By Nathan Barton
One of my sons pointed out a news-tidbit about some celebrity claiming that names like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Mary are all so “white” that a “person of color” should not give their children names like that.
We had a good laugh over it, but then went on line and found out that many, MANY people apparently believe some version of this. Several atheist websites even cited the fact that the writers of the Gospels (the four books of the New Testament which record Jesus’ ministry) being given “common English names” was proof that they were fabricated, although the websites disagreed: some believed it must be King James who order the fraud, while others blamed the Catholics or others. Many other sites decried the fact that the various people in the Bible (Old and New Testaments) had all these white-people, English standard names (like Abraham and Deborah and Sarah and David and Paul and James) and not “proper” Middle-Eastern names like Kamal and Mohammed and Ali.
Even some of those commenters who pointed out the silly nature of their objectors often merely pointed out that there were lots of “non-Western” names like Bartholomew and Nebuchadnezzar and Dorcas and Sapphira.
But, I was glad to note, there were many commenters who explained (with great patience) that these names are common English names used by white people (and black people and AmerInd and Asian) who speak English BECAUSE they are names that are found in the Bible, and the names of people who have been admired for many generations. And that these are English translations or equivalents of Hebrew and Greek and Latin names which are the equivalent of similar Spanish and Italian and Coptic (Egyptian) names. (For example, Jose equals Joseph, Iago equals James, etc.)
Consider another recent incident. J K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter novels, viciously attacked Donald Trump for snubbing a three-year-old disabled child at a White House ceremony – an attack supported by a video clip which showed Trump seemingly ignoring the child’s “pitiful” attempt to hold Trump’s hand. She was shown to be – again, either stupid or ignorant – and even MSN was forced to point this out with the full video, showing Trump paying special attention to the child Rowling accused him of being afraid to touch, before his speech. But stupidly, or with malice, people continue to spread this little untruth.
This level of ignorance (or stupidity, or both) is hardly limited to celebrities or lurkers on the internet. We see it in politics and governments constantly.
Sometimes it is as blatant as Representative Hank Johnson worrying that too many Marines will make Guam tip over. Sometimes it is harder to see – consider the Australian Prime Minister who proclaimed proudly that the laws of Australia overruled the laws of mathmatics. We see it every day at every level of government and politics.
Sometimes it is this bizarre belief that just because something is a law, it will automatically be obeyed, and automatically solve the problem that it was supposedly passed to resolve. We see that so very often in the debate over and the passing of “gun control” laws.
Russia may have very recently done this. ZDNet reports that Russian President Putin signed an Internet censorship law, prohibiting the use of technology that provides access to websites banned in the country. The law will come into effect on November 1, 2017. It will ban the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other technologies, known as anonymisers, that allow people to surf the web anonymously.
History demonstrates that prohibition virtually always fails. And usually sooner than later. I suspect that even Putin understands this (and perhaps much more than American politicians do). This law passed by the Duma (the equivalent of Congress) is almost certainly a dead letter: unenforceable. Perhaps the reason for the delay in implementation is to give software developers time to come up with new and better ways to access websites while hiding that from the government.
Whatever may be the case, it is clear that once more we see both the stupidity of, and ignorance of, those in government: the politicians, the bureaucrats, and those who worship and serve them.
Let’s avoid falling into this sort of trap.
Mama’s Note: Too late, I’m afraid… We’ve made it much too safe for stupidity.