Archive for loony right

Faith By Nature

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2009 by AF

By its very nature, faith is something that is accepted – taken as read – without there being any “hard” evidence to support it. A belief in something one can see, or hear, even directly see the effects of in action, is not faith. The very word itself implies trust in the truth of a belief without anything external to back it up at all and the expression “blind faith” is simple tautology because faith by its very nature blindly follows an idea.

I, as I’ve mentioned before, am not religious, but I do respect those that are and there are times when I (almost) envy those that have faith. In fact, some of the nicest, funniest, most open-minded and well balanced people I know, or have come into contact with on the internet, are religious. An example of one such is the delightful PJ and you can see her blog here. My favourite quote of hers is, “I don’t understand why humanity can’t play nice and share.” To me that says it all really!

How, then, does it come about that some of the worst and what I would regard as downright evil people are also apparently extremely devout in their beliefs?

Personally, I think that the best thing about Christianity and many other religions too is the tolerance they preach. The worst thing about them is their acquisitive nature – the insistence that their disciples should go out and “convert” the rest of us to their particular beliefs. That, of course, is the standard methodology used by all large sales organisations to whip up incentive and motivate their sales teams. “Go get ’em. What we have is the best in the world. Everyone needs it whether they know it or not!” is the theme used to get the best out of sales representatives the world over. It has a second function too and that is to “bind” the group together; to make them feel part of a “family”. The secondary result in turn of that is to increase the “them and us” feelings of the group – “us” against the rest.

In my view, that belief in the group is often what seems to initially drive the evangelical brigade and it then translates into a need for the individual to justify to him or her self their continued adhesion to the cause and which some part of them that they will not admit to even to themselves, probably rejects their faith. Consequently, any dissention or alternative opinion is regarded as a threat to their “family”; to their beliefs; to their faith; to what has become their raison d’être.

Beware the superficially faithful who are apparently fanatical in their beliefs for, without any real independent depth to their own personalities to fall back on, their biggest fear is becoming faithless.

Lovely people like PJ on the other hand are, I think, simply confident and happy in what they believe themselves and don’t give a darn what other people think of that – and good for them!

What do you guys think?

Another Chat With Big G

Posted in Chats With Big G with tags , , , , , , , on September 11, 2009 by AF

I know you must be busy, but...Look, God, Big G – you don’t mind if I call you Big G do you? Anyway, if you’re for real, then you must be aware that I don’t actually believe in you, but I can’t imagine you’d truly hold that against me – it is after all an honestly held opinion, unlike some who profess to believe… just in case, eh?

So, that being the situation, I’m sure you’re not bothered if I blather on a bit from time to time like this. Well, that is if I’m wrong about you and you’re really there. If I’m right and you’re not… well, it doesn’t matter does it? Either way, I suspect I’m only talking to myself. It’s a bit like blogging actually – you do it because you feel a need, but you’re rarely quite sure if there’s actually anyone out there taking much notice, if any. That doesn’t stop you though, does it? Well, it doesn’t stop me at least.

Anyway, there’s another point I kind of wanted to put to you: It’s this thing about right and wrong – a huge question I know. The thing that puzzles me a bit is the way so many people seem to assume their ideas are right and only theirs, in all circumstances. Of course they’re often someone else’s actual ideas they’re following, but that doesn’t stop them being convinced they’re right and, for some strange reason, they seem to assume that everyone else should think the same – because it’s right!

Take for instance… well, say the religion thing as an example. I know so many are sort of following the same god – you, of course, Big G – but in so many different ways. Jews, Moslems, Christians and many others. Then there’s Buddhism , Hinduism and the Chinese and Japanese gods (which are a total mystery to me) plus others. I mean they’re all convinced their way is the right one, but that can’t be so, can it? Can it?

You could argue, I suppose, that their beliefs are right for them, but… The thing is, the minute you start with that statement about something as fundamental as religion then where will it end? And there’s that word too – don’t get me started on fundamentalists – you know what I think of them! Mind you, I’ve always been a live and let live sort of guy. I mean I’ve always thought that what one person believes and cares about is fine for them and none of my business – as long as they leave me alone to be myself too.

But that’s the trouble, isn’t it? So many think that their way is the “right” way, whereas, as I see it, there’s no such thing as simple right and wrong – there’s things I wouldn’t do (as far as I can imagine), but then can any of us truly say that? I mean – never say never, eh G?

I mean, look here G… er, you still there? Well, anyway, there’s your ten commandments for a start and please don’t get all huffy and start striking me dead and stuff. Apart from the fact that I think it’s about time you updated the big ten, nothing is really that simple, is it? Well, I mean, let’s take the big, obvious one: I couldn’t agree more with the general principle of “Thou shalt not kill,” but you didn’t even stick to that one yourself, did you?

Now hang on a minute, there are lots of examples. For instance: never mind smiting the Philistines and so on, what about bringing fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorra just because they were a bit debauched? And then there’s even poor old Lot’s wife, the woman you turned into a pillar of salt just for taking a peek at the interesting stuff going on behind her? What about her, eh? You don’t think turning her into a pillar of salt kills a girl? Talking of which, if someone I cared about was in imminent physical danger from some guy, I’d try very hard to kill the bastard and no mistake! Trust me! And I wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about it either. If some terrorist or other nut was about to kill me or mine, I’d go down fighting – believe me I would. If I’ve gotta go then I’ve gotta go, but I’d take him with me if I could. So don’t give me the, “These are the rules and you can never break them,” spiel – you just can’t say, “never,” about anything.

I know, I know: I’m getting a bit carried away here, aren’t I? But you in particular, in your infinite wisdom of course, must see this is all a bit subjective and us humans, being the devious lot we are, tend to use these black and white statements to prove any darned point we want and that’s usually to the detriment of someone else.

I think I most like the one you came up with in Matthew 7 (well, apparently you, but in the form of Jesus). If you recall, that said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” I know – it’s often quoted as, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” but it means the same thing and, in spite of all the gobbledegook that’s spouted surrounding it, it just means none of us should be worrying about other people’s shortcomings as we see them, because we’re not so goddam perfect ourselves and they might see us as just as flawed. So, who is any of us to say their opinion isn’t just as “right”, eh? Which brings us back to where we started.

Thanks G. Sorry I went on a bit, but you know me…

You Owe It To Yourself

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by AF

This post over at the Mudflats begins innocuously enough…

“On my 21st birthday, I woke up in the morning and drove to Dairy Queen.  I got soft serve vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping and I ate it for breakfast.  Why?  When I was a child I asked once if I could have ice cream for breakfast, and my mother said, “You can have ice cream for breakfast when you’re 21.”  And so I did.”

But if you want to put some of the anger and hateful behaviour going on in America at the moment into perspective, then you owe it to yourself to take a few moments to read this post in full.


What Is It With These People?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by AF

I’m not American, so I tend to say little about US politics unless I feel it affects the rest of us and UK politicians just make me feel ill, so I don’t mention them much either. But there are times when I wonder just what this planet is coming to.

It’s a bit like when bureaucrats (oh, how I loathe some of them) get all officious in what is clearly simply an attempt to increase their own sense of self importance and in fact justify their own existence. But in this instance a small but significant number of apparently small-minded US citizens are playing constitutional Russian Roulette with their whole country – and that could affect the rest of us.

It may well be that President Obama is playing an astute political game of chess over his healthcare proposals and that what he finally expects to get is not what’s most obviously on the table at the moment. Furthermore, I think his policies are misguided in as much as, desirable though his ideas are in theory, reality rarely matches anything close to theory when any service at all is run directly by government. Basically, healthcare almost everywhere in the industrialised world requires a huge rethink, because most of us simply can’t afford to support a system that offers the sort of healthcare that is daily becoming more sophisticated and vastly more expensive.

Nevertheless, I really can’t see why seasoned politicians and activists (mainly on the right of the Republican Party) would even consider, let alone condone, the evil “rent-a-mob” actions that are clearly taking place at meetings designed to explain the proposals to (and discuss them with) ordinary people across America. What is the point of spreading the lies, filth and half truths that these people are using to cloud the issues they so violently disagree with? What happened to reasoned argument and sensible discussion? Furthermore, I find it absolutely disgusting that TV channels can buy into this vile behaviour in the manner that Fox News apparently is according to so many rational sounding posts on the Internet. Using the power of TV to spread that sort of hatred is entirely anti-democratic and, to me, totally abhorrent.

I think the worst thing about it all, though, is how far these people plainly are removed from reality. I can understand that things that I don’t give damn about are vitally important to others – that’s their right and mine too and they have a democratic right to hold their views and express them.

But politicians buying into this crap? Now that’s something else entirely and it shows a really frightening lack of understanding and caring for the good of the country. Such people can only be seen as chasing fringe votes – the votes of the nasty, bigoted minority who would brook no opinion other than the disgustingly vile opinions that they hold and wish to see forced onto all of us by any means they can achieve. That way lies pure dictatorship!

The right wing of the Republican Party does this time and again. They hounded Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky to the tune of millions of public dollars spent on a matter that, though possibly bureaucratically important, was entirely trivial to most Americans – which was proved when they re-elected him and showed quite clearly that they didn’t actually give a sh*t about his love life, or the spiteful values of the nut-jobs! More importantly, it all wasted an enormous amount of valuable time for themselves, their party, the presidency, the legislature and it severely damaged US standing in the world along with the wellbeing of the country and its citizens. Ultimately, because of America’s size, that affected all of us.

And now we have the Obama birth certificate thing…

Do most normal Americans actually give a toss? NO! Absolutely NOT! The fact is that a majority of the electorate voted him, the man they saw and connected with, into office and whether some ancient bit of paper may or may not have made him strictly eligible in bureaucratic terms is almost totally irrelevant now. The people wanted him, not even necessarily because they seriously expected he would be the Superman they hoped, but simply because he was a better bet than the sh*t that the Republicans put up as an alternative!

Republicans (and at heart I probably am more or less Republican in my outlook) get real! Wake up and smell the coffee! Instead of bogging yourselves and everyone else down in this mire of nonsensical crap, you need to work on getting the right people and the right policies in place for the next election, right now (note what happened to the Tories in the UK and the misery that has created for the Brits). Get rid of the wing-nuts! America – heck, the world – cannot afford for you to suffer such abject failure and obscurity as you are heading for at this moment!

Just for once, think of the people – think of your country first! All of it!

Vegetarians’ Outrage

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by AF

Apparently, according to the UK Daily Mail, vegetarians are up in arms about the fact that supermarket giant Tesco is sending 5000 tons of meat a year to be burnt because it is to be used to produce electricity. Not the waste, the use!

Their article says…

“Consumers should be informed if any of their home electricity is being generated using the ‘macabre’ recycling of waste meat from supermarkets, campaigners said today.

Tesco now sends 5,000 tons of meat that has passed its sell-by date to be turned into enough National Grid electricity to power 600 homes for a year.

The retail giant has hailed the scheme as part of a ‘green’ drive which had enabled it to stop sending any of the waste it produces to environmentally damaging landfill sites.”   (full story here)

What is the matter with these people? I might not want to eat meat; I might not want to use or promote goods made from animal products; but if I were a vegetarian, I can’t see how that would give me the right to tell Tesco what to do with all the disgusting amount of waste produced by our utterly ridiculous sell-by date system. Most of the food that is scrapped is perfectly good, but our litigation and health and safety conscious culture now means that most companies are forced to add in a safety factor of several hundred percent.

Tesco’s action seems to me to be the least stupid thing the UK has done in a long time.

What’s all that all about? What a shambles our society has become!

What’s THAT About?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by AF

Do you come across stuff on TV, in the papers, in blogs, wherever, and think, “Oh hell! The lunatics have finally taken over the whole goddam asylum!”? Of course you do – you’re normal – that’s why I like you. I came across this gem today on a terrific and interesting blog called “The Fifty Factor” and had just such a moment. The item begins…

“It’s a slow news day when the front page of the Los Angeles Times Business Section has a big, full-color, “wiener warning” story! No, Loraina Babbit is not on the loose again, no the Playboy Mansion is not having another wild party and no, this is not about sex offenders living too close to neighborhood schools. It’s about hot dogs! Who knew wieners were breaking news and at the top of our “worry” list these days?!?”

Apparently, some vegan group in New Jersey is trying to get a health warning on wieners (hot dog sausages to you, if you’re a Brit) similar to the one the anti-smoking lobby forced the tobacco companies to put on cigarette packets (like we didn’t know smoking is bad for us … but what the heck, if we like it…)  What is that about?

Now, Joanna very rightly points out that there must be at least a million things that are far more important (well, the exaggeration is mine, naturally, but you get the point I’m sure), but I’m not actually so sure. Of course the vague, unproven, maybe, perhaps if you ate twenty packets a day for the next thirty years and managed not to die of obesity in the meantime, they might just encourage the cancer you were probably going to get anyway, is just plain stupid. But there is a serious point here and it’s very definitely not connected directly with wieners.

What the hell is the human race about with all this, warning on this, litigation over that, why didn’t the State protect me from my own stupidity there, thing? I reckon I’m normally a pretty easy going sort of guy – sure I get a bit annoyed about all sorts of things from time to time, like anyone else, yet I really do believe in “live and let live.” But there are three groups of people on this earth that drive me nuts and I would (I think) willingly trade just about anything with God (or whoever or whatever else might have the power) to have them wiped off the face of the planet – “jobs worth bureaucrats”, “do-gooders” and bloody “single issue activists” (and think about it, that includes terrorists and wiener hating vegans – both!).

Before anyone gets too excited, I have no issue whatsoever with vegans, vegetarians, meat lovers, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-smoking, smokers, gays, lesbians, Christians, Moslems, Jews, or any of the other millions of different groups that form to support what’s important to them. Those people add to the richness of humanity and life for us all. We may think they’re right or wrong, but that’s up to us just as their particular love, or beef (no pun intended) is up to them. But that’s the point! They are fully entitled to their opinion and it’s up to and important to them, not the rest of us!

Why the f**k do they think the rest of us should care and start to live their way? What is that all about? Are they that insecure? Who the hell do they think they are to tell me or anyone else how to live our lives?

So, all my three groups are probably actually three sides of the same coin: the “I know best and you must do it my way” people. Screw the lot of them, I say! That’s you screw them, not me – I don’t want to even get that close!

Well, I Resisted

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by AF

I resisted the temptation for as long as I could, but the Sarah Palin thing turns up everywhere and it is a whole lot more important than a lot of people seem to think, so I caved in and wrote this.

I commented on a post on a political blog as follows:

Not that I’m advocating it, but with a dictatorship, what you see is more or less what you get.

With a democracy there is always danger. Some single thing happens and suddenly you can find yourself with a swing to extremism – be it to the left or to the right. If that occurs at something like election time, watch out!

Palin is all you say and, as many have commented here and elsewhere, she’s great media fodder and poking fun at her is almost a national sport at times. But she could be dangerous! The wrong event at the wrong moment and she and all her ilk would be swept to power. What would that mean for the world”

I think that judgment is more valid than a lot of people realise…

Sarah Palin seems to me to be a rallying point for a whole batch of the oft called “loony” right in the US – and that’s not good. When bigots and others with extremist views – does that make sense? Are all extremists not bigots by definition? But I digress – whilst extremists are a disparate bunch, they are often rather upsetting, but that’s life and they’re entitled to their opinions however unpalatable they may be to most of us, but they are little threat. Given a charismatic personality to follow, the nature of the beast changes (and she is charismatic, if somewhat brittle and given to faux pas on a grand scale – and she’s got tits too – rednecks go for tits). She is also very good at the sound bite thing as well.

Sarah Palin is the darling of a certain section of the American political right. Facts don’t get in her way. If it sounds good and will gain her more adulation, then she’ll say it. By definition, extremists don’t listen to reasoned argument. If a speech or even a phrase fits in with their prejudices, their ideology, then they’re not likely to let the inconvenience of mere facts spoil a good angle.

Like I said in my comment, it only takes the wrong event at the wrong moment and a big chunk of normally rational, considerate, decent people will swing towards something they would usually hate. Imagine if 9/11 had occurred a month before the US08 Presidential election – would Obama now be President, or would McCain and Palin be in the Whitehouse?

That scenario feels like George W on speed to me and fills me with horror. As I said, democracy is what we revere and believe in, but we should never take it for granted, because it can be very fragile and fraught with great danger!