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About Literature / Artist Core Member Jamie30/Male/United States Groups :iconlogicsquad: LogicSquad
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Should we continue to legally/politically differentiate "hate crimes" and "terrorism" from crime generally? 

35%
13 deviants said Yes. The nature of these crimes constitute, not only the crime itself, but also an act of intimidation against larger groups/communities, which warrants a more severe penalty.
30%
11 deviants said No. These terms/concepts have become a distraction; something for different sides to squabble over instead of addressing the root causes of these crimes.
22%
8 deviants said No. Once criminal intent is established, further penalties based on ideology/motivation draws too close to criminalizing thoughts.
14%
5 deviants said Yes. Such acts are distinct from standard crimes, and should have a separate classification.

You submitted your questions, so without further ado, here are my answers:



    "What are your thoughts on the Western philosophical traditions vs. Eastern, as well as the evolution of the value of an individual's life vs. culture, family, etc...”

On philosophical traditions, I have encountered wisdom in both, but I would be lying if I said that I knew anywhere near as much about Eastern philosophy in general as I do Western, and therefore deem myself too ignorant to make an informed pronouncement.  There is such diversity of thought in both that even if I developed a more robust foundation in Eastern philosophy, it still may not feel secure making comparisons as generalized as "East vs West."

On the evolution of value of the individual vs culture/family, this is something where I do see a distinct difference between the West the East (which I'd extend to the Middle-East and North Africa). Perhaps the biggest factor differentiating the two is the concept of honor; one's (or one's family's) standing and esteem in their community.  Honor played an important role in ancient societies, where humans lacked the societal, legal, and governmental infrastructure to hold order and keep peace.  It fell then to religion, which acted to scare people into behaving well (i.e. do this, or don't do this, because the gods will punish you otherwise).  But mingled with religion, and yet to a degree separate, was honor, which applied a measure of peer-pressure as well.  The desire to be of well repute, and the aversion to dishonor and shame, these are powerful forces.

Over the ages, the West has shed their reverence for honor in favor of individual rights.  The East has not.  The more sway honor has over a society, the less value the individual has.  They are inversely proportional.  And when viewed through the lens of honor, phenomena that can transcend nationality or religion, like ritual suicide, honor killings, and lengths people do to in these cultures to avoid or expunge shame, enter the realm of intelligibility.  To our individual-centric point of view, where the paramount values are life, liberty, and so forth, these seem insane.  We have this one life to live, and when I hear stories like Japanese men jumping from office building windows to their deaths to avoid having to face the shame of telling their families they were fired from their jobs, there is simply no amount of intellectual charity or devil's advocating I can do to square that circle.  Honor has a place in society.  It must however never be made to matter more than the life, concerns, and wellbeing of the individual, and any society in which it does is the poorer for it.

    “What do you think the world today would be like without monotheism?”

Let me get out my crystal ball... Of course, the further back one goes in time, the more difficult it is to estimate such things.  Monotheism traces back to Zoroastrianism, a Middle Eastern religion dating around the 6th century BCE, and still active today, though centuries of Muslim persecution have whittled their numbers for about five million I believe.  Zoroastrianism was the first monotheism, and was the inspiration for the monotheism within Judaism. Though the earliest texts and traditions of the Jews were in existence several hundred years before Zoroastrianism, Judaism was not, in its early days, a true monotheism. They worshipped only one god, yes, but they did not believe only one god existed.  Read the Old Testament, and you will see, in English, as in the original Hebrew, the language in which other gods are spoken of is one of rival gods, not of imaginary fabrications.  This was why the author of the Book of Jonah had him run from Yahweh, an act of such obvious futility to contemporary monotheists as to be absurd, but it was then believed that different regions each had their own provincial deities, and Jonah had hoped to cross this border, like a criminal fleeing the authorities into another country.  That Yahweh caught up with him regardless was the author's way of impressing the singular power of their god.

I digress. I think the world might be a better place today, had it not been for monotheism.  Monotheism, in its Abrahamic iterations, proved itself quite intolerant, murderous, and a hindrance to progress.  The counter point is one of the hackneyed themes of nearly every time-travel science fiction, where virtually any and all changes made to the past inevitably render the present even worse.  But I don't think so.  Various ancient Greek philosophers laid the foundations for scientific and Enlightenment thinking, notions which were buried during the Christian Dark Ages to be rediscovered, in some cases, over two millennia later anew.  I have no illusions as to the other religions; I'm sure they would have committed travesties, atrocities, and brutalities of their own (in addition to those they already have), but if I had to wager, they'd have done a better job than the Abrahamists.


    "Did you know that recent archeological evidence indicates that Jewish slaves did not actually build the pyramids in Egypt? It was in fact hordes of paid labourers.”

I did.  When the state of Israel was formed in 1948, a state-funded archaeological expedition was launched in hopes of proving the historical veracity of the Exodus tale in hopes of establishing the Biblical claim that the Jews believe they have over that land.  Despite all their confirmation bias and best efforts, no evidence has been found.  Most Biblical historians conclude that the Pentateuch (Five books of Moses, or first five books of the Bible), are little more than mythology.  Some later books do posses some degree of historicity, it must be noted.  The more recent findings the questioner referred to - that tombs of some pyramid builders were discovered, and appear to have been those of paid workers, not slaves - is in line with the other evidence.


    "What are your thoughts on Mormonism, also known as the LDS (Latter Day Saints) Church."

Let me preface this by saying I'm no expert on Mormonism, though I've read the "Book of Mormon" as well as the "Pearl of Great Price," and it doesn't seem a religion all that different from the rest.  It's an instructive religion, because it illustrates the fact that time lends a sort of gravitas, mystique, and air of legitimacy - not always deserved, and in fact, rarely so - to ideas and traditions.  Had Joseph Smith stumbled upon a time machine instead of his imaginary golden plates (which no one else was ever allowed to see, and which told him, among other things, that he must be allowed to sleep with his maid) he would today be numbered among the great prophets and patriarchs of world religion (for Mormonism may well be much larger and widespread were it older).  As it is, even in credulous 19th century America, old Joe found himself a convicted fraudster and con man.  Smith and his religion are just as the older religions would seem to us had they only been created within the past two hundred years.  In particular, the ritualism of Mormonism strikes some people as strange or creepy (i.e. magic underpants).  Coming from a religious Jewish background, perhaps I can relate better than most to weird ritual.  Still, there are corollaries in Islam and Catholicism, though few in Protestantism, the water-downed, plebeian Walmart of religion that it is.

One thing I enjoy about Mormonism, from a purely mythological point of view, is that Mormonism is one of the only full-fledged religions (of which I don't really count Scientology) that incorporates elements of science fiction into it.  The Pearl of Great Price, for example, features a segment, more or less, of "deleted scenes" of the Abraham story, where Yahweh takes Abe on a magical mystery tour of the cosmos, to the stars and galaxies and distant worlds.  I thought that was pretty trippy.  The kind of thing which would never have been in the original, since so much less was known in the first millennium BCE about astronomy.  I also find the belief that after death, the pious can become gods of their own planet a pretty neat deal.  Certainly beats 72 virgins (or "white raisins" depending on translation) in Islam, or the dystopian bliss of the Christian heaven (where you either suffer the knowledge of loved ones burning for thought crimes, or have happiness imposed on you to override it).


    "You are put in charge of a new government in the USA. What system do you put in and how do you style yourself (i.e. Mr President, Commander, Prime Minister etc...)"

To answer the second part first, I don't have much a preference. I wouldn't want it to give the wrong impression, or sound pretentious or vainglorious.  Perhaps I'd just stick with President.

The kind of system I'd put in place would be a secular representative democracy, one which more accurately and proportionally represents the citizens than the current US system does.  Economically, it would incorporate elements of both capitalism and socialism.  There would a comprehensive list of human rights, a robust social safety net and consumer protections built directly into the constitution, as would strong anti-corruption provisions.  Anyone seeking to run for high office would also need to pass a number of meritocratic hurdles before being eligible to run, including but not limited to level of education, time spent living abroad, a minimum amount of community service, and scientific literacy.  One specific idea which I would like to see implemented experimentally, perhaps just in specific areas as a trial run, would be a universal basic income.  I'm very intrigued by that, and am eager to see if it works.


    "W
hat are your favourite types of music?"

I'm not a big music person in general.  I more often listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and when they're on, NHL hockey games (audio streamed off my phone).  Even so, I do listen to music, mostly at the gym these days, and my favorite genre has long been pop-punk (my favorite band is Green Day).  Other genres I enjoy include alternative, Celtic folk, ambient, classical/orchestral, funk, and soul.


    "Do you think alien life would look more outworldly as in something completely different from anything on Earth or do you think that there'd be some fairly significant similarities between alien life and Earth life? Hands, wings, eyes, etc. "

My hunch would be to ere on the side of more alien as opposed to more familiar, given how biased, egocentric, and unimaginative we humans tend to be when envisioning such things.  Assuming we're dealing with biological beings and not AI's - and I suspect many of them are out there - I would expect there to be some basic biological similarities, such as DNA or something equivalent, sensory organs or apparatuses, the requirement to ingest or otherwise absorb energy and/or nutrients, and so forth.  The cosmos is a very big place, however, and it would not surprise me to learn that somewhere there are beings similar enough to us that we could relate quite well in most facets of life, but I'd expect such species to be exceedingly few and far between.  Whether we could ever find one another, across such vast distances, and coincidentally during the brief cosmic window in which both our species exist, seems sadly remote...



    "What's the most non-negotiable moral code you have? What scenario, no matter how unlikely or impossible it may be, would you see yourself supporting it?"

I thought about this for a while, and am unable to produce any true non-negotiables. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances, however unlikely.  If the world were at stake, for example, and its salvation depended on my jettisoning a deeply held moral precept, I would do it, and I would regard the failure to do so as monstrous.  Now the desire to prevent what Sam Harris refers to as the "worst possible misery for everyone" in his "The Moral Landscape," could perhaps qualify as a non-negotiable, but only because it is, by definition, the worst possible thing which could happen.  It therefore follows that there would never be a scenario in which I would willingly impose such a thing in order to prevent a yet worse fate, because there can be no worse fate.


    "If some incredibly powerful being came down to you and claimed it was God, what tests would you want it to pass to prove that it really is God and not an alien fucking with you?"

Arthur C. Clarke's "third law" - that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - is a pretty sound one, and difficult to get around.  I would want any such being to violate multiple laws of nature, as well as logical paradoxes.  If a being could do those things, but is not in fact a god, it's a difference without a distinction as far as I'm concerned.


    "What do you think would be the best goal for NASA/other space programs in the next 20 years?"

A human mission to Mars.  The process of exploratory manned-space programs generates technological improvements that have wide-spanning applications, and also inspires interest in science as few other things can.  That's the pragmatic here-and-now reason.  Looking to the future, it is in humanity's best interest to move some of our eggs out of the same basket.  We have finite space, finite resources, an increasing population, and an ever-increasing capacity for self-destruction.  It's not hyperbolic to suppose that the ground work we lay today may well be the difference between the survival or extinction of humanity in the distant or not so distant future.  A mission to Mars would of course require more funding for NASA, which currently receives a mere pittance.  I support substantial increases to their budget.


    "What do you think about Friedrich Nietzsche?"

I'd known very little about Nietzsche save for a few tidbits and aphorisms commonly known by most semi-educated people, and a couple years ago at this point, decided to rectify the worst of my ignorance on the matter.  I read H.L. Mencken's (my user icon) "The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche" (1907), the first English language biography ever published on him (it was really half biography, half analysis).  The picture Mencken painted of Nietzsche and his philosophy rubbed me the wrong way.  There was a callousness, a championing of strength and a contempt for the weak and downtrodden that seemed to border on social darwinism.  It reminded me a little of Ayn Rand, which is never a good thing.  But this was Nietzsche as interpreted by another; I decided to go straight to the source.  I read Nietzsche's "On the Genealogy of Morals" (1887) immediately after, and was astounded at how different it was from Mencken's take.  Nietzsche was a good writer, argued compellingly on a number of things, and had some interesting insights into the human condition, some of which I had never before considered.  I came to see - through "Genealogy" and other writings - a different perspective and interpretation on his philosophy, one in which there is value.  I cannot call myself a fan of Friedrich Nietzsche, nor can I by any means claim to have anything but a basic foundational understanding of his work, but I consider him an important and influential thinker, certainly one whose works every well-rounded person should have read at least one of.


    "How have you politically evolved over the years? If you changed significantly at any point in time what made you change?"

When I first became politically conscious - at age fifteen - I was a conservative.  This was largely owing to my high school American history and Government/European history teachers, both of whom were, though knowledgeable, charismatic, and skilled instructors, very conservative, and taught with a clear bias.  After high school, my politics gradually shifted to the center, then left, then further left, where it has remained more or less.  As with many of my opinions as a grade-schooler, they were the products of an incomplete picture of the world, where I was only taught one side.  Once shown even a glimpse of the variety of what the world has to offer, and left to make my own decisions, I soon understood why such a tactic had been employed.

Over the course of my twenties, my views remained fairly consistent, the main change I see in myself is one of perspective and nuance.  I speak and think with less authority then I did ten years ago, make much more of an effort to play devil's advocate and consider other viewpoints, am slower to jump to conclusions, and quicker to recognize my own biases, and through that cognizance, try to mitigate them.  I was never an "ends justify the means" person, but in my early twenties, I was definitely further to that side of the spectrum than I now am.  I have come to believe that achieving one's goals is meaningless if it isn't done the right way.  Defeating a villain only to become one is a moral pyrrhic victory.  It's not just about who wins, it's about the way you play the game.  And if there is no right way, then excepting unrealistic "end of the world" scenarios, you accept defeat knowing that you did your best.  Perhaps I have a bit of that honor culture inside me somewhere, but the only standing I truly care about is how I stand with myself.  What precipitated these changes?  I'd say life, knowledge, experience, contemplation, trial and error, and living just long enough to begin seeing some patterns repeat themselves.   I wonder to what degree these things are teachable, and to what degree they must be learned the long way.  If there is even 1% that can be in fact taught, then perhaps teaching "perspective," "nuance," or even "wisdom" as subjects of their own might be worth a try.  Just a foolish thought.


    "Would you prefer Palestine/Israel peace/two state solution, one state headed by Israel or one state headed by Palestine?"

I favor a two-state solution. For a more in-depth exploration, see my essay On Israel and Palestine.


    "Favourite sweetie (candy/lolly)?"

I had to think about this one for a bit.  I actually don't have any at this point.  Boring, I know.  I used to really like the candy bar "Payday" as a kid.


    "If you had to travel overseas right now where would you go?"

Some place with warm weather, blue skies, low humidity, clean beaches, and crystal-clear waters.


    "Top ten fave authors?"

Fiction: Brandon Sanderson, J.R.R. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, J.K. Rowling, Robert J. Sawyer, P.G. Wodehouse, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, Homer.

Non-fiction: Sam Harris, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, H.L. Mencken, A.C. Grayling, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Jon Ronson, Michio Kaku, Ayaan Hirsi Ali


    "What's a book that changed your life?"

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger (1951) as well as the many works of Edgar Allen Poe showed me, as an adolescent, that reading could be truly enjoyable.  J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Silmarillion" (1977), as well as Brandon Sanderson's "The Final Empire" (2006) and "The Way of Kings" (2010), and Orson Scott Card's "Ender" saga - specifically "Speaker for the Dead" (1986) - have, among many others, had a big influence on my own fiction writing.


"Back when you made films, what's the film you were most proud of and what's a small synopsis of it? Would you do a written version of it?"

I made a full-length feature indie film just after graduating college (as a film major).  The screenplay was written and pre-production done while in my last term, in fact, and filming begun just three weeks after graduation.  It went to a couple small film festivals, won some awards, and I secured a little direct-to-video distribution deal with some small-time company, but nothing much became of it commercially.  I was told by contacts in the industry that the film was good, but without big-name actors, and being low budget, there was no appetite at the time (just after the financial collapse and into the recession 2008-10, and during such times, the industry becomes risk-averse and gravitates toward proven commodities).  But I am proud of that film, and stand by it to this day as a solid movie.  I hesitate to say the title, as it's on IMDB, as am I, and I don't (yet) feel comfortable putting my info out there.  Here is a synopsis though:

A story about Danny, a teenager whose shallow way of life is thrown into question when his older brother Jay, who had run away from home five years earlier, suddenly returns. It's a story about two brothers trying to regain their bond, about Danny trying to find himself as a young man, and about Jay trying to come to terms with his past actions and making sure his little brother doesn't repeat his mistakes, all set in the comedic and quirky day to day lives of the characters.

It's a drama-comedy.  It exists in screenplay form as well, of course, but I have no desire to convert it to prose.  My interests have long-since shifted away from filmmaking and towards writing, but this is a side of me most of you will probably be unfamiliar with.


    "If you could guarantee the ratification of a single new constitutional amendment in 2017, what would it be and why?"

Getting money out of politics: mandating publicly financed elections, doing away with super pacs, ending corporate personhood, and making all campaign contributions illegal.  Our democracy doesn't truly work, and our people are not truly represented.  Until we have a properly working democracy, free from most of the taint of special interests and corruption, every other problem we try to tackle will be a steeply uphill battle where the moneyed interests hold all the cards.


    "What is your opinion on the economic, political, and immigration crises in Europe and what, in your opinion, is the best political course of action to solving them?"

A very difficult issue.  I think anyone able to, whether an individual or a country, has a moral obligation to help those in need, especially those who cannot help themselves.  Many if not most of the migrants and refugees would certainly fall into that category.  The problem that arises however is twofold.  First, if you are going to help someone - truly help them - you've got to do it the right way, you've got to see it through.  The failure to do is a disservice to those you seek to help, and in great enough numbers, can be a drag and detriment on your society.  What I mean by "seeing it through" is integration.  People from very different cultures, with different religions, ideologies, and languages, need to be integrated into societies when migrating in mass numbers.  Otherwise, there will be an inevitable clash between the preexisting culture and this new one, and the ensuing division and discord will manifest in all sorts of ugly ways.  Some options to foster integration: Incentivize, or perhaps even require newcomers to take elementary courses in civics and the native language.  Incentivize those living in cloistered enclaves of similar immigrants to move to other areas; financial monopolies are broken up, so too should discordant cultural ones - but never by force, change of this sort must be fostered, not imposed.  And members of these immigrant communities must be subject to the same rule of law as everyone else; no free passes, no extra leniency above anyone else, and no self-governing areas.  All should be free to believe and do as they please, right up until their actions impede on the law of the land, at which point they must be brought to justice.  Setting up a double standard, as various places in Europe have, is a very dangerous path to tread indeed.

The second problem with this migrant crisis ties heavily into the first, and that's the problem of volume.  I stated that all who are able to have a moral obligation to help those in need.  I think most European countries are able to absorb and integrate some refugees.  Some have bitten off substantially more than they can chew, however.  As with anything, it behooves one to know their limits.  Giving half of all your money to charity, at the cost of missing your mortgage payments and losing your home, will not only impoverish you, but it will restrict your ability to continue to help others through charity moving forward.  The concept of sustainability must factor in to decisions to aid those in need.  Taking in too many refugees will place an economic burden on a nation, weakening them, and by extension, limiting their ability to help others moving forward.  Taking in too many refugees will also, as stated, cause societal discord, which will turn public interest away.  It also makes the project of integration substantially harder, as integration is a process which takes some time.  The problem is, what if every country has absorbed the maximum capacity of migrants without damaging themselves, and yet there are still more migrants out there, homeless and in need?  There are some countries who are able but not pulling their weight, and the rest of the world should sanction them severely until they start doing so.

One of the side effects of this crisis in Europe has been the rise of the far-right.  There is this disturbing legacy Europe has with the far-right; it always seem to be there, lurking just beneath the surface, waiting for only the slightest provocation to rear its head.  Poorly handled immigration crises give them more than enough fuel to wreak havoc, given half a chance.  My warning to everyone is this: Fight to reclaim or reform the ways of the political left, or, if you deem that a lost cause, move to the center, but the far-right is not the answer.  They lack the intellectual and ethical integrity and responsibility to govern in a competent and moral manner.  One would be a fool to align with them out of opposition to Islam or political correctness; you'd merely be replacing one ill for another.  They will destroy a society as surely as those they seek to protect it from.


    "If you were to make an estimate of the direction of the political future of the first world, where do you think it'll go?"


The arc of history shows a clear and steady progress, when viewed from far enough away.  The closer we magnify any one period of time however, we see the ups and down like a stock market.  I think the first half of the 21st century will be one in which progress is made in many areas, like science, technology, medicine, but where many metrics of a healthy society; economies, inequality, division, etc, may get worse before they get better.  I foresee this trend of political polarization and balkanization continuing for a number of years, each side continually dividing into subsets, and everyone more deeply entrenching themselves.  As long as we can avoid somehow destroying ourselves, my outlook for the future is positive, however.  I think the second half of this century will be the better, and that the trials, tribulations, and turmoils of this era may be viewed in hindsight as a hiccup, not a prelude to the unraveling of everything.

That being said, I would not be surprised to see the world take many a turn which I never saw coming, turns which I'd never even considered as possibilities.  Given the rapid rate of change, the mind-numbing quantity and complexity of moving parts involved, and consequently how often we are wrong in our predictions (only through confirmation bias can we delude ourselves otherwise), perhaps the best prediction one can make would be "expect the unexpected."


    "If you could change one thing about last year (2016), what would it be?"

That Bernie Sanders would have won the Democratic nomination for president, and went on to win the US election.


    "I am so afraid of religious people, to me they behave irrational and impulsive, and you will rarely get any backup if you get into a confrontation with them. My question: are you afraid, AmericanDreaming? And if so how do you deal with it?"

Religion itself is irrational, however many religious people are, outside of that one area of life, fairly reasonable.  Still, others are less so.  I am not in the habit of getting into confrontations with people, at least in real life.  That's not to say I don't, but I'm never the one to start it.  There can be something uncomfortable about getting into an argument in real life with someone you don't know well, but I don't think there's any cause for fear.  Unless you're arguing with a bunch of Jihadists or with a particularly belligerent person who seems on the cusp of physical violence, you need not worry.  Religious people do far outnumber the irreligious, and ganging up is something they're prone to do.  On some level, the mind seems to rebel against such violations of rationality as religion teaches, and only through frequent repetition and the immersion in echo chambers of other like-minded people can it be maintained in many people.

Remember, you hold all the leverage.  They are the ones making the claims with no evidence. They are the ones who have to defend their horrid "holy" books.  Their every attempt at going on the offensive is pure projection and posturing.  Never let them get away with it.  Never let them twist utility claims into truth claims, or to jump between the two during a single point.  Never let them shift the burden of proof off of themselves and into you.  Some people - religious or otherwise, though it is more common among the faithful - place equal stock in your demeanor as with your actual points.  If they "sense" weakness, they will, not unlike wild animals, go for the jugular.  You can manipulate this primitive instinct by adopting a countenance, not of dominance or aggressiveness, but of cool resolve.  Be unflappable.  If you are ruffled or anxious, don't show it.  In addition, the more you know about how to argue and about the specifics of the particular issue at hand, the more confidence you will have.  If you haven't seen them already, perhaps my debate guide part one and part two may be of some use to you.


    "What would you regard as the most important aspect of Enlightenment ideals and or liberal values.  Would you consider such values the most important ones ever produced by mankind, more valuable and perhaps morally superior to any other values ever devised by mankind?"

Freedom of speech.  It is the master key to freedom, liberty, knowledge, and understanding, functioning as perhaps the best barometer of the health of a society.  I believe it to be a foundational value and right.  You can start with that alone, and from it, gain all others.  It's a sad reflection on modern times that freedom of speech has become a politically charged issue.  There are some for whom talk of freedom of speech has come to mean those concerned only with their freedom to be assholes.  To others, it conjures images of dictatorial universities and activists who seek to control expression to their narrative.  This should never have become a political issue.  Freedom of speech can be misused, or bent to nefarious purposes, but it is a self-regulating concept.  Bad speech can be countered by good speech.  I would say that yes, Enlightenment ideals and liberal values are, if not the best, better than all others.  I'm hesitant to declare it the be-all and end-all.  There may yet be even better ideas which will one day be devised.


Thanks to all who submitted questions. This was fun to do!  Be sure to check out my previous AMA: Ask Me Anything - Judaism


I'm on YouTube.
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Activity


Doing some work to my gallery when I came across this.  Most of you may not have seen it:

Molestation Insurance by AmericanDreaming

That's right, there's sexual abuse and molestation insurance, and I can write it.  What a world.
Is it useful for people to list their ideological or identity labels in their bio's on profile pages, be it deviant art, social media, or elsewhere?  Is it that important that people be understood, from the get-go, as subscribing to this "ism" or that?  Is it preferable for visitors to see your content, and make up their own minds, or to be instilled with a prejudice (positive or negative) from your ideology blurb?  Does this behavior contribute to tribalism of a kind?

What are your thoughts?
Just wanted to remind everyone I'm on Twitter. I'll gladly follow back anyone from deviant art, just let me know it's you!

If you don't have or want a twitter, you can still see what I'm doing via the widget on my Deviant Art profile page. If you're interested in that sort of thing.

twitter.com/AmericnDreaming
Got called a shitlord by a watcher of mine. I wonder if they know they watch me, or whether they've ever seen any of my content at all... 
My latest poll has caused a bit of confusion.  I have noticed this trend.  I'm sure some of this is my own fault for not wording the questions well enough.  Perhaps a bit of clarification would be helpful.  When presented a philosophical thought experiment where an extreme scenario/dilemma is posed in such a way that admits of only a few options, many have an aversion to making the difficult choice.  Instead, they look to poke holes in the dilemma/question so as to find another, less difficult option, or declare the scenario itself too unrealistic, reinterpret it to be more realistic, then choose an answer based on the reinterpretation.  This defeats the purpose.

The purpose of a philosophical thought experiment is not to be realistic.  Rather, through a hypothetical extreme, it forces us to grapple with the implications of our inner-most beliefs and values.  It is a useful tool to examine our beliefs when taken to their logical extremes, when their consequences are at their most stark.
Suggestions for quote-pictures or other content are open (they're always open). Leave them below.
Limnoria Asked me to share this with you:  There's a "Scientists March on Washington" being planned.  Preliminary details are in the link.  Government, at the highest levels, is awash in climate deniers, creationists, anti-vaccers, and all sorts of imbecility the likes of which haven't been seen in a decade. Action is needed.

www.scientistsmarchonwashingto…
Well, the election and inauguration are behind us. To those just waking from comas, here's a recap:
I recommend anyone to take this pledge if they're able. As good a new years resolution as any, speaking of.

www.thelifeyoucansave.org/Take…
In debates, pay attention to which side emphasizes more points of agreement, and offers more caveats and concessions. That's usually an indicator of who's more honest.

Journal History

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AmericanDreaming
Jamie
Artist | Literature
United States
My focus with this page is ideologically themed pictures and writing, pertaining to religion, science, philosophy, politics, history, social commentary, and other related subjects. My journal entries will predominantly be short essays on these subjects, with some book reviews too.

Because I discuss such a wide variety of issues, there's bound to be some points of disagreement. If you disagree with me, let's talk about it. Maybe I'll change my mind, maybe you'll change yours. Maybe we'll both walk away with more nuanced views. People gravitate to echo chambers, but we would all benefit from a little more exposure to different viewpoints.

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:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Writer
m.youtube.com/watch?v=M_55GH4u…
This just reminded me so much about your George Carlin piece on national identity and the talk we had...
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:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Edited 3 days ago  Student Writer
people.com/bodies/steph-gongor…
EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW I think I am going to PUKE!what the fuck!!! You can see the shape of her vagina!! OMFG NOOOOO

Im grossed out by this and I have periods and a vagina! Lol. I am not ashamed but fuck am I grossed out, and I have a good reason to be. It isn't made out roses and sugar and spice. You can spread AIDs through menstrual blood.

The funniest thing was the freebleeding thing, as well as freepissing, were started by trolls or 4chan but feminists just keep peeing and letting their menstruation flow all over themselves out in the open for "equality". The next logical step is shit your pants for equality. Ill be horrified and intrigued.
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 3 days ago   Writer
And the decision for anyone for a well-known publication to write an article on this has to be called out.  Such people shouldn't be given attention.
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:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Edited 3 days ago  Student Writer
Yeah, I know! I hadn't even thought of that. It looks trashy as fuck, but sadly...I know some women who want and demand for this kind of content in magazines and publications because they've drank the kool aid Roll Eyes and have been either pressured or chosen to get into this sort of mindset of this shit being enlightening and riveting content. In some cases its the people wanting for this stuff, and what other great way to make money?
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 3 days ago   Writer
I've been saying this for years at this point, but I really wish there were some reputable opinion polls done on SJW and 3rd wave feminist ideas.  I need to see some hard data on what percentage of people, give or take, subscribe to this stuff.
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(1 Reply)
:iconlimnoria:
Limnoria Featured By Owner 4 days ago
oddgarfield.deviantart.com/sta…

What do you make of this?
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Writer
Odd that nearly every person I've ever blocked whines across the site about it.
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:iconlimnoria:
Limnoria Featured By Owner 4 days ago
I'm curious as to why, though?  I know you don't block lightly and he's already crying out persecution.
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Writer
You were there, I believe, when it happened. Quite a while ago.  He holds the distinction of being the only person I've ever blocked for praising my work.
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(3 Replies)
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Writer
:huggle: :hug: :manhug: Time for hugs!!!
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Writer
Aww 
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:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Writer
Ye :)

I like actual ones too now let's build a teleporting machine! Lol
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Writer
:XD:
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(1 Reply)
:iconyamalama1986:
YamaLama1986 Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017   Digital Artist
I found a really interesting audio video on YouTube by Pen Jillette on cynicism versus skepticism, that has some interesting points that you may be interested in putting as a quote in an image as you have done with other quotes. ... I may put up a quote from the talk here on DA.

Watch from 8:30 onward where the part is on cynicism versus skepticism.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIWzu4…
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2017   Writer
I watched it. A very interesting tangent he went on.  As someone who's followed Bill Maher's work for nearly 15 years, I can say he is completely mischaracterizing Maher's views.  Aside from that, when those concepts are defined as Jillette does here, that is an important distinction.
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:iconyamalama1986:
YamaLama1986 Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Digital Artist
Ah, sorry about that. I'm not that familiar with Bill Maher. I liked some of the points Jillette made about people being well-intentioned but also wrong about things and how that can be dangerous, in contrast to cynicism vilifying people as dishonest and ill-intentioned.
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Writer
He did make some interesting points.
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:iconlimnoria:
Limnoria Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017
I was leaving the bookstore and I saw a bumper sticker MAGA-style, except it read "Make Hockey Violent Again" :laughing:
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2017   Writer
:XD: Make Goons Skate Again. 
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017   Writer
Nice one. :thumbsup:
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:iconthespikeandkey:
TheSpikeAndKey Featured By Owner Edited Feb 10, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey man I found this animatic that I thought you might enjoy maybe take a look Noah Animatic ;)
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2017   Writer
Pretty neat. :nod:
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:iconthespikeandkey:
TheSpikeAndKey Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you enjoyed:D
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:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2017  Student Writer
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S88Kc…
I'm not really resting easy tonight knowing that adults like this teach people
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