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9/14/2006                                                                                       View Comments

“Would Jesus Wear a Rolex™?”

By Tyrone Williams

I love comedians and I love parody songs. I love them because with biting sarcasm and cunning insight they are capable of exposing the ugly truth of things even the most stubborn person can’t ignore nor deny. And they're just plain funny!

Take for example one of my all-time favorite comedic instigators, Ray Stevens. Long before Weird Al Yankovic came along, Ray Stevens pioneered the field of comedy songs with such classics as “The Streak”, “Ahab, the Arab”, “It’s Me Again, Margaret” and “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex™?” It’s the latter song to which I call your attention. It begins like this:

“Woke up this morning, turned on my TV set
There in living color, was something I can’t forget
This man was preaching at me, laying on the charm
Asking me for twenty, with ten thousand on his arm

“He wore designer clothing, and a big smile on his face
Selling me salvation, while they sang Amazing Grace
Asking me for money, when he had all the signs of wealth
Almost wrote a check out, but then I asked myself…

“Would He wear a pinky ring? Would He drive a fancy car?
Would his wife wear furs and diamonds? Would His dressing room have a star?
If He came back tomorrow, there’s something I’d like to know…
Would Jesus wear a Rolex™ on His Television Show?”


Now, setting aside for the moment whether or not you believe there ever was a “Jesus”, (I don’t.) I believe that Ray Stevens poses a damn good question that the Christian church MUST answer.

Instead of “What would Jesus do?” let’s ask them, “Would Jesus Wear A Rolex™?”

Considering all the injunctions in the bible to be POOR -- how the love of money is the root of all evil, and how difficult it is for a RICH man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and blessed are the poor (in spirit?) for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven –- one must question the sincerity of today’s filthy rich church.

“Jesus” was so poor that he had no place to lay his head. He lived off the land and the charity of his followers. He owned no lands, no home, and no donkey. Yet today’s Christian in contrast owns MUCH. Diamond mines, TV and Radio stations, huge tracts of land, airplanes and Mega Church facilities are but the tip of the wealthy iceberg of the church. The wealth of the Roman Catholic Church exceeds that of many countries. AND they own and utilize this wealth TAX FREE!

Didn’t “Jesus” say something about paying taxes? Something like “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”? I seem to recall reading that somewhere when the Pharisees were testing Jesus. Maybe MY bible has a misprint, or I’m using the “wrong” translation. That could happen. (Rofl)

Yet, it appears to MY untrained, and unbiblical eye, that the church is in DIRECT violation of the Word of God. Why is this?

Would “Jesus” wear a Rolex™, or a diamond pinky ring? Would he own a tax sheltered diamond mine in Africa, TV and radio stations, and vast tracts of land for his private use while simultaneously begging for money from his duped TV audience?

And, before anyone chimes in about all the OTHER “poor” churches around the nation/world, let’s not overlook the fact that these churches SEEK wealth and success and power, even though they haven’t yet attained them. They are desperately trying to clamor aboard the Health and Wealth/Name-it-Claim-it Gospel Train as they seek to be “blessed of the Lord” like everyone else. This LUST for money makes them just as guilty in the eyes of “Jesus”. It is a carnal desire. It is a “sin”.

So, what say you “Christians”? Care to defend your money grubbing ways? Can you truly defend the money marketing methods of the church? If this money being collected is “for the poor”, (snicker!) then why don’t “the poor” have it? Why do I see the churches and church leaders decked out in purple raiment and gold, living like royalty? Why are even the simple pew sitters, dissatisfied with being poverty-stricken servants of the Most High God, striving to obtain riches and job promotions and Olympic-size swimming pools? If this "carnal" world belongs to the devil and his children, then why are Christians so hungry for the devil’s playthings?

The early church (first 200 years of Christianity) believed that poverty was a virtue. Any presbyter who was living too well was censured and believed to be a criminal. The shepherd of the flock lived off of alms, just as did the widows and orphans. None of this “big house” and “big easy” living nonsense. They followed in the footsteps of their Lord and savior.

What happened? Why is the church so money-hungry now? Why do Christians DESPISE poverty? Why is being “poor” perceived as weakness and a lack of Great Faith? Why is being “rich” perceived as a mark of success and being blessed of God? Why are the words of “Jesus” concerning poverty considered optional, or “dispensational”? Is he no longer “Lord”?

Or maybe…this “Jesus” never existed after all? Could “Jesus” simply be a “pious fraud”, the mythical figurehead of a flakey religion? Is THIS why no one obeys his instructions?

Silly me. Of course THAT is the answer! A money-hungry Christian is PROOF that this “Jesus” is pure MYTH! If he were real, sitting up in “heaven”, watching over his flock, would anyone DARE disregard his teachings, or change his words? Not hardly. I know if I believed in “God”, I wouldn’t do anything to anger him. Yet, these “Christians” do so with impunity. They act as if “Jesus”/God and His Words don’t even matter. To be cast aside on a whim whenever it suits the Christian’s greed/appetites.

Humph! There is no “Jesus” and there is no “God”. Of course, "Jesus" wouldn't wear a Rolex™, because he isn't real. Well that explains it. I’m certainly glad we got that settled. Thanks for clearing that up for us, “Christians.”

40 comments:

Harlequin said...

Steady on old sausage! yousound like a Cathar. 'Twas just that view that got them wiped out, man woman and child...

;)

Grandpa Harley

Anonymous said...

Great article about Jesus reality bite. Interesting. I'll include it as info someday at Rolex Watch info site

freedy said...

If prosperity preachers like Pat Robertson really believed in hell,they would do as Schindler and sell everything to keep people out of hell!
His 800 million would go along way to warning the world,but he's just like every other fundy preacher,......a geedy little con man!
I

Nvrgoingbk said...

Good post Tyrone, as always.

I sat in a church in Tampa called Without Walls where Pastor Randy and his wife Paula White would actually dance on money and preached the name it/claim it prosperity gospel. They lived in a multi-million dollar mansion and drove Hummers and Lexus while a huge portion of the church was below povery level. They had a book store with a cafe in their church as well as a night club for the teens, etc. etc. The display of greed i saw every week made my stomach turn. The choir was huge and amazing, they always had big named speakers and performers attend like Joyce Meyers or prophets like Kim Clement (puke!). They always had concerts and speaking engagements to attend... They would constantly talk about their humble beginnings and how they had to sleep on a mattress with a spring that was exposed in the middle of them and how they started out in a little store front church. My best friend worked for their homeless ministry. They paid her so little that she ended up homeless herself with her daughter and had to sleep in her car! So much for feeding your flock! Neither of us are Christians anymore.

Christianity is despicable. The reoccuring theme I find is that Christianity just can't make up it's mind. Christians will find scripture to support any claim, doctrine or idea they wish to perpetuate. They'll use scripture to prove why one should be poor while others will use the prayer of Jabez to prove otherwise. You're saved by faith...oh wait, no you're justified by your works in the book of James. Thou shalt not kill...oh wait, unless you think God tells you to or unless you are attempting to rid the earth of dirty heathen. They whine about seperation of church and state until it suits them tax wise.

Christianity hosts the biggest hypocrites of all the world's relgions

steamboat_willey said...

Contrast the greedy Pastor Rolex with Bill Gates. Gates got his money the old fashioned way -- he earned it. You can't eat, drink, or smoke his product, but it made him the richest man in the world. He didn't just stick his hand out or put a gun in people's faces. He sold people something they needed to solve problems of production, distribution, record keeping and documentation. Not a penny of his wealth existed before. He created it.

Bill Gates, an atheist, has now turned around and dedicated his fortune to strengthen the community of man.

The Ayn Rand Institute hails Bill Gates as a great, moral hero. They say he should be praised, not because of the money he has given away, but because of the wealth he has produced. The First Electronic Church of America compares Bill Gates with Hank Reardon, the hero of industrialism in Ayn Rand’s classic novel, Atlas Shrugged .

BC8 said...

Mat 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these [commandments] have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.
Mat 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

How many churches today would be willing to actually teach the lesson of "sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow [Jesus]."? Very few churches and very few Christians would be willing to do that.

Sarge said...

Must ask you, Harlequin, did the poster not experience a "Cathar" sis? Sorry, pain medication is kicking in.

I might be repeating myself, but I remember "Brother" Dave Gardner was told he should be a preacher, he could make a million dollars. He said in response, "Dear Hearts, what would a preacher spend a million dollars ON?" Well, we all know now, don't we?

Anonymous said...

"Contrast the greedy Pastor Rolex with Bill Gates. Gates got his money the old fashioned way -- he earned it."

You got to be kidding me, Bill gates had a huge advantage. His parents were loaded, he went to some of the best schools.

His family was wealthy; his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate Bank and The United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president.

Next the kinds of business tactics he used to get rid of competing operating systems were anything but fair. Bill had huge advantage of having people with large sums of capital within the family.

He did not make his money "the american way", he is a prime example of gross inequality of opportunity.

Bentley said...

BC8 wrote,

"How many churches today would be willing to actually teach the lesson of "sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow [Jesus]."? Very few churches and very few Christians would be willing to do that."

That proves there are very few christians, if there are any at all!!

Lets face it, Money is God!!! Always will be!!!

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates bought the brain/computing engine from an engineer for less than $50K, and then got his mother to coax (fill in the blanks as you will) to directors of IBM to create a specific "chip" using that $50K computing engine schematic. While... on his off time, siphoned ingenuity from Steve Jobs (Apple/Mac), to create the visual interface (Windows) software.

Bill Gates, took someone elses' product, added it to someone elses' product, received the benefit of his mother's pandering with top executives at IBM to create a specific type of PC chip (ethics/business savvy?), patented the software product (legal protection), and practically gave the software away in order to gain control of the market.

What can be said of Bill Gates, is he had the resources, to include his mother's vagina, to piece together a working product that would create a niche market for himself. Now, the process of creating a business per a model is taught in most top business schools, and of course for those people who don't seem to care about ethics they are provided a basic course in business ethics, but ethics is a gray area in a capatilist economy. They teach such a course to remove themselves from liability, when graduate Alumni partake of scandals like Enron.

By the way, what do Bill Gates and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling have in common?

They both attended Harvard University, Bill dropped out... Jeffrey kept going, and also graduated from Southern Methodist University. Not to say, that these University's aren't teaching according to their charter, but... obviously an education even from a religiously founded university doesn't provide wisdom on ethics.

Shannon said...

Its undeniable that Bill Gates is a ruthless prick but given the choice between Ted haggard and Bill Gates having influence over the President of United States, I’m leaning that Bill Gates would be preferable.

Anonymous said...

"Devil's playthings" is right.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, a major mover and shaker of the Prosperity Gospel sect, once defended on TV, in his church, his possession of great wealth. He excused it by saying that Louis Farrakhan had great wealth and no one questioned this. Jakes said if the "devil" can bless "his children" this way, then why can't God bless His children likewise?

Wow. What balls!

And I wonder, how would Farrakhan feel about being called a "child of the devil"?

MTscatman said...

Anonymous said:
'He did not make his money "the american way", he is a prime example of gross inequality of opportunity.'

I'm curious...given your description of how Gates got his wealth and power, how is this NOT the "American Way"? Sounds uniquely "American" to me!

Also, just what is this "American Way" you speak of? I always thought it was "Nice guys finish last", but maybe I'm misinformed.

Please enlighten the rest of the class about this utopian "American Way" of which you speak.

Anonymous said...

If Bill Gates, were president, and continued to project his beliefs/ethical practices, he would do his best to abolish all Anti-Trust laws, and an oligarchy would ensue.

Oligarchy: "A political system governed by a few people; "the big cities were notoriously in the hands of the oligarchy of local businessmen"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

If Ted Haggard, were President, and continued to project his beliefs/ethical practices, he would do his best to abolish all laws that separate church and state, and a theocracy would ensue.

Theocracy: "A political unit governed by a deity (or by officials thought to be divinely guided"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

In either case, there is little regulatory action being taken by the gov't, and the citizenry is at the mercy of a minority ruling class.

However, I would agree, that if a choice had to be made between an oligarchy with a non-religious President, and a theocracy with a religious zealot as President, I'd go with the Oligarchy.

Citizens can't "reason" with someone who chooses to lead based on "divine guidance" and "faith" alone.

Still, I'd hate to have to "reason" with a leader who doesn't regulate business owners... in order to get a roll of toilet paper. But, at least I would have the choice of using corn-cobs, instead of being legally mandated to use toilet paper because its "gods'" will.

If a character named "Jesus" were to live today, under an Oligarchy, he'd have to succumb to an Oligarchy's price mandate to get a Rolex, or just go without a Rolex, at least there is the choice... perhaps, he'd eventually figure out how to create a sun-dial, and that would be good enough for him.

If a character named "Jesus" were to live today, under a Theocracy, he'd have to succumb to a Theocracy's "divine" mandate, which may "require" him to wear a Rolex. Of course, in a Theocracy where the leaders control the Rolex market, they would require Jesus to "earn" the Rolex or be subject to legal action. Earning the Rolex of course, would require him to accomplish divine tasks, for example; murdering all religious or non-religious people who oppose the specific leader's beliefs, etc.

Mr. Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "He did not make his money "the american way", he is a prime example of gross inequality of opportunity."

Bill capitalized/capatilism on opportunity, that is the American way.

Tyrone Williams: "I'm curious...given your description of how Gates got his wealth and power, how is this NOT the "American Way"? Sounds uniquely "American" to me!"

It is the American way, but America is not alone in that regard. I have yet to live in a country where every person didn't try to capitalize on opportunity.

America happens to have more opportunities available for its citizens than lets say a third world country. Probably the reason thousands of Mexican people, attempt to cross the U.S. border daily, risking their lives.

Tyrone Williams: "Also, just what is this "American Way" you speak of? I always thought it was "Nice guys finish last", but maybe I'm misinformed."

What is a "nice guy"? Is it the person who doesn't take advantage of an opportunity when they have the chance?

Tyrone Williams: "Please enlighten the rest of the class about this utopian "American Way" of which you speak."

Utopias don't exist in a reality where humanity is competing for opportunity - and seeking opportunity by exploiting ones' physical/mental assets is innate.

In a Utopia, everything is in perfect harmony. When one takes an apple from a tree, another one immediately appears, else, there would be one less apple for the next person, and that wouldn't be ideally perfect or fair.

To me, Bill conned someone into giving them the key to a unique apple orchard, and then Bill set out to kill all other existing orchards. He didn't stop there, he then started poisoning the ground (market), to prevent any growth.

There is a point, to where someone's individual opportunistic drive, can be a detriment to the whole, and the U.S. gov't, is supposed to prevent such opportunistic individuals from rising to power without regulation.

A gov't that doesn't regulate such action, will be a gov't that will eventually be bought and paid for by such enterprising individuals. The gov't, is the ultimate "control" monopoly of a nation. Tis why, its not good to get entrepreneurs in key gov't positions... they seem to have no regulation for their opportunistic efforts - from what I've observed.

I'd like to see how the other anonymous answers their comment about opportunity not being an American way of life, but... I'm not holding my breath :sigh:

Ned Netterville said...

Tyrone Williams wrote, "Didn’t “Jesus” say something about paying taxes? Something like “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”? I seem to recall reading that somewhere when the Pharisees were testing Jesus. Maybe MY bible has a misprint, or I’m using the “wrong” translation. That could happen."

Tyrone, my friend, your bible is in good shape. Jesus did say what your bible quotes him saying. Render, or give, Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Jesus most assuredly did not say pay taxes, nor should his words be miscontrued to imply that he did. Caesar, like you and me and Jesus, was a man, and in accordance with God's commandment --"Thou shall not steal"--Jesus told his questioners, who were dishonest and trying to "trap him in speech," (as the Gospel of Luke puts it) they should give the man Caesar everything they possessed that belonged to Caesar, and by obvious inference, they could keep the rest without violating God's law, which is what his questioners had asked him to interpret. All three of the synoptic gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk) report that Jesus' adversaries were discombobulated by his straightforeward answer The problem was not that Jesus' words weren't explicit and clear; the problem was in his questioners' dishonesty, which caused them to be confused.

As an ex-christian and devoted disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, I hate seeing Jesus' words misconstrued. That essentially is what christian-church scholars have been doing ever since the church became enthralled to the Roman state and dependent on tax revenues during the reign of the emperor Constatine.

For a better understanding of Jesus and taxes, allow me to recommend my website, http://www.jesus-on-taxes.com, where you can download free of charge a book-length essay entitled JESUS OF NAZARETH, ILLEGAL-TAX PROTESTER, which provides the first comprehensive analysis of everything Jesus had to say regarding taxes and tax collectors. The essay's conclusions are supported in the Scriptures and by authorities from the disciples of economics, taxation, history, and archeology. I'd love to receive any chriticism you may have of the essay once you have read it. Keep the faith, whatever yours may be.

xrayman said...

As I have posted time and again. Why the fuck do dumb fucks continue to send people like Pat Robertson their money? If everyone would just stop, these assholes would be out of busines. But I guess as long as their are studid people in the world, T.V. preachers and the pastors of mega churches will continue to take full advantage. They seem to conveinianty forget the verses condeming the rich and giving to the poor.


I must say that a friend was once heavily indoctrinated in the Mormon
church, and she did say that unlike all the other sects that take your money and run, the Mormons truely do take care of their parishoners who fall on hard times.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so where are the anonymous Christan posters? Com'on guys. You owe us an answer on this one. If you're really serious about keeping us out of hell, then please explain.

Naomi

.:webmaster:. said...

Romans 13:1-7: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

So, was Jesus and Paul in disagreement here? Or is Paul just filling in a bit on Jesus' cryptic statement to render to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar?

Hmmm?

Either way, we see from this that there is an "us and them mentality" in Paul's thinking. Christians are not the leaders and rulers — Christians are to submit to the leaders and rulers, at least in Paul's mind. Christians are to submit to the ruling authorities and pay taxes.

I wonder what Paul would have thought about the American Revolution. I'm thinking that rebelling against the God-ordained King of England would probably have been frowned upon by Paul.

This is one reason there is so much disparity among Christians. Christians don't generally believe what the sayings in the Bible mean, rather, they like to believe that the Bible means whatever they say. In other words, people generally superimpose their own preconceived ideas on the Bible.

Christianity began as an apocalyptic, unresisting religion where the world was thought to be near its end, and its followers encouraged to distribute their goods to the poor, turn the other cheek when abused, and give to all who asked. When the world didn't end, the religion was forced to reinterpret itself, which it continues to do today.

steamboat_willey said...

I didn't say "american way." I borrowed the phrase “the old fashioned way” from some commercial. Anyway, there's no difference. I wouldn't try to justify EVERYTHING that goes on in the American economy. There is a lot of cronyism we have to deal with. I would prefer a true laissez-faire system that doesn’t protect anybody against making bad investments.

I don't think cronyism protected Gates. Gates just used the resources at his disposal to produce great wealth within the constraints of the system. Anybody trying to succeed in business will do that. You are free to come up with an idea and get your parents to invest in it, or get some other believer if your family doesn't have money. You're going to need capital to succeed at capitalism. Get a bunch of friends together. Nobody will try stop you.

Maybe you'll have to work for somebody else while you're doing it. How much energy do you have? What's it worth to you to try? If you want to be rich, you'll have to work hard and get smart about how things work. If you want to be somebody's equal, you'll have to make yourself their equal. Otherwise, just go home every night, sit back, cry like a baby about inequality and burn one. Get yourself THE KIND so you can stare at a spot on the wall and forget your inferiority.

The goings on at IBM sound typical, and I remember seeing the movie about Gates. He convinced some executives to make a bad decision, and he had the smarts to get good lawyers to write up his contract so they couldn’t renege.

Everybody in America is guaranteed an education. You can learn as much as you want. He didn’t do anything wrong there either. Really, a good education teaches you to be resourceful more than anything else.

What is it that you think was unethical? He did it all for the money within the construct of capitalism as it is done in this country. That is not inherently wrong.

I contrasted Gates with Pastor Rolex, who is doing something wrong, just sticking his hand out, using fear and intimidation like ministers always do.

Gates didn’t steal the GUI from Apple. Jobs and Gates both conned it out of Xerox in much the same way that he conned IBM. He took advantage of their lack of knowledge. Again, nothing was stopping those executives from knowing what he knew about the value of what he was buying from them. They made an agreement to sell it for a price. They thought software was worthless and the hardware was all they could profit from. Gates put the agreement it in writing and got his lawyers to defend it. HE WHIPED THEIR ASSES FAIR AND SQUARE.

I’d much rather do business that way, even if I have to watch somebody else become more successful and regret my own bad decisions. The alternative is having a gun stuck in my face and a priest saying the guy with the gun was appointed by God. Notwithstanding the pandering and cronyism in the US, capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world.

PS: I think Bill was probably making good use of his wife’s vagina by the time he did all of that. I don’t know if he was a mother-fucker or not. That’s none of my business. I only judged him by the wealth he produced. I concur with the Ayn Rand Institute and First Electronic Church on that point.

Mr. Anonymous said...

SW: "Everybody in America is guaranteed an education."

Everyone?

SW: "You can learn as much as you want."

However, you can't learn from someone who isn't qualified to educate, and especially not from someone who isn't educated themselves. If anyone has attended public school and not witnessed at least on teacher, who needed to be thrown out on the curb, then they got lucky.

SW: "He didn’t do anything wrong there either. Really, a good education teaches you to be resourceful more than anything else."

That's what the drug dealers of Colombia are saying today. As well, Afghanistan's heroin operations this year have doubled. They are opportunistic, that doesn't make them educated, that makes them resourceful and opportunistic, without concern for those they affect. A bank robber is resourceful, Hitler was resourceful, etc., etc. I suppose there are those who may admire their ability to be resourceful and influence, but I wonder how many would admire their results?

SW: "What is it that you think was unethical? He did it all for the money within the construct of capitalism as it is done in this country. That is not inherently wrong."

Can you please explain what is inherently wrong with a monopoly? Thanks.

SW: "I contrasted Gates with Pastor Rolex, who is doing something wrong, just sticking his hand out, using fear and intimidation like ministers always do."

They were both opportunists... nothing wrong with that, they both used their talents, a little dishonesty goes a long way, if you use it right.

SW: "Gates didn’t steal the GUI from Apple."

Gates liberated the GUI, with a five finger discount, and yes, it was from Xerox, he did so, under Steve Jobs' nose, who happened to be his partner at the time. Partner in crime, I suppose there isn't a lot of honesty between thieves though. I liken it to two people who conspire to steal something, the two thieves break in, and one steals the GUI and the other, well, steals something worth much less.

SW: "Jobs and Gates both conned it out of Xerox in much the same way that he conned IBM."

Gates took control of the GUI, and exploited IBM later on. If Steve Jobs had any control of that GUI, then apparently he needs to get a refund from Gates, because his company has had its ass handed to them since the inception of Apple. I know, I know... its all opportunity. Steve was stealing also, he shouldn't be sore about it. I mean, Bill infuses money into Apple every year, in order to keep Microsoft from owning a monopolistic share of the PC industry - how thoughtful.

SW: "He took advantage of their lack of knowledge. Again, nothing was stopping those executives from knowing what he knew about the value of what he was buying from them. They made an agreement to sell it for a price. They thought software was worthless and the hardware was all they could profit from. Gates put the agreement it in writing and got his lawyers to defend it. HE WHIPED THEIR ASSES FAIR AND SQUARE."

Really, I can't argue with the fact that Bill did indeed have a vision beyond IBM and Steve, obviously he did. However, he entered into stealing, dishonesty, betrayal, conspiracy to commit fraud, and a myriad of other ethical scenarios to get his vision to come to fruition, some may call him a hero, and others may see him differently...

SW: "I’d much rather do business that way, even if I have to watch somebody else become more successful and regret my own bad decisions."

Someone capitalizing on honest opportunity, using their vision and business savvy, I don't think many people would disagree with.

SW: "The alternative is having a gun stuck in my face and a priest saying the guy with the gun was appointed by God. Notwithstanding the pandering and cronyism in the US, capitalism is the greatest economic system in the world.

PS: I think Bill was probably making good use of his wife’s vagina by the time he did all of that."

It was Bill's own mother that used persuasion to grease the skids with top IBM executives.

SW: "I concur with the Ayn Rand Institute and First Electronic Church on that point."

And, Ayn Rand would suggest that all of humanity does what is in their best interest, and thus, people don't do noble things that don't directly benefit themselves. I suppose one could look up the countless articles where people have given their life, in service to a cause or ideaology without having direct knowledge of a benefit. I don't believe everyone in humanity is out to "use" everyone else, and as well, I don't believe everyone in humanity is capable of true altruism. Probably somewhere in the middle is the truth.

steamboat_willey said...

Yes, everyone is guaranteed an education in the United States. The more disadvantaged you are, the easier it is to get a grant. I’ve had bad teachers. I’ve had some really excellent ones, in public school and private. I got through private college on my own, using grants and loans. I probably could have gotten through grad school the same way, but I was anxious to enter the workplace. The opportunity is available to anybody who wants it enough to go after it.

The “resourcefulness” of Columbian drug lords and Hitler reinforce my point in this discussion. The drug lords use the point of a gun to control people’s lives. So did Hitler. Hitler also used the divine right of kings and rolled church and state all into one.

Gaining a monopoly is not inherently wrong. It’s only wrong when it’s Government enforced, when it becomes illegal for people to try breaking it up, using shrewd business tactics. Anybody who wants to compete with Gates is allowed. Take the Unix kernel and try to outwit him with your own GUI and software. I dare you, and so does he. Someday, somebody will beat Microsoft just like he beat Big Blue. Something will happen that nobody expects today. The people who dream it up will get rich. Try building a quantum computer or something. Quit crying.

I was under the impression the GUI came from Ventura Desktop Publisher. I used it before Windows ever came to be. If there was stealing involved, Xerox would have won in court. Many people have borrowed money from their family for business concepts and/or tried influence peddling, and failed. Gates obviously outwitted Xerox, IBM and Jobs. I don’t know if there was betrayal involved. If so, it couldn’t be proven with written contracts.

Rand didn’t say all humanity does what’s in their best interest. She said they should. When conned into believing in the high ideal of sacrifice, people will do things against their own best interest.

Altruism is a self-contradictory concept that preaches self-sacrifice. It has nothing to do with benevolence or generosity. It begins with the premise that a person has a duty to live for others. You must sacrifice your time and life to others in order to be moral. You must “give until it hurts.” If you refuse to sacrifice, you are immoral. Altruism produces more guilt than good will.

Hitler idealized the spirit of sacrifice in Mein Kampf, but said, “love is profoundly injurious to man.” Benito Mussolini idealized sacrifice in his treatise on Fascism. Pastor Rolex probably has it on his lips all the time.

I think a lot of people who come to this site have quit the church because they don’t want a life of self-sacrifice. They’re saying, “It’s my life, dammit. Get off me. I’ll live it how I want. You have no right to tell me morality means serving the collective church.”

When you talk about people who laid down their lives for ideology, you scare me. Do you think that is something good? A lot of people have died fighting for freedom. Hopefully they were trying to eliminate the threat, not lay down their lives. Two concepts come into stark conflict in that context:

* “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

* "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." –General George Patton Jr.

Politicians always try to ally themselves to war heroes and put words in their mouths. The implication is, “heroes do what they do because they think like I think.” It’s easy to miss the hidden message, but there’s a word that is seldom left out of their speeches. The word is, “sacrifice.” President Bush used the word in his address at the start of the war, 20 March 2003. He used it again on Memorial Day 2006. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that he contradicts himself by saying that the war is being fought for an important reason, and also referring to the deaths of our servicemen and women as “sacrifices.”

Pat Tillman was an atheist. Tillman he quit his career with the NFL to go fight the war in Afghanistan, where he was killed by friendly fire. He had come out openly against the war in Iraq though. I don't think he believed in blind sacrificial service.

Gates and Tillman were both mentioned in the video by Zach .

Mr. Anonymous said...

Mr. SW: "Yes, everyone is guaranteed an education in the United States.

A timeline for U.S. Education;
http://www.cloudnet.com/%7Eedrbsass/educationhistorytimeline.html

1635 - The first "free school" in Virginia opens. However, education in the southern colonies is more typically provided at home by parents or tutors.

1821 - First public highschool opens, previous to this, education was provided by parents at home, for the most part, those parents who were educated, could provide their knowledge to their children, but... then there are the "others", who didn't have educated parents...

1875 - The Civil Rights Act is passed, banning segregation in all public accommodations. The Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional in 1883, this includes public schools...

1925 - Tennessee vs. John Scopes ("the Monkey Trial") captures national attention as John Scopes, a high school biology teacher, is charged with the heinous crime of teaching evolution. Though the trial ends in Scopes' conviction, the evolution versus creationism controversy persists to this day.

Not all "education" is the same, to this day, teachers are hired and fired according to the politically correct version of education - education is a reflection of political influence most times.

1954 - "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)[1], is a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court which explicitly outlawed racial segregation of public education facilities (legal establishment of separate government-run schools for blacks and whites), ruling so on the grounds that the doctrine of "separate but equal" public education could never truly provide black Americans with facilities of the same standards available to white Americans. A companion case dealt with the constitutionality of segregation in the District of Columbia, (not a state and therefore not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment), Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)."

The Civil Rights Act failed, to provide educational opportunities to "everyone" in the U.S. Prejudism, bias, and bigotry prevented that "equal" opportunity.

1960 - First grader Ruby Bridges is the first African American to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. She becomes a class of one as parents remove all Caucasian students from the school.

1964 - The Civil Rights Act becomes law. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin.

The failure of the Civil Rights Act, forced the U.S. Federal Gov't to step in and enforce equal opportunity throughout the U.S. by "law". Many states, and bigotted leaders prevented equal opportunity, deliberately, and based on their prejudism, bigotry, etc. Even after creating the law, "education", in the U.S., was "not" equal... there was no formal defined standard to denote what "education" really is. Thus, states taught according to their own standards... and not "all" education is equal, nor did everyone in their particular state have equal opportunity. Hence...

"Congress established the United States Department of Education (ED) on May 4, 1980, in the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88 of October 1979).

Under this law, ED's mission is to:

-Strengthen the Federal commitment to assuring access to equal educatinoal opportunity for every individual;

-Supplement and complement the efforts of states, the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the states, the private sector, public and private nonprofit educational research institutions, community-based organizations, parents, and students to improve the quality of education;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Education_Organization_Act"

Dept of Ed. Law:
"106.1 Purpose and effective date.

The purpose of this part is to effectuate title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended by Pub. L. 93-568, 88 Stat. 1855 (except sections 904 and 906 of those Amendments) which is designed to eliminate (with certain exceptions) discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, whether or not such program or activity is offered or sponsored by an educational institution as defined in this part. This part is also intended to effectuate section 844 of the Education Amendments of 1974, Pub. L. 93-380, 88 Stat. 484. The effective date of this part shall be July 21, 1975.

(Authority: Secs. 901, 902, Education Amendments of 1972, 86 Stat. 373, 374; 20 U.S.C. 1681, 1682, as amended by Pub. L. 93-568, 88 Stat. 1855, and sec. 844, Education Amendments of 1974, 88 Stat. 484, Pub. L. 93- 380)"

"106.12 Educational institutions controlled by religious organizations.

(a) Application. This part does not apply to an educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization to the extent application of this part would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.

(Authority: Secs. 901, 902, Education Amendments of 1972, 86 Stat. 373, 374; 20 U.S.C. 1681, 1682)"

"106.13 Military and merchant marine educational institutions.

This part does not apply to an educational institution whose primary purpose is the training of individuals for a military service of the United States or for the merchant marine.

(Authority: Secs. 901, 902, Education Amendments of 1972, 86 Stat. 373, 374; 20 U.S.C. 1681, 1682)"

In short, the "law", to protect U.S. citizens from unfair consideration to an institution of higher learning (based on sex) doesn't apply to religiously/military affiliated organizations, yet these institutions do receive federal assistance. Thus, "opportunity" isn't "equal" for one trying to get into these "institutions of higher learning".

http://www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr106.html#S1

Society, says what they "want", it is codified into law, and "educational" institutions follow the demand. Again, "opportunity", is not "equal", even to this day - especially, not "all" people who have the exact same "equal" opportunity.

2000 - Diane Ravitch's book, Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms, criticizes progressive educational policies and argues for a more traditional, academically-oriented education. Her views, which are reminiscent of the "back to the basics" movement of the late 1970s and 1980s, are representative of the current conservative trend in education and the nation at large.

2001 - The controversial No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is signed into law by President George W. Bush. The law, which reauthorizes the ESEA of 1965, holds schools accountable for student achievement levels and provides penalties for schools that do not make adequate yearly progress toward meeting the goals of NCLB.

2004 - H.R. 1350, The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), reauthorizes and modifies IDEA . Changes, which take effect on July 1, 2005, include modifications in the IEP process and procedural safeguards, increased authority for school personnel in special education placement decisions, and alignment of IDEA with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Spec. Ed. teachers didn't have enough weight to influence educational standard decisions... the child left behind here, of course is the handicapped child. Spec. Ed., teachers had/have to create their lesson plans according to the majority of their classroom, which are typically not handicapped. Thus, handicapped children are subjected to taking coursework that may not align with their abilities... not "equal". Nor did the Spec. Ed., teachers/staff have the capability to assign children to specific classrooms according to their level of knoweldge and capability.

I am not sure where you suggest "education" has "always" been an opportunity, "guaranteed" to "all" U.S. citizens.

Gov't regulation of Occupations:
- Why does the government regulate occupations? The legislators of federal, state and local governments decide which occupations to license and what the appropriate level of regulation should be to protect the public's health, safety and welfare. Licensing, certification, and registration are three methods designed to assure the public that credentialed people are qualified and/or competent to perform certain occupations."
http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workforceindustrydata/apps.asp?reg=nys&app=training#wgro

As occupations are regulated, the "availability" and "opportunity" to receive an education in specific professional fields are "regulated", thus, opportunity is not "always" there for those who want to go to medical school, etc. Hence, the regulation of medical school quotas.

Affirmative Action:
"Affirmative action (U.S. English), or Positive Discrimination (British English), is a policy or a program of giving certain preferences to certain (usually "under-represented") groups. This typically focuses on education, employment, government contracts, health care, or social welfare."

"Affirmative action began as a corrective measure for governmental and social injustices against demographic groups that have been subjected to prejudice. Such groups are characterized most commonly by race, gender, or ethnicity. Affirmative action seeks to increase the representation of these demographic groups in fields of study and work in which they have traditionally been underrepresented."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action

And so, as the U.S. Gov't regulates certain universities, but not others (religious/military, etc), it has opted into law, an effort to bolster the number of people from a specific ethnic/age group in order to "balance" or be more "representative" of the demography of the U.S. by population percentages.

Of course, this means, that "opportunity" is regulated, and thus "everyone" isn't "guaranteed" an education.

If anything is certain, its change. Thus, "timing", is paramount on who gets to be educated from an institution from higher learning, as its based on demand for the professions. The U.S. Gov't gives incentives/hires universities/institutions using tax benefits, to provide citizens with specific skill sets the nation requires, thus... opportunity is regulated.

SW: "The more disadvantaged you are, the easier it is to get a grant."

The reason Affirmative Action exists, is a rebound from the "non-opportunity" the disadvantaged received. To this day, there are "limits" to how much money a person can receive for a grant... lets say one happens to be "Native American", there are grants, etc., but there is a ceiling of how much money a person can receive.

I do however, agree, that if a student is accepted into a university, that they do have more opportunity if they have made less than what is considered poverty. They are more able to get federally subsidized loans, pell grants, etc.

Lets not forget though, that many schools weed out students in a class, especially in areas such as engineering, etc., in order to keep the number of professionals in the market low, so that salaries are kept at a rate equitable to what the gov't believes is a fair pay wage for that particular field of endeavor. If a gov't wants to keep a number of engineers on hand, for their special projects, they have to pay them well... that forces the gov't & accrediting agencies (state, professional, etc) to keep the number of professionals in a field low.

Also, I'd like to add, that the more disadvantageous a person is, the less likely they are to read public law, and federal regulations in order to make it in life. Many people, are too caught up in surviving, to do this type research, therefore, the "opportunity" is limited by their lack of knowledge. Parents who haven't gone to college, etc,. either, do not have the information/knowledge to provide to their child either.

The U.S. Ideal may be to provide that "opportunity" by establishing "freedom" to act, but, it has yet to make "all" opportunity "equal" for everyone in the U.S. in regards to education. People have different capabilities, and nations have specific needs.

SW: "I’ve had bad teachers. I’ve had some really excellent ones, in public school and private. I got through private college on my own, using grants and loans. I probably could have gotten through grad school the same way, but I was anxious to enter the workplace. The opportunity is available to anybody who wants it enough to go after it."

Please, see above commets. The freedom to go after it, doesn't "guarantee" an educational opportunity to "all".

SW: "The “resourcefulness” of Columbian drug lords and Hitler reinforce my point in this discussion. The drug lords use the point of a gun to control people’s lives. So did Hitler. Hitler also used the divine right of kings and rolled church and state all into one."

And, I would not disagree. Fear and manipulation seem to go hand in hand with many leaders. However, how does one parse differences between; fear, dishonesty, manipulation, betrayal, etc., it seems pretty difficult to me to choose which one of those traits is any worse than another. I could see a dictator who led by fear, being equally as bad, as a political leader who was a compulsive liar.

SW: "Gaining a monopoly is not inherently wrong. It’s only wrong when it’s Government enforced, when it becomes illegal for people to try breaking it up, using shrewd business tactics."

One company may "find" themselves in a monopolistic position, not by design, but by sheer coincidence, and timing, and I agree, there are times when a monopoly isn't immediately considered wrong. However, monopolies, go against what a republic stands for - the U.S.

"Antitrust or competition laws are laws which prohibit anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. The laws make illegal certain practices deemed to hurt businesses or consumers or both, or generally to violate standards of ethical behavior. Government agencies known as competition regulators regulate antitrust laws, and may also be responsible for regulating related laws dealing with consumer protection."

"The antitrust laws comprise what the Supreme Court calls a "charter of freedom," designed to protect the core republican values regarding free enterprise in America. The main goal was never to protect consumers, but to prohibit the use of power to control the marketplace."

Even though one may find themselves in a monopoly, they can't use their position to "control the marketplace", at least not by law - and thus, all monopolies are illegal and hurt free enterprise and competition in that context.

"Prohibited anti-competitive behavior: A business with a monopoly over certain products or services may be in violation of antitrust laws if it has abused its dominant position or market power. Although not all anti-competitive behavior which is subject to antitrust laws involve illegal cartels or trusts, the following types of activity are generally prohibited.

...
--Predatory pricing - The practice of a firm selling a product at very low price with the intent of driving competitors out of the market, or create a barrier to entry into the market for potential new competitors
**Internet Exploder MS's Browser was given away "free" in order to kill competitors

Tying - The practice of making the sale of one good conditional on the purchase of a second distinctive good
**MS's bundling tactics

Vendor lock-in - Is a situation in which a customer is so dependent on a vendor for products and services that he or she cannot move to another vendor without substantial switching costs, real and/or perceived
**Self-Explanatory for MS

SW: "Anybody who wants to compete with Gates is allowed."

Not if Gates, engages in predatory pricing, tying/bundling, and vendor-lock in suite deals. Competition can't exist, with a monopoly. Why? Because, they can continue stealing intellectual property, without regard for the law. When a company has billions to spend, they have a legal conglomerate at their disposal to prevent any citizen initiated legal action. Its why the gov't brought Bill to court, not the citizens of the U.S. The full force of the U.S. legal system had to focus on Bill, because he was too powerful for anyone to touch him - legally.

SW: "Take the Unix kernel and try to outwit him with your own GUI and software."

Again, the second a competitor enters the market with a new idea, Bill can "borrow" their idea, and absorb it into the Windows GUI, Kernal, hardware, etc. Its called a monopoly for a reason. When monopolies exist, those who have fresh ideas are put off, they don't want to be exploited by the guy who can steal their ideas and innovations and be legally safe. Monopolies, don't inspire "growth" & Free Enterprise, at least not in the sectors of people capable or presenting proof of concepts with prototypes.

SW: "I dare you, and so does he."

Bill has had to steal a lot of developer code, in order to keep his Windows stable, he dares others, because he absorbes their ideas. Its not "fair", or productive in a competitive market...

SW: "Someday, somebody will beat Microsoft just like he beat Big Blue."

Big Blue, didn't get taken to U.S. Federal Court for engaging in Anti-Trust behavior... Big Blue, in fact was able to be replaced by a competitor (MS) because it didn't engage in unfair business practices. I suppose that should be a lesson learned for other businesses who want to abide by the laws of a republic?

SW: "Something will happen that nobody expects today."

How can you say that, unless you "expect" something to happen tomorrow?

SW: "The people who dream it up will get rich."

Not if they don't have a billion dollars to fight off companies who use unethical business practices, i.e., stealing, etc.

SW: "Try building a quantum computer or something."

Is that an expecation for my future?

SW: "Quit crying."

Should I have expected that?

SW: "I was under the impression the GUI came from Ventura Desktop Publisher. I used it before Windows ever came to be. If there was stealing involved, Xerox would have won in court."

Steve Jobs and Bill paid a little visit to Xerox PARC. Steve Jobs, borrowed intellectual property from Xerox, basically, he took their legally Unprotected intellectual property, and starting piggy-backing off of their ideas. Thus, he wasn't liable for legal reasons. He and Bill got together as business partners to work on a common GUI, using the concept of Windows, an interface where people can interact with their computer using symbols, instead of having to code in QDOS, etc. While in a partnership, but not legally bound, Bill drilled into Steve Jobs' database and lifted his code. Thus, no law suit has been upheld in favor of Steve Jobs, who was not legally protected.

So, again, thieves stealing from thieves. Steve stole a legally unprotected idea/concept from a research and development department, and Bill stole the code from his buddy. As a matter of fact, Bill sucks at programming.

Intellectual property laws, are becoming more and more prevalent because of this type behavior. What Steve Jobs and Bill Gates engaged in, is nothing less than corporate espionage, its unfortunate that Xerox gave them a tour.

Xerox, was short on a vision to capitalize on their idea, and Bill and Steve were short on ideas. Steve was short on business savvy, and Bill sucked at programming (GUI). Bill was the first to take everyone elses' stuff, and license it under his name, after his family greased the skids.

Some call it business savvy, but a friend stealing from a business partner using the no contract clause? He's a weasel, but, again, is their honesty among thieves?

SW: "Many people have borrowed money from their family for business concepts and/or tried influence peddling, and failed. Gates obviously outwitted Xerox, IBM and Jobs. I don’t know if there was betrayal involved. If so, it couldn’t be proven with written contracts."

Actually, Gates outstole Steve, and they both capitalized on the legal ineptness of Xerox.

SW: "Rand didn’t say all humanity does what’s in their best interest. She said they should. When conned into believing in the high ideal of sacrifice, people will do things against their own best interest."

Agreed, she was a philosopher, not a scientist. Thus, she does seem to allude to what "should" be, not to what "is", but isn't that what a lot of philosophy covers.

Its the reason I followed up my statement, with examples of things to the contrary of her philosophy... to speak to what is, and it appears you provide an example of what "is" observed, in contrast to what she felt "should be". She advocated for her philosophy, based on... how she perceived reality.

SW: "Altruism is a self-contradictory concept that preaches self-sacrifice. It has nothing to do with benevolence or generosity. It begins with the premise that a person has a duty to live for others. You must sacrifice your time and life to others in order to be moral. You must “give until it hurts.” If you refuse to sacrifice, you are immoral. Altruism produces more guilt than good will."

Altruism: "The quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others."
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

There is philosophy, and what some believe "should be", and then there is reality.

There are some schools of thought, that believe everything we do has an intrinsic and extrinsic effect on our being. In other words, what we do in our lives, benefits us, either intrinsically (biologically/psychologically) or extrinsically physically by proxy of the environment. Altruism can't exist for these people, because there is always going to be a reward/benefit in some form. The only way out, is to escape ones' own physical reality, and carry out some charitable act.

Altruism is Idealistic, but then... so is much of philosophy. Philosophy creates the idealogical boundaries, by which human action is measured, especially in aesthetics, and ethics/morals. Its meant to exceed the bounds of humanity, if it didn't, we would create the next level above our ability... oh, that's right, a supernatural god was presented after philosophy - makes sense.

SW: "Hitler idealized the spirit of sacrifice in Mein Kampf, but said, “love is profoundly injurious to man.” Benito Mussolini idealized sacrifice in his treatise on Fascism. Pastor Rolex probably has it on his lips all the time."

Many people respect/admire those who are capable of rising above adversity - through self-sacrifice, etc.

Hitler, and Mussolini capitalized on this common perception, by selling people a line and what "they" considered to be an admirable self-sacrifice. Yes, people bought the line, but such tactics are used in more than just the religious quarter, i.e., soldiers for christ, etc.

SW: "I think a lot of people who come to this site have quit the church because they don’t want a life of self-sacrifice. They’re saying, “It’s my life, dammit. Get off me. I’ll live it how I want. You have no right to tell me morality means serving the collective church.”

"Collective", isn't that what Ayn Rand's close followers were dubbed, based on their belief of Objectivism... I digress.

So, you believe that many extians on this site, appear to have left christianity for the desire to live free, in order to exercise their will/autonomy/free agency?

Okay, but further, you suggest that extians who seek this freedom, do so, in order to remove themselves from self-sacrificing behaviors... as in what a church would require.

Is it possible to have freedom of choice, and also be willing to independently choose to engage in acts that are considered self-sacrificial.

I can only speak for myself as an extian, but... I left christianity, so that I could have the freedom to do for others, that which they can't do for themselves. Religion, restricts your kindness to specific groups of people, along with denouncing entire other cultures, etc. At times, even to the point, of trying to use genocide to rid them from the earth.

The collective, is a general term, I may not serve a religious collective, but generally speaking, I do believe by doing good by people, I serve the collective of humanity.

I serve the ideaology of a democracy, where people have the freedom to make decisions in life. Religions teach the opposite, they restrict that right of choice and freedom. Still, I could be construed by some, to "serve" the "collective" of the U.S.

SW: "When you talk about people who laid down their lives for ideology, you scare me. Do you think that is something good?"

I am not so sure, anyone who has cognitive ability can remove themselves from living according to an ideaology. Give me someone who isn't living according to an ideaology/philosophy, in some form.

SW: "A lot of people have died fighting for freedom. Hopefully they were trying to eliminate the threat, not lay down their lives."

Laying down ones' life, may be required from time to time, when attempting to eliminate the threat. The will to defend, shouldn't be misconstrued as the will to lay down ones' life, in my perception.

SW: "Two concepts come into stark conflict in that context:

* “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

* "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." –General George Patton Jr."

Is the glass half empty or half full? It depends on what you "intend" on accomplish... its half full, if you are trying to empty, and... its half empty when you want to fill the glass - its a matter of perspective.

The first statement represents the "intent" of the Roman Empire and what it required of its citizens..., self-sacrifice to the nation at all costs - nationalism under a theocracy.

The second statement represents the "intent" of a general and what he required of his people.,... to survive in order to kill more of a nations' enemy - again, nationalism.

Dying for a cause, or standing up for a cause, requires the same amount of ideaology. Dying is the result of what someone else does to you, based on your ideaology.

SW: "Politicians always try to ally themselves to war heroes and put words in their mouths. The implication is, “heroes do what they do because they think like I think.” It’s easy to miss the hidden message, but there’s a word that is seldom left out of their speeches. The word is, “sacrifice.” President Bush used the word in his address at the start of the war, 20 March 2003. He used it again on Memorial Day 2006. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that he contradicts himself by saying that the war is being fought for an important reason, and also referring to the deaths of our servicemen and women as “sacrifices.”"

Are you suggesting that "W" contradicts himself, because the very "reason" a person may go to war, is to protect their freedoms and life... and yet, these same people are the ones who will not return to the U.S. to enjoy those very benefits because they die in the war?

What is apparently not understood by many who yell from the peanut gallery, at election time, is the stark likeness between political parties. We vote, on differences, but... what candidate in an election, would suggest they didn't support the below philosophy?

Utilitarianism: "Most utilitarian theories deal with producing the greatest amount of good for the greatest number."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

Thus, the few that lose their lives, are doing so, in order to secure the happiness/well-being of the whole. The political question at this point, is not on the philosophy, its on... "the threat" to American happiness/well-being as a whole nation, and moreover, to the international community as well.

One political party suggests that the U.S. and international community would find happiness/well-being if the U.S. removed its troops from abroad. And, another party would suggest, no, no, if we leave, the happiness/well-being of the U.S. and international community will suffer as a whole.

These are the issues, I'm not advocating one way or another on the "best" strategic course of action for the U.S., but the philosophy of self-sacrifice is understood by all nations, who have had to fight in world wars, or wars in general. It typically comes down, to the "few" who want to "control" the happiness/well-being of the many. That is anti-utilitarian, its dictatorial, and almost always finds its way into mass murder eventually. If there aren't signs of mass murder/violence, its because its already happened and the many are too scared to rebel.

Here's what another general said: "Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all - Alexander the Great"

That's Utilitarian... each person, is responsible for the happiness/well-being of all.

I find it blatantly obvious that there are competing philosophies, between utilitarianism and Ethical Egoism.

"Ethical egoism is belief that one ought to do what is in one's own self-interest, although a distinction should be made between what is really in one's self-interest and what is only apparently so (see psychological egoism). What is in one's self-interest may incidentally be detrimental to others, beneficial to others, or neutral in its effect."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_egoism

The U.S. has ethical egoists running rampant in the business community, Enron, MS, etc,. and forcing the U.S. Gov't to step in, and take care of the "many", because these guys don't see the whole, they only see conquoring the whole.

Let me finish with a common belief, held by many in military uniform: "That Others May Live"
U.S. Air Force
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Force_Pararescue#.22That_others_may_live.22
U.S. Army

SW: "Pat Tillman was an atheist. Tillman he quit his career with the NFL to go fight the war in Afghanistan, where he was killed by friendly fire. He had come out openly against the war in Iraq though. I don't think he believed in blind sacrificial service."

However, neither of us are Tillman, and yet... from what you have stated... he quit his well paying career, to join the Army Rangers, knowing the risk to his life... he deliberately placed himself at risk, why?

Perhaps, so "That Others May Live"?

If I had to serve in combat, where my life depended on the character of a person... it wouldn't be with an Ethical Egoist, the Bill Gates', Steve Jobs', Enron CEO types, etc., of the world... it would be with the Utilitarianists... Who serve, not only for themselves, but for the whole as well... I get included in that "whole"... not necessarily so with Ethical Egoists...

I don't like Bill Gates... because I don't "trust" Bill Gates... what I may consider treachery, he may consider opportunity... His purpose, is not one I share. Regarding the preacher, many are outright Ethical Egoists, willing to say whatever they have to, in order to keep the pulpit between them and their captive audience.

Jesus, per the bible, was not an opportunist, nor was the character an Ethical Egoist, he was the most idealogical Utilitarianist ever to hit the planet - with the benefit of knowing everything, so that he could make the best decision for himself and the whole.

However, I don't care much for the death cult, need to die in order to get some benefit, but then... one would have to accept the bible as divine truth, in order to make such an observation credible... and, I don't see the bible, as anything more than historical writings, meant to teach a moral/story at times, and reflect on past events, and future hopes of a people...

Paul was the Ethical Egoist of his time, who used Jesus to get his Rolex...

steamboat_willey said...

I suppose the "stop crying" stab was uncalled for. You continue to complain about how unfair life is. I'm skeptical about that. I think hard work and smarts get rewarded. Laziness and ignorance don't.

It seems like when somebody gets rich, a lot of people automatically assume he did something dirty. You continue to say he was a thief and unethical. I'm skeptical about that too. The higher the monkey climbs, the more you see his ass. That's all.

I think that donating $30 billion to charity, and now working full time to improve the community of mankind, says a lot about the man. He's not doing that because he's wicked.

One thing is for sure, he's working for good and doing it contrary to the authority of the institution I despise more than any other on earth -- the Catholic Church. Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world, has decided to give all of his money to Gates for that work. Sorry, but Buffet's opinion means more to me than yours.

While the Holy Church continues to teach that condom use is a sin and "natural family planning" is the only acceptable means of birth control, millions are dying from aids and overpopulation. Gates and Buffett are using their wealth to combat that barbaric authoritarian stance and make a real difference for large numbers of people.

Perhaps they are utilitarian.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." That sounds great for some situations. It's not what motivates me moment by moment though.

When you have that much wealth, maybe it becomes natural for an egoist to think of the whole human race as an extension of himself.

Tillman may have also put himself at risk for selfish reasons. It would be interesting to know why he considered the war in Iraq illegal, and how his ethics came into play. I will attempt to uncover original statements of Tillman that will provide clues.

Gates and Tillman are heros to me, no matter what you say about them.

steamboat_willey said...

PS: Until I learn otherwise, I have to assume Gates is acting selfishly and taking pleasure in the way he helps mankind. I also have to assume Pat Tillman took pleasure in his work defending freedom. It creates a more favorable view of humanity, whereas speaking of "sacrifice" is an insult.

boomSLANG said...

"The only way out, is to escape ones' own physical reality, and carry out some charitable act."

I think it was Mark Twain who argued that there is no completely selfless act. I'm just tossin' it out there, I'm not picking sides.

steamboat_willey said...

If you want to "escape your own physical reality and perform a charitable act," why not sacrifice your life to the church? Forget about all of your doubts. Don't take it too seriously when they preach nonsense. Put those thoughts out of your mind. Get in line and file into the pews like sheep. Get on your knees, because that's where human beings belong. This is what's best for the masses (the utilitarian approach), since most of us are too weak, morally and intellectually, to live good lives without fearing punishment from God.

Have faith. Say a prayer. God will change the world for you (since you're doing the right thing). Maybe you'll find wealth without working for it. God wouldn't want you to be an aggressive businessman. You would have to hire lawyers, reference written contracts and all that ugly, selfish stuff.

While you're at church, don't forget to help out Pastor Rolex.

Mr. Anonymous said...

SW: "I suppose the "stop crying" stab was uncalled for. You continue to complain about how unfair life is."

I have never stated that life was fair or unfair - life just "is". I don't typically get into the, what life "ought" to be, as its a matter of perception, and perception is based on the circumstances one finds themselves in.

SW: "I'm skeptical about that."

Skepticism is a great thing.

SW: "I think hard work and smarts get rewarded. Laziness and ignorance don't."

I will speak to "what is", not what "ought to be".

People are bound by their circumstances in life. A person in a third world country, can work their ass off, and die of starvation, because their circumstance in life "is" what it "is".

You speak to what "ought" to be - an ideal. You state, if a person works hard, then they "should" be rewarded, that is an ideal situation for someone who agrees with that concept, but that does not absolutely reflect reality, and the way it "is".

A person born into a wealthy family, can be as lazy as they want, and they can be ignorant as well, and live a much better life in comfort than someone who works their fingers to the bone, who doesn't have the same opportunity.

As well, a physically lazy person who is intelligent, can easily out earn someone who works hard, and is "not as intelligent".

If anything, drive, initiative, motivation, etc., are enablers that increase the probability for success, given a persons' circumstances.

Still, as a skeptic myself, I would assert that a person who reaches their maximum potential in a country which is deplete of resources, will not attain the amount of resources that a lazy and unintelligent person may receive in a country which is rich in resources.

Is that the way it "ought to be"? Again, I'll let you answer that, seems we are all born into our circumstances in life, I personally wasn't asked where I wanted to be born, and under what circumstances.

Perhaps, what you are attempting to say, is that people should attempt to drive themselves to be "all that they can be", within the construct they find themselves, in an effort to maximize their potential for success. And, if that is what you are alluding to, I can agree with that, but... circumstances still create boundaries, from genetic makeup of a person, to their environmental surroundings.

"Success", is another "ideal" altogether, isn't it. What one person considers successful, another may consider failure. Money isn't everything, for some. This "ideal" of success, is what a person thinks success "ought" to be defined as.

SW: "It seems like when somebody gets rich, a lot of people automatically assume he did something dirty."

I'd agree with that as well. There are many people who are envious of what others have. I'd suggest its "innate", our genetics are what they are, and they cause us to measure ourselves against others, and our environment - its how we survive. When someone gets something that another person wants, they want to know how they got it, and how they can get it the same way.

There's a conflict, when someone is told not to steal, and then they watch someone steal and get ahead. It gives the perception that if one abides by the rules, they are at a disadvantage to those who don't have to abide by the same rules in life.

Some people become even more infuriated when the one who gets ahead by not playing by the rules, creates a situation that prevents "everyone" else, from having the ability to get ahead, based on their definition of "success".

Now, are there people who do nothing but sit around and just whine about their circumstances, ignorantly, and do nothing positive - sure. However, there are plenty who can easily identify dirty players, and take positive actions, such as engaging the government to force dirty players to abide by the established laws of a nation.

Its the intelligent person, who can understand when someone is whining ignorantly, and when someone makes an insightful observation using factual information.

SW: "You continue to say he was a thief and unethical. I'm skeptical about that too."

Well... lets just say, he and Steve stole research and development ideas from Xerox (intellectual plagiarism) and then Bill stabbed his partner in the back. Do you think that's ethical? Its a matter of perception I suppose... Perhaps, you find nothing wrong with it - I'm skeptical of your ethical values.

SW: "The higher the monkey climbs, the more you see his ass. That's all."

True, but if the monkey climbs under his own strength, many are willing to stare at that ass and accept it. When the monkey, is stepping on everyones' head, to get to the top, and then starts pissing all over everyone below them, and cutting the ropes of "success" according to fair competition laws - well, some don't take it well.

Bill, has produced many jobs for developers and lawyers, while sitting at the top, but... these are the employees he has hired, to cut the ropes to success for others, on his behalf, because he was only adequate enough to do the stepping.

SW: "I think that donating $30 billion to charity, and now working full time to improve the community of mankind, says a lot about the man. He's not doing that because he's wicked."

Ah, for you, it appears... his behavior should be rewarded, because of his later actions. So, its not "how" a person gets, ahead that's as important to "you", than what the person does with their "success", once they get there.

In short, you believe, the ends (charity) justifies the means (even if illegal, unjust, etc. per a countries' laws). Good to know where you stand.

SW: "One thing is for sure, he's working for good and doing it contrary to the authority of the institution I despise more than any other on earth -- the Catholic Church."

Why is there a need for "charity" at all, in such an opportunistic nation as you state? The sheer fact that someone has to donate great sums of money, speaks to the level of "non-opportunity" within the U.S., or... do you believe Gates is supporting lazy and ignorant people?

And, since you obviously don't believe in Altruism, then Bill is obviously being selfish at some level, right.

SW: "Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world, has decided to give all of his money to Gates for that work. Sorry, but Buffet's opinion means more to me than yours."

Actually, per your ethical standards... Buffet's "money", and influence means more than anything to you, even Buffets' personal opinion.

And, based on your ability to discern what ethical is, I accept your words as such.

I find it odd that you can accept how one person unethically receives their money/success, and then attack another organization who engages in similar tactics.

That's called a contradiction. I have other problems with the Catholic church, but of course, my ethical standards are different than yours, and I have the ability to "not" conflict with my standards. I hold Bill Gates and the Catholic Church to the same standard, ethically, and I find them both lacking.

SW: "While the Holy Church continues to teach that condom use is a sin and "natural family planning" is the only acceptable means of birth control, millions are dying from aids and overpopulation."

So, both Bill and the Catholic Church seem to have engaged in unethical behaviors, lying and stealing (my standards, not yours), yet, you focus on the Catholic Church as being worse, because you perceive their "ends" as not supportive of your "ideals"... whereas, you perceive Bill's "ends", charity towards humanity to be more worthy of respect.

You measure the end result, while ignoring/removing your judgement/skepticism of how Bill and the Catholic Church got to where they are.

I don't believe "either" Bill or the Catholic Church are ther role model I'd teach to a child, on how to succeed in life. The youth of today, are all about, me, me, me, and Bill and the Catholic Church have been that way their entire careers.

If Bill Gates were asked today, if he'd do it again, he'd most likely say yes. If the Catholic Church leadership was asked, if the past justified their position in the world today, they'd most likely say - yes.

You suggest that Bill is more graceful in his actions, because he's not placing demands on those he helps, and the Catholic Church is. As the Catholic Church is directly responsible for creating overpopulation scenarios by not condoning condom use.

Bill and Warren are going to give billions as you say to help fledgling third world countries, with such things as medical treatment - meaning, vaccines. Of course, a well established medical system, will in effect create a boom in population size, because fewer people die from basic illnessses, easily treatable. Plus, Bill and Warren aren't picking and choosing which "people" receive their monetary benefit.

They may well be providing monetary support for "Catholic" families, who are going to pump out child after child, and thus, Bill and Warren may both be financially contributing to the Catholic Churches' ends.

SW: "Gates and Buffett are using their wealth to combat that barbaric authoritarian stance and make a real difference for large numbers of people."

Again, as per the statement above, Bill and Buffett may well be financially supporting countries with high Catholic population rates. Many third world countries, have "high" Catholic Religious rates... They may well be supporting, that "barbaric authoritarian stance."

SW: "Perhaps they are utilitarian. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." That sounds great for some situations. It's not what motivates me moment by moment though."

Of course, only you know what motivates you on a knowledge level, based on how you assign "meaning" to your reality. We all have different experiences, which shape our world view...

SW: "When you have that much wealth, maybe it becomes natural for an egoist to think of the whole human race as an extension of himself."

An Egoist doesn't think of themselves, based on definition of Egoism as an extension of themselves. They see themselves as "superior", and more worthy than everyone else.

Utilitarians, by definition perceive themselves as extensions of the human race, to the point, they are willing to sacrifice for the whole.

SW: "Tillman may have also put himself at risk for selfish reasons."

Your words, not mine.

I stated Tillman was a Utilitarian, as one who may well have served in a Utilitarian capacity, as well as most military members I have served with.

SW: "It would be interesting to know why he considered the war in Iraq illegal, and how his ethics came into play. I will attempt to uncover original statements of Tillman that will provide clues."

Good luck. Let me help, understand what has been posted thus far, then do a very basic research of the U.S's strategic goals, based on their national security strategy, and see if there is a conflict... While you are at it, define "hegemony", and discuss whether that aligns with Utilitarianistic traits, or Egoistic...

SW: "Gates and Tillman are heros to me, no matter what you say about them."

Actually, "you" are the one who suggested Tillman was an Ethical Egoist... I suggested Tillman was much like "me", a Utilitarianist, but perhaps you misinterpreted my statement:

Mr. Anonymous: "However, neither of us are Tillman, and yet... from what you have stated... he quit his well paying career, to join the Army Rangers, knowing the risk to his life... he deliberately placed himself at risk, why? Perhaps, so "That Others May Live"?"

Yes, Tillman "was" obviously willing to sacrifice his life, for what he believed in, as part of the whole...

Mr. Anonymous: "If I had to serve in combat, where my life depended on the character of a person... it wouldn't be with an Ethical Egoist, the Bill Gates', Steve Jobs', Enron CEO types, etc., of the world... it would be with the Utilitarianists..."

Again, I don't know how you misinterpreted that statement to suggest Tillman was an Ethical Egoist, but... let me say it more clearly...

I "served" with Tillman as a member of the "military", most members of the military I have served in combat with... "are" more Utilitarian than Egoist, else they are in the wrong business... I suggest you pull up a few medal of honor winners, and start trying to read to understand their actions...

You, SW, are the one who continues to state that "sacrifice", can not be considered a noble act... and that its contradictory... right, contradictory to what "you" believe "ought to be".

I disagree with you. There are times, when serving the many, serves ones' self, thus its not absolutely an "altruistic" act... yet, its a responsible, and selfless action that has saved countless lives, throughout history...

Not everyone believes as you do "SW" by your very words... Some people are able to strive to serve the whole, as it makes a better world for themselves... and many times it doesn't require "killing others", in that effort.

Bill Gates, an Ethical Egoist, would stab his buddy in the back in combat, if an opportunity arose, period, he has proven his capacity to serve himself at the expense of others by his past actions. I don't trust Ethical Egoists... like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc.... You do, SW.

Mr. Anonymous said...

boomSLANG: "I think it was Mark Twain who argued that there is no completely selfless act. I'm just tossin' it out there, I'm not picking sides."

Agreed. Those who believe in some form of determinism, must accept that "any" action a person takes, is one that will have an "effect", both intrinsically and extrinsically.

Thus, a determinist doesn't believe in "total" altruism. A Utilitarianist who believes that there is a deterministic interconnection affecting everything in the Universe, can not agree with absolute altruism. There is a benefit, whether the person commiting a charitable act is aware of it or not - at least from determinists' general point of view.

On a biological level, I have survival instincts and impulses, like the ones that drives a person to protect themselves. Its reflexive, and perhaps that is what SW is trying to state is the default program of people.

At the most basic of a persons' sense of reality, that may be true, but... we can not live in a civil society with structure and laws, if everyone continued to live to meet their primordial instincts, else we would be back in caves, and the knuckle draggers would be in charge, typically, not the smart guy, but the bully with a shallow personality and intellectual level.

As a persons' sphere of reality increases through knowledge, and experience, they become aware of their inter-relation to their environment. Its knowledge and the connection a person has with their reality, that brings them to the realization that absolutes don't exist, except change as a constant.

Only someone with a limited sense/sphere of reality, can suggest altuism exists in a perfect state, attainable by anybody living in this natural universe. And, just because they have that belief, based on their level of knowledge, doesn't make their belief reflectively true of reality.

Therefore, I concur with Mark Twain.

Mr. Anonymous said...

SW: "PS: Until I learn otherwise, I have to assume Gates is acting selfishly and taking pleasure in the way he helps mankind. I also have to assume Pat Tillman took pleasure in his work defending freedom. It creates a more favorable view of humanity, whereas speaking of "sacrifice" is an insult."

Is the "word" sacrifice lessened because one benefits in some form? Perhaps, you're trying to make a point about "altruistic sacrifice"? Sacrifice in and of itself happens all the time, we compromise (sacrifice), many times during our lives, more by some than by others.

I am not sure, how that which describes what "is" in our human nature, can be considered "insulting", when its applied to fallen soldiers.

SW: "While you're at church, don't forget to help out Pastor Rolex."

Well, per your standards, Pastor Rolex is just trying to make a living, you know, using his "ends" (doing what he considers charitable work or performing some community service), in order to justify the "means", which is, lying, etc.

Bill Gates and Pastor Rolex both have the same problem. They are willing to sacrifice "other people", in order to get ahead, instead of engaging in personal sacrifice/compromise in order to obtain a better standard for living.

steamboat_willey said...

Yes, to your question earlier. I spoke of an ideal, not necessarily "the way things are." I was grinding the axe in favor of the Objectivist viewpoint

Are you saying you served directly with Tillman, in his unit? I give on that point. Since you have been there and I have not, you may be right about warfighters being utilitarian more often.

I distinguish between the words "sacrifice" and "compromise." A compromise is more like a trade-off. We make them every day in our lives and careers. I wouldn't do something for a family member, friend or co-worker, and call it a sacrifice. To me, it means giving up something of value for something of lesser or no value. In a trade-off situation you do what you do to gain some benefit.

I had an uncorrectable vision problem and could never go to war. Otherwise I would have served in the military, to fight for my freedom, my rights, my interests. It's a tradeoff. The risk is worth the reward because life is not worth living without freedom, rights and property.

I still don't think Gates was necessarily unethical, a thief or a cheat. It's just the conventional, jealous way of looking at people who get rich. It comes from the Bible, where wealth is automatically associated with sin.

In Revelation, the ultimate example of that wealth, Babylon, is destroyed in one hour (18:1-24). All of the sailors and merchants weep. Heaven and the saints and the apostles all rejoice. The great men of the earth lose every bit of wealth because (of course) they had the blood of the righteous on their hands (verse 24). The great men are then killed, and the birds are allowed to feast on their flesh. The blessed (church members), are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:1-21).

Objectivism takes the opposite view. It is highly moral acquire wealth in a free market economy. It is usually a sign of productivity. Earlier when I pointed to Gates' charitable activity, it wasn't to prove his worth. That speaks for itself. It was to refute the charge that he lives for trampling on other people's rights, or sacrificing other people.

steamboat_willey said...

PS: I don't believe in the end justifying the means, and I didn't advocate that in anything I said.
Trampling on others to gain advantage is called "faking reality." It disintegrates the mind. It is not what's best for a person. It interferes with values of social belongingness and destroys worthwhile business relationships.

Mr. Anonymous said...

SW: "Yes, to your question earlier. I spoke of an ideal, not necessarily "the way things are." I was grinding the axe in favor of the Objectivist viewpoint"

Sorry for the latency. On the objectivist viewpoint... I like Ayn Rand myself, but... do find challenges with anything promoted as absolute, even if objectivism is the viewpoint.

In short, humans mentally model reality, based on natural capabilities defined pre-natal. The potential to expand naturally defined capaility is a topic of its own, therefore, I speak only of natural and non-genetically enhanced humans and cognitive capability.

IMHO, we mentally model reality, its how we build our reference in time, space, and within other dimensional frameworks. Some... use mathematics to create a method of modelling, others, use their natural cognitive strengths to make "sense" of reality. I'm not here, to discuss which natural method of mental modelling is "most" appropriate, or the most ideal, so to discern what is "ethical" or "non-ethical".

What I can say, is that in order to entertain the philosophy of Objectivism, one must mentally model such a reality, by removing themselves in the process. Its the mental modeling, of... "if I weren't here, what would it be like"... Some would take that type of naturally directed mental modelling, and suggest that it's a good beginning... a "hypothesis", if you will.

Some... philosophers, would suggest that mentally modelling reality by removing themselves and all of humanity from the picture to elicity a truly "objective" reality, is nihilistic (mereological), and it removes the credibility of the source making such a philosophical hypothetical.

Again, I think that Ayn Rand, and a lot of other scholars of the past... some even religiously influenced (Newton), have contributed to the knowledge and means by which we today use to model our reality. While, I can agree it only natural to seek knowledge (based on primate curiosity) that allows one to mentally model reality, in order to make sense of sensory experience... I understand genetic limitations and environmental influence. Still, I admire their endeavor and effort to contribute to a body of knowledge that can excel a civilization to a greater understanding of their reality.

Education... per se... is/was/should be (IMHO) a means to liberate oneself from their current environmental influence, and maximize ones natural cognitive potential. In short, education is IMHO, two-fold. One, to provide information/research, and two, to provide the methodology by which one can mentally model that information - creating environmental liberation.

However, meta-cognition/mental modelling (psychology), was "not" taught, nor was philosophy beyond an introductory course. The sheer absence of courses that would have facilitated a student to understand how they are perceiving reality, and what constitutes "certainty", "fact", etc., was missing.

There is much natural material in the universe that emits vibration, that when assembled through the senses becomes 'information'. Information taken and mentally modelled, becomes knowledge, but not all modelled information reflects reality as it "Is", and thus, filters have been created, such as the more concrete sciences to distill knowledge so that it renders "truth", which can only be premised as reliable, and valid with an acceptable range for error. In essence, "truth" from a sapiens POV is based on probability... unless someone suggests they are omniscient.

Thus, I contend that all education is not equal, neither is the opportunity. An institution, funded by a board of trustees, "gives" their vision to their academic committee, and professors are then committed to teaching what is considered "in-line", with the university's vision.

An excerpt from the university I attended:

"...the university's mission is promoting academic excellence in a Christian environment to all faiths."

Thus, a "christian environment" extends into the classroom... and contradicts "academic excellence" is in reality, hindered because the "vision" of the university is to influence and support the "christian" faith. The university attempts to soften the blow to those who aren't adept at reading fine print, by suggesting "all faiths", but, it can be read in two ways, "like the bible", depending on what you want to see - "all christian faiths", or "all religious faiths in general".

Pandering with words, to satisfy a religiously funded university's board of trustees, while at the same time, trying to reach out to non-christians in order to solicit their business. In short, the university teaches to their "standard", and that would be christianity, as well, they do not "educate". They attempt to create their "own" personal environment, instead of providing the student with the ability to become mentally liberated and free from the propaganda that flows freely throughout entire cultures and societies.

SW: "Are you saying you served directly with Tillman, in his unit? I give on that point. Since you have been there and I have not, you may be right about warfighters being utilitarian more often."

Same campaign, different unit.

SW: "I distinguish between the words "sacrifice" and "compromise." A compromise is more like a trade-off. We make them every day in our lives and careers. I wouldn't do something for a family member, friend or co-worker, and call it a sacrifice. To me, it means giving up something of value for something of lesser or no value. In a trade-off situation you do what you do to gain some benefit."

Compromise: "A settlement of differences in which each side makes concessions."

Sacrifice: "Relinquishment of something at less than its presumed value."

I don't believe in Universals, other than that which I can test, and thus "change" in the cosmological fishbowl seems to be the only constant.

If a person values everything in life, equally, then compromise and sacrifice isn't logically possible.

Therefore, in an individual's reality, where compromise and sacrifice exist, there must also exist a variance of values.

A compromise occurs when one value is sacrificed for another, in an effort to support/meet an objective. We do this all the time, as individuals in society.

Thus, compromise is the product of sacrifice, in a reality with variant values.

A father who loves his son, may well sacrifice his homophobic belief/value in order to find a compromise that allows him and his son to continue a caring relationship.

I sacrifice my value of peace all the time, with a few family members, who are predominately fundie, but I am willing to make such a compromise in order to sustain family unity.

However, I require "equal" sacrifice from the other parties, in order to find a compromise. If I believe I am the only one truly sacrificing, then there exists no compromise... just me sacrificing in order to be accepted... and that is something I am not willing to do. I will not put forth sacrifices to exhalt another, that's akin to religious ritual.

The ability to compromise, is the sign of someone capable of being tolerant.

It's interesting that in dialogue on the Internet, there really isn't the pressing need for a compromise or sacrifice, a person doesn't need to compromise, there can really be an agreement to disagree... and a compromise, based on tolerance can be realized by reasonable individuals.

SW: "I don't think he believed in blind sacrificial service."

I know of very few people, who hold equal value between themselves and the collective. The majority elsewhere, are engaged every day with sacrificial compromise. I can not speak for Pat, he may well have been one who found an equality of value between the individual and the collective, and therefore, the mention of "sacrifice" or "compromise", becomes deceptive. However, many in the military strive and "believe" in the ideal of the balance, and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to facilitate such a reality.

I will grant, that there are many people who enter the military however, that are there because it was the most convenient way to find a job/career, but over time... if the value of "self-sacrifice", in order to benefit the collective isn't absorbed, they will be dismissed from the service, or not truly fit in. It really is quite noticeable, one may as well wear an orange uniform to make such a blaring statement.

SW: "I had an uncorrectable vision problem and could never go to war. Otherwise I would have served in the military, to fight for my freedom, my rights, my interests. It's a tradeoff. The risk is worth the reward because life is not worth living without freedom, rights and property."

And... that's how I view my reality, in that perspective. I am willing to make the same sacrifice in a third world country that many Americans would make on their shores, in order to find a balance of freedom in my life, it's a compromise I am willing to make and freely volunteer to support.

SW: "I still don't think Gates was necessarily unethical, a thief or a cheat. It's just the conventional, jealous way of looking at people who get rich. It comes from the Bible, where wealth is automatically associated with sin."

We each mentally model our reality, based on values that have been created over time. True, some model their reality, using the bible as a filter, yet, there are others who are able to filter reality without the bible, and yet, still consider what Bill did, unethical. To each their own. In the U.S. every citizen is mandated by law to compromise, else they face prison. Bill, was able to escape such legal action, because those whom he exploited didn't hold written correspondence supporting his infidelity...

It happens daily, people are cheated out of their money... The business minded say... "A fool and their money are soon departed"... yet, there is the honest person in society who has their trust exploited, by deceptive business people...

I do agree that there are people in society who are jealous... but they would use "anything", including the bible to level the playing field... The problem, is that there really isn't a level playing field in society, unless a utopia were to exist. And... that of course would require absolute "objectivity", meaning... humanity, is equal in every aspect of being, from genetics to environmental influence/experience.

I could assert that jealousy is a learned trait, based on how a child is taught values. Some children value money so highly, that not having "enough" causes them to be jealous of those who have more. There are those, who see money as nothing but a paper form of resource regulation within an economic system. Therefore, the paper really isn't valuable, its the resources that it can produce through a "trust" relationship within a society.

It's not really in "god" we trust... it's in the gov't that produces that currency that we trust... to regulate the value in order to regulate resource consumption in a nation of finite resources (finite in theory).

In a society theoretically founded on "trust", else the entire gov't structure, to include currency would be worthless, it doesn't sit well with me, that there are those out and about exploiting that "trust" in order to get ahead in life.

SW: "In Revelation, the ultimate example of that wealth, Babylon, is destroyed in one hour (18:1-24). All of the sailors and merchants weep. Heaven and the saints and the apostles all rejoice. The great men of the earth lose every bit of wealth because (of course) they had the blood of the righteous on their hands (verse 24). The great men are then killed, and the birds are allowed to feast on their flesh. The blessed (church members), are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:1-21)."

Ah, from the NT. Seems strategically genius to get a society of lower class citizens within the Roman Empire to fight its battles.

Let's see, the formula would be... elevate the value of the afterlife, over the value of physical life on earth, and then "sacrifice" of values doesn't exist when asked to die in the name of a country or ideaology.

By the way, I personally value physical life, over an afterlife, which I know nothing of. Therefore, I sacrifice today, so that I may live in peace tomorrow, with the assumption I will still be here, and my family (and the "collective of society") will exist beyond my death to receive the benefit of my endeavors.

Well... I digress, if one wanted to do a mere search to find out where wealth is beaten down, in order to raise the value of poverty, death, and persecution... it seems the very "first" book of the NT would be the place to start, no sense in the Roman Clergy waiting around to build an Army of soldiers for christ.

Matthew:
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
**Of course, the righteousness that comes from abiding by Roman Law and according to the NT books that were voted on by Roman Gov't Clergy.

5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


In short, blessed are those who are; impoverished, morning over deaths of relatives killed in battle (for the Roman cause), followers of the religious doctrine, and the persecution that was to follow for trying to establish an "absolutist" regime. Who established the rules... Rome...

And, if Matthew wasn't enough... Revelation was written to establish the "consequences" for not abiding by the Roman Gov't based religion of Christianity. Eternal Hell.

So, I understand that the Roman Emperor wanted to devalue the wealth of the physical realm, and elevate that of the afterlife... it was a great tactical strategy, especially for those who were already prone to superstition and ritual, which was a vast majority of people within the Roman Empires' borders at the time.

Is that same tactic used today, using mysticism, superstition, fear, etc., to control certain groups of people? Sure, why not, it gets votes... seems those who want to control, will exploit any weakness, even ignorance and trust.

SW: "Objectivism takes the opposite view. It is highly moral acquire wealth in a free market economy. It is usually a sign of productivity."

Well, Objectivism doesn't speak to economic systems, however, I believe you are speaking to Laissez Faire capitalism, as posed by Ayn Rand.

"Laissez-faire...a French phrase meaning "let do, let go, let pass." From the French diction first used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats as an injunction against government interference with trade, it became used as a synonym for strict free market economics during the early and mid-19th century. It is generally understood to be a doctrine opposing economic interventionism and taxation by the state beyond that which is perceived to be necessary to maintain peace, security, and property rights."

Without protection and regulation from the gov't, there would be a continual pass down of wealth from one family to their descendents. Thus, no re-distribution of wealth among a nation. The poor would be poor, and would always be servant to those who held the wealth. Current U.S. law and most State laws, incorporate some form or instrument that limits the amount of resources that can be passed down from one generation to the next in a family. Albeit, many attempt to escape such regulation using risque techniques/loopholes, etc., as do many people who cheat on their taxes every year, but... I digress.

Laissez-faire was introduced by the Physiocrats.

"The physiocrats were a group of economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from agriculture. Their theories originated in France and were most popular during the second half of the 18th century. Physiocracy was perhaps the first well developed theory of economics, and immediately preceded the first modern school, classical economics, which began with the publication of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations in 1776."

When agriculture is the only resource that needs to be regulated, it would appear that Physiocracy/Laissez-faire capitalism would be ideal... however, that economic system evolved, as new resources were added to the list of "property".

As well, Laissez Faire capitalism was introduced in France in the mid-1700's at a time where a monarchy stood. Many didn't want to be regulated by the "same" ruler for "life". The monarchy ruled France until the French Revolution, in 1789. Lesson learned... change leadership, or corruption is imminent, and possibly for a long period of time, especially in a monarchy where a ruler leads for life.

Hence, the U.S. becomes a Republic where a leader can only serve a specified number of years, thus keeping the opportunity of corruption to a simmer. Albeit, nothing if full/fool proof.

At the time, Laissez Faire was introduced, French citizens only wanted the monarchy to become involved, when it became necessary to protect peace, security, and property rights, based on the "perception" of the people, and monarchy.

In short, France, set up its economic system, as a "reactive" measure, to support the military, etc., when they felt threatened. Well, militaries aren't grown overnight, security is a continual operation within a nation's borders, and thus... France's military record for defeating armies... lets leave it at that.

Those who are not prepared to protect their shores, by "spreading the resource wealth", should not cry about their wealth being stolen by pirates/other nations.

The U.S. is a Republic with a socialized democracy, that taxes to support, departments within the gov't, to include the military (DoD). Congress releases money to support those gov't departments... in short, they ensure the wealth continues to spread across the nation and according to whom they feel need the money most. In a depression, some states needed resources more than others, it was the prime generator for such a socialization of our democracy, and was never meant to be "permanent", yet, neither was the placing of "god", in the "U.S. Pledge of Allegiance" either. Again, I digress.

Well, like planting a garden, every now and then the gov't has to till the earth, and turn over the resources... and, at times pull the weeds that seem to find their way into the garden. The physical ground/resources haven't changed since the beginning of economic theory, only the rules of regulation, that is imposed by a gov't. Our money/currency/seeds seem to change over the years, I have seen plenty of big money (civil war type), and now see the current money, much smaller, but yet... still based on trust, at one time backed by "gold", and now backed by the gov't's promise to pay if the banks go under, FDIC insured.

I am not sure I believe in Laissez Faire, in the economic realm, it has shown its use in limited years, in a country that has fallen more times, than a toddler learning to walk... one can only hope maturity extends beyond physiology into national governments for some nations...

I can see the utility of Laissez Faire in regards to civil rights/liberties... where a persons' rights, should not be infringed upon, unless there exists a threat to another persons' peace, security, and property, by the way, that's how our laws are predominately based.

SW: "Earlier when I pointed to Gates' charitable activity, it wasn't to prove his worth. That speaks for itself. It was to refute the charge that he lives for trampling on other people's rights, or sacrificing other people."

Gates' worth, is based on what a person values, and how they assign it to Gates, i.e., its the "meaning" they assign to the object, etc. Gates' worth is great, if a person values money more than other ideas, and money is just an ideal/tool that a nation has used to regulate their resources.

Yet, another person may see the actions a person takes, as meriting more value, than a piece of paper. It depends on a persons perceptions, and typically is an indicator of where a person resides on the Maslow pyramid. Personally, I don't value money, I value the effect it has in the regulation of resources of which I am a consumer.

Money/currency is a character modifier... it allows people to personify their true character based on their mentally modelled values. I can live with Bill being subject to an environment that tempted him to exploit others, in order to get ahead in life. But, by your own account, Bill has attempted to become philanthropic, thereby changing his ethos entirely.

A person changes over time, and their experiences determine their knowledge base from which they continue to model reality. Thus, over time values can in fact change, based on environmental exposure, and physiological capability.

I can accept that Bill continues to change, as well as his values over time, and according to his situation. It's a natural process, I get it. However, that doesn't mean I have to "value" his behavior as an individual, he represents a threat to my values. To each our own.

I suppose I should state, that I would not make a good business person, if I had to use deception, theft, and other tricks of the trade in order to get a leg up on someone or some company. Which, by the way, is almost the norm in a competitive market, where companies must measure themselves constantly against their competitor. This of course, requires businesses to monitor other businesses, many times illegally - corporate espionage. Wal-Mart gets a visit constantly by local vendors so they can measure their product cost against their competitor, it happens in real estate quite frequently. Martha Stewart comes to mind, etc., etc.

I do not deny that due to change, one must constantly measure their actions according to their situation and make decisions - situational ethics. However, what is "it" that we measure against?

Perhaps, its that mental model we have created, in each of us, that appeals to what we desire reality to be. It drives us to make decisions that will enable us to reach that state of "meaning".

Bill obviously desired to be king of the world, and that became his measure of "meaning", without that, he perceived himself to be meaningless or diminished. Therefore, he made ethical decisions, that facilitated his ability to reach a state where he thought he would find "meaning". Since achieving his measure of "meaning", he has obtained "new" knowledge, that has allowed him to mentally model the state that he projectively felt would bring him "meaning", and a sense of security and peace.

Bill continues to change... as stated earlier, can there be honesty among thieves? No, in my opinion. But, as long as each of the thieves knew the rules, then they engaged in business on equal grounds, and fairly. Perhaps, Bill and those whom he stepped on, were all playing the same game, with the same set of rules, in that case, there is fair play.

Again, not a crew I would want to work for, around, or pick any other preposition to fill in the blank. Perhaps, I'm not meant to make my million in the manner Bill and the others have made theirs, but... I can assure you... its possible, and one need not have multiple millions to give charity to those in need. Resources can be bought, but care can be measured in more ways than materials alone.

It's been good conversing with you, on this topic, nothing wrong with looking at a topic from different points of view, if anything, it gives us something to ponder. If you resopnd, it may take me a while for me to get back, I'm currently engaged in a myriad of activites, none more important than trying to prevent people from using babies, children, etc., in ways, they believe will render them greater "meaning" in life.

Joey said...

What a long useless rant!!!

You quote,

"5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

"In short, blessed are those who are; impoverished, morning over deaths of relatives killed in battle (for the Roman cause), followers of the religious doctrine, and the persecution that was to follow for trying to establish an "absolutist" regime. Who established the rules... Rome..."

What a crock of shit!

Mr. Anonymous said...

Joey: "What a long useless rant!!!

Oh, lets see how you respond, to that long quote, in order to find out what you personally find useless. Okay, ready for all that wisdom to come out...

Joey: "What a crock of shit!"

Well, there we have it, thanks. You neither refuted, explained, or directed any further comment to the quote you pulled out. Cutting and pasting something, without providing a "reason" for what you find useless, is... childish, non-productive, insincere and disingenuous.

If you gain the ability to make an intellectual follow up comment, I will respond. Well, unless, the WM finds that you are one of the trolls that seem to find themselves on this site from time to time, who make comments that are truly meaningless and go nowhere. If you want to make an opinion, with no foundation... try mumbling to yourself, it prevents everyone else from having to listen to you around the world.

steamboat_willey said...

Joey:

You're it!

Shirley E said...

Jam 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. I agree that most of todays Christians have forgotten their first love and have become greedier than starving pigs. It is awful! We need to pray for them. And pray we never end up like them.
www.theovercomersministry.com
is a place you won't find anyone like that. stop by and check out our site. Blessings to all!

freethinker05 said...

shurley you are kidding, no?

Astreja said...

Shirley, please don't insult starving pigs. Are you really so obtuse that you think that hunger is the same as greed?

"We need to pray for them. And pray we never end up like them."

Too late... Judging from your own spewing of vitriol, you have already become the very thing that you hate.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Shirley E wrote:
"We need to pray for them. And pray we never end up like them"
--
Going with freethinker05's cue here:

Shirley [y]E Jest ?

But seriously Shirley,
Please tell me how many human conditions have been fixed with prayer to your god?

Did god ever come down to earth to shut down a major war when folks prayed for it to happen?

Does he drop down food from his heavenly clouds, to the praying starving poor, like humans do from their helicopters?

Did he hand over the cure to any plague of say the last two centuries, when the dying were praying to him with their last breath?

Does he stop a hurricane or tsunami from hitting shore when folks pray for that to happen?

Did he answer Mother Teresa when she prayed to him time and time again for help in those awful cities she saw as her god given fate...the answer is NO btw.

So it's HIGHLY doubtful your god will answer the prayers of anyone here either.
Nice try though...LOL

ATF (who thinks certain folks fail to read this site before posting their suggestions)