Saturday, May 23, 2009
posted to a sociology list...
Sometime last year when it was finally coming to light how complicit our beloved gov't was in the use of torture, there was a discussion on this list as to whether certain practices constituted torture or not and/or whether or not it would be appropriate for the U.S. to use these methods. I found it incredulous that an issue such as torture could be considered a reasonable topic of debate among any behavioral scientists, let applied sociologists list, but I know I am subject to fits of naievte. I recall at the time that I suggested that anyone who didn't think waterboarding constituted torture should subject him or herself to the technique and then make their assessment. For those on the list that chose not to do that, permit me to ask you to watch/read this.
I also recall at the time, that i argued that there are some things that are true regardless of definition. the effects of waterboarding is one of those things, as is persistent hunger, cold temperatures, physical beating, dehydration, etc. Definitions are for the privileged elites that are free from many, if not most of the consequences of their individual as well as collective behavior. Harsh reality is the privilege of those less fortunate.
Funny, this ridiculous notion of having to define things before actually doing anything about them...Blumer, arguably one of the fathers of symbolic interactionism, knew full well the limits of definition as he stated that there were "obdurate realities" that existed with our without definition. water being forced up your nose while your body is restrained strikes me as one of the obdurate realities...
IMO, this persistent knee-jerk reaction to having to define things before doing anything is precisely why applied sociology remains a stale discipline. that and the fact that there are some who claim to be applied sociologists who willing entertain the notion of torture as a viable applied technique.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Was reflecting on how there is so much disdain toward educated persons among my American brethren...stupid fucks that they are (my American brethren, I mean). Dubya has to be the poster-boy for this. Stupid motherfucker bragged about being a "C" student at Yale. Imagine, bragging about how you squandered an education at one of the most highly respected institutions in the entire world. Now that is DEFIANT IGNORANCE if i ever heard it.
God, help us. we are fucked.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Sent the following to Common Dreams, but was not published...
How to respond to right-wing rhetoric
The best way to respond to right-wing rhetoric (RWR) is to ignore it. Keep asking questions, keep presenting the facts, keep challenging; ignore the response(s) that you get. Why? Because RWR is designed to do one thing...get you to shut up. RWR has no basis in truth, accuracy, reality, etc. It is simply a tactic by the right-wing to get anyone questioning any of their actions off their ass. I know this because I used to work with felons.
For several years, I worked in a judicial treatment center for felony probationers. One of my responsibilities was to confront our clients wherever and whenever their behavior was in violation of our rules. As to be expected, almost all of our clients had “reasons” for why they did what they did. I quickly learned that their “reasons” were not reasons at all, i.e., they were not explanations for their behavior; rather, they were statements made with a specific purpose in mind...to get me off their back. Some of our clients did this knowing full well what they were doing. The vast majority, however, did this because it had worked for them in the past; they had found themselves in a situation in which they were at fault, did not want to suffer the consequences for being at fault, and continued to supply “reasons” to explain their actions. This was not done to responsibly account for their behavior, but to reduce the likelihood of actually receiving any consequences for their behavior. How did they know when to stop supplying reasons? When I or someone else stopped asking questions, stopped challenging their responses, stopped presenting them with the facts. Right-wingers do the same thing.
Need evidence for this? Consider the seeming myriad of reasons that Bush Co. gave for invading Iraq...Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the people needed liberation from Saddam Hussein, they had biological weapons, Saddam was in cahoots with Al Qaida, etc. None of these actually had any basis in known and established fact, nor did they need to be for the purposes that they were provided to the national and international public. They were simply attempts to get thinking people to stop asking questions.
Why write this now? Because it is easy to see the same dynamics occurring currently in regard to the torture tactics sanctioned by Bush Co. They employed torture...to extract valuable intelligence, to prevent another 9-11, to protect the U.S., because they were scared, etc. All of these are irrelevant and none reasonably account for, nor rationally explain why, the former administration gave the green light to torture people. They are stated simply to get us to shut up, get off their ass, and stop asking questions.
Let's not fall prey to the tactic. People who are concerned about our country and the
world, need the truth to be told.
Industrialized countries are going to tank. Our current level of consumption, economic systems, and resulting organization procedures are unsustainable. There will be a massive infrastructural break down that will result in communities being isolated from one another, the loss of basic services, and a return to a subsistence economy. The lifestyle that many of us are living today will become legendary, i.e., the stuff of legend. Never again will human beings live like we do now.