The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Micheal Jackson's Downfall

It was suggested that homicides are responsible for 75% of the difference in life expectancy stats between black and white men. For that reason, the government should concentrate on reducing homicides. Good call. Let's see...do I believe that Universal health care would reduce homicides?

I'd look at the homicide stats between countries with and without Universal health care, for a starter. Don't have 'em in front of me, but I'm betting they're pretty interesting. But let's go deeper. What, in my mind, drives homicide?

Fear. Fear of death, sickness, poverty, loss of ego-shields. Many homicides are driven by theft--the attempt to acquire money or property illegally. Certainly, the more a person feels invested in their culture, the more likely they are to feel that they should play by the rules. When you feel the rules are stacked against you, it can feel idiotic to play by them.

Would Universal health care reduce, say, drug addiction statistics? I'm sure that the answers are available statistically, but I'm betting the answer is "yes"--counseling (especially psychological/emotional) and education. Do people who feel nurtured, included, valued feel less fear than those who feel disenfranchised, excluded? In my experience, yes. Reduce fear, and you reduce violence. Again, this is according to my experience, and my take on human nature. If you believe the basic nature of humans--or black males--is evil, then of course this won't make sense to you. If you watched your mother die while shuttled from one part of the system to another, or insurance companies denied care, are you likely to feel more or less hostility toward the system, more or less fear?

To a great degree, the folks who are hit worst by a for-profit health care system are those who cannot afford expensive insurance, or those who don't have the kinds of jobs which supply it. "Satisfaction with health care" statistics DO include those who have no insurance, don't they? I sure hope so...or else they are flat-out dishonest attempts to misdirect.

I believe that a humane society is a more peaceful society. Encourage dog-eat-dog mentality and you get a lot of angry dogs. I've said before that I believe a core difference between Right and Left is the Nature/Nurture argument. If it's nature, then the way to decrease black homicide is to lock up as many black men as possible. Excuse me: "potential criminals." And if you privatize prisons, for instance, you create a system that will inevitably encourage crime--that darned profit motive gives little motivation to reduce recidivism. If you believe it's nurture, then you do everything possible to invest individuals in the system, get them to feel that the deck is not stacked against them--which it most certainly is in the case of black males. Not as much as it use to be, but again, my interpretation of media images should make it very clear why I think the playing field ain't level.

So, yes...Health care, political enfranchisement , education and employment opportunities reduce the fear factor in the most basic aspects of human existence: sickness and death, ability to support a family, investment in the system, the sense that one is using one's potential to the limit, the possibility of growth and self-expression. That opens the doorway to real growth and evolution. Those who believe human evil is primarily innate think we just need more prisons. Those who think that we are largely Tabula Rosa disagree.


I believe that when we remove fear, what remains is love, and love is a titanically powerful motivating force. Strong enough to remove any obstacle that a human being can master. I'll take my stand there, thank you.

##

I think our actions are shaped partially by our inner innate drives, partially by family conditioning, partially by social engineering. Pointing out that many factors affecting life extension are related to life style choices is the biggest "duh" in the world. Christ sakes--you guys been actually reading what I've been saying here for the last five years? That our minds and emotions determine our actions, and our actions determine our results.

The number of ways medical and psychological counseling as well as accurate information and communal social pressure (the same kinds of pressures that discourage people from stealing, killing, and cheating) rather obviously can have an effect on smoking, overeating, not exercising, drug abuse, etc. OF COURSE. Quoting where the lower mortality stats in other countries are partially related to social factors is just playing into my hands. You think this stuff happens in a vacuum?

And I'm not talking about government programs making it illegal to be fat, or smoke. But shame has been used in human societies since the beginning of civilization to guide us: do THIS you get approval. Do THAT and you get disapproval. When we all have an investment in each other's welfare, children, and education cultural norms automatically shift: human greed and fear are awesome motivating forces when properly focused.

##

Got into an argument over on Facebook (and got so many letters that I turned off the "notification" function. Jeeze! Who has the time!) about Fear and Anger. I prefer anger, considering it less likely to lead to paralysis. Also, I ask myself: if I were a dictator or a slave owner, would I rather those I oppressed be afraid of me, or angry toward me? By a long shot, I'd rather they be afraid. So I choose anger as a superior state, although it is admittedly inferior to other, higher emotions in the path of spiritual discipline. Anger combined with love will turn people into heroes unafraid of death...and such people are mighty hard to control. Tyrants are rightfully afraid of them...and well they should be.

##

Micheal Jackson. From my point of view, his problems were understandable, pitiable, and preventable.

1) Lost childhood. The legend of his abusive father is well known. Without ever having a memory of a time he wasn't a cash machine for those around him, there is no foundation to be a healthy adult. When your child earns more money than you, it's hard to apply proper discipline--everything is skewed. Frankly, I think that the yearning for a childhood contributed to his "Peter Pan Syndrome"--the voice, Neverland, even the accusations of molestation. My gut tells me that if those things happened (and I think they did) they weren't "power games" where an adult manipulates a child with understanding. I think that his self-image WAS a child, and that in his mind what was happening was equivilent to a cub-scout circle-jerk. No offense to cub scouts everywhere.

In fact, Li'l Weasel, if you read these words, call me.

2) Skewed sexuality. "Billy Jean" tells the story of a boy warned by his mother that girls would try to trap him with sex. I think that was exactly the truth. That he was poisoned against his own natural attractions by a family desperate to control their money machine. And if you can't express it toward women...well, it's comin' out somewhere. Why couldn't he just be gay, then? Hell if I know. Would have been much, much better all around.

3) Micheal Jackson wanted to be white. The obviousness of this is so huge, so glaring, that it boggles my mind that anyone doubts it. He says "Vitiligo" and everyone says: "wow! Celebrities always tell the truth. That must be it!" Even if it was, my nasty little mind suspects that he found a doctor who would deliberately trigger this immune deficiency syndrome, looking for the effect he got. And with his money, if anyone could, he could. Why? Some mention him not wanting to look like Joe Jackson. Maybe. But to me there is a much simpler answer: everything about Micheal Jackson says he was programmed internally and externally to be the biggest, greatest star in the world. I am quite certain that he heard variations on the following line a million times: "you are the most talented child I have ever seen. You will be huge. You'd be the biggest star in the world...if you were white. But as soon as you're a man, and a sexual threat, they will trim you back. Be satisfied with being the biggest Black star. That's enough, isn't it?"

No, it wasn't. So Micheal began a long, long process of trying to cross the color line. Just as Jackie Chan changed his eyes, black American women straighten their hair, and Asian women in conquered countries enlarged their bustlines and wore Western clothing, Micheal straightened his hair, thinned his lips and nose, and began lightening his skin. Acquiring white children and claiming they were biologically his. What? You think he bleached his sperm?

Most specifically, he wanted to be Elvis, creating his own Graceland and marrying Lisa Marie, becoming so talented, so eccentric, so dynamic that people stopped seeing him as black, and started just seeing him as Micheal. He transcended race, arguably the first American to do so. Maybe the first black man on the planet to really do so.

And every inch of the way, as he became more grotesque, he was enabled not just by the people who got paychecks from him (or the family who continually had "we'll tour again!" dangled in front of them, probably to keep them quiet about his myriad problems. Except LaToya, whom Tananarive interviewed once, and would say any goddam thing.) but by his millions of fans who were so in love with him that they couldn't let themselves see the pathology that was right in front of them. I can't count the number of times I heard black people protesting that those children might be his, must be his...because he said so. I've seen thousands of children who are the product of interracial relationships. None of them look like Micheal's supposed spawn. Some look kinda Italian, but...Swedes? I think not.

ᅠAnd the willingness to look beyond his child molestation troubles. You know what? I DON'T CARE if he did it or not. If he didn't have that terrible need, it's even worse: in the midst of the accusations, he refused to alter his behavior. Sleep-overs with children? A molester's dream. Christ, he was giving aid and comfort to perverts the world over, "norming" the tactics they would use to seduce the innocent. If I had a need to sleep platonically with children? I would hire a nurse who would look in on us with milk and cookies. I'd have a Webcam set up recording every damned moment, and all parents who lent me their children would be able to sign on at any time of the day or night to see what was going on, and the tapes would be kept in a safe, available to anyone who needed proof that this was, while strange, perfectly innocent.

BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN. Because I would know that to have the most famous man in the world (arguably) behaving in such a way opens the door to massive amounts of pain and damage.

But that's if he's innocent. Like I said, you could simply look at the man and tell that his self-image was totally, tragically, almost uniquely distorted. I'm sorry, but someone could be 1/10 as strange as Jackson, and I wouldn't let Jason near him unless I was standing right there with eyes wide open at all moments. This was twenty years of a slow-motion train-wreck. Damn everyone around him for not speaking the obvious truth, for not throwing away all chances of ever working with him in exchange for a fingernail fragment's chance of saving his life and sanity. Damn them.

And us, his fans, for speaking in low voices, and extending the benefit of the doubt until it cracked under its own weight.

If you really love someone, you don't cheer while they destroy themselves, even if you lose their love in the process.

39 comments:

Ashe Hunt said...

Don't know if you've seen this, http://blogs.myspace.com/lisamariepresley. Very interesting. I understand your point completely but how do you help a megalomaniac with the means and drive to circumvent help? I love Michael's music just like everyone else but, yes, he had serious issues.

Christian M. Howell said...

I guess I'm just a raucous psycho because I see that even though the individual effort of "Americans" is SERIOUSLY LACKING, the "American government" has every thing in place to make sure that you can SEEK AND RECEIVE REDRESS.

This means that anyone who feels that they have more problems in job competition with non-blacks obviously doesn't compete. My problem is usually when I show that my being there was not a fluke and that they have to compete (non-blacks) and perhaps be outdone - in my case usually DEFINITELY.

I can't really pity Michael Jackson as I lived with TV and comic book characters and wasn't filthy rich.
On the one hand he's a genius but on the other he couldn't figure out how to live with himself. (Maybe he should have just been gay - that would have made the powers feel better).

If I were you I'd not worry about your son. Even a child can wreck some testes. Molestors search for a certain type - introverted, depressed, confused, unhappy, etc. so handle those things and sexuality will handle itself.


With health care the key is still personal responsibility. If you notice you're getting fat and do nothing it's your fault, not the government's. If you see your kids getting fat, etc.

I myself got disgustingly fat (not in weight but I did look pregnant for a while) and proceeded to go back in the gym (I played football in high school and was Airborne).


As far as "being more white," they can kiss my ass. I'd rather take my big nose and brown skin and shove it up your ass.

It's just a shame that these "superior people" won't compete fairly with those on their level. Fortunately, I feel good knowing that I outdid someone regardless of their "appreciation" of such.


I'd rather get fired from - or quit - an $80K job than not try for it out of some sick desire to "not be stressed." White people are even more stressed. A lot of them because they lie on their resumes and get in over their heads. I know, I had to replace some of them and listen to the stories of others.


I guess that's why I have little patience for sagging LITTLE BITCHES - forcing the women to SLUM with their LOW CLASS ASSES.

It's OK cause I'm trying to fire all of your asses. Excuse my rant but tell Luda what I said next time you see him.

Dan Moran said...

This won't be a terrible shock to anyone, but the "Democratic" ban on DNA research that Erich cites apparently never existed. I contacted Susan Wright, science historian at the University of Michigan and the author of "Molecular Politics," and asked if the assertion regarding a democratic ban on DNA research was in fact true:

"No, it's not accurate and it's not supported by the documents in James Watson's book, The DNA Story. There was a temporary 'moratorium' but no formal, legal ban."

I'm generally skeptical when people cite books in this day and age; most important things make it online. I suspect Erich's Democratic ban of DNA research would be online in a variety of places, and relatively famous, had it happened; but it doesn't appear it did happen.

I ordered both Watson's book and Wright's. I'll write a blog post over on my blog when I'm done with them -- on the subject matter, not on Erich or his assertion. I suppose I owe Erich some thanks; this is an interesting subject I didn't know much about.

Marty S said...

Steve: I don't believe universal health care is going to do much to reduce the homicide rates. Most health care has to do with diseases or physical conditions not psychological treatment.
When kids are a behavior problem the usual answer is to drug them with ridilyn . The key to reducing homicides are programs aimed at giving more hope. This means programs that get to the disadvantaged early, to give them a better educational start and aim them toward a productive life where they can care for themselves and a family. Health care doesn't provide mentors or role models, which are whats needed.
If more young black children were to get the training you are passing on to your son from people who care like you do it would help a lot more than universal health care. Its those types of programs I am in favor of and think federal money should be spent on.

Oh and P.S. assuming homicide rates are a function of racial history/social status, you would have to have the appropriate data about the different groups and their population percentages before you could do any comparison of the health care effect between countries.

Anonymous said...

"Damn everyone around him for not speaking the obvious truth"

Regrettably, those with enough courage and goodness to speak plainly to power and benefactors are extremely rare. The vast bulk of Homo Sapiens have always been contemptible, sycophantic cowards.

Far more painful than acknowledging the psychic rot that manifested itself in endless grotesque mutilations, is confronting the reality that Jackson's blanched mutations were doubtless indispensable for his acceptance by many "fans". Without wishing to impugn his phenomenal talent or the sincerity of most admirers, there were probably many instances were his blurring of color lines assisted his acceptance by some still mired in America's vile racist legacy.

Ethiopian_Infidel

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

On the wanting to be white thing, my thought is: of course it's obvious that he wanted to be white, even if everything that's been said on his behalf is true. If he did have vitiligo, and did have the first nose surgery only because he broke his nose in a dance routine, and did have as genetically his very own children the whitest looking kids I've ever known a black father to have, it would still be the case that all the plastic surgery on his face was in the direction of making it more like a white person's face. Which, if he'd just wanted to fix the broken nose, and treat the vitiligo, wouldn't be the case.

That said, I'll be nitpicky about the kids:

Some look kinda Italian, but...Swedes?

Actually, Swedes is kind of overstating the case; they look to me to be close to Jennifer Aniston's complexion (who's a mix of Greek, Italian, and Scottish), so they'd kind of be normal for part-Mediterranean/part-northern European. Just really unusual for half black. Unless I'm looking at the wrong pictures.

But that's a nit, and doesn't gainsay anything you've said about Michael Jackson's problems.

Anonymous said...

Dan Moran quoted Susan Wright:

"There was a temporary 'moratorium' but no formal, legal ban."

What is she talking about? Why was it even necessary to argue the issue politically if the Asilomar protocols had no force on researchers and if the then-prevalent fears of recombinant DNA hadn't been strong enough to have at least one molecular biologist I know (Tom Maniatis) temporarily relocate from Harvard to Caltech to get his work done?

I'm honestly amazed that she's so cavalier about the post-Asilomar period. The bans on what are now routine molecular biology experiments were by no means "informal" -- a scientist who tried to just ignore them could get into huge legal and professional trouble -- and it was not at all obvious that they would be lifted.

In an alternative history, we might have ended up with molecular biology as badly crippled in the U.S. as nuclear power and space flight have both ended up being. Compare the state of progress we saw in both those fields from 1945 to 1975, to the progress we then had from 1975 to 2005. We had far more capacity to put humans into space by 1975 than we do now, and we would have far lower emissions of carbon dioxide from carbon-based energy such as coal if we had kept up the program of building nuclear power plants that we had had in the early 1970s. Technological stultification isn't just some paranoid concern of one right-wing biologist; it's something that did happen, hugely, in two other fields where we had very strong progress until about the time of Asilomar.

I think her argument that Asilomar was "temporary" is based on 20-20 hindsight from a history in which Jim Watson, in fact, did succeed in getting the ban overturned. And I think her dismissing the results of Asilomar as "informal" -- even if I were to grant that point -- misses the issue I raised in the first place. A ban can be considered "informal" by a historian writing in 2009 but still have had the potential to greatly stultify technological development, had it not been reversed.

Specifically: [1] is Wright seriously arguing that, had not the post-Asilomar bans been overturned, we'd have had the biotechnological development from 1980 onward that we in fact did have? [2] Is she seriously arguing that, had not the post-Asilomar bans been overturned, protease inhibitors would in fact have been at all likely to be developed? And, [3] as a historian, is she really claiming that formalizing the Asilomar bans and making them permanent wasn't something generally favored by the Democratic left?

If she is making the first two particular claims, that's truly remarkable. The third claim strikes me as something I'd be more inclined to defer to her to, but the first two would have me goggling. It was hard enough to make protease inhibitors even with the repeal of Asilomar; having kept it in place strikes me as profoundly likely to have greatly delayed the development of what became our first truly effective anti-HIV drugs, which could only be developed by biotech companies that could work freely with recombinant DNA of HIV viral genes. As a practical matter, it would have made very little difference if Asilomar had been formally enacted as Congressional law, or kept as an "informal" ban.


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Dan Moran went on to write:

"I'm generally skeptical when people cite books in this day and age; most important things make it online."

You're citing Wright, but the only documentation of her own that you can point to is, in fact, her book.

I am as fond of Google and Wikipedia as anybody, but there's an awful lot of important things that either don't scale well to blog-size posts or simply are, in effect, book-sized -- they may be Webbed, but their cogency comes from somebody having bothered to write things out at length.

And I'd be completely uninterested in this if you weren't, in fact, citing somebody who took the trouble to expound her views of the history of biology in a book herself.

Sincerely, thanks for having done that; it's good to know, and if I find my views changing, it'll be good to have learned something new.

I am still pretty skeptical -- her dismissiveness about the consequences of Asilomar strikes me as something much easier to write in 2009 than in 1979 -- but I'll be honestly interested to see what she's had to say when writing at length in a non-Webbed monograph.


--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Checking on Wright's book, I see that it was published in 1994.

The very first patent on a protease inhibitor was filed in December 1995.

In contrast, the debates about whether molecular biology should be throttled back or allowed essentially free action occurred in the early-to-late 1970s. The validation that protease inhibitors provided to those scientists arguing for free use of these technologies came only 20 years later -- so much later that Wright could not have known of their existence when she wrote her own history of the decision.

Which is not her fault, but which does raise yet another point about the decisions to "regulate" private-sector work in a way that slows or stops it: the costs can be invisible, not only because stifled innovation by definition leaves a blank hole in the air where a game-changing innovation would have otherwise been, but because breakthroughs take time. For many years after the debates over Asilomar, people who argued in favor of free use of molecular biology could only promise, in effect, that this would lead to new cures; for two decades, their critics could reply that no such cures existed. It wasn't until the late 1990s that HIV clearly had stopped being a death sentence. And the link of that breakthrough to political arguments in the 1970s was, by then, quite easy to miss. It certainly hasn't been pointed out elsewhere on the Web, because biologists in general don't blog; the truly good ones are far less Web-inclined than I am.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

Erich, I'll write a longer post tomorrow, but I do have 7 or 8 useful online sources regarding Asilomar in addition to the email exchange with Wright. No legal ban mentioned in any of them. What appears to have happened is even more fascinating -- a group of scientists got together and agreed to a voluntary moratorium to prevent regulation, which worked. I've read a lot of science history in my life, some dozens of volumes anyway, and I can't think of anything comparable outside of Asilomar. I'm not saying there hasn't been any -- as we're agreed, I'm ignorant in a lot of areas. :-) But nothing is leaping to mind.

I'll link the other articles in tomorrow.

Marty S said...

Dan: The following quote is from an article at http://www.aei.org/article/13852.

"Yet the group managed to set aside parochial interests for the greater benefit of their enterprise. One reason was safety, but the more compelling impetus was to “keep the Feds out,” as one participant put it. Senator Edward Kennedy was leading a charge to wrap new rules around biomedical research. The scientists sensed their independence was on the line. The compromise they reached on a set of restrictions was enough to thwart Mr. Kennedy’s broader efforts, and the only limits ever enacted were those the scientists drafted."

So while technically the moratorium was voluntary, in fact it was with a gun pointed at the research and the person with the gun was Democrat Ted Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

"So while technically the moratorium was voluntary, in fact it was with a gun pointed at the research and the person with the gun was Democrat Ted Kennedy."

Fact is, BOTH Liberals and Conservatives have worked to hamstring numerous technologies in pursuit of anti-rational agendas. Technophobic lefties entranced by Thoreau's fabled pond succeeded in crippling American commercial nuclear power and in killing civilian supersonic flight, and have attempted to strangle genetic engineering and its products (i.e. genetically-modified foods). Simultaineously, Right Wing Fundies trapped in a Biblical Bronze Age mentality worked to sabotage science education (i.e. Creationism) and hamstrung stem cell research for the duration of the Bush Administration.

In short, to exclusively blame EITHER Liberals or Conservatives for impeding scientific and technological progress is bogus. Both groups contain wacko constituents alienated from modernity and dedicated to enforcing policies perceived to enact their illusory fantasies, be they Walden or Eden.

Ethiopian_Infidel

Dan Moran said...

Marty,

There you go. That's the argument I was going to suggest Erich make. :)

Infidel,

Democrats as a group haen't taken nearly as many purely false-to-fact positions regarding any scientific matter as Republicans have over the years. You may disagree with the various Democratic agendas (I do myself often enough), but conservative business and religious interests have assaulted not just the application of various pieces of science, but their accuracy. Republicans have been evolution deniers, tobacco cancer deniers, CFC deniers, global warming deniers.

Their position on embryonic research (and abortion for that matter) is so dishonest it's shocking even by their standards: the same embryos discarded en masse by fertility clinics (which no Republican I've ever heard of has had a problem with) ... when aborted individually by a woman, is murder, and when used in research is Mengele stuff. And yet the fertility clinics kill and kill and kill those embryos, and not a peep from conservatives concerned about the rights of the unborn.

There's a reason scientists are so thrilled with the Obama Administration.

Anonymous said...

"... a group of scientists got together and agreed to a voluntary moratorium to prevent regulation, which worked."

What "worked" was the later effort by Watson and others to undo the moratorium and to prevent it being made permanent. Without that later effort, we'd be living in a different world in which HIV was still a death sentence. The political effort to make Asilomar permanently binding did indeed come from the Democratic left, and Kennedy was indeed leading that effort.

In other words, I'm pretty much left arguing what I originally said, quite a few combox posts ago:

"[The Dems] tried very hard in the 1970s to kill protease inhibitors for HIV.

"Of course, they didn't know that they were doing that -- they thought that they were trying to save the world from the horrible dangers of recombinant DNA.

"It took 10 years after that for people to realize that HIV existed, and another 10 years after that for protease inhibitors to be invented -- using the same recombinant DNA technology that the Democrats had been so eager to regulate and ban...

"If the Dems had succeeded in banning recombinant DNA, we'd not only never have had the tools to develop effective protease inhibitors, we might not even have developed ELISA and the Western Blot, which kept HIV from completely contaminating our blood donor supply in the 1980s."


Lots and lots of argument since then; lots of demands that I write book reviews; lots of semantics over the 20-20-hindsight knowledge that Asilomar would indeed be overridden; but I'm not really seeing any rebuttal of my original point.


--Erich Schwarz

Dan Moran said...

Erich,

I'd have been surprised if you had. Nonetheless, there's a difference between "ban" and "self-imposed moratorium."

Steven Barnes said...

Christian:
You are welcome on this forum. But I ask you to refrain from vulgarity and wholesale insult. You are reinforcing a stereotype you claim to abhor. This blog is intended as a safe place for people of differing views to discuss issues critical to the welfare of this country, and our world. I know you feel considerable anger, but I would appreciate it if you would edit yourself a bit more. Thanks.

Steve Perry said...

Viz: Anger and Fear:

Unless you are a tyrant, in which case:

"Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved."

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince ...

dwesley said...

"Do people who feel nurtured, included, valued feel less fear than those who feel disenfranchised, excluded? In my experience, yes. Reduce fear, and you reduce violence."

By that reasoning, then those on welfare should be less inclined towards violence, which doesn't appear to be the case. I don't think it's a case of reducing fear so much as establishing worth.

I hate the focus on "self esteem" that has permeated our country because so much of it has missed the concept of merit. How many American Idol wannabees have we seen who think they are great singers because they (and their deluded families) believe it fervently. Never mind that they've never had a lesson in their life or had any other critical examination of their skill. They substitute merit (a valuation against standards) for wishful thinking, which makes worthless any self-esteem generated in the process.

So, getting back to the subject at hand, if you are denied access to health care while others have it, your value is diminished. But, if health care becomes a universal benefit, owed to everyone, then merit is no longer the issue. And on that note, I agree that it could diminish violence, because it simply removes it from the equation.

On the other hand, if you receive welfare, while others don't, then your value is also diminished. I believe we all start out knowing intrinsicly that we get paid (to some level) based on the merit of our work. And if I get paid for doing nothing, and I buy into the self-esteem without merit mythology, then I will come to believe (like the AI parade of fools) that I deserve it simply because I want it, not because I earned it. And once we've destroyed the line between earning and wanting, it becomes much easier to harm someone to get what we want.

Dan Moran said...

"Do people who feel nurtured, included, valued feel less fear than those who feel disenfranchised, excluded? In my experience, yes. Reduce fear, and you reduce violence."

By that reasoning, then those on welfare should be less inclined towards violence, which doesn't appear to be the case.


Are you really suggesting that being on welfare makes one feel nurtured, included, valued?

Marty S said...

Ethiopian_Infidel: We are in complete agreement. The extremes on both sides are more interested in their ideologies then in facts or real solutions.

Anonymous said...

Insult to Injury.

First MJ dies. Then his father decides to promote HIS record company. And then Al Sharpton is standing right there with Joe Jackson. Good Lord.

No shame. Ab-so-lutely NONE.

Anonymous said...

"Democrats as a group haven't taken nearly as many purely false-to-fact positions regarding any scientific matter as Republicans have over the years."

Since the ascendancy of the Religious Right, Conservatives have dominated in efforts to distort science, the "Intelligent Design" movement being the most disingenuous present example. However, Liberals have done their fair share of science skewering and downright falsification. Consider the false conflation of nuclear power and weaponry by Helen Caldicott et al, which scared America out of a potential solution to CO2 pollution. Far more egregious was the anti-insecticide paranoia sewn by Rachael Carson and sundry 60's technophobes, which made DDT synonymous with poison the world over. The practical consequence of the anti-insecticide movement was the banning of chemical agents that could have eradicated the malarial infestation endemic throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Given that Malaria is thought to vastly outstrip AIDS in causing mortality and economic stagnation, Liberal anti-insecticide paranoia may have caused more misery and death in Africa and elsewhere than the equally ignorant Conservative religious campaign against family planning and contraception.

Ethiopian_Infidel

dwesley said...

"Are you really suggesting that being on welfare makes one feel nurtured, included, valued?"

I don't for a minute believe that people feel that way because it ultimately diminishes self esteem. If you don't like yourself, your not going to appreciate anyone giving you a hand. But regardless of how the recipient feels, the purported reason for providing welfare is because we value those who need it. It's the same reason to provide universal health care, because we value every human life. The difference though between the two is that providing healthcare allows us to continue to be the best that we can be, while welfare (when it becomes a way of life) actually hinders our ability to be our best. We are all meant to work, to have an active purpose, and it's too easy to lose site of that when on welfare.

Marty S said...

Over the weekend I was listening to a discussion with Collin Powell on CNN. One of the subjects was the huge dropout rate among young Blacks, particularly in the inner cities. I don't believe this is because of fear or the lack of universal health care. I believe its because these young people find the school curriculum not relevant to them and their future. I think putting more effort into making education more relevant and giving them hope for a better future would do more good than anything else. Perhaps more local input into the curriculum might help.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You're wrong about someone who is African-American having "interracial" children who look like Swede. The famous TV actress Victoria Rowell's daughter is blonde and blue-eyed:

http://www.blackcelebkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/victoria-and-daughter.jpg

I'm surprised that a science fiction writer of your abilities would have so little knowledge of genetics.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Michael Jackson may have been an odd ball, but if you had done your research you would have known that both of the accusers of Jackson were discredited in either subsequent investigations or even in the trial.

First, you should read the GQ story on the Jordy Chandler case that shreds the accusations. Second, look into why Jackson was acquitted in the second case.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Here's an interview conducted by your fellow sci-fi writer, Minister Faust with Ismael Reed discussing Jackson:

http://www.cjsr.ualberta.ca/cms/news/news.php?s=terrordome

Anonymous said...

Please for the respect for the jackson families specially the kids let it go MICHEAL probably being on drugs but he did not do nothing to those kids your guys heard the interview when the cancer kid state that his parents make him said that he been molested by Micheal. he was a humatarian let him go in peace the press, the showbiz,distroyed his life and your guys still not satisfied what did Michael did to deserve all that? for me He's the King of pop and a victim of the society. Micheal never recognise himself as an adult instead of murder him we should prevent that tragedy to happen... I will always remember you Micheal

Anonymous said...

Please take a moment to cut and paste this link to watch a compelling, thought provoking and interesting clip on this subject: Now, I am a die-hard MJ fan! I love, love, love me some Michael Jackson. It is true, however, that this country promotes self-hatred in African-Americans. In many ways MJ became a product of American/western society and what he thought society considered beautiful. So amazing to hear this statement from someone from a different nationality who saw/realize the same thing via MJ, racism is/was at the root of MJ's transformation! Still the fact is he was the greatest for several other healthy reasons, despite all the crap people have said about him. Michael Jackson: His face scene from the movie "Three Kings"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx_zvaEQfzk

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

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