"I'm going to have to be selective in my response for lack of time. Geeze, Trev, do you type 1,000 WPM or something?"
Well I used to be an astronaut until a plane crash nearly killed me. They had the technology to rebuild me....stronger....faster.....but it cost 6 million dollars... ...actaully I'm long winded and I don't always sleep that much.
"You misunderstood. The second table of the Ten Commandments are not directions on how man ought to relate to God, they are directions on how man ought to relate to man. The lessons don't necessarily have to be about religion but religion does offer a more objective moral base than logic."
I see what you mean but how does logic offer a weaker moral base? Religion uses hell as a punishment for a bad self and logic uses others as a punishment for a bad self. Religion says be good to others and God will reward you in the end and logic says be good to others and it will come back to you. I think as far as the commandments in comparison to a lot of other teachings, they are relatively the same except one has a heaven and hell in it.
"The only thing that doesn't sit well with me with that statement is a failure to consider personal responsibility. Is a society that "gives" a citizen everything encouraging dependence on the state and discouraging self-reliance? I think it is fine for the state to be involved insomuchas it provides and environment where someone can rise from relatively humble beginnings and better themselves. Hell, I consider myself one of those people."
Giving someone a chance to have a better education and making the educated are different things. If you were to offer free post secondary education would that be giving them an education or giving them the opportunity to educate themselves. I don't think just spilling out money is an answer but using money to set up programs where a person can work to better themselves and make it easily accessible might help. Quick example, once when I was laid off I tried to get into a re-education program to upgrade my skills sponsered through Employment Insurance (which we pay into out of every paycheque). They made me got to a seminar, then they told me it would be in my best interest to attend a career planning class because it would "up" my chances of getting funding for school. So off I went on an eight week career planning course. Next I had to research the field I wanted to go into and present it to my case worker. He said it's good and there should be no problem getting funding....but I'd just have to complile a little more data on the field I choose. SO being the prompt system that it is I had to wait three weeks to get back in to see him. When I returned he said everything looks great but unfortunately they have no money for funding.....he knew all along, he said they've had a budget problem for awhile because of squabbling with the Federal gov't. I said thanks for not telling me sooner so I could've been looking for work instead of fiddling around because my benefits had a week and a half left. Fortunately I did find a job but not enough to afford me to go back to school. A few months later I read in the paper that the federal gov't grabbed 20 billion in funds from Employment Insurance and were using it for something else....few months after that I was laid off again....tried to get school funding again....they said I had to repeat the whole process again....ugggg. If the system was set up better and made it easier to get real help instead of just an Unemployment cheque then I would probably have gotten into a more stable and contributing job (health industry) and probably wouldn't have been laid off again....and at the worst I would have walked away a little more knowledgable and like I didn't just keep banging my head on a brick wall. People have breaking points and if this was to occur every couple years I probably would snap.
"I think you have demonstrated what I see as part of the problem. The church has kept its message behind closed doors for so long that, in many communities, it is the only place you hear positive moral instruction. Moral instruction is not a quick-fix. Look how long it has taken for things to get as bad as they have."
You know you're starting to persaude me with a church being the only place to get moral intruction. So if it is the only place to get such, shouldn't we open places with moral instruction that are outside churches. Not everyone wants to be a part of a religion or hold a set belief system so shouldn't there be places for them to go to get life lessons? I think we've all met some of the people churches create and they're definitly not what the church had in mind, so if that is true is just church for moral teachings the answer?
"I think that if things are to get better, rather than worse, it is going to take time. In the U.S., for example, the Civil Rights Act of 1868 gave black Americans the same rights as white Americans but look how long it took for this very good legislation to make its way into the hearts and minds of the public at large. Passing a law is quick and relatively easy compared to changing social mores. Legislation may be a valid step toward correcting a social ill but I think legislation alone is doomed to be ineffective."
Well said. I don't think anything alone is the answer. You can teach at school but if the opposite is taught at home then what's the point. You can teach at church but if the opposite is being taught at home then what's the point. You can make laws but if imprisonment is better than the place you live then what's the point. Also I believe what works for one fails for another. Church may and does help people get on the "right" track just as does a higher education....heck, sometimes all it takes is just a simple thought, experience, revelation to change one's life. I think for some the fear of punishment works and for others it only makes them tougher. A think both a firm and gentle hand is needed.....ohhhhh, these thoughts could go on forever, it just seems the more you think the more you realize how much more there is to think about.
""How many hardened criminals do you know Jim?"
""I'm not trying to egg you on Jim, I'm just curious as to where you get your practical knowledge of this side of life?"
Now you know."
Well I guess I do Not to sound like a jerk and offend ya, it's just at times you sound like you haven't been exposed to certain elements of society. I guess its not you who is the naive one but me instead. My apoligize Jim if that whole third degree questioning offend you, kinda worried if it would have after I posted but thought I'd keep it in there. Glad I did. I guess we are just two different people in regards to thoughts. I think that there are people out there that not matter the effort they give the results will be poor because of either the system or their environment and I think we should give to help these people, whereas, my interpretation of what you've been saying is that everyone can make it if they work hard and be good.
"But, Trev, it wasn't always this way. When my oldest son was born I was the only one working, my wage was $7.00 an hour and I had to rent a trailor home to have enough money for food, diapers, transportation, etc. Three months prior to this the only work I could find WITH all of my education was a part-time job working behind the front-desk at a health club for $4.50/hr."
That is rough....4.50/hr with all that education....imagine what kind of jobs were available for those without an education there. You had gotten a job, but in your doing so how many and who were the unlucky ones who also needed that 4.50/hr job? I'm sure you weren't the only one looking for work that day. This is a good example though of how the solution isn't just education though I'd have to say that probably you're upbringing and education played a large role in you having the fortitude not to delve into crime but take whatever work you could find....but I'm sure some quick money scam entered your mind during those times...if only for a brief moment. Now say someone else without the same life and education couldn't find work, frustration set in, perhaps a collapse in better judgement, mix in some booze, a bad suggestion and whamo.....a criminal might be created. I'm the same as you in a lot of ways. I won't turn to crime in order to better my situation, I'd rather sacrafice myself then destroy another and also I'm fortunate enough to have parents who still help me out if I'm in dire need. I'd rather sweep sidewalks and eat 10 cent noodles in a cardboard box then rob someone, why, because I wouldn't want to hurt anyone because I know what it is like to be hurt. But in the same turn, I can understand why people get frustrated and tired of not having and tired of struggling for everything the want or need. I can understand that people do have their breaking points and all the pushing and pulling the masses are subject to does take a toll. To the criminal the crime seems like the best solution to their worries/needs/wants.
"Even while I was under the poverty line I was still able to honestly provide for my family. I don't understand why someone cannot swallow his/her pride and work where he/she comes home smelling like dog food. I just don't get it, I guess."
Like I said, you found work at a low wage but was there enough work for everyone even at minimum wage? I do agree though not enough people swallow their pride, myself included (though with the exceptions of lay offs I've always worked even at low income jobs....well only at low income jobs ). I guess sometimes I and others find some of the wages ridiculous. Perhaps its hard to feel good about oneself if you are a good person, hard worker, law bidding citizen and if you work your butt off everyday all it amounts to is 4.50/hr. Hard to feel good about yourself when someone says all your effort is only worth 4.50/hr. Hard to keep feeling good about yourself when you seem stuck in poverty and all your hard work doesn't seem to be changing the situation even though you feel and know you are worth more than poverty. That I think equates into why things are the way they are and why people do "break" down. If you can't respect yourself then it is hard to respect others and if it seems your worth less then others it is hard to respect yourself.
"I didn't grow up in a good neighborhood and I didn't have a wonderful upbringing but I would never consider using that as an excuse to justify hurting another person, physically or financially simply because it is plain wrong. I don't buy into the circumstancial ethic, btw."
Does abuse in the home create abuse in the home? If you grew up being beaten and abused and watching everyone else doing the same would that not give you the wrong lessons? Why is it statistically proven that abusive natures are passed down from generation to generation? If being abused doesn't create abuse then what does? Does someone just suddenly wake up and say, "Today I'm going to beat my wife.". Personally I think it is because of their upbringing, they haven't been taught differently. If environment doesn't create the individual then what does? Genetics, if it's genetics then how can we punish people who have no control over how they were made? All your life has factored into who you are, including genetics and it has created a good, kind, loving, hard working person. Now perhaps if everyone had a life somewhat resembling yours they would have turned out the similar in the way the percieve the world and in the way they conduct themselves. I don't know if this is true but it would be interesting if there was a way to test it. Perhaps a good example of how environment stimulates us is the simple colour tests. If just simple colour stimuli has been shown to effect moods then just imagine how a complete environment effects us.
"I would flip burgers or get covered in meat by-products in a dog food factory, or load forty-five foot trailors with 75 lb. bags of raw-hide dog treats for minimum wage before I would sell drugs."
The key word is "I", this is what you would do because of who you are and I think you are who you are because of the environments you have been exposed to. Somewhere in the equation of who Jim is lies enough positive to offset the negative. Others however haven't had the same life lessons or exposure to what they need to be a good person. I think we probably both agree that the potential is within everyone to be a good person, though good is subject to interpretation and possibly there are ways to unlock this goodness before they do become criminals. Like I've said though, we do need prisons, we can't let murderers run around but perhaps we can cut down the number of them. It is statistically proven that when things such as industry leaves a town, thereby creating a work shortage, that crime levels dramatically increase....Flint, Mich. being a good example. So we know that lack of opportunity for work, lack of jobs and a lack of money help form criminals. However, PEI and Newfoundland have the worst employment rates in Canada yet I think their crime rates are the lowest. They do also recieve the most money in financial assitance from other provinces though. Are they lazy or is there just a lack of work. From what I hear from the people from that province who work in Ontario is that there is no work. But then you get the aboriginal people of Canada who have suffered quite a bit of abuse throughout Canadian history and have had dollars just thrown at them and it really hasn't seemed to help them land on their feet (this is just generalizations). My point of all that? It just seems when we focus on one central point to fix all of it there are examples of that methods failure. I'm beginning to think that it is a cumulative thing. There has to be a certain level of at least all the things (whatever those factors are) in order to produce a good person....god it sounds like I'm talking about a production line.
"But I fought tooth and nail to get where I am and it pisses me off that the government wants to take more of what I earned to give it to people, stagnating the drive and ambition that creates success and pushes a person to make progress toward his or her potential."
But what if no one wanted to let go of anything. The world is only worth so much so what happens to the little guys when its all gobbled up? Why must it be a fight for crumbs when we can all have a pie. If we all adopt a take attitude, such as I don't want to give anymore than there is less to be distributed. ONce again, and I will save you the agony of another long winded rant , I believe we can all live like kings though I think the current system practised in NA does not allow it regardless of the effort put in.
"He was a gunners mate on a destroyer during WWII. Very marketable during wartime but there is little demand for that kind of training in the private sector. At least then."
He didn't learn anything in the Navy? Like I've said, I think education goes far beyond a degree in something. I'm sure he learned about work ethics and disicpline and patience and I'm sure his military service helped him when he applied for a job after the service.
"Trev, that was war. You KNOW that I know many horrible events took place during WWII."
So calling mass killing war makes killing all right? So if I declare war on someone it's okay for me to kill them? I think fighting against Germany and Japan was a good thing, sitting down and discussing morality with those two countries at the time would have been fruitless but beyond the trumpets and battle cries of what is necessary in war, all sides involved are guilty of atrocious behaviour sanctioned by their gov'ts, the representative or the people (or supposedly reps.).
"You failed to mention that this is the generation that weathered the Great Depression, defended Western Society from tyranny, introduced equal rights for women in Japan"
I failed to mention a lot of things about that generation. They also introduced unions and raised the standard of living, they formed a United Nations, created social safety nets, marched with Martin Luther King for equality, banned child labor (but not the buying of products from such) and so on. But they also experimented with the African American polulation by intentionally infecting them with STDs, they locked up the majority of Japenese and Japenese-American polulation during WWII living within America subsequently ruining a lot of lives, their track record with the aboriginal people of NA is at best poor, they sanctioned Cuba into poverty, began the trend of horrendous amounts of polluting, legally sanctioned the use of millitary and violence in order to keep segregation and that list goes on as well. My point is that every generation has its pros and cons and no generation should be sainted nor villafied. Their generation and world wasn't better, just different. Times have changed, we have new problems that need new solutions. It seems you want to put a diesel engine in an electric car. We can't go back because if we did we would know the future for it is the past that has led us to this point.
"Respect for parents and family and one's neighbor was much more prevalent during my fathers generation and I think this is a key reason why crime was not running rampant."
I agree with the respect thing, even such a hollow thing as tolerance is needed but why aren't people respecting each other or at least tolerating each other? Why does it seem that people don't even respect themselves anymore? Once again I think it lies deeper than religion and economics and education but I do believe that all of this might factor in some how. Lets say that religion is dying or probably more accurate, it's changing. Now instead of trying to jam people back into the old ways, which BTW I don't think you are suggesting, why not create a new way for a new time. I've always respected and admired you're critical approach to religion but are religions being run that way? I think no is the answer. Perhaps if religions were to change with the people instead of remaining steadfast in their archiac approach. Why on earth would some child who is exposed to the flash and glamour of hollywood and sony playstation be inclined to listen to an eighty year old man talk about floods, burning bushes, sex, drugs and the evils of youth? Perhaps the problem with religious institutes is that they still talk down to people instead of with people. Few respect something talking down to them especially when that something is a religion with a poor track record.
"There were fewer laws then, btw."
Fewer written laws.
"I don't think the building blocks are being emphasised in school, Trevor, and I see so much waste of tax-payer money in the school system that it makes me want to puke."
"My son, for example, needs more services to help him overcome his autism than the State is able to "afford" so I know money is necessary to get some things done."
The money is there. If one politician was to pay for their own lunches and dinners then use that money for your child, and probably a couple others then it would greatly improve his life....and yours.
"More money is not going to fix this, Trevor. Only a change in the way we think is going to drive people to push to right the many wrongs we both mentioned with education."
You said that you learned excellent thinking tools in post secondary education system and I'm saying we should use money to make post secondary education available to all? If the needed tools cost money, as in university, then how won't money help? But I too think better grade school and high school ciriculums and teachers are needed.
"These subjects shouldn't be taught unless the student is able to isolate the important facts, knows the "rules" and how to apply them to the facts to reach his or her conclusion. These are the basic building blocks of learning that teach a person to teach themselves."
Yes and something like that is found within either a teaching method or the subject. If something like philosophy continually leaves a question to be answered then often it inspires further thought.
"Basic child-rearing is a fine subject to teach but almost without qualification new parents will tend to follow the examples set by their parents nomatter how much "education" those new parents have received."
I disagree here. Many bad parents seek conselling and go on to be better parents then their parents were. Outside influence is usually the only way to break a cycle. How can you change if you haven't been exposed to an alternative?
"Yeah, but I think, historically, moral decline trickles down from the religious and state leadership to commerce and then to the general public that either reacts apathetically or destructively."
Perhaps we should pick our leaders more wisely then? But take the case of a bad gov't where the people revolt. The morality is formed by the masses....and there has been a ot of revolts hasn't there? It is the very masses that our leaders come from. How often does everyone fully agree with church or state? And since the masses are more accessable than the church or state maybe it is us who give them their morality? Just a thought....can't say if I believe it holds water or not.
"Sounds like another thread, though."
I think almost every sentence written by everyone who has commented on this could be another thread , such a complex and facsinating subject.
"I think it is possible to determine the general source of the problem (again, because I believe in the moral trickledown theory)."
So do I but I don't think problem should be singular. In theory there should be a balncing point where everyone is content and satisfied and productive, etc.
"Outa time here."
Yeah, I think I wore out my quarter as well
Thanks and take care,