The Freedom to Argue addresses the moral dilemma of how best to help others without destroying one's own culture in the process. It explores the coming wave of Middle Eastern and African immigration and questions the failure of the African continent and why Muslims who grow up in completely Islamic societies are unable to assimilate into Western societies that have democracy, freedom of religion, independent and transparent judiciary systems, women's rights, and free-market capitalism.
While Western civilization is not perfect, it is the best political and social system in existence. And although the West has delivered great wealth, its traditional values are in trouble. As the political and intellectual elite blindly devoted to multiculturalism ignore everyday problems of the working folks, the West now more than ever needs solutions-fewer laws, less regulation, and stronger cultural norms-to overcome global threats.
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Freedom to Argue
We the People versus They the Government
By Dick Sim
iUniverseCopyright © 2016 Dick Sim
All rights reserved.
The Human Reality
All human activity is based on the zoological and social realities of the human being. Everything I discuss in this book can be connected to these underlying factors. This chapter explores these realities.
Many intellectuals live in, and believe in, an international multicultural world of open borders with shared values. This is not an imagined environment. It is the one they live in. They travel to international conferences to meet similar colleagues. Such conferences occur in several places in the world every week of the year. They include, for example, United Nation conferences, global climate change conferences like the one recently held in Paris, the World Economic Forum held in Davos each year, academic conferences, European conferences, the Asian-Pacific Cooperation Conference, business conferences, and so on. At such conferences these intellectuals meet similarly highly educated people from all different cultures who share their concerns and are indeed colleagues. They feel strongly that the global community is as one and that we all share the same objectives. I used to be part of that global elite flying around the world and visiting various operations and customers. What the global elite forget is that the great, great majority of people live and die within fifty miles of where they were born. Let's call these people the local folks, in comparison to the global elite. The local folks are the product of their environment, and even if they are limited in their worldview, they vote and are entitled to their opinion. The local folks are strongly tribal. As humans we have deep needs to identify with and belong to a tribe. I am suspicious of the idea of a shared global culture. It is the variety of cultures in the world that create a diversity of ideas and, consequently, progress. The local folks find the idea of an imposed global culture invasive and offensive. I side with the local folks.
This book attempts to define some of the challenges we face today. They are many. If I were to bring it down to a single issue, then that would be values. Of all the values on offer, I would choose the values of the Judeo-Christian Western civilization. The struggle for day-to-day material well-being in the West is essentially over. The struggle to live by the right values is ongoing. When it comes to values, there are real differences between Islam and Christianity. As it stands today, Islam provides very strong guidance when it comes to family values but has not delivered material well-being to most of its adherents. Christianity is the opposite. Christianity has delivered very high levels of wealth, but the cost of this has been destructive. Many people have little sense of right and wrong and their personal and family lives lack direction. We need to build civil societies worth living in. At the end of the day the enduring problem is that Christians are willing to treat all other religions as equals and to abide by an independent judiciary that is predictable, transparent and fairly consistent. Many Muslims grow up in societies where other religions are discriminated against or banned and the judiciary system is Islamic i.e.Sharia. Many Muslims are taught to have a negative opinion of and not to seek close relationships with non-believers. In the next one hundred years we will find out whether Muslims and Christians can peacefully coexist or not.
The Beast within Us
When the sun comes up on the Serengeti Plains, the rhythm of another day starts. The gazelles and the zebras start to move to take on water or to graze. They move in herds. They keep an eye open for the leopards in trees and for prides of lions relaxing in the shade. The lions, meanwhile, observe while their cubs play. Although everything seems peaceful, everyone is keeping an eye on the others and trying to maintain safe spacing. The herds grazing on the plains want to be left alone. The lions and leopard want to kill and eat one of the grazing animals. They have to in order to survive. That is nature.
The kill comes suddenly and quickly. The stalking lions see a calf that has lingered a little and that just for a moment becomes a bit separated from the herd. The lions suddenly break into a sprint. The herd moves. The young calf desperately tries to rejoin the herd and thereby regain the safety that the herd provides. It is too late. One lion springs on the calf's back, and within seconds four more lions arrive, tearing at the calf as its heart still beats. The end is quick. That is nature.
Within each of us is the instinct of fight or flight, the instinct to survive when faced with danger. We, like an animal, are wary, particularly in a strange environment. We understand that if we are at the wrong place at the wrong time, we can be hurt, robbed, raped, or even killed. It happens every day throughout the world. Some of us grow up in environments where such risks are very common. Others live in environments where they are rarely or never exposed to such threats. However, within each of us are the instincts of fight or flight, which are embedded within us from our ancestors and waiting to be activated by circumstance. The circumstance could be confronting a grizzly bear in the woods, being caught by a riptide when swimming, or a fight with strangers in a bar. These situations have a biological response, which is the triggering of a surge of adrenalin that allows us to fight harder, run faster, or do whatever is possible in an effort to try to survive the situation. This is an instinct that we share with the gazelle and the lion.
We see ourselves as civilized. We are civilized, but the veneer of civilization is fragile. Individuals and groups of individuals commit horrendous uncivilized acts on an ongoing basis. There are spontaneous acts and institutionalized acts. Spontaneous acts are triggered by some event that triggers the beast within a group. In such a case, some person gets badly beaten or killed. Institutionalized acts occur when someone in authority orders others to kill. Examples of this are as follows:
Adolf Hitler and the Jews from 1940 to 1945. In the Holocaust, an estimated six million Jews were killed, which was about 80 percent of the European population ofJews. If you include others who were killed, such as Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, POWs, Freemasons, homosexuals, and others, then the total killed rises to fifteen million to twenty million."
The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1970 to 1975, led by Pol Pot, killed or worked to death about three million Cambodians."
The Yugoslav Wars following the death of Josip Tito and the breakup of Yugoslavia led the Serbs to kill Muslim Bosnians from 1992 to 1995 and to systematically rape women in the Muslim Albanian minority in the tens of thousands."
The killing of the Tutsi by the Hutu in Rwanda in 1994 yielded between five hundred thousand and one million deaths in one hundred days.
Currently ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and spreading to Libya, Sinai, sub-Sahara Africa, Yemen, and other places, is killing many and enslaving others at a pace yet to be accounted.
The noticeable fact is that this institutionalized barbarity continues in recent times with the clear message that the "beast within us" can be easily wakened.
If fight or flight is one of our inherited bestial instincts, it is not on display as often as our other bestial instinct: the drive, particularly in males, to have sexual intercourse once aroused. Sexual arousal happens in response to stimuli that can be visual, olfactory, and/or tactile. Women sometimes accuse men of thinking with their penis instead of with their brain. This can occur when a male has been aroused. When a man is thinking only with his penis, he is not a lot different from a beast. Less I be accused of sexual bias, females are also capable of behaving like beasts once aroused. Men are more easily and more quickly aroused than females. Human males inflict a fair amount of chaos because of their sexual needs. It is a bestial biological response.
In that lion's pride in the Serengeti, there is a dominant male lion that fights to keep other male lions away and to keep the young males in order. The dominant male's reward is the right to breed with all the females. "May the best man win," in a curious way, summarizes this biological process, which is directed at strengthening the stock of the pride.
As I discuss later, it is interesting to note that the religion of Islam is more aligned with the bestial instincts of men. Sharia law provides for many physical and harsh punishments of other humans, and it also places the female in a position where she is both protected and disadvantaged.
Humans are, at their core, beasts.
The Antidote to the Beast: Parenting
There are 7.5 billion people in the world, each one born into a unique circumstance that will shape their future. Although on the outside we are all dramatically different, on the inside most of us want the same things. Our family circumstance will shape each of us and, for most of us, determine our role in life.
Think of the beast as being a primal source of energy within all of us. Some of us have a lot of it; others, not so much. However, all of us have some. This energy can result in good or evil. The type of parenting you receive, along with the social norms of the society you grow up in, will determine the beliefs, attitudes and values you have as an adult. This parenting thing is unfair. You do not get to choose your parents or the time and place of your birth. It is one big lottery. You may be lucky or unlucky in all these matters that will be so important to your start in life. The takeaway is that life at its beginning is profoundly unfair. This is a fact worth dwelling upon, because there are people who think that this unfairness can somehow be compensated for so that we can get equal outcomes. I believe that if you are born in the West your inherited genetics coupled with who your parents are and your access to education have a far greater influence on your ability to succeed than the effects of race and sex. Yes race and sex can be sources of discrimination. However, for persons who are educated, have good interpersonal skills and who present themselves properly race and sex can be turned into positives. Social justice, socialism, marxism and communism all movements directed at achieving equality have all been tried and they have all failed miserably. They are wonderful aspirations but the objective of creating equal outcomes for all simply does not work. All of our birth situations are a matter of luck. None of us are responsible for the sins of our forefathers. We all should be judged by our own individual behavior. Yes our race and or sex can bring advantages but individual talent, hard work and a little luck are far more important for success. The luckier we are in our birth status the more we should be expected to achieve and contribute to society.
If you are not born in the West then it is much more probable that your race, sect or sex will be the controlling factor on your life. Our responsibility as a society is to provide good educational and training avenues and try our very best to create equal opportunities for those who are motivated to seek them. We can help the disadvantaged, and yes some, because of their individual drive, will rise far above their disadvantaged start. However, most will not. That said, life is not about equal outcomes; it is about how far you have come from' where you started. That is how we should measure a person.
In adolescence the child starts to evaluate more critically his or her circumstance. Children at adolescence start to compare their family against those of their peers. At this stage all adolescents are unsure of themselves, sometimes terribly so. Each person has been dealt certain cards over which he or she has no control. However, each person has, starting in adolescence, increasing control over the choices he or she makes. This is what life is all about. This is the start of life for the individual. You begin to understand the cards you were dealt and consider the choices you have.
"Life at its start is profoundly unfair and always will be"
You get most of your values from your parents. If your parents are scumbags, then your values may be dodgy. Why are values important? Values speak to character, and character, in the long term, is everything. In the long term, you can only succeed with the cooperation and support of others, and that only happens if you have good character. Good character is made up of the right values combined with the self-discipline that creates integrity. Having good values but no self-discipline creates a life of remorse or excuses. The components that make up good character have not changed in two thousand years. In the last two thousand years, everything else has changed except for what is good character.
Good Character = Good Values + Self-Discipline
Most of the people in the world, whether they are actively religious or not, are taught values that have a basis in religion. Out of the 7.5 billion people in the world, about 2.2 billion are Christians, 1.6 billion are Muslims, 1 billion are Hindus, and 14 are million Jews. Eighty percent of the world population claim a religious affiliation.
Good character is important to inner peace. In life we all screw up from time to time. Nobody lives a perfect life. When we reflect on our own screw-ups, we must examine our motivation. If we were trying to do the right thing and it just got messed up, then it is easier to forgive ourselves and have inner resolution and, possibly, peace. However, if we know that our motivations were inconsistent with good character, then we will not have inner peace even when we are successful. Some people will point to others who are very successful but of poor character and say, "So what?" Such statements beg the question "What is the purpose of a life?" Good persons are individuals with the right values who also have the self-discipline to act consistently with their values.
If values create the vessel, then education fills the vessel. Education to a high level is very, very important, not only to the individual but also to creating a civil society. Depending where you grow up in the world, you may receive a lot of education or very little. Education is not just about learning stuff; it is also about developing the habits of studying, of thinking, and of analyzing critically. It is these habits in the individual that lead to progress. It is an abomination that in the United States many children do not get a good high school education. The harm that this does to the individual is only eclipsed by the harmful consequences to society that arise from this failure.
We all have a tribal identity, perhaps several tribal identities. Our core tribe is the family in which we are raised. Beyond that there is religion, race, community, state, and nation. Then there are sub-tribes, your profession, the company you work for, the political party you endorse, a sports team you follow. You are white, black, brown, or yellow. You are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or other. You are British, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, or a citizen of one of the 196 countries currently in existence. You are heterosexual or perhaps something else. Each individual has an identity either by circumstance or by choice or a combination of both. Most humans have strong belonging needs, so they want the acceptance that comes with these identities.
The stronger the demands of the tribe you belong to, the stronger the bond. Think of those you know who have been US Marines or Navy SEALs. It is a lifetime connection. Most Muslims feel the same way about Islam. The demands are great, but the followers welcome being led.
I could go on and on about how we self-identify, and how we carry suspicions and grudges from the past. It has a lot to do with what our parents transfer to us and how history is taught in schools. If you live in an advanced economy and are well educated, then you probably can place history in its proper place, the past. If you are poorer and uneducated, then all you probably have is your tribal identity and an awareness of all the wrongs perpetuated by your neighbors over the last several hundred years. These histories only recede when they are replaced by a better future, the rule of law, and a vested interest, namely, a middle class. As a world, we have many major impediments to peace and progress because of historical tribal hatred.
"Humanity is a collection of tribes."
Excerpted from Freedom to Argue by Dick Sim. Copyright © 2016 Dick Sim. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Human Reality, 1,
Chapter 2: Our Cup Overflows, 14,
Chapter 3: The 1 Percent, 31,
Chapter 4: The Mysteries of Islam, 40,
Chapter 5: The Curse of Oil, 51,
Chapter 6: We the People versus They the Government, 69,
Chapter 7: Immigration and Cultural Cohesiveness, 91,
Chapter 8: Ideas and Thoughts for Possible Solutions, 107,
End Notes, 117,