Category Archives: FTAC – From The Awesome Conversation
If — in my own head — I hit a universal note just about right in Facebook or other conversation, I may simply wrench it from context and publish it here in this category as a mix of observation and, I hope, a writer’s wisdom.
Whoever or whatever it was — or remains — if it was evil, we should collectively appreciate its import, ameliorate its damage, if comparatively recent, and pack it away not to be repeated if the semblance of the same may be prevented or damped.
As lies are told to hide something or to get something, those who counsel the excising of history — erasure of the past, in essence — would seem most of all ashamed of themselves and sensitive to their own hidden predilections for control and conquest. Only the pulling down of the despot’s statue at the time of the revolution proves liberating and signal of liberation. Yanking old generals off their pedestals? That’s something else.
While the Modern West most certainly appears to be at war with feudal-medieval, narcissistic, and totalitarian forces and tendencies worldwide, there seems a part in which the Modern face off with the Modern over the management of corruption and greed. This note From the Awesome Conversation may be accompanied by a minimum of inline or separate references, but I do believe each claim or implication easily substantiated with a little bit of online research effort on the reader’s part.
From the Awesome Conversation (Now Growing Old as I Grow Old) 🙂
Inline URLs have been added to the original plain text.
Moscow’s “Absolutism”, “Active Measures”, “Hybrid Warfare”, and Medieval “Realpolitik” have been somewhat proven against EU/NATO, which by “Reflexive Control” (see “Business Insider, Zawahiri, Russia“) has itself been pushed toward the “New Nationalism” with Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey motivated most of all to march forward into the feudal-medieval past.
Add the arc of Soviet / post-Soviet alliances x Areas of Control x Regions of Influence, and one may glimpse the persistently barbaric and feudal world Moscow has in mind for the global future.
Not only Zawahiri but Jeffrey Epstein as well had Moscow stays in Russia], and the medieval emphasis on “kompromat” — and potential public embarrassment — may have come through most clearly during the Trump Administration (and Trump especially had relationships involving criminal elements and substantial sums of Russian money — start with Craig Unger on all of that).
From the Awesome Conversation, A Note Placed with the Rationalist Society of Pakistan (Facebook)
Because there is no compulsion (is there?), the modern secular guaranty is a roof beneath which all faiths and religious practices may be engaged by choice peacefully and securely.
By the numbers, our planet supports fewer than 7,000 living language cultures and approximately 4,200 separable religions and related sects.
For the blood thirsty, religion may be regarded as a gift, for wars related to creed or dogma favored by one powerful house or another (x clan, family, or tribe or by caliphate, kingdom, or empire) tend to be the least resolvable drivers of wars: nothing has ever been proved or disproved by them. For the most part, the employment of religious rhetoric by the powerful traces most of all to the want of personal aggrandizement and the presence of messianic ambition, and limitless greed.
Today’s post-Reformation Europe supports a dozen historical monarchies, all but two of them constitutional monarchies tempered by empowered and popularly elected legislatures and courts independent of churches once regarded as all powerful (there are no compassionate, democratic, humanist, or liberal theocracies. All theocracies remain deeply medieval, primitive, and suffocating, and especially so where subscription (loyalty with payment extracted) has been compelled.
One Earth and Our Own Little Worlds
The Taliban, among other of the world’s absolutists, scolds, and scourges will learn, whether they like it or not, that modern complexity in financing and trade demands ever higher levels of human cooperation and integration across cultural, economic, and geopolitical boundaries. The lone ancient bureaucrat with his snicker and his hand out for the bribe that lifts the gate he guards has now the power befitting make-believe trolls. Really getting things done — big things: accession to favorable security organizations; extensive infrastructure creation, re-engineering, and repair (after war, especially, but obsolescence over time demands the same regenerative efforts everywhere), ports, transnational communications — require good relationships with a whole world. Otherwise — and examples are numerous (start with Zimbabwe and work backward through the world’s dictatorships) — one’s people may be reduced to eating dust and worms.
For those with the full spread on a table in a palace, where’s the worry?
Today’s responsible government needs must become a partner in the achievement of modern standards contributing to its own prosperity and stability — or the same may choose to remain heavily guarded in its keep and otherwise a vulgar backwater demeaned and reviled worldwide.
Political leaders may have today the puzzle of perpetuating the strength of their own cultures and families and related self-concepts while participating in the development of complex global diplomatic and legal systems bearing on the practical business and technology systems intended to secure a global tomorrow in which the earth and all her cargo may thrive.
Qualities of Living — The State of the State
War is easy.
It is living — and managing for the living — that has become challenging.
I believe for avarice, greed, and vanity, failed and failing states — generally absolute power systems that grind against their own constituents as well as the grain of humanity as well as decaying societies either disinterested in or incapable of damping the rise of their own fascistic elements — fail across measurable dimensions. Absolute and corrupt or decadent powers have despoiled their own environments and societies mightily in the cause of their own glorification. The same have produced a barbarism wondrous to behold and often beyond the bounds of any collective natural or normal human tolerance.
As I’ve written about Qualities of Living (QOLs) before and may come to dwell on the same as a principle for global political, practical, and spiritual competition — who would live best x conditions x population x area-squared? — I’ll reprint here the outline from August 25 this year –>
QOL: Qualities of Living
Biological: Environmental and Human Health
Financial: Actualizing, Beyond Basic, Individual and Family Sufficiency
Psychological: Dignifying with High Degrees of Freedom, Positive Outlook, Potential for Fulfillment, Good Self-Concept, Reliable Community and Personal Security
Spatial: Bases and Boundaries x Person x Family x Clan x Tribe x Nation x Ethnic x Transnational Cultures / Defenses and Retreats
Spiritual: Broad Awareness, Consciousness, Conscience x Comprehension of Community and Personal Place in Time
We may each have our separable dreams — but why not with clean air and water and good soil while in pursuit of contentment, place, and security?
Universally: may we and will we do that much for one another without reference to cultural or political identification and location?
Why not while we dream our dreams do so within the bounds of secured community and personal spaces?
Why not for each person with futures dreamed that may be in part accomplished, comfortable,and enlivening set and sustain the stage for positive accomplishment?
Accentuate Good; Diminish Evil
How good may we be across our species’ one biological platform: Earth?
And how rotten?
The Taliban in pursuit of absolute obedience has made a great to-do of burqa and hijab . . . but are not the virtues desired actually modesty and piety?
As an American of Jewish descent, I would not (yet, though sorely tempted) think of myself as an atheist: I am neither that brave nor cocksure. I would however suggest as virtues worthy of individual consideration and contemplation of possession without religious reference, the following: compassion; courage, empathy; fairness; foresight; fortitude, integrity; patience; temperance.
Worthy of appreciation and occasional experience but better served by diminishment over time: avarice; dishonesty; gluttony; greed; hubris; hypocrisy.
Put another way (more parallel and less awkward): have we — or just our solitary selves — compassion, courage, empathy, fairness, foresight, fortitude, integrity, and patience in all we do with ourselves and with others?
And if and when less noble and we find ourselves avaricious, controlling, corrupt, criminal, dishonest, fanatical, gluttonous, greedy, full of hubris, and hypocritical, should we not wish to have been by character and ethical and moral quality better?
One may ask what may be the balance within as well as politically and socially, for it may be that balance — that mixture in personal and communal or tribal character — that becomes the atmosphere in which we choose to reside or may be doomed to wander.
Hamlet had in part the experience of the medieval world, a most treacherous political and social space in time. Well, here is our still early 21st Century, and we may ask whether life must be or should be as horrifying as it may have been then.
Whether in Moscow or in Washington (or Beijing) – the three almost Orwellian anchoring points in global security — Big Defense and related “protection” rackets gin up a lot money, the perception of threat driving economies and societies in part or whole, but here one may wonder what if the world’s more apprehending, forward-looking, and good natured souls simply moved to address greater global challenges, leaving the dictators, extremists, hotheads, and malignant narcissists (“MaligNarcs” here) to wallow around a while longer in their own fantasies while they themselves become further displaced by time.
True scope: East-West Rivalry; Moscow v Washington; Political Absolutism – i.e., the power of the sovereign to destroy property and persons alike with impunity – v Democratic Distribution of Power & Rule of Law. Flies in the ointment: black markets; corruption; guerrilla wars; low intensity conflicts; wars by proxy.
For fair good reason, the nuclear powers seldom directly confront one another. Financial and political arrangements and families have become deeply entangled above the table and below it, and there’s not much we ordinary people can do about it but ride out the storms with awareness that ultimately the modern world, as we would know it, is well at war with feudal-medieval power as well as barbaric and primitive forces in nature expressed through history.
And the Taliban?
The Taliban are already failing Afghanistan, and Afghanistan, by way of our investment and presence across 20 years, has now to choose for itself — out of sight but in the hearts of Afghans and through resistance — what it wishes to be.
One may hope the warlords and others have no wish to become or remain themselves irrecoverably backward.
Greed obliterates authentic purposes to become an end in and of itself. Perhaps it helps create an ordered society, bureaucratic, impersonal, programmed — but that rather misses the mark as regards human services and well-being.
By way of cold categorization, it might be said that all addicts are criminals, but one may wonder what part are themselves predators and what other part preyed on by dealers and doctors or equivalents in counseling.
From time to time, I catch the boilerplate conservative prescription “personal responsibility!” in relation to the kind of damaged, enslaved, marginalized, and traumatized person that has lost all agency, confidence, efficacy, and esteem and wonder how pernicious and greed-ridden a society we have become. Can we tell the difference between the sad sack hipster and self-serving and profiteering sociopaths? Have we overemphasized the substance — whatever it may be or have been — and under-emphasized disconnection, marginalization, ostracism? And if so, for what?
In business terms, we are each and everyone of us our own “cost centers” — we want to live with means; we wish to pay our way; and for the most part, that’s what we do — but for a portion of America’s 320 millions souls — about a million or so the last time I checked (2019 with figures from 2017 compiled by authorities in 2018)— personalities or problems attach to expensive dependencies, and those persons then become the smallest of “profit centers” — revenue generators — for the money mad among sociopaths, and that from the curb to the corporate suite. Family’s gone and all the connections left are “fiduciary”, i.e., all about money and control bereft of conscience and soul.
As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober.
Why focus always returns to Israel or the Jews eludes me when, in fact, the primary conflict driver has been Arab and other (well, Russian) anti-Semitic habit welded to lies and willful political misguidance to keep democracy and humanism away from the dictatorships, including those systems headed by Palestinian “leaders”, disinterested in either.
I confess only to having made note of the KGB-Palestinian relationship a time or two and to asking the apparently novel question: why has the world not focused on the Palestinian’s feudal internal politics and the community’s historic emotional dependence on Moscow?
What earlier Arab intransigence, anti-Semitism, and KGB ends have done to the Arab refugees of 1948 (at that time, left stranded between armies) has perhaps today an unspeakable quality as vast sums intended for the community’s development have been diverted to war (“Resistance!” they call it) for more than 73 years — and the Palestinian main base has gotten nothing out of that deal but absolute rule (no elections!), corruption and exploitation, Gaza (for Hamas!), neglect, political repression, and, as a sop in the press, the globally distributed artificial image of an heroic narcissism for ultimately gazing upon themselves.
I feel a little need (not much at all) to fill out my gripe, but the reader knows the online keys: “Fatah, corruption”; “Hamas, corruption”; “Palestinian child soldiers”; etc. Have curiosity, and you may travel online to your heart’s content. Nonetheless, I’ve listed a few ready references with which to click through to both greater knowledge and reflection.
The story this time is not Israel. It’s the corrupt no-good Palestinian leadership. It’s Hamas and the PA that keep stacking the chips higher, imaging that this time the bet will prove itself.
Ali was incredulous. “You call them a government?” he asked. “I call them mafia.”
For the 22-year-old Palestinian resident of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is a corrupt institution that benefits only an elite few.
Rather like the good (!) arbitrator, doctor, judge, police, or social worker who steps in to resolve an issue once, I’d like not to again feel compelled to revisit this workout for the Middle East Conflict.
From the Awesome Conversation
Iran’s expansionist ambitions, religious and spatial, and its relations with the authoritarian hypocrisies of China and Russia doubtlessly drove the Arab world into Israeli alliance as made possible by western flexibility and Israeli supremacy in security technologies internal and external. Two games potentially in play: firm alliances for inevitable war (choose sides!); encourage the Cold War habituated PLO/PA and the post-Soviet Islamist Hamas to embark on their own transformation in light of their both lost and losing positions, for by the motion or progress known to history, both have stayed in the same ideological or political space for too long.
The Middle East Conflict has been always about Power — Medieval or Modern — Across Time and never truly about real estate, the latter a myth for mobs. The Fatah and Hamas sponsors have long endorsed criminal absolutism, would that some Palestinians would wake up and respond appropriately to their own duping exploitation.
Former President Trump himself knew all about mobs , which partially accounts for why he was as he was. His world was black and white, Hobbesian, zero sum and not a space for political clarity, honesty, or vision. Unfortunately, Biden, the much better man, appears to be looking backward himself and inclined to replay some aspects of the Obama Era experience (as with the renewal of the JCPOA) rather than move forward with the radical prospect of expecting from the Palestinians courage, independence, and integrity in their own right and from the best of themselves rather than the unscrupulous worst.
For deep conservatives in Israel and elsewhere, the presence of the Palestinians tends to fade away behind defensive considerations coupled with ambitions that make the Palestinian population . . . a bothersome “externality” to the revival of a romanticized ancient Jewish past. That’s not going to work either.
Staying locked in place in Orwellian fashion (in which case, someone like myself will be chatyping here in about the same way 75 years from now) may work (if any have the patience for it); war might work, but considering the “East v West” alliances involved, what would contain it? Best bet: encouraging an appropriate and honest sea change across the Palestinian campus, and while that may be difficult to approach — i.e., the idea that they really have been duped and exploited for more than 73 years by those most claiming to defend them — not by the Jews, Israelis, or the West, which is true — it’s the only practical and inherently achievable, good, and helpful adjustment in sight.
Shorthand for the above: the Palestinians were birthed on the wrong side of history and this is a good time, so motivated by pain and threat as facilitated by their own camps for the Palestinians to bravely call history — their own true history — back into open review against all post-WWII and Soviet / post-Soviet Era dogma and propaganda.
On the dishonest tack foisted upon the refugees of 1948 and subsequent wars by Arab and Communist — and now Islamist — interests, there never will be a state recognized by responsible Israelis, Europeans, North Americans, or others worldwide. Some idiots in official diplomatic circles and many on the know-nothing (Far Out) Left will encourage you to death, but history and the worldwide community of historians and political analysts possessed of integrity will never rewrite or revise their subjects to suit your egotism, emotions, or narcissism or, ultimately, Jew hate and want of absolute and capricious power.
The sooner Palestinians wake up to History Undeniable, the sooner Israelis and Palestinians may stop dying in the path of poisonous falsehoods.
Recommended related look-ups: KGB, PLO | Iranian proxy, Hamas
The Palestinians, now a community in situ, have let Moscow and others lie to them through their own leaders, and the price paid for that has been more than 73 years of sustained conflict, death, and dislocation.