This is a very controversial thing to say, so let’s stir the pot right up front. William A. Henry III once said that “It is scarcely the same thing to put a man on the moon as to put a bone in your nose”. I’m not sure if I can make a case that this is not racist. I’m not sure who it’s racist against, as several African tribes, the Mayans, and people from New Guinea have all engaged in the practice, but I’m sure if you said something like that out loud you’d be branded for life. However, there is an underlying truth there that is under attack.
For me, September 11th brings it back into focus when I forget. I’m not a religious guy, but if your religion says it’s ok to lie to, steal from, or even kill people who don’t believe what you believe then I have no use for you or your religion. This is not just Islam. We all know that Christianity has been the cause of many deaths as well. I wonder how many were killed by militant Buddhists. I wonder if there are militant Buddhists. The basic tenet of Wicca is ‘and it harm no one, do what you will’. That sounds preferable to both ‘he who raises the sword in the name of Allah shall be rewarded’ and ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’.
From a cultural standpoint, if your culture treats someone differently based on their gender or the color of their skin, or their sexual preference it is worse than one that does not. If your women can’t drive, or vote, or hold political office, I don’t want to know you. Your blacks, or your whites, or your Jews or your Uyghurs are second class citizens, are murdered, or locked up based on skin color or religion, I don’t want any part of your culture.
There are many ways to resolve a problem. Some ways are better than others. Negotiation > Protesting > Rioting > Revolution. It may be necessary to escalate at times, I get that. But all else being equal, a violent response to any nonviolent situation makes you the asshole.
To judge what is better requires a set of beliefs. Mine are this.
- Eventually, the entire universe will be a blanket of dust.
- Until then, for me, the continuation of human life is the desired outcome.
- After survival, individual liberty is most important.
- After liberty, human safety and security is most important.
- Everything else will probably sort itself out.
A more spiritual person would undoubtedly place spiritual well being above all of this, but that is not a luxury I have. This leads to me not being able to use God as an excuse to attack someone, or make a decision that is bad for the survival of the species. This leads to a couple of very unpopular things that I believe that I don’t feel like getting into right now. But what this set of beliefs does, is allows me to not have to think about every single thing and constantly fret about whether or not I’m on the ‘right’ side of any issue.