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Understanding Conservative Philosophy

 
Ugly Redneck
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Over the past year I have made the transformation from being a libertarian to being a conservative. I realized that core conservative principles are what I have and there is no point in masking them. On the forum, in the thread "India and You" I raised the point that I felt US is a judeo-christian country and I would be happy to accept a minority status. (I am a Hindu, for those who dont know)
Thomas and Joe, two Americans, pointed out that I was wrong and US is a secular country and just because Christians are in majority it doesnt mean I have to give up any principles or rights and I have just as much right in imposing my religious principles as they do. True!
As a conservative, I believe that for a society to be prosperous there must be one clear set of morals to follow and other interests can be accomodated as long as they do not demolish the fundamental tenets of the majority moral. Wouldnt it be better if the US declared itself as a Judeo-Christian society? Its not like they are going to throw out all others.. but it will help resolve a lot of problems that are in the society today. For example:
1. Pledge of Alliegance problem
2. Gay Marriage issue
3. Christmas / Holidays political correctness
4. Muslim drivers license problem
I am not saying that all non-christians should be persecuted or that they should not have any say in society. Instead I am saying that there needs to be a recognition about the majority in a society and giving them their fair share of say. Its just like a company, the majority stock holders have a bigger say than others dont they.. why is it different in society?
[ February 13, 2004: Message edited by: Paul McKenna ]
 
Paul McKenna
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I realize that there is a possibility for someone to misconstrue this thread as a place for bashing US, so I ask the same question about India. Why not recognize that Hindus form the overwhelming majority in that country and establish a uniform civil code based on Hindu principles and other widely held beliefs.
It will help prevent a lot of infighting and create a more stable society.
 
mister krabs
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I think the main core values of the USA are secular and everything else is secondary to those core values. What are those core values?
freedom of speech, press, religion
freedom of assembly
democracy
That is really the heart of the US and everything else is really secondary to those. Should gays be allowed to marry? Let the public decide through our democratic values not because a religion says being gay is immoral. If people wish to use their religious values when voting then that is their right adn some might even consider it their duty. But the law of the land should be based on democracy not religion.
 
Paul McKenna
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But what about Pledge of Allegiance issue or the Holiday / Christmas political correctness. I dont think the public is ever going to get a vote on that.. Whatever the supreme court orders is what is going to be decreed as the law.
Or even consider this, the issue of prayers in public schools. Until 1960s wasnt prayer conducted in public schools? Werent they Christian prayer? What is wrong in that? I studied in a private Hindu school in India, we all sang Hindu prayers every morning for 12 years of our lives.. even the muslims and christians. They ofcourse had the choice of just standing and being silent or turning up to school after prayer, but most of them showed up for prayer and sang it too. They were allowed to take their holidays in addition to the Hindu holidays sanctioned by the school.. (Christmas was given to everyone but Eid was provided to muslim students alone since they were a very small minority in my school).
Is there an issue with this? Democracy is fine but democracy needs some moral guidelines too.. blind democracy cannot work. By the way, I have also heard some prominent conservatives emphasize the fact that US is a republic first and then a democracy.
 
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Our fervent separation of church and state is possibly one of the things that has allowed us to grow most as a country. Religious views change slowly, much more slowly than society's. Society must be as flexible as possible if it is not to stagnate. Benig bound to a specific religion is perhaps the quickest way to slow a society's progress. That's why the FoRA law seems so scary to me - it seems like some people are trying to link India's laws to the older, more extreme tenets of Hinduism.
It would be almost impossible to do that in America without serious repercussions. First off, it would be almost impossible to pick a religion. There is simply no such thing as "Judeo-Christianity"; the tenets are too far apart. In fact, in some ways Islam and Judaism have more in common than Christianity and Judaism. And of course Christianity has a plethora of different denominations.
No, at this point it would be impossible to pick a federal religion. And in fact, there is no need to. Our society swings like a pendulum at times; we go hog-wild in one direction (the roaring 20s) only to revert to much simpler, straightforward ethics (the 50s) and then back (the 60s) and forth again (the 80s).
When the country feels a communal need to upgrade its morals, something ilke the Moral Majority will surface, and we'll see a sweeping change across the face of the country as people redirect their energies to a new focus on things moral and spiritual. And when that movement goes too far, as such things always do, Americans will switch gears again, and use their votes to toss the most egregious of the self-appointed moral arbiters out on their ears. But the beauty of the whole process is that, because we have no "federal religion", we can enact our laws and change our society as society as a whole sees fit, rather than as seen within the narrow bounds of any single religious framework.
In my opinion, morals cannot be legislated. You can only hope that your legislation is molded by morality. Morality comes from that most sacred of arbiters - your parents, your family, your neighbors, your friends. Even your religion cannot provide you with the moral guidelines that your upbringing does: religious zealots have been responsible for some of the worst atrocities of history. We can only grow through moral strength and conviction, tolerance, love for others - the things the great spiritual leaders have shown us. And that can never be legislated.
So, I guess I'm saying that I believe in a firm separation of church and state.
Joe
 
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I totally agree. Seperation of church and state is an incredibly important thing for a country to develope and grow, but is that seperation enough complete when there is mentions of god in the pledge of allegience and on the currency? What about the old issue of the bible quotes in court rooms?
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:
I totally agree. Seperation of church and state is an incredibly important thing for a country to develope and grow, but is that seperation enough complete when there is mentions of god in the pledge of allegience and on the currency? What about the old issue of the bible quotes in court rooms?


So? The constitution allows for those.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Paul Stevens:

So? The constitution allows for those.


But is there a proper seperation between church and state when the currency and courts have religious quotes on them? For the most part it doesn't mean that anything is done differently to if there wasn't these quotes on them, but it appears to be a sign that although people are willing to say all religions are equal, but maybe christianity is a bit more equal. By putting it in the courts a person of a non-christian faith may feel like they would be prejudiced against.
I suppose the tricky thing is that the although the US is reasonably fair to all religions, and even says so in the constitution, this is the same constitution that is clearly written from a christian view point. Fair enough, as the people who started up the states where, for the most part, christian, but perhaps it could be accepted that the division of church and state is not complete.
 
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[ Seperation of church and state is an incredibly important thing for a country to develope and grow, but is that seperation enough complete when there is mentions of god in the pledge of allegience and on the currency? What about the old issue of the bible quotes in court rooms?
Isn't there an old organization called the Church of England? Did that really prevent England or Great Britain from 'growing or developing' during the past 300+ years? Unless we are going to argue that England's development is relatively retarded in respect to other countries, I believe the basic presumption of Joe King/Pluta on the necessity of strict separation of church and state is open to serious question.
If freedom of religion is observed, then it is of very little consequence whatever official state religion may be declared or whatever silly saying is inscribed on coins. If anything, there has been a fanatical attempt at pursuing this constitutionally illusionary idea of separation of church/state to absurd extremes to the extent that the original and primary motivations of the founders on this subjeect, religous freedom, has been trampled on.
The most notable examples come from recent episodes at public schools. At one school a student was invited to speak at graduation on whatever topic he wished to choose. He chose to speak regarding his religion and was banned. Really, must all religious discussion be banned as if it were on the same offensive level as some perverse pornography ? Is not the student's right to speech or religious expression being denied because of this type of censorship based on topic content? Another example is that schools allow use of their rooms after school for various clubs and activities, yet religious clubs are usually denied while gay, lesbian, and other assorted clubs meet with full approval. It's this fanatical, puritanical obession with church/state separation that has turned the state into an active, discriminatory, persecutorial, adversary of religion. This makes no sense and is entirely contrary to the letter and spirit of our constitution.
 
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The problem of separation of Church and State is that it is often misconstrued to mean separation of Church FROM State.
In other words, any reference to religion is attacked as unconstitutional. This is clearly unfair though because it suggests that those who work in government offices or run them have no right to practice their own religion.
I would argue that so long as no one is discriminated against for holding differing views, there is no problem. If an atheist is running one office and won't put up a sign that says "God Bless America" then that's ok. Although I would argue that the majority belief should probably be referenced (and it's not always Christianity!)
However, I am in favor of not allowing "The Church" to have a direct impact on government decisions. Just look how well that is working for Iran! Indeed, you can look at much of the Middle East, a region that used to be known for knowledge and scientific advancement (long long ago). If I recall, the concept of algebra originated in the Middle East somewhere. The only thing keeping that region afloat is their vast oil reserves. If not for that, it would be a desert wasteland of nomads fighting over water supplies. At least it would be that way if it remained a theocratic region.
It doesn't matter what the theocracy is either. Even a Christian theocracy won't work, because it's amazing what you can justify in the name of religion. The Bible has to be the most quoted out of context book of all time! Just imagine a Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker in charge of the government. I think before long we'd be the nomads fighting over resources.
The Dark Ages certainly do not suggest that power belongs in the hands of the Church. Even the Bible speaks against the intentions of prominent religious leaders who hold influence. Jesus never even suggested that his followers should take over the government, but he did speak of supporting it in a law abiding fashion. In fact, if you take the teachings of Jesus, it would appear that separation of Church and State is a bibically supported concept!
How do you like them apples?
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

Isn't there an old organization called the Church of England?


Personally I think is a disgrace how here in the UK the head of state still officially has to belong to a specific religion (CoE) and some bishops also have seats in our upper house of parliament. For me, the idea that the irrational belief in a supernatural being qualifies a person to have a say in how the country is run is stupid. We may as well have a representative of The United Believers Of Santa in the government, or demand that the head of state believes in faeries.

I believe the basic presumption of Joe King/Pluta on the necessity of strict separation of church and state is open to serious question.


The trouble is that as soon as one religion is given a preference by the state over another religion, this means that the chances of people from other religions being able to integrate into the society is reduced. All of the major religions seem to be (in practice) not exactly happy to accept other religions and cultures. History has shown far to many times the problems that come about when religion goes hand in hand with the state, and this must not be encouraged. I'd like my country to be run by people who's main considerations are related to real life issues and not religious in nature.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Joe King:

The trouble is that as soon as one religion is given a preference by the state over another religion, this means that the chances of people from other religions being able to integrate into the society is reduced.


But does the fact that there is a Church of England actually cause real, tangible, problems for people trying to integrate into society, or are those issues with integration simply natural ones relating to culture (which would include different religions and involve the same issues whether a state recognized religion existed or not) ?
There are quite a number of individuals, now and in the past, who were not members of the Church of Englend , yet held prominent government posts. Likewise for the private sector.
The fact whether a religion is sanctioned in some part by the state seems a minor point in societies such as the US and Great Britain. The issue is a minor one between De Facto and De Jure; a majority religion exists whether officially recognized or not, and it will still have an impact. If there is no majority religion or the people are largely non-religious, then still there is the same relatively non-existent impact.
 
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Just to inject my two cents.... Where a lot of the liberals get confused is that our form of government calls for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
[ February 17, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
frank davis
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Someone needs to keep me honest here. The historical record of England and France (even more so) does show quite a bit of persecution of those not belonging to the officially approved religions. Muslim countries also have records of discrimination against non-muslims. An official religion may not lead to persecution, but it certainly facilitates it and thats a danger to be avoided (and the whole reason for the Establishment Clause of the US constitution).
Government facilitated religious expression can come close to being an endorsement of sorts, but still, I think allowing an expression and endorsing it can be conceptually distinguished. But even then, should the government be spending tax dollars (money forcibly extracted from its citizens) on allowing religious expression? I certainly will wince to see my hard earned money confiscated to support a Cuban Santeria or Haitian Vodoo festival. In cases where there is no money expeneded (such as merely allowing use of govt facilities) then I see less of an issue.
 
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Thomas Paul: "I think the main core values of the USA are secular and everything else is secondary to those core values. What are those core values? freedom of speech, press, religion, freedom of assembly
democracy


I disagree, on two counts. First, on your list of rights you left off right to property (freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures) and the right to keep and bear arms. (Liberal bias?)
Second, the core values are not secular; they are religious. They are based on the notion that:
  • Religious salvation is so important, that the government dare not interfere unnecessarily with a private citizens pursuit thereof.
  • A union of states of diverse religion (Anglican in Virginia, Quaker in Pennsylvania, Catholic in Maryland, Puritan in Massechusetts) demands that government at the federal level not get involved in religious issues.
  • A government that denied the freedoms listed above could use its power to interfere with an individual's spiritual development. Therefore, the government is denied this authority.
  •  
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    Originally posted by Paul McKenna:
    Until 1960s wasnt prayer conducted in public schools? Werent they Christian prayer? What is wrong in that? I studied in a private Hindu school in India, we all sang Hindu prayers every morning for 12 years of our lives.. even the muslims and christians.


    There's nothing wrong with that because, as you said, it is a PRIVATE school. The parents chose to send their kids there. A public school has no right no impose any relious believes on students.
     
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    The Church of England is viewed with distrust by many politicians here - even the govt, because it is full of wet liberals ( supposedly).
     
    Thomas Paul
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    I disagree, on two counts. First, on your list of rights you left off right to property (freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures) and the right to keep and bear arms. (Liberal bias?)
    I could add the first perahps as the right to private property. I don't see the right to bear arms as being a fundamental right as I don't see the nature of the country radically changing if people couldn't own guns.
    Second, the core values are not secular; they are religious. They are based on the notion that:
    Religious salvation is so important, that the government dare not interfere unnecessarily with a private citizens pursuit thereof.

    Here I disagree with you very strongly. The Constitution was founded on the principal that the federal government couldn't interfere in religious practice but the states were allowed to do that. In fact, several states did have laws that dealt with your right to religious practice when the country was founded. This wasn't seen as a religious issue but rather as a states' rights issue.
     
    arch rival
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    The separation of church and state is an aspect of the US system I gretly admire. The Church of England is probably an overall benign influence in the UK, the typicall satire being
    "Are you religious?"
    "No I'm C of E"
    However the principal of an official state relgion seems deeply flawed.
     
    Jason Cox
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    I could add the first perahps as the right to private property. I don't see the right to bear arms as being a fundamental right as I don't see the nature of the country radically changing if people couldn't own guns.


    The Bill of Rights would disagree with you.
    In college, I had a professor successfully convince me that the 2nd Amendment applied to the National Guard and that the right to own a firearm was really covered in the 5th.
    However, the more I thought about it, the less sense it made to me. Mostly because the idea of a National Guard, a government run agency, was totally against the experiences of the founding fathers who specifically wanted to avoid a government disarmament of the populace.
    Maybe YOU don't see it as a fundamental right, but it was apparently important enough to our founding fathers to be one of the original amendments to the Constitution. Considering how well the document has held up over time, I think that says something right there.
    I do always find it interesting though, when people seem to feel we can take away one right, but other rights in the Bill of Rights are "fundamental". The only real rights we have are what the government allows us to have. That's the reality of it. None of the "rights" are "fundamental", and all are equally worth protecting. As soon as we allow the government to abolish one, I expect the others to follow. History seems to play this out time and time again.
     
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    The Bill of Rights would disagree with you.

    You are missing the point completely. I am not talking about the bill of rights. I am talking about what makes America what it is. What are the shared values that we hope every American citizen shares. Personally, it makes no difference to me if a bunch of new citizens have no interest in gun ownership. I would have an interest if a bunch of new citizens wanted to eliminate free speech.
    By the way, I think it is very amusing that you think I am a liberal. It just goes to prove that all those people who pegged me as a conservative are wrong.
     
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    However, the more I thought about it, the less sense it made to me. Mostly because the idea of a National Guard, a government run agency, was totally against the experiences of the founding fathers who specifically wanted to avoid a government disarmament of the populace.


    Again, lets make this very clear. The Bill of Rights only applied to the federal government. The founding fathers had no problems with states restricting gun ownership. Their fear was that the federal government would remove guns from the states thus leaving the states at the mercy of the army of the federal government. Remember, none of the items in the Bill of Rights restricted the states. It wasn't until the 14th ammendment was passed that anyone thought that the bill of rights applied to the states.
     
    Jason Cox
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    By the way, I think it is very amusing that you think I am a liberal. It just goes to prove that all those people who pegged me as a conservative are wrong.


    Where did I say you were a liberal? I never did. What if you were? Is there something wrong with that?
    I am also aware of the ability of the State's to have their own set of laws and that they don't necessarily incorporate every amendment. However, over time it has become expected by people to not have their rights infringed upon.
    I am curious where this "liberal" attack is coming from. Is it just because I pointed out something that contradicts popular liberal rhetoric?
    I guess I could make a comment about you being in academia but then you could turn around on me for being a consultant (ie: two occupations with dubious reputations) and we'd just get nowhere fast.
     
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    Where did I say you were a liberal? I never did. What if you were? Is there something wrong with that?

    Sorry, it was actually Frank.
    I disagree, on two counts. First, on your list of rights you left off right to property (freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures) and the right to keep and bear arms. (Liberal bias?)
     
    Thomas Paul
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    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    I am also aware of the ability of the State's to have their own set of laws and that they don't necessarily incorporate every amendment. However, over time it has become expected by people to not have their rights infringed upon.

    Yes, it was the 14th ammendment that applied the Bill of Rights (to some extent) on the states. Of course, some states had their own bills of rights long before that.
     
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    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    The only real rights we have are what the government allows us to have. That's the reality of it. - No no no, they're God-given rights. You can take away my spanking spade and monkey jam - FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!
     
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    Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
    Originally posted by Rob Aught:
    [qb]The only real rights we have are what the government allows us to have. That's the reality of it. - No no no, they're God-given rights.[/QB]


    All you atheists out there - y'all have no rights whatsoever since y'all don't believe in God and so can't have any of these God-given rights.
     
    Joe King
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    Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:

    All you atheists out there - y'all have no rights whatsoever since y'all don't believe in God and so can't have any of these God-given rights.


    Sad thing is that some people actually believe that :roll:
     
    Frank Silbermann
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    Thomas Paul: "Again, lets make this very clear. The Bill of Rights only applied to the federal government. The founding fathers had no problems with states restricting gun ownership. Their fear was that the federal government would remove guns from the states thus leaving the states at the mercy of the army of the federal government. Remember, none of the items in the Bill of Rights restricted the states. It wasn't until the 14th ammendment was passed that anyone thought that the bill of rights applied to the states."


    You are right in that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, not to the states. That was because the states were sovereign countries jealous of their power, and would not have agreed to merger into one big country -- hence, the limitations on the federal government's power.
    It is wrong, however, to conclude that the founding fathers had no problems with states restricting gun ownership. Rather, individual founding fathers dealt with that issue in its proper place -- in their own respective state governments.
    That's why most state constitutions have clauses concerning the right to keep and bear arms as well. The motivation for this right at the state level was to deter tyranny from the state government, and to ensure the fundamental civil right of self-defense.
    That many states had "black codes" that restricted legal firearms possession among blacks is "the exception that proves the rule." With respect to black people many states explicitly _wanted_ to enable tyranny and prevent self-defense against violent oppression.

    Thomas Paul: "I am not talking about the Bill of Rights. I am talking about what makes America what it is. What are the shared values that we hope every American citizen shares. Personally, it makes no difference to me if a bunch of new citizens have no interest in gun ownership. I would have an interest if a bunch of new citizens wanted to eliminate free speech."


    The way you feel about freedom of speech, I feel about the practical right to self-defense (i.e., the right to be armed, and to use one's weapons against rapists, armed robbers, and other violent criminals). I consider your disinterest in that right short-sighted; no matter what the law says, people are not free to criticize the police if the police are their only source of protection from violent criminals.
    For example, when certain communities in Cincinatti accused the police of conducting an ongoing program of racist brutality, they were punished with a sharp cutback in police patrols. The resulting epidemic in murder and other violent crimes was pretty effective in silencing the criticism.
    In that controversey, I disagreed with what the protesters claimed, but not with their right to say it. And I have no doubt that the implied and unspoken threat to withhold protection from people forbidden to go about armed will be every bit as effective when the police really do deserve criticism.
    The point is that, without a _practical_ right of self-defense, all other rights are meaningless.
    [ February 19, 2004: Message edited by: Frank Silbermann ]
     
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    Strangely for a secular society the USA recognises a lot of Christian symbols as central to their culture:
    Christian holidays are national holidays
    People are allowed (are they still forced?) to swear on the Christian holy book when taking an oath (either in court or an oath of office)
    Your coinage carries the text "In God we trust"
    Christian priests have a prominent place in your armed forces (are there priests of any non-Christian religion in the same role?)
    The list goes on.
    Don't get me wrong, I see nothing amiss with that as long as non-Christians aren't forced into a Christian church in order to be accepted into your society, but to say that the US is strictly secular is certainly wrong.
    IMO ANY religion-based worldview in the end will lead only to intollerance and often oppression of others.
    This is shown time and again. A few examples:
    First the Spanish Inquisition, who killed anyone who wasn't a devoted (at least in public) Roman Catholic.
    The Ayatollahs in Iran, murdering everyone who isn't a Shia Muslim
    The USSR, 100 million killed in the name of the twin gods of Marx and Lenin (yes, I do class communism as a religion!)
    These are just 3 examples using 3 different religions. I'm sure Budhism and Hinduism have similar excesses resulting from religious fervor.
    Strangely all or most religions seem to also claim that they only want peace and prosperity and abhor violence (but apparently this never applies to unbelievers).
     
    frank davis
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    Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
    [QB] I'm sure Budhism and Hinduism have similar excesses resulting from religious fervor.
    [QB]


    I wouldn't be so sure about Buddhism...
     
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    The USSR, 100 million killed in the name of the twin gods of Marx and Lenin (yes, I do class communism as a religion!)
    First we talked about 10 millions of victims, then 50, now 100??? Most researches agree on 6-8 millions though. Not that it makes killing less horrible, but there is no need to exaggerate at the order of magnitude.
     
    Frank Silbermann
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    Jeroen Wenting: IMO ANY religion-based worldview in the end will lead only to intollerance and often oppression of others.


    Before this century, has there ever been a society based on a worldview that wasn't at least closely informed by some religious tradition?

    A few examples: First the Spanish Inquisition, who killed anyone who wasn't a devoted (at least in public) Roman Catholic.


    That's not quite accurate. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella ordered the expulsion of anyone who wasn't a devoted (at least in public) Roman Catholic. One could convert, but then one was expected to be a devoted Roman Catholic, at least in public.
    Later, the Inquisition sought to identify and purge from society those who were devoted Roman Catholics in public, but not in private e.g. converted Jews, many of whom kept up the charade for hundreds of years. Even today there are Spaniards who have private family customs deriving from Judaism which they don't remember why they do it, but by family custom they don't talk about it.

    The Ayatollahs in Iran, murdering everyone who isn't a Shia Muslim


    Well, to be fair to evil people, I have to point out that revolutionary Iran had no official or systematic program to exterminate Untermenschen whose toleration in humliated circumstances was advocated by the Koran (e.g. Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians).
    On the other hand, the senior Khoumeini had no mercy for Muslim heretics (e.g. the Bahai).

    The USSR, 100 million killed in the name of the twin gods of Marx and Lenin (yes, I do class communism as a religion!)


    I heard it was more like 20 million. I don't suppose anyone actually did a census. Mao ZeDong's government killed 100 million (although that may be counting people starved into canabalism by Marxist bureaucrats unwilling to admit to their superiors that harvest targets hadn't been met).
     
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    Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
    I don't see the right to bear arms as being a fundamental right as I don't see the nature of the country radically changing if people couldn't own guns.


    A person's right to life is fundamental, as is a person's right to defend his or her life. A natural extension of that is the right to aquire and bear the tools to maintain that defense.
     
    Mapraputa Is
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    I heard it was more like 20 million.
    Well, I read that 20 millions were only those executed during Stalin's repressions. Then, Solgenitsyn wrote that "prisoners tend to exaggerate their number, when there were only 12-15 millions of them, they believed that the number is 20 and even 30 million". The problem was that all archives were closed until very recently, so Solgenitsyn himself couldn't know the exact number. He exaggerated 5-6 times, real number was about 2 million. (and don't forget that so called "gulags" simply means "jail", they included banal thefts etc.)
    In 1992 statistics was published. In 1917-1990 there were 3 853 900 political prisoners total, 827 995 of them executed. Even in the worst 1937-38 years "gulag" population didn't exceed 1% of general population.
    [ February 21, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
     
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    Hi,
    I don't know Russian. If "gulah" is jail, then why so many eager to piss off when they were sentenced and served in gulah than to serve in normal jail.
    I have heard in Vietnam, if you are send to "re-education camp", you are likely be viewed as political prisoner/convicted spy/mafia leader. There are caught prostitutes also send to "re-education camp", but their roles are manifested in larger labyrinth of criminal society run high level communist officials. All other criminals are send to jails.
    Regards,
    MCao
     
    Mapraputa Is
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    MC: I don't know Russian. If "gulah" is jail, then why so many eager to piss off when they were sentenced and served in gulah than to serve in normal jail.
    I posted this in another thread, GULAG is an abbreviation.
    G - "glavnoe" (main)
    U - "upravlenie" (administration)
    LAG - "LAGerey" (of camps)
    It's a bureaucratic organization that managed camps. It was renamed in 1960-s. I have no idea how "gulag" started to refer to camps themselves in English. A Russian equivalent of "jail" and "camp" were used loosely, I am not sure what the exact difference is. One difference can be that in camps there were only convicted, while people would be kept in "jail" prior to a trial.
     
    Paul Stevens
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    Originally posted by Matt Cao:
    Hi,
    I don't know Russian. If "gulah" is jail, then why so many eager to piss off when they were sentenced and served in gulah than to serve in normal jail.
    I have heard in Vietnam, if you are send to "re-education camp", you are likely be viewed as political prisoner/convicted spy/mafia leader. There are caught prostitutes also send to "re-education camp", but their roles are manifested in larger labyrinth of criminal society run high level communist officials. All other criminals are send to jails.
    Regards,
    MCao



    I have a friend here at work who was a boy in Vietnam when the communist took over. His mother, sister and he finally fled to the US. His father did not survive re-education camp. What was his crime. He was a professional in the South before the communist took it over.
     
    frank davis
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    Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
    I heard it was more like 20 million.
    Well, I read that 20 millions were only those executed during Stalin's repressions. Then, Solgenitsyn wrote that "prisoners tend to exaggerate their number, when there were only 12-15 millions of them, they believed that the number is 20 and even 30 million". The problem was that all archives were closed until very recently, so Solgenitsyn himself couldn't know the exact number. He exaggerated 5-6 times, real number was about 2 million. (and don't forget that so called "gulags" simply means "jail", they included banal thefts etc.)
    In 1992 statistics was published. In 1917-1990 there were 3 853 900 political prisoners total, 827 995 of them executed. Even in the worst 1937-38 years "gulag" population didn't exceed 1% of general population.
    [ February 21, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]



    The 20 million number is not so far out of bounds. You failed to consider the execution of 3 - 11 million Ukrainians and others that did not occur in the gulags. And earlier last year, a mass grave of about hundred thousand was found outside of St Petersberg; again those were people who never made it to the gulags. I don't know why other cities would not have had the same situation where people were just taken to the outskirts of the city and shot in the back of head. For some, making it to the gulag at least meant they had a chance to live.
     
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    Originally posted by Paul Stevens:


    I have a friend here at work who was a boy in Vietnam when the communist took over. His mother, sister and he finally fled to the US. His father did not survive re-education camp. What was his crime. He was a professional in the South before the communist took it over.


    Didn't the same thing occur in China on a massive scale involving millions? Why the whitewash over communism? Did it not rival Nazism in the numbers murdered?
     
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