Category Archives: Morality

Taking in Syrian Immigrants Immoral?

Recently, I was trying to find non-xenophobic arguments against the US taking in Syrian immigrants. I found a potential case in National Review (assuming the numbers truly are reliable). Two writers from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argue that it costs an estimated $12,874 per year (for the first 5 years) to resettle Middle-Eastern Refugees in the US while it may cost around $1,057 per year to move them to relative — if temporary — safety in neighboring Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Again, if this is true, we could assist roughly twelve times the humans by helping resettle Syrians into neighboring countries with the same resource investment.

But, should we be concerned about this study’s impartiality? Maybe. The same authors published a study last year for CIS warning that immigration in general is a problem, partly because Muslims (who, incidentally, make up less than 1% of the US population) pose a significant security threat. These immigrants will, undoubtedly, “board an airliner and blow it up” according to one co-author*.

The person who said that, Steven Camarota, has remarked on another even more serious immigrant threat very concisely in the past: “[E]ach 10 percent increase in the immigrant share of the county’s population reduced the Republican vote by about six percentage points [over the last 30 years]”*.

Of course, we can’t discount this study/argument simply because the writers may be generally biased against immigration. Hopefully, PolitiFact will have a look at their figures.

Agree or not, there are still solid ways to try to help out the thousands of Syrian civilians in need. Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch highly rate American Refugee Committee International as an effective charity. GiveWell recommends Doctors Without Borders.

Discussion Concerning False Opinions Regarding Margaret Sanger

Christian 
Margaret gets cozy with her allies, the KKK.
Clifton 
Here’s the original:

[http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/09/27/article-2434992-185184C900000578-612_634x471.jpg]

Christian 
Point taken — I should be more critical of photos. But do you have anything to say about the address – which did happen? Or anything about her views?
Clifton 
I’ve meant to explore her views in more depth, but, not having done so, I can’t comment on those views generally. However, I can let her speak for herself of this encounter:

 

All the world over, in Penang and Skagway, in El Paso and Helsingfors, I have found women’s psychology in the matter of child-bearing essentially the same, no matter what the class, religion, or economic status. Always to me any aroused group was a good group, and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey, one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing.

[…]

Never before had I looked into a sea of faces like these. I was sure that if I uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria. And so my address that night had to be in the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.

In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when we were finally through it was too late to return to New York. Under a curfew law everything in Silver Lake shut at nine o’clock. I could not even send a telegram to let my family know whether I had been thrown in the river or was being held incommunicado. It was nearly one before I reached Trenton, and I spent the night in a hotel.

Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography

Continue reading Discussion Concerning False Opinions Regarding Margaret Sanger

Thoughts on Martin/Zimmerman

Clifton 
Here are some opinions I have re: Martin/Zimmerman that I hope some superior intellect will disabuse me of: 
one, if you suspect someone near you of being a dangerous criminal, you should not pursue them, but instead run away from that person, hide, and contact the police;
two, if you are being followed by someone and you think they’re a threat, you should not punch them in the face, but instead run away and hide from them.
Marie  “Wrong. Both wrong. Fighting to the death is the only honorable choice.”
—Jean-Claude Van Damme
Merica From their own perspectives: one, heroes don’t hide; two, always stand up for yourself.
Thom In my martial arts training we were taught to always flee if possible. Anything else you’ve learned as a martial artist is a last resort.
Clifton Yeah, Thom, you may know that I once got to the rank of black belt in taekwondo. To my memory, my instructor always endorsed the “flee from (potential) knife/gun” maneuver. Continue reading Thoughts on Martin/Zimmerman

Discussion Concerning the Anti-Gay-Marriage Argument from Tradition

Clifton 
The cosmos is about 13.8 billion years old.
The human is about 200,000 years old.
The first recorded marriage involving a human occurred about 2,674 years ago.

Marriage contracts were first recorded in the Late Period (661-332 BC), and continued until the first century AD. They were often drawn up by the husband to establish the rights of both parties to maintenance and possessions. The law did not require a marriage to be recorded.

[source]

Appeal to Tradition

Description:
The argument supports a position by appealing to long-standing or traditional opinion, as if the past itself were a kind of authority.

[source]

Marie  I suppose you don’t consider Adam and Eve to’ve been married?
Mark  Did you snope this already? j/k
Joseph  Whoa whoa whoa … I thought everything was only 6,000 years old. Check your facts, heathen.
Clifton  Marie, this hadn’t actually occurred to me. From what I can gather, the thinking behind such a position is that Eve was "wed" to Adam because she was taken from a part of his body and then added back to him to complete him. If that is what it takes, then I would imagine that no marriage since has been valid. No?

Mark, I didn’t. As always, I am open to contradiction. I claim no expertise. Incidentally, Snopes generally does an excellent job of avoiding the argument from authority, which seems to me to be one of the human’s most abused fallacies.

Joseph, I’m glad you responded. I always wonder why my irreligious friends get married. Perhaps you can explain it to me. From my perspective, if you want to be with somebody, you will do that. Fidelity shouldn’t be a problem because you both agree to certain terms prior to formally entering into your relationship. Continue reading Discussion Concerning the Anti-Gay-Marriage Argument from Tradition

Louis C.K. and (Not) Being Evil

I finally watched the first episode of Louis last night and, although I laughed at this bit, I was disappointed and a little disturbed that it ended with just a smirk.

Which is why I’m so pleased to find this:

Louis C.K. gives $280,000 to five charities after ‘Live at the Beacon’ sales rocket to $1 million

[source]
(The first episode of Louis premiered in June 2010* and his big donation occurred in December 2011.)

So, how could I possibly be disturbed to begin with? Well, crazy as it may sound, I don’t wish for people to suffer horrible misery when I can easily help to alleviate at least some of that misery.

Because I know that not everyone is as crazy as I am, here are some selfish reasons to give away your precious money:

Research suggests that many people think that spending money on themselves will make them happier than spending it on other people (Dunn et al., 2008). But there is evidence from various different studies that, on average, this isn’t true:

  • Participants who were given $5 or $20 to spend on another person were happier than those who spent it on themselves (Dunn et al., 2008).
  • People who spend greater proportions of their income on giving to others or to charity are happier than those who spend it on themselves (Dunn et al., 2008).
  • Canadian and Ugandan students who thought back to times they’d been generous to others were happier than those thinking back to money they’d spent on themselves (Aknin et al., 2010).

[source]

Perhaps you’re still worried that you’re just going to be giving money to some African warlord.* That’s probably unavoidable. Perhaps you don’t want to remove anybody’s incentive to pull herself up out of the gutter. There are lots of reasons that people don’t give.

Well, if you happen to visit this site, I think most of your uneasiness will be alleviated. Perhaps (after donating) you will sleep even more neo-nascently than June 2010 Louis Szekely did.