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Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: September 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 6,416

ISSN 2369–6885

Abstract

Bob Williams is a Member of the Triple Nine Society, Mensa International, and the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry. He discusses: the more evidenced theories of creativity similar to g or general intelligence as the majority position of researchers in the field of general intelligence; theories of genius; the main figures in these areas of creativity and genius connected to the research on g; personality differences between scientists and artists; conscientiousness; the ability to think; the expected probability of genius at higher and higher cognitive rarities; Howard Gardner; Robert Sternberg; the works of Arthur Jensen building on Charles Spearman; and the questions remaining about genius.

Keywords: alcoholism, Arthur Jensen, Bob Williams, Booze, Camilla Persson Benbow, Charles Murray, creativity, David Becker, David Lubinski, David Piffer, Dean Keith Simonton, Default Mode Network, Executive Function, Flynn Effect, g Factor, genius, Hans Eysenck, Ian Deary, Latent Variable Analysis, Leonardo da Vinci, Linda Gottfredson, Michael Woodley, Nyborg, Promiscuity, Richard Haier, Richard Lynn, Richard Sternberg, sex drive, The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: After a hiatus, round four, what would make a general test of creativity valid? Has David Piffer proposed anything? 

Bob Williams[1],[2]*: Piffer has done a good bit of work related to creativity and published several papers on it. To avoid congestion with my answer, I will append references to some of these papers. One of his particularly interesting observations: “There is some evidence that schizotypal triats and temperament are associated with creativity. Schizotypal traits as measured by the O-LIFE questionnaire were related to creative thinking styles and a subscale (but not the other three scales) ImpNon (Impulsive Noncomformity) was positively correlated to Divergent Thinking tasks in a sample of British students.“ 

Among the things he mentions in his papers are that Openness and low Conscientiousness are predictors of creativity. This has high face value and indirectly links creativity to intelligence (via Openness). He found a correlation of 0.54 between scientific and artistic creativity that was 70% genetic. Piffer suggested that the best measure of creativity is the impact of a work on its creative field. I like that definition more than the usual one of something novel and useful

From my perspective, measuring creativity is difficult. It is not like intelligence in that we don’t have a positive manifold and we don’t have good ways to check the measurement instruments. One of the problems I see is the lack of importance in creativity below the level that we see in great composers, directors, writers, etc. If a person has a very low level of creativity, or even no realistically detectable level, he will not suffer in the way that the same low standing would cause problems relative to intelligence. Piffer referred to two kinds of creativity: Big-C (as in true genius) and Pro-C (someone at a level where he can work professionally in a creative discipline). If we add one more category, Little C, we have a group where there is a range of creativity, but where it has little impact. 

People actually try to measure creativity over a full range. I’m not sure why or whether they have paid much attention to how the Little-C people are affected by their level of creativity. 

Tests have a construct validity and an external validity. The construct (internal) validity is simply an indication that the test is measuring the thing it is supposed to measure–in this case, creativity. The treatment of construct validity is less rigorous than a test of external (predictive) validity. One way it 

is done is by comparison to tests or other means of making the measurement. If it matches conventional expectations, it is showing internal validity. In the case of intelligence, the usual method is to factor analyze the test and compare the resulting factors to those found in other tests that are believed to show construct validity. 

If we consider validity to mean accuracy, the question is one of how well the test predicts creative output. If we have people at two significantly different levels of creativity, can we use their output to validate the measure, as we do in intelligence testing? I don’t know the answer; I see the whole approach to creativity measurement as fuzzy, even when compared to other life sciences. 

The more important validity is external or predictive validity, which tells us that the test is measuring things that can be predicted and verified. If the test shows that someone is in the 90th percentile of creativity, we expect that the person will display high levels of creativity in his job and life. For example, he may be a successful screenwriter or composer. Predictive validity is central to the whole

notion of being able to meaningfully test for creativity. If we are measuring things that actually predict real world outcomes, the test is useful. If it fails this, the test is of questionable value. 

Jacobsen: Why is the reliance on latent variable analysis important for the study of creativity? 

Williams: Latent traits are found in multifaceted constructs, including creativity. The use of latent traits allows the researcher to show how multiple variables interact and form a structure. Remote association tests are used in creativity research with good results. The difficulty level of making specific connections (item level in the test) can be determined using latent trait models. This is similar to Item Response Theory as used in intelligence tests. 

Jacobsen: Why is the reliance on latent variable analysis important for the study of intelligence? 

Williams: The often displayed hierarchical structure of intelligence is a representation of latent tra its. These identify narrow and broad abilities and g. All of these are latent traits and are essential to the understanding of intelligence. It is difficult to overstate the importance of g in the study of intelligence. It translates directly to the study of the brain, is remarkably stable over lifespan, and explains life outcomes better than any other single parameter. 

Jacobsen: What five items or tasks in formal intelligence tests have the highest correlation with the g factor? 

Williams: The g loadings of various factors are test dependent. For example, vocabulary is a well known factor that usually shows a very high g loading. But its specific loading depends on the structure of the test and the number of test items that correspond to each factor. If you add more test items, it tends to skew the loadings upwards. Some tests are designed to use only a single category of test items. The best known of these is the Raven’s Progressive Matrices. It can be factor analyzed to show that it has factors other than g, but those factors are usually ignored because they are not the traditional ones seen in comprehensive tests, such as the WAIS. 

The WISC-IV has only 5 Stratum II factors. Here are the g loadings for those: 

 Comprehension-Knowledge (Gc) __ .80 

 Fluid reasoning (Gf) __________ .95 

 Short-Term Memory (Gsm) _______ .62 

 Visual Processing (Gv) ________ .67 

 Processing Speed (Gs) _________ .27  

Timothy Salthouse created a factor structure from 33 of his studies (about 7,000 people, ages 18 through 95) and also found 5 Stratum II factors. The g loadings he found: 

Reasoning _____________________ .95 

Spatial ability _______________ .91 

Memory _______________________ .66 

Processing speed ______________ .60 

Vocabulary ____________________ .73 

Johnson and Bouchard found a natural structure of intelligence by using the 15 test Hawaii Battery, the

Comprehensive Ability Battery, and the The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. They eliminated some subtests to avoid duplication. When they factor analyzed the massive test, a four stratum structure emerged. I consider this to be the best fully analyzed study of the structure of intelligence. The top 5 g loadings: 

Verbal ________________________ .96 Stratum III factor Perceptual ____________________ .99 Stratum III factor Image rotation ________________ .97 Stratum III factor Scholastic ____________________ .88 Stratum II factor 

Fluency _______________________ .83 Stratum II factor 

The point of presenting these different results is to show how different tests cause different factors and different loadings. The very high loadings, in the last set, are the result of the large number of diverse test items used. This causes most non-g factors to cancel out. 

Jacobsen: What do these five tasks or sub-tests tell us about the structure of general intelligence and the human brain? 

Williams: If you look at the three sets of factors, you see that they are similar. Tests are generally designed to either fit the three stratum Cattell-Horn-Carroll model, or are forced to produce another three stratum structure. All tests show one general factor, that may appear at stratum II, III, or IV. Ergo, we have accepted and repeatedly confirmed Spearman’s early findings. I am always amazed by how much he reported over a century ago and how dead-on accurate his findings were. 

Richard Haier formulated the Efficiency Hypothesis based on positron emission tomography studies he did, starting in 1988. These showed high glucose uptake in low IQ cohorts and lower glucose uptake in high IQ testees. It meant that, when trying to resolve the same mental task, the low IQ group required high mental effort, while the bright group required less mental effort. Some MRI work was available with Jensen wrote The g Factor (1998), but it has only been in the 21st century that we have had large MRI based studies. It has only been possible to look for g in the brain by using advanced imaging technologies. Among the most important are structural MRI, functional MRI, and diffusion tensor imaging. The latter two have provided the ability to study white matter and brain networks. 

The above comments are a necessary introduction to what has been learned about the general factor within the brain. We already knew that g was unitary at the psychometric level. Now we know that it is not unitary at the neurological level. Richard Haier and Rex Jung found 14 Brodmann Areas that are strongly related to intelligence and problem solving. They created a model known as P-FIT (parieto-frontal integration theory) [described in detail in Haier, R. J. (2017); The Neuroscience of Intelligence, Cambridge University Press]. The model involves a sequential transfer of information between the cognitive centers, ending in the frontal lobes where the integrated information is evaluated. 

The distributed nature of g within the brain has been confirmed by various studies, including focal lesion studies (using the Vietnam Head Injury Study). An important finding from this and other studies of networks is that damage to critical white matter areas causes lowered g. These areas are concentrated networks that link the P-FIT regions. Since the important cognitive centers work by information exchange, we have to think of g in the brain as the areas that are being linked as well as the efficiency of the connecting networks. 

Most of the P-FIT Brodmann Areas (BA) share their associations with g and other non-g traits. BA-10,

however, is only associated with g. This area appears to function as a control mechanism that is critical to the distributed processing nature of g. 

Jacobsen: What do current tests of general intelligence miss? 

Williams: As you would expect, different tests miss different things. While researchers today recommend comprehensive tests (WAIS and Woodcock-Johnson, etc.) other tests that are not diverse still work well for most purposes. This is because of Spearman’s indifference of the indicator. We are ultimately trying to measure g and can do that by a variety of seemingly unrelated tests. Each of the different tests (consider vocabulary and block design) is g loaded and is measuring the same g. 

But, we know from the structure of intelligence that there are factors, particularly at the broad abilities level (Stratum II) that are particularly important to some tasks. Arguably the most important of these is spatial ability. In this paper: [Spatial Ability for STEM Domains: Aligning Over 50 Years of Cumulative Psychological Knowledge; Jonathan Wai, David Lubinski, and Camilla P. Benbow; 2009, Journal of Educational Psychology Vol. 101, No. 4, 817–835.] the authors show that spatial ability is high in people who pursue engineering and sciences and its magnitude increases as the degrees held go from Bachelors, to Masters, to PhD. These fields are heavily dominated by males. At least part of the reason is that there is a sex difference in spatial ability favoring males. Some tests do not have any spatial ability test items, so they would certainly miss this ability. We know that various test designers try to force their tests to show invariance by sex, which may be why they do not include spatial ability test items. 

Jacobsen: How much can an individual train and change the degree of executive function in adult life? Is it a trainable skill or something more innate as with the g factor? 

Williams: I haven’t seen any research showing that the executive function can be enhanced by training. It seems, however, that some people can increase things such as Attention and the inhibitory function (both are components of the executive function) when needed and decrease them when that is appropriate. When we see people focused to a degree that blocks out virtually everything around them, they are using the executive function in conjunction with the inhibitory function to stay on task and to block external stimuli. All of this is strongly related to working memory. High WMC enhances the executive function and other factors such as rate of learning, the formation of long term memories, and fluid intelligence. 

Jacobsen: With someone like Leonardo Da Vinci, what would the structure of such a creative genius mind look like in real-time at peak performance? 

Williams: I don’t think we have any data that relates directly to brain imaging of true genius. If we did have it, I would expect that those in different fields (art versus science) would show behaviors that are similar to their colleagues and quite different from those in other disciplines.  

The issue of artistic and scientific creativity is interesting to me; I see it as unresolved. I once asked Rex Jung if the two forms were the same and he said that they were. Jensen, on the other hand, expressed a belief that intelligence was a larger factor in scientific creativity as compared to artistic creativity. To me, this has more face value. I think that Jung was considering how tests of creativity work over a wide range of ability and was not focused on the rare true genius brains.

Neurologists have done measurements of some people while doing a creative task, such as music improvisation. Their findings are certainly related to real-time creativity, but I do not see this as relating to the brains of Leonardo or Beethoven. The task of learning what is going on in their brains is so difficult that I think it will not be resolved for a long time. The starting problem is to find people who are actually at that level of creativity. Then we have to be able to make meaningful measurements at the moment they are inspired to create. I think that director David Lynch is at that level of creative genius, but I doubt that we can monitor him constantly and figure out when and how his brain comes up with the huge number of elements that go into the finished film. My guess is that it is a series of creative flashes, spaced by tasks that require either different kinds of thought or those that do not demand creativity. 

I would also expect that if we were lucky enough to be able to examine several creative geniuses, we would find different approaches. Some would probably go into long, deep, creative sessions and some would have multiple sudden insights that they combine to produce their works. And we might find some who do both over the course of a project. 

In the specific case of Leonardo we have the most extreme example of a polymath I can imagine. His brain would be a neurological treasure today, now that we finally have the technology to really study it. In such extreme cases of genius it is difficult to imagine what biological factors were combined to 

produce the end results that were so profound. One would have to assume that his brain was an extreme case of factors that simply do not exist together in others. From the little we were able to learn about Einstein’s brain, we know that his too was bizarrely different. 

Jacobsen: What is the DMN, default mode network? 

Williams: The DMN is the network that we use during mind-wandering, spontaneous cognition, imagination and divergent thinking. It is detectable by the presence of increased alpha-power. As is always true, things are messy. While the DMN is clearly linked to these things, the production of novel ideas seems to arise from the interaction of the DMN and various other networks. When the brain stops mind-wandering and focuses on a specific task, the DMN disengages and switches to other networks. We now know that the brain doesn’t lock in on a specific network for a prolonged period; it switches between networks. One of the things that emerged from the focal brain injury studies was the identification of the regulatory role of Brodmann Area 10 as I previously mentioned. I am unsure if this includes network switching, but I think it is likely. 

I once asked Richard Haier if it was known whether solutions to problems (the kind that happen after study and then hit us unexpectedly as we are doing something unrelated) are actually made in real-time while we are in the DMN or if the answers were made subconsciously and then revealed using the DMN as a vehicle. He said we don’t know yet. 

Jacobsen: Odd question, incoming: How would a universal definition of genius expand into other species? So, we see certain traits consistent across species with some conscious cognitive capacity, so as to consider them – exceptional minds in individual species – geniuses. This would seem an enlarged consideration, biologically, of genius with potential insight into the nature of human genius, so the quality of genius itself. 

Williams: The only definitions I believe are appropriate to true human genius are those that relate to a constellation of traits, expressed at a high level. In the case of animal studies, it is difficult to measure as many behavioral traits as we see in humans. For example, researchers have found a general factor of intelligence in some animals, but that factor is based on a rather small group of different categories of problem solving. It may be possible to measure factors such as zeal and persistence in animals, but we have to see that these things are actually productive. For example, I recall a study of wolves and dogs in which there was a barrier between them and food. The wolves continued to repeat the same efforts to go directly to the food. The dogs figured out that they needed help and tried to get it from humans. The point here is that, while persistence tends to be a genius trait, it is so because the genius does not repeat the same failed effort endlessly. We have seen a lot more animal studies in recent years and they are becoming more sophisticated. It is likely that they will eventually have a wider spectrum of tests and measures of animal behavior and that may lead us to identify exceptional individuals. Related to this, much of the animal kingdom is organized around male physical strength and fighting over mates, which creates a situation where the things we see as genius in humans may not show up at all. 

Jacobsen: Why do creative people tend to drink so much? 

Williams: In the book The Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity (2018) Rex E. Jung (Editor), Oshin Vartanian (Editor), there is a mention of creative professions showing twice the rate of alcoholism as found in the general population. Some of the people in these professions have creativity expectations associated with the use of alcohol. In general they seem to be right, at least for the insight stage of creativity, but as the amount of alcohol they consume increases, their creative output declines. As we know, at least from modern history, creative people tend to use other drugs as well. 

Jacobsen: Why are actors the biggest drinkers? 

Williams: The book cited above confirms that actors (60%) use alcohol at a level beyond the norm for the general public. It mentions writers as being particularly likely to have serious problems with booze. This makes sense in that writers have to constantly create new material and their “writers’ block” is often mentioned in various media. 

Jacobsen: Could those without high levels of executive function, but latent creativity, help themselves with exogenous agents such as alcohol to perform creative functions? However, this leads to the deleterious lives exhibited in high-performing creatives who have to rely on alcohol and other substances to accomplish incredible creative feats. 

Williams: I haven’t seen studies that directly address this situation. It falls into a category of research that is likely to be regarded as too dangerous unless conducted from natural data. I believe that it is a case of “a little helps, but too much hurts.” It follows the distribution that is sometimes called the inverted U curve. We see this in psychosis and neurosis, both contributing positively to genius results, but only when the level is “elevated” and not substantial. Various substances, that are used to enhance creativity, appear to work this way. The problem is that the use of the substances can become a drive and cause the user to not moderate his intake. 

Jacobsen: Is there a correlation between sex drive/promiscuity and genius? 

Williams: I can only guess, as I haven’t seen a specific study relating to it. What we often see in true genius is isolation and often no children. But I expect we can find rather extreme cases of sexual behavior, depending on the specific personalities and possibly on the category of work they do. One discussion

that relates to this: Who are the “Clever Sillies”? The intelligence, personality, and motives of clever silly originators and those who follow them; Edward Dutton, Dimitri van der Linden; Intelligence 49 (2015) 57–65. The title of the paper is somewhat misleading. From the paper: “… creative, original, uncooperative, and impulsive risk-takers. These kinds of characteristics permit them, like artists, to conceive of an original idea, thus showcasing their intelligence and creativity, and take the risks 

necessary – short term ostracism – to achieve their long term goal of high socioeconomic status. The fact that some of those whom we have assessed achieved high social status but not high economic status can thus be seen as the risks only partially paying off. In addition, the lack of sexual success among some of these figures is congruous with many geniuses not having children. But their actions can be interpreted as advantageous at the group level.” 

Jacobsen: If taking one moral perspective on it, is there a correlation between perversion or various forms and genius? 

Williams: That one falls outside of my knowledge base. I can imagine that there may be various forms of perversion, but I haven’t seen anything that explores the relationship. 

Jacobsen: When does conscientiousness become a negative trait? What contexts? I do not mean simply statements on specific professions. 

Williams: Low conscientiousness is found in artistic people and high conscientiousness is characteristic of people more likely to be found in STEM. Conscientiousness is less likely among people who use drugs (per our discussion) and who have random life patterns, consisting of no schedule or traditional jobs. The extent of problems relating to low conscientiousness is probably related to specific professions. There are lots of stories of actors who were difficult to work with, inclined to walk out, or get drunk. The most extreme cases of near-zero conscientiousness are those from the world of rock music, where performers have written the book on bad behavior and short lifespans. The “27 Club” was the subject of a documentary [27: Gone Too Soon] of at least 6 high level performers, but the total toll for young deaths is much larger. Low conscientiousness was one of many things that are obvious in the world of idol worshiped musicians. 

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, when does conscientiousness become a positive trait? What contexts? 

Williams: In most employment situations, where a person has responsibilities that relate to an entire group, conscientiousness is valuable. You want to have the person who, when given a job, can be counted on to get it done, even if there is a tight deadline. The performers we discussed would not be a good choice for this kind of business. 

Jacobsen: How much is productivity a measure of genius? 

Williams: The magnitude of output of true geniuses is high. We see massive quantities of output from composers, painters, and writers, even from those who died very young. Part of this may be related to the speed with which some art is created. I once watched a documentary of Picasso, showing him painting. He was fast and changed the painting frequently by painting over parts of the painting repeatedly. I seriously doubt that a sculptor could chisel his way through a piece of marble quickly. The task is at least partly related to productivity, in the sense of output rate.

Jacobsen: Are there any substances that temporarily or artificially increase tissue functionality? Or, more generally, what about substances going in either direction of high FA and low FA temporarily due to their intake? What would be the expected effects and productive outputs from such intake, when heading into artificial high FA and artificial low FA? Perhaps, the wording isn’t sufficiently precise in the questions, but, I think, the curiosity for the idea is there. 

Williams: That is a thought provoking question. For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with FA, in this context, it means fractional anisotropy. This is a measure of diffusivity. If FA is zero, the medium is isotropic; if it is at the other extreme, 1, it means that the diffusion is along one axis and there is no loss to radial diffusion. In brain imaging, we see high FA as desirable; this means high tissue integrity. 

In the cases I have seen reported, FA is discussed as a tissue property that does not fluctuate. If it goes down, it stays down. But there may be studies showing that there are agents that can reduce FA temporarily and that it would return to normal when the agent is no longer present. Alcohol or drugs associated with hallucination might have some impact on FA (guessing). During the past week, we had the annual conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research. One factor that was discussed during an open session was the impact of anesthesia on the brain. I was unaware that it is believed to be damaging to intelligence. Unfortunately, the discussion was in the context of a one-way trip down. 

The reason this could relate to creativity (assuming that it happens) is that low FA can result in the brain following longer paths to join information. This presumably causes brain regions that are not related to the task at hand to be activated and may result in the formation of remote associations of the type associated with creativity. This would happen if a network has broken connections, thereby causing the brain to follow longer paths to complete tasks that recruit information from different parts of the brain. 

Jacobsen: For Mensa International, Intertel, the Triple Nine Society, the Prometheus Society, and the Mega Society, you observed a trend or pattern – non-absolute – of individuals who may not succeed in “education, profession, and personal relationships.” They seem more prone to becoming a part of them. Jensen mentioned in the Mega Press interview the dilettantish nature of the interactions and a void in deep, critical evaluation. Yet, the qualifications of the societies ground themselves in higher, sometimes abnormally, higher than normal IQs. Which leads to an associated, but somewhat distant, question, what is IQ missing regarding critical intelligence if that’s the case? The stereotype with some truth to it: A genius level IQ without a sense of the mechanics of the social and professional world, or the right question to probe an intellectual problem appropriately. 

Williams: It is certainly true and easily observable that these groups are statistically more attractive to people who have failed to establish meaningful careers, despite having high intelligence. Jensen mentioned that he was personally able to form satisfying relationships with his work colleagues and that, while all were bright, none belonged to Mensa (the only example he mentioned). Part of the answer may lie in the nature of personality. Of the Big Five, only Openness is significantly correlated with intelligence. That leaves a lot of room for other factors, as well as those that only appear in other personality test batteries, to cause problems. In fact, if you look at the four other traits, all of them can be expressed in a direction that could be poisonous to careers. I would expect that two traits would be particularly damaging: low conscientiousness and high neuroticism. 

Jacobsen: Does Charles Murray account for global population growth with the 1.5 times per year number in genius emergence? In short, is this number larger in more recent history with vastly more people living at the same time compared to the past, e.g. 0.75 times per year at some point in the past and 3 times per year at a time closer to the present? This is taking into account the speculation of a decline in mean national intelligence. 

Williams: No. Murray simply identified 4,002 people of extreme eminence over the period 800 B.C. to 1950 and limited his study to arts and sciences. The problem of computing the rate of genius birth is complicated because of the decline in real intelligence that is largely driven by the negative correlation between intelligence and fertility rate. [See At Our Wits’ End: Why We’re Becoming Less Intelligent and What It Means for the Future, by E. A. Dutton & M. A. Woodley of Menie. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic.]  Dutton and Woodley express concern that the births of geniuses will become increasingly rare, despite many births among low intelligence groups. They fear that this will or already has led to a reduction in innovation and discovery rates. 

Jacobsen: What are the difficulties in estimation of mean national intelligence? 

Williams: We approach the study of national intelligence (the comparison of mean IQs by nation) by gathering as many datasets as possible for the nation in question, then converting them to a single standard. The conversion is parallel in principle to what we would do in a national economic comparison. In the latter case, we would convert all currencies to a single reference, such as the dollar or Euro. The standard we use for intelligence is white British. This standard is sometimes called the Greenwich IQ Standard. The details of conversion are discussed in Richard Lynn & David Becker (2019). The Intelligence of Nations. Ulster Institute for Social Research, London GB ISBN 9780993000157. 

For the most part, the difficulties are simply that it takes a large amount of work to deal with the full set of nations for which we have IQ data. There are lots of studies available for developed nations and most emerging nations, but some poorly developed nations have limited data available. When The Bell Curve was written, there were only a few reports of intelligence for sub-Saharan Africa. But since 1994, we have had data pouring in from around the world. Today we have so much data for many nations that we can map intelligence within the nation by states or provinces. These data have resulted in within-nation studies that have shown patterns that seem to largely reflect migration and economic factors. A rather large number of nations exhibit a higher mean IQ in the northern regions and a decrease at lower latitudes. The opposite is seen in Britain, where the brightest region is in the south and the dullest in the north. Researchers have explained this as the result of the decline in the coal mining industry and its impact on migration. In India, Intelligence is higher in the South and in states with a coastline (indicating economic factors relating to trade). When Richard Lynn first reported the intelligence gradient for Italy (higher in the North) he explained it by noting that mean local intelligence reflects the fraction of the population that immigrated from the Near East and North Africa. In that study regional IQs predict income at r = 0.937. This resulted in papers objecting to his findings and that resulted in an exchange of published papers. It appears that Lynn was (as I would have guessed) right. [The title of the initial paper is a good summary of what was found. In Italy, north–south differences in IQ predict differences in income, education, infant mortality, stature, and literacy; Richard Lynn; Intelligence 38 (2010) 93–100.] 

Jacobsen: What is the validity of the measurements done globally now? Some areas must be more reliable than others because of the finances and expertise to do it properly. 

Williams: I haven’t seen any reports of reliability for the IQ scores used in the national level studies. When IQ and the Wealth of Nations appeared, two things were triggered. The first was that researchers began to try different curve fits and concluded that a log scale works best and that nations with IQs below 90 were either in poverty or had valuable natural resources (usually oil). Some researchers attacked Lynn as usual. They claimed that his numbers were wrong; that they were based on too few data; that the nations were he used neighboring scores to estimate means could not be true; and that his entire study was politically incorrect and could not be trusted. But, the data, as mentioned above, kept coming in from sources around the world. Now we can say that Lynn was right on every point and that even the estimated mean scores were very close to measured scores that are now available. The validity of this work is shown in the many things that national mean IQ predicts: At the national level, mean national IQ correlates positively with per capita GDP, economic growth, economic freedom, rule of law, democratization, adult literacy, savings, national test scores on science and math, enrollment in higher education, life expectancy, and negatively with HIV infection, employment, violent crime, poverty, % agricultural economy, corruption, fertility rate, polygyny, and religiosity. These are the kinds of things used to establish the predictive validity of IQ tests. Naturally, there are confounds, such as the presence of natural resources in some low IQ nations, but the statistical predictions remain powerful. 

Jacobsen: Who else, other than Gardner, are individuals qualifying as individuals who are “in a category that is highly regarded by the general public and not by many serious intelligence researchers”? 

Williams: The first who comes to mind is Robert Sternberg. His triarchic theory was shredded by Linda Gottfredson and is not something other researchers have accepted. He has been criticized for grossly over citing his own work. In general, the public has embraced such things as emotional intelligence, grit, mindset, and other tabloid worthy inventions. In his book, In the Know: 35 Myths about Human Intelligence, Russell Warne goes through his list of things that the public loves to love but which are not science. I think the single most disliked person (from the perspective of researchers) is the late Stephen Jay Gould. His book, The Mismeasure of Man was an intentional distortion of facts and is loved by the public because politically left people wanted to hear his false message. He attacked g and other factors, such as brain size, using outrageous comparisons to what researchers were doing in the distant past. It was almost as extreme as claiming that chemistry is worthless because alchemists were unsuccessful. 

Jacobsen: Who are the most serious researchers and commentators on genius, on IQ, and on the g factor? I take those as three related, but separate, questions in one. 

Williams: Genius – Jensen wrote a good piece on genius in the last chapter of Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues by Camilla Persson Benbow & David Lubinski; The Johns Hopkins University Press (January 22, 1997). Dean Keith Simonton has written numerous articles on genius. His work impresses me as biased and inaccurate. Eysenck wrote about genius and the personalities of genius. Some of this can be found in H. Nyborg, Editor, The Scientific Study of Human Nature: a Tribute to Hans J. Eysenck at Eighty, Pergamon, Oxford (1997). Eysenck believed that true genius required elevated neuroticism and psychoticism. Overall, the material we have about genius is based on observations of various eminent historical figures. Statistical studies are not seen because there is no satisfactory way to find and test a statistically meaningful group of such rare people. 

IQ – The most prolific and brilliant commentator on intelligence was Arthur Jensen. His lifetime output of 7 books and over 400 papers is huge and remains influential. I think that Richard Haier is probably the most important living commentator. With only 1 book and one DVD lecture set, he is nonetheless a major factor in our understanding of IQ from the neurological perspective. While

Charles Murray is accurately described as an author, he is one of the most knowledgeable intelligence scholars alive. Like Jensen, he has been willing to take the heat from the left and calmly discuss the realities of IQ. Ian Deary has been a high profile researcher and department head. Two young researchers have shown themselves to be bright, competent, and broadly focused. Michael Woodley has authored or co-authored half a dozen books, covering a wide range of topics. His work has been at the forefront of new understandings of such topics as the Flynn Effect and the decline of intelligence. Like Woodley, Stuart Ritchie has rapidly become a serious contributor to the understanding of intelligence. I have read his books and find that his writing style is particularly appealing. His most recent book, Science Fictions, is a detailed account of abuses of the scientific process of doing research and reporting it. 

Psychometric g – Jensen almost single-handedly convinced researchers worldwide that intelligence is about g and that their work should be focused on g. His book The g factor: The science of mental ability is the most cited in all of intelligence research. Linda Gottfredson has been a prolific writer of g related papers and articles. She has devoted much of her energy to explaining g and its consequences to non-experts and has made her entire output available to the public on her web site. Today, intelligence research is g research, so it is fair to say that we have lots of people writing about g and studying how it relates to the neurology of the brain. 

References

Can creativity be measured? An attempt to clarify the notion of creativity and general directions for future research; Davide Piffer; Thinking Skills and Creativity, Volume 7, Issue 3, December 2012 

The personality and cognitive correlates of creative achievement; Davide Piffer; Open Differential Psychology April 7th, 2014. 

Shared genetic and environmental influences on self-reported creative achievement in art and science; Yoon-Mi Hur, Hoe-Uk Jeong, Davide Piffer; Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 68, October 2014, Pages 18-22.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Retired Nuclear Physicist.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)[Online]. September 2021; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, September 15). Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, September. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. “Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (September 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2022): September. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Bob Williams on David Piffer, Latent Variable Analysis, High Correlations with the g Factor, Executive Function, Leonardo da Vinci, DMN, Booze, Promiscuity, and Charles Murray: Retired Nuclear Physicist (4) [Internet]. (2021, September 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/williams-4.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 804

ISSN 2369–6885

Abstract

Richard May (“May-Tzu”/“MayTzu”/“Mayzi”) is a Member of the Mega Society based on a qualifying score on the Mega Test (before 1995) prior to the compromise of the Mega Test and Co-Editor of Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society. In self-description, May states: “Not even forgotten in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), I’m an Amish yuppie, born near the rarified regions of Laputa, then and often, above suburban Boston. I’ve done occasional consulting and frequent Sisyphean shlepping. Kafka and Munch have been my therapists and allies. Occasionally I’ve strived to descend from the mists to attain the mythic orientation known as having one’s feet upon the Earth. An ailurophile and a cerebrotonic ectomorph, I write for beings which do not, and never will, exist — writings for no one. I’ve been awarded an M.A. degree, mirabile dictu, in the humanities/philosophy, and U.S. patent for a board game of possible interest to extraterrestrials. I’m a member of the Mega Society, the Omega Society and formerly of Mensa. I’m the founder of the Exa Society, the transfinite Aleph-3 Society and of the renowned Laputans Manqué. I’m a biographee in Who’s Who in the Brane World. My interests include the realization of the idea of humans as incomplete beings with the capacity to complete their own evolution by effecting a change in their being and consciousness. In a moment of presence to myself in inner silence, when I see Richard May’s non-being, ‘I’ am. You can meet me if you go to an empty room.” Some other resources include Stains Upon the Silence: something for no one, McGinnis Genealogy of Crown Point, New York: Hiram Porter McGinnis, Swines List, Solipsist Soliloquies, Board Game, Lulu blog, Memoir of a Non-Irish Non-Jew, and May-Tzu’s posterous. He discusses: “Picking One’s Own Pocket”; “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”; “What is the work?”; “Truth”; the meaning of truth in “Truth”; “Good and Evil”; so few being awake; “Is this what the work has become?”; the work, and play; identification with the work; identification with the work considered sleeping rather than waking; and Gurdjieff and Wittgenstein. 

Keywords: Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Ouspenky, Richard May, the work, Wittgenstein.

Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: “Picking One’s Own Pocket” describes a context in which the truth, to an individual, gets posed as forever-incomplete, while the truth, itself, can be complete. How is this playing off the poly-agnosticism regarding different levels of knowledge in other braindroppings in Something for No One?

Richard May[1],[2]*: To me picking one’s own pocket meant simply that one cannot abrogate one’s own authority in choosing what or whom to believe, if anyone. It’s your judgement.

Jacobsen: “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?” posits, based on Blavatsky’s and Gurdjieff’s overlap in writings, Gurdjieff taking from other sourcing without full knowledge of the implications of the knowledge or parts of the systems lifted from other sources. Who was Gurdjieff? Why was he important? Is he well-regarded in general or more as a fringe loon, or a excommunicated enlightened figure found, more or less, in obscurity? Same questions on Blavatsky, too, please. (These are not Zen koans.)

May: There are hundreds of books on the topic of who Gurdjieff was. No one knows who Gurdjieff was.

Gurdjieff was important only to his pupils.

He is generally regarded as a obscure fringe loon, as you suggest, except by his pupils, and Blavatsky could only aspire to be regarded as a fringe loon.

Jacobsen: “What is the work?” describes a stick with two ends, but inverts North American Judeo-Christian theological foundations. How does the devil lead to paradise and God to hell?

May: The devil may lead to paradise and God lead to hell? I do not know that there is a devil or a God. This is something Gurdjieff seemed to claim. But Gurdjieff said can lead to paradise, not does lead with certainty.

Jacobsen: “Truth” describes the where the lies of truth lie. Side questions, what was the importance of Ouspensky? What is the importance of Blavatsky? What was the importance of Gurdjieff? Because… they seem neither well-known nor well-understood.

May: Ouspensky is generally regarded as Gurdjieff’s most important pupil. Otherwise Ouspensky had no importance. Ouspensky wrote coherent English. Blavatsky and Gurdjieff had no importance except to their pupils. Blavatsky and Gurdjieff were neither well-known nor well-understood.

Jacobsen: What is “truth,” in that sense,” as stated in “Truth”? What is truth and falsehood in that sense? What does this state about human nature with defilement of truth as necessary for truth to come forth and be heard properly?

May: Gurdjieff seemed to be saying that humans as they were could not understand truth. Truth could only be understood by most humans if presented as a lie.

Jacobsen: “Good and Evil” explains the nature of good and evil as first requiring a realization of them. How do good and evil only exist for a few?

May: That good and evil only exist for a few was a claim made by Gurdjieff. I don’t know how this is true, or if the claim even has any meaning.

Jacobsen: Why are so few awake? What is “awake” in this sense? Is it akin to enlightenment in some philosophies of Buddhism?

May: Why are so few awake? What is the biological utility in an evolutionary context of awakening? Maybe awakening has no biological utility. I think awake may be equivalent to enlightenment in some Buddhist philosophical schools. But I may be incorrect.

Jacobsen: “Is this what the work has become?” talks about the work. First, what is the work?

May: The work is Gurdjieff’s system for awakening humans from the condition of being what he called sleeping machines or unconscious automata.

Jacobsen: Second, why does it have to be work? Why not play?

May: Referring to Gurdjieff’s system as work rather than play suggests that it may be difficult to awaken. But I did not choose the terminology of work or play. Supposedly the sheep in the folk tale of the magician illustrate the illusions of hypnotic sleep.

Jacobsen: The magician sounds sadistic and cruel. What is the identification with the work?

May: Supposedly the sheep in the folk tale of the magician illustrate the illusions of hypnotic sleep.

Jacobsen: How is this identification with the work considered sleeping rather than waking?

May: Identification in any form is considered to be sleep.

Jacobsen: Is the act of identifying the work akin to the universe seeing its own back, so as to mess with the still waters of the awakened — so to speak? By act of observation, the work is broken. One is no longer awake but asleep with an even deeper illusion.

May: I don’t understand your question regarding “the universe seeing its own back.”

Gurdjieff may have taught that one could sometimes awaken if only for a moment.

Ludwig Wittgenstein also noted this changing quality of human attention. He wrote that we may occasionally awaken for a moment sufficiently to realize that we have been asleep and dreaming.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society.”

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6)[Online]. September 2022; 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, September 8). Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A, September. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. “Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6).In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6).In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.A (September 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.A (2022): September. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Richard May (“May-Tzu”/”MayTzu”/”Mayzi”) on “Picking One’s Own Pocket,” “Did Gurdjieff understand his own teaching?”, “What is the work?”, “Truth,” “Good and Evil,” and “Is this what the work has become?”: Co-Editor, “Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society” (6) [Internet]. (2022, September 28(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/may-6.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012–2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 28.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (23)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,976

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: theology; supernaturalism; “rational analysis”; maximization of happiness; an afterlife; agency of non-human animals; belief in God and fear of death; white privilege and White Christian Nationalism; white privilege, considerations; false rumours and wishful thinking; development of a humanistic outlook; American soft power waning; climate change; education in logic; Christian and private religious schools; and modern sex education.

Keywords: America, Christianity, ethics, Herb Silverman, Humanism, logic, morality, non-human animals, religious belief, sex education, supernaturalism, theology, Utilitarianism, White Christian Nationalism.

Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Is theology a dead field, at this point? I mean in the sense of ethics connected directly to reality, so the natural sciences, and morality grounded in human concern. What is the point of theology at this point if any? Thousands of Th.D.s, presumably, or some ridiculously high number, must be published annually on the subject matter. To me, it looks as if an entirely farcical endeavour and an enormous waste of human time and talent. Smart people seemingly wasting their lives in fruitless considerations of the attributions of those objects so transcendental that they’ve transcended into nothingness.

Dr. Herb Silverman: I’m not opposed to theology if done right. Theology, to me, is the study of religious belief. I think it’s important to learn about religious and god beliefs that have influenced our culture. Theology is often taught in academic religious studies programs. Learning about different theologies that sound ridiculous to some students often makes them think about the religion in which they were raised, and why it might sound ridiculous to an outsider. It’s sometimes only a short step from thinking that their religion and god beliefs are also ridiculous. So, studying theology can create atheists.

Jacobsen: If supernatural, transcendentalist ethics can be rejected, and if theology seems like a dead field of enquiry in terms of moral truth, what would be the long-form and the short-form statement on a secular humanist Golden Rule? A comprehensive statement covering all relevant concerns mentioned before, by you.

Silverman: Supernatural ethics can certainly be rejected because we live in the natural world, and supernatural is a meaningless expression promoted by people who believe in so-called holy books. I would say a short-form statement for a secular humanist Golden Rule is that we should not treat others in ways that we would not like to be treated. This is not much different from the traditional Golden Rule as long as “others” means all other people, not just a favored tribe (as is the case with most religions). A long-form statement about universal morality requires empathy and reciprocity. We know that humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humans are social animals and find meaning in relationships, so we should work on improving our relationships. We need to learn how others would like to be treated as individuals. Since ethical values are derived from human need and interest and tested by experience, we must continually discover new ways to improve secular humanism.

Jacobsen: With “rational analysis” as part of the knowledge of the world considered in the humanist ontology, what about cognitive biases? Those anthropological truths hammering away at the idea of the “rational” individual humanist who makes the “rational analysis.”

Silverman: Cognitive bias is our tendency to listen more often to information that confirms our existing beliefs. We need to be aware of cognitive biases when we try to make rational decisions. Regardless of how rational we think we are, we are all subject to confirmation bias, probably an evolutionary characteristic. Some cognitive bias might have served our hunter-gatherer ancestors well. It likely brought about faster decision-making when speed was more valuable than accuracy.

Scientists are always concerned about confirmation bias, which is why they usually test a theory by first looking for examples that would show their theory to be false. If found, they either modify the theory or discard it. When mathematicians think they have proved a theorem, before submitting it for publication they look for a counter example that would show the proposed theorem to be false.

Religious people are particularly subject to confirmation bias, believing without evidence what their “holy” books say, listening mainly to others who hold those same beliefs, and not considering all the facts in a logical and rational manner.

Many people only pay attention to information that confirms their beliefs through selected news sources and social media. This includes opinions about issues like global warming, wearing masks during a pandemic, getting vaccines, following science, and gun control. This also happens on a governmental level. Witness the confirmation bias that the leaders of the United States have had for 20 years about Afghanistan.  

Jacobsen: Why is maximization of happiness important? Is Humanism, in this sense, a branch of Utilitarian philosophy (Millian more than Benthamite)?

Silverman: Utilitarianism, as I understand it, is a philosophy that aims for the betterment of society as a whole. Where happiness applies to Humanism, I can’t improve on the quote from Robert Green Ingersoll, known as the Great Agnostic: “Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.” 

Jacobsen: Is “afterlife” an oxymoronic phrase? It’s extremely common as both a word and a sentiment. Does this word and idea modestly annoy you, too?

Silverman: I don’t know that “afterlife” is oxymoronic, since I can’t prove there isn’t one. On the other hand, I would bet my life that there is no afterlife. In fact, I am doing so. Since we don’t delude ourselves into thinking we will have an afterlife, we ought to decide what we want to accomplish in this, our one and only life. I am comforted in knowing that I can contribute something useful in the world. Sometimes our choices and their repercussions live longer than we do, impacting on family, friends, people we don’t know, and future generations. 

Jacobsen: If human beings have agency, and if non-human animals have a modicum of agency relative to human beings, should the meaning in life of other evolved critters be respected, too?

Silverman: Of course, we should show respect for other evolved critters, besides humans. That’s why I’m a vegan (except for ice cream). After all, humans are just fish plus time. 

Jacobsen: Is the belief in God based on a fear of death, generally? In my interview with the late James Randi, he considered this core to the whole enterprise of globally held falsehoods from religions and New Age beliefs (what he, in a neologism, termed “Newage”)?

Silverman: I think belief in God is largely, but not totally, based on a fear of death. Some people want to believe they will somehow go on after they die. God is an easy, though false, answer for them. Humans are pattern-seeking animals who like to know answers. When ignorant of why something occurs, some say “God did it,” which is known as the “God of the gaps.”  Of course science often comes up with real explanations, so the gap keeps shrinking. 

Jacobsen: Why is white privilege so tied up with Christian Nationalism in the United States now? 

Silverman: If I were to give a two-word answer, it would be “Donald Trump.” Despite Trump’s unchristian behavior and comments, white evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for him and still support him. The “white” component is partly about stopping immigration of non-whites. White Christian Nationalists would like to return to the days when whites could easily and more legally discriminate against those of a different race and those who were not Christian. That is what they mean when they say, “Make America Great Again.”

Jacobsen: What parts of white privilege seem legitimate and illegitimate in the various presentations of it?

Silverman: It’s hard to come up with a legitimate part of while privilege, other than to say we should not blame all whites for discrimination against non-whites. I don’t favor reparation to all African-Americans regardless of status, but I do favor affirmative action programs and helping those who were deprived of a decent education. We should put more public money and quality teachers into poor schools, many of which are predominately African-American. 

Jacobsen: In either false rumors or wishful thinking, are the same mental mechanisms at play?

Silverman: I see some difference in that people can often show rumors to be false by providing contrary evidence. Wishful thinking might simply be hoping for a best possible outcome in a situation. It can also be holding to a belief, like in a god or an afterlife, that can’t be disproven.

Jacobsen: In personal experience, or based on research into it, what factors seem the most important in the development of a humanistic mentality and outlook on life, earlier in life rather than later? I am only part of the community for the last few years, very few in fact, but I have interviewed and talked to a lot of people, happily. I’m far more impressed with the secular humanist community than most others, while the non-theistic Satanists seem to do the best at provocative and creative sociopolitical commentary through protest. 

Silverman: I think encouraging young people to think for themselves and search for evidence to support their beliefs goes a long way leading them to secular humanism. Explaining why you accept a rational, evidence-based humanist philosophy that is guided by reason and inspired by compassion should be part of their upbringing. Though not everyone is comfortable with the name, I personally like the Satanic Temple, whose members are atheists and have no belief in Satan. They picked a catchy name to piss off the religious right and to protest against those who  try to use the government to support religion. 

Jacobsen: Is American soft power waning? Does this threaten the promise of increases in global democracy? I ask because America, in spite of ridiculous antics and interior flaws, represented an ideal of a largely free state of affairs for citizens in a democratic country in contrast to so many other countries. 

Silverman: I hope we can get to the post-Trump America, where we support human right and democracy at home and abroad, and no longer support autocrats elsewhere. That’s how we can make America great again.

Jacobsen: With climate change as another sword of Damocles to global society, what are the democratic alternatives to this state of affairs? What is being done? How can humanists cast their vote to edge the world towards constraining the runaway effects of greenhouse gases this late in the game? Many in the younger generations may not know old age because many in the younger generations may die before old age might happen for them, due to direct and derivative effects of climate change. 

Silverman: This is not easy to answer. Humanists follow the science about climate change and work with other groups, humanist or not, to try to lessen the effects of climate change. I hope we have not reached the point of no return on planet Earth.

Jacobsen: Why focus on an education in logic for students?

Silverman: Learning logic is a way for students to see fallacies constructed by others, and how to create a solid argument for a position.

Jacobsen: Why have private Christian and religious schools rejected or warped the correct teaching of the theory of evolution in their classrooms? How does this hobble students with an interest in learning biology and medicine, or in simply having an accurate idea as to the origins and development of life?

Silverman: A lot of religious schools reject the theory of evolution because it conflicts with their holy books. Students in these schools who are interested in science need to learn about evolution, perhaps by talking to someone who understands that evolution is an essential component of science or by reading legitimate science books on their own.

Jacobsen: Side note, with a rejection of the teaching of modern sex education, and with the known consequences to the life outcomes of more students on average in the negative, is this another example of the high negative cost of religion in public life?

Silverman: Yes. Schools that reject the teaching of modern sex education usually have an inordinate number of teen pregnancies.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman.

Appendix I: Footnotes

 [1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education [Online]. September 2022; 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2022, September 1). Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E, September. 2022. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. “Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education.In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 28.E (September 2022). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2022, ‘Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 28.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 28.E (2022): September. 2022. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 10 – Theology Transcending Into Nothing, Various Privileges, and Points of Education [Internet]. (2022, September 28(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-10.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,015

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

PM Salih Hudayar is the Prime Minister of East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile) and the Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. He discusses: human rights abuse; and in-depth interviews.

Keywords: China, Chinese, colonialism, government-in-exile, Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, Turks, Uyghurs.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted October 20, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Do you think these human rights abuses and extreme levels of corruption and colonization can continue indefinitely or will there simply be a temporary phase in those efforts of the Chinese government?

Salih Hudayar: So, it won’t continue indefinitely because either they’re going to wipe us out. At that point, after they wiped us out they would have achieved their objective. It’s going to continue until they reach that objective or until we get our independence which is the only two ways to see this. This is not just specific to that; most people don’t know about East Turkistan and our struggle. They think that “Oh, it’s just the Communist Party.” No, it’s just the issue of the Communist Party. Before the Communist Party came in, we were actually fighting against the National Republic of China. We had defeated them. The Chinese, the communists, they’re like, “Hey, let’s align together to fight against the nationalists.”

And we’re like, no, thank you. our leaders, the initial leaders who died in the plane crash were like, no, thank you. The other one due to Soviet pressure, were forced to signed up by their treaty, which ultimately brought us to this day to being wiped out. Even before that, like before the Republic of China even the Chinese imperial dynasties, they always wanted to occupy East Turkistan. In fact, our issue why China said it’s a part of China since the ancient time is because during the Han dynasty nearly two thousand years ago, over two thousand years ago, to control the Silk Road, the ancient Silk Road, because much like today, the ancient Silk Road is what is most connecting China to the Central Asia and to the Middle East and ultimately to Europe.

And so the Han dynasty, they sent ten military expeditions to try to take over East Turkistan and failed, except only they were able to briefly occupy the area. China like the U-9 area which actually has been incorporated into China out of the East Turkistan for about seven decades. So using that because they were able to briefly occupy this for seven decades, 2,000 years ago, China’s claim that East Turkistan is part of China since ancient times. If you don’t be like seeing it, if Greek, for example, Alexander the Great, he’s Greek Macedonian. It’s like saying the Greeks are claiming Afghanistan, parts of northern India and Iran as part of Greece since ancient times. If we’re going to go that way, or even the Romans, they ruled Egypt for over 600 years. But you don’t see Italy coming out and saying that Egypt used to be a part of Rome, of Italy since ancient times.

So for us, there’s only two solutions. There’s only one solution for us. But getting back to your question, to when will the colonization end, what about the genocide and the concentration camps. It’ll end when they have either achieved their ultimate goal of wiping us out and colonizing, fully colonizing East Turkistan to where we are actually a minority like Native Americans or others to where we won’t have posed a threat. There won’t be a threat even if we push for independence. But if you have one percent of the population and you try to push for independence, no one one’s going to take that seriously. It’ll be like, whatever – have your little reservation and go dancing to your music type of thing.

And the other solution, which is a solution that we desire, we will never give up on this independence. That’s when we can truly end this. After that, we can reconcile with them. We can recompile the meeting they remain in China, we remain in East Turkistan. We improve diplomatic relations just the way Israel through diplomatic relations with Germany on the basis that Germany accepted that like under the Nazis committed a genocide and paid reparations.

Jacobsen: Prime Minister, I’m just being mindful of time. So, I like to ask you one last question. Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion based on the conversation today?

Hudayar: Yes. Firstly, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this in-depth interview. I think if we had more in-depth interviews like this, I think the world would be able to understand what was really going on. The issue of East Turkistan, it’s not just a human rights issue. We have to look at the roots of the problem. Why is this genocide happening? Why are these people being sent to a concentration camp? Why are they being used as forced labor? Why are they being sterilized? Why are they trying to colonize? We have to look at the root of the problem. The root is that we were an independent nation that was invaded militarily and occupied. That’s an illegal invasion. We didn’t provoke China to do anything. We were minding our own business. They just came in and took over our country. It’s colonialism in the 21st century.

China is trying to colonize our country to achieve its geopolitical agenda, achieving its Chinese dream. this is something that the world needs to understand if they really want to help address our issue. The U.N., for example, has a declaration on granting independence to colonized people’s, countries and peoples. We still uphold that. Because we through that, we can get our independence through international law. Under international law, under that declaration, we have the right to independence. This is something no one can deny. Ultimately to seek a solution to this problem, people need to know why this problem is happening. Because if we don’t know why it’s happening. If we just think that, “Oh, there’s just locking up.” We go into concentration camps, starting in 2016 or 2017. We don’t look at the historical aspects. We’re not going to achieve any meaningful resolution to this problem.

Jacobsen: Thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate it.

Hudayar: Thank you so much. You have a wonderful day.

Jacobsen: Take care. You too. Bye-bye.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Prime Minister, East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile); Founder, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7) [Online]. August 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, August 22). Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, August. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (August 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): August. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Human Rights and In-Depth Interviews: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (7) [Internet]. (2021, August 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-7.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links June be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and June disseminate for their independent purposes.

The Powerlessness of a Secular State to Protect Secularism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 20, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,466

Keywords: Constitution, Dar es Salaam, East Africa, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, religion, Tanzania, United Republic of Tanzania.

The Powerlessness of a Secular State to Protect Secularism

Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge[1],[2]*

Dar es salaam, Tanzania – East Africa.

Currently it came into view as if the United Republic of Tanzania is facing a constitutional dilemma, since some of the state organs specifically the executive and the parliament are developing a habit of neglecting the constitutional fact that Tanzania is a secular state. That being the case then it is expected that all three branches of the state (the executive, parliament and the judiciary) are also required to operate in a secular way when performing their everyday duties.

However, this is not the reality, the opposite is true, because some branches of the state carry out their day after day responsibilities while diverting from the constitutional philosophy of separation of religion from the state. In various occasions the executive and the parliament fails to separate themselves from religious influences. For example when a new president is sworn in Christian priests and Muslim sheikhs are invited to the occasion so as to conducts religious prayers to the ceremony, why this? this habit must stop at once, because the state is secular, hence religious affairs are not to be encouraged here, even though the person who is being sworn in or affirm may be affiliated to a certain religion, that is fine but this is to be left as an individual matter rather than making it obligatory for the Islam and Christian leaders only be invited to conduct religious prayers to their sky god in official government ceremonies, and if it is indispensable to avoid them then members of other beliefs and faith including the Traditional African Religions, Secular humanists, Freethinkers ,Jews, Hindus are also to be invited to give their words, instead of discriminating them…because Tanzania is neither Christian state nor an Islamic republic, it is a secular state which allows a liberty of choice in matters of belief to be a private affair to each citizen while all state affairs are supposed to be left operating in a secular way, but so surprising Muslims and Christians are left to dominate in all state affairs…this habit is very unbecoming, and if the reason is that they are large in number, then why African traditional religions are not given the chance? Because in terms of percentages Christians, Muslims and African traditional religions in Tanzania their percentages ranges thirty percent per each of them. Article 13(5) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 provide the right of equality before the law and it prohibit discrimination of all kinds including discrimination basing on religious affiliations, therefore it is very astonishing why only Muslims and Christians are the ones be given priorities at the expenses of violating Constitutional philosophy of separation of religion from state affairs?

A further Constitutional controversy by the executive branch do arises on the national anthem. The national anthem contains some verses which says God bless Tanzania, God bless Africa…These words are somehow contradicting the Constitution, because the constitution declares that Tanzania is a secular state, though some individuals may be members of various religious affiliations of their choice, while some are non-believers, secular humanists as well as freethinkers, one may be asking himself or herself that ….do secular state…the state as an institution believe in existence of god? Does secular state have faith in the existence of god residing somewhere the way religious people believes? If the answer is affirmative, then which god? Is it a Christian god? Jehovah or a Muslim god Allah or an African tradition religion god(s) who differ from one society to another or Shinto god, or Taoists god or Buddha’s god or Hindu’s god or Jewish god? In fact, this national anthem raises much confusion about which god is asked in the national anthem to bless Africa and Tanzania? This is a Constitutional crisis, and such dilemma was at once addressed by the former president of Tanzania Julius K. Nyerere in one of his official speech. To paraphrase his words Nyerere said that… “I am so baffled …how comes a secular state has the national anthem which says God bless Tanzania. God bless Africa? I don’t know how this happened.” These are baffling words out of the mouth of a former head of state questioning himself how comes a secular state has a national anthem which glorifies god? Indeed, it is a constitutional dilemma.

All over again the incapability of a secular state to protect Secularism is manifesting itself through the parliament in parliamentary sessions (The National Assembly). It is a habit nowadays, each day before the parliamentary session commences in the national assembly (in the house) …the assembly begins with a prayer to God, normally the prayer session is led by the speaker of the National Assembly. During the prayer … Words like Ooh God the all might bless our parliament, bless our nation, and protect our nation from enemies… are being uttered, and then the prayer ends by members of the parliament screaming amen. Actually this is a typical religious influence. Why the National Assembly as a state organ vested with a duty of making laws of the nation, including the laws which turned Tanzania to be a secular state, yet the same organ is in front line to conduct a prayer to god session in the parliament, while constitutionally the parliament is supposed to be operating in a secular manner, because it is a branch of a secular state. This is very astonishing. it is wise if issues of prayers to god are to be left to each individual member of parliament alone, and it is to be done at each person privately instead of forcing them to shout amen every day while in the house as if they are in a certain religious temple in a religious republic somewhere in the middle east or India.

The Judiciary: The Judiciary is one of the state organs that is vested with judicial powers in the United Republic of Tanzania, this is according to Article 4(2) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977. While article 107A (1) of the same Constitution provides that “The Judiciary shall be the authority with final decision in dispensation of justice in the United Republic of Tanzania”. As one of the three branches of the state in Tanzania the Judiciary is vested with duties of providing justice, ensure compliance with the laws, settling disputes between people and companies, protect the right of the citizens and solving constitutional disputes, article 107A (2) a, b, c, d, e, of the Constitution do illustrate so. While Article 107B of the Constitution provides that “In exercising the powers of dispensing justice, all courts shall have freedom and shall be required only to observe the provisions of the Constitution and those of the laws of the land.” In The united Republic of Tanzania, the judiciary composes the Court of Appeal, the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, the special constitutional Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Lower courts subordinate to the High Court. The officials in the judiciary system include the court assessors, court clerks, judges, state attorneys who conduct state prosecutions, advocates and magistrates. The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Practice indicates that judiciary is the only remaining state organ which still maintains the philosophy of separation of state affairs from religious influence. The judiciary perform its duties absolutely in a secular manner, except only when a person is invited to appear before the Court as a witness, hence when such person is in a witness box, then he or she is supposed to take oath by either swearing in if is a Christian or affirm if a person concerned is a muslin, whilst a non-religious mode of swearing is also there for non-believers. Judiciary as an institution in the state do consider matters of belief in god and religion as a private affair to each individual, be it the employees of the judiciary or those who comes before courts of law as witnesses… they are not forced by the judges to conduct a prayer to god before court sessions commences or forcing those in courts to shout amen. Judges do not conduct, command or lead prayers to god in either open Courts or courts conducted in chambers, Court sessions are conducted perfectly in a secular approach, the mode in which the Constitution entail.

To bring the point home, the United Republic of Tanzania is gradually becoming powerless in protecting, preserving and observing the Constitutional philosophy of separation of religion and state. The constitutional philosophy requires that all state affairs to be conducted in a secular way, while religious stimuli are to be left to individuals as their private affairs, but so surprising religious influence is nowadays dominating some state organs daily businesses, this is a Constitutional dilemma which need to be resolved immediately.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Lucas Is Assistant Editor African Freethinker/ in-sightjournal.com (Tanzania), a Lawyer, an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths, Member of the Bar Association of Tanzania main land, also a Freethinker activist in Tanzania(E-mail: isamwaka01@gmail.com.)

 [2] Individual Publication Date: August 20, 2021: https://insightjournalonline.wordpress.com/2021/08/20/the-powerlessness-of-a-secular-state-to-protect-secularism.

*Contacts are: Email: isamwaka 01@gmail.com. Mobile Phone +225 754326296. WhatsApp +255 629204106

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Article 19(1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 is a Legal Opportunity to Freethinkers in the Nation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 16, 2021

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,140

Keywords: Constitution, Dar es Salaam, East Africa, Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge, Tanzania.

Article 19(1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 is a Legal Opportunity to Freethinkers in the Nation

Isakwisa Amanyisye Lucas Mwakalonge[1],[2]*

Dar es salaam, Tanzania – East Africa.

Freethinkers in Tanzania are small in percentage, yet their rights as human beings are provided, guaranteed and protected by the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 specifically in article 19(1), whereby the article provides that…Every person has the right to the freedom of conscience, faith and choice in matters of religion, including the freedom to change his religion or faith.

This implies that every person in the United Republic of Tanzania is free to make a choice in what to believe and what not to believe essentially in matters of religion, and faith. A quotation below has a clear explanation of what the mentioned article does intend to portray. Freedom of religion and conscience this right means that no person should be required to profess any religion or other belief against his or her desire. Additionally, no one should be punished or penalized in any way because he or she chooses one religion over another or indeed opts for no religion at all”[3]

Therefore article 19(1) is the foundation that makes Tanzanian freethinkers, atheists, non-believers and secular humanists have an opportunity of enjoying their right of non-believing. In fact, it is a legal chance for Tanzanian Freethinkers (non-believers) to make use of such constitutional avenues in order to push forward their activism and the movement in general national wide. The viewpoint of article 19(1) is also reflected in article 3(1) of the Constitution which among other things the article expresses that the United Republic of Tanzania is democratic, and a secular state. Hence forth secular humanists and freethinkers in Tanzania are free to use this opportunity which is enshrined under article 19(1). On the other hand in case any constitutional right is violated, then such right can be claimed and enforced by instituting proceedings for redress in the High Court of Tanzania, this is provided under article 30(3) of the Constitution. Therefore Secular humanists as well as freethinkers of Tanzania are urged to use this right of freedom of conscience and a right of choice on what to believe particularly in terms of faith or even a right of not believing in anything, because it is a Constitutional right. For that reason freethinkers may well undergo their activism peacefully and respectfully while observing article 19(1).

The essence of article 19(1) is entrenched in safeguarding the so called Individual Rights. Individual rights are natural rights that all human beings are born with and they cannot be taken away by the government but the government’s duty is only to protect them. These individual rights do include the right to life, right to equality, freedom of speech, and expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion and conscience, together with freedom of assembly.

However such right of freedom of religion and conscience as individual right may be violated either by some parents who denies their families a right to decide on what to believe or not to believe in matters of what to trust either religion or not to trust in any religion, much of the parents do emphasis that their religions is the one to be adopted by their families. While in some places the public will not tolerate existence of people who do not believe their religions hence may disturb those non-believers. On the other hand in Tanzania the individual rights like freedom of religion and conscience can be protected as follows: First it is through the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as the Courts of law. Individual rights are enshrined in the constitution and Courts of law are empowered by the constitution under article 30(3) to protect human rights. Second it is through the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, which is established by article 129(1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977. While the law governing the operationalization of that commission, it is the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance Act, Cap 391, Revised Edition of 2009. Where among other functions it empowers the Commission for Human Rights in Tanzania to promote, protect and preserve human rights in the nation. That mentioned function of the Commission is expressly noticeable in section 6(1) (a) of the Act, and the section provides that …the commission shall carry out the following functions (a) to promote within the country the protection and the preservation of human rights and of duties to the society in accordance with the constitution and the laws of the land’’

Third it is through the press. Free media is in a good position to play a big role on informing the public concerning violations of individual rights such as freedom of religion and conscience, hence the presence of much informed people in the community about violations of individual rights then the cry becomes a general outcry, this may force the authorities to take some measures so as to stop the violations. Fourth it is through adhering to the principles of rule of law, this viewpoint insists on equality before the law, that every member of the community is to be left free to enjoy rights that are guaranteed by the law and the Constitution such as a right of freedom of being left free to choose one religion over another or indeed being left free to opt for no religion at all. Therefore obedience of rule of law is the best methodology of protecting human rights including the rights of minority groups. Fifth it is through providing Civic education to the public, civic education does teach and educate citizens about their basic rights as a human being and their obligations to the nation as responsible citizens.[3]

Conclusively, freethinkers in Tanzania are urged to exploit this right under Article 19(1) as a constitutional and legal right in order to push their activism countrywide since it is a legal opportunity that may not be enjoyed in some other parts of the world. However such right is not absolute, it has to be enjoyed subject to obedience of other laws which regulate the modus operandi of enjoying such right. For instance article 30(1) of the Constitution among other things it maintains that human rights and freedom which is enshrined in the constitution should not be enjoyed by a person to the extent of causing interference to freedom of other persons or interfere public interest, while article 30(2)a, of the Constitution provides that while enjoying the rights from article 19(1) then there must be an ensuring measures that…the rights and freedoms of other people or of the interests of the public are not prejudiced by the wrongful exercise of the freedoms and rights of individuals.

Thus article 30(1), and (2) a, of the Constitution provides some limitations of enjoying those rights enshrined in article 19(1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977.

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

Books

Ministry of Education. Civics Syllabus for Secondary Schools Forms I – IV: Dar Es Salaam: Ministry of Education, United Republic of Tanzania, 1995.

Tanzania Institute of Education. Civics Manual for Secondary Teachers and College Tutors: Dares salaam: TIE, 2002.

Laws

The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977

The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance Act Cap 391, Revised Edition of 2009.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Lucas Is Assistant Editor African Freethinker/ in-sightjournal.com (Tanzania), a Lawyer, an Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths, Member of the Bar Association of Tanzania main land, also a Freethinker activist in Tanzania. (E-mail: isamwaka01@gmail.com.)

 [2] Individual Publication Date: August 16, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/2021/08/16/article-191-of-the-constitution-of-the-united-republic-of-tanzania-1977-is-a-legal-opportunity-to-freethinkers-in-the-nation/.

*Contacts are: Email: isamwaka 01@gmail.com. Mobile Phone +225 754326296. WhatsApp +255 629204106

[3] Civics Manual For Secondary Teachers and College Tutors (Dar es salaam: Tanzania Institute of Education, 2002),9.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, In-Sight Publishing, and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.E, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 15, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,924

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Dr. Herb Silverman is the Founder of the Secular Coalition for America, the Founder of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, and the Founder of the Atheist/Humanist Alliance student group at the College of Charleston. He authored Complex variables (1975), Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt (2012) and An Atheist Stranger in a Strange Religious Land: Selected Writings from the Bible Belt (2017). He co-authored The Fundamentals of Extremism: The Christian Right in America (2003) with Kimberley Blaker and Edward S. Buckner, Complex Variables with Applications (2007) with Saminathan Ponnusamy, and Short Reflections on Secularism (2019), Short Reflections on American Secularism’s History and Philosophy (2020), and Short Reflections on Age and Youth (2020). He discusses: current existential risks; the humanist orientation on life; pragmatic side of the humanist ethos; a complete rejection of the existence of gods; no regard for the tenets of Christianity; understanding human behaviour; the existential risks to the American republic; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the American educational curricula; make American education more humanistic; Republicans working to restrict African Americans from full voting rights and privileges; and a refined universalist morality.

Keywords: America, Christianity, ethics, Golden Rule, Herb Silverman, Humanism, morality.

Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You made some great points about all religions, as an argument posed for the Golden Rule, having the same fundamental moral theoretic structure. They have the Golden Rule; therefore, they have the same moral philosophical base. Similarly, you stated, “And a version of this can also be found in almost every ethical tradition, with no gods necessary.” In other words, the Golden Rule exists pervasively and human beings use it, and build systems of moral philosophy on it. It can become tricky, as when the definition of the in-group leads to the Golden Rule only applying to one’s narrow ethnic and/or religious group. What can be the application of a humanist ethical orientation on the Golden Rule on current existential risks, globally? In short, how is humanist ethics, here, universal and universally applicable compared to parochial religious ethics?

Dr. Herb Silverman[1],[2]: The Golden Rule can mean different things to different people. Typically we think of it as treating others as we would like to be treated. Alternatively, it says do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated. One problem comes with the definition of “others.” Sometimes it means only how we treat others within a certain religion. A religion might require treating “infidels” with disdain, or worse. Treating others as we want to be treated might also involve trying to convert others to the religion of the believer. Many people don’t want to be treated as some people treat themselves. Universal human ethics has nothing to do with parochial religious beliefs. It requires empathy and reciprocity. We should try to find out how different people would like to be treated and try to treat them that way as long as such treatment doesn’t cause harm to them or to others.

Jacobsen: You described a shorthand of the humanist orientation on life. Also, as a side comment, you mentioned a progressive philosophy of life without a laundry list. Is a “laundry list” a bad idea? Simply for the fact, for any example or limited rule, you can find a counterexample to the example or the rule, because life is complex and, often, superficially contradictory. 

Silverman: A laundry list is not necessarily a bad idea, depending on what we mean by such a list. Regarding humanism, we say that knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis; that humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change; that humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships; that working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness; that we are guided by reason and inspired by compassion, and so on. If this is a laundry list, so be it. On the other hand, we assert that ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. This means we continually learn new ways to improve humanism.

Jacobsen: What about individuals who say, “I don’t care,” as in they do not care about others or appear unable to feel compassion? Where do these individuals fit into the pragmatic side of the humanist ethos?

Silverman: We can try to describe how showing compassion toward others can make you feel better about yourself. Failing to succeed, pragmatically we should try to keep such people (perhaps some of them psychopaths) from hurting others.

Jacobsen: Why can’t some individuals stomach a complete rejection of the existence of gods? What reasons have come forward for you?

Silverman: I’m sometimes asked how I can go on living without a belief in God. Such people often believe that the purpose of this life is to prepare for an afterlife. They see no other purpose for human life. Such god belief might be how they overcome their fear of death. There may be no purpose OF life, but humans can and should find many purposes IN life. We have only one life to live, and we should make the best of it.

Jacobsen: Individuals in the United States, White Christian Nationalists, want, in their dying demographic gasp, a complete control of the American republic without regard, or much, for freethinkers and other non-Christian religious Americans. Why? 

Silverman: It’s even stranger. Many White Christian Nationalists in the United States seem to have no regard for the tenets of Christianity. They appear to be worshiping Donald Trump, rather than Jesus. They applauded attacks by Trump on non-white immigrants, African-Americans, women, gun control, science, climate change, and other social justice issues. They seem mostly engaged with anti-abortion, about which Jesus said nothing. They hearken to the days of white privilege when they could discriminate against those of a different race and those who had non-Christian religious beliefs or no religious beliefs. They would like to turn America into their version of a Christian nation, not the secular nation we are. The good news is that many Americans are turning away from their fundamentalist religion, especially younger people, because of political stances that White Christian Nationalists have taken on. They include issues like women’s rights, abortion, immigration, LGBTQ, and other social justice issues, not to mention pedophilia. Some former or present Christians now believe that our humanist positions are more consistent with the message of Jesus than with the message of White Christian Nationalists.

Jacobsen: Furthermore, in that light, why do, indeed, ideas matter, fundamentally, to understanding human behaviour? As the brain is not a black box, but consciousness or an individual mind can appear as if a black box – so probably is, we can only peer at the outward behaviours and the descriptions of inner experience described by an individual. 

Silverman: Human behavior is often irrational, so understanding it is not easy. It might be based on false rumors (think QAnon) or on wishful thinking (think religion). To understand an individual’s behavior, we should communicate with that individual and learn what motivated the behavior. Even then, the individual might lie or make something up. For instance, parents can say how much they love their children, yet beat them and not mind that the child is suffering. To understand present behavior, it helps to know the past history of the individual.

Jacobsen: What are the existential risks to the American republic now? How are these existential risks for global society, given declining American semi-hegemony?

Silverman: The greatest existential risk to the American republic is also the greatest existential risk to the global society—climate change caused by humans and the need to address this danger. Fortunately nations are listening to the dire scientific predictions and coming together to cooperate with the United Nations on landmarks like the Paris Agreement and the Climate Action Summit. A national risk to Americans was the attack on our democracy on January 6, with the storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters. Those riots for the first time made me worry about what we need to do to keep our democracy. Another serious concern is that America sometimes supports authoritarian leaders for economic gain instead of pushing for human rights.

Jacobsen: In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you mentioned an important and oft-overlooked part – skimmed: “nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, or religion.” If looking to a possibly more humanist future, would you add anything into it, in spite of its strengths?

Silverman: We should take all these into account for human rights. When I spoke of “gender,” I didn’t know all the implications. I would include transgender, but hadn’t before heard of gender fluid, bi-gender, and other terminology. Of course, regardless of a person’s pronoun, we should treat everyone with respect.

Jacobsen: What has been excluded from the American educational curricula? Those courses necessary for a more educated populace and necessary for a functioning democracy. 

Silverman: I think too much time is spent trying to instill symbolic patriotism, and not enough time spent talking about some of our faults. This is incorporated in what is called “critical race theory,” which does not denigrate whites but talks about what privileges we have had over the years, and what we might do now to help those who weren’t born with such privileges. People should better understand our real history, including the meaning of our godless Constitution. We should teach people how to think, not what to think. I would like to see critical thinking become part of our national curriculum, including a mandatory course on logic.

Jacobsen: What would make American education more humanistic? I read complaints about vouchers, private religious school financial and other privileges, and discrimination in hiring against atheists and others in America, as examples of issues on some fault lines. It’s unfortunate. 

Silverman: Unfortunately, some private religious schools don’t have to teach topics that every educated person should know, like the theory of evolution. Some of these schools rely on indoctrination rather than education. Conservative Christians are influencing many school districts by introducing legislation to bring back school-sponsored prayers and demand that sex education classes in public schools teach “abstinence only,” instead of preparing teens to avoid pregnancy and disease. Some religious schools often incorrectly get to use some of our public tax dollars to support them through vouchers and other ways.

I like what one of our founders, Ben Franklin, said: “When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.

Jacobsen: The natural question: Why are Republicans working to restrict African Americans from full voting rights and privileges (e.g., easier, reasonable access)?

Silverman: This is an easy question to answer. Most African-Americans vote for candidates from the Democratic party. Of course, the right thing to do would be to make it easy for them to vote their conscience. Unfortunately, Republican politicians these days rarely seem to do the right thing. Their only interest seems to be to get elected and re-elected.

Jacobsen: If we can learn to become more accurate in ethical decisions through an approximation of objective morality through a refined universalist morality, is ethical truth, or are morally correct choices, a natural feature of the natural world if evolved critters are roaming around in it, whether or not they have the mental capacity to know and decide at a sufficiently advanced level? In short, are universalist (approximating objective) ethical truths a derivative feature of universes with evolved or engineered minds? That is, if no beings in a universe, then no ethics in a universe; if beings, then inevitably ethics. 

Silverman: Many people used to equate the Bible with objective morality, but not so much anymore. Throughout history, the Bible has been quoted to justify slavery, second-class status for women, anti-Semitism, executing blasphemers and homosexuals, and burning witches and heretics. Some actions deemed moral 2000 years ago are considered immoral today. Morality evolves over time as our understanding of human needs within a culture changes. Even those who believe in biblical inerrancy interpret some passages in a different way today than in centuries past, in a manner more consistent with many humanist principles. We make judgments about which portions of a sacred text to take literally, which to take metaphorically, and which to ignore completely. We may never reach what we consider objective morality, but we are a lot closer to it than in past centuries.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Dr. Silverman. 

Silverman: Thank you.

Appendix I: Footnotes

 [1] Founder, Secular Coalition for America; Founder, Secular Humanists of the Low Country; Founder, Atheist/Humanist Alliance, College of Charleston.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 15, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical [Online]. August 2021; 26(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, August 22). Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical. Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.E, August. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.E. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.E (August 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.E. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.E., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.E (2021): August. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Free of Charge 9 – All Things Ethical [Internet]. (2021, August 26(E). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/free-of-charge-9.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links September be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and September disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 8, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,007

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

PM Salih Hudayar is the Prime Minister of East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile) and the Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. He discusses: concentration camps and labor camps; the U.N. Human Rights Council; and economic concerns trumping human rights concerns.

Keywords: China, Chinese, concentration camps, East Turkistan, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, human rights, government-in-exile, labor camps, Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, Uyghurs.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted October 20, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: There’s also violations in terms of labor right, alongside these concentration camps and prisons or labor camps. So, two questions follow from that observation. One, how are these prisons, concentration camps and labor camps being documented? And two, what is the extent of the forced labor in the labor camps?

Salih Hudayar[1],[2]: So as far as the first question, in terms of documentation, as far as like the concentration camps and the prisons and the labor camps, the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, we were the first organization to really put out actual coordinates of these facilities. Back in 2018, and then again once more in 2019, it’s only recently this past, about last month actually, that BuzzFeed and ASPI reproduced the maps that we created with the coordinates. They said that they discovered four hundred something facilities, such facilities. It’s like the same thing. We put it out in open source. We put it out on our Web site to wherever people can push.

And we tried to get the media to cover it. But most of the media, because we insist that they use the term East Turkistan, at least; we weren’t opposed to them saying some other terms, but we insisted that they, at least, get this right with the Uyghurs calling it East Turkistan. So, there are organizations like the ASPI, other organizations; that are doing the research to look at it as well. As far as like the labor camps and the slave labor, the Chinese government’s own propaganda. Their own ads that they put up online.

We located 600 people work in this industrial facility. So, they’re going to get “job training.” That’s what they call it, “Job training.” But it’s like, “Okay, nice way of saying, ‘We’re going to send them to the forced labor camp.’” Many of these people are not getting any salaries. Many of these people don’t even want to leave their hometowns to work in other places. While, at the same time, they’re being replaced by Chinese settlers. Chinese settlers are being given homes, cash, and even a Uyghur or Turkic wife for the man and 6 to 12 acres of land, while we are being dispossessed and being used as slave labor.

ASPI, there is a lot of research and documented real companies. For example, these facilities, they discovered which company was actually running it and how those companies sold their good to Western companies. For example, they documented over 80 different popular global brands complicit in the use of forced to slave labor. In addition to that, we have videos of thousands of young men and women, hundreds of videos of being boarded up, trains being boarded up. People being bussed out to work. Then you have videos of elderly people and women that are left working in labor, building roads, building ditches, irrigation canals, stuff like that.

You have like a very elderly woman, a grandmother, trying to push a wheelbarrow. The worst, the best is you see the Chinese security forces right next to you, right back in that video.

Jacobsen: Recently, there was a press release put out in response to the appointment or election of China to the U.N. Human Rights Council. What has been the reaction of some of the international community to this? What has been a particular response from you?

Hudayar: So other than the U.S. State Secretary, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, you haven’t really had the international community or governments issuing statements or anything of that sort. You have human rights organizations all expressing their disapproval or condemnation or fear. But that’s just been about it. Few media outlets have reported on it. But other than that, there hasn’t been much opposition.

Jacobsen: Why?

Hudayar: Well, China seems to have used this economic and political influence to get those countries in the U.N. to vote for it. It is corruption and a lot of countries, most of these newspapers, the media, they’re owned by wealthy people at the top level. People who have business interests in China. They don’t want to disrupt those business interests in China by writing, by having published an article about some disapproval of government checks of disapproval of China’s membership to the U.N. But a government, they don’t want to upset China. They still want to continue working with China.

Even though, most of the world knows that China is engaging in a genocide. They feel that, “Oh, what can we do. If we express comments on it, we will lose disrupt our relations with them. We won’t be able to get loans. We won’t be able to get support from China, which is the way that most countries behave because they’re economically intertwined with China.”

Jacobsen: So in this case, is an economic concern trumping human rights concerns for most countries?

Hudayar: Yes. For most countries, it’s about economics. At the end of the day, everything, unfortunately, is about economics. The whole reason why China is engaging in the genocide is about economics. Because if they circle down with just that nothing valuable there, China is not going to waste the time and effort to occupy East Turkistan. hey colonize East Turkistan. We don’t have anything there. They would have left us alone. But we have gold; we have natural gas; we have uranium, even the wind power. We have the wind power from East Turkistan, which is what brings energy to Chinese cities inside China. Also, we’re very strategically located roughly about one fifth of China’s total territory, or what is now known as China.

And they bring nine other different countries where, the cornerstone of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is again, has to do with economics. It is achieve China’s global dream of becoming the most powerful economic, military, and political power in the world. We are a hindrance to their dream. That’s why China from its security perspective; it’s carrying out this final solution to prevent us from getting our independence.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Prime Minister, East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile); Founder, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 8, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6) [Online]. August 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, August 8). Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, August. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (August 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): August. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Economic Concerns and Human Rights: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (6) [Internet]. (2021, August 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-6.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links June be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and June disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 1, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,079

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

PM Salih Hudayar is the Prime Minister of East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile) and the Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. He discusses: colonialism.

Keywords: China, Chinese, colonialism, East Turkistan, government-in-exile, Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, Uyghurs.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted October 20, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When we look at some of the historical records of settler colonial societies, in particular some of the European based or enacted settler colonial societies, these include Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and South Africa. These countries have come to work towards some marginal reconciliation, to some extent of reconciliation with the indigenous population. The most prominent people that come to kind of public consciousness would be people like Nelson Mandela. However, there are numerous other individuals who have worked on non-indigenous and indigenous alike towards that form of reconciliation and independence for those peoples, those ethnic and cultural groups who were colonized and then settled in East Turkistan.

This action of the Chinese government is explicitly a colonial effort. So, if the reaction of the international community is strong against historical and current settler colonialism in other societies, in terms of working towards the need towards to work towards reconciliation, why is there not necessarily silence, but a dampened response, towards this form of colonialism ongoing in East Turkistan, occupied East Turkistan?

Salih Hudayar[1],[2]: Many people are one misinformed. Because many people aren’t even aware that we were an independent country or that we were occupied. You still have the media portraying us, as I stated, as Muslims, therefore, making a change in internal affairs issues. You still have what they hear about, the Chinese, they automatically think, “Oh, it’s just a part of China.” They must have this Muslim problem, especially post 9/11. Being Muslim, they had negative complications, including the war on terror. A lot of different governments, including the Muslim governments, used the excuse of counter-terrorism to take out its opponents, some more legitimate. There are legitimate counter terrorism concerns. But others like those being done by China.

It was the much needed excuse that China needed to effectively carry out its final solution, which we are seeing at this point. By portraying us as just a bunch of Islamist terrorists, even though our movement is a national movement, even though it’s largely a secular movement, that doesn’t matter. Because when you have a majority of the population being Muslim, and you have negative perceptions on Muslims across the world, it’s the narrative. In fact, this is another issue. The Chinese prior to 2001 would never refer to Uyghurs as terrorists. Because prior to that, that term wasn’t really known or prominent, let’s say.

However, two weeks before 9/11 happened, China’s puppet the secretary, the Communist Party secretary in East Turkistan. He had a large press conference with international media. He was trying to seek international foreign investment. So, he said, ‘Everything is peaceful here. People get along very happy. There have been no acts of violence.’ Some journalists act upon the actions like other people advocating for East Turkistan. We heard that there was a republic here before. He’s like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, that’s just a few things made up by Western imperialists. There is no East Turkistan. The people here, they’re happy. Everybody’s happy, there’s no resistance of any sort.’

Then 9/11 happened. Then within 48 hours of 9/11 happening, China claimed, president at that time, that China was a victim of East Turkistani terrorism. That China supports the global war on terror. Then in November of 2001, on November 11, the day before Independence Day of November 12, China submitted a document to the UN Security Council stating that since 1990; several thousand East Turkistan terrorist attacks have occurred. They listed various different groups. All of them East Turkistani groups. The majority of them, we don’t even know existed. We’ve never heard of those names. But one of them was the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. This is the first time that it was mentioned. Before that, you can’t find any record of anything.

Whether from China, whether from others referring to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, China claimed that it was the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. They were pushing for East Turkistan independence and that they were a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaida. They began to lobby the U.S., the U.N. to recognize this group as a terrorist organization. Unfortunately, the U.S., the U.N. recognized this group as a terrorist organization in 2002 and 2003, in order to get many people to think that there was a quid pro quo, in order to secure China’s support for the Iraq invasion or the war in Iraq. The way that China portrayed it in our media in East Turkistan at that time. It’s not our media, but in the Chinese media in East Turkistan, at that time, was that the US and the UN declared East Turkistan independence as a terrorist movement.

Because the acronym ETIM, East Turkistan Islamic Movement, also happens to have the same acronym as the broad East Turkistan Independence Movement; there is no organization calling itself the East Turkistan Independence Movement, but it’s a very broad term. Using that, China has been able to put out this narrative. So, there’s two reasons for this. People are informed in the worst about East Turkistan. The media, they continue to spread and to write reports on what’s happening with the human rights abuses that are in a more favorable terms in the Chinese narrative, using the Chinese narrative to write it down. Because at the end of the day, China’s biggest fear is to expand independence.

And in order to prevent that from happening, human rights abuses happen all across the world. Every country in the world, whether it’s the United States or Canada the E.U. or Japan; there will always be human rights issues. This is something that is a reality. In many cases, under international law, it’s like a so-called internal affairs issue. So, China, its biggest fear is East Turkistan as independent. So, in order to prevent that, it’s okay to have some human rights issue backlash, so long as it maintains the control. By using this influence, they have misinformed the world. To this day, that media, most of the media, not all of them, most of the media continues to label us, as, Chinese Muslims or Muslims in China or ethnic minorities almost always exclusively using the Chinese term in the new territory without even giving interpretation or translation of what that term means. So, that’s why many people are uninformed about this. I think that’s why, to get into your question; and I think that’s why we’re seeing this effort.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Prime Minister, East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile); Founder, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 1, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5) [Online]. August 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, August 1). Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, August. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (August 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): August. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Colonialism, Terminology, and the Media: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (5) [Internet]. (2021, August 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-5.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links June be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and June disseminate for their independent purposes.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 27.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (22)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2021

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,796

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

PM Salih Hudayar is the Prime Minister of East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile) and the Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. He discusses: governments in exile and democratic norms.  

Keywords: China, Chinese, democracy, East Turkistan, government-in-exile, Prime Minister, Salih Hudayar, Turks, UN Charter, Uyghurs.

Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Interview conducted October 20, 2020.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: The United Nations recognizes 193 Member States in the world today. In regards to your election as the prime minister, the formal title includes a “Government-in-Exile.” For those who don’t know, what does it mean in regards to a government when it is in “exile”? And why this is important for the historical and ongoing contexts for East Turkistan?

Salih Hudayar[1],[2]: So, the government in exile is essentially a government which claims sovereignty over a territory and it has been forced into exile. It doesn’t see whatever is the current government there, as the legitimate government. It seeks to represent that specific country or a region as its own as the representatives. In our case in December 22nd, 1949, our former country, East Turkistan, formerly known as the East Turkistan Republic, was overthrown. This is not something that we voluntarily gave away, our independence, or voluntarily agreed to be a part of China. Because if you look at Chinese government documents from 1949 to 1954, they killed, according to Chinese state media, 150,000 enemies of China. So, obviously, our people resisted this.

To this day, we have continued to resist Chinese occupation of our country. Some of our leaders were able to escape into the Soviet Union and just general political pressures from the Soviets. They weren’t able to create an actual exile government. They were able to create a national committee, but they weren’t able to create a government in exile. Others fled into Turkey. Even there, because of political pressure, we weren’t able to engage in political advocacy. We were just there. You can’t engage in any political advocacy. You should be happy that we were here very much like that. It’s only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that we regained our hope for independence.

Not that we have never lost hope of it, it continues. We struggled for it. There are numerous historical uprisings over the past seventy years. The last armed uprising was in 1990, in April 1990 in which we had several hundred people take up arms to advocate and struggle for East Turkistan in the present. The only reason they took arms was because in that town, 200 women forcibly have their babies aborted. I saw our people tried to go to the local government buildings and shortlist grievances. So, seeing what happened in Afghanistan, a guy who was only 27 at that time, 26 years old.

He was inspired by what happened in Afghanistan. He said if he was trying to buy time. He said like if we were able to resist; maybe, we’ll get support from the international community. Maybe, they will help us. Unfortunately, the world didn’t even hear about this massive uprising until months later after the Chinese government arrested over 7,000 people in connection to this. But with the independence of the Central Asian countries, we had to advocate for our independence more openly because from 1960s up until really late, until 1990, everything had been underground. Because the Chinese, they executed a lot of leaders. In prison a lot of people, and so everything was just underground, everyone’s like, “Hey, we should do something.”

But we weren’t able to do anything because there was no real external support. But starting in the 1990s, our people started to go out of Central Asia and into Europe and out of Turkey, into Europe and into the United States. In 2004, September 14, 2004, that is when the pre-existing East Turkistan organizations like East Turkistan National Congress, East Turkistan Freedom Center and the East Turkistan revolutionary branch, the East Turkistan Committee, all these different leaders of the different East Turkistan organizations came together here in Washington, D.C. to declare the East Turkistan government in exile. Since then, we have been based in D.C. I got involved in early 2019, in April, not seeing my success raising awareness and getting the US Congress and others to move on the East Turkistan issue.

The government in exile, they reached out to me and said, “Hey, we’d like you in November 2018,” when they initially reached out to me. At that time, I politely declined because I didn’t want to be; I just wanted to be responsible for other things. Because I was able to get a lot of popular support within our own community, our diaspora getting a petition of 100,000 signatures. On a petition, it might not be a big deal for people in the way. For the rest of the world, it might not be a big deal. But for us, that’s something very difficult to do. To get a 108,000 of our people to agree on one thing and say, “Hey, I want to. I agree with this.” It is very different and it’s very difficult. Because in our diaspora, we number at maximum about a million.

And in the Central Asian countries, advocacy on East Turkistan is prohibited even in Turkey advocacy. Turkistan is limited. So, not only giving us the limited external Western diaspora community to really focus on our issue. Our petition to the White House got over a hundred and eight thousand signatures in more than one month. The only reason I made this petition was that there was a previous petition made by a different organization, human rights organization. They used the Chinese terminology for our country. They just call us human rights abusers. They referred to our people as an ethnic minority, which we are not. We don’t see ourselves as minority because we are still the majority in East Turkistan. They just asked the U.S. government to just condemn the human rights abusers.

And it came to my attention and I was being asked by our people, “Should we sign this?” And I said, “No. Because if we sign this, China’s going to use this.” Let’s say it gets 100,000 signatures and it gets into the White House. China is going to use that to go down our face and we’d be like, “It’s just a few a bunch of people that they don’t want, East Turkistan.” The leaders are happy and China. Yes, there’s a little bit human rights problems, but we can work with that. We have accepted that we were the moral minority. We would have accepted the Chinese colonial term for our country, which means we would have accepted Chinese rule. And we have absolutely have not accepted historically. But I said, “No, we need to – let me put out a different petition.”

So, I filed a petition, condemning China’s 21st century Holocaust in occupied East Turkistan. I have the same thing we’ve been pushing for sanctions on Chinese officials on the Magnitsky Act and passed the Uyghur Act, to recognize the genocide in East Turkistan. Despite the other pre-existing organization, the human rights organization is a large human rights organization. In spite of them pushing against this petition, accusing me of being a suffragist, accusing me of dividing our community, etc., at the end, our people, I told them, “You are human rights activists. How are you going to get it? How are you going to get human rights? If you don’t have a country, if you don’t have a government, if you don’t have a chance to elect your own people, how are you going to get that human right?”

Yes, there are some human rights, written on a piece of paper. Just like under Chinese law, we have human rights. Under Chinese law, we have autonomy on a piece of paper. But you need your own independence to achieve that. I made a video message with tens of thousands of views and people all across the world are in our community. They’re like, “What?” Let’s sign on their petition. So, 108,000 versus 12,700 on the WC petition. So, you get a lot more respect and support. You wonder. If I ask people to do something in our community… which I did, I said, “We need to organize demonstrations in your own country.”

Your governments, parliaments, etc., you need to engage in grassroots activism. We can’t just rely on a few organizations here and there to do it. We need to use the correct terminology. We need to emphasize that this is what our people want. By now, a majority of our population in the diaspora – I would say – prior to me coming out and creating some of this. There was about 60% or 70% who advocated, who wanted independence. But now, it’s over 95%. In fact, right now, it has gotten to the point where if you’re in the community, people ask, “Do you want independence?” You can’t even answer, “No.” Because in our community’s perception, if you answer, “No,” then there’s a problem. There’s a problem with you. Unfortunately, this is the way it has to be.

So, seeing that the government in exile wanted me to represent them because I was appearing at important events, I think the university is talking about our issue meeting with members of Congress and raising our issue, meeting with the State Department and raising our issue. So, they asked me to represent them as their ambassador to the U.S., which I didn’t accept until April of 2019. Then the government in exile, though it was created in the US and based in Washington, the leadership was still in Turkey and they were heavily under Turkey’s influence. They would make a lot of anti-Semitic and anti-Western statements. That’s because Turkey’s pressure has influenced and has been on a leash.

So I began to push back against that within our own government and then, ultimately, a parliament had to choose sides. Then I also said, “We need to get these people in the grassroots. We need to get grassroots elections done.” I tried to push for grassroots elections and tried to get them to allow to change the constitution, which would allow the people to directly vote for the president, the prime minister, and so forth. But I wasn’t able to do that. Before it was only three representatives. They can only vote three representatives in each nation. But I said, “No.” We need to do it to where they can elect ten and then have those ten decide amongst themselves and narrow it down to three.

Because we need to be democratic. We need to run it in a more democratic fashion. We have to teach our people democratic process, because I genuinely believe that we will regain our independence much closer than many people think. We have to be prepared for that. In order to be prepared for that, we have to focus on democratizing the various institutions that we have here in exile.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Prime Minister, East Turkistan (Government-in-Exile); Founder, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2021: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4) [Online]. July 2021; 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2021, July 22). Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A, July. 2021. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2021. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 27.A (July 2021). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2021, ‘Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 27.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 27.A (2021): July. 2021. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Prime Minister Salih Hudayar on Government-in-Exile and Instilling Democratic Norms and Processes: Prime Minister, East Turkistan – Government-in-Exile (4) [Internet]. (2021, July 27(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hudayar-4.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links June be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and June disseminate for their independent purposes.

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