Monday, February 19, 2018

Giant Image of Toddler Peers Over U.S. Border Wall



A giant toddler structure built by French artist JR peers over the U.S. Border Wall to California from Tecate, Mexico. The wall extends at least 650 miles.
Photo from JR

"Now, as an artist, I think that it's amazing that the piece arrived at a moment when it creates more dialogue because the idea itself is to raise more questions."
--JR

The French artist got the idea to create the massive border photo from a vivid dream he had of a toddler peering into the U.S. So he went to Mexico and sought out a family who would let him erect a huge picture on their property.

Finally, he met a Mexican mother living along the border wall who agreed to his plans. JR said, "There was a little kid looking at us the whole time with two hands on the side of his crib looking at us...he looks exactly like that kid I dreamed of.' "

That toddler, Kikito, is only 1 year old. He has "no idea that's a wall that divides people — he has no idea of the political context," JR imagined. "What is he thinking?"

"...we know all the implications, what it represents, how it divides. But for a kid, I didn't have the answer."

“I said hello to the little kid, and we played a little. But, I didn’t think of photographing him.”

However, soon after as he drove away, it suddenly hit him that Kikito reminded him of the little kid in his dream so he turned around and drove back to the woman's house. "He's the little kid." So he took the toddler's photo and enlarged it to a gigantic size.
-
"...within days of the Trump administration's decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protecting 800,000 immigrants, JR erected a massive artwork towering dozens of feet above the existing wall.

The boy, hair swept to the side and focus drawn by an unseen object, peeks with evident interest from the Mexican side over the slats of the wall at...California, as if looking over the railing of his crib."

"Basically, we had to build a bigger wall to make this [U.S. Border] wall look ridiculous."
--

"Most of the people, [who see the wall, or even drive there] if you read the comments, [were] not talking politics or they didn't mention the name of the president. It was about people."
--

JR hopes that his border project will continue to bring people to the wall, to talk through the metal slats, even after he takes down his art. He has 1 million Instagram followers.

Already, "visitors on both sides chatted through the slats of the fencing and passed phones back and forth to photograph each other. People on the US side took selfies through the holes of the wall with visitors on the Mexico side. At that moment, the wall almost became invisible.

"Two smiling men in beards hold up a phone as they stand in front of fence; on other side, you can see women smiling and making the peace sign with their fingers. People on the US side of the border take selfies through the border wall with people in Mexico on the other side, just below JR’s art installation." Sonia Narang/PRI

“I think that’s the most interesting part, the fact that it connects people.

I always love to think as an ethnologist,” said JR. “The fact that you went there, and you tell me that people exchanged their phones through the fence and it created interaction between people that would never talk, for me, that’s the most amazing part of the project.”

The toddler's mother "from her window now looks up to see the massive silhouette of her child every day."

"She said, 'you know, it's my son and I can recognize him, but I hope for the others, it represents any kid, any person — anyone that has dreams, and dreams that are not alienated by any political vision or any prejudice...'"
from Heard on All Things Considered
COLIN DWYER
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/08/549491208/as-boy-peers-curiously-over-border-wall-his-artist-asks-what-is-he-thinking



In the Light of HOPE and Sharing, NOT dividing with walls,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, February 16, 2018

Guest Post: Illegal Aliens--What is this "Crime"?


GUEST POST: from-- What Is This "Crime," Really?
BY Orson Scott Card



10-year-old ill girl, who has lived in the U.S. since an infant, arrested by ICE at a hospital where she just had surgery. She was taken to a detention center:-(


"Since the only crime most of these people are committing is simply being here without permission, we would give them a reasonable way to get that permission without losing everything else in order to get it."
--

"A fifteen-year-old boy...has been yearning for his driver's license for a long time.

But today all thoughts of waiting for his license are out the window, because his little sister cut herself and he can't stop the bleeding. His parents aren't home.

So David puts his sister in the car and, holding a towel on the wound to apply pressure, he drives the car one-handed out onto the road and goes as fast as the car can go, heading for the nearest medical emergency center.

...a state trooper sees him driving too fast and pulls him over. David tries to explain that he's only driving illegally in order to save his sister's life, but the trooper doesn't listen.

He drags David out of the car and handcuffs him and yells at him...

David..."My sister is bleeding to death! Let me get her to the hospital!"

But it's as if the trooper is deaf to anything David has to say."
--

"I'm sick at heart about the number of Americans, including friends of mine who should know better, who are proud of being exactly like that state trooper, when it comes to the question of illegal immigrants.

"They have no right to be here in the first place. If we give these people amnesty and let them stay and apply for citizenship, we only encourage more illegal immigration in the future. Besides, they use up our welfare and add to our school costs without paying taxes!"

In vain do the immigrants try to explain that their families were desperately poor, doomed to continue to live on the edge of starvation, and the only hope was America ... which wouldn't let them in.

Why can't we look at what these people are actually doing? Why can't we see the bleeding child in the passenger seat, and realize that most of these illegal immigrants are doing precisely what you or I would do in the same circumstances?
--
So what is this vile crime of "illegal immigration" that requires us to throw out hard-working people...?

It consists of crossing over an arbitrary line that somebody drew in the dirt a century and a half ago. On one side of the line, poverty, hopelessness, a social system that keeps you living as a peasant, keeps your children uneducated and doomed to the same miserable life you have -- or worse.

On the other side of the line, plenty of jobs that are going begging because nobody who lives on that side is desperate enough to work all day for a wage so low. But the wage is enormous to you. It would save your family's lives, give you hope for your children...

Wouldn't you take any risk to get across that line?

*
We Americans, what exactly did we do to earn our prosperity, our freedom? Well, for most of us, what we did was: be born.

Yeah, we work for our living and pay our taxes and all that, but you know what? I haven't seen many native-born American citizens who work as hard as the Mexican-born people I see working in minimum-wage jobs in laundries and yard services and intermittent subcontracting projects and other semi-skilled and unskilled positions.

I have no idea which (if any) of the people I see doing this work are legals and which are illegals -- but that's my point. Latin American immigrants, as a group, are hard-working, family-centered, God-fearing people who contribute mightily to our economy.
--

"But they come here and commit crimes and live off of our welfare system!"

Wait a minute. Who is "they"? All of the illegal immigrants?

Only a certain percentage of them. But when we round up illegal immigrants, do we make the slightest effort to distinguish between those who commit crimes here, those who scam the system to get welfare, and those who are working hard and living by all the rules?

No. We send them all home. There is, under present law, no special treatment for illegal immigrants who, during their time in the U.S., work hard and don't take anything from anybody without paying for it.
--

And yet most of the illegal immigrants commit no crimes, but instead live frugally and work hard. In fact, I dare say that many illegal immigrants work harder and obey our social rules more faithfully than a good many citizens whose right to live within our borders is unquestioned.

And if all you can say to that is, "It doesn't matter, send them all home, give them no hope of citizenship because we don't want to reward people for breaking the law to enter our country," then here's my answer to you:

Let's apply that standard across the board. No mercy. No extenuating circumstances. No sense of punishment that is proportionate to the crime. Let's handle traffic court that way.

The penalty for breaking any traffic law, from now on, is: revocation of your license and confiscation of your car. Period...Driving 70 in a 65 zone on the freeway? No license, no car.
--

No mercy, no exceptions, no consideration for the differences between traffic offenders.
--

"But it wouldn't be fair!" you reply.

That's right. It wouldn't be fair. Yet that's exactly the same level of fairness that I hear an awful lot of Americans demanding in order to curtail the problem of illegal immigration.
--

The only thing that makes illegal immigration a problem is that it's illegal. If we simply opened our southern border the way all our borders were open in the 1800s, then would there be any continuing burden?


Most of these immigrants would still work hard, only now they would have their families with them and the money would not drain away to Mexico. Those who prospered would pay income taxes. So economically, there would be an improvement.

Some would freeload off the system...There is no major immigrant group that has not spawned its criminals. Irish, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Russian Jews...

And yet we would have regarded it as a great injustice to throw out all the immigrants from each of these groups, just because some of them committed crimes. In this country, we have a long tradition of punishing only the individual who does wrong, not his entire ethnic group.
--

So what, exactly, would be the cost to us of an open-door immigration policy? What evidence do we have that the immigrants who would flood across our boundaries would be any worse than the waves of Irish, German, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Russian, Polish, Japanese, or British immigrants?
--

By one perfectly rational reading of history, the whole southwestern quarter of the United States actually consists of unjustly conquered territory in which the native inhabitants -- the legal citizens -- were torn apart from their fellow citizens to the south, and our immigration policy consists of denying Mexicans the right to access lands that were historically theirs, and where former Mexican citizens who were involuntarily annexed to the U.S. were long oppressed and discriminated against.
--

There is no historical basis for any American to claim the moral high ground when talking about Mexican immigration to the United States.
--
Since the only crime most of these people are committing is simply being here without permission, we would give them a reasonable way to get that permission without losing everything else in order to get it.
--

Why in the world do we regard that as a crime?"

by Orson Scott Card
Go to his website to read the rest of his important essay:
http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2006-06-25-1.html
--

Especially, we need to give the Dreamers--little kids and infants brought here many years ago--the chance to stay here and become citizens.


There ought to be NO MORE tragic debacles of justice such as ICE, recently, arresting a 10-year-old ill girl after her surgery and taking her to a deportation center, even though she has lived in the U.S. since being brought here as an infant!

NO MORE splitting up of hard-working families as uncompassionately happened this last month in Michigan and Illinois. In the one case a hard-working professor who has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years, was arrested after dropping his kids off at school:-(




Consider Card's wise words of wisdom which strongly counter all the other narrow, self-centered Christian nationalism of 'U.S. First, First...'






In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, February 15, 2018

ALWAYS define terms, carefully, first!


AronRa, a strongly convinced atheist, has created a number of powerful YouTube videos explaining why theism is a delusion.


BUT what is strange and baffling is that I, a strongly convinced theist, actually, agree with a fairly large number of his central points!

For instance, I completely agree with AronRa's opposition to "creationism" being taught in public schools. The religious concept is a delusion! It has been proven over and over by countless scientific evidence that earth wasn't created about 6-10,000 years ago.

Creationism is fallacious, anti-scientific and contrary to biology, genetics, anthropology, physics, etc.

As a former teacher, it deeply troubles me that millions of Americans still call for "creationism" in its various forms to be an option in public education! And that the government of Turkey has decided to eliminate the teaching of evolution in its schools!
Etc.

In one of AranRa's almost humorous, tongue-twisting, exact phrases he states that his atheism represents--
"secular, humanist, skeptical, rational, scientifically literate, intellectual..."

Without going into a lot of detail, based upon AronRa's videos it appears that I am by his definitions--
secular
humanist
skeptical
rational
scientifically literate
intellectual
!

So, then exactly how is it that he and I have completely different central worldviews and lifestances toward reality?

According to his central definitions of atheism, theism, and religion, I am an "atheist"!
(This isn't all that new. In 2017, a number of atheists claimed that I was really an "atheist."
At about the same time, a famous Christian leader emphasized--as no doubt many others would--that I was NEVER a Christian in my 55 years as a devout, dedicated Christian, not even when I was a liberal Baptist youth minister, elder, mission worker, Bible teacher, etc.)

YET, I am intellectually convinced theist.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!

Here's one example of why definitions of terms are vital.

One point I especially appreciate about AronRa is that he, carefully, explicitly defines his words, even in his short popular videos.

Consider this:
"Anti-theist Answers to Slick Questions" by AronRa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6qRT6MjjSs

1. How do you define atheism?

"Atheism is a lack of belief in a deity...
“a deity being defined as a magical anthropomorphic immortal”
--AronRa

Lightwaveseeker (my response):

Baffling! Confusing and Bemusing.

In at least 61 years of my 70-year-life, I NEVER believed in "a magical, anthropomorphic immortal."

What I believed before I was about 7 or 9 years of age, I don't remember, but probably whatever I was told by my parents, others, and books. All I do remember is having been born with a "why" in my throat, always asking questions about life, until it often drove my parents to tell me to stop asking, to just accept...

That I refused to do.

However, by the time I was about 9 years of age, when I often tried to conceive of "God," I thought of God as like oxygen--real, invisible, everywhere, and necessary for life:-)

To my knowledge, as a child, I NEVER thought God was "magical,"
and NEVER thought God was "anthropomorphic,"
and certainly didn't think so as a teen, a university student, a thinker, mental health worker, educator, etc.

If one defines theism as belief in "a magical anthropomorphic immortal," then I've never been a theist as long as I've been a thinking, questioning, doubting seeker.


Of course, most of my adult life I have viewed "God" as defined by Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in its opening definition:
God "1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality:"

I don't recall ever using the term "immortal" to describe "u.r.", however, I did think the ultimate nature of reality was everlasting or eternal, which are synonyms of "immortal."

So in the last word, guilty as charged.

AronRa also thinks there are moral absolutes, that there are human rights, and so forth.

Heck, AronRa and Lightwaveseeker have a lot more in common than one would first suppose.

Wonders never cease;-)

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Part 2: Soldier War Versus Mass Slaughter of Civilians



Despite the horrific and tragic news which assaults us humans every day and long into the despairing night, we need to keep in mind great statements of ethical leaders such as this:
"...refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.
...refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him."

For Christian, Muslim, and secular leaders are blaring out real threats (and spending multi-trillions of dollars on weapons). Their volatile statements sound like this:
We intentionally plan to torture and murder millions to assure "peace."

The Great War, the 30 Years War, the Crusades, ad nauseum, show that planning and building for war eventually leads to horrific wars mostly fought by dutiful individuals of differing countries.

And that soldiers fighting, tragically, eventually leads to the murder of many civilians.

AGAIN, a central maxim: Not only is the action of intentionally killing civilians horrifically immoral, EVEN THE INTENT to destroy, torture, slaughter, steal, abuse is evil.

For instance, imagine a neighbor who has been threatened by another neighbor. Then the threatened man stockpiles his house with bombs and other weapons and overtly threatens to kill his bad neighbor and all of the latter's family and all of their extended relatives, and everyone near them!

Does this sound like an ethical policy?

Nuclear weapons are the very real threat--terrorism to the max--for the purpose of mass slaughter. A threat is only a threat if it is real and probable.

If a nation threatens to rape all the children of another nation, its threat has to be real, or it won't be threatening.

Since the U.S. has already dropped nukes on hundreds of thousands of civilians, including over an elementary school, wiping about 200,000 civilians,
and since many, probably most, Americans still think the U.S. is always right,
and they still think that America is "blessed" to have many thousands of nuclear weapons,
it seems to me, that eventually the U.S.
if it ever gets desperate will, again, slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The ONLY reason the U.S. condemns HAMAS and other "terrorist" groups for their terrorism is because we disagree with their aims, and because we are strong enough that we don't think we need small acts of terrorism ourselves.

Remember the keen slogan: A "terrorist" setting off a bomb is a soldier of a nation that doesn't have an air force.

Nations slaughter far more when they bomb than any walking or driving Islamic jihadist ever has.

If a new situation came up, where the U.S. was an underdog, it appears likely that the U.S. would again justify the slaughter of untold civilians. Some U.S. leaders have already threatened to do so to Iran!

See, it's like torture. The U.S. tortures BUT it doesn't call it torture, because it's only "torture" when the enemy does it;
when we do such actions,
it's justice.

Good grief.

When our enemies kill civilians they are terrorists, but when we kill civilians we are are heroic leaders defending our country.

As a follower of of Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hanh, etc., I oppose all wars, but I still do recognize that we humans, for whatever reason, no matter how cultured and how educated still,
in every generation, do descend into wars, always justifying them...

And that we think the wars are always the enemy's fault, never ours...

SO I do recognize that given the extreme selfish, hypocritical nature of nations (group egotism),
there will, probably, always be a national DEFENSE.

But that OUGHT to be soldier-against-soldier, NOT the intentional killing of civilians.

If Muslim-Christian soldiers aim their guns at Jewish soldiers, then Jewish soldiers have the right to defend themselves and their nation. And vice versa.

That is entirely different from weapons of mass destruction, which are primarily for threatening and executing of millions.

Hopefully, WMD will never be used again. But I guess I am pessimistic, especially now that another arms race appears to be starting.

Humans almost always use the weapons they have created because they think that they are the "good guys," ALWAYS.
Especially if they are the underdog.

Stand against this coming unethical darkness,

Daniel Wilcox




The New U.S. Plan for More Nuclear Weapons versus Reconciliation

"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his
depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
--President Donald J. Trump, January 2, 2018

and

“My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before. Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

“Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.”

"'America First' will be the major and overriding theme..."
--President Trump

VERSUS

"A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift, is approaching spiritual death."
--MLK

--

YET, even without President Trump's new trillions on war-making, the U.S. already has the ability to damage civilian structures greater than all the way around the earth, 48,269 km!!

Nations in the "Nuclear Club" already have enough weapons to annihilate all humans living:-(

Tragically, former President Obama also started an update of our nuclear arsenal--that will cost, eventually, at least 1 trillion dollars!

And some Congressmen and Senators have also called for the possible use of nuclear arms, particularly against Iran.

Here we go with a new nuclear arms race:-(

“The new arms race has already begun,” says former Defense Secretary William Perry. “It’s different in nature than the one during the Cold War, which focused on quantity and two superpowers producing absurd numbers of weapons. Today it is focused on quality and involves several nations instead of just two. The risk for nuclear conflict today is higher than it was during the Cold War.”
--Time Magazine


Of course, in some ways nuclear arms are no more lethal when they hit their targets than any other major bombs. Major regular fire-bombing campaigns of the past killed MANY MILLIONS of civilians.

BUT nuclear weapons of the present, bomb for bomb, will slaughter far more than conventional bombs. And the newer ones will destroy a much larger area, will turn civilization to ash, reduce cities to moonscape.
--
from The Washington Post:
"Every president since Reagan has worked to reduce the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and dreamed of a world free from nuclear weapons. Not Trump. 'Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons," he said. “Unfortunately, we are not there yet.” He proposed more spending to “modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal.”
--Washington Post
James Hohmann
--

from Time Magazine:
"In addition to putting the Nevada testing ground on notice, he has signed off on a $1.2 trillion plan to overhaul the entire nuclear-weapons complex. Trump has authorized a new nuclear warhead, the first in 34 years. He is funding research and development on a mobile medium-range missile. The new weapon, if tested or deployed, would be prohibited by a 30-year-old Cold War nuclear-forces agreement with Russia (which has already violated the agreement). And for the first time, the U.S. is expanding the scenarios under which the President would consider going nuclear to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” including major cyberattacks."

"Trump has openly threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” and has been hostile toward international agreements. He reportedly called for more, not fewer, nuclear weapons in a July 20 Pentagon briefing, where military advisers were upbraided for presenting global reductions in nuclear stockpiles as progress."

“The long-standing strategic policy of the United States has been to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons,” says Andrew Weber, who spent 30 years on nuclear-weapons issues in the State and Defense departments before retiring in 2015. “That idea seems to have been balled up and thrown out the window.”
http://time.com/5128394/donald-trump-nuclear-poker/
W.J. Hennigan

From The New York Times:
"The United States currently has about 7,000 nuclear weapons in the stockpile, including about 1,750 strategic warheads deployed in missile silos, on bombers and in submarines around the world, according to the Federation of American Scientists. That is down from more than 30,000 warheads at the height of the Cold War. Russia has about 7,300 nuclear weapons, the federation says.

Under the New Start treaty, both countries have committed to reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 by 2018, though that figure can be exceeded because each bomber is counted as a single weapon even if it carries more than one.

David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, expressed dismay at Mr. Trump’s choice of Twitter to discuss nuclear weapons policy."
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/us/politics/trump-says-us-should-expand-its-nuclear-capability.html
--

All of President Trump's push for more weapons including nuclear ones is so CONTRARY to other statements by him about human life:

“In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is "in God we trust."
--President Trump at the March for Life

"Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life."

Vice President Pence called Trump "the most pro-life president in American history."

Certainly not.

If in doubt read the actual accounts of horrific civilian deaths in past nuclear bombings including the eyes of children literally running down their ashed faces:-( And how so many non-military individuals including firefighters and doctors were turned, literally, to cinders.

1. For many years during my teaching of American literature-history, we covered most of the 8 views of human violence including the many cases of the actual slaughter of civilians. The use of nuclear weapons was one of the worst terrorist actions ever committed. Then there were the fire-bombing campaigns against Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, etc., also, some of the worst terrorist actions ever, also.

Of course, those slaughters weren't nearly as evil as the intentional murder of millions of civilians by the Nazis and the Communists.

2. Even if one could justify doing evil to obtain good, according to some scholars the atom bomb wasn't nearly the preventive that many think. And don't forget the wasted multi-billions spent on bombs instead of positive civilized actions--for the impoverished, the ill, for clean water, for education, enhancement, the arts, and so forth.

3. Furthermore, murdering any number of children, the elderly, doctors, patients, firefighters, etc. NOW
in order, hypothetically, to prevent the murder of future humans is one of the worst forms of ethics, very immoral, anti-humanistic.
DOWN-WRONG MASS MURDER!

This is exactly the sort of justifying of slaughter that many nations and political groups such as HAMAS and other Muslim organizations use in the Middle East.

They emphasize that they kill enemy civilians NOW to prevent civilians from being killed in the future.

When I lived in Palestine-Israel, Muslim soldiers came over the Jordan River a little over a mile away from us, attacked an apartment building, and shot down unarmed families:-(

Were those Muslims soldiers justified in fighting against the Israeli government? Yes.

Were they justified in intentionally shooting down Jewish civilians? NO.
--

This was the same sort of ethically wrong thinking that most Americans held about our warring in Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. Kill and destroy to save and bring peace later!

4. Besides, General Dwight Eisenhower and some other major military leaders opposed the use of nuclear weapons.

And Senator Mark Hatfield, who as a young Navy man was one of the first Americans to observe the result of Little Boy:-(

Senator Hatfield, forever after, strongly opposed any sort of such slaughter. He was one of only 2 senators to oppose the Vietnam War. Read his article against such killing, and his 2 books about the importance of making wise moral choices.

Also, read Hiroshima by John Hersey which shows the obscenity of killing civilians, including all the kids whose eyes melted:-(

And the many who suffered radiation sickness to death.

#5 Many think, like President Trump, that creating more nuclear weapons keeps the peace, prevents war!

On the contrary, nuclear weapons don't stop a lot of war slaughter. Since WW ll, millions have been killed in numerous proxy wars.

The major powers just shoved the death down by proxy to places such as Laos, Cambodia, Latin America, and so forth.

It's true that the death toll hasn't been as horrible as WW ll. See Steven Pinker's brilliant tome on human violence: The Better Angels of Our Nature is a powerful study.

HOWEVER, those millions of humans killed in the recent minor wars are still dead, and still suffered horrifically before dying.

CONCLUSION:

The human species doesn't deserve to exist if it bases its existence on the killing of civilians including children.

In this I TOTALLY identify with the character in The Brothers Karamazov who said that the death of even ONE innocent child
wouldn't be worth it.

BUT what about Islamic regimes such as Iran who have no ethical conscience against slaughtering civilians?

I have no illusions about Muslim governments, secular or dictatorial or jihadist.

They would annihilate Israel and the U.S. if they could.

Heck, recently Muslim leaders praised a Muslim teen for murdering a 13-year-old Jewish girl in her bedroom.

Suddenly, this thug was hailed as a "martyr" and a Palestinian "hero" by HAMAS and Fatah. Something like 75% of Palestinians support the killing of civilians. Really!

I also stand against all the injustices and inequality that the Israeli government does.
I know their history, their killing, their land theft, and so forth.
--

But doesn't America's MADD protect against the worst of such wars?

It seems to me based on my own reading of many history books that increasing weapons NEVER reduces wars,
but only makes them horrifically worse, especially for families and the most vulnerable.

What mostly hindered the former Soviet Union from launching an horrendous war that would slaughter millions wasn't MADD
but that its leaders were cognizant--extremely so--
of the many millions of their loved ones they lost in WW ll.

They realized that ANY sort of overt war among the major powers would be horrific.

They, like the U.S., didn't want a major war, so both sides did minor wars by proxy. And the Soviet leaders in the 70's and 80's weren't as irrationally fanatical as earlier Soviet leaders such as Stalin, Lenin, and Trotsky.

Putin appears to be a very nationalistic Russian Orthodox Christian who doesn't seem to worry about civilians being killed.

And Trump also claims to be a Christian.

If so, it's, again, Christian leader against Christian leader engaging in murderous threats, creating weapons of Mass Slaughter in the name of God and their countries.

TO BE CONTINUED:


How tragic is "humanunkind'!

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Do Animals have Rights? Inherent Value?


Introduction: (Skip this if you want to get, quickly, to the article: To the QUESTION)


The whole issue of "animal rights" has been muddied and muddled by two events:
1. Controversial behavior and antics by some animal rights activists such as going naked in public to draw attention to the rights of animals, even committing theft and violent acts of sabotage!

An example of this is PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). But rather oddly while they oppose zoos and circuses,
they contrarily assert that pet owners ought to NOT let their cats out-of-doors to roam and explore!

Doesn't that sound like the imprisonment of animals?

2. Looking at the last 30 years of this ethical and philosophical question, some thinkers first bring up a very strange disconcert. They seek to defend animals’ worth and rights by demeaning the human species!

In their effort to defend animal rights, they actually deny human rights!

Semantics. What they mean is that there are no real human rights. Thy claim that human rights are a "myth." Humans made them up, and therefore, animal rights can be constructed, too, because there is no qualitative difference between human primates and other animals in nature.

A few advocates even go so far as to say that an adult ape or other sentient animal is worth more than a human infant.
(See ethics professor Peter Singer's claims)

But what is the basis for such a strange assertion, so contrary to the Enlightenment?

Stating that some animals are allegedly “better” than some humans seems a weird way to establish the worth and rights of other animals.

Besides it’s disconcerting and contradictory since the animal rights thinkers themselves are human. Unless they have some sort of masochistic tendency, it appears that their attacks on the species of homo sapiens itself is rather a rhetorical way of gutting the “transcendent” and the "essential" in human thought.

So why do they, then, think that all animals ought to be assigned value? Unclear.

Even more bizarre—taking us far from what most humans mean by “rights,”—many religious and some secular leaders actually seem to have a real self-hatred of their own species, humankind! The Christian leaders claim that ALL humans are “totally depraved” and “worthless.” While secularists claim that the amoral natural world would actually be better without humans!

But one wonders why?!

In sharp contrast, other human philosophers and scientists think that the general movement in human thought and ethics toward viewing of all animals—at least all sentient animals—
as having inherent worth
has come about through the “widening of the circle of concern” by many human rights activists.

Maybe it’s the old historical oddity that some human leaders try to equalize humankind by reducing and lowering/restricting all humans to the same basic level,
while other leaders,
seek the advancement of humankind by advocating and helping humans to rise as high as they can achieve, and even bringing up sentient species who don't seem to have rational capability.

Part 1:

TO THE QUESTION


Aside from millions of humans’ emotional love of their pets, what is the basis for animal rights and value?


In scientist Steven Pinker’s powerful tome on violence, Better Angels of Our Nature, while he explains the new move toward animal rights, he writes that most humans will never become “vegetarian,” will never adopt animal rights.

“But the impediments run deeper than meat hunger. Many interactions between humans and animals will always be zero-sum.



Animals eat our houses, our crops, and occasionally our children...
They kill each other, including endangered species that we would like to keep around."



"Without their participation in experiments, medicine would be frozen in its current state and billions of living and unborn people would suffer and die for the sake of mice.”


“...Something in me objects to the image of a hunter shooting a moose, but why am I not upset by the image of a grizzly bear that renders it just as dead?” (p.474)
--Steven Pinker
-

In nature, did the moose have any “animal rights”?

Isn’t nature amoral, non-rightful, indeed, centered in natural selection, “tooth and claw”?

Where are there animal rights in the case of cats and mice, sharks and fish?

Lions, crocodiles and wildebeests?




"A fact about the wildebeest migration is that every year, about 1.5 million wildebeest, zebra and several species of antelope uniformly make a circular tour between the Serengeti in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya, in search of greener pastures.

You can witness the drama unfold as predators lurk in the bushes and prey scamper for safety in what has since been dubbed 'survival for the fittest'...The most notorious among the predators is the lion and the Nile crocodile.

The lion perfectly chooses its arena...shrouded in thick grass cover and gets a strategic hiding spot to attack unsuspecting wildebeest and zebras. During the peak of the migration, vultures circle the air and hyenas laugh in the shadows; an indication of the innumerable wildebeest and zebra that have fallen under the claw of the mighty African lion.

The Nile crocodile however takes the medal as the deadliest predator. It comes in at the climax of the Mara migration - the crossing of the Mara River! This avid killer shapes the events that take place during the crossing of the Mara River."
http://www.kenya-information-guide.com/wildebeest-migration.html

Or elephant male seal versus elephant male seal, bloodying their snouts, seeking dominance and multiple female seals?



It doesn't appear that cats or mice or crocodiles or elephant seals have a conscience,
a sense of ought,
a rational ability to think in moral categories.

For many thinkers, the central issue isn’t really about any actual “rights” of animals but about reducing the public suffering and cruelty to animals:
“In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire."

"According to historian Norman Davies, ‘the spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.’ Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world.”

“This change in sensibilities is just one example of perhaps the most important and most underappreciated trend in the human saga: Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.”
--Steven Pinker (p. 145)

But, of course, the central philosophical question then nags:
Why ought humans to reduce the public suffering and cruelty to animals,
especially,
if far more suffering and cruelty continues in the millions of slaughterhouses around the world that supply billions of slabs of meat for all carnivorous humans?

Are not these billions of meat-eaters, basically, assigning worth to their pet dogs and cats, but denying worth to all the pigs, chickens, cows, and sheep?

Where then are there any “animal rights”?

The evidence of history, nature, and science seems to deny the reality of animal rights.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

After mulling on this difficult topic for years,
I'm currently at this place: Animals have inherent worth, BUT not Rights.

To be continued--


In the Light of difficult ethical questions,

Daniel Wilcox

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Beautiful Song: Steve Bell "Kindness"

Here's a beautiful song of KINDNESS,
one based in a Good News sort of spirituality
totally contrary
to the current nationalistic self-centered, name-calling,
anti-immigrants, pro-nuclear-arms
bad unethical Christianity:-(












In the Light of Kindness,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, February 5, 2018

Stand for Taner Kilic! Please write the Government of Turkey


https://act.amnestyusa.org/page/19447/action/1

from the Amnesty International Website:
"The decision to renew the detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair mere hours after a court ordered his release must be immediately reversed and Taner Kılıç set free, said Amnesty International."

“Over the last 24 hours we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. To have been granted release only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is devastating for Taner, his family and all who stand for justice in Turkey."
--AI Secretary General Salil Shetty

“This latest episode of his malicious detention has dashed the hopes of Taner and those of his wife and daughters who were waiting by the prison gates all day to welcome him into their arms.”

https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/re-arrest-and-detention-of-amnesty-chair-hours-after-release-ordered-devastates-family-disgraces-justice/


“This is the latest example of the crisis in Turkey’s justice system that is ruining lives and hollowing out the right to a fair trial,” said Salil Shetty.

“By riding roughshod over justice and ignoring the overwhelming evidence of his innocence his re-detention only deepens our resolve to continue to fight on Taner’s case. One million voices have already called for his release. He should never have been arrested, and we will not rest until he is free.”

"The next court hearing has been set for June 21, 2018."




Stand for human rights! Support prisoners of conscience, especially Taner Kilic. Please write today!

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, February 2, 2018

It Is the Set of Our Sails...



You can’t learn to sail
if the weather is still.


Neither hurricane nor calm will provide a good life.
But the daily stresses and challenges, like the Trade Winds for so many sailors, give us the energy for which we can choose to set our course.




























In the Light of the Trade Winds:-),

Daniel Wilcox