International Cultural Stereotypes March 20, 2017Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
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. Lewis, after visiting 135 countries and working in more than 20 of them, came to the conclusion that humans can be divided into 3 clear categories, based not on nationality or religion but on BEHAVIOUR. He named his typologies Linear-active, Multi-active and Reactive.
5MB IBM Hard Drive, 1956 February 23, 2017Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Technology.
Tags: IBM, Technology
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If you want to understand a culture, look at its drugs of choice. February 23, 2017Posted by tkcollier in health, In The News, Lifestyle.
Tags: Drugs, health, Opiates, Pot, Society
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“Drugs have always reflected a simpler, consistent truism. Sometimes we have wanted out of ourselves, sometimes we’ve wanted out of society, sometimes out of boredom or out of poverty; but always, whatever the case, we have wanted out. One can only guess where this is leading America and Trumponomics will be hard pressed to reverse it. In the past, this desire was always temporary — to recharge our batteries, to find a space away from our experiences and the demands of living pressed upon us. However, more recently, drug use has become about finding a durable, lengthier, existential escape — a desire that is awfully close to self-obliteration.”
Video Games and Unemployment February 2, 2017Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Technology.
Tags: Unemployment, Video Games, Youth
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A few decades ago, an unemployed person might be stuck on the couch watching TV, isolated and depressed. Today, cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games, in particular, provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.
Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You? January 7, 2017Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, philosophy & politics.
Tags: Geopolitics, Jihad, Nuclear War, Putin, Terrorism, Trump
When I was a child, I often had nightmares that ended in a blinding nuclear flash. I became an evangelist for building basement fallout shelters and actually convinced one neighbor to build and stock one.
We have been lulled back into a false-sense of security. Our aging minuteman missiles, which still run on floppy discs, are our biggest risk for an accidental annihilation of civilization, as we know it. The Russians have no early warning satellites left in orbit, so their paranoid that we could launch an ICBM leadership-decapitating sneak attack,has been to develop a six thousand-mile range remote-controlled thermonuclear torpedo, which could destroy a coastal city. Russia still openly discusses using tactical nuclear weapons in regional conflicts, without apparently appreciating the resulting inevitable escalation.
The mechanics of building a crude nuclear device are easily within the reach of well-educated and well-funded militants. The crate would arrive at Dulles International Airport, disguised as agricultural freight. The truck bomb that detonates on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol instantly kills the president, vice president, House speaker, and 80,000 others.Where exactly is your office? Your house? And then, as Perry spins it forward, how credible would you find the warnings, soon delivered to news networks, that five more bombs are set to explode in unnamed U.S. cities, once a week for the next month, unless all U.S. military personnel overseas are withdrawn immediately?If this particular scenario does not resonate with you, Perry can easily rattle off a long roster of others—a regional war that escalates into a nuclear exchange, a miscalculation between Moscow and Washington, a computer glitch at the exact wrong moment. They are all ilks of the same theme—the dimly understood threat that the science of the 20th century is set to collide with the destructive passions of the 21st.“We’re going back to the kind of dangers we had during the Cold War,” Perry said. “I really thought in 1990, 1991, 1992, that we left those behind us. We’re starting to re-invent them. We and the Russians and others don’t understand that what we’re doing is re-creating those dangers—or maybe they don’t remember the dangers. For younger people, they didn’t live through those dangers. But when you live through a Cuban Missile Crisis up close and you live through a false alarm up close, you do understand how dangerous it is, and you believe you should do everything you could possibly do to [avoid] going back.”
If you want to read further on this risk http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/world-war-three-by-mistake
A Brave New World Order December 18, 2016Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
Tags: China, Geopolitics, Japan, Russia, United Staes
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Japan had the first world leader to meet with President-elect Trump. For the first time in eleven years, Putin just visited Japan for two days of talks. Trump’s proposed Secretary of State was awarded a Friendship medal by Vladimir Putin. What if anything do these have in common? Maybe nothing, but I can’t help but consider the implications for a Grand Alliance between Japan, Russia and the United States to contain China’s expansionist tendencies
Until recently, only Mao and Deng Xiaoping have achieved the title of “Core Leader”. Deng wanted the Communist Party to become a consensus-based system with rotating leadership and he would be the last Core leader. Current Premier Xi has put the end to that with his recent appointment as Core leader. We will have to see if this turns out to be an over-reach or the start of Emperor Xi’s dynasty.
China has always been a difficult country to rule. There are five distinct regions and multiple languages. There have only been a few times where a dynasty has been able to rule them all. Revolutions start, not when things are at their worst, but when rising expectations are dashed. Xi can see the demographic wall they are about slam into, as a result of the one-child policy lasting too long. He also knows that there will be economic dislocations, as they try to change from an Export-driven to a Consumer Society.
His biggest threat internally may not come from the aging establishment’s backlash, but from a youthful burgeoning left-wing Maoist movement. That is why the charismatic populist Bo Xilai was the victim of one of the first Stalin-like Show Trails. Xilai’s popular message was that Mao’s revolution has been hijacked by the corrupt Princelings – a group that Xi was fortunate enough to be born into.
China doesn’t it view itself as a Rising Power, but a a Returning Power. After all, with just 250 years under their belt, these Americans are only upstarts. While Kissinger was secretly meeting with Deng for Nixon’s Machiavellian opening to China, he asked Deng what he though about the French Revolution. After a pause, he said “We’ll have to see how it turns out”. China takes the long view of history and their future.
Embattled leaders will often use external threats to distract a restless populace. Xi knows the end of China’s economic miracle will bring unrest. Xi’s expansionist foreign policy has unnerved its neighbors, the most powerful of which are Russia and Japan. They could be open to a Grand Alliance with the United States to counter China’s rise. After all the US joined with Stalin to defeat what we thought was the greater foe – Hitler.
There is no love lost between Russia and China. They fought a seven month undeclared border war in 1969. China is financially taking over Mongolia and expects its other neighbors to eventually become vassal states also.
Russia had always been torn. It’s either a European or an Asian power. The construction of St. Petersburg was supposed to tilt Russia to the West. Putin rose to power from there. He has revived the Russian orthodox church. Putin’s Russia feels more comfortable with the West than the East. Russia is a declining power, who is afraid of the dragon’s growing power on it’s western borders. Japan is afraid too. Fear of a common enemy can make for strange bedfellows. Trump’s unconstrained collection of no-nonsense generals and plutocratic deal makers could think far enough outside the box to try and pull off such a Grand Bargain.
The Developing World Thinks Hitler Is Underrated November 27, 2016Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Geopolitics, News and politics, philosophy & politics.
Tags: Duerte, Geopolitics, Hitler, Putin
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Yet in much of the developing world, where ignorance regarding the Holocaust and Hitler’s fantasies of world domination is rife, he is perceived less as a mass murderer and ideologue of global conquest than as a stern disciplinarian who addressed social ills in a briskly efficient manner. His is a legacy of “law and order,” not of horrific chaos and collapsed cities. Additionally, and crucially, in the non-Western world the name Hitler can connote “anti-imperialist rebel” due to the German leader’s nationalistic struggle against “Anglo-French-American-Zionist domination.”
How a Solar Flare Almost Triggered a Nuclear War in 1967 August 11, 2016Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Geopolitics, In The News, Science & Technology.
Tags: Cold War, Geopolitics, Nuclear War, Solar Flare
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On May 23, 1967, multiple radar installations in the Arctic suddenly and inexplicably went dark.The U.S. military believed the Soviets had managed to disable the Early Warning System. With war imminent, the Air Force began prepping aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons. However, those aircraft never launched, as commanders received crucial information at the last minute that may have averted full-scale nuclear war.
That information came from the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) newly established Solar Forecasting Center. A few days prior, it had detected a massive solar storm, one of the largest of the century. The storm produced solar flares and radio bursts that knocked out communications around the world, including the Air Force’s Early Warning System.
The Solar Forecasting Center issued a bulletin warning that severe solar flares were incoming, and that bulletin managed to reach a commanding officer in time to avert action against the Soviets. If that bulletin had been delayed a few minutes, those nuclear aircraft could have launched, and the solar flares would have made it impossible to communicate in the air. If those aircraft had launched, there would have been no way to call them back.
How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes August 6, 2016Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Politics.
Tags: Elections USA, HIllary, Trump, Voting Machines
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It’s not just Trump who is worried about a rigged election; it should be all of us.
The Religion of Politics June 18, 2016Posted by tkcollier in In The News, philosophy & politics, Religion.
Tags: Politics, Politics USA, Religion
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Tags: Environment, Fish, Oceans, Plastic
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The fish that did hatch in these waters with high quantities of micro-plastics were “smaller, slower, and more stupid” than those that hatched in clean waters, lead author Dr Oona Lonnstedt, from Uppsala University, said.When exposed to predators, about half the young perch from clean waters survived for 24 hours. Those that had been raised with the strongest plastic concentrations were all consumed by pike over the same period.
“They all had access to zooplankton and yet they decided to just eat plastic in that treatment. It seems to be a chemical or physical cue that the plastic has, that triggers a feeding response in fish,” Dr Lonnstedt told BBC News. “They are basically fooled into thinking it’s a high-energy resource that they need to eat a lot of. I think of it as unhealthy fast food for teenagers, and they are just stuffing themselves.”
Which stars were you really born under? May 26, 2016Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, In The News, Lifestyle, Religion.
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Why Trump and Sanders May 17, 2016Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
Tags: Erdogan, Geopolitics, Modi, Orban Duter, Putin, Sisi, Trump, Xi Jinping
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What do Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common? – an authoritarian agenda.
The rise of Donald Trump has been accompanied by predictable murmurs of “only in America”. But the Trump phenomenon is better understood as part of a global trend: the return of the “strongman” leader in international politics.
Rather than leading the way, America has arrived late at this dispiriting party. Historians might one day highlight the year 2012 as the turning point. In May of that year Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin as president of Russia. A few months later Xi Jinping was installed as general secretary of the Chinese Communist party.
Democracies elected Hitler and Mussolini to get their dysfunctional democracies working again. Citizens were willing to give up certain rights for the security of knowing that Mussolini would ” get the trains to run on time”.
In fact, Mr Trump exhibits many of the characteristics of the current crop of strongman leaders, including Messrs Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Sisi, Modi, Orban and Duterte.
Bernie Sanders promises that the power of government would rectify disgruntled voters discontent with Income inequality and wage reversals. Donald Trump promised that his bullying would get things back to where they once were. Both are authoritarian attitudes, relecting the world-wide trend of the return of the strongmen.
Tags: Baby Boomers, generation X, Lifestyle, Millennials, Tough Mudder, Woodstock
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Liberals Are Simple-Minded – Reason.com January 18, 2016Posted by tkcollier in In The News, philosophy & politics, Science & Technology.
Tags: Conservative, Liberal, philosophy & politics, Psychology
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It is almost a truism among psychological researchers that conservatives are simple-minded and dogmatic. Liberals, meanwhile, are supposed to be more complex and open-minded thinkers. But a new paper is calling those conclusions into question.
The more interesting and telling results were found when comparing the liberal and conservative results derived from the environmentalism and religion dogmatism scales. The researchers report, “Conservatives are indeed more dogmatic on the religious domain; but liberals are more dogmatic on the environmental domain.” In fact, they note that “the highest score for simplicity was for liberals” (emphasis theirs).
They note that liberals scored high for dogmatism in response to these three items:
9. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are for the truth that the planet is warming and those who are against that obvious truth.
3. When it comes to stopping global warming, it is better to be a dead hero than a live coward.
10. A person who thinks primarily of his/her own happiness, and in so doing disregards the health of the environment (for example, trees and other animals), is beneath contempt.
The researchers point out, “Those are not just statements about having an environmental position: They are explicitly and overwhelmingly dogmatic statements. And liberals are more likely to agree with such sentiments—for an environmental domain.” The liberal respondents are not just asserting “‘I am an environmentalist’ but rather ‘all people who disagree with me are fools.'”
Ultimately, the researchers report that both liberals and conservatives are almost equally simple-minded when it comes to topics about which they feel strongly
And we may be born with a proclivity for being Conservative or Liberal.
Heavier Waiters Make for Heavier Eating – WSJ January 18, 2016Posted by tkcollier in Food, In The News, Lifestyle.
Tags: Food, Obesity, Restaurants
In yet another blow to our sense of self-control (to say nothing of our waistlines), it now appears that overweight waiters may inspire people to eat and drink more.
That’s the latest finding from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, which over the years has produced an array of discoveries about the unconscious factors that influence eating.Lab Director Brian Wansink has gained renown for showing that he can manipulate how much people eat by varying lighting, music, the colors and arrangement of jelly beans and the size of one’s fellow diners. In one famous experiment, Dr. Wansink and colleagues fed people soup. But some bowls were rigged up to subtly refill themselves from a large unseen reservoir. “Despite consuming 73% more,” the scientists wrote of the subjects with the refilling bowls, “they did not believe they had consumed more, nor did they perceive themselves as more sated than those eating from normal bowls.”
“If you have a heavy server,” says Mr. Döring, “you order more.” Diners with servers with an over 25 BMI (Body Mass Index) – and thus considered “overweight” – were four times likelier to order dessert and ordered 17% more alcoholic beverages. The disparity in ordering was particularly pronounced when diners below the BMI threshold of 25 had a server who was at or over the threshold. Or as Mr. Döring put it, “A heavy waiter or waitress seems to have an even bigger influence on the skinniest diners.”
Europe’s New Medieval Map – WSJ January 18, 2016Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News.
Tags: European Union, Geopolitics, Merkel, NATO, Putin
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As the EU continues to fracture, this power vacuum could create a 21st-century equivalent of the late Holy Roman Empire: a rambling, multiethnic configuration that was an empire in name but not in fact, until its final dissolution in 1806.
This means that there is still no alternative to American leadership in Europe. For the U.S., a Europe that continues to fracture internally and to dissolve externally into the fluid geography of Northern Africa and Eurasia would constitute the greatest foreign-policy disaster since World War II. The success of the EU over many decades was a product of American power, stemming from the victory over Nazi Germany. For all its imperfections, the EU, even more than NATO, has been the institutional embodiment of a postwar Europe that is free, united and prosperous.
Source: Europe’s New Medieval Map – WSJ
France’s Oedipal Islamist Complex | Foreign Policy January 10, 2016Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Religion.
Tags: France, Islam, Jihad, Religion
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The country’s jihadi problem isn’t about religion or politics. The terrorists therefore are not the expression of a radicalization of the Muslim population, but rather reflect a generational revolt that affects a very precise category of youth.
Why Islam? For members of the second generation, it’s obvious: They are reclaiming, on their own terms, an identity that, in their eyes, their parents have debased. They are “more Muslim than the Muslims” and, in particular, than their parents. The energy that they put into reconverting their parents (in vain) is significant, but it shows to what extent they are on another planet (all the parents have a story to tell about these exchanges). As for the converts, they choose Islam because it’s the only thing on the market of radical rebellion. Joining the Islamic State offers the certainty of terrorizing.
Tags: China, Conflict, Geopolitics, ISIS, Russia, Ukraine, United States, war
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One of the great fears in all this is that a gray-zone conflict—involving, say, U.S. and Chinese military vessels sparring in the South China Sea, or Russia threatening to deploy its nuclear arsenal—could tumble into an open one when some party miscalculates.
More likely, however, is that the patterns on display in 2015 will become more pronounced in the coming year. According to Laura Jackson, China sees the sea, and the earth generally, as only the start of its Three Warfares campaign—a testing ground for ambitions to control portions of outer space, which Chinesemilitary and legal thinkers see, in the words of one Chinese official, “as a natural extension of other forms of territorial control.” Russian military theory envisionsthe wars of the future moving from “direct clash to contactless war,” from “direct annihilation of the opponent to its inner decay,” from “war in the physical environment to a war in the human consciousness and in cyberspace.” In June, aNew York Times investigation uncovered how a series of web campaigns tried to sow panic in the United States by spreading fake Twitter messages, Wikipedia pages, and online news reports about everything from an ISIS attack in Louisiana to Ebola outbreaks and police shootings in Atlanta. This was not the work of mere pranksters, but targeted disinformation operations launched from a Kremlin-backed “troll farm” in St Petersburg. They were perhaps some of the first skirmishes in what Russian military theorists believe to be the battleground of the future: the minds of men and women, where every business deal, retweet, and Instagram post becomes a way of influencing what these theorists call “the Psychosphere.”
It’s a brave new war without beginning or end, where the borders of peace and war, serviceman and civilian have become utterly blurred—and where you and I are both a target and a weapon.
Thinking About the American Presidency | Geopolitical Futures December 30, 2015Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Politics.
Tags: Elections, Politics, President, United States
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To understand the American system, it is important to grasp how little power the American president has at his disposal.
Nevertheless, the American presidency was crafted for the unexpected moment, such as 9/11, where fundamental decisions need to be made within hours or days. When I vote for president, I ignore the policies and programs because they will rarely have the opportunity to pursue them. The American public is very clear in how it votes — it looks at the candidates, not the issues. This has been seen as a sign of shallowness. It is actually a sign of their deep understanding of the presidency.
The most important decisions presidents make are the ones they were never prepared for and have no policy for. Truman and Korea. Eisenhower and Suez. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Johnson and Vietnam. What their farm programs might have been is of monumental irrelevance. First, they can propose but Congress and the courts must enact. Second, it was the crises that defined their presidency. They had no policy for any of these, because they did not know what was coming.
When voters say they judge the person, what they are saying is that character is more important than the intentions. Intentions of presidents are crushed by history. Character, if you can glimpse it, tells you if the person is smart enough to understand the moment of history he is compelled to govern in, and the constraints it imposes on his choices. He needs to understand what is possible and impossible, in order that he have the ability to cause the least damage to the nation. Because in the end that’s what presidents must do. And the president must have the strange combination of hubris in imagining being president, and modesty, in understanding how little it means
Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie | WIRED December 28, 2015Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Food.
Tags: Food, Genes, GMO, Monsanto, Organic, Vegetables
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Well before their veggie business went kaput, Monsanto knew it couldn’t just genetically modify its way to better produce; it had to breed great vegetables to begin with. As Stark phrases a company mantra: “The best gene in the world doesn’t fix dogshit germplasm.”
What does? Crossbreeding. Stark had an advantage here: In the process of learning how to engineer chemical and pest resistance into corn, researchers at Monsanto had learned to read and understand plant genomes—to tell the difference between the dogshit germplasm and the gold. And they had some nifty technology that allowed them to predict whether a given cross would yield the traits they wanted.
The key was a technique called genetic marking. It maps the parts of a genome that might be associated with a given trait, even if that trait arises from multiple genes working in concert. Researchers identify and cross plants with traits they like and then run millions of samples from the hybrid—just bits of leaf, really—through a machine that can read more than 200,000 samples per week and map all the genes in a particular region of the plant’s chromosomes.
They had more toys too. In 2006, Monsanto developed a machine called a seed chipper that quickly sorts and shaves off widely varying samples of soybean germplasm from seeds. The seed chipper lets researchers scan tiny genetic variations, just a single nucleotide, to figure out if they’ll result in plants with the traits they want—without having to take the time to let a seed grow into a plant. Monsanto computer models can actually predict inheritance patterns, meaning they can tell which desired traits will successfully be passed on. It’s breeding without breeding, plant sex in silico. In the real world, the odds of stacking 20 different characteristics into a single plant are one in 2 trillion. In nature, it can take a millennium. Monsanto can do it in just a few years.
And this all happens without any genetic engineering. Nobody inserts a single gene into a single genome.
One God for Christians, Muslims and Jews? Good Question December 20, 2015Posted by tkcollier in Religion.
Tags: Belief, Christianity, Evangelical, Faith, Jewish, Muslim, Pope, Religion
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So why don’t evangelicals walk around saying they don’t worship the same God as the Jews, the same way they’re insisting on saying it about Muslims? Here’s the kicker: Evangelicals do believe they’re worshiping the God of the Old Testament — they just think Jews have failed to understand his essence as revealed in the New Testament.
In evangelical theology, God revealed himself to the Hebrews without expressly making his triune nature known. The incarnation changed all that, and created the possibility of Christian salvation. The Jews failed to get the message. All along, they were worshiping the triune God. They just never knew it, and still don’t.
Hence, to an evangelical Christian, it would make no sense to say that Jews worship a different God — even though to the Jews, that God isn’t theologically very different from the God of the Muslims. To bring this full circle, note that Pope Francis might well believe the same thing. The difference is that he believes Muslims, too, are worshiping the God of the Hebrews. Given that the Prophet Muhammad himself believed that the God of the Jews and of the Christians was the same God he was serving, that view seems pretty convincing. The pope’s view would have the benefit of being consistent as among Jews and Muslims.
If all this makes you want to run to atheism, fair enough. Otherwise, Merry Christmas!
The Paris Terror Attacks Remind Us That ISIS Needs Our Help to Survive – Resilient Corporation December 20, 2015Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, Religion.
Tags: Geopolitics, Globalization, Immigration, ISIS, resilience, Terror
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This dream of absolute disconnection from an “evil world” is what all fundamentalists (religious and secular) seek as their collective salvation. In the not too-distant past, such disconnects were far simpler to achieve: head to some desolate place beyond marked borders, plant your flag, and fight off anyone who dared to trespass. This is why religions – as a rule – have always burned hottest along frontiers.
But that’s the thing with globalization: it engulfs frontiers, reformatting local cultures at a disorienting speed. Alongside all those networks arrive unprecedented economic opportunities that have – over the past half century – shrunken the share of humanity suffering extreme poverty to an all-time low of 10 percent. But that global force of change creates enormous local frictions, unleashing all manner of social tensions, civil strife, political revolutions, and extremist movements – all of which put people on the move and further accelerate globalization’s blending dynamics. It’s one thing for your world to be transformed by my networks, but quite another if that process drives you to my doorstep in search of your better life.
Discarded refugee life vests
But that’s exactly what continues to happen. Muslims fleeing the Middle East and North Africa for Europe and North America don’t seek to replicate in these new environments the harsh life they left behind. Yes, they want to retain their cultural and religious identities amidst this disorienting transition, but who wouldn’t? The key point is that they seek the combination of social peace, political freedom, and economic opportunity that only a pluralistic, diverse nation-state can provide. These people aren’t seeking refuge in authoritarian regimes; they’re seeking legitimate sanctuary in countries whose capacity for tolerance ensures it. So, again, when we unduly oppress Muslims within our ranks, we essentially endorse ISIS’ message of intolerance and apartheid. We feed their strength while dissipating our own.
In the end, it’s our diversity that renders our nations truly resilient. Indeed, that melting-pot mindset defines these United States – the world’s oldest and most successful multinational union. It’s what makes us resilient in the face of all the vulnerabilities that our open societies present to our enemies as logical targets. The West can – and should – never hope to harden itself sufficiently to withstand any attack without suffering internal perturbations. We cannot firewall ourselves off from this wonderful world of our creating and still thrive.
Instead, we must continue to grow our collective resilience from the bottom-up – family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, and community by community. Resilience helps people where they live by fostering communal bonds built around the basic human instinct for empathy beyond kinship – that rarest of behaviors in nature. All who are willing must be invited to join in this effort, because, the bigger our “tent” is, the sooner we prevail in this struggle to define humanity’s future.