[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2017-09-12

The problem with ‘privilege’

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:39

You're not being oppressed when another group gains rights that you've always had.

White privilege“.

Male privilege“.

Straight privilege“.

It bugs me so much that the word “privilege” is used in this context. “Privilege” is something that not everyone has, and that not everyone should have. But everyone should be able to travel without fear of being stopped for no reason. Everyone should be able to live day to day without fearing for their lives if a police officer notices them. Everyone should have their accomplishments respected and accepted without questioning if they had actually earned them. Everyone should be able to go through their lives without experiencing a constant barrage of insults or “jokes” aimed at their ancestry, or gender, or sexual proclivities, or skin color.

Using “privilege” to describe these benefits says that they should be taken away, which is the exact opposite of what ought to happen. These are not privileges — they are what everyone ought to have.

The argument for this terminology is that it points out that a person belonging to group X (males, straight people, “white” people, whatever) has some benefit that those in other groups do not have, a fact of which some (perhaps most) in group X are unaware. (Although how any straight, white, American male could possibly be oblivious to their status relative to other groups is a mystery to me.)

But given the standard response when the phrase “_____ privilege” is used, this terminology fails to convey that. The response is typically, “I am ____ , and I don’t have any special privilege!” And that response is correct — they don’t have any special privileges. What they do have is the ordinary way life should be for everyone, but isn’t.

So what would be better? “Respect”? “Dignity”? “Liberty”?

Personally, I think discourse on this topic would be improved if the focus were less on what group X has, and more on the gap between what group X has and what other groups have. There is a phrase already in common parlance: “income inequality”. I think we need a focus on “dignity inequality”, or “liberty inequality” — the emphasis being not to take it away from people who have it, but to make sure that everyone has it.

To be clear (because someone will read this far and yet still somehow fail to understand this), I am not saying that the disparity does not exist. I think you’d have to be willfully ignorant or just plain despicable to claim that (and many ignorant and/or despicable people do — Google “myth of white privilege” if you want your love of humanity severely tested). I am saying that if we, people of good will, are to come together and eliminate that disparity in treatment, describing it as a “privilege” makes that work more difficult.

Thursday, 2017-08-17

The Confederacy is not the South

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 11:37

The Confederacy is not the South. The Confederacy was a six-year tragedy in a history that stretches back over 400 years. There were other tragedies along the way, obviously — the genocide of native Americans and the chattel slavery of Africans being the two biggest ones, but as these were American atrocities rather than strictly Southern ones, I won’t be addressing them here. This isn’t about the crimes of the United States: this is about the southern USA (or just “the South”, as it’s affectionately known), which had its first permanent European settlement in St. Augustine, Florida in 1465, by the Spanish. The South existed for hundreds of years before the stain of the Confederacy, and the South is still here long after the blight of the Confederacy is gone (and good riddance!).

Even some Confederate generals, such as James Longstreet and William Mahone, recognized the value and importance of a United States with racial equality, and worked to make it happen. Sadly, they have been largely forgotten — or demonized — by Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

A Southerner who glorifies the Confederacy and treats it like something to memorialize is like a 50 year old man who met a girl in a bar when he was 18, took her home, and woke up with a dead dog, a stolen truck, an empty bank account, and a case of herpes — but who insists on keeping her photo on the mantle because it’s his “heritage”. He shouldn’t be blaming himself for that mistake after all these years, but he damned sure shouldn’t be reminiscing about it, either.

Wednesday, 2017-07-19

Trying to find an “up” side

Filed under: Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:42

I have been making a sincere effort, for the past few months, to focus on the positive. To “promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate“. To find joy in my gardens and the view from my living room windows, rather than focusing on… well let’s just leave it at that.

sigh

To not fantasize daily about moving to a more pleasant land, and instead gaze upon the grace and beauty and (increasingly) the potential of my birthplace.

Instead, day after day, I am exposed to evil, and evil, and evil, and evil

Not merely a difference of opinion, but genuine evil: the desire to harm others, and the power to do that harm. That is what we-the-people of the United States have put into power, and what we seem intent on keeping there.

Venal. Ignorant. Malicious. This is the United States of America in the 21st century.

Thursday, 2017-07-13

President Trump as a syphilitic rash

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 11:09

We the people elected an overtly corrupt, vulgar narcissist and habitual liar to the highest office of the land. This was not an isolated incident: we have been filling the upper levels of government with people like this for decades. Trump is not the disease: he is just the most visible symptom — the ugly rash that we complain about while our brain and internal organs are being eaten away by syphilis. A large portion of the United States has exactly the government they want.

Trump may stay or go: it truly doesn’t matter. The real problem is the people who elected him (and that we even need to quibble over whether they are the technical majority is a sign of just how serious this problem is).

I do not have a solution, other than fleeing. But my wife won’t leave as long as our parents are alive.

Wednesday, 2017-07-12

Twitter

Filed under: Humour,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 15:12

Twitter is the very worst of humanity, delivered 140 characters at a time. It is the untreated sewage of the Internet.

Liberals and conservatives

Filed under: Politics — bblackmoor @ 09:23

I have been saying for some years now that the United States does not have a “left” and “right” — we do not have “liberals” and “conservatives”. Not in our major political parties, anyway. What we have is “conservative” (the Democrats) and “batshit crazy” (the Republicans).

It was not always like this. But the Democrats and Republicans of 2017 are not the Democrats and Republicans of 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. The Democrats have become the Republicans, and the Republicans have become something out of a Monty Python skit.

It will get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, 2017-07-11

Mansplaining

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 22:16

Observation: “mansplaining” is the early 21st century version of “hysteria” — with a single one-word accusation, you can devalue someone’s humanity, experience, and point of view, based on nothing more than pointing out their gender.

Of course, as usual, men have it better. No one is going to be involuntarily committed due to a diagnosis of “chronic mansplaining”.

That’s progress, I suppose.

Thursday, 2017-06-29

There is no such thing as cultural appropriation

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 11:35

Culture either spreads and changes, or it stagnates and dies. It is not a walled garden from which “undesirable” religions or ethnicities need to be excluded, nor is it an artifact in a museum that must be preserved unchanged for eternity.

What people sometimes mis-label “cultural appropriation” is simply racism or hatred. Those things do exist, and are reprehensible, but have nothing to do with adopting and/or repurposing cultural elements from other groups, ethnicities, nations, or cultures (nor from your own, for that matter). Intent matters.

There is no such thing as “cultural appropriation”.

Thursday, 2017-06-22

A comparison of criminal backgrounds, Democrats vs. Republicans

Filed under: History,Politics — bblackmoor @ 13:57

This is a comparison of criminal indictments and convictions of Democrats and Republicans over the past 53 years. It was compiled by William Adkins (whom I do not know personally).

When comparing criminal indictments of those serving in the executive branch of presidential administrations it’s so lopsided as to be ridiculous. Yet all I ever hear is how corrupt the Democrats are. So why don’t we break it down by president and the numbers?

Obama – 8 years in office. zero criminal indictments, zero convictions and zero prison sentences. So the next time somebody describes the Obama administration as ‘scandal free’ they aren’t speaking wishfully, they’re simply telling the truth.

Bush, George W. – 8 years in office. 16 criminal indictments. 16 convictions. 9 prison sentences.

Clinton – 8 years in office. 2 criminal indictments. One conviction. One prison sentence. That’s right, nearly 8 years of investigations, tens of millions spent and 30 years of claiming them ‘the most corrupt ever’ and there was exactly one person convicted of a crime.

Bush, George H. W. – 4 years in office. One indictment. One conviction. One prison sentence.

Reagan – 8 years in office. 26 criminal indictments. 16 convictions. 8 prison sentences.

Carter – 4 years in office. One indictment. Zero convictions and zero prison sentences.

Ford – 4 years in office. One indictment and one conviction. One prison sentence.

Nixon – 6 years in office. 76 criminal indictments. 55 convictions. 15 prison sentences.

Johnson – 5 years in office. Zero indictments. Zero convictions. Zero prison sentences.

So, let’s see where that leaves us. in the last 53 years Democrats have been in office for 25 of those years while Republicans held it for 28. in their 25 years in office Democrats had a total of three Executive Branch officials indicted with one conviction and one prison sentence. That’s one whole executive branch official convicted of a crime in two and a half decades of Democrat leadership.

In the 28 years that Republicans have held office over the last 53 years they have had a total of (a drum roll would be more than appropriate) 120 criminal indictments of Executive Branch officials. 89 criminal convictions and 34 prison sentences handed down.

That’s more prison sentences than years in office since 1968 for Republicans.

If you want to count articles of impeachment as indictments (they aren’t really but we can count them as an action), both sides get one more. However, Clinton wasn’t found guilty while Nixon resigned and was pardoned by Ford, so those only serve to make Republicans look even worse.

With everything going on with Trump and his people right now, it’s a safe bet Republicans are gonna be padding their numbers a bit real soon. So let’s just go over the numbers one more time, shall we? 120 indictments for Republicans. 89 convictions and 34 prison sentences. Those aren’t ‘feelings’ or ‘alternate facts,’ those are simply the stats by the numbers. Republicans are, and have been for my entire lifetime, the most criminally corrupt party to hold the office of the presidency.

Monday, 2017-05-22

Morgellon’s disease

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:46

I recently heard about a phenomenon called “Morgellon’s disease“. Reading about it, I am finding the situation eerily familiar: amateur “experts” think they know more than actual experts, and construct elaborate conspiracy theories to explain why scientists don’t agree with them, when in fact the amateur “experts” are in denial (some even suffering from legitimate mental illness).

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