Saturday, November 20, 2004

500,000 Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands don't speak Dutch

The conventional wisdom is that Muslims in the Netherlands don't speak Dutch because they 'do not want to integrate', or because the Netherlands 'does not try hard enough to integrate them'. Perhaps, but maybe it's due to their low IQ. Intelligence is necessary to learn a second language, for someone who is not a child.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Uncertainty Principle

'In the formulation of the causal law, namely, 'If we know the present exactly, we can predict the future,' it is not the conclusion, but rather the premise which is false. We cannot, as a matter of principle, know the present in all its details'.


-- Heisenberg



The Uncertainty Principle proves that Plato was right. You will never find truth in sensation, because sensation cannot capture the real world. At the most basic level, the world is fleeting, our vision of it through our senses is imperfect, incomplete, blurry.

Classical determinism can be summed up as: A therefore B.

The Uncertainty principle says that our senses limit us to expressing a statement of: ψ(A) therefore ψ(B).

The real world is not in the ψ wave functions, apprehended by our imperfect senses. The real world is in the 'therefore', that which always is and never becomes, that which is apprehended not by the senses but by intellection.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

European probe reaches lunar orbit

European space projects never had the flair of their American and Soviet counterparts. This did not stop Arianespace from becoming the world leader in commercial satellite launches, garnering about half of the global pie.

The newest European venture is an unmanned mission to the moon. Been there done that? Smart 1 is much more than that. It is the first testing of an exciting solar-electric propulsion technology, using solar energy to power an ionic drive.

Next month, on Christmas day the European Huygens probe will be released from the Cassini probe, on its way to becoming the first man-made object to land on Titan.

European efforts in space are small, unlike the big American ones. Even the successful American space efforts will be commercialized by a European.

Monday, November 15, 2004

What is Platonism?

Here is my concise summary of Platonism. By 'Platonism', I don't mean the 'philosophy of Plato', but rather the common elements in the tradition inaugurated by Plato and followed by others in the twenty-four centuries since his death:

Platonism is a method of inquiry, and a theory of being. The Platonic method of inquiry is to clear your mind of opinion, ask questions and give answers repeatedly, until all contradictions are removed and the naked structure of the topic-in-question is revealed. The Platonic theory of being is the recognition that the fleeting things that are formed and dissolved before our eyes are only in a state of 'becoming', yet the order which they exhibit hints at an underlying reality, a concealed ground of being which can only be perceived by the intellect.

In two words, Platonism is dialectics and idealism. It's a technique to help us escape from the cave.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Holographic Universe

Our universe is a giant interference pattern. It is analogous to a hologram, created by a hidden 'implicate reality'. Our familiar reality is an illusion, no more real than a hologram is real in our conventional world. We cannot see the 'implicate reality', only its vast projection into ever changing forms. Yet, the 'implicate reality' is the only real one, because it alone is the source and nourishment of our sensible world.

If you think that the above paragraph is a lot of mumbo-jumbo, read the Holographic Universe and then Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Or read Bohm & the implicate order, a short online introduction to the thought of the late, great, David Bohm.

Before you read all that, start at the beginning, and read the Allegory of the Cave.

Christians persecuted in the new 'liberated' Iraq

Many Christians supported allegedly 'Christian values' in the November 2 election. Do such 'Christian values' include making it easier for Muslims to persecute Christians in Iraq? Or are they just limited to 'gay marriage' and other ridiculous issues that the Christian public is fed while the real problems are consistently ignored.


Why Iraqi Christians are moving to Syria

Excerpt:

The recent spate of attacks on Christian churches in Iraq is symptomatic of the general insecurity that Christians (about three percent of the population, around 800,000 people) face in the occupied country. The interim constitution states that "Islam is the official religion of the State and is to be considered a source of legislation" and while recognizing religious freedom "respects the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people." For some, Islamic identity means the imposition of Muslim morality. In Sadr City, the Mahdi militia is shutting down Christian-owned liquor shops. Some shop owners have been killed, some Christian women attacked for appearing in public inappropriately attired. Others have been attacked because of a widespread belief that Christians are abetting the occupation.

The irony here, of course, is that Saddam's Iraq was a secular state, ruled by the Baath Party. The Iraqi regime, although suspicious of and sometimes brutal towards the Shiite majority, supported Shiite and Sunni mosques, Assyrian and Chaldean Christian churches, and even the sparsely attended Baghdad synagogue, while forbidding proselytization in general. Saddam appointed Tariq Aziz, a Christian, to top posts; in response, enraged Islamists tried to assassinate Aziz in 1980. Osama bin Laden hated Saddam's Iraq for its specifically non-Islamic character. Now with the fall of the Baath regime, Islamic fundamentalists (of various types) have been unleashed to redefine the role of religion in the country. The U.S. occupation officially dissolved the huge Baath Party, purged Baathists from their posts (including those in medicine and education) and officially approved the wording of the constitution, while creating the power vacuum in which numerous Islamic militias now thrive.

Cyprus calls Turkey to EU talks

Cypriot president Tassos Papadopoulos has called on Turkey to hold talks to discuss the Cypriot question. The Turks do not recognize Cyprus, a European Union member, and yet they want to enter the European Union. It is up to them to recognize Cyprus, and to facilitate the solution of the Cyprus problem in a just way. Turkey aspires to be part of the European Union, but the road to the European Union is not automatic: Turkey must prove itself to be a peaceful and democratic nation, and not continue to be an ultra-nationalistic, anti-European one.


Cyprus calls Turkey to EU talks

Cyprus has said it wants to hold talks with Turkey to discuss the stalemate over the divided island which it says is crucial to Turkey's EU entry.
This is thought to be the first time a Greek Cypriot leader has made such a move to negotiate directly with Turkey, which does not recognise Cyprus.

In December, European Union leaders will decide whether to open accession negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

Turkey's EU candidacy could be blocked by member state Cyprus.


"Now it is up to Turkey to accept this invitation and challenge," said Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos.

"In principle we are in favour of Turkey's candidacy... because we are convinced that a truly European Turkey will be a factor of stability in our region and a secure link between Europe and the Middle East," he said.

However, this was conditional on Turkey recognising the government of Cyprus as it does the governments of the other 24 member states, he said.

"Turkey must show that it understands and accepts that the setting of a date for the commencement of accession negotiations entails obligations towards the European Union and each member of the European family and consequently Cyprus too."

Cyprus joined the EU in May after a UN plan to reunify the divided island was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum which Turkish Cypriots supported.

Greece and the international community do not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) created when Turkey seized the area in 1974 after a short-lived Greek-inspired coup.

Only Turkey recognises the TRNC.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Low intelligence of Muslims in the Netherlands

Can Muslim immigrants in Europe be integrated in society? Their Islamic religion itself is not conducive to their acceptance of liberal European civilization, but Muslims seem to have low intelligence as well, as a study by Dutch researchers demonstrates. Muslims in the Netherlands have one and a half standard deviations lower intelligence than native Dutchmen.

Journal of Biosocial Science. Vol 33(3), Jul 2001, pp. 469-475

Explored to what extent mean IQ differences between immigrant group samples and majority group samples are representative of means between immigrant populations and majority populations in the Netherlands. Evidence from eleven samples indicated that the mean IQ of third world immigrants in the Netherlands is lower than the Dutch mean by approximately one standard deviation for Surinamese and Antillians, and by approximately one and a half standard deviations for Turks and Moroccans. This finding is particularly robust among 1st-generation immigrants. Since IQ tests provide the best prediction of success in school and organizations, it could be that the immigrants' lower mean IQ is an important factor in their low status on the Dutch labour market. The IQs of 2nd-generation immigrants appear to be rising. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yasser Arafat (1929-2004)

May he rest in peace. His legacy will be debated, he will be demonized by his enemies and exalted by his people, but he will not be forgotten.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Heisenberg and Plato

In the philosophy of Democritus the atoms are eternal and indestructible units of matter, they can never be transformed into each other. With regard to this question modern physics takes a definite stand against the materialism of Democritus and for Plato and the Pythagoreans. The elementary particles are certainly not eternal and indestructible units of matter, they can actually be transformed into each other. As a matter of fact, if two such particles, moving through space with a very high kinetic energy, collide, then many new elementary particles may be created from the available energy and the old particles may have disappeared in the collision. Such events have been frequently observed and offer the best proof that all particles are made of the same substance: energy. But the resemblance of the modern views to those of Plato and the Pythagoreans can be carried somewhat further. The elementary particles in Plato's Timaeus are finally not substance but mathematical forms. "All things are numbers" is a sentence attributed to Pythagoras. The only mathematical forms available at that time were such geometric forms as the regular solids or the triangles which form their surface. In modern quantum theory there can be no doubt that the elementary particles will finally also be mathematical forms but of a much more complicated nature. The Greek philosophers thought of static forms and found them in the regular solids. Modern science, however, has from its beginning in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries started from the dynamic problem. The constant element in physics since Newton is not a configuration or a geometrical form, but a dynamic law. The equation of motion holds at all times, it is in this sense eternal, whereas the geometrical forms, like the orbits, are changing. Therefore, the mathematical forms that represent the elementary particles will be solutions of some eternal law of motion for matter. This is a problem which has not yet been solved.

Excerpt from the chapter "Quantum Theory and the Roots of Atomic Science," pp. 71-72.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Iraqi PM's cousins kidnapped

Gunmen have kidnapped relatives of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. What a fine mess has become of Iraq since its liberation! The United States used to know the value of a good friendly tyrant to keep the peace. How on earth did the neocons get America into such trouble!

Foreign Enrollment Declines at Universities, Surveys Say

Foreign student applications to universities in the United States of America are in decline. Bush's America is no longer attractive to foreign students.


Foreign Enrollment Declines at Universities, Surveys Say

Excerpt:

The declines represent a troubling turnaround after three decades in which American colleges and universities experienced a boom in the enrollment of foreign students. The uninterrupted growth ended in the fall of 2003, when the country registered its first decline in foreign enrollment since 1971, 2.4 percent, according to the Institute of International Education.

"This is a serious problem for our country," said Peter D. Spear, the provost at the University of Wisconsin, where foreign enrollment declined by 3.8 percent, to 3,435 this year from 3,571 last year. "We depend on international students to provide a good portion of our science and engineering work force," Dr. Spear said.

Now is the time for 'Macedonia'

The recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as 'Macedonia' by the Bush administration was of course negative, but at least it has brought an important issue back to attention.

'Macedonians' must not entertain any thoughts that they will ever be accepted into the European Union under the name of 'Macedonia'. Greece will block all such efforts until the name issue is resolved.

Macedonia is a geographical entity, and it is absurd for a small part of geographic Macedonia to use a name such as 'Republic of Macedonia'. It would be equivalent to Canada calling itself 'North America'.

FYROM must agree to a change of name. This will immediately open the road for its full integration into the European Union, to the removal of all hostility in Greek-FYROM relations, and to a strengthening of the region. It's not Orthodox Greece which is a threat to FYROM, but the threat of Albanization.

The people of FYROM must seize the historic opportunity now to find a solution. If they want to associate themselves with Alexander the Great and the ancient Macedonians, then they can continue to do so even if they have a different name. Of course, this will not change the fact that they're medieval Slavic arrivals to the Balkans and unrelated to the ancient Macedonians.

The people of FYROM have a chance to become secure within the European family, or to choose to go at it alone. It's a simple choice, and the sooner it's taken, the better it will be for all.

Only in America

If it so happened that you or a family member were a victim of 9/11 in America, you'll get a fat check of $3.1-4.2 million. Guess how much money your family will get if you are killed while fighting a war overseas, say in Iraq, following the orders of your commander-in-chief. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time pays off in America. Fighting for your country doesn't.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nato is a threat to Europe and must be disbanded

NATO has outlived its usefulness and must be disbanded. This is the suggestion of Jonathan Steele in a new comment at the Guardian. I agree with Mr. Steele: NATO served the purpose of containing the communist world while there was still a communist world. Today, there is little if any threat posed by Russia to European security, and NATO exists only as a means for the United States to meddle in European affairs and as a stepping stone for their imperial wars in the Near East. Once the new security structures of the European Union are in place, we must do away with this dinosaur. NATO members to the east of the EU can decide whether or not they want to stay in a trimmed down NATO, or enter in bilateral agreements with the US or the EU.


Nato is a threat to Europe and must be disbanded

Excerpt:

They walk the walk. They talk the talk. But they don't think the think. In the wake of the huge support given to George Bush last week, it's time we realised how different America's majority culture is, and changed our policies accordingly.

What Americans share with Europeans are not values, but institutions. The distinction is crucial. Like us, they have a separation of powers between executive and legislature, an independent judiciary, and the rule of law. But the American majority's social and moral values differ enormously from those which guide most Europeans.

Its dangerous ignorance of the world, a mixture of intellectual isolationism and imperial intervention abroad, is equally alien. In the United States more people have guns than have passports. Is there one European nation of which the same is true?

Of course, millions of US citizens do share "European" values. But to believe that this minority amounts to 48% and that America is deeply polarised is incorrect. It encourages the illusion that things may improve when Bush is gone. In fact, most Kerry voters are as conservative as the Bush majority on the issues which worry Europeans. Kerry never came out for US even-handedness on the Israel-Palestine conflict, or for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Many commentators now argue for Europe to distance itself. But vague pleas for greater European coherence or for Tony Blair to end his close links with the White House are not enough. The call should not be for "more" independence. We need full independence.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Against the Modern World

Mark Sedgwick, a Cairo-based scholar, has written Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, a wonderful book on Guenonian traditionalism and its influence in intellectual movements led by Julius Evola, Frithjof Schuon and Aleksandr Dugin.

In an interview with Religioscope, Mr. Sedgwick gives an excellent introduction on the subject. I strongly recommend his book, both for its treatment of the subject of traditionalism, and as a window into fringe intellectuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and their continuing influence today.


Excerpt:

The basic tenets of Traditionalism are easier to describe, since in working on the movement I’ve had to boil it down to its essentials. Some Traditionalists will object that in boiling it down I’m removing much of the subtlety, but there’s really no way around that. Anyhow, Guénonian Traditionalism — since you’re quite right, and there are all sorts of other traditionalisms that have nothing to do with Guénon — Guénonian Traditionalism is a school inspired by Guénon, and taking various different forms.

What they all have in common, apart from Guénon, is a conviction that the modern world is not the result of progress out of darkness but of descent into darkness, that this — the time we live in — is a last age, a pretty low point of a last age at that. What has been lost — and what needs to be recovered, reinstated even — is "tradition". And tradition can be fairly precisely defined, as the truths that should have been handed down from time immemorial, approximately the perennial philosophy, the original Ur-religion of humanity.

Traditionalists are those who want to recover what has been lost, and who also recognize the "true" nature of modernity. And recognize that one of the most important aspects of modernity is inversion — that the world sees the valuable as worthless and the worthless as valuable, the good as bad and bad as good. Guénon never saw a punk, but it would have made a lot of sense to him. And with that comes "counter-initiation" — religious movements that are actually irreligious, that actually lead away from what religion is meant to lead to. Again, Guénon would have nodded knowingly at certain recent developments in the Catholic Church. Against counter-initiation, the only thing left is real, genuine initiation — into traditional esoterism.

Diplomacy works

European diplomats have reached a preliminary agreement with Tehran on its nuclear development program. The reasonable approach works better than the 'Axis of Evil' approach. I am no pacifist, and I believe that force, including the preemptive use of force, should be used as a last resort when other avenues of conflict resolution have failed. Once you go down the road of demonizing your opponents, feeding the base passions of the masses, then you will be led to war, whether you want to or not.


Iran Reaches Preliminary Nuclear Accord With Europe, IRNA Says (Bloomberg)

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iranian and European officials reached a preliminary agreement on the Islamic nation's nuclear program after two days of talks in Paris, the state- owned Iranian news agency said, citing an Iranian official.

``All four delegations are supposed to go to their capitals and if the capitals agree with the agreement, it will be officially announced in the next few days,'' Hossein Mousavian, the head of the Iran's delegation in the French capital told state television, IRNA reported.

Representatives from Germany, France, and Britain are leading European Union efforts to find a solution to Iran's uranium enrichment program before the next IAEA meeting. Failure to negotiate a settlement may lead the U.S. to seek UN sanctions against Iran. The U.S. suspects Iran of developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful uses.

There are conflicting reports about whether an accord has been settled as the two sides are expected to hold another meeting before the International Atomic Energy Agency meets on Nov. 25, IRNA said, citing an unidentified diplomat close the IAEA. IRNA earlier citied an unidentified official in Paris as saying the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Norway moving towards Europe

Norway has resisted membership in the European Union, perhaps because of its rich oil reserves. Now, the Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik calls on the Bush administration to show more international co-operation, and Norwegian analysts fear that weakening transantrantic relations may necessitate a closer alignment of Norway with the European Union. A majority of Norwegian voters -who have previously rejected EU membership- today favor a European perspective for Norway.

The Bush era may be a low point in American politics, but it may have the positive consequence of strengthening ties within Europe.


More reaction to the US election (Aftenposten Norway)

Excerpt:

Results of the US election may end up pushing Norway into the European Union, suggest political analysts, and even Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is listening. He's long opposed EU membership, but sees a need for more international cooperation.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Euroskepticism fades in Polish countryside

Polish farmers have started receiving economic support from the European Union (International Herald Tribune). With time, the Poles, like other Europeans will realize the benefits of living in the EU. Many local politicians overplay the negative aspects of the EU for political benefit: they can blame Brussels for what's wrong in their country, when the problems are often local, and the solutions of Brussels are just painful medicine for them. The EU is not perefect, but nothing is perfect under the sun. It's much preferrable to a return of the days of European division. It is intra-European strife which allowed the Americans and Soviets to rise to global hegemony. The Soviet Empire crumbled and the American Empire is crumbling as its social cohesion is upset by its destructive culture, third world immigration, and the greed of corporate capitalists.

Be skeptical of European policies, but don't be skeptical of Europe. It is the only way that doesn't lead to European dependence on the whims of others.

Jewish Neo-Conservatives

If an American speaks about the fact that the neo-conservatives around Mr. Bush are almost all Jews, he would no doubt be labelled a 'bigot' and 'anti-Semite'. It is pleasant to see that the Israeli daily Haaretz frankly admits the role, mission and Jewish ethnic origin of the neo-conservatives. This should not reflect negatively on all Jews, but let's stop the hypocrisy and admit some facts that are so striking that to deny them is pure self-inflicted blindness


White Man's Burden (Haaretz)

Excerpt:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible. But another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is skeptical

The Capitalist Threat

George Soros played a major role in the campaign to dethrone George W. Bush. I have an enormous respect for someone who is willing to spend his millions in an idealistic cause. Mr. Bush has been re-elected, but history will judge that Mr. Soros was right. In a 1997 essay titled 'The Capitalist Threat' Mr. Soros shows why, after the fall of communism, capitalism is the new threat to an 'open society'. I don't like Karl Popper's concept of an 'open society' which has greatly influenced Mr. Soros, as Popper was a misguided anti-Platonist whose reading of Platonism is widely off the mark. Despite this, Soros' ideas have merit, and they are far preferrable to unbridled capitalism.

Traditional liberals have always been critical of pure economic freedom. The freedom of the market is only part of a whole array of principles designed to further the common good. In The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen it is made clear that freedom is limited by not hurting any other person, and the law prohibits actions which hurt society. The Right has taken the principle of 'freedom' to an extreme, forgetting that liberalism is not about freedom only; but regulated freedom by law designed to further the common good.

Russia signs onto Kyoto protocol

Great news from Russia, as Vladimir Putin has agreed to sign onto the Kyoto agreement (BBC News). Russia emits 17% of world emissions of greenhouse gases, and now the critical threshold of 55%, necessary for the treaty to come into effect, has been reached. This is a great victory for the environmental cause, and underscores the refusal of the United States to ratify the Kyoto accord, or even to discuss the problem of global climate change. America is the world's greatest polluter, and would have to restructure its economy and the driving tastes of its citizens if it agreed to Kyoto. I hope people around the world will boycott American products to punish the United States' policy on the enviroment.

Europeans are taller and healthier than Americans

Americans like to brag about living in the 'greatest country of the world' and use their high per capita GDP and military power as evidence for this fact. Biologically they are growing fat and lag behind Europeans in height, because they have failed to enact social policies for the well-being of all the citizens of their country. In the next four years under the new administration of George W. Bush, they will fall further behind. The United States are well on their way to a two-people society, a small affluent upper class and a struggling middle and working class, kept in its place with American 'Christianity' and ghost stories about terrorism.


From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century:

Within the course of the 20th century the American population went through a metamorphosis from being the tallest in the world, to being among the most overweight. The American height advantage over Western and Northern Europeans was between 3 and 9 cm in the middle of the 19th century. Americans were also underweight. However, today, the exact opposite is the case as the Dutch, Swedes, and Norwegians are the tallest, and the Danes, British and Germans - even the East-Germans - are also taller, towering over the Americans by as much as 3-7 cm. Americans also live shorter. The hypothesis is worth considering that this adverse development is related to the greater social inequality, an inferior health-care system, and fewer social safety nets in the United States than in Western and Northern Europe, in spite of higher per capita income. The West- and Northern European welfare states, with cradle to grave health and unemployment insurance currently provide a more propitious environment for the biological standard of living than its US counterpart

Fanatics and Fools

Arianna Huffington's latest book, Fanatics and Fools must be read by everyone with an interest in the politics of the United States of America. I don't have much hope in Americans ever waking up and changing the course of their country. Their political system is too sluggish, their ideology and belief in the 'American Dream' too set, the power of corporations too overwhelming for anything to be achieved. Even the disaster of 9/11 and the greater disaster of the presidency of George W. Bush was not sufficient to change the course of the United States. Still, we must remember that there are many Americans who are not pleased with the way their society is devolving, and we must sympathize with their plight.

Bush recognizes 'Macedonia'

Bush's first action after his re-election was to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with the name 'Republic of Macedonia'. Naturally, he had to wait after the election in order not alienate Greek American voters. Once again, America proves itself to be an enemy of Greece, and Greek Americans should at last become aware that their country is Greece's enemy, and make up their minds whether or not they will align themselves with the Greek or the American national interest.

Diplomatic bomb from the US (Kathimerini)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Myths and Politics: Origin of the Myth of a Tolerant Pluralistic Islamic Society

Powerful reading, which will go right over the ears of the political establishment which seeks to destroy Western civilization. Bat Ye'Or establishes the origin of the myth of a pluralistic and tolerant Islamic society. You just have to look at the fate of Christian communities in the Islamic world to see the true face of "Islamic tolerance". Unfortunately, leftists hate the idea of offending the Other, and rightists hate the idea that the Other might not want individualism and democracy. Realism, the recognition of the Muslims as what they are is the only viable course.


THE TOLERANT PLURALISTIC ISLAMIC SOCIETY: ORIGIN OF A MYTH:

Excerpt:

So while I was analyzing and writing about the processes of dhimmitude and the civilization of dhimmitude - while listening to the radio, watching television, reading the newspapers - I had the uncomfortable feeling that the clock was being turned back. Modern politicians, sophisticated writers - using phones, planes, computers and all the modern techniques - seemed to be returning several centuries back, with wigs or stiff collars, using exactly the same corrupting arguments, the same tortuous short-term politics that had previously contributed to the gradual Islamization of numerous non-Muslim peoples. I had to shake myself in an effort to distinguish the past from the present.

So, is the past always prologue? Are we doomed to remain perpetually prisoners of the same errors? Certainly, if we do not know the past. And this past - the long and agonizing process of Christian annihilation by the laws of jihad and dhimmitude - is a taboo history, not only in Islamic lands, but above all in the West. It has been buried beneath a myth, fabricated by Western politicians, religious leaders and scholars, in order to promote their own national, strategic, economic and personal interests.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Christopher Hitchens confirms my suspicion

My last post before the election offered the idea that the anticipated closeness of the US election might be an artefact of the media's desire to make a profit. Christopher Hitchens makes the same point in a new interview, saying that 'Well, I hate to sound banal, but to me what it means is a crushing defeat for the racket that is formed by the media and the opinion poll industry, who have for weeks, months, been telling us it's a cliffhanger, purely in order as far as I can see to attract attention to themselves and the enormous tranche of campaign money that goes into their pockets the closer it is.'

I suppose that many people in the media wanted this to be a close election for selfish economic reasons. Still, many wanted to give the American people more credit than they deserved, imagining that this election was a titanic struggle for the restoration of American dignity after the last four years. The stereotype of the American who knows the value of the saying 'if you break it, fix it' misled many into believing that the election would be close.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Four more years

America has spoken. It supports Bush, Cheney, the Straussian neoconservatives, the invasion of Iraq, the rejection of the UN, the rejection of international cooperation on the environment, the Patriot Act, tax cuts for the super-rich, Abu Ghraib, the detention of individuals without Geneva rights, record budget deficits, bans on legitimate scientific research, and the first loss of jobs in seventy years. Mr. Bush has increased his vote by millions; he won the popular vote and will most likely win the electoral vote and be re-elected. America approves of the last four years and wants four more years of the same. America likes Mr. Bush more in 2004 than it did in 2000. The best experts agree: Bush won because Americans share his moral values.

The world was watching, and America has decided. The idea that American policies during the last four years are somehow divorced from the will of the American people has been shown to be false: Americans approve of the last four years.

The results of this Global Test will not be forgotten.

Will it be a close election?

Everything we hear about the US Presidential Election is that it will be a close one. I guessed previously that George W. Bush will win, but like most people I'm at the mercy of the pollsters and news media for information. Could it be that the news media are anxious to have a close election because it makes for higher ratings and more exciting stories and television? Could it be that we'll see a decisive win by either Bush or Kerry?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What Osama might have told America

Spengler's latest piece is one of his best. Western man is far too pleased with his moral and intellectual superiority. He is quick to criticize the Other, but slow to criticize himself. Certainly, he will find little "flaws" in his society, but he is fundamentally convinced of the value of his technological-scientific-democratic civilization. Yet, it is this civilization which has led to all the points mentioned in Spengler's fictional speech. I disagree with him only in this: that the rise of Islam among the ruins of European civilization is far from certain.

Bush’s Global War on Christians

Glen Clancy writes at LewRockwell.com on the persecution of Christians, and how President Bush's policies have resulted in the scapegoating of Christians of the Middle East. It is sad that evangelical Christians support a man whose policies have resulted in so much suffering among some of the most ancient Christian communities. Unfortunately, they seem to care much more about the safeguarding of Israel, and not at all for the last remnants of Christianity in the Islamic world.


http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/chancy5.html

Excerpt:

Conclusion

Whatever President Bush and his coterie are doing globally, one thing is abundantly clear. They are not fighting a global war on any kind of Islam, radical or otherwise. On the other hand, they are making tremendous progress towards crippling or completely destroying large segments of the world’s Christian population. And in this slaughter, the American people have become his accomplices.

Despite all of the negative impacts of his foreign policy on Christians globally, the Christian conservatives in America have been deafeningly silent. Two reasons account for this. First is their overwhelming pre-occupation with Israel. The State of Israel and its security were mentioned by both presidential candidates in their debates. The need to protect Israel is the subject of daily articles in conservative publications, both online and dead tree. Pat Robertson even threatened to form a third party, if the Republicans ever waiver in their full-throated support of the State of Israel. Such concern for the plight of Christians abroad is non-existent.

Perhaps if the Assyrians and others renounced Christ and embraced the Talmud, American Christians would care what happens to them?

The second reason is the fear that criticizing Bush will hurt his chances of re-election. For this reason, many Christians have kept their silence, all the while knowing the truth of what is happening. This is not a Christian attitude. Christ stood for the truth at all times, not only when it was expedient. Standing silent in the face of suffering, simply to prevent inconvenience to a favored politician, is not following the way of Christ.

It is time for Christian conservatives to end the silence. We must speak out, and we must let the President, whether it be Bush or Kerry, know that a continuation of these disastrous policies will absolutely not be tolerated.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The origin of the 'Lord of the Rings' moral fable

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings is one of the best movie series of recent years, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's homonymous trilogy of books. Every age needs a mythology, and Western Man is fortunate to have his own mythology, even if it takes the form of a pop cultural product. As a Platonist, I am not the greatest admirer of the dramatic arts, recognizing their potential for ill use. The Lord of the Rings presents a wonderful reworking of a Platonic theme, the myth of the Ring. Unlike other works of modern and postmodern art with a nihilist and relativist mindset, the Lord of the Rings is an uplifting story, which turns the mind away from the fallen world in which we find ourselves and turns it upward, towards Justice, Love, Friendship, and the Good. As a supplement to Rings, I encourage readers to take a look at Book II of the Republic where the Platonic myth of the Ring is first narrated:


'According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended. Now the shepherds met together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present. He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the ring, and always with the same result-when he turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared. Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; where as soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom. Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other;,no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men.'

The Internet Classics Archive | Plato, The Republic, Book II

Jeremy Rifkin on the European Dream

What is the new European Dream? Jeremy Rifkin, an American, seems to understand what is taking place in the European continent, just as his fellow Americans are getting ready to send George W. Bush back to the White House.


Excerpt:

'But the point is not whether the Europeans are living up to their dream. We Americans have never fully lived up to our own. What's important is that Europe has articulated a new vision for the future that differs from ours in fundamental ways. Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, has admitted that the EU's goal is to establish "a superpower on the European continent that stands equal to the United States." When I asked him to explain what he meant, he spoke of the European vision as one of a new type of power, based not on military strength but on economic cooperation and the construction of communities of conscience, a new kind of superpower based on waging peace.'

'Utopian as it sounds, remember that 200 years ago, America's founders created a new dream for humanity that transformed the world. Today, a new generation of Europeans is creating a radical, and worthy, new dream.'


America, Wake Up to the European Dream, by Jeremy Rifkin