Shmuley Boteach is an American Orthodox rabbi, radio and television host, and author. He rose to prominence with the publication of his international bestseller Kosher Sex. He received his rabbinic ordination in 1988 from the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement in New York City, as a disciple of its leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He frequently appears as a guest on television and radio discussing politics, religion, society and morality. He also now hosts a reality television program entitled Shalom in the Home which involves facilitating conflicts between family members. He has authored many books since Kosher Sex, the latest of which is The Broken American Male.
Topic: Iraq as an act of altruism.
Shmuley Boteach: For me the big story is, of course, the war in Iraq . . . but not because of how other people see it – should we be there, should we not be there. The war in Iraq was, in my opinion, an altruistic attempt on the part of one nation – not that America didn’t have selfish ambitions as well. Of course they did. But ultimately the altruism was more important than that; that we’re this great nation. We saw this guy who just slaughtered people __________, and we just . . . You know you get embarrassed after a while doing nothing. He gassed children. He gassed whole communities, killed tens of thousands of people. The New York Times said he killed 1.1 million people. That’s the New York Times who didn’t even support the war. But the war wasn’t fought well, and then it became a quagmire. So people started saying, “You know what? No more of these foreign adventures.” America might will remain at home. Well that’s a bit sad because that’s the way it used to be. You know Rwanda – 800,000 Africans killed. America did nothing. ___________, Kosovo. Kosovo we finally intervened, but you know in the . . . They were ___________, and there was the massacre of the Armenians. America did nothing. The First World War. You know we are responsible for our brothers’ lives. I don’t know that we could stop every genocide, but we gotta stop a couple here and there. And America is the richest, most powerful country in the world, and that confers upon us certain responsibilities. I fear that because Iraq has not panned out well as of yet – and maybe it will and maybe it won’t – that most Americans are gonna say, “Forget it. I don’t even wanna hear it.” And then we’re gonna hear about . . . What happens if Darfur gets worse? What happens if they start slaughtering every man, woman and child in the Darfur region of Sudan? Are we Americans gonna say, “Sorry. Not our problem.” Well you know that’s sad. So the war in Iraq has been a turning point because we try to do this very altruistic thing. And because it didn’t work out so well, we became disillusioned very quickly.
Recorded on: 09/05/2007
Boteach sees Iraq as an act of altruism.
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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