Statement of Belief
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During the Middle Ages in Europe, the drink of choice was alcohol. In France and other areas that grew grapes, wine was the dominant drink, while beer and ale were popular further north. Drinking water was actually rare, as it was believed that alcoholic beverages were cleaner than water and more filling. The result of this belief was constant drunkenness among the European population.
In Yemen in the middle of the 1400s, a new drink that was made from coffee beans was beginning to become quite popular. The Yemenis were roasting and then boiling coffee beans in water to produce a drink that was rich in caffeine, a stimulant that causes the body to have more energy and the brain to think more clearly. Through the 1400s and 1500s, coffee spread throughout the Muslim world, and coffee shops began to pop up in major cities. These coffee shops became a center of urban society, as people met there to socialize and enjoy the company of others.
By the 1600s, these coffee houses had spread to Europe as well. Although there was initial resistance to drinking a “Muslim drink” in Christian Europe, the beverage caught on. The coffeehouses became a central aspect of the Enlightenment, particularly in France. Whereas previously Europeans had been drinking alcohol regularly, they now met in coffee houses, where they discussed philosophy, government, politics, and other ideas that were the cornerstones of the Enlightenment. French Enlightenment philosophers such as Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau were all regular customers at the coffeehouses of Paris.
Were it not for this drink from the Muslim lands, Europe might never have had the Enlightenment, as the philosophers would never have met to discuss ideas, nor had the mental clarity (due to alcohol consumption) to think philosophically.
It is so unfair that something like water is automatically halal – – – – How can an honest god-fearing racist or bigot be expected to drink it with a clear conscience?
Going through some old computer files I came across this and I thought to myself, ‘This is what I am living through at the moment.’
Then I realised I had found it somewhere in 2006. Which is interesting because 2006 to 2018 is a shorter length of time as from 1933 to 1943.
Think about that for a minute, then read what is was I found. I wish I could remember where I found it back in 2006.
It was the formula Hitler used, and it still works today. It is, in fact, the most consistently reliable way for demagogues to gain power. It works because it’s gradual but relentless, and progressively absorbs – and then intimidates or co-opts – both government and the media.
For example, Milton Mayer, an American Jew and writer who extensively interviewed German Jews who survived Hitler’s era in his book They Thought They Were Free, noted that:
What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….
As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:
This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. …
To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
In this conversation, Mayer’s friend suggests that he wasn’t making an excuse for not resisting the rise of the fascists, but simply pointing out an indisputable reality. This, he suggests, is how fascism will always take over a nation.
“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”
“Yes,” I said.
“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. …
“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” …
ISIS is winning.
Just as they are losing the battles on the ground they are about to win the battles of the minds.
We pesky Westerners have been free-thinking, free-speaking and free-voting people for two or three centuries. ISIS represents a re-evolved world-view where religious correctness supersedes political freedom eerily reminiscent of the Catholic Inquisition of the Middle Ages.
By playing on our supposed fears, by using random terror attacks, they have given our political leaders the freedom to curtail all our freedoms and impose a political and security regime which matches the wishes of those leading ISIS. Hate speech is also to be banned.
Therese May, Donald Trump and now Malcolm Turnbull are all promoting a scheme which will see Social Media, in all its forms, responsible for removing any content which relates to terrorists and their actions. Good! I hear you say. Terrorists should not be able to plan their attacks on the internet. Maybe not, but we should be aware of the unintended consequences.
Our leaders are calling for greater regulation and transparency on the internet. This is code for opening sites like Tor to Government inspection. Algorithms will be developed and the privacy of terrorists will be compromised. To find those terrorists, ALL the internet will need to be open to inspection. That includes all our internet dealings. Those passwords we use to do our banking, Our private dealings on the internet. All our opinions as expressed on the internet. And while we may not plan a terrorist attack, how long will it be before hate speech is re-defined to suit those in power?
That may all be good because we will eventually overcome the terror threat. Yet what is the definition of a terror threat? What is the definition of hate speech? That can be widened at some time in the future, possibly the near future, to include overthrowing an unpopular Government. Campaigning against a sitting Government. Legally overthrowing a Government. At the ballot box. Anyone campaigning against their previously elected Government could be accused of a form of terrorism or of hate speech. Leaders of Nations do not like losing their power.
That is where this move to regulate the internet and open it to Government inspection will inevitably lead. The algorithm will be tweaked to include this movement and then that movement and then the other movement. It is the creation of the algorithm in the first place which will set all this in motion.
Satirists, commentators, meme-makers, cartoonists will all be in the firing line, regardless of their political affiliations. Freedom will be lost. And those in charge of ISIS will cheer because they will have won.
Even then there is yet another inevitable danger. Every Government collection of the data of our lives has been hacked by criminals. Normally after they have gained access to secret Governmental data-mining programs. How much of the data collected from the soon to be ‘transparent’ internet will remain in Government hands?
How soon will that transparency be in the hands of those who wish us ill?