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Book Review: Wallis “Racism: America’s Original Sin”

America’s Original Sin (Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America)
Jim Wallis, Brazos Press, division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, 2016

Here’s one I find about just a few months after publication, rather than missing it for a year or more, as has been happening recently.
It’s a powerful title, aiming to answer the point I have noted ever since I first took notice of conservative Christian politics and preaching over three decades ago; that they focus on a lot of “sin”, but racism was always excluded (except to oppose liberal programs aimed at ameliorating the problem, as much as possible). And not that it’s just any other sin, but in fact our “original” sin, starting from the much heralded age many Christians believe was especially “Christian” or “godly”, and the “par” that all the sin of today is judged by.

It begins (The Preface) on the gruesome Charleston killings, which occurred right as he had just finished writing the book, which then became the perfect illustration of the problem being addressed.

He discusses how the title, “America’s original sin” was a term coined in a 1987 Sojourner’s magazine article. The language “helped me understand that the historical racism against America’s indigenous people and enslaved Africans was indeed a sin, and one upon which this country was founded. This helps to explain a lot, because if we are able to recognize that the sin still lingers, we can better understand issues before us today and deal with them more deeply, honestly and even spiritually—which is essential if we are to make progress toward real solutions.”
He wrote the book because “I believe truth-telling about America’s original sin of racism must not be left to people of color alone. Crossing the bridge to a new America will be a multiracial task and vocation”. When talking with black friends about the book, even their reaction to the statement “If white Christians acted more Christian than white, black parents would have less to fear for their children” were “Are you really going to say that”, “Oh my, what are white Christians going to say about that?”, “that’s going to stir things up”, and that he would need us to “have your back on this one”.

Chapter 1, gives his story about being a teenage in Detroit in the 60’s, and visiting the home of a black janitor on the job, and how they told their children that if they were lost and see a policeman, to duck and hide.
Gives a bit of history, like with ML King and the black church.

Next goes into “The Talk”. (That black parents have to give their children, about the danger of being confronted by the police. This is basically what the white NYC Mayor DeBlasio angered the police department by feeling the need to do with his own black (biracial) son. On one hand, they complain our “problem” is parents not teaching our kids anything, but when we show that we do, it apparently stirs up guilt, and they yet again claim to have some “race card” being played on them.”Damned if we do, damned if we don’t”. I think I’ve said, for me, this “talk” was not so much about the police directly, but rather some old white lady falsely accusing me of a crime).
He suggests the best way to change that old talk is to start a new talk, between white and black parents.

He discusses “Racism as a Faith Issue”, with 1 Cor. 12’s discussion of “parts of the Body”.
Next, in “The American Pilgrimage”, points out how colonialism and slavery became America’s greatest economic resource. “Therefore,our original racial diversity was a product of appalling human oppression based on greed” [emph. added]; a point that should never be forgotten, especially when tracing this to modern economic beliefs; i.e. why racially coded “dog whistling” and defense of capitalism always go hand in hand.

Chapter 2 deals with the “parables” of Ferguson and Baltimore. “It really said it all when the defense put up as a witness a white woman who had been robbed by a black man as an ‘explanation’ for why Zimmerman picked out Martin to follow and stalk”. You would think this would right away rule the person out as an “objective, unbiased” juror!

He also points out, from a report

Instead of focusing on protecting the public, the Ferguson Police Department’s mission was revenue generation—extracting money from the black residents of the town, using methods that were often legally questionable, sometimes outright unlawful, and certainly morally reprehensible. The report painstakingly reveals unconstitutional and consistently abusive policing aimed at balancing the city budget on the backs of its poorest citizens. The Ferguson police went beyond even racial profiling to direct racist targeting and exploitation for a profit, with city and police leadership apparently more concerned about “fill[ing] the revenue pipeline” than protecting public safety. The use of traffic stops, citations, court appearances, fines, and even arrests that overwhelmingly affected black residents revealed a profound contempt for black people, with repeated racial slurs and verbal abuse also reported by residents. Disgusting racist “jokes” even aimed at the president and first lady, circulated in the e-mails of police supervisors and court officials. One joked about a black mother getting a crime prevention award for having an abortion.

He concludes “when you get beyond the specific circumstances of the Brown shooting and look at the larger context of law enforcement in Ferguson, it’s impossible to disagree with Holder’s statement that ‘some of the protesters were right'”. This is the point missed by the “fact” crowd.

“The Ferguson parable also teaches us that racially biased criminal justice systems and practices don’t need ‘perfect victims’ to be wrong. Even if criminal suspects are guilty of crimes or are running away from the scene of a crime, this doesn’t excuse police officers for using lethal force when other methods might be used to deescalate conflict and still protect public safety. Even when force must be used, it does not always need to be deadly force, and seldom should be”.
(He mentions being in Ferguson when the Staten Island jury announced it would not bring criminal charges in the Eric Garner case, and cites Irving Kristol that the greatest problem is not with flat-out white racists, but with the far higher number who believe intellectually in racial equality but are oblivious to injustice around them and unquestioningly accept a system that disproportionately punishes blacks.

Next, chapter 3 “The Original Sin and Its Legacy”
White responses to the book he mentions are that standard “I/my family/ancestors never owned slaves”, or simply (the most common) “I am not a racist”, and asking what do “they” (black and brown people) want. Blacks would then give their experiences. “In my experience the motivation of black friends and colleagues isn’t to make white people feel guilty, to beat us up over our racial history, or to just complain about it. What I hear is deep concern for their children and for their future, and the reasonable expectation that white people not defend themselves from the past but join efforts to build a better multiracial future.” [emphasis added].

So he says “we” (he and white brothers and sisters) should look deeply into their inner selves, “which is a practice people of faith and moral conscience are rightly expected to do”. And to go deeper than individually overt forms to covert forms, especially in institutions and culture. This then gets into “white privilege”. “To benefit from oppression is to be responsible for changing it”. Issues of radicalized policing and the unjust criminal justice system as addressed by his black friends “matches their experience—experiences white people don’t have”. Yet,”When people of color speak the truth about the realities of race in our culture and politics, they are often accused of ‘playing the race card’. White racists accuse other white people of doing the same”.

“Many older, white conservative voters are acutely aware of being in a country that is becoming less white with each passing year. For some, a black president has become the symbol of the demographic changes they fear”. This leads to the gerrymandering of congressional districts along racial lines to protect majorities, and shutting down the government they believe to be too generous to minorities through Obamacare and food stamps.

He then mentions what he calls “the true meaning of sin and repentance”.
Now here’s what we’re waiting for, but doesn’t start on this right away, aside from a brief reference to the universality of sin in Romans 3. Sojourners actually hosted a premiere for the faith community of the film 12 Years a Slave, which he then discusses reaction to.

“Historically Systemic Racism”, discussing the reality beginning with the Native Americans, and continuing even with Asian Americans. A book published by Zondervan played upon a Kung Fu theme and was criticized as insensitive and had to be repackaged, and the company appointed a new editor in chief. “This was a genuine act of repentance on Zondervan’s part and a great example of how truly listening to people with different cultural and racial backgrounds can lead to changes in perspectives and actions”.

Regarding blacks, he goes into the economic “underclass”, and mentions how inequality is both caused by and can be measured by factors beyond mere dollars and cents, such as home-ownership, unemployment and education, and the criminal justice system. (He then mentions the LA Clippers owner incident).

Prejudice may indeed be a universal human sin that all races can exhibit, but racism is more than an inevitable consequence of human nature or social accident. Rather, racism is a system of oppression for social and economic purposes. As many analysts have suggested, racism is prejudice plus power.
In the United States, the original purpose of racism was to justify slavery and its enormous economic benefit. This particular form of racism, inherited from the English to justify their own slave trade, was especially venal, for it defined the slave not merely as an unfortunate victim of bad circumstances, war, or social dislocation, but rather as less human, as a thing, an animal, a piece of “chattel” property yo be bought, sold, used and abused.

(This is a point that needs to be reminded to those who insist “Africans enslaved and sold each other to the West”).
“The professed high ideals of AngloWestern society could be allowed to exist side by side with the profitable institution of slavery only if the humanity of the slave was denied and disregarded”. That’s what it was all about. (And in today’s criminal justice system, many still feel like “three-fifths of a person”, as he points out).

What follows is more examples of systemic injustice,  especially economic.

Then, he addresses “The First Black President”, which of course leads people to ask “what racism?” and feel American has finally reached the amazing milestone of the end of racism. Yet “the far-right wing in America never supported racial equality”, voting against the Civil Rights and Voting acts, “and most have never repented of it”, with the loudest voices of right-wing talk radio and cable television appealing to the core, with subtle and not-so subtle racial appeals (i.e. “dog whistling”).

We see so many racial subtexts in the intensity of the attacks on Obama—not in the disagreements per se but in the viciousness of the rhetoric. Racism shows itself in disrespect, and many African American  citizens feel that the first black president has been widely disrespected. They see it in the disrespect shown a black president by white members of Congress, many from the South. They see it in the “birthers” movement, who try to stir up doubts about Obama’s citizenship. Questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace and parentage, calling him a Muslim and naming him as a “foreigner” and not a “real  American” are all ways to define this president as “the other” and not one of “us”. The hatred goes far beyond his policies and extends to his very person as the wrong kind of American. Obama shows them that they are losing national elections, and they fear that means losing “their” country. [emphasis added]

This is the subtle dynamic that the people are not even aware of in themselves. The aim, to make him other“; “not us (recall “He’s not MY president!“; the focus on “MY”), but since “racism” has been publicly condemned, they have to put it on his “policies” instead. But they never did this with any other president whose policies they merely didn’t like.

He next discusses challenging Franklin Graham for lecturing on how police shootings can be avoided, by simple “respect for authority and obedience”. Just do what they tell you. This of course ignores all the times the person wasn’t resisting, and still got shot. (And again, negates the existence of “The Talk”). An open letter written by black evangelical leaders offered “forgiveness” for his “sin” of “insensitivity”. “Your instructions oversimplified a complex and critical problem facing the nation and minimized the testimonies and wisdom of people of color and experts of every hue, including six police commissioners that served on the president’s task force of policing reforms”. (IIRC, it doesn’t even say he ever responded or acknowledged it).

Getting Serious: Calling out the “sin” (idolatry) and the call for Repentance

This now leads finally to the subject of “repentance”.”In spiritual and biblical terms, racism must be named as a perverse sin that cuts to the core of the gospel message. Put simply, racism negates the reason for which Christ died—the reconciling work of the cross, first to God, then to one another. It denies the purpose of the church: to bring together, in Christ, those who have been divided from one another—particularly, in the early church’s case, Jew and Gentile—a division based on racial ethnicity, culture and religion.
There is only one remedy for such a sin, and that is repentance. If genuine, it will always bear fruit in concrete forms of conversion and changed behavior, with both rejections and reversals of racism”, which “white America has yet to recognize the extent of, especially institutionally…and have yet to fully repent of our racial sins” (which are tied to the “economic, social and political purposes still served by the oppression of black and brown people”, and thus responsible for the fact that “systemic racism continues to shadow American life”.

This now leads to chapter 4, “Repentance Means More Than Just Saying You’re Sorry”. He now gives out biblical examples of repentance, starting with Ezekiel 14:6, 18:30, 33:11 and references to other prophets Isaiah 45:22, 1:16-17 and Joel 2:12-13.

He points out how in many churches, especially evangelical ones “repentance was more related to an acceptance of doctrine than to a change of behavior. Often only internal sins—mostly private and sexual sins—were involved. I gained little knowledge from my home church in Detroit about how my Christian faith leads me to behave in the world (other than to abstain from sex). Repentance would never have been applied to the racism and racial conflicts going on in Detroit that the whole world would learn about in the Detroit ‘riots’ of 1967. To that monumental social uprising, my church was clueless about our response as Christians, so it just reacted in the ways most white Detroiters did—with fear, condemnation, and a complete lack of empathy”. He then cites N.T. Wright on “the tendency to focus on personal sins”, where the phrase “repent and believe the gospel” to Josephus meant “give up your agendas and trust me for mine”.

Next is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and that if the sins we repent of are just “general” and not “concrete”, then the Church will “have no credibility when it talks about its faith, forgiveness and salvation”. The failure to see the “stern reality” of racism in the US, indeed, is when white churches in America lost their credence. (And Wallis wonders if this was what was on Bonhoeffer’s mind as an example of what he was trying to say).

He next mentions James Cone’s God of the Oppressed (and who had also done Malcolm and Martin in America, which is one of my all time favorite books), and mentions the need to “die to whiteness”, which is to “be reborn”, which is “the biblical language of repentance and conversion.

This is all true in a large sense, but is an area that raises questions for me. He also says speaks of  repentance, in light of the race issue, as “a transformation so fundamental that Jesus would later refer to it as a ‘new birth’ (John 3:3-8)”

He cites Wright on “the real meaning of repentance”, a turning away from patterns of life which “deface and distort our genuine humanness”. “Sin” is then defined “not as breaking the rules”, but as “missing the mark”, which is “failing to hit the target of complete, genuine, glorious humanness”.

Soon is the section on “The Hard Work of Repentance”, which features Karl Barth, and Reinhold Niebuhr, who wrote “it is suggested that repentance is the beginning of redemption, even that it is synonymous with redemption”.  So “all this suggests that repentance isn’t possible until we name the sin to be repented of. Admitting, naming and confessing sin is the first step in repentance. The sin of white racism must be named, directly and publicly, especially by white people, for the process of genuine repentance to begin. Just saying sorry won’t be enough.”

Again, “From a religious perspective, racism is also a sin against God, who requires fairness for all God’s children, and even against oneself, as it is contrary to the image of God in which we are created and hinders us from becoming fully human, conformed to the fullness of Christ (Eph.4:13). Quite simply, this American sin must be repented of and turned from; and the American faith community cannot rest until that repentance is done”. [emphasis added]

Next is chapter 5 “Dying to Whiteness”, which touches upon some of what Lopez and Wise touched upon, regarding “ethnicity”. They started out as their different national ethnicities (English, Italian, etc.), but became “white” when they arrived in America, “which in reality was merely a social and political construction, created to supply the ideology and justification for slavery and racial oppression. Because if you were ‘white’ in America, it meant you were not ‘black’ or ‘brown’ or ‘yellow’.” He reiterates “To put it bluntly, racial ideologies had to be created to cover up greed”, by denying the people’s humanity. Prior to English slavery, categories of “white” versus “colored” did not exist. (I can see someone out there pointing to the Bible’s mention of “the Ethiopian’s skin” (Jeremiah 13:23), but all this shows was that the Ethiopian’s skin was notably different, in being particularly dark [of course]. It does not establish any “white vs colored” dichotomy, nor suggest that the Israelites the OT was written by and to, were “white”, let alone, any supposed “curse” or “inferiority”).

Next, we continue with history, “after Slavery”, and come back to the present, with figures like Limbaugh and others, who “regularly say or write things that suggest they truly believe whites are superior to other races”. Examples are Limbaugh’s “they are angry. And they want to use their power as a means of retribution”, and a Florida State professor who claimed Obama has single-handedly turned America into a “Ghetto Culture”. He then acknowledges that “The approach that ‘we are all racists and need to repent’ is neither good theology nor honest history” (being that “racism” is “prejudice plus power”. I myself believe the term can hold for any individual who is “prejudiced”. Still, some blacks I’ve seen go too far, with the “all whites are guilty, just for being white”, which is the same generalization that drives racism against us. They may benefit from the “privilege”, but the whole concept of “racism/ist suggests a more active prejudice that not all are guilty of).

He then discusses that it’s “idolatry”. “It give us an identity that is false, one filled with wrongful pride, one that perpetuates both injustice and oppression. Whiteness is an idol of lies, arrogance, and violence.” The idol blinds us to out true identity as God’s children, which are of every color, and to believe otherwise is to “separate ourselves from God and the majority of God’s children on this planet who are people of color” (then quoting Gen.1:27-28). Also mentioned is that “all humans being are to have dominion over the earth and all its other creatures. But they are not to have dominion over one another” [emph. added] (which is “against the very meaning of creation”, and “dominion” really means “not to dominate”, but to “serve and be good stewards of” the earth. So “Any notion of white supremacy and domination of other people is nothing less than a denial of God’s creation and its stated purpose”. Quoted is a Washington Post article talking about the “spiritual “lie” that blacks and other people of color are less human, and, as a result, “have less character, capacity, and calling to steward and lead” (which we hear more and more these days, especially with the ascendancy of the “alt-right”), and that whites are “more like God than others—uniquely equipped and called to exercise dominion on American soil” (which is the virtual insinuation of much conservative rhetoric).

He next addressed “I’m Not A Racist”, Am I”, which is “the wrong question”, as it’s not an individual matter, but rather a social and structural one. After that, is “Implicit Bias”, with its well known visual tests. He says along the way, “We must get to the place where racism and our response to it are not identified as liberal or conservative issues”.
Next is “I Am a Beneficiary of Affirmative Action”, where he discusses how his family and many others benefited from :The US government’s biggest affirmative program so far, the GI Bill, which were often written under Southern auspices and local white officials, deliberately designed to accommodate Jim Crow. Also mentioned is discriminatory housing practices and policies. “To refuse to admit that the white families of my generation were beneficiaries of affirmative action—and then for these same white people to complain about the affirmative action blacks would later receive—is nothing but complete and utter hypocrisy“.

He quoted Robert Jensen on “rugged individualism”, that people have complete control over their fate (which you would think conservative Christians would reject as denying Christ and encouraging “human pride”, but when it comes to economics, they have bought into it completely and become one of its main foot-soldiers!)
In “White Fragility”, we get an interesting point that “White people tend to see racism as an individual issue, about good and bad behavior by moral or immoral people. And because most white people don’t think we are ‘bad’ or ‘immoral’, and certainly not deliberately ‘racist’, racism can’t be applied to us”. (emphasis added; see also https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/humanitys-biggest-pitfall-merit/#comment-3953). Citing someone else “And the thing is, it feels good. Even though it contradicts our most basic principles and values. So we know it, but we can never admit it. It creates this kind of dangerous internal stew that gets enacted externally in our interactions with people of color…”. (I have been pointing this out, or at least men to, more).

In “What Color are the Children of God”, he mentions “color-blindness”, which is not the answer “as many suggest”. God created the diversity, so it is important.

In Chapter 6 “A Segregated Church or a Beloved Community”, he discussed “the Most Segregated Hour of the Week” (11:00 Sunday morning, from ML King):
“The Biblical Narrative: From Genesis to Revelation” discusses “the movement toward inclusion” that started “at the beginning of biblical history”, with man being created “in the image of God”, and mentions the secular theory of human civilization beginning in Africa and the skin color developing in different climates. He says “sin” entered [“in what Christian tradition calls ‘the fall'”] “When humans sought to have dominion—or domination—over one another, even over creation itself. Choosing not to trust God, we decided to trust ourselves instead”. I would say choosing to trust ourselves came first (manifest in their trying to hide), and the “dominion” emanated from that. It was basically “conquer and rule them before they conquer and rule (and perhaps destroy) you”. “Nature” now took over, and man lost his “integrity”.

This then leads into a treatment of the Bible and its diversity, including treatment of “strangers”. The Church’s mission of erasing the line between “Jew and Gentile” is considered “racial integration” as “an original mission of the first disciples of Jesus”. (Xenophobes might appeal to God’s frequent condemnation of mixing with “heathens”, but have ignored that if they converted, they would be allowed into the nation with full privileges; so the issue was obviously not “racial”. It’s amazing that you had fundamentalists schools, who in the name of “Biblical separation” [2 Cor.6:4] practice racial segregation. But if everyone in the schools was [presumably, or at least as far as anyone knew] Christian, then that scripture didn’t apply to them. Of course, they get angry at the rest of evangelicalism for not listening to them on the issue of ecclesiastical “separation”, which they may have had more of a biblical justification for).

He along the way mentions how:
•”whites often believe they are cultureless”
•”there is no otherworldly heavenly culture and certainly no superior human cultural identity in God’s reign”
•”the sociology of many white communities shapes the theology of their churches, making them ‘conformed to the world’ and disobedient to the gospel”.

He then discusses King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, and how there was no clergy response until the 50th anniversary of the letter.

In “A Future Multiracial Church”, he makes the great statement

For a very long time, white evangelicalism has been simply wrong on the issue of race. Indeed, conservative white Christians have served as a bastion of racial segregation and a bulwark against racial justice efforts for decades, in the South and throughout the country. During the Civil Rights struggle, the vast majority of white evangelicals and their churches were on the wrong side—the wrong side of the truth, the Bible and the gospel.
Ever since, when evangelical Christians gathered to draw up their theological concerns, the sin of white racism was nowhere to be found. In recent years, when conservative white Christians began to construct their political agendas, a recognition of racism’s reality was absent from the issues list of abortion, homosexuality, tax cuts for the middle class, and yes, opposition to affirmative action.

(Emphasis added. He then acknowledges that some of this seems to be changing, like in the NAE’s confession of the sin of racism. There was also, notably the SBC, years ago. And as was pointed out by Horton Beyond Culture Wars, which before this, contained the strongest rebuke of racism in the Church I had seen; that “We have never repented of that silence [regarding racism] as a body”, pointing to how the church in South Africa finally came around an named apartheid “sin”, as “only the Church could”, and that we should not have expected the world to take us seriously in these matters, when we were “proven bigots even when morality was not the issue”).

A Problem I See (Liberal vs Conservative handling of scripture)

All of this is what I’ve wanted to see from the Church for 30 years. It’s the first time I’ve seen a really strong message of “repentance” from the “religious left”. When you think of that term, you think of the opposite movement, fiery conservatives, especially the perennial “fire and brimstone preaching, Bible-thumping fundamentalists”. Or at least the Grahams, who are the more popularly familiar representatives of “fundamentalism”, though seen as already having softened and “compromised” from the old ways, even decried as “no longer preaching Hell”, by the more “old-line” fundamentalists Graham senior began drifting away from in the 50’s, when what became more properly, “new evangelicalism” began splitting off into its own category.

These more conservative types then also respond in an actual reversal, accusing this message of being “legalistic”. You would think the more “liberal” or “moderate” would be the ones putting down “works” in going against conservative “moralism” or “pietism”. The tables have completely turned!
But they actually do have a point. Especially what I’ve displayed in blue, above: “Dying to whiteness” being connected to being “reborn” and the “new birth”. Somewhat related, is “the Fall” in which “sin entered” being defined by “dominion”, and defining Christ’s death itself, and the purpose of the Church, purely by  racial “reconciliation”.

I had for the whole 30+ years been aware of conservative ideology (even before becoming a Christian), because it is what gets preached the loudest. This included hearing their frequent criticisms of “liberal” (whether political or religious) belief. And now I can see some of what they were talking about. To them, it all gets lumped in with a generalization that the liberals “reject the Bible”. So of course, “the gospel”, and its theme of “sin and salvation”, get “redefined” into some “liberal agenda”, such as a “social gospel”. Whatever the liberals say about race, using these principles, then gets readily, “safely” dismissed as “anti-scriptural”, and they go on with their beliefs, feeling completely unchallenged and unrefuted.

Also, skewing the purpose of creation or the Cross only adds to the conservative deflection. This criticism of racism starts with “All men are in God’s image”, but racism didn’t start and become entrenched in the Church because people forgot that point in scripture. They had OTHER scriptures, which they believed qualified “God’s image”. Man was created in God’s image, but didn’t remain “good” like that, but rather FELL into sin. That “image” was then “marred” into “evil”! (This is what conservatives will then use to claim liberals and “modernists” reject scripture, believing all men are “good”, or at least not “taking seriously” the universal nature of sin). God then “chose” certain peoples out of this, for His Plan.
This is where they themselves then begin going off track, and essentially overriding the universal Fall they so loudly preached at others. They surmise that the “chosen” make a good “race” (where the effects of the Fall are at least, ideally reversed), and then go further to insist some people are even further “cursed”. So you end up with “good” people vs “bad” people every bit as much as what a liberal or non-Christian who doesn’t believe in the Fall might believe in; only the conservative gets to pose with the Bible, which they hold up as making them “right” and having God’s “Truth”

I now have gone in a totally different way, of the “Fulfilled view”, which may on the surface seem like “universalism”, and thus another kind of “liberalism”. But the difference, is as writer Tim King pointed out, is maintaining “the covenantal framework of biblical eschatology”, with “the concept of salvation[‘s] Hebraic roots, the victory of God…and Christ as the central figure in the victory of God”. (Rather than “The victory of God reinterpreted through the lens of human worth and Christ removed as the central figure in the victory of God”)
Even here in Wallis, we can see, subtly, man, or human endeavors such as [racial] “reconciliation” being made the central focus of both “creation” itself, as well as the Cross; precisely as conservatives charge.

However, to conservatives, in practice, the focus is “moral” reformation, which is really just a different aspect of the same thing the liberals are focusing on. In fact, both positions deal with “morals”, (and both thus become “man-centered”); the difference is in which commandments they focus on in defining them. To conservatives, the Fall generally was all about an “act” of “disobedience” from basically, an apparently random command, perhaps just a “test”; to which God then retaliated by cutting man off, and cursing the formerly “good” world into a corrupt universe of pain and violence, followed by an even worse “Hell” when we die. The Gospel, to many, would be the means where our slate could be cleaned by “believing in Christ”, but this becomes in practice something we must “give back” to God, in order to have the debt forgiven (give up this world to gain entrance to the new one), or at least “show” (prove) we were “really” converted. “New birth” ends up meaning new behavior, which of course, becomes their focus on the “personal” sins (rather then collective ones like racism). So conservatives should realize, if they want to criticize liberals on this, they essentially got it from the same earlier (and more conservative) expression of the faith that conservatives got it from!

Yet neither approach is right. Both racism, as well as sexual sin and the rest of the so-called “sins of the flesh” that one segment or another of the church focuses on, violate the [divine] Law, which defines and condemns “transgressions” of it, which are “sin”. Between “Right” and “Left”, each side just chooses its most important issues, and then makes them issues of “conversion”.
But it’s still lopsided so that we’re probably also not accustomed to seeing racism as an issue or “repentance”, like the familiar “personal” sins. (But for one thing, racism is “personal, for it is something you can adopt and have in your heart, and no one can make you adopt it, or repent of it for you). James 2 addresses precisely this mindset. That if you refrain from sexual immorality yet commit murder, you have still broken God’s Law! (Racial ideology and the resulting tensions have certainly become murderous, both spiritually, as well as often literally!) Now “the world” believes the opposite— that murder is wrong but fornication is OK. Yet James is addressing the “religious” (those who uphold “God and His Law”), who have tended to think sexual sin is the worst!

So to address this, the Fall resulted from man taking upon himself something specific: knowledge of good and evil. (Gen.3:4-22). This then led men to establish a sense of “give and take”, and then often cheat and violate it, for the sake of raw “survival”. So they would feel the need, as stated, to rise up and conquer each other.

“Sin” is “breaking the rules” (1 John 3:4), which is what defines “missing the mark”. (Rom. 3:20, 7:7). Both are true, and there is no conflict. Christ is the one who imputes His righteousness to us, so that we don’t “miss the mark”, even in spite of our inability to hit it on our own. (This explains many passages that speak of “not sinning” or that those charged with sins “will not enter the Kingdom”. Either one was “covered” or they weren’t.
To make “complete, genuine, glorious humanness” into “the target” is to make man the measure. If this is from defining this human ideal by God’s desire for us, then it’s better to just put it that way, where it’s clear that He is the standard.

From here, it should also be pointed out, that the reason the Gospel is grace and not works is because so many things we do violate the Law, and would amount to lack of “conversion” and “new birth” if consistent.
So the reason to not be racist is love, which fulfills the Law; not to fulfill “conversion” (as if for its own sake), or just some human standard.

The “Reconciliation” Christ came to establish is between man and God. (Romans 5:10-1, 1 Cor. 5:18, Col.1:21-2, Eph.2:16). The reason why there was a distinction between “Jew and Gentile” in the first place, is because God, in working out the Plan leading up to Christ, chose one group of people to spread His Word through. That of course, didn’t really work, but rather “wrote the lesson” into how more Law (more “knowledge of good and evil”, actually) was not the solution to man’s problem (as he often assumes). Of course, this was to be eliminated by the “reconciliation” Christ brought (which would also eliminate any separation between all races and thus support racial reconciliation), but unfortunately, what happened, is that the Church (after the apostolic age) ended up “spiritualizing” this distinction into “the Church vs the World”, with “Church” as the “New Israel” (the “true Jews”, according to Rom.2:29), and the “world” as the new “heathens” (which it had already defaulted to anyway). That appeared to conform to the Gospel, in eliminating a hard ethnic division. Jews would now become alienated from God if they rejected Christ, and they could remain that way, while gentiles could accept the Gospel and be reconciled.

This was taught by the New Testament, but to make a long discussion short, was to be temporary, but has created all the problems we see in the religious world, by being extended over the centuries, with the Church (now beyond the period of supernatural apostolic guidance) reshaping itself, either “still waiting” for the Kingdom, or at times, teaching that the Church itself was the Kingdom.
So from there, the “spiritual” categories actually ended up becoming ethnic all over again, as Western nations, which “accepted” the “Gospel” (as taught by the large institutional Church), were assumed to be the “New Israel”, with everyone automatically born into “the faith” (precisely what Paul taught so much against, and assuming the parents and the rest of the environment taught ti to them properly), and also, whose mission was again, like Israel under Joshua, to “conquer” the “heathens” in order to “spread the Gospel” (and also, the spoils of conquest being the “reward” for “the elect”).
And so that brings us back to what was mentioned earlier, the “black vs white” distinction created, to justify this, or basically back it up, in case people’s underlying conscience was correct, and it proved not to be so “biblical” after all.

It is true, however, that if conservatives were consistent with their “dying to the old man” emphasis, then according to scripture, this would be “dying to whiteness”. That would actually be “the flesh“, that has been taken overly literally as the physical body and its “desires” (especially sexual, but also including the other commonly mentioned ones, such as what leads to gluttony, sloth, anger, etc.) But “flesh” in Paul’s usage meant physical inheritance, assumed to be what made one a “child of God”, and which of course, would include physical “skin color”.
But none of them ever seem to see it that way. (They do have black preachers telling people of an Afro-centric mindset that they must “choose Christ over their culture”, and of course this is also behind the condemnation of various music styles by the old-line fundamentalists, in favor of traditional hymns only. [Another area the more moderate I feel should have been more strong in responding to]. In each case, “traditional Western/white Christian culture” is always the “sacred culture” [proven by its “exceptionality”] that one must adopt as the “new life”, while everything else is assumed to the the “old life” people need to give up. The “colorblind” will say it’s not the physical “skin”, but rather the “culture” itself, but they still miss the point that human culture in itself, even if it did convey the whole truth of the Gospel, cannot justify anyone, and this they should know, as every evangelical tract and sermon points out that you cannot be saved by the righteousness of your family).

So again, when it comes to the “active” aspect of “repentance”, we see this liberal position equal, or even possibly topping the conservative one!
I’ve elsewhere been discussing a lot “behavior change” as a mandate that often, at least in practice, is used to determine “true conversion” or basically, “salvation”. And coming from conservative teachers, it usually is the “personal” sins, often greatly focused in the sexual area. Even down to our “thought life”, based on the Sermon on the Mount.
But if it’s wrong to stake one’s “walk” on “personal” sins, then it’s also wrong to do the same for racism, and focusing on all the “works” repentance requires. It leads to them dismissing this message as “just more liberal agenda”, contrary to the Gospel by virtue of denying “Grace”. Of course, they don’t see the strict sexual and other rules that way. They are more likely to see them as “God’s work”, now telling us at that point about how it all depends on our “dying to self daily”, which they then admit is “hard”, to the point of being “The Cross”. They never make the extension of this to racism. It just doesn’t figure.

But it is just about as strict as any generations ago conservative message of personal “morality” (and “personal sins”-based political public morality).

Also, while its nice to see the use of scripture in opposition to the “conservative” assumptions, I believe that being scriptural includes “tearing down” (2 Cor.10:5) the wrong use of scripture, not just ignoring it and assuming that pitting new proof-texts against this automatically refutes them. (Often, when this is done in debates, the other side is accused of simply “making scripture contradict scripture”. You have to show how one set of texts works with the first set, in harmony. but liberals and moderates are trying not to be too confrontational. From what I see, both in religion and politics, this is what allows the stronger arguers to sway the most minds to their view. then, we wake up to this monster before us, such as all the racial issues, and now, even the political candidate, and those following him, coming out of the woodwork all boldly).

So to really address racism, we must start at its theological source. For that is what the conservative drives his beliefs on (even if erroneously). Gen.9 I’ve never seen addressed by anyone. Even the author of Sword of the Lord, chronicling the racism of the IFB “fundamentalist” movement he saw growing up, granted the proper reading of this scripture as “God cursed Canaan” (which then was assumed to spread to the entire black race). As I pointed out in the review of that book (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/review-the-sword-of-the-lord), the issue was made that you either accept the “divine curse” on “the [uncle of, essentially] the black race” as “the literal reading of the Bible”, or you accept “modernism” so that all men can be “equal” (And thus can be dismissed as “rejecting the Bible”). This passage [to them] effectively overrode “all men” being in “God’s image”, so that you could reject that with “scriptural” sanction. Either it was true or it should be able to be shown from scripture that they were reading it wrong.

To address this “curse”; if you actually read the account; God never said “cursed be Canaan”! None of verses 25-27 are God’s words! V.24 says “and Noah awoke from his wine; and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he [NOAH!] said “cursed be Cannan. A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren…And God shall enlarge [margin “persuade“] Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant”. Not only is this not some universal curse that God had placed; still, there is nothing to even suggest that this has anything to do with descendants (even such as being the cause of their later sins and judgment), and that this goes anywhere beyond just the literal brothers! (And that assuming that God even honored it; which is not mentioned! God certainly would not be “honoring” it millennia later on distant descendants who moved to other continents; with perhaps all races having some Cannanite blood in them by then! And even if He did; why would this even get past the Cross; which ended such things?
Yet for centuries now, the actions of “Christian” civilizations and racist laws have been justified by these things; thus bringing a mountain of disrepute onto the Bible and God! All based on a complete failure to even read the simple context of the passage and its pronouns right! And they got mad at the modern society or church’s “biblical illiteracy”! “Search the Scriptures, for in THEM you think you have eternal life”, Christ warned in John 5:39. Their real significance: “they are they which testify of ME“. All the proof-texting in the world doesn’t do any good, when you interpret it in self-glorifying ways, and lose sight of what or WHO the revelation is all about!)

The current leaders of that movement have all shied away from that interpretation of Genesis, now following the rest of conservativism is denouncing “the race card”, yet still holding “dog-whistle” beliefs that something is just wrong with black people. (And still deflecting or “isolating and splitting” the charges of racism. Many years ago, I saw in one of leading creationist Henry Morris books the blaming of racism on his particular foe, evolutionism. Recently seeing an online copy of the February Sword of the Lord magazine, I see an ad for a book (Lawwell) saying the same thing (in addition to euthanasia, genocide and abortion). So this is probably now the official narrative of fundamentalism on the problem of racism. Evolutionists created it in teaching blacks hadn’t evolved as much as whites and perhaps others. While it’s true many people did believe that, you cannot erase the religious origins of the doctrine, from that “godly” past “Christian” civilization, long before Darwin, and from the same Bible book (Genesis) Creationism fights evolutionism over).

So now, in “colorblind” fashion, they substitute “culture”, as if it is incidental and not inbred. But the original basis is still Gen.9, which they have probably never heard refuted, and rather than focus on the “curse” on the blacks, they instead look the opposite way, focusing on the “exceptionality” of the traditional white Western cultures, particularly America (which we have of course “turned away from” in adopting multiculturalism and different “moral” standards).

In a similar issue, apparently [I had not heard this yet] “several universities and science institutes suggested earlier in August that billions of years ago Venus might have once supported life”
 
So I recently read that today’s leading “Creationist”, Ken Ham’s response to this is “Since Earth, not Venus (or any other planet), was designed to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), our presupposition implies that we wouldn’t expect to find life on Venus in the past or the present,” Ham argued in a blog post on Answers in Genesis.
http://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-ham-scientists-wrong-about-life-on-venus-bible-only-shows-life-on-earth-168647
 
Isaiah 45:18 God “fashioned and made the earth…he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited”
This says nothing about ONLY earth is to be inhabited. But this is the way they read scripture, completely sure it is an absolute statement of their belief, and others are “willfully ignorant” of it.
 
The other argument is that there can’t be any other life, because “death” then would be unrelated to Adam, and they wouldn’t have a savior. Clearly, the plan of salvation, from Adam to Jesus is clearly for God’s creation on earth, and to say He couldn’t have created anything anywhere else with a separate divine Plan is to limit Him to us. It makes us the center of His existence, which they would criticize otherwise (like in modern worship).
 
But the liberals who don’t accept young earth literal creation don’t seem to ever point out how these proof texts don’t actually prove what they’re claiming they do.

The rest of the book: calls to action

Chapter 7, “From Warriors to Guardians” he starts off with Plato’s Republic, which is basically the source of the David Keirsey “temperaments” in the popular MBTI “16 types” theory. The four types of people essential to the ideal state were the “Artisan”, “Idealist”, “Rational” [not mentioned] and finally, the “Guardian“. In Keirsey’s mapping to type, this correlates into the “_S_J” types, which in translation back to the Jungian functions (which Keirsey rejected, but most of us use both theories together), represents the “introverted Sensing” types (or the classic “Melancholic” temperament, in the area of leadership, responsibilities, and by extension, action). This is those who focus on the tangible world more than the world of abstract ideas, but draw upon individual reflection more than cemergent sensations, and thus like familiarity and “guard” what is “tried and true”, and authorized.
Of course, this archetype is not just a [presumably inborn] temperament, but also a classic “role” anyone can play (which is basically what makes an “archetype”). Another archetype and classic role is the “Warrior“. This one did not become a temperament in the 16 types, but does likely correspond to what Jungian type theorist John Beebe calls the “Opposing Personality Complex”. It basically shadows the “dominant” ego state, and becomes associated with the dominant function (sensing, intuition, thinking or feeling), but in the opposite orientation (introverted or extraverted. The female counterpart of the Warrior is generally the “Amazon”. Also, having finished Wallis, I got Beebe’s new book, and reading that now!) This will then be what the ego uses to fight off obstructions to its agenda.

The point of Wallis’ chapter is how police end up becoming “warriors” instead of “guardians”, which causes a lot of the problems we have in racially driven policing. One section is “Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter”. (Many people find it insensitive to respond to “Black Lives Matter” with some other category of “lives” that “matter”. Which has usually been “All”, but then police and their supporters came up with the concept of “Blue Lives”. Which is not even really accurate, because that’s a job, with a uniform color, that you take off when your shift is over, not a skin color that you are born—and die—in. So the point of BLM is that yes, all lives matter; black, white, and blue, but black lives are the ones that have in practice not mattered).
He also goes into the actual points of discrimination, “The Clear Data on Racialized Stops, Arrests, Sentences, Incarcerations, and Recidivism” and quotes someone making the much needed point that there is no evidence that young men of color drive faster, so why should they be pulled over more? It’s obviously “profiling”. He concludes that section on “a broken justice and mass incarceration system that is not ‘reforming’ or ‘correcting’ those whom it imprisons, much less empowering them with the basic life skills they need to succeed when they return to society” .
Remaining sections are “Establishing Trust”, “Community Policing” and “School to Prison Pipeline” and concludes the chapter on 14 points in “Lessons and Solutions”.

Chapter 8 is “The New Jim Crow and Restorative Justice, which of course mentions Michelle Alexander, author of the book The New Jim Crow (see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/review-the-new-jim-crow). He says “Alexander’s historic work has caused many of us to wake up to this twenty-first century caste system”.
In “restorative justice”, he cites Howard Zehr, “the grandfather of restorative justice”, and contrasts the different understandings of wrongdoing and our reaction to it. Basically, instead of just creating “guilt” for “violation of the law and the state”, and focusing on giving offenders “what they deserve”, restorative justice is focused on violations of “people and obligations”. So the “focus” is victim needs and offender responsibility for repairing harm. This should be familiar from the Old Testament commandments for the punishment of many violations of other people. Of course, that’s “the Law” (the same one that “Grace” counters), and yet, even the OT Law had more restorative “grace” than the cold system of today’s punitive justice, which I’ve long though is just “disposing” of criminals (and often those who so much as cannot afford bail). Just this morning, I run across this http://www.suggest.com/lifestyle/1534852/ex-cons-share-their-craziest-experiences-while-locked-up on Facebook. All that goes on in prisons among inmates is the same crime of the streets [and worse, like the same sex rape] that put them there in the first place. That’s not “reform”; it’s actually perpetuating criminal atmosphere. So of course they’re going to do the same if or when they get out, and it just feeds into the conservative dog whistle of “pathological black culture”.

Chapter 9 goes more into “Welcoming the Stranger”, regarding the immigration debate. It’s pointed out that immigrants are the ones who are “growing the churches”. This then leads to the subject of chapter 10 “crossing the bridge to a New America”. This is what conservatives are afraid of, and the crossing of the bridge at Selma is used as the precedent for this.

Another thing I would still like to see, is someone drive the point home on how fearing a demographic change totally contradicts the standard conservative Christian teaching that this world ultimately doesn’t matter; only Heaven ultimately does. This has been used to pacify others, including blacks, and even other sufferers of things in life. But if “God’s peace” can make us “content” in suffering oppression or financial or even physical ailments, then why is whites becoming a minority in 50 years when you likely won’t even still be here something that needs to be worried about and fought against? And that’s not even taking into account the whole “futurist” eschatology that says Christ is coming back “soon” (with all the decay of morality in this country, as well as the election of people like Obama or the Clintons as proof that this time, it really is before us). So if we’re all “falling away” just as the prophecy said (which would include the admission of so many “heathens” into the nation, including the Muslims supposedly intent on destroying us), and this is the prerequisite to Christ returning, then why are you fighting it, and not as Christ’s soldiers following His direct orders, but rather as scared humans fighting for identity, which is what everyone else is told they need to “give up for Christ”? This is really what needs to be highlighted, else, all of this will just pass right over them.

“The New Talk” of this “New America” is to take place in “schools”, “sports” and “congregations”. Along the way, a point is mentioned “Often, in the liberal white world, comments like this are made: ‘My son’s teacher is African American, and she is really good!’ The ‘and’ is often a code word for ‘but’, and implies levels of expectation. Recall how many times you have heard admired blacks talked about as ‘articulate’, implying that most blacks aren’t, or as ‘clean’ and ‘smart’, as Barack Obama was described by some when he was first running for president.”

The book closes on “Walking While We Talk”, meaning “doing and not just talking” in crossing the bridge into a new America.
(Here, we can see how the more liberal or moderate viewpoint, which can be embodied in an “Idealist” role, represented by _NF_ types, and particularly NFP, which is defined by “introverted Feeling with extraverted iNtuition”, has another side to it, which can be seen as its “shadow”, which resembles the conservatives they are arguing against. Introverted Feeling is an internal assessment of “good” or human want or need by “empathy”, or putting yourself in another person’s shoes, and then responding to them accordingly. It yields the most “responsive” or “people-focused” types or classic temperament combinations. It’s coupled with the taking in of more “conceptual” data from the environment, which leads to envisioning possibilities of what the Feeling judgment can be applied. However, introverted Feeling is reflected by the diametric extraverted Thinking which drives the purely “directive” or “task focused” temperaments or viewpoints, in which we often see the cold conservative rhetoric of “facts”, “objectivity”, “instilling the fear of God in society”, and “rugged individualism” and its “bootstraps” claims, and the charge for the sufferers to “stop whining”, and that the rich and powerful are more “deserving”, and should rule, however unequally over others they possibly can.
So in this liberal manifestation, where Thinking backs up the preferred Feeling judgment, we see it nevertheless come out as strong commands for action, and even defining “conversion” by it, much like the opposite side. It then explains why liberalism often becomes “authoritarian” when implementing their otherwise good-intentioned ideals).

So even though I believe it could be stronger in a couple of areas, this is a good and much needed read for the Church, and a perfect companion for all the other books on race coming out int he secular arena.

Hatred: A much misunderstood term

In the entire history of the race issue in America, what’s always preached against is “hate” (the opposite being “love”, of course). Naturally, when you conjure up images of Civil Rights marchers, what they faced, as they marched past angry crowds throwing things, spitting, and even the law enforcement attacking with hoses and dogs; that’s the picture of “hate” we usually have. (Which my father, participating in marches testified to, and then was convinced that peaceful marches were futile, and a more “revolutionary” approach was the solution). Even in a heated lover’s quarrel, one will say, with rage in their face and tone, “I hate you!
As I pointed out here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/division-between-mans-soul-and-spirit/ “hate” was identified as one of 11 primary emotions. Divided between “humane” (specific to humans) and “utilitarian” (also shared in common with animals), “hate” was on the “humane” side, and thus only available to humans (where animals can have plain “anger”, which seems similar, but is less focused).

The word is from Old English, and meant “regard with extreme ill-will, have a passionate aversion to, treat as an enemy,” and is of Germanic origin, traced to the Proto-IndoEuropean root kad– meaning “sorrow, hatred” (which is also the source of Avestan sadra “grief, sorrow, calamity,” Greek kedos “care, trouble, sorrow,” Welsh cas “pain, anger”).

In the Biblical Greek, it’s often said to mean “love less”, which can explain the infamously confusing command of Christ to “hate” one’s parents. (Luk 14:26) The actual word: μισέω miséō, mis-eh’-o; from a primary μῖσος mîsos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension, to love less:—hate(-ful).

So still, today, black and liberal speakers addressing the latest incident of race or police violence against blacks (or gays, or Muslims), will often issue the general statement against “hate”. People will often throw the term back at blacks. I had recently linked to an alt-right site called “Black people hate whites”. I was taken aback years ago, upon reading Rowan’s account in The Coming Race War, of a school teacher, who had just rattled off to him crass classic racist stereotypes of black kids, and then tells him to “preach love, not hate”. Forward 20 years after the book was written, and it’s clear that this is the universal narrative on the Right, now. It started with accusing blacks of “playing the race card” in calling out racism. Then, it was turned completely around, so that they are the “racists”, and white males the “hated” minority now. This is what they are driving into the ground these days.

Most racists (and “dog-whistlers”, who adamantly deny racism) don’t operate from a premise of “we just don’t like those people. They rely on “hard fact” (often not really answered thoroughly), and the issue becomes “there’s a good reason why we think or act the way we do toward these people“. (Such as why the cops do what they do).

Ian Lopez, Dog Whistle Politics also points out that a lot of dog whistling deflection comes from assuming “racism” is “hate” only, and lists three kinds of racism: “hate”, “structural” and “implicit bias” (See https://erictb.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/book-review-dog-whistle-politics). Another way to break racism down is into the levels of political sentiment:

Mainstream Right: “We honestly gave them a chance, trying to be postracial/colorblind, but they just have this problem of ‘cultural‘ lack of character, and our political enemies (white liberals; who are the ones we’re really against) are taking advantage of it” (i.e. giving them “free stuff” at our expense, and for their benefit; i.e. to gain votes, or destroy the nation out of envy).

More radical “dog whistling” Right (Giuliani, Limbaugh, Reagan, John Wayne, anti-BLM, etc). Similar sentiment, focusing on “lack of character” that should be overcome, but with more of an antagonistic resentment and deliberate infusion of racial overtones into discussions (Giuliani paraphrase: I’ve done so much for ‘these people’ [by having cops persecute them; it’s what they need, and the only way to tame them], so they should be happy they’re alive and behave themselves; and you can see the utter contempt on his face).

Alt-right openly spewing superiority/inferiority belief, and now increasingly criticizing the mainstream Right as too passive (“cuckservative”). They use the same “facts” of “black problems”, but employs it to prove integration altogether is a mistake, as the people are hopeless. (But nevertheless show open hostility over stuff like crime and “dependency”, but as genetic traits).

Opportunists (Trump). Just tell people whatever they want to hear (doesn’t even sound convincing about it; don’t sound like his heart is really in it. “Yes, we’ll make America great again. We will build the wall…” etc). This is Lopez’s “strategic” category.

Alt-right is definitely full of “hatred” (to the point of even trashing both the founders, for bringing blacks here to begin with, as well as the Constitution, which I’ve seen some talk bad or dismissive of. Most conservatives are strongly patriotic, but among these radicals, their race comes before country). The second group, which is full of contempt, may also cross over into hatred. It’s just more latent. Whenever I hear Giuliani or Limbaugh talk about blacks, the thought that keeps coming to mind is “what the hell have we ever done to you?” Most of the opportunists might not even care enough to have any feelings. They just use others’ hatred, contempt or fear to build up their own power (support) base. I’m not sure if Trump really “hates” people. He’s just full of himself, and it seems that clouds out any genuine feelings toward people.
The first group, the mainstream, is the least guilty of “hate”. They, like the others, are bound in self-exaltation, trading “supremacy” for “exceptionality”, which is just a softer version of the same thing, but focuses more on the extended (collective) self than the other people.
So in order to defend their nation, they have to come up with an explanation for why some people do not seem to be doing well in it. So they start going after the people’s collective character (e.g. the “community” and its “pathology”), thinking this is based on [“colorblind”] “fact” and not prejudice/bigotry. To accuse them of “hate” is to judge their motives, which makes the one doing it look biased and ignorant themselves. And thus, this is what they play off of. Of course, they don’t realize that the “fact” they appeal to is slanted by their own flawed sense of “exceptionality”. But that is not really “hate” (except in a very loose sense based on the biblical “love less” idea).

I myself, as a doctrinally conservative evangelical before adopting the Fulfilled view, agreed that homosexuality was a perversion (and this, inherited even from a secular culture that looked down on it). I never had any inkling of “hatred” toward them. That was their business, and did not affect me (with all the stuff people in the world do, that was a bigger concern to me). As a Christian, it was between them and God. I did feel conservative Christians were way overboard in their hostility toward them, and making that the cause of “curses” on our nation, as with every other sexual issue, but homosexuality seen as the worst. (On the other hand, it was at times an amusing taboo, like at my old job, with a guy who moonlighted as a DJ and knew all the clubs, and we used to joke about the names of the gay ones, such as “The Ramrod” and “the Mineshaft”). But I came to see that any belief that they were going to Hell was seen as “hatred”. (And the Christians would in turn play off of this in their “end times” prophecies and fictions, where persecution would be based on Christians getting labeled as “haters“, which then becomes punishable by imprisonment or death. It turns all of actual reality on its ear, for the Christians, who had been the authoritarian ones, condemning others’ choices, now become the “victims”, and those resisting their control become the persecutors).
I felt in a bit of a bind there, as the doctrine did seem to have an element of hatred. We’re saying God hates that sin so much (sort of more than anything else), which people assume is us simply projecting feelings that are only inside of us. We tried to argue that we’re simply passing on the “truth”, that is from outside of us (i.e. “objective”). But I couldn’t help notice way deep in my consciousness that this was the same thing the racists were saying!

With the fulfilled view, I’m now free to try to “live in peace with all men” (Rom. 12:14, Heb.12:14) rather than having to proclaim them “wrong” [i.e. in violation of the divine Law] and trying to get them to change their behavior (that does not affect me) out of fear of a hateful divine vengeance (that is apart of the Law, which had a purpose that has been long fulfilled). The hatred or “enmity” came from the Law (Eph. 2:15), which came as a result of sin UNTIL the Seed [Christ] came (Gal. 3:19. And the New testament was an overlap period where Grace was being proclaimed, but the Law still had some authority, and those who rejected Christ in favor of the Law, would end up judged by it in the end. That is why there’s still “hatred” and “vengeance” seen in the New Testament).

So likewise, with some conservatives and race, they have been taught faulty interpretations of scripture (like one race being “cursed”, or another nation [after Israel] being “chosen” and thus infused with righteousness) that they have not challenged, or even among those not necessarily religious, have adopted these ingrained notions, and so don’t realize it is denigrating to other people, and is not factual. It feels good to believe, however, and has just enough “hard truth” (the sinfulness of man before God, or the necessary “delayed gratification” of the “work ethic”) to appear not to be a “feel-good” belief, and so they take it as “gospel truth”.

Conclusion:

So  racism is any belief that your race is somehow “better” than others; whether accompanied by active feelings of “hate” or not. Even if you change it from innate “genetics” to hypothetically changeable “culture”, and even if you try to support it with “fact”. (Just think; what “racists” ever really claimed to base their beliefs on anything but “facts” they could cite?) If you paint someone else’s culture as particularly bad, and set yours up as “par” they are to be judged in comparison with, or “exceptional”, and don’t see them as just as human as everyone else (in the positive sense); and that you’re just as human as anyone else (in the negative sense), so that there’s always a negative side of what you hold up as “exceptional”, then this denial of your own sin/sinfulness is what amounts to “racism”. (And crediting God for your “exceptionalism” only makes it worse. “If you did receive [from God], why do you BOAST as if you didn’t?” 1 Cor.4:7).
If you’re tired of the term “racism”, then the  biblical term “self-righteous” is better, covering all bases of our problem. But it’s not something you’ll want to own any better. But that’s what’s at the heart of the issue.

Adapting and Judgment: Making sense of the scary universe we find ourselves in

All of human behavior can be summed up as adaptation to the situations they find themselves in. Both environmental and internal (neurological, etc.) It does no good for me to look forward to anyone being “punished” for their actions, whether affecting me directly, such as political, business, agency or interpersonal offenses, or stuff not affecting me such as others’ sexual practices; any more than I want to be judged for however I adapt. If God were to judge by the Law, we’d all perish. It was not given as motivation for creating a good society, it was given to show us we will fall short.

As much as I may get annoyed at people like racists, or capitalists and criminals who prosper by exploiting advantages I have not been able to seize upon, I see that I can’t deny that I would probably do many of the same things if I did have those opportunities.

The Race issue

 As far as race, growing up as someone not “street-wise”, and having to constantly worry about tougher kids, especially when, on top of it having my father (and some others) constantly warning me about being so vulnerable or “weak” (not only not being respected in general, but also not being respected by girls); and then tying it to “black culture” (especially as the 80’s progressed, and rap turned from a more conscientious countercultural voice to just a reflection of all the worst stereotypes of blacks, and the street life), I could have easily turned against the whole “culture” in resentment, and become like an Allen West or Thomas Sowell, who are actually prominent advocates of white conservative “dog-whistling” rhetoric against the entire “community”.
It was likely my own identification with the “underdog” from my own life experiences, especially the dire financial straits under capitalism with its rising prices and lowering quality, being put off by all the unjust political rhetoric against blacks, still, and my own future trying to enter the work force (and realizing that white history and pop-culture is just as mean-spirited or “bad” in its own ways), as well as the nostalgia of the good parts of the “growing up black” experience (such as the music, and the pre-teen periods where I did manage to fit in better) that always kept me aggravated with the white conservative platform. This is what made me more “centrist” in seeing the “problems” of both white and black “pop culture”, and both Christian and non-Christian [in-practice] world views.

So from there, I could try to imagine being white. Would I be so “balanced” and supportive of the black community? I would like to think so, but if I for years resented “tough” street culture, as a black male who came from that environment, then imagine if I came from outside of it, where it was something “over there”, you hear about on the news with the latest crimes every night. It might even be worse if I was close to the community, and had to brave whatever reactions from the people because of the racial difference, and not being able to fit in as much as I did. I must embarrasedly confess that I actually favored Bernhard Goetz, the infamous white-on-black defensive shooter of the mid 80’s. If a non-tough black male was so vulnerable in the streets, with guys who would just see you and start something just because of how you look, then this skinny, geeky white guy was the epitome of the “weak” thug-bait. I remember thinking (borrowing a line from my father about the streets), “the only thing they understand is death“, and thus that what they needed was for someone they pick on like that for looking “weak” to go crazy on them. And sure enough, it happened. Even though I was becoming increasingly aware of dog-whistling at the time (right in the middle of the Reagan era), I still didn’t piece this together with the larger problem of racism, but rather with my own experience, where you did have to worry about being victimized by other blacks directly (on top of the larger white system. Like everybody was “against you”).

By the time of the Central Park Jogger case, I was much more aware of racism, but still felt that that particular incident was the consequence of those kids being in the park “wilding” in the first place. It looked like they were guilty, whether they were or not. They were already acting “criminal” (unless it turns out the whole “wilding” thing was a fabrication, which is certainly possible given the way things get slanted, but I’ve never heard that even claimed. Funny, but as silent as we were in answering all the “welfare queen” and general “crime” dog whistling exploding like wildfire that decade, I remember how fired up Ann Trip and Joe Bragg were on their Sunday Kiss-FM news show about the case).

We can appeal to racial “implicit bias”, but then, that should all the more motivate us to clean up senseless bad behavior that only “gives occasion” to accusers (like Christians were reminded in the Bible, regarding the Devil, who is the spiritual “Accuser”). When I was a kid, I had a problem of liking to meddle in the building superintendent’s shop, and then when something was out of place, and I didn’t do it that time, I was still suspect, and my parents told me that that’s what will happen. It’s what, in Christian biblical lingo, we would term the “appearance of evil”.
However, this will be opposed on the basis of what’s called being “twice as good” (which, IIRC, Rowan discussed in his book, and involved Martin Luther King). We have to be “extra good”, to impress the white man, and prove we are not dangerous, in order to be perceived better, and not be shot. This obviously is basically accepting “inferiority”, and trying to “fix” it (which of course, the conservatives believe is the answer to begin with). But that is granting them their flawed superiority premise, which was the original cause of the problem in the first place, and thus not what we want to do.

Unfortunately, this is likely the way many in the streets doing all the crimes feel; it’s like “F it; they’re racist and hate us and the cops are going to come and kill me anyway, and they’re evil; I’m not going to follow ‘their’ corrupt laws, so I might as well be bad” (even though it’s other blacks they more often end up killing, as the dog whistlers repeat incessantly).
And hence, to address the point of this topic, the way they are “adapting”, that I can’t self-righteously dismiss). And so we’re in a catch-22.

So again, imagine how I would have felt if I was white. I imagine if I was of a liberal persuasion, I would try to bury those feelings behind a fired up altruism; you know, let’s do all we can to help ‘those poor people’. (And yet still nevertheless getting nervous and clenching my belongings, hoping no one notices, when thuggish looking kids pass by). I would still, deep inside feel just as defensive when hearing blacks complain about whites as I do now when whites cite black “problems”. And of course, that’s the “at best” scenario. (I even knew a few individual moderate evangelicals, who lived in the city, and tried to “reach out” to the urban kids, but eventually got frustrated with, I guess, the attitudes, or the “lack of hope” one described, and then all moved to the heartland, basically, which to them looked more receptive to the Gospel).

If I were conservative, I could imagine feeling put upon, and taking for granted the whole “exceptionality” premise, which as I’ve argued, is what drives all dog whistling. It’s like “Well, our forefathers are the ones who built this great nation; that’s the way it happened, what do you want from me? It couldn’t have been that bad; your ancestors had wars and conquests, and sold each other as slaves, so we’re no worse than you all were, and all the good we’ve done more than makes up for it. Yet these liberals (who promise you so much, and yet have accomplished nothing for you) ruined it all, and now I’m struggling to maintain my standard of living, and here you come asking for things because of what was done in the past. Just get over it already! At least our system is still good enough that one can succeed if they try.”
(Of course, this is skewed on several points, by splitting all problems off onto someone else; it was all good, but then these rogues, called “liberals” came and messed it up —for me, that is, but it still would work for you, if you weren’t being so “lazy”. They never make the connections between the problems of the past and present, [basically summed up in “greed“] and the resulting struggles of all of us. Everything is always attributed differently).

I can also imagine inbetween groups on the “whiteness” hierarchy scale, such as Jewish, on the white side, or even Hispanic, on the “colored” side. While able to identify with the black experience at the hands of white supremacy to different extents (in which both groups fare right above blacks, basically), I’m pretty sure a part of myself would muse at the idea of at least not being as low in perception as blacks. When hearing them totally smeared with the reputation of “crime” and “dependency”; feeling good that at least I’m not seen as “that bad”. That conservative heroes like Zimmerman, and political candidates Cruz and Rubio were on the “white side” against those “problematic” blacks.

The point is, as annoyed as I get at conservativism, I realize they’re adapting to natural human fears. And the same with the much despised “black thugs” themselves, as stated. I grew up with that traditional “nuclear family”, where my father was always there (despite actually being a small time hustler at one point), and my mother a respectable educated and cultured lady, who taught me well, despite all the problems. But many others even as early as my generation, did not have it like this, so I cannot say I’m so much “better” than the “thugs”. (1 Cor. 4:7)

“Choice”: the engine of Judgment

The whole fulcrum of the issue of judgment is the matter of human “choice“. I could have said “I chose to not get involved in the streets and become a thug/gangsta, or a junkie, etc.” (and then naturally look down on those who did), or “I chose not to hold onto resentment and turn against the black community altogether and become a black conservative” (who used to be labeled “[Uncle] Toms”, but are now called “coons”). On the other hand, my father and others thought I chose not to become tougher or more self-confident, and the conservatives would claim I chose to do what I’m doing and not to rise up and simply take hold of the maximum opportunities of capitalism. And it would be true (in part, to a very limited extent), but it ignores other factors (or limitations) that simply pushed me the way I developed. (And this is of course what they say to the rest of the complaining black community, and even my father said something to that effect to me, when I was struggling to enter the work force in my 20’s. A well-off cousin said the same thing; the two of them neglecting the fact that they came of age in the liberal 60’s, when there was a more concerted effort to help out blacks, and prices and job competition weren’t so high, compared to the “backlash” paradigm I found myself in, in the 80’s. But that was just a “crutch” they, especially the cousin, said!)
“Choice” is what the whole concept of “merit” is based on. (See https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/humanitys-biggest-pitfall-merit)

Of course, “choice” is the whole weapon in the religious world of Christian doctrine. Everyone deserves Hell, because they all “chose” to sin, and they could have “chosen” Christ for salvation, but instead “chose” to “hold on to their sin” instead. Initially, it’s because the first man (Adam) chose to “disobey”. The Fall is often seen in terms of a single act of “disobedience” (that somehow the rest of us got charged with), rather than its effect; knowledge of good and evil. (I think I remember seeing at least one teacher [perhaps in Armstrongism?] say that the “tree” was a “test” of obedience). It’s all about the tree and the physical fruit itself (assumed by nominal folklore to be an apple, even though scripture never says that), and not what that fruit represented (we have to keep all of Genesis “literal”, after all, so we can’t allow “represent”, for that may open the entire book up to mere “allegory”).
Then, you often heard it shorthanded into simply “tree of knowledge“, which fit in perfectly with the Church’s fear of modern knowledge (science). I even once saw a political cartoon (basically the forerunner of today’s internet “memes”) showing the “fruit” as a science textbook! But it’s not just any “knowledge”; it’s knowledge specifically of good and evil. That, ironically, ended up getting assumed by religion, to be the solution to “disobedience”, where scripture itself portrays it as essentially the cause of our “sin” afterwards.

Even among various groups professing Christ, there is doctrinal difference, which often ends up amounting to a forfeiture of salvation of one group in the view of the others. (If the doctrine in question is not seen as too fundamental, then it might not question salvation, but still ends up as something they come close in the rhetoric to denying salvation, such as Calvinism and Arminianism’s portrayals of each other’s “monstrous” or “weak” ‘god’). Whether it’s “how to be saved”, or the Trinity or deity of Christ (disputed by so-called “cults” who are “beyond the pale of orthodoxy”), or various points of “obedience to the commands of God”, one group “chose” the clear “truth”, while the other group (or everyone else in the “world”) allowed “human ego” or its components such as “the wicked heart” [emotions] or the “sinful mind” [“faulty human logic”] to take over, and thus they’re “blind”, while we “see”. All by our own “choice”!

What’s wrong with those “sinners” (in general), or homosexuals, or leftists, or “rebellious compromising ‘neo’ Christians”, or holders of whatever other doctrine or philosophy, for their “blindness”? For rejecting the “clear truth”? Of course, the “reprovers” of these sins rapidly fill in the answer: they “chose” their “sin” or “error”. You would think, if they were really so “blind”, as they call them, then when you think of blindness, that’s something the person usually couldn’t help. “Error” is a “mistake“. Yet here, they are being blamed, as “responsible” for their own blindness and error. (Of course, the Calvinists will loudly proclaim that’s exactly how judgment is meant to work!) This should really bring to mind Christ’s warning :”If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you say, ‘We see,’ therefore your sin remains.” (John 9:41)

I’ve noticed that the entire evangelico-fundamentalist world-view (from IFB’s to charismatics, with many “new-evangelicals” inbetween) relies on a whole “cause and effect” mindset as justification of their morality. That music, or those people, or that object or that belief system will lead to “sin”, and “sin” leads to “more sin”. You just keep “indulging” and “feeding” it, they claim. (Many even rejecting what they call “behaviorism” as held by secular “humanistic” psychologists, then adopt a “Christianeze” version of the same thing, differing only in that it’s “scriptural”, meaning proof-texted with passages like James 1:14-5. But then “salvation”, “regeneration”, “sanctification” etc. [depending on the group] ends up becoming a “process” of breaking bad habits. It’s claimed to be supernatural and thus only accessible to born again converts, but the “process” they describe is something that nonbelievers can engage and succeed in. It should also be pointed out, in passing, that James reflects the requirements of the “Law” to those accustomed to keeping it, where Paul focused more on Grace, and showed that Law leads naturally to the downward process James described).
So sin will finally lead to “Hell” for the unbeliever after death, and even apart from that, the “end times One World apostasy” (which professing Christians can hypothetically get caught up in), which you can see behind, for example, the entire IFB badgering on all the “compromise” they point out, in not only the new-evangelicals, but even other IFB groups, now.

At one point, I myself am warned (by charismatics, who are otherwise moderate, but with apparently a full Arminian belief that in practice denies eternal security) that if I don’t “give God [His due] time” every day (reading the Bible and praying in a “systematic” effort), then I’ll become “lukewarm” and eventually be “spat out of Christ’s mouth”. (Which some will argue doesn’t really mean lost, but rather “ineffective for being ‘used by God’ in the world”, but the context of the overall Methodistic soteriology suggests otherwise).
When I begin questioning things like this, as well as other pseudo-scriptural assumptions in common “Christian teaching” (especially in light of the way life is, and God’s role in it), then it’s suggested, essentially, “see, it’s happening!” When I adopt the “fulfilled view”, seen as unorthodox, then it’s “see, it’s happened!” Of course, next step forecasted is turning away from God altogether! From this, I’m supposed to be stricken with fear, and just drop everything I’ve come to believe (which explained a lot of things, yet still from a biblical framework), and run back to the “Commonly Accepted Message” (with all the contradictions and resulting dissension it’s plagued by, pitched as “unsearchable” “paradoxes”), all based on something that has not happened, but is surmised or hypothesized as possibly happening, based on a perceived “pattern”. Basically, just to be “safe”.
(Here’s a meme perfectly illustrating this mindset, including holiness as an effort-based “choice”):

REAd THE BIBLE t0 bE WISE BEliEVE THE BibLE TO bE SAfE PRACTiCE THE BIBLE to be Holy

Many people who use these tactics are “introverted Sensing” preferring types, who compare current sensory data with what they remember, and then use a lesser “extraverted iNtuition”, based on that, to figure where it’s going. (i.e. what “could ” happen in the future. And for even those who don’t prefer the function, the Church as a whole has taken on an Si mindset). A more mature extraverted iNtuition will see other possibilities and not just rely on the past, though its true that you can overlook other concrete realities, that may be driving the previous patterns, so you can’t completely dismiss them. Still, it makes me feel placed in a bind, and thus makes the all-important “choice” ever so harder, rather than motivating me to make the one choice they deem “right”.

Of course, throw into the mix the “monergism vs synergism” argument of Calvinism, then all good “choice” is controlled by God, while bad choice or no choice is what’s been left to “sinful human nature”. That gets them around the question of “what causes you to differ” (1 Cor.4:7; which they then level at Arminians), but then, a particular clause of the doctrine (especially held by “Baptistic” and “Methodistic” Calvinists, in order to make sure to maintain maximum blame of the sinner), is that God still “holds men responsible” for the “natural” choices they couldn’t help but make. So they are still blamed for it, as if they had controlled their own choice or lack thereof.
So while certain Calvinists, such as Michael Horton (who I like to cite) will scold the Church for its hostile rhetoric toward the sinful world (that’s “merely acting out its beliefs”, Beyond Culture Wars p. 70), and blame this on the “Pelagian” assumption of free will, many Calvinists do join their Arminian counterparts in aggravated blaming of “the world” (or other segments of the Church), and wanting to “take back” something they feel has been taken from them. (They never figure, when applied to themselves, that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away” Job.1:21).

“Law”, the wielder of the “choice” club

The whole issue is centered on what defines “sin” in the first place, which is the [divine] Law (Rom. 3:20, 7:7, 1 John 3:4). One of the key scriptures regarding the Law, which was what one “served” God through, was “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”, whether false gods or YHWH (Joshua 24:15) and “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30:19).
While these are from the Old Testament account of God’s dealing with the physical nation of Israel, because New Testament people were told to “believe on” Christ, then the whole “choice” theme (with the all important “will” that defined a human “soul”), got effectively transferred over to the New Covenant in people’s view, becoming the backbone of “evangelical” Christianity. Meaning, that the Law has been transferred over, but only modified as to certain practices, deemed specifically “Mosaic” or rituals directly replaced by the sacrifice of Christ.
(In reality, the New Testament recorded the period of overlap between the two covenants, so they had to “choose” and “hold fast” to the New one [Christ], until the ‘soon’ “end” of the old age, where the complete unmerited redemption of “Grace” [God “not counting their sins against them” (2 Cor. 5:19)] they had an “earnest” of (2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:14) would come to full fruition. The Church of course extended this to our time, and still waiting. So we are in effect still in an “overlap” of Law and Grace and this is exactly what we see in the religious world, with foreboding “judgment” and a conditional “grace”, all based on the “choices” we make, and most people deemed failing).

And often not only the individual “judgment” of every unconverted sinner in Hell, but also in their political views, where many of them, in total imitation of Israel, imagined they were the guardians of a new physical nation (rather than a spiritual one, as the New Testament stressed), with everyone obligated to “choose” what are deemed the “traditional values”, and if they don’t, then it’s the Christians who must then choose (through voting for the right people, or organizing around various “moral” causes) to rise up and take the nation back.

This whole issue of “will” is what has come to the forefront now, in the entire controversy of homosexuality, with it being given full marital rights recently. In order to justify the seemingly harsh condemnations of homosexual activity in certain scriptures, Christians must insist it is purely a “choice”, of the “will”. They can appeal to many otherwise seemingly “straight” people who overindulged in sex, and then started experimenting with same sex (out of being “jaded”, which has been true in many cases), and then plug this into [what they think they’re reading in] the first chapter of Romans, and thus generalize it to every person who claims to be gay. The “testimonies” of some who have turned straight (whether through “conversion therapy” or otherwise) are the ultimate proof. They need to simply “choose” to be straight, and [teachers admit] “it will be hard”, since it is such an ingrained “habit”, or merely is a reaction to heterosexual abuse (as is often assumed), —or else! But on the contrary, I’ve heard the stories of people who did just that (sometimes even violating the other “moral” rules, such as the one against heterosexual “fornication”, which I had thought would be their escape from hetero pressure), only to further confirm their aversion and preference.

The purpose of the Law

Under the divine Law, certain behaviors were considered “unfit”. Many were just common ways people adapt to situations. Some were things people couldn’t help, or that we would today not see as having anything wrong with them at all. Some precepts fit in with the need for public morality and justice. Others were ceremonial or spiritual. Only seven of these principles were original and assumed to be universal (and thus predated the big written code of the Old Covenant).
These can be summed up as:  Idolatry: Gen. 31:19-36; Blasphemy: Gen. 3:1-4, Murder: Gen. 4.8-10-16, 6:11, 9:6, Theft: Gen. 3:6, Gen. 31:19, Sexual violation: Gen. 19:5-7, 20.3, Maintaining justice: Gen. 19:1-9. [The Gates of a city were where Judges sat to convene Courts of Justice], Cruelty to Animals: Gen. 9.4-5). These are what we all could agree are necessary to maintain society and relationships. (The first two, a relationship with God, and also, without specifying right away, details of what sexual “violations” are).

As these were constantly violated, God began a plan of redeeming man, through one nation, and the laws were expanded into the extensive written code. Many of them go way beyond what’s really necessary to maintain society. This is where, for instance, sexual violations (such as the forcible sex threatened by the Sodomites) became specified into harsh condemnations of homosexual practice, seen as “odd” (and yet, polygamy was still permitted, though most Judeo-Christian traditions today specify “one man and one woman” is God’s “natural order”). And many other rules were added, that most do not keep today, such as leprosy, menstruation, pork, shellfish and mixed fabrics likewise being “odd”. Properly honoring God now included a special day of the week set aside, along with annual observances. There was even a physical alteration on the male body, to identify who was in the nation set aside to follow God. (People will easily point to AIDS as the “proof” homosexuality is wrong ⦅that is, those who don’t think it’s His judgment on the practice⦆, and sabbatarians argue extensively that the dietary and even the Sabbath are for “health”, a few may even argue the same for circumcision, but none of them has really come up with a good answer for why menstruation and leprosy were unclean, though all the Christians believe those are abolished. Rabbinic Jews believe none of them are for “health”, and that keeping them merely for that purpose is to not observe the Law).
When the lesson was written through that nation, and they killed the Messiah sent to redeem man, the extensive code was phased out.

So Christ (borrowing from Hillel) said that the whole Law was fulfilled in what became known as “The Golden rule”: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12). Paul adds to this, that “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men“. (Rom.12:18)
When “universal” laws are violated, such that others are endangered, then we can apprehend and penalize them, for the good of society. But not to go beyond that, and use “divine Law” to condemn acts that do or should not affect anyone, using God to control others through fear. Those laws all had their purpose, which was fulfilled in Christ. We must recognize “good and evil”, and “give and take” in order to maintain equity (fairness) as physical creatures. But realize that before God, those have been abolished, as we were not able to stand, under them. We must employ a system of deterrence, whereby we try to make people afraid to commit crimes, because of a penalty (which as it is often doesn’t work). But this is not the purpose of God’s Law, as is suggested every time a preacher or other religious pundit claims that “removal of the Law” or “relativism” is what’s allowed “sin to run rampant”.

People will say this leads to relativity (and trash it as “pragmatism”), but that assumes the purpose of “choice” is so we can follow the Law; whose purpose is supposedly to motivate good behavior through threat of divine punishment, which is then to create a good society or the divine “Kingdom” itself, or “grow” us toward perfection (though they admit we will never get there. The resurrection would then be what boosts us instantly the rest of the way to perfection, but then that would have nothing to do with how close we “grow” towards it in this life).

Like from Armstrong, an iconic statement, on the first of the “Four Horsemen” of the “end times” is “The false teaching of doing away with the LAW of God, and the GOVERNMENT of God, and endorsing the ways of men, led inevitably to WARS, which have grown progressively more frightening and colossal in scale, until it is now questionable whether the world can survive another war, unless God Almighty steps in supernaturally to intervene!” (Revelation, Unveiled at Last p.23) So-called “orthodox ” Christians may argue against him on some of the particular items of this “law”, or whether to use the term “Law”, and perhaps not put such an emphasis on “government of God”, but most have agreed with and echoed the basic assessment.

So “situational ethics” was derided in favor of “black and white” rules. “Black is black, and white is white; hell is hot and sin ain’t right” one verbal meme goes.  This is purely legalistic thinking (since the Law is what defines sin, and condemns sinners to Hell), but [among the non-“lawkeeping” groups] just as long as it doesn’t include OT rituals they admit are “abolished”, they don’t see it as compromising “grace alone”.  You also often heard “Ten Commandments, not Ten Suggestions” (which is what they would insist removing the fear of judgment will reduce them to). But if “commandments” is what you want, Paul, shows what “commandments” do to us (Romans 7:8-11). Basically, the very opposite of what we think it does for us! In this chapter, he makes it clear how effective “choice” really is!
The point he’s building up to, going into the next chapter, is that being out from under condemnation is based on Christ, not our efforts. (But the Church would only take the “spirit vs flesh” language there, and place it back onto us and our “choices”, with “walking in the Spirit” interpreted in terms of our “daily” efforts, with the Spirit somehow “helping” us to change our behavior —likely through heightened “conscience”. What Paul concludes that thought with is that what the Spirit actually does for us is to “bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God“, 8:16. Trusting in this is what’s “walking in the Spirit”. Trying to do it yourself through your efforts [in the Law, even if “with God’s help”] is what’s “walking in the flesh”).

Further illustrating the fruits of all of this, he earlier asks “You that preach a man should not steal, do you steal? You that say a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? you that abhor idols, do you commit sacrilege? You that make your boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonor you God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” (Rom.2:21-24; and hence, this is a larger cause of all the revolt against the “Judeo-Christian ethic” they have frequently mentioned, rather than some “anti-God” conspiracy against them. Also, remember it’s not just literal adultery, idolatry, etc. that is condemned).

He had just said in v.14-5, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law to themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”. Yet Herbert Armstrong (who does advocate more of the Law than other Christians, but still nowhere near the whole thing) once said “Christianity…puts human conscience, actuated by Satan’s false teaching, in place of God’s law” (Which Day is the Christian Sabbath, p36). Others acknowledge “conscience”, but likely drawing upon this passage, use it as the ultimate noose around man’s neck; like a virtual new “special revelation” that is completely clear, as God appearing in the burning bush. (Of course, that passage is framed in terms of “doing the law” to be “justified” (v.13) before a future judgment (v16), but suffice it to say, other scriptures say that this event he was referring to was something they were waiting for in their lifetimes, not delayed thousands of years to yet our future. Hence, the Law being completely fulfilled, and condemnation ended).

People who speak of moral “relativity” assume that if we just preach loudly “There’s NO excuse for your behavior, and if you don’t REPENT, you’re going to HELL!!!”, then that will grip all the offenders with fear, and they’ll stop and [at least start or “want” to] change their behavior; and it once worked like this, but then some people wanted to go soft and “relativize” morality (likewise, to “justify” their own sin or subjective sentimental belief in “human goodness”), and that’s when morality “fell apart”.
But all sorts of evil was done in this moral “golden age”. It was just rationalized differently than today’s offenses, often even using the scriptures that are supposed to be the “moral glue”. That’s why relativists today are so suspicious of that approach.

Lynchings used to be announced in churches & they would sell tickets as well as have picnics
Common practice in the “good old days”, when America was supposedly “great” (as we need to make it “again”), and morality was “absolute”, compared to today!

Fear is not the purpose; it doesn’t work anyway

And for one thing, there are plenty of people who will not be motivated by the fear of consequence. Sociopaths and/or psychopaths, are an example. (As an example, you can think of the worst internet “trolls”, “spammers” or “hackers”. This brought to mind by the guy who harassed the female Ghostbusters star on Twitter; and people like her don’t realize that crying and showing all that emotion is only “rewarding” rather than shaming them. Also, Russia yet again mentioned as where the hacking and viruses come from). They seem to be encouraged by people’s negative reactions, and only bothered by boredom, which is easily solved by hurting more people.

As someone who has always had guilt problems regarding other people (AS problems, Supine temperament, inferior extraverted Feeling), I can see that not caring at all about what other people think or feel gives individuals like this a tremendous amount of power. People functioning with other people have to worry about offending others and receiving negative consequences. To sociopaths, it’s all “fun”, so no threat is a deterrent. In the case of hackers and other thieves, the more security put in place (which often makes things more complicated for the honest users), the more of a challenge it is, and they usually eventually find a way to crack the code, and then even tighter measures are implemented. (And to us, in the middle, it seems like they’re all against us, and the problem is never able to be solved permanently).

It’s like “pest” animals, who can’t even recognize any threat of extermination, so they keep coming, no matter what. Nature keeps on driving them, and it’s relentless (unless you manage to gain the upper hand, and exterminate all of them. But when we translate this to human “pests”, that would be “inhuman”, and has been tried before by the worst regimes, and always wrong in who determining who is good or evil).
I tend to think that the only way for there to be no sin, crime or evil, is if we had a built-in “shock therapy” mechanism. Whenever we knowingly violate something, we get a little jolt. That way, the “stimulus response” that often drives us to “sinful” pleasures (or more accurately, legitimately based pleasures that can cross the line into sin, when overindulged) would work to restrain itself, against the pull to gain pleasure at others’ expense. Of course, it would be cruel if man created something like that (like who would create, implement and enforce it?), but I sometimes now wonder why God didn’t design something like that, especially if religion was correct, in the belief that God’s aim for us is to behave, in order to create a good society or be fit for the Kingdom. Some insist “He wants us to have ‘free will'”, but thousands of years of history and scripture testimony shows where that leads.

We are often counseled about how the “evil doers” will “get theirs”. For the average “secular” people (as you can see frequently on social media memes), “karma” has been assumed. (Like as I finish this, there’s some lady in the news whose daughter was murdered, and she’s taunting him with “karma”. I’m pretty sure the guy, if he’s even watching, is probably laughing. He obviously doesn’t care about the future or the afterlife. That’s actually a way of “reasoning” with them, and there’s obviously no reasoning with them. It’s “nature” in complete control, and you can’t reason or scare them into adopting the integrity they are lacking. Evidence for how they think; rapper KRS once portraying a drug kingpin, and how does “Just Say No” and “This is Your Brain On Drugs” strike him? “The dial I quickly turn, for with that bull— I’m not concerned”).
For biblical theists, “Vengeance is mine” (Deut.32:35/Rom.12:19) is the final answer (Psalms 37 and 73 are also often cited). Since different people have done different things; we then surmise different levels of punishment (which is what Dante played up to the hilt; and based on one verse of scripture, the “stripes” of Luke 12:48), and for believers, it’s “crowns” granted or works “burned up”. So (being frequently handed these two lines by an early Christian mentor of sorts when I first converted and was dealing with harassment from my father), I would be thinking of what will be done to make up every offense, or if a given offense against me would even be significant, amongst all the sins in an average given person’s life (many probably much greater than anything they may have done to me), which will all be “replayed out” to the person in the judgment, according to standard teaching.
I at some point began to realize it was getting petty, and that I shouldn’t be getting some sort of gratification out of this. I then took notice of Christ’s “You do not know what spirit you are of” (Luke 9:55), when the disciples wished punishment on people. The “vengeance” promise had a particular context for a particular people.

We can dismiss “excuses”, and just say the sociopaths must have “seared consciences” (which many, instead of taking that in the context Christ spoke it in, try fuse it with another passage, in Hebrews, that seems to describe a “condition” created by “sinning willfully”; which is taken in the typical mechanical “cause and effect” fashion I mentioned, as “deadening your moral senses”, but is discussing something altogether different. The more conservative fundamentalists go on to insist every form of “mental illness” is a “choice” [there’s that legalism term again!]; and hence badgering even the “new evangelicals” on selling out to “psychoheresy”).
But what does this accomplish? It doesn’t even restrain their behavior. They don’t care, remember. All it is doing is stroking our own ego; like we’re the good people, and if we don’t like how they behave, God is sure going to get them and avenge us; they’re trapped in sin and will never get out. However, it doesn’t make up for whatever they did, whech we still have to live with (but is usually made irrelevant, in favor of Heaven, or “growth”).

How typological perspective shapes the world

Many Christians didn’t like psychology, because their view was that man as a whole was a rotten sinner who had no excuse for anything, while they themselves had risen above that, through their conversion and “regeneration”. Psychology removed the guilt from general mankind, and at the same time, showing how we all act from selfish motives, including the religious. This turned their world view upside down. (Right away, “excuse” is yet another term of legalism. The Law judges us, and we try to “excuse” ourselves.When religion wields this term, they’re trying to uphold the divine Law and its mandates for humans to make the right “choices”, but the Gospel shows this is futile, and we need justification “imputed” to us).

Secular self-help rejects typology because it takes psychology one step further in saying we all have our different ways of making perceptions and judgments. Self-help, much like conservative Christianity, believes there is a “right way” to perceive and judge things, and likewise accepts no “excuses” otherwise, which typology is seen as presenting. The rest of the science field, including even mainstream psychology, also takes a “right way” view, which is basically “empiricism” (“concrete: evidence), and thus, typology is too “abstract” (which is itself a category explained by the typological concept).

Empiricism is understandable, as the physical part of our existence, which is tied to the material world, has a need of maintenance that creates a necessary emphasis on the S (Sensation) perspective. We have to feed, clothe and shelter these bodies, and have to engage a system of “trade” with each other in order to afford those accommodations, and have to develop knowledge and skill to have something to be able to trade with. (And all of this deals in impersonal “mechanics”, which is the Thinking perspective).

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a Car that you are still paying for in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it, Ellen Goodman

This is why the world seems to be “geared” toward ST types, as I’ve noted. STJ’s will be the managers who run the business and government worlds, and STP’s will be the “scouts” of new territory in the “frontier”, or (if unhealthily narcissistic), the Trumps who see opportunities they can exploit, to rise up. As an N, and the “odd man out” a lot of times, I might tend to blame them for the way they run things, but it’s only their cognitive perspective.

The problem with waiting for “rewards” and “judgment”

So when I get annoyed at:
•the decisions of business, government, or especially my own agency, and particularly the extraverted Thinking—introverted Sensing perspective,
•as an example of this, the legal industry, which has everyone afraid of lawsuits thand thus reacting
•often leading to a rigid system of rules, procedures  and discipline, or the extraverted Sensing perspective of the movers and shakers,
•”CYA”, where everyone covers themselves, and just passes burdens (responsibility, culpability, etc.) down to whoever is more vulnerable
•and then all the “rugged individualist” rhetoric in politics, which justifies this inordinate power,
•and then tops it off by blaming those on the bottom for not simply “choosing” to rise higher,
•and then, the utter double standards, such as corruption or bungling in those high places that place such standard on everyone else;

I would be looking forward to the day God shows them how wrong they are, how “puffed up” they were, how much pain they’ve caused, and how it was not justified, not “hard truth” that they easily accepted where others couldn’t; and under the futurist, world-still-under-condemnation-until-the-future-Kingdom belief, would imagine them at the Great White Throne, reeling in terror at the fruit of their “choices”.

But even now, under a “Fulfilled” (pantelist or “consistent” preterist) view, where condemnation has been removed (all taken upon by Christ) it seems this would simply be “busted down” to perhaps a “sorry” on their part? Or, when first confronted with their error, having been so confident they were “right”, with all the “facts” seeming to support them, now will it be “but, but, but…“. or “I didn’t mean it; I was just kidding!“? (This was brought to mind from the passage “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” Matt.12:36; where they think insensitive things they say or do shouldn’t be so “offensive”)  I wonder if the open racists will tell God “But didn’t You curse the black people and “choose” the white Christians?” Cult leaders: “But didn’t Your Word say ______?” [whatever they were teaching or practicing, with the relevant proof-texts]. Atheists who bash theism in the name of “cold hard fact” will probably be left completely speechless.
I get the sense that most Christians believe the people standing before God won’t even have a chance to try to plead their case like that, but that the “truth” will be suddenly revealed to them, and then, at the most, perhaps either the “sorry” or “I was only kidding” (especially if it turned out to be true that they were still being sentenced to some sort of judgment), but more than likely, the humble acceptance of their judgment, and perhaps that’s when “every knee bows and every tongue confesses” (Rom.14:11, Phil.2:10).

That just makes me wonder, why couldn’t the “truth” be exposed to them (us) like that, now, in this life? (And why go as far as to reveal the truth to them, and force them to accept it, but then still sentence them to Hell?) Wouldn’t that have the much desired effect of creating a good moral civilization?
Most Christians will of course repeat the tome of “He wants us to have free will”. But again, where did that lead them? Which of course, the Calvinists will then take as the proof of their view; that God willed to damn most, and saved only who He wanted to save.

Some have argued that the purpose of punishment is being made to feel what others you’ve offended feel. That seems perfectly “just”, but would first, question why an eternal Hell of tremendous physical pain for a limited lifetime of mundane sins is what fulfills that. Many Christians build up this idea of our sins “offending” Him (His “holiness”) that much, somehow, on top of the holy Son of God having to bear the sins on the Cross. (But right there, Him bearing them on the Cross would kind of speak against Him essentially “un-bearing” them for a person if they don’t respond the right way!)  But even if we bust this down from Hell, to something more comparable to what they have done (like I would love to see racists and other conservatives get exactly the pure “exceptional” society they have been trying to get “back”, and with no blacks, liberals or any other “problem” groups to blame for anything wrong, and then see how well it goes. Like Trump supporters could have their own country with him as president, and see what that’s like); if we still speak of this as a kind of “punishment”, then I fear it might compromise the concept of Grace. Again, any of us would be susceptible to this sort of “consequence”.

Then, the flipside of this, is the “rewards” people are to get, for their “suffering”. In my case, and many others today, it’s simply “accepting the things we can’t change, and changing the things we can” (which are often what we don’t want to change). For some reason, I can’t help feeling that being “rewarded” for “rolling with the punches” (which this comes off to me as) legitimizes the whole system. (In addition to us not really “earning” the rewards if we didn’t voluntarily take on the burden, and then there’s even Christ’s statement “When you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants: we have done what we were obliged to do.'” Luke 17:10). Isn’t expecting a reward a sense of “entitlement”, and thus feeling “owed” (by God)?
Following the patterns of a “universe” that “does not care about your feelings”, and where the “ego” is supposed to be diminished in favor of a larger reality (Where Jung and Christianity would agree), I would wonder why there would be a reward (presumably for a still differentiated “ego” identity) for suffering “just the way things are”. This would then get into the whole thing of the universe being “fallen”, and “not the way God wants it”. But being left this way for so long, it often seems it is the way He wants it (“at least for now”).
It seems the purpose of the promise of rewards originally was to encourage the Christians to get through the persecution they were suffering (at the hands of the accusing Law system, and often using the hand of the pagan Romans). The prospect was more for the “now” than for the time of actually getting them. But you wonder what the purpose of them will be for those of us not suffering that, and when we wake up in this totally new world. Teachers transfer the promises to our mundane problems of today, but as I’ve said, it just doesn’t seem to fit in many cases, and I would think trivializes what they went through. (Other Fulfilled view advocates even suggested the “crowns” were just the “legacy” of suffering for Christ. Seems very ethereal, but it’s true that “legacy” was very important to the people back then. That’s why people wanted offspring so much, to carry on their name. The whole battle between the Christians and the apostate Israelites was over who God loved; who were Abraham’s children —which was in fulfillment for the promise made to Abraham to become  father of “many nations”).

I guess, for us, it might be nothing more than God “giving” us something then because He promised us something, and will never break a promise. We still have no idea what this is. But meanwhile, whether Grace is conditional or not, and whatever happens to the unrepentant sinners after this life, this current world does often look like the “truth”, even God’s truth (of how we are to suffer, or how to succeed or how to justify any action, even with God and scripture), is on their side (as they or their defenders argue).

I used to think about all of this, when various scriptures used to say our pain is “for good” were often leveled at suffering. God is “using” it (and therefore, you better be “humble” and not rage against what God has ordained for you). This then plays right into the “grand Calvinist” scheme I outlined recently (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/humanitys-biggest-pitfall-merit/#comment-3929)
And in that vein, it seems the system, based on what I pointed out above, encourages their behavior. It “works”. They are “rewarded” by their capitalistic shrewdness, or hacking, or trolling, or conquering in God’s name. Why should they not do those things then? This is where people, especially Christians, will bring out “conscience”, but I find even that to be weak and ambiguous at times. If God were really holding it up to human choice to enter Heaven, then wouldn’t there be a more clear counter to this than just the cloudy means of conscience, or the imperfect Church?

So as much as I get irritated by the justifications the powerful and others make for themselves (often loaded with “factual” data), I do the same thing when defensive.
We can probably sum up the whole game of life as adapting with the least expense and greatest benefit to ourselves (which is easier, the more resources you have, and a big part of the game is knowing how to exploit the situations at hand). Who can really blame those, simply for taking the opportunity for this, as it arises?
So then, it seems like everything must be tolerated if I acknowledge this, (and want “grace” for myself). Hence, I too find myself wanting to take a more “legalistic” attitude (wanting “justice”).
If I have to admit that I would do the same things, then it seems unfair that I get equal blame [in a hypothetical sense] for what they’re doing, while only they get whatever actual benefit from it. It’s like the people get to maintain “inertia” (taking the path of least resistance in their beliefs and actions while forcing everyone else to “move” around them. See https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/glossary-of-lifes-power-struggle), and the effects of their decisions (particularly the bad ones) become themselves like “acts of God”, (when so many things men do so fundamentally violate internal Ti sense of what’s logically correct, while again, claiming rather emphatically to be logical and factual).  It’s what I call the “Ice Age” mentality, which is the survival instinct adapting to harsh conditions of scarcity (even though in this case, they’ve accumulated an abundance, which is then out of reach of everyone else).

The sign you are advancing in your spiritual life when you see yourself in others and others in yourself Steve McSwain

In any case, I continue to struggle with this realization, and how to cope in a  world that does seem slanted. But trying to wield divine judgment at the world doesn’t make it any easier, and is really not what the Gospel was giving as the final hope (again, there was impending judgment for the system of Law in the New Testament era. But even if there was still mandatory choice and judgment, it does no good to badger the people once they make the choice, and then protest that their beliefs or lifestyles are destroying “our” culture. Christ’s followers were supposed to be “expatriates” of another kingdom, remember). All we can do is adapt the best way we can, and realize others are living beings adapting just as we are, and try to get along with each other the best way we can.

Perceiving and Judging pairs and Political Views

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/437775/black-lives-matter-obama-statement-police-shootings-not-helpful

Interesting, as I was already planning this article, looking at the political situation through the Jungian cognitive function (Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking and Feeling), and the combinations of these that make up the “preferred function” letters of Myers Briggs “type” (ST, SF, NT, SF).

I’ve noted that conservativism is very “ST” (Sensing-Thinking), with “Sensing” dealing with “concrete” (or tangible, practical, empirical, etc.) data, as opposed to “abstract” (abstract, idealistic, hypothetical etc), and “Thinking” dealing with “logic” (“impersonal”/mechanical/technical) judgments, rather than more “personal/interpersonal” (or I call it “humane”, “anthropic”, etc).
Liberals are more “NF” (iNtuitive-Feeling; Which is also one of the groups known as a “Keirseyan temperament”, called “Idealist”). S and T by contrast are both described as dealing in fact”.

Debating with conservatives for years, I see their strong talking point is their reliance on ST data. As the universe is primarily tangible and mechanical, they seem to have the edge over a focus on the ideal and humane. That’s why they boldly claim to have all the facts, and often appeal to “nature” (including dynamics like the “market”, or “rugged individualism”), and coldly dismiss appeals to “feelings”.

I’m an NT (iNtuitive Thinker), and so can see the logic, but still think more hypothetically, and thus get highly frustrated when I look for a good logical liberal response to conservative rhetoric, but often get little more than “You conservatives are NOT NICE!” (T judgments you can think of in terms of “true/false” or “correct” or not, while F is “good/bad” or “nice” or not). Again, this is why conservatives think they have such a lockdown on “truth” (And liberals might assume a lockdown on “goodness”).

But these functional perspectives are but the ways limited humans divide reality (think how we divide space between “back/forth”, “up/down”, left/right” [no pun intended], and time into “past/future”). So while the hard core pure ST perspective may be good for bare “survival”, still, it does create a very lopsided view when the N+F side is ignored. This is why all the rhetoric, blaming, defensiveness, protesting, (and violence) is not getting anyone anywhere. If the conservatives had the “wild west frontier” society they so romanticize, it would not be pretty. (Which shows a less conscious and impractical N idealism is influencing their viewpoint as well, as well as an unconscious F emotionalism that drives their passions for it).
These are the same people always decrying government “oppression”, but that’s what they’re supporting when putting down others’ protests.

(Originally posting this on a Facebook post discussion, one person kept saying “yeah, those liberals go by feelings only with no practical logic”, but the point that one side is not more valid than the other, and to lean toward one side is to be lopsided, just went right over him).

The fact that one set of j/p perspectives is not better than the other, is even with all the “hard logic and factual data”, the view still gets skewed, to favor the preconceived notion. Critizing even some conservatives (Gingrich, Rubio) as using “feeling” arguments:

But if the political goal is to alleviate feelings of discrimination, no end point can ever be reached so long as a disproportionate number of black people end up in prison. And a disproportionate number of black people end up in prison not because of discrimination in the criminal-justice system, but because a disproportionate number of black people commit crimes.

…the police could actually solve the crime problem. That would require more police presence, not less.

In the short term, more police presence could exacerbate conflict with members of minority communities, of course. That’s because policing in high-crime areas is necessarily more abrasive and aggressive — if you place men and women in blue at higher risk of danger, then they’re significantly more likely to get rough with those they confront.

Lowering the crime rate in particular areas has generally occurred through those areas’ advancing economically, or through population movement. But America’s current high-crime areas are short on economic opportunity and mobility thanks to intergenerational legacies of single motherhood and crime. That leaves just one option: cleaning up the streets as they currently stand.

But that’s precisely the option foreclosed by the Black Lives Matter evidence-last, feelings-first racialism we’re now hearing from our loudest and most prominent voices.
And the drumbeat of criticism will continue, because it’s always easier for politicians to tell you they feel your pain than to give you solutions that may hurt.

But this, rather than really true (T) observed (S) data, is a typical spin of data, whose whole problem is ignoring of other factors (S), where the system has been unjustly (T) slanted to incarcerate blacks. With the term “crimes”, they try to conjure up images of blacks all robbing and raping, but a lot of these “crimes” are about the Drug War, where blacks will be arrested for drugs that whites will not be arrested for. (Once in the system, this then creates a domino effect, where they are tarred forever, nearly impossible to get a decent job, and thus more likely to engage in other crimes when they get out). Also, you have the blaming of economics on “single motherhood” in addition to crime. Accusing the blacks of always “avoiding responsibility”, conservatives are the ones making their system ideal, and all problems always on the other side.

It’s no longer “factual” ST data when you totally skew and ignore things like that. It’s really the ST “shadow”, where you’re starting with a preconceived idea (N), of blacks as just bad (F) criminals, and then the natural emotional reaction behind this causes you to warp all the facts you do have.
Also, when speaking of “truth” that “hurts”, but that always applies only to someone else, where you get to sit and proclaim this “truth”, with absolutely nothing painful to yourself (including the “nation” or “culture” you identify with). As I’ve said, there is nothing in these people that suggests to them that this setup might be “too good to be true”. That universal “truth” favors no man or group of men. They just presume (N) this “higher ground”, where they’re “above” or too good (F) for what they proscribe for someone else.

The same within the Church, in the Calvinism vs Arminianism debates, where Calvinists tend to use scripture and even logical arguments more to build their case of unconditional election and “reprobation”, and Arminians take a more “emotive” view, being weak to really answer the proof-texts the Calvinists use, and going more by how “brutal” or “monstrous” (F) it is to trap people on a path to Hell (the Calvinists point out with some justification, that their position still leads to that for many people. The Fulfilled view is really the answer to that whole debate). When a well known Arminian (Dave Hunt) rose up with a strong response they really felt threatened by, then you saw all of this emotion come up, as they claimed he “misrepresented Calvinism” (in simply spitting back the corollaries of their arguments), to the point of demanding he rescind his book! (Never seen it come to that in a debate!)

Then, the old-line fundamentalist vs new-evangelical debate (which is really one-sided, with the old-liners really doing all the debating), like in the still ongoing issue of music, like I just covered again here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-3939
The fundamentalists, while traditionally seen as the antithesis of intellectualism, are now the ones heaping up all of this supposedly “factual” data, of what scriptures teach, and even trying to support it with scientific data. And what do they always say, but that the new-evangelicals only go on emotions and likes (F). And it’s kind of true, with dozens of anti-CCM books turned out by IFB ministries over probably half a century, with all of these intellectual and theological arguments, and only two published responses (that I’ve seen) from new evangelicals: Miller’s The Contemporary Christian Music Debate, and Frame’s Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense. Neither of which are even direct responses to fundamentalist critics, but are more toward the general criticism of the genre.

But as we see again, their arguments don’t hold. The scriptures they cite don’t prove their point, the “scientific” arguments are spun and turned into this “spiritual” lingo that doesn’t fit either science or the Bible, and there’s an emotionally driven fear of change that causes people to “double-down” and increase the “standards”, causing division among even those who believe like themselves. One even admits that predecessors guarding the churches often reacted with “pressure and force” (which are emotionally driven) and “not according to teaching and understanding”.
(Meanwhile, secular science is also a strong “empirical” ST perspective; hence also skeptical of type theory, and pretty much ignored fundamentalist creationism after the Scopes trial. So the Christians stood out as the emotion-driven ones, but as they gradually began to add “scientific” arguments for their positions; trying to beat the modern world at its own game, by the new millennium, they had become apparently big enough of a threat to finally start getting strong responses from evolutionists, as we saw beginning with the Dover trial. But some of them would also begin showing some unchecked emotion, in the way some of them would trash theism. The empirical evidence might not prove God, but then it doesn’t disprove Him either).

Here’s a hilarious familiar video on voting conservative because of one’s feelings:

So I’m voting for Donald Trump, because, because I’m angry, and, and I don’t make good decisions when I’m angry…“.

So the “hard truth” conservative is letting his ideals and emotions blur his vision just as much as the liberal! Difference is, the liberals are not the ones essentially saying a whole race of people should accept being killed, or bullied by police! The new-evangelicals aren’t the ones fighting all other Christians over made-up issues.

July Police Shootings and protest aftermath

Jul 06, 2016 2:28pm

‘He’s got a gun! Gun’: Video showing fatal confrontation emerges after Tuesday morning shooting…
http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/alton_sterling/article_7a1711be-1d0a-5f98-9274-113b819b7431.html

Tim Wise, via Facebook:

Soon will come the rationalizations for the cold-blooded execution we see on this video. In rough order:

1) He had a gun. Yes, apparently…in his pocket, untouched in this encounter (his arms are pinned), and in an open carry state where he has every right to have one on his person (thanks to the same people who will defend his death, ironically). His possession of a weapon under these circumstances can in no way justify his death;

2) He didn’t go down when the cops tased him and his body jerked around after he was tackled, meaning he was resisting arrest (i.e., “why can’t ‘these people’ just comply with officers’ orders?”). Yes, but he also wasn’t aggressing against them, and once tackled he was immobilized. Did he jerk around a bit? Sure, which is a natural response any of us will likely make when getting tackled. It is not instinctual for a person to just go limp when they are tackled, especially if they feel they are being tackled for no reason. The natural reaction is to struggle against the discomfort being caused, not to simply be entirely still, especially if the tackle is causing pain. In this regard it is similar to Eric Garner, who struggled against the officer’s arm around his neck because it was cutting off blood supply — an entirely automatic response. If you don’t believe me, next time a stranger jumps on top of you, tell me what you do. The fact that it was an officer in this case doesn’t matter. The human mind and body don’t react differently to aggression just because the aggression wears a badge;

3) He had a criminal record. Yes, he apparently did. But none of those offenses were capital offenses, and none of them have anything to do with this event. If having a record justifies cops killing you, then by that logic, anyone ever arrested for a crime who has a prior should just be jailed immediately without a trial, or just executed, as the logic is exactly the same. And let’s be honest, if he had NO record, the police would still defend the action of the officers, as would the right wingers who will do so in this case. His prior record simply gives them cover for defending an otherwise indefensible action;

…oh and of course, 4) What about Chicago? What about black on black violence? Yes of course, except a) people go to jail for that, regularly; b) that isn’t done in the name of the state with our tax dollars; c) much of that violence is itself the result of a justice system that doesn’t truly protect black people, and thus isn’t trusted (surprise surprise given the recently uncovered history of John Burge and the CPD torture den), and as such encourages folks’ to settle beef on their own; and d) by the logic that says “black folks killing other black folks” invalidates concern over extra-judicial execution or racism, the same thing could have been said in the 1920s. Even then, more black folks died at the hands of other blacks than at the hands of police or other whites (because people are more likely to be killed by people they live around), but most rational people would not conclude from that fact that the fight against lynching or racism or police violence was wrongheaded

…and lets not forget, finally, that there are 2.5 to 4 times (depending on how the tabulations are done) more white-on-white crimes every year than black-on-black ones but we never call them that…Why not? Because we racialize black dysfunction and individualize white dysfunction…because of white supremacy. That is all.

Jul 06, 2016 4:19pm
I want to reiterate a point from my last post regarding the killing of Alton Sterling by a Baton Rouge police officer, because it speaks to something that rarely gets discussed when these things happen. Seems like every time an officer kills someone (regardless of race, but especially when the person is a black male), folks want to know why the person killed had to “resist” the police? Why didn’t they just remain calm and still and do as asked? Putting aside the historical and ideological response (true though it is) about how hard it is for people who are constantly disrespected by police to suddenly be deferential to them, and putting aside the fact that cops kill folks who aren’t resisting plenty of times too (Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, Akai Gurley, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Amadou Diallo, etc), ask yourself:

Have you ever been tackled by someone who then proceeded to get on top of you and hold you down, the way Sterling was? Or choked the way Eric Garner was, by someone who was compressing your jugular, thereby disallowing blood re-circulation from your brain to the rest of your body? If not, consider how unlikely it is that the natural response you would have to either of these would be to “relax,” “stay calm” or comply with what was happening. Even if the person doing it to you was a cop, the fight-or-flight instinct that is part of all of us would kick in. Even people who EXPECT to be tackled (like running backs, for instance) have a tendency to struggle against the person doing it when it happens and they hit the ground, especially if the tackle was painful. And that’s people who know a tackle is coming and for whom being tackled is part of their job, not just some average person.

Going limp in such a situation is a) not easily done, because of the fight-or-flight instinct to stiffen up and try and get loose; and b) is considered by police to often be ANOTHER FORM OF RESISTANCE ANYWAY, because it makes carrying you away more difficult. I learned this during political protests over two decades ago. We would try and go limp when being carted away by cops but it was hard to do in practice and often made the cops even angrier because now we were dead weight and they had to work harder, so they got even more brutal…

In other words, we are asking average folks to become critical thinkers about their own physiological response to a very stressful and scary moment (i.e., being tackled or choked by a cop, or beaten as happened to Rodney King who “kept trying to get up”), even though moments like that are NOT known for being moments where critical thinking is likely, even as we are NOT asking police who are trained and agents of the state to think critically about how to de-escalate and hold fire. We are asking more of average citizens than the police. Police should not have to think before acting, but the person they are attacking should…it’s lunacy, truly.


I, RACIST
https://thsppl.com/i-racist-538512462265#.jr12w28zy


JAN MASLEID·THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2016
“A month ago, when 49 people were slaughtered in a gay club, we were told the blame lay at our feet, because if only everyone were allowed to carry a gun, we’d be safe.
Today, after a black man was held down, shot at very close range and murdered, we’re told he would have been safe if only he weren’t armed.
Which is it?’’


One FB friend; #‎FalconHeightsShooting‬ “I hope the NRA floods the streets in protest. After all, he was a good guy with a gun.”

My comment:
Of course they won’t. NRA is big repose of these people who think blacks are dangerous animals, and hence one of the reasons why they want to stockpile guns for themselves so much in the first place. The “right to bear arms” isn’t for blacks (just like “liberty” originally wasn’t), it’s just for them. (And maybe a few “good ones” who’ve joined the organization. But certainly not the much maligned guys on urban streets).


LeeAnne Milazzo McCarthy
7/7/2016
https://www.facebook.com/notes/jan-masleid/which-is-it-nragun-lovers/1201316559880108


Tim Wise
July 8 at 9:14am ·
The shooting of officers in Dallas was entirely unjustifiable and evil. It also cannot be blamed on the Black Lives Matter movement. Indeed BLM principals are condemning it openly and strongly. Not only do such folks not believe in violence or attacking cops (and indeed, no one actually affiliated with the movement has attacked a cop in the two+ years of its existence), they know (as do we all involved in this struggle) that acts like this will only embolden the far-right, quasi-fascist forces that seek to crack down on people of color even harder. To blame BLM for acts like this is to say that protest movements are inherently to blame whenever someone, totally unaffiliated with their cause, decides to do something terrible to those being protested. Such a standard would chill free speech entirely.

Tim Wise
July 8 at 10:17am ·
Right-Wingers like to talk about “personal responsibility” a lot when it comes to black people, as in, they should take “personal responsibility” for their lives/communities, etc. But when it comes to an individual or individuals who kill police, they suddenly switch to “collective responsibility” with a quickness and are ready to blame black folks more broadly or black-led movements. But if you believe in personal responsibility, then only the shooter or shooters is/are to blame for what happened in Dallas.

My comment:
Yeah, the whole problem is looking at others as monolithic entities, rather than people. Then, they hold themselves up as “par”, and then only when comparing to themselves, do people become individuals. But then every individual in the other group remains culpable for what the group does.



Conservative Media Finally Starting To Realize That Racism Is A Problem
One conservative columnist says “police brutality toward African-Americans is a pervasive problem that has been going on for generations.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/conservative-media-police-brutality_us_57800f9be4b01edea78df091?section


Black GOP Senator Talks About Being Pulled Over By Police 7 Times In One Year
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tim-scott-pulled-over_us_5786bfffe4b08608d332eaa0


Criminalizing the hustle: Policing poor people’s survival strategies from Eric Garner to Alton Sterling
Garner sold loose cigarettes; Alton Sterling hawked CDs — and they both died at the hands of police
http://www.salon.com/2016/07/08/criminalizing_the_hustle_policing_poor_peoples_survival_strategies_from_erin_garner_to_alton_sterling/


Why President Obama can’t bring us together
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/07/08/why-president-obama-cant-bring-us-together/

there are significant numbers of white people who will always believe that on issues of race, Obama is intentionally trying to set Americans against each other, no matter what he actually does or says. Any reasonable observer would look at his statements about racial controversies and see someone being painfully careful and tentative, struggling to confront the reality of discrimination and racism without offending whites. But for his trouble, he has been cast by his opponents as a racial avenger, some kind of Black Panther using the powers of the presidency to wreak vengeance upon innocent white people.

Republicans have told themselves a story in which the nation was moving toward racial harmony until Barack Obama came into office and immediately began dividing us over race, pitting blacks against whites and tearing the country asunder. And they have been telling their constituents this from the moment he took office. No one familiar with conservative media can deny that it has featured a festival of race-baiting since 2009, blaming Obama for every racial incident anywhere and casting all his policy decisions as motivated by the desire to stick it to white people. Some black kids beat up a white kid on a school bus? “Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now,” Rush Limbaugh, the most popular radio host in America, tells his listeners.


Another FB friend:
“Blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for division is like blaming victims of rape for speaking out. They are NOT the source of division.”


Don’t Blame Black Lives Matter For The Deaths Of Dallas Cops
“Black Lives Matter advocates equality, justice and freedom. Not Murder.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dont-blame-black-lives-matter-for-the-deaths-of-dallas-cops_us_577f9409e4b01edea78d6514?section=politics


No, We Are Not In The Midst Of A Race War
Calling this a ‘Race War’ implies only one side should win.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-we-are-not-in-the-midst-of-a-race-war_us_577fb9b5e4b0344d514ee8a1


Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: We Can Grieve For Dallas And Still Demand Accountability
“We are not anti police. We are anti-our-people-being-murdered-in-the-streets.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-lives-matter-alicia-garza-dallas-shooting_us_578105c4e4b0344d514f834c

Jon Stewart You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to high standards


Tim Wise
July 10 at 8:34am ·

Got a thought-provoking e-mail from someone who follows my work this morning (Danny Molina) and wanted to give him credit for the following thought, which his e-mail raised:
So, here we have most people on the right condemning black folks for “resisting” law enforcement (not fully complying with their own brutalization, or simply struggling mildly when tackled as with Alton Sterling or Eric Garner for instance). We are told by them that resisting law enforcement is grounds for execution
And yet, when these folks talk about their fears that the government is coming for their guns, what do they PROMISE to do? They PROMISE, as in guaran-damn-tee, that they will resist law enforcement, even to the point of shooting it out with them when that same law enforcement comes to “take their weapons.” I mean, who do they think is gonna come to the door and demand that they hand over their high-capacity magazines? President Obama himself? AG Lynch? No. It would be uniformed law enforcement officials. (Not that it would be OK to shoot it out with Obama or Loretta Lynch either, but ya know, they would probably think that was different, so I’m just sayin’) Of course in truth it isn’t going to happen and these people are paranoiacs, but you get the point, yes?
Basically, they are saying that black people shouldn’t resist denial of equal protection (14th Amendment) or Due Process (5th Amendment), or Freedom of Speech (1st Amendment), but by God, if someone messes with that precious 2nd Amendment, oh hell no…then not only can you resist an officer by talking back or refusing to comply with an order, you can SHOOT IT OUT with that officer in the name of your rights…
In other words, in the eyes of a lot of folks on the right, the Constitution is for white people…

My comment:

That’s the great double-standard.
Only their “rights” are valid, and so when the government is at odds with them it needs to be brought down, and they are rugged heroes for fighting for their rights. Blacks don’t have “rights”, they have false “entitlements” (there’s a difference, as they define them, see previous article), and so when they react, it’s falsely playing a “victim”, and “whining” to get “free stuff” they haven’t “earned”, or to justify the criminal “pathology” the police are trying to contain.
So they don’t have the right to protest, resist or anything; government strong-arming is valid against THEM, so they should just submit. (Just like 150 years ago, as much as they claim we’ve come so far from that! Remember, their forebears vowed “the south shall rise again”)

This is the entire conservative racial ideology in a nutshell, just hidden behind all the indirect language.


Einstein on race:
http://www.onbeing.org/program/albert-einstein-the-negro-question-1946



Being CONtorted how about all lives matter with tweets

discussion of black lives matter phrase


Rudy Giuliani’s Shameful MSNBC Appearance On Dallas Shooting
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-amato/rudy-giulianis-shameful-msnbc-appearance-on-dallas-shooting_b_10895690.html?section=politics

The Real Problem in America: _______ Like Rudy Giuliani

http://thedailybanter.com/2016/07/the-real-problem-in-america-assholes-like-rudy-giuliani/


DL Hughley: ‘The Only Place Racism Doesn’t Exist Is Fox News’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dl-hughley-the-only-place-racism-doesnt-exist-is-fox-news_us_57879e31e4b08608d3332072?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000047


People Aren’t Too Happy About President Obama’s Town Hall On Race
One activist called it “a bunch of fluff.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-race-town-hall_us_578844e0e4b08608d333f057

My comment:
“POTUStownhall is just a none too subtle blue lives matter party”. Would this ever satisfy the conservatives who claim he does nothing but “divide” the races (in favor of “black lives” only) and stir up hatred against cops? Of course not! These types of statements are always invisible to the other side, but they are just enough to anger the first side, so that everyone ends up critical of him.


The Alt-Right‘s Fear of a Black Planet
http://www.vice.com/read/the-alt-rights-fear-of-a-black-planet

This is basically the collective term for the ideologues (white nationalists,white identity, other “supremacist movements, etc) leveling the “cuckservative” term at mainstream conservatives seen as selling out for dog whistling instead of auduble whistling, like they are.

Ian Haney Lopez’s post: Jul 13, 2016 2:26pm
“And another article on Trump’s support among white supremacists — or, using their nomenclature, among the ‘alt right.’ The move here is to sanitize racism by re-packaging it, not as hatred of others, but as love of one’s own group in a world in which each group is supposedly out for itself. In this narrative, whites are the only group not allowed to express pride in their identity or to have clubs or political agendas promoting their interests, making whites the real racial victims in today’s zero-sum racial competitions. The supposed antidote: whites must organize around their white identity and protect white interests (and vote Trump). In a country deeply rooted in and still fundamentally shaped by white supremacy, alt-right is only its newest incarnation.”


“White nationalism has moved into the mainstream, like it or not.”
The KKK is trying to make a comeback – and Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric is only adding fuel to their fires.


Did you know Researchers have proven, scientifically, that we are all one people

Unfortunately, something called “culture” has developed around the different skin colors, and THAT’s what the racists (most, now actually claiming to be “colorblind” themselves) are judging by now. Another group’s “culture” is bad, and that’s why they deserve to be shot, or have no right to complain until they clean up their “problems” first. This is how they think now.
So while the “alt-right” is still pitching genetic differences, the so-called “cuckservatives” they have been criticizing are still benefitig them, by providing a “colorblind” front for the beliefs to fester behind. Now, they seem ready to erupt!


Nikki Lee Martinez
July 9 at 12:58pm · Pueblo, CO ·
No one is born into policehood.

It is not a race or a religion. It’s not a skin color. There are no blue men born to blue mothers. Although individual humans collectively embody a blue-clad police force, it remains an extension of the judicial body of our government.

As such, the police are a symbol of our judicial system that is most interpersonal to us as citizens. They are the face of American law–law that is unarguably founded on racism and historical, ingrained white supremacy. This racism, passive and subconscious at times, rampant and apparent at others, works its way through police officers like a fluid–their words, their hands, their guns and their citations based on racist laws that are carried out in racist court hearings and punishable by racist sentences. In this way, it is a fluid that chokes and drowns its victims– inevitable because it is systemic; pervasive because it is foundational.

So when people say “blue lives matter”, they unwittingly assert that members of our government–whom we interact with personally and often–are above scrutiny because they are humans and yet somehow not also voluntary members of a larger, complex and tax-funded system. This revered acknowledgement of humanity in the “blue lives matter” movement of course conversely applies to the publics they serve, as well. But unlike police officer humans, black-skinned, civilian humans do not clock out after a shift, take off the blue, retire eventually; they aren’t applauded for a lifetime of the dangerous line of work they’ve endured when they pass away–a line of work known as being black in America–that is exhausting and heavy and assuredly beautiful in private moments away from the unending racism they face every day.

No. Being black isn’t a uniform.

Of course there are those who don the blue hue who are just, kind, ethical–but these men and women in blue, not unlike their corrupt counterparts, applied for and were hired to uphold government positions in a historically corrupt, broken and dangerous system. Dangerous for them and dangerous for black people. We in the movement can appreciate efforts toward change from the inside, and we can mourn their deaths because they indeed are humans, but we know we have the right to criticize and protest our government–especially when it becomes ungoverned and tyrannical–especially when it is overwhelmingly and fatally interpersonal–especially when it is our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens at stake.

There are so obviously no blue people born to blue mothers, but there are most certainly black people–husbands, wives, children–who deserve a just government that includes and depends on folks in blue. Folks in blue who, in time, can be relied on to consistently protect them. Folks who, in this moment in time, are caught in a system that favors and exudes racism.

It is of the utmost importance that people understand that what is being said, being shouted, being plead and bled for, is that those of us protesting this judicial sect of government are asking for the reform of a system, not for the lives of other humans who are paid to wear blue and to protect us civilians. We are asking for acknowledgement of and an end to a sick machine that continues to churn despite black bodies being crushed in the cogs.

We are begging–as black people have had to too often in the history of this country–that their lives, black lives, matter. The slogan new, the sentiment hundreds of years old. We plead that their beating hearts count. It is not much to ask; it is painfully obvious, and yet we are shouting until our lungs bleed against unnecessary counter arguments–blue lives, ‘all’ lives, everyone else but black lives it seems.

So we say again and again and again until it is accepted wholly: black lives matter. Black lives exist to be counted. We are demanding to tear down the machine, building in its place a new order that can’t be fed by blood and bones, that includes black people in its foundation so that they and the blue-clad folks can stop clashing and begin a civilian-government relationship worthy of American pride.

The BLM movement asks that you hear us. Join us. Demand with us. Or, at the very least, be quiet so we don’t have to shout over you.

That is all.


A FB and typology friend of mine is involved in this one! Says the police break through a ring of white people and arrest the blacks only!

Eighteen arrested in Portland as group protesting police shootings blocks Commercial Street
http://www.pressherald.com/2016/07/15/portland-group-demands-police-chief-recognize-value-of-black-lives/


I can identify with this one, as I too had though we were so “post-racial”, and began to see the depths of racism on the internet, especially Facebook:

We Were Never Friends, We Just Grew Up Together
View story at Medium.com

Particularly striking:

After high school…Some of my childhood friends…were able to keep in touch via Facebook. We would like each other’s pictures and status updates occasionally.
I would visit their Facebook pages occasionally to check in, that is when I first began to notice that our differences continued to develop as we grew older. But this growth made me uncomfortable, even angry at times. Most of it was anti-Obama rhetoric.

It offended me, but I chalked it up to just being a difference in political ideology. Even though I slightly felt their arguments were rooted in racism. As Facebook began to become more popular I saw more of my classmates and friends sharing their ideals, principles and personal views. I too was very active on social media, typically voicing my concerns of injustice and the state of the black community.

Some where between the re-election of Barack Obama and the murders of black and brown bodies at the hands of law enforcement, I saw my white friends grow comfortable in their anti-blackness. I watched them share racist right wing articles and argue who was worthy of life and humanity.

I watched my friends who I played, went to school, laughed and even occasionally got in trouble with devalue my life and reality.


Individual Police Shootings are the Tip of the Spear
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/13/1547924/-Individual-Police-Shootings-are-the-Tip-of-the-Spear-White-America-Must-Learn-This


In DC, wiggling while handcuffed counts as assaulting an officer
https://www.revealnews.org/article/dcs-assaulting-an-officer-charge-could-hide-police-abuse-critics-say


NYPD cop secretly records supervisor pressuring him to racially profile black men
http://www.rawstory.com/2016/07/nypd-cop-secretly-records-supervisor-pressuring-him-to-racially-profile-black-men/#.V4ahA4zs5kY.facebook

This should remind us of this warning from last year:

FBI warns racist groups have been infiltrating law enforcement for years
http://www.mintpressnews.com/fbi-says-racist-organizations-have-been-infiltrating-police-departments-for-years/205796
http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/kkk-has-infiltrated-us-police-departments-decades

Why Have We Forgotten The FBI’s Warning That White Supremacy Had Infiltrated Law Enforcement?
urbanintellectuals.com/2016/03/03/forgotten-fbis-warning-white-supremacy-infiltrated-law-enforcement/

Perhaps this answers my question of how cops can have no shame in killing after other highly publicized incidents. It might just be an orchestrated plan capitalizing off of the publicity.


Not directly about these latest incidents, but still about a very much racist system:

Our Bail System Is Leaving Innocent People To Die In Jail Because They’re Poor
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cash-bail-jail-deaths_us_57851f50e4b0e05f052381cb

When I read all of this, in light of everything else here, what comes to mind is the old vow, “The South shall rise again!” This is part of how they are truly aiming to make it happen, and Trump is their great hope!

(Breaking: As I prepare this article, the next incident occurs, shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge!)


More good memes:


amaerica is mad at black people for saying black lives matter we mad for having to say it at all

where are all the second amendment purists defending #AltonSterling's right to carry a gun

America repeat after me resisting arrest is not punishable bu instantaneous death

561 people killed by cops this year don't blame all cops 5 cops killedlast noght blame Obama and entire BLM

Reminder NRA has spent decades telling Americans they should have assault weapons so we can take up arms against our own govt Well a man in Dallas did just that yesterday

black woman holding red sign you're only blue 40 hours a week I'm black 24/7 365

white people bragging about how they'd run over BLM protesters are now wondering what kind of monster would drive a truck into a crowd of people

Regarding the gun issue in general:

On a much more positive note:

After Dallas, Mount Vernon police officers and the community came together – with dancing, block parties and some music.

Humanity’s biggest Pitfall: “Merit”

Our biggest problem is the sense of “merit”.

It undergirds much of religion (including Christian religion, even as it premises itself upon  the opposite notion of “grace”), as well as secular philosophy (I think more and more of this “Law of Attraction”, and the related “rugged individualism”, from the nasty cold attitudes they produce among their adherents, in both politics and self-help discussion. I’ve cited one LOA teacher, as justifying their harsh thundering at people with a notion of “superior power”. The people don’t even have any right to be offended, and are called “narcissists” for being so. Kind of reminds one of the slavemasters whipping slaves and then calling them “uppity”, or dismissing current claims of injustice as “whining”, with the ulterior purpose of getting  “free stuff”). It’s what led to a lot of the sociopolitical problems, started centuries ago when people invaded others’ lands, and decided “we’re ‘chosen’, we have merit [built up ‘civilization’, etc], so we’re taking over!” The heirs of this continue to use some supposed merit to defend against the equality of those subjugated, rehashing the inferiority of these groups for being in that position in the first place.

Do “achievements” equate to “character”?

It’s all about “character”, with people thinking they have it, and others don’t.

Whenever you stumble across a white supremacist site, the main talking point is all the “achevements” of the race, like “building modern civilization”, where blacks, from Africa to the West have done nothing but cause problems and need to be supported.
But the question is who ever assigned merit to “modern civilization”? Certainly not scripture, where in both testaments, the big powerful world-ruling empres were always heathen dominators who oppressed God’s people. God had promised His people rule if they obeyed His Law, but the nation as a whole never did, and so remained in subjection.  The Church was promised “crowns” for its faithfulness, in the Resurrection, not in this world.

Here’s a quote exemplifying this “character judgment” basis of racism, from perhaps the nation’s #1 “hero”, embodying everything about the strong “rugged individual” that conservatives love and hold up as ideal manhood; also also a close friend of the similar number one political hero, Reagan:
John Wayne racist statement, azquotes (My father said he was a big fan of his, until finding out he was “racist”; probably with this statement. We can see why Public Enemy slammed him, after Elvis, in “Fight the Power”).

The whole thing starts from setting themselves (via their “culture”) up as PAR, morally (so that everyone else is judged by their supposed “goodness”); and in order to do that, they have to justify their evil deeds, as we see here. Already, we begin to see the shift from genetics, to “responsibility”, as Wise pointed out, where now, racists were willing to “give us a chance”, to “move up” to their “level”. —As all the political and economic forces sit there pulling every string they can to continue ensuring them remaining trapped in poverty and resulting crime. But that has to be dismissed as just a made up “excuse”, because “all the white [‘ethnic’] groups pulled themselves up”.
(I think not enough people had called this out, and so today, you have so many thoroughly convinced that their superior attitudes are justified, “factual”, irrefutable, and only in self-defense. This is why they now have a Trump to loudly champion their cause. But thankfully, a few like Wise and Lopez really are going after this).

The description Paul gives of the apostate Israel of his day perfectly fits this modern “western superiority” mindset that assumes itself as “par” for morality and character: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish THEIR OWN righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3).
Jesus had warned the same people:“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” (John 9:41)

What’s never brought to their attention is that with all that power they were able to amass and “build” with, came the potential to destroy all of life off of this planet! And that this point, in addition to the way their power has already been carried out (conquest, war, brutal policing, capitalism with the the ice-age mentality based on the false premise of “scarcity”, Randianism, and “rugged invidividualism” to justify it, etc.) is the same “savage” nature or “law of the jungle” that they deride and sneer at in tribal or urban black culture. Just a more “sophisticated” variation of the same “fallen human nature”. They are simply holding up the same “nature” that drives the violence or “inertia” (desire for ease) they are pointing out in blacks, and assuming that for them (the ones making this judgment) it by itself automatically equates to “integrity” (which is basically what they are claiming to have) because of some hand-selected list of accomplishments they can appeal to, which themselves are not without problems (a “shadow” of evil, basically), as we see.

But how often has the conservative Church (which has always fought hard for the “sinfulness of all men”, and inability for him to be justified by merit) pointed this out? They historically have been more likely to have gone along with the basic premise of “Western exceptionalism”, which is just a softer term for the “white superiority” that drove these things.
So they, virtually unchalleneged, snort out all the “fact” that always seems to prove their point.

Scripture asks “What do you have that you did not receive? And if [you acknowledge] you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Even if one doesn’t believe in scripture, this still should stand as a recognizable fact of human limitation (being we actually do occupy such a small place in the universe).

Here’s yet another political tough-talk, written by a woman going after men who voted for Bernie Sanders: http://louderwithcrowder.com/dear-men-who-vote-bernie-sanders-youre-wimpy-and-gross A “real man” is “One who has ambition, self-worth, confidence, and valor is a man worth commemorating–by both women and society”, which “strapping, rugged men” are “traditionally masculine characteristics”,  and “the evolutionary behavior of a provider”, citing the old ancestral activities of “hunting and/or gathering”.

Younger Bernie voters are all assumed to be “a lazy slacker who needs people to take care of him, you probably can’t. It would involve a little extra work to click that link. God forbid you work for something.”

A modern day hunter/gatherer still exudes ambition and drive, he just does it with modern tools, be they physical or digital. He is a man with a decisive attitude, who knows what he wants and goes for it. He doesn’t wane. He isn’t wishy washy. He doesn’t whine about things “not being fair.” He says to hell with it, he’ll find a way to make it happen. He is a man who works hard, no matter the job or career he currently has or is striving for. A masculine, modern day man seeks to better himself. He yearns for and commands respect. He has strength of character, honor, integrity. From women, from other men and most importantly, from himself.

You, the Bernie Sanders supporter,  a male seeking hand-outs, lacks personal respect. You’re less like a man and more like a spineless amoeba. You’ve fallen for the party line that “life isn’t fair.” You believe Obama and Sanders who say the “deck is stacked against you.” Where a real man would heartily declare “Challenge accepted,” while forging a path to victory, you hang your head and skulk. You hashtag. You complain. You are a male with no belief in yourself. You’re no a man at all.

You’re also doomed to be overtaken by a feminist, if any woman will have you at all. She might want to be the provider since you cannot provide for yourself or for her. Since the dawn of human beings, women have wanted men who can provide. It’s evolution. It’s biology.

We seek a mate who can take on those responsibilities while we’re caring for the young. Sorry feminists, but such is nature. This is entirely why women like tall, strong, strapping men in power suits. He’s signifying he’s an excellent hunter. And yes, men, this is why women like men with money. It’s a sign of how good he is at hunting and providing.

But you, who votes socialist, are telling the world you’d rather take from people who do the hunting, for you cannot. You are, for all intents and purposes, a wimp. In days of yore, you would’ve been driven out of the tribe. You would have held the entire tribe back. Because you just didn’t feel like going out and hunting. You didn’t feel like gathering. Meh. It’s too hard, you would’ve said. It’s not fair that Thor has bigger muscles than you. It’s not fair that Liam runs faster. It’s not fair that Ulrich has a bigger spear. It’s just not fair.

Everything that Bernie supporters talk about is dismissed under this “wanting the government to take care of us” generalization. It ignores that his premise is not the government taking money not already being taken from us, but rather that most of this money being taken is going to the rich, not the poor as the Right charges, and so that the same money should rather be put back to use to benefit most of us (from whom it came from), and not just the rich. If you say “it should just be given back to us to use however we want”, that’s a good ideal, but even conservative administrations and congresses have never been able to achieve that. They just keep giving more to the rich, while everyone blames the poor, and then berates them for their “whining”.
It also ignore just what is meant by the deck to be stacked against us, or “the game rigged”, by those already with power. That we can go out and work hard; just as hard or even harder than these power brokers, and get nowhere, because they have in fact rigged the system to funnel all the proceeds to themselves.

But that that’s not even looked at; it’s instantly assumed that just because they have all of that power, they must have worked harder for it. No one ever inherits. No one up there ever does shady dealing (including with the much despised “government”). Personality (temperament that is different for different people) and timing never have anything to do with it. Uncontrollable factors can never be too great, for this ideal “super”-man! This is then made the “par” that everyone else falls short of. So of course, under this “rugged individual” premise, those rich were all the hard-working, effective “hunter-gatherers” who “DESERVE” it.
So basically, an entire generation now, the “millennials”, (as an article linking to this one addresses) are a bunch of whiners who deserve to be driven into for-all-purposes slavery by these “real men”, just because they climbed to the place where they could do that, and the others didn’t. This is the same pattern I keep seeing, whether race, class, or generations. No one ever questions how “the hard truth” can always favor this same group of people!
Bernie Sanders supporters just want free stuff

As for the “real men” concept, it’s the same rigid ideal I discussed in https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/backlash-against-the-nice-guy-in-light-of-virgin-rampage and https://erictb.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/laws-of-the-universe-objectivism-and-tough-talk-or-why-im-critical-of-secular-self-help (and this article reads much like the ones I discussed in those articles!) It totally ignores the other baggage that comes with that “rugged” premise.

For one thing, we are no longer “hunter-gatherers”, and as suggested (see: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/systems-vs-individuals-and-the-balance-of-power-and-the-role-of-meaning) it was turning away from that paradigm, toward a system of “give and take” (which then leads to forms of “merit” to determine who should give and who should take) starting with agriculture, that can be seen as apart of the archetypal “fall” that leads to all the problems people complain about as “unfair” today!
But no; tough-talkers only pitch the grandiose ideal and act as if anyone can just “choose” it by mental fiat. No wonder they talk to people who feel down on luck like trash!

So here, is the appeal to “nature” I just mentioned. And evolution, even! (And so obviously, an example of a “secular” or not particularly Christian version of Right wing conservativism). The basic argument is, (regarding taking advantage of and consuming one another): “the animals do it!” This from the promoters of “exceptional”, “advanced” (and often even “Christian”) “civilization”! At no time does all of this “character” they assume for themselves, ever suggest a calling higher than just raw nature! Yet they continue to look down on others over this!
Stop telling people no one will love them until they love themselves
While this article doesn’t mention race at all, still the trashing of “government assistance” in the past ¾ century or so, has gone hand in hand with racism, in conservative ideology; all in the name of “rugged individualism”, and the point is, to look at this another way, you’re justifying injustice with the same “nature” that you call “barbaric” when blacks in the jungle or the urban streets do it. Or when big “socialist” governments exert their power. And then, YOU become the one who turns around and whines “unfair”, and “the deck is stacked against us”! (Which is not just leftist authoritarianism, but is populism, which has also been increasingly picked up on the libertarian right; the same ones still pitching “rugged individualism”!)

So conservatives all across the board (Christian, secular, white supremacists, etc.) are doing nothing but complaining, but never seem to be able to do anything about it. If they and their society are superior, then why by their own rhetoric is everything going wrong in it? Why are they so angry about the way everything is? They too must ultimately claim that “The Man is keeping them down” (as they mock blacks for saying), only in their case, “the Man” is fellow whites in control of this society and government.

Of course, it’s not just racism, but many other areas of life, involving abuse of authority. Like Joe Jackson , who seems to think there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way he raised the kids, especially Michael, who grew up damaged beyond repair, because “hey, it made them famous, and he got rich”. This he finds it easy to say, lounging in a family estate bought with those riches, as his son spirals down the drain and to eventual death, and the father lives out his life in the estates, justifying himself all the way. (And this from a religious family that should know “A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things he owns”—Luke 12:15, as Michael’s life sadly illustrated).

Another example is the stifling rules and regulations passed by government, and agencies like mine, often with good intentions in the aftermath of some safety-related incident. It’s all to “look good” (especially given the litigiousness of this society), or in Biblical terminology, to avoid “the appearance of evil” (and this carries over to “old-line” fundamentalists imposing certain rules, citing that scripture). People often end up “straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel”, in focusing on whatever looks good on paper, and doing just enough to meet that objective (and “doing just enough to get by” is something you would normally associate with lower level workers who haven’t climbed up to management and are thus assumed to deserve low-paid subservience).

Naming and splitting “problems”

The day I decide to sit down and start writing out the thoughts for this, happens to be the morning of the Orlando gay club attack.
Conservatives and others flock to news and social media to criticize Obama and Hillary for not labeling it “radical Islamic terrorism”. (Which he answered excellently two days later!) They always want a specific ‘enemy’ named. Like some white supremacists said, they want to “point fingers” and to “name names”, for who they think are the number one problem in the nation; in their case, the blacks. Christian leader Randall Terry once said “blame was critical” in pointing out the “godless humanist and egalitarian socalist planners”.

If more than one person in a particular group does something; if the slightest “pattern” can be detected, then the whole group becomes guilty. “Good ones” must then be split back off from that group, when they (as individuals) “prove themselves” to be different.
The person doing or demanding the “pointing” never sees himself as part of that group, or any other “problem” group, or perhaps having the same problems in different ways, or other problems that are just as bad. (Some exceptions might be certain black political figures, who go along in lockstep agreement with “dog whistling” rhetoric. But they as individuals have obviously distanced themselves from the “community” they so criticize, based on the phony premise of “colorblindness”).

Of course, this ignores other connections that can be made, like Conservative Christianity and white supremacy, which had a common view of the notion that “chosen nations” were the ones who deserved the most power, and were granted by “providence” the right to take them over.

How the splitting is done (part 1): “good/evil” vs “oppressed/oppressor”

Like someone posts a “Comical Conservative” video https://www.facebook.com/TheComicalConservative/videos/874413852691794/ where the guy has it all figured out in a nutshell. Both the Left and radical Islam are alike, because they start with a view of “oppressed and the oppressor”, based on a desire for “equal outcome”.
This stems from a statement by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, that “while conservatives see the world in terms of good and evil, liberals tend to see it in terms of oppressors and the oppressed”.

Then, I see the meme, clearly showing the two broad categories:

Why is it every time a tragedy is carried out by BAD people, STUPID people start taking rights away from GOOD people?

Anyone who is familiar with conservative rhetoric (especially Christians) will know that “good vs evil” is the ‘proper’, “God-centered” view, where “oppressed vs oppressor” is the “man-centered” view the “godless” leftists made up in their schemes to shame and then take over God’s nation. It’s of course the language of “victimhood”, which conservatives, embracing the “rugged individual” stance, have all come to despise (except when they do it). Man is not a “victim”, but is “evil” (at least according to the Christians), and so deserves a little suffering anyway, and if God decides to “bless” some people (which includes making them a “good” exception to evil man), then those not blessed must just suck it up, basically. Of course, not all political conservatives these days are religious enough to necessarily hold the theological aspect of the ideology, but they still have passed parts of it around amongst each other.

And so thus, those identifying with “conservative” movements (whether via Christianity or racism) have a natural aversion to the concept of “oppressed vs oppressor”, because they know where they would fit in that. So they dimiss it and “victimhood” in general as part of an evil ideology and hide behind “good vs evil” or “right vs wrong”. But the problem is, they have distorted “right vs wrong” in order to justify themselves in the first place!

How the splitting is done (part 2): “Rights” vs “Entitlements”

From the page, I then find this meme:

Here is a comprehensive list of everything you're entitled to and what the world owes you

The first thing I think, is why are conservatives complaining about so much about what they want (or want “back”), then? They sure seem to feel “owed” a lot of things by “the world”!
Thinking in a similar vein, one commenter points out “No life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” What follows is a debate on the ‘difference’ between “rights” and “entitlements. “Rights” are what’s “GIVEN”, like by the Creator, as the Constitution says, of course, and are what you “fight” for from being “taken” (So I guess then “entitlements” are something given to someone by other than God, with no effort on their part).
“Life liberty and the per suit [sic] of happiness are all things that you need to get up off your ass and go get not something that’s going to be furnished to you”
“you’re not ENTITLED to Life on Earth. You are given life in Earth by God”
“Those are God given rights that you have an imperative to defend and maintain for posterity as those who have sacrificed their lives, liberty and property to provide and secure them for you….”
“This is saying that you are not entitled to any rights GIVEN (ie: positive rights). Government doesn’t GIVE us life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness (ie: negative rights). We are simply protected from having these things taken away.”

(“Negative” and “positive” rights. Breaking it down ‘introverted Thinking’ style, even, but, I would say, as a more “shadowy” backup of a more extraverted Thinking focus on an environmental objective, such as determining who “deserves” something, or not).

Yet one then claims: “If you really want to get technical here you aren’t entitled to these things either. NONE of these are in the US Constitution…the statement regarding these points is in the Declaration of Independence, which is in reality a declaration of war. So no, you aren’t entitled to anything…ever.”

“This is a clear example of the problem with way too many people today…they don’t understand the meaning of ‘rights’ and ‘entitlement’. The founding fathers of the United States of America believed that God endowed people with certain inalienable rights…’Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness’. Beside the fallacy of people thinking that they have a right to happiness, which they don’t, they only have the right to pursue it, rights are not the same thing as being entitled or owed something. Def: Entitled (Adjective), believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.”

“You are entitled to nothing in this world and you are owed nothing! You have the right, in the USA, to Life. You have the right to Liberty, at least for a little while longer…and the right to pursue happiness, but not the right or guarantee that you will find happiness, or be happy. The above list of what you are entitled to and what the world owes you is 100% accurate!”

Basically, however they spin it, it explains why their complaining, demanding and claims of being “oppressed” are “different” from what they are pointing out in others. The end result, as always, only conservatives (and the demographic group they represent) deserve anything, because what they want are universal or “negative” “rights“, that they have paid their dues by fighting for, while what everyone else wants are manufactured “entitlements” (or “positive rights”), that they want handed to them, unearned.

This explains everything!
The total “fundamental attribution” shift I have always noticed. (You do the SAME things, but attribute your portion of the behavior to good, and the others’ to evil). Just engineer the terms and definitions around!
Fundamental attribution error is the backbone of self-righteousness.
You can’t admit that you’re essentially the same as everyone else (as secular philosophies like Jung, and even the Christian Gospel itself say); that destroys the whole “righteous” posture and platform taken against others, so you have to attribute what you do to something else.

This is just splitting off evil as “other”.

More on the “owed” concept

Another common tactic of “merit” is the whole “delayed gratification” concept. Once you’ve “delayed” gratification, then (as per the above definition of “rights”] you are due [or technically even “owed” or “entitled” to] it, and it ends up justifying anything they do. The conquerors had to “get up off their butts”, after all, in order to go and take others’ lands, and then build it up. Capitalists put out cheaper and cheaper quality junk [“planned obsolescence”] while charging more and more for it, but they are still “makers” because of the fact that they got themselves in thet position and “innovated” and “produced” something in the first place [even if it’s virtually worthless]”.
Likewise, Christians who emphasize strong standards of “holiness”, but when they nevertheless get caught in sexual scandals, expect the “world” they had so excoriated on morality, to grant them pardon (not throw their failing back at them, at which they claim persecution). After all, it’s “not about perfection”, it’s about having the high standards in the first place, even if they aren’t completely lived up to. It’s basically “I paid my dues, so now I have room to slide.

We see how all of this, as much as conservative accuse liberal ideologies, relativizes all morality!

The whole “The world doesn’t owe you anything” is one of the most common “tough talking” points of “self-help”, coaching, parenting, etc., but usually ends up uttered by people who themselves, while perhaps stuffing conscious feelings of directly claiming being “owed” something, nevertheless turn out to suffer from misery from things in their lives, and basically “preach to themselves”; but “at” others, who unfortunately must have this person’s own stuff projected and dumped onto them. Often, a feeling of having “paid one’s dues” is what comes up somewhere, while the person they are talking to supposedly has a more lax attitude. My father was one example.
(Another was some person online I knew of, who obviously read and regurgitated “Law of Attraction” rhetoric about getting whatever “energy” you put into the universe, self-sufficiency, “once” thinking life  owed him, etc. but was totally “negative” himself, with an obsession over black crime [even while being black himself], where he would cop an attitude and snark at you if you asked for a point or any sort of solution offered other than to just put down the people. There seemed to be a deep resentment toward the people themselves, all seen as “wallowing” in their problems, where he “climbed out of it”. ⦅Which was the same dynamic covered in Christ’s Parable of the vineyard workers⦆. Yet another is a personality type coach who as a Jungian similarly talked about “energies” and also the unconscious and how conflicts are the means by which it tries to “get our attention” and we must “own” our “shadow”, but nevertheless always takes herself out of the equation; often confiding in “credentials” to have the right to sharply confront others who don’t have the credentials, and so the numerous conflicts she is known for getting into with that must always be the other person’s “shadow”. After all, everyone wants to “shoot the messenger”.
It’s unbelievable how the very teachers of these philosophies, who are the ones who should “know better” most of all, do the very things they are teaching others against, often very pointedly at that! The messenger, under the simple banner of “truth”, can do no wrong. Again, they carry the “superior power”. Hence, whatever offenses, must then always be the wrong of the offended, as we see in religion and politics).

So my father never said anyone “owed” him anything, but instead, it was an endless cycle of destructive behavior, that toward the end, he began to essentially blame his mother, aunt and grandmother for. (And particularly affecting how he dealt with me and my brother and mother). He wasn’t expecting them to give him anything, but it’s still like they messed him up. What was basically “owed” was that they have been different (past, rather than present or future. And then, in the present, we should be whatever doesn’t get on his already aggravated nerves, almost as if to compensate for how rough he already had it).
In any case, it’s the same thing, though looks different from someone who demands or expects something now. But it has the same effects, of discontent and misery. Only one way can better pretend to “accept life as it is”, “move on”, and have the right “attitude” of self-sufficiency and not feeling owed, and then of course, be able to assume a position to chew out someone else for those things.

Why “good/evil” is not better than “oppressed/oppressor”

As for “oppressed vs oppressor”, Prager and the rest of the conservatives aren’t thinking that that is basically a subset of “good vs evil”, and not in total contrast or opposition to it. The difference is that “oppressed vs oppressor” is more specific an instance of good and evil, while their “good vs evil” is of course broad and all-encompassing. And that is precisely the problem with it. If you label people oppressed or oppressor, then either they are or they aren’t, and all one has to do is look and see if one group is actually oppressing the other. To use the typological concepts, that is simply a perception, while “good vs evil” is  a judgment.
Good and evil, on the other hand, are generalities (assumed from a summation of a lot of behaviors and actions) that can be faked. Satan appears as an angel of light and false teachers and corrupt political leaders pose as doers of good. You have to completely assess their overall motives and outcomes, in order to determine that, but you are imperfect yourself, and your view of them may be skewed as well.
(Perception is “irrational” ⦅you can’t help taking in whatever information is there⦆, while judgment is “rational“, meaning we have to willfully process the information. “Rational” sounds better than “irrational”, they way the terms have come to be used, but think of it this way: those insisting on “good vs evil” are “rationalizing” things, as we will see below! Now, to put it that way, doesn’t sound as good, does it? They are not dealing with simple “fact”, as is, as they often claim!)

Now let’s go down the scriptural list of why this is not as good as they insist it is. Good and evil was the original “knowledge” that led to the Fall to begin with (Gen.3:7ff). It is what powered the Law (Rom.3:20), which led to man’s condemnation or “death” (Rom.4:15, 5:13). No one was “good” enough to pass with it (Rom.3:9ff). So all were concluded under sin (Gal.3:22). And we were thus warned about “judging” others (Matt.7:1), because we end up doing the same things (Romans 2:1), and thus “loading heavy burdens on others” that we would not “lift with one of our fingers”(Matt.23:4. Though again, with the “merit” concept, they think they have borne whatever “burden” is supposedly required, already).

That is what’s wrong with this conservative “good vs evil” concept. Because they always end up judging others’ “evil”, while presuming themselves “good”, even if not directly, individually, but usually through identification (from idem, “the same”, from “id”) with the [collective] “good” or “exceptional” institution or belief system supposedly guided by God. (And of course, they were smart and moral enough to choose the right system, or among the Calvinists such as the Reconstructionists, God “opened their eyes” unconditionally, but still holds everyone else “accountable” for their “blindness”).
The “Judeo-Christian” conservatives, are the ones who should have known better, but (among Christians) think that their “changed lives” undoes this “evil” everyone else is plagued with (and then, there are many on the “right” side of things who are not born again Christians, but their correct “good/evil” philosophy seems to get them on the “good” side as well).

Again, if you catch them oppressing someone and call it out, by itself there’s nothing they can say. If they are, they are; simple as that. But if you call them “evil”, they can wiggle their way out of it with some situational justification, and from there, even manage to turn the whole thing around, so that they are really the “good” side and the other party is really the evil one. (Double negative; where “oppress/oppressed” are an action and a state of being that are more absolute, good/evil are a simple positive/negative value that can be reversed. Doing something that appears evil against the evil is supposedly positive. Of course, Christ basically said otherwise, but appealing to the Old Testament, many Christians actually think this flies. And while those pushing for “good/evil” often condemn “relativism” as apart of this, we see their good/evil term is ironically the one that actually fosters relativity!)

So their determination of who really are the oppressed and oppressors is this “good vs evil” category. Only the evil can be “oppressors”, it is assumed, while the good are “oppressed” just for their goodness. (Think “they hate us for our freedom”. “They hate us for our religious faith”. “They hate the [‘hard working’] rich, out of envy”). Hence, since America is the “good” nation, it can never be the oppressor, and since certain “cultures” are obviously “evil” (meaning being known for doing certain “bad” things), they can’t truly be “oppressed”. They are only claiming so in order to wrongly exact something from the good people. So while it is ludicrous for those groups to “whine” of “oppression” (the much despised “victimhood”), it is perfectly acceptible for the good conservatives to claim to be the truly “oppressed”, and it’s the “evil” people or belief system doing the oppression (though they don’t always use that word, to keep consistency with their statement that only the Left speaks of “oppression”).

So again, we see the basis of the same attribution shift, where they do the same things, but it’s “different”. It’s like having the utter authority to preach or even make the rules and break them. (which is one definition of “narcissism”: “All narcissists aspire to have complete control over others, to make and break the rules, to have God like power.” http://narcissism101.com/NarcissistsinMedia/narcissistsinboo.html). This is a good example of “privilege”, which is an often tossed around term (or of course, “entitlement”).

This article: http://qz.com/656159/the-scientific-way-to-train-white-people-to-stop-being-racist shows how their own “good/evil” concept is what actually stokes their own guilt in the race issue. It creates the “Moral dilemma” of racism, “about whether they’re good or bad people—moral or immoral”. So they project this onto everyone else; that they’re being made “bad”, and thus have to maintain their exceptional “goodness”. “When the core of our existence is brought into question, it gets emotional pretty quickly. But these emotional reactions are track-switching—we’re no longer talking about the issue of inequality, we’re talking about ourselves. When our reality as good and moral people feels threatened, up go the defenses and we stop listening.”
Here we see the shift from “oppressed/oppressor” (i.e. “inequality”), to the defense mechanism of “good/evil”.

conservatives entitlement Napoleon

“No True Scotsman”, the Muslim version

It’s true that “no true Scotsman” can be a fallacy  (the claim that real Muslims, or Christians, etc. don’t do things like that). From what I know about Islam; I’m not even totally sure. Like with the Bible, the Koran is a text that must be taken in context, but it’s really hard to tell when it was (apparently deliberately) rearranged in an anachronistic order (longest surahs to shortest), so you can’t tell which ones were written in the context of war, or of peace, when he was first starting out and facing opposition, when he gained power, etc. You’ll just see both the “love all men” passages that nonviolent Muslims (as well as the rest of secular and liberal religious society that believes “all religion is about peace and love”) appeal to, but then you also see the violent “kill the infidels” passages that both the “radical” Islamists and Christians claiming it is by nature a violent religion, appeal to. Who is “the true Scotsman” in this case? I would like to believe that the peaceful Muslims are the “true” ones, and the violent passages were taken out of context, but then I see how people do tend to water down religion, as has been done in Judaism and Christianity.
So is it love all men, except those already our enemies? Or hate all men, except those who are already in our community? It seems people are having a hard time sorting out the context.

But the problem is looking in terms of monolithic entities; a religion or nation or political system or race or sexual orientation, as an entity in itself, rather than consisting of individual people. So even if the religious texts did intend for followers to “kill the infidels”, and modern adherents have “watered it down”, you still can’t hold them responsible for the “radicals”. You have to give them credit for changing the belief, even if you think it is inconsistent.

Behind White Supremacy and “merit”

To further expond what I discussed here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/racial-rhetoric-becoming-worse-it-seems/#comment-3863

These people display a deep anger and resentment, centered around they or their ancestors’ achievements compared with blacks’ or others supposed lack of achievement (and what this supposedly ends up requiring from them).
They obviously think “the world” owes THEM something (they don’t say “life” or “God”, but instead direct blame at other people for taking or withholding what they believe God or life had already granted them). What’s “owed” is that the power their ancestors gained be passed down to them. To receive “their nation” back. To be given something they didn’t actually work for; their forefathers took from someone else, and others came behind them and moderated it so that one group is no longer as dominant. It was an expectation that is not coming true (and unmet “expectations” are the source of nearly all our nonphysical pain).
But what they have missed, is that if “life” (nature and evolution), or “God” could take from others to give to them in the first place, then they could also take from them and give to others (Job 1:21). But they never think of that (and it seems no one even bothers to point this out to them. Nothing in them seems to indicate that in a world of imperfection, loss and not having your way, the “exceptional” truth-is-[always]-on-your-side position and its supposed rewards, which they are claiming for themselves, is “too good to be true“).
They then use “merit” as the rationale for their demand, but whatever good they have done is from God (and they often acknowledge this), but still marred by human sin and imperfection (which is where they are running afoul). So no people or nation have ‘earned’ eternal rule over the earth.

They really believe they are “less sinful” than others, by race. And where was the Church all the generations these beliefs were allowed to fester? Going along with it, or at best covering it up.
Conservatives (whether religious, political or “cultural”) don’t understand the full extent of the fallen human nature. They think because they have made the “right” choices, they have “grown” past the same sinful tendencies that plague the rest of humanity

Robert Reich and especially Tim Wise explode the concept of “merit” as used in political rhetoric (such as the ideal of this system as a “meritocracy”) in their books. See:
https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/book-review-robert-reich-beyond-outrage/https://erictb.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/book-review-wise-under-the-affluence The qz article continues: “In life, there are certain chain reactions at play that lead some people straight to the top and leave others at the bottom. The myth of meritocracy gets in the way of seeing this—we all want to hold onto our story that we’re strong, smart, and deserve everything we have.”

In what we see in the rugged individualist “merit” rhetoric, “pride” becomes good. Conservative Christians long preached against “human pride”, when the “godless” in the world boast of their achievements (including political systems or scientific advancement) , but only “without God”. But when it comes to “western exceptionalism”, they then use some of these same points as proving their superiority. So it’s not that it’s bad in itself; certain forms of pride are OK; namely when you can credit God for your success.

These merit-based philosophies are making people become obnoxious. You may have a handle on how to navigate the tangible world (i.e. the way you carry yourself among people, or the way your economic philosophy is enacted), but that doesn’t mean that you trash other people verbally just because that’s the sort of motivation you think is good, for yourself. (The “secular” among these teachers act just as much “absolute” as their religious counterparts, but if those religious were to begin speaking in absolutes about biblical morality and conversion, then the less religious or nominals would begin saying there are no absolutes, and whatever way works best is good for you, but don’t force your own “truth” on anyone else.
6+3=9 so is 5+4 tThe way you do things isn't always the only way to do them Respect other people's way of thinking
And as the Christians often remind us, There are plenty of people who make it in the tangible world who are still miserable).
Between the tough talk, the weak-shaming, idealization of “political incorrectness” and looking up to Trump and his antics, and the defenses used by white supremacists, this “rugged individual” philosophy is making us become a nation of cold, uncaring, uncivil, harsh (and often increasingly foul)-tongued brutes, as much as we pride ourselves on the “exceptionality” of our “civilization”, “culture” and “character”. (See https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-3508
https://erictb.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/book-review-dog-whistle-politics/#comment-3343)

What is the Gospel for, now?

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about what is not the Gospel, or what contradicts it, (namely, all forms of “merit”), or how it shouldn’t be used. But now is a good time to discuss how it should be used.
Even though the Fulfilled View removes the whole “condemnation” premise (and thus seems to remove the need to spread the Gospel, to “save souls”), it is still “good news” that has a reason to be shared. The thing is, it’s most likely not with most Westerners, who’ve already made their “decision” in regards to Jesus Christ or whatever other religion or philosophy they believe in. This is the source of most “debate”, and enagaing in it for over 20 years, and watching current events debates over homosexuality, transgenderism, and the role religion is to play in society and government, I see it is largely a waste of time. Then you read again Christ’s statement (in instructing His first disciples on how to share the news), that if the people in a place have already “made their decision” (against, basically), then to “leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14, Luke 10:11). Staying and arguing is, again, wasting time and energy. If it brings a violent reaction from the people, then it becomes what He also referred to as “Giv[ing] that which is holy unto the dogs, [or] cast[ing] your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and tear you.” (7:6. The point is of course not to stick your nose up at unbelievers and call them dogs or swine. The people these passages were originally referring to were obstinate lawkeepers, not “worldly” unbelievers, but since the evangelical Church insists the commission to “preach the Gospel to every creature” is still for them, then it follows that these instructions on how to do it and what to do and not to do would be as well).
The only reason anyone would waste their time and energy (and possibly lives) like that is because their own ego has some investment in that place. Like “it’s our nation, and we want to take it back”. Or it’s just where you’re used to, and you don’t want to go somewhere unfamiliar (at least not permanantly, or to keep moving). So we stay in place, feeling at home in this “world” (that we sing is “not our home”), but still feel the need to  “do our part to ‘help build up the kingdom'” (and get “crowns in Heaven”). Even if you emphasize it’s “for the people’s souls”, then again, most have made their decision, and while you may be trying to catch “whomsoever will”,  Jesus did say not to stay in a city, mining for such souls (Luke 10:7b).
In any case, you’ve moved completely off of a God-centered focus, and from the “Commission” you say you’re following.

So, following the musical career of Steely Dan, and particularly main writer and keyboardist Donald Fagen, and how he would write a song attacking God, in reaction to his mother dying of Alzheimer’s (on top of some of the other wild stuff he wrote and sang about), then he’s not someone who would recognize the Gospel as “Good News”, and not someone I would want to try to convert (unless he had already come to “the end of himself” and was looking into it. Otherwise, he’s clearly made his “choice”).
However, it was upon hearing an unreleased song, called “Kulee Baba”, that was apparently about the way western media would cover an African tribal ritual (which he is portraying as some sort of good “cultural” thing, though described in language such as “The frightening finale, the rite that you’re beholding”), it conjured for me images of the potential horrors of tribal life, as practiced by some.
Not only that, but the escalating rhetorical race tension in this country, where you’ll occasionally see people make fun of African culture, or (in the context of today’s “political correctness” where everyone is “too sensitive”) talk about old banned cartoons from the 30’s or 40’s that make fun of it, also added to this at the same time. Like those disks women will place in their earlobes, or even their lips. (I’ve seen this spoofed on old Tex Avery Looney Tunes as well as old Popeyes. Probably plenty of other places, but now all censored if not compltely banned). I had also seen this in a documentary a long time ago, on the stuff women do in tribal cultures, and it also mentioned in China, the ultimate exaggeration of them having smaller feet (which is supposed to be “feminine”), where they squeezed them down to be little longer than the diameter of their leg bones.

So recently this made me think of who the Gospel would be good to share with: basically, tribal cultures. (And especially given now that the Darién Gap project just came up out of nowhere and interrupted this one, set for my vacation week. Part of the problem with pushing the highway through is the indigenous peoples who still live there, with tiny villages accessible only by foot paths).
These particular tribes seem very peaceful (and often help out hikers through the rainforest). But then, other tribes around the world will have canibalism and human sacrifice, other gruesome ritual, the ongoing maintaining of bloody animal sacrifices (where most other religions have replaced them in one way or another), and even child rape (the shamans reportedly had been telling African tribesmen this would cure AIDS), and other stuff like female genital mutilation.

Most “politically correct” liberals would likely still oppose trying to replace the practices of these “other cultures” with this “western concept” as they see it, even with the fire and brimstone removed. But look, right off the bat, those latter two things are something the liberal activist world has spoken out a lot about. They wouldn’t mind those things being ended!

Most of these rituals come from the same place just about all religious ritual and other efforts come from, and that’s the need to appease the gods (or God, as syncretistic religions such as Santeria might acknowledge). “Appeasement” is doing something to gain the pardon or favor of the other party. So it’s the same thing as the most “kosher” lawkeepers or “holiness” adherents of the monotheistic religions. Man’s “works” to save himself.
The futility of these efforts is not changed by the notion of afterlife condemnation (“eternal death”) being abolished. It’s no longer about the fear of Hell, but rather they are following things that are not from God, that are exacting a lot of unneeded and useless pain or burdens upon people (including the poor children born into this, without even any choice).

So Christ’s fulfillment of all of that, as the ultimate “sacrifice”, then is still “good news” to them, even if it’s not about Hell.
It also would be good news for those trusting in their heritage for some sort of personal worth. This is what drives white supremacy. Their ancestors did horrible things, and they can’t accept it. So they justify it, by at best “that’s just the way they did things back then”, and at worst, the people colonized and enslaved were inferior and/or “cursed”. The nation was really “exceptional”, and the descendents today not doing well simply lack character (if not being, again, naturally inferior). There is so much wrong today, but it’s all the “liberals” or other groups of people’s fault. They rebuff any association with the evils of the ancestors, saying it wasn’t them, or even that their actual ancestors weren’t here yet, or didn’t own slaves. Yet they identify with those ancestors or unrelated founders when it comes to the “good” of the nation.

If they really trusted in Christ (and truly understood Grace), and did not seek identification with the righteousness of the past Americans (which is exactly what the Israelites of Christ’s time were doing with their lineage), then they wouldn’t be so uptight (or feel “guilt-manipulated”) about the evils of the nation (like slavery and racism) when pointed out. The good and evil go together, and there is no way to split off the evil. You just end up putting it on other people, and that just causes strife. Each person stands before God on his own, not inheriting others’ goodness, or being dragged down by their badness, which you then must deny as if your own justification depended on it.
But again, many of these people have made their decision, and are fiercely sticking by it.

So the whole notion of “merit”, in all of its forms, labels and judgment, is bad news. It’s the knowledge of good and evil that leads to everything from child sacrifice to moral shaming to political oppression. It leads one group of people to show up on the shores of another, and not only say “we’re taking over!”, but also “we’re [still] in the right, and you’re suffering for being in the wrong”—”because we have ‘character’ and you don’t!”
From there we get centuries of pain and strife to come, with guilt, denial and increasingly heated reverse-blaming, along with an atmosphere lacking any empathy, and instead, full of “victim”-mocking and “weak-shaming”. It continues to lead people today to try to tear into others with “truth” in a “no excuses, no nonsense” fashion, but in the process forget that they too don’t have it all “licked” either, and can still be wrong; and thus lacking any humility or grace, and just creating more bad feelings, and thinking it’s justified. This is often done as part of a cold answer to people’s suffering. They “did it to themselves”, unlike me, who “just grabbed the bull by the horns and pulled my bootstraps”.
This is the religion of the Devil, who is an “accuser“, leading people to deny their sin, compare to others’ (2 Cor.10:12), and then create strife and even possibly, war from that, along with the rest of “the works of the flesh” (Gal.5). This is basically the “law” of the Kingdom of Hell!

Christ is the Good News that answers all of that (even if not instantly ending all pain). May  people who claim to believe the Gospel learn to really and consistently apply this to their beliefs and teachings.

The Pan-American Gap: the skipped over barrier between the continents

Since in https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/a-land-trip-to-the-north-pole-or-as-close-as-you-can-get/ I mentioned the other end of the Western Hemisphere, Tierra Del Fuego, and how it is on an island, creating a break in any drive to the top of South America, I just now happen to find out that there is another break, right in the middle of the journey, in the very section connecting the two continents, going from Panama to Colombia. I had been looking around on Google Maps, and decided to check out what the intercontinental boundary looked like. I had remembered on the old Rand McNally US road atlas, which also had a small page with Mexico and Central America, seeing a “Route {1}” running through the isthmus connecting to South America, that headed to the border (I think I remember it even crossing, and then just disappearing before the edge of the map).
So I figured it crossed, and reading on people’s “Pan American Highway” journeys “From Cape Horn to Alaska” (sometimes even by motorcycle), figured they skipped over that portion (usually flying) because of the human dangers, with all the drug gang warfare and political insurgency in those nations.

Steely Dan’s “Highway [that] runs from Paraguay” that the singer “just came all the way” on (“Turn that Heartbeat Over Again”, the song from the first album that sounds the closest to their later familiar style) playing in my head for months also had me thinking of the continuity.

But now I find that there is actually a dense jungle (or “rainforest”) that the road has never been bullt through. Called the Darién Gap (Sp. “el tapon del Darién“–the plug or stopper), it’s actually about 100 miles long, and the road was constructed as far down as the town of Yaviza, Panama, but then just ends there, and only foot paths continue through the remaining 60 or so miles (these were the local people´s walking trails interconnecting their traditional villages), and you have to cross rivers, marshes/swamps, mountains and valleys. People actually make the hike, but it’s very dangerous, and you can get kidnapped or shot, and even the law enforcment is corrupt or at least hypervigilant, and gives you trouble, and you have to pay them off! And then of course, the wildlife (the typical tropical variety; of spiders*, snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and a whole bunch of insects including malaria-carrying mosquitoes).
So the “highway from Paraguay”** or any other part of South America, includes narrow jungle paths that must be hacked through with machetes, and paths through water and bogs as well. (That part of the song was about the infamous drug trafficking through the area, so they have no problem braving all of that to do their shady business. The name may remind one of a town in Connecticut between Stamford and Norwalk, and it turns out, it was named after this region!)

One expedition using jeeps took two years (741 days) to get through (reading, you forget it’s a short stretch of land that would take only an hour to pass through in normal driving as the video below points out), and then other ones using other vehicles, generally took over a month to a few months (and starting out with several vehicles, at least one would end up being abandoned in the jungle). You see pictures of the big sport vehicles having to be pulled up hills with cables, or metal wheel tracks put down to tread on. They also have to drive across rivers, and one expedition used inflatable rafts to float the cars over. Hikers of course have to wade or swim through, and sometimes use canoes.

Here is a blog article on it: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/darien-gap-most-dangerous-absence-of.html

This article, of a 1980’s walk through the jungle (gives me a Siteadvisor warning for some reason, but it’s just a pdf file) has a map showing the exact path through the Panama segment: http://www.saexplorers.org/system/files/magazine/sae-mag-19c-darien-gap.pdf (South American Explorer, “Making Ends Meet: Walking the Darien Gap”). They had to wrangle with one local to show them the right path, then he brings them to the one he says some jeeps had driven through a few years before (probably the 741 day CJ-5 trip).
On this path, at the border, there is a little clearing with a stone marking the boundary with the names of the respective countries on both sides. It’s called “Palo de la Letra” meaning “tree of the letters”. There was supposedly an actual tree there that people used to write on, but is since gone.
Once in Colombia, they go a little further and reach a place (not shown) called Puente América, which is in the vicinity of a village called Cuenca Cacarica, which is a row of small houses on the banks of the Atrato River (the largest river in the stretch, and also known as “cocaine highway”), and they then take a motorboat up the river to the eastern coast, and across a small Gulf of Uraba, to Turbo, Colombia, which is where the Pan American Highway picks up.

Another hiker was Andrew Egan, who wrote about it in Crossing the Darien Gap (2008). Both of these explorers say the trail ends at a riverside ranger station (at Cristales), and then describe riding down a river they are calling the Cacarica, to the Atrato. They’re probably referring to what the map is calling the Quebrada Timarcuati, which then becomes labeled as a branch of the Atrato before they merge, with the village of Cacaricas on the peninsula of the confluence. He describes the stretch on this river connecting the Palo de la Letra area to the bigger river as “a slender vein of murky water meandering through a mystical sunken forest — a dense bog permanently soaking under a warm waist deep soup” with as far as you can see, “wide trees sprouting from a glassy wet floor. In fact, I don’t feel like we’re traveling along a river at all: I feel more like we’re traveling atop a watery pathway through a ghostly ancient forest.” (p.201-2) It then narrows to where they have to get out and push or pull the dugout canoe through. (according to him, “Puente América” was so named [i.e. “Bridge America”], because it is where the highway is supposed to pass through. He also went out up the Atrato and to Turbo.

Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway’s Jungle Gap Paperback (1996) is by Ed Culberson, who motorcycled the whole PanAmerican Highway, including the gap. He also has a shorter article on it on South American Explorer, “The
Ever-Dangerous Darien”: http://www.saexplorers.org/system/files/magazine/sae-mag-40d-darien.pdf which has even better map of both portions of the trail
He followed the jeeps to a point, and then veered off another way (on what was the proposed highway route), following his own hired guides. He sheds light on why the jeeps, of the Loren Upton-Pat Merrier expedition of 1985-1988, took 741 days. They, avoiding the Los Katíos National Park, ran into worse terrain, and actually had to abandon the jeep until after the rainy season, then return to make repairs and continue on.

Here is a 1961 video, made to advertize the Chevy Cordair, showing them driving through. https://youtu.be/7EnZKOu4fV4 This is part 2, from Yaviza and beyond; part 1 is getting to Yaviza before the road was constructed that far.
Once at the Palo de la Letra, that’s the end of the trek, and it is not revealed which way they went after that. (in fact, this is the case for most of the expeditions. This site http://www.4wdonline.com/Places/CentralAmerica/Darien.html says they “failed” the attempt to take the three Corvairs across, but that probably refers to only two of them making it).

To continue all by land, the most direct path would likely continue, crossing the Atrato around Cacarica, as the hikers did, and then into Chigorodó, where the PanAm highway passes through as [national] route {62}, a bit further down. This is a really pretty two lane road (the street view was filmed on a nice sunny morning)*** passing through serene looking farmland (and fields with a few trees interspersed, a few of them palms), and occasional houses or businesses, resembling US coutrysides, like the Eastern Shore. (In some places, you can see the start of the Andes, in the distance to the east). The towns however, are rather poor-looking, with dense rows of stores (a typical urban mix of groceries, salons, electronics, etc.) in a mix of older two story commercial buildings with a few taller newly built (and sometimes not finished) ones stuck in among them. The neighborhoods off to the side also dense and poor looking. The setting overall greatly resembles Brooklyn’s East New York, and the smaller older buildings kind of evoke those scenes of antebellum Five Points structures, but in modern color photography (and without all the wooden construction). Most of the houses in the town are the little tin-roofed concrete block bungalows. (Or you see a lot of that red-orange grooved clay “tile” sort of block, with sloppy mortaring, you only see in some early  20th century “false-walls” constructed in pre-war basements here. Many walls are stuccoed as well, of course. Wood I imagine would rot in the moist and rainy tropical atmosphere).

And then, continuing on the journey all on main roads, and with intercity buses available, you come to the somewhat more familiarly named city Medellin, which I always heard in conjuction with “drug cartels”. But it seems the cities of Colombia are safer now, as the gangs are all taking refuge in the jungle, but they still say you should not walk around the streets at night. And from there, the rest of Colombia and South America lies ahead. The capital, Bogota is not too far off to the southeast, with an alternate PanAm route, as the main one, picking up route {25} after Medellin, stays closer to the Pacific, and passes near the city of Cali).

There is no Street View between Mexico and Colombia. In Chigorodó, right where the PanAm veers right (east) to go around the gulf, toward Turbo, Calle 97 (97th Street. And the town begins in the 70’s, not from Calle 1) hangs west. Take it several blocks, to where it ends, then one block over to Calle 96 (whch ended before it could intersect with {26}), which after a rather American looking new public-style housing development on the corner (which was apparently not even built when the satellite view was taken), then heads out of the city, toward the wilderness in the distance. Street View only goes a few hundred feet past there (where the landscape already turns into rural farmland and parkland right behind the housing complex) and then ends. (In several places like this at the edges of the town, the scenery abruptly changes from this urban atmosphere to country road. You just turn a corner, and you’re in farm land!) But the road continues for miles (it soon becomes wooded, apparently, with more farmland interspersed), and branches out into several roads, all shown on the map as ending, in a completely rural locality called Tierra Santa. One branch is slightly longer, and ends in Puerto Amore, a bit further to the south.
Carrera 105 (roughly, “105th Course”), a gravel road ending at {62} a bit further north, on the other side of a small river and which passes the town’s tiny airfield) does the same, ending at a place across the river from Tierra Santa, called Veracruz Li. (There’s no Street View on this road at all).

Puerto Amor is about a third or quarter of the way to the river at Cacaricas, and it’s still lower greenery even around to the river and the village, given the shadows cast by the few bigger trees sticking out. The thicker [darker on the map] greenery begins just west of there. In fact, according to the photo on the Wikipedia article on the river https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrato_River, it seems the lighter greenery surrounding the river in this entire area looks like grassland! (though from what I’m reading, it’s probably really part of the Atrato marshland or patano, though I thought this was closer to the inlet at the gulf. It’s described as being waters choked with “lettuce-like vegetation” http://travelswithmitzi.blogspot.com/2015/07/lost-in-darien-gap.html Looking at the map, it’s hard to tell where the solid grounds become marsh, but obviously, the roads are on land. There’s also more forests along the river the other direction, further south).
Calle 93 and 94 merge at the end of town, and head out to a place a bit to the south called Bohio, which appears to be flat farmland. (The marked road on the map ends, but in satellite you can see it continues, up to the river that runs to Puerte Amor).

Even closer to the river, is a pair of place names, El Cuarenta and Lomas Aisladas, which has a pretty straight road (25B) leading right to {62} at El Tigre, to the south of Chigorodó! (Culberson calls this “the junction at Guapá”, but I don’t see that name on the map). The end is about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to Cacarica, at the edge of the Los Katíos park! This road is harder to see in satellite the further out you go, and thus may be a path through grass, or something. At it’s “wye” intersection with {62}, it’s gravel, and likewise has no Street View itself. Though the bridge over Rio Leon at Barranqillita has a photo, and is paved, at least. Found out about this one from this video: https://youtu.be/KAubuZYpmOY which shows it as part of a proposal for a road to Palo de la Letra (and several others around the country).

These are the logical roads a complete connection would connect to. It seems the Cuarenta path is the one planners are looking at.
The radial distances:
Chigorodó/El Tigre—Cuarenta: 20 mi
Cuarenta—Rio Atrato and Cacaricas: 12 mi.
Cacaricas—Palo del la Letra: 14 mi.
Palo del la Letra—Yaviza: 35 miles
All of this drama, over these small distances!
(Basically, the gap in the “Pan Am Highway” from the closest overland point is 80 miles, but we can subract the 20 miles that is covered by another road. So the problem area needing to have a road built is 60 miles, nearly evenly divided by the national border. 30+ miles from the Panama highway to the border, and then 30- miles from the border to the nearest Colombia road. The Panama portion is the Darién rainforest. Most of the Colombia portion is the Atrato wetlands, which itself is nearly evenly divided by the river, with the “sunken forest” on one side, and smaller greenery on the other. This is likely the hardest to construct through. Might have to be an extra long “causeway”, or, perhaps a tunnel, but that might be more disruptive to construct).

So the travelers, having exited the jungle by the time they reached the river, were actually very close to the mainland Colombia roads and thus a completely overland trip! (They may have gone toward Turbo to pick up the Pan Am highway at it’s current end, even though this is actually out of the most direct way, and is across the Gulf of Uraba that ends before Chigorodó. So people are perhaps thinking you have to go into Turbo in order to “travel the ‘whole length’ of the highway”. I would skip the section from Turbo to Chigorodó or El Tigre for the sake it it being on land as much as possible. Culberson had also seemed to indicate heading toward Turbo, but on the map in his article, he shows his route as heading up the Atrato a bit, but then entering land again on the other side, and swinging back down to Cuarenta, which was a big detour as again, that village and Cacaricas are so close! It’s just more of the same low greenery inbetween. BTW, there is also an unconnected network of small winding roads to the east of the stretch of Colombia between the border and the river, connecting the coastal town Titumate with Unguia, about half way down to Cacaricas).

However, these peaceful looking meadows or marshes, according to this map: Lost In the Darien Gap is the area inhabited by the Los Urbeños gang, and beyond that, across the river and into Panama, is the FARC 57 militarized front. Between the national border and the river, and where the two turfs intersect around Cacaricas, is where a Swedish hiker was killed (and his remains found later), reportedly because the FARC thought he was a US spy!
This is probably why these other expeditors, after braving the worst of the jungle, then quickly head towards sea as soon as they enter Colombia, even though the actual landscape seems to be a relative breeze from there!

There had been plans to complete the highway (which the US was involved in), but opposition included that it would allow hand-and-foot-diseased cattle to cross over and infect North America cattle, in addition to making it easier for the drug gangs to cross, other tropical diseases, and also disturb the numerous indigenous peoples still living there (in little villages with no roads, and often living in straw huts. They do hand you “dusty bottles of Coca Cola” as the SAE article says. It also said “The people here hope one day to see a bridge spanning the [Atrato] river to complete the PanAmerican Highway”, but also points out how it would alter the local cultures there and “undoubtedly, plant the more loathsome aspects of Panamanian officialdom in that vast wilderness”. The Darkroastblend article points out “Building the road itself will not destroy too much of the forest but the subsequent development of the area would irreparably destroy delicate ecosystems”).
The construction of the road as far as Yaviza has already led to deforestation, with farms and other industry spreading. (It used to be just as much jungle as the area to the south, as can be seen in the first half of the Corvair film, but now is much more clear).
Wikipedia cites this article: http://www.futuristspeaker.com/business-trends/the-coming-era-of-mega-systems-part-1-transportation on an idea to “use a combination bridges and tunnels to avoid the environmentally sensitive regions.” (It also mentions other transcontinental connections, including the Bering Strait connecting to Russia, and even the trans-Atlantic tunnel idea).

I wondered what about driving along the coastline (beaches) on either side of the isthmus. The satellite shows sandy beaches in some places, and it’s hard to tell for others. There should be at least some space between the water and the forest. I can’t see the surf going right up to the trees and brush. Perhaps there are some cliffs (where the trees could go to the very edge). You would also still have to deal with the river inlets. To build a road along the cliff, cutting down only the 20 or so feet of forest, and then build bridges over the rivers, should not disturb the inland environment. But it seems no one has even thought of that. (In the 50’s, an amphibious jeep made the trip from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego, taking the water around the roughest portions of the gap

Here, political figure Lyndon LaRouche, in a sort of conspiratorial fashion, claims other [ulterior] reasons they want to stop the project, and says it would be good for everyone, and offers a plan for it: https://youtu.be/_u_dyWnukDE

This post on this site: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Colombia-1753/f/driving-central-south-america.htm says a “hard packed dirt road” has already been cut through most of the way, and that the people saying you can’t drive through are all connected with the shipping industry! (Don’t know how true it is, and this post was 8 years ago already. It’s true that shipping your vehicle around the gap can cost upwards of $1000!) He says “Outside Chicorodo [sic] off 62 northbound you will see a red/white sign with black 51l.. this is where the road starts. It ends at Boca de Cupe which then ties into the highway.” (Boca De Cupe is one of the villages somewhat beyond Yaviza, in the jungle. He initially said only six miles remained, and that might be what he was referring to. By now, that would have likely been finished). I don’t see this sign anywhere in the Street View (at least not in the areas I’ve mentioned, where I think the cutoff would be. It seems signs of that color with numbers are speed signs, usually displaying “30”).
If that were true, and the Chigorodó roads were connected, they would be like a secret “back door” exit to North America. I could imagine an action chase plot, where the pursuers are perhaps expecting the pursuee to head to Turbo, but instead, he stops at one of the gas stations or other businesses in Chigorodó, then cuts out to the rear, winds through the streets to the roads out of town, and heading for the Atrato swamp and the jungles ahead.

I wonder how such an unauthorized-sounding makeshift road would get over the Atrato, and through the surrounding wetlands. (A fixed bridge over the river would be very noticeable, and known about. So for now, it sounds like bunk).
However, this video from five years go seems to show some sort of clearing construction going on, and the commenters are angrily complaining about the forest being destroyed: https://youtu.be/Cv9zMCcDWCA One actually says “I was wondering why the imagery from terra server (google earth) is so low resolution.” (It may simply be part of the other deforestation occuring around the already completed road).

I’ve lost interest in doing the NY—Punta Arena ride, until that section is filled in. To me, to fly or boat over is “cheating”, and then I might as well fly from NY to Colombia! (I also wonder if it is possible to build a bridge over the two mile wide narrowing of the Strait of Magellan. I read it was cliffs, but zooming in with satellite, [as it figures] a section of it is regular low banks —where you drive onto the ferry!
But seeing very familiar looking kinds of countrysides and urban stores, and almost feeling like I’ve made it my [temporary] home, in this electronic journey, I’ve seen that these far off areas, which seemed as remote and otherworldly as another planet, and were so exotic and yet dangerous, are inhabited by the same old humanity as I find right here.

* ** ***[Footnotes in comment]

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