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Isms – Setting the Record Straight – More on Discrimination – Religion and Politics

It’s an interesting reality. The more folks are able to complain they’re being “discriminated against” on some basis or other, the less it’s typically actually occurring.

You see, if you can come out and openly state—even quietly, much less shouting it from the rooftops—that you’re being discriminated against on some basis without any harm coming to you, the less you likely truly have the right to make the claim.

This doesn’t mean that if you can come out and say you’re being discriminated against on some basis, it’s not actually happening, just that a more or less direct indicator of one’s freedom, is his or her ability to speak openly about his or her condition.

This is an important realization, for there are places in the world where talking about the fact that you’re being acted or spoken against, is tantamount to being asked to be sentenced to death. In fact, if you happen to be a Christian in Pakistan, you can go to jail, or be handed a death sentence on the basis of unfounded accusations surrounding your actions, based on you belief in Christianity. Yes, I can cite examples.

It can be argued that, being a Christian is a choice one makes, and I agree that this is true. Nonetheless, the argument to this effect does not mean you should suffer as a result—most particularly if there are no laws saying you may not be that thing.

That being said, I think it necessary to “draw a hard line in the sand.” As I’ve said, Christians and Muslims choose to be what they are. It can be argued that, since there is a cultural group, born of a certain family from which they originate, that “familially Jewish” folks do not have such a choice. People who practice Judaism however, cannot make such a statement in my view—at least, not on the basis of such practice, or the belief that underlies it.

If your family is from Africa, and you possess a set of attributes that makes that fact obvious, it’s true that you had and have no control over that fact.

The point I’m making, is that discrimination on the basis of how someone looks (without making some sort or sorts of modifications to make themselves look more or less “normal” to the place and societal norms where they find themselves) can be one form of discrimination, and that if discrimination occurs on the basis of their appearance, it must be seen to be generally wrong.

Here’s where the problems come though. If a person bears certain physical hallmarks, it’s possible to discriminate against them without consideration of those physical traits.

I need to “take a break” here, to discuss an idea that is seen as radical—though it shouldn’t be—by many people in the modern day. The idea, simply put, is that discrimination is not only not always bad, but often necessary. One discriminates for or against what he or she wears, eats, where he or she works on a literal minute-by-minute basis. We literally discriminate for or against how our “free time” will be spent.

Simply stated, discrimination is a needed, reasonable thing in many instances.

Having made this disclaimer, let’s dive back in to the discussion in progress.

It was recently discovered through polling, that a significant percentage of a group who generally held to the ideas of a certain political ideology, had decided that any discrimination of people in a particular political office who belonged to “racial minorities,” must be racially motivated.

This—quite aside from being a dangerous road to travel—is an absolute killer of reasonable dissent. If one can make the argument that anybody who chooses to accept or not accept what someone else says or does (to discriminate on the basis of ideology or belief for or against that person) is immediately grounds for leveling a charge of racism against the person in question, all potential for disagreement has been quashed.

That means that the person accusing the other of racism, if successful in getting people to accept their accusation, can make it impossible for others to ever disagree with them, race aside (and those who know me, know well that I don’t even accept the concept of race, even though I know evil things have been done in its name).

Boiling this down then, it’s pretty much never reasonable to discriminate against another, based on physical attributes they possess except when you know the person in question will be unable to do certain things (a person who is completely blind probably ought not be allowed to drive on public roadways in current circumstances—that may change in future, but it is a reasonable thing as things now are).

With regard to discrimination on the basis of cultural (but not physicality related to culture), norms or behavioral patterns, such can and must be considered appropriate.

The takeaway is, it’s not only okay to both disagree with and to discriminate in the realm of certain things physical and in almost all things like ideas, it’s necessary to do so.

Having cleared the air in that regard, allow me to take a moment to discuss the idea of “reasonable response.”

If you disagree with, and choose to discriminate against a given idea (for example, that cutting off the hands of thieves is reasonable), the next question is, “How do you respond?”

If a person holds that an idea I consider to be unreasonable, is a reasonable one, but doesn’t act on that idea, confining or getting into physical altercations with that person is probably not called for. Discussing the idea with them and explaining why you disagree may be a good thing to do. Talking with others to explain why you don’t support the idea and trying to get them to align with what you believe might also be acceptable.

If a person chooses to act based on something against which you discriminate or disagree. Reasonable response may be countermeasures to their actions. On the other hand, if the actions are more or less harmless, it may be reasonable to do nothing more than discuss things with them—and that’s if you feel the need to do anything at all.

The point here is, everything a person thinks and the actions that flow from those thoughts, whether you choose to discriminate against them or not does not require cataclysmic action, or even severe action, or for that matter, any action or statement at all. It’s okay in many instances to disagree, to discriminate for your own part, and leave others alone. In those instances where that’s not the case, great care must be taken to discern what reasonable response looks like.

Okay, I have reached the end of my time and “word count” in discussing this. As such, if I find I’ve more to say, I’ll have to create another post to cover it.

As usual, may your time be good and, thanks for reading.

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Business For LinkedIn Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Civility – Religion and Politics

It must be considered to be a simple reality of life that, when we speak, we do so from a perspective that is uniquely our own. There are some that will complain that doing so requires a lot of use of the words, “I” and, “me.” Be that as it may, such is the case as far as I’m able to tell.

The reason for this is really pretty simple. When I write, the basis for that which I write, is my opinion(s) and my understanding of the World at large. If I were to write fiction works, things would be different, but I don’t, rather, I write what most would term “opinion pieces.” As such, you should expect to “hear” my opinions when and if you read my work.

All this being said, I should make a couple of things about what I write, clear for all to see.

To begin with, I do what I do “in the great wide open.” Put another way, I don’t write in a vacuum. It’s my intent to air my perspective and understanding, with the understanding that what I say may be wrong. I can also accept that for some things I say, there may not be one “correct answer.” I want discourse. I desire folks to tell me what they think—and that matters most when they don’t agree with me (best of all, when they can articulate their reason or reasons—the more eloquently, the better).

You see, I learned long ago, that I was not the purveyor of all wisdom—not even on the subjects about which I care the very most.

Equally, if not more, importantly, I have no desire to be such a person. I have no need, nor desire to constantly best those about me. That’s just not how life ought to work in my opinion.

Saying this acts as a sort of “gateway” to my second point—the one about which this article is ostensibly written.

If I believed myself to be omniscient, I suppose I could see it as a reasonable thing to act in a lordly, perhaps even kingly manner. Since I don’t have any such illusion (much less a knowledge of the reality of my supposed superiority), it seems as though it would be more than a little ridiculous of me to take such a position.

Honestly, even if I knew far more than anybody around or about me, I still could not imagine acting so. In truth, it seems to me with just the limited wisdom I possess, that there’s a great deal of sense in the old adage, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” That doesn’t mean I want to take advantage of others either though. It means rather, that people respond so much more reasonably when you’re somebody they find to be a pleasant person with whom to deal.

In point of fact, as a rule, I find this the best model for life. That is, you ought to be a person people will remember as being pleasant. And you should treat people nicely, politely, and as “bearers of merit” regardless their station in life. They may be kings or paupers, or something in between; whatever they be, you should treat them with niceness and respect.

Though arguments can be made for dealing with “enemies” differently than with “friends” (other such arguments can be made for strangers or folks in other “stati.”), I personally tend to believe you should be as kind and polite to even those with whom you have the strongest of disagreements.

I’m not saying there cannot be exceptions, just that as a rule, this is a “solid modus operandi.”

The interesting thing is, I would be willing to make a pretty large wager, that the majority of folks out there claim to believe the same thing. If that’s the case, why do I need to write this piece at all?

A good question, worthy of an answer.

With the advent of the Internet, and its various platforms (things like social media and email), it would seem that people—apparently thinking themselves to be acting in anonymity—are willing to “suspend” this basic rule of life.

You may believe this to be acceptable. As for me, I do not. Who I am is who I am, Internet, anonymity, or not. The person you meet on the street is the same person I do my level best to present on the Internet—even when you don’t know it’s me with whom you’re dealing.

The thing is, if this manner of response and behavior had stopped at the Internet and its various subcomponents, that would have been bad enough.

The reality is though, it hasn’t. Don’t take me wrong, not everyone behaves badly, Internet or not. The thing is though, a good many people have been moving toward incivility in a variety of venues and at an alarmingly ever faster pace.

One apparent key to this change, is that people seem to have decided on escalation rather than calmness and deescalation. Put another way, it appears that the majority of people have forgotten a very simple fact. What fact? You alone, decide how you will respond to the statements and actions of others. If you decide to respond badly, chances are good things will just get worse. Either you’ll hurt people, or they’ll hurt you.

Again, I’m not saying there is no scenario in which it’s totally necessary to respond in kind (or even with a seemingly overzealous reaction). I am saying though, that the majority of the time, almost everything will work out better if you choose a path of firmness but niceness.

This is, as a rule, the philosophy I apply to life (though some would disagree). As a rule, it works pretty darned well!

Being civil is not something you can “charge” others to do as a rule. It is a path you must choose (often, even when those around you are not doing likewise). It’s often a hard choice, but almost always a good one.

Okay, here I am at the end of my time and words. As usual, allow me to wish you the best of times, and to thank you for taking the time to read my work.