[FoRK] Who's infiltrating whom?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Jul 14 10:49:19 PDT 2011

On 7/14/11 10:06 AM, Aaron Burt wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 01:46:54PM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> Religious radicalism of any kind that is of the ultimately violent,
>> controlling, non-US constitutional-like nature is extremely bad.
> As opposed to the other kinds of religious radicalism.

All religious radicalism, and pretty much religion in general, is regressive, wasteful, and less effective / efficient / correct 
than a modern pan-rational technocratic humanism philosophy of life.

However, some brands of religious radicalism are relatively harmless, only rendering their adherents, who tend not to accept 
outsiders let alone convert them voraciously, more or less inert.  So, these can be ranked on an insidiousness scale.

>> http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48969486.html
> That's a link to a video.  Can you summarize what you're trying to
> communicate by posting it?  Video's a great propaganda medium, but not that
> good at cogent and rational argument that bears discussion.

Just observing that some apparently rational people are extremely worried about some extremely irrational people and what they want 
to accomplish.  And that they believe that it has happened successfully to some extent.  Which provided a target for me to push 
against by wondering if "our" successfully modern culture would help cause this sickness to burn out or not.

> The comments to the video seem to indicate that it's the usual sort of
> "raghead peril" thing, but I hope I'm dead wrong.

You hope that it is not a "raghead peril" message?  That title indicates that the speaker thinks that the fear is non-existent or at 
least overblown.  For it not to be in that category, would it instead be a trustable and predictive message?  What are you hoping 

There are all sorts of cultural and subculture fears at play in the content of the video.  It's entirely believable that some people 
believe each of the viewpoints.  It's hard to say how widespread all of that is.  I was referred to as a "white devil" in San 
Francisco, more or less the most liberal city in America, in 1995 by obviously neo-American-Islamic black guys when they were trying 
to talk to every black person they could.  They started to approach the black young woman in the car with me, then saw me and backed 
away with a dirty look and comment to her.  The leader of the black/Islamic-oriented bakery (or whatever) in Oakland was recently 
sentenced for the murder of a journalist that published something he didn't like.

But is it growing and spreading in a serious way?  Does that matter?  How does any crazy get attenuated or amplified?  Good for 
someone to worry about and investigate.  I'm all for publishing what people are saying and teaching.  It's good to know that in some 
Islamic imams, the school books have children counting bullets and doing death-to-America word problems (or whatever).

I have friends of all religions (apparently) including none.  It's up to them to make it a problem or not.  Few to none do.
I have my own opinions about the most effective set of tools and pursuits, but to each his own.  There are many paths and many 
strategies.  The human mind is very malleable and can operate effectively with a wide range of models and frameworks.  But don't 
tread on me.

>> The prison conversion thing is irritating.  I'd contribute to
>> teaching positive self-improvement / humanism, which is what is
>> really missing for a lot of criminals.
> There's a lot more that missing, and most of it is much harder to deliver
> than (and also prerequisite to) a course in Enlightenment Values 101.

Of course, but you have to start somewhere and leaving it to certain groups is a mistake.  What would be your ranking of important 
concepts to inculcate.  What would your reeducation look like?

These seem like top categories to me:
Workable and rewarding philosophy of life.
Understanding the nature of society and other people.
Understanding the meaning of money and economics.
Resolving anger, anxiousness, frustration, inferiority complexes, jealousness.  Including resolving PTSD.
Relationship skills.
Learning that you can control your thinking and related topics.

Inmates should be encouraged to get into a successful self-improvement cycle.  Could be anything, but has to be measurable, 
demonstrable, and consistent over time.  Many people fail because they never followed through enough to get internally generated 
feelings of accomplishment-because-of-working-hard.  Schools work for that for some kids at the top end, but fail at it for others 
mainly because they compare kids against kids rather than primarily kids against their earlier self.  Also key is to do it 
significantly in more than one area.


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