Monthly Archives: June 2012

Racism Hardwired Into Brain

It would appear that racist attitudes that we have we are capable of getting on even an unconscious level. This article describes them as being hard wired and part of the emotional and the decision making aspects of our brains.

I am not fully sure of what the ramifications of this are but it appears that even people with good, ‘egalitarian’ intentions are still capable of harboring racism:

Racism is ‘hardwired’ into the human brain – and people can be prejudiced without knowing it

• Same circuits that allow people to judge ethnic groups also drive emotional decisions
• Even ‘right thinking’ people can have racist attitudes
• Racism operates below the conscious level

Racism is hardwired into the brain, say scientists – and it operates unconsciously.

The same circuits in the brain that allow us to see which ethnic group a person belongs to overlap with others that drive emotional decisions.

The result is that even right-thinking individuals make unconscious decisions based on a person’s race.

Brain scans have proved that interactions with people of other ethnic backgrounds set off reactions that may be completely unknown to our conscious selves.

The finding may force researchers to think about racism in entirely new ways.

It’s possible, the researchers say, that even right-thinking, ‘egalitarian’ people could harbour racist attitudes without knowing.

The chemicals involved in perceiving ethnic backgrounds overlap with those for processing emotion and making decisions, according to new research.

And the findings published in Nature Neuroscience could lead to fresh ways of thinking about unintended race-based attitudes and decisions.

Dr Elizabeth Phelps, of New York University, and colleagues reviewed previous brain scanning studies showing how social categories of race are processed, evaluated and incorporated in decision-making.

They showed a network of brain regions called the the amygdala, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are important in the unintentional, implicit expression of racial attitudes.

The researchers said the brain areas themselves – as well as the functional connectivity among them – are critical for this processing.

Dr Phelps said: ‘A few decades ago, it was unthinkable that looking at the brain to understand representations of social groups such as black versus white was even possible, let alone that such explorations could yield useful knowledge.

‘Evidence from neuroscience has been vital in clarifying the nature of how intergroup cognition unfolds.

‘Moreover, the neuroscience of race has been useful in pointing the way toward the type of new behavioural evidence needed to answer questions of not only what happens when intergroup cognition is at stake, but whether and how change is possible in real human interactions.

‘How to use this knowledge from brain and behaviour to further extend basic knowledge and to drive applications is the obvious next generation of questions that we must pose.

‘If good people who intend well act in a manner inconsistent with their own standards of egalitarianism because of the racial groups to which ‘the other’ belongs, then the question of change takes on new and urgent meaning.

‘This urgency requires that we attend to the evidence about how our minds work when we confront racial and other group differences.

‘Thus far, we have obtained modest evidence about these processes as they operate in our brains, unbeknownst to our conscious selves. The question of what we will do with these insights awaits an answer.’

The Mail

Quite a dramatic situation… I also like how there is something that we must do, as if changing the fundamental nature of how the human brain works might be some sort of option that we can out there on the table.

Loss Of European Culture; Increase of European Emigration

Just some articles I stumbled across while out debating:

Last year more than 155,000 Germans emigrated from their native country. Since 2004 the number of ethnic Germans who leave each year is greater than the number of immigrants moving in. While the emigrants are highly motivated and well educated, “those coming in are mostly poor, untrained and hardly educated,” says Stephanie Wahl of the German Institute for Economics.

In a survey conducted in 2005 among German university students, 52 percent said they would rather leave their native country than remain there. By “voting with their feet,” young, educated Germans affirm that Germany has no future to offer them and their children. As one couple who moved to the United States told the newspaper Die Welt: “Here our children have a future in which they will not have to fear unemployment and social decline.” There are two main reasons why so-called “ethno-Germans” emigrate. Some complain that the tax rates in Germany are so high that it is no longer worthwhile working for a living there. Others indicate they no longer feel at home in a country whose cultural appearance is changing dramatically.

The situation is similar in other countries in Western Europe. Since 2003, emigration has exceeded immigration to the Netherlands. In 2006, the Dutch saw more than 130,000 compatriots leave. The rise in Dutch emigration peaked after the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. This indicates that the flight from Europe is related to a loss of confidence in the future of nations which have taken in the Trojan horse of Islamism, but which, unlike the Trojans, lack the guts to fight.

 Brussels Journal

An interesting thing — it shows that many Europeans in their ‘socialist utopias’ as Americans oft see it are quite unhappy with the immigration policies that they have; there is a movement away from all of this foolish governance.

A Response To Klass War On Religion In Society

Just a bit from this PoFo thread that I thought might stand alone good enough:

I was thinking a little about what Klass War said.

He seems to think that bringing in more Muslims and other such religions weakens the general hold of religion on the people… I think that this is a correlation and not a causation.

Westerners have had a general assault on their religion for a while — an assault that has been exacerbated by incompetent religious figures. In reality, modern science has nothing to do, really, with the Bible as we know it… It is all a red herring at the end of the day.

The great irony is that structuralism and existentialist sentiment actually fit the Christian faith fairly well. There really aren’t such absolutes of right and wrong in many places in the Bible, and rather the whole concept of will as the driving force of man has a lot of appeal to those of religion. The whole ‘culture war’ alone has limited religion’s influence.

Perhaps the beginning of the real battle had little to do with science but more of the view of women within the society and what their proper place was…

But on with it:

Klass War, it is rather interesting to think that the two most major religions of the world, Islam and Christianity, both do acknowledge Christ and the Jewish God… If anything, in the long run, their proximity could strengthen one another in some aspects of their resolve.

Christians Already Being Persecuted By Syria’s Revolution

We all knew that it would happen — the real face of the Syrian revolution reveals itself in its targeting of Christians.

Of course, some people will try to point to it saying that it is merely simple people seeking to root out Assad’s base of support… But why do you think these people support Assad in the first place? So they do not have to face the music of radical Islam should it triumph here.

Which, certainly, appears to be the case:

Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians

The Christian minority in Syria is facing a growing threat and thousands are being forced to flee their homes as they face harassment and discrimination from radial Islamist factions of the opposition.

At least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr were forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba, Fides news agency reports.

In the latest outburst of violence a Christian man was shot dead by a sniper in Qusayr, which neighbors the restive city of Homs.

There have been reports last week that some mosques in the city have announced from the minarets: “Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday.”

Two Catholic priests who fled Qusayr confirmed to the news agency that they heard the ultimatum “with their own ears” repeated from the minarets.

“The situation is unsustainable in the area and exposed to total lawlessness,” Fides sources on the ground say. They also fear that the fate of Christians in Qusayr could soon affect the 10,000 believers who live in other villages in the area.

Russia Today

Egyptian Court Dissolves Parliament

Oh boy, here we go, guys:

(CNN) — An Egyptian high court ruling Thursday that dissolves Egypt’s freshly elected parliament is akin to a coup d’état favoring the old guard and the military and could bring renewed unrest, according to many analysts.

Experts are watching to see whether the decision reignites the unrest and street demonstrations that drove former strongman Hosni Mubarak from power last year and whether ordinary Egyptians will consider the ruling an attempt by the ruling elite to snuff out the promise of democracy fought for in Tahrir Square.

The court is considered partial to the prior regime headed by Mubarak, in which the military played a pivotal role. The military is considered by many to be a bulwark against the power and influence of Islamists in Egypt.

The ruling also comes as the country faces the prospect of Islamist control — Islamists dominated the voided parliament and one of the two final candidates running for president has strong ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and their political wing the Freedom and Justice Party.

“Essentially, no, the court is not neutral,” said Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It is very much part of the old regime. I think you are going to see people pouring into the streets and demand change.”

Following the court decision, Egypt’s interim military rulers declared full legislative authority, creating deep anxiety and uncertainty about the country’s future.

It was just on January 23 — two days before the anniversary of the birth of a revolution that eventually toppled Mubarak — when the military surrendered legislative powers to the first parliament in the country’s history to be dominated by Islamists, whose two parties won about 70% of the seats in the lower house.

CNN

(a) Who was surprised that democracy would not last? (b) Who was surprised that Islamists would dominate the election?

The general idea of a successful democracy in a country where Islamist thought dominates the average people and the military has a tradition of asserting control and dominance is a pretty silly idea. It looks more and more, every year, that democracy is not some mythical griffin who is here to bring us all far away from worse ideas.

Democracy in the ME is impotent at best and an irresponsible disregard for progress in a meaningful sense at worse. I think that we all know that the essential foundation of any future Middle Eastern nation would be a Republic focusing on the guaranteeing of the rights of the citizens. Anything else would be superfluous to the long term goals of the society.

There almost needs to be an active dictatorship to stabilize the nation and address the most fundamental problems before even elections can be thought of.

2012 Peace Rankings

Peace Rankings.

Every year I sit around and wonder when the peace rankings will come out.

I mean, just read this:

Quote:The 2012 index ranks 158 nations using 23 indicators which gauge ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security, and militarization. The 2011 list included 153 countries

Canada’s 2012 ranking improved as its casualties decreased in the conflict in Afghanistan, according to the report.

How could this not be some of the best shit in the world?

A report that essentially grades the ‘peace’ quality of a nation based on comparing countries like Iceland to the United States on their safety and ‘domestic and international conflict’ as well as ‘militarization.’

What is great about these is that the whole of humanity likes the idea of there being ranks — winners and losers — in every kind of department, and even that which is essentially immeasurable like the abstract of ‘peace’ gets a ranking. We find it somehow suitable to compare a nation of 300 million to a nation of 800,000, and we think that places like Somalia who are rife with conflict can be properly ‘graded’ and ‘evaluated’ through these things and be ascribed some sort of number specifically to tell us all just how screwed they are.

The whole exercise is absurd — the very comparisons are unfair and it tries to seemingly award pussy ass, little countries with the crown of ‘most peaceful!’ because they are dependent on their larger neighbors to protect their interests and are so small and boring they never have people killing each other.

This think tank strikes me as desperate for attention.

다문화 國軍 시대

한국은 이 시대를 많이 기다리고 있었습니다.

이런 변형은 모든 사회에 좀 자연스럽다고  생각합니다. 지난 10년-20년동안 한국에서 특히 농부들이 한국 부인을 찾을 수 없어서 많은 외국인 여성들이랑 결혼했습니다. 대부분 이 부인들은 남동아시아에서 왔고 지난 해까지 그 ‘혼혈아’들은 군대 갈 수 없었서 좀 아쉽지만 지금 한국의 다문화 사회가 더 밝게 보일 수 있습니다:

충남 논산 육군훈련소에서 훈련 중인 한기엽(18) 부사관 후보생은 어머니가 일본인인 다문화 가정 출신이다. 한 후보생은 다음 달 4일 훈련을 수료한 후 부사관학교에서 12주 교육을 마치면 육군 하사로 임관한다. 다문화 가정 출신 부사관은 이번이 처음이다.

군 이 다문화 가정 출신 군(軍) 간부를 배출하는 등 본격적인 다문화시대에 접어들었다. 다문화사회로 급속하게 진행되고 있는 우리 사회의 변화 모습이 군에 그대로 반영되고 있는 것이다. 작년 1월 행정안전부가 조사한 ‘결혼 이민자 및 귀화자 자녀의 연령별 현황’을 보면 올해 징병 검사 대상자인 다문화 가정 출신 만 19세 남성 수는 1165명이다. 2019년엔 3045명으로 증가하고 2028년엔 8000명을 넘어설 것으로 보인다. 군 관계자는 “징병 검사 추이로 볼 때 2028년엔 다문화 가정 출신 현역병 수가 1만2000명을 넘어설 것으로 추정된다”고 밝혔다.

현재는 다문화 가정의 19세 남성 자녀가 징병 검사 대상의 0.3%에 불과하지만, 2019년 1%를 차지한다. 저출산으로 현재 30만명대인 19세 남성 인구가 20만명대로 떨어지는 2021년부터 이들이 사병에서 차지하는 비중은 더욱 높아져 2025년 50명 중의 1명(2%), 2030년에는 22명 중 1명(4.6%)을 차지한다. 군 관계자는 “현재 군 입대자 중 다문화 가정 출신을 굳이 밝히지 않은 경우도 많아 실제 다문화 가정 출신 입대자는 더 많을 것으로 추정된다”고 했다. 현재 다문화 가정 출신 병사는 육군 179명, 공군 9명, 해병대 5명으로 집계됐다고 군은 밝혔다.

조선일보

‘다문화’ 시대라고 할 수 있는데 저에게 아직 그런 말이 조금 이상하다고 생각합니다. 물론 지금 ‘다문화’라고 할 수 있는데 사실은 한국인과 베트남인, 필리핀인, 중국인 등등이랑 결혼하고 아이가 태어나는 것은 아주 ‘다문화적’이지 않다고 생각합니다.

한국의 문화가 빨리 익숙할 수 있고 그 아이들은 아마도 어느 정도록 엄마의 문화를 잘 알고 있지만 사실은 그 사람들도 벌써 한국인입니다.

미국인의 눈으로 보면 인종이나 혈통으로 국민이 되는 것이 아니고 그 사회의 문화를 익숙하는 것은 그 나라의 국민이 되는 것입니다. ‘다문화 가정’이라고 할 수 있지만 그 것은 그냥 차이점을 강조하는 사상입니다. 어차피 이런 구별 필요없다고생각합니다. 단지 엄마가 외국인 이라면 그 가정은 진짜 매우 다르다고 이라고 할 수 있습니까?

많은 사람의 상상보다 더 한국적인 가족들입니다.

술 천국인 한국

이 기사를 읽었을 때 조금 웃었습니다. 물론 외국인들은 다 알고 있는 것은 한국은 술을 너무 많이 마시는 나라 같습니다. 동유럽이랑 비교할 수 있는 나라 입니다.

2년째 한국에 서 초등학교 원어민 영어 교사를 하고 있는 영국인 앨런 존스(가명·32)는 “한국에 온 뒤 달라진 내 모습에 깜짝 놀랐다”고 했다. 영국에서 1주일에 1~2번씩 축구 경기를 보며 맥주 1~2캔을 즐겼던 그가 주말마다 친구들을 만나면 밤이 새도록 ‘폭탄주’를 마시고 있기 때문이다. 존스는 “술 천국인 한국에 와서 나도 모르게 한국 사람처럼 술을 먹고 있다”고 했다.

본 지 취재팀은 서울 신촌 거리에서 만난, 한국에 3개월 이상 체류한 외국인 100명을 대상으로 ‘한국의 술 문화’가 어떤지 알아보기 위한 설문조사를 실시했다. 이들의 국적은 미국, 영국, 프랑스, 멕시코, 싱가포르, 에콰도르 등 총 26개국이었다.

외 국인들은 ‘한국 사람이 술을 많이 마신다고 생각하나요?’란 질문에 77%가 ‘그렇다’고 답했고, ‘한국에 온 뒤 주량이 늘었나요?’란 질문에 ‘그렇다’고 답한 비율은 48%에 달했다. 설문조사에 응한 외국인의 40%는 한국에 와 주량이 2배로 늘었다고 답했고, 4배 이상으로 늘었다고 답한 외국인도 6%에 달했다.

조선일보

제가 보기에는 술을 마시는 것은 스트레스를 잘풀고 자유로운 느낌도 줍니다. 많은 사회에는 아주 중요한 전통입니다. 그리고다른 나라들이랑 비교하면 대한민국은 범죄 문제가 더 낮습니다. 한국의 술 문화가 큰 문제 이라고 할 수 없다고 생각해요…

많은 사람들은 자기의 문제들을 술 때문이라고 말 하지만 거짓말입니다. 나쁜 짓을 하기 위해 술을 마시고 ‘내가 취해서 용서주세요!”말 해요.

술은 많은 책임을 받지만 사실은 그 책임감은 술 마시는 사람에게붙여야합니다.

Obama Embracing Gay Supporters

This is sort of a natural conclusion as the left/right divide becomes more certain with an opponent as clearly as conservative as Romney:

BEVERLY HILLS — When President Obama told a roomful of supporters at a gay-rights gala here Wednesday that seeing tears streaming down the faces of gay Americans after he repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has ranked among the highlights of his presidency, he could have been talking about Vito Imbasciani.

Imbasciani, who introduced the president at the 600-guest fundraiser hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council Gala, is a surgeon and colonel in the Army National Guard who is gay. He and his partner have two adopted children — who, because of the “Don’t Ask” policy, were never able to greet him at the airport when he came back from three active-duty tours.

“The price of my service was to live a lie,” Imbasciani said on the ballroom stage of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where his diminutive frame was barely visible behind the lectern that had been set up for the much-taller Obama. “I kept their existence secret because that’s what the law required.”

He paused, then added, prompting a roar from the crowd: “But not anymore.”

Obama took the stage next, offering his first public embrace to gay supporters since declaring his support for same-sex marriage in a widely promoted television interview last month.

Following remarks by comedian Ellen DeGeneres and a performance by “Glee” star Darren Criss, who plays a gay student on the Fox series, the president had to plead with the audience to sit down after a long and emotional ovation and chants of “Four more years!” Twin screens on each side of the stage displayed huge “Obama Pride” logos.

“The fight on behalf of the LGBT community is part of a broader fight on behalf of all Americans,” the president said. “It’s a part of a history of trying to make this union a bit more perfect.”

Obama touted a list of accomplishments that extend new protections to gays and lesbians, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” allowing hospital visitation for same-sex partnership and expanding federal hate-crimes law to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation.

Gay supporters have been a pillar of Obama’s fundraising strength; about one in six top Obama campaign “bundlers,” who amass contributions from others, is gay, according to a Washington Post analysis. But they also have been impatient with his self-described “evolution” on gay marriage. Wednesday represented Obama’s first major outreach to gay and lesbian supporters since he declared that he is now for gay marriage, and they received him enthusiastically.

Washington Post

I think it is obvious that we will be able to expect some amount of national level action on a federal gay marriage proposal sometime in the near future; Obama has really thrown in his lot with the gay vote and such a thing would make sense in the course of events.

However, Obama may even just sell them out when it is no longer convenient to be some controversial if he does indeed win the Presidential election again; we will have to just wait and see what happens with this but it could mark a betrayal of gays by the Left if they throw too much support behind a character whom we are uncertain will actually support them in the end.

US Military: 154 Suicides In 155 Days

Pretty gruesome statistics; I had no idea that the suicide rate had actually climbed since I had left the Army and it is certainly a shocking bit of news:

US soldiers are committing suicide at an alarming rate in 2012, according to new Pentagon statistics reported by the Associated Press. The rate was roughly one per day, with 154 suicides in 155 days. The rate is the highest since the latest round of wars began in 2001.

After hitting a record of 160 for all of 2009, the suicide rate was reportedly “leveling out” in 2010 and 2011. Official studies have struggled toexplain the latest rise, attributing it to non-military causes like drug abuse and financial problems.

Before It’s News

An utterly shocking revelation from an organization which traditionally has a lower suicide rate than the rest of the population. Apparently, the stress of combat service is getting many down or there are other extraneous issues.

Do you remember how in 2006 or so the standards for entering the military lowered, and even criminals could enter? I imagine similar drops in the quality of soldiers could have played another role in the ever increasing suicide rate.