The Paper Chase

The Paper Chase

This film displayed no real central conflict. At best, the backdrop of a stress induced Harvard school life was the major conflict of this film. I don’t really understand what the film’s central theme meant though. To the best of my observations, it seems to be a complete mess of clichés and random melodrama.

The film’s depiction of Hart’s friends as aggressive and uncompromising seemed pointless and stupid. Perhaps the director was trying to portray the macho atmosphere of Harvard Law School. I assume the director was trying to depict the stress of paperwork and chasing after a good grade but the message felt redundant. To be frank, if the film is going to depict the life of Harvard Law School then I fully expect this stressful environment over getting good grades. In fact, I expect that atmosphere in most coming-of-age school stories that aren’t related to the horror genre and aren’t about bullying. To my disappointment, after the initial introductions, the characters seem to become cartoon clichés.

The character of Susan is just bizarre from the beginning to the end. She is apparently fleeing from some anonymous stranger, is willing to have sex with Hart after meeting him the night before, and she appears to only fit the role of some poorly strewn together moral teaching that is either so obvious that it’s terrible or so subtle that I’ve been duped into thinking a subtly brilliant film is of poor quality. There is no mention of them making up after she rejects him so an important part of their relationship seems to be ignored. Worse than that, the film seems to treat Hart’s entitled and self-absorbed attitude as normal and expected in a relationship. There is an implicit sexist double-standard that is hard for me to overlook because it sets a dangerous precedent. Susan fits the Hollywood trope of talking only about men in her life and nothing else.

Hart’s strange obsession with Kingsfield seems to miss whatever message that the movie was attempting to make. The last scene between the two is Kingsfield appearing indifferent to Hart’s praise and thanks. However, I had assumed that, during the grading scene, it was revealed that Kingsfield was simply an introvert and not good at expressing his emotions. Regardless of whatever meaning or purpose between Hart’s opinions throughout the film and Kingsfield’s actions; the entire relationship seemed to become utterly pointless once Hart threw his grades into the ocean. I assume that his image standing on the massive rock was supposed to thematically symbolize his triumph. Yet, I felt the entire movie became pointless once he chose to throw the envelope away. Why depict a film about struggles and hard work only for nothing to come of it because the main character quits after his success?

Was the message perhaps symbolic of wealthy careers being boring, stressful, and dangerous? Was it implying that attaining wealth makes people cold-hearted and distant? Are we to despise ourselves as college students for seeking greater knowledge? Are our professors wrong because their jobs might be stressful?

If that is indeed the message, then this film is depicting an irrational and ignorant point of view. Many CEOs, professors, government employees, and others choose their careers out of enjoyment and learn to enjoy the stress because their jobs feel worthwhile to them. Why is accepting the difficulties of life wrong? Why should seeking challenging opportunities be wrong?

In the end, that is the core feature of all high profile careers. They are the most challenging and most rewarding opportunities that we as society have constructed. For all the condemnation of the wealthy elite, they still work harder and they’re more knowledgeable than the average person regarding their specific fields of expertise. The average business executive works approximately 72 hours a week and the average U.S. Congressmen works approximately 60 to 70 hours a week. Does this shock anyone? Ignorant stereotypes are for the repugnant canaille who seeks constant self-exaltation to satisfy the mistake of choosing impotence over knowledge. If you disagree, then please answer the following: What does one gain from not following their passion just because it was too stressful? Are they not left in a state of impotence because they’ve selected fear and laziness over knowledge and aspirations? We all, through our choices, create our own world and live under the power of those who have chosen higher aspirations and struggled for them. The ignorant delusion of daddy’s money helping the wealthy elite is dispelled once you take an in-depth analysis of their lives and once you knowledge the fact that they’re still working around 72 hours a week to maintain those positions. The Paper Chase’s underlying message is a farce and typical of Hollywood’s ignorant messages. Perhaps, during some glorious day in the future, we will have a film industry that actually caters to the intellectual elite and not the sore losers of American society.

Dating and interviewing: How improving one skill improves others by Aadi Reddy

This book suffers from a myriad of run-on sentences, awkward wording that often times makes little sense within the context of the sentence, and it reads like an unedited diatribe of whatever was on the author’s mind.

The title seems misleading; the author offers a scant few hypothetical examples that rely on the author’s obvious stereotypes about people and doesn’t seem to appropriately understand the term “skill” because of how the word is used. After each hypothetical example, the author has a “skill acquired” section at the bottom of most pages that explains the author’s reasoning for why the reader should act in a specific manner. Yet, this is based on the author’s hypothetical examples and not based on any qualitative research.

I doubt this author has actually dated another person or been interviewed. The “skills” are either stating the obvious in a long-winded fashion or using a bunch of hypothetical stereotypes.

It’s a seventeen page book and should take the average reader less than half an hour to complete . . . but don’t waste your time. For anyone looking for a job or dating advice, I recommend that you ignore this book.

Breaker Morant: A glimpse upon human apathy

The only reason that war criminals aren’t effectively punished is because of this pitiful argument within movies that soldiers killing innocent people aren’t ever truly guilty of their heinous crimes.

The moral of the story in these shameful movies? A soldier isn’t responsible for killing people. The implications that nobody will focus on? The value of human life only extends as far as our country’s borders, the value of human life is of no consequence for those who don’t hold the same citizenship that we do, and the value of human life is meaningless to us who don’t have to deal with the questions. We devalue the innocents and show the true apathy of human existence in all its splendor.

But why should this ever be a surprise to us as human beings? After all, we ignore our own transgressions when we buy into corporate products that use child slavery, sweatshop workers, or facilities that force people into the most heinous of conditions.

Why should this be any different? The only thing that defending the actions of soldiers who kill civilians prove is that our moral horizons are limited and that we don’t honestly care whether civilians get killed or not. We are American, it is what we should expect from our aggressive and war-like society. We are tribal people decorated in modern nuances to sanctify our wars for our economic prosperity upon the backs of people we condemn as uncivilized barbarians. After all, we are a nation that has Iraq War 1, Iraq War 2, and Iraq War 3 under its history in such a short span of time. However, we are not fully to blame nor are we unique in this aspect.

We humans always look for an enemy to kill and justify our violent impulses as a group. It is who we are as war-worshipping peoples. We are unashamed to always throw away guilt and we harbor no shame in saying that soldiers killing civilians in war shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions . . . unless those civilians are us because we are unique among other human species by virtue of being who we are. But of course, all first world countries function in this manner.

For all the suggestions that these movies “raise serious questions”, nobody has ever found an effective solution because every single human being can offer an excuse unless the barrel of the gun is physically pointed at them. However, we, the privileged peoples, do not ever consider that option. What if the soldier pointed the gun at you during a warzone? We would all be singing a different tune then simply blabbering: “this raises serious questions!” or “it’s very hard to tell because it’s a warzone!” as we do when we have the privileged third person point of view? If the gun was pointed at us, we would consider it a human rights crime? Would it be a murder attempt? Perhaps would it instead be regarded as one of the most heinous and inhumane crimes imaginable? Would we immediately demonize the other side attacking us and regard them as a bunch of savages who need to be put in jail or be administered capital punishment because our lives are in jeopardy?

Why do we not have this attitude for non-americans in warzones? The answer is simple: We implicitly consider their lives to be inferior to our own; being a non-American is synonymous with being of lesser value as a human being. It would be the same whether we were British, French, Russian, or any other nation of peoples. It is how we as human beings function. Morality only goes as far as our own borders but beyond it is of no concern to us unless the effects harm one of our own citizens. We humans do not value love above all else; we value apathy and ignorance as our highest virtues. It is what motivates all the terrible crimes in the world, after all. Our suggestions that these issues are complex and the soldiers should be given more leeway when killing innocent people is just the revelation of our own apathy for human life.

Look at the Holocaust as a prime example, Jewish people slaughtered outside of Germany was considered a human rights crime but it took a arduous human rights campaign to convince European powers and the USA that the genocide of Jewish people within Germany should be a human rights crime too. That was how little the great powers valued the lives of Jewish people; not just because of the pervasive anti-semitism due to the belief that Jewish people were responsible for the killing of Jesus Christ but because the lives of German Jews were of no consequence to people outside of Germany since the belief that a country under the belief that nation-states had no right to interfere with each other’s laws.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

By far, one of the greatest books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Daniel Kahneman goes into such details for biases in availability, to substitution of hard questions to how we feel about such difficult questions, and how we try to find causes where there are none.

There is a plethora of riveting, academic, and simply phenomenal information that one can gain from this reading. Not only would a reader feel less worry about abnormal events such as terrorism, but may even gain a better understanding of mathematics too.

Kahneman’s book is divided into 5 parts that range from our cognitive biases such as biases of heuristics, to our biases of stories that we tell ourselves, our narrow focus and overestimation on abnormal issues without a proper understanding of probabilities, and the shocking difference between our actual experiences and how we remember them.

Examples include the overestimation of terrorist events because they’re far out of the norm compared to statistically more likely dangers such as car crashes, how we choose certain activities based on our recollection of how pleasurable or painful they ended instead of the length of time of the activity, and how we make financial decisions based on reference points from our previous socioeconomic status.

I probably sound like a fanboy but I think it might be accurate to say that I am a fanboy of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone. It is lengthy but the information is worthwhile. I cannot truly go into the depth of what this book covers. Try a free sample if you have a kindle.

Listed below is my understanding of certain aspects of cognitive biases that the book covers; understanding the issue is the first step to preparing defenses against it:

System 1: utilizes intuition.

System 2: Effortful/contemplative and lazy.

Base-rate fallacy, ignoring the percentage of people because the story sounds consistent with our automatic biases.

Anchoring: Moving slightly above or below a set standard that has been set. For example, realtors being given the price of 70,000 for a 90,000 dollar house and moving slightly above or slightly below the initial starting price despite it being far below the actual value of the house. Anchoring doesn’t work in circumstances in which the price or subject matter is immediately considered unreasonable such as asking 10,000 for a 90,000 dollar house.

Framing: How we set-up questions to get the answers we want. For example, food being described as 1% fat free versus 98% Fat.

Understanding talent: Talent is consistently performing an action, having constant feedback towards that action, and learning mini-skills to eventually raise their ability up to a higher level. A “talent” is a set of several learned mini-skills.

Cognitive ease: filling the gaps of what we don’t know with what we expect to be reasonable information. For example, believing that police officers are lawfully bound to protect the public despite this lacking legal basis. (More on that here: US Supreme Court declares police don’t have a constitutional duty to protect the public)

Cognitive ease usually consists of the following:

People being unable to understand how they previously defended arguments before they changed their mind.

Theory-induced blindness: Being unable to see the flaws of a theory until after one’s mind has been changed.

People try to find causes where there are none such as rural areas that have low populations having extremely low or extremely high cancer rates. Events are in a flux and life sometimes has a regression to the mean in just about every circumstance in life.

We have trouble distinguishing rumors from factual evidence because our system 1 absorbs them as if they’re equal.

We tend to have a planning fallacy, ignoring how many others are doing the same thing that we are and we try to ignore how statistics apply to our behavior and the behavior of people we know.

Overall, 5/5 stars. It has been a great pleasure to read. I cannot recommend it enough!

My Cousin Vinny

The film was very comedic from start to finish; the entire cast did a good job in their performance. Shockingly, the trial performance seemed more accurate than the other films that were viewed; this is despite the fact that it seemed more oriented towards being a slice-of-life film than a Law-related film.

An interesting segment of the film is the Police utilizing information to their benefit for the sake of winning the case. Although, the veneer of comedy overshadows it; the police chief using the term “I shot him” from Vinny’s nephew as a means of arguing the nephew confessed to the murder expresses a dimension of how testimony can be disingenuously expressed. Within the actual context of the conversation, the nephew was asking a question but reading it aloud to the jury from a piece of paper made it sound like a confession.

In real life, there have unfortunately been cases of police skirting the law even worse to gain a confession. People’s ignorance can and will be used against them by all parties. Complacency can be more dangerous than speaking out against such injustices.

The two worst offenders of lawful injustice, that I’ve learned, are the public duty doctrine and one of the focal reasons the violence against women act needed to be passed.

One of the chief reasons the violence against women act had to be reauthorized in 2012 was because women who lived in Native American Tribal areas had no legal right to sue their rapists in court. This led to generations of Native women needing to seek rape kits and healthcare assistance for their daughters – in some cases needing to teach them what to expect since they had no legal right to sue any rapists – because of the overwhelming amount of Native American women being attacked and raped by U.S. Citizens. Amnesty International found that 85% of the rapists were U.S. Citizens. As such, sexual violence against Native Women was not illegal until 2012. There are still a higher rate of rapes happening in Alaska but even Sarah Palin’s Vice-Presidential nomination in 2008 didn’t bring the severity of this crisis to the National News.

Instead, U.S. News Reporters gleefully report on child rapes or gang rapes happening in the Middle East or Asia while ignoring all the sexual violence against women within our own country. The proof is in how the U.S. media conducts itself; they don’t care about the innocent women and young children suffering from violent rapes in our own country. They only focus on foreigners for this self-exaltation and egoism about being superior to other countries. History books in the U.S. never divulge the true extent of Christian genocides or war rapes conducted on Native American Tribes or the fact that violent rapes upon Native Americans continue to be a problem in today’s time. It seems national egoism is more important than rape victims – including children – to the U.S. news media.

The second offender of lawful injustice, and likely of more interest to Americans since it impacts them, is that police don’t have a duty to protect U.S. citizens; regardless of if they’re being robbed, murdered, or raped. A police officer can walk away from you needing assistance because the public duty doctrine only requires police to protect the public at large – if you’re being accosted then the law determines that you’re a private citizen and thus the public duty doctrine isn’t required to protect you. This was decided in the Supreme Court case of Gonzales V. Castle Rock 2005; a woman who had obtained a court issued protected order had no right to protection from the police after she lost her 10, 9, and 8 year old children to her estranged husband who murdered them all through a gunshot wound through the head. The woman, Gonzales, had begged the police for help on three separate occasions and received no help; the next day the husband committed suicide by cop and the police discovered the dead bodies of the children in the trunk of his car. The case moved up to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States found that her children had no Constitutional protection despite being U.S. Citizens. That is the Federal law of the civilized, first world, United States of America and is still in effect to this day.

Working on my second ebook

It seems the sales for my ebook have pretty much ended. It’s kind of a shame but it’s a good learning experience. I don’t have any reviews so I shouldn’t expect much.

I feel quite terrible for not updating promptly. I’ve found, to my surprise, that more people have come to read my blog and they’re all from the same forum page: The Sam Harris Reddit page. I had thought that it was perhaps two people who just searched my website on the same days but the stats tell me that these people are coming from different countries altogether. Mostly Australian visitors seem to be interested though. I really don’t know what else to say but thank you.

Regarding my second ebook; I can’t help but feel a severe loss of confidence in my ability. If reviews aren’t the basis for a good book, then what is? I’ve been reading marketing books but I have only found contradictory information on the use of kindle for marketing one’s ebook. Generally speaking, they all argue that I should write erotic fiction to get anywhere since Kindle is flooded with erotic fiction. It seems 50 Shades of Grey has left a long legacy of trashy romance novels or maybe it was just the epitome of the trashy romance genre? Regardless, it’s a bit upsetting to see that books with superior content don’t do better than a copy-paste formula of melodramas but that’s just my personal preference.

So really, what would trying accomplish? It won’t lead to any real success due to my lack of any real marketing skills, I’ll have wasted more time writing works that didn’t help me achieve anything, and I’ll probably just be labeled a bigot without anyone bothering to read my next ebook. The research for the ebook is taking too long anyway and would anyone truly be interested? I suppose negativity will always accompany me in my endeavors; usually with accusations that I just whine.

Regarding Web Forums: Elitism is everywhere; we just moralize our own bigotry

Over the course of these ten days, I’ve dealt with some rather annoying events. Most are fairly minor events but the most vexing moment of this week was purchasing a $500 Swash electronic ironer only to receive it broken. After calling the company, and repeating several start-up processes for over an hour, the machine never worked. The person on the phone then informed me that they could send a repairman to check it out but if nothing is broken then I would be billed $140. Perhaps they were being genuine but I grew immediately suspicious and asked for a refund. They informed me that I would have to take it to Best Buy, after going through the annoying process of repackaging it; I drove to my local Best Buy the next day and received a full refund with no problems. Admittedly, I expected some type of no refund policy despite the Best Buy website specifying full refunds within 15 days of purchase. I had felt increasingly negative as the week wore on. I suppose those two examples serve as examples of good and bad customer service. The Swash product was for my father as a father’s day gift and instead I ended-up wasting my time whilst my father’s happy mood was crushed.

I’ve noticed, in both web forums and small town communities, bigotry is everywhere. Web forums are probably the worst of the bunch and it isn’t just the fact that people can use anonymity to make stupid comments. Basic group psychology seems to show that forums become toxic hive-minds; echo chambers where the “correct” opinions are praised and the “incorrect” opinions are “troll attempts” because you disagree. Reddit is, by far, the absolute worst offender. All upvotes will be seen as experts, or intelligent community members, protecting the integrity of the community and all downvotes will be looked on with derision – because we are already predisposed to believing it is a troll post – and the downvoted person will be regarded under a negative lens before their opinions/arguments are ever fairly evaluated.

Does this seem like a minuscule problem? It shouldn’t. This issue is facilitating extremist viewpoints. For example, what if people went into a subforum called “r/anarchy” and politely contested anarchy with their own personal views or facts that they wished to bring up regarding the negatives of anarchy. The hypothetical r/anarchy subreddit, due to the framework of how subreddits function, would immediately begin downvoting (usually without even considering the argument) and would then begin to say that such material were clear evidence of “Troll posting” and then user would likely be banned. The prevailing argument being “why should they be posting on such a subreddit at all, if they disagree?” would be the foremost contention and the integrity of the rules would hold paramount importance. But that is the kind of mentality that creates extremism. To downvote, devalue, degrade, and despise every opinion that is anti-anarchy or shows the problems with anarchy being advocated would be seen as “trolling” in such a forum. The only opinions that would be accepted would be pro-anarchy opinions and thus extremism becomes the reality of that subforum because of the repeated exposure of viewing “outsiders” under a negative lens. Now, switch anarchy with r/redpill – a subforum that celebrates misogyny to the point that they had huge upvotes on videos of women being beaten by men. Any pro-woman opinion, including what the majority of first world country inhabitants believe to be sensible norms like a right to fair trials would be downvoted as “trolling attempts” by dissenting users. Now, switch it with any other forum within reddit and you will see the same problems because of the framework of the website.

Granted the degrees of extremism differ from subreddit to subreddit but the endemic problem is the structure of reddit itself. But again, all forums on the internet have this issue. And, for the most part, more people lurk than post content on web forums. In the end, forums are just a breeding ground for extremism and bigotry. There is also an attempt at using morality to obfuscate this bigotry. When we disagree with people, we generally apply negative characteristics to them despite the fact that we have no way of knowing what the person on the other end of the screen is like. Worse than that, moderators let their forum powers get to their heads. Many of them act like experts because of their roles as bringing moderation but they’re not exempt from these biases and often “protecting the community” can be synonymous with erasing dissent because it offends the feelings of the majority. And it isn’t just them, normal forum users do this too, usually using ad hominems, spurious generalizations, or social proof to feel this self-pleasuring righteousness. This leads to arbitrary rules, arbitrary enforcement of the rules, hypocrisy, bigotry, and angry tangents. The crux of this defeatist system is thus: fact and opinion become misapplied as equal to each other. Forum users act as if “fact” and “how this makes me feel” is equal in arguments. This is especially true for facts that we disagree with or know very little about. I had to explain the definitions of “probability”, “worldview”, “interest rates”, and the events of Operation Cyclone for people to appropriately understand what I was referring to when I used such words or explained the negative effects of US foreign policy in Afghanistan. Most people who don’t know these terminologies or don’t know the history of US-Afghan relations generally seem to view college degrees, higher education, and wealth as negatives. Although, that is purely anecdotal observations on my part; yet it just pushes me more into believing in elitism. Ignorance is just ugly to look at.

Generally speaking, I’ve realized that I really can’t change anyone’s mind should they come from a lower economic background – for the most part, it’s increasingly more difficult to find open-minded individuals from lower educated backgrounds. I just have to tell the lower income people what they want to hear because of their own predisposed views on life, economics, politics, and religion. I’ve tried, I’ve tried for years, and it never worked. I was a fool for trying in the first place. From now on, I won’t bother. This is true for both people in real life, outside of my educated friends and professors, and especially for people online. There just isn’t any point in trying to have discussions on complex thought with such people. For anyone reading this, do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time. Only the higher educated classes will ever truly give you the time of day.

Why New Atheism imploded . . .

Why New Atheism imploded . . .

It seems that after Hitchen’s death, it became far less focused on debating religious groups about their beliefs. Comparatively, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the organizers of Skepticon and TAM have completely wrecked the Atheist movement for followers of New Atheism and for other Atheist movements.

TAM and Skepticon organizers probably share the brunt of the blame. They didn’t make any changes on sexual harassment policies back in 2011 and did little to enforce such policies. Women brought complaints about sexual assault only to be rebuffed; the first President of the TAM convention had stupidly asked for a concession on the part of the victims by saying that he wanted to reports to be balanced. Why was this stupid? Because he had just implicitly claimed that some of the victims were lying and he was clearly trying to do damage control on the organization’s image. Shocking as this may sound, CEOs and organization Presidents have to accept blame when their organization fails at security concerns otherwise the public will go elsewhere. The importance of this can’t be understated; instead of dealing with this issue or having a community of sympathizers who tried to help, the Skepticon/New Atheist community went on a pathological hatred for all things regarded as “feminist” and who was this vilification toward? Feminist – many of them Atheist – bloggers, vloggers, and writers. From Youtube, to podcasts, and sometimes on television; the intense misogyny was for all to see. Slews of condemnations, disingenuous misrepresentations, ad hominems, and a disgusting level of vitriol were thrown upon women who either identified themselves as feminist or brought to light the problems of the convention. One vlogger, Thunderf00t, even said that sexual assault at atheist conventions wasn’t a major issue and went on to say that feminism poisoned everything. This hateful vitriol served to obfuscate the message of the victims of sexual assault and atheist conventions began to dwindle in the numbers of female participants over the years.

This type of behavior was utterly shameful from an organization that claimed to be about social progress and support for science. But, of course, even that slowly changed. Soon the message became wearing t-shirts that lambasted so-called “feminazis” for the crime of bringing up issues of inequality and sexual harassment. Most of these anti-feminists would bring up small anecdotes from Tumblr, twitter, or some personal interaction that they had to condemn every woman who considered herself a feminist. Some of these vloggers, like TJ Kirk – known as The Amazing Atheist, would repeat anti-feminist videos and constantly use anecdotes from tumblr to justify his misogyny. At one point, every third video that he made was an anti-women rant and he never mentions his messages on reddit where he told a rape victim that he hoped she was raped again; the message which set off the disgust for him within the feminist movement.

Richard Dawkins was no better than these juveniles. His infamous “letter to Muslima” in which he made light of an encounter that Rebecca Watson – known as Skepchick – had on an elevator. This wedge only grew worse as Dawkins refused to change his views. The time when he began to show changes, Sam Harris added his own sexist message on his blog and Dawkins was back to insulting feminists and ignoring the sexual harassment complaints at conventions that he was invited to. Both he and Harris have remained silent on the rape allegations of Michael Shermer. But unlike the juveniles, he did eventually apologize for his distasteful joke letter.

Sam Harris seems to like using half-truths to make his political objections. He has supported an openly discriminatory anti-Muslim movement in the Netherlands; going so far as to back them and he has been selective in his objections against Islam in particular. Yes, it is true that the Taliban seek to create horrible conditions because of puritanical religious beliefs but the Taliban were trained by the US military and our government aided Saudi Arabia in teaching a puritanical version of the Islamic faith in Afghanistan to brainwash these people into fighting the Soviets. The Bush family went so far as to use U.N. school books to teach an extremist Islamic ideology to school children during the time of President Reagan. Harris either purposefully leaves that out to make his argument look better or he doesn’t know the full facts. Either way, he is not giving his viewers or readers a truthful version of the events that took place. Regarding Iraq, he never brings up Clinton’s sanctions which resulted in the deaths of 500,000 innocent people – most of them were children as young as 5 years old. Where is the moral condemnation for those events and why does Harris never speak of them? I think it’s more accurate to say that Harris is outright vindictive because he has written arguments to support Islamic dictators. If you try bringing this up to Harris’s fans then they’ll say that you’re being disingenuous but the truth of it is in his very books:

“There is no doubt that our collusion with Muslim tyrants – in Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Iran, Egypt, and elsewhere – has been despicable.  We have done nothing to discourage the mistreatment and outright slaughter of tens of thousands of Muslims by their own regimes – regimes that, in many cases, we helped bring to power.  Our failure to support the Shiite uprising in southern Iraq in 1991, which we encouraged, surely ranks among the most unethical and consequential foreign policy blunders of recent decades.  But our culpability on this front must be bracketed by the understanding that were democracy to suddenly come to these countries, it would be little more than a gangplank to theocracy.  There does not seem to anything within the principles of Islam by which to resist the slide into sharia (Islamic law), while there is everything to encourage it.  This is a terrible truth that we have to face: the only thing that currently stands between us and the roiling oceans of Muslim unreason is a wall of tyranny and human rights abuses that we have helped to erect.  This situation must be remedied, but we cannot merely force Muslim dictators from power and open the polls.  It would be like opening the polls to the Christians of the fourteenth century.” – Sam Harris, page 132 of “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.”         

Bringing this up to Sam Harris fans will only get you accusations of quote-mining, disingenuous misrepresentation, and arguments that Harris is being taken out of context to the point that there is no context in which one can evaluate such statements. It’s a willful denial of the meaning of these statements and an attempt to obfuscate Harris’s sheer ignorance regarding these political topics. It is both shallow and deceptive in order to protect this heroic image of Harris and others. In all honesty, it’s no different from how religious adherents protect their demagogues.

For more on this and other issues pertaining to the New Atheist movement’s growing problems; please read my ebook. The Fallacies of New Atheism is on discount from now until June 5th. Thanks to the Kindle Countdown deal, it’ll be available for 0.99 cents today, $1.99 tomorrow, and $2.99 on the 4th – 5th! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you choose to read my ebook, then I thank you for your time!

My ebook at a discount price for a limited time only, starts at 0.99 cents:

Why do we really have wars in the Middle East?

Why do we really have wars in the Middle East?

During the 1970s, President Nixon made a deal with Saudi King Faisal since the U.S. economy was headed for a crash because of the Bretton Woods agreement to sell gold on the U.S. dollar.

Kissinger and Nixon laid out the plan that would keep our society from total economic meltdown; we would fight wars to keep the Saud family in power, we would sell him military equipment by the billions, we would set-up bases to defend him from any aggressors, and all he had to do was sell oil on the U.S. dollar.

By 1975, several other oil producing countries – known as OPEC – made these same agreements and our economy was saved.

So what did selling on the dollar do? It meant that the U.S. would become the reserved currency of the world. Anyone who wanted oil across the globe would have to buy on the U.S. dollar, they would have to invest in American businesses, Americans would get a price cut on any imports from foreign countries, and our economy had a booming prosperity that we’ve lived with until 2004 when the economy began to slow down because of the rising price of oil because of increased demand in China.

But basically, all of our prosperity, our innovation, the electronics we buy, the best cars, the thriving job market, and even our ability to advance scientific and economic innovation to stay as the #1 country in the world is all due to the fact that we sell oil on the U.S. dollar.

So what do we have to do to maintain this prosperity since manufacturing jobs all fell apart and 80% of our job market is retail? We have, and have done so for years now, sold powerful military equipment to several Middle Eastern dictatorships; dictatorships that preach Wahhabiism, whose royal families freely commit rape and murder to whoever they want among their citizens, who force women to live in horribly unequal standards, who have night police that kidnap, torture, and behead any pro-democracy demonstrators, who crush any attempt at civil protests, who you never hear about in Western media because we need to keep the news on only the negatives of the Middle East to inspire more recruits for the army, and who will never be given better human rights because the world needs cheap oil.

It’s important to understand, this has been going on for a period of nearly 40 years now. We have slightly less than 4000 Military bases across the world and we have many warships and bases on the Middle East for the sole purpose of keeping dictatorships in power to keep the price of oil cheap. If we were to allow civil protests to give rise to better rights then – because businesses need to keep selling for a profit – oil prices would skyrocket to rates such as $20 a pump for gas.

That is why our media ignore civil protests, why ISIS is such a threat since they took oil fields and are selling in the black market for cheap, and the fact they threatened the dictatorships that we help. This is why the U.S. destroyed the democracy of Iran and allowed the Shah to put Iranian democratic protestors in concentration camps.

Why do Muslims kill other Muslim groups in the Middle East? Because the U.S. tries to put them against each other so that there’ll be less wars needed to crush them ourselves to keep our petrodollar system in place.

Why is Israel important? Because then these dictatorships buy weapons from us, sell them to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas to then war with Israel who gets a blank check from U.S. to war with Palestine. On an annual basis, we give 97 billion worth of arm to the wahhabi extremists of Saudi Arabia and have 3 U.S. bases there to keep the Saud family in power. The Middle East doesn’t hate us for democracy – they have always said that they hate us for our hypocrisy and the fact we keep them oppressed to keep our empire intact using their resources to do it.

We are not at war with Islam; we are keeping our power over the Middle East. The Middle East is our empire and our government will not allow them to have self-determination.