August 18, 2006
But I have just learned about GoodSearch, which is powered by Yahoo! I don't know if it's a better search engine, but the cool thing about it is that for every search you do, one cent is contributed to the charity of your choosing.
And ARI is one of the options!
So, go to GoodSearch, choose ARI, and search! It's that easy.
You should contact a few of the other Objectivist bloggers. Try to spread this around a bit.
Oh, also your url thingy is blocking my blog, since it has the word "free" in it.
Posted by: Inspector at August 28, 2006 08:18 PM (PHVFu)
August 04, 2006
A couple of people said things to him like, "What the hell?"
I didn't say anything but it came up for discussion this morning and I told him he might as well wear a swatstika.
"Dude! It's not a swatstika!"
"No, it's a confederate flag. Also, you know how people wear those communist hammer and sickle shirts?"
"Yeah, those are cool."
"Those aren't cool. I look at them the same way I look at people wearing swatstikas and confederate flags. Like, spread some hate won'tcha?"
And then the discussion ranged into what it does mean as a symbol.
I think most people who wear confederate flags don't intend any harm by it. They probably look at is as nothing more than a symbol of the south.
But for another, not insignificant part of the population, we read that as a symbol of the socio-historical legacy of the antebellum Confederacy.
The Confederate Flag waved over anti-federalist, pro-slavery south. It is a symbol used by the Ku Klux Klan and sympathizers as a statement of their bigotry and violence. It was and is still used by some to announce to the world that they hate gays, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics, and Blacks.
The swatstika prior to Nazi Germany meant something else, but if someone wears one today it is unreasonable to believe they mean anything but a pro-nazi sentiment. (Dear, Prince Harry...)
If someone wears a hammer and sickel shirt...
If someone wears a Che Guevara shirt...
If someone wears a red star on their Russian military cap...
As mentioned, the meaning of the confederate flag does seem to be shifting with much of the population either ignoring or remaining ignorant of its historical significance. But I do not think educated intelligent people should support that shift by wearing it themselves. Those who are ignoring its meaning cannot be said to be innocent in that expression and should not be surprised when people are offended.
It looked like the Beijing Open.
Posted by: Stephen Macklin at August 04, 2006 04:33 PM (DdRjH)
should they not display it just because it means something different to most people?
If the majority doesnt understand the swastika's better meanings, the Indians are not responsible for appeasing people's ignorance in the name of "sensitivity", by refusing to display the swastika.
Posted by: john at August 07, 2006 12:20 PM (EAky8)
Indians ARE responsible for respecting the feelings of people who may not understand THEIR cultural heritage behind the swastika (people who would become horrified by the thought that a person is advocating the horrors of Naziism) by refraining from forcibly displaying the swastika by some kind of physical force, or by exhibiting it to Westernized Indians/non-Indian Americans.
Other than that, a visible tatoo of a swastika, or a piece of swastika embroidered cloth that is hung from the mirror above the dashboard, are not intrinsically bad. If the possessor of these things intends the swastika as an expression of his anti-semitism, then the symbol IS bad, and the person has a problem with the dissemination of justice to the memory of the Jews who were mistreated (to say the least) in WW2. A stranger who we see to be in possession of the swastika, desreves the benefit of the doubt, and we should refrain from immediate judgment until we know him better (so long as no exhibitionism to, or forcing of, ignorant people is involved, as these contexts leave such people helpless to avert its vicious other meaning.)
If people that do not understand the Indian meaning are forced to see it or presented to see it through exhibitionism, then I would say something like, "Don't you know what that represents to most other people not yourself?" and then if by some stretch of the imagination they do not honestly know, tell them and then suggest they stop the display.
The swastika is profoundly different from the "hammer and sickle shirt," the "Che Guevara" shirt, a "red star" on a Russian military cap, and the Confederate flag, because the swastika is a symbol that may mean one thing or the other, whereas the others can never be mistaken for a meaning the wearer did not intend--their symbolism originated as emblems of specific geographic areas. (The swastika, by contrast, acquired prominence in different regions and does not belong to one as opposed to the other, unlike the uniquely North American Confederate flag, which has not been appropriated for anyone else yet. . . .) That is why flags from bad countries are less tolerable to me than symbols with subjective meaning; flags of bad countries are the indisputable signatures of bad philosophy/bad policy.
That being said, portraying the Confederate flag, the Russian flag, the Cuban flag, or the Nazi German FLAG is inexcusable in EVERY social context--whether it is exhibited, forced, or even momentarily glimpsed by passersby. I would venture to say that even having these flags displayed in the privacy of a person's own room is also wrong, as it encourages an evil idea within the viewer.
The point about context being important to the clear and proper interpretation of a symbol should go without saying. We could make parallel examples by looking at the letters of the alphabet and comparing the pronunciations across different languages.
That's not really vital to the point I made in the post which clearly assumes a general context of American culture.
Even in that broad context, the examples I gave have variations in meaning. Macy's uses a red star in their branding. As Stephen pointed out, Heineken uses it as well.
The "Tommy Hillbilly" shirt my coworker wore is actually probably intended as humor and not serious display of the confederate flag.
When some friends of mine moved to Georgia from California, they mistook the South Carolina flag (a palmetto tree and crescent moon) to be a symbol of some islamic organization.
Given these equally far flung examples, you might make the same argument that those symbols are acceptable in some cases and I wouldn't challenge the point because I do grant that context is important whether it's the context of a specific beer, store, country, or design scheme.
Nevertheless, in the broadest context of American culture these examples all bear very bad meanings by themselves and that includes swastikas.
As far as I'm concerned it is up to the bearer to clarify its meaning for me, otherwise I will interpret it given what I can gather from my understanding of the symbol and its specific application. This means that the man with a swastika tattoo should just expect me to think he's a nazi unless he can prove to me otherwise.
I would challenge the idea that displaying any particular symbol is wrong in all contexts. What about museums? This makes your point about context that much stronger, but, again, I really think all this goes without saying.
Posted by: John at August 07, 2006 02:07 PM (EAky8)
"I am open to the possibility that this swastica might signify auspiciousness according to Hinduism (which it does signify, according to Wikipedia).
However, I saw this man in America, and in the 'broadest context of American culture', it represents Naziism.
being in America, this man probably associates the swastika with Naziism,
then it is probable that the swastika points to the man as being a Neo-Nazi, and since I am compelled to make a statement of fact about this person based on all facts available to me, I will hold that he is a Neo-Nazi (while allowing for the small chance that he is not)--until he explains he is something other than a Neo-Nazi."
This seems to be a completely rational thought process, so I commend you if this is what you mean.
Now Trey, I'm interested in your thinking if that context were slightly altered in this way: what if the man with the tatooed arm were Oriental and did not speak English?
Amd if you knew that there are folks in the Far East (Janists?) who see the swastika as a symbol of their (non-Nazi) religion.
In light of what you see and what you know about the swastika in the Far East, wouldnt you ultimately think that it is probable that he is a normal Eastern religionist, and hold an image of him as a normal eastern religionist (allowing him the slight chance he is not), until he explains he is a something other than a normal Eastern religionist? (Let's say you have also deducted that there is no Nazi movement in the Far East.)
By the way, I got this example from my work at my last place of employment. I was a cashier and dealt with a regular customer who was Oriental, *seemed* to be an immigrant, and who had a swastica tatooed on his arm. I was indeed horrified and instinctively believed he was a Nazi. I just couldnt believe that a man would actually have himself tatooed with a swastika in such a visible place. Was he an ex-con? The explanation eventually hit me: he must be a Buddhist or something, and did not take into consideration the American meaning. His facial features and his seemingly rough English, guided by my sense that it would be plain confrontational to have an uncovered swastika inked onto your arm, gave me an image of him as a non-confrontational Buddhist or whatever.
I do think Trey that when first seeing this symbol, it is correct to have a first impression that such a person is a Nazi no matter what evidence to the contrary there is in that moment, and that being offended would be an appropriate emotion.
By the way, did you know that Che Guevarra T-Shirts are sold by street vendors in Greece? I was amazed when I saw them for sale! As I aspire to the Objectivist view of ethics and politics, my amazement was truly disgust. While walking down a bustling road in Athens in 2002, I saw two young teen boys wearing brand spanking new T-shirts with Che Guevarra's faux-saint head. What are the youth of the world thinking. . . .
Posted by: John at August 07, 2006 08:59 PM (y6n8O)
If I were in an situation where it was possible, I would just ask a person about it.
If I couldn't ask about it, I would just think about it later.
In all cases, it would probably appear here on my blog!
The Che Guevara shirts kill me. There are tons of people here in NYC selling/wearing them. The hopeful side of me wants to believe that most people really don't know who Che Guevara was or what he stood for.
Posted by: Trey Givens at August 08, 2006 01:44 AM (hSSAt)
And go ahead, wear your stars and stripes - do you know what it stands for right now?
Posted by: Jen at August 11, 2006 05:02 PM (hSr5C)
You're also obviously not a regular reader here or else you wouldn't open with the subjectivist's credo "Nothing is black and white."
There isn't any problem with YOU sharing YOUR wealth. There is a problem, however, when YOU try to share MY wealth.
Communism has always been a bad idea. It was couched in terms of "hope" and all that. Hell, they even tried to say it was "scientific."
Communism and Socialism are identical in essence even if they have differences in the details. The essence of both political systems is that they both have no regard for individual rights in the face of the community.
Modern communists and socialists always try to argue that the repeated and continued demonstrations of how those systems consistently destroy individuals and economies. The revisionist history they (and apparently you, too) adopt is not surprising even if it is shockingly absurd.
The fact of the matter is that you are deluding yourself if you think socialism or communism are good in any way. They are both manifestly evil and destructive.
I don't think your red stars, communist flags, or Che Geuvara anaythings should be outlawed. I also don't think you should be prevented from sharing your things with whomever you please.
Just don't think I'll stand by while you rob me or try to force me into silence.
After all that I hope you understand if I don't excuse you.
Posted by: Trey Givens at August 13, 2006 11:38 AM (hSSAt)
So you're the one being completely un-American by attempting to silence an OPINION. How are you any better than the communists/Nazis/Hicks, etc?
Posted by: Nick Riggs at August 27, 2006 10:59 PM (69NSn)
Posted by: Alex at August 29, 2006 06:27 AM (KNsor)
I think you misunderstand how symbols gain and sustain their meaning. While I think it can be argued that the administrations of the last, ooohhhhh, 100 years or so, as done no service to making America more free, the country still stands above all others with regard to individual rights and freedom.
Just because George Bush has made some errors in his presidency does not erode and completely reverse the meaning of the American flag as a symbol of freedom.
Your own blather about rape and destruction of cultures, unsustainable economic growth, and so forth leave me without suggestion for improving your ill-informed and misguided views on things. It's clear that reality is insufficient evidence for you.
I can but ask you and the other socialists/communists/Republicrats who stop by to either provide your own evidence for your remarks or just move along. I don't think that I nor my regular readers will accept blind assertions in place of rational, fact-based arguments.
Posted by: Trey Givens at August 29, 2006 08:00 AM (TGk/b)
Oh and so you don’t have to think too hard about the connection of our country to the rape and destruction of other cultures, think about the places that we obtain resources from and where our treasured goods are produced. Cut down all the rainforest and force sustainable native agricultural practiced onto marginal land, force native farmers into industrial work and pay them 2 dollars a week. Just so you know that has been going on since way before George Bush became President or was even born. If you want wave a Flag that is tainted by an unjust government and supported by a population of uniformed Americans forgive me if I don’t feel the need to stand and salute.
Posted by: Alex at August 29, 2006 08:45 AM (KNsor)
If resources run out or even become more scarce, prices rise and consumption drops. I can give you two examples from real life: the cork market and the tequila market. In both cases a natural resource, cork wood and agave plants, have become scarce and industries that use that have either sought alternatives or begun charging more for their products. In the case of the wine industry, which traditionally uses cork to plug bottles, many wineries are using synthetic corks or even metal caps. With agave plants, the price of tequila has been rising steadily over the past several years.
The fact is that you don't know what you're talking about when it comes to economics. Capitalism does not operate on a "principle of exponential growth." That is a ridiculous, nonsensical phrase that you've probably picked up from people who are more malicious than ignorant.
The "government" doesn't make me or you think anything. We are both free to make up our minds about reality as we see fit.
Further, you're obviously unaware of the fact that primitive cultures for the most part have been shown to be far more destructive to the environment and grotesquely unsustainable (Easter Island is a great example here.) by comparison to the powerhouse economy of the United States, which has driven the world (Thanks to globalization) to much more efficient use of resources. Besides, there is no way primitive cultures could sustain the 6.5 Billion people who walk the planet. In order to support a claim that we revert to the backwoods savagery of rainforest societies, you'd have to advocate widespread starvation, disease, and malnutrition.
And whether or not those cultures are sustainable is beside the point: no one is forcing them to accept $2 a week or to even talk to Americans. They're free to decline trade offers.
Your unfounded assertions about the nature and agenda of the American government make it clear to me that you do not hold reason or facts as valuable as I do. That's your option, which is why I would make a stronger recommendation that you just go away.
I'll also say this: unless you have some evidence to support your claims or stop talking, I will ban you from commenting further.
I'm not known for patience or forgiveness.
Posted by: Trey Givens at August 29, 2006 11:41 AM (TGk/b)
Posted by: alex at August 30, 2006 10:31 AM (KNsor)
"Native agricultural practices" (whatever those are) have never sustained a civilization of the size of the United States or any developed nation. Since I can't say which practices you're talking about (you haven't bothered to say, for all I know you could mean that we should use sticks to poke holes in the ground for seeds) I can't say if they're impossible or not, but I can point out that you've subtly tried to shift the goalposts on me.
You started out talking about rape and destruction of native culture and how Capitalism operates on a principle of exponential growth and now you seem to have narrowed the scope of your argument to agricultural practices, which have nothing to do with Capitalism and next to nothing to do with culture.
I can also point out that thanks to the freer markets of the United States, the American Midwest has been transformed into one of the most productive and efficient areas of arable land in the world.
Further, you assert that I am unfamiliar with arguments against my point of view. Not only is that false, I'm also aware of how those arguments fail -- including those posed in that book.
No arguments against free markets have ever stood successfully against inspection. Historically, economically, morally -- all systems of politics but free market capitalism fail miserably.
I thought you were foolish before this, but now that you've announced that after talking to a friend of yours to realize that this conversation is pointless I am totally convinced. And you accuse me of not being able to make up my own mind and think for myself. Oh, Irony!
But Alex, this conversation isn't pointless for me. I have a purpose and my purpose is to illustrate how completely divorced from reason and reality fools like you really are.
You have yet to make a complete argument. You've only really said that you disagree. I got that part right away. My question is: why? Because someone wrote a lot of pages about it?
If you agree with them, give me the reasons why you agree. I'm not asking you to republish a book, just try to outline the core argument that convinced you that Capitalism runs on "the principle of exponential growth" or that there is a policy, principle, or major movement in the US government today that demands the "rape and destruction of any culture that is not our own."
Just try to convince me. I'm open to fact and reason, but only fact and reason.
Posted by: Trey Givens at August 31, 2006 02:39 PM (hSSAt)
Posted by: mr.shepard at September 10, 2006 05:37 PM (j0fdw)
1) I didn't say that you can't support any flag you please. In fact, I have been very clear about the fact that I do support freedom of speech.
2) I also said that there are perfectly decent people who do fly the confederate flag and do not mean any harm by it.
3) Your heritage makes little difference to me. My ancestors fought against the British and for the Confederacy as well.
4) I did not say anything that is historically inaccurate, so you would do well to study more of your reading comprehension before you lob insults at me like that on my own web page.
The point remains: as a symbol the confederate flag stands for the American nation divided, racism, and hatred. Even as a good person who means something different by it, you have to realize what other people are thinking when they see it. You can't change what other people think of you and how they read that symbol just because you think of yourself as a nice, non-bigoted person.
Welcome to reality.
Posted by: Trey Givens at September 11, 2006 04:50 AM (TGk/b)
Posted by: mr.shepard at September 11, 2006 12:48 PM (j0fdw)
You're not reading what I've written.
Not once did I mention the purpose for which the flag was designed. I have spoken only in terms of what the flag has come to mean as a symbol.
The people who have used the flag to disrespect, abuse, and scare have succeeded in associating that fear, hatred, and violence with that symbol. What you think while you fly the flag is irrelevant to the meaning of the symbol and how it is interpretted by others.
Yes, it would be nice if everyone could get along, and, in fact, I know of a symbol that stands for cooperation. It stands for individual rights. It stands for the mutual exchange of value between individuals even if they do not share the same ideology.
Here is that symbol: $
Posted by: Trey Givens at September 11, 2006 03:04 PM (hSSAt)
Posted by: Alex at September 19, 2006 08:21 AM (KNsor)
If you are truly amused by my comment, you're directly implying support for those barbarians that killed nearly 3,000 people five years ago. I will not have those ideas trafficked on my blog.
Only idiots believe that an attack like 9/11 helps the economy. (The GDP is not, in this case a good measure of progress or profit.) Disasters, terrorist attacks, and wars have nothing but ill-effects on the economy. And while such stupidity is not beyond the reach of human beings, least of all politicians, it is a serious accusation to say that such things are permitted in order to turn a buck. I daresay that had you plied any names to that charge, I would have called you a slanderer in addition to everything else.
Further, I believe most people probably have fewer dollars than they care to have. A person of good sense, regardless of the balance of their bank account, will still support freedom and individual rights. It is only out of petty ignorance that any impoverished person would resent the dollar.
If anyone says they hate money, they are expressing a hatred of values. And since values are essential to life, a statement of distaste for money is an admission of hating life.
You're a foul, repugnant person, Alex. I want you to stop commenting on my blog immediately until or unless you have something constructive to add. I will ban you if you do not comply with this directive.
Posted by: Trey Givens at September 19, 2006 12:53 PM (hSSAt)
You need an education about your American history. You need to learn to be proud of your heritage. Contact me. Let me help you.
Posted by: Michael Givens at December 26, 2006 08:13 PM (wVCub)
You need an education in logic and reading comprehension, like so many others who've commented on this post.
The historical context in which the confederate flag was designed is not relevant to how the symbol is "read" in contemporary American culture. If you cannot see that, you're in denial of the facts of reality.
I am extremely proud of my American ideals, but the incidental aspects of my birth that tie me to this geography and link me as well to the Confederacy are not items worthy of the virtue of 'pride' in the literal sense of the word.
And, point of fact, the seccession of Southern States and the resultant war was a shameful, dark period in American history.
I won't contact you on this topic. I will extend the same warning that I extended to Alex above: if you traffick in these ideas -- ideas supporting slavery in any of its various forms -- you will have to do so elsewhere. Desist, get right, or get gone. Those are your options or I will ban you from this blog.
Posted by: Trey Givens at December 27, 2006 04:04 AM (oGpH6)
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