Thursday, February 27, 2003

Thoughts on the Korean situation.

I recently made the aquaintance of a guy from Korea who's only lately immigrated to the U.S. Got to talking, eventually turned out he was interested in politics. The thing that hit me and which is worth repeating from out conversation is that he's concerned that if Bush threatens North Korea that North Korea will invade South Korea.

Think about that for a second. Korea has been split in two since the early fifties. There are huge armies mobilized on both sides of the DMZ. North Korea doesn't have anything to lose because it's economy is ruined anyways. And it's stated many times, I believe, that it wants the South.

What if Bush provides the trigger that Kim Jong Il needs to invade the South, causing another civil war and potentially huge casualties?

Clinton did much to ease tensions between the two states, taking the North away from that kind of thinking; Clinton even stated a few months after Bush took office that if he had just had a few more weeks he could have convinced both states to come together on talks about reunification. Peaceful, democratic, reunification.

We here, thousands of miles away from North Korea, don't have much to fear from them, honestly. But South Koreans see the North's army and are acutely aware of what could happen. What if Bush's sabre rattling costs them their lives?

Bush's bravado, his swagger, and the casualness with which he spits out inflammatory remarks potentially have very real consequences for people that he'll never see. Think about the fact that there's zip evidence that North Korea is trying to dominate the globe, much less destroy America. And then think about what would happen if, for no reason then to satisfy his dogma's needs, Bush's sabre rattling causes North Korea to hurt the one country in the world that it can guarantee doing some damage on: the South.

More reason than before to impeach the bastard. It's imperative that we roll back all of this prowar talk before something like what I've outlined comes to pass.

I don't think that I could live with my conscience saying that I'm partially responsable for the deaths of unknown numbers of South Koreans for no good reason.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

John Ashcroft's background translated for the British in the audience....

It's come to my attention that this blog recieves a lot of hits from people living abroad. While I can't offer explanations of Ashcroft for people living in Continental Europe, in my never ending quest to please my readers I'll offer Ashcroft in a British idiom.

Put quite simply: Ashcroft would be a Tory Methodist in the UK.

Pentecostalism is an American breakaway sect from the Methodists. This is the thing that Ashcroft was brought up in.

It differs from the Methodists in that there is more congregational autonomy, as well as in the fact that it puts more emphasis on Grace and on the action of the holy spirit in a person's life.

So it focusses on individual perfection combined with taking a more theological view of the world and of a person's place in it than Methodisim does. Because of congregational autonomy there have been numerous splits in Pentacostalism, leading to a large number of sub-denomitions that emphasize different parts of the doctrine.

Pentacostalism also views revelation as ongoing. The most celebrated practice is that of glossolia---speaking in tongues. While most commentators deal harshly with the idea, I'm not going to because it's a logical outcome of their great emphasis on the action of the holy spirit in their members lives. It isn't the product of ignorant people.

While, as said before, there is a great mix in Pentacostalism, the emphasis on the living presence of God and of continuing revelation has lead some sects into endorsing beliefs that verge on---and sometimes go into---the supernatural. Faith healing is part of this, as is the supposed prophecies delivered by people reading the book of revelations and applying it to today's world.

I think that Ashcroft is the product of a Pentacostal sect that emphasizes theology to the point of belief in the supernatural but that has also preserved the conservative inheritance of Methodism, stemming from John Wesley's Tory beliefs (as E.P. Thompson recounts them in MEWC).

I can't speak about particular Conservative party beliefs, but Ashcroft clearly believes in an ordered society which revolves around mass belief in religion and in patriotism as stabilizing forces; he believes that everyone in this very diverse country should be on the same page in these beliefs or else they are traitors and/or immoral and therefore a threat to the integrity of his United States.

I should point out that if you asked people in California to form a monolithic society with people in Kansas, or asked people in New York to do the same thing with Mississippi, you'd be laughed out of the room. But, in common with Tory commentators who insist on the need for English customs and English religion for the stability of England, Ashcroft seems to believe that the same should go for the United States. Which is totally insane of course.

But that's where he's coming from; his supernaturalism, beyond minor things like fear of calico cats, seems to manifest mainly in buttressing his ultraconservatism rather than in things like public support of faith healing or endorsement of glossolia. Which brings us back to repressive morality.

I should point out, though, that Pentacostalism isn't a cult and isn't all conservative; in fact, the most liberal teacher that I ever had, who influenced me a great deal, was a Pentacostal---a member of the Assemblies of God.

She was as liberal as could be on everything except abortion and some types of homosexuality. She'd even gone to an Assembly of God college in Missouri. I'm pretty sure that she participated in opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America through her denomination---her husband had been arrested for stealing, and then burning, a big American flag to protest it.

Pentacostalism is also a major force for social change in Central America to this day, much like liberation theology.

My teacher was part of that groundswell of normal people in middle America who, as Noam Chomsky states, constituted "the Left" in the eighties--if what you mean by the Left is people who were actually out there doing activism.

So that's Ashcroft. And that's Pentacostalism in a nut shell. It's important to note that Pentacostalism comes from a much different background than the Southern Baptists---who, in British terms, would be a variant on Old Dissent. It's not a denomination which was started in the 16th century and is somewhat inexplicable by later historical events. It's something where the line can be traced directly from rightwing British politics of the late 18th century to the present day.

Take it for whatever it's worth, OK?

Monday, February 24, 2003

Here's something from a post o' mine on Upsizethis!, the new Michael Moore Bulletin Board: The context is this: someone finally got a hold of the Friend of the Court brief that the Bush administration filed against the NYC protest,scanned it, and put it up on the web in PDF format,
The link is Statement of Interest.Pdf

The crux of the argument against the protest was that if the protest was allowed to go on that the diplomats at the UN might not be able to get their jobs done, and so the U.S., honoring international law, was obliged to argue against the protest because it was obligated to defend the rights of the members of the U.N. to do their jobs unobstructed.

I think their needs to be a new term to describe this type of humor; it's was beyond black humor, maybe ultra-violet, or Black Hole humor, or Dark Matter humor, or perhaps Vaccuum-of-Space-where-no-one-can-hear-you-scream humour. I think it's pretty funny, myself.


I think this is hilarious, absolutely HILARIOUS: Bush is using International law and the Treaty that the U.S. made with the UN as justification for stopping the march, when he's out there saying that he can invade Iraq without permission granted by the UN under international law. Oh yeah, and he's also pulling out of all sorts of international treaties, killed the Kyoto accord, etc... So now he finds a soft spot in that teeny little heart of his for the safety of UN members and the ability of them to complete their mission, dealing with "security and justice", when a march which is PRO-UN and anti-Bush comes along. Yeah, I'm sure all those people carrying signs saying things like "Let the Inspections work" were really going to break off from the march and cause havoc at the UN.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

11 month state of the blog address.

Whew. It's been almost a year since I started this thing. I sort of want to clarify a few things for my readers; first, I've gotten some good messages from people that have read this thing and have not only understood it but have found some value in it. For that, I'm very thankful. Thank you all.

Related to that there are a few things which I should get up front in order to illuminate the inner workings of this blog. First is that the messages are fragmentary and possesing only general unity for a reason; there isn't any master philosophy that I'm drawing on for my posts, neither is there any great unifying theme which I'm trying to get across. If you've read my blog and have been puzzled as to what exactly I'm trying to get at with these posts, well, chill out a little, relax, because there isn't any particular grand idea that I'm trying to get at with all of these things; I'm as puzzled as you are, quite frankly.

If I had a master philosophy I'd be putting it upfront. No, this blog is a continuing expedition into politics and philosophy, with a lot of history mixed in, and what you're witnessing is my journey, not the explications of someone who's already found the answer and is just going off applying it to life.

I'm not really that concerned with people mistaking what I'm saying for something that actually should be taken as gospel now as I was a while ago, but still, the concern pops up every now and then.

In the past I had a person who had followed my writings on this blog and on a few lefty websites, and had pieced them together and then used the ensuing philosophy he deduced from them to attack a publication which I'd criticized in the past. I happen to know the people that put it out, and despite my previous criticisms it still shocked me to see my own words and my own thoughts being used against people who I've seen, talked to, debated, and had a few good times with, if in a formal as opposed to informal context.

That's not what this blog is about. In fact, that's the opposite of what this blog is about and what it's for.

The purpose of this blog is quite simple: to get people off of their butts and investigating the issues that I'm writing about, to get them to go out there and think about a topic or an event which is totally passed over in the mainstream but which this blog has brought up. In fact, it doesn't have to be MY idea that you're investigating at all. I want people to go out there and read real philosophy, read real history, become really involved intellectually with what's out there, what's REALLY out there, not what the powers that be say is out there.

If this blog stimulates you to that sort of independent intellectual activity it's being succesful. It's accomplishing it's goal. Which, if it happened, would make me really happy.

There's a story behind all of this. You see, I'm a drop out. A drop out from society, from college, from work, from all of the above. I decided early on in my young adult hood that what was being taught as the norm in history, philosophy, politics, whatever, wasn't the whole story, and so I spent a long time digging through libraries, going to used book stores, getting stuff online, doing my own research into this stuff to prove that there is more out there, and that it goes beyond what is currently thought to be the scope of whatever subject.

What I found was amazing. Overwhelming, totally overwhelming. I went into this with some Chomsky and Zinn and some ideas from the Left about the uses and abuses of history, and I found more neglected, forgotten, valuable, amazing, ideas in all of the fields I researched than I could ever possibly fully look into myself in one lifetime. No exagerration.

While the establishment trumpts that there is no alternative, I'm able to talk about five per subject. There is so much information out there that just isn't being used, that's just consigned to the dustbin of history, that there isn't any reason why there should be this intellectual famine in American higher culture. None at all.

So this blog was a way for me to get some of the great stuff that I had discovered, and which had just been accumulating and accumulating inside my head with no outlet for release out into the world.

The reason that this blog is fragmentary is that there is so much out there, so much out there that I've found, that I couldn't possibly create a single theory out of it. It's just too much fun to explore all the possibilities as they role along. The possibilities are more fun than limiting onself because they're all new and all interesting. It's good that it's fragmentary, because each fragment can be the start of some new thought for someone, while something unified would be a lot less stimulating. It's the process that excites me.

I know that personally I just like everyone else has to engage in deep learning with a subject in order to really become a master in terms of scholarship, and that this flood of ideas can't be my focus forever, but I'd like you, everyone of you who visits this website, to take something that I've written here that you didn't know about before, and go to a library and look it up. Find out more about it. And then pursue the spark that that interest brings out. You'll be creating more possibilities by your action, and you'll be ensuring that the work I've done on this website won't get lost in the shuffle.

The point of all of this is opening up the possibilities in a world where the powers that be have declared that none exist. If you can do that, if you can help that come to fruition, then my love for all of you would be unending. I want ideas to come back to American society. I don't want to be made into a guru by people who don't understand what I'm dong. I want to break this neoliberal impasse---I don't want to start a new school of thought "Lord Summerisle thought" and have a little Black & Red book with pithy quotations.


Think! Think! Think Goddammit!!! That's what this country needs right now! Break the bastard out of the filthy slumber it's been in and invigorate it! Richness! Depth! Jewels!


Precious Jewels of Thought!May you walk in America one again.

For a better world, have a good year,

Hopefully, the second year of this Blog will knock the socks off the first, but no matter what I write here the success of this project depends on your action, not on my words.

Your webmaster.

John M.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Thoughts on the counter culture issues which effect kids today.

It's a sad but predictable thing that working class kids are gravitating towards racist and social darwinist ideas as part of their rebellion against society. The existence of this scene was brought again to my attention by the unfortunate association of one of the scene's ideological leaders with a publishing house and an author that I respect. No naming names.....but I just can't understand how people who are so in touch with freedom and pursuing self development can reconcile themselves with Nazi occult interests.

It's beyond me.

But the thing that brings working class kids to this culture I can understand; I think though that they have the wrong idea about what the problem is and what to do about it.

The undercurrent of the whole Nazi/Occult/Fascist scene is that society is too soft, creating degenerate wimps who rule while 'fitter' people are overlooked, and that the solution is to eradicate the culture which creates the aforesaid weak people.

I happen to like civilization; but the economic undercurrent of the argument is clear: Society, especially in the U.S., is becoming increasingly polarized economicly--with kids that are born to rich parents able to get benefits and opportunities that normal people can only dream about---and with poor people who have loads of talent dumped into the gutter instead of given a chance to pursue it.

I can see how working class kids would think that this was the reign of the weak over the 'strong'. Kids who have experienced nothing except grand comfort are often really shallow, yet still have opportunities, while the reverse is often true also.

But. But. This is the big but. Saying that you want people to give up this comfort society and return to a meaner way of living is nothing except a fancy way of saying "Those kids are so good, why not have them spend some time in MY neighborhood and see how they do," which isn't an idea so much as it is a feeling of resentment.

Tearing down the walls isn't the answer because a hell of a lot of what's valuable in society exists only because those walls are there---preventing life from truly becoming short, nasty, and brutish---The solution is to spread the wealth.

Instead of calling for a Nazi-esque social darwinist state what should really be going on is for people to expand that security which the rich kids have to the poor kids--include them in this great world of opportunity--while similarly decreasing the amount of privelege that a person gets from being born in a family that has money.

What's needed is for Civilization to expand and include everyone, so that everyone can get a fair chance to prove themselves and to develop their talents, not for the baby which has produced so much which is wonderful in Western culture to be thrown out with the bathwater because it's monopolized by a small elite.

If this happens, then the nerf society which a few rich people enjoy to the detriment of the situation of the many will become quite realistic because of the competition that people with real talent and ideas will bring and so will be moderated some----but this would happen within the realm of Civilization itself, it would have to happen like this, because to reduce society to the sort of tribal warfare advocated by these people would stop the problem that they got mad about in the first place from ever being solved at all.
Don't confuse fair competition with warfare and violence---the fact that there is in some sense struggle in both of them doesn't mean that they are identical.

People can't get a fair chance to live their lives and write their songs and do whatever it is that constitutes self development for them in an atmosphere of total struggle.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Compass Roses - Reach Out

Good site.

I would like to respond to an idea that Husseni brings up, which some people have about the role of NGOs in global protests. The idea, used of course by opponents, is that NGOs are just a counter-elite to the pro-globalizers, and that consequently they have no real support.

Let me, as a person who's been in both the anti-globalist and anarchist camps, clarify exactly the roles of NGOs in global protest: the NGOs aren't speaking for themselves alone, thousands of people, probably tens of thousands in the U.S., not directly employed or affiliated with NGOs, have jumped onto the bandwagon of anti-globalization causes which the NGOs somewhat provide a framework for because, aside from Anarchist organizations, the NGOs are the only credible groups out there advocating social change.

It's not that the NGOs call the shots and no one else does anything, no, the reality is that the current generation of activists, in particular those who identify as non-anarchist, have found their political voices and have formulated their political ideas, in an environment where concepts developed by the NGO community proved much more logical, believable, relevant, than those advanced by any established Marxist organization. The Anarchists are the exception to this rule of course.

There are plenty of Marxists in the anti-globalization movement, I believe, but the unfortunate truth is that in the wake of the Soviet Union's demise no Marxist organization in the United States, whether they be Trotskyist, Communist, or, god help us, Maoist, could come up with a response intelligent enough to sway people's minds. I'm not saying that such responses aren't possible, but the fact that the remaining Marxist organizations weren't able to formulate them or to get them across to people has spoken much louder than the marginal possibilities which weren't pursued in the first place.

So the anti-globalization movement is Social Democratic in political orientation, if it has any central political philosophy, and that orientation is expressed through the thoughts of people involved with NGOs and social policy who are in pretty darn direct contact with the world's problems and so in a good position to judge what real world solutions could make things better.

In fact, what people looking to an idea of a counter-elite don't realize is that the language and ideas that they associate with NGOs has been the dominant language of the Left in America for years, for the exact reasons that it predominates with my generation of protesters.

Anarchists are of course the exception; and like all good exceptions they prove the rule. It's not difficult to see why Anarchism, Anarcho-Syndicalism, Anarcho-Primitivism (anti-civilization), have flourished since the demise of the Soviet Union while Marxist parties have declined, or have been reduced to riding on the coattails of the NGOs in order to gain support.

Against Capitalism and against the State, it isn't hard to imagine why it is that Anarchism, which had been developing since the eighties, would find a following.

The rebirth of Anarchism, in fact, wasn't something totally unexpected: in the book "After the Fall" which is a compilation of essays from "New Left Review" about the ramifications of the fall of the Berlin wall (and the impending demise of the USSR), editor Robin Blackburn had a wonderful, expanded, essay on what the prospects for a new left might be.

Blackburn, a Trotskyist, or possibly an ex-trot/New Leftist something or other now, wrote back then that the future Left might have to resurrect some of Anarchism as a part of it's philosophy. This in a dense essay talking about the viability of socialism in the face of neo-liberal attacks on the very possibility of effective socialist practice.

But, back to the topic, what's flourishing now is what one would expect in a vacuum created by the demise of Marxist parties: some people have allied themselves with the philosophy of the Zapatistas, others have explored possible libertarian avenues in Communism, others have looked to otherwise marginal Trotskyists who supported workers' autonomy against the state, some have come out in support of the Autonomia movement as expressed in Hardt & Negri's "Empire", others have made their home in similar out of the way avenues in addition to the normal Social Democracy/Socialism route which many are going down.

And then there are the Anarchists, who are a whole world unto themselves and who a great many of the Anti-Globalizers would benefit immensely from getting in contact with.

But at the heart we're really one movement.

So, in answer to the question, the specifically Anti-Globalization component of it all is not a counter-elite led around by NGO policy thinkers; it's a great component of the Left That Is, and is viable in it's own right disconnected from the particular NGOs which have spearheaded the demonstrations, though they do wonderful work.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.....

F-15, millions protesting Bush's war

CHIMES OF FREEDOM



Words and Music by Bob Dylan
1964 Warner Bros. Inc
Renewed 1992 Special Rider Music


Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden while the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute
Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a cloud's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


Friday, February 14, 2003

Today is a sad day for me.

Not because of any love life problems but because of something possibly more personal: I'm being forced out of my house.

Not because of eviction or anything like that. You see, I live in a small apartment which is part of a one story four unit strip of them, and drug dealers have moved into the unit two doors down from me. I spend a great deal of time at home, i.e. I don't have a regular 9 to 5 job, and I see these people operating their open air party during the day, and hear them at night. They don't like the fact that I spend a lot of time at home, despite the fact that as drug dealers they do the same thing.

There's been a lot of harassment. And I can't take it anymore. It's not getting any better, the situation is just escalating, with yesterday a guy that just two days ago I gave some gas for his brokedown car yelling at my windows along with some younger kids about the 'fat ass who lives indoors', assuring the kids that yes, he really is in there.

So I'm taking off, moving across town to a family member's house.

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about the implications of all of this, and being extremely disappointed about what this country has turned into.

I thought about how here, inside these walls, a better world is being aspired to, about how I'm trying to cultivate my guitar skills and explore some interesting facts about history and politics, trying to resist the current that prevails outside that smashes down any attempt like this and replaces it with the latest glib bullshit.

You know, I'm writing about the Roman empire here, I'm trying to get some skill with my guitar, and people outside who don't have a clue, who cannot understand what I'm trying to do here, are just trying to destroy it like I'm just another highschool scapegoat that they want to harass .

I've been living in fear for weeks because of these people.

Thanks a lot Dr Dre and Snoop Dog. This is the harvest that ten years of gangster rap and cultivating a gangster ethic has reaped.

Oh yeah, and they're black too. I have this to say to the liberals in the audience: if you're idea of race relations isn't sophisticated enough to distinguish between oppressed people who sincerely want a better life and trash that just happens to belong to an oppressed group, then you can just bite me, or better yet, why not trade places with me? I think that the important thing is that I, a person who has never done anything to these people, am being forced to move out of my house for no other reason than that people who should be in jail or evicted have moved in two doors down.

I'm not going to get into a discussion of racism here, because, frankly, finding an opportune moment to move my stereo and TV when the bastards won't see me is more important right now than sorting out the fine points of social theory.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

We are the negative image of Rome in that our refinement and subtelty in understanding are set against ironclad dogmatism regarding the basic nature of the world around us, unwilling to surrender to the ambiguity of understanding regarding the world which the Romans felt and incorporated into their thought, leaving the essential questions about the nature of the world open despite having developed extreme sublty in the methods of reasoning and understanding.

We could learn a lot from that viewpoint. Our culture would be more meaningful if it didn't have so many albatrosses hanging from it's neck.
The dictatorship of science as well.
It turns out that Avicenna wasn't involved in the conflict between Aquinas, Aristotelianism, and Augustine Christianity. Averroes was the man. Although people like to distinguish Aquinas from Averroes on the basis that Averroes was much more for a unitary understanding of nature and religion, Aquinas is clearly much more closer to this position than he is to the dialecticians emphasizing Augustine and Plato. In fact, Averroes' synthesis of Shari'a law with Aristotelian concepts was probably the model that Aquinas used, then modified, in his understanding of the two worlds: one explicable by reason, the other understandable by reason only with the aid of faith and divine revelation.

The point I'm trying to make is that Averroes came up with this idea because of the primacy that the Koran has in Islam and because of the emphasis on cultivating relationship of submission to divine will which Islam emphasizes---which in practical terms means developing a personal relaionship with divinity and living life according to it's laws--submitting to what is already there and which is understandable with divine guidance instead of creating artificial concepts to live up to.

The unity of divine will and divine plan with Aristotelian concepts which defined the scope and structure of the physical world which this implies was carried over by Aquinas into Catholicism and by implication into all forms of Christianity which derive from Roman Catholicism.

This can be demonstrated in the controversy accorded to the determinism which accompanies Thomism: if the world and the divine will operate according to set structures then it figures that human life and institutions will be defined by these structures and so thereby not free to act, defying the belief in free will which Christianity emphasizes in the matter of being able to act virtuously or to sin.

This controversy doesn't have the same implications in Islam, where the goal is to submit to the divine will and enter into a personal relationship with it anyways. If structure implies determinism then that's only a logical proof that the Koran and related documents truly revealed the divine laws by which people should act and by which they should structure their lives. Determinism isn't determinism if it's believed to be the cause and effect by which the universe, under God's direction, operates. Compare this with Jewish concepts of law, which are similar. God supposedly gave the Hebrews the Torah and through it entered into a covenant with them regarding right behavior. The old testament records times when breaches occurred and God punished the Hebrew people. Is this determinism? Yes, but not in the sense which Christian theologians would use the term.

But Aquinas' teachings did sound the death knell for the more open, dialectical, teachings which persisted after the fall of Rome. It's not an idle question. In the resurrection of knowledge the Thomist's and the church created a negative image of Rome: when better thinking besides the dialectic regained power it was through the influence of a cult-like certainty about the powers of nature and of reason, which would totally go against the ambiguous stand that the Romans had on these topics. Roman philosophy did not put a ground or a limit on knowledge and understanding, even when it was using concepts and methods resurrected by the church fathers in the middle ages. Aristotle was one entree into knowledge.

Aquinas, in transforming the unity of natural and divine law flowing from Islam into logical neccesity dictated by reason combined with faith augmented reason, implicitly created a structured world order which had no proofs and which was totally tautoulogical. This tautology denied the flowing streams of meaning which inform even the most well thought out schema of the universe, and put a chain around people's thought which ended with Statism, Technocracy, Capitalism, and the dictatorship of reason. A la "Voltaire's Bastards" by John Raulston Saul.
Guys who lead women on to thinking about themselves in the way described below are extraordinarily cruel...btw...
Female body image and what the reality is from a Man's eyes.

I'm somewhat stumped as to how women have come to the conclusion that men have exceedingly high standards regarding beauty and reject women who don't meet them. Actually, I know where the influences leading women to that conclusion come from, but I can't imagine how such a distorted picture of things ever got started in the first place.

Truth is, in my view, that the vast majority of women out there are great appearance wise without any sort of tweaking or work. Men are programmed to find women attractive. The fact that women think that they have to go to great lengths in order to be loved by men is either the most unfortunate thing or the most cruel thing that has happened in the relationship between the sexes in a long long time.

Don't let a few assholes convince you that you're not pretty ladies; I'm not even sure if, without the media and magazines telling guys what was 'beauty' and what wasn't, guys could actually split the hairs regarding the finer points of appearance. It's irrelevant anyways, since the distance between an average looking woman and a supermodel is not that far; it's only an amazing distance if you make it into one yourself.

Just my two cents before Valentine's day.
Thomas Aquinas and Islam

This is a synopsis of what will prove to be a much larger post; in the rush to demonize everything Islamic I think that people have forgotten how much interchange there was between Christian philosophy and Islam during the time that Spain and Portugal were Islamic.

Specifically, I'm suggesting that the Thomast worldview was shaped by the absorbtion of Islamic principles gained through the engagement of Aquinas with the Islamic aristotelian philosophy of Avicenna and Averroes in Paris theological circles. Aquinas took more Islamic concepts from them than is usually acknowledged, leading to the radical difference in tone between the theology of St. Augustine, who was the previous authority on scripture, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

In particular I believe that Aquinas took from Islam a belief that God's will is ubiquitous and that this can be seen as paralell with natural law. Previous to Aquinas, God's will was seen to be something that was exceedingly hard to know and which was reserved for the elect to be aware of---this is in following with the Christianity of the Gospels and with Augustine's platonic reworking of roman christian concepts.

The change from God's will being accessable to a small group of people to being something present in nature, referring to almost everything, and accesable through reason, was the foundation of the late medieval worldview, and through that the foundation of both Roman Catholicism and all Protestant sects that have come after. The only possible exception to that last might be in situations like that of certain sectors of the Church of England, where there's a conscious effort to reclaim Anglo-Saxon spirituality, which was way before Aquinas' time.

This means that Islamic concepts of God have played an integral part in Western society since the 13th century, and that theology derived in part from an Islamic view of the world can still be heard on any sunday in almost any Christian church in the U.S.

This isn't conspiracy theory, don't get me wrong. It's a matter of fact that Aquinas disputed with the Islamic philosophers, and that that disputation helped form his philosophy and theology; what hasn't been acknowledged is the possible cross-fertilization of Islamic concepts into Christianity which may have taken place, as I believe they have.

More evidence, or evidence at all, is on the way.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America

Here's an interesting article by Wendell Berry. Berry is a Kentucky farmer and author who's political philosophy is somewhat near mine. Notice that he takes a view on things that's much more considered than most. Not because 'What I believe in is the best, man!", but because he comes from a tradition that values classical learning on political philosophy and which connects enlightenment values to the modern world.

Andrew Lytle, Southern author, was of the opinion that when the Confederacy lost the tradition of American political philosophy which gave birth to our country suffered it's final defeat. Although the Confederacy was based on enslaving and dehumanizing an entire race of people for the benefit of whites, he's technically correct, if not morally on the right side. That tradition of Southern/American conservative, agrarian, decentralist, thought, is still close enough to the surface of the American psyche that it can be resuscitated in order to give a coherent picture of what's wrong and what's right with America today. I think it's a venture worth undertaking. Wendell Berry has done it, so can you.

It's important to note, though, just what I mean by 'conservative'. Peter Lamborn Wilson has called himself a "Paleolithic Conservative" (a play on the term Paleo-Conservative), meaning that he'd like to go back to pre-Statist forms of social organization. When I say 'conservative' on this blog I don't mean in a Ronald Reagan, George Bush type of way; what I mean is a skepticism about government and corporate ventures of all kinds, including any form of centralization, combined with an awareness of both the good and bad sides of man, and with that an added skepticism about possible utopian ventures combined with an appreciation of the greatness of the world and of Nature in comparison with our small little lives, a humbling thought indeed when turned onto the folly people get into in attempting to subdue Nature.

This isn't the stuff that Regnery Press usually comes out with.

So don't be alarmed when I say I'm advocating a type of conservatism---it's, as Noam Chomsky would say, a Robert Taft type of Conservatism and not a Ronald Reagan type, if that.

Friday, February 07, 2003

OK Folks.

I don't know how many people will actually see this, since I don't have a counter, but here's a page I think you should check out. Vote to save this guy's job This guy compared the moral climate of the U.S. to Hitler's Germany on TV, and now he's maybe gonna be fired if people don't show support. As a TV personality this is big stuff. So please, show that the first Amendment actually means something and vote NO for this guy to be fired. If the Blogosphere is the only place where we can express ourselves freely, then we're in some deep shit. This can accomplish something in the outside world.
"Not a bunch of Miss Nancies!" Liam Neason---Gangs of New York

See it, Love it.

Alas, why can't my life be like that? It ends up being more like Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Georgia" than like Leo, Bill Cutting, or anyone else in that movie.
I suppose you could get that knowledge from reading books about the particular genre of your choice too....(he says as he slaps his hand against his forehead)...

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Thinking about the last post it occured to me that it would help people out a great deal if I clued them into one of the major ways that I've found out about who's who in what Genre: The All Music Guide, AMG. Brothers, let me tell you, you can get lost on this site for days and days looking up artists. And the whole thing is free! They used to be associated with CDNOW until it was gobbled up by Amazon.com, and now I guess they survive by providing links to albums for sale through Barnes & Noble. It's on my links section. The lesson to be learned from AMG is the same one to be learned through Napster, Gnutella, etc..: actually telling a person about the music, or letting a person hear the music and explore before buying something, encourages people to buy more---not less---because they know what they want and are excited about the music. You can't get that way if you're on your own facing racks of anonymous CDs by people you've never heard of. So, short of falling into a crowd of people really intensely into the type of music you like, sites like AMG and services like Napster are the only sure routes to good buying.

So don't feel bad about surfing the AMG site and not buying anything through their links, enough people do it anyways to keep it afloat, and you'll probably be doing the music industry a favor with your increased purchases anyways, so it all evens out in the end.

Check it out and be amazed.
Music




Listening to this screaming Count Basie CD from the library it hit me: most good music is Genre music as opposed to group centered music.

Divining what music was good or 'real' enough was a major preoccupation of mine in the teen years, and I've never given it up. It's carried over into the adult search for something decent to listen to in a sea of mass produced crap.

So after much thinking and pursuance........yes, with the exception of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Joan Baez, and the acknowledged founders and gods of rock and roll most good music comes from people plugging away at a genre and rising on their talents rather than from people who are marketed as pioneers or special in and of themselves.

Seems so simple....but the catch is that to find good music you have to know about the Genre, you can't just go into a store looking for the "Big Names" and expect to find something decent. With the big names absent that means learning about different styles and then looking for smaller time performers who've been rumored to be greatly skilled at this or that.

You have to know Country, Jazz, Blues, Rockabilly, Classical, etc... and know what you're looking for to find something good. Often the best people around are ones that no one has ever heard of as an individual, although their style and talent are instantly recognizable.

Who's ever heard of Lonnie Johnson?

Who's ever heard of Antonio Carlos Jobim? (Outside of Brazil that is!)

If you were pressed, could you tell what seperates Calypso from Samba....which is quite easy, but for most people they're all just "South American" or "Carribean" styles. Point is you have to know your stuff, or at least have the most basic musical knowledge about what each Genre and (sometimes) sub Genre is about to be able to go and pick out stuff which will make you glad to be a human being after it's over.

Or even to experience an epiphany, noesis, the direct perception of beauty in a pure conceptual realm without words or the world to mediate the understanding, like I experienced on hearing "The incredible Jazz guitar of Wes Montgomery".........Jesus that's good.





I think this is a more egalitarian way to look at music.

You'll notice a new edition to this page: "Support Venezuela!, buy Citgo Gas!" on top of the archives links. Citgo is wholly owned by the Venezuelan state, which is headed by the populist Hugo Chavez. He's under heavy fire because of his leftist programs and buying Citgo gas could help him and the left in Venezuela out. Plus, "When you ride in a car you ride with Bin Laden", as the title of Bill Maher's new book states. By buying gas from Citgo you're not lining the pockets of the Saudi Arabians who financed 9/11. Which is a damn good reason to switch brands. Plus, it's cheaper too. So don't ride with Bin Laden, ride with Hugo Chavez (as you judiciously make efficient use of your car so as not to contribute too much to pollution and oil dependency, that is). Hell, I'd ride with Castro if they had an oil company out there....
I've been thinking about changing my alias. I'm trying out "Lord Summerisle". Why would a Lefty cum Southern Agrarian want an alias with a Title in it? It's from "The Wicker Man", a restored version of which is available on DVD. Lord Summerisle is the dashing leader of the Pagan island played by Christopher Lee. Call it a faith based change ;)....
It's good honey mustard though...just to set the record straight ;)
This last post could also be called "Why the Hell am I eating Honey Mustard from Canada in the South?". In response to the fact that the nice hot honey mustard which is somewhat ubiquitous in my house is actually made in Ontario. Just noticed it. It seemed as stupid as getting it from the Falkland islands. What exactly is the problem with us that we can't even make our own damned condiments locally?!! Seriously.
An anti-globalization response to the U.S. recession.

Here are my thoughts on how NAFTA and free trade, and globalization, have contributed to the current economic crisis and how turning away from them might bring us back to good economic health.

Imagine that you suddenly get a great deal of money; a relative leaves it to you, you win the lottery, etc... Now, flush with money, you start living the good life--going out to eat a lot, buying nice clothing, high quality foods, electronic toys, maybe even a nice car.
Imagine then that your stream of money got so big that people selling lower quality food, cheaper clothing, no-nonsense cars, neccesary electronic equipment, and also the cheap restaurants, went out of business or moved elsewhere. You were really living large.

Then one day the money runs out. You have to go back to your regular job with a regular income. But you find that all of the stores that sell things in your price range are gone, and what's more, in searching for a regular job you find that a lot of chances for employment went with them.

So now you're stuck, with a hard time finding a job and with having to spend the money that you earn in boutique stores on things you don't need rather than on what you want.

I think this scenario fits the U.S. pretty well. For the flood of money substitute the economic miracle of the U.S. coming out of WWII as the only non-communist country still functioning. For the change in buying practices, substitute imported goods for the high quality items, imported goods in this case not neccesarily meaning high ticket items. For the fleeing businesses insert American factories, for the jobless or semi-jobless substitute the people laid off from those factories as well as our rich friend who's just now seen the light.

America's recession is surely aggravated by the fact that a great many products which could be made domestically, providing jobs and money for Americans, are instead being made overseas and shipped to us, with the profits leaving the country never to return.
NAFTA guarantees that the option of instituting tariffs on goods which could be made here and supporting import substition---American industries protected by the government producing those common goods---won't ever be raised.

We can't do it 'cause we've committed ourselves to free trade, even though economic policy on trade has been a seminal issue in American politics since our very beginning. Clinton just slammed the door on centuries of policy thought.

Things produced abroad produced here create jobs and pump money into the economy, both things we really need. This issue precedes Keynes by an absurdly long amount of time, so the argument that the '70s recession proved Keynes wrong has no bearing on supporting tariffs and import substitution.

Like in the scenario outlined above, it's great to rely on expensive imported goods in good times when they can be afforded, but when the musical chairs of economic life stops they become chains instead of luxuries. This goes on top of the general hollowing out process that acommpanied our increasing trade defecit and our deindustrialization.

So......let's make it cost prohibitive to import goods that can be made here. Let's give incentives for creating domestic industry. Let's reindustrialize, and not let our country go down the tubes because 'the market has willed it'.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Thoughts on Judges.

I think that we invest the concept of "Judge" with too much power here, because of how the Supreme Court functions. People don't realize that the main things that judges do are act as umpire during a trial and hand out sentences. The idea behind Judges handing out sentences is that sentecing is more mechanical than trial, and so the Judge can assess what a person deserves according to set rules without actually acting as a legislator. It's "Judging", see? The supreme court only handles constitutional issues, it's not a last court of appeal. That would be, surprise surprise, the Apellate courts! Somehow this concept has gotten hijacked and the concept of a Judge has come to resemble that of a functionary in a Communist Country, where three people sit as judge, jury, and executioner, rather than the limited role that it should be bound to.
Counterpunch on Jury Nullification

Jury nullification, ah, one of the mainstays of the libertarian strand of thought here in the U.S. Unfortunately it hasn't gotten a good explanation yet. I intend to change that. Here it goes: jury nullification of laws is based on the idea that laws represent shared cultural standards of a people developed over time. It's the legal tradition which is important. Nullification usually happens when an overarching power tries to dictate laws to a jury which doesn't agree with them. An external power tries to upset the apple cart, and the jury nullifies the law.

The big mystery behind jury nullification has to do with the fact that in normal life laws wouldn't need to be nullified--so yes, we have this right, but if everything is going smoothly there's no need to exercise it. Jury nullification would not subvert all laws because it wouldn't apply to all laws, only those against the legal tradition of the community---with the Jurors speaking as the Community against the Judge who represented legal learning. Gotta go, this will be continued.

OK. Jury nullification isn't a way to actually innovate with law, because of it's negativity, but's it's a sign for lawyers and judges to move to interpretations of law more in tune with the people's standards--and this creates innovation. A nullification is a preventative measure against the encroachment of people's rights, and not a way to legislate. An example of this: hypothetically, Ed Rosenthal could have been found not guilty by the jury even though they found that yes he did commit the crimes he was charged with. What effect would that have? For one, besides saving Ed Rosenthal from prison, it would force the court to recognize it as a precedent in any similar case that came to court in the future. The Precedent would have to be teased out of the case by lawyers who studied why the jury found this way and what it says about the interpretation of the statute, but nevertheless, through the positive action of lawyers arguing for the innocence of clients based on the Ed Rosenthal verdict the action of nullification would become a true part of the local interpreation of the law.

After that, if it's strong enough, the Precedent set in the case could prompt revision in the statutes themselves and eventually lead to formal changes in government policy. It looks like local government bodies are already on Rosenthal's side, but that their voice, the voice of the people in this case, hasn't been ratified by law yet, so concievably Nullification could have led to a subtantial realignment in the local legal structure---with government and law being in accord with each other and with the people at large. Against the policy of the federal government. That's quite a step forward for democracy and for states rights (in the true sense). If only that had happened it could have had good consequences. Hopefully there will be enough outcry that something like that does occur in the near future.
Rethinking liberty. Every once and a while it's good to restate what you believe to be the truth.


OK, liberty as I believe in it doesn't exist on it's own abstracted from physical relationships. There isn't a platonic liberty out there. Liberty can only be concieved as existing within an already given set of relationships, like those of human society, or those between man and nature. I believe the second one to be the truest context for liberty.

Putting liberty in context like this means that liberty becomes an attitude towards the behavior of an individual within common modes of interaction: a conservative would contend that only a few types of behavior within these modes of interaction were acceptable while a liberal would contend that a wide range of behaviors within these modes of interaction were acceptable. But as soon as a person starts talking about modes of interaction there needs to be clarification as to where these modes originate, for history teaches that there have been quite a lot of different social systems in the world.

I think that at the root of all social relationships and societies is man's relationship to nature, which permeates and defines human society in many subtle and not so subtle ways. Nature's law, by which I mean the standards and concepts which comes from human kind's interaction with nature in the process of building societies and sustainable life, provides the bedrock within which all our moral notions exist.

It's like an intricate piece of glass work where, despite all the transformations it undergoes, the material which makes up the piece is still glass. Natures law provides the substrate on which human society is based, and by extension on which morality and ethics are based. What's good, then, is related to concepts of equilibrium and sustainability gained from the experience of providing food, shelter, and clothing, or survival in general, that our ancesters discovered.

Liberty in this context means the liberation of social bonds within the context of the natural law which ensures survival. It means that the creation of new social relationships and ideas is possible, but that the fountain from which they spring is the coninuing dance of human engenuity interacting with nature's presentation, coming from a deepening or more basic reevaluation of ways of life from that basic context.

The frontier of liberty is nature. I've found this out personally. Liberty ultimately doesn't have much to do with the society around you. If Nature continues to speak, then there isn't much need to pay attention to what the political society around you thinks is and is not acceptable at a given moment. In fact, confusing the mores of the society around you for absolute values is a very dangerous thing, especially in the world we live in now where technology has made it possible to extend human interaction in ways which although temporarily viable are ultimately doomed to failure through their oposition to Nature.

Technology can't beat Natural laws. It can only take possibilities and extend them, and extend them, and extend them. Eventually those possibilities will have been stretched so far that they'll snap--with further progress only being possible at the expense of total enslavement to the machine and total alienation from nature. Think genetic engineering, or the current dependence on Cell Phones by so many young people. That's not freedom.

Liberty ultimately means little if the current definition that society gives it is going to be swept away in a few decades. A society which sees the manufacture of truth in what society itself produces is missing the point: Truth is produced by interaction with nature, with the products of that interaction guiding society, and putting it on a particular course, but society itself isn't conscious and doesn't decide anything.

It's possible to live in a way conscious of our human roots and go forth into the pursuit of social activity full force with this in mind, but that's not where we are right now.

The most dishonest person is the one who is king of the political and social world but who doesn't have any connection to the natural roots which make his or her activity possible.

I trust in natural liberty, I guess. I don't trust in society.

One thing though: don't take my poetic descriptions as being metaphysical. This is just philosophy put through the lens of a poetic reading, it's not religion.

Daily Howler article

Check this out: go to the link above and scroll down to the part where they analyze how U of M distributes points. A 4.0 gradepoint average gets you 80 points, going to an academically rigorous school on top of that gets you 10 more,with taking advanced courses getting you 8 more while a perfect SAT get's you 12 on top of all that. Bush points out that being a person of color gets you more points than a perfect SAT, but neglects to say that if your grades are terrible a perfect SAT score isn't going to get you in in the first place. If you go to a school with low standards, are white, and score terrible grades, and don't take any advanced classes, but get a perfect SAT score, not only are you not going to get into U of M but race is going to have nothing to do with that fact, despite race counting for more than your perfect SAT score.

The thing that Bush seems to want is for test scores to count for more than they do. Which is very interesting in that testing is one of the primary, if not the primary, way that people born into privelege get access to opportunities denied to other, more worthy, people from less prosperous backgrounds.

What Bush is overlooking is that a person who's actually qualified for higher education will give more indications of it than just a high SAT score, it will show up all across a person's record, while someone faking it will probably have a high SAT score and little else. SAT scores, of course, aren't neccesarily indicative of anything--the point is that qualification will show up across a person's profile, in the constellation of facts which make up their record, if it's genuine.

Bush appears to want to take college standards away from that sort of understanding and instead feed the "Tests show more about you than you do yourself" train of thought, which, again, is supported by Soccer moms who want their darlings to get into good schools at any cost.

What this would lead up to if pursued is the transformation of college from something that is earned by a student's effort to something earned by the ability of a student's parents to follow the current trends and force their kids to mimic them.


A white person with a 4.0, coming from an academically challenging school, and taking hard courses, will score six more points than a person with a 4.0 who doesn't go to a hard school, doesn't take hard courses, but has a perfect SAT score.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/02/04/cpac/index.html

Cut and paste this into ye olde browser for a look at a good article on Salon about a recent rightwing convention showcasing nuts who have access to Dick Cheney.Who spoke at the convention, where they had "No Muslims=No Terrorism" bumper stickers as well as "Islam, the religion of peace" mugs that had the S in Islam portrayed as a black swastika.

I hope that in my ranting against sectors of the bourgeoise left that I don't come off as sympathetic to the whole "Leftists are all elitist bastards" line of thought.
There's a world of difference between the left as a whole and the sectors that are centered on college campusses. And it's important to note that the reason why so many absurd yuppie leftists are found around college campuses, mostly as students, is because the structure of college fosters this. College fosters a mindset which sets one apart from society for the duration of one's stay, and so a cause doesn't have to be actually relevant to anything to be able to have a following. But that doesn't mean that when you step outside of the gated communities of college towns that that is what exists.

Personally, I avoided the college leftist syndrome not through any superiority gained through a virtuous working class upbringing, but through the fact that the first of the several institutions of higher learning that I attended was located in the heart of New York City. NYC residents will know what it is (shh....). My college had virtually no real campus and little campus life. So by default the Leftist milleuax of urban New York City became the context in which I was first exposed to leftist organizations and personalities. For those not familiar with NYC, the city is big enough so that there exists a substantial community of lefties who are just regular people with day jobs that are really active in political causes in their spare time. There's also many more organizations operating either in communities or as advocacy groups which are independent of the college-left mindset and are instead home grown NYC products.

That's where I cut my teeth on all this stuff; and when I went to a more traditional college afterwards I already felt distant from the culture. I know enough about materialist history to not flatter myself with the idea that I escaped the college trap because of any personal virtue, as I said at the top. Sometimes dumb luck makes good decisions for us.

First, a comparison of the loss of innocence stemming from the Kennedy assasination and that stemming from 9/11. No one, I would think, would suggest that the effect of these two events wasn't more than a little similar. I assume at least, because I wasn't here for the Kennedy assasination. However, because of the JFK conspiracy stuff this may not be as apparant as it should....

What perished with the Kennedy assasination and why were people so reverant about those three years? First, why was Kennedy assasinated? My guess, after viewing some interesting sites, particularly that of the guy who logs onto Smirkingchimp.com as Bajanman, is that he was assasinated because he was too sympathetic to things like civil rights, international cooperation, and foreign aid, to a young right-wing radical named Lee Harvey Oswald. Bajanman produces good documentation to suggest that Oswald, despite having emigrated to the Soviet Union, was just an extremist rather than a committed leftist, and that prior to the assasination he had thoroughly ingratiated himself with the extreme right as it existed in New Orleans and the South in general, including Texas in this case.

The idea that Oswald was a CIA plant, or that there was something mysterious in the motivation for and the effects of the assasination appears to be a fairly recent take on it. Most people probably saw it as an example of racist violence against a president who had steered the country to a moderate liberalism after years of rightwing reaction during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. Here's two pieces of evidence for this thesis: first, there was a Counterpunch article a while back in which the writer, who was attending Alabama State during this period in Birmingham, recalls the radio stations playing upbeat Dixieland music after hearing that Kennedy had been assasinated. They appear to have gotten the message. The other piece of evidence is Phil Och's song "That was the President". Phil Ochs' lyrics are available free on the web, just a Google search away if you want to find it. It starts out "Oh the bullets of the false revenge have struck us once again" comparing Kennedy's assasination to Lincoln's. Goes on to state "And it felt as though a friendless world had lost it's only friend, that was the President and that was the Man." It's obvious that Ochs felt that Kennedy stood for compassion in a hostile postwar world.

The nascent left, which was recovering during the Kennedy administration, also reported that the assasination changed their outlook on life significantly, leading them to feel that the stakes were higher than before. I believe that Todd Gitlin recounts this in his book "The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage". Pairing this book up with Maurice Isserman's account of the left in the fifties "If I Had a Hammer", an excellent, excellent, book which should be required reading for anyone on the Left, by the way, the analysis appears correct. Fifties leftism was highly idealistic and committed to high moral principles stemming from taking the high ground in condemning both the Soviet Union and the United States, taking a "third camp" position.

Kennedy's assasination, from the tone of people's recollections, appears to have led to a state where violence was legitamized in a way which it hadn't been before. This is conjecture on my part,but who knows?

I think that 9/11 has effected the nascent post-Reagan, post-Soviet Union, left, in much the same way. 9/11 certainly legitamized violence, hatred, and prejudice, in a way not seen for a long time. Correspondingly, by putting much that had been taken for granted into play it has deepened the understanding of people on the left as to what's really at stake in progressivism.

We are much less innocent. But life goes on. Hopefully, the Left will evolve in a more positive course than the left of the late sixties did. Perception of depth, though, is surely a prerequisite to greater influence and social change, so the passing of the pre-9/11 left is not to be lamented as the end of the road but as just the end of one leg of the journey.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Well, another space shuttle has exploded.

With all due respect to the people on it, this is just another indication of how stupid it is to send people into space to do experiments that could be done up there by robots.

The space shuttle and the space station are great public relations bonanzas which yield few results that couldn't be obtained through remote methods. And they expose people to the possibility of dying horrible deaths as a result of the precariousness that human existence in space entails.

So..........why not end this farce right now and stop the Space Shuttle program before more innocent people get hurt?