Sunday, December 21, 2014

Xenophobia and Human Nature

This is from AWAD, "gentlemen's agreement," the week's best as of 12/21/2014.

Dear Mr. Stine:

The incidents you relate are unfortunate. In fairness, though, it is only human nature to be kind to our own kind, however defined. Xenophobia characterizes us as a species. You can see it in a baby's separation anxiety. How does the little one react when mom hands him over even to a friendly stranger?

Surely, the standoffishness and self-segregation you describe is not peculiar to white Protestant America. (Full disclosure: I am not a WASP.) I dare say it's fairly universal. Yet somehow, when it comes to welcoming outsiders, it is only the Christian West's failures that receive any publicity. Indeed, in many cases those failures are taken out of context and blown out of proportion. You'd almost think Western political, entertainment and media elites harbor a particular anti-Christian, anti-Western animus.

You may be interested to read the articles linked below. Insofar as victimhood confers status, I look forward to the day when brave Western journalists and Hollywood directors start publicizing accounts like these. (Full disclosure: I am a Christian and a Westerner.) 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/christians-in-jerusalem-want-jews-to-stop-spitting-on-them-1.137099

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.542771

Shalom!

Tony Pivetta
Royal Oak, Michigan

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From: Steven Stine (scstine1672 gmail.com)

Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gentleman’s agreement

Your article neglected to mention the sinister undertone to this seemingly benign expression. Not so many years ago, there was a gentleman’s agreement among the power elite to limit or even exclude access to the best colleges and jobs to women, people of color, Eastern & Southern Europeans, and non-Protestants. (I’ve probably left some out.)

In 1947, the year I was born, Gregory Peck starred in a movie titled A Gentleman’s Agreement about a journalist who had returned from World War II in Europe where he had been horrified by the Nazi atrocities against the Jews. Disclaimer: I am Jewish.

Peck’s character decided to pretend to be Jewish. His name was the conveniently ambiguous Green. He was deeply disturbed to discover that the same attitudes he had fought against in Europe were running rampant at home in America. It was a brave movie to produce at that time.

On a personal note (only one generation removed), when my father returned from his own World War II service in Europe, he and my mother went on an extended, long-overdue honeymoon by automobile. Much to their chagrin, but not surprise, many hotels politely but firmly turned them away, and refused to provide them shelter. The desk clerk would say something like, “I’m sorry, sir, but this hotel is restricted. There is a nice place down the road for your kind.”

If I have gone on too long, I apologize. However, seeing this figure of speech in “print” touched a nerve that ran far deeper than I could have anticipated.

Steven Stine, Highland Park, Illinois

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Western Secular Imperialism vs. Islam vs. Christianity

I do agree Muslims were persecuting Christians long before the era of Western imperialism and U.S. support for Israel. 

I don't agree Muslims don't harbor legitimate grievances against the (secular) West for its imperialism and support for Israel.  

I do agree the (aggressively secular) mainstream media refuse to regard Christians as anything other than persecutors, in the Middle East or anywhere else, notwithstanding the historical record. 

I don't agree (secular) Western imperialism and support for Israel have nothing to do with Muslim grievances against the West. 

I do agree some Muslims have conflated (secular) Western imperialism with Christian religious fervor.

I don't agree the mainstream media have exaggerated the role Western imperialism and support for Israel have played in inciting Muslim grievances. (In fact, the mainstream media have downplayed the intervention-blowback connection.) 

One Percentage Point Increase, Not One Percent!

Don't let the politicians and mainstream media fool you, fellow Michiganders. If the sales tax goes from 6 percent to 7 percent, that's a one *percentage point* increase, not a one percent increase.
A one percent increase means the sales tax goes from 6 percent to 6.01 percent. In other words, if you make $10,000 in taxable purchases, your tax bill increases by a paltry six dollars, from $600 to $606. Whereas under the proposed 7 percent sales tax, your tax bill increases to $700. That's almost a *17 percent* increase, folks.
Don't let the bastards do it. If the State of Michigan is rich enough to drop $170 million in welfare for Mike Ilitch, even as it pays cops to harass pot smokers, prostitutes, and 19-year-old beer drinkers, it's rich enough to fix the roads.
While we're at it, maybe we can get the feds to stop bombing roads and bridges in the Middle East only to turn around and build them back up. Haven't you had your fill of this racket yet?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cobb & Kaline

Today is Detroit Tigers great and Hall of Famer Al Kaline's 80th birthday. Kaline is the youngest player to win the batting title, with a .340 average in 1955. He didn't turn 21 until December 19th of that year.
Tigers great and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb likewise won the batting title as a 20-year-old, hitting .350 in 1907. Cobb was born December 18, 1886.
So Kaline has the record by one day. 'Twere good I let you know.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Noble Lie, Elevated Extortion

Ronald Reagan wisely taxed me to fatten the Pentagon, with an eye to forcing the Soviets to match his increases, thereby collapsing their economy. That's how "we" won the Cold War.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama have wisely taxed me to fatten the Pentagon, with an eye to forcing al-Qaeda and ISIS to match their increases, thereby collapsing the terror networks. That's how "we" will win the War on Terrorism.
Did I get that right?

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Dangerous Neutralist Sentiment

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." 
          ~Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928) 

In other words, those who wish to take a stand against oppressors and tormentors must dedicate themselves to non-neutrality. Fair enough, but whose version?  Some of the world's most accomplished mass murderers--Tamerlane, Stalin, Pol Pot--presumed to speak for the downtrodden. Happily, we have the enlightened Mr. Wiesel to let us know: the Anglo-American-Israeli Empire embodies the noblest aspirations of the human race. It alone practices the One True Homicidal Humanitarianism. What can go wrong? 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Why is Beheading Reckoned Worse than Death by Drone Strike?

Do not underestimate the impact of Good War Mythology. The U.K. and U.S. firebombed Dresden, Cologne and Tokyo, inter alia, during World War II. The U.S. dropped atomic bombs on men, women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A crime against humanity? By no means! Don't you see? Now the Germans and Japanese are prosperous and forward-looking and "free"! Just like us! Yes, Virginia, you can perpetrate mass murder to advance the Greater Good! Just make sure you do it on behalf of the Anglo-American Empire! Otherwise you're just one of those evildoing, good-for-nothing Terrorists!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Word of the Day: Hortatory

"It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so" ~Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988) 
Did Heinlein intend his observation to apply equally to anti-sectarians, anti-cultists and anti-religionists acquiring political power? Insofar as atheists fancy themselves freethinking, humane, scientific, tolerant and oh-so-enlightened, I doubt it. He has another target in mind. 
Yet Christianity has always differentiated the spiritual from the secular, City of God from City of Man. This bifurcation had everything to do with spawning the West's rich tradition of individual rights and liberties. At any rate, I hope by now we have learned that atheists in control of the City of Man (e.g., Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) are capable of crimes and atrocities undreamed of in the Christian Age.