Pharyngula

More bigotry masquerading as religion

Read Ophelia’s take on the Israeli ‘modesty buses’. Would you believe certain buses in Jerusalem are set aside to make special accommodation for orthodox Jews?

Women are compelled to sit in the back of the bus.

In the back of the bus. I think they need a Jewish Rosa Parks.

The most disingenuous argument in favor of this discriminatory policy is the excuse that not all the buses are ‘modesty buses’ — that all you have to do is wait a little longer at the bus stop and take a different bus that doesn’t enforce the idea that women must be segregated. As a former commuter on an overcrowded bus and subway system, I know how ridiculous that suggestion is. “Separate but equal” is a policy that always emphasizes “separate”, not equality.

Comments

  1. #1 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    Uh oh. Sounds like you’re an anti-semite, PZ, what with your outrageous suggestion that the teachings of Orthodox Judaism conflict with basic human rights.

    Next thing you know, you’ll be shoveling corpses into furnaces.

  2. #3 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    “Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not,” she recalled this week in a telephone interview. “I was always polite and said ‘No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'”

    Isn’t that telling? She refuses to sit in the back because it’s NOT a holy house of worship.

    When entering a synagogue, where do you think she sits? In the back.

  3. #4 MR
    April 28, 2007

    I’m not an expert in the Torah by any means, but I would have to assume four men beating a woman is far more of a problem than a seating chart for a bus line. It never ceases to astound me how indignities (great and small) are brushed aside so long as the G-man is involved. Although, it does make you proud to see an American standing up for basic human dignity even if it is in another country.

  4. #5 The Science Pundit
    April 28, 2007

    Yeah, I saw this a while back over at RD.

  5. #6 shrimplate
    April 28, 2007

    My religion expressly forbids me to defibrillate neoconservative Republicans. If one should go into ventricular vibrillation in my presence I would be required by my stringent beliefs to leave them to die, unless maybe somebody else came along who happened to be handy with the paddles. Then I could watch.

    This whole thing about bus seating is ridiculous though.

  6. #7 chad
    April 28, 2007

    What astronomy belief did Thales disprove?

  7. #8 chad
    April 28, 2007

    What idea of Napier was a great breakthrough in simplifying computation, and is still used in mathematics?

  8. #9 Richard Harris, FCD
    April 28, 2007

    It astonishes me how some men can want to make women sit away from them. What kind of warped thinking’s going on with these bozos? And before some smartass wise-cracks about women’s chatter, that just doesn’t cut the mustard.

    These religious bozos believe that morality comes from the revelations of their holy books, when in reality, it’s bigotry that’s in the texts. And worse.

    I admire this woman. I deplore those apologies for men.

  9. #10 Blake Stacey
    April 28, 2007

    The link to “Israeli ‘modesty buses’” is broken.

  10. #11 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    Another told me that in a society that is democratic and where the buses are subsidised by the government, a minority’s concerns should not override those of the majority.

    But Shlomo Rosenstein disagrees. He is a city councillor in Jerusalem where a large proportion of Israel’s segregation lines operate.

    “This really is about positive discrimination, in women’s favour. Our religion says there should be no public contact between men and women, this modesty barrier must not be broken.”

    Then the bigots are free to stay at home, if public contact between men and women is offensive to them. Why should they have the right to enforce their religious precepts upon others?

  11. #12 kmarissa
    April 28, 2007
    This really is about positive discrimination, in women’s favour.

    In fairness, I know that whenever I try to do someone a favor, I have to beat them until they accept it.

  12. #13 Stuart Coleman
    April 28, 2007

    I remember hearing about a woman who did refuse to move and was beaten pretty badly. I think that there are a good number of Rosa Parkses over there, but the Orthodox Jews aren’t going to change.

  13. #14 dorid
    April 28, 2007

    I have a hard time drawing the lines between preserving culture and condoning prejudices. I don’t have a lot of problem with this one.

    One of the more interesting (at least for me) recent events, which I feel falls into a grey area, is the Richard Gere incident.

    But as far as religion goes, I don’t know that radical christians in the US wouldn’t go to the same sort of extremes if given the chance.

  14. #15 The Science Pundit
    April 28, 2007

    One of the more interesting (at least for me) recent events, which I feel falls into a grey area, is the Richard Gere incident.

    As long as you consider “black” and “white” to be shades of gray, I wholeheartedly agree.

  15. #16 bernarda
    April 28, 2007

    zionism is a racist ideology. Israel is a racist apartheid terrorist state. Just ask the Palestinians, the only legitimate inhabitants of the region.

    So some fanatics decide to discriminate against half of their own. Big Deal. That is nothing compared to Israeli crimes against humanity in Palestine.

  16. #17 andyo
    April 28, 2007

    I don’t know a lot about the orthodox jew’s world, only from a friend that converted to it. When catholic,she wanted to become consecrated, which I was against, and I was relieved when she went on to work for a cruise line for 2 years.

    After that she met a guy, and she was to get married. Great, I thought. She was always telling me about him (via IM), and I found out that he was jewish. Then when she told me she was converting to orthodox judaism and moving to Israel, I started to worry again. I didn’t realize orthodox judaism was as bad as this article here makes it to be, but the things that she told me were a bit retrograde, to say the least.

    I stopped IM’ing with her after she got married. She ended the last IM session between us with something like: “my husband just came home, I have to go cook” or something like that. I only remember it sounded very submissive, and she used to be such an honest, friendly, open-minded and extroverted person. Now she strikes me as self-repressed, and it’s been a long time since I don’t talk to her. Truly sad, she’s one of the very few personalities that I liked a lot and felt comfortable with. She’s the only one that has pointed out my character flaws to my face and made me correct them. I wish I could do the same for her. She just changed one drug for another. And it’s not even a real drug, just a placebo.

  17. #18 Melanie S.
    April 28, 2007

    “Separate but equal” is a policy that always emphasizes “separate”, not equality.

    I’m not sure that equality is something aimed for, in this instance. I mean, I always think of this phrase as referring to, say, different schools for kids of different races–but with schools nominally intended to teach the same subjects. In the case of orthodox religions, the point seems to be that the entire substance of the thing is different for men and women; equality isn’t an aim at all. But I could be entirely wrong about both points (wasn’t raised in a religion, and it still kind of befuddles me).

  18. #19 Azkyroth
    April 28, 2007

    I’m not sure that equality is something aimed for, in this instance. I mean, I always think of this phrase as referring to, say, different schools for kids of different races–but with schools nominally intended to teach the same subjects. In the case of orthodox religions, the point seems to be that the entire substance of the thing is different for men and women; equality isn’t an aim at all

    And do you actually think equality was of concern in the segregated South? “…but equal” is just a legal smokescreen.

  19. #20 Luke R.
    April 28, 2007

    Interesting. “Religious bozos,” “fanatics,” “racists,” “self-repressed,” “bigots…” Someone does something that doesn’t fit with your view of the world, and so they automatically must be wrong and bigoted. Rather than try to understand their perspective and see if there might be any value in it, you instantly resort to name-calling and try to force your views on them. I’m confused… who are the bigots?

  20. #21 Interrobang
    April 28, 2007

    The biggest problem is that the ‘modesty’ buses aren’t marked, and they’re run by Egged, the same bus cooperative that runs the regular bus service, which basically amounts to a public subsidy of Orthodox misogyny. (I know that Egged isn’t a publicly-owned company, but it is the company that has the public transit charter, hence “public subsidy.”) So people who have no intention of getting mixed up in that can’t necessarily tell that they should avoid those buses right off the bat.

    Which goes right to the heart of the Israeli problem — they’re simultaneously trying to run a secular democracy as a religious state, with an official, pervasive state religion (not a sort of token one like you see with a lot of European countries, where it doesn’t really matter if you belong to the state church or not), since it actually does matter in many cases if you subscribe to the governmentally correct version of the religion or not. (That would be a form of Orthodox Judaism, which is different in particulars to the ultra-Orthodox aka Hassidic or Haredi Judaism described here.)

    For instance, if you aren’t Jewish and you live in Israel (not all that uncommon, given the number of former Soviet Union people and Central/South American economic migrants who live there), and you want to convert, you must convert to Orthodox Judaism. If you convert outside Israel, you can claim Israeli citizenship no matter which movement of Judaism you convert in. If you want to get married in Israel, you must get married by an Orthodox rabbi, as far as I know (this changes periodically), but Israel recognises Jewish marriages from outside Israel from all movements. So there’s a definite double standard going on.

    There’s an Israeli joke about this, that goes, “How is the Knesset like a computer? Both are full of bugs [jukim, also used as a slang term for politicians], and controlled by one dos [religious man].”

  21. #22 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    April 28, 2007

    “Bigotry masquerading as religion”… Um, aren’t they the same thing?

  22. #23 Molly, NYC
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R, I’m guessing you’re not Jewish, but I assure you, the Torah does not require that the menfolk act like @ssholes. It’s like any other religion; some members simply are @ssholes, and therefore choose to interprete their religion in the way that best allows their @ssholelichkeit expression, scope and acceptability.

  23. #24 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    the Torah does not require that the menfolk act like [deleted]

    What the Torah does and does not require is up to whoever is interpreting it at the time. One site’s cursory examination of gender and [deleted] in Judaism

  24. #25 DrBadger
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R. If a bunch of muslim men ganged up on a woman and beat the crap out of her for not covering herself from head to toe (i.e. not being modest – and it probably happens often), you’d probably have no problem with our complaints. But when it’s a “western” religion – we hear crap like, “we should see if there’s any value in it.” There is nothing of value that involves segregation and assault.

  25. #26 Kagehi
    April 28, 2007

    ask the Palestinians, the only legitimate inhabitants of the region.

    Umm.. Bullshit! The Palestinians don’t have a leg to stand on when claiming that the only terrorist state over their is Israel, to start. But that isn’t the only problem with your statement. Genetic evidence indicated that, prior to them calling themselves Jews, their genetics showed up in just about every part of the region, just like the people claiming they are invaders. The whole, “Promised land”, story is BS, since archeology (and those genetic tests) show that they where in the area centuries before any Exodus. Finally, the state of Israel was formed after WWII as a response to interference by one arab that was a huge fan of Hitler and liked to hand out copies of Mein Kaumf to every ME leader he could find in his travels, while promoting the idea that the Jews really where some horrible evil enemy. Prior to his interference, Palestine was considering a sort of split state, one where the Jewish community existed in it own territory, but never the less existed. After the Hitler fan got through they had decided to simply drive them all out and the West had to *create* a completely independent state to keep them from being either permanently exiled or slaughtered.

    Simple fact is, the only difference between a Palestinian and a Jew is that the Palestinians insist they are not Jews and *maybe* have only 1-2 of the genetic markers from the old tribes, instead of all of them. Its like if Fracking Scotland suddenly decided to get pissed off at the Irish. Completely meaningless, unless you are a damned religious fanatic.

  26. #27 andyo
    April 28, 2007

    Molly, it’s partly true what you say, assholes will be assholes. But the thing about religion is that it shields the assholes from criticism. Religion, as long as it pretends to be sacred, will always enable for bad things to go unpunished. Good things may be done by it, but those don’t require religion in the first place. And as long as religion pretends to be a moral guide and spout truths about the universe, it should be criticized and/or ripped apart as much as any other set of ideas, including scientific ideas.

  27. #28 Richard Harris, FCD
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R, you said, “Rather than try to understand their perspective and see if there might be any value in it, you instantly resort to name-calling and try to force your views on them. I’m confused… who are the bigots?”

    These religious bozos assaulted a women, over a social construct fabricated out of their religion. I can understand that it might be right to assault someone who threatens you, & that’s what happened here. But how can that be right? You really must be confused, buddy.

  28. #29 andyo
    April 28, 2007

    Interesting. “Religious bozos,” “fanatics,” “racists,” “self-repressed,” “bigots…” Someone does something that doesn’t fit with your view of the world, and so they automatically must be wrong and bigoted. Rather than try to understand their perspective and see if there might be any value in it, you instantly resort to name-calling and try to force your views on them. I’m confused… who are the bigots?
    Posted by: Luke R. | April 28, 2007 03:45 PM

    Moral relativism is not only wrong, it’s pretty shortsighted and shallow. I would say “New-Agey”. Modern morals are always changing, aided with our better and better (hopefully) understanding of the world. What we as rational beings have accumulated during millenia is what counts, not what some culture dogmatically and/or traditionally takes as good. Our ancestors have suffered and been happy, tried and erred, and what we have now is a better universal moral than others in the past, and others who are stuck in tradition.

    And it can be measured. Just look at the level of unnecessary suffering from different cultures, and you will have the one with better and worse morals. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard to get to. It requires time and knowledge. In the West there is still many injustices being done and with the current folks in charge, it seems to be moving backward, but religious dogma is playing a great part on that. It’s not liberal values and free scientific knowledge and reason what it’s doing it. If anything, liberals and scientists are the ones now protesting to all this backward thinking.

    That no culture is morally perfect does not mean that all are equal. Not by a long shot.

  29. #30 Luke R.
    April 28, 2007

    Richard and Dr. Badger, thank you for proving my point. If you’d actually taken the time to understand what I was saying, you would have noticed that I nowhere condoned any of the actions of the Orthodox Jews in question. Of course it’s a horrible crime that a woman was attacked, and I don’t agree with segregation, and I never suggested otherwise. But in this forum alone I have seen people who think differently than you attacked with such blanket vehemence that I find it hard to believe that you’re interested in anything other than your own agenda. My point is that you don’t give a wet slap about the woman who was attacked; you’re just upset because religious people did it and you don’t like religious people.

  30. #31 kmarissa
    April 28, 2007

    @30: We get upset because religious people did it and used religion as a justification. And because when people use religion as a justification, they so often get away with it. Case in point: you rushing in here to say that oh no, you don’t condone this at all, but we meanie atheists should shut up about it because we’re not religious and therefore can’t critize without being “bigoted”.

  31. #32 Jim Harrison
    April 28, 2007

    One irrationality leads to another. Most of the Zionists that founded the state of Israel weren’t religious, but all these years later we find the State of Israel giving special privileges to the Ultra-Orthodox because some sort of non-racial justification is needed to explain Israel’s peculiar status as an ethnic enclave carved out of other people’s land by force.

    Thing is, a majority of Americans would be perfectly happy to support a Jewish state despite its dubious origins. Countries aren’t founded nicely, and we have a thousand time more in common with the Israelis than the despised Arabs. We just wish Israeli policy didn’t constantly remind us of what we are otherwise quite happy to ignore, namely its fundamental illegitimacy. Forcing women to the back of the bus is the least of it.

  32. #33 Molly, NYC
    April 28, 2007

    Andyo – Absolutely. I’d hesitate to say that religion-free people are nicer than religionists (although overall, that’s been my experience),

    However, if you were the sort of man who got his jollies by flipping sh|t to some group (women in particular, but also other religions or ethnicities), you’d find it nearly impossible to justify your shtick with secular reasons. But it’s a cinch to do it with scripture. So religion, with its completely fungible rationalizations, has a real attraction for bigots and sociopaths.

  33. #34 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    My point is that you don’t give a wet slap about the woman who was attacked; you’re just upset because religious people did it and you don’t like religious people.

    Why mince words? Obviously we’re upset because Jewish people did something bad, and we don’t like Jewish people.

    What other explanation could there be?

  34. #35 Mark Borok
    April 28, 2007

    On the other hand, the Orthodox also beat up men who refuse to grant divorces to their wives. So there’s beatings all around!

  35. #36 Stanton
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R, your point is dead wrong.
    The people of this blog are angry that there are people in Israel who are curtailing the rights and privileges of other people in Israel solely for the sake of appeasing God. Something tells me that you’re not aware that the alleged appeasement of God has been among the most popular, if not the most popular excuse anyone has used in order to curtail the rights and privileges of other people.

    If you’re not actually a Jesus-troll, please enlighten us.

  36. #37 Dustin
    April 28, 2007

    Caledonian, I’m a little surprised with you. What happened to all that stuff about swinging and noses staying where they belonged?

    Or was that just for gay people?

    Or are you just a hypocrite?

  37. #38 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    On the contrary, I am a firm believer in the principle that fists and noses each need their own space in which to operate. Noses must not be able to be stuck in other people’s fist-swinging space, and fists must not be swung in other people’s nose-putting space.

    Guess what I think of people, on a public bus, declaring that passengers on the bus must sit according to the people’s religious beliefs, with no indication that that bus would be given over to such beliefs.

    And then guess what I think of beating passengers who don’t go along with the people’s views.

    Quite frankly, I don’t understand your objection. I’m willing to listen to any explanation you might offer, but I don’t see hypocrisy in my actions or responses.

  38. #39 Matthew
    April 28, 2007

    I think the question to ask about any “separate but equal” scheme, is why it’s never the men/white people/etc. who have to sit in the back.

  39. #40 Mnemosyne
    April 28, 2007

    I think the question to ask about any “separate but equal” scheme, is why it’s never the men/white people/etc. who have to sit in the back.

    That always occurs to me, too — if they’re doing this to show their great respect for women, shouldn’t it be the men who are sitting at the back of the bus?

    And yet that never happens. Huh.

  40. #41 kmarissa
    April 28, 2007

    Silly Matthew and Mnemosyne, modest women don’t want to put themselves, uh, forward like that. So you’d actually be insulting the women to imply that they want to sit in front of the men.

    Or something.

  41. #42 Dan
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R:

    But in this forum alone I have seen people who think differently than you attacked with such blanket vehemence that I find it hard to believe that you’re interested in anything other than your own agenda. My point is that you don’t give a wet slap about the woman who was attacked; you’re just upset because religious people did it and you don’t like religious people.

    It’s interesting that you’d talk about a woman who was attacked by god-bothered patriarchs with the phrase “wet slap.” It sounds to me like you’ve got a bit of a misogyny problem to work on, too. That could be why you’re so desperate to apologize for a bunch of hard-line god-bothered misogynists.

    Also, please don’t pretend that everyone else is as petty, shallow and superficial as you are. The fact that you can’t think of any reason why someone might dislike religious people other than “RULIGIZ PPPLS SUXX0RZ” is not proof that there aren’t any.

  42. #43 Dustin
    April 28, 2007

    Quite frankly, I don’t understand your objection. I’m willing to listen to any explanation you might offer, but I don’t see hypocrisy in my actions or responses.

    No? That’s odd since, based on prior posts of yours on subjects like these, anyone could have reasonably expected to come down here into the comments to find you gibbering away like this:

    Every society has different expectations that are placed on its members. This one happens to be a society in which Orthodox Jews get special treatment and women are expected to sit in the backs of Synagogues and busses.

    That would probably have been followed with something about the bus being an area in which the woman shouldn’t have stuck her nose.

    Anyway, you’ve consistently put arguments like that forward which makes me think that you’re either a little confused on which stance to take, or you think that the sanctity of social convention and necessity of space for bigotry only apply when homosexuals are involved.

    You’re either a hypocrite or a bigot.

  43. #44 Stanton
    April 28, 2007

    Maybe Luke R. thinks that “BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO” is a valid excuse for those men to have beaten the living crap out of that uppity woman. After all, everyone loves to be treated like crap if they’re told “BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO.”
    BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO makes anything right, right?

  44. #45 Mar
    April 28, 2007

    It’s always been interesting to me that the jews manage to fly under the radar screen of religious ridiculousness in the US. While everyone in their right mind is comfortable poking fun at a pompadour-haired televangelist idiot nobody dares laugh at a guy with sidelocks and tassels. Why not?

    See?? I catch myself tensing up as I write this.. I wonder why?

    Judaism is, in many ways, more ridiculous, even, than Christianity. They have all these goofy nonsensical laws that are based on interpretations of the divine will, yet they constantly struggle to come up with clever ways of circumventing the laws – following the letter but not the spirit. It’s just laughable! I know a lot of jews who are, basically, atheists except that they cling to a few bits of goofiness as part of their “cultural heritage” as if genital mutilation is, what, cute?

    I’m a big fan of Sam Harris’ work but I think he cuts judaism waaaaaay too much slack. But that’s probably because he knows that if he had written “Letter to the Jews of the Nation” he could have just as easily entitled it “The last book I’ll ever get published.”

    mjr.

  45. #46 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    Ah, I believe I’ve placed your position, now.

    You don’t seem to understand the difference between a private institution and a public one. Private groups ought to be free to refuse to offer their services to anyone, at any time, for any reason – and no one ought to be obligated to render them support of any kind.

    This was a public bus, obliged to serve the public. Also, this isn’t denial of service, but assault – and assault carried out by passengers, not bus employees, although the driver is culpable if he did nothing to stop it and culpable if he lied about the incident. So arguments about whether service can be denied aren’t even relevant.

    I think you’ve become a bit confused about the ethical principles involved in this discussion. Maybe you should sit this one out for a while until you gain a better understanding.

  46. #47 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    While everyone in their right mind is comfortable poking fun at a pompadour-haired televangelist idiot nobody dares laugh at a guy with sidelocks and tassels. Why not?

    See?? I catch myself tensing up as I write this.. I wonder why?

    The Holocaust, and the publicity surrounding the Holocaust.

  47. #48 Luke R.
    April 28, 2007

    Wow. After trying to raise some questions, I’ve been called misogynist, petty, shallow, superficial, Jesus-troll, dead wrong, confused, shortsighted, and “New Agey.”

    Clearly I have stumbled across an enlightened, open-minded forum where people are willing to honestly and humbly engage in intellectual debate.

    It’s been fun, folks. Have a good night.

  48. #49 Anton Mates
    April 28, 2007

    That always occurs to me, too — if they’re doing this to show their great respect for women, shouldn’t it be the men who are sitting at the back of the bus?

    But women like to be in the back, where no one looks at them. Much like gorillas, women consider a direct gaze to be a sign of aggression and often react violently.

  49. #50 Marcus Ranum
    April 28, 2007

    >The Holocaust, and the publicity surrounding the Holocaust.

    Yeah. When I was in high school we went through very heavy indoctrination about the horrors of The Holocaust. And, like any smart kid, I thought long and hard about it and concluded:
    1) People suck
    2) Religion drives people mad

    It has amazed me to no end that The Holocaust is treated as anything other than a bunch of Christians ganging up on another religion and trying to wipe its members out. It wasn’t about “race” at all and Hitler and his cronies spouted about as much Christian rhetoric as Bush and his.

    We actually had Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel come to our high school and do readings from “Nacht Unt Nebel” – powerful stuff. He wrapped up by accusing us all of being partly responsible for The Holocaust (tough trick that, I was born in 1962) and accused the US of complicity for failing to direct war efforts toward impeding the train-lines carrying Jews to the camps. Being an avid wargamer and child strategist, I had the temerity to stand up and argue with him – as teenage boys do – and was sent home early with a note for my parents to discuss my “Nazi sympathies.”

    Again, the lesson all this drove home to me was:
    1) People suck
    2) Religion drives people mad

    mjr.

  50. #51 386sx
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R.: But in this forum alone I have seen people who think differently than you attacked with such blanket vehemence that I find it hard to believe that you’re interested in anything other than your own agenda.

    What do you call it when somebody puts people in hell when they think differently than they do? Do you call it “blanket vehemence that I find it hard to believe that you’re interested in anything other than your own agenda?”

    Luke R.: If you’d actually taken the time to understand what I was saying, you would have noticed that I nowhere condoned any of the actions of the Orthodox Jews in question.

    Oh yeah, I forgot that you nowhere condoned any of the actions of the “god” in question. Okay, nevermind then. Have a nice day.

  51. #52 andyo
    April 28, 2007

    […]Posted by: Luke R. | April 28, 2007 09:17 PM

    Sorry you got offended at “New Agey”, but a debate needs arguments on both sides. All you have done is complain. What is your argument against what we are saying? Not that I agree with everything the others have said and the names called, it’s just that you haven’t responded properly, and yet insinuated we are the things we are arguing against.

  52. #53 Anton Mates
    April 28, 2007

    While everyone in their right mind is comfortable poking fun at a pompadour-haired televangelist idiot nobody dares laugh at a guy with sidelocks and tassels. Why not?

    See?? I catch myself tensing up as I write this.. I wonder why?

    There are a couple of rational reasons. For one thing, the pompadour-haired televangelist generally has more power, at least in this country–he influences a larger voting bloc and is more likely to number influential politicians among his flock. So it’s probably more important that he be laughed to scorn.

    For another, lots of people have mocked, assaulted and occasionally killed guys with sidelocks and tassels for a couple thousand years now, for very poor reasons. It’s natural to worry about whether you’ve been influenced by antisemitism, or at least whether people will think you have, given its historical popularity.

    Which doesn’t mean that Judaism doesn’t involve some spectacularly stupid and inconsistent ideas, or that you shouldn’t point them out–but sure, there’s nothing wrong with hesitating for a moment to check whether dumping on an oft-marginalized group is wise.

  53. #54 Dustin
    April 28, 2007

    You don’t seem to understand the difference between a private institution and a public one.

    No, we’ve already been over this. You’re the one who doesn’t understand the distinction. At least, you’d like the distinction to be so simple as a distinction between something funded with public monies and something that isn’t, rather than a distinction between an institution which, with the sanction of the government, provides a service to the general public, and one which doesn’t. A rather convenient position to take when you’d like to have a veneer of thoughtfulness shrouding something vile.

    By the way… you never answered my question.

  54. #55 386sx
    April 28, 2007

    But in this forum alone I have seen people who think differently than you attacked with such blanket vehemence that I find it hard to believe that you’re interested in anything other than your own agenda.

    Do you find it hard to believe that god is interested in anything other than god’s own agenda when god attacks people with blanket vehemence and puts them straight to hell when they pass on, right at the moment when they finally find out for sure that there really is a god who indeed will put them in hell? Do you condone the actions of such gods? I didn’t think so.

  55. #56 Anton Mates
    April 28, 2007

    Wow. After trying to raise some questions, I’ve been called misogynist, petty, shallow, superficial, Jesus-troll, dead wrong, confused, shortsighted, and “New Agey.”

    In your first post on this thread, you called the other posters bigots. You now proceed to ignore all the answers they returned to your questions.

    Now you’ve been called a hypocrite as well.

  56. #57 Marcus Ranum
    April 28, 2007

    Does the public bus run on (I forget all the goofy rules) the times when Jews aren’t supposed to be out and about? Are the drivers non-Jewish in order to bypass the word of God’s law regarding these matters? I forget how that works but isn’t it OK if someone drives you around and you don’t drive yourself, or some such load of bollocks?

    Richard Feynman used to tell this hysterical story of a bunch of seminary students who came to one of his talks – not to try to learn anything from one of the greatest physics teachers alive – but to ask him “is electricity fire”? Because, if it was, there was going to be big trouble. What a crock.

    Anyhow, if public money was being spent to provide public transportation for people who are so stupid that they think God cares when they drive a car, I’d be unhappy about that, too. Not as unhappy as at the idea that God wants women to sit on separate buses, though. Or that God wants them to wear a bedsheet over their head. God sounds like a frickin’ idiot, no? Helooooooo? People?

    mjr.

  57. #58 Caledonian
    April 28, 2007

    a distinction between an institution which, with the sanction of the government, provides a service to the general public, and one which doesn’t.

    Other than ensuring that a restaurant meets hygenic requirements (a part which we can at least make a reasonable case for), what sanction need a government grant? Do you think governments ought to be able to decide who can offer services, the nature of those services, and those to which they are offered? Do you think that private establishments ought not to have the power to refuse service to potential patrons without governmental permission?

    A more revealing question: what parts of life, if any, do you think the government ought have no power over?

    If this act of yours is a veneer of stupid to conceal something else, it’s a very good disguise. Very good.

  58. #59 Dustin
    April 28, 2007

    If this act of yours is a veneer of stupid to conceal something else, it’s a very good disguise. Very good.

    Insults are a stupid way of evading a question. Why don’t you just answer it. I’ll answer your question if you answer mine.

    Do you think that private establishments ought not to have the power to refuse service to potential patrons without governmental permission?

    No. I think what you mean to ask is: Do I think that private establishments which provide a service to the general public (which, in the case of IHOP, they need a permit to do) should not have the power to refuse service to segments of the population based on segregatory attitudes or prejudice? Yes, I do.

  59. #60 DamnYankees
    April 28, 2007

    Jews can be intensely stupid…

  60. #61 Stanton
    April 28, 2007

    Do realize that anyone and everyone can become intensely stupid when they use BECAUSE GOD SAID SO to excuse their every action.

  61. #62 DaveX
    April 28, 2007

    The Israelis are dying (and killing) for the continued ability to live there, in a place where they’re surrounded by people who want them dead. All because of a make-believe deity. I wouldn’t expect too much from these people in the way of rational thinking.

    Besides, why does it matter where you sit on a bus when someone’s just going to come along and blow it up for god anyway?

  62. #63 Dan
    April 28, 2007

    Luke R:

    Wow. After trying to raise some questions, I’ve been called misogynist, petty, shallow, superficial, Jesus-troll, dead wrong, confused, shortsighted, and “New Agey.”

    Clearly I have stumbled across an enlightened, open-minded forum where people are willing to honestly and humbly engage in intellectual debate.

    For someone who started the day by calling all of us bigots for not getting off on a bunch of religious assholes beating up a woman for the crime of thinking she was fully human, you certainly have a lot of nerve getting all huffy because nobody feels like being nice to you.

    You know, I had you pegged as a self-absorbed, sanctimonious asshat from the get-go. Obviously, I was right.

  63. #64 Dustin
    April 28, 2007

    Besides, why does it matter where you sit on a bus when someone’s just going to come along and blow it up for god anyway?

    What the hell? What kind of calloused disaffected bullshit is that? I hope that was just a half-cocked throwaway line.

  64. #65 DaveX
    April 28, 2007

    There’s nothing throwaway about it. I just can’t get over the fact that anyone gives a shit where they SIT on a bus when they’re living with such other enormous problems– especially ones caused by some “butter side up, butter side down” nonsense.

  65. #66 Dan
    April 29, 2007

    I just can’t get over the fact that anyone gives a shit where they SIT on a bus when they’re living with such other enormous problems — especially ones caused by some “butter side up, butter side down” nonsense.

    Because they think that by engaging in petty social dominance exercises, they can make all the really bad stuff go away.

    Poof.

    Controlling someone else means you control yourself.

    It doesn’t work that way, of course, but that’s why they do it.

  66. #67 jaim klein
    April 29, 2007

    Any woman who doesnt want to sit in the back of the bus can take the next bus. There is no compulsion to take the orthodox sect’s special buses.

  67. #68 Stanton
    April 29, 2007

    Uh, Jaim, if you were actually reading the articles, you’d realize that the “special” buses are not marked, and they run in the same routes as the “normal” buses.
    I strongly doubt that people would find waiting for the next secular bus to be very practical.
    Would you, yourself, want to wait for a half hour, hour for the next bus?

  68. #69 Matthew
    April 29, 2007

    Caledonian:

    It is not always clear where the distinction between public and private power even is. Suppose you lived in a small town where the businessmen, clergy, teachers, doctors, anyone of influence, had come together in some “private” organization to coordinate their activities. Even though that organization wouldn’t be “the government”, and though it wouldn’t be using public monies, how they exercise their power has most of the ethical questions of how the government does. They could accomplish the same sorts of things we don’t want government to try, such as forcibly excluding people of some race or class or gender, or infringing on various freedoms (this is not an unrealistic example, in America many aspects of Jim Crow were upheld by businesses, churches, etc. without formal legal sanction).

    Ultimately, I think it is wrong to discuss institutions like government or private groups as things in their own right; the discussion must be anchored in the rights of individuals. Government can be a threat to those rights, of course, but it is also intended to be a way to protect individuals from other individuals infringing those rights. There is no way to answer the question “what parts of life, if any, do you think the government ought have no power over” in a simple, list-like form, because the answer is “whatever parts of life should best be under its power to maximize liberty”.

  69. #70 autumn
    April 29, 2007

    jaim klein, are you serious? There is no reason for a woman to take the orthodox busses? What if she needs to GET SOMEWHERE ON PUBLIC FUCKING TRANSPORTATION? I’ll tell you what, I’ll get a government contract to provide transportation, except all of the whiney, god-fearing assholes will be required to get on their knees and provide oral services to the rational passengers. If you don’t want to blow me, take the next fucking bus.

  70. #71 JohnnieCanuck
    April 29, 2007

    A way back up there in #9, Richard Harris asked why the men objected to sitting with the women. The bible tells them so. Leviticus 15:19-24

    To touch a woman who is menstruating will make them unclean, because she is unclean. Thus they must avoid the proximity of such women. Since they cannot know if this is the case for any particular woman who is a stranger to them, all women must be kept at a safe distance.

    Once they are unclean, they will remain so for the rest of the day and will need to wash their clothes and bathe with water. Its not clear to me if other men are now at risk of becoming unclean if they touch this unfortunate one. Presumably, then he loses the rest of his day in quarantine in his home, touching no-one (and cursing the woman who did this to him).

    The last thread described how, on a bus they will typically motion any other man looking for a seat to sit with them, filling up the empty seat and removing the risk of a woman’s using it.

    It all seems to have come about because their god does not like to watch them having sex if there is any blood involved.

    It occurs to me that not many bible-literalist Christians take Leviticus literally. It doesn’t get much mention in most pulpits these days. Go take a look, you’ll get a few chuckles.

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lev/15.html#19

  71. #72 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    (this is not an unrealistic example, in America many aspects of Jim Crow were upheld by businesses, churches, etc. without formal legal sanction).

    That is exactly what I told her. She’ll just tell you that you’re wrong, won’t support that statement with anything other than her own bloated sense of self-importance, and then she’ll say something like:

    But equally important is the recognition that we need space in which to swing our fists, and if people stick their noses where they don’t belong, they deserve to be struck.

    Both the noses and the fists require boundaries which may not be transgressed. The people here like that their noses are protected by boundaries, but don’t want there to be any boundaries their noses are not allowed to cross.

    And that’s why she’ll tell you that you’re wrong about the Jim Crow thing. It’s because she thinks the arguments used to prop the Jim Crow system up were just peachy.

    I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on her. This thread is the first time I’ve ever seen her take the moral stance on something of consequence, and that has to count for something. I doubt it will last.

  72. #73 Matthew
    April 29, 2007

    “Both the noses and the fists require boundaries which may not be transgressed”? I was going to say that this was unbelievably silly, but actually, I think it’s a depressing view of the world. Where I come from, it’s not like we divide the world up into “fistspace” and “nosespace”; instead, you can generally swing your fists around anywhere there aren’t noses, put your nose anywhere there aren’t swinging fists, and everyone is expected to take some precautions and make accommodations when the two might come into conflict. All seems much more civilized.

    It’s the same sort of hyperlegalistic thinking that seems to be causing the whole segregated bus thing in the first place. Rules in Leviticus like that take perfectly natural values like cleanliness (let’s face it, people generally dislike anything that comes out of bodies), and in the effort to codify them, create a huge mass of rules and regulations, put moral and supernatural weight behind the rules, and so on, until what could be solved with a bit of give and take requires restructuring daily life around it instead.

  73. #74 Mandolin
    April 29, 2007

    “I just can’t get over the fact that anyone gives a shit where they SIT on a bus when they’re living with such other enormous problems — especially ones caused by some “butter side up, butter side down” nonsense.”

    Shorter DaveX: Whiny bitches should shut up and take their oppression like men. We’ve got bigger things to worry about.

    I sure hope you never ever worry about anything that isn’t priority #1. For instance, what the hell are you doing commenting on a blog? There’s a war on. For or against, there’s better shit you could be doing — git on down to the recruitment office, or start planning your peace protest — either way, you’ve got no business multi-tasking, mister.

  74. #75 JohnnieCanuck
    April 29, 2007

    Matthew, I like the reasonable tone of your comment #73.

    About the only thing missing is that the men who did the codifying weren’t much interested in placing women in an equal position at the bargaining table.

    The edifice that they created pretty much sets it up that men do the taking, and women the giving.

  75. #76 Azkyroth
    April 29, 2007

    Dustin: I seem to recall Caledonian having identified themselves as male in at least one point in a previous thread; I may be mistaken. I assume you are actually under the impression Cal is female, rather than using the feminine appellation as an insult?

  76. #77 Richard Harris, FCD
    April 29, 2007

    Luke R, you say, “My point is that you don’t give a wet slap about the woman who was attacked; you’re just upset because religious people did it and you don’t like religious people.”

    Now, what I said (in # 9) was, “I admire this woman. I deplore those apologies for men.” I thought about this – do I really admire her when she’s so religious? I decided, on balance, I’d let it stay. So you’re almost correct. It’s not that I don’t like religious people, more that I don’t admire religious people, as a general rule. I have contempt for that aspect of their mentality. Because people can only believe in that religious crap if they want to believe whatever makes them happy, etc., rather than what is true according to the evidence.

    But you must be able to see that I had some feelings for the woman to have said that I admired her. You are still very confused.

  77. #78 Roman Werpachowski
    April 29, 2007

    Marcus Ranum:

    “It has amazed me to no end that The Holocaust is treated as anything other than a bunch of Christians ganging up on another religion and trying to wipe its members out. It wasn’t about “race” at all”

    It was. The Nazis didn’t kill religious Jews only. They killed atheist Jews, they killed Jews who converted to Christianity. It was all about their confused “racial” criteria listed in the Nuremberg Laws.

  78. #79 Azkyroth
    April 29, 2007

    Not to mention the Roma and, I believe, people of African descent and the like. Much like Judaism, the Nazi ideology conflated issues of religion (“true Christianity”) and race (German “blood and soil”), a cruel irony if there ever was one.

  79. #80 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    Nazi ideology was essentially old-school Jewish ideology, inverted and turned against the Jews.

    Hence the idea that one ‘race’ was chosen by God to rule territory, the idea that bloodlines were all-important, the idea that other competing bloodlines had to be wiped out, a return to traditional religion, etc.

    It would have been a LOT better if the ancient Jews had ditched the Maccabees and paid more attention to the Greeks, but here we are.

  80. #81 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    rather than using the feminine appellation as an insult?

    I dunno, Askyroth. Viewing femininity as a derogative seems entirely in-character for Dustin.

  81. #82 Roman Werpachowski
    April 29, 2007

    Caledonian: “Nazi ideology was essentially old-school Jewish ideology, inverted and turned against the Jews.”

    But you have some backup in *facts*, right? Like some analysis of Hitler’s writings showing that he was inspired by Jewish religion?

    I smell a myth here.

  82. #83 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    Or you could just compare one set of crackpot ideas with another and look for commonalities. Lots of overlap on key concepts suggests a possible relationship.

    There are only so many memes that can be used to inspire an aggressive people to define themselves genealogically and wipe out competitors, of course, so it could simply be coincidence.

    Hitler didn’t originate the idea that inheritance determined group allegiance, of course, nor the idea that it trumped socialization.

  83. #84 Mark Borok
    April 29, 2007

    “There are only so many memes that can be used to inspire an aggressive people to define themselves genealogically and wipe out competitors”

    I guess the Romans were under the influence the same Jewish meme when they wiped out Carthage. And the Mycneaeans when they destroyed Troy. And Genghis Khan, and…

    Oh, the hell with it. Human aggression and tribal instinct is not a “meme”. All people are “aggressive” and define themselves “genealogically”. You’re taking basic elements of human nature and pretending that they were invented somehow.

    Interestingly, some Bible scholars believe that the Israelite conquest of the “land of Canaan” never happened; that it was a myth made up to legitimize the Israelites’ claim to the land. It was commonly assumed at the time that violent conquest made territorial claims legitimate. So insofar as memes go, this was the standard one in ancient times.

  84. #85 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    Human aggression and tribal instinct is not a “meme”.

    But the idea of a Chosen People of God who have been granted dominion by birthright… is.

  85. #86 Mooser
    April 29, 2007

    So there’s beatings all around!
    Mark Borok

    Mark, you have captured the essence of Israeli society. Congrats.
    Israelis, are horrible people, without a scruple in the world. I thought I would never meet any people who could make me ashamed of being a Jew.
    The Israelis (and their supporters) do a very good job, though.

  86. #87 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    I assume you are actually under the impression Cal is female, rather than using the feminine appellation as an insult?

    You assume correctly. I though Caledonian had identified himself as female. It’s a big internet, and there are a lot of people.

    Viewing femininity as a derogative seems entirely in-character for Dustin.

    Support that, shit-for-brains. Dig around and find one instance, one, where I’ve said anything that was even slightly misogynist. Actually, there have been more than a few threads around here where you are whining about poor kids detracting from your music appreciation classes, where you think that places of business have the right to descrimintate against homosexuals, and so on. I’m the progressive, you’re the bigot.

    And by the way, you still haven’t answered my question.

  87. #88 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    there have been more than a few threads around here where you are whining about poor kids detracting from your music appreciation classes

    I retract my earlier comments: you are very confused about who’s who.

    I neither teach nor participate in music appreciation classes, and if I did, I would be one of the “poor kids”. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m pretty sure that you’re not at this point.

  88. #89 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    Caledonian:

    Our school systems are too busy giving extra aid to the worst students to give bright students music appreciation and theory classes.

  89. #90 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    How interesting that I can never recognize my positions once they’ve been filtered through your perceptions.

    Where did I mention the poor? You seem to be conflating the lack of money and poor scholastic performance.

    Isn’t that rather an ignorant position to possess?

  90. #91 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    Questions of which students the schools should help aside, there seems to be a touch of resentment there. I wonder why that is? Don’t you think that the most gifted students are the most likely to be the self-reliant ones?What good is intellect without the drive and internal motivation to apply it? That’s actually another good question for you to answer, by the way. A very good question.

    And speaking of uselessness, why on earth should schools dedicate public resources to the education of a select few in a subject of little pratical use? Let me put that another way. How, in your mind, is it better to divert resources to an already privileged minority at the expense of the education of the majority, and especially for a course which isn’t as directly economically beneficial as something like science or engineering? And especially when that minority is likely to seek education on their own?

    And now you’re going to say (after some two paragraphs of masturbatory dreck), that you never said anything about which students were rich and which ones were poor. Because you like to play gotcha, you’ll probably say that I’m the one who is bigoted because there’s an implicit assumption on my part that rich kids are smarter than the poor ones.

    So I’ll dispense with that now: No, I don’t. In fact, you know I don’t, but misrepresentation and disingenuity seem to be two of your favorite hobbies. The fact is, students who don’t have to scrounge around for something to eat in the morning, students who don’t have abusive parents, students who don’t have parents in jail, who don’t get mugged on the way home, who have a comfortable place to stay, and students who have the economic resourses at their disposal to get an edge over their classmates will do better.

    And you still haven’t aswered my question.

  91. #92 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    I said:

    And now you’re going to say (after some two paragraphs of masturbatory dreck), that you never said anything about which students were rich and which ones were poor.

    You said:

    Where did I mention the poor? You seem to be conflating the lack of money and poor scholastic performance.

    Have I got you pegged, or haven’t I? You’re beginning to bore me with your predictable wanking.

    Isn’t that rather an ignorant position to possess?

    No.

  92. #93 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    In fact, you know I don’t, but misrepresentation and disingenuity seem to be two of your favorite hobbies.

    Misrepresentation? Yes, I cleverly said ‘worst students’ while my psychic InnuendoBeam caused you to perceive ‘poor students’. It was all part of my elaborate setup to make you look like a fool months later.

    And indeed I DO know that you don’t consider the worst students to be the poor ones, because you didn’t conflate the two at all. Just more effects of the Beam.

    And I so disingenuously pointed out what was NOT you misrepresenting my statements because I like to play ‘gotcha’. I like it so much that I use my psychic InnuendoBeam constantly so that I can cleverly trick you into attacking points of view I’m not actually forwarding.

    It is indeed totally all my fault. By saying things and using the Beam, I’m manipulating you into being so filled with hatred that you’re able to neither comprehend the points being advanced, nor respond to them reasonably, nor even identify what they are.

    Moreover, I’m supporting outrageous, invalid concepts, like providing music education in schools, because there’s totally no evidence whatsoever that such classes are not only desirable but increase overall academic performance. I’m such a brute! You have every right to take umbrage!

  93. #94 Caledonian
    April 29, 2007

    “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.

    And God granted it.”

    – Voltaire

  94. #95 Dustin
    April 29, 2007

    Yes, I cleverly said ‘worst students’ while my psychic InnuendoBeam caused you to perceive ‘poor students’.

    That’s something you’ll have to take up with the statistics, not with me.

  95. #96 Roman Werpachowski
    April 29, 2007

    Caledonian: “But the idea of a Chosen People of God who have been granted dominion by birthright… is.”

    Yeah, and a common religious Jew in 1933 believed that his God gave him dominion over Germany, Poland or France. No wonder someone had to put them down. Is that what you’re implying?

    I’m sorry, but your theory just doesn’t hold water. Most Jews in Europe didn’t want to have a dominion anywhere. Zionists were not religious people, even. Many religious and orthodox Jews felt that they belonged to countries where they lived. Orthodox Jews were living in small villages in Galicia and didn’t plan to go anywhere else nor to dominate anyone else.

    The irony of “explaining” (i.e. justifying) Holocaust by some peculiar Jewish traits is that in Germany — where Holocaust was planned and started — most Jews were assimilated! The symbol of it is Fritz Haber, who helped Keiser Wilhelm gas enemies in World War I, for the sake of defending HIS country, but was treated as racial enemy by the Nazis nevertheless.

  96. #97 craig
    April 29, 2007

    “Do you think governments ought to be able to decide who can offer services, the nature of those services, and those to which they are offered?”

    You mean like the lunch counter at Woolworth’s?

  97. #98 croghan27
    April 29, 2007

    MR waaaaay back in post #4 commented: “but I would have to assume four men beating a woman is far more of a problem than a seating chart for a bus line. It never ceases to astound me how indignities (great and small) are brushed aside so long as the G-man is involved.” a very rational observation.

    These good gentlemen are probably the same ‘god-fearers’ that threatened a ‘gay pride’ parade with violence if it wasn’t halted.

    Methinks that both these situations have more to do with uncertainities with themselves than about ‘seating plans’ on public buses, marching gays and God’s Commandments. (Didn’t #6, handed to Moses have something to say about that?)

  98. #99 Chris
    April 29, 2007

    No, I think he’s saying Hitler borrowed the idea from the Christian churches, who got it from the Old Testament – itself supposedly a history of the Jews’ ancestors in their glory days, when they apparently committed genocide on a weekly basis themselves. But don’t take my word for it, it’s right there in the Torah.

    It probably really isn’t anything Samson wouldn’t have done if he had had more than the jawbone of an ass to work with. Sometimes our species is just a bunch of tribalistic, violent, bloodthirsty, vicious apes – Hebrews neither more nor less so than anyone else.

    I think #85 has a point, though. It’s not really a concept that requires invention. “My tribe is better than your tribe” is a common idea. So is “My tribe has a god that watches over it.” Put those two together and what do you get? “My tribe’s god wants us to conquer/enslave/kill all the other tribes because we’re the greatest.”

    When a given idea seems to be built into the brain like that, the fact that it appears in two places is not proof of any connection more direct than the commonality of human psychology.

  99. #100 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2007

    Chris: “”My tribe is better than your tribe” is a common idea. So is “My tribe has a god that watches over it.” Put those two together and what do you get?”

    You’ll get “My tribe’s god says we’re better than your tribe”. Not necessarily the killing thing. This is a separate thing. The point is, there is no easy explanation why Holocaust happened. As far as I know, if someone asked a 1918 Jew “which nation would be most likely to launch a killing spree against Jews?”, Germany would not be the No 1 choice, IMHO far from it. And yet it happened.

  100. #101 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2007

    @Chris & Caledonian

    Of course, Christian enmity towards the Jews (“they killed Jesus!”) helped Hitler gather his executioners. But I really doubt that religion was at the bottom of it.

  101. #102 Kagehi
    April 30, 2007

    Don’t you think that the most gifted students are the most likely to be the self-reliant ones?

    I tried to be self reliant in school… It got me sent to the school psychologist, pulled from regular classes with the deficient ones that where slowing the class down and nearly dropped a grade. As it is, I never got the full set of math classes I was supposed to by the time I got out of high school. I am not impressed with the, “Lets throw all the resources we have at dumbing down the course work, easy multiple choice tests that only the truly incompetent or lazy can’t get at least a C on and the dumbest students, then leave the smart people flapping in the wind!”, methodology, sorry… And that was 20 years ago. Today we have, “No Child Left Behind”. The result? The schools entire funding is based on how many of their students can pass those same worthless multiple choice tests, classes that require individuality and thought, like art or music, are being replaced with “prep” courses designed to help them pass those tests, and **still** the basic problem isn’t addressed, which is that schools don’t teach people how to think, they just feed them data and hope some of them are both smart enough to actually use it, instead of just regurgitating it for a test, and that the ones that can do that don’t a) drop out from boredom, b) get shoved into remedial systems, like I almost was, or c) go postal from the all the BS they have to put up with from all the “normal” kids that don’t give a shit, don’t think, and half the time only manage to pass those same tests by fracking cheating off each other, because they actually are too lazy to bother learning it.

    You know, I wouldn’t mind in the least if schools challenges students, encouraged people to find what they are really good at, developed some sort of cross-discipline system that could *use* those factors to teach, so that the best students could excel, while the weaker students could “still” manage to learn from those better students, in a way that encouraged “everyone”. Instead, the system discourages thinking, discourages advancement, promotes clicks and special *groups* that exclude other people, forces even those that have talent into narrow paths that don’t allow cross discipline activity, if they bother to provide programs like that at all, and in no way do a damn thing to fix the problem. Instead, we get more of the same bullshit testing and lowered physical and mental standards that made the US education system the greatest system in the worl…, oh, wait, that should be, “Damn near the worst system in the world today.”

    I am not at all impressed by “anyone” that thinks that funneling all the money into *helping* the most deficient students, while constantly cutting the programs for the best, on the grounds it “costs too much”, is doing anything but just screwing the system up even more than it already is. And the private schools… They have the perfect answer. If you don’t let them think at all either, and cut out 90% of the facts, information, history and science they would have to learn at one of those failing public schools, while still teaching them enough to pass a standardized test, it makes you look like a fracking genius for running the school, makes the students look intelligent and no one will know the difference (at least until all your students try to apply to the Discovery Institute for jobs after graduation, because they can’t do anything useful in the real world).

  102. #103 Peter Barber
    April 30, 2007

    Jaim (#67):

    Any woman who doesn’t want to sit in the back of the bus can take the next bus. There is no compulsion to take the orthodox sect’s special buses.

    Never mind the impracticality of your suggestion. Telling someone to move to the back of a group is a widely-understood method of punishment (queues? classrooms?) or subordination (walking behind one’s husband). Are you saying that the behaviour of these Orthodox Jewish men is not demeaning to women? Do you think that being made to wait for a second bus when there are seats free on the first, just because one is female, is not demeaning? And if you are married, what does your wife think of your attitude?

    In fact, how does this square with Israel’s ratification of CEDAW?

  103. #104 Caledonian
    April 30, 2007

    As far as I know, if someone asked a 1918 Jew “which nation would be most likely to launch a killing spree against Jews?”, Germany would not be the No 1 choice, IMHO far from it.

    Germany, the nation of Martin Luther? Germany, the most cultured and intellectual and liberal nation pre-WWI (and also, as is usually the case, the most weak-minded as well)?

    The idea that Jewishness is an absolute trait, not learned or socially acquired, that is passed down through genealogy, originated in Judaism itself. The concept is both absurd and offensive, but it’s unworthy of respect no matter which group holds it or what they do with it.

    Political correctness of the most subtle kind, however, causes people to be loathe to condemn even the most blatantly bigoted position when it’s Jews who are holding it. They’re victims, after all, and victims are supposed to be immune from criticism in our society.

  104. #105 Roman Werpachowski
    April 30, 2007

    Caledonian:

    “The idea that Jewishness is an absolute trait, not learned or socially acquired, that is passed down through genealogy, originated in Judaism itself.”

    Firstly, conversions to Judaism happened throughout the ages. Secondly, there is a huge difference between “I’m sorry, we can’t let you into this synagogue because your mother was not Jewish” and “I’m sorry, we must kill you because your mother *was* Jewish”. If you continue ignoring this difference, you’ll end up diminishing the barbarity of Nazi crimes.

    “Political correctness of the most subtle kind, however, causes people to be loathe to condemn even the most blatantly bigoted position when it’s Jews who are holding it.”

    Bullshit. It is obvious to anyone who ever read Jewish literature (Singer, for example) that there bigots among Orthodox Jews. Hell, even “Fiddler on the roof” could pass as an example. What is and will be rightly frowned upon is using some Jews’ bigotry as an “explanation” (i.e. justification) of the Holocaust. Also, I smell a rat when someone think that any opposition to his view on Jews happens because of their alleged “victim status”. Have you seen the Israeli Army? Do they look like *victims* to you?

  105. #106 Caledonian
    April 30, 2007

    Firstly, conversions to Judaism happened throughout the ages.

    Hello! No one’s denying that! But the people who convert just become honorary Children of Israel. Matrilineal descendents of Jews were still automatically considered Jews.

    Atrocities? How about the ones committed in the OT? Slaughtering entire nations, abandoning wives that weren’t Children of Israel, etc. etc.

  106. #107 bernarda
    May 1, 2007

    Kagehi, the religious fanatic is you and your belief in mythology.

    “The whole, “Promised land”, story is BS, since archeology (and those genetic tests) show that they where in the area centuries before any Exodus. Finally, the state of Israel was formed after WWII” blah blah blah.

    If you read “The Bible Unearthed”, you will find that there never was an Exodus. It is a made-up story. Furthermore what do genetics have to do with it? You are talking about 600 years BCE and populations that no longer exist.

    Native Americans have more claim to both North and South America than zionists do to Palestine.

    “After WWII”. The zionist ideology was invented at the end of the 19th century. The European zionist invasion of Palestine began in earnest just after WWI. The goal was always to ethnically cleanse the region for this European colonization. Zionism is a European colonialist movement, not some sort of “national” movement. It is typical of white racism of the time and archaic today.

    WWII had nothing whatsoever to do with the idea of creating a “Jewish state”. Even in 1948, zionists were only 30% of the population and controlled only 6% of the land. Yet they wanted everything, and they still want everything.

    Palestinian women die at Israeli roadblocks while trying to get to hospitals or clinics to give birth, as do their infants. That is the real scandal of the treatment of women by Israelis.

  107. #108 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2007

    Caledonian: “But the people who convert just become honorary Children of Israel.”

    In what way were they treated differently than other Jews?

    “Matrilineal descendents of Jews were still automatically considered Jews.”

    Geez, just like descendents of US citizens automatically become US citizens and I would have to wait a long time before the US would grant me citizenship (if ever). How disgusting and Nazi-like.

    “Atrocities? How about the ones committed in the OT? Slaughtering entire nations, abandoning wives that weren’t Children of Israel, etc. etc.”

    First of all, treating OT as a history textbook is naive. Second, it’s not as if other ancient nations were above such things. It was rather “slaughter or get slaughtered kind of thing”. Comparing this to the XXth century Europe, where ethnic cleansing was an abomination, not a standard, is silly or aimed to diminish Nazi crimes.

    bernarda: “The goal [of Zionism] was always to ethnically cleanse the region for this European colonization.”

    Cite your sources, Ma’m.

  108. #109 bernarda
    May 1, 2007

    Werpachowski, why am I not surprised by your cherry-picking of one issue among the several I mentioned? You probably belief the zionist myths.

    As to your cherry-picked question.

    http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Famous-Zionist-Quotes/Story637.html

    http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Famous-Zionist-Quotes/Story694.html

    White European racist Ben Gurion, “”The compulsory transfer of the [Palestinian] Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own during the days of the first and second Temples. . . We are given an opportunity which we never dared to dream of in our wildest imaginings. This is MORE than a state, government and sovereignty—-this is national consolidation in a free homeland.” (Righteous Victims, p. 142)”

    “”With compulsory transfer we [would] have vast areas …. I support compulsory [population] transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it. But compulsory transfer could only be carried out by England …. Had its implementation been dependent merely on our proposal I would have proposed; but this would be dangerous to propose when the British government has disassociated itself from compulsory transfer. …. But this question should not be removed from the agenda because it is central question. There are two issues here : 1) sovereignty and 2) the removal of a certain number of Arabs, and we must insist on both of them.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 117)”

    There are many more by many more zionists at the links.

  109. #110 Roman Werpachowski
    May 1, 2007

    “Werpachowski, why am I not surprised by your cherry-picking of one issue among the several I mentioned? You probably belief the zionist myths.”

    Ad hominem. You probably ride on a cow and your breath probably smells with manure 😉

    The site you’re linking looks like propaganda one, but it claims to take its quotes from respected books, so I’ll give your quotes the benefit of doubt. However, Ben-Gurion alone does not settle the Zionist movement. It’s not the case of Nazism, where Hitler’s word made the ideology. The fact is that until the Arab-Israeli war there was no ethnic cleansing done by the Jews. They coexisted with the Arabs — willingly or not. However, the war of 1948 was a failed attempt on the Arab side to cleanse Palestine of the Jews.

    I am not an enthusiast of the current policy of the state of Israel towards the Palestinians (however, the choices the Israeli have are limited), but I see your position as very much anti-Israeli and one-sided.

  110. #111 bernarda
    May 1, 2007

    Werpachowski, I see that you are not willing to accept historical reality.

    “Ad hominem. You probably ride on a cow and your breath probably smells with manure ;-)” smile if you like.

    But “The fact is that until the Arab-Israeli war there was no ethnic cleansing done by the Jews. They coexisted with the Arabs — willingly or not.” Really, it wasn’t for lack of trying as the quotes show.

    The zionists were unwanted European invaders, period.

    “I am not an enthusiast of the current policy of the state of Israel towards the Palestinians (however, the choices the Israeli have are limited), but I see your position as very much anti-Israeli and one-sided.”

    Zionists often say such things, but don’t really mean them. You are not one-sided at all, are you?

    Of course I am anti-Israel. I am rational and anti-racist and anti-fascist.

    “However, the war of 1948 was a failed attempt on the Arab side to cleanse Palestine of the Jews.” Zionist mythology.

    “The site you’re linking looks like propaganda one”. So, what is incorrect in what is said? The quotes are from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I gave a couple, but you can look up dozens of others.

    Naturally, for you, the zionists today don’t make any propaganda. Have you looked at the revisionist history on the Israeli government site or the site of the ADL?

    The Jewish Virtual Library is a bit more, but far from entirely, objective.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/israel.html

    BTW, May 1st. Ein ez Zeitun Massacre.

    http://sabbah.biz/mt/

  111. #112 Caledonian
    May 1, 2007

    In what way were they treated differently than other Jews?

    You are utterly missing the point. Converts need to demonstrate serious devotion to the tribe in order to enter – they have to prove themselves. Children are automatically part of the tribe, with all of the responsibilities, obligations, and inherent superiority that implies.

  112. #113 Roman Werpachowski
    May 2, 2007

    Caledonian:

    I agree. In what way is it a peculiar Jewish trait?

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