly.

I stand against nationalism, racism and theocracy.

So I stand for a person to hold their own views and values but not their right to impose that on others. I want religion and politics either out of education altogether (no flags, pledges, prayers etc) or presented in a reasoned way where all views are presented – including those of atheists like myself.

I would like to see all religious, nationalisatic and political views discussed rationally without prejudice.

I find flags, anthems, rituals, pledges, parades, uniforms, dress codes, prayers, dietary codes, holy books, political proclamations…………………. (and all the other paraphernalia used by politicians and religious leaders to instigate unity and create group culture) either interesting, amusing and fascinating or sinister, worrying and downright evil. It depends on the extent.

To Make America Great Again is a good example. It is an extreme nationalistic slogan that in reality is proclaiming a superiority of Americans over other cultures and that they deserve to be great and the rest of the world (the inferior nations) can go hang.

It does not take much to see how daft this is. America has no real culture. It is too new. What it has is artificially created out of the national story created by it’s show of flags, repeating of pledges of allegiance, its parades and demonstrations of military might. It has to do this because it’s people are all immigrants pulled in from all parts of the world and all cultures. It is seeking to unite them into a new people with this artificial unified culture that doesn’t exist. It has to do this because it has little history and unity to build on and its people are so culturally diverse as to require this great show of unity to cohere them together.

Americans are obviously not superior to the other people of the world. America is, more than any other country, made up of all of the people from these other cultures.

The only true Americans are the Native Americans and I doubt that a lot of them would subscribe to the culture, flag and attitude of the MAGA ethos. They still probably wish that the whole load of these immigrants would get back on their ships, disappear over the horizon and allow them to live by their own creed.

We buy into the stories we want to believe in.

So – the dilemma is how tolerant should one be?

It is a core value I hold dear but it has been sorely tested by the rise of extreme right-wing fascism, the post-truth rise of fake news and conspiracy and the horrendous intolerance of all religions – the Islamic terrorism and strict conservative theocracies, the racism and misogyny, the Hindu extremists, the hypocritcal American evangelists, the environmentally destructive Christians, the fanatics who run the Jewish, Hindu, Islamic and Christian religious schools to indoctrinate children.

Should I be tolerant of warmongers? Racists? Misogynists? Fanatics? Indoctrinators? Political extremists? Liars? Conspiracy theorists? Cheats? Fake news purveyors? Abusers? Exploiters? Polluters? Environmental vandals? Political corruption? Religion?

Do I simply have a scale of tolerance that is slightly more in one direction than another?

How does one select what is worthy of tolerance and what one should be intolerant of?

Three of my Core Values – Number 1 – the truth.

I am reading this book by Yuval Noah Harari at the moment. He really makes you think about things – such a great writer. One of the things he made me think about was what were my core vales.

I selected three:

  1. Truth

I believe in truth. That means I do not believe anything without proof. I hunt for truth. It makes me cynical.

I’m a scientist. Science is the search for truth. We might not find it but we learn on the way. If it cannot be demonstrated, repeated and explained I remain skeptical.

Science doesn’t explain everything but it certainly gives a better explanation than everything else.

I do not find truth in religious belief. There is no evidence. It does not make sense. It is all based on faith in some human concocted fantasy. All very good when we understood very little but it does not hold up for me. Religion is constantly trying to reinvent itself as science reveals its cherished beliefs are not true.

Things we do not understand are explained by fantastical gods, paradise, heaven, angels and the rest – visions in wildernesses, up mountains or in caves don’t do it for me. Humans have created thousands of gods and afterlives. We used to worship the sun and moon and perform ceremonies to produce spring and rain. I really do not think any of those ceremonies, dietary restrictions, sacrifices or costumes had the slightest effect on the sun and moon.

As for politics – well I am sure that some politicians are genuine and do their best. I always take what they say with a pinch of salt, judge them on what they do and not what they say, and look to hold them to account.

I vote Labour because they do support public services and the poor. I wouldn’t vote Tory because, despite what they say, they always give tax cuts to the rich and cut public services.

The truth is that politicians are politicians. They use spin, lies and deceit.

Then we have the media. The truth is very difficult to ascertain. It depends who owns it, what spin it has and what propaganda they are spewing out. I prefer newspapers like the I and the BBC to that of internet sites. One has to read between the lines and weigh up the evidence. The internet is controlled by obnoxious people who pump out lies, conspiracy and fake news. At least I know the bias of media outlets I know about. The media has become polarised and full of lies.

I value the truth and honest, genuine people.

The Republican Party’s Existential Choice

There is a stark choice for the Republican Party:

a. Do they go with the Trumpists, QAnon, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, fake news and conspiracy

b. Do they go back to traditional conservative values.

There is the Marjorie Taylor Greene version – believe the QAnon conspiracy – the Democrats are all Satan worshipping paedophiles who eat babies, storm the Capitol and shoot Nancy Pelosi in the Head.

Or Liz Cheney and small government, low taxes and conservative values.

It seems to me that there is going to be a battle for the heart and soul of the party.

Personally I think Greene is an ignorant imbecile who is a danger to democracy and Cheney is just simply wrong.

What is needed is a more equal society, progressive taxes and far better public services – particularly education. If education was better we would not have so many deluded Americans ready to believe the earth is flat.

The Trumps – where the sucker’s money goes!

As the poor Americans send in their donations the Trumps splash the cash on ridiculously expensive rubbish.

Melania’s handbag, costing $90,000, exceeds the entire income of at least three of those poor families!

Ever feel that you’ve been conned???

These rich billionaires have created their own swamp!!

A master conman taking America for a ride!!

What happens to the Republican Party now?

It seems to me that the Republican Party is at a crossroads. They have some important decisions to make. They have been taken over by the extremists – the mad Tea Party nutcases and Trumpist conspiracists. They have virtually ousted the genuine Republican conservatives. The party now represents the extreme groups – the KKK, neo-nazis, white supremacists, proud boys, and QAnon conspirators.

Now that Trump has stepped over the bounds and his popularity has dived they are left stranded. The party has been sullied and lost its moral basis. Too many of the politicians support mad conspiracy theories and have condoned immoral and even criminal behaviour.

It seems to me that they have a number of choices:

  1. They can go on as they are with the conservatives kowtowing to the dominant extremists and hope that the popularity bounces back;
  2. They can oust all the moderate conservatives and become an extreme far-right party;
  3. The conservatives can seize their party back from the extremists and reinstitute their traditional values;
  4. The party can split into two distinct parties.

This is a similar thing to what has happened in the UK with the Tory Party over Brexit. The Tory Party ousted all the moderate Tories, like Rory Stewart, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Hesseltine and Philip Hammond, as the extreme Brexiteers took over and it lurched to the right. Now that Brexit is over we’ll see what the repercussions are. Will the public support an extreme-right party or will they suffer for this sway to the right.

As someone who detests the callous selfishness of right-wing policies, their favouring of the elite and crippling of public services, I think this is great. The more extreme the Republicans and Tories become the less electable they are. I’d be happy to see them annihilated for ever!

Trump and the Fraudulent election claims. A pack of lies.

Trump declared that the election was stolen and that there was a plot, millions of votes were magicked into ballot boxes late at night.
He said that from his bunker in the Whitehouse on election night.
Yet it had been quite clear that the process was going to follow a pattern. That pattern was predicted and well-described and Trump knew it.
The Republicans had encouraged their followers to vote in person. The Democrats, aware of coronavirus, had encouraged their voters to vote by mail.
In places like Georgia the votes cast on the day were counted first.
Trump went into the lead as predicted.
Then the postal ballots were counted and his lead evaporated and Biden won comfortably – as predicted.
There was not one shred of evidence for Trump’s claims of mass fraud. The international observers saw nothing underhand. Recounts and investigations turned nothing up. All Trumps lawsuits were chucked out for lack of any credible evidence. There was no mass fraud. Yet Trump continued to make these assertions and has convinced half his followers that it is true. He talked of truckloads of votes suddenly appearing, of the dead voting, of democrats sitting filling out thousands of ballot sheets. All lies.
As with most things that come out of Trump’s mouth – there is little truth or substance behind anything he says. It’s all in his head.
Unfortunately, a good number of his fanatical supporters need no evidence. Anything Trump says is true. They believe the election was stolen because he says it was. It is pulling the country apart and it is all lies.

Poetry – How Can You Tell?

How Can You Tell?

How can you tell which side you’re on?

Reading between the lines

When you only know what you are told

Even when reading between the lines

Refugees and soldiers

Are running between the lines

While faceless men pull the strings

Politicians print designs

In the politics of what is real

They manipulate the news

War, Religion and Science

You get what it is you choose

Who writes the spaces

Between the lines

That we think we read?

Who puts ideas into the heads

of him and you and me?

I’m only reading between the lines

Sifting through the lies

Searching for a fact

That’s wearing heavy disguise

Evading all the mines

While the truth is still intact

Reading between the lines

Through the fiction of the fact

Opher 3.5.99

It is becoming increasing hard to know how much of what you think and what you believe is a product of the time you live in, a manipulation by the unseen taste-makers, or a sincerely held view of your own.

No Scientific fact will last.

Religion is a distortion of history.

Kosovo is being attacked by Nazi Nationalistic Serbs, guerrilla freedom fighters, power mad, self-interested Americans with their lackeys, or Albanian terrorists.  It is all a question of perspective and political manipulation. The refugees are fleeing NATO bombing or Fascist Serbian ethnic cleansing. The Serbians are defending their territory against terrorist nationalistic Albanian separatists or attacking defenceless Muslims and Croats.

 We think we know who is carrying out the genocide but we’re not there in the thick of it. We only have sanitised news.

But who has the self interest? Who stands to gain? Who pulls the strings? Who is insane?

Trump the Conman – fake news, hoaxes and bullshit coins half a billion dollars!

It was a con all along. He never expected to overturn the election. He knew that the postal votes were genuine. But his fake news has carried the day for him. The contesting of the election was a big hoax – a fraud upon the American people. All those barmy lawsuits with not a shred of evidence. It was a scam to get people to send him money!

So, the irony of it! All the poor people, desperate for hope, send the billionaire Trump money!!! Trump makes half a billion out of it!!

If you wrote it in a novel they’d think you were crazy.

Even now, after the electoral college has voted, after Biden won the college vote convincingly 306 to 232, after Biden won the popular vote by a clear 7 million votes, after every one of Trump’s crazy lawsuits was thrown out, he is still contesting the election.

He is still screaming that the election was stolen and citing mass fraud without a shred of evidence! Yet his supporters believe him and are sending in truckloads of money!!

Are these the same people that send in their life savings to those phony TV evangelists? I reckon so!

Ever feel that you’ve been had?