Robert Forte, The Softer Side of CIA Psychedelic Mind Control |407|

You said:

Eh. Maybe not. But that’s where my own addled, illogical, conspiratard mind goes when this thread gets hijacked into a conversation about TRUMP and 9/11, despite the fact that the actual interviewee joined the forum and made himself available for conversation in this thread.
Hmm. Maybe you were merely saying that Robert Forte joined this forum, and aren't saying anything about when and why your "blowhard" joined the forum. The "blowhard" I'm thinking of (who looks to be the same one you're thinking of judging by what you report he said) certainly didn't join for this thread, but several months earlier (click his avatar and check his messages). But then, all you'd be questioning is why he joined this particular thread, which doesn't seem at all remarkable to me. People do join in discussions in different threads. So I don't get your specific point, really. Maybe I'm being a bit dense?
Sorry, two different points. I was talking about Robert Forte joining the thread, making himself available to all of us to ask questions about the interview, his research, his involvement in the psychedelic movement, his interactions with Leary, Wasson, Baron, etc., why he thinks the current renaissance (in psychedelics) is tainted, why he thinks so highly of MDMA (ecstasy/Molly), and why he doesn't think so highly of MAPS. I guess those things are interesting to me and, I dunno, I guess I'm puzzled as to why that isn't interesting to others who are commenting on this thread? Instead, the thread devolved into (was hijacked by) a tangent on 9/11, the goodness of the American Military and CIA, what's "really" happening in Syria by those in the know, and of course, the only non-stupid conspiracy theories surrounding the attempt to oust, humiliate, and/or otherwise set-up Trump.

While I get that threads often take on a life of their own, and tangents happen, I think there was some particularly aggressive and hostile comments being made by someone pretending to be in the know that likely turned off some less active members and perhaps people visiting this forum after being drawn in by the podcast itself.

I get it. There's a contingent of mostly conservative males here who don't want to take the discussions where Alex clearly would like to take them, judging by the focus of his podcasts. But, I think it sets up this strange situation where the most active/participating members are not aligned with Alex's current interests/worldview, while those of us who seem to be more aligned with it are put off by the circle-the-wagons refusal to dive into the topics Alex actually covers.

And the Trump thing. Why must every single forum become dominated by rabid Trump supporters who only want to discuss Trump's brilliance? I have no doubt that has cost Skeptiko some followers/members as well.

I will just email Forte privately and ask him my questions there. Incidentally, I don't think it's an accident that there are hardly any women on this forum anymore.
 
Sorry, two different points. I was talking about Robert Forte joining the thread, making himself available to all of us to ask questions about the interview, his research, his involvement in the psychedelic movement, his interactions with Leary, Wasson, Baron, etc., why he thinks the current renaissance (in psychedelics) is tainted, why he thinks so highly of MDMA (ecstasy/Molly), and why he doesn't think so highly of MAPS. I guess those things are interesting to me and, I dunno, I guess I'm puzzled as to why that isn't interesting to others who are commenting on this thread? Instead, the thread devolved into (was hijacked by) a tangent on 9/11, the goodness of the American Military and CIA, what's "really" happening in Syria by those in the know, and of course, the only non-stupid conspiracy theories surrounding the attempt to oust, humiliate, and/or otherwise set-up Trump.
Speaking for myself, I might be interested if I understood what was going on in the interview; but the problem is, I didn't really, because there was so much inside baseball. I can only engage in discussion about what I understand, and if Alex chooses to do unstructured interviews, none but the cognoscenti may be able to contribute comments strictly related to the content.
 
Speaking for myself, I might be interested if I understood what was going on in the interview; but the problem is, I didn't really, because there was so much inside baseball. I can only engage in discussion about what I understand, and if Alex chooses to do unstructured interviews, none but the cognoscenti may be able to contribute comments strictly related to the content.
I agree strongly with this - in fact when Robert joined the discussion, he sounded more reaasonable - I wish Alex would realise that unstructured interview

David
 
Incidentally, I have heard it said that these tall buildings are wired with explosives as they are built, so that they can be demolished cleanly should that be necessary. It sounds a bit unlikely to me, but can anyone add anything?
My reflex would be to treat that assertion with a lot of suspicion. Buildings are not intended to be demolished within a given life span - lets say 50 years (but I have no idea what the real notion is). How would you assure the integrity of any explosives for that period? Also how would you absolutely assure the security of that knowledge. I would have thought that any demolition would want to be based upon an assurance that all charges go off as planned and I could not imagine anyone responsible for that being okay about relying on charges that may be decades old. The risk of fucking up a demolition is too high. Having a partially demolished building would be catastrophic.

I hear lots of ideas from friends and I have a rule - it is seems unlikely to me it probably is. I don't claim to know everything, and I will be wrong sometimes. But mostly it takes only a few moments of sensible thought to see that what is proposed is most likely nonsense.

In this instance I think your reflex was the right one.
 
Speaking for myself, I might be interested if I understood what was going on in the interview; but the problem is, I didn't really, because there was so much inside baseball. I can only engage in discussion about what I understand, and if Alex chooses to do unstructured interviews, none but the cognoscenti may be able to contribute comments strictly related to the content.
I know enough of the insider baseball that I did know what was going on the interview - which is one reason that I reacted with many - admittedly too many - passionate comments.

It is too facile to salt and pepper a conversation with poorly developed concepts, name dropping, etc. I'm simply calling it out. If there's something there, then develop it.

If this was a materialist atheist saying that consciousness is an illusion created by the brain, then most people here, being informed as to the evidence and logic contra that position, would have no problem hooting and verbally shooting at the guest. That happens all of the time here. Well, I am informed and experienced on both of the topics in the interview header and I take issue with what Forte said. Maybe some people here who are less informed like to believe in things they know little to nothing about other than what various malcontents, paranoid types and conmen tell them and they don't want to be disabused of what by now is hard wired into their thinking. Sorry. This is Skeptiko isn't it?

There is nothing stopping Forte from jumping in and challenging me with facts, well developed theories, etc. - this is the internet for chrissakes. It's not a boxing ring or pistol duel at 30 paces where someone's going to really get hurt. No one was even doxing anyone. I don't understand the notion of being scared off by cyber bullying when ideas are being debated.

On that note, I listened to another interview with Forte (here:
)

I'm just gonna say it; the guy is addled. What has he ever accomplished? He's just sort of a guy who has taken some drugs and met a few people involved in the scene and done some reading and thinking. There are lots of people like that out there. I'm another one (of course, in the eyes of some, I'm the "blowhard" because I don't buy into the anti-establishment conspiracy theory crap, whereas Forte is the cool hip woke sage because he does). He thinks 911 was a giant US govt conspiracy and he is generally anti-USA/anti-establishment yada yada yada. He even thinks that the traditional psychotherapy model is a fascist conspiracy. He thinks Rick Strassman is a CIA stooge. basically, everyone except him and his close friends are CIA stooges. He admits he thinks there are "people behind the curtain" pulling the strings all over the place. He is very scattered in his thinking and he often contradicts himself within the same sentence; especially during the question and answer phase on the lecture at the link. Many of the questions asked are along the lines of what much of I questioned are. The answers are weak. They literally make no sense. It's all scraps of red meat for the paranoid.

He never offers any evidence of all the conspiracies. He always says something like "Well, to my mind....". Once in a while he attempts the vaguest connection of small dots.

Finally, Forte doesn't really believe in democracy. If you listen to what he says, he has no faith in people to make the right choices. To his mind, The People are easily duped and programmed zombies. I actually agree with that with regards to a certain % of the population, but with the nuance that in most of those cases it isn't that they are duped; rather just too busy to think about these matters too closely and have other priorities. That's an age old issue, not a conspiracy. And some are just good old stolid farmer types that don't care about lofty matters. Thus they kind of unconsciously slide into a pattern that may, or may not, be deliberately conditioned into them (say, "consumerism" for example). However, it is also abundantly obvious that a solid and not insignificant % of the population who are interested are highly resistant to being programmed/duped. Witness the rise of alternative media, public trust of congress and media at an all time low of %s in the teens. Clearly many follow my advice, "If you don't want to be programmed, then don't be programmed". This is not a complicated or tough prescription.

Forte wants to hide out in the woods with his small band of alleged cognoscenti. That, to my mind is pathological and totally unnecessary. If you believe in democracy, then get out there and speak your mind. Have some courage. Make a difference. Be involved in life in all forms, including civic life. Withdrawing because The Man is going to get you is a pathetic (and false) excuse for personal failings and cowardice, IMO.
 
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I think its a little scattered too... There are a lot of topics here. They're different and they intersect. Get's a little muddied when you're not careful. We can talk about the effects, the experience, the phenomenology of these drugs, or the history, or the current sociology.... i mostly want to make the point that these substances are obviously the most powerful mind changing drugs and they can and have been used for everything. From experiencing mystical realities, for healing, and for driving one mad. This current renaissance is, like the last wave of publicizing psychedelics, a op of sort of secret societies to distract and disorient large swaths of people. We're seeing an advance of a Brave New World agenda.... There is no question in my mind the drugs have profound benefits and profoundly negative consequences. It all depends on who is administering them, and why. Like sex. Thanks for listening and commenting. It needs a lot of editing. Glad to discuss....
Many thanks, Robert. I have listened to the fascinating podcast several times, and delved further into some of the aspects of the discussion, sometimes changing previous viewpoints. Watching Dying to Know fleshed out some of your insights for me, as did reading portions of your books on Scribd. Scribd is frustrating because your index page numbers do not match Scribd's page numbers; also I have limited online access b/c I use solar. You mentioned that one could recieved a pdf of your first book by emailing you, but I cannot find an email address for you. So I requested an upload at academia.edu but so far you seem not to have seen that request. Also, can you expand upon your statement here about a current op?? Many thanks once again!
 
Forte wants to hide out in the woods with his small band of alleged cognoscenti. That, to my mind is pathological and totally unnecessary. If you believe in democracy, then get out there and speak your mind. Have some courage. Make a difference. Be involved in life in all forms, including civic life. Withdrawing because The Man is going to get you is a pathetic (and false) excuse for personal failings and cowardice, IMO.
I love "small band of alleged cognoscenti" because you hit the nail right on the head with respect to a whole bunch of people who decide to 'opt out' or 'drop out' and yet remain utterly dependent upon the 'system' they have supposedly rejected.

This was my big headache in hippy days - dealing with people who said they were dropping out and instead of going off into the wilderness just moved to a rural community and took their social security benefits as essential means of sustenance.

Did Forte go into the wilderness and divest himself of the trappings of Western civilisation's manifold devices? I'd respect that. But here's the interesting side to that notion. Indigenous people are not traditionalists at first. They will take the advantage of an iron axe over a stone one, or a rifle over a spear, or corrugated iron roofing over thatch. This is because the immediate advantage is compelling. But that advantage come with strings attached - and these strings are the snare.

There really isn't any escape in a purist sense any more, and everything else is a personal fantasy. Withdrawal may not be feasible, but you can position yourself to serve your needs and wants without the bullshit.
 
I love "small band of alleged cognoscenti" because you hit the nail right on the head with respect to a whole bunch of people who decide to 'opt out' or 'drop out' and yet remain utterly dependent upon the 'system' they have supposedly rejected.

This was my big headache in hippy days - dealing with people who said they were dropping out and instead of going off into the wilderness just moved to a rural community and took their social security benefits as essential means of sustenance.

Did Forte go into the wilderness and divest himself of the trappings of Western civilisation's manifold devices? I'd respect that. But here's the interesting side to that notion. Indigenous people are not traditionalists at first. They will take the advantage of an iron axe over a stone one, or a rifle over a spear, or corrugated iron roofing over thatch. This is because the immediate advantage is compelling. But that advantage come with strings attached - and these strings are the snare.

There really isn't any escape in a purist sense any more, and everything else is a personal fantasy. Withdrawal may not be feasible, but you can position yourself to serve your needs and wants without the bullshit.
Yes, Michael. It's a lot like shipping out to the Gulf War and being confronted by protesters with, "No war for oil" bumper stickers on their relatively expensive Volvos.

Some personality types are just tend to be bratty. They want to feel morally righteous in a morally grey world, but they don't want to do the work. Worse is when they are forced to become paranoid to keep their contrarian world view in one piece.

I have a similar problem with pacifists. They are typically perfectly fine with having the police or military do their dirty work for them. IMO, hiring an agent to shoot bad people (division of labor)) is the same as doing it yourself. You're still approving the action. If pacifists were truly willing to just stand up in front of a militarily aggressive tyrant or a violent home invader and pray for his soul and allowed themselves to be raped, killed, etc. and they had no loved ones dependent on them, then I'd have more respect for them. I'd still think they're stupid, but I could respect their decision. Calling 911 so guys with guns can come save you from the bad guy while preaching that violence only begets more violence, guns are bad, etc is just that much more hypocrisy.
 
Yes, Michael. It's a lot like shipping out to the Gulf War and being confronted by protesters with, "No war for oil" bumper stickers on their relatively expensive Volvos.

Some personality types are just tend to be bratty. They want to feel morally righteous in a morally grey world, but they don't want to do the work. Worse is when they are forced to become paranoid to keep their contrarian world view in one piece.

I have a similar problem with pacifists. They are typically perfectly fine with having the police or military do their dirty work for them. IMO, hiring an agent to shoot bad people (division of labor)) is the same as doing it yourself. You're still approving the action. If pacifists were truly willing to just stand up in front of a militarily aggressive tyrant or a violent home invader and pray for his soul and allowed themselves to be raped, killed, etc. and they had no loved ones dependent on them, then I'd have more respect for them. I'd still think they're stupid, but I could respect their decision. Calling 911 so guys with guns can come save you from the bad guy while preaching that violence only begets more violence, guns are bad, etc is just that much more hypocrisy.
I think like any general philosophy, it is possible to take it to an absurd extreme - such as certain Buddhist monks that wear a mask to make sure they never accidentally kill an insect by breathing it in. These extremes can obscure the value of the underlying ideas. Another such extreme is the bratty type where the whole thing is a sort of act.

Thus when we think about the "No war for oil" slogan, the ultimate truth was that there is plenty of oil within the US (shale etc) and with a little more effort the US could have been independent of the likes of Saudi Arabia from the get go. That would have saved an immense amount of blood and dollars, because those countries could have been left to develop at their own pace without fabulously rich oil princes etc etc. The problem was that the US war industry saw itself as a possible solution to the problem.

Conversely, I would be non-pacifist to the extent that I think Trump was right to authorise the eradication of ISIS gangs - as far as that was possible by the use of extreme force - I couldn't think of a reasonable alternative.

Start by thinking about the most egregious use of military power - things like Syria - where I think we agree about the issues - and then worry about the extreme edges, such as whether calling 999 (or 911!) to get assistance counts as being non-pacifist!

It is amazing how far pacifist ideas can take you. For example, the police in the UK are not routinely armed. I am sure some officers dislike that, but others realise that if someone is cornered, they realise it is probably best for them not to try to shoot it out, because anyone that does, will be tracked down with armed police and be either killed or spend a very long time in jail (we don't have the death penalty). With the general increase in lawlessness, the policy of not arming the police is under some pressure, but will probably continue.

I would say that with your recognition that the 'gas attacks' were a trick, you are aligning yourself to a considerable degree with the pacifists - a militarist would probably say, "Hey if that is what it takes to get enough US force deployed in Syria, then do it!".

David
 
Indeed we do - they seemed to get suddenly really bad about the time of the Ukraine crisis, and thry have stayed that way.

Here in the UK, I have heard them conduct interviews in which some of the true facts were starting to leak out. They hurried on rather than delve into territory they did not want to explore. It was obvious they knew!

As above - they must know! I mean I'm not normally a political animal, but it was obvious to me that there was something wrong with those gas attack stories. Why would Assad use a small amount of gas just when he was winning - if he were to risk it, he would use a mass attack - but he didn't need to. The false nature of the stories was painfully obvious!




David

Juan Cole and Stephen Zunes, both of whom are regularly trotted out by the supposed alternative media, as progressive experts on all foreign policy issues, insisted that the Russian Syrian version of the 2017 gas attack, which claimed the Syrian army did bomb the site in question but the building turned out to be a terrorist chemical depot, was not possible since sarin gas had to be' manually mixed with a second component at the time of the attack. I researched this idea a bit and found no supporting evidence for the claim I then called in a KPFA, Pacifica Network show where IPS expert Phyllis Bennis, a supposed top middle east expert was appearing, and asked her about Col e and and Zunes' claims and she did not understand virtually any details of the attack including even the basic Russian/Syrian story of the attack absolutely dumbfounding how little people actually know about

The story, best a I can decipher, is that only chlorine was involved
 
Juan Cole and Stephen Zunes, both of whom are regularly trotted out by the supposed alternative media, as progressive experts on all foreign policy issues, insisted that the Russian Syrian version of the 2017 gas attack, which claimed the Syrian army did bomb the site in question but the building turned out to be a terrorist chemical depot, was not possible since sarin gas had to be' manually mixed with a second component at the time of the attack. I researched this idea a bit and found no supporting evidence for the claim I then called in a KPFA, Pacifica Network show where IPS expert Phyllis Bennis, a supposed top middle east expert was appearing, and asked her about Col e and and Zunes' claims and she did not understand virtually any details of the attack including even the basic Russian/Syrian story of the attack absolutely dumbfounding how little people actually know about

The story, best a I can decipher, is that only chlorine was involved
Well of course, the crucial thing is who did it and why.

It is inconceivable that the Syrian government did these attacks just as they were on the point on a major victory, knowing that this might pull in the Americans on the side of the rebels. I think probably you are agreeing with this, but I am not completely sure.

I think it is also inconceivable that the Western media did not seem to want to even consider the possibility that this was the case. The discussion was all along the lines that the wicked Russian/Syrian forces did this - motive not even discussed!

David
 
Well of course, the crucial thing is who did it and why.

It is inconceivable that the Syrian government did these attacks just as they were on the point on a major victory, knowing that this might pull in the Americans on the side of the rebels. I think probably you are agreeing with this, but I am not completely sure.

I think it is also inconceivable that the Western media did not seem to want to even consider the possibility that this was the case. The discussion was all along the lines that the wicked Russian/Syrian forces did this - motive not even discussed!

David
Hi David Just to add a bit on the forensics, I also called in to one show and asked whether we could confirm whether the site in question was the same spot in both the western and Russian scenarios. such a question seemed to be a revelation or, alternatively, an irrelevant detail This seems reinforced the superficial, or conclusion before the facts kind of thing w face in all of this. It seems motivation questions are at least as far removed from consideration since we know these folks are all madmen.according to the meme

Is it just me or are there some problems trying to edit spelling mistakes. I get a little grey spot on the cursor and am not able to correct properly
 
Hi David Just to add a bit on the forensics, I also called in to one show and asked whether we could confirm whether the site in question was the same spot in both the western and Russian scenarios. such a question seemed to be a revelation or, alternatively, an irrelevant detail This seems reinforced the superficial, or conclusion before the facts kind of thing w face in all of this. It seems motivation questions are at least as far removed from consideration since we know these folks are all madmen.according to the meme

Is it just me or are there some problems trying to edit spelling mistakes. I get a little grey spot on the cursor and am not able to correct properly
I am not sure, but there may be a temporary restriction on editing for new members. After a few posts this will hopefully correct itself. In the meantime, it may be best to compose what you intend to say in an editor and then cut/paste it when it looks OK. The normal procedure for editing a post, is to press the 'Edit' button at the bottom of a displayed post, then edit it as desired and press the 'Save' button to actually make the changes.

I wonder if your inability to edit what you have written is contributing to the fact that I find it a little difficult to figure out exactly what you are saying.

David
 
They want to feel morally righteous in a morally grey world, but they don't want to do the work. Worse is when they are forced to become paranoid to keep their contrarian world view in one piece.
I think this is an important notion that cuts both ways - not only the pacifists but the NRA type patriots. There are complex moral issues that we must confront and to imagine they can be resolved as pacifist or patriot is doing a disservice to human reality and an injustice to either sincere extreme. The quote I excised above plays both ways.

But I don't see moral issues as 'grey' so much as complex and context dependent. If, for example, we accept proposition A as true, then we may believe that what is in defence of it is good. But if we think it is bad then acts in defence of it can be thought of as bad. The question as to the validity of proposition A is rarely engaged with integrity - and that's because there are self-interests that adhere.

Trump, for example, has questioned the need for Americian military engagement around the globe. Its a fair question that merits considerable reflection. But the implications of undoing a global presence, even if thought to be no longer appropriate, are massive. The moral argument for 'putting America first' is one thing, but undoing the significant political and economic structure behind the present way of things could be adverse - a hike in unemployment as domestic industries the support the global presence are wound back, and returning thousands of military personnel into an injured labour market. In the short term the impact of a 'right' or 'good' decision could be injurious to individuals and communities. I am not saying I support this POV, just that it has complex consequences that make the moral proposition far harder to define.

Peter Frankopan's book, The New Silk Roads, demonstrates just how difficult it is to make 'good' moral choices. Putting 'America first' could come back to bite it. In the reality that has been created by American globalism that simple formula could be catastrophic if not engaged in a sophisticated manner.

"Worse is when they are forced to become paranoid to keep their contrarian world view in one piece." A telling insight that cuts both ways. The distinction between vigilance and paranoia is crucial. A desire for peace is good, but so is the willingness to fight when no other option is available. A problem arise when the war fighters are permitted to influence policy, and when those who profit from equipping the war fighters are given privileged access to policy makers. When all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. What is a moral argument and what is an economic one?

The recent NRA drama illustrates this point. The NRA cites the Second Amendment as an emotional argument and then completely ignores half the amendment. The discussion and persuasion centres on the right to bear arms, and not on the crucial conditional clause about the necessity of a 'well regulated militia'. The right to carry a gun for personal defence is not part of the second amendment. A well regulated militia is precisely what the NRA opposes. It wants no regulation.

My point here is not about whether the NRA has a valid argument for the right to bear arms. I am not opposed to gun ownership. My point is that the moral argument employed is replete with dishonest misrepresentation, and this may be influenced by the fact that the NRA is substantially supported by gun manufacturers. If I felt a need to own a gun for self-defence I would acquire a gun for that purpose and become proficient in its use. But I wouldn't engage in a BS argument that the second amendment entitles me to bear arms. It doesn't. But I live in Australia, so I can think about having a gun as a personal moral choice free from any BS political argument. I haven't owned a gun since the early 1970s because I really felt no need to have one. The moment that sense of need changes I will alter my attitude and behaviour.

So here we have a complex issue that is resolved into two extremes when a middle way would make more sense. There is no need for most folk to have a gun, and among this law abiding citizens who want guns I doubt is there is a genuine objection to reasonable controls. But the moral argument about a 'right' to bear arms has been asserted without the countervailing duties and responsibilities because there is a paranoid fear that any control represents the 'thin edge of the wedge'.

Seen from a distance there is tradition in American politics that is suspicious of government and controls.There are just antecedents to this sentiment. But immoral agents of commercial enterprise claim to share the sense of risk and victimhood experienced by the disempowered and dispossessed. The moral argument against oppression becomes an instrument of oppression. Just fear is ramped up into paranoia and weaponised.

And that work both ways. The demand for peace is a good thing until it creates vulnerability to be exploited by real enemies. The need to be well defended is a good thing until it creates a desire for conflict. How we work though these complexities and extremes is a measure of who we are - and how we want to be assessed. Sadly we fail to demonstrate justice and reason on a routine basis.
 
I think this is an important notion that cuts both ways - not only the pacifists but the NRA type patriots. There are complex moral issues that we must confront and to imagine they can be resolved as pacifist or patriot is doing a disservice to human reality and an injustice to either sincere extreme. The quote I excised above plays both ways.

But I don't see moral issues as 'grey' so much as complex and context dependent. If, for example, we accept proposition A as true, then we may believe that what is in defence of it is good. But if we think it is bad then acts in defence of it can be thought of as bad. The question as to the validity of proposition A is rarely engaged with integrity - and that's because there are self-interests that adhere.

Trump, for example, has questioned the need for Americian military engagement around the globe. Its a fair question that merits considerable reflection. But the implications of undoing a global presence, even if thought to be no longer appropriate, are massive. The moral argument for 'putting America first' is one thing, but undoing the significant political and economic structure behind the present way of things could be adverse - a hike in unemployment as domestic industries the support the global presence are wound back, and returning thousands of military personnel into an injured labour market. In the short term the impact of a 'right' or 'good' decision could be injurious to individuals and communities. I am not saying I support this POV, just that it has complex consequences that make the moral proposition far harder to define.

Peter Frankopan's book, The New Silk Roads, demonstrates just how difficult it is to make 'good' moral choices. Putting 'America first' could come back to bite it. In the reality that has been created by American globalism that simple formula could be catastrophic if not engaged in a sophisticated manner.

"Worse is when they are forced to become paranoid to keep their contrarian world view in one piece." A telling insight that cuts both ways. The distinction between vigilance and paranoia is crucial. A desire for peace is good, but so is the willingness to fight when no other option is available. A problem arise when the war fighters are permitted to influence policy, and when those who profit from equipping the war fighters are given privileged access to policy makers. When all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. What is a moral argument and what is an economic one?

The recent NRA drama illustrates this point. The NRA cites the Second Amendment as an emotional argument and then completely ignores half the amendment. The discussion and persuasion centres on the right to bear arms, and not on the crucial conditional clause about the necessity of a 'well regulated militia'. The right to carry a gun for personal defence is not part of the second amendment. A well regulated militia is precisely what the NRA opposes. It wants no regulation.

My point here is not about whether the NRA has a valid argument for the right to bear arms. I am not opposed to gun ownership. My point is that the moral argument employed is replete with dishonest misrepresentation, and this may be influenced by the fact that the NRA is substantially supported by gun manufacturers. If I felt a need to own a gun for self-defence I would acquire a gun for that purpose and become proficient in its use. But I wouldn't engage in a BS argument that the second amendment entitles me to bear arms. It doesn't. But I live in Australia, so I can think about having a gun as a personal moral choice free from any BS political argument. I haven't owned a gun since the early 1970s because I really felt no need to have one. The moment that sense of need changes I will alter my attitude and behaviour.

So here we have a complex issue that is resolved into two extremes when a middle way would make more sense. There is no need for most folk to have a gun, and among this law abiding citizens who want guns I doubt is there is a genuine objection to reasonable controls. But the moral argument about a 'right' to bear arms has been asserted without the countervailing duties and responsibilities because there is a paranoid fear that any control represents the 'thin edge of the wedge'.

Seen from a distance there is tradition in American politics that is suspicious of government and controls.There are just antecedents to this sentiment. But immoral agents of commercial enterprise claim to share the sense of risk and victimhood experienced by the disempowered and dispossessed. The moral argument against oppression becomes an instrument of oppression. Just fear is ramped up into paranoia and weaponised.

And that work both ways. The demand for peace is a good thing until it creates vulnerability to be exploited by real enemies. The need to be well defended is a good thing until it creates a desire for conflict. How we work though these complexities and extremes is a measure of who we are - and how we want to be assessed. Sadly we fail to demonstrate justice and reason on a routine basis.
Hi Michael,
The US Supreme Court, after much research into the intent of the men who wrote the Constitution via their letters and essays, has determined, officially, that your reading of the 2A (militias, etc) is wrong. The 2A does mean that every citizen has the right (maybe even responsibility) to be armed with the same weapons the military has for purpose of self defense and as a bulwark against a tyrannical government developing.

However, that's not important to the discussion of pacifism.

Also....

In the US, there is plenty of reason for most people to have a gun. This is a violent country. People have the right to defend themselves. Every year thousands of people successfully defend themselves from violent attacks with a gun - this includes women and even children who are attacked by larger criminal males. Sometimes just taking the gun out and issuing a warning causes the bad guy to leave. Interviews with felons in prison reveals that they often carefully consider whether or not a home owner will be armed when planning a robbery, rape or other criminal act. They will avoid an armed home in favor of one they think is not.

I carry a spare tire and jack, etc in my car. I think it's been over 20 years since I got a flat tire that required me to use those implements. But when you need to use them, you're really glad you have them. So much more in the case of a gun.

In the US every year about 30,000 people die by guns. However 2/3 of those are suicides (does a person have a right to take their own life? Would they substitute some other method if a gun wasn't available?). Of the remaining 10K - 11K, around 1,000 are police killing criminals in justified shootings and another 500 or so are civilians killing bad guys in justified self-defense. That leaves us with something like 9,000 actual murders committed with a gun. The vast majority of these take place in urban environments and are associated with gang activity and certain minorities that are poorly assimilated into modern Western civilization.

The fact is that white NRA/Patriot types who live outside of Urban ghettos, but who have lots of guns and ammo rarely kill each other. In fact, the murder rate for this demographic is about the same as anywhere else in Western civ - even anywhere there is gun control. And I do believe that this demographic makes the govt think twice before seriously infringing on our rights. We are not going to give up our guns and rights because a bunch of ghetto savages can't behave themselves and act like violent third world tribalists.

Anyhow.....

I was thinking more along lines of individuals as opposed to nation states, but I suppose the discussion doesn't change much if addressing nation states; except that an individual pacifist has the luxury of allowing himself to be killed, whereas the leaders of a nation state must protect their country/people. It is their solemn duty.

I said "grey" areas and you said "complicated" . I think we're seeing the same challenges, though.

One of the problems with self-defense is when you get into application of the axiom that the best defense is a good offense. That's when things can become very sticky.

And there are issues like; Pacifist allows himself to be killed by a violent thug. If Pacifist was armed, he could have killed the thug. Thug then goes on to kill someone who really wanted to live and isn't a pacifist. Does the pacifist bear some responsibility for the subsequent murder of the innocent person?
 
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Hi Michael,
The US Supreme Court, after much research into the intent of the men who wrote the Constitution via their letters and essays, has determined, officially, that your reading of the 2A (militias, etc) is wrong. The 2A does mean that every citizen has the right (maybe even responsibility) to be armed with the same weapons the military has for purpose of self defense and as a bulwark against a tyrannical government developing.

However, that's not important to the discussion of pacifism.

Also....

In the US, there is plenty of reason for most people to have a gun. This is a violent country. People have the right to defend themselves. Every year thousands of people successfully defend themselves from violent attacks with a gun - this includes women and even children who are attacked by larger criminal males. Sometimes just taking the gun out and issuing a warning causes the bad guy to leave. Interviews with felons in prison reveals that they often carefully consider whether or not a home owner will be armed when planning a robbery, rape or other criminal act. They will avoid an armed home in favor of one they think is not.

I carry a spare tire and jack, etc in my car. I think it's been over 20 years since I got a flat tire that required me to use those implements. But when you need to use them, you're really glad you have them. So much more in the case of a gun.

In the US every year about 30,000 people die by guns. However 2/3 of those are suicides (does a person have a right to take their own life? Would they substitute some other method if a gun wasn't available?). Of the remaining 10K - 11K, around 1,000 are police killing criminals in justified shootings and another 500 or so are civilians killing bad guys in justified self-defense. That leaves us with something like 9,000 actual murders committed with a gun. The vast majority of these take place in urban environments and are associated with gang activity and certain minorities that are poorly assimilated into modern Western civilization.

The fact is that white NRA/Patriot types who live outside of Urban ghettos, but who have lots of guns and ammo rarely kill each other. In fact, the murder rate for this demographic is about the same as anywhere else in Western civ - even anywhere there is gun control. And I do believe that this demographic makes the govt think twice before seriously infringing on our rights. We are not going to give up our guns and rights because a bunch of ghetto savages can't behave themselves and act like violent third world tribalists.

Anyhow.....

I was thinking more along lines of individuals as opposed to nation states, but I suppose the discussion doesn't change much if addressing nation states; except that an individual pacifist has the luxury of allowing himself to be killed, whereas the leaders of a nation state must protect their country/people. It is their solemn duty.

I said "grey" areas and you said "complicated" . I think we're seeing the same challenges, though.

One of the problems with self-defense is when you get into application of the axiom that the best defense is a good offense. That's when things can become very sticky.

And there are issues like; Pacifist allows himself to be killed by a violent thug. If Pacifist was armed, he could have killed the thug. Thug then goes on to kill someone who really wanted to live and isn't a pacifist. Does the pacifist bear some responsibility for the subsequent murder of the innocent person?
Regarding the "certain minorities/ghetto savages" in urban environments ... do you think that they are inherently more violent than other folks? I would be interested to see sources that back up that idea, if that's the point you're making. My understanding is that people are on average the same when it comes to traits like behavior, temperment, intelligence. I tend to think that ethnic differences are superficial and pertain to superficial things like skin color.

I tend to look at historical and contemporary social factors as the main factors in the continuing problem of gun violence in minority neighborhoods in cities. "Poorly assimilated into Western modern culture" is an interesting point--the way I see it, the ancestors of most black folks were assimilated into a brutally violent system of slavery that the USA has never recovered from (when it comes to outcomes for the contemporary black community).

I mentioned on another thread my opinion that humans are certainly a flawed species ... and I think it's been shown that when you apply enough pressure onto people in any number of ways, the flawed parts come out in ugly ways. I imagine that if the historical roles were reversed and Africans conquered North America and took Europeans as slaves for a couple hundred years, it would be the caucasians stuck in the segregated communities trying to deal with a few centuries of bullcrap, and the caucasians would be murdering each other to the tune of thousands per year.
 
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Regarding the "certain minorities/ghetto savages" in urban environments ... do you think that they are inherently more violent than other folks? I would be interested to see sources that back up that idea, if that's the point you're making. My understanding is that people are on average the same when it comes to traits like behavior, temperment, intelligence. I tend to think that ethnic differences are superficial and pertain to superficial things like skin color.

I tend to look at historical and contemporary social factors as the main factors in the continuing problem of gun violence in minority neighborhoods in cities. "Poorly assimilated into Western modern culture" is an interesting point--the way I see it, the ancestors of most black folks were assimilated into a brutally violent system of slavery that the USA has never recovered from (when it comes to outcomes for the contemporary black community).

I mentioned on another thread my opinion that humans are certainly a flawed species ... and I think it's been shown that when you apply enough pressure onto people in any number of ways, the flawed parts come out in ugly ways. I imagine that if the historical roles were reversed and Africans conquered North America and took Europeans as slaves for a couple hundred years, it would be the caucasians stuck in the segregated communities trying to deal with a few centuries of bullcrap, and the caucasians would be murdering each other to the tune of thousands per year.
Ah. Another social justice warrior - and believer in social programming.

Racism? What about Africa and Latin America? Two entire continents of failure to thrive in the modern world. Of course Africans have a long history of brutally enslaving each other - but I don't think that's the source of the problem.

Irish, Armenians and Jews should be out of control killers (along with any number of other groups of people who have experienced generational oppression), but they're not.

IQ test data consistently says your theories are wrong. Read Charles Murray on the Bell Curve. He cites a lot of good research. However, I don't think that's what's at the root of this. IMO, it has to do with what gods your ancestors worshipped. IMO, that goes way deeper than you might imagine in a Sheldrakian morphic field kinda way

This is an area where even smart people refuse to follow the data out of fear and cognitive dissonance. The fact that such fear exists should be evidence against theories of rampant racism. Anything that can be even remotely construed to be racist is shunned by white culture these days.

Blacks and their communities were doing much better in the USA prior to the civil rights movement. They weren't having these problems at anywhere near the level they are today. Since you're into social programming theories, what does that tell you?

And what about the Hispanic communities that have similar issues? They were not slaves in the US - and they came here all on their own.


Black are 13% of the population and 50%+ of violent crime (FBI statistics). Hispanics statistics are more difficult to gather, but it seems that they also add to violent crime disproportionate to their representation in the over all population....Killing another human being is a really big step to the normal mind - especially killing them over nothing more than securing a street corner on which to sell drugs, or because they're wearing the wrong color of bandana, or you think his shoes are cool and you want them. Violent rape of a stranger is morally insane. Bursting into a stranger's home in the middle of the night with knives or guns drawn intent on robbery and perhaps rape and murder is pure savagery- as is killing the guy behind the counter of the liquor store over $60 in the cash register. Can you imagine doing any of that? I mean really see yourself doing it. Even if you felt like you were shunned due to some kind of prejudice? Especially when opportunities for an education and better way of life are readily available?

And...just when you thought this thread had spiraled hopelessly off topic....My point what gods your ancestors worshipped...The Mexicans were taking psychedelics and slaughtering people as sacrifices to terrible gods. They made war just to capture more people to kill up on their temples; thousands at a time in the bigger ceremonies. Psychedelics were not giving them harmonious visions. Like I said, they don't make you anything you aren't already. The y amplify the soul. Africans were (and still are) into all kinds of voodoo and dark sorcery. The power of Christianity and its Judaic roots and what it did for Western civilization should never be underestimated - it almost always is - but that is a mistake.
 
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In the US, there is plenty of reason for most people to have a gun. This is a violent country. People have the right to defend themselves. Every year thousands of people successfully defend themselves from violent attacks with a gun - this includes women and even children who are attacked by larger criminal males. Sometimes just taking the gun out and issuing a warning causes the bad guy to leave. Interviews with felons in prison reveals that they often carefully consider whether or not a home owner will be armed when planning a robbery, rape or other criminal act. They will avoid an armed home in favor of one they think is not.
I am not a US citizen, but my partner and I have spent many happy holidays rambling around the rural parts of Western side of your country. I have also been over on business, which inevitably showed me the seamier side of life in US cities. Walking from my hotel to the conference center in LA, I was amazed to encounter people defecating in the street! Disgusting as this was, a gun would not have helped.

As a visitor, I couldn't carry a gun, but on the one occasion when I might have liked to have one, I am jolly glad I didn't. My partner and I had been exploring Salt Lake City and were returning to our modest hotel on the 'wrong' side of the railway - we were literally crossing the bridge, when we saw two shady characters at the other end of the bridge. It was dark, so they were hard to see clearly, but they seemed to be hesitating or waiting for something. Anyway, we carried on anxiously, and ........... they turned out to be a Japanese couple of about our age, who seemed equally relieved that we were not going to attack them!

It would be interesting to see some statistics, but I would guess that carrying a gun would greatly increase the risk of being involved in violence.

I tend to look at historical and contemporary social factors as the main factors in the continuing problem of gun violence in minority neighborhoods in cities. "Poorly assimilated into Western modern culture" is an interesting point--the way I see it, the ancestors of most black folks were assimilated into a brutally violent system of slavery that the USA has never recovered from (when it comes to outcomes for the contemporary black community).
The only thing that can or should be done, is to flatten the playing field now. Positive descrimination makes struggling white people very resentful, and anyway, the people who really suffered are long dead - and are maybe relishing the learning experience that being slaves offered them - who knows?

David
 
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