Sunday, February 22, 2009

Absolute statements and American Values

I'm sorry I haven't posted here of late... I think I'm just more of a debater than a writer of original material. This piece did come out pretty well though, if I do say so myself... It's adapted from a comment I wrote in reply to an observation someone made about me, and I think it's good enough to share, here... Sorry if it comes off preachy, but sometimes I am just that kinda person...

It's probably the liberal in me, but I don't go in much for the whole black/white, good/evil, with us/with the terrorists kinda thinkin'. I don't believe there are all that many absolutes, and I reject statements that speak in absolute terms. Just about all saints have sinned, and most sinners have performed good acts, too. All Americans (or Muslims) are not good. All Muslims (or Americans) are not evil. Not everyone who claims to be a faithful _______ (place religion/denomination of choice there) acts like one.

Just about anytime a person speaks of a whole group of people, whether chosen & denoted by their religion, their ethnicity, their country of origin, or any other factor, and speaks of them as though they are all one kinda person (whether all good, or all evil), one is almost certainly going to end up being factually incorrect in what one is saying about them. To group people together based on ethnicity, religion or country of origin, and then treat them all as one monolithic entity is the very definition of bigotry.

The same is true of me & politics. As a Green, I seldom agree with Conservative or Republican thought. (And contrary to what some have said about me, I'm generally not a big fan of Democratic thought, either.) Still, it's mighty rare to find me saying "Conservatives are evil" (or anything else, either), because I just don't think that way... Whatever issues and disagreements I have with individual conservatives or Republicans, wherever I may find them, they do not prove anything about ALL Conservatives, or Republicans, (or about any other groups to which such Conservatives or Republicans may belong, like "college professors," or "guys with hats," for instance...) Good or bad, whatever I'm saying about you, I'm saying it about you, alone.

I try to treat the people I meet as individuals, not as representatives of the groups they were either born into or chose to affiliate themselves with... Call me naive or crazy if you must, but I believe the more folks treat others as individuals, the better our personal & global relations with each other will be...

If you want (or want me) to condemn or praise individual people and / or individual acts, that's one thing... But chances are slim you'll ever get me to say all ________ are ____________, and I encourage everyone reading these words to give it a lot of thought before doing so yourselves. To my way of thinkin', it's neither intellectually or morally right to do so.

Yes, there is evil in the world, but it isn't "the Muslims," or "the conservatives," or "the non-believing nihilists" that are the cause of it. It's individual men & women murdering others, raping others, and treating others with disrespect and derision in a myriad of other ways large and small, that is at the heart of evil.

That's what I think, anyway...

The original version of this piece, and the comment to which I was replying, appear here, in case anyone's interested. I also posted this version to my blog, Wingnuts & Moonbats (link in the list to the right, somewhere), 'cause I haven't been doing enough posting there of late, either, and saw no reason not to kill lots of birds with the same single stone... 8>)


  1. Repsac,

    One of the problems with immigration is adaptation. We tend to forget that as immigrants adapt some do so successfully and others end up becoming extremists for their culture.

    Look at the Germans and WWI and WW2. Hitler had quite a few supporters in the german community in the US. Mussolini had a lot of support among the Italian immigrants. It shouldn't suprise anyone that the same aspects of immigration effect the muslim community the same way.

    If you want to view this as a religious thing then of course we can point to christian religious extremism also...because there are lots of examples of that in the United States.

    Then none of us really take into account the effect of media and the fact that we are drowning in information that we cannot possbily absorb. So we end up making emotional decisions because we are overwhelmed by it all...

    I just watched a travel show on PBS where they traveled freely through IRAN! The folks had nothing but good things to say about America and Americans...they did criticize our policies but the travel folks traveled freely and faced no threats and were never in much for being enemies.

  2. If only more people were able to open their minds to the facts that people in any group are people first, and not walking representatives of their group. One thing to keep in mind, we all belong to more than one group, and so can never easily be stereotyped.

  3. The fewer the pixels; the lower the sampling rate, the more distortion there is. That's why they fuss about "moral relativism."

    Simple minds like simple descriptions, but so do those trying to sell lies. Of course "those muslimes want to kill us all" is more inflammatory and less accurate even than saying "Muslim extremists." Of course they can dismiss us as "Libs" because that word falsely describes anyone they want it to.

  4. I love this piece! I think if we all spent a little less time pointing fingers and judging others, we might actually be able to accomplish something. It's so refreshing to see a post like this when there so much blaming and name calling going on!!


We welcome civil discourse from all people but express no obligation to allow contributors and readers to be trolled. Any comment that sinks to the level of bigotry, defamation, personal insults, off-topic rants, and profanity will be deleted without notice.