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What is it with these holy wars everywhere? Radical Muslims abusing the notion of "jihad," geeks warring over favourite distributions of *nix (at least this conflict tends to draw less blood), and God forbid anyone should try point out something positive about Microsoft. You've got secularism dictating dress codes in France, an ongoing knock-down-drag-out in the USA between [begin list] abortionists/prolifers, traditionalists/those who want "God" out of the pledge of allegiance, any conservative faith group/ACLU, and I'll just ignore India/Pakistan for the moment. [end list]
Where did we get this idea, anyway, that one person or group should be able to dictate the way things should be without considering the rights of other groups to determine how they would like to live? A variation of this idea is admittedly the foundation of the rule of law, however most laws are based on a common consensus and not all laws are just, some are quite blatantly discriminatory (segregation for one). Let's assume just for the fun of it that a bunch of [minority group] were to win power and enact laws that favoured them. Someone in that group is bound to have a long memory and pass one tiny provision that would make life a little irritable for members of the former majority group that didn't treat them well. Or assume that a bunch of level heads prevail, there's still going to be someone in disagreement. Lather rinse repeat - history's full of examples how this could play out. Disagreements escalate, things get dicey, someone either leaves the playground in a huff and crosses the Atlantic to start their own domination plan or somebody gets hurt (it's all a difference of opinion until someone gets burned at the stake). Be it religion, morality, soccer/football hooliganism, *nix or Sharia vs democracy and separation of church and state, the root (heh, root) cause is still the same. Anyone care to guess?
One word is intolerance. Cousins of this term are stupidity, stubbornness, close-mindedness, self-righteousness (try that one on a manifest-destiny group, be it American or religious!) basically anything that assumes group A knows everything, or at least what's best for group B. I mean, the UN's great and all, but how are we supposed to know that the best thing for Darfur in specific and Africa in general isn't to let the genocide happen, facilitate evacuation of civilians when possible, and let the two sides finish each other off. Okay, that's a bit extreme and inhumane. But really, is nobody unbiased except me? (um...) In their own mind everybody is unfalliable and all-knowing. Fine, leave them their fantasies. Maybe it's an issue of (ahem) inadequacy/insecurity that makes them want to impose this on others. (Psychologists could spend lifetimes on this issue. Go to it, boys, get back to me when you have the question. 42!)
It is a sign of maturity to recognise, accept, tolerate, and work with differences, be they cultural, ethnic, religious, software, diplomatic, political, sexual, or sport based. A wise Vulcan once said there is Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Sunday school children sing about Jesus loving all the little children of the world. Businesses (supposedly try) hire without bias. The US Constitution got it right but just took a little while to get refined and properly applied. So obviously we're off to a start.
Many people assume that their way is the right way and try impose it on others, to what end? Ask the Americans how well the Iraqis are taking to a crash course in democracy - doesn't democracy require a revolution, civil war, or at least a century or two before taking hold? The guiding principle in any form of government, lawmaking, parole system administration, taxation, or social interaction should always be: "DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU," a simplified expression of "love your neighbour as yourself." If you as a person or policymaker could ask yourself before acting, "if our positions were reversed right now, would I appreciate [minority group/other] deciding this/doing this to me?" The only way for this to not be beneficial in the end is to hate yourself and actively seek your own destruction. Sure, it sounds trite as "can't we all just get along?" but if half the energy of conquest were to be put into cooperation, understanding, and assistance, wouldn't the end user get a better product? Imagine, a world without lawyers!
Anyhow, I'm LordHelmet, and that's my thought for the day. Now, who made that man a gunner?!
Comments welcome. Whoo-hoo, I have mod points again!
PS - a special prize goes to whoever can identify my location, race, religion, education, etc. - LH