Friday, August 11, 2006


Today is Friday, 11 August 2006.

On this day in 1984, President Ronald Reagan, during a radio broadcast voice check, uttered in jest the immortal words, “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes".

Now that is knee-slappin’ funny: nuclear genocide begins in five minutes.

Yesterday, Little Georgie Warlord denounced “Islamic fascists”.

During The Sixties, when dissidents denounced Nixon and Agnew as “fascists”, we were condemned by con-servatives, and sternly lectured. “Fascism was a political movement peculiar to a particular time and place: Germany and Italy from the Twenties to the Forties. To throw the word around with abandon now is inaccurate and irresponsible”.

Now, “Islamo-fascism” is the common currency/all the Rage on the Right.

Ain’t that a caution. What’s sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander.

As part of an on-going dialogue, on 9 August “John McKenna” posted the following comment.

“Agreed, that war is a tragedy for all concerned. My thoughts are that it would take some major Divine intervention for any side (no matter what war you name) to really see the folly of their ways. We humans have small minds and think in small ways. Yes, even war is small when compared to all of creation. My view is that war is a tool by which the Supreme Being is testing/enlightening us. Obviously, we are not too far along in the learning process.

Unfortunately, rape and child molestation are products of the Supreme Being's gift of "free will." This does not infer that the Supreme Being made an error in giving us free will. Likewise, this does not condone the acts nor does it mean that we should ignore them nor try to prevent them.

Yes, you are right, it is better that we wring our hands rather than wring each other's necks. That would indicate that we have begun on the long path to conquering the multitude of elements that cause war.”

I reject the “Deity is testing” concept. Merely a reflection of industrial society: testing the product to determine the limit at which it fails. Surely, if I can conceive of better, less damaging, methods of enlightenment, any Supreme Being worth their salt should be far ahead of me. Sentient beings should not be treated as if they were VCRs in a Henry Ford hell.

“Even war is small when compared to all of creation”. War is death. I prefer to stand with Talmudic tradition: ‘Save one, it is as if you’ve saved the whole world. Kill one, it is as if you’ve killed the whole world’. To me, the point here is that every person is an entire world, and, if we extinguish a person …

As to “free will” and the “problem of evil” (if you’ve not figured it out by now, one of your author’s scholarly especialites is philosophy), I’ve just now entered them as subjects for future columns, in my trusty Moleskine ® notebook.

Also on 9 August, “anonymous” wrote: ”Most wars throughout history have been waged for religious reasons. Perhaps by giving up religion we could all live in peace”.

I beg to differ. Most wars have clearly been motivated by avarice, that is, the appetite for material gain. Even those “branded” (and I refer not to the classic Chuck Connors TV series, but to advertising and promotion lingo) as “religious” … I ascribe to Laurence’s First Law of “Religious” War: “The proof of a “religious” war is in the pudding. If the pudding ends up on the Deity’s table, OK. If the pudding is consumed at the war-maker’s table, it’s just avarice with a tacky veneer”.

And all the people said, “Amen”!

[SOUND EFFECT: CUE John Lennon, "Imagine"]

Also on this day in history:

480 – King Leonidas of Sparta and his three-hundred-strong royal guard die at the pass of Thermopylae, delaying the invading Persian army and laying the groundwork for its eventual defeat

1937 – Novelist Edith Wharton dies

1956 – Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock dies in a car crash


Anonymous La_Libertine said...

I'm not in the "diety is testing us" camp either. If war is a "test", hasn't mankind FLUNKED the damn test hundreds of times over??? Nah. War of any kind, at any level (even neighborhood gang or office politics level) is always about power over
others. Power over land, power over money, power over religion, power over something. And it's not any diety's idea - it's all our'n.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous diane said...

i like the metaphor to product testing. my observations and thought about war has inevitably brought me to the conclusion that all war is simply asset acquisition. when we need resources, such as land for territorial expansion (30 years war), or i don't know, oil (iraq), or perhaps we fear others have taken our resources (Revolutionary War), we find ourselves in conflict. with respect to the current administration, classical realism is an apt theoretical perspective to use. it makes sense that we sought to expand our power by entering iraq, for we veered away from the idea of containment, an idea that we adopted with the soviets.

9:33 PM  

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