Mussolini’s Rituals


‘Mussolini thought the Italians needed to be hardened, and he launched what he called an anti-bourgeois campaign. And among the things he banned, or tried to ban, anyway, was people shouldn’t shake hands, they should give the Roman salute, you know, raising their arm and their hand up in the air. […]

[A] man named Achille Starace, was kind of his circus master, who kept coming up with these ideas of rituals, mass rituals and other kinds of rites that he thought would make the Italians ever more devoted to their duce, which is the kind of Latiny term of leader that the Italians used to refer to Mussolini.

In fact, Mussolini required being referred to as DUCE, D-U-C-E,[1] it’s spelled, and it had to be written in capitals in the newspapers by the 1930s. It couldn’t just be written in the normal way.’

– Kertzer, D. (April 24, 2015) ‘Pope And Mussolini’ Tells The ‘Secret History’ Of Fascism And The Church. NPR.


[1] duce; ‘leader’ from Latin duco, meaning ‘I lead’. E.g. Il DUCE ha sempre ragione; ‘the leader is always right’.

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Conversations: Political Correctness


Xanthippe
We know that socio-economic factors explain most violence in societies.

Helena
This is true, but religion fuelled tribalism and bigotry should not be excused in its entirety. Consider the jihadist movement, how many more architects and engineers must hit the wall at four hundred miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that violence is not merely a matter of education, poverty, or politics?

Sappho
Good point. The exploitation of secular values, the demand for tolerance of misogyny and religious hatred, are not merely the result of broad socio-economic factors. Nor are forced marriages, honour killings, punitive gang rapes, or the homicidal loathing of homosexuals. Continue reading

Trivialities of Gay Marriage


Why would people oppose something as trivial as gay marriage? The amount of time that is spent discussing this topic is staggering. The amount of energy that is spent opposing this civil right is equally astounding.

In the face of the actual problems that mankind faces at this moment: poverty, hunger, disease, pollution, ignorance, illiteracy, sexism, tyranny, warfare, et cetera, civilised society stands even more dumbstruck by the intolerance that is displayed in opposing this issue.

In order to get a better understanding of the objections that are made by the people who are opposed to two consenting adults expressing their love in front of their family, friends and society at large, let us consider the following questions:[1]

Why do people oppose gay marriage? –

Appeal To Tradition (“Sanctity of Marriage”)

Is it because of the assumption that only men and women can marry each other?
In 1967, less than fifty years ago, sixteen U.S. States still forbade interracial marriage on the grounds that the “sanctity of marriage” should not be violated. Nowadays, similar arguments are used to prevent gay people from getting married. This appeal to tradition has been recognised for the rhetorical fallacy it is for some time now.[2]

Is it because of the assumption that only one man and one woman can produce offspring by having sex?
Because of our advanced understanding of human procreation, it is possible for people to use a surrogate mother who carries an embryo created by in vitro fertilisation; it is also possible for people to use a sperm, egg or embryo donor. For some time now, procreation has not been necessarily about just one a man and one woman.

Is it because of the assumption that, regardless of sexual intercourse, only one man and one woman combined can produce offspring?
Thanks to our accomplishments in the field of genetics it is possible nowadays to create a human being out of the genetic material of one human as well as out of the combined genetic material of three humans.

Is it because of the assumption that only a marriage can produce offspring?
Currently, over 40% of the children born in the USA are born “out of wedlock”. And again, thanks to our extensive knowledge of biology, we know that a marriage certificate is not a prerequisite for the fertilisation of the ovum.

Is it because of the assumption that a marriage should produce offspring?
In that case, should the government not grant marriage licences to all people who are physically incapable of having children? And should this also apply to people who do not want children?

“I’m modern. I say ‘black’ instead of ‘coloured’. I think women are a good thing. I’ve got no problem with gays; most of them are very well turned out… especially the men.” – Peter Mannion The Thick Of It

Is it because of the assumption that gay marriage (and everything related to it) is unnatural?
At the time of writing, 642 species of animal have been observed having homosexual activity.[3] As for the narrower view that gay love would be “unnatural to human beings”, thanks to genetics, we know this is not true.

Is it because of the assumption that gay marriage is not a (civil) right?
In 1959, the philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote in her book Dissent “The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed.”

Is it because of the assumption that if society allows this civil right, society should allow a lot of other rights later?
“The assumption that a relatively small first step will inevitably lead to a chain of related (negative) events” is called the slippery slope fallacy. In this case, apparently, it is the notion that legalising gay marriage will eventually lead to people having turtle sex.[4] Please note that the slippery slope argument is not to be confused with the warped causality of statements such as: gay marriage leads to floods, et cetera.[5]

Is it because of the assumption that marriage is meant for raising children and two parents of the same sex cannot adequately raise children?
According to a major 2014 study conducted by researchers from the University of Melbourne, children raised by same-sex couples actually do a bit better than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.

Is it because of the assumption that a man and a woman should be married?
Why should men and women be married?[6]

Is it the fact that some people are made uncomfortable by, for instance, two men making out?
If so, who cares?[7]

“Homosexuality is a form of love and it deserves our respect for that reason.” – Christopher Hitchens


[1] None of the objections mentioned in this article refer to metaphysical entities such as gods, angels, et cetera, nor does it refer to the Bible, Torah or similar mythological works mainly because of the Dennettian Lucille Argument. (With the Lucille Argument, the philosopher Daniel Dennett proved that any argument which is nonsensical, discredited, has a doubtful source, et cetera, can be countered by the equally weak argument “Well, my friend Lucille says otherwise.” Should the Lucille statement be questioned, Dennett was fond of replying “A friend of mine – Lucille. She’s always right.”)

[2] Words like “tradition”, “institution”, “sanctity” and “covenant” are the usual fuzzy nonsense indicators in such apologetic sentences.

[3] Even though homosexuality is common in nature, humanity is the only species that is capable of homophobia. Sure, we can spell “homophobia” but that does not tell the whole story.

[4] In 2003, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor expressed his concern that legalising gay marriage would eventually lead to bestial unions “But here you go, this is the slippery slope. You legalize gay marriage, gay sex and all of that, then anybody who wants to marry five people can do it, and commune people can do it. You can marry a turtle, …”

[5] In 2014, UKIP councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party when he said the serious floods in the UK were the direct result of the legalisation of gay marriage.

[6] Tedious and probably nonsensical though it would be, it would also be amazingly original to read an answer to this question that does not have the subtext “because my religion says so”.

[7] Please note the common ‘I-think-lesbian-sex-is-hot-though’ double standard.

On Hate


“Suggesting I hate ‘people with religion’ because I hate religion is like suggesting I hate people with cancer because I hate cancer.”

– Ricky Gervais

 

Ugly Law


From the late 1860s until no later than the 1970s, municipal laws targeting ‘unsightly beggars’ sprang up in cities across America. The legislation sought to criminalize disability and thus offering a visceral example of discrimination. The goal of these laws was seemingly to preserve the quality of life for the community.

“What’s the whole point of being pretty on the outside when you’re so ugly on the inside?” – Jess C. Scott

These so-called Ugly Laws or Unsightly Beggar Ordinances have become a sort of shorthand for oppression in disability studies, law, and the arts. Shockingly, many US states’ ugly laws were not repealed until the mid 1970s.

“[M]en, though they know full well how much women are worth and how great the benefits we bring them, nonetheless seek to destroy us out of envy for our merits. It’s just like the crow, when it produces white nestlings: it is so stricken by envy, knowing how black it is itself, that it kills its own offspring out of pique.” – Moderata Fonte, The Worth of Women: Wherein Is Clearly Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men (1600)

The most commonly cited ugly law is that of the City of Chicago, Illinois which dates from 1911. Namely, an ordinance from the Chicago Municipal Code, sec. 36034:

‘No person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places in this city, or shall therein or thereon expose himself to public view, under a penalty of not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars for each offence.’

See other: Admin’s Choice Posts