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Henry Louis Gates Talks Reconstruction To Alt-Right, Trump And Voter Suppression – WFAE

WFAE's Gwendolyn Glenn talks race, Reconstruction, voting and more with award-winning author and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates.

Henry Louis Gates, a renowned and award-winning filmmaker, author of two dozen books, a professor and director of African American studies at Harvard University, has written about race in America. He explores the Civil War, Reconstruction to Jim Crow, the civil rights movement and the state of race relations today.

Gates spoke at UNC Charlotte Tuesday for the schools 2019 Chancellor Speaker Series and at the uptown campus to school donors and city leaders. WFAE's "All Things Considered" host, Gwendolyn Glenn, caught up with him to talk about race, voting, economics and other issues.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Let's talk about the message that you want to leave people with. You'll be talking with students, faculty from UNC Charlotte and also a lot of city leaders here in Charlotte. What's the message you want to leave today?

Henry Louis Gates: It's very important for people to understand the history of Reconstruction, the period following the Civil War and its rollback because it is a precursor to the period that we're experiencing today. Between 1870 and 1877, 2,000 black men were elected to public office, including Chris Rock's great-great-grandfather, who was elected to the House of Delegates in South Carolina. But within a few years, poof all that disappeared.

Glenn: And I was going to ask you about that because you talk about that in your book and I think in an interview I heard you compare that roll back after Reconstruction to Jim Crow and on to what's happening now with the Trump administration and that rollback.

Gates: Reconstruction was 12 years of unprecedented black freedom followed by an alt-right rollback. And we're living through a period of eight years of a beautiful, brilliant, black family in the White House. A brilliant black president followed by an alt-right rollback. So the lesson of Reconstruction is that rights that we think are permanent, the right to vote, birthright citizenship, and the right of a woman to determine the fate of her own body. We think that these are inviolable. But they're not they're subject to the interpretation of the courts and sometimes the executive orders and that is the crisis that we're facing today. So what happened in Reconstruction can happen again. The most important way, the most devastating way that Reconstruction was rolled back was through voter suppression.

Glenn: And looking at today when you hear charges of voter suppression even right here in North Carolina you hear people talking about how laws are being changed. Compare that to today?

Gates: We see voter suppression happening throughout this country but particularly where there are strong black voting blocs in North Carolina and in other states. And we have to be on guard. We have to fight back and we have to register black people and like-minded people to vote.

Glenn: Well, Charlotte has had issues like that where you have had a lot of distrust by African Americans of the police department. You have economic gaps between the races and you've had a lot of unrest surrounding fatal police shootings, white police officers and black victims. How does Charlotte compare to the rest of the country? Does it sound like most cities large cities like this? How does it compare?

Gates: I'm not an expert on Charlotte or black-white race relations or relationships between the community and the police but I know that throughout the country obviously anyone who's watched the news knows that for the last several years and much longer, there have been basic problems between the police and the black community.

I don't think it's only a racial thing. I think it's a class thing as well. I think that poor people are disenfranchised, poor people across the board feel alienated from all representatives of the power structure, the police included. And I think that one of the most important developments has been having police officers wear video cameras and also the fact that the people being stopped by the police have smartphones and are recording their interaction.

Glenn: Are you optimistic about common ground and also you dedicated your book to the Emanuel Nine. Why was that important to you?

Gates: Well, I did one of the last interviews with Reverend Clementa Pinckney for my series Many Rivers To Cross, which was 500 years of African American history. And I liked him very, very much and I admired him. And right now I'm filming a series on the history the black church. And Mother Emanuel plays a pivotal role both during slavery because it was the site of the plot of a famous slave rebellion in Charleston then it was shut down in 1832 and then reopened in 1865.

So when I heard that Reverend Pinckney and the other eight innocents at Mother Emanuel had been killed it just tore me up because I'd been there, I'd filmed there, I knew him. But if you would have asked me cold...if you had said a terrible racial tragedy happened in Charleston at a black church where do you think it was? I would have said Mother Emanuel because it was a symbol of black freedom. It was a symbol of black resistance during slavery and a symbol of black freedom during Reconstruction.

Glenn: Well, thank you very much.

Gates: Thank you.

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Henry Louis Gates Talks Reconstruction To Alt-Right, Trump And Voter Suppression - WFAE

Shallow Woke-Scolding Won’t Save White Boys From the Alt-Right – Patheos

Image source: 123rf

In a recent article, the newspaper formerly known as the New York Times offers an eye-catching headline: Racists Are Recruiting. Watch Your White Sons. The image is an inspired piece of pop art: a blond-haired, gangly boy disappearing into a giant iPhone made of writhing snakes. One shoe is still outside the phone, the shoelaces untied. The tag on his shirt sticks out against his neck. Its a perfect visual encapsulation of vulnerability entrapped by evil.

The author, Joanna Schroeder, is a mommy blogger with bylines at the Huffington Post and other outlets who frequently writes about raising sons. In recent months, she has become especially vocal about the alt-right, white nationalist gamer culture, and the vulnerability of boys to online Nazi recruitment. This article is a summary of what shes learned and wants to pass on to other moms like her.

So far, so good. Alt-right online culture is indeed toxic, callous and dangerous, and it is indeed perilously easy these days for disillusioned young men to fall down a rabbit hole and wander into some very dark places. Ive spent years warning friends to educate themselves and take the alt-right phenomenon seriously, learning to recognize the kinds of memes and linguistic tells that typify the right-wing fringe. When young people no longer get what they need from the mainstream, they will wander to the edges, and there they will encounter the sort of ideological static cling that makes for very strange bedfellows. I speak from experience as someone who has been politically homeless for my entire adult life.

All of which is to say, we could use a smart, thoughtful op-ed clearly outlining what the alt-right actually is, the actual dangers it poses to our boys, and the actual best ways for parents to become informed and preempt its influence.

Unfortunately, Ms. Schroeders piece is not that op-ed.

Schroeder bursts out of the gate with what is meant to be a darkly ominous opening anecdote about a car ride with her sons. She overhears them in the back seat with friends crowing Triggered! over a meme on their phones, whereupon she tells us with an absolutely straight face, I almost lost control of the car. If the reader here begins to wonder whether Ms. Schroeder is quite up to the task of calmly navigating land transportation, the rest of the article wont set his mind at rest.

In another anecdote, delivered in ponderous blow-by-blow, she recalls catching a Hitler meme on her sons phone out of the corner of her eye and snatching it to have a closer look: Hold on a minute. Was that Hitler? I have been unable to track down the original meme, but if Ms. Schroeders interpretation is accurate, the gist of it seems to be the kind of elaborately unsavory joke that can in fact find its ultimate origins in alt-right troll dens. As Schroeder tells the story, her son hadnt even been aware of the meaning of the meme and liked it assuming it was innocuous.

It may be worth interjecting here that alt-right memery can indeed turn very ugly very fast, uglier even than the rather clumsily veiled meme Ms. Schroeder seems to be describing. In general outline, the idea of noting the earmarks of an alt-right meme and teaching your son to practice caution isnt unreasonable. Dramatically snatching away your sons phone the moment an image of Hitler flickers on the screen, then writing a New York Times op-ed advertising for the whole world that he accidentally liked the wrong kind of meme on Instagram: slightly less reasonable.

It would be far more constructive for Schroeder to introduce her sons to figures like David French and Ben Shapiro, who have been on the receiving end of alt-right hate mail. There was, for instance, the ugly incident when alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos tweeted a picture of a black baby at Shapiro upon the birth of his son. (This is part of a running viciously racist meme involving what black men might do to white mens wives.)

However, Ms. Schroeder is apparently incapable of computing the idea that the alt-right wouldnt be Ben Shapiros biggest fans. While rattling off her list of extremist media, she careens breathlessly from 4chan to PragerU to The Daily Stormer to Jordan Peterson, barely pausing to note that some of these things might not be exactly like some of these other things.

But of course, such an article wouldnt be complete without an obligatory Jordan Peterson reference. While conceding that Peterson and other IDW figures are more mainstream, Schroeder casually wedges the clinical psychologist in between paragraphs about white supremacist outlets and gaming forums. She writes that Petersons conservative perspectives on feminism and gender are very popular among young men and often are a path to more extreme content andideologies.

This, from the advice columnist who offers tips on ethical sexting and writes open letters to her sons telling them that love and sex neednt have anything to do with each other, or that she will be proud if they can become cool enough to bed multiple girls (or boys). Meanwhile, Jordan Peterson tells boys that casual sex is an oxymoron and offers practical advice on how to quit pornography, something Schroeder should appreciate. Here he is chatting with a fan who came to a healthier understanding of sex and sexuality by taking Petersons wisdom to heart. A clinical psychologist right in my own town also shared a story with me about a young man who was the archetypal aggressively foul-mouthed, female-objectifying, porn-addicted high school jock, until he encountered Peterson. The difference before and after, she said, was as night to day.

I also note that in the course of her research, Schroeder found an author who conjectures that young men are drawn to toxic online communities because they want to feel as if theyre part of a heroic struggle. All the more reason why she should be a fan of someone like Jordan Peterson, who also understands this deep need in young men but encourages them to channel it towards personal improvement, costly relational investment (like maybe marrying the girlfriend Ms. Schroeder would say they could just go on bedding without marriage if they feel like it), and taking on family and community responsibility. Yes I know, Im hopelessly naive.

But clearly, Ms. Schroeder doesnt need my advice. Her game plan is all mapped out. In a column entitled 18 Ways to Raise Feminist Boys, Schroeder suggests such helpful tips as buying dollies for your boy toddler, or playing house and asking him if hed like to be the mommy. She has guides to media consumption too, including lists of female-centric book and TV series to make sure your boys read/watch, plus invaluable tips on how to handle old media (Have your teens brainstorm the ways in which James Bond shouldve shown more respect).

Ms. Schroeder also shares her secret sauce for deconstructing terms like snowflake. Whos more of a snowflake, she asks her son with relish, the person who wants people to stop using racial slurs and mocking of gay people, or someone who complains about the phrase Happy Holidays at Christmastime? (A bit that would no doubt have been very cutting-edge in 1991.)

She also has a game plan for teaching her sons how to think about race, particularly recommending Shelly Tochluks Witnessing Whiteness as a how-to guide. One blurber gives this taste of the book: Shelly Tochluk brings to light the most important book about race in a generation. Is whiteness bad in itself? When is it just part of the social, historical and cultural legacy of a people? And what is the prison/poison that this legacy bequeaths us? Tochluk herself informs her readers that Our first step is to identify the ways our whiteness emerges. Our first step is to become witnesses to our whiteness. (p. xvii)

If Ms. Schroeder sincerely believes any of this is going to have any measurable, helpful, useful effect on her white sons, I dont know what to tell her. Truly, I dont.

Some might say I am being too harsh with someone who, for all her foolish and ineffectual finger-wagging, at the end of the day is still a mom of boys who is genuinely scared of at least some things she should be scared of. I confess, the sort of person who instructs teenage boys that their sex lives and their love lives can run on parallel tracks does not awaken my better angels. But the tiny grain of truth buried in Schroeders smarmy fluff is that there is a real threat on the right-wing fringe that can have an attraction for boys and young men who are bored, aimless, and looking for a transgressive thrill.

Ironically, her brand of woke-scolding could not have been better calculated to put off the sort of young man who already feels he is being constantly scolded and doesnt understand why. In other words, exactly the sort who wanders into alt-right Internet forums. But by sweeping all non-conforming right-of-center commentary outside the Overton window with one grand gesture, Schroeder cuts them off from the antidote. In fact, she should be so lucky if she catches her sons watching a Jordan Peterson lecture on YouTube. They might have actually learned something about manhood. They might have actually learned something about human nature. They might have learned something about what makes evil men do evil things. And in the process, they might have learned something about their own hearts.

But hey, at least shell make sure they learn about ethical sexting. So theres that.

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Shallow Woke-Scolding Won't Save White Boys From the Alt-Right - Patheos

In Sri Lanka, Cartoonists Take on the Alt-Right – Fair Observer

It has been traditionally accepted in modern societiesthat the media play a key role in the way they function. Journalists counteractthe abuses of power by governments, frame political issues and are implicitlyrecognized as being part of the political system with a remarkable amount of socialinfluence.

In countries where the political systems are broken, and where journalism can often carry a risk to ones life, the role of journalists becomes even more critical. They become witnesses against oppression who flag the voices of the unheard, bringing to light facts and events that either fall below the radar or are purposely suppressed. In 2018, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed concern about media safety in Sri Lanka and asked all social actors to defend the freedom and independence of the press, as well as to protect journalists rights. In a 25-year period, from 1990 to 2015, 32 journalists have been killed on the island according to data by the IFJ.

This is not the complete picture, however. Some citizens, who have disappeared over the years, are not on the list of the official victims. There is the case of cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda who, after phoning his wife, never reached home on January 24, 2010. Eknaligoda frequently used his pen to depict corruption, human rights abuses and the erosion of democracy in Sri Lanka. Almost a decade on, he is still missing, while his case remains open. His wife, Sandya, has been restlessly fighting for answers despite death threats, abuse and harassment she and her children have faced over the years.

The genre of political cartoons, which includes satireand caricatures, usually conveys editorial commentary on politics andpoliticians, as well as current events, and plays a vital role in theconstruction of the political discourse in society. Political cartoons aresymbolic illustrations that can also become powerful communicative weapons. Theyare hugely efficient at transmitting messages and do so in the most economicalway. Few words are needed, often coated in witty humor and usually making useof hyperbole and satire in order to question authority and probe socialproblems.

To some extent, cartoonists nowadays are like modern jesters, like those in the Middle Ages who were allowed to tell the truth to the king without risking their heads being chopped off. The big difference, however, is that cartoonists, unlike those merrymen of yore, are not safe. Many have been threatened and even killed for being considered offensive, such as those who lost their lives in the 2015 attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Undeterred, Sri Lankas cartoonists have taken on the extremists flaming inter-ethnic conflict on the island.

Even though there is no far-right movement as such in Sri Lanka, according to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, a Sri Lankan diplomat and academic, what is rising across the country is a type of religious alt-right movement, with the distinctive markers that define its core constituency and its social consciousness. Some of the markers that make the Sri Lankan alt-right unique, in his opinion, are the role of the clergy/ex-military interface, the dominant ideology, and the mentality and dynamics within the clergy. Assuming a defensive attitude, these extremists are constantly looking for and finding threats to the Sinhala-Buddhist identity, mainly in the form of Sri Lankas multi-ethnic and multi-religious community.

Focusing on the post-civil war era, after 2009, minorities in Sri Lanka have not enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with the Buddhist majority. The new preferred target has been the Muslim community that makes up barely 9% of the islands population. Systematic attacks against Muslims have become a constant, with several high casualty incidences recorded in the cities of Aluthgama in 2014, Gintota in 2017 and Digana in 2018. In some of these cases, violence was instigated by the speeches delivered by the ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks, who have acted with impunity under the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and now under President Maithripala Sirisena. This ethno-religious, ultra-nationalist alt-right in Sri Lanka has been shaping the agenda of both the previous and the current administrations.

As Professor Javadeya Uyangoda, a constitutional expert and political scientist, suggests, there is a consolidation of a hard right-wing alternative to a weak and shaky democratic regime option, represented by groups of extremist Buddhist monks. One such group is the Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), which organizes anti-Muslim actions, both online and offline. It has initiated boycotts of Muslim companies and halal products, opposes Muslim womens clothes, stages protests outside Muslim-owned retail outlets and the Embassy of Bangladesh in Colombo, spreading hate speech in public meetings and on social media. The group have also expressed a wish to see a Hitler-type military ruler come to power in the elections scheduled for later this year.

In this political environment, cartoonists become central voices to call out those abuses of power. Their real social function, equivalent to that of journalists, may pass unnoticed by the average reader. In this sense, cartoonists are activists vital for society but threatening for the authorities, since they can easily reach the common man who may not have the time or the capacity to read lengthy articles filled with convoluted political jargon.

Sri Lanka has always had a strong tradition of political cartoons, but currently the genre seems more robust than ever. Among the best-known artists working today are Awantha Artigala, Gihan de Chickera, Dasa Hapuwalana, Sajith Bandara and R.C. Pradeep. Their daily cartoons are easy to consume and direct in the brutality they betray.

Sri Lankan cartoonists have been speaking up against extremism and racism backed by the alt-right, the unconstitutional measures adopted by the government, the periodic bans on social media following outbreaks of ethnic conflict and the wave of Islamophobia that arose after the devastating Easter Sunday attacks earlier this year. They have never lowered their voices, brandishing their pens together with their political conscience and bravery as their only weapons.

Political cartoons are a symptom of a healthy society. Together with the political opposition, members of civil society, activists and journalists, cartoonists are essential actors in democratic and non-democratic spaces. Lets hope that one day, Sri Lankan cartoonists will be able to satirize peaceful and positive events in their homeland.

*[The Centre for Analysis of the Radical Rightis a partner institution ofFair Observer.]

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observers editorial policy.

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In Sri Lanka, Cartoonists Take on the Alt-Right - Fair Observer

Louis Theroux: The world has changed a lot since I started making my programmes – BreakingNews.ie

With the rise of Donald Trump and the alt right in the US, TV star Louis Theroux does not think he could have made his controversial documentary on American neo-Nazis now.

The broadcaster said he would have to think very carefully about making it today because he would not want to be seen as popularising hate.

He made his Louis And The Nazis documentary in 2003, interviewing several white supremacists and attending skinhead rallies, and when it was broadcast it was described by critics as sinister and unsettling.

Im on board with the whole idea that platforming is something that should be thought through carefully

Theroux said that now, with the rise of the alt right and extreme views becoming more mainstream, he would have to consider carefully whether he was giving these people a platform.

Im on board with the whole idea that platforming is something that should be thought through carefully, he said.

The world has changed a lot since I started making my programmes and a lot of thought went into how we made them.

Back in the days of when I made Louis And The Nazis, which is as far down the road I have gone with that, I spent days, if not a couple of weeks, with basically card-carrying national socialists people who had the most extreme version of Nazism as you can imagine.

I think the reason I felt it was OK was that it was so far outside the window of acceptable discourse that it was verging on pathology.

When you get that extreme it almost provides a certain safety there is almost no danger of anyone seeing it and thinking that looks sensible.

You are in danger of lending credence to or popularising hate and, as a result, I have been very wary of doing that

If they had been closer to the mainstream you might have imagined we are giving them some sort of currency. It was so palpably outlandish, it felt there was a reason to do it.

In this day and age, when you have members of the alt right who, in some cases, have crypto-fascist views or coded racist views and some not-so-coded racist views, and there is a trickle up or trickle down to the White House, suddenly you are in a different space.

You are in danger of lending credence to or popularising hate and, as a result, I have been very wary of doing that.

Theroux, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, was asked whether he could have made Louis And The Nazis today.

I think youd have to think it through, I think it really depends, he said.

I tend to think it also depends on the balance of the programmes I am making.

I make three or four in a given year and I think it would need to be off-set and wed have to think why we are making it. Is there a compelling reason?

The 49-year-old has recently published his autobiography titled Gotta Get Theroux This, of which six chapters are focused on his relationship with Jimmy Savile, who had featured in one of his films.

For a while I thought Id write a book about Jimmy Savile, Theroux said.Six chapters of Louis Therouxs autobiography focus on his relationship with Jimmy Savile (PA)

In the end it was an extraordinary thing to live through. It was very stressful, and I felt it was a weird education in human nature, in both my successes and failures.

I grew to slightly like him, I quite liked him and spent time with him and regarded him in a friendly way.

I knew there was a dimension to his life that I didnt fully understand, I genuinely didnt think that was likely to be what it turned out to be, which was that he was prolific serial paedophile and sex offender.

There was guilt because, when he was unmasked, a part of me to begin with thought Im not sure that all could be true. In other words, it took a while to wrap my arms around the scale of how much he had done and then I had to adapt myself to that.

Then there was a part of the process of a weird feeling of almost feeling a guilt I didnt need to feel.

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Louis Theroux: The world has changed a lot since I started making my programmes - BreakingNews.ie

Dad of Sandy Hook victim wins $450K suit against conspiracy theorist – New York Post

The father of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting has been awarded $450,000 in a lawsuit against a conspiracy theorist who claimed the massacre never happened.

Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was the youngest of 26 killed in the Connecticut slaughter, successfully sued the authors of Nobody Died at Sandy Hook for claiming he faked copies of his sons death certificate.

The book accused him of being a central part of a conspiracy staged by the Obama administration to enforce tighter gun restrictions. Pozners attorney, Genevieve Zimmerman, called the conspiracy alt-right opium that went around the internet like a virus.

James Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor, was ordered Tuesday to pay $450,000 by the Wisconsin jury that took almost four hours to decide the amount.

AP

Pozner thanked the Dane County jury for recognizing the pain and terror that Mr. Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, according to the the Wisconsin State Journal.

Mr. Fetzer has the right to believe that Sandy Hook never happened, he said, according to the report. He has the right to express his ignorance.

This award, however, further illustrates the difference between the right of people like Mr. Fetzer to be wrong and the right of victims like myself and my child to be free from defamation, free from harassment and free from the intentional infliction of terror.

Fetzer, who now lives in Wisconsin, called the damages absurd and said he would appeal.

The books co-author, Mike Palacek, reached a settlement with Pozner last month. The terms were never disclosed.

Pozner is among a group of Sandy Hook parents whose defamation case against right-wing conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones is pending, the State Journal reported.

With Post wires

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Dad of Sandy Hook victim wins $450K suit against conspiracy theorist - New York Post

‘Big Mouth’ Mouths Off To Anti-Semites In Its Third Season – Forward

The new season of Netflixs Big Mouth, the subversive-in-the-extreme sex-ed show about middle schoolers animated adventures in puberty, features the following: The ghost of Harry Houdini; a mist of vape smoke blown into the shape of a Magen David; Neo-Nazis and falsely philo-Semitic Evangelicals; a Passover episode involving incest; a bachelorette party game where you pin Lenny Kravitzs manhood onto his thigh; a discussion of Liev Schreibers net worth; a distinction drawn between Fox News Jews and NPR Jews; Carol Kane as a spirit called The Menopause Banshee; a Michael Douglas wig used in a musical adaptation of Barry Levinsons 1994 film Disclosure.

All this to say, this season, like the seasons before, has a lot of Jewish content. And this consistency is, make no mistake, an act of defiance on the part of the showrunners.

Like a long line of Jews before them, creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg who both, no surprise, developed their comedic sensibilities at a Solomon Schechter school in Westchester County, New York Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, have been smeared for speaking about sex in all its grody glory. Alt-Right corners of the internet see Big Mouth, with its frank libidinal charge, forward-thinking ideas and sexual situations involving pubescent characters (all voiced by adults) as a sign of social decay brought to you by the usual cabal of Hollywood Heebs. Right-wing conspiracy website The Goldwater ran the headline Jewish Netflix Series Big Mouth Promotes Pedophilia, Homosexuality, Child Masturbation. A YouTube video took pains to connect Kroll, his show and Harvey Weinstein in a web of degeneracy. (YouTube comments are best avoided for ones mental health.)

The response to these charges is unequivocal. In Episode 2, one of the protagonists, Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney), attends a mens rights activist meeting that he soon learns is also a neo-Nazi event. The speaker there claims that womens brains are smaller than mens and goes on to allege that his wifes Jew lawyer said she left him for a black doctor because he beat up his gay neighbor.

When he calls for a Patriarchal ethnostate of pure, European blood, Andrews fascist sense starts tingling: Okay, I get it now. Theyre Nazis.

Next thing you know, Maury the hormone monster (Kroll), Andrews Satyr-like guardian angel, appears dressed like Shoshana from Inglorious Basterds, ready to blow up the hotel convention space that the white supremacists had booked for the night.

In another, later, rebuttal to the Proud Boy set, Andrews father, Marty (Richard Kind), can be heard objecting to the sperm and menarche-themed opening credits saying, The Neo-Nazi trolls on YouTube are right this show is disgusting! But, the subject of that episode, a trip to Florida where Nick Birch (also Kroll) and Andrew observe a Seder, thumbs its nose at the haters, framing the Passover story as, in Martys words, the one time our people did the screwing.

Spun throughout the episodes, in between themes of toxic masculinity, male allyship, the vivid spectrum of human sexuality and the addictive nature of smartphones, is a thread of disquiet thrumming explicitly for American Jews.

When Jessi Glaser (Jessi Klein), goes to the home of her best friend, Matthew (Andrew Rannels), for the first time, she meets his naval officer father, who picks up on her Jewish last name. He asks if her mother is also Jewish, and when Jessi confirms this, he says he and his wife love all those traditional Jewish sitcoms, including The Nanny, Seinfeld, Mad About You, and controversially, Friends.

Its a tense moment for a cartoon about pubic hair, unwanted erections and learning how to pleasure yourself with the aid of a Price is Right-style Alpine Climber shaped like a vulva. It goes deeper, though.

In the middle of the season, Jessi confides in Matthew that his father loves her, noting, He said the rapture cant happen without me and my people. The joke is a one-off line, but speaks to the hidden engine of the show.

Under-girding all of Big Mouth, and making its onslaught of gross-out humor and taboo predicaments endurable, is an empathy for kids forced to grow up too fast. Teens are terrors, it acknowledges, but ones who are finding their footing in spite of an insanity-inducing hormonal cocktail brewing inside them. Add being Jewish to the mix, and things dont get any easier. Surrounded by Christian classmates, teachers and neighbors, they may feel like even more of a freak or geek - especially now.

The creators are aware of the online hate theyre getting. They are also surely aware that the always-online middle-schoolers of today are seeing the same thing. Internet trolls, white nationalists and the American president are giving all of Gen Z an education in dog whistle politics and anti-Semitic tropes that recall the youth of their great-grandparents.

And so, the shows approach is blunt, yet reassuring. Whether or not kids are watching the black box of viewer information hoarded by Netflix gives us no daylight there the message is for them and for their guardians. It tells adolescents that their elders know about the state of the world, and are unafraid to it broach with humor. It tells Jews who have passed the gauntlet of puberty to give kids a break, and to let them know that the comedy offensive is sometimes the best one.

But this tactic carries a tertiary lesson for those who hate us. It lets them know we see them, and they wont stop us from laughing.

PJ Grisar is the Forwards culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.

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'Big Mouth' Mouths Off To Anti-Semites In Its Third Season - Forward

Caught out that it was Abiy Ahmed, not Greta? I can help repurpose your rant content – The Guardian

Huge congratulations to the prime minister of Ethiopia, who has just been awarded the Nobel peace prize in Oslo, beating out competition from hotly fancied regional candidate Greta Thunberg. Abiy Ahmed was garlanded for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and for bringing an end to more than 20 years of conflict between Ethiopia and its neighbouring Eritrea. So yes, this is a victory.

But in a very real sense, far more deeply felt in the content mills of the west, it is also a tragedy. Clearly, Abiys win and Gretas loss leaves countless angry hacks, pundits, shockjocks, populists, provocateurs and alt-right conspiracists with an unexpected hole in their rant schedule. The crusaders had their already somewhat familiar backlashes against this 16-year-old climate activist all ready to go, and then this absolute dog in the manger goes and ruins it for them. How dare he?! That is the most urgent question we face today.

Youll see how easily your criticisms of Greta can be applied to Abiy or anyone else who actually cares about anything

For those guys and they are mostly guys, for whatever reason I have good news. Im here to assist! I know the one type of recycling you really commit to is content recycling. Specifically, your own. Some of you are so committed to this lifestyle that you have not actually availed yourself of any new content in years so why should this occasion be any different? Why not slightly repurpose your anti-Greta rants to suit the person who did end up winning? Simply take your exact same Greta attack lines, and substitute him and his for she and her. Honestly, youll see how easily your rabid criticisms of Greta can be applied to Abiy or, indeed, to anyone else, from anywhere, who actually cares about anything, and tries to do something about it. What follows will show you just how interchangeable your theory-of-everything arguments are. And I hope youll be grateful for the fact Ive included a leeetle pushback against each one, just to keep you sharp.

Like Greta, Abiys voice is weird. Yes, he has an Ethiopian accent. But listen: try not to be overly triggered by people who speak differently to you. If it helps, imagine Greta and Abiy are a pair of European football managers who if they finally wearied of humouring your imbecilic questions could actually insult members of your trade in at least four languages.

Like Greta, Abiy can be publicly emotional. Definitely. In June he was seen weeping at a memorial to an assassinated general. I think people generally prefer the cold, hard logic you scream into the camera on your conspiracy-zine cable show.

Like Greta, Abiy goes about things the wrong way. I feel sure youre on to something here Abiys brand of politics has been credited for its informality, energy and charisma, and you could definitely pick holes in that. One east African political expert said of Abiys rapid achievements in a single year: For Ethiopia, a country where everything has been done in a very prescriptive, slow and managed way, these changes are unprecedented. As you have done with Greta, I know youll find a way of tutting that there are established ways of doing things, and those who dont adhere to them should be treated with suspicion and barely masked fear.

Like Greta, Abiy seems to have a pretty high opinion of himself. I know, right? People have said this about Abiy. And I know Ive heard it about Greta. In fact, I think I heard it on TV, from you, one of those times you went all the way out to the Sky TV studios at half past eleven at night to do the paper review to build your media brand.

Like Greta, Abiy does not speak for working-class people. This ones always worth a punt, so wheel it out again. But to clarify, I assume were talking about working-class people where you are honking this particular observation, typically a broadcast studio in London? Its possible you need to get out a little more and most particularly, out of broadcast studios. For now, let me bring you up to speed: working-class people in Ethiopia really did care about Abiys cause, just as working-class people in, say, the Philippines, definitely care about Gretas cause, because theyre going to drown before you do. This is how we know theres no climate justice in the world.

Like Greta, Abiy just picked a right-on cause. Well, quite and the last thing you should do is wonder why it was right-on. Instead, try to get 10 minutes of talk radio out of explaining why caring about Ethiopia is very Bob Geldof. If anyone can, you can.

Like Greta, is it possible Abiy is being influenced by his parents? Both of Abiys parents are dead, but this is still an important point: its definitely possible they have had an influence on his life. Many people have parents who are or were interested in the things they are interested in, who wished them success, and basically agreed with them on several subjects. Parsing your entire output, Im guessing you dont. Are these two things maybe connected? I know you value saying the unsayable above all, so in that spirit youd support me asking: is it possible your parents openly dislike you? Or maybe secretly do?

Like Greta, shouldnt Abiy be in school? Not really. Im afraid the Ethiopian prime minister is 43, so this is the one point I think youre going to struggle to upcycle. Still, Im sure you could imply heavily that he has an awful lot to learn. We all have and seemingly from you. As long as asking why someone isnt in school counts as you being in work, the entire planet should simply thank you for your service.

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist

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Caught out that it was Abiy Ahmed, not Greta? I can help repurpose your rant content - The Guardian

Elizabeth Warren is trying to be even tougher on China than Trump, says Steve Bannon – CNBC

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is positioning herself to be tougher on China that President Donald Trump, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told CNBC on Friday.

"She's trying to get to the right of President Trump," said Bannon, who helped Trump win the White House in 2016 and influenced the early months of the administration.

"If you look at Elizabeth Warren, some of the Democrats, they're trying to get to the right of Trump on China."

Warren in late July released what she called an "economic patriotism" agenda, which outlined her approach on China. "We've let China get away with the suppression of pay and labor rights, poor environmental protections, and years of currency manipulation," Warren wrote in her blog post.

Bannon, who formerly ran the Breitbart News far-right media outlet, has said a key focus in the presidential election will be China. Candidates who pressure Beijing and show they can navigate a trade deal between the world's two largest economies will do better, the longtime critic of China added.

Warren is the only viable Democratic candidate in play who is willing and able to take on China, Bannon said in the interview on "Squawk Box," arguing that former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign is on the decline.

Extreme talk from Warren on China, coupled with her wealth-taxing proposals, could well lead to a centrist challenger joining the race, Bannon speculated. He reiterated his belief that Hillary Clinton or former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg will challenge Warren. Bloomberg and Clinton have repeatedly said they do not plan on launching 2020 campaigns.

Bannon predicted Biden, who has seen his frontrunner status dwindle as Warren surges, will drop out of the race by the end of the year.

Reacting to Bannon's remarks, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates wrote to CNBC by email: "When the festering underbelly of the alt-right is threatened by you, you know you're standing up for our best values."

"Donald Trump's presidency is in a tailspin because of actively seeking foreign interventions in American democracy," Bates also wrote, referring the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry that centers on whether the president sought help from a foreign power to damage Biden.

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Elizabeth Warren is trying to be even tougher on China than Trump, says Steve Bannon - CNBC

The US has a role in the Middle East – Daily Sabah

A confused President Donald Trump has been confusing the whole world. He is not clear on whether the U.S. has a role in Middle East politics. He is defending his decision to allow Turkey to do the chore of wiping out Daesh terrorists, claiming that the U.S. had no business to be there in the first place. I'll beg to differ with him on this one.

With his pending impeachment inquiry, these are rough days for the U.S. president. He's been betrayed; he said he didn't know if Rudy Giuliani was still his lawyer after he ravaged him with the impeachment scourge. Giuliani has his own vendetta with democratic contender Joe Biden; but any dirt that Giuliani dug up in Ukraine about Biden and his son is not required to win the 2020 elections. Giuliani and the old cadres of the Republicans cannot grasp the new populist and extreme right-wing tendencies in U.S. politics. This new alt-right has individualistic selfishness in its roots, which is the new manifestation of the egocentrism ever-present among the American people.

Trump is right when he thinks that the U.S. public in general would like the idea of "bringing the boys back home" by cooperating with Turkey in Syria. However, he is wrong in thinking that then U.S. has no business in the Middle East. He should not forget the fact that the U.S. had taken over the keys to the major ports in the Middle East capitals from the British at Yalta on Feb. 4, 1945. Since then, the U.S. has played the imperialistic role British Prime Minister Winston Churchill conferred on them. The new alt-right politics does not require world dominance, and Trump is trying to shrink from the duties associated with it.

The U.S. may shed its imperialistic fur, but it cannot leave the Middle East in shambles. Mr. Trump knows better than anyone else that his predecessors put the whole region, from Bangladesh to Kashmir, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Syria to Jerusalem, into this mess. On top of this, his own egomaniacal politics, like pillaging occupied Arab lands and giving them to Israel, made an already bad situation even worse. The U.S. has to redress the damage it has done in the region.

But the most crucial problem is in Syria. After Operation Peace Spring, Turkey will hopefully be able to return at least 2 million Syrians back to their country. Thanks to the faulty policy choices starting with James Baker in 1998, continuing with Hillary Clinton in 2013, and finally ending with Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo as secretaries of state, the United States harmed all the peoples in Iraq and Syria.

The Kurds of Syria have especially been left to the mercy of the PKK terrorist organization. Instead of cooperating with Turkey from the beginning to crush Daesh, U.S. policymakers and those responsible for implementing policy elected to form armies out of PKK terrorists, training and equipping them, and then used them as their boots on the ground against Daesh. The people in the State Department and Defense Department called these terrorist armies "the Kurdish people" and carved a homeland for them in Syria.

The Syrian government has abused the Kurdish people and denied them equal citizenship rights since the 1960s. The Kurds need to be treated equally in their country, by their government. But all other people in Syria also need the same thing: equal, democratic and humane treatment by the government.

The PKK and its Syrian extension, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), could not and have not provided those democratic rights to the Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens in Syria. As a result of the de facto dismemberment of the country, more than 1 million Kurds fled PKK/PYD-held areas and took refuge in Turkey. The other 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are also from PYD-ruled areas.

After Turkey's military operation brings peace back to the area, the Astana and Geneva partners should get to work and put the country into shape. The Turkish military operation will be the guarantee of the territorial integrity that the new Syria will have.

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The US has a role in the Middle East - Daily Sabah

Police Officer Who Funded ‘Violent’ Activities by Far-Right Proud Boys Group Goes Unpunished – Newsweek

A police officer who was found to have been a paying member of the far-right Proud Boys group will face no disciplinary action after it was ruled he did not break any department policies.

An investigation was launched into officer Kevin P. Wilcox, of the East Hampton police department in Connecticut, after the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law group expressed concerns about his online activity to the force.

The civil rights group accused Wilcox of making monthly transactions to the hate group which helped them raise money to commit "violent or otherwise illegal" activities, reports the Associated Press.

Proud Boys, listed as an "extremist group with ties to white nationalism" by the FBI, are known to take part in political rallies that frequently erupt into violence while being met with counter-protests.

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East Hampton Police Chief Dennis Woessner confirmed that Wilcox was a member of the far-right group and had made online payments to one of their leaders. He said that Wilcox "stopped his association" with the Proud Boys in February, around five months before he was brought to the force's attention by the civil rights group.

Woessner said that he then received an "explanatory report" from Wilcox and closed the review after ruling the concerns "unfounded," citing that there was no evidence he violated any police policy.

In a letter to the civil rights group on September 13, Woessner added that Wilcox "adamantly denies being associated with white supremacists' groups."

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the AP she was "astounded" by the decision not to take action against the officer.

"In an era where we are seeing a spike in white supremacist activity, this should sound an alarm," she said. "It should not be business as usual."

Woessner said that there is no question that Wilcox "is not a white supremacist," pointing to how there has never been any racial bias complaints made about him during his 20 years at the department.

The police chief added that records show that Wilcox only stopped white people between January 2018 and September 2019, albeit while patrolling an area which is overwhelmingly white.

Clarke has demanded that the force retrospectively review any stops and arrests made by Wilcox to see if there was any racial biases, which the force has so far failed to comply with.

"We're seeing an increase in white supremacists and extremists infiltrating the ranks of law enforcement," Clarke tweeted after the review into Wilcox ended. "We are taking action to fight back."

Proud Boys, who were launched in 2016 by Vice Media co-founder turned alt-right figurehead Gavin McInnes, have been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

They have become infamous for their violent political rallies or instances of disorder in cities such as New York and Portland, Oregon.

Last year, Facebook removed Proud Boy pages from the social network for violating their policies against hate speech.

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Police Officer Who Funded 'Violent' Activities by Far-Right Proud Boys Group Goes Unpunished - Newsweek

Louis Theroux ‘very wary’ of platforming hate after neo-Nazi documentary – Metro.co.uk

Louis and the Nazis aired in 2003 (Picture: PA, BBC)

Louis Theroux has admitted that he would struggle to make his 2003 documentary Louis and the Nazis in 2019 due to the fascist ideologys movement from the fringes to mainstream politics.

The British documentary maker has never shied away from covering controversial topics in his TV series, famously documenting the lives of Scientologists, homophobic preachers and, of course, Jimmy Savile.

But with the rise of the alt-right in the US and Europe, Louis told a crowd at Cheltenham Literature Festival that his 2003 documentary following American neo-Nazis would carry different weight if it was released today.

Im on board with the whole idea that platforming is something that should be thought through carefully, he said, admitting that the world has changed a lot in the last 16 years.

Speaking about his experience working on the 2003 documentary, the 49-year-old continued: Back in the days of when I made Louis and the Nazis [], I spent days, if not a couple of weeks, with basically card-carrying national socialists people who had the most extreme version of Nazism as you can imagine.

I think the reason I felt it was OK was that it was so far outside the window of acceptable discourse that it was verging on pathology. If they had been closer to the mainstream you might have imagined we are giving them some sort of currency.

However, 2019s political landscape is vastly different, with Louis admitting: In this day and age, when you have members of the alt right who, in some cases, have crypto-fascist views or coded racist views and some not-so-coded racist views, and there is a trickle up or trickle down to the White House, suddenly you are in a different space.

You are in danger of lending credence to or popularising hate and, as a result, I have been very wary of doing that.

The journalist, whose new book Gotta Get Theroux This was released in September, has recently opened up about his infamous 2001 Savile documentary, calling the filming process: as the strangest and most upsetting thing Ive ever been involved in.

The experience rocked Louis, who was shocked by Saviles tactics to avoid being labelled a paedophile.

The hallmark of his offending was he was weirdly brazen in his ability to address it and take the position that is completely bizarre, he said.

He had an ability not to be nobbled by it. When he was confronted about his offending, people did come to confront him and he had the ability to brazen it out.

If you've got a story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk Entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page - we'd love to hear from you.

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Louis Theroux 'very wary' of platforming hate after neo-Nazi documentary - Metro.co.uk

Satire or Propaganda? The Free Speech Implications of the Violent Trump Video – WDET

A fake and incredibly violent video emerged over theweekend.

In it, Donald Trump is seen attacking his enemies inside the Church of Fake News including a variety of outlets like NPR, CNN and the Washington Post. As Lynyrd Skynyrds Free Bird plays in the background, Trump in a church massacre scene from the 2014 movie Kingsman shoots, stabs and lights fire to members of the news media along with late Senator John McCain, former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Black Lives Matter movementand Congresswoman Maxine Waters, amongothers.

While this could technically be defined as satire something that is a cornerstone of democracy and freedom of speech it feels downright disturbing to watch this video in a time when the president is openly aggressive in his verbal attacks against these people and organizations, and mass shootings are happeningregularly.

Its also worth noting that this video was shown at a Republican event at one of Trumps resorts inFlorida.

This was one of those instances where you cant help but be angry, says Tim Alberta, POLITICO Magazines chief political correspondent, on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. POLITICO is one of the news organizations depicted in the video beingkilled.

This is a really tense time in America, and when the President of the United States is regularly deploying violent rhetoric against the media, and he does not immediately come out on camera to denounce [the video], its just disturbing, Albertacontinues.

Experts who study satire and propaganda say that this video could fit into the definition of either of those kinds of speech. They say, although Trump might not be directly responsible for the video, he should still bear some of the moral burden itcreates.

Although the violence in the video was fiction, that kind of violence is not fictional, points out University of Texas Rio Grande Valley associate professor of philosophy Cory Wimberly, the author of an upcoming book called How Propaganda Became PublicRelations.

A lot of it is coded. There are a lot of things we might see when we see the video, but there are also elements of it that are only meant to be understood by its intended audience that are lost on the rest of us, he continues, referencing memes on alt-right and incelinternetforums.

Fred Vultee, a Wayne State University associate professor of journalism who studies satire, says the video might be repugnant, but its still likely constitutionally protectedspeech.

Its hard to me to look at this and think that it poses a direct threat to anyone, says Vultee. I dont think, partly because its been up for 15 months now,that an immediate effect of this is likely. But there might be a more indirect and a more tangentialeffect.

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Satire or Propaganda? The Free Speech Implications of the Violent Trump Video - WDET

Gabbard slams New York Times profile of her | TheHill – The Hill

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Warren leads in speaking time during debate Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE (D-Hawaii)slammedThe New York Times' feature of her Saturday afternoon.

The Democratic presidential candidate tweeted "As if to prove my point, NYT just published a greatest hits smear piece."

"All your favorite hits in one article! These are the folks who will be acting as the neutral questioners/moderators of Tuesdays debate lol," Gabbard continued.

As if to prove my point, NYT just published a greatest hits smear piece. All your favorite hits in one article! These are the folks who will be acting as the neutral questioners/moderators of Tuesdays debate lol

The Times' article is titled "What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?" with the sub head reading "As she injects chaos into the 2020 Democratic primary by accusing her own party of rigging the election, an array of alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her."

OnFriday, Gabbard tweeted that she is "seriously considering boycotting October 15 debate to bring attention to DNC/corporate medias effort to rig the 2020 primary."

Tuesday's debate ishosted by the Times and CNN.

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Gabbard slams New York Times profile of her | TheHill - The Hill

atheism | Definition, Philosophy, & Comparison to …

Atheism, in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. As such, it is usually distinguished from theism, which affirms the reality of the divine and often seeks to demonstrate its existence. Atheism is also distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open the question whether there is a god or not, professing to find the questions unanswered or unanswerable.

The dialectic of the argument between forms of belief and unbelief raises questions concerning the most perspicuous delineation, or characterization, of atheism, agnosticism, and theism. It is necessary not only to probe the warrant for atheism but also carefully to consider what is the most adequate definition of atheism. This article will start with what have been some widely accepted, but still in various ways mistaken or misleading, definitions of atheism and move to more adequate formulations that better capture the full range of atheist thought and more clearly separate unbelief from belief and atheism from agnosticism. In the course of this delineation the section also will consider key arguments for and against atheism.

A central, common core of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the affirmation of the reality of one, and only one, God. Adherents of these faiths believe that there is a God who created the universe out of nothing and who has absolute sovereignty over all his creation; this includes, of course, human beingswho are not only utterly dependent on this creative power but also sinful and who, or so the faithful must believe, can only make adequate sense of their lives by accepting, without question, Gods ordinances for them. The varieties of atheism are numerous, but all atheists reject such a set of beliefs.

Atheism, however, casts a wider net and rejects all belief in spiritual beings, and to the extent that belief in spiritual beings is definitive of what it means for a system to be religious, atheism rejects religion. So atheism is not only a rejection of the central conceptions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; it is, as well, a rejection of the religious beliefs of such African religions as that of the Dinka and the Nuer, of the anthropomorphic gods of classical Greece and Rome, and of the transcendental conceptions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Generally atheism is a denial of God or of the gods, and if religion is defined in terms of belief in spiritual beings, then atheism is the rejection of all religious belief.

It is necessary, however, if a tolerably adequate understanding of atheism is to be achieved, to give a reading to rejection of religious belief and to come to realize how the characterization of atheism as the denial of God or the gods is inadequate.

To say that atheism is the denial of God or the gods and that it is the opposite of theism, a system of belief that affirms the reality of God and seeks to demonstrate his existence, is inadequate in a number of ways. First, not all theologians who regard themselves as defenders of the Christian faith or of Judaism or Islam regard themselves as defenders of theism. The influential 20th-century Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, for example, regards the God of theism as an idol and refuses to construe God as a being, even a supreme being, among beings or as an infinite being above finite beings. God, for him, is being-itself, the ground of being and meaning. The particulars of Tillichs view are in certain ways idiosyncratic, as well as being obscure and problematic, but they have been influential; and his rejection of theism, while retaining a belief in God, is not eccentric in contemporary theology, though it may very well affront the plain believer.

Second, and more important, it is not the case that all theists seek to demonstrate or even in any way rationally to establish the existence of God. Many theists regard such a demonstration as impossible, and fideistic believers (e.g., Johann Hamann and Sren Kierkegaard) regard such a demonstration, even if it were possible, as undesirable, for in their view it would undermine faith. If it could be proved, or known for certain, that God exists, people would not be in a position to accept him as their sovereign Lord humbly on faith with all the risks that entails. There are theologians who have argued that for genuine faith to be possible God must necessarily be a hidden God, the mysterious ultimate reality, whose existence and authority must be accepted simply on faith. This fideistic view has not, of course, gone without challenge from inside the major faiths, but it is of sufficient importance to make the above characterization of atheism inadequate.

Finally, and most important, not all denials of God are denials of his existence. Believers sometimes deny God while not being at all in a state of doubt that God exists. They either willfully reject what they take to be his authority by not acting in accordance with what they take to be his will, or else they simply live their lives as if God did not exist. In this important way they deny him. Such deniers are not atheists (unless we wish, misleadingly, to call them practical atheists). They are not even agnostics. They do not question that God exists; they deny him in other ways. An atheist denies the existence of God. As it is frequently said, atheists believe that it is false that God exists, or that Gods existence is a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.

Yet it remains the case that such a characterization of atheism is inadequate in other ways. For one it is too narrow. There are atheists who believe that the very concept of God, at least in developed and less anthropomorphic forms of Judeo-Christianity and Islam, is so incoherent that certain central religious claims, such as God is my creator to whom everything is owed, are not genuine truth-claims; i.e., the claims could not be either true or false. Believers hold that such religious propositions are true, some atheists believe that they are false, and there are agnostics who cannot make up their minds whether to believe that they are true or false. (Agnostics think that the propositions are one or the other but believe that it is not possible to determine which.) But all three are mistaken, some atheists argue, for such putative truth-claims are not sufficiently intelligible to be genuine truth-claims that are either true or false. In reality there is nothing in them to be believed or disbelieved, though there is for the believer the powerful and humanly comforting illusion that there is. Such an atheism, it should be added, rooted for some conceptions of God in considerations about intelligibility and what it makes sense to say, has been strongly resisted by some pragmatists and logical empiricists.

While the above considerations about atheism and intelligibility show the second characterization of atheism to be too narrow, it is also the case that this characterization is in a way too broad. For there are fideistic believers, who quite unequivocally believe that when looked at objectively the proposition that God exists has a very low probability weight. They believe in God not because it is probable that he existsthey think it more probable that he does notbut because belief is thought by them to be necessary to make sense of human life. The second characterization of atheism does not distinguish a fideistic believer (a Blaise Pascal or a Soren Kierkegaard) or an agnostic (a T.H. Huxley or a Sir Leslie Stephen) from an atheist such as Baron dHolbach. All believe that there is a God and God protects humankind, however emotionally important they may be, are speculative hypotheses of an extremely low order of probability. But this, since it does not distinguish believers from nonbelievers and does not distinguish agnostics from atheists, cannot be an adequate characterization of atheism.

It may be retorted that to avoid apriorism and dogmatic atheism the existence of God should be regarded as a hypothesis. There are no ontological (purely a priori) proofs or disproofs of Gods existence. It is not reasonable to rule in advance that it makes no sense to say that God exists. What the atheist can reasonably claim is that there is no evidence that there is a God, and against that background he may very well be justified in asserting that there is no God. It has been argued, however, that it is simply dogmatic for an atheist to assert that no possible evidence could ever give one grounds for believing in God. Instead, atheists should justify their unbelief by showing (if they can) how the assertion is well-taken that there is no evidence that would warrant a belief in God. If atheism is justified, the atheist will have shown that in fact there is no adequate evidence for the belief that God exists, but it should not be part of his task to try to show that there could not be any evidence for the existence of God. If the atheist could somehow survive the death of his present body (assuming that such talk makes sense) and come, much to his surprise, to stand in the presence of God, his answer should be, Oh! Lord, you didnt give me enough evidence! He would have been mistaken, and realize that he had been mistaken, in his judgment that God did not exist. Still, he would not have been unjustified, in the light of the evidence available to him during his earthly life, in believing as he did. Not having any such postmortem experiences of the presence of God (assuming that he could have them), what he should say, as things stand and in the face of the evidence he actually has and is likely to be able to get, is that it is false that God exists. (Every time one legitimately asserts that a proposition is false one need not be certain that it is false. Knowing with certainty is not a pleonasm.) The claim is that this tentative posture is the reasonable position for the atheist to take.

An atheist who argues in this manner may also make a distinctive burden-of-proof argument. Given that God (if there is one) is by definition a very recherch realitya reality that must be (for there to be such a reality) transcendent to the worldthe burden of proof is not on the atheist to give grounds for believing that there is no reality of that order. Rather, the burden of proof is on the believer to give some evidence for Gods existencei.e., that there is such a reality. Given what God must be, if there is a God, the theist needs to present the evidence, for such a very strange reality. He needs to show that there is more in the world than is disclosed by common experience. The empirical method, and the empirical method alone, such an atheist asserts, affords a reliable method for establishing what is in fact the case. To the claim of the theist that there are in addition to varieties of empirical facts spiritual facts or transcendent facts, such as it being the case that there is a supernatural, self-existent, eternal power, the atheist can assert that such facts have not been shown.

It will, however, be argued by such atheists, against what they take to be dogmatic aprioristic atheists, that the atheist should be a fallibilist and remain open-minded about what the future may bring. There may, after all, be such transcendent facts, such metaphysical realities. It is not that such a fallibilistic atheist is really an agnostic who believes that he is not justified in either asserting that God exists or denying that he exists and that what he must reasonably do is suspend belief. On the contrary, such an atheist believes that he has very good grounds indeed, as things stand, for denying the existence of God. But he will, on the second conceptualization of what it is to be an atheist, not deny that things could be otherwise and that, if they were, he would be justified in believing in God or at least would no longer be justified in asserting that it is false that there is a God. Using reliable empirical techniques, proven methods for establishing matters of fact, the fallibilistic atheist has found nothing in the universe to make a belief that God exists justifiable or even, everything considered, the most rational option of the various options. He therefore draws the atheistical conclusion (also keeping in mind his burden-of-proof argument) that God does not exist. But he does not dogmatically in a priori fashion deny the existence of God. He remains a thorough and consistent fallibilist.

Such a form of atheism (the atheism of those pragmatists who are also naturalistic humanists), though less inadequate than the first formation of atheism, is still inadequate. God in developed forms of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is not, like Zeus or Odin, construed in a relatively plain anthropomorphic way. Nothing that could count as God in such religions could possibly be observed, literally encountered, or detected in the universe. God, in such a conception, is utterly transcendent to the world; he is conceived of as pure spirit, an infinite individual who created the universe out of nothing and who is distinct from the universe. Such a realitya reality that is taken to be an ultimate mysterycould not be identified as objects or processes in the universe can be identified. There can be no pointing at or to God, no ostensive teaching of God, to show what is meant. The word God can only be taught intralinguistically. God is taught to someone who does not understand what the word means by the use of descriptions such as the maker of the universe, the eternal, utterly independent being upon whom all other beings depend, the first cause, the sole ultimate reality, or a self-caused being. For someone who does not understand such descriptions, there can be no understanding of the concept of God. But the key terms of such descriptions are themselves no more capable of ostensive definition (of having their referents pointed out) than is God, where that term is not, like Zeus, construed anthropomorphically. (That does not mean that anyone has actually pointed to Zeus or observed Zeus but that one knows what it would be like to do so.)

In coming to understand what is meant by God in such discourses, it must be understood that God, whatever else he is, is a being that could not possibly be seen or be in any way else observed. He could not be anything material or empirical, and he is said by believers to be an intractable mystery. A nonmysterious God would not be the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

This, in effect, makes it a mistake to claim that the existence of God can rightly be treated as a hypothesis and makes it a mistake to claim that, by the use of the experimental method or some other determinate empirical method, the existence of God can be confirmed or disconfirmed as can the existence of an empirical reality. The retort made by some atheists, who also like pragmatists remain thoroughgoing fallibilists, is that such a proposed way of coming to know, or failing to come to know, God makes no sense for anyone who understands what kind of reality God is supposed to be. Anything whose existence could be so verified would not be the God of Judeo-Christianity. God could not be a reality whose presence is even faintly adumbrated in experience, for anything that could even count as the God of Judeo-Christianity must be transcendent to the world. Anything that could actually be encountered or experienced could not be God.

At the very heart of a religion such as Christianity there stands a metaphysical belief in a reality that is alleged to transcend the empirical world. It is the metaphysical belief that there is an eternal, ever-present creative source and sustainer of the universe. The problem is how it is possible to know or reasonably believe that such a reality exists or even to understand what such talk is about.

It is not that God is like a theoretical entity in physics such as a proton or a neutrino. They are, where they are construed as realities rather than as heuristically useful conceptual fictions, thought to be part of the actual furniture of the universe. They are not said to be transcendent to the universe, but rather are invisible entities in the universe logically on a par with specks of dust and grains of sand, only much, much smaller. They are on the same continuum; they are not a different kind of reality. It is only the case that they, as a matter of fact, cannot be seen. Indeed no one has an understanding of what it would be like to see a proton or a neutrinoin that way they are like Godand no provision is made in physical theory for seeing them. Still, there is no logical ban on seeing them as there is on seeing God. They are among the things in the universe, and thus, though they are invisible, they can be postulated as causes of things that are seen. Since this is so it becomes at least logically possible indirectly to verify by empirical methods the existence of such realities. It is also the case that there is no logical ban on establishing what is necessary to establish a causal connection, namely a constant conjunction of two discrete empirical realities. But no such constant conjunction can be established or even intelligibly asserted between God and the universe, and thus the existence of God is not even indirectly verifiable. God is not a discrete empirical thing or being, and the universe is not a gigantic thing or process over and above the things and processes in the universe of which it makes sense to say that the universe has or had a cause. But then there is no way, directly or indirectly, that even the probability that there is a God could be empirically established.

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atheism | Definition, Philosophy, & Comparison to ...

Atheism – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atheism is rejecting the belief in a god or gods. It is the opposite of theism, which is the belief that at least one god exists.A person who rejects belief in gods is called an atheist.Theism is the belief in one or more gods. Adding an a, meaning "without", before the word theism results in atheism, or literally, "without theism".. Atheism is not the same as agnosticism: agnostics say that ...

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Atheism - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

atheism r/atheism – reddit: the front page of the internet

This happened around last year when they just found out that i was an atheist. My parents sat down with me (and for some reason they roped my brother in too) to kinda talk it out with them, the why and how and all that.

So my father was talking about how god had blessed him and his family with a luxurious and comfortable life. I, thinking that my parents would hear me out since they got out of their own way just to talk about religion with us, told them that i believed that they worked hard and earned the money themselves.

Surprisingly enough, my father immediately blew his top off and yelled at me, insisting that it was by god's grace that we are now able to live such a good life. He then, for some reason told me that my ability to draw was a god-given talent. Naturally, i was pissed. After all, i went to years and years of art class just to be able to draw like i do now, though it only looks nice in my family's standards since i'm the only one in my family that can draw. But i didn't say anything back since i don't want to start another war with m parents.

Seriously, if it really was just god's grace that allowed my family to live comfortably, why have i never seen god just bestow upon my father a paycheck? Why is it that he's so happy about having all his hard work credited to an invisible sky daddy? Call me greedy or selfish, but if someone took all the credit to my hard work i'd be bloody pissed. But hey, thanks for reading this.

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atheism r/atheism - reddit: the front page of the internet

Atheism | CARM.org

Atheism is a lack of belief in any God and deities as well as a total denial of the existence of any god. It is a growing movement that is becoming more aggressive, more demanding, and less tolerant of anything other than itself - as is exemplified by its adherents. Is atheism a sound philosophical system as a worldview or is it ultimately self-defeating? Is the requirement of empirical evidence for God a mistake in logic or is it a fair demand? Can we prove that God exists or is that impossible? Find out more about atheism, its arguments, and its problems here at CARM. Learn how to deal with the arguments raised against the existence of God that seek to replace Him with naturalism, materialism, and moral relativism.

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Atheism | CARM.org

Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More

Cryptocurrency News
On the whole, cryptocurrency prices are down from our previous report on cryptos, with the market slipping on news of an exchange being hacked and a report about Bitcoin manipulation.

However, there have been two bright spots: 1) an official from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that Ethereum is not a security, and 2) Coinbase is expanding its selection of tokens.

Let's start with the good news.
SEC Says ETH Is Not a Security
Investors have some reason to cheer this week. A high-ranking SEC official told attendees of the Yahoo! All Markets Summit: Crypto that Ethereum and Bitcoin are not.

The post Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More appeared first on Profit Confidential.

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Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More


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