There’s a broader point here. It can be easy to stereotype the vaccine debate as people who believe in scientific evidence versus people who don’t. But that’s an oversimplification. Vaccine skeptics do think they believe in scientific evidence. They can cite dozens of studies and cases. They see themselves as the side in this debate that’s actually following the evidence, while the pro-vaccine side is blindly trusting in authority and ultimately getting taken in by a massive pharmaceutical scam.
The problem is when you dig into the studies they cite, the evidence they’re relying on doesn’t hold up — it’s misinterpreted, selectively reported, or refracted through conspiracy theories. But knock down one bad interpretation of a study and there’s always another, and another, and another. And then there’s the flood of wrenching anecdotes which can’t be checked, but which are reported by people who are in pain and arouse our deepest sympathies. The result is that to someone primarily consuming anti-vaccine arguments, the evidence looks overwhelming, the media’s dismissal of it looks corrupt, and the victims seem very real.
Unfortunately racism is still apart of our society, and will most likely be for a long time to come.
There is a bitter debate over racism these days — specifically, whether or not it still exists in a way that actually matters. The argument against goes something like, “Sure, there are neo-Nazis and KKK and YouTube comment sections out there, but we’ve got a black president, for Christ’s sake! Racism has been banished to the craziest fringes of society.”
But science says that’s just not true — the prejudice persists, we’re just less aware of it, and there’s tons of proof that we’ll get into starting … now:
Fear, ignorance, xenophobia, racism and religious fanaticism combine to create a toxic stew of dumbassery.
Fearing that America would soon go the way of a Europe that he claimed is “hopelessly lost” to Muslim population growth, [Family Research Council vice president Jerry] Boykin insisted that “Americans” (among whom he evidently doesn’t include Muslim-Americans) must increase the average birth rate to supersede that of the country’s less-than-one-percent Muslim minority. “It is a very serious issue, which is why Americans need to have more babies and populate this country with red-blooded patriotic Americans,” he said.
Oh, where to start?
First off, Muslims make up less than 4% of the European population excluding Turkey. And even if you include Turkey, it’s still only about 6%. That might go as high as 8% by 2030, but still a minority. How is that ‘hopelessly lost”?
Then we have Boykin’s seeming belief that patriotism can be inherited.
But, of course, it isn’t hard to see the racist dog-whistles behind this rant. It’s another white guy worried that all those darkies will destroy the “purity” of “red-blooded” Americans. (Although, I don’t think red is the color he’s really worried about).
Interesting. I came on to LGF and of course the first thing I saw was the article on Twitchy.
Which immediately made me think of the article my news aggregator discovered this morning, One on a psychological study on the differences between people and the groups they identify with relating to their reaction to assorted stimuli.
Specifically ‘conservatives’ react far more strongly to ‘negative stimuli’. Fear mostly. They often create fear when there is none immediately to hand.
Also interesting was a little bit near the end of the article. It turns out that a point I’ve often said here and elsewhere, that the poor are regarded as sinners, has been demonstrated to exist in another study.
Two things stand out about how conservatives talk about economy, Osorio said, based on several years of intensive observation and analysis. First is the “the tendency to compare it to something natural — a body or the weather or moving liquid,” she said. “But the other idea undergirding their worldview, and thus shaping perceptions of poverty, riches, inequality and desirable economic policy, is the idea that the economy exists for a specific purpose: to reward the good and punish the bad. It’s a moral arbiter; simply having great riches indicates you deserve them because the economy loves you the best. Thus, it follows that poor people deserve to be poor and we can know this because they’re poor.”
There are two things I will disagree with though.
This excessive reaction to negative stimuli is not limited to ‘conservatives’. The jacobins and the Bolsheviks were definitely not ‘conservative’ so it seems to me that a political ideology is chosen to deal with the fear caused by this phenomena.
I believe they’ll also have to consider the fact that, as I’ve pointed out before, that fear, anger and hate makes a person high.
Still, a fascinating article.
But Cape Town’s gay village doesn’t, wouldn’t, and couldn’t exist in any other country on this continent, the majority of which outlaw homosexuality. Some have seen a recent increase in penalties for homosexual acts. In these places gay people and other sexual minorities are forced into lives of secrecy and fear. Coming out is an act of bravery and defiance: Far more than social awkwardness is at stake.
Homosexuality is illegal in 36 out of 55 African countries and carries the death penalty in four. The presidents of Nigeria and Uganda recently passed new laws strengthening existing anti-gay legislation. A parliamentary caucus in Kenya is demanding anti-gay laws be applied rigorously and one MP recently said homosexuality is “as serious as terrorism.”
South Africa runs contrary to these currents. The country’s 1996 constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation and gender. Pierre de Vos, a law professor at the University of Cape Town, says South Africa is different “because of the way in which it became a democracy.
“Equality was very important to some of those deeply involved in the struggle against apartheid and they successfully put the argument that the struggle is against the denial of dignity and against all discrimination,” said de Vos. “Part of the struggle was about human rights.”
ERONA, Italy — Right up until he started quoting Hitler and dropping N-bombs, my new friend was a great dude. I’ll call him The Hooligan. A more generous host would be hard to find. Soon after we met, he made sure we stopped at the one place in town that served Campari correctly. He speaks eight languages, and seemed nothing like the Hellas Verona fans I’d read about, the neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, racist thugs. The Hooligan insisted the Veronese just have a dark sense of humor and refuse to wear the yoke of modern political correctness.
Now we are headed toward the terraces of the stadium. Soon I’ll be packed in with the hard-core fans, three people for every seat, chest to back, eyes burning from smoke bombs. Near the entrance to the stands, I ask The Hooligan to translate any chants hurled down at the players. He is an old-school soccer thug, not on a first-name basis with impulse control. His eyes are slate blue, and his face has darkened with intensity as kickoff approaches. His voice is a sharp blade.
“How about, ‘You’re a f—-ing n——-‘?” he says, and we walk inside.
This is a sizable article of distinct quality. One of the finest commentaries on racism I’ve ever read. If you have a few moments I highly suggest you read it. Also included are some stunning photos of very high resolution. Highly recommended.
It’s three weeks since his arrest but Ismail Halou still has streaks of purple bruising on the soles of his feet. The 22 year-old was filling cars at his family’s petrol station in Gaza City at 5pm on April 4th when a black jeep pulled into the forecourt, plain-clothed police stepped out and ordered him into the car. He was blindfolded and driven to the nearest police station.
“I could hear the screams of people being beaten in the rooms next to me. Two men held my legs down and tied them together on a wooden board then they beat the soles of my feet with a plastic rod. They beat me for at least five minutes. I was crying and screaming with agony. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Mr Halou recalls.
It was only after the beating that police officers set to work trying to shave off the one-inch fin of gelled hair that was the cause of his arrest.
“At no point did they tell me why they had arrested me. I found out from neighbours when I got home that it was because of my hair,” Mr Halou explains, running a hand over the fuzzy regrowth on his head. He could not walk for three days after his release.
Police in Gaza, a Palestinian coastal enclave run by Islamist faction Hamas, have arrested at least 41 men on charges of immodesty this April.
Most of them were beaten, all of them had their heads forcibly shaven. Some were shaven because their haircuts that were deemed culturally inappropriate, others because their trousers were either too low-slung or too fitted. In at least two cases, police also cut-up jeans deemed too tight.
This an excellent opinion piece IMO, even though its brutal honesty made me wince. The author, James Varney, is confronting his darkest fears about the possible identity of the perpetrators of the Boston bombings head-on, not to mention questioning the morality of hoping for the outcome he would feel most comfortable with. That’s not something you see people do very often, at least not publicly.
What made me wince was not so much that he would prefer that the perpetrators be foreign jihadists, but that he seems to be viewing things in a binary “us vs them” fashion. I think more people than care to admit probably feel the same way he does.
How will he process things if it turns out to be one or more American Muslims, especially if they’re American born or raised? Would they be part of his “us” or are part of “them”? And what about all the peaceful, patriotic, law-abiding American Muslims? Would we be part of his “us”, or would we be lumped in with “them” as we were by so many after 9/11 (and still are by more than a few)?
The uncertainty compounds our fears too, Mr. Varney, just in a different way.
After 9/11 we had an enemy who, if not quickly cornered and killed, was at least quickly identified. There is a unity of purpose, a shared understanding of the threat in such situations that makes what happened not so much easier to bear as easier to confront. […]
Am I the only one hoping it’s jihadists? Is it even right to have such a hope in the face of something so awful? Is it morally suspect to take a deep breath, thank God fewer people were killed than Interstate 12 crashes claim on many weekends, and pray the low body count signals our mortal global enemies have lost some of the unholy talent they displayed in New York, Madrid and London? […]
In Oklahoma City in the days after the bombing there was a palpable disquiet. The city’s downtown was eerily silent but for the chakka-chakka-chakka of heavy-duty excavation equipment, and people wrestled with the news reports about Tim McVeigh and our homicidal parasites. No one knew what to make of what had occurred, but the fact the perpetrators were Americans was somehow unfathomable. […]
I wasn’t in New York City on 9/11 where the gloom was proportionately much larger. That’s a difference of scale, although, at root, it’s the same. There was also on that day, in Manhattan and everywhere else, a realization that a war was at hand; that such cataclysmic terrorism on home soil was the culmination of a chain that included African embassy bombings, Navy ship bombings and even an earlier, much less harrowing World Trade Center bombing.
In other words, there was a connection. There was a ripple that went through every American that someone else was attacking us. It was a Pearl Harbor-type moment. […]
The NRA operates much like climate science and evolution denialists: their job is to throw so much almost plausible but really false chaff into the wind that nobody can see the truth without extraordinary efforts.
Ever since the massacres in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, it’s been repeated like some surreal requiem: The reason mass gun violence keeps happening is because the United States is full of places that ban guns.
Second Amendment activists have long floated this theme, and now lawmakers across the nation are using it too. During a recent floor debate in the Colorado Legislature, Republican state Rep. Carole Murray put it this way: “Most of the mass killings that we talk about have been effected in gun-free zones. So when you have a gun-free zone, it’s like saying, ‘Come and get me.’”
The argument claims to explain both the motive behind mass shootings and how they play out. The killers deliberately choose sites where firearms are forbidden, gun-rights advocates say, and because there are no weapons, no “good guy with a gun” will be on hand to stop the crime.
With its overtones of fear and heroism, the argument makes for slick sound bites. But here’s the problem: Both its underlying assumptions are contradicted by data. Not only is there zero evidence to support them, our in-depth investigation of America’s mass shootings indicates they are just plain wrong.
The power of hate crimes to terrorize is relatively simple: They are criminal acts that send a message far beyond the initial victim.
And yet it is that aspect of the laws that people often question. A running dialogue has long asked the need for such statutes, with some arguing that an assault is an assault, a murder is a murder and the normal penalties should suffice upon conviction.
But that misses the rationale behind hate crimes — when a person’s race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation is a motivator for an attack. The crime can be like a warning to an entire category of people.
“It doesn’t just affect the victim,” said Heith Janke, supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “It affects an entire community. Everyone lives in fear not knowing if they might be the next one attacked.”