Discrimination

Discrimination means to differentiate, which could have bad connotations, such as to treat individuals differently in a bad way based on race or sex or nationality or creed or religion or just about anything that comes to mind.  For example, blacks have been discriminated against in employment, voting rights, freedom, and many other rights simply based on their color.

However, discrimination has a good side to the coin if it is discerning differences to determine the best of a group of individuals.  For example, we discriminate when we compare Albert Einstein to other scientists because Einstein was different and thus we differentiate his abilities from others in a good form of being prejudiced.  Einstein should be separated from his contemporaries as being the best.

It is interesting to note that most people who claim that they never discriminate against Native Americans, Japanese, blacks, Jewish, Irish, or whatever group is in the “hot box,” are really discriminating because they have made race an issue.  Somebody who truly doesn’t discriminate doesn’t even notice the difference.  A man who says that he likes the black race just showed his true allegiance to his race because he didn’t say that he liked all races no matter what.  The soldier who goes to war with his brothers in arms from all different races and religions and sees no distinction is the true professional who does not discriminate.

So, is there a problem with the “Black Lives Matter” group?  They didn’t say, “All Lives Matter.”  Of course, black lives matter, but so do the lives of red, yellow, tan, brown, and white people.  Some say that blacks have been mistreated for so many generations that they should have the right to discriminate against others.  Well, let’s let the Native Americans have that right first.  And how about allowing the Jews to discriminate against Arabs?  Where does it stop?  We have to say that all lives matter to avoid any continuation of discrimination through “getting even” or revenge motivation.

The discrimination against blacks in the south roots itself deeply in the soil of slavery.  I watched many of these whites spew out their hatred, which was very similar to the hatred of the Jewish people by the Germans.  If you are down and out, you will look for somebody to make yourself feel or look better.  The poor whites in the south didn’t have much in their pockets, but they could always pick on a poor black person to make themselves better than somebody else.

In order to get past the terrible history of murdering blacks and Jews, we need to study our past to make certain that it does not reappear.  Rather than tearing down Civil War statues, it would be much more intelligent to examine the history of that war to prevent it from happening again.  It would be more important to learn that General Robert E. Lee was not in favor of slavery, but, rather instead, joined the Confederacy because he sided with his state, Virginia, over the union.  And when you study the history of General Stonewall Jackson, you learn that he opposed slavery and, in fact, taught blacks in his Sunday School classes.  Jackson was another Confederate leader who fought with Virginia rather than against her.  For you see, history is extremely important to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes.  The mistake made during the Civil War was in not declaring the war was to free slaves and nothing else.  State’s rights should never have been an issue.  In fact, if slavery had been the only issue for the war, Generals Lee and Jackson would have joined the Union side, and the war would have lasted for less than a year.  They were that good!

But emotions pour out when we discuss these issues and mad idiots like Hitler can take over crowds who feed on this adrenaline rush.  Tearing down statues usually is only a start.  Burning the history books and then other books is an intermediary step.  Then it is time to start rounding up the “bad guys and gals,” whoever that might be.  Hitler chose the Jews, but the next totalitarian leader may choose to imprison all the middle and upper class.  It would be like trying to predict the weather on a date next year.  Who knows who will be discriminated against by the totalitarian regime?

And I guess that is my point.  Extremists can discriminate against a selected group.  And then that group can get back at the world and discriminate against another selected group.  It is much like the father who abuses the son, and then the son abuses the grandson.  The discrimination perpetuates itself unless we stop and examine the history behind these extreme movements and learn from them so they don’t happen again.

Idiot-Proofing Morality

What is moral?  Who determines immorality?  Unfortunately, idiot extremists typically control what is deemed to be both moral and immoral.  Both conservatives and liberals determine what is right and wrong based on their extreme beliefs.

The majority of society generally falls in either the category of being apathetic or following the extremist views like sheep.  Hitler, representing the right, and Stalin, representing the left, are examples of extremist leaders who took over their respective countries.  Hitler and Stalin executed thousands and thousands of people in the name of morality, which was dictated by them.

Fundamentalist religious leaders and liberal communist workers are very similar in how they operate.  Just like with Hitler and Stalin, extremist leaders will end up in the same zone, imposing a perverted moral code, either right or left, on society.

So, how do you idiot-proof morality?  How do you keep the idiot extremists from taking over and imposing their deluded values on the rest of the world? Would it surprise you if I told you nobody has been able to do it yet?

And even if we eliminated the extremists, would the remaining population know what was moral?  Would it be an objective test based on what a reasonable person thought?  Or would it be a subjective test based on what you believed to be moral?

Neither test is very effective.  I have never met a person who was reasonable under any and all circumstances.  But I have met many scary people who didn’t care about anything or anybody, so their subjective test would be worthless.

Even though these are rather negative conclusions about the determination of morality, I still think that most of us have an idea what is right and wrong.  Most of us feel guilty when we do something that is bad.  Those psychopaths who have no feelings of shame during life may face consequences in the afterlife.

So, the bottom line is that we either die and nothing happens, or we meet our creator who, more than likely, will provide consequences for our choices.  Death leading to nothing is not the typical ending in our recycling universe.   Also, life makes no sense if we have free will to make choices and there are no consequences.  It would make life quite absurd.

Love and Hate

Love and hate are both four-letter words.  Sometimes they have other similarities.  Love can turn into hate and hate can return to love.  How can this be?

Well, both of them are extreme emotions that many times spring from relationships.  The most basic explanation is that love occurs when the relationship is good and hate develops when the relationship sours.  So are we talking about the same emotion, distinguished by whether things are going well or not?

It’s not quite that simple.  Some people love and hate from afar.  A stalker may be initially attracted to a beautiful lady, thinking of his feelings as love for her.  But the stalker may eventually realize that he can never have her, so his feelings turn to hate.  The poor lady may never even know anything about this guy until he appears out of the dark and kills her.

Some people hate others based on race, creed, or religion.  If you are poor, you can hate the rich without knowing them.  Thus, these forms of hate are not based on personal relationships that have gone bad.  Many times, hate is a way for the oppressed to compensate for their positions in life.  Hate also can become a super-glue for political parties, gangs, and peer groups.  What better way to cement individuals together than by hating another group?  Hitler understood this very well.

Love and hate, although very powerful initially, typically are very temporal emotions, because extreme emotions can burn out fairly quickly.  They can disappear as quickly as they appear.  But there are exceptions to this.  The hate between Arabs and Jews has been going on for hundreds of years.  This is not going away because the Bible makes the Jewish people the chosen ones and the Koran does not.  The hate leads to terrorist acts that beget more violence.  It has become a “never-ending story” of hate.

However, these problems can be resolved over time when reasonable leaders are in charge of Arab countries and Israel.  An example of this was Northern Ireland and England.  The terrorist killings had gone on for decades without any end in sight until the leadership of those countries recognized how the acts of terrorism were tearing the economy of the two countries apart.  Reasonable leaders found an economic compromise that has held the peace for many years.

Does that mean that the leadership in the Middle East is unreasonable?  Well of course it does.  But which comes first:  reasonable leadership or stopping the terrorist attacks?  The leaders say that they must respond to the terrorist attacks, and since the terrorists are not reasonable, they cannot be reasonable.

There is a problem with extremist thinking.  It is important for moderates to exert more control in the world.  Generally, moderates do not choose to get involved with extremists.  They patiently wait for the extreme positions to dissipate.  But moderates must take a stand against terrorists and extremists before they polarize the world.  The thing that makes moderates apathetic is that they believe that since terrorists and extremists are in the minority, they can never take over the world.  Hitler is the ultimate example of why this is the wrong way to think.  Many extremist minorities have taken over countries throughout history.  Stalin just killed millions of people who didn’t do what he demanded.

There are many countries in the world who do not want terrorism to expand into their areas, so they should be willing to form a worldwide coalition to eradicate terrorists and extremists throughout the world.  The terrorists and extremists cannot stand up to a worldwide force that joins hands to crush them.

Perhaps we would be better off by not emphasizing extreme emotions like love and hate and instead by becoming a more thoughtful, moderate world.

Peer Pressure in the Wrong Direction

Our friends don’t always give us good advice and many times push us in the wrong direction.  We may receive better advice from our parents, but may not realize it until we are parents ourselves.  The problem with friends is that they are primarily motivated to make their lives better than your life.  If you do well, they may be a bit jealous, so don’t count on too much support.  In fact, you may find that you have been sabotaged by friends who couldn’t stand your success.

Yet, peers are very important to us as we reach the adolescent stage.  We want to be members of a gang or clique.  We want to be accepted in a group, but at what cost?  We may have to give up our independent identity and conform to the group norm.  And that applies to most any association, whether church group or criminal gang.

And once you pass the test to be admitted to that gang, your life will belong to that group.  You will be owned by that association.  Your thoughts and actions will be controlled by the pack.  There have been many examples over the years where individuals could not believe what they did in out-of-control mobs.  The Germans did not understand why they supported Hitler.  Peer pressure exerts tremendous mind control over individuals.

So how do we interact with others without succumbing to peer pressure?  Perhaps the best way is to always think independently of others.  I remember in law school, we set up study groups to prepare for exams.  The study groups got out of control when they started cutting cases out of the library law books so that other students would not have those cases to study.  Always keep your moral compass handy when you are around these groups.  It will point you in the right direction when they are attempting to lead you down the wrong path.

Why is peer pressure so important to you?  Just remember that you will have a better life without following the group.  Groups head in the wrong direction about 90% of the time.  That’s because their decisions are rarely based on study and thought.  Typically, emotions and intuition lead the pack.  Always keep your head when others are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

And always ask why before doing anything.  If the justification for the action is “just because we can” or “why not?” then you better rethink the action.  I remember when I was in a fraternity, the active members asked me to join them in an act which would physically harm the pledges.  I asked them “why?” and they told me because we had always done it.  I told them “no” and was almost blackballed out of the fraternity.  But it taught me a lesson about people.  Many times you will have to go against the grain in order to do the right thing.  But it is always worth it.