Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Doug1943

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Science and Mathematics; Philosophy; History; Politics;

Previous Fields

  • Political Party:

Recent Profile Visitors

1,036 profile views
  1. The New Democrat Party

    Understand that when a supporter of Israeli expansion says "anti-Semitic" they mean "critical of hard-line Zionism". It's exactly the same cheap rhetorical trick as when the Left says anyone who opposes race-based Affirmative Action is therefore "racist". What you need to ask about anyone smeared as "anti-Semitic" is this: do they support the right of Israel to exist? If not, there may be some truth to the charge. But if they do, then you've uncovered another lying smear.
  2. This is an article from last year by Gary Younge, an editor of the British leftist newspaper, The Guardian. The view from Middletown: final thoughts on Trump's victory After a month in Muncie in the run-up to the election, I won’t claim to have predicted the election result. But it wasn’t a complete surprise, either Wednesday 16 November 2016 13.28 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 23 November 2016 17.07 GMT The Guardian has today published my last despatch from Muncie, Indiana from where I covered the US presidential elections. Younge has a far better understanding of American politics than many of the Lefties posting here. Gary Younge editor-at-large The Guardian
  3. He makes the Lefties here look like raving patriots. He begins by reviewing the Ken Burns' series on Vietnam, now being shown in the US. There are plenty of objections to this series so far from the conservative side, but here is the ultimate Leftist view. ============================================================================================================================================================ September 22, 2017 The Killing of History by John Pilger One of the most hyped “events” of American television, The Vietnam War, has started on the PBS network. The directors are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Acclaimed for his documentaries on the Civil War, the Great Depression and the history of jazz, Burns says of his Vietnam films, “They will inspire our country to begin to talk and think about the Vietnam war in an entirely new way”. In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its “exceptionalism”, Burns’ “entirely new” Vietnam war is presented as “epic, historic work”. Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam. Burns says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family” which “has long supported our country’s veterans”. Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives. I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war “was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings”. The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of “false flags” that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971. There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans — it is difficult to watch the film’s jumble of “red peril” maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences. In the series’ press release in Britain — the BBC will show it — there is no mention of Vietnamese dead, only Americans. “We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” Novick is quoted as saying. How very post-modern. All this will be familiar to those who have observed how the American media and popular culture behemoth has revised and served up the great crime of the second half of the twentieth century: from The Green Berets and The Deer Hunter to Rambo and, in so doing, has legitimised subsequent wars of aggression. The revisionism never stops and the blood never dries. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt, while “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy”. Cue Bob Dylan: “Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?” I thought about the “decency” and “good faith” when recalling my own first experiences as a young reporter in Vietnam: watching hypnotically as the skin fell off Napalmed peasant children like old parchment, and the ladders of bombs that left trees petrified and festooned with human flesh. General William Westmoreland, the American commander, referred to people as “termites”. In the early 1970s, I went to Quang Ngai province, where in the village of My Lai, between 347 and 500 men, women and infants were murdered by American troops (Burns prefers “killings”). At the time, this was presented as an aberration: an “American tragedy” (Newsweek ). In this one province, it was estimated that 50,000 people had been slaughtered during the era of American “free fire zones”. Mass homicide. This was not news. To the north, in Quang Tri province, more bombs were dropped than in all of Germany during the Second World War. Since 1975, unexploded ordnance has caused more than 40,000 deaths in mostly “South Vietnam”, the country America claimed to “save” and, with France, conceived as a singularly imperial ruse. The “meaning” of the Vietnam war is no different from the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the levelling of every city in North Korea. The aim was described by Colonel Edward Lansdale, the famous CIA man on whom Graham Greene based his central character in The Quiet American. Quoting Robert Taber’s The War of the Flea, Lansdale said, “There is only one means of defeating an insurgent people who will not surrender, and that is extermination. There is only one way to control a territory that harbours resistance, and that is to turn it into a desert.” Nothing has changed. When Donald Trump addressed the United Nations on 19 September – a body established to spare humanity the “scourge of war” – he declared he was “ready, willing and able” to “totally destroy” North Korea and its 25 million people. His audience gasped, but Trump’s language was not unusual. His rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, had boasted she was prepared to “totally obliterate” Iran, a nation of more than 80 million people. This is the American Way; only the euphemisms are missing now. Returning to the US, I am struck by the silence and the absence of an opposition – on the streets, in journalism and the arts, as if dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. There is plenty of sound and fury at Trump the odious one, the “fascist”, but almost none at Trump the symptom and caricature of an enduring system of conquest and extremism. Where are the ghosts of the great anti-war demonstrations that took over Washington in the 1970s? Where is the equivalent of the Freeze Movement that filled the streets of Manhattan in the 1980s, demanding that President Reagan withdraw battlefield nuclear weapons from Europe? The sheer energy and moral persistence of these great movements largely succeeded; by 1987 Reagan had negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that effectively ended the Cold War. Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as “nuclear targeting planning is increased”. The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against “repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War … All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this.” But not in America. The thousands who turned out for Senator Bernie Sanders’ “revolution” in last year’s presidential campaign are collectively mute on these dangers. That most of America’s violence across the world has been perpetrated not by Republicans, or mutants like Trump, but by liberal Democrats, remains a taboo. Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama’s overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia’s western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941. Obama’s “pivot to Asia” in 2011 signalled the transfer of the majority of America’s naval and air forces to Asia and the Pacific for no purpose other than to confront and provoke China. The Nobel Peace Laureate’s worldwide campaign of assassinations is arguably the most extensive campaign of terrorism since 9/11. What is known in the US as “the left” has effectively allied with the darkest recesses of institutional power, notably the Pentagon and the CIA, to see off a peace deal between Trump and Vladimir Putin and to reinstate Russia as an enemy, on the basis of no evidence of its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The true scandal is the insidious assumption of power by sinister war-making vested interests for which no American voted. The rapid ascendancy of the Pentagon and the surveillance agencies under Obama represented an historic shift of power in Washington. Daniel Ellsberg rightly called it a coup. The three generals running Trump are its witness. All of this fails to penetrate those “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics”, as Luciana Bohne noted memorably. Commodified and market-tested, “diversity” is the new liberal brand, not the class people serve regardless of their gender and skin colour: not the responsibility of all to stop a barbaric war to end all wars. “How did it fucking come to this?” says Michael Moore in his Broadway show, Terms of My Surrender, a vaudeville for the disaffected set against a backdrop of Trump as Big Brother. I admired Moore’s film, Roger & Me, about the economic and social devastation of his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and Sicko, his investigation into the corruption of healthcare in America. The night I saw his show, his happy-clappy audience cheered his reassurance that “we are the majority!” and calls to “impeach Trump, a liar and a fascist!” His message seemed to be that had you held your nose and voted for Hillary Clinton, life would be predictable again. He may be right. Instead of merely abusing the world, as Trump does, the Great Obliterator might have attacked Iran and lobbed missiles at Putin, whom she likened to Hitler: a particular profanity given the 27 million Russians who died in Hitler’s invasion. “Listen up,” said Moore, “putting aside what our governments do, Americans are really loved by the world!” There was a silence.
  4. A Favorite Steve Bannon Author

    A bump, just so late-arrivals get a chance to read this very interesting piece.
  5. Zman

    Why was the Iraq War fought? Not because Bush or anyone else thought Saddam was working on nuclear weapons. The fact is, no one knew for sure. No doubt he would have, if he could have. But the economic sanctions probably prevented him, and the evidence available to Bush was very much on the side of his not having an effective program for nuclear weapons development. So why did Bush invade? Simple: the people running American foreign policy finally work up, on September 9th 2001, to the fact that militant Islamism was a genuine threat to the West. These people were not just occasional bomb-planters, but were sophisticated, wealthy, persistent and above all ... popular with large numbers of Muslims around the world. However, they didn't have a state. If they did, it could be engaged in a conventional war and defeated. But how do you defeat a shadowy network with supporters all over the world, including in the advanced democracies themselves? What the Bush regime was finally convinced of was, ironically, a liberal view of the problem. Back during the Cold War, especially in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Communism had a fair amount of sympathy among young Third World intelligentsia, like Che Guevara. They saw it as a way to rapidly modernize their backward countries, which didn't seem to be developing much under capitalism. (Third World economic development has accelerated rapidly since then, and pro-Communism has faded into insignificance.) The American response to the danger of Communism in the Third World was two-pronged: mainly military, often via CIA-manipulated proxies. But the US also encouraged land reform in some of these countries, like S Korea and Taiwan and S Vietnam, and, after Carter, was officially on the side of free elections in American-supported dictatorships. However, this was very low-key, and always done through the resident dictators. Liberals -- or, more precisely, leftwing liberals -- tended to be very critical of this approach. They believed that we had to address the social circumstances that turned people to Communism: we had to promote democracy, social equality, economic development. As it turned out, the liberals were factually wrong: the American mainly-military, hardline, Reaganesque approach was enough. Communism collapsed under the weight of its own inefficiency, helped along by Reagan's pushing them into increased arms spending that they could not afford. (The Soviets were already spending about 25% of their GNP on defense, compared to our 5%.) But how to deal with militant Islamism, which shared many of the features of Communism: militant, armed opposition to 'imperialism', along with the promise of a just society, redeeming national/racial pride. The military approach wouldn't work, because these people had no states. Enter the neo-conservatives, who are mainly ex-liberals. They proposed 'draining the swamp' that bred Islamists. Invade Iraq, make it into a democracy, using its great oil wealth to fund economic development .... and young Muslims would find new outlet for their ambitions: a strong, growing Muslim state that was also a democracy. Could it have worked? Some people think so: see Squandered Victory by Larry Diamond: From the Publisher's description: I don't know whether Diamond is right, or even if he is right in theory -- a different approach could have resulted in a stable democracy -- whether the US is capable of carrying it out in practice. (You might benefit from having your appendix removed, but if the surgeon is an incompetent butcher who kills most of his patients, then you shouldn't try that option.) But most people on the Left opposed the war, and most on the Right supported it. (There were exceptions on both sides.) In general, the Left didn't oppose the war because they had made a sophisticated analysis of the Iraqi situation and decided that 'draining the swamp' wouldn't work. Rather, the Left is in general opposed to the waging of war by the advanced democracies, which they see as capitalist imperialist powers and not real democracies at all. And in general, the Right (with the exception of the neo-conservatives) didn't support the war because they had made a sophisticated analysis of Iraq and decided that 'draining the swamp' was a plausible strategy. Rather, the Rigth always supports any war waged by its government. As it turned out, the Left's position, whatever its motivation, was the one which seemed to be confirmed by events. As in Vietnam, you can make a case that had we stayed, thrown all our efforts into achieving our goals, we could have won. But speculation, even plausible speculation, is feeble in the face of events. Today conservatives are confused about foreign policy. Few of them are eager for more wars, but their basic instincts remain. Thus we find conservatives criticizing Obama for helping to overthrow Gaddifi and for not helping (enough) to overthrow Assad. But there is no coherent conservative foreign policy. Nor is there a coherent liberal one. It's a scary world, military strength seems to be very very important, but ... how to use it? And then there is China ... a hundred times more of a threat than North Korea, but neither liberals nor conservatives can face reality on the Chinese issue. So we will continue to live in Interesting Times.
  6. White Privilege Checklist

    What Fred (of Fred On Everything) thinks about this issue: Are White Men Gods? (II): Getting the Facts Straight Posted on June 25, 2015 by Fred Reed I find Cornel West, a black professor, complaining of White Supremacy, which he believes our black President needs to remedy. Obama, he says, is “[African-American slur]ized.” “A [African-American slur]ized black person is a black person who is afraid and scared and intimidated when it comes to putting a spotlight on white supremacy and fighting against white supremacy,” West said. I would like to explain to Professor West a few things about this dread supremacy: We have White Supremacy, Professor, because for 2500 years we, whites, have produced the best minds on the planet, the greatest flourishing of the arts and sciences ever seen, the most complex and organized societies. We have White Supremacy, whatever exactly it may be, because we have been the earth’s most successful race. No other has come close. Deal with it. We put probes on Mars and invented the thousands of technologies needed to do it. We developed the symphony orchestra, the highest form of musical expression. We invented the airplane, the computer, the internet, and tennis shoes. Putting it compactly, we invented the modern world. A degree of privilege, however you may conceive it, goes with the territory. A product of white engineers. When you can do this, come back and talk to me. Blacks may not have the background to grasp the extent of our achievements. Still, permit me a brief and very incomplete list of things white people have done or invented: Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry. Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Calculus: Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory. Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy. Enthalpy. Every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that. S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry. The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening. Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. Polio vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, that’s nerve gas, and maybe we didn’t really need it.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman, public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera. Computers, invented by us. We are not the only ones who can design these monsters. The Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Indians can do it, and they have my respect. But–Babbage, Turing, Shockley, Shannon, Boole, von Neumann–we invented computers. People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence. As a race, Cornel, we are happy for you, for anyone, to enjoy the benefits of our civilization, but that is exactly what it is—our civilization. It has become a global civilization because others among the competent—again, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Koreans—have found it to be in technical matters superior. It came from us. They, I note, do not complain of White Supremacy or White Privilege. They are too busy making computers and money. Now, Cornel, I have often heard blacks demanding reparations for slavery. All right. I agree. It is only fair. I will pay a half-million dollars to each of my slaves, and free them immediately. I am not sure how many I have, but will try to give you an estimate in even dozens. Further, I believe that all blacks are entitled to a similar amount for every year in which they were slaves. However, I think you owe us royalties for the use of our civilization, which can be regarded as a sort of software. There should be a licensing fee. After all, every time you use a computer, or a door knob, you are using something invented by us. Every time you sharpen a pencil, or use one, or read or write, you infringe our copyright, so to speak. We have spent millennia coming up with things–literacy, soap, counting–and it is only fair that we receive recompense. The accounting burden would be excessive if we tried to distribute royalties in too fine a granularity, such as three cents per use of a boom box or a Glock, so we should probably use a bundled approach–so much per year for use of the wheel, refrigerator, and television. The amount could be deducted first from reparations payments and then automatically from EFT cards. A white man’s kraal. We started building them around 1137. Now, Cornel, it isn’t that we whites want to be supreme. It is just that we haven’t been able to help it. It isn’t our fault that we produced Newton, Archimedes, Einstein, and all those mutants. They are just birth effects, things that happen to even the best families. You have to play the hand you are dealt. A little sympathy would be appropriate. These gentlemen, hardly distinguishable from the Julio-Claudians, are probably from Papua-New Guinea. I propose to give them a trial subscription to White Supremacist culture. An essentially identical culture, differing only in detail. (Mission Control) What I think, Cornel, is that if you want the advantages of success, you have to succeed. We have. It is chic to say that whites are now headed for the dust bin of history. Maybe. If so, historians of the future will say, “Damn! That was some really fine dust, wasn’t it?”
  7. By the way, this woman(?) or whatever she/he/it is, will soon be teaching your children at college.
  8. On Communism...

    Communism -- real Communism, not the US Social Security program or free education until the age of 18 -- is dead. You can see it twitching a bit in Laos, Cuba, and North Korea -- but the situation in all of these countries is so awful, that people who want radical change, who are economic egalitarians, who are 'on the Left' -- eschew Communism and, by and large, reluctantly accept that if they totally destroyed capitalism they would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs that they want to tax. Even in Cuba, the ruling elite know that their system doesn't work. Fidel Castro even said this. They are slowly moving towards a Chinese set-up: a large dose of private ownership and capitalism, but with a one-party dictatorship. (Like Franco's fascist Spain from 1940 to 1975, or like many Latin American countries off and on, like Iran before Khomeini took over ... all countries the US government got along with very well.) Calling social systems with some government ownership and some redistribution of income 'Communist' is only done by lazy minds who are incapable of debating concrete political issues. By that definition, every single country in the world is 'Communist', without exception. So the word becomes meaningless. It equates Sweden with North Korea, Costa Rica with Cuba, and Singapore with Laos. It's like calling every large mammal a 'horse', because all mammals have some things in common. It's like equating a mountain lion with a sheep.
  9. I believe Louisiana is not a very liberal state. So it probably has the death penalty. If you're going to be a murderer, you ought to be one in a liberal state.
  10. For some background, read about him here (the Wiki article). Christopher Lasch was (sort-of) a man of the Left. But he was a very original thinker, with some profound insights (in my opinion) into the problems of modern society that most of the Left ignores. Here is an article to whet your interest in him. Christopher Lasch: One of Bannon’s Favorite Authors Jerry D. Salyer As Christopher Lasch was an unrepentant man of the left, it is to say the least doubtful that he would much relish being associated with Steve Bannon, the pugnacious and controversial former advisor to President Trump. Yet for good or ill the association is there, because some time ago the CEO of Breitbart identified Lasch’s final book The Revolt of the Elites and The Betrayal of Democracy as one of the driving inspirations behind today’s populist agenda. So just as we must look at Bannon if we are to make sense of the Trump movement, those trying to understand where Bannon is coming from must in turn make themselves at least a little familiar with the legacy of Lasch. To begin with, it should be admitted that “man of the left” is a somewhat misleading expression vis-à-vis Lasch. More precisely he might be described as a “communitarian populist,” which means that he did concede a certain value to tradition and social norms as forces that hold communities and civilizations together. And although he often drew upon the thought of Marx, Dewey, and Freud, Lasch was also deeply hostile toward liberal academia, for the academics had in his estimation forgotten or even sold out the working class. If he was a leftist, then, he was a leftist who hated the leftist establishment even more than he hated the conservative one. Indeed, in books like The Culture of Narcissism and The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics Lasch condemned the stereotypical liberal’s prejudices against tradition and historical memory using expressions more evocative of Russell Kirk than of Hilary Clinton. “Having trivialized the past by equating it with outmoded styles of consumption, discarded fashions and attitudes, people today resent anyone who draws on the past in serious discussions of contemporary conditions or attempts to use the past as a standard by which to judge the present,” Lasch writes. “Our culture’s indifference to the past—which easily shades over into active hostility and rejection—furnishes the most telling proof of that culture’s bankruptcy.” Select passages from the essay “Why The Left Has No Future” make Lasch’s presence on Bannon’s reading list even easier to understand. In this biting and ruthless analysis of the contemporary intellectual climate, Lasch characterizes liberal writers as mere pseudo-radical posers. They are “full of moral outrage and theoretical hot air,” he reckons, and are doomed to failure because of their inability to comprehend “religion, pro-family attitudes, and [the] ethic of personal accountability.” Rather than address the social, cultural, and economic forces that have contributed to the decline of the family, the intelligentsia prefers to change the family’s definition, a course that in Lasch’s estimation seems a little like a doctor redefining health so as to cover up the fact that he is poisoning his patients. While “it would be foolish to blame feminism for the collapse of the family,” continues Lasch, “it would be equally foolish to pretend that feminism is compatible with the family.” Just like other proponents of liberation ideology, so his argument goes, feminists have in recent years done little more than reinforce the hegemony of anti-family, transnational corporations. Far from representing great triumphs for women, the normalization of two-income and single-mother households are instead proof that Main Street is subject to Wall Street. Nor is Lasch much impressed by the Left’s supposedly bold and compassionate agenda for “helping children”: Here it is obvious that Lasch was as much a sociologist and psychoanalyst as political philosopher. He was, in addition, a fervent partisan of human-scale democracy, which is why he especially opposed what he saw as the infantilization of America’s citizenry. (This infantilization process was epitomized, I might add, by the handing out of crayons and coloring books to college students immediately following the last presidential election.) Last but certainly not least we must consider The Revolt of the Elites, a book that is in part a response to the Spanish conservative José Ortega y Gasset’s classic The Revolt of the Masses. Where Gasset saw the vulgar mob as the quintessential threat to civilization, Lasch sees the problem as lying with a rootless and hence irresponsible elite. According to Lasch, the new meritocracy has all the vanity and pride typical of the old aristocracy, yet none of its good points. Noblesse oblige has given way to cheap and easy virtue signaling. “Those who covet membership in the new aristocracy of brains tend to congregate on the coasts,” he explains,turning their back on the heartland and cultivating ties with the international market of fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture. It is a question whether they think of themselves as Americans at all. Patriotism, certainly, does not rank very high in their hierarchy of virtues. “Multiculturalism,” on the other hand, suits them to perfection, conjuring up the agreeable image of a global bazaar in which exotic cuisines, exotic styles of dress, exotic music, exotic tribal customs can be savored indiscriminately, with no questions asked and no commitments required. The new elites are at home only in transit, en route to a high-level conference, to the grand opening of a new franchise, to an international film festival, or to an undiscovered resort. This is, concludes Lasch, not a citizen’s but “a tourist’s view of the world.” And it is a colossal understatement to say he was not optimistic about the prospect of a world run by (and for) tourists. Whether he exactly predicted the Trump-Brexit backlash of 2016 may be debated, but there can be no question that he did call attention to the bourgeois-bohemian self-satisfaction and superficiality which provoked it. He is one of a handful of dissident American commentators who would, if alive today, be entitled to say “I told you so.” Naturally no consideration of any modern thinker is complete unless it takes into account how he saw Christianity, and once again Lasch falls into a strange idiosyncratic category of his own. Certainly he was a voracious reader whose interests extended well beyond the Freudian-Marxian synthesis of the Frankfurt School, such that he came to appreciate Catholic thinkers like Orestes Brownson and Pope John Paul II. Faith, Lasch suspected, might be a remedy for that “Faustian view of technology” which perennially tempts the minds of his fellow progressives. Regrettably, however, Lasch’s intuitions about the Church’s social significance never lit in him an actual faith of his own, and in retrospect it looks as if democracy was the closest thing he had to a religion. On the one hand he never proclaimed a personal belief in God, just as on the other hand he never questioned the egalitarian suppositions underlying democratic theory. Whatever its weaknesses, Lasch’s work points away from the collapsing liberal consensus, and suggests alternative ways of looking at politics, community, and society. Unaccountable financiers and arrogant technocrats have ushered in for us an age of cultural decadence, massive and uncontrolled demographic shifts, and a seemingly-unending series of uncontrollable revolutions in genetic engineering, robotics and psycho-pharmaceuticals. What we need in order to face the enormous spiritual challenges such changes entail is not this or that comprehensive ideology purporting to solve all our problems, nor mere reinforcement of the truths we already hold, but a variety of fresh and intellectually courageous perspectives. From this fact follows the real significance of Lasch—and, for that matter, of the combative Irish Catholic populist who touts his work. Jerry D. Salyer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics from Miami University and a Master of Arts from the Great Books Program of St. John’s College, Annapolis. A veteran of the US Navy, Mr. Salyer now works as an educator and as a freelance writer.
  11. It's the very low level of debate, Pete. Anyone really wanting a serious argument who comes across this site, is going to be repelled. It wasn't always like this. I was here about 12 years ago, and the debate level was really high. The 'No Holds Barred' Forum was a sub-forum where the frothers were sent. The main Forum had really good people, Left and Right, and it was a real pleasure to engage in political combat there. Then the mods had some sort of falling-out, and things seemed to go downhill, and almost everyone left. Too bad.
  12. India and the Arab countries are good test cases regarding IQ and social environment. At the moment, they don't rank particularly high on measures of intellectual achievement -- and I'd use their most recent PISA scores rather than their 'average IQ' as reported by by Rushton et al because the PISA tests are far more statistically valid. [I'll do a separate post on this at some point.] So by current measures of intelligence/intellectual achievement, India and the Arab countries don't stack up very well against the Europeans and Asians. One school of thought would say that this is inevitable, and will never change, because it's in their genes. inherent poor thinking skills cause poverty. But this is exactly backwards. It's poverty -- more generally, the impoverished social environment -- that causes poor thinking skills. But wait! Both of these countries once had high civilizations, ahead of Europe. Anyone who doesn't know this is just poorly-educated. So what happened? Did their genes somehow mutate? No, it was something else. What made civilizations rise and fall is an old debate -- I don't know enough even to repeat the major theories. But no one thinks their genes somehow magically transformed themselves. And, India is on the way up again, having thrown off a lot (by no means all!) of the statist economic shackles their ruling elite inherited from their English education. (The socialists of the London School of Economics are far more to blame for Indian's economic backwardness after the British left than anythng the British did while they were there.) They've still got a long way to go -- India is still corrupt, and the dead hand of the state still stifles enterprise -- but they're on the road. The Arabs have got to get past secular pseudo-socialist dictatorship and monarchies before they start growing again, and reclaim their glorious heritage. In fact, once Iran -- a weird combination of democratic republic and theocracy, somewhat like the democracy-constrained-by-the-military regimes of recent Latin America -- is admitted to the world economic community, you're going to see real growth there. Of course, they're Persians, not Arabs, but the Persians were once the most advanced civilization on earth. What all these countries need is raw, red-blooded capitalism, a strong state to do what the state does best (providing law and order, basic infrastructure, education), and above all the end of corruption. Then give them a couple of generations and the argument that backwardness is in the genes will be as plausible as phrenology.
  13. Pete: have a look at this guy's website. He's a conservative, not a Leftist: in particular, he has written extensively on the Race/IQ/National Wealth issue, debating people with your view. Read his stuff, keep an open mind, and be prepared to think that he may be right, or right in part. Only stupid people and Leftist ideologues are incapable of changing their minds.
  14. Pete: I'm glad to see you're open to evidence. It's a sign of intelligence to be willing to change one's opinions when new data comes in. Let's continue this discussion. I've got to be away from the internet for a day or two, maybe a whole week. I hope you find others here willing to discuss.
  15. Merrill: this is quite wrong. I've got to go to bed now so I can't go into it but IQ correlates quite closely to ability in a number of t areas besides reading and math. It actually correlates with speed of reflexes! (Although, as with everything connected with IQ, it's a complex issue.) But let me make a thought experiment, related to IQ and 'intelligence' in "dance, art, music, cooking, foreign languages, defeating an enemy in war, caring for a baby" Suppose I've got to choose two dancers, or two artists, or two musicians, or two cooks, or two translators, or two generals, or two child-minders. They are equal in every possible way that we can measure except ... one of them has an IQ of 85, and the other, an IQ of 125. Seriously now ... which one would you pick? If what you are saying is that you can be a good cook, and not have a stellar IQ, and you can have a stellar IQ and not be a good cook, then I agree. But that's not the same thing. IQ correlates with superior performance in a large number of things ... anything about which we have to think, process information, make decisions ... and that includes dancing, art, making or composing music, cooking, translating, defeating an enemy in war and caring for a baby. Even being a President, God help us.