To be honest, I'm pretty ignorant of the everyday lives of black men in the US, so I would take mild issue with your reading into my words the notion that "magical thinking" is somehow a characteristic of that community. I just can't say that: you're in a better position to judge. Seems to me it's more associated with religion than race. Most of the (so-white-and-privileged-its-ridiculous) Republican Party is as much enthralled to it as the weirdest of California's "New Age Seekers" or the most poverty bound immigrant farm worker.
What effect does empowering women have on men? None at all, so far as I can tell. Liberty isn't a zero sum game. Increasing one person's freedom by giving them more options doesn't diminish anyone else's. (An idea I got from Orlando Patterson's _Freedom_in_the_Making_of_Western_Culture_). Unless, of course, you hold to the idea that one person's freedoms extend to the control of another's … an idea I think we all find repugnant.
I didn't know of Dr. Frances Wellsing - but having made her brief acquaintance via Wikipedia I have to say … her ideas are very, very …. provincial. Visit almost any country in the world outside Europe and the US, and you're very quickly struck by how limiting it is to view the world through a frame defined by the last 200 years of US history. Visit China, or India, or Indonesia, or Africa … finding yourself suddenly the sole representative of "your race" is very humbling.
Working with colleagues from Brazil gave me another, slightly uncomfortable moment, but one with a rather wonderful lesson. A Brazilian sales rep. was describing her husband to me (I was to pick him up at the airport). Without a pause or a second thought, she told me he was of average height, and his skin was lighter than "his" (she pointed to her boss) but darker than "hers" (she pointed to an indian colleague of mine). Skin color, for her, was merely a physical feature like one's hair (or lack of it) or eyes.
Places like the Caribbean and Brazil were wracked by historical slavery. They're not utopias. But it seems to me that they're closer to it, in terms of race relations, than the US. Which leads me to suspect that historical racism in the US has a lot to do with conflict within the white power structure (would value your insight on this). In the US, for years, poor whites were encouraged to respond to their powerlessness by inflicting violence on neighbors who, in every other way, should have been their allies. Poverty and racism are connected in many subtle and complex ways. Why are so many young black men in jail? I suspect the answer is connected to how this cements tribal bonds among low-information white voters. The good news? Demographics being what they are, it's a demagoguery that's not going to work much longer.
I'm also a little concerned with the rationality of some of Dr Wellsing's claims about genes and survival. If there was an underlying biological imperative, we would see very little if any merging of the gene pools of different racial groups anywhere. Yet we do. That's what modern genetics shows. I have *no* idea how my steppes ancestry got there, but there it is! I can recommend getting the family history in your genes read to anyone.
I'd also recommend letting your heart and hopes be warmed by watching the mixing and matching that goes on on any college campus. My father once quipped that in his opinion, Tina Turner's legs, and Diana Ross's breasts, had done as much to reduce racial prejudice as anything else in his life time. Poor white boys must find it very confusing when they're told they should hate on Beyonce. Or Selena Gomez. ;) All the more reason for carefully weighing questions of population, and self control.
And one final thing … please carefully re-read what I wrote about China, US eugenics and so on. I was trying very hard *not* to erect a hierarchy of suffering. It seems to me that there's plenty to go around. And disappointingly, religion is often used as a justification for it.
Hello Paul how are you?
I agree that there is a considerable amount of very determined and persistent magical thinking, that contributes to problems of scarcity, educational thoroughness, and scientific skill. And to a large extent that magical thinking exists among black peoples. However, I believe that an amount of that magical thinking may correlate closely to the trauma of being victimized by severe and persistent racist violence.
Paul what affect/effect does empowering women have on men? Especially when the men are Black American males that have been severely traumatized by an racist experience in the USA. And considered to be the major threat to White supremacist dominance. And the women are being empowered for the purpose of dis-empowering a large percentage of those Black males.
Paul do you know of Frances Cress Wellsing, the psychiatrist who wrote " The ISIS
It is my observation that many of the women that you may be referring to as having been empowered. Have been empowered to promote White supremacist racist views aimed primarily at dis-empowered Black males. And that much of that dis-empowering of Black males is being done by the Black mothers of those males, in a very complex power struggle.
And I agree that human brains may not prevent humans from becoming extinct. However, it seems wise to use those human brains, and other functional portions of the human body, to make the best use of the scientific methods available to us, to nurture our thriving.
It's interesting to me that you make the Chinese one child policy more coercive, murderous, and terrifying than racist America's eugenics cleansing. However, I'm glad that you bring that up for consideration, and comparison.
I believe that if you examine the evidence, locally, and globally, you will find overwhelming counterfactuals,
to compel the opposite belief. In the USA the numbers of Black males incarcerated, unemployed, underemployed, adverse to the things being taught in the schools, and thus their supposed lack of education. Compared to observations of Chinese peoples in those categories, suggest other than you suggest. And similar evidence is suggested when comparing the Chinese in China, to Blacks in Africa. Especially when considering the exploitation of African resources by the Chinese. Like the way the Chinese exploit the fish near African coasts, and there are other, similar examples.
To be continued.
Best regards, Ken.
From: Paul G. Brown <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, August 14,[masked]:52 PM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] "No real rational basis to opposing benefits of family planning..."
I'm of the opinion that over consumption, and racism are the primary problems. And both are very prominent features of the USA.
With regards to the opening quote about, the fewer the people the simpler the problem. For those who believe that, eliminating themselves, seems the their first, and primary option. And any other option would tend to be coercive, violent and murderous.
I agree with you whole-heartedly about that over-consumption and racism are prominent features of the US today.
But about your second point … I am not so sure.
Your position seems to be that the problem of scarcity is largely a question of distribution. The 21st Century US is an incredible time and place in which to live. We have the means currently to meet everyone's needs. Yet instead we have collectively chosen a way of life that leads to the persistence of poverty and yields evidence of lack and need everywhere we look.
I absolutely agree with you that one of the causes of this unequal distribution of economic riches is structural racism, to which I would add a salting of "magical thinking" on the part of many Americans. Religion inclines believers to fatalism. There's no reason to believe an individual's will or desires matter much when everything is, after all, merely the plan of some pan-galactic-bearded-(white)-dude-in-the-sky. And I also agree that there are places where we all might improve our lives by consuming less. Even … *cue the woo sound-track* … thinking about something other than the material things by which so many of us define our lives.
BUT … I detect a whiff of "false dichotomy" in the places you choose to go after that. I think over-population is a major contributor to long current poverty, because caring for and educating kids is an enormous social and economic burden, and societies with exploding youth populations can't allocate the necessary resources. Fewer kids in a society means that the society as a whole can invest more in each of them.
I'd also take issue with your characterization of effective population control strategies as tending to be "coercive, violent and murderous". To the contrary, recent history suggest that the most effective route to population control is … empowering women. Simply give them information, access to birth control, and a justice system that lets them escape 'coercive, violent and murderous' situations …
I don't see an either/or here. We can *both* address social and economic injustice *and* pursue non-coercive approaches to population control.
But that's all mechanics. So far, I've been silent on the question of why population control is a good, even necessary thing. And my justification here is, as best I can tell you, founded in the notion that we are just another species of mammal. Nothing special, biologically. Our evolutionary "trick" has been to invest vast amounts of energy into a "sense-making" organ. Crabs got claws, beetles and turtles got armor, bacteria got incredibly fast mitosis. Ya do what ya' gotta do t' make a living.
I don't see why having brains will prevent us from going the same way as 99% of all species who have ever existed. Or even if we don't disappear, it's a long way down from 7 billion to 1 billion. If you ever want to see something even more terrifying than the awful coercion of China's "one child" policy, more violent than the treatment of the "feeble minded" and otherwise "defective" and "sub-human" by eugenicists in the C20th, or more murderous than white America's "cleansing" of the land, go look ,some-time, at what nature does to a species that has exceeded the limits of its carrying capacity.