Show 310: Conspiracy!

Special 2-Hour Fund Drive Program: Conspiracy!

For much of the last century, mainly Far Right groups or individuals engaged in conspiracy theorizing often to scapegoat other groups or individuals who were considered legitimate targets for the mainstream to blame their overall sociopolitical dilemmas of the time.  European Jews conspiring against Germany and Christian Germans, according to the NAZI’s, is one famous example. The KKK and Neo-Nazis targeting blacks by trying to re-interpret the US Constitution is another.

Chip Berlet, senior analyst for the independent think tank Political Research Associates, has explained when talking about modern examples of this via the Tea Party Movement and Anti-Obama-isms in the United States, “Right-wing pundits demonize groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation. Some angry people in the audience already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States.”

But what about Progressives, Liberals and others on the Left who have also engaged in what some have called Conspiracy Theories? Who are the people to be scapegoated in their case? Of course… the rich or powerful elites.  But while the so-called elites thought up by the Far Right never existed as advertised, we do live in a society where the rich and powerful can be shown to indeed manipulate the masses through indoctrination via the public school system, the media, and other means of propaganda.  So how can one separate fact from fiction as they exist with Left-leaning Conspiracy Theorizing?

For years on WBAI-NY, you’ve heard mainly one side of the story, while all others are often taken on these airwaves and among the Left in general, with great suspicion and seen as establishment apologetics.

Equal Time for Freethought’s mission advocates using critical thinking and scientific method to understand the world around us; and, moreover, trying to understand how such can help us implement progressive social change.

So in this light, we will look at the most recent, infamous conspiracy theorizing regarding 9/11 as well as the history of Right-Wing and Left-Wing Conspiracy theorizing via the History Channel special “The 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction,” and a research document edited by progressive Chip Berlet called “Toxic to Democracy.”

Joining us on the phone will be skeptic and author Robert M. Price, and Kathyrn Olmsted, author of “Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11.”

Show 309: The Future of Politics in America

Humanist Manifesto II

Eighth Principle

‘We are committed to an open and democratic society. We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations. Decision-making must be decentralized to include widespread involvement of people at all levels – social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives. Institutions should be responsive to expressed desires and needs.’

This Sunday, Matthew LaClair will host a call-in special about President Obama’s ‘State of the Union‘ address, and the issues discussed in it. The HealthCare debate, the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations the right to essentially purchase elections, and more will be discussed… in addition to the impact of Obama’s speech.

Does Obama’s SOTU speech show an interest by Obama to have a more open and participatory democracy than before? Will Obama’s speech finally open the doors for significant change in American Politics as we know it?

Show 296: Personal Responsibility and Society w/ Dr. Les Garwood

Personal Responsibility and Society w/ Dr. Les Garwood

In addition to having a deep distrust of government, those who oppose health care being extended to the uninsured will often express utter disgust for people who they see as “refusing” to take responsibility for themselves. Welfare to them is not about caring for the citizenry of the country, but the way the State babies and pampers to the “lazy” and “irresponsible.” Indeed, “personal responsibility” seems to be at the foundation of American Conservatism and R-Libertarianism, both often tied to an almost pathological “rugged individualism.”

But “personal responsibility” is a term widely used, but not often really understood…even by those few who agree with the idea that our behaviors are completely determined…who seem to embrace traditional ideas of “holding people responsible” and “keeping people in line” with punishment and rewards. Continue reading “Show 296: Personal Responsibility and Society w/ Dr. Les Garwood”

Show 288: Special: Evolutionary Biologist and practicing Christian, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller

Special: Evolutionary Biologist and practicing Christian, Dr. Kenneth R. Miller

Matthew LaClair will be interviewing Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University and the lead witness in the case regarding Creationism in Dover, PA in 2005.  Dr. Miller, also a practicing Roman Catholic, believes that Evolutionary Theory and religious beliefs such as his are not contradictory.  Matthew will talk with Dr. Miller about his advocacy of science, his involvement in debates and controversies surrounding Creationism, and his arguments supporting the idea that religion and science do not contradict one another. Can religion and science coexist? Furthermore, do science and religion (theology) explain the natural universe?

Show 268: A Prescription for Real Social Change

1-Hour Special: A Prescription for Real Social Change

In this previously aired (albeit with poor sound quality), political philosopher Takis Fotopoulos presented his case for an alternative libratory model for reaching a healthier, happier, freer, and more humanistic future society. Fotopoulos’ model is called Inclusive Democracy, which according to him, “is derived from a synthesis of two major historical traditions: the classical democratic, and the socialist.  It also encompasses radical green, feminist, indigenous and liberation movements in the South.”

The crux of Fotopoulos’ ideas amount to, “communities run on the basis of direct political democracy, as well as economic democracy (beyond the confines of the market economy and statist planning), democracy in the social realm, and ecological democracy.”  Accordingly, in an inclusive democracy, “politics is no longer a technique for holding and exercising power, but the self-management of society by its members.”

Continue reading “Show 268: A Prescription for Real Social Change”

Show 267: Naturalistic Christmas Special!

Equal Time for Freethought’s Naturalistic Christmas Special!

Well that time of year is here again!  And despite all the pronouncements of faith in speech, song and public display, a majority of people who celebrate Christmas in America are disinclined to believe that the only person who can save our world was born and died about two thousand years ago.

In reality most Americans understand that the people who can help humanity ring in an age of social justice, stable environment, global peace, and fair access to resources for all, are walking among us today, and this is reflected in the fact that at Christmastime most people who have children in their lives spend far more time fussing over them than they do praying.

There’s no need to believe in supernatural ideas to participate and enjoy the holiday that celebrates and indulges children, and the hope for a better tomorrow which they embody, and looks to the ever longer days of sun light, which now begin, as a symbol of better times ahead.

Continue reading “Show 267: Naturalistic Christmas Special!”

Special Repeat: Dr. Joy Leary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Dr. Joy Leary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Dr. Joy Leary is a social scientist and accordingly she takes a causation oriented view of behavior. In contrast to supernatural explanations she recognizes that there are causal determinants which lead people to behave as they do. In the black community this is a viewpoint which is under represented. The vast majority of public discussion by black Americans regarding behaviors by fellow black individuals which create problems for themselves and for those around them is void of social scientific causal frame work. Instead on the left we hear about racism and ongoing oppression by the white majority, and on the right we hear about the need for individual responsibility and the assertion that the blacks who have managed to succeed are proof that the claim that there continues to be racial barriers to success is false.

Leary’s work takes a more comprehensive view both acknowledging the intimate family cultural issues that result in perpetuating pain and suffering while also connecting it to the history that created those family dynamics, as well as the larger social issues which exist today. By reflecting on the challenges which continue to be faced by black Americans through the lens of psychology and sociology, Dr. Leary brings a level of rational analysis into the discussion that is desperately needed yet extremely rare. Rather than condemning white society, rather blaming black individuals, Leary stays clear of the partisanship; and, like a scientist, tries to describe what she observes as accurately as possible and without passing self-righteous judgments, she offers viable explanations for what she observes which are consistent with our best understanding of developmental psychology and various other fields of social science.

Continue reading “Special Repeat: Dr. Joy Leary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome”