Finally, white nationalists are being called terrorists. We need this to continue.
Over the weekend, Pete Buttigieg warned of the dangers of white national terrorism. Officials in El Paso agree.
- At a conference in Las Vegas, Pete Buttigieg said white national terrorism is being condoned at the highest levels of the American government.
- Officials in El Paso are treating the recent mass shooting as a case of domestic terrorism.
- Voices ranging from the NY Times Editorial Board to conservative author David French are calling for white nationalists to be labelled terrorists.
Ever since 9/11, politicians left and right have been criticized for their inability to call white nationalist criminals "terrorists." Such a reframing might appear slight, yet the consequences are important. Ultimately, this designation pushes back at the chronic problem of American exceptionalism, the false notion that "natural" (i.e. white) American citizens are somehow above citizens of other nations.
Such a label also denies another related idea, manifest destiny, which, like American exceptionalism, states that America has a mandate to change the world. By calling Americans terrorists, we can identify the actual root of racial and nationalist tension on our soil. The reality is "we" are not different from "them." While there are certainly qualities of democracy to be celebrated, the shadow side of such a system has become quite dark. As Thomas Hobbes knew, it is quite easy for individuals to revert to our animal nature and provoke a "war of all against all."
On Saturday, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke alongside eighteen other presidential candidate hopefuls in Las Vegas. He refused to mince words during his opening statement. America has a white supremacy problem, and it's getting worse.
"America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terrorism. White nationalism is evil. And it is inspiring people to commit murder, and it is being condoned at the highest levels of the American government, and that has to end."
Though the highest level of government balks at such an explanation, instead trying to pivot to mental illness and video games (while citing the wrong city) as the cause for recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the good news (if there can be any in such situations) is that the Texas shooting will be investigated as domestic terrorism. When someone as conservative as David French is calling for war on white-nationalists terrorists, public sentiment has certainly turned.
It might have taken an anti-immigrant manifesto posted on 8chan—a site that's become so toxic even the founder is calling for its removal—to inspire officials to look at this as a case of domestic terrorism, but any progress on this issue is better than silence.
Buttigieg Warns ‘U.S. Under Attack From Domestic White Nationalist Terror’ | MSNBC
Over the weekend, the NY Times Editorial Board came out with a scathing indictment of white nationalism, noting that if the shooters over the weekend (or last week at a Garlic Festival shooting in Gilroy, California) were radical Muslims the reaction from the government would have been much different. You would hear no chatter about video games, but rather a call for international mobilization to combat the dangers of Islam.
In fact, the best the president could offer after this weekend's shootings is some form of background-check legislation tied into immigration reform, as if these were connected issues. The only connection is that immigrants are in need of protection from murderers, not that they're the actual problem.
As the Times puts it, white supremacists act in the same manner as terrorists around the planet. While it's not a specifically American disease, it has become particularly prevalent here over the last few years.
"White supremacy … is a violent, interconnected transnational ideology. Its adherents are gathering in anonymous, online forums to spread their ideas, plotting attacks and cheering on acts of terrorism."
Whether it's adherence to skin color or a violent book, call terrorists what they are. Cheering on or acting out the killing of others due to ideology is terror, plain and simple, and it's getting worse—another Gilroy man boasted that 500 people, not three, should be the real goal of a mass shooting. Though divided by outward appearance, the inner rot of these men is the same, regardless of what country they originate.
Mother Aidee Gutierrez (R), originally from Mexico, and daughters Marlene Gutierrez and Brissa Martinez embrace at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on August 5, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
While businesses could fill in the gaps in the government refuses, firearms are moneymakers, meaning this is not a likely path forward. Perhaps Walmart, the site of the El Paso massacre, would consider further gun restrictions in their stores, yet they declined to make such move in the wake of Saturday's shooting (though, to be fair, they have been somewhat progressive on this issue since 2015).
And so, like Buttigieg (among others at the conference) said, several policy proposals need to be enacted—ideally immediately, though that is unlikely for another (almost) two years (at best). Buttigieg supports universal background checks, banning high capacity magazines, removing at-risk and mentally ill citizens from purchasing firearms, and nonpartisan studies by the CDC on the effects of gun violence.
Common-sense implementations. The problem is that we're living in an era where sense is uncommon. Thus, we've ended up where we are: living in a nation in which the government condones terrorism from the top-down. As usual, the citizens are left paying the price.
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.
Scientists discover the inner workings of an effect that will lead to a new generation of devices.
- Researchers discover a method of extracting previously unavailable information from superconductors.
- The study builds on a 19th-century discovery by physicist Edward Hall.
- The research promises to lead to a new generation of semiconductor materials and devices.
Credit: Gunawan/Nature magazine
Students who think the world is just cheat less, but they need to experience justice to feel that way.
- Students in German and Turkish universities who believed the world is just cheated less than their pessimistic peers.
- The tendency to think the world is just is related to the occurence of experiences of justice.
- The findings may prove useful in helping students adjust to college life.
The world is just? That’s news to a lot of people.<p>The study is the most recent addition to a long line of work focusing on the belief in justice, our behavior, and our reactions to evidence that might suggest injustice occasionally occurs. This study focuses on a personal belief in a just world, (PBJW) rather than a general belief in a just world (GBJW). The difference between them must be highlighted.</p><p>GBJW is the stance that justice prevails all over the world and that people tend to get what they deserve. PBJW is more focused on the individual's social environment and their belief that they tend to be treated justly. While several studies show PBJW correlates with a higher sense of well-being and a variety of other positive effects, a high GBJW is associated with less life satisfaction, negative behavior, and callousness towards the suffering of <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-3216-0" target="_blank">others</a>. This study controlled for GBJW, and focused on PBJW as much as possible. </p><p>To assure that culture was not a factor, the study included students at universities in both Germany and Turkey. </p><p>The researchers gave students at the four participating universities a series of questionnaires that asked if they ever cheated in class, if they perceived the world to be just, if they though that justice always prevailed everywhere, their tendencies towards socially appropriate behavior, their life satisfaction, and if they felt like they were treated justly by their teachers and fellow students. </p><p>The answers were statistically analyzed for relationships. While some of the connections seem trivially true, others were surprising. <strong></strong></p><p>PBJW turned out to only be an indirect predictor of if a student was likely to cheat. Both a belief in a just world and a lower likelihood of cheating were mediated by the justice experiences of the students, with more of these positive experiences lowering the rate of cheating and improving their belief in justice. This was also associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. </p><p>These effects existed across all demographics in both countries. </p>
What does this mean? Is a belief in justice a self-fulfilling prophecy?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6oMv-azHNCA" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>In a way, it seems to be. People who have reason to think the world is just to them tend to interpret events in a way to sustain that belief and behave in a just manner. In a larger sense, the take away from this study is that experiences of justice, both from peers and instructors, is vital to student's wellbeing and understanding that the rules that exist about cheating are part of a larger, legitimate, system. </p><p>The researchers, citing previous studies on the perception of justice, note that "justice experiences (1) signal that university students are esteemed members of their social group, which in turn conveys feelings of belonging and social inclusion and (2) motivate them to accept and observe university rules and norms. These cognitive processes may thus strengthen their well-being and decrease the likelihood that they cheat."</p><p>The authors also suggest that if you want people (not only students) to act justly; consider treating them with "civility, respect, and dignity."</p><p>Sometimes, all it can take to help somebody act virtuously is to treat them well. Likewise, people treated harshly can rarely find reason to play by rules that don't protect them. The findings of this study will certainly add to the literature on how we perceive justice in the world around us, but might also help us remember that there are real consequences to our actions which can be much larger than we imagine. <strong></strong></p>
This could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
- The reason children suffer less from the novel coronavirus has remained mysterious.
- Researchers identified a cytokine, IL-17A, which appears to protect children from the ravages of COVID-19.
- This cytokine response could change how researchers approach vaccine development.
A member of staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a child's temperature at the Harris Academy's Shortland's school on June 04, 2020 in London, England.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images<p>Experts don't want to place kids at the back of the line, regardless of how strong their immune systems appear. At least one company, Moderna, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-vaccine-for-kids-moderna-plans-pediatric-trial-2020-9" target="_blank">hopes to begin testing</a> vaccines in pediatric volunteers by year's end.</p><p>Innate immune response is especially high during childhood (compared to adaptive immunity). This makes evolutionary sense: nature wants an animal to survive until its ready to procreate. Turns out the children in the study possessed high levels of cytokines that boost their immune response. The biggest impact is made by IL-17A, which appears to protect the youngest cohort from the ravages of the coronavirus. </p><p>While both age groups produced antibodies to fight off the infamous spike protein, adults that produce neutralizing antibodies actually suffer a <em>worse</em> fate. Herold says this "over-vigorous adaptive immune response" might promote inflammation, triggering acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). </p><p>This matters for vaccine development. As Herold says, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Our adult COVID-19 patients who fared poorly had high levels of neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that convalescent plasma—which is rich in neutralizing antibodies—may not help adults who have already developed signs of ARDS. By contrast, therapies that boost innate immune responses early in the course of the disease may be especially beneficial."</p><p>Herold says current vaccine trials are focused on boosting neutralizing-antibody levels. With this new information, researchers may want to work on vaccines that boost the innate immune response instead. </p><p>With <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html" target="_blank">at least 55 vaccine trials</a> underway, every piece of data matters. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Researchers from the University of Toronto published a new map of cancer cells' genetic defenses against treatment.