Moral "taint" still seeps along blood lines
The article below treats it is absurd that people should suspect criminality in the relatives of criminals, though it does in the last sentence admit that most personal traits have a strong element of genetic inheritance -- which makes such suspicions perfectly logical. The Milat case in Australia recently was an appalling example of a familial tendency to brutal crime
It may be unfair, it may be antiquated, but we are still blamed to some degree for the sins of our relatives, according to a set of newly reported surveys.
Ordinary people "exhibit the intuition that individuals are somehow tainted by the acts of persons with whom they share blood tieseven when they share little else," wrote researchers who described the findings in the May 31 advance online issue of the journal Cognition.
"Our results suggest that the `sins of the father' practices observed in the modern and ancient worlds are not entirely due to beliefs about the social ties held between family members. Rather, they may be guided by intuitions about blood; that, much like physical and psychological features, the taint of immoral actions is something that spreads between biological relatives."
Researchers at Yale University and three other institutions carried out the study. Officially or openly ascribing blame to the relatives of criminals is rare in modern, well-educated societies. Such practices are largely relegated to ancient history, including Biblical times, and to "honor based cultures such as Albania," wrote the researchers. There, "if one's own family member is murdered, it is seen as justified to murder a member of the perpetrator's family in retribution."
Still, even in advanced societies, official practice and gut feelings don't always match. The researchers recruited 191 adults as study participants through an Amazon.com service known as Mechanical Turk, which has also been used in past social science research. A study published in the Aug. 2010 issue of the journal Judgment and Decision Making concluded that study subjects recruited through the service were reasonably representative of the U.S. population.
The researchers in the new study presented their participant group with various hypothetical scenarios, then asked them their feelings about culpability and responsibility among the characters in these vignettes.....
The simplest reason why people may ascribe taint to relatives of criminals is through "brute association," the researchers wrote. "For example, participants avoid individuals who have a haircut similar to a person they dislike."
However, there may be logical, or simply practical reasons to do so, the investigators added. Parents may plausibly pass their moral values on to their children. And as a deterrent, threatening lawbreakers' families with punishment often works -- unfair though it may be.
"A different, yet compatible explanation is that of common sense essentialism -- the notion that physical objects and living organisms have an underlying essence that makes them what they are," the researchers wrote. "In the case of living organisms, that underlying essence is assumed to be passed on from parents to their children."
And while modern genetics shows that traits really are inherited, they added, many people simply believe it on a gut level even if they know nothing about genes.
Gospel of Matthew linked to bizarre trail of self-mutilations
I wonder if I should comment on the cases described below. Leftists will undoubtedly make hay of them so conservatives should at least be aware of them. The basic point is that all the self-mutilators were found to be clearly mad in some way. Normal people realize that Jesus was speaking figuratively, as he often did. His parables, for instance, are well known.
Becoming a "eunuch", for instance, was simply a vivid way of describing what we would now call celibacy. Indeed that verse is one of the principal justifications that have been cited by Christian celibates over the centuries. Christ was simply saying to let no temptation deflect you from the path that leads to salvation
It happens only sporadically -- a bit more than every three years on average, judging by published medical reports -- but that makes it no less disturbing each time for hospital staff faced with the situation.
"It" may be described by citing the most recent example, reported in a medical journal last month: that of a 62-year-old man whom physicians dubbed Mr. P to protect his privacy. Mr. P showed up at the emergency room of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., complaining of a case of "Matthew 19:12." Asked to clarify, he just kept repeating the same thing: Matthew 19:12.
The nurse on duty searched the Internet for Matthew 19:12. The result was, to put it mildly, worrisome. The Biblical verse, as she learned, reads as follows.
"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb; and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men; and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
As it quickly became clear, Mr. P had made this hospital visit unaccompanied by his penis. That, he explained, he had flushed down the toilet three days ago after severing it with a pocket knife. His testicles were also absentremoved four years earlier at Mr. P's request by a doctor in Mexico.
Although his speech and thoughts appeared muddled, Mr. P did state that he had "done this because his penis had caused him to sin and as an eunuch he could be closer to God as described in Matthew 19:12," three researchers affiliated with St. Joseph's wrote in a report describing the incident. Mr. P also claimed to have pondered the decision for months before acting.
Mr. P. received urgent medical treatment at St. Joseph's, including a skin graft onto the stump. He was then confined to a local psychiatric hospital by court order, leaving little but questions behind.
The three investigators proceeded to search an online medical literature database, PubMed, for other cases of this nature. They discovered that the Bible -- indeed, the Gospel of Matthew specifically -- has left a trail of selfmutilations inspired largely by four of its verses.
The bloody toll listed in case reports dating back to 1967 -- PubMed doesn't go back much further -- included three partially or fully amputated penises; four pairs of castrated testicles; three amputated hands and 11 severely damaged eyeballs. Saws, circular saws, screwdrivers and pencils were among the tools used for the horrifying procedures, although several patients put out their eyes with their fingers alone.
"Our literature review revealed 16 patients in addition to [Mr. P] who had injured themselves in connection with specific religious text," the researchers wrote. Their review of the cases is published in the May 29 online issue of the research journal Psychosomatics.
All but one of the patients were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders or psychotic disorders or had substance abuse issues, they wrote; Mr. P., for example, "had a long history of severe bipolar illness marked by hyperreligious delusions."
"Ideas of reference (specifically, that the Bible directly refers to them) is a repeated theme in this group, underscoring a common thread of psychotic disorders," Caplan and colleagues wrote. "Guilt over sexual acts or desires is another recurrent theme. Recent homosexual experiences occurred in three of the cases of genital selfmutilation." Four of the 17 self-mutilators were females; they had poked out their eyes or, in one case, amputated a hand.
Social Security is not your money
WALTER E. WILLIAMS on history's greatest Ponzi scheme
Some of the responses to my recent column, titled "Immoral Beyond Redemption," prove that Americans have been hoodwinked by Congress. Some readers protested my counting Social Security among government handout programs that can be described as Congress' taking what belongs to one American and giving to another, to whom it doesn't belong – legalized theft. They argued that they worked for 45 years and paid into Social Security and that the money they now receive is theirs. These people have been duped and shouldn't be held totally accountable for such a belief. Let's look at it.
The Social Security pamphlet of 1936 read, "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States Government will set up a Social Security account for you. ... The checks will come to you as a right." (http://www.ssa.gov/history/ssb36.html). Americans were led to believe that Social Security was like a retirement account and that money placed in it was, in fact, their property. Shortly after the Social Security Act's passage, it was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Helvering v. Davis (1937). The court held that Social Security was not an insurance program, saying, "The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way." In a 1960 case, Flemming v. Nestor, the Supreme Court said, "To engraft upon Social Security system a concept of 'accrued property rights' would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands."
Decades after Americans were duped into thinking that the money taken from them was theirs, the Social Security Administration belatedly and quietly tried to clean up its history of deception. Its website (http://www.ssa.gov/history/nestor.html) explains:
"Entitlement to Social Security benefits is not (a) contractual right." It adds: "There has been a temptation throughout the program's history for some people to suppose that their FICA payroll taxes entitle them to a benefit in a legal, contractual sense. ... Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law."
The Social Security Administration's explanation fails to mention that it was the SSA itself that created the lie that "the checks will come to you as a right."
Here's my question to those who protest that their Social Security checks are not handouts: Seeing as Congress has not "set up a Social Security account for you" containing your 45 years' worth of Social Security contributions, where does the money you receive come from? I promise you it is not Santa Claus or the tooth fairy.
The only way Congress can give one American a dollar is to first take it from some other American. Congress takes the earnings of a person who's currently in the workforce to give to a Social Security recipient.
The sad fact of business is that Social Security recipients want their monthly check and couldn't care less about who has to pay. That's a vision shared by thieves who want something; the heck with who has to pay for it.
Then there's the fairness issue that we're so enamored with today. It turns out that half the federal budget is spent on programs primarily serving senior citizens, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But let's look at a few comparisons between younger Americans and older Americans. More than 80 percent of those older than 65 are homeowners, and 66 percent of them have no mortgage.
Homeownership is at 40 percent for those younger than 35, and only 12 percent own their home free and clear of a mortgage. The average net worth of people older than 65 is about $230,000, whereas that of those younger than 35 is $10,000.
There's nothing complicated about this; older people have been around longer. But what standard of fairness justifies taxing the earnings of workers who are less wealthy in order to pass them on to retirees who are far wealthier?
There's no justification, but there's an explanation. Those older than 65 vote in greater numbers and have the ear of congressmen.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act Makes as Little Sense as Chemotherapy for a Cold
Hans Bader on more senseless and destructive privileging of homosexuals
American business is quite happy to hire gay and lesbian employees, and needs no federal mandate to do so. Virtually all Fortune 500 companies already ban sexual orientation discrimination in their own hiring and firing, and have done so for years. But on June 12, a Senate Committee held a hearing to promote a bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), that would hold private employers liable for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in punitive damages and attorneys fees if a judge or jury later decides they committed discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Never mind the fact that free-market competition already provides private employers with a powerful incentive not to discriminate, as even the bill’s supporters, like the Center for American Progress (CAP), have admitted in the past. As CAP conceded on March 22, “Businesses that discriminate based on a host of job-irrelevant characteristics, including sexual orientation . . put themselves at a competitive disadvantage compared to businesses that evaluate individuals based solely on their qualifications and capacity to contribute.”
Since American business seldom discriminates based on sexual orientation, the potential benefits of ENDA are limited, at best. But ENDA would impose real and substantial costs on business, and it could trigger conflicts with free speech and religious freedom. Even if chemotherapy cured a cold, you wouldn’t use it, because the “cure” would be worse than the disease. ENDA should be rejected for the same reasons: its costly “cure” is not warranted given the increasing rarity of private-sector discrimination against gays.
ENDA would harm even businesses that hire and fire based on merit, not sexual orientation. It would also erode free speech in the workplace about sexual-orientation-related political and religious issues.
Since ENDA is modeled on other employment laws that have produced many meritless discrimination lawsuits (through one-way fee shifting), ENDA, too, is likely to result in wasteful litigation and settlements paid out by employers that are actually innocent of discrimination (most employment discrimination claims turn out to be meritless). ENDA’s attorney fee provision, Section 12, uses the same language as other federal employment laws that incorporate the Christiansburg Garment standard for awarding attorneys fees — a sort of “heads I win, tails you lose” scheme under which the plaintiff gets his attorneys fees paid for by the other side if he wins, but the employer has to pay its own attorneys fees even if it wins (a win at trial typically costs an employer at least $250,000).
While the language of ENDA’s attorney-fee provision is seemingly neutral on its face, similar provisions in other federal employment laws have consistently been interpreted by the courts as favoring plaintiffs under the Supreme Court’s 1978 Christiansburg Garment decision. Moreover, even if the plaintiff’s case is so insubstantial that the plaintiff only wins $1 at trial, the employer can still be ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees. For example, an appeals court ruling awarded $42,000 in attorneys fees to a plaintiff who suffered only $1 in damages. (See Brandau v. Kansas, 168 F.3d 1179, 1181, 1183 (10th Cir.1999).) These attorney fee provisions will lead to some employers paying thousands of dollars to plaintiffs just to settle weak or meritless discrimination claims.
While the typical private employer has no reason to hire or fire based on sexual orientation (and few do), ENDA’s Section 4(a)(1) reaches beyond hiring and firing to vaguely defined “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,” which courts interpret as requiring certain restrictions on speech. In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986), the Supreme Court interpreted the same vague “terms or conditions” language in another statute, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as requiring employers to prohibit employee speech or conduct that creates a “hostile or offensive work environment” for women or blacks. The employer is liable for damages and attorneys fees if a court decides that it was negligent in failing to detect, prevent, or punish such speech or conduct. Such “hostile work environment” liability applies to each and every protected class covered by federal law, such as race, religion, national origin, and disability, not just gender. See, e.g., Amirmokri v. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., 60 F.3d 1126 (4th Cir. 1995) (employer was liable for national-origin based taunts and harassment by plaintiff’s co-workers).
Much more HERE
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)