Sociology & Social Sciences

Anonymity

by Limbic on March 22, 2015

With so so few people being antifragile combined with increasing attacks on people’s livelihoods over their mere thoughts and beliefs, we have millions of prisoners of conscience, people persecuted or justifiably fearful of persecution for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.

If it is unsafe for you to speak freely or reveal what you think for fear of persecution, then anonymity is your shield. Learn about how to achieve it properly and use it wisely.

our method: pseudonymous speech…

anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. it thus exemplifies the purpose behind the bill of rights, and of the first amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation– and their ideas from suppression– at the hand of an intolerant society.

The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. but political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse.

– mcintyre v. ohio elections commission 514 u.s. 334 (1995) justice stevens writing for the majority

though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks) anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the united states. used by the likes of mark twain (aka samuel langhorne clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by alexander hamilton, james madison and john jay (aka publius) to write the federalist papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume. particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the united states, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. like the economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker- as it should be. we believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn’t.

From http://www.zerohedge.com/about via http://fabiusmaximus.com/about/authors/ 

See also:

https://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_post

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Synthetic Tolerance

by Limbic on March 16, 2015

Pink chair

From The Guardian:

Elton John has called for a boycott of fashion brand Dolce and Gabbana after he said the designers labelled children born through IVF “synthetic”.

The singer and songwriter, 67, who has two children with his husband, David Furnish, angrily rebuked the Italian designers for criticising same-sex families and the use of fertility treatment.

Business partners Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who were once a couple, have previously voiced their rejection of same-sex marriage, but in an interview with an Italian magazine this weekend they extended their objection to include same-sex families.

In an Instagram post on Sunday morning, John said: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’.

“And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.

“Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”

In summary,  If I disagree with your opinion, I will attempt to destroy your livelihood. No dialogue, no tolerance, no debate, no attempt to persuade – just attack!

Gabbana is spot on in his response:

“I didn’t expect this, coming from someone whom I considered, and I stress ‘considered’, an intelligent person like Elton John.

“I mean, you preach understanding, tolerance and then you attack others?

“Only because someone has a different opinion? Is this a democratic or enlightened way of thinking? This is ignorance, because he ignores the fact that others might have a different opinion and that theirs is as worthy of respect as his.

“It’s an authoritiarian way of seeing the world: agree with me or, if you don’t, I’ll attack you.”

Elton John would do well to remember that human rights (including gay rights) were built on the principles Free Speech, empathy and tolerance. Elton John preaches tolerance but displays utter intolerance to anyone who disagrees with him.  This is both hypocrisy and chauvinism.

Let me give Jonathan  Rauch the last word. This is from his magnificent book Kindly Inquisitors:

Today I fear that many people on my side of the gay-equality question are forgetting our debt to the system that freed us. Some gay people—not all, not even most, but quite a few—want to expunge discriminatory views. “Discrimination is discrimination and bigotry is bigotry,” they say, “and they are intolerable whether or not they happen to be someone’s religion or moral creed. ‘ Here is not the place for an examination of the proper balance between, say, religious liberty and anti-discrimination rules. It is a place, perhaps, for a plea to those of us in the gay-rights movement—and in other minority-rights movements—who now find ourselves in the cultural ascendency, with public majorities and public morality (strange to say it!) on our side. We should be the last people on the planet to demand that anyone be silenced.

Partly the reasons are strategic. Robust intellectual exchange…serves our interest. Our greatest enemy is not irrational hate, which is pretty uncommon. It is rational hate, hate premised upon falsehood. (If you believe homosexuality poses a threat to your children, you will hate it.) The main way we eliminate hate is not to legislate or inveigh against it, but to replace it—with knowledge, empirical and ethical. That was how Frank Kameny and a few other people, without numbers or law or public sympathy on their side, turned hate on its head. They had arguments, and they had the right to make them.

And partly the reasons are moral. Gay people have lived in a world where we were forced, day in and day out, to betray our consciences and shut our mouths in the name of public morality. Not so long ago, everybody thought we were wrong. Now our duty is to protect others’ freedom to be wrong, the better to ensure society’s odds of being right. Of course, we can and should correct the falsehoods we hear and, once they are debunked, deny them the standing of knowledge in textbooks and professions; but we equally have the responsibility to defend their expression as opinion in the public  square. Finding the proper balance is not easy and isn’t supposed to be.

What I am urging is a general proposition: minorities are the point of the spear defending liberal science. We are the first to be targeted with vile words and ideas, but we are also the leading beneficiaries of a system which puts up with them. The open society is sometimes a cross we bear, but it is also a sword we wield, and we are defenseless without it. We ought to remember what Frank Kameny never forgot: for politically weak minorities, the best and often only way to effect wholesale change in World One and World Two, the worlds of things and sentiments, is by effecting change in World Three, the world of ideas. Minorities therefore have a special responsibility to Peirce’s injunction: Do not block the way of inquiry. Our position as beneficiaries of the open society requires us to serve as guardians of it. Playing that role, not seeking government protections or hauling our adversaries before star chambers, is the greater source of our dignity.

See also

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-dg-protest-direct-action-or-a-two-minute-hate/

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/dg-said-something-we-disagree-with-destroy-those-deviants/16780

http://twitchy.com/2015/03/15/hypocrite-elton-john-boycotts-designers-who-disagree-with-him/

 

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Bootleggers & Baptists:

by Limbic on March 1, 2015

Here is a theory of regulation that was new to me – Bootleggers and Baptists:

“Here is the essence of the theory: durable social regulation evolves when it is demanded by both of two distinctly different groups. “Baptists” point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits promised by a desired regulation. Baptists flourish when their moral message forms a visible foundation for political action. “Bootleggers” are much less visible but no less vital. Bootleggers, who expect to profit from the very regulatory restrictions desired by Baptists, grease the political machinery with some of their expected proceeds. They are simply in it for the money.” – From “Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics” by Adam Smith and Bruce Yandel (2014-09-07). (Kindle Locations 50-55). Cato Institute. Kindle Edition.

In many domains, particularly community relations, we see the unelected “community leaders” speak on behalf of entire communities, engaging in grievance mongering and exaggeration of issues so as directly profit and accrue power. These baptists preach a moral fable of oppression in order to profit as bootleggers.

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Another reason to repeal blasphemy laws

by Limbic on January 31, 2015

USACE employees receive flu protection

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this, “Anti-vaccination group encourages parents to join fake church“:

A controversial anti-vaccination group is encouraging people to sign up to a fake church because it may help them bypass Australia’s emerging “no jab, no play” childcare laws.

…children who are not fully immunised are unable to enrol in childcare unless their parents declare they have a medical reason or personal, philosophical or religious objection.

…But with some doctors refusing to sign the documents, the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network Inc (formerly known as the Australian Vaccination Network), is spruiking 1 the “Church of Conscious Living” as a religion that is opposed to vaccination.

Now imagine how this could go down here in Denmark, where according to the Blasphemy laws

“Anybody who publicly mocks or insults any in this country legally existing religious community tenets of faith or worship, will be punished by fine or imprisonment for up to 4 months.” –  § 140 of the penal code

A  pseudo-science believing loon can simply join or establish a religious community. They declare these claims to be tenets of faith or worship. They declare they are insulted by any disputation of their tenets of faith. Anyone arguing with them publicly commits a crime.

[Note: Fleming has a response to this characterization in the comments below]

The Onion nails it, as usual:

I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

(Thanks Farren for the heads up on Danish blasphemy laws)


 

  1. New word to me, means to promote

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Code of Conduct for Foreigners

by Limbic on December 27, 2014

Years ago, when I set up the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club, I wanted to formulate a Code of Conduct for members of the club, foreigners living in Serbia. I never did, but here is the list I came up with. It is a flawed list, sure, but it has served me well living almost my entire adult life  as an immigrant in multiple countries.

  1. Obey the laws – Obey the laws of the land, even the petty bureaucratic laws
  2. Contribute – Give something back economically, socially and culturally
  3. Be positive– Focus on the positives of your new home
  4. Be loyal – Be as loyal as you can to your host country
  5. Learn the language – Make an effort to learn at least the basics of the language
  6. Learn the history – Learn about the history of the country and its peoples
  7. Be neutral – Try and be as neutral as possible on contentious local matters or conflicts
  8. Try not to judge – Try not to be too judgemental about local negatives. Nowhere is perfect
  9. Show, don’t tell – Do not lecture the locals about how to be, act, think. Teach by example, not complaint
  10. If you hate the place, leave – If you hate the place, do not inflict your misery on others, be brave and leave

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[Another forgotten, unfinished post from the draft folder from 2009]

…are the connective tissue that holds the cross cultural structures in place to prevent in- and out-group formations.

 

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Conformity Enforcers are The Resistance

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Another forgotten post from the draft folder from Sep 2010]

This was an insight that Howard Bloom’s Conformity Enforcers and Stephen Pressfield’s concept of The Resistance are linked, or at least serve the same ends.

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Sordid state brutality

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Another in the series of posts forgotten in my drafts folder for years. This one since June 2011]

At face value, this is a tale of a supposed enlightened Western state that allowed ideologically motivated courts to support child rape, and helped a girl divorce her parents.

I have been unable to verify this beyond the article linked below, but here is the e-mail I received. It believe it.

Hi Jonathan

I read your web posting regarding the fears of M’s mother about her daughter and social services. I also read the comment to your posting about the lady who’s sister had 5 children removed from her. I want to share with you a short summary of our tragic experiences in this regard in New Zealand. I think you may be South African – we are also South Africans, having emigrated from Durban to NZ with our 3 children in 1994. The story below summarises what tragically happened to our family at the hands of NZ authorities. I welcome any thoughts or comments you may have.

Kind regards,
<Name redacted>
London

New Zealand – where the State supports underage child sex and a child “divorcing” a good family in order to silence State wrongs

Our family was innocently sucked into social services and family court involvement through the activities of our teenage daughter in New Zealand. We are loving, capable, committed and well-educated parents for whom our family is top priority. Alarmingly, one day we discovered that adult men were having group sex with our 14-year old daughter, so we asked police to prosecute as sexual crimes had been committed. Police informed us that they could only prosecute the men under instruction from social services, so following their advice we reported the matter to social services.

However social services’ view was that our 14-year old daughter’s group sex activities was “love and romance”, and within 30 minutes of meeting only with her, concluded that she should be removed from our home so that she could continue to explore her sexuality with adult men, unimpeded from family influence. They determined that as parents we had no right to protect our underage daughter from sexual criminals.

We opposed our daughter’s removal with every effort we could, and only after we had obtained the assistance of several MPs, did social services agree to leave our family alone. However, the State was not happy that we wanted to hold them accountable for their inappropriate intervention in our family. Realising they had no legal grounds to remove our daughter they secretly encouraged her to leave home on her own, promising her that when she was 16 the State would provide for all her needs on condition that she has no further contact with her family.

As soon as she turned 16 our daughter left home, and the State financed her to live independently. They even prevented us from paying her school fees.

What followed next was a chilling series of events. The State was not happy that we sought accountability – they wanted all information about their involvement with our family silenced. So the State financed our 16-year old daughter to take out gagging orders against her whole family – her parents and two brothers – thereby preventing us from seeking accountability for inappropriate State interventions. These gagging orders involved an attempt to set historical legal precedent in New Zealand because it required that she had to legally “divorce” her family and go into State care (even though she had already left home) in order to gag her family. More details can be read in this cover story of a national magazine:

http://www.investigatemagazine.com/archives/2006/03/investigate_oct.html

We opposed the gagging proceedings in the courts firstly because the State financing a teenager to divorce a good family is a heinous concept, and secondly because we require freedom of speech to seek accountability for the inappropriate State interventions in our family. There were never any allegations of inappropriate parenting – ours was simply a case of the State wanting to silence us so that we could not seek accountability for their appalling interventions. At one point our daughter’s State funded lawyers dragged us through the secret courts in an attempt to have us imprisoned for allegedly breaking an interim gagging order, imposed while the court deliberated on whether to permanently gag us. Eventually we won the court cases, however the State had prolonged proceedings for 2 terrifying years so that our daughter was now 18 – an adult legally fully independent of family. In effect, through furtive means they had achieved their objectives of silencing us and keeping our child isolated from all family influence.

The secret Family court made it very clear that they were quite prepared to send an innocent family to prison in order to keep us quiet at all costs. We were told we needed to be “re-educated”. We are not permitted to detail events inside the secret court, however our own lawyer concluded that we would never get a fair trial in New Zealand because we sought State accountability.

Social services’ earlier actions in alienating our daughter against her family when they encouraged her to explore her sexuality, were hugely exacerbated by the numerous court cases to gag us. When the State pits a 16-year old girl against her whole family in protracted court gagging proceedings, the alienation effects are obvious and significant. We regard the State intervention in our family as severe child abuse. Top world expert psychologists concluded that our daughter is victim of Stockholm Syndrome – a condition where the victim acts similarly to some kidnapping victims who protect their kidnappers. We have received written comments from over 50 leading psychologists and counsellors condemning in the strongest terms the State intervention with our daughter.

Our daughter is now 22, refuses to have any contact with her family, and encouraged by the State, she has changed her surname. She has told us that her abandonment of her family as well as the court gagging proceedings against her family were to protect the State authorities we sought to hold accountable. A description of the State activities which have alienated her from her family, would fill a sizeable book. She has survived on State social welfare now for over 6 years even though her family have always been very willing and capable of supporting her. Her lifestyle has clear evidence of the consequences of living independently from good family influence since 16, for example, after she left home and while still at school, she began a 4-year sexual relationship with a TV presenter/nightclub owner twice her age, continuing even after his high-profile wedding. We learned this only in 2010, when she sold the sordid details of this affair to a national magazine.

Our eldest son, a quiet, reserved, sensitive boy, was dealt to with particular harshness and hostility during the secret Family court gagging procedures. He endured a vicious attack by the judge and lawyer during one court day, simply because he was our son. They savagely bullied him to ensure his silence, so that he would never dare speak of what the State has done to his family. He had witnessed first-hand what social services did to his young sister, and experienced severe bullying in the secret courts despite never even being accused of doing anything wrong. Like us, he was terrified of a judge who threatened to imprison him not because he had done anything wrong, but simply because he was our son – and his parents posed a threat to the State for wanting to seek accountability. Shortly after the court cases our son killed himself. The ex parte gagging orders taken out against our two sons without them being permitted to defend, still exist today.

A large number of laws have been broken by the State in their involvement with our family, both inside and outside the secret courts. In effect, we lost two children – one dead and one severely alienated. We have fully documented our experiences, however, through a campaign of terror the State effectively silenced us and prevented us from seeking redress or publicising our ordeal. To date, no one has yet been held to account.

Our multiple secret court appearances left us frightened and afraid, and concluding that it is too dangerous to live in a country where one has no protection from the law – the family courts are NZ’s Guantanamo Bay where, cloaked in secrecy, the State does it’s dirty deeds without the constraints of the law or the rule of law. We had endured two years of secret court terror, at the hands of a delinquent teenager empowered by a team of State-financed, ideologically-driven lawyers. Even though we eventually won the court cases, the total disregard for proper procedures and disrespect for the rule of law inside the secret court fills us with fear. The very day we won the last court case we began packing our bags – we uprooted our high-tech business, and we left the country. The business now employs Londoners instead of Aucklanders, and is soon to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Prospective immigrants into NZ should be warned that their families may suffer the same fate as ours if they try to protect their under-age daughters from sexual criminals or seek accountability for misguided State authorities.

History shows that details of atrocities tend to eventually emerge (Anne Franks for example). Only then does the country learn the lessons and improve. If the details of our experience were ever to emerge onto the world stage, New Zealanders would hang their heads in shame. Politicians and judges should realize that evil thrives under suppression and secrecy, to the country’s detriment. Creating a great nation, requires openness and freedom of expression, so that evil is exposed, lessons are learned and improvements made.

Germany had it’s Nuremberg trials, South Africa had it’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission – hopefully one day society will have a just forum where families such as ours can seek redress. We believe this is our only chance to begin to reverse the damage to our daughter. Our life goals have been shattered, and never a day goes by without us suffering the consequences of the actions of social services and the secret family court.

In a subsequent mail, the dad wrote in reply to my request to publicise the story:

Yes, please publicise our story. The message needs to get out. It effects us every single day of our lives. Ours is not the only horror story – we have read of many others – however we feel that we have an obligation to get our story out, as we are credible witnesses, have meticulous records of events, and the wrongdoings against us were so clear cut and extensive. Because we eventually won the court cases, ours is not a situation of sour grapes having lost – we won, but the court cases should never have occurred in the first place. However, even though we won, we are terrified of the secret courts having witnessed how they operate.

Terrifying stuff….

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David Sloan Wilson and Howard Bloom

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing the series where I post the backlog from my drafts folder. This one is from June 2009 ]

David Sloan Wilson & Howard Bloom both argue cults can be good including Scientology. “A religion that makes Hollywood starts soner up and send thank you notes cannot be all that bad”

 

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Bloom

http://howardbloom.net/

David Sloan Wilson (Darwin’s Cathedral) – http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/07-07-04.html

 

 

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Religion_for_Atheists___Alain_de_BottonReligion for Atheists by Alain De Botton

Waking_Up__A_Guide_to_Spirituality_Without_Religion__Sam_Harris__9781451636017__Amazon_com__Books
Waking Up by Sam Harris

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