Silence as Bullshit!

The concept of bullshit covers many kinds of worthless things: falsehoods, fallacies, lies, irrelevancies, nonsense. To these kinds I would add silence in those cases when a truth should be revealed or a stand taken.

The demand for revealing that which one wants concealed is illustrated by a judicial court demand that a witness shall (1) tell the truth, (2) the whole truth, and (3) nothing but the truth. It is this second demand which is not fulfilled by the strategy of silence.

The reasons why such archtypal bullshitters as politicians, salespersons, and lawyers resort to silence is to convince you of something and to keep their jobs.

I am now talking about silence because of the genocide which is taking place in Gaza by the Israelis.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has judged that a genocide is taking place. It, therefore, behooves all governments to acknowledge this fact as one means of stopping the continuation of this genocide; yet, other than South Africa, which brought the charge of genocide to the ICJ and Ireland, all the European countries and the U.S. are silent, and are, therfore, complicit in the genocide of Gaza. I found the following video insightful and to the point:

Anti-Zionist Jews

The current genocidal bombardment and starvation of Gaza prompted me to look into the views of ordinary Israelis, and I stumbled on the above video in which young adult Israelis are asked if they knew any of the anti-zionist Jews mentioned. Only two of the responends knew something about Chomsky.

What does this ignorance by ordinary Israelis show?

It shows that so-called “public intellectuals” are not widely read by ordinary people. They are read mostly by other “intellectuals.”

The Naive Views of Yuval Harari in Home Deus – Third Criticism

Harari writes that Humanistic Ethics consists of the principle: if it feels good — do it.

Contrast this with the following passage from C. D. Broad:

The Factors on which the Rightness or Wrongness of an Action Depends. On my view the Net Value of an act depends jointly on three different factors. These are

(i) its Intrinsic Value or Disvalue. i.e. the value or disvalue which it has in virtue of its own intrinsic qualities, as distinct from its relations to other things and from its effects;

(ii) its Immediate Fittingness or Unfittingness to the situation in which it is performed; and

(iii) its Utility or Disutility, i.e. its tendency to produce good or bad consequences.” (C. D. Broad, “War Thoughts in Peace Time,”Religion, Philosophy and Psychical Research (1953). pp. 249.)

Harari’s principle is factor (i) in Broad’s list. It thus ignores (ii) such as the keeping of a promise despite how one feels about keeping it. And it ignores (iii) such as getting into a homosexual relation in Iran where the punishment is death.

The Naive Views of Yuval Harari in Home Deus – Second Criticism

In his book: Homo Deus (Chapter 7: The Humanist Revolution), Harari views Humanism as replacing the religious mythologies of the past with a humanist religion. I think that his view of humanism is both unscholarly and naive. It is unscholarly for ignoring the Humanist Manifesto of 1933, and it is naive by offering his own idiosyncretic version of a manifesto.

In order to better understand the Humanist Manifesto I (1933), the reader can read its history in The Genesis of a Humanist Manisfesto (1995) by Edwin H. Wilson. Briefly, it was the brainchild of Unitarian ministers who recruited the philosopher Roy Wood Sellars to compose the first draft. And to understand Sellars’ mind-set in characterizing humanism with the words “religious” and advocating “socialism”, it is advisable to consult his two earlier books: ”The Next Step in Democracy” (1916) and “The Next Step in Religion” (1918) [Both words were omitted in Humanist Manfesto II (1973) and III (2003)]

The word “religion” is ambiguous. Normally, it is used to refer to religions basesd on a belief in the supernatural. But given that Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism are included in studies of religions, the concept of a religion may be expanded to cover also what are called ideologies and world views, as is done , for example, when Communism is described as a religion. In this expanded sense of “religion”, both Sellars and Harari characterize “secular (i.e., non-supernatural) “humanism” as a religion.

As to the word “socialism,” it too is ambiguous. In contemporary usage, it means State control of industry and more. But what Sellars means by “socialism” is the ideal of amelioration of the living conditions of all human beings through liberty and justice. And he advocate doing this through an unspecified “democratic” process.

In dropping the words “religion” and “socialism”, Humanist Manifestoes II and III mean to be more generic is advocating a common good.

Harari, by contrast, is very specific in what he means by “humanism.” He means to contrast the pre-humanistic appeal to God and authority with the “humanistic” appeal to the umbrella term — “feeling.” And his characterization of humanism is in fact a characterization of capitalism and liberal democracy through the following misleading and inappropriate slogans.

Humanistic Politics: The voter knows best.
Humanistic Economics: The customer is always right.
Humanistic Aesthetics: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Humanistic Ethics: If it feels good – do it.
Humanistic Education: Think for yourself.

If the reader thinks I am presenting a caricature, below is a reproduction of pp. 234-5.

English is the lingua franca of the world — no bullshit

Woke up this morning, thinking of the series of videos on the dominance of the English language in the world, narrated by Robert MacNeil.  I think this was prompted by what I heard on Sunday.   On Sunday, Nov. 11. 2018, in Paris, during his speech commemorating the centenary of the First World War Armistice, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal.”  I reject this for the following reason.  A nation is a country (or State) with one language. A patriot is someone who is loyal to his country — even if it is not a nation; while a nationalist is someone who aspires to create a country based on his language, or to preserve the existing Nation.

This made me think of how English is spoken everywhere in the world.

Below are the 9 videos “The Story of English,” broadcast in 1989, which was followed by the  publication of the book: Robert MCcrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran, The Story of English, 3d ed., 2002. [496 pages]

1. An English Speaking World: Discusses how English has become the most dominant language throughout the world.
2. The Mother Tongue: Discusses the early stages of the English language, including Old English and Middle English.
3. A Muse of Fire: Discusses the influence of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible on the English language.
4. The Guid Scots Tongue: Discusses the Scottish influence on the English language.
5. Black on White: Discusses the influence of  Blacks on the English language. (Includes interviews with Philadelphia hip hop legends The Scanner Boys, Parry P and Grand Tone.)
6. Pioneers, O Pioneers!: Discusses Canadian English and the various forms of American English.
7. The Muvver Tongue: Discusses Cockney dialect and Australian English.
8. The Loaded Weapon: Discusses the Irish influence on the English Language.
9. Next Year’s Words: Discusses the future and new emerging forms of the English language.

1 An English Speaking World

2 The Mother Tongue

3 A Muse of Fire

4 The Guid Scots Tongue

5 Black on White

6 Pioneers, O Pioneers!

7 The Muvver Tongue

8 The Loaded Weapon

9 Next Year’s Words