Posts Tagged ‘Military’

DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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SHOULD WE LAY DOWN OUR SWORDS?

October 17, 2009

Like most conceptual terms, it is not accurate to paint “pacifism” with a quick broad brush.  One form of pacifism is to never strike back, which was practiced personally by Martin Luther King, Jr.  While in the midst of a speech, a man jumped on stage and struck him in the face, knocking him down.  King, a former wrestler, got back up and offered the man his chair on the stage.

Another form of pacifism allows for the defense of one’s own physical person and immediate family or small group.  This form is possibly, but not necessarily in agreement with Jesus, when taken in context of several different teachings; it’s never accurate to extrapolate only some of what Jesus said, as conservative Christians often do.

Jesus drew a distinct line against war and violence.  From an accurate historical perspective, war is invariably about either protecting one’s own wealth or taking someone else’s wealth and almost always, about both.  Thus, war is not the same as self defense, which is protecting one’s physical person.

In war, soldiers are compelled to obey orders from the top down, regardless of how right or wrong they personally believe them to be. Following orders from the top down in WWII, soldiers who may never had previously violently attacked anyone, dropped atomic weapons on a large civilian population.

No side is right in war, because seeds of one conflict trace to a previous conflict.  Just as seeds of WWII trace to WWI and back even before the American Revolution, which was also about wealth; perceived unjust taxation, which was minuscule compared to what U.S. citizens routinely pay today, was a primary revolutionary motivation.

One of the supposedly most “justified” wars in U.S. history is WWII, based on the theory that Japan attacked the United States without provocation.  The problem with this theory is, long before Pearl Harbor, we had gained substantially monetarily by supplying England and France with weapons which were used against Japan.  And at the time, we were attempting to blockade supplies coming into Japan, which was a threat to their population’s survival.

It is not that Japan was right and we were wrong but rather, war is invariably about both sides being wrong.  No nation profiting from a war is guiltless concerning that war.

Perhaps the best American historical example of justifiable self defense in regards to war, is when Colonel Chivington attacked and massacred a tribe of natives, who were sleeping inside their homes with white flag raised.  If there was ever a justified response, it is how American natives responded to Sand Creek.

Jesus taught the way to achieve peace is to lay down our swords. This solution is so obvious, a small child can easily understand what apparently, is too profound for many educated historians and conservative preachers to grasp.  In the book of Revelation, this command is repeated and, those who resort to violence and war as a means to an end, are placed on the wrong side of God, human rights and human history.

Is laying down our swords wise?  Has picking up a sword ever “secured the peace”, preventing war from breaking out again?  Is there a better or any other solution to war, other than laying down our swords?  Are you smarter than Jesus?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article

WHO IS REALLY KIDDING WHO?

October 17, 2009

Claims by politicians that raising taxes on the wealthy will cause job losses and hurt small business are completely untrue.  During the Eisenhower and Kennedy years, when upper-income tax brackets reached as high as 91%, the majority of working and middle-class American families enjoyed a quality lifestyle on a single wage-earner income.  Almost nobody lacked health care and homelessness was virtually unheard of.

Anyone who has owned a small business knows that the entire “Joe the Plummer” charade is just one great big lie.  Few plumbers or owners of small privately-held companies in America earn a net taxable income over $250,000 per year.  Most of them are much smarter than that, re-investing excess profits to grow their business and otherwise, to avoid paying taxes. 

The higher people are taxed on excess income, whether or not they own a business, the more incentive they have to invest that income back into what will grow the economy and increase jobs.  Raising taxes on net taxable income above $250,000, as President Obama proposed, would serve to increase jobs and stimulate the economy, the exact opposite of what bought-and-paid-for politicians and right-wing media hacks pretend is true. 

If Medicare was expanded into a single-payer universal system, health care could be paid for by taxing everyone the same percentage rate above the poverty level. This would greatly stimulate the economy by removing a huge financial burden off employers.  It would eliminate employee wage taxes for Medicare and Medicaid and the significant cost of employer-provided health coverage.

Because income up to the poverty level would be exempt, it would cost the poor almost nothing to have quality health care.  And, it would cost the working and middle-classes considerably less than they pay now, when lower costs for goods and services are factored in, along with the elimination of the mega-bite of at least 25 cents that insurance and other unnecessary industry components take from every health care dollar. 

There is no rational argument when weighing the current U.S. patchwork health care fiasco against the universal health systems of France, Germany, Japan and Sweden.  Average income citizens in these nations receive much better care and, the cost to insure everyone is 10% or less of their GNP.  The cost to Americans is a staggering 15% of GNP and, this much greater cost still leaves almost half with inadequate care and one out of six Americans with no health care at all.

When taxes are lowered on the wealthy, as they have consistently been from Ronald Reagan forward, everybody eventually loses, including the wealthy.  The poor, working and middle classes reach a point where they can no longer afford to purchase goods and services.  This is clearly seen today, in blocks of houses sitting empty, banks and mortgage companies failing, auto dealerships and major stores closing down and many areas with double-digit unemployment.
 
Is “Joe the Plumber” just a scam?  Is the entire Demo/Publican 2-party system just a scam?  Who is really scamming who?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article:
http://www.freedomtracks.com/500/scam.html