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Kaitlyn Smith
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Warning: some of this may be repeating what I said in another thread.

This is not one of my copies of a bat-sh*t crazy alt-right article. This is all me.

CHALLENGING YOUR BELIEFS

Man has had to challenge his beliefs many times through history - the belief that the sun revolves around the earth; the belief that the earth is flat; the belief that large fortunes could be made harvesting tulips.

Why did people believe those things? It was popular to believe them. They weren't refuted at the time. They were taught to believe them.

Many people either have unfounded strong beliefs today. Many others are wrestling with those beliefs because they don't make sense.

For example, I was brought up to believe that if I believed in Jesus Christ our Savior, I shall have everlasting life in the afterworld, while those that are not saved do not. This makes no sense to me. Why should some poor girl born in Saudi Arabia and follows the teachings of Muhammad be damned just because I was lucky enough to be born Christian? In fact, she is taught that I am the damned one, and if she doesn't critically think about that, she believes it. I also think that she is strongly discouraged from critically thinking about it.

There are many other examples which I plan to bring up, but I don't want the OP to be TL/DR so I'll leave them out of this post. But I will say that I have recently challenged my beliefs by doing some research suggested by some of the other posters here, and on at least two issues, I have dramatically changed what I believe (and somewhat changed my belief on a third issue.)

Challenging my beliefs has been most enlightening to me. I suggest that if you're not doing it, you should.
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Questioning yourself about what you believe and why etc is generally a good thing to do. It keeps one honest with oneself. Doing so can though take one to unexpected ideas and consequences.
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In addition to challenging your (third person not second) bekiefs, you should examine them as well. The two are distinct practices with different triggers and effects

Challenging your beliefs means encountering new/opposing information and serting the two against each other in opposition, coming down one way or another. It is by nature a 'combative' exercise and nominally zero sum.

Examining your beliefs is a reflective internal exercise, often exploratory in nature and can lead to you challenging your own beliefs within yourself as you unravel the fomplexities down to the core. It is an exercise with no specific direction or endpoint and can lead to a lot of self discovery, questions, and prompt growth. Kaitlyn's example of being raised to the idea of being saved/not saved yet examining this to discern it's real effects (damnation of the unexposed) and finding it conflicts with how she understands God's love is spot on for this
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See, I did not take challenging that way at all, Shadrach. To me it's asking what evidence one bases a belief upon.

Anywat, to th OP, if you want others' input on what you're going through or dealing with, I'm happy t oblige but if not then I offer my sincere best wishes and moral support from a distance. IMO few things in life are as rewarding and life-changing as doing what you describe.
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
Many people either have unfounded strong beliefs today. Many others are wrestling with those beliefs because they don't make sense.

For example, I was brought up to believe that if I believed in Jesus Christ our Savior, I shall have

Well, to take the devil's devil's advocate position, that's not exactly unfounded; everyone has things they believe simply because that's what they've been told by people they accept as authorities on the topic. I believe hydrogen has one proton, and I believe I could experimentally confirm that myself, but, uhh... I also believe I never will, and instead will continue to believe what I was brought up to believe.

Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
But I will say that I have recently challenged my beliefs by doing some research suggested by some of the other posters here, and on at least two issues, I have dramatically changed what I believe

Strongly hoping for a punchline like, "for example, I used to believe most posters here were smart, reasonable, decent people--"
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Josh
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whac3 wrote:
See, I did not take challenging that way at all, Shadrach. To me it's asking what evidence one bases a belief upon.

Anywat, to th OP, if you want others' input on what you're going through or dealing with, I'm happy t oblige but if not then I offer my sincere best wishes and moral support from a distance. IMO few things in life are as rewarding and life-changing as doing what you describe.


This is why defining words at the beginning of in depth discussions is a good thing. We might have been talking across each other in a conversation for quite a while if I hadn't ^^
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kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
Many people either have unfounded strong beliefs today. Many others are wrestling with those beliefs because they don't make sense.

For example, I was brought up to believe that if I believed in Jesus Christ our Savior, I shall have

Well, to take the devil's devil's advocate position, that's not exactly unfounded; everyone has things they believe simply because that's what they've been told by people they accept as authorities on the topic. I believe hydrogen has one proton, and I believe I could experimentally confirm that myself, but, uhh... I also believe I never will, and instead will continue to believe what I was brought up to believe.

Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
But I will say that I have recently challenged my beliefs by doing some research suggested by some of the other posters here, and on at least two issues, I have dramatically changed what I believe

Strongly hoping for a punchline like, "for example, I used to believe most posters here were smart, reasonable, decent people--"


But you can (And I have) burn hydrogen and observe water is created by burning hydrogen.
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Kaitlyn Smith
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This post may appear partisan, but I'm hoping it instead spawns thought. I do plan to challenge some conservative notions in this thread also.

As someone who was primarily surrounded by conservative friends, and who suffered significant financial loss due to an Affirmative Action event, I could hardly be blamed for believing that whites are discriminated against in America today, and being unhappy upon hearing each new incident of a white person falling victim to reverse discrimination. It won't surprise you to hear that I heard many such cases on FOX News. However, several well-thought out posts in RSP forced me to examine my beliefs, and caused me to do further research. My findings were that despite laws "helping" or "restoring fairness" to minorities, that minorities still have much the worst of it and my own personal case was an isolated incident of a white taking it on the chin and not at all the norm.

While on the same subject, I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans. It didn't make sense to me so I dug a little deeper.

My claim has always been that America's new form of government was superior to other governments because America went from poor colonies to the most wealthy and innovative nation. Of course, there are reasons that this could be incorrect. For example:

- A large part of America's success could be based on geographic factors; their diverse climate supporting many different crops; their vast lands, much of it fertile; their waterways making commerce easier.

- A large part of America's success could be based on the fact that it was not close to any warlike faction, letting America grow without being attacked.

However, I strongly urge anyone who thinks the main reason America was so successful is that it used slaves should challenge your belief - a belief you hold probably because it is so popular, or because one of your professors instilled it in you, or because it's politically correct to think so.

Here is why I think you need to challenge that belief:

- Most of the world used slaves, so America didn't gain an advantage over the rest of the world by doing so; certainly not an advantage that would push a bunch of fledgling colonies into the wealthiest nation on earth.

- Slavery was mainly in the South. However, to quote this site:

http://www.historycentral.com/CivilWar/AMERICA/Economics.htm...

Quote:
The South had almost 25% of the country's free population, but only 10% of the country's capital in 1860.

So 90% of the nation's wealth at the time was from states who were against slavery.

From this site: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-slavery/chronology-who-ba...

Quote:
1777 - State of Vermont, an independent Republic after the American Revolution, becomes first sovereign state to abolish slavery


Then there's this: If America's greatness is a result of slavery, then it stands to reason that it would be less wealthy without it. But if there was no slavery, those people that were slaves would have been educated, and may have contributed to our innovation, making us even wealthier than we are today - which would even more support the argument that America's form of government led to it's status in today's world rather than it's dependence on slavery.

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think, but I strongly urge you to challenge that belief based on facts.
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Mac Mcleod
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America wasn't successful because of slaves. Slave owner ship

Abundant resources and the personalities attracted to America were a much larger factor.

The founding fathers were fairly selfless (and fairly smart and fairly nonevil and fairly realistic) compared to most revolutionaries.
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Kaitlyn Smith
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maxo-texas wrote:
America wasn't successful because of slaves. Slave owner ship

Abundant resources and the personalities attracted to America were a much larger factor.

The founding fathers were fairly selfless (and fairly smart and fairly nonevil and fairly realistic) compared to most revolutionaries.
I think this is quite accurate. However, the most common argument I've heard for America's success is that they used slave labor.

I will be one of the first to admit that a lot of America's recent success is due to the fact that the standard of living and the promise of great wealth for the innovative attracts (some would say "robs") talent from other countries.
 
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans.

[...]

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say America is only where it is today because of slavery. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, but nobody makes the argument that you have chocolate chip cookies only because you have chocolate chips; it takes other ingredients too.
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kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans.

[...]

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say America is only where it is today because of slavery. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, but nobody makes the argument that you have chocolate chip cookies only because you have chocolate chips; it takes other ingredients too.
Us "racists" get to hear that argument a lot more often
 
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Mac Mcleod
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
maxo-texas wrote:
America wasn't successful because of slaves. Slave owner ship

Abundant resources and the personalities attracted to America were a much larger factor.

The founding fathers were fairly selfless (and fairly smart and fairly nonevil and fairly realistic) compared to most revolutionaries.
I think this is quite accurate. However, the most common argument I've heard for America's success is that they used slave labor.

I will be one of the first to admit that a lot of America's recent success is due to the fact that the standard of living and the promise of great wealth for the innovative attracts (some would say "robs") talent from other countries.


Slave owner ship is clearly a factor but I've never heard it argued as a primary reason before yer post
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"I think this is quite accurate. However, the most common argument I've heard for America's success is that they used slave labor."

and you stole most of your early 'innovation' and 'borrowed' most of your vaunted 'ideas' from elsewhere.
 
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I think that Britain largely funded its industrial revolution out of slavery, in the triangular trade that included America and Africa; this was partly before the AWI of course, and partly afterwards. In effect Britain used other countries' natural resources, labour and climate to develop itself. Arguably it was able to do this due its strong naval and military forces. But it also required a social setup that enabled capitalism to flourish, so non-upper class people could become entrepeneurs. In other words, it was not just one factor that was involved, but a combination.

I would imagine the same applies to the USA. So slavery could have been an important factor but one which was enabled to have an impact because of other aspects of society.

I'm not a historian so I may well have portrayed this wrongly, in which case I am about to learn something!
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maxo-texas wrote:
The founding fathers were fairly selfless (and fairly smart and fairly nonevil and fairly realistic) compared to most revolutionaries.

But would their slaves have agreed about the selfless part? They might have had other ideas on that one. I mean, Lenin was a shitty guy in a lot of ways, but unlike Jefferson he didn't keep people in chains outside his window his whole life.

(The chains being sometimes metaphorical, other times quite literal.)
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Kaitlyn Smith
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One hot topic recently is climate change. Almost everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced that their opinion is correct and will be unconvinced by the other side's opinion.

Being a FOX News junkie, I was of course a denier. However, it shouldn't take much research to challenge that belief. Supposedly Google filters websites to make me see those that I would tend to agree with. That being said, there are a lot of people who study this for a living and there is not a lot of support for the "AGW is malarkey" case among the scientific community. This should be obvious to anybody that takes half an hour and pokes around the internet. Anybody who is calling it pure malarkey should take that half hour to challenge that belief.

I am not giving a free pass to the Al Gores of the world either. Many of the climate change fear mongers have seen the date they predicted for total global destruction come and go and we don't seem to be much worse off for it. I ask those of you who see imminent destruction based on climate change to challenge your beliefs, simply based on the fact that imminent destruction has been predicted for decades now hasn't happened and doesn't appear to be happening in the near future. In fact,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2891432/Carbo...

My takeaway from this article is that alternative energy is far less important than keeping the rain forests intact, and that keeping those forests intact will buy us time until technology produces a form of energy that probably hasn't been thought of yet, and yet will be much more efficient than anything we have today.

So yes, I am asking both sides to challenge your beliefs - the deniers to stop denying, and the others to rethink the apparent urgency of the situation.
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans.

[...]

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say America is only where it is today because of slavery. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, but nobody makes the argument that you have chocolate chip cookies only because you have chocolate chips; it takes other ingredients too.

Us "racists" get to hear that argument a lot more often

Wait a minute--you're saying most of the young non-conservative Americans you've talked to have said they think America is only where it is today because of slavery, or someone else has told you that's what most young non-conservative Americans think?

I'm guessing the latter, and I don't think what you were told is true.
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans.

[...]

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say America is only where it is today because of slavery. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, but nobody makes the argument that you have chocolate chip cookies only because you have chocolate chips; it takes other ingredients too.
Us "racists" get to hear that argument a lot more often


I want to play Devil's advocate here, while at the same time I am not trying to be hostile.

They may not have articulated what they meant.

You may not have heard what they said. I don't mean the words, but you may have parsed it based on your own perceptions of what you EXPECT them to say/mean.

They might have gone into a massively reductive argument based on frustration. You've witnessed and felt the frustration that can come form these exchanges yourself.

Lets break down the statement 'The US would not be where it is without slavery.' which is actually quite distinct form 'The US was built on the backs of Slavery.' It should be noted being precise and holding to one statement in a discussion is VERY helpful, because nuance is a big thing.

On the face of it 'The US would not be where it is without slavery' is a purely true statement from the point of logic. We had slavery, we fought a war because of Slavery. Civil Rights, affirmative action, Dylan Roof, Charlottesville. Our identity as a nation and as regional people has been shaped strongly by Slavery and how we have dealt with it's aftermath. As long as some people want to fly Confederate flags and others want to burn them, this simply cannot be argued, period.

Now slightly more focused 'The US succeeded because of Slavery.' This is an imprecise statement. 'The US ONLY succeeded because of Slavery' and 'The US succeeded in part because of Slavery.' can both be meant or interpreted from that statement. Let us address both.

'The US Only succeeded because of Slavery.' This statement is entirely improvable, we have no control. We do not know what would or would not have changed had the US not indulged in the slave trade. We can make guesses but we cannot predict with any degree of certainty. There are myriad factors that lead to the success or failure of a nation.

'The US succeeded in part because of Slavery.' This is much more meaningful to discuss. It seems very likely that Slavery helped. It provided a huge amount of manpower, and allowed that manpower to be channeled and directed. The economic development of the Antebellum South is directly linked to Slavery. One could argue the Textile boom and industrialization of England both took a spring board from the cotton exports of the South, which would have linked the two countries(UK/US) much more strongly economically which might have provided a foreign relations buffer etc. etc. You can argue the particulars. One could entertain the notion that the US would have succeeded without Slavery, but the reality is it had slavery and it does seem likely that slavery was a part of the actual success we do enjoy.

'The US was built on the backs of slaves' Well, quite literally again, this one is true. Some building materials were carried on the backs of slaves. See above for a more meaningful way to tackle this one.

So as I've stated in other places, pausing to digest what is being said and consider the implications and permutations is a good thing. It can turn a pointless back and forth into a discussion. You can even combine it into a prompt for clarification 'When you say the US was built on the backs of slaves, do you mean literally or that they provided an economic boon to the early US? What point are you trying to draw from that observation?'

The last statement is key because simply observing the US owes a portion of it's position to slavery isn't a meaningful thing in discussion terms, it needs to be couched in terms of impact and proposed action.
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
One hot topic recently is climate change. Almost everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced that their opinion is correct and will be unconvinced by the other side's opinion.

Being a FOX News junkie, I was of course a denier. However, it shouldn't take much research to challenge that belief. Supposedly Google filters websites to make me see those that I would tend to agree with. That being said, there are a lot of people who study this for a living and there is not a lot of support for the "AGW is malarkey" case among the scientific community. This should be obvious to anybody that takes half an hour and pokes around the internet. Anybody who is calling it pure malarkey should take that half hour to challenge that belief.

I am not giving a free pass to the Al Gores of the world either. Many of the climate change fear mongers have seen the date they predicted for total global destruction come and go and we don't seem to be much worse off for it. I ask those of you who see imminent destruction based on climate change to challenge your beliefs, simply based on the fact that imminent destruction has been predicted for decades now hasn't happened and doesn't appear to be happening in the near future. In fact,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2891432/Carbo...

My takeaway from this article is that alternative energy is far less important than keeping the rain forests intact, and that keeping those forests intact will buy us time until technology produces a form of energy that probably hasn't been thought of yet, and yet will be much more efficient than anything we have today.

So yes, I am asking both sides to challenge your beliefs - the deniers to stop denying, and the others to rethink the apparent urgency of the situation.



The increase in the ability of plants to absorb CO2 at higher temperatures is well-known and is one of the many factors included in the climate change models.

I don't think any serious scientists have claimed that the world will already have ended by now; however, there are claims that the tipping point has been reached (or is about to be reached) after which reversing the effects of climate change will be a lot harder or impossible. The point being that the impacts are not felt straightaway but can be years, even decades in the future, but may be irreversible. You are right to be sceptical of people like Al Gore who are not scientists but have a political or other agenda; even with the best will in the world, they will get stuff wrong. With climate change, you should really only look at actual scientific papers or summaries produced by unbiassed people. So doing something about climate change is urgent; and even if it isn't quite as urgent as the worst predictions imply, nevertheless it's easier and cheaper to do something now rather than leaving it to the last moment - and we may not know when the last moment is, it would be quite possible to go over a tipping point without even realising it.

You should always look at sources. Never ever use the Daily Mail as a source of anything. This paper is renowned for distortions and just making things up if it suits their agenda (usually about immigrants and climate change). Seriously, if you ever use the Daily Mail as a source is reduces your credibility. About the only thing I would trust them to get right is the football scores and even then I would expect them to intersperse the story with a sex romp and/or muslims ruining the game.
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For most of the time when slavery existed in the US slaves were not confined to the South. That came about only as opposition to slavery grew, and that only happened as it was no longer economically viable outside of agriculture.
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
One hot topic recently is climate change. Almost everybody has a strong opinion, and everybody is convinced that their opinion is correct and will be unconvinced by the other side's opinion.

Being a FOX News junkie, I was of course a denier. However, it shouldn't take much research to challenge that belief. Supposedly Google filters websites to make me see those that I would tend to agree with. That being said, there are a lot of people who study this for a living and there is not a lot of support for the "AGW is malarkey" case among the scientific community. This should be obvious to anybody that takes half an hour and pokes around the internet. Anybody who is calling it pure malarkey should take that half hour to challenge that belief.

I am not giving a free pass to the Al Gores of the world either. Many of the climate change fear mongers have seen the date they predicted for total global destruction come and go and we don't seem to be much worse off for it. I ask those of you who see imminent destruction based on climate change to challenge your beliefs, simply based on the fact that imminent destruction has been predicted for decades now hasn't happened and doesn't appear to be happening in the near future. In fact,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2891432/Carbo...

My takeaway from this article is that alternative energy is far less important than keeping the rain forests intact, and that keeping those forests intact will buy us time until technology produces a form of energy that probably hasn't been thought of yet, and yet will be much more efficient than anything we have today.

So yes, I am asking both sides to challenge your beliefs - the deniers to stop denying, and the others to rethink the apparent urgency of the situation.


I will admit there are some doomsayers, but I would point out that sometimes a little Doomsaying is important to get people to MOVE. If you dig into the science you'll find that many of the systems(not just warming and cooling, which are only a one part of climate change) are believed to be feedback loops. That is, once they get going, it isn't a steady change but an accelerating one that reinforces itself. Imagine a car in neutral rolling down a hill. If you get 10 people to grab hold right at the top you can stop it. If you put those same 10 people halfway down the hill. You have a mess.

Consider the strident deniers you used to be one of, do you think they'd give much truck to a tentative argument based on 'coulds' 'mights' and 'some days'?
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kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
kuhrusty wrote:
Kaitlyn_Res wrote:
I also did some research into the claim that America achieved its current status on the backs of slavery. My own experience tells me that this is the prevailing opinion among young non-conservative Americans.

[...]

So, if you want to hold the belief that America is only where it is today because of slavery, you can do so because it's the popular thing to think

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say America is only where it is today because of slavery. Chocolate chips are an ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, but nobody makes the argument that you have chocolate chip cookies only because you have chocolate chips; it takes other ingredients too.

Us "racists" get to hear that argument a lot more often

Wait a minute--you're saying most of the young non-conservative Americans you've talked to have said they think America is only where it is today because of slavery, or someone else has told you that's what most young non-conservative Americans think?

I'm guessing the latter, and I don't think what you were told is true.


I've never heard anyone claim the US is prosperous today because of slavery.

I too would like to know where this statement is coming from.
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Kaitlyn Smith
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bowen wrote:
maxo-texas wrote:
The founding fathers were fairly selfless (and fairly smart and fairly nonevil and fairly realistic) compared to most revolutionaries.

But would their slaves have agreed about the selfless part? They might have had other ideas on that one. I mean, Lenin was a shitty guy in a lot of ways, but unlike Jefferson he didn't keep people in chains outside his window his whole life.

(The chains being sometimes metaphorical, other times quite literal.)
In the past, I had posted dismay that people would follow a religion that idolized a pedophile. Several posters correctly pointed out that while having sex with a nine-year old girl is considered deplorable in present times, that in Muhammad's day it was commonplace, and I should not disparage him for practice common in the day (in fact, many called me a bigot for disparaging him for that reason.)

The same argument could be made here. Yes, slavery is considered deplorable today. It was commonplace in our Founding Fathers' day. While one of them could have been a saint or a visionary and decided to free his family's slaves, it is a lot to expect someone to break normal practice for the times he lives in.

All in all, the Founding Fathers overrode self interest in favor of making good laws for the new nation, which frankly, I doubt most powerful people would do, hence I will stand behind maxo's selfless label - or at least selfless for the times they were living in.
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Eddy Richards
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Kaitlyn_Res wrote:


The same argument could be made here. Yes, slavery is considered deplorable today. It was commonplace in our Founding Fathers' day. While one of them could have been a saint or a visionary and decided to free his family's slaves, it is a lot to expect someone to break normal practice for the times he lives in.

All in all, the Founding Fathers overrode self interest in favor of making good laws for the new nation, which frankly, I doubt most powerful people would do, hence I will stand behind maxo's selfless label - or at least selfless for the times they were living in.


I think this is a fair point. It takes someone very strong willed to break out the social norms; we can and should slavery as wrong, admire those who began the stand against it (even if this was partly for economic rather than moral reasons) whilst being understanding of those who 'knew no better' - even if, (with hindsight, anyway) they should have known better.

Let us hope that future generations judge us equally non-harshly for all the things we've done and are doing.

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