Author Edip Yüksel has been found guilty of insulting then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as the legacy of Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in a series of posts on both Twitter and Facebook. A court has sentenced the writer to three years and six months in prison.
The American people don’t see much they can do to counter the pressures of greed and power that tracks them daily from debt to debt, from lower standards of living to outright penury, from denial of critical healthcare to the iron collar of the cruel credit score, from inscrutable, computerized bills to fine-print contracts trapping their sense of unfairness into waves of frustrations, from being put on hold by the companies until they’re told no, no, no or penalty, penalty, penalty!
No religion, culture or mythology should be granted immunity if they are used to make others suffer without their consent. No country or community should be able to get away with racism, oppression, or child abuse in the name of a religion, majority, local laws, classes, or other constructed social norms and cultures.
In this article I will demonstrate the corruptive role of money in our democracy and call for a solution. Though there are a number of plans proposed for campaign finance reforms, I think they are doomed to fail, since the elections, by their very nature are money dependent and money will ultimately find legal or illegal loop holes to influence the system. The unfortunate holdings of the Supreme Court blessing financial contributions as an exercise of one’s First Amendment right make it almost impossible to stop the war of money against the democracy. Here, I will suggest a radical alternative, lottery elections for the House members.
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue faith, love and holiness with propriety.” (1 Timothy 2:11-15).
The next American Revolution, the economic rights and justice movement will not be the reincarnation of bankrupt Marxist ideology, since its extreme ideals created big bureaucracies, authoritarian regimes, prisons, corruption, disappointment, and destruction. The era of black and white television has long past, and there are promising alternatives to capitalism and communism: myriad flavors of social democracies.
There is something attractive in this highly liberating paradigm. I see the color of anarchism not black but neon orange! I like the rebellious youth in anarchism, its courage to challenge established traditions, laws, and cultures; its determination to choose for self and take responsibility for own actions. It reminds me the proverb “whatever I like the most is either illegal, or immoral, or fattening!”
Above are two sets of excerpts from Pannikar, a Hindu-Christian theologian. Though belonging to the same author, the first excerpt impressed me with its brilliance and the second dissappointed me with its fallacy.
As a person who is familiar with the philosophical discourse and has developed a fair sense of smelling contradictions and logical fallacies, I think that relativism is a lousy idea doomed to commit suicide. As for the competing theory, universalism, it is either destined to become a tool of cultural imperialism or destined to accept a healthy dose of pragmatism seasoned with some relativism.
As an individual I have many components. I can define myself in many ways depending on the context. I am a homosapien, a monotheist, Yahya’s and Matine’s father, a husband, a Turkish author, a philosopher, a lawyer, a skeptic, a believer, a democrat, a conservative, an American, a political activist, a reformist, a chess-player, a copywriter, a poet, a handyman, a Macintosh user, a teacher, . . . and I am also a Kurd. I am not sure how being a Kurd ranks among the manifold ingredients that makes up my personality, but recently it became one of the important characteristics. Why? Because I have realized that I am denied of this identity. I have also witnessed that many others who share the same culture and heritage are oppressed and killed just because of being born in a Kurdish family.
This paper was the topic of an interdisciplinary symposium held in March 1999 at Yeshiva University, Cardozo Law School , New York. The symposium was moderated by David Golove, Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School. Panelists Thomas Christiano, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona and Gregory Fox, Professor of Law at Yale Law School, focused on the philosophical paradox involving the banning political parties to protect democracies; William Pfaff, International Affairs Columnist at International Herald Tribune and Paul Magnarella, Professor of Law and Anthropology at the University of Florida focused on the democratic process and human rights violations in Turkey.
I believe and argue that humans are “rational self-interested utility maximizers.” This is the primary reason why we are on the top of the food chain. The animalistic nature “self-interest” promoted and guided by “reason” forces rational humans to cooperate and maximize the utility. The rational human being has discovered, through the course of thousands years of trial and error, that optimum utility is obtained when each individual enjoy their personal desires and goals in a delicate balance with the desires and goals of other individuals.
In a world that is becoming smaller and smaller by the dramatic advance of modern technology and inter-continental nuclear missiles, we are compelled to be concerned about the plights of those who live in other countries. We are intelligent and experienced enough to fear from the tyrannical governments that treats their subjects badly. We know very well that dictators are not intelligent and trustworthy; they harm their own people, themselves and others. Equal rights for every single human being is the ultimate goal to live in a peaceful world.
Nevertheless, the author is silent regarding the implementations of this right in western countries, especially in the USA. When we reflect on the role of interest groups and lobbyists in the political landscape of Washington, we cannot stop but ask ourselves: is this really a “democracy” representing all the people? Is this the system that was hailed as “by the people for the people of the people”? How can electoral participation be considered “equal” in a country where 1% of population owns the 39% of total wealth and lobbyists are the respected pigs of the political carnival? Why not question the practice of democracy and its electoral system? Can “democracy” be a new clandestine, efficient and clever device to establish the dicta of the powerful elite? Can it be another “opium of masses,” a diabolic mass-deception?
American foreign policy, Zionist racism, evangelical Christianity and sectarian Islam all are incubators of religious terrorism. War against terrorism has two fronts: reformation in American democracy and reformation in islamic world. Unfortunately, the victims of these wars, whether they live in skyscrapers or caves, are mostly innocent and poor people.
Militant clerics, whether they are the collaborators with the totalitarian regimes or are the dissidents, should be taken seriously. Using the language of religion, the proverbs of their forefathers, they can mobilize gullible masses to bloody conflicts. The best way to deflate the power of militant clergymen is (1) to support intellectuals who promote democracy and freedom, and (2) denounce and punish the oppressive leaders without favoring one to another, through international legal devices such as, freezing their assets in foreign countries and trying them in international tribunals during their reign or after they are ousted from power.
I believe that the current jury system, especially where parties spend enormous effort over the selection, most accurately, elimination of the jury, does not serve justice well. Let’s face it. The jury is selected from a pool of population containing a segment that demonstrates real problems in logical reasoning.