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.
As Facebook responses — this one appeared on the Bukovsky Center page — and blog presentations differ, I have opted to let the blogging system work by adding URLs to the original text and allowing importation as commercial interests (Amazon’s) have made possible.
While Lloyd Billingsley has got right the description of Communist Totalitarianism, it just does not follow that the American Left and main portion of the Liberal Community has some Stalinist bent. Even the fashionable “far left” — short of the armed-up separatists who do fit Billingsley’s description from the “Far Out Left” and “Far White Right” (my terms) — places some premium on frank discussion and reporting with integrity. Some, unfortunately, have made alliance with the Soviet / post-Soviet remains of Communist Group Think and will swallow old Kool-Aid like the Boycott Divestitures and Sanctions (BDS) malarkey, but on the whole will report with integrity.
I have found enough in Patrice Cullors (“Marxist Trained” is part of her self-promotion) to both validate a number of race-related and systemic American issues.
The truths may be uncomfortable, but raising points in an open society undermines efforts to install a more deeply pernicious totalitarianism in America’s own open society — and by extension the still open (or remaining) democratic societies of EU/NATO. IF we in the West should wish to live in authentic (as opposed to Potemkin) democracies, we bear the burden of listening to earnest complaint and testimony and finding appropriate and best ways of responding to it and associated public and private realpolitik.
“Accusation in a Mirror”, a term derived from Kenneth L. Marcus’s eponymous essay (PDF) befits the hothouse atmospheres of both strident conservatives and edgy liberals as each accuses the other of attempting to established a communist or fascism totalitarian state in their areas of influence and operations.
Aside: I have long ago picked up on the idea that both communism and capitalism over-emphasize material well-being in their otherwise opposite philosophies, and if it’s true that such bipolar conflicts comes down to “owning the pie v sharing the pie”, the nation has other spiritual challenges. Personally, I would endorse the development of carefully constructed public-private compact with basic environmental and human interests and related principles and values foremost.
I would suggest to Lloyd Billingsley that he take in a less divisive and more magnanimous and realistic approach to an adjusted 21st Century politics; to Patrisse Cullors and others, black or white or other: let’s hear stories told with integrity while querying systemic shortcomings. Color — brown eyes or blue? — may be a “discriminator”, but what is one to do with hazel or flecked or green — or with skin cafe au lait, caramel, ochre, bronzed, freckled, eggplant, milky, peachy or with body types and facial features innumerable?
In my experience, nature more appreciates or favors variety than it does mono-cultures too isolated and too rigid to respond to the natural proliferation of antagonists (for the political portal associated with related science, see the Convention on Biological Diversity and its List of Parties).
For the time being, we’re having issues with perceived political power and empowerment and related injuries, injustices, jealousies, and resentments. While not everything may be repaired, we might choose to look ahead toward what needs may be diminished (starting with our own rancor) and what may be improved, better integrated, more loved, more appreciated.
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.
I may not agree with what Secretary of State Antony Blinken has to say, but I very much agree with his defining the issues (again, if not the Biden Administration’s stance) and his civility. America’s most powerful political machine — the White House — has returned to democracy, effort, and meaningful work.
Republicans, no less committed to Israel as well as liberalism of the west, have been left to either join or repudiate an authoritarian assault or solution to American governance. Again, enough switched sides to get Biden elected. That doesn’t make Biden great; it just means the electorate refused to go further down the line with the then incumbent President Trump.
At least for Arizona, Goldwater’s long gone, or so it seems, and this most modern woman has been making her mark.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would see the Republican Party distilling down and out both its most reactionary representatives and anti-state extremists.
For the Democrats, the Far Out Left presents other issues, mostly holdovers from the ferment of the 1960s and the flow-down from Russia’s “Active Measures” — investment: $1B during the Vietnam War Era — some of which comes through in our environmental policies and some, alas, freighted with the Palestinian Solidarity Hoax. For the Dems too, the “Modern and Moderate” had best get to work against a fringe that seems to have gathered power but has nowhere to go with it. It too proves itself archaic.
Character ‘done in’ Trump’s chances for a second term.
On YouTube, “Republicans Voting Against Trump (RVAT)” and the same but titled “Republican Accountability Project (RAP)” provide plenty of material for again regarding Republicans as plain old good solid Americans, much relieving more faddish and unthinking Americans of their preference for demonizing one another over taking more sensible courses in facing challenges together and defining and resolving issues.
Stanislav Lunev’s claim that the KGB invested $1 billion in America’s own Vietnam Era Anti-War movement stands (as it has with Congress), and while we may appreciate grounded environmental policies, we may from this perspective question the fallout from that meddling in political culture. Putin, by the way, has continued the KGB/FSB tradition of meddling so well that both the Obama and Trump Administrations took action to expel the “known spies”, i.e., the crowd working under diplomatic cover in Maryland and San Francisco, California. BackChannels has commented on one aspect of that lesser and little known world in “Diplomatic Harassment–Short Compilation” (Dec. 29, 2016).