Saturday, March 05, 2011

Note to Wanderers

[ originally posted to the Wanderers list ]

Greetings Wanderers --

I'm in the "Quaker Vatican" as some wryly refer to this place, Friends Center in Philadelphia.

Over lunch we (those at our table) talked some about how this myth, that slavery is a thing of the past, needs to be exploded. Human trafficking and forced labor without rights are commonplace, including in North America.

Slavery is alive and well.

That's important to acknowledge in Quakerdom, which has specialized in fighting slavery over the centuries. Our work is not done -- far from it.

Here's a blog post, FYI:

You'll notice I refer to the "criminal syndicates" behind nuclear weapons stockpiling, testing and proliferation. This is a logical extrapolation of the Linus Pauling philosophy (to identify such WMD production as criminal activity -- a tautology really).

Yes, much engineering is of a criminal nature (obviously), but then much engineering is vitally life-supportive.

I think of medical science as another kind of engineering, shifting the meanings as usual. I see no reason to talk the way everyone else does, somewhat unthinkingly.

Per my remarks on "climate change", I don't buy the idea of "climate" either, as long as there's any question whatsoever about whether humans have drastically altered it. Of course they have. Just look out any airplane window.

We have an ecosystem, a biosphere. Distilling everything to a debate about global temperature is mind-numbing (and deliberately so, I'd argue, a trend encouraged by those who gain by narrowing the discourse).

Likewise our definition of "torture" is corrupt, if it neglects to include slow death by starvation as one of its forms. Malign neglect of the starving is effectively a pro-torture position.

[ funny story: the neighbors started referring to the building on Stark Street as "the torture church" thanks to this sign, subsequently removed ].

On Sunday I get to attend a meeting of the Ben Franklin Thinking Society.