Wednesday, November 04, 2009

From anger to paranoia: the case of Brian Reierson

Ideas can be likened to viruses. They can lie dormant, in isolation, for long periods of time, only to awaken and spread quickly when changes take place in the environment around them. Just as a virus which has lain dormant in a cold environment can come back to life and begin to spread when the temperature rises, so an idea which has been disregarded can suddenly become credible, even fashionable, due to changes in the economic and political climate.

Last year's financial meltdown has changed the economic and political climate of the West. The doctrine of neo-liberalism, with its emphasis on the inherent wisdom of market forces and the inadvisability of government intervention in the economy, has been shaken by the collapse of banks and companies which overextended themselves in the unregulated atmosphere of the nineties and early noughties. Governments which had previously preached the benefits of a hands-off attitude to the economy have been forced to wade into the mess left by the financial crisis. Banks and manufacturing giants have been nationalised on the orders of politicians accustomed to overseeing privatisation programmes.

The financial meltdown and the recession which has followed in its wake have reopened debates about the best way to organise and run an economy. For decades, the partisans of neo-liberalism had deemed such debates unnecessary; there was no alternative, they insisted, to the rule of market forces and the retreat of government from the economy. There are still those prepared to make such arguments - in New Zealand, for instance, Business Roundtable Director Roger Kerr is endeavouring quixtoically to blame the financial crisis on an excess of government regulation, rather than its absence - but they are no longer listened to so attentively.

Millions of workers have been thrown out of jobs during the recession that has followed last year's financial collapse. In the United States the official jobless rate has reached nearly 10%, and the number of real unemployed is estimated at an astonishing 18%. In New Zealand unemployment has reached its highest level since the late nineties.

As people search for an understanding of a system that has failed them, radical alternatives to the status quo are being debated with a new vigour. The virus of socialism, which was relatively dormant in most of the developed world for decades, seems to be reawakening in places. In Germany, for instance, sales of Marx's Capital have soared, as the Left Party does well in elections. In Japan, the home of the comic book, a manga version of Marx's magnum opus has been published, as the de-Stalinised Communist Party rides high in the polls.

But it is not only the ideas of the left which are gaining a new hearing today. Right-wing conspiracy theories, which scapegoat one or another minority group for the recession, are making a comeback amongst populations angry at rising unemployment. In Britain, the neo-Nazi National Party, which blames immigrants for ruining the economy, won two seats in elections for the European parliament held earlier this year.

Last year this blog noted the revival of an anti-semitic form of the Social Credit ideology amongst those who want to blame the financial crisis on the machinations of a sinister minority. In recent months, a man named Brian Reierson has made himself into a local spokesperson for this ideology.

Reierson knows first-hand about the failure of neo-liberalism. The sixty-four year-old drives a bus for a living, and has been active in the Auckland Tramways Union's ongoing campaign for a pay increase. Like other members of the union, Reierson was locked out of his worksite for days last month. He was one of the majority of drivers who voted to reject the inadequate pay offer from employers earlier this week at a massive meeting at Alexandra Park.

Reierson is entitled to be angry at a system which pays him pitiable amounts for doing an essential job. Unfortunately, though, his attempts to understand the system which has failed him have led him into the netherworld of right-wing conspiracy theory. In a series of statements sent to members of parliament and the media over the past few months, Reierson has argued that a tiny group of money-lenders are to blame for causing last year's financial meltdown. According to Reierson these money-lenders, who are led by the 'House of Rothschild', induced the United States government to set up the Federal Reserve Bank back in 1913. Ever since then, they have used that institution to control the world economy.

Reierson's nefarious bankers 'create money out of thin air', and then loan it to the rest of the world at exorbitant rates of interest. Supported by an elaborate cast of politicians, monarchs, and propagandists, including Queen Elizabeth and our own John Key, they direct the course of history, starting and ending wars and recessions at will. If their power was broken, then the world would be free, and prosperity would reign. Long-suffering readers of this blog will recognise the similarities between Reierson's views and those of the anti-semitic Social Creditors who tried to make Radio Live into a vehicle for their views last year.

Reierson's epistles to politicians and journalists have delighted New Zealand's parnoid far right. Clare Swinney, a professional conspiracy theorist who contributes often to Uncensored, the anti-semitic, Holocaust-denying website and magazine based in Auckland, hailed Reiserson as a visionary in a rambling article which she placed on the indymedia website yesterday. Swinney, who thinks that Jews control the movies and television we watch and that swine flu vaccines are a Marxist-Jewish-Illuminati plot to kill billions of people, linked Reierson's letters to a right-wing campaign in America to overturn Barack Obama's government, disestablish the Federal Reserve, and create a new, Judenfrei currency.

Reierson does not necessarily hold all the obnoxious views of Swinney and Uncensored, but his most recent letter shows that he has certainly been imbibing the ideas of the international far right. He asks his readers to study a long you tube documentary called The Money Masters: How International Bankers Gained Control of America, which presents the Rothschilds as the secret rulers of the world during the twentieth century. The fact of the family's persecution and exile from Germany during the Nazi era is tactfully ignored by the movie's makers.

Reierson also recommends a book called The Creature from Jekyll Island, by a man named G Edward Griffin. Griffin worked for George Wallace, the southern governor who broke with the Democratic Party over the issue of equal rights for blacks and won considerable support in the south when he ran on a pro-segregation platform in the 1968 Presidential election. Griffin is a long-time member of the John Birch Society, an organisation that has published and distributed millions of copies of None Dare Call It Conspiracy, a book that uses 'evidence' from explicitly anti-semitic sources - the pro-Hitler articles of Henry Ford, for instance - to argue that an international cabal of bankers was responsible for key historical events like the Bolshevik revolution and Hitler's rise to power.

After complaints from several readers, including yours truly, indymedia's editors decided to pull Swinney's article about Reierson, on the grounds that it had nothing to do with the politics of the left and that it discriminated against a minority. Proponents of Reierson's views have reacted to this censorship by characterising the man's critics as defenders of the big banks, and of the 'New World Order' in general.

I don't regret calling for the removal of Swinney's article, because I think it is important for the left to draw a firm line between progressive criticisms of capitalism and the sort of paranoid nonsense that Brian Reierson and others are promoting.

I doubt that anyone who visits indymedia regularly doesn't believe there are profound problems with the global banking system and with capitalism. For anyone on the left, such views come with the territory. There is a rich tradition of analysis and criticism of capitalism and its institutions produced by both the reformist left - we can invoke names like Keynes, Galbraith, and, today, John Ralston Saul - and the radical left. This left-wing tradition owes nothing to the bigoted conspiracy theories of the far right.

In contrast to the left, which argues that the capitalist system has serious faults and needs to be either reformed or replaced, the right-wingers Brian Reierson cites believe that capitalism is a fine system which has been perverted by the conspiracy of a minority which controls the banking sector. Often this minority is equated with the Jews, or a section of the Jewish people; sometimes it is referred to as 'the Illuminati' or given some other bogeyname. If only the dirty minority that controls the banking sector were disposed of, the right-wing conspiracy theorists say, then all would be well.

One of Reierson's supporters claimed on indymedia that Karl Marx was a Social Creditor, because Marx was a critic of the banks. Marx, though, rejected the notion that the problem with capitalism is the misuse of the banking sector; on the contrary, he explains in great detail, in volume two of Capital, that the banking sector cannot be considered apart from the rest of the capitalist economy, and that the crises which capitalism periodically experiences are caused by the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system, not by the conscious actions of a minority within a capitalist society.

If it showed us anything, last year's financial meltdown surely showed us that it is not possible to 'create money out of thin air'. The crisis occurred when banks realised that they extended far too much money to businesses that would not be able to pay that money back. Companies that had been subsisting on debt began to fold, as the property they owned and the goods they produced could not be sold. This sort of crisis of overproduction was first noticed in 1857 by Marx, and it has occurred many times since. It is inherent in the nature of capitalism, though it can be made worse or ameliorated by certain variables, including the actions of governments. It is not the result of a conspiracy by a group of bankers sitting in a beige room.

Although Western governments have been forced to break tactically with neo-liberalism to save banks and large manufacturers like Ford, they are not breaking with underlying neo-liberal assumptions when they formulate long-term responses to the recession. With the exception of Australia, which has borrowed more money to try and spend its way out of the crisis in the Keynesian fashion traditionally favoured by the social democratic left, the governments of the West are trying to 'balance the books' by cutting state spending on health and education and laying off state employees. This approach will deepen rather than reverse the recession, because it will depress consumer spending and lead to more bankruptcies and layoffs. It is notable that Australia is the only Western nation whose economy has grown this year.

While the paranoid right scapegoats vulnerable minorities for the crisis and insists that wealth can be created 'out of thin air', the left has been arguing that the people who created the recession should pay for it, and not the workers threatened with lay-offs and cuts in state spending on vital services. Indymedia is correct to refuse the fantasies of Reierson and Swinney, and to focus on arguments and actions of the left.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

are YOU a disinformation agent for the New World Order?

12:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reierson is quotes in today's Herald on the bus dispute.

12:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clare Swinney was prepared to go to a psychiatric hospital for her beliefs. Can you say the same?

http://clareswinney.wordpress.com/incarcerated-in-a-psychiatric-ward-because-i-said-911-was-an-inside-job/

Held In A Psychiatric Ward & Called “Delusional” For Saying 9/11 Was An Inside Job
By Clare Swinney, Member of Scholars For 9/11 Truth & Justice.

I was wrongly diagnosed as delusional by the psychiatric staff of Ward 7 at Northland Base Hospital in Whangarei and held against my will for 11 days in mid-2006, because I maintained the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by criminal elements inside the US Administration.

A definition of delusional: relating to, based on, or affected by delusions. A delusion: a false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.
In light of the definition, one of the most astounding aspects to the ordeal was that when I met with the chief psychiatrist, Dr Carlos Zubaran for two formal mental health assessments, I held Issue 3 of Uncensored, which is shown in the picture above, and asked him to look at information related to the 9/11 attacks. This magazine contained an article I’d written entitled: Why Does TVNZ Lie To Us About 9/11?, which cited evidence that proved the official fable was a lie – yet reminiscent of the fabled vampires afraid of the light of day, he refused to even cast his eyes over it, during both of the so-called “assessments.”

Another astounding aspect to what occurred was that Section 4 of the New Zealand Mental Health Act makes it clear that no one can be judged to be mentally ill solely on the basis of their political beliefs. The District Inspector for Mental Health – Northland, barrister Julie Young; Bridget Westenra, the lawyer she appointed to assist me and the staff of Ward 7, including the chief psychiatrist, did not appear to know this. As can be seen, it is written in layman’s language on page 33 of Chapter 2 of Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, which is on the Ministry of Health’s own website: ‘You cannot be considered to have a mental disorder just because of your: political, religious or cultural beliefs…’.


As this Judgement shows, because of his reluctance to scrutinize the evidence related to 9/11 and apparent lack of awareness of Section 4 of the Act, nine days into my incarceration, Dr Zubaran still held the belief I suffered from a “delusional disorder” owing to my political beliefs.

The evidence that shows the official story of 9/11 was indeed a lie is now overwhelming. We now have what has been referred to as the “loaded gun” – this is the unignited nanothermite, a highly-advanced explosive substance, which was far too sophisticated a composite to have originated from a cave in Afghanistan. Think military. Think US government.

The following article, which relates to what occurred in Ward 7, was published in Issue 8 of Uncensored. Thankfully, since writing about what happened and making numerous phone calls, plus sending many letters, as well as supplying numerous DVDs to the staff of Ward 7 to show them the truth about 9/11 – and then finally threatening to protest outside the hospital, the Clinical Director of Mental Health & Addiction Services in Northland sent an apology in August 2008, which can be viewed here.

Dr Zubaran did not apologise.

10:48 pm  
Blogger Marty Mars said...

Very interesting maps.

i have some friends who are conspiracy believers. One of my best friends does believe in the reptillian shapeshifters ruling the world, as well as the illuminati, the cabals, the 5 families and so on. He has taken on the memes but he is not right wing - but then again can you believe a set of ideas that fall within a catagory but not believe the catagory itself? I also know people who have come up to me and spoken in hushed tones about their experiences walking barefoot the trails of waitaha with old barry.

The similarities with all of these beliefs and believers is amazing. And it does seem to be a reaction to the crushing neo-con society and feelings of powerlessness that people experience.

What i say to them all is - I don't care, it is not my reality. And i say that deliberately because the more you argue the more it confirms their expectations and solidifies their beliefs - as you know from experience :). You can't win by arguing. i do however get into the barry-believers because that is personally offensive to me. But i don't blame the believers - they are all trying to find context and the rabid paranoia of the conspiracy theories is somehow comforting. If it is out of my control then i don't have to worry about it. If there is a small group of megarichfamiliesseededfromaliens - then bugger all i can do, sort of thing.

And there is an attraction to the theories as jack mentioned in a previous post.

All of these conspiracy-denier-pseudo-historian groups are so similar in their belief structures that it makes me wonder about a mega-conspiracy!!!

I'd better head to golden bay and have a chat to my mates about that - after all 2012 is coming soon :)

10:06 am  
Blogger Edward said...

Marty Mars has hit upon something I find interesting when he says the similarities between these people is astonishing.

My partner, a psychology student, has pondered the possibility with me that these conspiracy people all have similar structures in their worldviews and behaviours not because of an overarching conspiracy, but because of deeper underlying behavioural disorders (albeit combined with other societal factors like education, neo cons. reaction etc.). The same can be said with perpetrators of domestic violence (not that i'm implying conspiracy groups are also perpetrators of domestic violence, just that the members of each group may have identifiable correlates). She calls it 'symptomology'.

It seems regardless of what particular conspiracy one buys into, the similar sets of disfunctional traits can be identified through correlated symptoms such as delusion of grandeur, paranoia, and other anti-social behaviours. It is also often the case that once someone buys into one conspiracy, they buy into them all.

Such 'symptomologies' of groups like this is of course just musings, and my partner hasn't researched this and i'm no psychologist so it might be off base, and i've probably explained it wrong (it probably sounds worse than I intend it to). But, all one has to do is trawl through the people actively advocating such ideas on the web to see repeated themes in their background stories and behaviours. In a similar way, there might be correlation between domestic violence and appeals of status within one's community for example.
I don't know, it probably sounds a bit over the top, and I am really only talking about the 'hard core' people who spearhead these ideas, rather than just your everyday conspiracy theorist who might buy into it like Marty Mars' friend and other people I know who don't literally obsess over it.

2:06 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

Take for example the above ramblings by anonymous about Clare Swinney. They/Swinney attempt to portray the scene as though she was just thrown into a psychiatric ward simply because she believes 9/11 was a cover up. In other words, merely because she had alternative views. The problem with this oversimplification is that many, many people have alternative views, many in fact buying into the 9/11 cover-up conspiracy, and yet there isn't a global or even national move to place these thousands and thousands of people into mental health wards.

What anonymous/Swinney seem too numb to comprehend isn't that it was her alternative belief which got her placed in the hospital, but her continual and ever-present obsession with 9/11 and the need to 'prove' to everyone that her views must be listened to and accepted. The fact that even during an assessment she was trying to force copies of uncensored down the assessors throat is evidence of this obsession. Not to mention the bumbling interpretation of 'political belief' under section 4 - I don't think 'political belief' really extends to aggressive obsessive behaviours and feelings that you are one of the few special people in the world with the special ability or knowledge to 'know the truth'. It's all there, reproduced in anon's rambling comment. It reminds me of Terminator 2, where Sarah Connor is placed in a psychiatric ward for trying to force people to believe a robot apocalypse is coming. Unfortunately while she may have been right in the fictional realm of movies, the same can't really be said of reality. Finally, after being released she continued to send bizzare 9/11 'truth movement' propaganda to the staff, eventually getting an apology, presumably because they eventually 'saw the truth' so she decided to leave them alone. This is obviously a case of an aggressive and obsessive woman with paranoid issues. My partner is an assessor, and if she came across someone like Swinney it would freak her out and rightly so - in fact she does come across people like this, the only difference is their specific belief rather than their behaviour.

I think there may be something to these hard core conspiracy theorists and underlying behavioural disorders.

2:07 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

"It seems regardless of what particular conspiracy one buys into, the similar sets of disfunctional traits can be identified through correlated symptoms such as delusion of grandeur, paranoia, and other anti-social behaviours. It is also often the case that once someone buys into one conspiracy, they buy into them all. "

As someone who studies these things, I have to say that what you're seeing is usually just the token grandstanding Conspiracy Theorists; there may well be some interesting psychological factors to do with wanting to disseminate Conspiracy Theories, but the vast majority of believers in Conspiracy Theories are usually very normal and simply lacking in critical thinking skills, which is a cultural rather than psychological condition.

3:50 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Anonymous of the 9/11 theory - I also feel it could have been an "inside job" but I hesitate to then extrapolate that everything is "conspiracy" - I haven't read all your woes but if you were discriminated for holding that view that is wrong - I believe (perhaps wrongly) the CIA (and others e.g. Mosad for example) could well be behind all or most of the terrorist attacks (indirectly - using agents provocateurs and so on) in fact I think they help to keep these incidents going (so they and other states have an excuse to keep warring etc) - that said I emphasise that I only have that as one possibility. Certainly there is a lot of underhand activity - the trouble is with all their plotting - Governments and their agents in the end tend to simply fail to achieve much... I am sure that the various agencies and certain capitalists are involved in "conspiracies", but I concur with Maps, that overall - it is the structure of the system that is the cause rather than individuals.

One problem that arises with 9/11 conspiracy theorists is that they then move on - saying they are certain when they're only dealing with probability - and bring Israel into the equation (albeit Israel could well have been involved) and hence they default to anti-Semitism. But Israel's faults are not something inherent in the nature of "being Jewish" so to speak - many Jewish people are opposed to certain of their Government actions and so on - and not all Jews are Zionist and so on. It is true that the US back Israel big time but that isn't because they are Jews a such -it suits them to keep a "slightly" mad State in business as a kind of thorn in the side of the Arabs and others in the Middle East where there is oil and important rival (or potential rival) powers ...

4:40 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

"The evidence that shows the official story of 9/11 was indeed a lie is now overwhelming. We now have what has been referred to as the “loaded gun” – this is the unignited nanothermite, a highly-advanced explosive substance, which was far too sophisticated a composite to have originated from a cave in Afghanistan. Think military. Think US government."

The problem here for me is the use by you of the phrase "overwhelming evidence". You are analsying an event that took place quite a few thousand miles away and which was (admittedly) not properly investigated (or at least was not seen to be totally openly by the people of the US) - but for every evidence you give for it's being done by the US military or whoever for you will find opposing views. It is like the David Bain case - it is not evidence (there's not enough - it is all circumstantial) - it boil down to belief...the Bain case was maybe a little more difficult... but people took sides when in fact no one can really be sure of what happened and who did it except some sort of God or Infinite and omniscient being!

This doesn't mean you are wrong - just that you are wrong to be sure you are right even if you are right!!

4:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 'political prisoner' Clare Swinney and 'Richard Taylor' are no-planers.

'Advocates of the 'blue screen' or 'hologram' theory hold that the planes that hit the World Trade Center, or at least Flight 175, were ghost aircraft and that sophisticated image projection technology was used to fake the illusion of them entering the towers.'

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://covertoperations.blogspot.com/2009/05/111-reasons-why-i-am-no-planer.html

4:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'As someone who studies these things'

So 'you' admit it. 'You' work for the NWO?

5:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think atheists are irrational.

I like to think that atheists are basically like you and me but that they do not believe in any God.

I had a friend who proclaimed his atheism and he was a very funny guy. I trusted him too. But he somehow got ahold of my banking information and decided to help himself to the acct balance then he left. I never heard from him again.

So, I continued my studies. And I’m still studying.

But don’t you notice the pattern? The absence of belief certainly frees up man’s worst instincts and leaves those instincts free to do as they please. Notwithstanding the callous, vicious sociopathic murderer, but even the ordinary man who renounces his belief (and by default his allegiance) to doing the right thing.

For whatever reason, I have tons of atheists friends and they all find me to be an amusing and cool guy.

Bert Wheeler

5:09 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

"So 'you' admit it. 'You' work for the NWO?"

I wish. Then I'd be able to afford all those luxuries being an impoverished PhD student (writing a thesis on the epistemology of Conspiracy Theories) denies me.

Not that I think there is a NWO, just in case you fail take my first comment in jest, which seems likely.

5:15 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Here is another aspect - people hold on to various beliefs because they can give them a sense of comfort, power, and so on. (like belief in God or whatever - or even Marxism (a kind of religion as is Science.)

I think a lot of us who learnt about the way the CIA and other agencies operated during the Vietnam war years and so on (in fact the activities ongoing right up to now) are very cynical about this terrorism stuff. And I can believe or at least entertain the strong idea that agents or groups inside the US "Did the towers."

So I wouldn't dismiss anonymous above as "rambling" Edward...there ARE some evil bastards running the world so to speak. And some right scum here in NZ are scooping up cash from tax payers and jaunting to England for weddings or to visit Paris etc while their "bros" have trouble getting out of Otara...where I lived once...too few just have too much. Parliamentarians are vastly overpaid.

I can understand the bitterness that generates a lot of the "madness" and so on - but there is as many links to dsyfuntional people who don't have any conspiracy theories. Psychologists (my daughter is also studying psych - she has an MA - and I know she loves theories) (o.k. unlike me she is sane)) need to work hard and do some very careful research - the trouble is the various Government agencies are also full of psychos!

In fact I think we are entering an age of general madness (we haven't got beer since the Nazi Holocaust) - we are probably - because of the nature what we are - inherently evil and destructive - I don't hold out much hope for human beings.

But...

The problem with being paranoid as the old joke goes is that ... well ..you are usually not paranoid enough!

5:20 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

HORansome,

Fair call. I guess I only have a handfull of analogous examples from which I was basing that on, and at the end of the day i'm pretty much just kicking the idea around, so I knew someone with a better grasp would probably call me out on it. I just find the patterns interesting, and there does seem to be some behavioural trends, at least in the 'Grandstanding' cases? I have family members who have 'issues' whom are agressive conspiracy theorists, and they seem to share many traits with the Swinney's of this world. But I do definately agree with you that most conspiracy theorists are pretty normal and that it's more a matter of education and culture.

5:25 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe 'political prisoner' "Clare Swinney and 'Richard Taylor' are no-planers.

'Advocates of the 'blue screen' or 'hologram' theory hold that the planes that hit the World Trade Center, or at least Flight 175, were ghost aircraft and that sophisticated image projection technology was used to fake the illusion of them entering the towers.'"

I am not necessarily an advocate of such a theory...
I said that I simply thought that such theories couldn't be dismissed - I have indeed considered that there may have been no planes (some holographic device) or that they were sent by remote control, BUT I also have considered that it may have been done by a group of Arabic terrorists... who (possibly rightly) hated the US Government, given the latter's rather woeful record of human rights and tendency to invade and bomb countries.

5:59 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Well - some "respectable" conspiracy theorists make a living by it! Or at least conspiracy theories are a part of what makes a living for them...

The "Language Poet" Bruce Andrews is a lecturer in politics etc and he was bailed up (seen on an interview on YouTube) by some nut case on Fox (they are bunch of loonies if you could ever get a bunch of such! If you think I'm mad - watch Fox news for a while!! Either you will stop or you will be sent mad!!)...he was giving the Third Degree but all he was doing was teaching students how to think about such ideas or theories - e.g. The Kennedy Assassination.. for some people it is a hobby like anything else.

There opssobly is type attracted to such theories...I was for while - suer I have issues also - but who doesn't - but Ithnk thekeyis can you stop and say.

"Well,this might be true,but it could just as well be wrong."

In other words, one has to be like an investigator and you have to consider ALL possibilities,...sometimes as de Bono advises by brain storming - no matter how ridiculous the ideas - these sometimes lead to the "truth" or whatever we call the truth - whatever that is...

But I feel it would be a rich field for a psych student...it would be very interesting - trouble is, one might become (overly) paranoid!

6:13 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

My son read some of this rabid conspiracy stuff on the internet and it was saying the Rothschilds were controlling the world and so on - that they were evil capilatist who wanted to kill us all etc but while I think there are such "evil" people about...I explained I didn't feel it was just a group of gnomes who sat around - it was more the structures of society we are dealing with and that mainly capitalism worked by supply and demand and that at certain times there was overproduction etc etc

Now I also looked up the Rockefellers in my Encyc and showed my somewhere one had amassed this huge collection of animals, specimens and artifacts etc and so on and donated them to the British museum - I said to my son - why would they do that if they wanted to kill everyone? I'm not sure if I convinced him...and also if these Jews who run the world - and Jew Money is powerful no doubt about it, but it is not the whole deal - it is a big issue the Jews in NY - but
if they were controlling the world - if THEY were - then they didn't do such a god job as...well it is not going too well! And many of those who were Jews were killed in the war and so on...

6:28 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Bert Wheeler - there is something in what you are saying. I am more an agnostic - but I feel it is not so much a person's beliefs per se - it is how they respond through life. So perhaps parenting (by example of behaviour) makes a difference whether or not one "believes" and belief can be good - but being too dogmatic in anything is the problem.

But since Darwin and Nietzsche there has certainly been a problem...society has some what "collapsed"...but there have been gains and losses.

As to your atheist friend (and whether atheists are more dishonest or less reliable because they lack faith) - anyone of any belief system can be tempted to steal etc.

It is almost as if you were (or could be, I know you are not) saying that Catholics were all bad and Muslims were good...simplifications that don't help, if there wasn't anti-Semitism, there would be some other simplistic or dualistic system.

But you raise and interesting point.

6:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou for your kind words Richard.

All Christians confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

I have never claimed to belong to any particular Christian denomination. Am I Roman Catholic? Perhaps. Episcopalian? Maybe. But I am a Christian. And that's good enough for me.

You don't worship at the Temple of Darwin do you? Gee, there are enough holes in Darwin's theory for piltdown man to drive a truck through!

Bert Wheeler

7:24 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Bert - that's o.k. - but I don't subscribe to Christianity - it seems too inconsistent to me. I have no religion as such - I have my own personal feelings about life death and so on.

Darwin's theory of evolution is - as far as I can see it basically set in concrete. No inconsistencies. I have been fascinated by it since I was 15. Biology was my main subject at school. I have also more recently read books by Bodmer who won the Nobel prize in molecular biology and chemistry and also some of Richard Dawkins works. The Piltdown Man was a forgery. I have a book about it!
As far as I know there are no weaknesses in evolution theory. Of course this doesn't mean there is also no other deep "explantion" for the why of everything but I myself prefer that there is always sense of mystery.

And I don't like churchy people and the cliches they rave on with - in a recent book I read by Umberto Evo there is an anarchist who he helps the resistance in Italy in WWII and talks to this young boy - he is convinced he tells the boy - that there is a God, but God is, or became evil! So any being who generated this world with so much random and seemingly meaningless misery and often horror had to be crazy or a sadist - be evil in fact! I feel however there is some deeper meaning than that of any religion we know... there may be no God but there remains the mystery of consciousness - sentience. And I love to leave it as an eternally insoluble but beautiful mystery.

11:17 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:39 am  
Blogger Edward said...

Thought i'd just point out on the 'immorality without god' issue that Bert argues, that such an opinion, while common from religious people, simply isn't based in fact. Or even reason.

Here's a set of evidence based and peer-reviewed assertions which have been formed as part of the Brights project on 'reality of morality' which aims to counter the sorts of 'you have no morals without god' rhetoric and misunderstandings which come from those who subscribe to superstitous explainations.

A: Morality is an evolved repertoire of cognitive and emotional mechanisms with distinct biological underpinnings, as modified by experience acquired throughout the human lifetime. (27 studies)

B: Morality is not the exclusive domain of Homo sapiens—there is significant cross-species evidence in the scientific literature that animals exhibit "pre-morality" or basic moral behaviors. (15 studies)

C: Morality is a "human universal" across all cultures worldwide, a part of human nature acquired during the course of human evolution. (18 studies)

D: Young children and infants demonstrate some aspects of moral cognition and behavior which precede specific learning experiences and worldview development. (11 studies)


The above assertions are only the draft versions so far, but have all been backed up by various experts in different feilds and with a number of studies.

Basically, Berts assertion is not only very insulting to the majority of people in the world who don't believe in the Abrahamic god, including atheists, agnostics, buddhists etc., but is also not based upon anything substantial whatsoever.

10:32 am  
Blogger David Howard said...

Google "Many Small Fission Nukes at the WTC"

4:24 pm  

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