You cannot excuse everything by saying it simply is a social construct, not time, not moral rules, not labels. Most of this complex world is a construct our societies have created throughout centuries, not without reason; by saying it all is simply a social construct and thereby giving it less value is a dead end, and it leads us nowhere.
—  Thoughts #184

Happy Birthday to Carl Sagan,

Carl Sagan, in addition to being a teacher of science, was a teacher of morals and empathy. He advocated for free speech, compassion, education, civil liberty, racial equality, gender equality, skepticism, and creativity. His views are continuing to inspire generations. Some, like me, have followed in his footsteps and seek to explore the wonders of science while improving the human condition. Carl had a hopeful view for humanity and he devoted his life to make that view a reality. Carl Sagan was certainly one of the best of us and he should be remembered for his great accomplishments.

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A thousand times more lethal than bourgeoisie law is bourgeoisie morality.

The first physically protects the oppressor. The second goes far beyond that: It conditions you to love the oppressor, to protect their legitimacy and their legacy, to respect their epistemology and their way of knowing the world, to uphold their humanity, to indeed make their humanity the ONLY humanity worthy of life while it rapes, pillages, and murders the oppressed. It is this sort of morality, which upon an oppressor’s passing, can decontextualize an entire history of oppression for the sake of mourning your enemies’ death when it should be understood as an inevitable conclusion to a life of facilitating violent oppression.   

Over and over the past few months we have heard:

Respect the dead cop who serves the murderous institution of policing.

No, I will not. 

Respect the white supremacist who makes white America laugh.

No, I will not. 

Respect the so-called journalist who popularizes Islamophobia and gives moral teeth to imperialism.

No, I will not. 

Respect, at least, the right of bigots to be bigots shrouded in the sloganisms of free speech. 

No, I will not. 

Such respect would be subscribing to bourgeoisie morality and would make me a conduit of bourgeoisie violence. I understand that. I think far to many of you so-called leftists do not. 

The Real Problem of Evil is Thinking Evil's a Real Problem

The idea that people can be completely evil and have no redeeming qualities, extenuating circumstances, or core humanity at all … That is the only place where true evil lies. The belief that some people are “evil” makes it easier for us to write them off, dehumanize them, destroy them, cease helping them. The idea of evil makes misbegotten moral righteousness possible, and justifies all manner of aggressive and hateful acts.

Sociopathy and antisocial personality disorder are just a repackaging of the age-old concept of pure unredeemable evil. It’s morality-driven dehumanization dressed in a clinical psychologist’s coat.

It is comforting to believe that people commit heinous acts because they are henious monsterous people. Such thinking protects us from wondering if we are capable of committing evil acts, if we are hateful and destructive. It also implies that ending suffering in the world is not a matter of slowly and constant reforming all our hearts and minds; it’s simply a matter of finding all the bad eggs and scrambling them.

The concept of sociopathic evil absolves us from doing the hard work of reforming criminals, remedying the precursors to crime, and examining the morality of our own actions. It is much easier to cast off the malicious as evil, disordered, defective, inhuman, exceptional, than it is to turn such a critical gaze upon ourselves.

By accepting the idea that “some people are just evil”, we resign ourselves to an overly simplified worldview where wrongs cannot be prevented, only punished, and where there is no broader societal responsibility for the sins of society’s children.

Feeling bad about oneself does not make one a better person. Sometimes we seem to think that it would be worse to do something wrong and not feel guilty, than to do something equally wrong but feel guilty about it, as if guilt makes us morally superior, as if it could purify us or redeem us in some way. It is unclear to me how guilt could have such effects. How bad one feels about oneself does not seem to be very relevant; what is important, instead, is repentance or regret: the desire to have acted differently, the intention to repair the damage done, and the determination that in the future one will not act similarly. While regret focuses on action (e.g., I did something wrong), guilt focuses on oneself (e.g., I am a bad person). Repentance is useful: it motivates one to remedy wrongs and not fall into the same mistake again. Guilt is impractical: by keeping the focus on oneself, it contributes to the reification of our negative qualities (e.g., I am selfish), and becomes an obstacle for imagining oneself differently, and for changing one’s behaviour, since we seem to adapt our behaviour to the idea that we have formed about ourselves.

Eating meat is a personal choice just like being vegan is a personal choice, so everyone should just live and let live.             

From an ethical perspective, it is generally agreed that one individual’s right to choice ends at the point where exercising that right does harm to another individual.

Therefore, while it might be legal and customary to needlessly kill and eat animals, it is not ethical. Simply because a thing is condoned by law or society does not make it ethical or moral.

Looked at differently, it is logically inconsistent to claim that it is wrong to hurt animals like cats and dogs and also to claim that eating animals like pigs and chickens is a matter of choice, since we do not need to eat them in order to survive.

So it is clear then, that eating meat is only a matter of choice in the most superficial sense because it is both ethically and morally wrong to do so.  


Compromise isn’t always a good thing.

We get into the habit of compromising with people to preserve unity, that’s good. But we can’t compromise on holiness or faithfulness.

Some times the best thing to do is say “this far, no further.” People might call you a stubborn stick in the mud for not budging on morality but you can remind yourself that ultimately it’s not their opinion that matters.

For a five-month period that ends this week, every single elected Republican in Congress was a white Christian.

Let me repeat that: every elected GOP Member of the House and Senate was a white Christian.

Eric Cantor is Jewish. He left office on August 1 last year. Since then, the entire elected GOP caucus, in both the House and the Senate, has comprised only white Christians.

13 percent of America is African-American. 9 percent is of mixed race. 5 percent is Asian. 24 percent does not identify itself as Christian. 0% of those groups served as elected Congressional Republicans during the past five months.

Variety is the spice of life. I strive for an America where you can be all that you can be, regardless of where you’re from, what you look like, what language you speak, and whom you love.

Reach into your pocket. Take out a coin, any coin. On it, you will find the Latin words “E Pluribus Unum.” Which means, “Out of many, one.”

That’s my America. That’s America.
—  Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl.)