Let’s Call All Terrorists “Terrorists”

Earlier today, three gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people, including two policemen. Although we still don’t know the motive behind the attack, it seems like it was in response to Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.

In the hours since the shooting, politicians and the media have universally condemned the gunmen as “terrorists” and called their actions “terrorism.” And for good reason, too: the killing of unarmed civilians for apparently political or religious reasons is the classic definition of terrorism. But would people be as willing to call the Paris attack “terrorism” if the suspects involved were white or members of a right-wing hate group? I don’t think so

In one really telling quote form earlier today, former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morrell called the storming of the Charlie Hebdo headquarters “the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the attacks in London in July of 2005." Mike Morrell apparently can’t remember the actual worst terrorist attack in Europe between the 2005 London bombings and today’s Paris shootings.

I’m talking, of course, about the 2011 Norway attacks, where a white right-wing extremist and racist named Anders Breivik killed 77 people during a rampage through Oslo and a nearby summer camp.

If Breivik’s name were “Omar” and he said that he acted in the name of Islam as opposed to “Europe” and Christianity, I doubt people like Michael Morell would forget who he is or what he did. But like other white perpetrators of mass political violence, from the guy who shot up a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin a few years ago to the guy who attacked a Kansas JCC this past April, Breivik gets a free pass from the media. He’s a “mass shooter” or “mass murderer, not a “terrorist.”

These are other examples, too. Are the guys who aimed loaded guns at federal officers at the Bundy ranch called "terrorists"? They are. Or the people who bombed the NAACP building yesterday in Colorado? Absolutely.

While this might sound like splitting hairs, it’s not. In our society, calling an act of violence “terrorism” is an extremely powerful statement. It says that that an action is so awful, so beyond what we consider acceptable human behavior, that we must do everything we can to prevent it from happening ever again. So when we refuse to call acts of violence that really are terrorism “terrorism,” we’re saying as a society that we don’t need to take them as seriously as we would the acts of violence that we do call terrorism.

This has very real world consequences.

According to some estimates, right-wing terrorists have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Islamic terrorists have. If we don’t call right-wing terrorists “terrorists,” and thus say to the public that they’re just as bad as Islamic terrorists, the public won’t take right-wing terrorism seriously and it will be that much easier for Neo-Nazis to continue to threaten and to kill people without causing much sustained outrage.

Terrorism is an extremely powerful and persuasive word, but thanks to the media double-standards, it’s becoming meaningless. If we really want to call-out evildoers, let’s call all terrorists “terrorists” or stop using the word altogether.

Comments

OrgDevGuy's picture
OrgDevGuy 7 years 24 weeks ago
#1

If we REALLY want to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, we should have EVERY publication in the Western world reprint the cartoons that the Islamists claim "justified" the attack.

RFord's picture
RFord 7 years 24 weeks ago
#2

It seems like our war on terror is not a war on all terrorist but instead a war on Muslim extremist terrorist only. The war on Terror should be called " The war on Muslim terrorist" because that is exactly what it is.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#3

It's an Islam vs Christian thing. However, both religions obviously have some pretty big flaws. Both The Quran and The Bible are full of contradictions that make the justification of almost anything possible. The people who manipulate and interpret those contradictions need scapegoats to focus the energy of their followers. Henceforth anywhere fundamentalists pop up in power you are going to have a slanted media. The same goes for the other side. Thanks Thom for pointing out that hypocrisy and shedding some light on such a dark and dangerous subject.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 24 weeks ago
#4

The real problem is the Left's refusal to recognize the terrorist threat implicit in the hatefulness at the core of all the Abrahamic religions. Indeed the common principle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is hatred -- of women, of Nature, of anyone defined as spiritually "inferior."

And it is this same refusal to recognize the inherent hatefulness of all three of these religions that facilitates denial of some threats (for example the Islamic threat, as implicit in Mr. Hartmann's essay above) and emphasis on others (for example the Christian threat, again as implicit above). Or <i>vice-versa</i>, as in the imperial U.S. emphasis on the Muslim threat and concurrent denial of the Christian threat.

The truth -- proven beyond dispute by history -- is the threat of fanatical terrorism is endemic to all three religions, including Judaism, for examples of which note not only the genocide applauded by the Old Testament but the present-day fact that Hassidic Jews in Israel now routinely assault Israeli women who wear modern clothing and otherwise refuse to submit to Hassidic misogyny.

Those who remain in denial about the inherent malevolence of Abrahamic religion should also note that capitalism -- which has already abolished human freedom and is now threatening all life on this planet -- is the direct derivitive of the Abrahamic worldview.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#5

Loren Bliss ~ Well said! I agree!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 24 weeks ago
#6

Me too, Loren! And by the way, happy new year!

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 24 weeks ago
#7

An excellent analysis of the 'sins' of religion, Loren; if only we could get everyone to see the real truth.

Greenthumb's picture
Greenthumb 7 years 24 weeks ago
#8

Loren, I agree with you. But what do you mean by "the Left's" refusal in the first sentence? Why didn't you also include "the Right's"?

Theorbist's picture
Theorbist 7 years 24 weeks ago
#9

On a related note, whenever a person of color commits a serious crime or multiple murders, he or she is immediately labeled as an animal who is representative of his or her ethnicity's propensity for violence.

Whereas, when a white person who commits mass murder, then immediately the media discusses his mental health, his history of being victim of bullying or physical abuse. At the same time, attacks are made against the "left-bias" media for sensationalizing the tragedy and for using the tragedy as an excuse for bringing up the "gun control" issue.

effie5555 7 years 24 weeks ago
#10

Reagan started it with reclassifying catsup a vegetable to save tax dollars on the backs of poor kids. We renamed hunger food insecurity to white wash the pain. The Republicons renamed the Democratic Party the Democrat party, and we all follow in line. Up is down, day is night. This is what we get.

chicagotim's picture
chicagotim 7 years 24 weeks ago
#11

Interesting blog topic. I definitely agree that the wrong acts are being called "terrorism", but differ in my classification. I would suggest that all of these cases are "mass shootings" or "mass murder"..... But terrorism to me suggests an act largely done to frighten the broader public and create a sense of unease or panic. The guys in Boston or the 9/11 hijackers were "terrorists", for example. I would agree that the crazy guy in Norway was a "terrorist" too. The crazies in France killed specific individual for creating what they considered offensive cartoons. The public at large was never at risk. They're not "terrorists", they're "Islamic extremists" or something. And while we're on the subject, what are the gun laws in France?

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 24 weeks ago
#12

Perfectly said Tim. But are the "Islamic extremists" who did this also terrorists because they are trying to frighten all news media. I would think all media is at risk that would offend them.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 7 years 24 weeks ago
#13

FYI,,, The link will not post to FB.. I THINK THE problem is the apostrophe in "let's."

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 7 years 24 weeks ago
#14

Greenthumb...This is my third attempt to respond to your comment. Each of the other two were wiped out by Internet spasms -- something that rarely happens to me. So I'll try one more time.

The Left -- not the entire global Left but certainly the vast majority of the USian Left (and especially the Second Wave feminist movement) -- insists on defining Muslim terrorism as an expression of economic and/or political anger rather than of theological hatefulness. Thus -- in defiance of 800 years of history -- this very large and influential Leftist faction argues that Jihad is a revolution against capitalist imperialism rather than (another) of the periodic (and invariably sadistic) efforts at world conquest that characterize all the Abrahamic religions.

At the same time, to further reinforce its claim Jihad is anti-capitalist revolution rather than a war to impose theological misogyny and myriad other forms of religion-motivated persecution, this segment of the Left argues that religion <i>per se</i> is no longer politically or economically significant. And on that basis it denounces as "paranoids" those of us who are aware of the looming threat of Christian theocracy being formally imposed on the U.S.

Thus -- by refusing to acknowledge the relevant theological precepts -- it is able to support Jihad as revolution even as it tries, unsuccessfully, to battle the imposition of Christian theocracy in the imperial homeland.

The abject failure of this battle, in large part due to the Left's politically "correct" refusal to recognize the religious nature of the enemy, is evident in the fact vast portions of the United States, including all the South and most of the Northern Interior, are already <i>de facto</i> theocracies. This is proven by the abolition of reproductive rights, the conversion of public education into bible school and the blending of misogyny, homophobia, racism and the doctrines of Ayn Rand with the god-sanctioned malevolence of the Prosperity Gospel to spawn a uniquely USian form of Nazism.

Were the Left to recognize that the enemy of Nature and therefore of human survival is in fact Abrahamic religion -- that the murderous hatefulness at the core of Christianity is also the murderous hatefulness at the core of Judaism and Islam -- it would then be compelled either to set aside its historically false characterization of Jihad as revolution (rather than conquest motivated by religious fanaticism), or be subject to condemnation for the obvious hypocrisy of opposing two vectors of Abrahamic murderousness while supporting a third.

I made no mention of the Right in this discussion for two reasons. One, the USian Right is itself an expression of Abrahamic -- mostly Christian -- hatefulness. Two, what the Right does or does not do is (or should be) irrelevant to any effort to clarify Leftist thinking on these matters.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 7 years 24 weeks ago
#15

Absolutism leads to this kind of disregard for life. The ideological trap doesn't just exist in religious dogma. Whether it be masked gunmen slaughtering people over a fictional religious figure, or a state warship firing missiles into a populated city killing countless innocent people to achieve military objectives, ideological absolutism is failure of humanity.

PFNELKAK 7 years 24 weeks ago
#16

Reading a book once or twice or even ten times, there is always something new to learn from the authors perspective, for truth is progressive. I've been studying the bible for over 30 years now, and can still learn something new. And since religion has been the attack here of " being hateful & deadly to one's life", I must direct you to what you are not seeing. If you remember at the beginning that eve was lured (tempted, deceived ) by the serpent ( the devil, Satan ) to not believe GOD but believe him. Eve did, Adam followed, and it's been hell on earth ever since.
The bible is a time line and a record of GOD's people on their journey from Eden lost to Eden restored. Like a journey from N.Y.C. to L.A., meeting every foe & disease & thorn satan can throw at you to get you to turn away from GOD or to blame GOD for. And when you turn away from GOD's calling, satan uses you to hurt others, by words or by actions, he uses you. But GOD runs after you, to help you see HIM as HE really is, a GOD of love.
We are almost to L.A., for JESUS is about to return, the last call, to take those with HIM who want to be with HIM. So what is your choice? Will you search for more truth?
REF. : use K.J.V. -
gen. chapter 3; rev. 20:1,2; 1john 3:8; romans 5:12-15; romans 3:10-31; exodus 20:1-17; romans 6:23; 1john4:8-21; 1john1:8-10;
1john2:1-6; Matthew 18:11-14;rev. chapter 21 & 22; psalms chapter 27; john 3:16,17
Paul

PFNELKAK 7 years 24 weeks ago
#17

All through the history of this earth, each person struggles, fights to do good or evil. Even the children of Israel did evil, judges 13:1. JESUS condemns the jewish leaders, Matthew chapter 23. Even today, the religious right moves to help themselves instead of helping the poor. But the battle for your soul is with you and satan. And the victory can only be won with GOD on your side. Let him in. Matthew 11:28-30.
Paul

PFNELKAK 7 years 24 weeks ago
#18

Your salvation, my salvation, our mothers salvation, is not based on what church we attend, how much money we have or have not, or what party we group with, it is souly on each one's own works (the 10 commandments) & our relationship with JESUS CHRIST (grace). rev. 22:11-21

Greenthumb's picture
Greenthumb 7 years 24 weeks ago
#19

Loren, thank you for clarifying. I'm not a "regular" here so I'm not really familiar with the philosopies of those who are. But after putting up my question, I figured you were referring to the American "left," who are actually centrist/"progressives," terrified to be labelled liberal or "left" and also terrified to remove their "blinders."

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 24 weeks ago
#20

Loren Bliss: Your comment on theological hatefulness brought to mind Thomas Paine. "All religions are in their nature mild and benign, and united with principles of morality. They could not have made proselities at first, by professing any thing that was vicious, cruel, persecuting, or immoral. Like everything else, they had their beginning; and they proceeded by persuasion, exhortation, and example. How then is it that they lose their native mildness, and become morose and intolerant?"

"It proceeds from the connection which Mr. Burke recommends. By engendering the church with the state, a sort of mule animal, capable only of destroying, and not of breeding up, is produced, called The Church established by law. It is a stranger, even form its birth, to any parent mother on which it is begotten, and whom in time it kicks out and destoys." ....Rights of Man I 1791

I confess to giving into terror...I still get nervous around religious fanatics that look like Tim McVeigh!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#21

Sure, you shouldn't shoot a bunch of people but you also shouldn't make fun of the Prophet Muhammad. France has a large immigrant Arab and Muslim population and the racism against them is very widespread and very virulent.

I don't think the staff of of Charlie Hebdo "deserved" to get shot up but neither do I think they were entirely innocent victims. chicagotim might, I think, be right that this wasn't so much, in the strictest sense, terrorism as a targeted mass assasination.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#22

PFNELKAK ~ You make some strikingly good points. Your reference to the Garden of Eden for example. Remember, Eve rebelled against GOD by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Could it be that the entire trip from NYC to LA is nothing more than the digestion of that fruit? What about that "little book" spoken of in REV 10:2-10? The book the angel gave John that tasted sweet in his mouth but turned his stomach bitter? Could that book have been the Bible; and, could that book have been the essence behind the digestion of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil?

Oh, what a bitter pill knowledge can be! If you want to take GOD into your life you have to accept his covenant--the Ten Commandments. One of them clearly states--Thou Shalt Not Kill! Yet, throughout the Bible, God commands his followers--through his Prophets--to kill in his name. No one ever stands up and says, "If GOD contradicts himself he is not perfect. If he is not perfect, he is no god." Yet, every ounce of good logic would dictate that this argument would be true. Certainly, anyone who has accepted GOD into themselves is capable of independent critical thinking? Certainly, GOD wants more from his children than to be blind, mindless followers?

I agree with you. People must accept GOD in their own way and in their own time. I do not believe that acceptance of GOD through any organized religion is genuine. Only on the personal level. As far as the Bible is concerned, or the Quran for that matter, it should be taken lightly, as a guide, and nothing more. To tout these pieces of literature as the WORD OF GOD is deceptive at best. For every wise, good, and accurate quote you can dig out of the work, I can dig out ones to justify murder, rape, riots, slavery, genocide, and even global war. The time has come to recognize evil for what it is, in all of its forms, and put away this bitter book. Maybe then, and only then, might we--as a species--reach the promised land of LA.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#23

D'Anne Marc, why are you posting, why are you not listening to Thom's broadcast like a good liberal? Are you slipping in your fealty? We'll have to keep an eye on you!

Seriously though, the great (Jewish, Marxist, Freudian) psychoanalyst, Eric Fromm, saw the story of the Garden of Eden, and subsequent expulsion from it, in Genesis as an ancient metaphor for the human life story, more specifically, for a child's coming of age. The Garden of Eden represents care free childhood which ends when one eats from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil". Thereupon the child is driven out from the garden never to return. Thereafter the child must think on their own and only "by the sweat of your brow" will they survive. Gone is the freedom from care and the innocence of early years.

Personally, I accept about three or four of the Ten Commandments.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#24

Mark J. Saulys ~ I'm not listening to Thom because he's been wiped off the Bay Area radio networks. If I want to listen to him I have to stream him live from your town; and, that schedule conflicts with mine. (Yes, Chicago has become more "liberal" than San Francisco. Please don't rub it in.) I catch bits and pieces of the show on YouTube and his FaceBook feed. That's about the best I can do. However, I do it to keep informed. I want to be a "good liberal" about as much as I want to be a "good organ donor".

Interesting interpretation of the story of the Garden of Eden. Of course you realize that as with any great literary epic, multiple interpretations are possible; and, equally valid. I still stand by mine. However, I really like Fromm's too. It also makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing it!

You only accept three or four of the Ten Commandments? I must admit that I've had some difficulty with maybe two or three of them; however, generally, I've considered them all good and acceptable. Perhaps sometime you could share with us the Commandments you don't accept and the reasons for it? That would be most interesting. George Carlin did a good job at combining them and reducing them to three Commandments -- "1)Thou Shalt Always Be Honest And Faithful To The Provider Of Thy Nookie 2)Thou Shall Try Really Hard Not To Kill Anyone; Unless, They Pray To A Different Invisible Man Than You Do, 3)Thou Shall Keep Thy Religion To Thyself."

Love that bit...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE8ooMBIyC8

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#25

Okay D'Anne Marc, we'll let you slide - this time - but you watch yourself!

I can't think of a single commandment of the ten that I couldn't violate justly under some circumstance. Monogamy developed in tandem with private property and patriarchy and for similar reasons - largely male posessiveness, among some others. That then also shoots down "steal", the 6th, and the 5th, "kill", is always almost impossible to keep - who doesn't swat a fly?

Psychologists (Kohlberg) studying moral development in children found that strict adherence to the rules is what little children do. Older children and adults - who have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and no longer live in the Garden of Eden - have more "situational" ethics. They may or may not obey a rule depending on the effect it would have on the greater good.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#26

D'Anne Marc, essential in Fromm's charachterization is that the eating from the
"tree of knowledge of good and evil" was that it was an act of disobedience. It is a metaphor for adolescent rebellion when a child becomes truly a seperate individual in their own right by disobeying their elders.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#27

Mark J. Saulys ~ It will be nice when the human race matures and doesn't need to look to ancient myths to tell them what is right and what is wrong. Perhaps when we can rely on ourselves to determine what is right and wrong then we will truly evolve? Perhaps Fromm was right on more than one level?

Thanks for sharing!

PFNELKAK 7 years 24 weeks ago
#28

to D'anne Marc & Loren & Mark J. Saulys

Now you guys opened a can of worms. It's easy to sit back in a comfortable chair and brainstorm on what the proper ethics should be from one book to another and then pitch it. Lets turn the tables and see how you would handle this scenario.
The three of you have just won the lottery and 1st prize is your very own little planet. Slightly smaller, let's say the size of the U.S.A. for land mass, water, hills, but all luscious green. All livable, no huge desolate mountains or freezing cold ice packs. Yes, you are human, with families, & young bucks in your late 20's. By the way, this is a one way trip for all. You will have room for 1000 people of your choice to enjoy this planet with you. Sorry, no electronic gadgets of any kind. Only animals and people. Like horse and buggy days. One month later, you arrive & everyone is enjoying this jaw dropping experience, a life of bliss, 5 yrs, 10 yrs, 15 yrs. Suddenly death fills the land, 2 people, 6 people, 40 people. What went wrong? You guys are in charge? You find out there is a band of 30 to 40 men stealing, burning, raping, killing, and taking over the eastern 1/4 of all the land. And one of the leaders is one of your sons. Its now your turn. It is your planet. The people are scared to death and they turn to you for action. Some are outraged. Some are ready to ban together for a lynch mob. Remember, one of them is one of your sons.
So the hard questions come up. What laws should you have that are right for all people? And what are the consequences for breaking the laws? How will YOU enforce them? It's all up to you three now.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#29

Your example is founded on some presumptions I don't think are valid or plausible. First, you presume we (and, presumably, our sons) will "own" the planet - and even the others on it, in some feudal sense. By what authority would that be enforced and why would the others accept that order?

That brings me to the second presumption that the others on the planet would be passive, docile children "looking to us" for solutions to this and all other problems.

The third, I assume, is that we couldn't act against our own sons or relinquish any "authority" we are presumed to have or, indeed, not have that authority long since wrested from us.

The greater liklihood - considering, especially, that we're all Thom Hartmann listeners, but even so - would be that we would allow to occur or try to establish or, not unlikely, just naturally couldn't prevent, a pretty horizontal, democratic order in our little society making any supposed title to the planet of the three "founders", or anyone else, irrelevant.

A still more likely scenario would be that some renegade, outside group, organization or power would come, sieze control of the planet, colonize it, take everyone hostage and use the planet for their own purposes.

Patriarchal, Bron Age type religious authority isn't the only possibility.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#30

PFNELKAK ~ I can't speak for Loren or Mark J. Saulys, however, for myself, THE LAW OF JESUS, namely...

The Bible KJV
Quote The Book Of Matthew:22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Of course you could simplify that into, "Love thy neighbour as thyself." There really can only be but ONE LAW.

The problem arises that you cannot 'love thy neighbor' until you 'love thyself'. Furthermore, you can hardly love thyself without loving GOD. This brings us fundamentally back to the rock solid foundation of the law--The first Great Commandment, and The Ten Commandments. In order to obey the ONE LAW you must also obey the 11 Commandments that make it possible.

For instance, let us consider the First and Second of the 10 Commandments, "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me." "Thou Shalt make no Graven Images." How seriously the organized religious community take those commandments in this nation? Everywhere you look you find blessed nicknacks hanging in graven places, be they crosses, pictures, figurines, statues, paintings, landmarks, artifacts, or beads. Soldiers march into battle with containers of "holy water," women in churches light candles for magical favors, I've even seen Saint trading cards offered for sale in church gift shops. For a shekel any Priest or Pastor will bless your lunch box, or favorite toy. We still practice all manner of idolatry in this nation in the name of God. If we can't even get the First Two Commandments down right, how can we do anything else right?

Perhaps the most offensive piece of idolatry we have is the Bible itself. We treat it as though it is a holy thing. According to the First Two Commandments there is no such thing as a holy thing! A magical thing. God himself--for sale! It's just a book. A bunch of paper with some ink splashed on it. It has no other power. It has no other value. The only power all these 'things' have is the power we give them in our mind; and, that is a wicked power indeed.

No, my friend. I have already given this scenario much deep thought. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" is the only law I will need. All the other laws of GOD naturally flow through it; and, if there is any question, the other 11 supporting laws are all written down there in that great piece of reference material I call, The Bible.

Thank you so much for asking!!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#31

PFNELKAK ~ How would I enforce the law? The same way any law is enforced. Depending on the the violation the penalty will not exceed the harm done in the crime. For small altercations and property damage, restorations will be required. For failure to make restorations--or repeat offences--fines and imprisonment. Personal assaults will be dealt with on an individual basis depending on cause and severity. Repeat offenders will be isolated or relocated. Habitual offenders will be banished. They who refuse banishment, will be permanently imprisoned in a banished isolated prison colony.

Those who obey the law will enjoy all the benefits society has to offer without limit.

When you're on my world, don't question my law.

PFNELKAK 7 years 24 weeks ago
#32

Mark J. Saulys
Your last sentence is what I' m looking for. The scenario is your world, your utopia, and I would like to know what laws YOU would have, and how would YOU enforce them?

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#33

D'Anne Marc, I don't think the law of Jesus can be enforced, not by an earthly authority. Anyway, I'd like to think that I would relinquish any authority and cede it to the community - I don't think anything else would be possible anyway - and seek to establish a consensus based decision making process.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#34

Mark J. Saulys ~ I'm sure that would work just fine... on your planet. On my planet we live by my LAW. I'm willing to cede any authority to the community so that they can determine HOW they want to love their neighbors as themselves. I'm not an overbearing tyrant. However, like my father used to always say, "my roof, my rules!" Anything less would be irresponsible parenting. There won't be any wars on my planet as long as I have anything to say about it.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#35

D'Anne Marc, that sounds positively feudal. Ever hear of something called "paternalism".

Don't you think that as you are NOT their parent it would therefore be tyrannical for you to act as if you are? Don't you know that EVERY tyrant and every dictator - from Lenin to Mao to Castro and even to Hitler - at least says - and many do, in fact believe - that they know what's best for everybody and are justified in ruling as dictators because they are "good", "right" and "mean well"? Don't you know that they ALL invoke the "father" metaphor?

Don't you ever consider that you can't make good people by force, you can only force certain behaviors but you can't make the people acting the forced behaviors good people by force. That's why even the God of Jesus doesn't force but allows "free wiill", i.e., allows everyone to choose to be good or not as they will. He doesn't intervene, even if the world gets pretty nasty, because he knows that what's important and why we all do time on this Earth is not to be happy but to live and grow as people and as souls..

Your "children" would not be your children - or even children at all - only forced to act in that role to please you by the tyranny of your illegitimate, state defined, and thus man made, property rights. Even your own children - when they are no longer children - you have to let go to choose for themselves their values, mores, etc. People have a right to live by their opinions, beliefs and convictions and don't have to live by yours any more than you have to live by theirs.

Dictatorship is no less dictatorship if it is well intentioned dictatorship. I'm sorry if you don't believe in freedom and democracy but that requires faith in people - just like you must have faith in your children when they grow up (only these would not be your children any more than you would be theirs, you would only be able to force a personal, self indulgent fantasy upon them by way sick, twisted, illegitimate property rights).

Who has the right to own a planet anyway, for God's sake. Isn't that our ostentsible objection to everything, here on this site, that a small minority decided they own the Earth and the rest of us have to either pay them what rent they require or are trespassing on "their" planet?

Sorry, the whole thing is like a rape fantasy to me. In a sense, I have to reject categorically the question and challenge of "if you were king of the world" put forth by PFNELKAK.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#36

Mark J. Saulys ~ Remember, PFNELKAK was referring to another world, not this one. Also, remember, this question is hypothetical only. Absolute monarchy can take one of two forms: that of a King, or that of a Tyrant. There is no middle ground. A King attends to the needs of his people. A Tyrant tends to his own needs.

According to the question, given a planet full of survivors that we are placed in charge of, how will we proceed? You would throw up your hands and walk away? I would take the bull by the horns and take responsibility for these people and their chances of survival and prosperity. Democracy is a fine notion; but, it has it's place; and, this is not the place. The human species must survive; and, this colony needs a strong central leadership. That is not possible in a Democracy.

Survival depends upon order, leadership, and cooperation. If I cannot inspire that cooperation with my leadership, law, or example, I will fail. That is not an option. I'm not going to run away from that challenge. According to the precept of the hypothetical, only I can provide what is needed. Therefore, that is what I would do. Anyone of these survivors who chooses not to follow my law--for whatever reason--is free to do so. I do not want to force anyone to pretend to be a good person. They are more than welcome to leave the community any time they wish. There will be no questions asked nor exceptions tolerated.

Personally, I don't believe anyone has a right to own a planet either. However, it seems obvious to me that when mankind is left to it's own devices, many members act like they do own the planet and proceed without the slightest concern for the good of the planet or anyone else living on it presently or in the future. Knowing that little fact--and the consequences of it--I have no problem assuming ownership of that planet. It is far better for everyone that someone like me takes that role rather than leaving it up to the results of economic or political competition. Whenever absolute control is obtained through greed you can be assured that Tyranny is all that will follow.

Don't worry, its just an idea. Besides, I guarantee my rule will be a Kingship and not a Tyranny... or double your money back.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#37

Quote D'Anne Marc:
Mark J. Saulys ~ Remember, PFNELKAK was referring to another world, not this one. Also, remember, this question is hypothetical only. Absolute monarchy can take one of two forms: that of a King, or that of a Tyrant. There is no middle ground. A King attends to the needs of his people. A Tyrant tends to his own needs.

D'Anne Marc, the reason monarchy was abolished in America and elsewhere in the Enlightenment period is because ANY king is a tyrant simply because he is a king. all people have a right to self government and NOBODY can be trusted to serve the supposed "benefit" of the people ALL the time or even to discern what constitutes that benefit. Nor do they have a right to define what is "right" or "good" for anybody but themselves, EVERYONE has a right to define that for themselves and anything else IS tyranny.

Leninist communism is the political philosophy of the benevolent dictatorship - mainly because the Russian peasantry of the Tsarist epoch was not ready for anything else, they had a superstitious belief in the "divine right" of the tsar and of the feudal hierarchy so that Lenin had to be their "tsar" for them until they were, as a society, industrialized, were educated and became enlightened, as it were, and free of their ignorant superstitions. He tried to be the the "good tsar". Fidel, Mao, Ho Chi Mihn - and even Stalin and Kim Jong Il - all followed that example.

Quote D'Anne Marc:

Survival depends upon order, leadership, and cooperation. If I cannot inspire that cooperation with my leadership, law, or example, I will fail. That is not an option. I'm not going to run away from that challenge. According to the precept of the hypothetical, only I can provide what is needed. Therefore, that is what I would do. Anyone of these survivors who chooses not to follow my law--for whatever reason--is free to do so. I do not want to force anyone to pretend to be a good person. They are more than welcome to leave the community any time they wish. There will be no questions asked nor exceptions tolerated.

That entire assertion is a weak justification for tyranny founded upon presumptions that have no basis in fact. First let's take "Survival depends upon order, leadership, and cooperation." Tell that to the Native Americans or arctic natives or ANY group of people at that level of technology who invariably voluntarily order themselves and cooperate without ANY leadership hierarchy or any "leaders", as it were, in the universal socialist democracy (what Marx called "primitive communism") of cultures of that level of technology. "Leadership" is a concept invented to benefit "leaders", usually depending on some dark, superstious fear mongering by those personally ambitious - or, perhaps, simply self imagined and self important - would be leaders of the greater mass of the people.

I don't see why, "according to the precepts of the hypothetical", you can't just relinquish control and allow democracy to flourish - unless you would see this as an opportunity to force a vainglorious fantasy on someone else.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#38

Mark J. Saulys ~ First of all, human history is full of Monarchies that have served the peoples interests just fine. You have Augustus Caesar of Rome, Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, Cyrus II of Persia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Louis XIV The Sun King of France, but to name a few. Even our modern day Republic is based on a weak Monarchy. That is why we have an executive branch capable of executive actions and of assuming the role of a Monarch in an emergency. We did not move away from Monarchies because they "always" are Tyrannies. At the time of King George, there was a Tyranny; and, the colonists wanted nothing to do with any system that could be turned into such a Tyranny. Of course, what should be obvious to us all by now, is that ANY GOVERNMENT can be turned into a Tyranny. It might be much harder to turn a Democracy into a Tyranny than it is to turn a Monarchy into one--because to do so requires changing the will of all the people, instead of just one--yet, it certainly can, will, does, and has happened. As Benjamin Franklin said at the penning of the Constitution, "Well, you have your Republic, if you can keep it." Fateful words, indeed.

Secondly, only a Monarchy will serve the needs of a group of people thrust into a new and challenging environment for the first time. Even the American Indians tribes had Chiefs, and arctic natives--Eskimos--had elders, who wielded absolute authority without question. The only reason you missed that fact is because these Kings ruled over relatively small groups who never expanded beyond their borders. Nevertheless, these are also very good examples of a benevolent Monarchies; or, Kingships. The harsher the environment the more essential absolute authority is. In order to best serve their people, benevolent Monarchs always delegate their authority amongst their people as much as possible; whereas, Tyrants always centralize authority and power as much as possible. Some benevolent Monarchs have even gone so far as to disguise themselves as soldiers and peasants in order to see first hand what matters and issues are important to the people. Tyrants always isolate themselves from the people as much as possible; and, always hold them in contempt. Benevolent Monarchs always put the people first and you can tell what kind of leader people have by looking at the people. Wherever there is security, prosperity and happiness amongst the poorest of the people, there is benevolent leadership at the top.

Quote Mark J. Saulys:I don't see why, "according to the precept of the hypothetical", you can't just relinquish control and allow democracy to flourish - unless you would see this as an opportunity to force a vainglorious fantasy on someone else.

Actually, that would be my ultimate plan. I know that any benevolent Monarchy can and will eventually be perverted into a Tyranny. A benevolent Monarchy is only as good as the term that Monarch serves. Therefore, it would be my wish to simply stabilize the colony to the point of it being self sufficient and secure. At that point I would reorganize the government into one that is Democratic and self governing. I would have the people vote for a structure that they approve of; and, then step down. The greatest gift a Monarch can give his people is to delegate his authority to them. That would be my final goal.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#39
Quote D'Anne Marc:

Mark J. Saulys ~ First of all, human history is full of Monarchies that have served the peoples interests just fine. You have Augustus Caesar of Rome, Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, Cyrus II of Persia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, Louis XIV The Sun King of France, but to name a few. Even our modern day Republic is based on a weak Monarchy. That is why we have an executive branch capable of executive actions and of assuming the role of a Monarch in an emergency. We did not move away from Monarchies because they "always" are Tyrannies. At the time of King George, there was a Tyranny; and, the colonists wanted nothing to do with any system that could be turned into such a Tyranny. Of course, what should be obvious to us all by now, is that ANY GOVERNMENT can be turned into a Tyranny. It might be much harder to turn a Democracy into a Tyranny than it is to turn a Monarchy into one--because to do so requires changing the will of all the people, instead of just one--yet, it certainly can, will, does, and has happened. As Benjamin Franklin said at the penning of the Constitution, "Well, you have your Republic, if you can keep it." Fateful words, indeed.

Again your assertion is founded on presumptions not based in fact. First of all, reputed "benevolent monarchies" of history may or may not have actually been benevolent or may well have been benevolent to a much more limited degree than the history books will allow. Remember, it's the victor and the dominant and powerful who write history and the often self flattering accounts within it. Some of them may have been benevolent to the extent that they could but NOBODY can choose for someone else as well as someone can for themselves.

The Founders of the U.S., the French revolutionaries and others didn't do away with monarchy just because they didn't like the current monarch. If that were the case they could have much more easily effected a "palace revolution" wherein a faction opposing the sitting king assasinates him and replaces him with one of their choosing. They were fed up with monarchy in general, with the long, historical succession of monarchs. Their campaign to eradicate monarchy spanned hundreds of years and included milestone advances as the Magna Carta in the 1400s, the Great Revolution of 1688 and so on. The French revolutionaries went through four republics before they arrived at a stable democracy. Their revolution of 1793 was succeeded by a couple of "benevolent dictatorships" of Robespierre, known for the "Reign of Terror", and the vainglorious Napoleon.

Also, as far as "executive actions assuming the role of Monarch in emergencies", that's reminiscent of the Weimar Republic becoming the Third Reich by the ceding of "emergency powers" to the executive branch of the German government after the burning of the Reichstag and G.W. Bush trying the same thing after 9/11. Always fear is mongered to undermine faith in the people and in democracy and instill a fearful sense of a need for authoritarianism - a PR tactic which seems to have worked very effectively on you, D'Anne Marc..

Quote D'Anne Marc:

Secondly, only a Monarchy will serve the needs of a group of people thrust into a new and challenging environment for the first time. Even the American Indians tribes had Chiefs, and arctic natives--Eskimos--had elders, who wielded absolute authority without question. The only reason you missed that fact is because these Kings ruled over relatively small groups who never expanded beyond their borders. Nevertheless, these are also very good examples of a benevolent Monarchies; or, Kingships. The harsher the environment the more essential absolute authority is.

Actually, D'Aanne Marc, that's not true. Native Americans - of a prehistoric, preagriculural level of technology - did not have any hierarchy of authority and only white accountings of history and of their culture have them there. White people encountering Native Americans felt a need for there to be such hierarchies and invented them on the natives' behalf, among other reasons, for the sake of negotiating with - or swindling - them or, more precisely, giving an air of legitimacy to their dishonest negotiations, e.g., "That one's their leader and he says we can have Manhattan for 20 bucks.". I invite you to read Native Americans' own accounts or those of scientifically. responsible anthropologists. "The harsher the environment the more essential authority is." is similarly, I would assert, I'm sorry to say, a canard, i.e., false and another unfounded presumption.

Quote D'Anne Marc:

you can tell what kind of leader people have by looking at the people. Wherever there is security, prosperity and happiness amongst the poorest of the people, there is benevolent leadership at the top.

Another canard I'm afraid, you can tell, by looking at the people, how much relative power they have to govern themselves. "Security, prosperity and happiness amongst the poorest people" is an oxymoron, if they have security, prosperity and happiness they are not poor - and they have power. The only way to redistribute wealth is to redistribute power.

I'm really very sorry to find out you don't believe in democracy, D'Anne Marc, and are, what I would consider, rather euphorically and injudiciously enamoured with authoritarianism.

Quote D'Anne Marc:

Quote Mark J. Saulys:

I don't see why, "according to the precepts of the hypothetical", you can't just relinquish control and allow democracy to flourish - unless you would see this as an opportunity to force a vainglorious fantasy on someone else.

Actually, that would be my ultimate plan. I know that any benevolent Monarchy can and will eventually be perverted into a Tyranny. A benevolent Monarchy is only as good as the term that Monarch serves. Therefore, it would be my wish to simply stabilize the colony to the point of it being self sufficient and secure. At that point I would reorganize the government into one that is Democratic and self governing. I would have the people vote for a structure that they approve of; and, then step down. The greatest gift a Monarch can give his people is to delegate his authority to them. That would be my final goal.

So you're Lenin. Marx believed - quite scientifically and rather incontrovertably - that the state was invented to enforce private property rights - and, indeed, there are many, still today, who believe that to be the only legitimate function of the state. He thus believed that the abolition of private property would remove the need for the state and lead to its gradual "atrophy from disuse" and "withering away" as the absence of private property results in ever decreasing posessiveness and greed and strengthening of community. But first, by Marx, it would be necessary, just after the proletariat revolution, to live in the "dictatorship of the proletariat" wherein the proletariat assumes the status of "ruling class" in the period of transition to the abolition of all classes.

I have a distrust of even temporary, "necessary" dictatorships. It seems those never lead to the intended democracy either but only to more dictatorship.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 24 weeks ago
#40

The best example of a Leninist benevolent dictatorship is probably Cuba. Fidel and his brother are genuinely benevolent - by, of course, their understanding and definition of what that means.

They are also, however, genuinely dictators and thus I still wouldn't want to live in Cuba.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 24 weeks ago
#41

Mark J. Saulys ~ I don't consider myself to be comparable to anyone else in history. Everyone in history sought power. In this scenario I have power thrust upon me by PRNELKAK. I'm just trying to answer his simple question not defend, justify, or condemn any form of government. In my opinion any form can be benevolent or malevolent depending on who pulls the strings. There are good and bad governments; but, like with guns, it isn't the form that makes them good or bad, it is the people running them.

Personally, I agree with you, Democracy is the only form of government I would want to live under. Though it can be co opted just like any other government, it is much harder to do so; and, it is much easier to undo it if it happens. I certainly hope that we never have to realize the scenario PRNELKAK presented. Not only would it set the stage to replay much of our painful political evolution, by definition it would spell the end of our home planet and life as we know it. That would truly be tragic, indeed.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 23 weeks ago
#42

Reply to #28: PFNELKAK, what an excellent argument for matriarchy! Men are too violent and unfit to rule. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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