my two cents It is quite simple. We stop teaching our children comparative and superlative moral standards. We stop teaching people that their worth is only evident when compared to another. Sure, parts of subsequent generations will be slaughtered along the way to progress, but no greater numbers will die arbitrarily by such a process than in the same period of constant, hopeless attrition. Yet with a growing body politic of trusting pacifists, two things will occur to aggressors: 1) that it just isn't fun to arbitrarily kill people who aren't scared or fighting back; 2) that there's suddenly a whole lot more pacifists than wardogs. People would rather obey cruelty than challenge it. Why? Because, "That's the way it is." There is no excuse, once we are capable of recognizing arbitrary cruelty, for perpetuating, exploiting, or endorsing such madness. That nature or God demands it is an excuse for cruelty posited only by the stupid. It is much easier to act blindly than to consider what one is actually doing. We humans challenge many "natural" conditions of the Universe; why is it that cruelty is the one "natural" thing that we accept wholeheartedly? Does it really feel that good to treat people poorly? Is the greater part of society actually so ill-prepared for the living experience that they think hatefulness is the point? Yet right out of the gate, we teach children moral superiority, and right and wrong as an arbitrary function. * Because I say so. (The dumbest authoritarian excuse ever given.) * Because God says so. (This is a calculation that reduces infinitessimally the stupidity of such arbitrary declarations; at least here the aggressor is deflecting the sense of blame to God; Hey, don't blame me, idiot; it's God's mysterious way!) * Because the neighbors will think .... * I didn't work all these years so you could .... * Because I'm your father/mother (circle one) and deserve respect .... I've been trying to recall my first black/white racism notions, and it's quite hard. After getting beat up on the playground repeatedly for having slanted eyes, it might well have blown right by me that I was supposed to be comprehending a "new" concept being presented to me when issues of black and white were put before me. I also recall being impressed at various points in my life by arguments supporting white supremacy and slavery; deeper recollection advises me that the fault of all such statements lies in their narrow view of what's important. Surely if the color of one's skin is important, such issues will present themselves. Like the other day when Ricky, one cubicle over, said of our Fat Tuesday killing, "That's what happens when a lot of Them get together." (Them refers to people with dark skin in this case; it has also stood for people of Asian descent, who are apparently all unnecessarily paranoid; I believe it has also, in Ricky's time at my office, referred to people of indigenous American descent; after all, They are all just lazy and drunk.) But where does one learn to base all their future perspectives on such a dichotomy as Us vs. Them? My cat does dumb stuff a couple of times before figuring it out; in this case, I would assert that generations upon generations of children brought up to fight wars and be proud of it generally support the idea that such stupidity as we find in the cruel or hateful can be maintained with the simple introduction of the idea that one person (the self) is so much more important (and therefore moral, and therefore deserving) than another (any other). The Lutherans taught us, "God first, others second, self third," though I'm quite sure this concept existed before my generation of Lutheran. I do not believe this idea exists anymore among Americans. One only thinks of others when the newspaper, ballot box, or other social mass-malady incites them to; furthermore, it would seem that a loud voice of many has shouted God to the appropriate forefront, and made God the mechanism justifying considerations of the self first. Of course, the humble believers are left tongue-tied; either to betray God by denouncing a fellow believer, or to betray God by not. It's generally a lose-lose situation that can only be solved by a well-placed bolt of lightning from the heavens. But the idea of comparative existence permeates the American culture; we are only in comparison to others. In Oregon, it's "forcing" a lifestyle on someone if the law doesn't make that lifestyle illegal. How is it that every law designed to help the "little guy" results first in an increase of wealth among the most wealthy, a decrease of wealth among the least wealthy? It isn't just, in this case, that one is wealthy, but that one must be just so wealthy in comparison to another person. (The $100,000 concept ... it's in another post, I'll get back to that if we need to.) But it's rambling, and I've just been ordered to clear the office for the sake of ... well, when HR's leaving .... But the first thing we need to do is to eliminate this silly need to establish comparative morality, birthright, and other stupid ideas that lead people to behave a priori that they are inherently more deserving than another. thanx, Tiassa Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!