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.
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.
Notice how Locke’s empiricism dovetails with the political principles of natural rights and basic equality: because all people have eyes and ears and minds, and because we must check and consult with each other to find truth, the many, not just the few, are entitled to assert their own beliefs and contest others. Epistemic rights, like political rights, belong to all of us; empiricism is the duty of all of us. No exceptions for priests, princes, or partisans.
With America’s former “Fake News!” Fake President dooming Congressional members of the Republican Party into becoming IrrElephants, now seems just the time for reconsidering the character, history, and nature of what informed and modern humanity has come to call “Truth”.
The matter shouldn’t be that complex, but considering the long history of narcissistic conceits (why of course the sun revolves around the earth!) and wars involving irreconcilliable beliefs, cocksure wrong conclusions, and innumerable faiths, it should seem no wonder that for the pleasure of obtaining where all may a deeply responsible peace we have arrived in a lively conversation about empiricism and epistemology.
I have only started reading Rauch’s book but feel both the quote and note here worthy of play.
In the medieval mode, power lies and makes it truth; in the modern world, power had better tell the truth given the world’s yet free legions of high-integrity academics, consultants, judges, lawyers, researchers, and scholars. Lie to us, and we will find you out and bring about your humiliation in the minds of future generations. So here we know the lie told to the Palestinian refugees of 1948: “The Jews stole your land, and God wants you to win it back” — and it seems an old portion of Arab power has given the Palestinians that lie as something against which to bang their heads for decades.
From the Awesome Conversation
What mobs hear, believe, and repeat is different from what lawyers, judges, and scholars examine and come to know with overwhelming validity.
The civilized way of attenuating findings certain to make one side or another unhappy is to cooperate in a relocation chosen by those moving out and as good or better than present circumstance and altogether agreed permanent according to the will of those so relocated. No death, outrage, vandalism, or violence — just a disruptive but civil adjustment undertaken in a mutually respectful even if reluctant atmosphere.
You would rather create a sore, salt it, and drive a mob against both historical and inherited realities and superior — proven, experienced — defense and security forces.
Given the bent, about all Palestinian “advocates” can guaranty is greater and more widespread Palestinian anger and related harm.
So the Power That Lies–what is it to tell its people when the game’s up?
The answer is Copernican: “We were wrong. We could not see nought but ourselves and God, the universe, and the world before us fully admiring, approving, validating no matter what we did to ourselves, those taught to trust us most, and those we regarded as our enemies.”
I would not regard my fellow Jews as occupying the Center of the Universe either, but one may respect or at least value the co-evolutionary presence of the world’s diminishing pool of ethnolinguistic cultures, and then perhaps respect Arabs and Israelis and others most of all for overcoming themselves and broadening the reach of those principles most peaceful, pleasant, responsible, and, ultimately, universal.
Have I, you, and we not yet tired of having the same conversations over and over and over again on Facebook, especially those related to the Middle East Conflict?
The habitual finger pointing with invective — “Israel Apartheid!”; “Palestinian Terrorists!” — should be enough to motivate the big — and big-hearted — step backward for clarity. However, few wish to take that step, and for Palestinian voices, few may be allowed the latitude needed for other than the repetition of a long surreal political theater sustained by leadership greed and related structures plus sponsoring interests (in Moscow and Tehran and elsewhere) who have little authentic interest in Palestinian well-being.
From the Awesome Conversation
Israel is not apartheid and most Palestinians would fare well with a government — or governments — up to modern standards for decency and integrity in their handling of money and relationships and with a track toward modern democracy. The toe-the-line feudal practices before power — power that remains near absolute and politically repressive — benefits small circles.
Israeli medievalism, which has less impact on the working of the modern state, both preserves the Jewish character and identity of the state but may impede civil progress in other dimensions.
As a blogger, I have found “Medieval v Modern” thematic in relation to conflict worldwide, and the arrangements that drive that axis have most to do with money and its distribution, i.e., greed.
Business, or perhaps the result of having done some business, may look about the same worldwide — well, marvelously variegated but similarly posh — where sales, revenues, gentility, and cultural and industrial talent collide.
So how is that western conservatives complain so vociferously about Communism when, from the looks of things, the old Reds or their business and political associates, cronies, or neighbors have wrapped themselves in Gold?
The myth of the Communist has not held up but for the play of the wealthy in defending their gains from the confiscating and taxing powers of states that one way or the other needs must maintain their political and social equilibrium — and the way to that: wherever else in the worlds, the answer’s the same as in the United States of America: broad, complex, forward-thinking public-private compacts.
While Karl Marx may still be bandied and bashed about from Far Out Left and Far (White) Right circles, the world he may had in mind while writing has all but disappeared from contemporary view.
What remains: the feudal-medieval habits on the part of some insecure in their positions and helpless before greed.
What’s coming — or what should come?
Some New Humanism, I hope, with human continence, cooperation, development, generosity, and imagination, and for which Qualities of Living x Area-Squared start with better balance between economic allocations, resources, and populations. While the ruthless raise the roofs, literally and in ways becoming hopelessly outdated, one hopes the more humble and responsible among the powerful, or within the ranks of those with power, raise the floor for global health, well-being, and security.
I don’t want to spend too much time — or too much of your time — reinforcing what has become thematic on this blog: “Medieval v Modern”. However, there’s no evading forces backed by powerful wills intent on producing feudal power with extraordinary modern defense and intelligence technologies that lend themselves to the nightmares of totalitarian control.
Here’s the note.
From the Awesome Conversation
Both China and Russia practice and promote political absolutism in governance. More than convenience has been involved in their relationship — and in China’s stepping in to keep Tehran in the oil money it uses to fund its promotion of aggression by IRGC and proxies and further creation of chaos in the middle east. Regarding China’s threats to western power in this “hybrid warfare” age — so underhanded! — the smorgasbord is wide but not yet too strong.
In the process of blogging, I’ve found a convenient axis in “Medieval Absolutism v Modern Democratic Distribution of Power” (Medieval v Modern, essentially) and believe the New Nationalism and bents toward autocracy and authoritarianism (and corruption) run together. In that way, Xi, Putin, and Trump had been on similar pages in a rule book that doesn’t exist. The west for several hundred years has repeatedly turned away from Absolutism and the related admiration of singular and unquestionable authority. While I am much less familiar with China’s civilization than with Russia’s (and I may not get beyond tenderfoot with that), I would see the continued binding of Sino-Russo interests as inimical to the western path, its energies, and the greater spirituality that has made much of the bloc wondrously productive before the backsliding of some toward the feudal mode.
Feudal societies are never democratic, just, or humane. In Russia, the absolute power of the sovereign has covered the ownership — what else would you call it? — of persons and property as alike. When Russian air forces have bombed hospitals in Syria (and White Helmets who arrive to rescue the injured and retrieve the dead), it has been without regard to the humanity of the persons, helpless patients, caring visitors, the doctors, caught in that hell. The dismal character of that brand of leadership now paints its own horrifying portrait for viewing around the world daily.
China has sent is final message to the world with its own production of a panopticonic society that can view all of the people all the time through their phones (conversations, locations, purchases) without challenge or question. Great Britain with is public monitoring cameras and Snowden with his revelations regarding how far technology has come may suggest some worrisome potentials — and all gets hashed in freedom in the west through the open press — but China has gone the distance with its inherently paternal and degrading assessment of its human complement — and don’t let the Communist banner fool you: the state has become wealthy with global trade — and the western portion a large part of it — and it has been minting billionaires like no other state on earth while engaged in questionable international development and lending practices (see the above noted “contemporary political sins” post).
The “superpowers”, once defined by their nuclear capability, have on this one life-producing planet no choice but to compete or wrestle with one another over money, political philosophy, and both the character of power and the nature of our humanity. As an American, I promote an earnest freedom of conscience and moral agency and leave to pursue individual interests in what should be a competitive and meritocratic society even though it has its “feudalism” in the private sector in which family and social interests combine. Also as an American, one needs must endorse and support integrity and transparency in governance and protest, question, and resist efforts to install family interests and “great leaders” who may then (as Viktor Orban has done in Hungary, as Donald Trump appears to have attempted in the United States) choose to bend and twist their “democratic” states into private fiefs.
Among the slashed and burnt of The Great Liar’s One-Term Presidency, John Bolton stands out for greater backbone, discretion, experience, and integrity.
I believe Bolton when he suggests he leveraged his experience in national security to participate in the Trump Administration in order to produce his — not Trump’s — brand of guidance. As Trump required greater sycophancy, Bolton would also leave the malignant narcissist’s den.
The Republican Party, once the Party of the visionary Abraham Lincoln, has in the 20th Century seen equally embarrassing and shamefully self-centered days. That has become something for critically reasoning and independent Americans to take into consideration as the West with its ideas about compassion, freedom, goodness, and real human productivity faces an anachronistic, feudal, and implacable enemy in Moscow and, in post-Cold War association with it, Beijing and Tehran as well.
Tehran, worn by its own conflict-promoting behaviors over time and by sanctions, has shown no signs of retreat in relation to its nuclear missile and warhead programs nor its will, repeated with dulling frequency, to see Israel and the west destroyed for its own marauding and politically absolute ends. Where has the Republican Party (with its increasingly familiar white supremacist attachments) really stood on the Moscow-Tehran relationship? Where has it stood with regard to the rise of the proto-fascist New Nationalism in the United States as well as within NATO (have a look into authoritarian and feudal urges in Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey)?
Here is a junction in time in which the United States, once leader of the free world — the modern open democratic world, either stands firm against politically retrograde but technologically sophisticated states or slips backward itself into some system of immense power and wealth lording over a hapless constituency whose political voice becomes so much noise to those working the levers for their own enrichment according to class and degrees of ruthlessness.