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Difference, Dissent and Tyranny

This week on THE JOURNAL, Anouar Majid, professor of English at the University of New England, explains that dissent in communities is vital to maintaining social, cultural and intellectual curiosity. Stifling disagreement and smothering debate, he believes, can have dangerous effects on a civilization:

People who cannot live comfortably with differences always have a tendency to slide into tyranny. That's why we have to maintain vast differences within every prevent those practices from ever taking root.

Yet even though constructive conversation is often desirable, is it always possible? As Bill Moyers asks Professor Majid:

You can't have a conversation with somebody who doesn't think you're human, a conversation with somebody who wants to kill you, somebody who thinks you're subhuman, somebody whose purpose is to manipulate you, right?

How would you answer Bill Moyers' question? We invite you to respond by commenting below.

Photo: Robin Holland


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Where would we be without strong 'Christian' values? 'Faith' groups support EX Miss Calif. even though she posed for racy photos - no problem. Republican Governors committing adultery while badgering others who do the same - no problem. Intentionally lying (Bush and Fallwell against McCain and his wife in 2000) no problem. Supporting a war (Iraq)idiot Bush started off lies that kills our military men and women - no problem.

How pathetic of 'conservative' book house Regency to release a book around CHRISTMAS time on behalf of EX Miss Calif. who failed to fulfill her end of the bargain, not to mention have racy photos taken of herself. Conservatives no doubt will back a hussy lazy girl just because she is against gay marriage. No biggie that she didn't do the job she was supposed to do. No biggie that she posed for nude/semi-nude photos.
Numbskull EX Miss Calif. was stripped of her title because she didn't fulfill her obligations. No Work No Title. Dah!

Interesting how 'Faith' groups have only SOME morals and obey SOME of the commandments. 'Faith' groups are not trying to stop Mormons from having several wives (adultery and perversion there). Plus, forcing underaged girls to marry old men - Disgusting! Funny how some people are allowed to have more than one spouse while some aren't even allowed just one - doesn't seem fair or right. Is the definition of marriage - Between Man and Woman and Woman and Woman? 'Faith' groups supported Bush who LIED to start a war in Iraq which resulted in and continues to result in American Soldiers deaths. 'Faith' groups supported McCain who had multiple affairs while married to his first wife.

I am sure ALL 'Faith' groups people who supported Bush's corrupt war in Iraq, made their children join the military. Otherwise, I can't imagine how disappointed Bushwackers must be in their children who decided to go to college and not join the military.

I've read and contributed to many talk boards and blogs but this one is by far the most intelligent and thought provoking.

On the question of war, it is the most senseless activity, except for the Cheney and Bush types who gain enormously from it but avoid taking part, that man has ever devised. I served in the British army for 25 years and saw my share of murder and mindless slaughter brought about by crasy lunatics aided and abetted by a conditioned public.

Just switch on your television or open a newspaper and there's nothing there but mindless propaganda. Every other nation or nationality is a terrorist or illegal when in fact with the exception of native inhabitants wrongly called indians all americans are illegal since the country was taken by force of arms.

What really makes my blood boil is the acceptance by the world that 19 arabs overcame the military power of the USA on September 11 2001, they didn't.

Would it be ironic if
we had to have a war
to bring Democracy
to America?

Remember, we are the invaders, the enemy.No other country threatened us.Back when Bush was talking about Saddam I felt he was describing himself. And now he is doing the same thing to the Iranian Pres. Guess Bush hasn't started enough wars,he wants to start another one with Iran. A country that has been minding it's own business, has wanted Nuclear power plants for years and been promised help from several past U.S. Presidents. None forthcoming. At least Putin has shown some common sense and so far has put off Bush from building a missle defense system in So.Africa. We have 10,000 wmds, biological & chemical weapons. The largist amt. of weapons in the world yet, Bush wants to attack still anmother country that has none. I'm afaid of no other country or groups of so-called terriorist, only Bush He is the one who has spent seven yrs. committing wars,aiding/abetting wars, violating the nuclear proliferation treaty by building more new nuclear war heads. He has alienated Germany, Italy, & Canada with the abduction, imprisonment & torture of one of their citizens. Which I guess he forgot about his first torture victim-John W. Lindh. He twisted words & meanings in his last 2 mini-speeches. It looks like Pelosi, by not impeaching Bush & Chaney, and stopping the war, and Hilary by talking about bombing Iran are both supporting Bush & Co.

Zach, my man. Looks like you are a trigger happy joker. Blackwater is looking for a few junkies like you. Walk the talk and go get on their payroll. You have probably not traveled outside your state borders and all of a sudden you are expert on foreign cultures and the lay of the land. Iraq's culture is long lasting and richer than what you have been exposed to or will ever be exposed to. Pipe down and stop barking about other cultures. Don't show your ignorance. Guys with views like yours are the root cause for the false sense of gun pride that the guy in the WH and his side kick tout.

The Modern State of Israel is a criminal state which must be destroyed, and the principals of that state prosecuted, tried and hanged… The Holocaust was an inside job that saw the destruction of millions of faithful Jews whose crime was that they saw thru the Zionist plan to establish the MSOI making void the Divine Covenant, by which Jews await The Messiah who will restore the true dignity of the Jewish tribes, now besmirched by thousands of years of Talmudism…

The Talmud being the Book of Hate which keeps Jews nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel, of filth, lies and murder. Benjamin Freedman, says it is a relatively modern document, these references he quotes must be seen as endorsing hatred against the Christian community…

Non Jews rank as animals. They have no property rights… no legal rights under any code whatsoever… Even the best among the Gentiles deserves to be killed… A Jew may lie and perjure to condemn a Christian… Regarding and Gentile property rights, their possessions are… like unclaimed land in the desert… With respect to robbery: if one stole or robbed or seized a beautiful woman, or committed similar offenses, if these were perpetrated by one Gentile against another, the theft, etc., must not be kept, and likewise the theft from an Israelite by a gentile, but theft from a Gentile by an Israelite may be retained… The seed of a Christian is of no more value than that of a beast… A Jew may lie and perjure to condemn a Christian… The name of God is not profaned when lying to Christians… Do not save Christians in danger of death… Jews must always try to deceive Christians…Those who do good to Christians will never rise from the dead… Extermination of Christians is a necessary sacrifice… The Christian birthrate must be materially diminished… abortion.

The previous pope was a Jew his mother was of the Ashkenazi Katz dynasty, during his tenure abortion decimated Europe, North America and Australia… he was a frequent visitor to the White House while it was occupied by the high priest and priestess of abortion genocide, Bill and Hillary Clinton… Slavic indifference to the catastrophe of abortion, is what he had. Maybe he was a Talmudist after all.

Arthur Koestler’s famous book The Thirteenth Tribe, appears to confirm Freedman’s assertion that much of the worldly strife in the past several hundreds of years, is the result of friction between the Khazar people of Eastern Europe who converted to Judaism in 740 AD. And the Sephardic Jews, who are the descendants of Abraham and indigenous to the Middle East… Koestler and his wife both appear to have been murdered shortly after the publication of that book.

Katherine Schweitzer was a Hungarian Jewish lady from Budapest, her whole family was arrested in 1944 by a Jew member of Horsha, the Hungarian thug police, and deported to Auschwitz. She the only member of her family to survive… She told Australian 60 Minutes reporter Richard Carleton, that the Jew who arrested her was living a few doors up on the same street in Sydney… Her story went on the internet on November 30 2006, she was last seen alive 22 December ‘06, her body was discovered in a wheelie bin inside her high security apartment on 28 December 2006. Most likely she was murdered by hostile elements in reprisal for telling the truth, concerned her testimony would encourage other survivors of the so called Holocaust to do the same. And to warn any other Jews who want the truth to come out just what the consequences will be. Maybe Fritz-Harry Cremer is a Mossad agent, and perhaps he talked his way into her apartment and murdered her.

The irony is that the Jews getting behind all this are not Jews at all… Sephardic Jews number around seven percent of the total, the remainder are The Ashkenazi a tribe from Kazakhstan who converted en masse to Judah, when their King espoused that religion in 740 AD. The Zionazi, an extreme sect of the Ashkenazi then usurped the function of the Jewish faith, firstly by establishing themselves as Scribes and Pharisees and lording it over the rest, brutally repressing more moderate elements with pogrom and persecution. Eventually gassing all and any opposition in The Holocaust, then establishing the rogue Modern State of Israel.

Bad people surely but not bad Jews, since they are not Jews at all but are worshipers of Arion the Horse God, offspring of the violent and incestuous union between Poseidon and Demeter his beautiful sister. He had conceived a lust for her, and knowing she would assume the shape of a beautiful mare to gallop across the Earth, he sent spies to watch her. When they reported to him she was in this form, he changed himself into a stallion and raped her. The fierce eye of the Quarter Horse is the inheritance of Arion.

Jew history reveals the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus day were themselves corrupt, who took umbrage at Jesus claim that they were plunderers who were using the mores and traditions of Judah for evil purposes. Claims that DNA evidence has linked the Jews of Jesus era to the modern Ashkenazi, only means that the Khazar infiltration of Judah has been going on a lot longer than the date of 740 AD, usually given as the time of the Khazar conversion. This writer suggests that the Jew residence in Babylon documented in The Bible was the first contact between Jew and Khazar, and it was during this era that enterprising Khazars recognized then took advantage of the vulnerability of Judah, to infiltration and control.

The fact that the Katherine Schweitzer story has had no response since her body was discovered on December 28 last year, leaves the entire Sephardic and Ashkenazi sects within the global Jewish infrastructure without any credit… My purpose is to liberate the Jews from Khazar oppression, and in that respect more resemble The Golem, than any fictional character.


"I mean come on lets not forget the type of people that are in the hell hole of a dessert they call Iraq."

Just how do you know the kind of people in Iraq? How may of them have you met? Have you been there?

I think they had every right to shoot at thoose people because god knows they probably saw someone with a gun or bazzokka. I would have shot the place up to. I mean come on lets not forget the type of people that are in the hell hole of a dessert they call Iraq. Ive said what I have to say. Bye

As an ancient Gnostic who finds the trivial differences between Muslim, Jew and Christian foolish, I can't help but say kudo's to this man.

He had such a nice way of saying the same thing.

After all, there is only one and they all agree on that.

Keep it up Bill, you are my hero.


How can the current executive administration learn from the values of Majid? We are currently a society persisting on economic strengths directly influenced by military campaigns and weapon development. If at once the value were to be placed on open critical analysis, both historical and political, then perhaps we can begin to reassemble the crumbling state of our world community. By hardening its economic values, America continues to endanger itself and the countries it incurs upon. Our country must invest in a personal inquest to revolutionize how we view and approach the world, most especialy the Middle East.

Afterthought: I got so caught up with my comment, that I actually forgot to answer Bill Moyer’s question – I will keep it short & to the point:
It is us who needs to open the dialog. At first it will be hard to gain the trust of pre-conditioned people. They shoot because they are afraid, desperate & brain-washed; made possible by our lack of (promised) support. Let’s reach & entrust in the people of the streets. Tell & show them that they can count on us, when they need our support. By reaching & supporting the people & (rightfully) gaining their trust, we will take the power of those who try to suppress their basic human rights. Only when we/they feel safe do we have a chance to communicate. If you mix black & white you’ll get a soft grey…
Why don’t we find a few minutes, sit down & write a letter of support to an anonymous child, mother or father in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma, North Korea or any other country we feel we don’t understand. A postcard, a letter or a drawing with a kind word is all what it takes. I am sure that any post office will be more than happy to forward it.
TO: Any Mother in
FROM: (your name?)
A Mother in the

Re: Interview with ANOUAR MAJID 10/12/2007
I am a 42 years old female immigrant from Germany, who came to the states about 20 years ago. For the past 15 years or so I found my match with the Jewish way of life, especially or even more so, after I found out (a few years ago) that I am actually of Jewish decent. When I was younger, I was involved in many organizations (e.g. Amnesty Intl, Greenpeace, etc) eager to turn the world into a better one.
In the meantime life happened. I found myself being less & less involved in matters I still stand up for (intellectual, as well as spiritual).
I put my efforts into being kind & to support the needs of my family & friends. I stayed away from heated "world changing discussions", partially due to lack of opportunity & partially due to the fact that I had to be in peace with my own life, first.
It was not until my ex-husband (I haven't spoke to him for years) & I started to communicate over email, which triggered me to defend my beliefs out in the open.
He, my ex husband that is, seemed to have developed a passion
to fight for all kinds of causes. I use the word "fight", because he comes across so angry (fanatic at times). Apparently a few years back he spent a couple of weeks in Palestine, shocked by what he saw (Israeli attacks-defending their own lives). His view is pretty much that the Western world & especially the Jews (Israelis) trying to suppress the Muslim world. Even though our opinions totally clash; the fact that I felt forced to explain myself & listen to his point of view made me want to know more.
Therefore, I found it very refreshing to listen to Mr. Majid's opinion/approach on Western/Islam relations. Instead of pointing the finger (right & wrong), Majid concentrates on the importance of widening our understanding of other cultures/roots of beliefs by means of dialog (versus monolog). Both sides should be interested to encourage mainstream to learn (through exposure; e.g.: media & personal interaction) as much as possible about each other's heritage; the more different the more dialog needs to take place. Majid continues by pointing out why the different governments and/or leaders failing to promote a vibrant exchange.
Instead of stressing our differences, he conveys a sense of (realistic) hope by comparing the similarities of our basic values.
Me, growing up in Germany at the time I did, I was used to a much broader information source than let's say my generation did in the US. Even now, when visiting Europe - people appear to be much more open/informed to discuss any topic in any kind of environment (e.g. bar) regardless of social standing or educational background; it's simply a part of life to be informed & to question.
Due to the fact that the US media is in most parts a very limited/filtered source of information, people who want to be politically involved tend to affiliate themselves to a certain organization and with that (unfortunately) follow an even more filtered source of information ~ which easily can sponsor radical minds.
I personally find Bush so scary since his limited mind (as I see it) leaves very little room for dialog. He is a bully to his alliances & more so to cultures he does not understand. His politics & his manipulative leadership of his own people are against any beliefs this great country was founded on!

I have the pleasure to speak to American Military (all Branches) & their families on a daily basis, since I have retail stores in military bases. It's unbelievable what those families sacrifice for their country~ these people are true heroes! Ask them how they feel about Bush's politics & the war on Iraq/ current situation; you will be surprised what informed (after coming back from the middle east) minds will answer you.

The Bush administration has fostered the believe that we ought to be afraid & to attack before we get run over by the "boogie man". It is only natural that one is inclined to be a little cautious when confronted with an unknown believe system. It should be the government's job to educate (un-bias) their people as much as possible on those countries & to encourage dialog, rather than to use our fists. People who speak out, questioning our politics are called: “un-patriotic"; how wrong is that?

How can we rightfully condemn religious based governments, if our own president constantly holds the bible up in our face? Being a "good" Christian, so we are told, means being a good American - end of discussion! Laws were changed & passed almost un-noticed; tailored to the moral beliefs of the Christian religion (e.g.: gay- & abortion rights, Gun control just to name a few). While we (the people) are busy worrying about terrorist attacks, our rights are slowly molded.

It’s a known fact that people in time of crisis & un-certainty turn to God. A Government that takes advantage of that in order to realize their own ideology does not agree with the fundamentals the United States of America was built on. A powerful country such as ours should be held to higher standards. Without recommendation; If a hungry, desperate person shoots somebody for a piece of bread – it’s a very sad tragedy. But if a rich person kills to gain a $ (and defends himself by saying: “who knows what he would have spent it on”) is pure evil.

Talk to people; find common ground instead of sanctions. How can anybody believe that an attacked country, abounded by their "freedom- loving saviors", left hungry & still suppressed - will not eat up the words of any radical, pointing out their conditions & making it the fault of the western society?

Let's communicate & love our children more, than we hate our enemies!

I can't beat those comments so I'll just say thanks. Gives me something to be proud of the USA for.

Mr. Majid has stolen many thoughts & beliefs from me! I'm so happy he did. And, he added so many fantastic corrolations to the blind obediance to organized religion; like America's corporate excess is indeed equivalent to extreme Muslim religion. America's Christian extremists & Corporations have indeed replaced Queens, Kings & Dictators. Listening to brilliant thinkers like Mr. Anouar Majid makes me believe there may be a God after all! Wake up America, do NOT follow any religion (Christian, Jewdeism, Muslim, Corporate or Materialism) blindly!
Thank you Anouar Majid. We're lucky to have citizens like you.

Dick St. Romain

I would like to belive that most cultures want the same things. Love, Family, beliefs, happiness, safety, employment,and if the entire world aspire for the same goals why is there WAR, HUNGER, CRIME and DISEASE. We must learn to diagree and not be so intolarable.Why do we drown our pain and sorrow on liquor and drugs? Knowingly that it won't help any situation we are going through.Why do we think that we are always right.When I look at my children I feel sorrow because the world seems to hate each other. When I hug them I hope that they never find out what kind of world we live in.A world of no tolerance of just being diffrent, not acceptance but respecting others peoples point of views.

"Could it have been even conceivable to avoid WW-2, by trying to talk to Hitler and his Nazis about their ''Jewish problem'' and other goals like 'global conquest' to restore German 'honor' ?"

Maybe not, but I sure hope it is possible for America to enter into a discussion about our "islam problem" to avoid WW-3.

There is not Hitler on the other side.
This time the agressor is us.

We are the ones killing tens of thousands of people and dismanteling entire cultures this time. Maybe not with the same insane, diabolical cruelty. But then I am not a mother or child in Iraq either it might seem pretty cruel from that perspective.

As to the question, ''Yet even though constructive conversation is often desirable, is it always possible?
I would like to answer that with another question: Could it have been even conceivable to avoid WW-2, by trying to talk to Hitler and his Nazis about their ''Jewish problem'' and other goals like 'global conquest' to restore German 'honor' ?

Another GREAT session, as usual. Among the expressions that struck me most was the term ''economic orthodoxy'' which, as Bill put it, is ''cut-throat capitalism'' and all its arrogant manifestations by way of mindless military 'adventurism', exploitation of poor countries by big corporations through globilisation etc.The conflict between 'rich and poor' will play out, as it always has throughout mankind's history at every micro and macro level in this world. It will depend on wise and mature leadership to take precautionary steps through 'equitable sharing' of global resources and wealth of nations.
Ha, but then, there will always be this evil emotion called G-R-E-E-D in possession of men's hearts to keep them going for more and more and more - - -

My post is a message to Mr. Majib...

How refreshing to hear your thoughts this afternoon in our part of the world... Having lived in Morocco a long time ago you reminded me of that wonderful place of peace. As a young American there, for a year and a half, I would eat, drink, talk and sing with Arabs, Jews and westerners all at the same table... The people I met and enjoyed life with then are still close to my heart.

We lived in Essaouira mainly. But we also had the pleasure of living in the foothills above Tangiers and in Casablanca.

Thank you for your book, your kind thoughts and your efforts for better relations between people. A salam ali cum... I pray for health and long life for you and your family.

Sincerely, D. Dugay

This program is one of your very best, Bill, at least for me. Mr. Majid is so very intelligent, charismatic as well as great teacher. I look forward to reading his book.
Also enjoyed most of the posts tonight!! (esp. Lee J. and Malbone).

Additional arguments supporting Professor Majid's concepts of orhodoxy and heresy can be found in AMERICA FASCISM + GOD, Sermons from a Heretical Preacher by Davidson Loehr - Chelsea Green Publishing Co.,White River Junction, VT. 2005.

The economic orthodoxy that has gotten the US into Iraq is fascism. The orthodoxy we face in Iraq is fundamentalist Islam. To break out of the militaristic face off we currently find ourselves in will require either an acceptance of heresy - or the tolerance of a few heretical views - in both the U.S. and the Islamic countries of the world, or one more catastrophic, cataclysmic event similar to 9/11, The Maine (remember?), or the Golf of Tonkin. If our political leaders can not find a peaceful way out of this, perhaps academics, theologians or true leaders from other areas can come forward to provide the leadership needed.
Moyers for President?

This is a great interview. Bogle is right about how the financial services industry is adding no value to society by trading pieces of paper around. The same argument applies to the $1.5 trillion health care/insurance industry. However I would argue that the latter is far more harmful to society than the former. We can avoid dealing with hedge fund managers all our lives but at some point we have to interact with the health care industry. The blame for rising costs of health care do not lie with the health care insurance companies as is commonly imagined. The insurance companies are here to fulfill a market need caused by expensive doctors who operate in a market which has been manipulated by forces such as the American Medical Association to keep the supply of doctors artificially low. As Milton Friedman the celebrated Nobel Prize winning author so tirelessly pointed out, the AMA is a special interest group which has worked hard to keep the barriers to entry into their profession difficult enough to enjoy an immunity from competition all in the name of protecting consumers. If a true free market were allowed to operate in the case of medicine the high fees that doctors charged would gradually and automatically come down to the point that purchasing health care insurance would be unnecessary. Until a free market is allowed to operate, health care costs will continue to out pace inflation.

An enjoyable interview, and an ingenious use of the word "heretic" by Majid - particularly in reference to issues that extend well beyond religion, and yet are touched by it almost inextricably.

However, I wonder if Majid, with Moyers in tow, sets up an apparent contradiction here. In order to enrich and balance society, must one, as a virtue, only assume a role of "dissent"? If so, dissent against what, exactly, since the idea of dissent implies a minority in strong disagreement with a larger, more pervasive and prevailing thought?

To put it a different way, over the past 3+ decades I've watched America create two new virtues: tolerance and pluralism - almost to the level of tyrannical social orthodoxy.

I've spent the better part of my life "in dissent" against these two new orthodoxies. To consider a converse usage of the principle of heresy... is there any tolerance left for someone whose viewpoint might be tagged as "fundamentalist"?

Ah, I've given myself away... or have I? Or does it really matter?

I wish everyone including Majid and Moyers would read Ken Wilber's book "Integral Spirituality" and other works by him - also the ideas of Beck and Cowan, "Spiral Dynamics". There are LEVELS of DEVELOPMENT and GROWTH , each level is more inclusive, deeper, larger, more rational (the higher levels are trans-rational or mystical which include but surpass rationality.) It's all quite clear. One can map where a culture is religious/spiritually, culturally, economically, intellectually, etc. (Economics is the most controversial and undeveloped discipline/domain at this point discussed in these meta-theories). The European enlightenment of the 17th century was a fulcrum from dogma to rationality, for instance. Fundamentalism of any kind is pre-modern, i.e. medieval.

Correction: Moyers talked way too much to Donaldson - Robert Kuttner did not talk enough.
Donaldson screwed up the SEC when he would not enforce the rules.

Moyers talked way too much to Donaldson - Robert Kuttner talk enough.
Donaldson screwed up the SEC when he would not enforce the rules.

Heresy? What has happened to me, being a critical thinker, is that I was tagged as a trouble maker, not directly, but ostracized for it by those in power. Not acts of direct violence, but it is more subtle. It is painful and traumatic.

In working on The Firefighter Story, I have found an alternative. Balancing content and character to engage young adults and the young at heart in an inspirational story about what it takes to be a good leader.

I have been told many times that it is best not to discuss religion or politics at dinner, yet many times dinner is preceeded by a prayer.

And ONE other thought:

A universe united by the truth of equality would have no reason for dissent!


All the commentary on last night's program was stimulating, especially Majid. Please people, elect a president who can converse intelligently with world leaders, who will keep religion separate from politics, who has insight and creative thinking abilities to change our world w/o bloodshed, and to solve the real problems of this country like our debt and the social issues. All we hear from the current slate of candidates is "same old", the tweaking of politics as usual.

Pardon me if this angle has been presented prior---after just watching the interview--I have to ask if maybe the human craves a tyrranny--? Americans, free to choose their religion, have united in capitalistic a moral high road and a uniting force. How do we till the mental terra firma without alienating the patriotic? How do we embrace the fear to question?

It is nice to read so many well-thought-out comments on a blog (for a change.)

We live in 'interesting' times. I have seen evidence of much of what other writers have written here.

But the truth is, if we cannot find a way to enter the consciousness of those who refuse to hear, there won't be enough people who employ their critical thinking skills to stem the tide of what appears to be a looming disaster.

I am reminded of a couple of quotes:

"In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." (George Orwell, I think).

"there are none so blind as those who refuse to see."

I guess we have to just try to keep getting the message out there, and hope it hits pay dirt with people. The ones who need to hear it the most, they aren't listening.

This discussion reminds me of a Monty Python quote that I will probably butcher.

"I strongly believe that most right thinking people are generally wrong."

It goes without saying that under the definition of "heresy", as presented by Mr. Majid and Mr. Moyers, Jesus was a heretic to church orthodoxy.

My own "belief" echos some previous posters' sentiments. That is, vanity is believing that you or I (or the person you or I were "so smart" to believe in) can impose your or my "chosen" religion or your or my "selection" of religious (or nonreligious) beliefs to the detriment of others.

If the Golden Rule has a subtext under belief systems themselves it might be this: reciprocal religious respect.

In other words. Accept that you or I and the "God" "you or I" were "so smart to select" (or fell upon through blind or ordained chance)may not have a monopoly on the truth for others.

Pat Robertson, if I may, seems a bit too sure of "his" choice in message and God. I am almost certain even Pat would admit there are many smarter individuals than himself, and yet he speaks as though his choice in God and message is unquestionably correct, and other individuals (perhaps a great deal smarter than him) are flat wrong. This is truly the height of vanity. The same should be said to (Robertson like) orthodox Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc.

It really ultimately comes down to you and me. Am "I" really so vain to believe that "my" selection of Christianity and the interpretation "I" have come to follow is correct simply because "I" chose it? Are "you"?

We cannot hide behind "our" "intelligent" "choice" of God to protect us from vanity, because it all begins and ends on this planet as "our" choice.

Sit alone in a room and ask yourself if you are the smartest person in the world. If the answer is no, (or probably not, or even maybe I am, but I have been known to be wrong), than I suggest you not impose "your" "smartly" chosen religion nor "your" "intelligently" chosen religious interpretations (nor that of the Pastor, Minister or Cleric "you" were "so smart to choose")to the detriment of others.

It is just a suggestion.

This was a great interview, thanks Bill.

Mr. Majid is operating under a very Eurocentric mentality and American mythology. He thoroughly romanticizes and glamorizes the American revolution as the "miraculous greatest gift to American civilization". What a naive and ignorant statement. I can't believe he describes the American economic system as "global". He says he is fascinated by America. What a childish perception. His crazy hypothesis, as he so characterizes is based on this. He seems to represent complete ignorance of European/American racism and imperialism. He only quotes Adam Smith. My goodness, he is so uninformed about the truth of America's genocidal, imperialist, racist, proselytizing beginnings. He was a very poor guest to have on Bill Moyers Journal, who usually seems to have more “balanced” intellectuals.

the solution to every problem you can think of is

The Robotic Wageless Economy

stop by and help make it happen sooner

Funny how no one mentions the deregulation of Ronald Regan during his Presidency. I remember going to the grocey store & was told by the butcher "we can sell you anything we want since deregulation".

I had never heard of Professor Majid but seeing him on PBS convinced me he is a tremendously clear thinker.

Absolutism leads to tyranny and turbulence. The terror after the French Revolution -- in the name of freedom -- led to a much worse history for France until 1871 than befell the US, even counting the Civil War.

And absolutists need and even encourage absolutism in their enemies in order to provoke a greater battle. That's why Christian fundamentalists feed on the spectre of Muslim fundamentalism, and vice versa.

Ultimately the dissenters in society forge the most creative links with the best in other societies. The Beat revolution in the 1950s, and the Beatles' famous embrace of Indian gurus, led to a great acceptance of Zen and other Eastern religions that have enriched the West far more than the apocalyptic visions of the Christian Right.

It's very hard for a nation to deliberately foster dissent. It happened in the US in 1789 with the Bill of Rights, in Czechoslovakia after the Velvet Revolution, and perhaps in Germany and Japan after the Second World War. Each of those episodes has strengthened those societies.

We need to find the dissenters in every society around the world, and talk to them over and over, whether their governments or ours approve or not. A single conversation like that Bill Moyers had with Professor Majid can have an enormous impact far into the future.

Human beings always push things until they break.

I have always felt very uncomfortable with discussions when two people strongly disagree. I have avoided these conversations like the plague.

but everytime I have ever had one of these discussions, and it hasn't gotten too out of hand.(and sometimes when it does), I always walk away a deeper person. and when I have had a night or two to reflect upon what they have have said to me, I rethink everything I said and I realize I am not right and that the person I talked with has been offering me something that enriches me everytime. and it has never failed.

though it is hard everytime because of my struggle with conflict, it never ceases to be valuable to me in my relationships to all people and myself.

God, give me courage to talk to everyone and to be honest and speak in such a way that allows them to speak the truth to me. and let me not forget what i learn.

I facilitate a prison program called Alternatives to Violence Project. When I listen to others I try to make myself a safe place for them to say and do what is truly within them. I have found no one tells the truth unless they feel safe.
Let me be a refuge for all in my heart.

What would the world be like today had the president after 9/11 said:

"It's important for us all to understand each other and to do that we have to talk, to communicate.

Let all the mosques in America open their doors to Christians, to Jews and people of any faith. Let them hold conversations with each other to understand and learn about each other, our faiths, our hopes and dreams, our similarities, our wishes.

Let all of us get together and find out how we can help reach greater understanding among Muslims of the world, and use our treasure not for war but for cultural exchanges, for assistance to those in need of more opportunity.

Let us hold interagency, governmental and nongovernmentsl conferences at every level of society. Let the government and private foundations pay for people from Muslim countries to visit America and for Americans to visit them.

Let us use common sense and good will to come together and drive out the demons of fear, oppression and poverty. Let us aid each other in a quest for understanding and brotherhood of all peoples. And let us begin with ourselves, our families, our schools and businesses, churchs and neighbors.

God bless us ALL."

That's what I would have said, as soon as I recovered my initial shock. But I am not a warmonger and I do not have stock in corporations that thrive on war industry.

I have heard several heads,or representatives of other countries, on Democracy Now. Surprisingly they all speak of peace and verbal communication as a way to achieve this.This program taped Armiminjad's speach almost in it's entirety. Aside from his gaffs re: gays and the Holacaust, it had substance and common sense . I'm sure the reason he said the subject of wmds was closed was because an inspection was done with neg. results. They all appear to be intelligent and highly informed about other countries. Unfortunately we are stuck with a leader who does not have the knowledge or ability to communicate with others. One leader stated the taliban were trying to negotiate politically. However with our continued bombing more people are going to the Taliban organization. Bush is supporting a military leader in Pakistan creating mayhem. Bombing and killing hundreds of innocents in those countries we invaded, assisting Ethiopia and Israel in killing people, alienating approximately ten other countries calling them names is hardly the way to achieve peace. If Bush wants to see evil he should look in the mirror. Make sure you vote for a President who can speak to every leader in the world.

To comment on Majid, I see his point and agree. However slideing into tyranny is up for debate.
I agree with Moyers, anyone who would judge a person as not human or subhuman has eigther a mental disability or is just an imbicile. Also if that person wants to kill or manipulate you, the possiblility of a genuine conversation is slim to none. Its doubtful this person will put any thought or heart into the conversation, that is if you can get them to speak at all.
These sort of people generally have a problem with change, and thats what the world is about... change.

Good comment. There is no problem with religion but there is a big problem with people who distort the truth to support actions that are inconsistent with the teachings of their prophets. Distorters come to conclusions that are not consistent with the premises of their religion. It is the old ploy of mob psychology to support death and destruction. We are not civilized until we quit killing each other to solve problems.

You have to have the capacity to think in abstract terms to allow for the possibility that you might be wrong. Most adults never get past the median level of moral and ethical development. They accept their values from a given external authority - the church, the bible, the law, the consensus reality, etc. - and they not only never learn to question that authority, they are threatened by anyone who does. This is the source of the fundamentalists' hatred of what they call "moral relativity" - they can't conceive of any idea except the one they were given as they grew up, and have been taught that deviating from it will land them in hell, in jail, etc. They want their morality carved in stone, and believe it was, by "god himself."

The greatest danger to the world right now is this form of fundamentalism, no matter who practices it. It isn't the belief that defines these people, but their insistence on concrete concepts and inability to step beyond the world as they know it and conceive of another point of view. I've met atheist fundamentalists and Christians who could embrace other ideas. It's not what they believe but how they believe that makes the difference.

Unfortunately, the prevailing systems, ALL rooted in Abrahamic patriarchal values, are usually circular. They define anyone who deviates from the prescribed code as "evil" and once you've labeled the other as either a deceiver or the deceived, you stop listening. The challenge is how to get them to make that cognitive shift necessary to consider that they might be wrong, without convincing them that you are saying their deity, or government, might be wrong.

So how do we do it? How do we get the majority of adults in the world to develop the capacity for abstract thought they should have developed in their late teens? How do you teach imagination to someone who thinks they know all they need to and who is suspicious of "higher education?"

The only thing I can think of is that we have to show them the cracks in their own armor. For example, the American fundamentalist thinks that Islam is a foreign or evil religion. In fact, it's all a part of the same Abrahamic line that moves from Judaism to Christianity to Islam and Mormonism. Each variation was based on a subsequent book of "revealed" concepts that followed the first, or "old," testament. Christians and Muslims have more in common than they realize, and the dangers they present to the world at large are identical.

There is nothing in scriptural Christianity or Islam that has to create these problems. Jesus taught peace and tolerance for people who differed. Mohammed encouraged equal education of girls and boys and also urged peace and modesty. So why are Christian ministers advocating war, and Muslim clerics burning down girls' schools and beating women who don't wear burkas? Because they don't understand the religion they profess to be practicing. They're taking the word of some cleric or other as if it were gospel, without ever knowing that what they're being taught is not actually a part of their professed religion.

So that leads to the idea that we need to educate people about their own religion. The problem then arises that they get really angry when they find out what's really in those books. They also don't trust people outside their own group, so anyone with enough knowledge of comparative religions would be an "elite liberal" and therefore automatically not trusted, so we're back at square one.

Then, of course, there's the hypocrisy of the so-called devout (fill in the blank.) Does anyone believe that the Evangelical soldiers who harrass non-Christians in the military are chaste? The bible forbids fornication, but the same soldiers who profess to be so religious are sleeping around, raping and committing war crimes. How is it that adultery and fornication never seem to be a problem for these neo-conservatives? They're certainly reading a different bible than the one I've read.

Half the Republicans that oppose gay marriage are closeted gays themselves. The Congress people who have the power to end this war are taking money from defense contractors. The media is owned by the same people who are benefitting from Bush's obscene tax cuts for the wealthy. Our Constitution is in shambles and no one seems to understand that we're living under an authoritarian regime. Halliburton gets paid more the longer we're in Iraq, and they make money whether we're winning or not. The powers that be have a vested interest in keeping us there as long as possible.

Honestly, I think we have a better chance of getting through to the Muslim population than we do to our own. They may be extreme in their beliefs, but at least they really practice those beliefs. Americans think they're going to heaven no matter what they do.

Coming from a non-Abrahamic belief system as I do, you have no idea how frustrating this world is right now. I don't expect anyone to agree with my religion, but I wish they'd wake up and figure out what they do believe and what that means. We're on the brink of destruction because of misinterpretations, misconceptions and out-right lies -- but then, no one is going to listen to me because I'm a Pagan.

So, Mr. Moyers, you have the platform. What can you do to educate people about religion and its role in this conflict? Do you have any ideas on how to create the cognitive changes necessary to get people out of their good vs. evil, black and white, right and wrong patriarchal dichotomies? This problem has more than two sides, and nearly everyone involved only sees one of them anyway.

The Iraq Occupation and the Coming War Against Iran
Political Wickedness and Moral Bankruptcy
By Rodrigue Tremblay (read this very informative/interesting article after the “Just War Theory”)
The U.S. Congress should wake up before it is too late. When armaments are in the hands of immoral people, the danger is high that a nuclear war could be launched. Indeed, people in power who have no morality and no judgment can be expected to do anything, including killing millions of people, to save face.
Just WAR Theory (A brief historical review of sovereignty-issue treaties -- see below for the text of each section-link):
1. Just WAR Theory:
Does the Bush administration have the right under international law to attack and invade a sovereign nation in order to change its government? On March 20, 2003, a U.S.-led war against Iraq began when cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs were fired at the city of Baghdad and its surroundings. Since this war hasn't been formally approved by an international court of justice or by the United Nations, isn't the U.S. government in a legal quandary by having U.S.-led forces invade and the U.S. military occupy another country? A basic tenant of the United Nations Charter is the protection it accords to the domestic sovereignty of its member states. Therefore, changing the governments of member countries isn't one of the prerogatives of the UN; changing the governments of sovereign countries is even less a prerogative of the United States. The UN Charter is very clear. It outlines the cardinal rule of international law that the territorial integrity of all states must be respected. No international order is possible without this principle. Article 2.3 and Article 2.4 of the charter stipulate that:
2.3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
2.4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the UN.

In arrogating the right to overthrow the Iraqi government and depose of Saddam Hussein by force, the Bush administration is violating international law and the UN Charter.

Until the Kosovo precedent of "humanitarian international military intervention" within a sovereign state to protect the basic human rights of minorities (but not to overthrow its government), specialists in international law knew only two exceptions to this comprehensive prohibition of state-sponsored violence: The first exception is every state's natural right to self-defense (Article 51 of the charter). The second exception concerns the collective coercive measures of the UN according to articles 42 and 53 of the charter. Accordingly, the UN Security Council can allow certain member states or regional alliances to use force. This was the reason that the United States and British governments were anxious to obtain some majority support from the fifteen-member Security Council. Without such a seal of approval, a U.S. invasion of Iraq would appear to the rest of the world as being an illegal and illegitimate act of aggression. Under international law, no single individual country can legally use force against another, outside of these narrow situations, without provoking ipso facto a return to international anarchy.

Why does the U.S. government seem determined to undermine the international legal system, with its preemptive war against Iraq, even when the UN doesn't back the United States up? That is a question that will need to be answered in the years ahead. For the United States, the stakes are high. There is no other country in the world that benefits more from the system of international law. U.S. economic and financial interests are substantial and worldwide. The last thing the United States needs is a regression of international relations toward anarchy and the rule of brute force.

It is a terrible mistake for the Bush administration to be so shortsighted as to believe that the United States will be able to prosper in a world devoid of international legal order, relying solely on its military might to defend its legitimate interests. If the administration's planners follow the dangerous precedent that others before them have applied with disastrous results (for example, Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy, and Nikita Khrushchev in Russia), they will be launching the United States on a mine-filled journey it will sooner or later deeply regret. Other nations in the future, when they become powerful enough, will inevitably attempt to follow in the United States' footsteps and invoke their own precedent for unilateral military action against any sovereign nation they choose.

Where would the world be then? Back to the nineteenth century and possibly back to the middle of the seventeenth century, before the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The latter was signed after the end of the European Thirty Years (religious) War. It incorporated the basic principles of the sovereignty of nation states, internationally binding treaties between states, and nonintervention of one state into the internal affairs of other states. Indeed, the Treaty of Westphalia is crucial in the history of international political relations. This important treaty formed the basis for the modern international system of independent nation states. It marked the beginning of an international community of law between sovereign nations of equal legal standing, guaranteeing each other their independence. Two new regulations were proclaimed: the principle of sovereignty and the principle of equality among nations.

Thus, the treaty defined these new regulations of sovereignty and equality among states in order to establish a durable, eternal peace and friendship among them, within a mutually acceptable system of international law based on globally binding treaties. This was a revolutionary approach to worldwide relations because, for the first time, it established a system that relied on international law rather than on brute force and the right of the strongest to regulate interactions between states.
Another principle was also present in the Treaty of Westphalia--the idea that magnanimity, concessions, and cooperation had to be relied upon by the victorious parties in order to achieve an enduring peace. It was really the beginning of a genuine international constitution for humanity and the advent of a new international order. After the Thirty Years War, religion became less a politically motivating force behind conflicts between European states, being replaced by considerations of national interest. In a way, international affairs became secularized and somewhat devoid of religious considerations after 1648. If the United States were to declare to be de facto above international law and claim the right to provoke regime changes in other sovereign countries, this would be an illegal and illegitimate objective. Regime change as a goal of military intervention violates the system of international relations, not only since the advent of the UN but also since the Westphalia Peace Treaty.
The principle of nation-state sovereignty has been the foremost stabilizing principle in the world for three and a half centuries, ever since 1648, and was solemnly reiterated by the Helsinki Conference of 1975. However, the current U.S. administration openly defies and challenges this fundamental principle under two pretexts. First, the United States has a special place among nations because it is the major defender of liberty and democracy around the world and, second, because it devotes the largest amounts of resources to military expenditures. These two considerations are deemed sufficient by its leaders to serve as a justification for U.S. unilateral behavior around the world.
A little more than a quarter of a century ago, on August 1, 1975, the international community adopted the ten Helsinki principles, which went further than the UN Charter of 1945 in guaranteeing the borders and territorial integrity of all existing states. However, the Helsinki principles contained a quid pro quo. For example, in order for their borders to be respected, sovereign states must respect the human rights of minorities within those borders. Nevertheless, the Helsinki principles--of which thirty-three European countries plus the United States and Canada are signatories--are of paramount importance because they played a fundamental role in opening up the communist bloc to liberty and freedom. This has been confirmed by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev who believed that the Helsinki principles ushered in basic reforms within the Soviet bloc--reforms that wouldn't have taken place otherwise.
The Helsinki accords proclaim fundamental individual rights and the concomitant principle that these rights can't be imposed by violating the principle of national sovereignty. In addition, they explicitly state that participating states will refrain "from any intervention, direct or indirect, individual or collective, in the internal or external affairs falling within the domestic jurisdiction of another participating state, regardless of their mutual relations. Countries will accordingly refrain from any form of armed intervention or threat of intervention against another participating state."
The Western powers, the United States in particular, were very anxious to have the noninterference clause introduced explicitly in international law. They hoped that such a clause might reduce the chance that the Soviet Union would again intervene in the affairs of Eastern European countries, as it had in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Indeed, according to the infamous 1968 Brezhnev Doctrine, the Soviet government, not unlike the U.S. government today, had asserted its right to intervene where there could be internal or external forces hostile to communism. Replace the word communism with the United States and the 1968 Brezhnev Doctrine morphs into the 2002 Bush Doctrine. The Soviet government proclaimed its right to intervene unilaterally against any country that threatened its empire; the U.S. government proclaims its right to intervene unilaterally against any country that threatens its security. The principles of international relations have changed considerably: the Soviet empire no longer exists, and the United States is openly aspiring to become one. The U.S. government is now challenging the very concept of sovereignty that it supported not long ago because it wants more sovereignty and freedom of action for itself and less for other countries. The Bush administration acts as if it never understood the reasons why democracy won against communism. For example, there can't be basic human rights without peace and there can't be a durable peace without respecting the sovereignty of nations.
There are many other important matters to be considered before rushing toward an illegal war against a sovereign nation.
People with a religious bent sometimes refer to the ancient and medieval concept of just or righteous war when they want to validate an offensive and aggressive action. The concept of just war was crafted at a time when the technology of violence was much less advanced than today and pertains to defending battle along Christian moral principles. Religions purposefully forbid doing to others what one doesn't want to be done to oneself and, as in Paul's biblical writings, one must not render evil for evil but overcome it with good (Romans 12:17 and 21). However, war's central action is to inflict suffering and death on other people, so it isn't easy to justify war and military murder in the name of Christianity. Historically, some religious scholars--especially after the Roman Catholic Church became identified with the Roman Empire---attempted to devise arguments to justify wars under certain conditions. (See Mister Thorne's article "Athiests in Foxholes, Christians in Uniform," page nineteen, for the just war principles.)
Augustine (354-430 CE), the originator of just war theory, contended that even cases of individual self-defense of life or property are never a justification for killing one's neighbor. Moreover, Augustine stated that the only reason for waging a war would be to defend the nation's peace against serious injury. Therefore, there are very few instances when a country is justified in attacking another. During the Middle Ages, scholastic philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, Francisco Suarez, and Francisco de Vitoria further developed just war theory. According to Aquinas' book On War, a war of self-defense needs "no special moral justification;" however, an offensive war should be viewed only as a defensive measure.
Nowadays, with the tremendous destructive power of modern weapons, such principles of just war are irrelevant and can't be invoked to launch aggressive wars. It is obvious that the use of nuclear weapons is morally prohibited under any circumstances because they are designed to kill innocent people indiscriminately. Even the "smart" bombs that certain U.S. military people boast about are morally indefensible and unjust. According to the Pentagon, such smart bombs miss their targets more often than they hit them. Such is also the case with cluster bombs; at least 5 percent of them explode days or weeks after impact and are often picked up by civilians or unsuspecting children. The same can be said about landmines, which kill more noncombatants than combatants. The moral conclusion is clear: sophisticated modern weapons have rendered modern warfare obsolete because it is no longer waged between armies but against civilian populations. Political thinkers who say aggressive wars are justified in theory and in practice are misguided. There can't be a just war under modern conditions and circumstances.
In the aftermath of World War II, Pope Pius XII declared, "The enormous violence of modern warfare means that it can no longer be regarded as a reasonable, proportionate means for settling conflicts." And Pope John XXIII's encyclical Pacem in Terris also condemns wars of aggression: "Therefore in this age of ours, which prides itself on its atomic power, it is irrational to think that war is a proper way to obtain justice for violated rights." One can safely say, therefore, that just war theory has been completely eliminated from religious or, for that matter, secular morality. What is left is the moral concept of self-defense and defensive wars, but only when there is proportionality between the needs to secure a country's peace and the means to do so.
In conclusion, when the Bush administration develops arguments to launch aggressive wars all over the world, it can't do so according to the basic principles of international law, nor can it do so according to fundamental principles of morality and justice. The United States now runs the risk of transforming itself into an international rogue state. The greatest success of the Islamic al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001, wasn't the killing of three thousand innocent people but rather the transformation of a great and free democratic nation into a neoconservative and fascist society.
Rodrigue Tremblay is emeritus professor of economics and of international finance at the Universite de Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in California. This article is adapted from his forthcoming book Behind Bush's War, initially published in French in 2003.

He is also the author of numerous professional articles and books, including a basic textbook in economics.

View more issues: Jan-Feb 2003, March-April 2003, July-August 2003
Bibliography for "Just war theory"
Rodrigue Tremblay "Just war theory". Humanist. May-June 2003. 10 Oct. 2007.
Continued from page 5. Previous - 5 - 6

All other freedoms are dependent on the freedom of speech and the right to be heard. Truth is an essential element of effective communications.
When the truth is distorted and corrupted by lies; there is no bases for correct understanding and arriving at the right action for the situation is impossible.
Survival is always dependent on the correct response to a given situation. People formulate conclusions from given premises and the premises need to be consistent with reality.
Otherwise, we ar ignorant fools groping in the dark.

Dear Friends,

When you send out weekly notices via e-mail of Bill Moyers' programs, please send them in larger type. They are so small that my old eyes have a difficult time reading them.



Albert A. Bartlett

If someone has chosen to edit you out of their worldview, it's pretty difficult to break into it. I've seen this with misogynists: my wife will say something that makes sense, they ignore it. I repeat what she said and it suddenly makes sense to them because it was spoken by a man. When there is someone who is blind because they will not see, you have to find an alternative means of communication (shunning, boycotting, voting for their rival candidate, get an advocate to whom they'll listen, etc.) or shock their worldview until it cracks (public demonstrations, etc.).

On the surface it does appear that it is impossible to communicate with someone who denounces another's human value, but like most common sense approaches it is more complex.
Speaker Angry and Speaker Belittled can communicate with one another if the environment is right. One on one communication is fair easier than communication in the presence of a peer group.
Since we are humans, we have common experiences which can breach intolerant icebergs within the sea of communication.
Once two people realize that they are not under attack, they become relaxed and less defensive.
Another obstacle to communication is the lack of empathy. There is a background to all views and perspectives, whether they are right or wrong. To approach a person who does not value another's humanity with condensation is quite counter-productive since defense mechanisms will be employed.
When communicating with someone with a rigid view it is most productive to ask the simple question "Can you tell me why you feel that way, so I can understand your points more clearly?"

Then the hard part comes in-Listening.

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