Tuesday, August 16, 2005
...and now, misc catching up...
So much for Diamonds and pyramids and SOA. Again, you can find much of that at: Horizons and Hope: The Future of Philanthropy. I am sure we'll discuss these matters again, as we keep trying to come up with metaphors that can serve as weapons for the Enlightenment, capable of taking on the seductive insanity of an insipid "left-right political axis."
This blog has (as I feared) turned into a major time sink. While I am impressed with the intelligence and cogency of many participants, I have no idea whether there are enough of you to merit such effort, at some cost to writing novels.
What HAS been positive is that I've been inspired to dredge up some older projects to put online. One of these will be the "religion" essay that I plan to post next month, episodically. It's title alone -- "Twelve Modern Questions About Humanity’s Relationship With its Creator In the Context of an Age of Science" - should provoke interest and argument.
Even before delivering that promised bombshell, some of our discussions have spurred me to revisit a longstanding frustration, having to do with the ongoing epidemic of bilious partisanship and romantic dogmatism that has been polluting our great nation's grand experiment in pragmatism, propelling the so called "culture war". One place where I've explored this issue is at: The Real Culture War: Defining the Background.
...but it is a topic with many levels. Those hoping to rescue a scientific society from indignant jerks might consider ways to use science as a weapon against indignation itself!
To this end, I have corresponded for years with experts in several fields, suggesting certain lines of investigation. (I'm not shy.) And now... you are all invited to drop in and view An Open Letter To Researchers In The Fields Of Addiction, Brain Chemistry And Social Psychology.
... and feel free to tell your biologist pals. I cannot think of any single scientific result that might do more to help heal society and empower the pragmatists, while marginalizing screeching dogmatists of every stripe.
Well... there are some other things we can try. (We’re supposed to be problem-solvers, right?) So do not let me forget to raise these possible methodologies:
* a citizen rebellion against gerrymandering
* the “Bill Clinton Gambit”
* “all right, it’s a 2. Get over it.”
...and others. We gotta start brainstorming, boys and girls. I have been following reports that show one of the prime tests of the health of modernism... the market for science fiction novels... is at a low ebb for 4 decades! If anything should be a dangerous sign....
And now... after proving my evenhandedness by skewering hypocrisies of the left... let's have another kick to the right! Or several kicks. There are so many, we have to stack them efficiently!
(Don't any conservatives have the imagination to picture what would have happened, if Bill Clinton had tried to get away with even ONE of these things? The skyrocketing deficits? The relentless secrecy & lying? The mega scale cronyism and outright thievery? The PORK? Dang, what hypocrites.)
* This one is supplied by Russ Daggatt: We are creating terrorists:
New investigations by the Saudi Arabian government and an Israeli think tank -- both of which painstakingly analyzed the backgrounds and motivations of hundreds of foreigners entering Iraq to fight the United States -- have found that the vast majority of these foreign fighters are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself.
The studies, which together constitute the most detailed picture available of foreign fighters, cast serious doubt on President Bush's claim that those responsible for some of the worst violence are terrorists who seized on the opportunity to make Iraq the ''central front" in a battle against the United States. ''The terrorists know that the outcome [in Iraq] will leave them emboldened or defeated," Bush said in his nationally televised address on the war at Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month. ''So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction." The US military is fighting the terrorists in Iraq, he repeated this month, ''so we do not have to face them here at home."
However, interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis captured while trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were heeding the calls from clerics and activists to drive infidels out of Arab land, according to a study by Saudi investigator Nawaf Obaid, a US-trained analyst who was commissioned by the Saudi government and given access to Saudi officials and intelligence.
A separate Israeli analysis of 154 foreign fighters compiled by a leading terrorism researcher found that despite the presence of some senior Al Qaeda operatives who are organizing the volunteers, ''the vast majority of [non-Iraqi] Arabs killed in Iraq have never taken part in any terrorist activity prior to their arrival in Iraq."
As I’ve often said, I do NOT contend that it’s proved that our rulers have been suborned by a foreign power. But seriously, is incompetence any longer as effective or likely an explanation for (say) the savage demolition of our alliances and military readiness and officer corps and social cohesion... while recruiting enemies at such a furious (and apparently deliberate) rate? Which theory is gaining ground? The rational one of outrageous, shortsighted incompetence? Or the outright screeching paranoid explanation? The explanation that creepily fits every single fact.
=== === ===
Of course, this was all based on preventing use of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction against us, right? Hmmm... Well, here's an interesting item. A suspected chemical weapons lab has been found in Mosul. One of recent origin. Presumably for use against US soldiers. So while Pres. Bush never found the WMDs he used as a pretext for this war, that very war is now generating the WMD we were supposed to be worried about! Ironies abound.
Still, one has to sympathize. Like when VP Dick Cheney took a lot of flak last year for saying that the insurgency in Iraq is in its "last throes". Now SoS Condoleeza Rice is saying that the insurgency is "losing steam."
No wonder this administration holds open press conferences at a rate lower than any other administration in a century. (Can conservatives defend even THAT factoid? At all?)
...and finally.... on the direct topic of Modernism and its Enemies... Stefan has provided another wonderful mini-rant, about what has been rightfully called "the American Taliban". From the same guy as last time. This fellow is apparently on a real roll. Keep your eye on him. He may be the next Bruce Sterling (hopefully just as smart and on-target, but nicer).
"Remember Republicans? Sober men in suits, pipes, who'd nod
thoughtfully over their latest tract on market-driven fiscal conservatism while grinding out the numbers on rocket science. Remember those serious-looking 1950's-1960s science guys in the movies -- Republican to a one.
"They were the grown-ups. They were the realists. Sure they were a bummer, maaaaan, but on the way to La Revolution you need somebody to remember where you parked the car. I was never one (nor a Democrat, really, more an agnostic libertarian big on the social contract, but we don't have a party ...), but I genuinely liked them.
"How did they become the party of fairy dust and make believe? How did they become the anti-science guys? The anti-fact guys? The anti-logic guys?"
For the rest of this piece, go to: http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2004/12/i-miss-republicans.html
--- next... more clearing the decks....