NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, June 01, 2018

[C]oncerning these quakers (so caled)

Before Handmaid's Tale, there was Mary Dyer:

On June 1, 1660, at nine o'clock, Mary Dyer again set out from the jail for the gallows on Boston Common, surrounded by a strong military guard. As she stood upon the fatal ladder, she was told if she would return home, she might come down and save her life. " Nay," she replied, " I cannot ; for in obedience to the will of the Lord God I came, and in his will I abide faithful to the death."

Captain John Webb, the commander of the military, said to her that she had been there before, and had the sentence of banishment on pain of death, and had broken the law in coming again now, as well as formerly, and therefore she was guilty of rer own blood. " Nay," she replied, " I came to keep blood-guiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law of banishment upon pain of death, made against the innocent servants of the Lord, therefore my blood will be required at your hands who wilfully do it ; but for those that do it in the simplicity of their hearts, I do desire the Lord to forgive them. I came to do the will of my Father, and in obedience to his will I stand even to the death."

Then her old Puritan pastor, the Rev. Mr. Wilson, bade her repent, and be not so deluded and carried away by the deceit of the devil. To which she replied, "Nay, man, I am not now to repent."
...
And more she spake of the eternal happiness into which she was about to enter; and then, without tremor or trepidation, she was swung off, and the crown of martyrdom descended upon her head. Thus died brave Mary Dyer. Her remains were buried on Boston Common, and there they now rest in an unknown grave.

Wonder if this gave Kevin Williamson his edgy ideas...

ntodd

* Contribute to keep this blog fading for another 15 years!

June 1, 2018 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, April 09, 2018

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Etc.

Dann gleitet das Bild des Führers über in das des Verführers:

If he [the Führer] understands his function in any other way than as it is rooted in fact, if he does not continually tell his followers quite clearly of the limited nature of his task and of their own responsibility, if he allows himself to surrender to the wishes of his followers, who would always make him their idol—then the image of the Leader will pass over into theimage of the mis—leader [the Verführer], and he will be acting in a criminal way not only towards those he leads, but also towards himself.

The true Leader must always be able to disillusion. It is just this that is his responsibility and his real object. He must lead his following away from the authority of his person to the recognition of the real authority of orders and offices...He must radically refuse to become the appeal, the idol, i.e. the ultimate authority of those whom he leads...

He serves the order of the state, of the community, and his service can be of incomparable value. But only so long as he keeps strictly in his place...[H]e has to lead the individual into his own maturity...

That would be Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged on this date in 1945.

ntodd

April 9, 2018 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, April 06, 2018

April Hartal

Let's begin with this scene from a movie:

PATEL: [I]t seems to me it's gone beyond remedies like passive resistance.

GANDHI: If I may – I, for one, have never advocated passive anything.

GANDHI: I am with Mr. Jinnah. We must never submit to such laws – ever. And I think our resistance must be active and provocative.
...
AZAD: And what "resistance" would you offer?

GANDHI: The law is due to take effect from April sixth. I want to call on the nation to make that a day of prayer and fasting.

JINNAH: You mean a general strike?

GANDHI: I mean a day of prayer and fasting. But of course no work could be done – no buses, no trains, no factories, no administration. The country would stop.

PATEL: My God, it would terrify them! 

Now, a little more backstory.  Gandhi used a tactic similar to the general strike quite effectively during India's struggle for independence.  His approach is called hartal:

"Hartal" is a Gujurati word. "Har" means "everything" or "always"; "Tal" or "tala" means "to close". The word "hartal" means a day of mourning or protest, on which all the shops are shut and no-one goes to work or does any shopping.

The first time we saw hartal employed was in 1919 to protest of the Rowlatt Act, which severely limited civil liberties in the Raj:

The idea came to me...in a dream that we should call upon the country to observe a general hartal. Satyagraha is a process of self-purification, and ours is a sacred fight, and it seems to me to be in the fitness of things that it should be commenced with an act of self-purification. Let all the people of India therefore, suspend their business on that day and observe the day as one of fasting and prayer. The Musalmans may not fast for more than one day; so the duration of the fast should be twenty-four hours. It is very difficult to say whether all the provinces would respond to this appeal of ours or not, but I feel fairly sure of Bombay, Madras, Bihar and Sindh. I think we should have every reason to feel satisfied even if all these places observe the hartal fittingly.

...I drafted a brief appeal. The date of the hartal was first fixed on the 30th March, 1919, but was subsequently changed to 6th April. The people thus had only a short notice of the hartal. As the work had to be started at once, it was hardly possible to give longer notice.

But who knows how it all came about? The whole of India from one end to the other, towns as well as villages, observed a complete hartal on that day. It was a most wonderful spectacle.

What's interesting is that Gandhi soon came to believe this action was an error:

[W]hen I reached Nadiad and saw the actual state of things there and heard reports about a large number of people from Kheda district having been arrested, it suddenly dawned upon me that I had committed a grave error in calling upon the people in the Kheda district and elsewhere to launch upon civil disobedience prematurely, as it now seemed to me. I was addressing a public meeting.

My confession brought down upon me no small amount of ridicule. But I have never regretted having made that confession. For I have always held that it is only when one sees one's own mistakes with a convex lens, and does just the reverse in the case of others, that one is able to arrive at a just relative estimate of the two. I further believe that a scrupulous and conscientious observance of this rule is necessary for one who wants to be a Satyagrahi.

Let us now see what the Himalayan miscalculation was. Before one can be fit for the practice of civil disobedience one must have rendered a willing and respectful obedience to the state laws. For the most part we obey such laws out of fear of the penalty for their breach, and this holds good particularly in respect of such laws as do not involve a moral principal.

For instance, an honest, respectable man will not suddenly take to stealing, whether there is a law against stealing or not, but this very man will not feel any remorse for failure to observe the rule about carrying head-lights on bicycles after dark. Indeed it is doubtful whether he would even accept advice kindly about being more careful in this respect. But he would observe any obligatory rule of this kind, if only to escape the inconvenience of facing a prosecution for a breach of the rule. Such compliance is not, however, the willing and spontaneous obedience that is required of a Satyagrahi.

A Satyagrahi obeys the laws of society intelligently and of his own free will, because he considers it to be his sacred duty to do so. It is only when a person has thus obeyed the laws of society scrupulously that he is in a position to judge as to which particular rules are good and just and which are unjust and iniquitous. Only then does the right accrue to him of the civil disobedience of certain laws in well-defined circumstances.

My error lay in my failure to observe this necessary limitation. I had called on the people to launch upon civil disobedience before they had thus qualified themselves for it, and this mistake seemed to me Himalayan magnitude.

Constant, courageous learning.  I'm not so sure he was wrong in the particular, but his principle was right: we endure, follow the law scrupulously, and then showing our virtue, make the calculated decision to break social norms in civil ways. 

That's what we've seen in Black Lives Matter, West Virginia, and now Oklahoma.  And we need more.

ntodd

April 6, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Highest Perfection Is Unattainable Without Highest Restraint

On the same date that Gandhi wrote in Young India about non-violence in March '22, he instructed people what to do in case he was arrested:

The rumour has been revived that my arrest is imminent. It is said to be regarded as a mistake by some officials that I was not arrested when I was to be...It is said, too, that it is now no longer possible for the Government to withstand the ever-rising agitation in London for my arrest and deportation. I myself cannot see how the Government can avoid arresting me if they want a permanent abandonment of civil disobedience, whether individual or mass.

I advised the Working Committee to suspend mass civil disobedience...becauae that disobedience would not have been civil, and if I am now advising all provincial workers to suspend even individual civil disobedience, it is because I know that any disobedience at the present stage will be not civil but criminal. A tranquil atmosphere is an indispensable condition of civil disobedience. It is humiliating for me to discover that there is a spirit of violence abroad and that the Government of the United Provinces has been obliged to enlist additional police...

He also admonished his followers to not engage in any demonstrations or hartal upon his arrest, nor should they revive mass civil disobedience, and they should strictly adhere to the principles of non-violence.  

Gandhi was, in fact, arrested at Ahmedabad late at night on today's date, under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.  His parting words were that "all who bore patriotism and love for India should strain every nerve to propagate peace and goodwill all over India, among all communities."

The authorities charged Gandhi with sedition for writing three articles in Young India:

Fans of Attenborough's movie might remember a stirring court scene that encapsulated the "Great Trial" which ended with this statement (necessarily summarized in the film) on March 18:

I know that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk, and if I were set free I would still do the same. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also last article of my creed. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am sorry for it. Their crime consisted in the love of their country.

I am here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest Penalty. In my opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good Nonviolence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-co-operation with evil. I am here to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be the inflected upon me for what in law is a deliberated crime and what appears to me be the highest duty of a citizen.

The only cause open to, judge, is either to resign post and thus dissociate yourself from evil if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is evil and that I am innocent or to inflict on me the severest penalty, if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the public weal.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, though he was released early because of illness (he was 53 at that point and had an appendectomy two years into his prison term).  How much restraint can Trump and his supporters show?

ntodd

March 10, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

Already retweeted, but this needs to be re-emphasized:

Oh yes, a good old social intervention in the form of Method175. Overloading of facilities:

Overloading facilities involves the deliberate increase of demands fo services far beyond their capacity, so that the operation of the institution (government department, business, social service, and so on) is slow down or paralyzed.  Such overloading may be initiated by customers, the public, or employees of the institution.  The objectives may vary and may include improved services, wage increases and political ends.

In 1965 at the Los Angeles County Hospital in California, for example, interns protesting pay policies initiated an overloading of facilities by admitting far more patients to the hospital than existing facilities could accommodate--even persons not needing hospitalization were admitted.  This was called a heal-in.  The interns' aim was to obtain a better bargaining position with the hospital administration.  The hospital was filled with patients within four days, and the action cost the city around $250,000 in increased costs.

[The Miami News reported at the time:

Representatives of resident physicians and interns at Los Angeles County General Hospital, miffed by a pay raise of less than $10 a month, said they would flood the huge facility with patients. They called it a "heal in." 

County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn called it "a deliberate plan to disrupt good hospital service." Ho said a delegation of three doctors claiming to represent the 200 interns and 350 resident physicians said their strategy was to admit as many patients as possible and, at the same time, retain present patients longer. 

Hospital administrators said there was a 25 per cent increase in admissions yesterday and a 40 per cent drop in discharges. The doctors had asked fot $400 monthly for interns and a sliding scale foi resident physicians from S510 to $713 a month Interns now get $330 to start and $337 after six months — plus room and board. Resident physicians receive from $435 to $645 a month.]

A similar case occurred in Massachusetts at the Boston City Hospital in 1967, where it was called an "around-the-clock heal-in."  This action was begun by 450 residents and interns at Boston City Hospital on Tuesday, May 16, 1967.  The purpose of the heal-in was to dramatize salary demands by doctors at Boston teaching hospitals; at that time the take home salary of an intern was only sixty dollars per week.  The doctors felt that it would be in violation of their oaths to go on strike, so they chose instead to practice "ultra-conservative medicine in order to overcrowd the hospital.  Dr Philip Caper, President of the House Officers' Association, said: "Everyone gets the best of care," which was ensured by having all the interns and residents work twenty-four hours a day.  "Every patient who might benefit from hospitalization will be admitted, and no-one will be discharged until he is completely well."

The heal-in was patterned after the similar action at the Los Angeles County Hospital eighteen months previously.  The Boston City Hospital doctors began their heal-in as an unannounced experiment on Saturday, with 874 patients in the hospital.  On Sunday there were 890, on Monday 924, and on Tuesday at 7am (after the main action was begun) there were 982.  An unidentified doctor stated; "With 1200 or more patients in the hospital the laundry will not be able to keep up, the kitchens will have trouble getting the food out, the X-ray and laboratory departments will be swamped, and people will begin to listen to our demands..."

By Wednesday morning there were over 1000 patients, and 1075 on Thursday.  The heal-in was supported by private doctors and house officiers at the other major Boston hospitals.  Action was taken only at Boston City Hospital because house officers there had full responsibility for medical procedure, unlike the private hospitals.

Countermeasures by the administration began Tuesday afternoon with an announcement that there were no more beds for male patients, which was disproved that evening by the admission of two more patients.  They next tried to influence the chiefs of services to override the admittances, which these doctors refused to do on the grounds that these patients were indeed getting the best of care.  The administration's final effort was to deny their competence to make salary changes.  On the evening of Thursday, May 18, they relented and promised to make salary adjustments.  The doctors ended the heal-in voluntarily that night.  Observers felt that it was a "safe, effective way of backing up demands for higher wages."

[An LTE in Psychiatric News, 2001:

I was at the time a chief resident in psychiatry on what was then a Harvard service. I recall no mention of proposed union affiliation or concern about compensation, since the vast majority of residents felt privileged to be training under such notable clinicians as Dr. Derek Denny-Brown.

At issue were deplorable conditions for patient care such as grimy, open-bay wards with water-filled grapefruit juice cans filled with cigarette butts, an absence of bed linen, and no assistants to transport patients for X-ray studies or other procedures, such that interns had to push the gurney stretchers themselves.

The city administration had turned a deaf ear to the repeated pleas of the interns and residents. The “heal-in” was a last-ditch effort to draw public attention to the plight of the patients, who were, many of whom were poor and African Americans. We were determined during the heal-in to provide superior round-the-clock care. I recall being on duty for 36 hours straight. There were no “nonpatients” admitted, as described in Dr. Avram’s article. Rather, the decision was made not to discharge patients until every outstanding laboratory or X-ray study result was on the chart—this was had also been a significant problem in the precomputer era because of an absence of lab result dispatchers.

The Boston Globe was contacted in advance, emphasizing that superior care would be provided to patients during the heal-in. Thus, there was widespread public sympathy and support for this effort.

As I recall, the patient census soared from 800 to the full 1,200-bed capacity in two days. This required that some patients seeking admission were temporarily deferred to Massachusetts Memorial and Massachusetts General, New England Medical Center, and other area hospitals.

The city of Boston finally got the message, and the necessary patient care improvements were initiated.

This was not an action taken lightly and indeed only as a last resort. The interns and residents at Boston City Hospital felt totally vindicated by these positive results.]

These kids could gum up the works at their school, and maybe even more than that if they expand the effort.  Increased attention, increased potential.  And yes, this WILL look good on a college application...

ntodd

February 22, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kinder, Kirche, und Kuche

Defender of Womanhood, General Kelly:

When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country.  Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor.

Reminded me of das Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter, and the Rosenstrasse wives' resistance in Berlin:

By the third day SS troops were given orders to train their guns on the crowd but to fire only warning shots. They did so numerous times, scattering the women to nearby alleyways. But the wives always returned and held their ground. They knew the soldiers would never fire directly at them because they were of German blood. Also, arresting or jailing any of the women would have been the rankest hypocrisy: According to Nazi theories, women were intellectually incapable of political action. So women dissenters were the last thing the Nazis wanted to have Germans hear about, and turning them into martyrs would have ruined the Nazis' self-considered image as the protector of motherhood.

Say what you will about Hitler, he never grabbed a mutter by die Muschi.

ntodd

October 21, 2017 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Self-reflection Is Hard

I know from personal experience.

Also, too, my company has been struggling with Inclusion of Diversity, addressing race in American society, etc.  Any self-reflection is hard.  We white (men) have a lot of work to do.  And we kinda suck at it in general.  But it must be done.

ntodd

September 17, 2017 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

So, Fuck This Guy

No need to worry about white saviour complex with this Ohio supreme court justice.  Prolly would never be caught dead in the Dawg Pound, anyway.

ntodd

August 22, 2017 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (2)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

No matter my philosophy, I am saddened by this judgement against my friend Des:

On Wednesday, a jury convicted a 61-year-old female activist who had laughed during Sessions’s January confirmation hearing in the Senate. Desiree Fairooz, a longtime protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” (Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby himself had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathizer.) Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.

Some post-verdict reporting suggests the jury would not have convicted had Des not been loud after the rookie cop tried to remove her for laughing.  Whatever.  We are accustomed to such abuse of power, and calls to not be uppity.

For now, let us remember what another noble person said when testing the bounds of civil resistance:

know that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk, and if I were set free I would still do the same. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also last article of my creed. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am sorry for it. Their crime consisted in the love of their country.

I am here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest Penalty. In my opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good Nonviolence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-co-operation with evil. I am here to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be the inflected upon me for what in law is a deliberated crime and what appears to me be the highest duty of a citizen.

The only cause open to, judge, is either to resign post and thus dissociate yourself from evil if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is evil and that I am innocent or to inflict on me the severest penalty, if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the public weal.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, etc.

ntodd

May 3, 2017 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, February 24, 2017

We Are Not Afraid Of The word 'Tension'

My company's CEO and President signed an open letter to Lord Dampnuts about his immoral, unconstitutional, and counterproductive Muslim ban:

We believe that immigrants and visitors from these nations should be allowed into the US to help increase the efficacy of the work we do to build peace and prosperity both at home and around the world. Collectively, we employ tens of thousands of people, and we have always found that the most powerful solutions for societal ills only emerge with the intimate involvement of those whom we work to serve. Diversity is the lifeblood of social, economic, and political progress, and policies that impede this value weaken our ability to innovate and implement social change.

We fear that such policies limit opportunity, inclusion, and our nation’s opportunity to engage with the world. We stand with the millions of people around the globe who have joined hands in resistance to efforts to sow fear and create false divisions along the lines of religion, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, or any other degree of difference.

I'm just an infosec guy, but I'm very glad to be working with people who have great courage and vision, especially in these unsettled times.

ntodd

February 24, 2017 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Show And Tell

Jenny Boylan:

I’m so over defending my own humanity. I’m so over providing a power-point presentation about the fact that I exist. And I’m completely done with engaging with anyone who has a clever theory explaining why they actually understand my soul better than I do.

To be blunt: if your crazy-ass theory of the world doesn’t ease the suffering of people whom you do not understand, maybe what you actually need is a new theory.

Look, I’m going to continue all of the work I’ve been doing these last 15 years talking about identity and story and love. I’m going to try to support other people in the community whose work I admire, or find challenging or engaging.

But in creative writing circles we have a saying: Show, Don’t Tell. [ed. note: she drilled that into us in class] In writing, that means that a scene — with dialogue and texture and character — is much more convincing than narration — explaining and lecturing. And it strikes me that this is true of our movement now as well.

To exist is to resist.

ntodd

February 19, 2017 in Conscience, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (1)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, January 30, 2017

I will not give up repeating the names of Rama and Rahim, which mean to me the same god.

Back in 1908, Gandhi was released from the first of his many imprisonments in South Africa.  He'd been arrested essentially for refusing to register per the Asiatic Registration Act (only about 500 of 13,000 Indians complied).  His trial on January 10 was quite a circus:

The eastern side of Government Square presented an extraordinary scene of excitement this afternoon. All through the lunch hour there was a big gathering of Indians, and at two o’clock precisely a continuous stream of Indians indicated the approach of the leaders. Mr. Gandhi was the first to appear. It was drizzling, and his ardent admirers sheltered him with umbrellas as he walked along slowly reading the first edition of The Star. The Indians kept pouring on to the Square, and the public entrance to the Court was blocked.

The Magistrate, Mr. Jordan, was seen walking through the crowd, and of course he attracted considerable attention. At ten minutes past two the lock was heard in the door, and the press outside became greater. The doors were flung open and the crowd was met by Captain Potter, Superintendent Vernon, and two police. The officer ordered the entrance to be cleared and considerable confusion followed. The dense mass swayed backward, and when it was possible for egress to be obtained by a few people at a time, people were allowed to pass in.
...
Mr. M. K. Gandhi was first called, and he pleaded guilty to the charge, which was one of disobeying the order of the Court to leave the Colony within 48 hours.

Mr. Fred Klette, clerk in B Court, went into the witness-box and produced the records in the case Rex v. Gandhi heard in that Court on the 28th of December. Defendant was on that occasion ordered to leave the Colony within 48 hours. Witness served a written order personally on the accused.

On being asked by the Magistrate if he had any questions to ask, Mr. Gandhi replied:

No, Sir.

Superintendent Vernon, B Division, said that at 2 p.m. that afternoon he arrested the accused for failing to comply with the order. He had seen the accused repeatedly from the date the order was made until today.

Mr. Gandhi had again no questions to ask.

Mr. Schuurman intimated that this was the case.

Mr. Gandhi asked leave to make a short statement, and, having obtained it, he said he thought there should be a distinction made between his case and those who [sic] were to follow. He had just received a message from Pretoria stating that his compatriots had been tried there and had been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour; and they had been fined a heavy amount, in lieu of payment of which they would receive a further period of three months’ hard labour. If these men had committed an offence, he had committed a greater offence, and he asked the Magistrate to impose upon him the heaviest penalty.

MR. JORDAN: You asked for the heaviest penalty which the law authorizes?

MR. GANDHI: Yes, Sir.

MR. JORDAN: I must say I do not feel inclined to accede to your request of passing the heaviest sentence, which is six months’ hard labour with a fine of £500. That appears to me to be totally out of proportion to the offence which you have committed. The offence practically is contempt of Court in having disobeyed the order of December 28. This is more or less a political offence, and if it had not been for the defiance set to the law I should have thought it my duty to pass the lowest sentence which I am authorized by the Act. Under the circumstances, I think a fair sentence to meet the case would be two months’ imprisonment without hard labour. Mr. Gandhi was then removed in custody

It was around this time that Gandhi's fundamental concept of nonviolent struggle was formed:

The principle called Satyagraha came into being before that name was invented. Indeed when it was born, I myself could not say what it was. In Gujarati also we used the English phrase 'passive resistance' to describe it. When in a meeting of Europeans I found that the term 'passive resistance' was too narrowly construed, that it was supposed to be a weapon of the weak, that it could be characterized by hatred, and that it could finally manifest itself as violence, I had to demur to all these statements and explain the real nature of the Indian movement. It was clear that a new word must be coined by the Indians to designate their struggle.

But I could not for the life of me find out a new name, and therefore offered a nominal prize through Indian Opinion to the reader who made the best suggestion on the subject. As a result Maganlal Gandhi coined the word Sadagraha (Sat=truth, Agraha=firmness) and won the prize. But in order to make it clearer I changed the word to Satyagraha, which has since become current in Gujarati as a designation for the struggle.

General Smuts let Gandhi out of jail after they'd reached a tentative compromise about the legislation, but the struggle continued for many years.  Even throughout their disagreements, Gandhi viewed Smuts through the lens of common humanity (as Howard Thurman always advised decades later):

[F]or much of the rest of the time Gandhi spent in South Africa, Smuts tended to prevaricate on the "Indian Question", continually disappointing Gandhi. It was only in 1914 that Gandhi was able to negotiate a lasting compromise, the Smuts-Gandhi agreement. While not resolving all the issues plaguing South African Indians, it lead to an amelioration of previous laws, passed under the name of The Indian Relief Bill of 1914.

Nevertheless, they never lost respect for one another. As can be seen in the passage below, Gandhi tried, at all times, to look for the positive in Smuts, even according him a "high place among the politicians of British Empire and even of the world". At other times, however, Gandhi could not shake his concerns about Smuts’s duplicity.

By 1914, however, the relationship between Smuts and Gandhi came to something of an end. In an act of supreme generosity, Gandhi presented Smuts with a pair of sandals (which he had learnt to make at Tolstoy Farm), which Smuts was to use late into his life.

Sadly, not everybody got the message, which is why he was killed exactly 40 years after his first release from satyagrahic confinement.  His last words?

A few days after Mahatma Gandhi died, his secretary, Pyarelal, wrote a detailed account of the assassination, including the following: "At the first shot, the foot that was in motion, when he was hit, came down. He still stood on his legs when the second shot rang out, and then collapsed. The last words he uttered were 'Rama Rama'."

A different exclamation, "Hey, Ram!", is normally attributed to him. (An American scholar has suggested that this version is due to Gurbadu Singh.) In the 1960s his niece, Manu, who was near him, recalled his last words as "Hey Ram, Hey Ram." According to one of the conspirators who was in the crowd, he produced only an inarticulate guttural rasp.

At least some of the witnesses seem to have heard what they expected or wanted to hear. The "guttural rasp" version, for example, might well be dismissed as hostile. However, the fact that two of the other three accounts imply that he said more than just "Hey Ram" once - which a devout Hindu might be assumed in principle to say - suggests that this "normal" version is probably also incorrect.

"Rama, Rama" would beautifully express surrender to Rama's will, whereas "Hey Ram, Hey Ram" would more likely express an un-Gandhian sense of helplessness. However, the mere existence of so many contradictions makes it seem likely that he was heard indistinctly. And indeed, he was frail and old and two bullets had just entered his chest.

In this light it may be of interest that nine months earlier, Gandhi in one of his talks after a prayer meeting suggested unequivocally that his very last words, if he were assassinated, would be "Rama, Rahim": "Even if I am killed, I will not give up repeating the names of Rama and Rahim, which mean to me the same God. With these names on my lips, I will die cheerfully."

Thus he was finally released from service to India and nonviolence.

ntodd

January 30, 2017 in Conscience, PaxLives | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Sunday, January 01, 2017

We All Got Coal This Year, But We Can Get Back On The Nice List In '17

RMJ:

How do you "earn" a gift?  Even Santa Claus doesn't really work that way.  Ever know a kid who actually got coal and switches for Christmas?   It is God's gift that we should eat and drink and take pleasure in our toil.  What gain do we have from it, aside from pleasure in doing it?

The year ended has left us wondering what the year ahead could bring; and dreading it.  We assumed the system would take care of us, and it didn't.  But neither did the system turn reality on its head.  A sliver of the population elected Donald Trump, because a larger sliver of the population decided there was no merit to trying, no reason to care, no purpose in turning out.  They decided the system would function with or without them, so why bother?  They thought the system didn't matter; or didn't matter to them; or they didn't matter; or that the system would save them from themselves; when, of course, the system rolls blindly on if no one steps up to guide it.  To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.  Those are words of guidance, not words of reassurance that it will all be fine, and you will be taken care of.  You should find pleasure in your toil; but you still have to toil.

There is a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance; a time to build, a time to pull down, a time to keep, a time to throw away.  But you have to act to keep, or it will be taken away from you. You have to decide to throw away, or you may not be able to discard what burdens you.  Laughter and mourning are activities, not spontaneous and involuntary actions; dancing and building and even tearing down require your involvement; you cannot leave it to others.

Yea, verily, amen.  A less poetic presentation is something I've been flogging for a few years...

ntodd

January 1, 2017 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where Does My Nose Begin?

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.

 - Elbridge Gerry, debating the Second Amendment on 17 August, 1789

Not that I agree with Prohibition, nor total bans on any particular firearms, but John Finch, Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, does offer some counsel from the 19th century that we might consider:

Unrestrained natural liberty is the enemy of civil liberty. Let me illustrate: It was personal liberty that enabled Guiteau to send the bullet through the back of President Garfield. It is civil liberty which will hang him on the 30th of June. Do you see the difference? It is personal liberty that would let me meet you on the street and knock your brains out with a club; it is civil liberty that would punish me for the crime...

Personal liberty means individual or brute liberty. Civil liberty means the restraint of personal liberty. I have a legal right to fill my mouth with tobacco, and chew, and chew and spit. I do not believe I have the physical and moral right.

I have a right to chew and spit that way, or chew and spit the other way—it is none of your business. You grant that right if I am alone on the prairie. I go into a crowd of men and exercise the right. I chew and spit in one man's facer and chew and spit in another man's ear. I would be knocked down in a minute. As a man hits me on the ear, I exclaim, "Is not this a free country?" "Yes." "Have not I a right to spit?" You would teach me that my right to spit ceased where your right not to be spit upon began.

This arm is my arm and my wife's; it is not yours. Up here I have a right to strike out with it as I please. I go over there with these gentlemen and swing my arm and exercise the natural right which you have granted;. I hit one man on the nose, another under the ear, and as I go down the stairs on my head, I cry out:

"Is not this a free country?"

"Yes, sir."

"Have not I a right to swing my arm?"

"Yes, but your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins."

Here civil government comes in to prevent bloodshed, adjust rights and settle disputes.

Natural rights have inherent limits because they inevitably come into conflict with other natural rights.  Constitutional rights have explicit and implicit limits, even the precious RKBA.  You might claim that you're protecting yourself, but the political process exists for all of of us to protect ourselves.  Trying to find a balance is not infringement: it's the way this shit is supposed to work.

ntodd

* Lucky Thirteenth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or I'll not forget to ask you tomorrow! *

June 22, 2016 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

A Dose Of Oppressive Reality

[C]oncerning these quakers (so caled)...we have no law among us whereby to punish any for only declaring by words, &c, their mindes and understandings concerning the things and ways of God, as to salvation and an eternal condition.

 - Letter from the government of Rhode Island to the government of Massachusetts (October 17, 1657)


Memo to Larry Pratt: we Friends been executed and otherwise persecuted for not worshipping properly (which is tad worse than all the gun grabbing that Obama hasn't even tried).  One of the most famous examples is Mary Dyer:

On June 1, 1660, at nine o'clock, Mary Dyer again set out from the jail for the gallows on Boston Common, surrounded by a strong military guard. As she stood upon the fatal ladder, she was told if she would return home, she might come down and save her life. " Nay," she replied, " I cannot ; for in obedience to the will of the Lord God I came, and in his will I abide faithful to the death."

Captain John Webb, the commander of the military, said to her that she had been there before, and had the sentence of banishment on pain of death, and had broken the law in coming again now, as well as formerly, and therefore she was guilty of rer own blood. " Nay," she replied, " I came to keep blood-guiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law of banishment upon pain of death, made against the innocent servants of the Lord, therefore my blood will be required at your hands who wilfully do it ; but for those that do it in the simplicity of their hearts, I do desire the Lord to forgive them. I came to do the will of my Father, and in obedience to his will I stand even to the death."

Then her old Puritan pastor, the Rev. Mr. Wilson, bade her repent, and be not so deluded and carried away by the deceit of the devil. To which she replied, "Nay, man, I am not now to repent."
...
And more she spake of the eternal happiness into which she was about to enter; and then, without tremor or trepidation, she was swung off, and the crown of martyrdom descended upon her head. Thus died brave Mary Dyer. Her remains were buried on Boston Common, and there they now rest in an unknown grave.

Now tell me how sad you will be if our next Democratic preznit appoints a Justice who will uphold Heller's precedent that there is an individual RKBA with reasonable, constitutional limits...

ntodd

June 1, 2016 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, March 25, 2016

I Hate Pacifism

When the bullets start flying, I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me.

- Sgt Wild Bill Guarnere of then-Lieutenant Dick Winters

Okay, maybe 'hate' is too strong a word, but 'pacifist' isn't strong enough:

When I think of “pacifist” I think that the word is too small to hold what I would like to mean and not sure what the word is so I'm going to try and work it out. “Pacifist” implies someone who denies or abores or negates the use of physical violence and war—which I do—but it doesn't in my mind open up the truly revolutionary possibilities that are implied in peacemaking and especially in faithful peacemaking...

I've written about such difficulty before.  Gandhi also struggled with terminology, as well as his own actions, just like many Quakers have.  This stuff is hard, which is why you gotta study and practice it.

ntodd

March 25, 2016 in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Monday, November 23, 2015

Freedom Of Speech Isn't Free

Oh, Dr Rocket Surgeon:

After a brief moment near the top of the Republican field, Ben Carson’s numbers have been on the decline. Clearly feeling the pressure to say something crazy enough to outdo professional lunatic Donald Trump, Carson just went full-fascist. And you never go full-fascist.

Having already admitted that he likes the idea of keeping American Muslims (and foreigners) in databases to be watched, Carson seems to be warming to expanding that surveillance to other groups he doesn’t like. At a rally in Columbia, South Carolina, Carson dropped the bombshell that he believes any “anti-American” group should be monitored.

“What I have said is that I would be in favor of monitoring a mosque or any church or any organization or any school or any press corps where there was a lot of radicalization and things that were anti-American.”

...
As recently as October, Carson was suggesting that there needs to be a ban on “liberal” speech on college campuses.

“I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,” Carson remarked. “It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.”

His own supporters told him that was dangerously close to censorship, so he assured them that he didn’t mean right-wing speech, he was talking about liberalism.

Don't forget to monitor Quakers.  Those fucking Quakers.  Anyway, brings to mind Milton's Areopagitica, published on this date in 1644:

We can grow ignorant again, brutish, formal and slavish...Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

Free to know what Dr Carson thinks he knows...

ntodd

November 23, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Get Thee To A Quakery

Church and State!  Whiskey!  Sexy!

At a General Court held at Boston, the 14th of October, 1656.

Whereas, there is a cursed sect of heretics, lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent from God, and infallibly assisted by the Spirit, to speak and write blasphemous opinions, despising government, and the order of God, in the church and commonwealth, speaking evil of dignities, reproaching and reviling magistrates and ministers, seeking to turn the people from the faith, and gain proselytes to their pernicious ways:

...be it ordered and enacted, that what master or commander of any ship, bark, pink, or ketch, shall henceforth bring into any harbour, creek, or cove, within this jurisdiction, any quaker or quakers, or other blasphemous heretics, shall pay, or cause to be paid, the fine of one hundred pounds to the treasurer of the country...

And it is hereby further ordered and enacted, that what quaker soever shall arrive in this country from foreign parts, or shall come into this jurisdiction from any parts adjacent, shall be forthwith committed to the house of correction; and, at their entrance, to be severely whipped, and by the master thereof be kept constantly to work, and none suffered to converse or speak with them, during the time of their imprisonment, which shall be no longer than necessity requires.

And it is ordered, if any person shall knowingly import into any harbour of this jurisdiction, any quakers' books or writings, concerning their devilish opinions, shall pay for such book or writing, being legally proved against him or them, the sum of five pounds;

and whosoever shall disperse or couceal any such book or writing, and it he found with him or her, or in his or her house, and shall not immediately deliver the same to the next magistrate, shall forfeit or pay five pounds, for the dispersing or concealing of any such book or writing.

And it is hereby further enacted, that if any person within this colony, shall take upon them to defend the heretical opinions of the quakers, or any of their books or papers, as aforesaid, if legally proved, shall be fined for the first time fort; shillings; if they shall persist in the same and shall again defend it the second time, four pounds; if notwithstanding they shall again defend and maintain the said quakers' heretical opinions, they shall be committed to the house of correction till there be convenient passage to send them out of the land, being sentenced by the court of Assistants to banishment.

Lastly, it is hereby ordered, that what person or persons soever, shall revile the persons of the magistrates or ministers, as is usual with the quakers, such person or persons shall be severely whipped, or pay the sum of five pounds.

As I've said before in response to whiners who claim they're being oppressed, just try being a Quaker in Puritan Massachussets in the 1650s.  Good times:

From 1656 through 1661, the Massachusetts Bay Colony experienced an “invasion” of Quaker missionaries, who were not deterred by the increasingly severe punishments enacted and inflicted by the colonial authorities. In October 1659, two (William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson) were hanged at Boston; in June 1660, Mary Dyar (or Dyer) became the third; in March 1661, William Leddra became the fourth (and last) to suffer capital punishment or “martyrdom” for their Quaker beliefs.

While members of the Society of Friends rushed to Massachusetts to test the harsh sentences under the newly enacted laws, other Friends in England simultaneously petitioned Parliament and the newly restored king for relief from this official persecution. When the Massachusetts General Court sent a petition to King Charles II explaining and defending their actions, Edward Burrough, a leading Quaker writer and controversialist, answered it with [a 32-page publication entitled A Declaration of the Sad and Great Persecution and Martyrdom of the People of God, called Quakers, in New-England, for the Worshipping of God]. Its first part is a point-bypoint refutation of the Massachusetts claims; its second part is a detailed list of the punishments, cruelties, and indignities suffered by Friends at the hands of the colonial authorities; its third section is a narrative description of the three executions of 1659 and 1660, including the public statements of the condemned. 

Burrough’s publication (and a subsequent audience with the king) led to Charles’ issuance of an order halting the punishments in the fall of 1661, although they were resumed, in only slightly less severe form, the following year.

The highlights:

  • 22 have been Banished upon pain of Death.
  • 03 have been M A R T Y R E D .
  • 03 have had their Right-Ears cut.
  • 01 hath been burned in the Hand with the letter H
  • 31 Persons have received 650 Stripes.
  • 01 was beat while his Body was like a jelly.

Whereof

  • Several were beat with Pitched Ropes.
  • Five Appeals made by them to England, were denied by the Rulers of Boston.
  • One thousand fourty four pounds worth of Goods hath been taken from them (being poor men) for meeting together in the fear of the Lord, and for keeping the Commands of Christ.
  • One now lyeth in Iron-fetters, condemned to dye.

Call me when this starts happening to bigots.  Until then, they can fuck off.

ntodd

October 14, 2015 in And Fuck..., Conscience | Permalink | Comments (1)

NToddcast RSS Feed

Friday, September 25, 2015

When The Father Of The Constitution Loves The Bill Of Rights Very Much...

1789:

The Senate proceeded to consider the message from the House of Representatives of the 24th, wth amendments to the amendments of the Senate to "Articles to be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States;" and, 

Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the amendments proposed by the Home of Representatives to the amendments of the Senate.

Yet this #SlatePitchEsque post ought remind even Kim Davis' lawyers that there are limits to our rights enumerated in those First Ten...

ntodd

September 25, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

NToddcast RSS Feed

But What If Denying Civil Rights Is A Compelling State (Or County) Interest?

I mean, 10th Amendment and all that.  Plus, Dred Scott, amirite?!

ntodd

September 25, 2015 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)