Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What, if anything, is our humanitarian obligation to those who desperately need to enter our country?

I just head Jeff Sessions say that the family separation policy will deter people from going over the border illegally, and will instead require them to enter our country through our designated ports of entry. 

So if they didn't try to come here illegally, could they just hop on over to the ports of entry and get in? Country quotas make that impossible. Some people's circumstances are so desperate that the only solution to their impossible lives is to violate our laws and enter our country. It is similar to stealing a loaf of bread to feed their families, and those who defend a "zero tolerance" policy remind me of Javert in Les Miserables. 

The question I have is not whether they have a right to enter our country, but is rather, whether we have a humanitarian obligation to such people. We do not merit having been born in a wealthy country like America, any more than they deserve to have been born in a third world country like Mexico. I mean who would want to make the harsh trip across the Sonoran desert to emigrate here if they could just walk up to the office at the port of entry, stand in maybe a six hour line, and get in legally? They want to come here not because we are so great, but because life there is so bad. If you don't want to let them into America in order to lead a decent life, what are we willing to do to make their lives better where they are? Does anyone seriously think they are just coming here because they are evil and criminals?

This isn't, so far as I can tell, about liberalism or conservativsm. There are billions of people who want to come here. Well, probably not. Jonah Goldberg, who inspired these thoughts of mine, is a writer for the National Review. There are people who are in such bad shape in their current country that they are prepared to put up with a lot of misery to enter the country illegally. There may be some doing it for morally bad reasons, but it is easy to see morally acceptable reasons for at least wanting to come here illegally. Do we have any moral obligations to these people over and and above building a wall and making sure they don't come here? If we are conservatives, do we need to take a lifeboat ethics position and say that these people were just born in the wrong part of the world, and so it's just tough toenails if they can't take care of their families? America , I think, started restricting entry into our country with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Before that, there was no illegal immigration, because we didn't restrict it.

Hillary Clinton's gun control proposals

Here is a link to the proposals Hillary Clinton made as a candidate. Bernie Sanders actually ran closer to the NRA than Hillary did. Many will disagree with some of these proposals, but notice that she never said she wanted to take everyone's gun away. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

This foreign religion will destroy America

Before there was a Muslim ban, a over a century before Donald Trump was born, there were people concerned about a people who were from foreign countries who practiced a foreign religion, and might be dangerous to the United States of America. After all, that religion was, and has headquarters in a foreign country. It was.....The Roman Catholic Church, known to some as the Whore of Babylon. If we let those people come to America, it had better be with extreme vetting, so these people thought. Here is a song that expressed their sentiments. 


WIDE AWAKE YANKEE DOODLE.

WIDE AWAKE YANKEE DOODLE.
BY WM. C. MARION.
Come Uncle Sam, be "Wide Awake,"
Too long you have been sleeping,
Be on your guard, to crush the snake,
That round you has been creeping.
For it has almost charmed your eyes,
To such imprudent blindness,
That it could take you by surprise,
And crush you for your kindness.
Yankee Doodle, Wide Awake,
Be silent you should never,
Until you drive the popish snake,
From off the soil, FOREVER.
Our forefathers were "Wide Awake,"
When liberty was dawning,
They saw what foreigners would take,
And gave us timely warning.
Of foreign influence, beware;
Our Washington has told us,
And time indeed, there's none to spare,
His words they shall embold us.
Yankee Doodle, c.
Americans should be "Wide Awake,"
For surely you must know,
That for our country's own dear sake,
Each man his worth must show.
For we are free, and wont submit
To intolerance and aggression,
From papists, who from foreign lands
Come here to rule this nation.
Yankee Doodle, c.
Brave Washington bequeathed to us,
The liberty we enjoy,
Shall we not claim our rights, and thus
Prove worthy, without alloy.
For is he not the father of
The country that we love,
Shall we then stand and blush with shame,
For foreigners who disgrace the same.
Yankee Doodle, c.

1498

Why Materialism is simply Untrue

This is from Dr. Dennis Bonnette on Strange Notions. 


Metaphysical Materialism is Simply Untrue

Only an immaterial cognitive faculty, that is, one not extended in space, can actually apprehend the wholeness of any sensed object. Moreover, in the same act, the sense faculty can apprehend manyindividual wholes at once, as in a flock of birds.
How does an immaterial sense faculty unify the object of perception into a meaningful whole? Knowing how an immaterial entity “works” would require knowing how to make one -- something that exceeds human capabilities. Still, I know a sense faculty can do it, because I actually sense meaningful wholes in sensory experience. That is, in a single act, I see a whole moose or experience hearing a complete melody or am aware that I am touching the total surface of a sphere. No purely physical entity can adequately explain this fact.
Sight’s ability to apprehend its object as a whole is sufficient to show that at least one external sense faculty must be immaterial. Because an animal’s sensitive soul is immaterial – that is, because it is not extended in space, even animals can experience the unified wholeness of sense objects – and many such wholes simultaneously.
Purely materialistic metaphysic’s essential problem is that sense cognition’s immaterial nature is what enables the knower to apprehend the physically extended object as a unified whole. In so doing, immaterial cognition achieves something that mere extended matter cannot do, namely, it can unify in a single simple act what in physical reality is extended in space and multiple in parts.
Some materialists admit that certain cognitive acts cannot be expressed in purely material terms. Yet, they insist that these “epiphenomena” somehow “emerge from” purely physical matter. That is, they are simply a product of physical matter in some way. The problem with this explanation is that the more perfect cannot be explained by the less perfect. Or, to put it another way, that which is inherently unable to explain the unity of the whole (discrete physical parts) cannot be a sufficient reason for apprehending the thing sensed as a unified whole.
Moreover, this immaterial principle must explain how unity is achieved from multiple sense data. Since a material entity can never explain the unity of its discrete elements, what unifies must not only be immaterial, but must be something within the sentient organism that unifies its discrete material organs into a functional whole respecting sense perception. Such an immaterial principle would be the form or soul of even the lowest sentient organisms.
This means that a purely materialistic explanation of all reality is simply false.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Why Opposition to Trump is so intense, or do we all want the same things?

I think that Trump has done a number of things, like implying an equivalency between Klansmen and their opponents at Charlottesville, or trying to undermine investigation of crimes against America by a foreign government, or his buddying up to another foreign government without once mentioning his human rights violations, that make people really concerned about his being President. How do you respond when you really think the President is harming the country.
I am not saying they are right in thinking this,(well, actually I am) but if you think this, how do you respond? Until now, Republicans and Democrats have mostly thought that their respective opponents want the same things, but think that the other party is just going about it in the wrong way. With Trump, I get the sense that he really wants something very different from what a lot of people in America want.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Separating families is not Christian. 2 + 2 is not 5. Any questions?

Here. 

The monotheistic moral revolution

I think we don't understand, or take seriously, the moral revolution engendered by monotheism. Before the monotheistic religions came along, there were moral codes, but evolution gives us an interest in social cooperation but also makes us tribalistic. Moral codes require lots of social cooperation for "us" and nothing for "them." When people started believing in a deity who is interested in our moral lives as opposed to merely our sacrifices, things start changing. A God who values us equally because, in the case of Christianity, he sent his son to die for all of us, makes it hard to believe that anyone is just human garbage. It is true that Christians have historically failed to get it, and some even currently fail to get it, but logic of going from God's being interested in all of us equally, to people being of equal worth, is a real pathway to the idea of equal rights. I see nothing in the naturalistic universe that supports this kind of egalitarianism except that cultures have gradually evolved toward it, largely under the watch of Christianity, and we like the results and don't want to give that up, since it seems to work. But if some Nietzschean were to ask why we should continue to accept this kind of slave morality given the death of God, I don't see what the answer would be. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

The measure of a conservative, or a liberal

Why is the measure of conservatism, or liberalism, a matter of loyalty to or opposition to Donald Trump? In my state a stalwart conservative senator named Jeff Flake is considered by many to be a phony conservative because he finds Trump dangerous. Trey Gowdy, the arch-conservative representative from South Carolina who pushed the criticism of Hillary Clinton for Benghazi as hard as anybody, is now regarded as a fake conservative because he won't agree that the FBI was engaged in spying on the Trump campaign for political purposes. 
Why? Donald Trump actually takes the liberal Democrat position on the war in Iraq, he thinks it was wrong and that we were deceived into going in there. Do conservatives all now think that that the leftists were right about Iraq and George W. Bush was wrong? 
Political conviction and personal loyalty have to be different from one another. Otherwise, we can't really have a democracy. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Fake News!

When I grew up there were three networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, which had news broadcasts which were not openly of any political viewpoint, but were frequently accused of being liberal by conservatives. Today, there are the cable channels FOX, MSNBC, and CNN. We all know, I take, it, which of these channels is the most politically conservative.  The expression "fake news" abounds, and is deliberately used by Donald Trump (he said as much) to discredit any journalism critical of him. 
How do we apply fairminded thinking to what we hear in the media?  Even for practiced thinkers, it isn't easy. I recommend that you not try to find some piece of journalism that opposes your political perspective, and find bias in that. That is just too darn easy, and it wouldn't create growth in yourself as a critical thinker. Thus, if you're a liberal, don't tear apart some Fox News report accusing it of bias. That's like shooting fish in a barrel. If you are a conservative, don't go looking at the Washington Post or the New York Times, or CNN, to find bias. Again, that's way too easy. Find a source you agree with, and try to find bias from your own side. 
Some material from news sources are opinion pieces, and some are there to report facts. If it is an opinion piece, it's by definition on one side, and there's nothing wrong with that. But ask yourself if the opinion piece has material in it that would convince someone on the other side to question what they think, or, if it would only convince someone who agreed with the reporter to begin with. If it supposed to be factual reporting, we can ask if bias has crept in. Even when something is biased in favor of one viewpoint or another, it often contains real factual information that is worth knowing. Identifying bias does not imply entail that the entire article can simply be dismissed as worthless.