Monthly Archives: October 2012

Explaining the Difference Between the Non-Religious Progressive Mind and the Reactionary Religious Mind

By Dom Nozzi

The more a man knows, the more he forgives. – Catherine the Great

According to Canadian psychologist Robert Altemeyer…fundamentalists exhibit a high quotient of authoritarian traits: “They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather uninclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly comnpartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.” –The Party is Over, by Mike Lofgren (2012)

A fundamental difference between those with a reactionary, religious (or fundamentalist) mindset and those with a more progressive, non-religious mindset is that the reactionary mind sees almost all societal problems as problems associated with a discreet set of inexplicably evil people. Such utterly heinous people are not evil due to upbringing or societal dysfunction or economic woes or unfairness. Rather, such awful people are either born evil or have chosen to engage in evil. There are a limited number of them, and it is possible to separate righteous, moral people from evil people – largely through their belief or lack of belief in the views of the Christian tribal norms.

Given this, for the reactionary religious mind, problems caused by evil people elicits fearful hysteria, and can only be solved by submissively and self-righteously supporting authority figures (such as judges or elected officials) who demand that the evil people be punished (as our Christian god so often urges as a “solution” to evil), be isolated from us (so that we and our children are not contaminated by them), or be killed (if we kill enough of them, we will eventually rid ourselves of the contamination).

For the reactionary religious mind, it is not possible to rehabilitate evil people (the Christian god makes that clear with his use of the eternal lake of fire in hell). Nor is it possible to reduce evil behavior by economic or other forms of societal or judicial reform. According to the reactionary religious mind, because abusing a nation does not breed an increase in bad behavior, imperialistically or preemptively attacking evil nations or punishing and abusing such nations will REDUCE the amount of evil in the world, and will not increase the amount of bad behavior.

Non-religious progressives, by contrast, generally believe that punishment, abuse, and social or economic woes are a root cause of poor behavior.

The reactionary religious mind self-righteously considers itself amongst the Chosen People (or the exceptionalists), which means they have nothing to fear about loss of privacy or loss of civil rights.

After all, they are certain they will never engage in unlawful activity.

This mindset also leads to a host of hypocritical, double-standard beliefs and behavior (“Terrorist nations” cannot use drones or preemptive strikes or torture, but the exceptionalist, Christian America has a right to do so because we are, by definition, righteous and a force for Good.”)

Again, those of a non-religious, progressive mind believe, in general, problem behavior or crime is caused by societal problems, a dysfunctional or otherwise unfair economic system, or of poor upbringing.

By contrast, the reactionary religious mind has concluded that problem behavior or crime is due to bad, insane or evil individuals. Behavior that is utterly inexplicable.

Contributing to this is that such a mind finds it necessary and virtuous to be ignorant of certain knowledge (since “bad” or “immoral” knowledge can lead to a loss of religious faith or other forms of wickedness).

The only “solutions” left for those harboring the reactionary religious mind is that such evil people must be isolated, punished or killed. Or submit to and cheer on judges, prison guards, policeman and elected officials who will do that for us.

This distinction helps clarify a number of major societal issues in American society:

Terrorism, for the reactionary religious mind is monstrously inexplicable. The reactionary religious mind believes “terrorism” is contagious. “Terrorism” must be quarantined by punishing “terrorists,” isolating “terrorists,” or killing “terrorists.” It is not caused by nations that have abused people. It is caused by a discreet number of evil people (who George W. Bush informed us are people who are so inexplicable that they “hate freedom.”) If America is able to round up and kill enough of these evil, insane “terrorists,” we will not have “terrorism.” The ignorance of the reactionary religious mind means that such a mind is completely incapable of seeing any military, economic or social cause for such “terrorism.” “Terrorism” is, in other words, inexplicable. By contrast, the non-religious, progressive mind would generally argue that the US “War on Terror” is creating a HUGE INCREASE in people who hate the US so much that they end up dedicating their entire lives to harming America and Americans. That is, punishing, isolating and killing people is making the “terrorism” problem much worse.

Illegal drugs, for the reactionary religious mind, immediately cause, on first use, addiction, ruination of a person’s character and future, or death. Excessive or recreational drug use (unless the drug happens to be alcohol, nicotine or caffeine) is inexplicable, and such behavior is chosen because the person is evil or has been contaminated by other evil users of illegal drugs. The “solution” for the reactionary religious mind is punishment, isolation, or killing illegal drug users and illegal drug “kingpins.” Again, such reactionary “solutions” make the drug problem much worse. The ignorance of the reactionary religious mind means that such a mind is completely incapable of seeing any economic or social cause for such dysfunctional drug use. Dysfunctional drug use is, in other words, inexplicable (or due to someone too weak or immoral to resist drug addiction). For the non-religious, progressive mind, by contrast, illegal drug use that leads to dysfunction by the user is generally caused by economic or social dysfunction (or medical/genetic issues). Similarly, the non-religious, progressive mind knows that violent illegal drug sales are almost entirely induced by the illegality of the drug.

Sex, for the reactionary religious mind, if not for procreation within a marriage, will infect one with deadly AIDS, unwanted pregnancy outside of marriage, or a host of other terrible STDs. To reduce societal sex-related problems, the reactionary religious mind believes that sex and contraception must be hidden rather than introduced as sex education in school. Depictions of sex or discussion of sex and contraception will contaminate people, and lead to promiscuity, unwanted pregnancy and STDs. We must punish and isolate those who are open about sexuality, as doing otherwise will contaminate us. Non-religious progressives, by contrast, know through worldwide studies, as well as logic, that knowledge about sex and access to contraception substantially reduces the incidence of STDs, unwanted pregnancy (particularly in teens), and abortions. Once again, the reactionary “solutions” make sexuality problems much worse.

Religion, for the reactionary religious mind, is only legitimate if it is of the Judeo-Christian variety. And Christianity must be heavily subsidized by all US citizens (regardless of their religious beliefs). Christianity must be forced down all throats of US citizens because not doing so will result in the downfall of the morals of US adults and children, lead to an explosion in crime, and bring about the downfall of the nation. Exposure to non-Christian beliefs or (gasp!) atheism will contaminate minds and lead many to shed their Christian beliefs. Only by punishing or isolating ourselves from non-Christian beliefs are we safe. Historically, it was also necessary to burn non-Christians at the stake. Today, many of the reactionary religious mindset believe it is important to kill Muslims.

Police, for the reactionary religious mind, must be given ever larger amount of local and state government dollars to assist society in punishing, isolating and killing the unalterably evil people who prey on law-abiding people. Because of the supreme importance of law enforcement to punish, isolate and kill evildoers, the police budget must dwarf all other local government service budgets. For the non-religious, progressive mind, sub-optimizing on providing resources for the police department significantly worsens crime problems, because when an unbalanced amount of public dollars are allocated to police, other essential social services are hobbled. Why? Because such services are starved of public dollars and other resources. This hobbling of social services greatly increases societal crime problems.

The Death Penalty, for the reactionary religious mind, is an essential tool for removing the contamination of unredeemably evil people. Since we cannot rehabilitate those who are inexplicably evil, our only recourse is to punish them and isolate them until we can execute them. By contrast, non-religious progressives tend to know that the death penalty costs more in public dollars than imprisoning someone for life. Non-religious progressives generally see that this counterproductively results in other social services essential to rehabilitating problem behavior is curtailed. And this leads to an increase in the amount of problem behavior in society.

Gun Control, for the reactionary religious mind, is intolerable because it will mean surrender to a tyrannical dictatorship in America, and we will be defenseless against inexplicably murderous, evil, insane, mass-murdering gunmen. It is possible, according to the reactionary religious mind, for society to identify law-abiding people who would never think of unjustifiably using a gun to kill people in a criminal action or fit of passion. Only those “other” people, who we can easily identify as inexplicably evil, would ever use a gun inappropriately. Guns are essential for the overriding task of punishing, isolating and killing evil people. Guns are emblematic of the violence-loving nature of the reactionary religious mind. For the non-religious, progressive mind, by contrast, easy and nearly universal access to guns inevitably leads to an increase in gun deaths due to “crimes of passion,” and an increase in the number of accidental gun deaths. Non-religious progressives know that even “upstanding” or “law-abiding” citizens can some day end up engaging in criminal behavior with guns, have gun-related accidents, or kill people in a fit of passion.

Militarism, for the reactionary religious mind, serves purposes that parallel that of the local police. The military budget must forever expand and dwarf all other government expenditures. Militarism is essential in protecting us from evil that threatens to take over our nation and take away or freedom-loving way of life. We need overwhelming military force to punish, isolate and kill those who are inexplicably hating America. For the reactionary religious mind, military violence is a necessary, ever-present way of life. By contrast, the non-religious, progressive mind knows that unbalanced public funding that provides excessive dollars to militarism is a far more likely recipe for endangering national security, because unbalanced military spending starves other essential federal government services. Starving other areas of the federal government thereby degrades public education, social services, rehabilitation, and the overall economy. This worsening will ultimately lead to a self-imposed societal death spiral that has nothing to do with foreign “enemies.” In addition, the non-religious, progressive mind knows that aggressive military build-ups inevitably lead to unsustainable American military intervention overseas (which the reactionary religious mind self-righteously defends is our role as the “world’s policeman”). The non-religious, progressive mind also realizes that the arming of other nations or groups abroad – often will have the boomerang result of arming future enemies of America in the future.

Crime, for the reactionary religious mind, can only be effectively reduced if we drastically increase punishment for criminals, isolate criminals, and execute the irredeemably evil criminals in our midst. The ignorance of the reactionary religious mind means that such a mind is completely incapable of seeing any economic or social cause for crime. Crime is, in other words, either inexplicable, or committed by immoral people. We must, according to the reactionary religious mind, eliminate the rights of anyone suspected of a crime – which, to the reactionary religious mind, are guilty by the simple fact that they are suspects. Those who harbor a reactionary religious mind need have no fear of a loss of civil rights, as the reactionary religious mind naively believes that they will never have anything to hide, or will never be engaged in activity that will lead to government investigation.

Conclusion

A crucial difference between the reactionary religious mind and the non-religious, progressive mind is that the former is convinced that on each of the above issues, there is a discreet number of “bad guys,” and that problems caused by such inexplicably evil people will decline if we would just punish, isolate, and kill such people.

For the non-religious, progressive mind, the opposite is believed. The non-religious progressive generally believes that it is NOT a matter of rounding up a discreet number of “bad guys.” Instead, by punishing, isolating and killing “bad guys,” we are INCREASING the number of “bad guys” and worsening societal problems.

The striking American failure to reduce the above problems is a testament to the failed, uninformed, authoritarian, violent thinking of the reactionary religious mind. By rejecting the idea that there are social or economic causes for such problems, the reactionary religious mind perpetuates and worsens the problems. For the non-religious progressive, the solutions to the above problems are based on successfully addressing the root causes of the problems. If America remains in the hands of a plutocracy of wealth and anti-intellectual religious ignorance, this nation will remain in an end-of-empire Death Spiral.

________________________________________________

About

My memoir can be purchased here:

Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-

the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom@walkablestreets.com

Visit my other sites:

Road to Ruin can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

My Best-Ever Lists blog

http://dombestlist.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

http://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

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Censoring Smart Growth Planners

By Dom Nozzi

On Tuesday night in the late 1990s, the Gainesville, Florida City Commission held a “workshop” on the draft long-range land use and transportation policies being considered for adoption by the City of Gainesville.

I witnessed something disturbing that I suspect happens rather often.

As the author of the policies that I had put into the draft land use plan (regarding the prohibition of gated subdivisions), I was disappointed to see that the language had been softened and watered down by my supervisors. Now, instead of prohibiting gated subdivisions (which planners know reduces transportation choice and an undesirable isolation from the larger community), the policy before the Commission now proposed that the City would “discourage” it.

This watering down of the policy language was done by my supervisors despite the fact that the City Plan Board, which is a board appointed by the Commission to advise them on community development issues, did not request such a weakening of this language in the meeting they held about the proposed land use policies.

In fact, I believe my supervisors wanted to remove the policy entirely — even in the watered down rendition.

Then, at the City Commission meeting, more than one commissioner wanted to STRENGTHEN the policy to (again) require prohibition (as I had earlier drafted the policy to state).

It took my breath away that our elected decision-makers (the City Commission) almost did not even have a chance to assess the gated subdivision policy option, had I not lobbied my supervisors to at least have even a watered down version of it retained.

One wonders how often local government planners and other staff restrict the options laid out for policy-making elected officials at the staff level — due, apparently, to fear that the official might “mistakenly” approve something staff does not personally like.

Is it legitimate and professional for STAFF to narrow the range of options presented to an elected body?

The fact that the City of Gainesville employs upper level supervisors and other administrators who are hostile to recognized Smart Growth planning principles ensures a bleak future for Gainesville. Not only is such a state of affairs demoralizing to Gainesville planning staff. A number of planners have left Gainesville, at least in part due to the administrative hostility to quality planning tactics.

Another highly detrimental outcome of an administrative staff which opposes Smart Growth planning is that such staff serves a critical “gatekeeper” role with regard to what planning documents and recommendations come from of the planning department, and in the longer run, which planners are hired (with such supervisors, new planners hired tend to share the hostility to Smart Growth ideas).

With such supervisors at the helm, the staff recommendation tend to be dumbed down, trivial, beside the point, irrelevant, counterproductive, unresponsive, and embarrassing.

In such an environment, planners such as myself who are supporters of a better community future through Smart Growth principles are reduced to simply doing what we are told. Which means that we do as little as possible to ensure a weekly paycheck, and never go the extra mile to prepare well-researched planning recommendations.

An important side note to this situation is that it hardly even matters who is on the elected City Commission, because in a “weak mayor” form of government which Gainesville has, the Commission has only very indirect control over what comes from staff. It hardly matters if the entire commission is composed of strong advocates of Smart Growth new urbanism, environmental conservation, or neighborhood protection.

Given this state of affairs back in my time as a planner for Gainesville, an enormous volume of draft plans and recommendations I had researched and prepared for the City never saw the light of day, despite obvious compatibility of nearly all such recommendations by the City long-range plan or by the relatively enlightened City Commission at the time.

The gatekeeper supervisors engaged in this form of staff censorship by deleting the Smart Growth recommendations before they even went to the elected City Commission – despite the majority of Commissioners (at the time) being supportive of Smart Growth.

The situation is stunning, and completely outside of the awareness of elected officials and citizens of the city.


______________________________

My memoir can be purchased here:

Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom@walkablestreets.com

Visit my other sites:

Road to Ruin can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

My Best-Ever Lists blog

http://dombestlist.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

http://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

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Improving Bus Ridership

By Dom Nozzi

Should a City strongly focus its bus system on serving lower-income areas, even if doing so results in very low bus ridership?

Before Gainesville hired my friend Perry Maull (who no longer works for Gainesville) to be the city transit director, Gainesville only had a few buses, and they were always empty. Gainesville, he proclaimed, was suffering from the “empty bus” syndrome, where everyone in town could see all these empty buses running around town (and thinking about how wasteful that was).

It was only when Perry started going after the University of Florida market that things turned around in a big way. Most of Perry’s brilliant strategy was to convince students to pay an increased student fee in exchange for a bus pass. Students were more than happy to do this so that they could escape the burden of scarce, expensive parking on campus.

Sadly and predictably, Perry and the city were then attacked by advocates for the poor and disabled. Such advocates were appalled that the city bus system seemed to now be putting too much emphasis on serving “wealthy” students rather than poor people in East Gainesville. They demanded the city return to the inefficient days of excessive focus on serving poor people – even if that would mean returning to the bad old days of the Empty Bus Syndrome.

Putting too much emphasis on serving poor people in low density areas served by ample, free parkign predictably results low bus ridership levels. In effect, doing so is to make the bus system act like a social service agency rather than an effective transit system.

It is a recipe for transit failure.

Designing a transit system for poor people — people who are more likely to have no choice but to use transit (because they are less able to afford owning cars), is a design strategy where there is little need to care much how good the transit system is operating, since poor people are forced to use it regardless of how awful the service may be.

That may be fine for a social welfare office. But for a bus system, creating a mediocre transit service kills public support for transit. After all, who wants tax dollars to go toward empty buses that are only used by a handful of low-income people?

Such a floundering system requires millions of public dollars increasingly bankrupt communities don’t have, forces communities to serve areas that are extremely low in density (too low for healthy transit), and ultimately erodes the community’s ability to improve the system overall (because of sagging transit revenues and declining public support for transit).

By contrast, by adopting Perry’s successful strategy of going after the people who have a choice (in this case, college students living in high-density areas who are inconvenienced by scarce and expensive parking), transit is now seen by everyone to be relevant and a meaningful part of the community travel mix.

In other words, instead of an unbalanced focus on serving the poor and ignoring predictable declines in bus revenue and quality, opting for proven transit strategies for success (serving higher-density residential areas where parking is scarce and costly) improves the bus system overall. A healthier bus system, in other words, can provide better service for poor people than can a mediocre Empty Bus system that is overly focused on serving the poor.

It may be “politically incorrect” to design a bus system that targets the wealthier “choice” riders, but it is the political “price” a community often must pay if it truly wishes to improve its bus system.

_____________________________________________________

My memoir can be purchased here:

Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607

Road to Ruin can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

My Best-Ever Lists blog

http://dombestlist.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

http://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

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The Best Way to Educate People That Bicycling is Desirable

By Dom Nozzi

It is quite common in America to believe that the only way to convince people of the desirability of a behavior is to educate them. “We need educate people that suburban sprawl is bad.” Or “we need to persuade college students to recycle more.” Or “we need to inform the residents of our town that they should not litter.”

I want to be frank. “Educating” people is an exceptionally poor way to modify human behavior. Indeed, it is quite common for a person who disagrees with a community objective (such as, say, reducing energy consumption) to oppose a new regulation and instead claim that we simply need to “educate” people to do the right thing.

However, if we are honest, we will accept the overwhelming evidence that the best education, by far, to convince people that they should behave in a more socially desirable way is to adjust market prices so that the behavior becomes more rational. As an aside, if adjusting market prices is not feasible or appropriate (for example, a local government is usually unable to modify the price of, say, a barrel of oil from the Middle East), a second-best tactic for modifying behavior is government regulation.

When modifying prices or adopting new regulations are NOT pursued as a way to modify behavior, and “education” is instead the tool used, it is a sign that the community is not serious about achieving the objective.

A frequent question in my profession of transportation planning is the question of how to increase travel by bicycle.

In my (dangerous?) opinion, the most effective way to increase the level of bicycling in a communty is to adjust market prices so that it becomes rational to bicycle.

Sure, it can be a nice idea to point out that bicycling is good for your health. Or reduces air pollution. Or saves money. But almost no one is convinced that they should bicycle when they hear such platitudes. Thinking that such messages are sufficient to increase bicycling, again, is a sign that we are not serious about increasing bicycling.

If we are serious about increasing bicycling, we need to modify price signals.

For example, increase the cost of motor vehicle parking, accept traffic congestion as a way to increase the “time tax,” increase the cost to drive on roads (via electronic road or congestion fees), increase the cost of gasoline (via an increase in the gas tax).

Get serious about modifying behavior in a socially desirable way. Opt for price signals (or regulations). “Education” is a feel good tactic that delivers little, if any, beneficial change in behavior.

______________________________________________________________________________

My memoir can be purchased here:

Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

The Car is the Enemy of the City (WalkableStreets, 2010), can be purchased here: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/the-car-is-the-enemy-of-the-city/10905607

Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.

Visit: www.walkablestreets.wordpress.com

Or email me at: dom@walkablestreets.com

Visit my other sites:

My memoir can be purchased here:

Paperback = http://goo.gl/9S2Uab Hardcover =  http://goo.gl/S5ldyF

Road to Ruin can be purchased here:

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Ruin-Introduction-Sprawl-Cure/dp/0275981290

My Adventures blog

http://domnozziadventures.wordpress.com/

My Best-Ever Lists blog

http://dombestlist.wordpress.com/

My Town & Transportation Planning website

http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/

My Plan B blog

http://domz60.wordpress.com/

My Facebook profile

http://www.facebook.com/dom.nozzi

My YouTube video library

http://www.youtube.com/user/dnozzi

My Picasa Photo library

https://picasaweb.google.com/105049746337657914534

My Author spotlight

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/domatwalkablestreetsdotcom

Leave a comment

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The Bleeding Heart: A Definition and a Critique

by Dom Nozzi

What is a bleeding heart?

A Definition

Wikipedia defines a bleeding heart this way: Someone regarded as excessively sympathetic, liberal in a political sense, or both. It is typically considered a derogatory remark.

My definition is more elaborate. For me, a bleeding heart is someone who is so excessively compassionate towards a minority such as an African-American, a woman, or a poor person that they are blinded to the fact that their efforts of compassion are, in many cases, ultimately harmful to the person being helped, the person doing the helping, the overall community, or a combination of these. The compassion of the bleeding heart is so passionate that they insist that their efforts are helpful despite the evidence, and that those who do not join them in their efforts are evil or callous.

It doesn’t matter that the compassion of the bleeding heart is unfair to those not being “helped.”

The Bleeding Heart Attitude Can Lead to Martyrdom 

A common outcome of the “excessively sympathetic” bleeding heart is that the person often overlooks or sacrifices their own needs to the point where they suffer from exhaustion, poor health, financial woes, failed relationships, loneliness, a decline in their appearance, depression, and anger. The happiness of the bleeding heart is secondary to helping others. Relationships with a significant other or family members can also suffer — for example, by overly neglecting their significant other or family members. The bleeding heart, in some ways, engages in what amounts to martyrdom. Their own lives suffer because too much of what they need is sacrificed to helping others. They become bitter people who are consumed by seeing the world as being constantly unfair or selfish.  The unintended consequence is that the bleeding heart, by leading a less happy or successful life, is less able to help others who are in need.

Victims and Outcomes

The bleeding heart tends to believe in permanent victimhood. That is, the “victimized” person or people they seek to help will forever be victims — be they Jews, African-Americans, or others who have a minority status due to something the victimized person cannot change (such as birth).

The bleeding heart also tends to believe that an unequal outcome is irrefutable evidence that they have been “victimized” by discrimination, racism or other forms of oppression. Examples of unequal outcomes include African-Americans or women or low-income people who are, among other possible outcomes, disproportionately unemployed, are not admitted to colleges in proportion to their numbers, have lower income, or have lower-status jobs.

For the bleeding heart, these unequal outcomes are nearly always fully explained due to discrimination or oppression, and are almost never due to irresponsibility, poor choices, lower-quality genes, or lack of hard work. Typically, the bleeding heart is never able to, in any way, blame their victims for their position in life.

All of us, according to this view, are generally born with the same skills, qualities, and abilities.

The bleeding heart usually has the habit of looking upon “victimized” individuals or groups as “noble savages.” Wikipedia defines a “noble savage” as the idea that in a state of nature, humans are essentially good. Examples of the noble savage, for the bleeding heart, are to see lower income people or African-Americans or women as, by definition, people that are born ethical, intelligent, fair, kind, compassionate, righteous, and supportive of human rights. Such oppressed people are almost never selfish or blameworthy.

In general, it is only white, Anglo-Saxon men who are fundamentally evil.

Double Standards

Specific examples of bleeding heart behavior, given the above, include instances where food or money is given to a panhandler. Or when the bleeding heart supports policies in which extra assistance is extended to African-Americans or women in college admissions – assistance that is not extended to “oppressor” white males. Or artificially tipping the scales in the direction of the “victim” or minority group in hiring or promotion in the job world. Or bleeding heart efforts intended to correct what is considered to be a “racist” or “sexist” imbalance of the college admittance, hiring or promotion of white males. Or speech codes which prohibit white males from using “derogatory” language toward minorities (who are assumed, by bleeding hearts, to be too “sensitive” to avoid being harmed by “racist” or “sexist” words).

It almost never occurs to the bleeding heart that in many cases, an imbalance is due to faults of the minority individual. Almost always, the imbalance can only be due to discrimination, because the bleeding heart almost always assumes that we are all born equal in abilities, and had it not been for oppression, there would not be any instance where societal benefits are disproportionately enjoyed by white, Anglo-Saxon males.

Victimhood is Forever

Our society, according to the bleeding heart, will always be required to give more assistance to such individuals as African-Americans or women than white, Anglo-Saxon males because discrimination is hard-wired into white, Anglo-Saxon males. Again, the victimization is assumed to be permanent.

What about using objective criteria to determine salary, hiring, or admission? Wouldn’t that be fair?

No.

The bleeding heart has a handy retort to such a proposal – one that can be used forever: It is not possible to objectively measure competence or skills as a way to select or promote candidates, because such measures will inevitably be biased by and toward white, Anglo-Saxon males.

Double Standards Promote Discrimination

Ironically, the reverse discrimination that many bleeding hearts passionately justify (or turn a blind eye to) ends up contributing to and perpetuating the very discriminatory or racist attitudes that many bleeding hearts oppose so vehemently. This occurs because when a minority is promoted or hired or admitted or given another form of special treatment over white Anglo Saxon males even though they do not merit such special treatment (ie, there are white Anglo Saxon males who are more deserving due to superior skills or achievement), those who have racist or discriminatory beliefs will witness added confirmation of their beliefs. Others who were not discriminatory in the past may now feel that those who have discriminated against minorities previously may have been right in doing so.

The unfairly rewarded minority individual, for example, is likely to show their incompetence when they are promoted in a job, and this confirms to those who are at least borderline racist or discriminatory that such a minority is indeed inferior due to their gender or skin color or ethnicity.

For many bleeding hearts, two wrongs make a right. That is, the wrong of discrimination can be made right by using the wrong of unfairness against white Anglo Saxon males. And in the same vein, for many bleeding hearts, the ends justify the means. In this case, even if we unfairly treat white Anglo Saxon males, such a wrong is justified because doing so has produced equal outcomes for the victimized minority group. Besides, many bleeding hearts insist on the “justice” of “reparations” that must be suffered by white Anglo Saxon males to punish them and exact compensation for historic discrimination they engaged in.

Fairness is Unfair

In essence, for the bleeding heart, fairness must be sacrificed to ensure equal outcomes or equal societal rewards. It is not enough to provide equal opportunity. If there are unequal outcomes, it is by definition due to discrimination.

Besides, it is only “fair” to be unfair towards white males as compensation (or “reparations”) for past (and endless future) discrimination by white males.

Inevitably, this state of affairs leads to the utterly unfair acceptance of double standards. In many instances, it is perfectly acceptable, for example, for society or “victim” groups to discriminate when it comes to hiring, admissions, use of “derogatory” language, or sexual harassment.

As long as it is directed against white, Anglo-Saxon males.

A parting thought: For the record, even though atheists have suffered from horrible, cruel, open discrimination for several centuries throughout the world, I, as an atheist, am not in favor of offering special treatment to atheists in terms of hiring, promotion, political elections, admissions, or speech codes.

_______________________________________________

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