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Paradise Lost


Complete with a continuation of our conversation:

Paradise Lost

Exhibit One:

A final thought on Roy Moore and immigration.

Seems sort of inconsistent for an unreconstructed Confederate to be against building your society by importing people of other races.

Dan Middleton @DMiddletonCbus, December 8, 2017

$18.2 million

That’s how much the government paid starting in 2007 to accumulate land almost half the length of the 120 miles of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. The government aggressively relied on eminent domain, and an investigation by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune found the Department of Homeland Security worked around laws protecting landowners, shook down poorer landowners, screwed up hundreds of condemnation cases and often had to redo settlements. [The Texas Tribune]

Exhibit Two:

So I guess we've stopped asking why an old semi-rich guy in Vegas shot five or six hundred people?

Schooley @Rschooley, December 12, 2017

And this really gets to Robert Schooley’s observation. Because the Las Vegas shooter was a very affluent white man, despite the fact that he killed 58 people and wounded 546 more in under a half hour, outside of Las Vegas and maybe the home towns of the victims, the coverage dropped to almost zero quickly after the attack. Had yesterday’s attacker been a white guy with a gun [the failed NY bombing –ed.] there wouldn’t be any calls today to reform the US immigration system or for travel bans. There wouldn’t even be real calls for sensible reforms regarding firearms sales. Rather there would be calls for thoughts and prayers. And emphatic statements that it is too soon to discuss doing anything but thinking and praying. Americans have built up terrorism into an existential, uber-threat out of all proportion to the reality of terrorism to the lives of Americans. At the same time we’ve decided that mass murder by shooting is just something that happens – a type of background noise to our daily lives.

     Adam Silverman posting at Balloon Juice

In the Lecture Hall:

 In a break from the usual format, the Museum now stops in the Plutarch Lecture Hall (“ a mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled”) where the Head curator Randar Wurlitzer P.H.D. (Piled Higher and Deeper) is having a conversation with Hanther about Single Issue Voting and the nature of Morality.

      “Just for the record I too am a single issue voter, but unlike your issue, [abortion –ed.] a nice black or white one, mine keeps evolving.  I started my voting career [1972-ed.] voting against the Military/Industrial complex. As you well know when choosing between evils on candidates there are many compromises to make, but obviously my choice was almost always to the Democratic side of that equation. In the early days you probably had more choice than I did on your issue. As time rolled on and the Reagan years came my single issue expanded to a fight against plutocracy, as it was very closely linked to the MI one. I used MI on purpose for as you see my voting has been a Mission Impossible to stop the growth of both trends. These trends also now include BIG industries, as in Pharm, Energy, Communications which are using their concentration of money (read political power) to further enhance their profits no matter the cost to the Republic. Your choice has also narrowed as the Bluedog/Rhino wars have taken their effect. I am no more a Democrat than you are a Republican, but due to our over-riding issue these are the camps we are forced into. I am pragmatic and will also vote against a candidate as much as for one, meaning I will place my one vote where I feel it can do the most good for my cause. This could be a third party if there is no leverage to be had, or more likely a Democrat because of what I am faced with in the Republicans.

 As for what you perceive as my moral ambivalence, I blame it on my choice of reading material. I found that my reading of History convinced me that there is no over-riding Morality on earth or for that matter the whole universe. Physics and Nature are amoral, what we call morality is a thin veneer we humans put over this amoral universe, but it is that very veneer that makes society possible. It is the most important component of any society, and in the end how successful that society will be. In the short time we have constructed large societies, we can blame agriculture for that, there has been a subtle but fundamental change in our moral views to get us to the point we are now in the West. I expect as we continue this voyage technology will play an ever bigger role in advancing our moral codes on a more worldwide basis. But again, as is proven time and again, this is just a veneer over an amoral universe. This is no great insight on my part, indeed many of these precepts go back to the dawn of recorded history. Certainly the Greeks had it all figured out, although they never, due to the mores of their society at large, implemented them. As you have pointed out our hometown religion Christianity has great moral precepts, but a quick look at say the 13th Century, the time of Thomas Aquinas for crying out loud, [To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. –ed.] the struggle is not with the precepts but, as with the Greeks, it is with following them. The mores and traditions of a society often, I would say almost always, override its claimed Moral Codes. This is why most moral codes were made for the members of that society only, and stopped at the border with “the other.” Indeed it is making people into the “other” that allows “moral” people to not extend that morality outside their “tribe”.  I give you the intersectional slaughters that came with Arianism in early Christianity, as just one example. A present example is, besides being another talking point between us, the Demonization of Islam so we do not have to extend our morality to “them”. Robert E Lee, by all accounts a “good Christian”, fought the Civil War against “those people” to draw just such a distinction in his own mind, and he fought it to preserve the slavery of another set of “those people”.

[ed.note: The Lost Cause Mythos is another Hanther/Randar talking point.]

 At this point I will repeat again that Morality is essential to building a functional society. However I find no evidence that there is a Universal Moral Code that over rides all others. I find only “Holier than Thou” Moral Codes in that  everyone thinks THEIR moral code is THE ONE, which gives it all the power of a single voice crying in the wilderness. (Biblical reference intended). I have no pretense like that for my Moral Code but I still think it’s a pretty darn good one. If there is a Single Moral Code that we choose not to follow;

 “OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,”

        John Milton, the beginning of Paradise Lost

proclaimed by an omniscient being, then that brings up the whole matter of Free Will, which is another discussion in and of itself.”
At The Exit:

 The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitarie way.
                  John Milton, the end of Paradise Lost



Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from missguided souls who disagree.