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The promotion of conflict seem to me inseparable from the invention and promotion of cultural, political, religious, and social discriminators, and those who stand to gain in prestige or wealth by leveraging such differences will certainly do so in the cause of their own aggrandizement, messianic delusion, and glorification. Note, please, the Putin promotes both Far Left and Far Right political organizations and personalities aligned roughly “Red-Black-Green (old “comrade networks”, Black Power movements, and Islamists) AND Brown, i.e., “New Nationalists” like Donald Trump and Viktor Orban, although Trump may not wish to nor be able to pervert constitutional basics as Orban has done (for himself) in Hungary.

Writing here as “an American of Jewish descent” and somewhere along the spectrum of “secular humanists”, the recognition of the world’s 7,000 living languages, each representing beliefs and spirituality — or none — in the process of using sound and signal to address in some place the challenges of living with the earth and with one another — I should think the retreat from too zealous a passion for one belief a part of “live and let live”.

I wouldn’t incline as the Soviets toward doing away with religion but rather promote tolerance for beliefs embraced privately and confined to behaviors and practices within each faith community. In essence, it’s that outlook that produces the modern multi-cultural, multi-religious open and secular democratic societies.

The sustained presence of anti-Semitism in the world and the possible emergence of either latent or new anti-Semitic movements involves the presence of the medieval world in the 21st Century.

Putin’s post-Soviet neo-imperial revanche in Russia has reemphasized medieval values certain to produce “wars of all against all” that then may contribute to his appearance as a strong force for stability — he’s the fireman who sets the fire and then shows the world how to put it out.

It’s very difficult for the general public to perceive that story, but I believe, with cause, that the projection of a Total Political Theater is and has been what Moscow has been about for generations to, perhaps, centuries. Today, it remains hampered by its own medieval urges — and to put a cap on that, one may note the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is not a bad thing but part of a larger package in the Kremlin’s worldview.

The modern soul would rather religion persisted and thrived with both a sense of prudent social constraint and volunteered boundaries. Most modern people recognize there are many things between the person, family, and community and God — or the possession of a compassionate and ethical happiness — but the same want for a socially healthy sense of community and personal boundaries.

Must couples, for example, hetero or homo, display affection in public? How intensely? How much “signal” is needed or wanted? To what end?

There are a lot of questions like that, and because we really can’t solve them species-wide, it’s better to go about our business privately but with awareness also of the impact our behavior may have on the earth and on others.


Hitchens only found out he was Jewish by birth when his mother died. It didn’t change how he felt about the improbable existence of God, but I believe it made his writer friend Martin Amis a little jealous.

Posted to YouTube 4/17/2013.

The above post was prompted by a Muslim’s complaint about having atheism and secularism foisted on the same by such luminaries as Dawkins, Geller, Hitchens, and others.

BackChannels simply hews to its observation of Putin’s re-medievalization project in Russia and attached to former Soviet client states, political enterprises (like the PLO), contested spaced and, as with Turkey, old enemies.  In essence, Russia’s president wants to keep playing old movies in realpolitik in realspace.  It behooves the open democracies of the west — or their constituencies, from the least informed on the streets to the ivory tower set — to reconsider what it took to produce (and shame on Brexit) peace and prosperity x political integrity, rule of law, and functioning and reliable courts across Europe and North America.

Moscow and its partners have raced backwards — of course, in their heads forward — into the worst of medieval absolutism.

Syria should today serve as an example of how that world works and what it looks like.