Tag Archives | Opinion

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with cooperation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Robert Imre, University of Newcastle

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today, terrorist groups have one thing in common. They seek to shock, while simultaneously portraying themselves as victims. While their beliefs can vary wildly, what they all share is the “propaganda of the deed” in their extreme violent activities.

Typically, political violence in the most extreme form – terrorism – usually will see groups fracture in to smaller sub-groups. Once violence is legitimated, it then becomes a way to settle internal disagreements as well.

Given that we have seen a number of terrorist groups come and go over the decades, it bears scrutiny how these various groups were successfully stopped, as well as where governments failed.… Read the rest

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Deepak Chopra is pissed off by Richard Dawkins’ arrogance

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This post is certain to polarize the Disinfo audience, as some of you seem to follow Chopra and others Dawkins. Let’s all try to be civil in the comments!

via The Raw Story:

A new book details the years-long, highly acrimonious feud between self-help guru Deepak Chopra and evolutionary biologist and skeptic Richard Dawkins.

According to Salon.com, Tom Roston’s book The Quantum Prophets: Richard Dawkins, Deepak Chopra and the spooky truth about their battle over God, explains that the longstanding rivalry between the two men began at the 2002 TED Conference and culminated in a public debate in 2013. In an interview with Roston, Chopra explained that Dawkins’ “arrogance” continues to bother him.

“With Dawkins, I am just pissed off. I am pissed off by his arrogance and his pretense of being a really good scientist. He is not,” Chopra told Roston. “And he is using his scientific credentials to literally go on a rampage.”

When Roston said that this kind of resentment is surprising coming from a man who purports to teach millions of others the secrets of inner peace, Chopra, surprisingly, agreed.

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“Everything Is Propaganda”?: Some Ongoing Conversation

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Editor’s note: To get the full gist of Gilmour’s argument, go to the post on Christian Humanist and read the entire thing.

Nathan P. Gilmour writes at the Christian Humanist:

I note my own conservative tendencies because, if I am a conservative, I get to indulge my sympathies with long-running, traditioned communities rather than with the so-called “forces of history” (I tend to be more of a personalist when it comes to history–I blame people rather than impersonal forces for bad things that happen).  So I resonated with a narrative that often occupies the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, and which got spelled out explicitly in the episode at hand, which goes something like this:

  • Once there was a group of people whose way of life stood as the assumed “good” form of life in certain parts of North America.
  • At a certain point in history, another group of people, whose military technology was better than the formerly-dominant group, arrived and defeated that group in a series of violent encounters.
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Op-Ed: When it comes to comics, let’s put literary criticism back on the shelf

Tim McFarlane/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Tim McFarlane/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By David Sweeney, Glasgow School of Art

For the second year running, the Edinburgh International Book Festival returns with Stripped 2014; a strand dedicated exclusively to comics and graphic novels. It has even commissioned its own graphic novel – a dystopian vision of Scotland’s future called IDP:2043 – as a centrepiece. But this absorption of comic books into a culturally highbrow setting should not go unquestioned.

A few years ago I attended a public interview featuring David Simon, creator of the critically acclaimed HBO television series The Wire. Simon’s questioner, a seemingly beleaguered broadsheet journalist, started off by comparing the series to “a novel”; Simon seemed puzzled by the comparison and asked the journalist to elaborate. The Wire was like a novel, the journalist explained, because it was a text of “high quality”.… Read the rest

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An Open Letter: We are in Denial

Dear White America,

As you fill my Facebook feed with videos of ice buckets being dumped on your heads, I cannot help but notice your silence (with a few exceptions) regarding the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri.

While raising money for ALS research is undoubtedly a noble pursuit, there are some slightly more pressing issues confronting our society.

And if we are being honest, most of us white people are pretty uncomfortable talking about race.

Actually, uncomfortable is the wrong word.

A more accurate word is denial.

The shame we feel when we learn of the Atlantic slave trade, chattel slavery, plantation cotton fields, “forty acres and a mule,” lynchings, poll taxes, “separate but equal,” segregation, redlining and endemic discrimination across America’s institutional landscape, is viewed as a morally reprehensible part of our past.

But what we do not understand, including those of us who identify as socially conscious liberal democrats, is that structural racism still exists in ourpresent.Read the rest

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How White Liberals Shut Down Conversations About Racism

Nancy LeTourneau writes at Horizons:

Some of you might be aware of the fact that over the Thanksgiving week a battle about racism was engaged on the Daily Kos web site . If not, don’t worry, I’m not going to bring the whole thing here. But I do want to use some of the fallout to help us understand why talking about racism – even amongst liberals – is so hard to do.

What kicked off the conflict at Daily Kos was that a cartoonist posted a diary with drawings of President Obama that resembled a gorilla/monkey. To understand the reaction, you have to be aware of the history of racism being expressed by this kind of depiction. As many challenged the use of that imagery, a battle ensued.

What I found most telling was a reaction by one of the cartoonist’s fans at his web site who said this:

Being called a racist is really about as bad as it gets.

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Race is a Social Concept, Not a Scientific One

"silent diversity" by DryHundredFear via Flickr.

“silent diversity” by DryHundredFear via Flickr.

via Live Science:

Beyond the Ferguson, Mo., media reports on the “racial divide,” the facts require some correction: Despite notions to the contrary, there is only one human race. Our single race is independent of geographic origin, ethnicity, culture, color of skin or shape of eyes — we all share a single phenotype, the same or similar observable anatomical features and behavior.

Science highlights these similarities in our embryonic development, physiology (our organ-based systems), biochemistry (our metabolites and reactions), and more recently, genomics (our genetic makeup). As a molecular biologist, this last one is indeed the most important to me — data show that the DNA of any two human beings is 99.9 percent identical, and we all share the same set of genes, scientifically validating the existence of a single biological human race and one origin for all human beings. In short, we are all brothers and sisters.

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How the Occupy Movement Helps Us Progress

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

The words ‘Occupy’, and the concept of the 99% and the 1% have become so enmeshed in our daily lives, hardly an American alive can deny their importance. Still, when pundits deign to look back upon the short history of the movement, and recent years’ progressive activism in general, they wonder “what good has it done”, and “where have they gone”, and “why couldn’t they just play by the rules?” The underlying implication is that such protests are somehow outside the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political landscape, and therefore should be easily forgotten. But their ideas demand the attention of people everywhere, from Gezi Park to Taiwan, from Brazil to Ferguson, and anywhere citizens have been forced to exert their rights by literally occupying their own turf against tyrannical powers.… Read the rest

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“Don’t mention the war.” – Some thoughts on H.P. Lovecraft and Race

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Editor’s Note: This essay was first published on David Nickle’s blog, “The Devil’s Exercise Yard.” It has been republished with permission.

When I went down to New Orleans last year to visit the World Horror Convention, I had just a few things on my to-do list. I wanted to see the town, sample its cuisine and take in some jazz–promote The ‘Geisters, the book that I had coming out that year, as much as was graceful–and also, talk a bit about race.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about race as it pertained to H.P. Lovecraft’s writings.

It seemed like the thing to do. The organizers of World Horror had found me a panel to sit on, moderated by Lovecraftian scholar, critic and anthologist S.T. Joshi, called Lovecraft’s Eternal Fascination. My first novel, Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, is the only pseudo-Lovecraftian book I’ve written, and one of my aims with that book was to deal with Lovecraftian xenophobia from a post-Martin-Luther-King perspective–to tie Lovecraft’s horrible eugenic notions together with the genuine and just as horrible eugenic fallacies that were making the rounds in early 20th century America.… Read the rest

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The Danger of “Us” VS “Them”

This post was originally published on “Consciousness is Everything.”

To paraphrase Nietzsche, the danger in fighting monsters is that of becoming a monster oneself. Why do we feel the need to fight monsters? First we must perceive “I” as distinct from “an other”. At the heart of the matter, all is resolved into Oneness.  But when we fail to perceive this, the sense of separation prevails. This is the root of all of our troubles. When we perceive some other who is somehow deemed a threat or is sufficiently “bad”, the tendency is to get up in arms. This fuels the psychology of separation even further. There arises a battle between “us” and “them”. In a neat little twist of irony, Reality proves that, ultimately, we are all One…even via the medium of our misguided efforts at preserving the separate self at the expense of the others who threaten it.… Read the rest

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