December 29, 2004

 

We are the Neo-N...-lovers

It's curious how US history keeps repeating itself, without anyone learning anything from these repetitions. Used to be anyone who defended African-Americans against those who persecuted, tortured, and lynched them was called a N... lover. Those doing the name-calling did not feel the least remorse for any of the atrocities committed against black people. They hated the people who defended the blacks, though, because they were afraid that talking about the atrocities may, God forbid, stir someone's conscience. The same thing is going on with Iraq. The right wants as many Iraqis (or Moslems in general) to be killed as possible, and they don't care how or why. All they ask is that no-one talk about it. And whoever does talk about it faces the right's full arsenal of invective and worse... And yet the right gets indignant when it is labelled Nazi or Fascist! I could name any number of "conservative" icons who have called, either explicitly or implicitly (they are very clever that way), for the eradication of all Moslems (all 1.2 billion of them), but I won't bother. Their filth is already all over the Internet and the newsmedia for anyone who wants to look the hideous face of American "conservatism" in the eye. And one doesn't even need to look at the "icons" anyway, as any American can testify on this issue on the basis of what he/she hears at work from co-workers, or hears coming out of his/her own mouth.

December 24, 2004

 

Might does not make right: "It's the jingoism, stupid!"

Although I know very little about football, I have come to the sad conclusion that the generality of Americans think of life and the world on the model of a game of football. This is probably more clearly true of those on the right portion of the political spectrum, but it may be true of most American liberals as well. To me, the main feature of a football game, on the rare occasions when I accidentally catch a couple of minutes of one, seems to be that the players try to tackle the player who is carrying the ball, or, in other words, who is trying to make a point (literally, in this case). Issues of right or wrong don't enter into it, but issues of good and evil do. One defines oneself as categorically and unconditionally good, and therefore everything and everyone that stands in one's way is evil. No reasoning and argumentation. No finding out the facts of the case. Just bullying one's way through life, without any regard for facts or logic.

December 23, 2004

 

The usual Christmas story...

The "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays" debate cropped up again this year, seemingly with greater vigour than in previous years. The crusaders against decency and good manners, who prefer to be thought of as warriors against political correctness, occasionally helped by their liberal fellow travellers, kept up their annual lament about the supposed demise of Christmas. Their basic argument is that since Christmas is a tradition in these countries, everyone should embrace it. They avow distress at hearing "Happy Holidays" supplanting "Merry Christmas." Simultaneously, the religious right makes the celebration more and more exclusive. The Christmas celebration used to be a season of joy and good will on the occasion of the anniversary of the founder of Christianity's birth, with the emphasis on joy and good will. Now the religious right and their deluded allies want it be about Christ, and only about Christ. If they want everyone to embrace it, they should, by definition, make it more inclusive. Non-believers and followers of other religions would be glad to say "Merry Christmas" if it doesn't imply negating their own beliefs.



December 14, 2004

 

Neo-Mongols

An essential element of the war-fighting strategy of the Mongols was to terrorize the conquered populations. It was an essential element because without it, the Mongols faced the risk of uprisings by subject peoples. The strategy consisted of extreme over-reaction to trivial acts of defiance, or "making an example of" them. For instance, if one inhabitant of a large city swore at a Mongol soldier, the entire population of the city would be put to the sword, and the city would be razed to the ground. The terror that this over-reaction generated in the populations of other cities tended to "chill" all rebellious activity. In the case of the Mongol Empire, the tactic seems to have been successful, at least in the short term, as the empire lasted for quite a while. An important result of the above tactic was that civilizations of the countries conquered by the Mongols suffer from the effects of that humiliation to this day, seven hundred years later and centuries after the Mongols became little more than a name in history books. It is clear that the United States has adopted this strategy in Iraq. Fallujah is an example to the rest of Iraq that if they don't obey the new masters, they will face massacres of their populations and ruin of their cities.




Americans desecrating a mosque in Fallujah. Pictures of the bodies of the tens of thousands of victims of this mentality are available on other websites. I picked this particular image because, like the Abu Ghraib pictures, it shows the mentality that makes the massacres possible.

December 11, 2004

 

Neo-Atheists

From a letter I submitted to a local newspaper:

Dear Editor,

Re: "Twilight of the godless" (book review)

In reviewing the book The Twilight Of Atheism, the reviewer accepts the book's main thesis without further analysis. The book's author believes that belief in God, or theism, is on the rise. The author and reviewer both take it for granted that this means atheism is in decline.

It is conceivable, though, that theism and atheism are on the rise simultaneously.

According to an opinion piece by Michael McAteer that appeared the same day (U.S. Christians await president's payback), theism in the US today means "opposition to gay and abortion rights, to tolerance of non-Christian beliefs, and to international cooperation." "It means an unfettered right to bear arms, unbridled free enterprise, and military might to settle disputes. There's lots of talk of faith, flag and country, but no talk of poverty, social justice, love of neighbour, peace on earth, and the protection of a fragile planet from further degradation."

If this is what rising theism amounts to, doubtless many believers will be driven to embrace atheism.

December 10, 2004

 

Aunt Condi's Cabinet

Condi Rice quotes her parents as telling her "you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's but you can be president of the United States." Well, with all due respect to the parents of the inventor of pre-emptive mayhem, I beg to differ. Even after suffering all their lives from the effects of racism, they obviously didn't understand the racist nature of the country, as evidenced by the fact that they failed to raise a child who pursues social justice. The United States will let black people serve whitey in any capacity, but it is not going to let them be the boss.

December 07, 2004

 

The Prince and the Dumbbell

British newspapers have been busy sensationalizing the story of Prince Charles telling one of his underlings that there are too many unqualified individuals aspiring to jobs they are not capable of performing to a high standard. Although what he actually said was simple common sense, the media have raised the spectre of a return to pre-Victorian notions of social class and "place." I beg to differ, especially because his actual words had nothing to do with social class. I think the episode had more to do with the fact that although the British royalty, like everyone else, have political opinions, they are not allowed to express them, which must be very frustrating for them as public figures. They often try to find roundabout ways to express these opinions. In a period when the person that a local columnist calls "the President of the World" is a certified idiot, and the British Prime Minister is a delusional sycophant (if not psychopath), it is not difficult to guess who the Prince may have been talking about.

December 05, 2004

 

Lose-Lose Situation

Both the Democrats and the Republicans lost the recent Presidential Elections in the US. Everyone knows the Democrats lost, but that does not mean the Republicans won. Bush voters saddled their own country and the world with a President that no-one respects, and who will thereby be unable to implement any kind of agenda, whether positive or negative. Not to speak of the fact that he has his own personal agenda that has nothing to do with what is good for the US or the world: "I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right and will continue to do what I think is right." Needless to say, what he thinks is right is not necessarily what is good for either the US or for the world. But try to explain that to a Republican voter...


December 04, 2004

 

You can't have one without the other

In a certain sense, American liberals have only themselves to blame for the Bush catastrophe. On one hand, they criticize Republicans for their parochialism and unilateralism. On the other hand, the mainstream American liberal intellectuals, and even those on the left, have always acted and talked as if they believed the rest of the world does not exist, or that in any case its concerns are strictly secondary to those of the United States. For too many years, far from simply tolerating the unique brand of American jingoism, they surpassed their conservative compatriots in championing it. Their advocacy of the pursuit of American interests at any cost was cloaked in homilies on "human rights" and "peace," meanwhile repressing the struggles of poor nations to achieve dignity and equality. Jimmy Carter called for respect for human rights while supporting the vilest military dictatorships in Central America. And he forced the "peace" of abnegation and degradation on the people of Egypt at the expense of Palestinians. Well, what is good for the goose. . . The Bushites are now pursuing the same objectives, only a little more openly and "honestly," and the Democrats have deprived themselves of the moral authority to condemn them. American liberals may not have created the Frankenstein's monster of Bushism, but they did little to keep it from coming to life. Any version of "America's manifest destiny" involves the risk of the eventual predominance of its more extreme manifestations. Meanwhile, the liberals show themselves as a bunch of hypocrites. An instance of their hypocrisy is their lamentations about the American dead in Iraq. Are they whining about the loss of life, or about Americans getting killed? If they are really liberal, if they are really "bleeding hearts," their hearts should bleed for the 100,000 Iraqi dead too. And they should reject the arguments for war in Iraq that are based on "manifest destiny."

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