Category Archives: Catholicism

Theological Question

Is redemption possible in Hell?

Standard Christian doctrine would say no. When you’re in Hell,  there’s no hope. The Catholics devised Purgatory, but that was for people like me who were not quite bad enough for Hell but were definitely not Heaven-bound. In Purgatory, it’s like an exercise regimen for that roll of flab around your belly – you’ve got to work it off. Sure, the tortures are horrible, but if you survive then, you get the Manna. Plus as awful as Purgatory is, it pales compared to the never-ending horror movie you will be starring in in Hell.

How about some radical Christian thinkers?

If you read enough Dostoevsky, he believes redemption is possible in Hell, and that’s just one of the great things about him. For instance, see Grushenka’s tale to Aloysha in The Brothers Karamazov (p. 340) when she tells the story of the woman in Hell who was offered an onion by her Guardian Angel as a ticket out of Hell. This is similar to Ivan’s tale of Mary’s visit to Hell, where Hell can abide both mercy and punishment.

In a conversation between Ivan and Aloysha (p. 259), the two discuss whether there is forgiveness for the worst of men, the torturer. Both agree that if there is universal harmony, then there will be forgiveness for the worst of men. However, Ivan says that there shall be no forgiveness for the torturer and therefore this is no universal harmony. Instead of agreeing with him, Aloysha says that “Christ can forgive everything, all and for all, for he gave his universal blood for all and everything.” In other words, the Kingdom of God is not complete until there is forgiveness for all, including torturers. Aloysha believes that no one is outside of redemption. Obviously, this must include people in Hell.

This doctrine is clearly absent from the OT and NT, but if you make your way through the wondrous Apocrypha, you will stumble upon. The little known Gospel of Peter is quite clear that there can be redemption in Hell. It’s a lot clearer about it than Dostoevsky. That’s what I love about the Apocrypha. Such wild and near-fantastic tales and even doctrine in there. The Apocrypha seem to be stretching Christian theology to its very limits or even beyond, but that’s part of why they are great. It’s almost as if they are applying a nascent scientific method to the Bible, to figure out what’s really lurking back there behind it all. It’s Fringe Theology, but the fringe is OK. Many of the finest discoveries in science came from Fringe Science and were derided as pseudoscientific at the time.

In any process of discovery of knowledge, from the prosaic to the sublime, the best results are found by pushing your inquiry to the absolute limits or beyond. The only real limit in any exploratory inquiry is the limit of your own imagination.

Why be rigid? Rocks are rigid. If you are rigid, you are basically a rock. And once you decide to go rigid, you are locked in ore forever more, and for what purpose? Peace of mind? How weak. That’s no way to be an ubermensch. Go up and beyond. Rise above. Transcend. The sky’s the limit.

References

Connolly, Julian W. 2013. Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Gibson, Andrew Boyce. 2016. The Religion of Dostoevsky. Wipf and Stock Publishers.

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Literature, Novel, Philosophy, Religion, Science

Where Have All the Catholics Gone?

In recent years, the US Catholic Church is undergoing a crisis. Fully 1/3 of its members have left the Church, even with all the Hispanic immigration. For the Church, this is a looming catastrophe. This is happening at the same time as Evangelical Protestants are increasing somewhat (8% increase) and mainline Protestants are declining somewhat (4%). There has been collapse in the membership of the mainline churches and the Evangelical churches are not undergoing explosive growth. Both of these are common tropes believed by many people nowadays.

If fully 1/3 of Catholics have left the church, this begs the question of where have they gone? I thought, once a Catholic, always a Catholic and in the sense that they take a bite out of you and psychologically, you tend to remain Catholic for good and for bad is a common cliche. I believe that the Church considers lapsed Catholics to still be Catholics, but that is a formality. The Church believes lots of silly things, for instance that we are all naturally born Catholic no matter religion we grow up in. That is why conversion to Catholicism is always called “return” because you are said to be returning to the natural religion you were born into.

In the past, converting out of Catholicism was considered a grave error and even a serious sin. I believed that Catholics were still loathe to convert to Protestantism, other than in the Hispanic community, where a mass exodus of Catholics to Evangelical churches has been going on for a long time in both Hispanic communities in the US and in Latin America itself. The situation is especially grave in Central America. Countries like Honduras now are ~1/3 Evangelical. As lousy as the Catholic Church is (and it is lousy) I would much rather have those Hispanics being Catholic than converting to pie in the sky when you die we love the poor but don’t try to improve your station in life ultra-rightwing anti-Left and anti-progress Protestant Evangelicals, with its various heresies such as Christian Zionism and Wealth Doctrine and other atrocities.

But Evangelical Hispanics are stuck in the worst rut of reaction. One wonders how they c can get out.

I used to think the most Catholics were absolutely loath to convert out to Protestantism, but it’s more common than you think and the Church hardly cares anymore, as they have more pressing concerns. Let’s look at the figures:

Of the 1/3 of Catholics who have left the Church:

50% have simply gone from Catholic to ex-Catholic. They have converted to Protestantism or another religion. Apparently nowadays it is perfectly acceptable to be a former Catholic. That’s news to me.

18% have converted to Protestantism. That is not a large number, but it is not trivial either.

Of those, 12% of leaving Catholics convert to Evangelical Protestantism. I would argue that these are mostly Hispanic Catholics converting out to the exploding Evangelical churches in the Hispanic areas of the US. I’ve never met a White Catholic who converted out to Evangelicalism, but there are probably a few.

Only 6% of leaving Catholics convert to a mainline Protestant Church. That’s a small number, but it’s not trivial.

In fact, more Catholics convert to Buddhism (10%) than convert to mainline Protestant churches. That’s a pretty pathetic statement on how many Catholics leave for mainline P Protestantism.

There’s no good answer on why Catholics leave. Sure, liberals say that they leave because of reactionary Church doctrine on homosexuality, women priests marrying, priestly celibacy, birth control, and abortion. In contrast, conservatives say that Catholics are leaving because they Church has gone way too liberal, especially since Vatican II.

The truth that about equal numbers leave because the Church is too liberal as leave because it is too conservative. There’s no real trends either way. It’s all a wash.

Actually the main reason Catholics left (65%) was that they felt that the Catholic Church was no longer meeting their spiritual needs. This is a serious failure on the part of the Church. I am not sure what they can do about it, but ritual only goes so far. More New Testament Biblical homilies, especially about Jesus’ life, might be an avenue.

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In Latin America, Hispanics Are Much Better off Catholic Than Converting to Evangelical Protestantism

At least Hispanic Catholics have the potential to go in a Left direction, and there is a long history in Latin America of them doing just that, especially with the explosion in the great Liberation Theology movement of the last fifty years. The Catholic Church, always a mechanism of stasis and reaction in the reaction in the region, has now also become a nearly revolutionary force since the early 1960’s. Camilo Torres is not some made-up person. He really existed.

The Sandinistas and the FMLN are both Catholics and Leftist. The ELN Colombian guerrillas were always Catholics, and their original leader was a priest with an AK-47. The Chavistas in Venezuela are Leftist and very Catholic.

Believers are now allowed to join the Cuban Communist Party, and there has been a lot of intellectual ferment in recent decades in Cuba around notions of Catholic Communism and the like. Actually there is a long tradition of Catholic Communism predating even Liberation Theology going all the way back to the 1930’s in Eastern Europe. Leftwing Catholics have been arguing that Catholics can be Communists for nearly a century.

How many Protestants do you see making arguments like that? Along with all of the idiocy and reaction of their backwards rules, at least Catholics in general seem to have a much greater tendency to go left, socialist or even Communist, and that tendency seems to be baked right into the religion. The Catholic Worker movement in the US is a good example. How many Protestant movements like the Catholic Worker movement sprung up back then? Basically zero.

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Fake News: Most US Catholics Have Been Voting Republican for Many Years Now

I have no idea why people believe this nonsense.

I had thought that US Catholics had never voted for a Republican President, but I was wrong about that. Nevertheless, out of 16 Presidential elections since 1956, Catholics have only voted for Republicans in five of them. The other nine times they voted Democratic. There has been no major trend towards Catholics voting Republican in recent years, and their record after Reagan was not much different than before Reagan. Catholics voted for Eisenhower in 1956, Nixon in 1972, Reagan twice in 1980 and 1984 and Trump in 2016.

In all other years, they voted Democratic. The highest turnout of course was for Kennedy, when Catholics voted 82% for him. They voted twice for Johnson by high margins, once for Carter, twice for Bill Clinton, once for Gore and Kerry, and twice for Obama. It’s hard to say there if much of a trend in how they are voting in any direction. It’s mostly been a wash.

So 70% of the time, Catholics vote Democratic. Trump changed that pattern in a single case history last year, but let’s see how long that lasts.

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Pio Baroja

Where’s this guy been all my life? The name sounds familiar, but I didn’t really know anything about him. Another Generation of ’98 writer who barely made it through the Spanish Civil War.

Federico Garcia Lorca, the doomed gay poet, one of the finest poets of the 20th Century, of course was assassinated in this war, but he was from the next generation of Spanish writers, the Generation of ’27. They were much more avant garde than the ’98’ers.

The Generation of ’98 were a whole new crop of Spanish writers who popped up at the turn of the century in Spain. Spain was still a monarchy back then and these were times of fervent. The monarchy was trying to balance between the desire of the people to modernize the humanize their country and the desires of the Church conservatives to keep things as static as they were.

At the same time, in 1898, Spain was reeling from its defeat in several wars around the globe. Thousands of Spaniards were dead, and Spain lost all of its colonies. This was a time of great upheaval in Spain. The ’98’ers attacked traditional culture and the monarchy which they say as conformist and undemocratic. In this sense, they were like the liberal protest movements that arose in Germany after World War 1 who attacked German culture and ways of thinking in the light of their painful defeat in the war.

These liberal movements were met with a conservative backlash or mostly demobbed soldiers who formed gangs called the Brownshirts who fought socialists and communists in the streets of Germany. These conservatives felt that the liberals had “stabbed the country in the back” and been traitorous during the war, leading to the nation’s defeat. One of these demobbed soldiers was an angry, wounded soldier named Adolf Hitler and it was from this Right vs Left firestorm in the streets that the Nazi God of Destruction arose a decade later. The Phoenix rising from the ashes, the regeneration of the illustrious nation of blood and soul, which is fascism in a nutshell. Fascism can best be seen as palingetic revolution of the Right. The word palingetic brings to mind the Phoenix rises to glory from the ashes of defeat.

Baroja was a liberal like most of that generation. He grew up in the Basque Country. He wrote a number of trilogies, including The Sea, The Cities, The Struggle for Life, The Basque Country and a few others. The Struggle for Life is a gritty, harsh trilogy about life in the slums of Madrid. John Dos Passos was very fond of this series. Probably his most famous book is The Tree of Knowledge. Baroja was a pessimist and a nihilist who soured on life at a young age.

I do not mind reading downbeat authors though, even if I am an optimist. Really the optimistic and pessimistic views of life are both true and equally valid.

Baroja was influenced by Nietzsche, but below almost looks like Heidegger. I like the elaborate, ornate, very descriptive prose of the 19th Century. I love the long, fancy sentences where the tail of the sentence almost seems to be the head. I don’t mind getting to the end of a Henry James sentence, commas and all, and then wondering what the start of the sentence was about. It’s fun to decipher fancy writing. People don’t write like this much anymore as it is considered to be too elaborate and difficult for its own sake. I believe some of the finest writing in English was done in the 19th Century though. I can’t get enough of those $64,000 sentences. They’re so good you could almost take them to the bank.

Most of Baroja has not yet been translated into English, though he has been famous in Spain for a century.  Hemingway was heavily influenced by Baroja, although this fact is little known.

Isn’t that some fine writing?

The individual is the only real thing in nature and in life. Neither the species, the genus, nor the race, actually exists; they are abstractions, terminologies, scientific devices, useful as syntheses but not entirely exact. By means of these devices we can discuss and compare; they constitute a measure for our minds to use, but have no external reality. Only the individual exists through himself and for himself. I am, I live, is the sole thing a man can affirm.

The categories and divisions arranged for classification are like the series of squares an artist places over a drawing to copy it by. The lines of the squares may cut the lines of the sketch; but they will cut them, not in reality but only in the artist’s eye. In humanity, as in all of nature, the individual is the one thing. Only individuality exists in the realm of life and in the realm of spirit.

Pio Baroja, Caesar or Nothing, 1903

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Some Thoughts on Patriotardism and Protestant Fundamentalism

Greeneyedpea: Thank you Robert for this. I agree.

I don’t want to mix up “conservatives” with “religious folks”, but do you have any thoughts on that? Most of the time, the conservatives that I run into are “born again” or “evangelical” Christians, and they are usually the most hateful, judgmental crowd around. I was in the evangelical movement for years, but left, b/c I could not stand the fear-based ideology – the list of no-nos, or you’ll go to hell, the fake kindnesses while you’re stabbed in the back in private, etc. Bitter…maybe. I think Jesus won’t recognize most of them.

A weird example: Many in the rural town I lived in for a while have the bumper sticker: “Proud to be an American”. I have always thought that to be odd. Pride is an emotion one should have for an accomplishment, or hard work, or a talent that is nurtured with practice. We have no say in where we are born.

If one is born in America, I think the phrase should be “Blessed to be an American” (in essence, giving thanks to God who predetermined that your life would start in America), or “Grateful to be an American”. And you would think that those conservatives that have this bumper sticker would agree with this, but no they are proud, damn it.

The ironic thing is that when I bring up an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen as being the shining example of someone who truly can say “Proud to be an American” (i.e. they worked for it via studying and passing a test most born-Americans could not pass, by the way), their face turns, and its clear they don’t like immigrants of any form (legal or illegal, especially), and there is no acknowledgment of the work this person has put in to become an American citizen, and the worst here “They are not ‘true’ Americans anyway”. Ugh. I know these are random, disjointed thoughts, but I find conservatives to be those patriotic, evangelical types. And it’s nauseating.

I am a bit religious myself, but you will probably not find a more secular Christian.

The Protestant fundamentalists are particularly horrible. I might still let them post here, but most are economic conservatives too, so they will segregate out on their own.

Mr. Pence is awful. The anti-abortion crowd makes me sick. I don’t like discrimination against homosexuals or transgenders. Most of these fundies are very hateful people, and they assume the worst about everyone because they are concrete thinkers. They’re frankly full of hate. They and I simply do not get along, mostly because they think I am an immoral scum. Plus most of them think liberals are evil and should be killed. This is one of the nastiest forms of stupid religion out there. It’s not as bad as fundamentalist Islam, but it’s up there.

It’s probably better described as just stupid than any other adjective, but as I pointed out in another post, people who engage in a lot of stupid, illogical thinking are often hateful and support a lot of unpleasant projects.

These fundies have a very bizarre opinion about Catholics which borders on the delusional. Their opinion about Catholics is false and highly illogical. They typically state that Catholics are not Christians. This is simply false. Catholics are the original Christians! For 1,500 years, Catholics were the only Christians on this planet. I was going to a heavily Hispanic Catholic church here in town for a while, and they were so much better than those fundie Protestants, it was not even funny.

I simply do not think I could get along with someone like that. It’s just not going to work, sorry. Sooner or later they will start calling me evil, and I don’t appreciate that.

My mother goes to a mainline Protestant church (Methodist), and I am OK with that.

Patriotardism

Patriotards can probably post here, but almost all of them are also economic conservatives, so they are going to self-segregate out like the religious folks.

American Patriotardism is just dumb. It’s based on this very stupid idea that there is something inherently good about America, it’s culture, its history, its politics, its military and its foreign policy.

There is nothing inherently good about the United States! Or any other country for that matter. For Chrissake. A nation is only as good as its leaders. And no culture is inherently good. Good cultures can go bad and bad cultures can go good in a heartbeat.

These Patriotards people also believe in “My country, right or wrong!” This is Patriotardism. It’s stupid! If my country is wrong, I am going to oppose it, dammit! If I dislike the culture, I will oppose that culture and work to change it. If the politics blows, I will dislike the politics and work to evolve a better politics. If the government is crap, I will hate the state and try to throw that group out and put in a better group. If my nation’s history is bad, I will admit it, regret our bad behavior and work towards changing my country’s behavior so my descendants do not have to apologize for our awful behavior.

There is nothing inherently good about the US military! I assure you. A military is only as good as its generals and civilian leadership. If those are terrible, they will give orders for the military to do some pretty bad things. US soldiers are not inherently good! They are as good as their generals and civilian leadership. If they are given lousy missions to carry out, US soldiers may very well end up doing a lot of bad things. And this has been the case in recent history. A soldier is like an automaton, a robot. He simply does what he is told to do.

Many nations have had decent militaries that turned monstrous and vice versa in history. It could and actually has happened here. We were on the side of good in World War 2, I will admit it, but in Vietnam or Iraq. It is idiocy to support every war your country wages in the name of “support the troops”! If the soldiers have been given a malign mission to carry out, as in Iraq, they should not be supported!

The war must be opposed on the grounds that it was of malign intent, and the soldiers should be supported in the sense of getting them out of that wicked war where they will be killed and injured for an evil cause. The best way of all to support the troops is to keep them from getting killed! I cannot think of a better way to support the troops than to call for an end to a diabolical and nasty war with a malign agenda.

There is indeed an ideology behind the US military. The Pentagon is not a non-ideological institution. Having studied Pentagon ideology for a long time, I assure you that the ideology of the US military is not good at all. Actually it is quite bad. Therefore, the US military must not be supported in its bad objectives. And its ideology needs to be changed to support positive and decent objectives instead of nasty and vicious ones.

Hatred of immigrants simply for being immigrants is just morally wrong. And it is caused by stupid thinking. Of course an immigrant is a real American. If he has become naturalized and is a US citizen, I say, “Welcome to my country, my fellow American!” I actually say this to some immigrants who have become citizens. I am happy that they have come to my country and liked it enough to become a citizen alongside me! Many of them also like the better things about our culture that were not present in their nation, though we are approaching the banana republic and tinpot dictatorship and generally awful politics and even culture of the Third World ourselves now with our recent descent into fascism.

Why hate a legal immigrant just for being an immigrant? They did it legally and fair and square. They stood in line and often waited for quite a few years. My ancestors were immigrants too. They came from Europe. Why were those immigrants ok but these new ones not ok? Why were my ancestors real Americans but recent Americans are not real Americans? That sounds like lousy, stupid thinking. It seems to fail a number of logic tests on its surface. This is simply emotionally driven, petty, irrational and hateful prejudice. It is a stupid and illogical thinking style that is also harmful to many innocent human beings. It’s pretty disgusting.

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Something Wrong with America? or Why Is America Hated? By A. J. Harvey-Hall

An interesting piece from a reader and financial supporter (thank you!) of this website. Hope you enjoy it.

Something Wrong With America? or Why is America hated?

By A. J. Harvey-Hall, Australia

Where do I start?

I originally wrote this in 2013 when I was mad as hell, and here we are in 2015, and I am still mad as hell at you guys. Most of what I have written has come true.

Don’t believe me – ask your Remote Viewing (Project Stargate) people to drop in and check me out. It works both ways in case you are unaware.

Coming from Australia I can tell you a hell of a lot of where America “went wrong”. I am not saying Australia is/was perfect – it’s just a fact we were the last large island/continent settled by the so-called enlightened Westerners – due to distance we saw where everyone else stuffed up and decided as a whole not to do that (Commonwealth knowledge?).

Canada is very similar to Australia, so look to them as well. One thing’s for certain – everyone gets a fair go in this country. We are multicultural and tolerant. Early Western settlers did not treat the Aboriginals appropriately, but in summary, it was probably no different to any superior culture that overtook another at some time in history. It’s easy to look back and say what the Westerners did to Aboriginals was disgraceful.

I have a right to tell you how it is because Australia is the only country that has fought every war alongside America all through WW1 and WW2 and several “police” actions.

Let’s revisit some words spoken by one of your greatest presidents in the course of the America’s Cup back in 1962 when Australia was still a country of 10 million:

Quoting Kennedy –

Ambassador, Lady Beale, Ambassador and Mrs. Berckmeyer, Ambassador and Lady Ormsby Gore, the Ambassador from Portugal, our distinguished Ministers from Australia, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I know that all of us take the greatest pleasure in being here, first of all because whether we are Australian or American, we are all joined by a common interest, a common devotion and love for the sea.

And I am particularly glad to be here because this Cup is being challenged by our friends from Australia, this extraordinary group of men and women numbering some 10 million, who have demonstrated on many occasions, on many fields, in many countries, that they are the most extraordinarily athletic group in the world today, and that this extraordinary demonstration of physical vigor and skill has come not by the dictates of the state because the Australians are among the freest citizens in the world, but because of their choice…

Australia became committed to physical fitness, and it has been disastrous for the rest of us. We have the highest regard for Australia, Ambassador. As you said, we regard them as very satisfactory friends in peace and the best of friends in war. And I know there are a good many Americans of my generation who have the greatest possible reason to be grateful to the Australians who wrote a most distinguished record all the way from the desert of North Africa, and most particularly in the islands of the South Pacific, where their particular courage and gallantry I think met the strongest response in all of us in this country.

But I really don’t look to the past. I look to the present. The United States and Australia are most intimately bound together today, and I think that — and I speak as one who has had some experience in friendship and some experience in those who are not our friends — we value very much the fact that on the other side of the Pacific, the Australians inhabit a very key and crucial area and that the United States is most intimately associated with them. So beyond this race, beyond the result, rests this happy relationship between two great people.

– President John F. Kennedy, Newport, Rhode Island, September 14, 1962

Let’s go back to the (your) War of Independence:

The English were wrong in what they were doing – hence independence – not a problem. In gaining independence however you put in place the building blocks that as of today are not crumbling – they have already crumbled.

Every builder in the world knows that unless your foundations are spot on and repaired when cracks appear, a structure cannot live for hundreds of years. You must update and repair as you go to ensure the building is viable for hundreds of years ongoing – not just paper over it.

The building I am referring to is the “United States of America”. It has now crumbled as a result of a demarcation dispute between your two political parties that act worse than our Australian Parliament. Each party is only out to make a name for itself and has lost the understanding of “serving the people”.

Let’s talk about your constitution – ohhh – am I upsetting you already? Remember I am an outsider who is looking in giving you an unbiased opinion.

When your Constitution was framed it was OK, for the day!

It is now the oldest ‘out of date’ Constitution in the world. Don’t stand behind your outdated constitution. Start again. Be bold.

Yes – you have made amendments, but those amendments are just papering over extensions – you need to go back and look at the foundations and do the work there.

Take one example – a right to bear arms.

It was OK 200 years ago when things were a bit rough – it is not acceptable in the 20th or 21st Centuries, but you will not remove that right. How many people have died in your country as a result of that one so called right?

Your gun culture is one of the bases (not basis) that has crumbled. This is ultimately why you have numerous police forces that are happy to shoot first and ask questions later.

Your children and work colleagues will continue to die in massacres as a result of this “right“. They will continue to die in soft target areas such as schools, mass transport, malls, parades (early days – wait for it).

Hang on – maybe the British, Russians or Communists are still coming to invade. Pity you don’t update your Constitution the same way you enforce updates to laws you force upon people who want to trade with you.

You allow gun lobbyists to “set the course” with government officials, senators and the public.

Since when did lobbyists of any ilk run the government? Since when did they represent “the people”?

You continue to think of arms as a gun – they are no longer guns – instead are bombs, viruses or maybe even the Internet itself. But it’s OK because you have a right” to bear arms.

Let’s talk about your medical care.

Actually let’s save time and refer to Michael Moore. He is spot on. How can you allow your own citizens suffer and even die on the streets because they don’t have medical insurance? And some of your citizens applaud this stance.

How about your returned veterans – even wounded veterans have to fight to get medical assistance upon return – why – because you outsourced the process and someone applied expiry dates that wounded veterans were not aware of. It then requires an act of Congress or a law to be passed to allowed them back into the system.

More veterans have committed suicide upon return that you lost in actual combat. That is an absolute disgrace.

Even that poor, small country across from Florida – Cuba – does it better than you. A pissant island makes you look like a disgrace. Ohhh that’s right…you won’t interact with them because they put one over you in the Cuban Missile crisis. Get over it – you eventually did with Vietnam. And that leads me to another chapter – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…or shouldn’t I mention all the “minor” illegal wars you waged?

You lost LOST the Vietnam War – admit it. You will also lose the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. The Middle Eastern wars are also bankrupting your country – why can’t day to day Americans see this? No one (starting with Alexander the Great) has ever conquered Afghanistan – get real or get out.

If you think those wars are over, and as G. W. Bush said, “Mission completed”…think again. You have effectively put people in charge who are far worse than the dictators that were already there in Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Afghanistan etc. and now you are trying to do the same in Crimea via the Ukraine. You are responsible for the extremists that are now running around the Middle East, and I don’t mean Al Qaeda. You are responsible for the creation of ISIS.

Let’s look at all those African refugees (including Syrians, Lebanese etc.) who are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe. The USA is totally responsible for all these simply because of WMD lies that resulted in the invasion of Iraq. All Middle East actions from thereon are his fault. He is a war criminal – oopps did I break one of your laws saying he is a war criminal in the land of the free and home of the brave? The land of free speech?

Fact – history is written by the victors.

The USA is trying to run the Middle East like a corporation – all the top executives from the G. W. Bush era on are criminals lining their own pockets.

Starting wars in the 21st century will no longer get a country out of a recession. It’s simply profit-making. Why don’t you take Saudi Arabia to task for 9/11? Ohhh that’s right, they control the oil flow. Don’t upset them – why don’t you find an alternative to Middle East oil?

Are you getting a message here?

The entire world dislikes and even hates you. You have acted the bully for many years after The Korean War, effectively destroying the good will you established in the early 20th century. You are hated across all lines – economic, religious, social, political and otherwise.

What is your obsession with Israel?

Fact – Israel was founded by Jewish terrorists. They set off bombs, killed people and destroyed property to achieve their aims. Because the world had ‘sympathy’ for Jews after WW2, it happened and a blind eye was turned. Today Middle America strongly believes in the Bible literally and as such wants to see Israel succeed in order the “Second Coming” results.

People – the Bible is a guide. It is not Gospel.

Why? In the early centuries, the Roman Catholic Church held conferences and decided which books, writings and teachings ended up in “The Bible”. God did not decide which early Christian books ended up in The Bible – so it is absolute rubbish for someone to state that the Bible guides what the United States should do. Too many real accounts of Jesus’ workings were excluded. The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for closing our eyes to the real Christ.

Hopefully Pope Francis can arrest this BS.

There are numerous United Nations resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with. By the way – are you (USA) financially paid up with the UN, or do you still refuse to pay in a timely manner in order to attempt to remind them that you rule over them?

How about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that lead to invasion? Colin Powell held up a drawing and said – here is the proof. You never found proof and never admitted you were wrong. Yes – Saddam Hussein was a bastard but he had the warring clans under control. It was all ALL about oil and nothing else. When the mud got too deep, you changed tact and said it was all about democracy. How far is Greece from Iraq? – damn closer that the USA. If the Greeks could not influence them – you sure in Hell can’t.

You can resolve the Palestinian problem in a matter of weeks, but you won’t due to that “minority” in the Middle East. This bullshit has been going on for 60 years.

Everyone knows (sorry – obviously you don’t) – the longer a problem festers, the harder and more costly it is to resolve.

I worked in the finance industry for many years and can only say that the number of times “we” (non-Americans) had to change our processes and rules etc. because the USA had set ‘”new standards” makes me sick. The standards set were not improvements – they were changed to line your pockets.

Look at Sarbanes Oxley for example – the world spent hundreds of billions of $’s attempting to comply because the USA would not do business with another country unless they did so only to see the USA itself found it too costly to implement itself! What a joke!

We now have many European countries in dire straits as a direct result of the exporting of American ways.

You destroyed the financial industry with your Subprime rubbish.

What about changes to financial models and makes etc. of any product or service that demand that people buy the “updated” version to reline your pockets. This is simply to keep the money wheel turning. You are desperately trying to ensure it keeps turning long enough for your problems to be passed to some other country or the next generation.

Ever thought about how much you spend on items such as defense, spying, war, inventing, manufacturing and using machines of war? Just imagine if only half of that was diverted to your health programs, science or to the benefit of other countries less fortunate? What about converting the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines into an international force for peace and relief of local and international disasters?

How can you allow a company to have a patent on the human breast cancer gene? You have to be kidding the world – but then again that’s your Constitution at work. No one owns human genes!

What happened to the “United States” that I remember as a child? That far-off country whose technology was so far advanced we could never dream of equaling.

What happened to that country that every county – even Russia in the old days – feared  -a form of respect?

Oh – and how long before I get the FBI, CIA, and all your other bullshit muscle agencies to frame me for some rubbish and shut me down…

A parting true story:

In late 1978/early 1979 my family traveled to Washington state where my father was working on behalf of a company in Australia. Unfortunately, departing Auckland NZ they had an emergency which meant we had to go back, dumping fuel on the way. 24 hours later we took off again after repairs and finally landed in Honolulu. My mother was pretty savvy and said get to the front of the Customs line so we can get to the connecting flight to LA.

Well – I was at the front of the queue, 18 years old, looking at an overweight female Customs officer wearing a gun strutting back and forwards. Her welcoming words to the Australians and New Zealanders were, “If you step over that yellow line, I will shoot you!” What a fucking joke – in 1978! No wonder you have a gun problem.

Welcome to America!

Congratulations to the NRA who lobby the most congressman/women on both sides.

Fact – I was born in July 1960, and in November 1963 I still vividly recall my parents being very upset when they heard of the news of Kennedy’s death despite my being three years old. All the more remarkable is the fact that we lived in Papua New Guinea – a protectorate of Australia at the time – literally a colonial backwater. I was too young to understand but remembered the words Kennedy and death and vaguely remembered the Cuba Crisis. We cried in the backwaters of the Pacific!

I fully understand that the Kennedys had their dalliances. Small beer in the scheme of things.

He and his brother are the standard you must return to.

Did Kennedy not say “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country?”

And in closing, written on the base of the Statue of Liberty…

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazurus

My country totally lacks world-shaking oratory ,but I think we more than make up with it in our actions.

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Israelis, Islamists, Hindutvadis and Fascism

William: Robert- I suppose it may be splitting hairs, but isn’t Israel about the Jewish faith? I mean it’s not like they’re all secular Jews – they’re linked by faith as much as bloodline.

Jews by blood but who have never been religious are not granted citizenship to Israel, although they are allowed to immigrate/reside there (green card equivalent).

RL: So Israel’s about the Jewish faith? “So what,” I would say. What does that have to do with anything?

William: Lindsay- I’m just saying it makes it not blatantly fash. Just kind of crypto-fash. There is a pretense not about race/bloodline.

OK, I can go along with that. I have always worried that these Lefties people calling Christian fundies Christo-fascists and the Islamists Islamofascists were going too far.

But in India, those Hindutvadis, well, they are pretty close to real deal fascism. They are not racist fascists. I suppose they are religious fascists. But the Hindutvadis are far more fascist than the Israelis or Islamists are.

There is a real question and a good debate going on regarding whether a religiously based fascism is even possible. But there was something resembling that in Croatia under World War 2. There was a racist-fascist (Nazi) regime called the Ustashe that killed Serbs, Jews, and, well, anyone who was not a Croat. However, a number of Serbs were given opportunity to convert to Catholicism and become in effect Serbs. The opportunity was given at gunpoint. It was covert or die, just like the Muslims did and sometimes still do. This would seem to be a Nazi-like regime that seemed to be based on religion at least in part.

There were also Chetniks roaming around in the mountains. These were Serbian Far Right guerrillas, often with a Serbian Orthodox priest traveling with them in the bands, who killed everyone who was not a Serb – Catholics, Muslims, etc. I believe they also fought against the Nazis though. The Chetniks would seem to be a sort of religiously-based racist fascism. There were also much more numerous Communist guerrillas roaming around the countryside at the same time, and they and the Chetniks did not have good relations.

Some Leftist theorists have recently been suggesting that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was actually fascist in a sense, and they laid out a theory on why that was. I am not sure if I bought it though.

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“Hinduism Versus Confucianism: An Analysis and Comparison,” by Dota

Nice essay from Dota, former commenter here who now blogs at Occident Invicta with Bay Area Guy, another former commenter here.

The societies of India and China have been structured along feudal lines for much of recorded history. Despite both societies placing a premium on hierarchy and authoritarianism, their internal motivations and ethical paradigms are widely divergent. The Chinese mind has been shaped by Confucianism, whereas the Indian mind has been shaped by Hinduism.

Let’s begin by analyzing Confucianism.

Confucianism stresses social order and postulates that no society can attain political stability by precluding social stability. Confucianism views society as a massive collection of interdependent networks that are comprised of relationships on the atomic level.

The genius of the Confucian model is that it recognizes the inherently relative nature of power and how power is also a zero-sum resource. Those that possess power do so because others do not. An emperor may possess power over a subject, but that subject isn’t powerless, only merely so in relationship to his sovereign. This same subject may be a teacher and wield power over his students.

To ensure social stability, Confucius ordained that relationships be guided by the principle of ren or benevolence. This is Confucianism’s highest virtue and arguably the philosophy’s overarching universal ethic. A sovereign treats his subjects benevolently by ensuring that they are fed, protected, and generally want for nothing (materially speaking). The subjects then reciprocate with obedience and loyalty. Those in power must treat those without (in the context of their relationship) with benevolence, while the latter reciprocate with obedience and loyalty.

Benevolence is often strictly interpreted as each party honoring their respective obligations. It would be unjust for a wife to expect her husband’s kindness if she herself were disobedient. Conversely it would be unjust for a husband to demand his wife’s obedience if he himself failed in his husbandly duties. We see a glimmer of this idea even in Western tradition. Plato argued that interdependence was at the heart of justice, and that social order was maintained when members of social classes refrained form crossing lines.

Confucianism’s approach to social justice is not dissimilar to other Eastern philosophies. The primary aim here is to ensure the prevention of abuse rather than empowering the disenfranchised (a preoccupation of modern day social justice). Sumeria’s Ur-Nammu famously proclaimed that: “The orphan was not delivered up to the rich man; the widow was not delivered up to the mighty man; the man of one shekel was not delivered up to the man of one mina.” Not unlike other ancient societies, the Chinese also believed that class structures were an inherent feature of any civilized society, as men of greater talent would naturally rise above their peers. The ancients thus focused their energies on ensuring that men of ability did not use their powers unjustly against those lodged beneath them in the social order.

Before we move on to discussing Hinduism, a few comments are in order pertaining to the success of feudalism in China. It is my opinion that feudalism was wildly successful in China for the same reasons that the Catholic Church was successful in Europe. The Church absorbed some of the most talented men in society by giving them an avenue to express their talents. Such men could not ascend in a strictly feudal order despite their talents and thus gravitated towards the church.

The Chinese state implemented that very approach and absorbed men of resource into its ever growing bureaucracy. This also had another unexpected benefit – it prevented the formation of a class of dissidents that could prove to be a source of agitation. I believe the Communist Party of China absorbs talent in such a manner even today. Men who wish to ascend the rungs of power often choose the political route (via the party) as opposed to the riskier route of commerce.

Hindu society, like its Chinese counterpart, was similarly structured along feudal lines. There is, however, one key difference in their underlying composition – Confucianism stresses the interdependence of relationship networks, whereas the Hindu caste system is the world’s oldest pyramid scheme.

As we are well aware, a pyramid structure is one where every level attempts to profit (by exploitation) off the labor of the level below, and so it goes all the way down until one reaches the base – the most crucial level and also the most exploited. Pyramids are inherently unstable and one way to ensure their longevity is by means of force. Individuals must be coerced to remain at their stations so that the structure may endure. This method leaves the structure vulnerable to rebellions and a constant tension between the levels. This point is obvious from British history alone where Barons often clashed with the monarchy.

In order to allay this source of instability, some pyramids permit upward mobility. But this makes the crucial base unstable by putting it in a constant state of flux as individuals at the lower stations climb up and leave their former stations vacant. This problem is alleviated by constantly recruiting newer members into the base so that there is always a base available for exploitation.

The genius of the Hindu caste system is that it combines both the aforementioned approaches. Hinduism forbids caste mobility in the current life, thereby ensuring the perpetual hegemony of the upper castes. However, in order to prevent tension, Hinduism allows caste mobility but only through rebirth/reincarnation. This system ensures that the lower castes are given some hope of improving their station in the social order so long as they serve the interests of the upper castes in the current lifetime. It is karma, the cosmic recruiter, that ensures that the base will always remain staffed with compliant serfs.

The ultimate difference between Hinduism and Confucianism is that the former is an escapist religion whereas the latter is at its core an ethical philosophy. While many a Westerner would disagree with the ethical rules of Confucianism, it is impossible to deny the ethical focus of this philosophy. Ethics reside within the horizontal space between individuals. Any ideology or mode of thought that attempts to address this space is ethical in nature, even if we may disagree with the rules that regulate this space and by extension the human relationships bound to it.

By contrast, Hinduism addresses a very different space: the gap between man and the universe (cosmic order). The goal of Hinduism is to escape the world and become liberated from karma once and for all. Karma and Dharma are cosmic forces that to the best of my knowledge have no equivalent in Chinese philosophy; the focus of the latter being on social and ethical matters as opposed to metaphysics.

To illustrate this point, consider the life of an ascetic. Hinduism places a great degree of value on the ascetic lifestyle. But the man who renounces the world resides in (to quote Arthur Danto) a space “beyond good and evil.” In such an environment, an agent’s actions have no moral content. A hermit who lives outside society will always act in a morally neutral way. The closest analogy to this in Chinese philosophy is the Taoist wanderer, who is essentially a loner. But the wanderer is not seeking escape from the world, merely freedom from discomfort and anxiety that plague those that haven’t discovered the way (Tao).

Confucianism on the other hand, by its very essence, rejects the ascetic lifestyle. Man’s place is rooted firmly in society, for as Confucius put it: “One cannot herd with the beasts or flock with the birds. If I am not to be a man among men, then what am I to be?” It is this space that Hinduism ultimately seeks release from. Consider the following illustration from India’s Bhakti tradition:

In the basic story, Tiruppan grows up as part of an ‘untouchable’ panar caste of bards and minstrels in a town near the temple of Srirangam, arguably the most revered of all Vaisnava pilgrimage sites and indisputably the single most important temple for Srivaisnava devotees. From the moment he is able to speak, Tiruppan sings beautiful songs praising the qualities of Rangi (or Ranganatha), the form of Visnu worshiped in the temple of Srirangam just across the river from his home town.

Every day he travels to the south bank of the river and sings from a distance to his beloved Rangi. Tiruppan yearns to see the image of his beloved but is unable to enter the temple due to his ‘untouchable’ status. Eventually, the beauty of his songs and the intensity of his devotion awake the compassion of Rangi, who comes in a dream to the Brahmin priest of Srirangam and tells him to bring Tiruppan into the temple on his shoulders.

The priest goes to get Tiruppan, but he refuses to come, saying, “How could you do such a thing with me, your slave, who belongs to the class of untouchables?” In another version, he states, “How can I step with my feet on to the holy temple of Ranga?” And the Brahmin replies, “Never mind! You can go [sitting] on my shoulders.” In yet another version, Tiruppan is so insistent that he cannot come to the temple because of his low birth and sinful life that the priest must physically force him onto his shoulders.

Eventually, Tiruppan enters the temple riding on the shoulders of the Brahmin priest, and gazing at Rangi in devotional ecstasy, he sings ten verses of praise describing the God from foot to head. These are the very verses that are still remembered and recited today in the Srivaisnava community. The story concludes with Tiruppan miraculously uniting with and disappearing into the image of his beloved Rangi.

This story illustrates how a man can close the gap between himself and the divine (Tiruppan and Rangi) whereas leaving the glaring gap between individuals (Tiruppan and the Brahmin priests) unaddressed.

This brings me to the final point of this essay. What is Hinduism’s overarching ethic? Western civilization’s universal ethic is moral universalism, and Confucianism’s is Ren (benevolence). It is my view that Indian civilization is unique precisely because it failed to do something which other advanced civilizations have done: produce a universal ethic. This view was shared by three individuals whom I have listed here in chronological order:

  1. St Francis Xavier
  2. Max Weber
  3. Dr Ambedkar

Francis Xavier, the Spanish missionary, made a series of observations about Indians that are quite illuminating. It is obvious that he did not think too highly of Hinduism, but it is one particular interaction that I wish to draw your attention to – a conversation between Xavier and a group of Brahmins:

When Xavier asked a group of Brahmins to summarize what Hinduism stood for, he was told that their gods “required two duties of those who desired to go to them hereafter, one of which was to abstain from killing cows because under that form the gods were adored; the other was to show kindness to the Brahmins, who were the worshipers of the gods.”

Max Weber arrived at a similar conclusion when he stated:

“There is no universal ethic but only a status and professionally differentiated dharma according to caste”

The Religion of India the Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism

Dr Ambedkar’s observations in his book The Riddles in Hinduism were identical to Weber’s. The very first chapter, The Difficulty in Knowing Who Is a Hindu, is centered around an attempt to define some common ethic or even creed that binds Hindus together. Ambedkar arrived at the conclusion that one is a Hindu precisely because one is born into the faith and not due to any universal ethic that binds individuals together under a set of agreed-upon moral rules.

Just as it is impossible to practice larceny in a culture that has no concept of private property, similarly it is impossible to practice intolerance in a culture that believes in nothing. I suspect this is the secret of Indian ‘tolerance.’ Tolerance can only be measured in opposition to what one cannot tolerate. The act of enduring what one cannot tolerate is in effect practicing tolerance. It is only in this context that tolerance acquires a moral quality. One however cannot practice tolerance when one subscribes to no real beliefs whose limits can be tested. The Indian approaches the world with extreme apathy and conflates his indifference for tolerance.

In conclusion, the difference between Confucianism and Hinduism can be observed in their differing worldviews despite some overlap in social conventions. Hinduism’s focus is on mystical objectives, as it dismisses reality as we understand it as illusionary. Confucianism’s focus is squarely on this world, and its chief emphasis is social and political harmony.

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Official Renunciation of Two Alt Left Groups and Two Alt Left Factions

According to Ryan England’s seminal work on the Alt Subtypes these are the main subtypes:

“The Left Wing of the Alt Right” – Rabbit uses this phrase quite explicitly. They are most open to race realism and most opposed to mass immigration and Islamism but are also inclined towards some kind of economic socialism or social democracy and are otherwise put off the Alt-Right somehow or other. Strasserites might be a more explicitly national socialist variant of this, and National Bolshevism would be even more out there still.  Left wing nationalism would be a softer variant of this.

“Gamergate Leftists” – Named from an article I read a while back claiming that most Gamergaters were left-leaning, these are another type. These types need not be big on Gamergate per-se (the more I studied Gamergate personally, the more lost and confused I got) but being anti-feminist (at least against the kind of PC feminist theory you’d find in a women’s studies class or on any left-leaning blog) and anti-SJW is huge with them as is civil and cultural libertarianism.

I found a number of these posting on anti-SJW pages. They come to the Alt-Left usually because of a belief in Leftist economics, though they are usually not that far Left.  Guys who believe in some regulation and a social safety net. Some too get put off by the tendency of anti-SJWs to drift into genuinely misogynistic and racist territory.  Remember kids that SJW and social liberalism are not the same things.  Think YouTubers like Sargon of Akkad or the Amazing Atheist, though they don’t use the term Alt-Left to describe themselves. Not yet, anyway. These kinds are defecting less from Richard Spencer and more from Milo Yiannopoluous. I used Gamergate’s colors in the design of my page’s logo and banner in an attempt to attract these types.

“Red Enlightenment” – These are most passionate about rationalism, skepticism, empiricism and in some cases, transhumanism and futurism. Generally scientifically minded and technocratic sorts of socialists or social democrats.

“True Liberals” – Antiracist and feminist supporters who think the whole thing has gotten out of hand and are concerned for the SJW’s lifestyle puritanism and opposition to free speech. They are more pro-feminist and pro-social liberal than the Gamergaters though. “The Democratic Party of the 1990s,” someone once remarked to me when I described the alt-left to them, to which I replied, “There were no liberals or Leftists in the 1990’s except myself.”

“Brocialists” – Socialists or social democrats with a penchant for men’s rights and anti-misandry. I seem to have drawn a number of these to my page, and a few of my moderators fall into this category. Hillary Clinton supporters have accused Bernie Sanders of using these as his base of support.  Used as a pejorative by the “Lorettas” of the present day left, I’m a firm proponent that we reclaim the term.

“Red Templars” – Especially and specifically anti-Islamic. We get a lot of these from Sam Harris and Bill Maher’s followings. Unlike the Left Wing of the Alt Right types, these sorts are more standard liberals otherwise.

“The New Old Left” – Would dispense with race, culture and identity all together if they could and make Leftism mostly about economic Leftism. The Realist Left page and the blog Social Democracy for the 21st Century are like this. Farther left you’d find /leftypol/ on 8chan and some Marxist/Anarchist groups that reject IdPol.  A whole separate entry could be made of the economic subtypes one might find on the alt left.  I’ve also found a lot of labor nationalists and assorted 3rd positionists: mutualists, distributists, market socialists, state capitalists, syndicalism and so on.

A few types that I have not seen many of and would have expected more are:

Christian Leftists (Catholic Social Teaching, the social gospel and even liberation theology seem especially well suited to alt-leftism),

and

Dissident Feminists  Surely, some feminists must be frustrated with what’s happened to their movement.  It’s been a long, long time since anything this dogmatic, intolerant, and puritanical has arisen in the western world.  Those well meaning devotees to feminism and social justice time and again are the ones who come under the sternest censure for the most minor of transgressions.  How many women out there, after getting called out one time too many for some sleight micro-aggression or another think “screw this” and drift away from the movement, while still holding to its essential ideals?  Many, I would think.  I would hope.  They can’t be that hive-minded, could they?  In any event, if there are, the alt-left must be the port-of-call for women of liberal sentiment overall who reject this 21st century rehash of 16th century puritan culture.

We have already discussed most of these types here, and we can do so again if you wish. But I would like to highlight one group in particular and say that I am renouncing them and want no part of them in our movement. I am tossing them out, in other words. Well out of my Alt Left faction anyway. And as the person who created the Alt Left, I think I might want to have some say on who’s in and who’s out.

The faction I am renouncing is here:

“Red Templars” – Especially and specifically anti-Islamic. We get a lot of these from Sam Harris and Bill Maher’s followings. Unlike the Left Wing of the Alt Right types, these sorts are more standard liberals otherwise.

I just came from an Alt Left Facebook group that threw me, the founder of the movement, out of the group. And this is apparently the shitposting site for the Sam Harris group on Facebook. So these are the Sam Harris people and this is what Sam Harris people are like. Well, guess what? You’re out. As far as I can tell, you want no part our movement and we want no part of yours. Most of you are not Alt Left anyway – and many of you are actively hostile to us. Well guess what? If you are hostile to us, ou are out. Bye bye. They’re not a part of the Alt Left at all. They can go off and form their own movement and call it Sam Harris’ Jerkoff Boys Movement or whatever.

I am also renouncing two Alt Left Facebook groups who have nothing to do with our movement.

Alt-Left: Those would be the “less crazy but still crazy SJW’s and sexual deviants centered around the Alt-Left site. Renounced. You’re not us. Bye.

Alt-Leftists: The other would be the Alt-Leftists group on Facebook, which is run by Sam Harris execrable crowd. It’s not that we on on the Alt Left do not have concerns with Islam and radical Islam. It’s not that we have no concerns with Muslim integration into the US or even Europe. We just feel that it is not a core issue and it brings in far too many people who are opposed to the core principles of the movement. You’re out. Bye. It was not pleasant having you over.

Also a new faction has emerged in the True Liberals Faction. Suffice to say that these are the crazy SJW’s who are fighting the crazier SJW’s. The movement is mostly made up of sexual deviants to boot, which makes even less palatable to us. Of course true biological gay men and lesbians are welcome in any faction of our movement, but it is beyond me why would need an Alt Left gay faction? I mean I am open to the idea, but what would it look like?

Anyway, here is the new faction:

True Liberals: Anti-racist, pro-feminist (pro equity feminism, in any event) but put off by SJW extremism.  I’ve noticed a subcategory of these who are, say, cisgendered gay males or transgender people who’ve quarreled with trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERF’s.)  I’ll call these kinds Equal Rights Advocates.  Perhaps you recognize yourself among them, dear reader?

These people are not us either. They were hostile to the founder of the movement and in the short time I was in their group, they were violating quite a few of our principles, including some of core principles. They’re not one of us, or they are not part of my group anyway. They need to leave. There is no room for these showboating SJW freaks and weirdos in our Alt Left. We are trying to get away from the 24-7 Gay Pride Parade in the Streets that the Cultural Left seems intent to shove down our throats.

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