Visitor’s Center, Antietam National Battlefield Park, Sharpsburg, Maryland, June 1, 2017.
For visitors from other lands, the small patch of Maryland countryside on which the center has been planted represents the beginning of the end of slavery as an institution in the United States of America. In one horrific days of battle, General McClennan’s forces pushed General Lee’s Confederate army from the field but left it also to retreat west across the Potomac River and thence to fight a long war that would end about where it began but with the moral vision and structure of the country forever changed in favor of equality under the law and “liberty and justice for all”.
It takes a long time to change men — and to change their attitudes and beliefs about money and about one another. My America remains a work in progress, but as long as the work hews to the liberal view of man and the earnest distribution of political power through democracy accompanied by integrity, I think we Americans — and everyone else — will continue getting better in the building or forming of greater societies.
Where we have let people down, I’m sure we are going to be made to remember it. Where we have helped people up, one may hope we’ll be remembered for that too.
A quick note while watching (halfway through with the feed paused as I type): the Curtis documentary is one helluva time capsule hitting all the keys for the ‘Boomers’ now in the process of passing the western torch to perhaps drug-addled or money-crazed (or both) next population of inhabitants of the democracies. Of course, things are not going so well, at least depending on one’s perspective and the sources of experience and observation that produces it. Modern? Hypermodern? Post-modern? Or not modern at all but a grinding mechanical Orwellian nightmare? Who knows? Who would know? Anyone?
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy’s (AIFD) mission is to advocate for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state.
AIFD is the most prominent American Muslim organization directly confronting the ideology of political Islam and openly countering the common belief that the Muslim faith is inextricably rooted to the concept of the Islamic State (Islamism). We stand firmly for universal human rights – including gender equality, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech and expression. Founded by Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, AIFD envisions a future wherein Muslims never feel a conflict between their personal faith and their commitment to individual liberty and freedom. Rather, we work to empower Muslims to be primary advocates for liberty and freedom.
We are being called to tolerate, accommodate, and include people who believe it is compassionate to murder gay people; from Imams trained in moderate Saudi Arabia to moderate Iran. We see gays from these countries murdered before our eyes: gays hanging from cranes in the city squares or thrown off tall buildings. Think about that. Close your eyes and picture someone blindfolded, hands tied behind their back and flung over a building. Imagine the horror of that death. Yet we say nothing and invite Islam into our western countries-to preach and proselytize in the name of freedom of religion and freedom of speech-yet without question against our laws.
We tend to forget that Islam is far more than a religion. It, like democracy, is an ideology, but at odds with democracy.
Islam is inherently, innately, systemically, and endemically homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic and virulently anti-Jewish. Islam opposes the ethic that the Jewish people brought into the world 3500 years ago and brought to these shores by Christians. We know this because we hear their calls “Death to America,” “Death to Israel,” “Death to the Jews.”
We think of refugees and displaced people in a spatial context.
Somebody has lost their home, their security, their purchase on the control of their own life, and so they wander in-country or beyond, and depending on their personal characteristics – the movies always say “character”, but social reality is much different – they’ll grow again where they plant themselves or suffer the indignity of loss and rootlesness.
The segment you’re interested in is wandering through time with an unhelpful toolkit, and the obedient base can’t figure out why it’s not working. They’re mired in conflicts wrought by mutual greed and jealousy, and, perhaps like Imam ______, the more clever of tongue thrive on the turmoil by offering the unreachable untrue.
I recall a Star Trek episode in which a “holodeck” (synthetic surround theater) Dr. Moriarty achieved sufficient mastery of his own artifice and cyber environment to threaten the ship. Spoiler Alert! The solution at the end, which had to be negotiated because Moriarty really had interfaced with ship’s control, was to provide him and his woman (it’s complicated) with a cyber universe of their own. The world that would seem infinite to the evil couple was in the greater reality contained (and possibly ejected into space).
One might say of Catholic and otherwise conservative or orthodox observance in religion that all of it sustains something that took place a long time ago.
The figures have been frozen in time. The particular above have been especially well preserved by Keats’s poem.
Most of the religious in the modern world who attend a service also leave it with something taken away, and that adds its part to their lives and their search for a place for themselves. The monastery exists too. Add pope and papacy, the “Christ Process” – got that one from a Jesuit supplying blankets to the Four Corners region – and the existence of a timeless space maintained in the mind with the volition of the thinker.
Muhammad and his Islam may have had issues with boundaries – related on BackChannels: “Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy” – just an opinion, of course, and that got into the patronizing and permits and orders produced within the Qur’an, not so complete for this world but ever so demanding in its build around injunction. The Muslims — the Islamists — that interest you may believe they are carrying out still relevant orders when they are raiding their targets – murder, theft, rape, and rapine – but in reality they are doing so much only for the aggrandizement of their chosen authority beneath the Eye of Heaven.
What is the escape plan from the medieval worldview and its imposition – and impoliteness – today?
Universally, nature figures out how to destroy or mutate monocultures, whether in agriculture or in human existence. While we may be in a divine sense of “One cloud, one earth, one sky”, we are nonetheless highly differentiated humans x person x family x clan x tribe x nation.
For agriculture, the related science industry strives to maintain comprehensive seed banks as part of the arsenal at hand to address natural mutations adverse to production — of the simple enjoyment of something gardened — in the growing environment.
For the discussion of culture, BackChannels promotes the view that our planet’s cultural inventory” links to fewer than 7,000 living languages, each of which represents how a group of people in comparative isolation — population-in-place — used human sound and sign to aid in perceiving and addressing from their perspective their own particular environmental and social challenges and opportunities.
Often, instead of typing “The Jews (live in Israel)”, the note may be similarly but more tellingly expressed as “The Hebrews are back in the Land of the Hebrews”.
Arab, Baloch, Kurds, Pashtun — same treatment.
As “The English” — and English — have gone everywhere in some fashion, the language today provides a modern medium for communication without the demand for the erasure of other language cultures. And with the age of English colonial expansion now past, one may expect the resurgent greater being of other language cultures in their cores (x ethnolinguistic cultural density) and at their margins and finally in the mixing bowls of heterogeneous (multi-cultural) political spaces.
The American slogan, well linked to the European invasion of or presence in — interpretation is moot — North America, well reflected the necessity of tolerance and varying degrees of separation and mixing in the New World beneath the benevolent and idealist umbrella of a secular and humanist vision of governance. The delivery thereby of great personal freedom — to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or of any other faith community — and to speak the new language, English, while retaining the power to speak also every other language on earth, to be multilingual by choice, has been also part of the bargain. Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, Pashto, Urdu, “Jamaican” — no problem, mon.
The American way has worked in America.
Other of the authentic open democracies of the world have found similar equilibrium and a key to prosperity and survival in related law and rule of law.
Other systems, much less liberal, some totalitarian, appear still invested in the feudal / medieval worldview and they “express” in nefarious methods (e.g., “Active Measures“, deception, disinformation, disingenuous speech, etc.) and vanguards their desire to impose their singular will — criminal, despotic, intolerant — far beyond their own context, and not only in space but in time as well.
For the most part for those preferring to live “back there” somewhere, the world goes on around them and evolves a both more inclusive but also widely varied cargo packed into the myriad cultures of humanity.
Where feudalism appears as though it might prevail, those invested in their most parochial definitions of culture — x gender x race x religion — take license to express views congruent with their view of power.
Our world has come to naturally combine states founded on ethnolinguistic traditions (our inventory stands below 7,000 living languages with several lost to disuse annually), and most have come to recognize the legitimacy of that course, with the existence of accommodating but still assertive mixed states. Baloch, Hebrews, Kurds, Pashtun, and Russians have coherence in legacies far predating the uptake of Christianity or Islam, and one may wish for each such some more peaceful survival and co-evolution in the world. The English — the British Empire and the surviving Crown System states — have taken a more heterogeneous course founded in “modern” or more recently established post-Enlightenment ideals and values.
Moscow begs to object, but in deeply hypocritical fashion, and often criminal, it cuts deals before the immense force of “realpolitik”. Kadyrov, Moscow’s tribal anchor for Chechnya, has validated honor killing and imposed (I think) the wearing of traditional “Islamic” dress in his state. The authoritarian minerets-are-our-helmets Erdogan needs little description as regards his sense of mission. And Mahmoud Abbas . . . alas, KGB — he doesn’t represent “The Palestinians”: he represents political absolutism.
In our lovely all-mixed-up democratic estate, the “absolutists” whom I conflate with “malignant narcissists” appear to have similar ideas about their exceptional character in the history of the world.
The mention of a white supremacist organization serves as a topic starter. The conversational partner wanted to know whether the same related to Russian ultra-nationalism.
As a former anti-Semite and anti-Zionist campaigner, I am very worried about the recent wave of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents happening across the UK. I know anti-Semitism, I practised it and I can smell the threat which is on its way to the Jewish community of the UK.
“When I look at the flag of Israel, I realise the true meaning of this flag is as the symbol of those six million Jewish martyrs who sacrificed their most valuable lives for the future of their race and religion, for the future of their children and for the future of the only Jewish nation in the world.”
The true meaning of Israel’s flag isn’t about the Holocaust, which is just one event, however horrifying and ultimately ineffable it may have been, but signal of more than 5,000 years of the survival of Jewish culture, ethics, language, and law — and perhaps today signal as well of the survival of the influence of the same in others, much including Christians and Muslims, for without Moses in the hagiography, there would be neither Jesus nor Muhammad. There have been always other possibilities, but the lore and intellectual adventure of the Hebrews appears to have served the formation of the two great contemporary religions.
The influence of the Soviet by way of agitation, disinformation, political manipulation (through the KGB) and sponsorship of terrorism in relation to the middle east conflict cannot be underestimated. The post-WWII leveraging of Arab anti-Semitic sentiment — involving some with power, not everyone — succeeding in developing despotic regimes benefiting the Soviet as client states.
Soviet cartoons distributed in the Middle East to leverage “the masses” into the Soviet camp.
The Soviet dissolved in financial and moral bankruptcy about 25 years ago; however, in its place has developed a feudal state in the Russian historic tradition, and it continues to entertain PFLP and to interface with both Hezbollah and Hamas.
Who has been made to suffer as a consequence of Soviet / post-Soviet Russian influence and KGB-designed manipulation?
There are differences between the medieval world and the modern one, and the modern is a much, much better world in which to live.
These too are Palestinians:
“Eshkol knew and feared the Russians,” noted Michael Oren. “War with Syria [and Egypt] was risky enough; with the USSR, it would be suicidal.” But Eskhol calculated that without U.S. support, the Soviets would find themselves compelled to get involved directly. Moscow had, after all, “invested massively in the Middle East, about $2 billion in military aid alone—1,700 tanks, 2,400 artillery pieces, 500 jets, and 1,400 advisers—since 1956, some 43 percent of it to Egypt.”
Sure enough, as the Israelis demolished the forces of the Arab coalition over the next three days and captured the Sinai, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, reunified the holy city of Jerusalem, and began an offensive against Damascus itself, Moscow saw itself staring into the face of a geopolitical disaster. Those were, after all, Soviet-trained soldiers being defeated. Those were Soviet-made arms being seized or destroyed. Those were billions of dollars in Soviet funding to their Arab client states being poured down the drain. And—it would later be learned by U.S. and Israeli intelligence—the Egyptian war plan itself (code-named, “Operation Conqueror”) had actually been written in 1966 by the Soviets. As a result, the Soviets feared their prestige was quickly unraveling.
Putin has proven genius in leveraging at least two NATO states his way using both his state cards — energy and technology — and affinity-based appeal to the egotism — malignant narcissism — of his targets in political “bromance”. Both Viktor Orban and Recip Tayyip Erdogan appear to have the Ceausescu strain of self-concept: one-of-a-kind brilliance, each God’s gift to mankind, to be nested in mighty impressive mansions as among the world’s Presidents-for-Life.
“Different Talks — Same Walk.”
Competition and warfare for each has become a state technology that can be governed to good effect and made a part of totalitarian political theater, the same as on display today in Syria.
Putin knows “the masses” are not going to see what he has created in its totality, and those that may will be in no position to challenge his authority and worldview. The same applies to Erdogan, who has been making certain that there will be no opposition to his will as he turns history’s clock backward in Turkey.
Is renewed medievalism our future?
Considering the forces of corruption in modern governments and the amplification of political passions along the Red-Black-Green (Marxist) and Brown (Nationalist) axis, it’s very likely that a state of violent conflict has been cultivated (I would blame Russo-Iranian agitation and influence for that) and we will exist in states of wars of all against all.
I think I’m on the right track — and I could turn this into another Awesome Conversation post on Back-Channels — but the public may not take it up and rediscover and reaffirm their own investment in a modern worldview.
Another thought expressed in the awesome conversation online and now entombed on this blog.
The worlds that keep dictators in business are those of fear and greed as projected by the dictator himself. “Putin’s World” may be “Russian Nationalist” today and Khamenei’s representative of “Shiite Islam”, and the Christian should be at war with the Muslim, but, lo, at the top: kleptocracy.
The possession of absolute power defines each “autocrat”, and what they must have of interstate fighting are the wars that change nothing, wars that generate income and heat and good headlines — glory for themselves! — but have the effect of keeping each in business to the natural end of their days.
(2006) During the Cold War, the world was divided into two camps: one aligned with the United States, the other aligned with the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, America emerged as the sole superpower. But another camp is again emerging to challenge the United States and its allies. It is not a great superpower like the Soviet Union, but a loose coalition of forces united by a common opposition to the United States and its policies.
Islamist groups like al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are part of this movement against the United States, but it is neither a religious movement, nor one comprised of Muslims alone. Today, these groups are increasingly making common cause with anti-U.S. forces in Latin America and elsewhere. They are rethinking their rhetoric to appeal to a broader audience at home and their new allies abroad.
Readers will find eight virtual pages to the end of the piece, and they appear to agree with what this blog has been saying about “Red-Black-Green (Marxist) and Brown (Nationalist)” impulses and related Russo-Iranian influence.