Tag Archives: Racism

When the Word “Liberal” Is Used as a Dehumanizing Term.

My goal in passing on this posting, is to intellectually arm like minded people with the counter argument to those who would use the word “Liberal” as a dehumanizing term.

To me, they are Freudianly exposing the weakness in their intellectual application of this word. It may be well noted that based on the fact they don’t even know the true origins and meaning.

I would make note that there have been many dehumanizing terms for the enemy you would have to shoot, and kill on the battle field, so a man may kill another without engaging their conscience in doing so at that moment.  Terms such as Jap, Kraut, or Gook to name some distasteful and dehumanizing terms used in the past.

The contemporary Conservative Talk Personalities have once again used this technique to demonize those whom do not assimilate or aqueous to their conservative viewpoints in their seen current “Political War”.

The results of those claiming the Reactionary Conservative values, will today poisonally spew out the word “Liberal” as if it were an attack on others.

Of course the term “Liberal” is really quite a complimentary attribute when you know the origins of the word.

The use of “liberal” for progressive politics dates to the mid 19th century. “Liberal” is based on the Latin origins of “Liber” the Latin word for “free”. Thus it can also mean a “Freeman”.

To call someone a liberal, you are saying this person is free from a situation, especially imprisonment of slavery, in which their “liberty” is severely restricted.  In Europe the serfs had been “liberated!”

So when an unenlightened, or reactionary conservative propaganda programmed person thinks they are cleverly derogatory slamming you by calling you “Liberal”, throw it back into their face how ignorant their statement truly is.

Take pride in being progressive, and liberal.  You are laying claim that you will not be economically enslaved, to be politically subservient to the will of the 1%.  In summation, you are claiming your FREEDOM!

Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?”

This past week I was reflecting back on all of my worldly travels, and the thought came to me that those whom have a viewpoint that is so counter intuitive to me, was that they have not seen nor experienced what I have.

Many have heard me say that, “Everyone is the sum of their own lives’ experience”.  I can also pass on the former posting on this site, “Giraffes and Turtles”, and how it can relate to people today.

https://mindsandtimes.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/the-giraffes-and-turtles-parable/

Those whom hold the reactionary conservative views are only stating their views from the limited “Turtle’s” vantage.  This is their major pitfall in their thinking.

As by chance I came across this essay by Isaac Asimov.  It was very obvious, and I recognized, that its contents are as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it.  It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity.

I would ask my readers and those listening the radio program, “Here Be Monsters, The Sunday Show,” to invest the time, read, and polder, the essay below.  You will find it very informative and thought provoking.

ON CREATIVITY

How do people get new ideas?

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. We are most interested in the “creation” of a new scientific principle or a new application of an old one, but we can be general here.

One way of investigating the problem is to consider the great ideas of the past and see just how they were generated. Unfortunately, the method of generation is never clear even to the “generators” themselves.

But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.

There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”

Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).

Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.

Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.

That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.” But why didn’t he think of it?

The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. (The famous example of Kekule working out the structure of benzene in his sleep is well-known.)

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.

Nevertheless, a meeting of such people may be desirable for reasons other than the act of creation itself.

No two people exactly duplicate each other’s mental stores of items. One person may know A and not B, another may know B and not A, and either knowing A and B, both may get the idea—though not necessarily at once or even soon.

Furthermore, the information may not only be of individual items A and B, but even of combinations such as A-B, which in themselves are not significant. However, if one person mentions the unusual combination of A-B and another unusual combination A-C, it may well be that the combination A-B-C, which neither has thought of separately, may yield an answer.

It seems to me then that the purpose of cerebration sessions is not to think up new ideas but to educate the participants in facts and fact-combinations, in theories and vagrant thoughts.

But how to persuade creative people to do so? First and foremost, there must be ease, relaxation, and a general sense of permissiveness. The world in general disapproves of creativity, and to be creative in public is particularly bad. Even to speculate in public is rather worrisome. The individuals must, therefore, have the feeling that the others won’t object.

If a single individual present is unsympathetic to the foolishness that would be bound to go on at such a session, the others would freeze. The unsympathetic individual may be a gold mine of information, but the harm he does will more than compensate for that. It seems necessary to me, then, that all people at a session be willing to sound foolish and listen to others sound foolish.

If a single individual present has a much greater reputation than the others, or is more articulate, or has a distinctly more commanding personality, he may well take over the conference and reduce the rest to little more than passive obedience. The individual may himself be extremely useful, but he might as well be put to work solo, for he is neutralizing the rest.

The optimum number of the group would probably not be very high. I should guess that no more than five would be wanted. A larger group might have a larger total supply of information, but there would be the tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating. It would probably be better to have a number of sessions at which the people attending would vary, rather than one session including them all. (This would involve a certain repetition, but even repetition is not in itself undesirable. It is not what people say at these conferences, but what they inspire in each other later on.)

For best purposes, there should be a feeling of informality. Joviality, the use of first names, joking, relaxed kidding are, I think, of the essence—not in themselves, but because they encourage a willingness to be involved in the folly of creativeness. For this purpose I think a meeting in someone’s home or over a dinner table at some restaurant is perhaps more useful than one in a conference room.

Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

To feel guilty because one has not earned one’s salary because one has not had a great idea is the surest way, it seems to me, of making it certain that no great idea will come in the next time either.

Yet your company is conducting this cerebration program on government money. To think of congressmen or the general public hearing about scientists fooling around, boondoggling, telling dirty jokes, perhaps, at government expense, is to break into a cold sweat. In fact, the average scientist has enough public conscience not to want to feel he is doing this even if no one finds out.

I would suggest that members at a cerebration session be given sinecure tasks to do—short reports to write, or summaries of their conclusions, or brief answers to suggested problems—and be paid for that; the payment being the fee that would ordinarily be paid for the cerebration session. The cerebration session would then be officially unpaid-for and that, too, would allow considerable relaxation.

I do not think that cerebration sessions can be left unguided. There must be someone in charge who plays a role equivalent to that of a psychoanalyst. A psychoanalyst, as I understand it, by asking the right questions (and except for that interfering as little as possible), gets the patient himself to discuss his past life in such a way as to elicit new understanding of it in his own eyes.

In the same way, a session-arbiter will have to sit there, stirring up the animals, asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point. Since the arbiter will not know which question is shrewd, which comment necessary, and what the point is, his will not be an easy job.

As for “gadgets” designed to elicit creativity, I think these should arise out of the bull sessions themselves. If thoroughly relaxed, free of responsibility, discussing something of interest, and being by nature unconventional, the participants themselves will create devices to stimulate discussion.

How The South Became A Republican Stronghold

During the hot summer of 1967, racial disturbances swept through Detroit and Harlem and then through Minneapolis, Dayton, Cincinnati and other cities unaccustomed to civic violence. But the turning point that summer, and indeed for that era, occurred in a town few Americans knew existed.

Forty seven years ago in the small city of Cambridge, Md., H. Rap Brown crossed rhetorical swords with then Maryland’s Gov. Spiro T. Agnew. The two put the convulsive actions of that summer into words in ways that deepened the nation’s racial divide. They popularized a style of political speech that would increase black / white antagonism and drew millions of White Southern Democrats into the Republican Party.

Maryland’s Mississippi Freedom Riders from Swarthmore College came to the Eastern Shore to help the fledgling Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee push open the city’s segregated restaurants and the chief source of entertainment, the local movie theater. At this time, the Eastern Shore of Maryland was a lot like growing up in Mississippi.

This fertile hook of Maryland that extends into the Chesapeake has always been isolated and heavily agricultural, with a profoundly different character from the rest of the state. While Maryland sided with Union forces during the Civil War, the Eastern Shore was a slave region and sympathized with the South. Harriet Tubman was born and was a slave on a farm outside the city limits of Cambridge before escaping and starting the Underground Railroad.

Frederic Douglas was also born a slave in this same geographical area.

The attitude in this area as late as 1973 still had the “Black Only” and “White Only” signs on the bathrooms and water fountains and people still obeyed them!

That summer in 1967 young, black Cambridge school students joined the Freedom Riders movement, and when some sat down to pray in the restricted lobby of the town’s segregated movie theater; they were arrested and sentenced by a local judge to up to six years in a juvenile reformatory. When state authorities released these youths after three months, they returned home heroes in their communities.

In the following years, civil rights efforts in Cambridge sagged as key activists left and the Freedom Riders ceased their visits. To build support in 1967, the members of the recently organized Black Action Federation invited the new head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, H. Rap Brown, to speak.

This was the summer that H. Rap Brown gave an impassioned speech on civil rights in the town of Cambridge, Maryland which resulted in a riot. As a result Brown found himself on the FBI’s top ten list of most wanted.

“If America don’t come around, we’re going to burn it down,” shouted Brown, standing on the trunk of a car, to a crowd of 500 cheering Cambridge supporters. His speech occurred an hour before police exchanged gunfire with residents and several hours before a blaze engulfed a black elementary school and most of the city’s black-owned businesses.

The National Guard was called in along with local and state police to restore law and order.

The day after the fire, Governor Agnew inspected the Eastern Shore city and scratched out a statement. “It shall now be the policy of this state to immediately arrest any person inciting to riot, and to not allow that person to finish his vicious speech.” Through their uncompromising rhetoric, Agnew and Brown climbed instantly from obscurity to icon status and would rise unexpectedly to positions of national importance, swept along in historical currents beyond their control. Their words split the pro-civil rights coalition, and inspired the “Southern Strategy” of the Republican Party.

This then led to an unprecedented federal counterintelligence campaign against black political moderates. When Brown came to Cambridge July 24, he was at a point of believing that armed self-defense was necessary. Blacks had battled bitterly with police in Prattsville, Ala., Detroit and other cities already that summer. According to police, Brown led a group of marchers to Race Street, the main commercial street of the city, which divided the black and white neighborhoods. Brown said later that he was simply escorting a girl home.  As he approached Race Street, a buckshot pellet struck Brown in the side of the face. He was treated at the home of Cambridge’s only black doctor and left town shortly thereafter.

Within hours of the shooting, however, the elementary school in the heart of black Cambridge was in flames. Citing the threat of snipers, the local fire department refused to fight the fire despite pleas from black community leaders. Flying embers spread the blaze to 16 adjacent buildings and the sky over Cambridge was bright with fire.

Despite a lack of evidence that Brown himself had participated in the burning of buildings in Cambridge, he was charged with arson and the FBI entered the case. Before being released on bond, he issued a statement declaring that America stood “on the eve of a black revolution.”

The summer of 1967 revealed the power of black people to get national attention through unfocused expressions of rage. The summer also revealed that a year of talk about black power had left SNCC militants more powerless than ever.

Congress passed anti-riot measures in deliberations that revealed the increasing ability of conservative politicians to strengthen their popular support at the expense of liberals over the issue of black militancy. Agnew’s response to Cambridge set the pattern for his future political career. The man elected governor as a moderate began a national ascendancy using the political instincts and style of George Wallace’s speech writer, “Asa Carter”.

When the city of Baltimore rioted in 1968, in the aftermath of the assassination of King, Agnew asked 50 black leaders to meet with him. Most walked out as he immediately asked them to denounce inflammatory remarks from Carmichael and Brown. The meeting was a disaster and Agnew’s relations with black leaders were nearly destroyed.

Agnew’s calculated tough talk earned him time on the national news and caught the attention of a young aide to Richard Nixon named Patrick Buchanan, who kept newspaper clips of Agnew to show to his boss, who eventually selected Agnew as his running mate in 1968.

As a vice presidential candidate and as vice president, Agnew delighted supportive crowds denouncing “thieves, traitors and perverts,” and “radical liberals.”  He became the leader in the Republican effort to woo white Southern and blue-collar voters who had traditionally voted Democratic.

Today Agnew’s legacy lives on. Republicans have picked up conservative white votes and become the dominant party among white men in the South.

So in conclusion, the South today that is now the “Reactionary Conservative Republican” strong hold all comes around to the same old variable of 150 plus years ago….”Racism!”