We have spoken to your mother. We know everything.
“What we have here, is a failure to communicate”.
We want to take a look at linguistics and how language plays a role in how we define the world around us. This is a deadly serious topic. How and why we perceive the threats around us the way we do, determines how we respond to those threats.
To do that, there are a few words you need to know and understand. Simply put, linguistics is defined as the study of language. Semantics is the study of language meaning and sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to its sociocultural context.
There are many other concepts, but we since this is an initial conversation, we’re on the KISS plan.
When we argue with a neighbor over some real or perceived slight, we regard them as our enemy, to be argued with, shunned, gossiped about or even fenced in, once and for all. We hold our ground and won’t be convinced that the relationship between us will change until there is an apology for the slight (real or imagined) and a truce of some kind is entered to. After a while, the reason for the confrontation is forgotten and life resumes.
In fact, that neighbor was never really our enemy. That neighbor was our opponent. An opponent is someone like ourselves, with whom we have a disagreement or who might have offended us, personally.
An enemy is someone with whom we, as individuals and as a community, have fundamental differences. An enemy has values and beliefs, that are very different than out own. An enemy wants to deprive us of our beliefs and values, because that enemy finds our beliefs repulsive or threatening to their own. Enemies will fight to the death, should they choose to engage us or we choose to engage them.
There are people who believe that enemies are opponents- that is, they can reasoned with and rationalized with and common ground can be had. Believing that an enemy can be an opponent is what led much of Europe to appease Hitler, in the beginning. Herr Hitler, it was believed, was after all a European. Surely he could be reasoned with. Surely he would respond to the rational idea that war was catastrophic.
Just as surely, every attempt to appease Hitler and turn a blind eye to his publicly stated goals failed, because Herr Hitler turned himself and his nation into enemies of European and democratic values. There were those on September 1, 1939 who were in shock that Hitler had invaded Poland.
Even with all the technology available to us, it can take us a up to year to prepare for war. It took the Germans years to prepare for the invasion of Poland and Europe- and there were still those that were shocked at the invasion of Poland. The world watched Germany prepare for war- and remained in denial about the obvious German intentions. The Germans could never be enemies, they believed. They might be opponents- but never enemies.
In fact, the differences between radical Islamism and Nazism are virtually indistinguishable. Both ideologies can be defined with violence, racism and the determined desire to deny people free will. Both Nazism and radical Islamism are similar in that they believe they had the right and blessing of destiny, to impose those ideologies by force if necesary, on a global scale. Both ideologies cannot tolerate dissent.
’Moderate’ Muslims are today a carbon copy of the German Volk, hoping against hope that Hitler’s words were mere rhetoric. The lack of outrage and action by the German people against Hitler was to become the cause of ruinious destruction and would tar the German people forever. The same will happen to Muslims.
There are those today, who everyday, plead for us to engage radical Islamists as opponents, as if we could actually come to terms with those whose stated goal is to destroy us. Their intent is admirable. There is no more worthy goal than the pursuit of peace- none. However well intentioned, they are lacking in the understanding of the differences between enemies and opponents. Alexandra, of All Things Beautiful noted,
A lawyer defending al Qaeda-linked suspects standing trial for the 2003 suicide bombings in Istanbul told a court that jihad, or holy war, was an obligation for Muslims and his clients should not be prosecuted.
“If you punish them for this, tomorrow, will you punish them for fasting or for praying?” Osman Karahan — a lawyer representing 14 of the 72 suspects — asked during a nearly four-hour speech in which he read religious texts from an encyclopedia of Islam.
The November 2003 blasts targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate and the local headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank, killing 58 people.
“If non-Muslims go into Muslim lands, it is every Muslim’s obligation to fight them,” Karahan said.”
There is a fundamental differences in belief here. Even for one not religious, the reality is that societies and cultures are more often than not influenced by religious beliefs. The differences between radical Islam and the Judeo-Christian ethic are at the moment, so vast, that there is hardly a possibility for reconciliation. While we might be opponents at the dinner table, we are enemies at the most basic and primal levels.
To be clear, that does not mean it is inevitable that we fight each other. Certainly, there is room for ‘peaceful coexistence’, if that choice were to be made. Further, we have evolved culturally as well. Christianity is no longer wears military adventurism or violence on it’s sleeve. ‘Religion’ has now come to embrace the notion that God speaks to us in different ways. John Paul II’s greatest legacy may be that he embraced all mankind, without exception or precondition. Clearly, religion can- and has, changed.
Just as clearly, it is apparent that the choice for ‘peaceful coexistence’ with radical Islam is not an option now. There are those that demand we submit and others insist we abandon our beliefs, political and otherwise- beliefs that are predicated on our values.
We are fighting one war on the battlefield of ideas and ideologies and we are fighting another on the front lines of combat. These wars are very different, yet the enemy’s goal is the same. We, and our values, are a threat and must be eliminated.
We don’t want enemies because enemies require from us a commitment that we don’t want to make. Those enemies that declare war on us must be beaten. They must be forever vanquished, so their evil will not find a even a moments repose, to collect itself, rest and fight another day. Fighting an enemy is a long and dirty business. Fighting an enemy that fights in the name of some bastardized and polluted notion of God’s will make the fight longer and harder.
The Israelis at times, delude themselves into thinking they are fighting an opponent, with whom they are at odds. In reality of course, that is a dangerous illusion. They sit a table to talk peace, even as the Palestinians preach death and destruction from the pulpits and teach hate and murder as a part if their school curriculum. Day and night, their media reinforces that culture of hate- and they applaud themselves in the process.
They could have reached a peace decades ago. Instead, the Palestinians publicly declared that killing the enemy was preferential to living in peace. It mattered little that their populations lived in squalor and degradation, because their populations supported those ideas. Think about that. Even those loving in squalor would reject peace and prosperity in the name of an ideology. Please read Shame, the Arab Psyche and Islam, by Dr Sanity. It is one of the most important articles the enemy we have ever read- and we read a lot of them. It is a clear and concise explanation of what exactly it is we face today.
There are people living in comfort and security, funding the Jihad against us, with little fear of retribution or consequence. Why? Because they know that we are divided and that many of us look at them as opponents, equals, but of a different set of beliefs. Everyday, when they speak in our language, they sound so reasonable. In fact, they laugh at our gullibility. As Abu Hamza, of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London said, “We will use your democracy to destroy you.” He wasn’t kidding.
Our soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and in covert operations, are fighting an enemy, not an opponent. We had better come to fully understand that, and soon. We cannot allow the constitution and the niceties of the rules of war to limit our fight. This war must be fought by ’serious people’, as The Anchoress once said. If we don’t, we are going to pay an unimaginable price.
Freedom, along with millions of lives, will be lost.
Portions of this post were originally published on 23 January, 2005.
A few days ago, we wrote The Beast That Is Israel, in which we noted a few disparities that make it easy to distinguish the differences between the Israelis and Palestinians.
An essay written by Carolyn Glick that appeared on the Jerusalem Post opinion page (given her presentation of the facts, it is hard to understand why her piece is opinion), that meshed well with our own post. Ms Glick notes that in the State of Palestine- replete with peace loving Palestinians fighting the dysfunctional Israelis- , a full
...88 percent of the public feels insecure. Perhaps the other 12 percent are members of the multitude of regular and irregular militias. For in the State of Palestine the ratio of police/militiamen/men-under-arms to civilians is higher than in any other country on earth.
In the State of Palestine, two-year-olds are killed and no one cares. Children are woken up in the middle of the night and murdered in front of their parents. Worshipers in mosques are gunned down by terrorists who attend competing mosques. And no one cares. No international human rights groups publish reports calling for an end to the slaughter. No UN body condemns anyone or sends a fact-finding mission to investigate the murders.
In the State of Palestine, women are stripped naked and forced to march in the streets to humiliate their husbands. Ambulances are stopped on the way to hospitals and wounded are shot in cold blood. Terrorists enter operating rooms in hospitals and unplug patients from life-support machines.
In the State of Palestine, people are kidnapped from their homes in broad daylight and in front of the television cameras. This is the case because the kidnappers themselves are cameramen. Indeed, their commanders often run television stations. And because terror commanders run television stations in the State of Palestine, it should not be surprising that they bomb the competition's television stations.
Welcome to the real world of Palestine, where simple racism, bigotry and hate no longer provide enough dysfunction. Whereas once only rabid anti semitism was the only world class achievement in which Palestinian and Arab societies and cultures excelled, it is clear that the Palestinians are now looking for yet another gold medal in dysfunctional behavior.
This time the Palestinians are trying to reach for the stars by ensuring they will never allow a civilized culture or society to take root.
After billions of dollars that were poured into the Palestinian Authority over the decades, the only results of that largesse are non existent- unless corruption and theft are taken into consideration. There are no schools or hospitals that have been built by the PA since Oslo or any other major public works projects. That said, the PA did spend millions to build a now shuttered casino.
The Palestinian obsession with Israel as a moral failure is absurd. If it weren't for the Israelis, the Palestinians would still be in the dark ages, without heath care, education or even sanitation. One has to ask oneself, what is the obsession with Israel all about? Well, if you say you don't know, think again. At least be honest with yourself. A transparent sheet is still a sheet. Further, let's get real about who we are dealing with. The PA, past and present, rival the UN in it's level of corruption. Arafat squirrerled away billions while Israelis provided health care.
Have you ever wondered why there were never any demonstrations against the building of the now infamous settlements? Can you imagine the PR value of a hundred little school girls, sitting in the road and blocking a bulldozer? The reason for the marked lack of protest against settlement building in the West Bank is because PA ministers own the construction companies that build those settlements. It's been going on for years and only recently, has the matter been discussed in the Arab press. Sadly, 'Cementgate,' as the story was called is no longer on the Arab press agenda. Israeli settlements are being built by Palestinian companies, owned by PA ministers and big wigs. That is another reason the Palestinian at the top are in no rush for a peace deal- the Israelis pay. Arab nations that promise money do not. Besides, other Arabs might make unreasonable demands- such as accountability and transparency.
When it comes to money and aid to the Palestinians, the words of Charles De Gaulle come to mind- 'We shall stun them with our ingratitude.'
Wretchard notes in Those Happy Faces, that
The collateral damage inflicted upon the people of the Third World by the Left in pursuit of their fantasies will someday rank with the Slave Trade and the Holocaust in the annals of historical outrage. It is the last form of imperialism. And the worst.
Sigmund Freud once said, ‘I have a dream…’ In the case of the Palestinians his remarks would clearly refer to nightmares.
The dream of a Palestinian state as an equal participant on the world stage is a mirage, not unlike the nightmare of being on a stage naked in front of a laughing crowd. The Palestinians need to dream about a civilized behaviors and functional, productive society. Without that, they will be unable to establish or maintain a state of any kind.
The left has hitched their wagon to the Palestinian cause, thus ensuring yet more generations of dysfunctional behavior from those they have turned into beasts of burden, carrying the heavy load of failed ideologies, societies and cultures.
Eventually, the Palestinians will get out from under the ether of dysfunctionality and as Wretchard notes, there will be hell to pay.
This week, we look at the efforts to replace a Holocaust Memorial Day with a more generic 'Genocide Day,' an idea enthusiastically endorsed and espoused by many British Muslims, in the hope that Israeli 'genocide' against the Palestinians will take center stage.
SC&A think a Genocide Day isn't such a bad idea. After all, it is clear that the Israelis have come to symbolize failure when it comes to genocide, despite all their world class achievements. On the other hand, the ongoing genocide in Sudan, perpetrated by the Arab Janjaweed has been far more effective at business of killing and rape. The Arab League is no hurry to end the slaughter.
The same can be said for the atrocities and genocide in Algeria, the Philippines, and East Timor. Under Saddam, Kurds and Marsh Arabs were subjected to unspeakable horrors, as were ordinary Iraqis.
So many atrocities, so little time.
A Genocide Day might bring awareness to the use of poison gas in Yemen by the Egyptians, as well as the ongoing slave trade in Mauritania, conducted by Arab slave traders.
We're all for raising awareness.
As an aside, see this. Puts the whole 'inclusive' Holocaust movement in perspective.
Neo, Dr Sanity, Shrinkwrapped and ourselves respond to this latest assault on civilized behavior in scintillating fashion. Join us this week and you'll be treated to erudite, considered opinions and insightful analysis sans pareil- with a few snide and smart ass observations that hit home.
This weeks podcast is a keeper.
Last year, and the year before, almost 43,000 Americans died on our highways and in traffic accidents (there is good news to report. No drunk senator from any New England state managed to drive off a bridge, resulting in the death of a young woman (some two hours after the accident) and then checked into a motel and 'forgot to call the police.' The senator did remember to call his state's political fixers, lawyers, family and other assorted individuals. We ought to be grateful. Who needs a senator with a faulty memory?).
As a nation, it is clear those 43,000 deaths don't mean much to us. If we really did care, we'd be up in arms in the same way some people 'care' about the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq, or 'care' about the deaths of Palestinians who chose to initiate violence against Israel that would lead to her destruction(as opposed to seeking a durable peace treaty ).
The war in Iraq has lead to the tragic deaths of over 3,000 Americans, over a few years. The Palestinian Intifadah, has resulted in slightly more deaths, over a longer period of time. Nevertheless, because the the 43,000 deaths per year attributed to drunk driving cannot be attributed to George Bush, neo-cons or people who attend religious services, those deaths are deemed irrelevant. That is no overstatement. When a religious figure is caught up in a scandal, there are those who revel in the bloodletting. When a public school teacher is involved in a similar incident, it is usually ignored. A study was commissioned to look at child abuse in public schools. The conclusion was astounding.
...we believe that sexual misconduct in whatever form it takes is a serious problem in our nation's schools and one about which parents and taxpayers have a right to be informed. The Department of Education is currently investigating ways to obtain more reliable evidence on the extent of sexual abuse in schools.
Abuse by public school teachers appears to be a far greater issue than abuse by religious school instructors.
the report says the mistreatment of students ranges from sexual comments to rape. In fact, says the study's author Charol Shakeshaft, professor of educational administration at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., the scope of the school-sex problem appears to far exceed the clergy-abuse scandal that has recently rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
Comparing the incidence of sexual misconduct in schools with the Catholic Church scandal, Shakeshaft notes that a recent study by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded 10,667 young people were sexually mistreated by priests between 1950 and 2002.
In contrast, she extrapolates from a national survey conducted for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000 that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a public school employee between 1991 and 2000.
The figures suggest "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests," said Shakeshaft, according to Education Week.
Indeed, more than 4.5 million students are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade, says the report.
Stupidity and denial run in all directions.
The idea of registering guns is a good one. Yes, it is. The registering of weapons is not an endorsement of a ban on weapons. In fact, quite the contrary- there should be no issue with responsible citizens owning weapons. The truth is, weapons are registered today, when the application to purchase that weapon is filled out. All a national gun registry would do is submit the state information to a national database, or make state information available to other state law enforcement. Registering a weapon helps law enforcement identify a weapon used in a crime. If that gun was stolen from you and used in the commission of a crime, we want the SOB that took it to do even more time.
Criminals will not be able to register guns- so we endeavor to protect society, when some other SOB buys weapons legally and then resells them, we want his butt in prison as well.
Registering a weapon is not like registering your DNA, so get over it.
Further, there is no earthly reason why anyone should be able to walk out of Walmart or Bubba's Gun Emporium with a 50 caliber machine gun. If that troubles you, ask yourself why you cannot walk out of Walmart with hand grenades or land mines. If you need a 50 caliber machine gun, for sport, target or anything else, forgive your neighbors if they would seek a bit of peace of mind.
Social Security is in trouble. There are fewer people paying into it and more extracting from it.
When Social Security was initiated, you retired at 65 and were dead by 70. Now, you retire at 67 and with modern medicine, plastic surgery and Viagra, you're good to go into your nineties. Even the products of todays education systems should be able to get the general idea, if not the specifics.
Something will have to give- and what will have to give is obvious. Lesser benefits, paid later on, and if you've made a bundle and have money, well, no Social Security for you.
Before you start bitching in that a stupid, self righteous voice, consider this: What you actually pay into Social Security is a pittance compared to what you will receive. You could receive 3 (even many multiples of that) times what you put in and the end, your children and grandchildren will pay. .
Now, if you want to screw your kids and grandkids, that's your business. Just don't go blaming the government (of either party) for your selfishness. Unless and until you demand Social Security reform, you will get exactly what you deserve- a royal screwing. This has nothing to do with partisan politics- it has to do with math and your kids. Even if you can't do the math, understand you will screw your kids. Not even the current crop of twenty something, self absorbed, self esteemed, well trophied and otherwise complete idiots (for the most part) deserve that.
Look at it this way. Teddy Kennedy is the Senator from Massachusetts- well, he vacations there. He lives in Florida, so he would presumably pay no taxes in his home state. Can you blame him? Jeb Bush and the state of Florida are tax friendly. Now, this is the guy that oversaw the sale of the Chicago Merchandise Mart for almost a billion dollars- and made sure that no taxes would have to paid on that billion dollar windfall. This is the guy that is talking about the 'little guy' and taxes and how we have to protect social security. This is the guy that will enjoy a huge pension, paid medical coverage for him and his family for the rest of his life- and this is the guy who is telling you we don't need to change a thing. Oh yes- this is also the guy who wants the feds to fork over another 8 or 9 billion dollars for the Big Dig project
The Pyramids of Egypt could have been built for less and unlike the Big Dig, they aren't collapsing. Teddy Kennedy isn't calling for an investigation into the debacle- that might upset his union buddies.
As to the state of education, well, let's be serious. Our schools are in trouble, as we noted earlier today. The number of A's handed out (even to the idiots who needed remedial everything) has gone up. Grading must now be given on the idiot curve. Students (the self esteemed and trophy crowd) are giving out evaluations of professors. See this and have a good laugh. The severity of the problem becomes evident.
In grade school, (where the problems originate) the situation is nowhere near resolving itself. Plagiarism is running rampant and parents are objecting to their kids actually having to write in depth papers. Also, see this- there is a letter in that post worth reading.
All in all, we have a lot to clean up- messes that we ourselves have created or are responsible for. We cannot blame government for all these problems, much as we'd like to pass the buck. By giving successive governments the mandate to ignore these and other issues, we must take responsibility for the mess we find ourselves in. These problems were not created overnight, nor will they be solved quickly.
She quotes Robert Bork's Slouching Towards Gomorrah:
As the universities lose respect for intellect, that attitude spreads not only to lower schools but to the society at large. It is perhaps unclear whether the universities are instructing the culture at large in the joys of anti-intellectualism or whether the universities have been infected by a culture already lobotomized by television. Probably the influence runs both ways. The universities have an independent reason to abandon intellect: the barrier that rationality places in the way of politicization.
Alice is on the front lines. She deals with the students who believe Barney would makes a fine UN Secretary General.
...I'm in a gymnasium full of teenage revolutionaries in training and they are all writing exams. Exams that will determine whether or not they advance to higher levels of freedom fighting. High school math.
A girl wearing powder blue pajama pants and pink fuzzy slippers raised her hand and whispered to the supervising teacher, "Um, excuse me, I was just wondering, um, like, when you write a cheque, so you're the one writing the cheque, um, I'm just not sure, does the money go into your account, or come out of it?" Even without bangs there were no visible lobotomy scars, but then, is it even the front part that gets removed??
Alice notes that 'the battle for the mind is won and lost on many fronts,' and in fact, that battle rages on and extends beyond basic banking skills.
How is it possible that there are people who mightily applaud a onetime presidential candidate who joyfully embraces a hate filled bigot? How is it possible that the leader of Iran and John Kerry seem to share the same values? How is it possible that sharing those anti American values trump the racist, bigoted and hateful values that are publicly embraced by the Iranian regime?
It would appear that those who applaud John Kerry now would have applauded if he embraced Adolph Hitler.
How is it possible that there are people who applaud resistance to an American initiative to bring democracy to a region of the world that has never known that magnificent gift and luxury?
The answers to those questions and other similar questions, is clear. There are those, by reason of a political agenda, that have come to fear the truth. They believe that if they can shut their eyes tightly, cover their ears with their hands and click their heels three times, the truth will go away.
They have been taught that truth and justice are incompatible. They demand justice only for those who share their political ideologies.
The Kurds are a good example. For decades, Kurdish populations wanted free and democratic societies with capitalist economies. They were ignored for no other reason than their oppressors and persecutors (read: butchers) were darlings of the left.
Stalin, Che, Castro, Mao and Ho Chi Minh are a few other examples of the ideologues that caused the death of hundreds of millions. Notwithstanding those truths, the are revered figures of the left, History and truth are rewritten to lionize these leftist 'heroes.'
Yasser Arafat, the man that caused more war, death and destruction in the Middle East is revered by the left despite the reality that he has been all but forgotten by the Palestinians. Despite the billions of dollars stolen by Arafat that left his 'people' wallowing is squalor and poverty, children in this country are taught that he was the beloved 'father of his people.'
In The Myths That Fuels The Lefts' Denial, Dr Sanity notes
Psychological denial and the avoidance of an unpleasant reality are certainly not confined to one side of the political spectrum or the other. But what I find endlessly fascinating is how the political left has created and fully integrated specific ideological tools that facilitate ongoing psychological denial...
When it suits their purposes (i.e., when they are losing the argument), they will resort to the claim that reality and truth are merely subjective constructs anyway, and that any evidence you present is only someone's "opinion" and that their opinions are as good as anyone else's.
Such a position should logically disqualify their position to begin with, but of course, it doesn't...
Shrinkwrapped, in speaking of the what are now easily recognized leftist dysfunctionality cogently notes that
The ACLU, people like Ward Churchill, groups like Moveon.org and Human Rights First insist that their motives are pure (while everyone who disagrees with them have motives that are typically corrupt.) They are upholding human rights; the right to be treated with respect; the right to counsel; the right to free speech. As abstractions, these rights are inviolate; as explanations for their behavior (which could appear to be harmful to our nation's interests) they are superficially plausible; yet, reality always supervenes. To be more attached to abstractions than to the welfare of others in one's community is a classic signifier of the Narcissist [emp-SC&A]. It is one step removed from the narcissistic disavowal of the other: my beliefs are more important than your life.
Believing in the 'Can't we all get along ideology' is more important than dealing with reality. As long as despots, tyrants and dictators say they want to get along, business as usual is the order of the day. They are given a free pass to continue their well documented dysfunctional behavior and they are more than happy to lionize the 'useful idiots' that hand out those free passes.
These dysfunctional beliefs must be taught from an early age. This is no small matter. One of the ways a child learns by learning to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Decision making skills are in fact about being able to distinguish what is real (relevant) and what is not (irrelevant). History has proved that when a child is taught that reality and truth are subjective and in fact, are only relevant when supporting a particular ideology, that child/student/society will fail- but not before horrific damage is done.
The Nazis, communists and Arab world are examples of truth denying ideologies run wild. Nazi ideology resulted in the deaths of 50 million people. Stalin and Mao painted communism red with the blood of hundreds of millions of now forgotten souls. The Arab nations, led by some of the most dysfunctional leaders in history, have doomed hundreds of millions of people to generations of failure, with no end in sight.
Of course, the left will point to Augusto Pinochet of Chile, as if he were the embodiment of all right wing evil. That is like pointing to the singular terror act of Baruch Goldstein and concluding that the Israelis are no different than the Palestinians who have made terror a godly expression of their raison d'etre.
There are other 'inconvenient truths' besides those promulgated by Al Gore, that remain ignored by the left.
The entire African continent is being exploited by China on an ever escalating scale, with no end in sight. China cares little about Africa or African nations and there is more than ample evidence that they are exploiting resources with little or no regard to environmental concerns. They are also flooding those African nations with low cost goods and thus they are killing the fledgling modernization and manufacturing capabilities of those nations. The left cares little about what China does in Africa or to Africans.
There is another 'inconvenient truth the left needs to extinguish.
There is not a single example of a regime or tyrant that has been supported by the left that that has resulted in anything but failure, misery and death. Not one- and that is why the left desperately needs to obfuscate reality and the truth.
The emperor has no clothes.
That road to obfuscation starts- adn ends- in the schools. Alice dryly notes:
Back in the old days when I was studying business and had big plans to make money, I recall visiting with a B. Ed student who had to write an essay about a dead, white, classical musician as her final project. She said to me:
I'm sooo tired of writing boring old essays, so I think I'm going to tweak the project a bit and make it into a story about a grandmother telling her grandson about his great-great-great grandfather Bach. They can be by a fireplace and he can be holding a teddy bear. Do you think the prof will mind?
At the time, my business mind couldn't comprehend. Tweaking? Teddy bears? After spending a little time in working on my own B. Ed years later, it all made perfect sense.
To credit the music prof's integrity, the essay was rejected.
The battle for the mind is won and lost on many fronts.
The question is, who are we fighting?
That is one loaded question, Alice
Our educational system is a national disgrace.
I was forced to dumb down the curriculum and pass failing students along when I was in the public school systems, and now I am dealing with one of the results of that at the college level. And I still maintain that while it is, of course, ultimately, the lazy spoiled self-esteem-laden students' fault, they were enabled along the way by their ferocious red-shirting parents, who demanded, and generally got, exceptions for any rule, all along the way.
Shame on us for allowing it to happen. Shame on us for catering to the demanding. Shame on us for permitting our kids to be whiny and empty-headed. Shame on us for putting Nascar on a pedestal and basketball on a throne and letting academics fall by the wayside. Shame on us for sanctioning plagiarism, and hiring lawyers to make sure our kids get the grades we want them to get, whether it's the grades they've earned or not. Shame on us for not making students EARN every single grade they get. EARN. It's a concept many people don't even understand. Shame on us for become an entitlement culture. Shame on every parent who ever went to school and demanded mercy instead of justice. Or, rather, 'favors,' in the name of mercy. Shame on every kid who fudged an assignment and told his parents he was being picked on and THAT'S why his grades are low. And shame on every parent who believed it.
As long as Americans believe they are entitled to good grades and scholarships, and as long as foreigners EARN good grades and scholarships, we're going to get our asses kicked in academic competition, and we will have EARNED that big bruise and that big "NO" on the admissions form. And once out in the business world, who wants to give their money to a company that can't even spell the words right on their billboard? Not me, that's for sure. Misspelling in the business? Count your change very, very carefully. They probably can't do that, either, unless they've hired a foreigner to do it right, for them. I'm sick of it. I'm a loyal American, but I'm not deaf and blind, and we're going down the tubes, and it all boils down to stupid parents, sissy administrations, ignorant government decisions, feelings of entitlement instead of requirements for hard work, the myth of unearned self-esteem, and excuses instead of expectations.
Think about it.
Is there anything here that requires an explanation?
Now, see this. What are we to make of this? How do we deal with deliberately instilled dysfunction, in an age of chemical and biological weapons?
How do we address an ideology that teaches children that the killing of Jews is mandatory obligation? How do we address ideologies that goes to great lengths to ensure the vilification of Jews- and for that matter, the vilification of 'The Great Satan- is not just a political ideology, but a religious one as well?
Can we sit down and expect to reach an accommodation with people espousing these kind of ideologies? Can we really consider them our moral equals?The magnitude and implications of the issues at hand are enormous.
The use of children as fodder to bolster a dysfunctional political and religious agenda is beyong tragic- and the profundity of that kind of tragedy cannot be overstated.
As we noted in Religion and Politics,
Religions are not measured by what they destroy, but rather, by what they build. Religions are not measured by how many they kill in God’s name, but rather by how many they save in God’s name. Religions are not measured by who they hate in God’s name, but rather, they are measured by how many they extend their arms in acceptance, in His name.
Religions, like cultures and societies, are also measured by how much they value their children.
Every religion has esoteric and ancient texts, written and meant to be applicable to ancient and more primitive societies, with very different cultural values. Pamela, at Atlas Shrugs, posts on a more recent release of rules written by the Ayatollah Khomeini.
Boggles the mind.
Israel, a nation the size of New Jersey, can only lay claim to the following achievements:
Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world.
Israel has the second highest output of books published per citizen in the world.
Israelis hold more patents per person than do citizens of any other nation.
More than 85% of all solid waste in Israel is treated in an environmentally sound manner.
Israeli companies, Amdocs, Comverse and Nice pioneered voicemail, SMS and other cellular phone services.
Israel has the highest concentration of high tech companies industries in the world, relative to it's population.
ICQ, the technology that powers AOL Instant Messenger, was developed in 1996 by a team of 4 young Israelis.
Israeli start-up company TransChip developed the first high resolution camera that fits on a single electronic chip, for use in cellular phones.
Israel is one of only eight countries in the world capable of launching their own satellites into space.
Israelis developed the world's first cellphone at the Motorola research lab in Haifa, that companies largest research center in the world.
Israel ranks third, after the US and Canada, in the number of publicly traded companies on Wall Street.
Israel has more scientists and engineers per capita than any other nation in the world.
American industry giants such as GM, Ford and Lockheed Martin manage their manufacturing facilities using software written by Tecnomatix, an Israeli company.
Israeli company Given Imaging developed a video camera small enough to fit inside of a pill. The camera helps doctors diagnose digestive tract diseases.
Israeli scientists developed the first computerized radiation free diagnostic scanning device for detecting breast cancer.
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation in the world.
Not bad for the offspring of monkeys and pigs.
To be fair, the Palestinians have the greatest number of suicide bombers per capita, as well as the largest number of openly terrorist organizations in the world.
The Arab world can lay claim to the greatest number of openly anti semites in the world, by any standard of measurement.
According to UN Human Development Report, the Arab world has the lowest standard of education in the world, save for sub Saharan Africa. Given that there are virtually no schools in sub Saharan Africa, that is quite an educational milestone.
For more 'Cool Facts' about Israel, see this:
Red Ken spoke first, and gave a very urbane speech about the need for multiculturalism and a coming together of different cultures to form a “world civilization”. He referred repeatedly to the defects of the United States, and gave his opinion that the era of America as the premier global power is even now coming to an end.
Mr. Pipes expressed a strong disagreement with the mayor.
“The problem is not so much a clash of civilizations,” he said, “but a clash between civilization and barbarism… The ‘clash of civilizations’ idea fails; it does not fit the facts; it is not a good way to understand the world.” He went on to detail the dangers of the largest and most violent barbarism of all, radical Islam. He singled out Britain, and in particular London, as the world’s principal haven for Islamic terrorists.
The debate is interesting, for any number of reasons- not the least of which is that the debate needed to be held in the first place.
No one has a problem with multiculturalism that results in ethnic identity and pride while at the same time, remains committed to civilized behavior that seeks to empower and better the community at large. That has never been subject to debate.
The issue of multiculturalism becomes volatile when ethnic expression results in violence, intimidation or subjugation. When that happens, there should be no need for debate at all. We have noted,
…in a free society, we don’t care about your beliefs. We do care about your actions and behavior. You are free to integrate and to assimilate into our society in whole or in part. We really don’t care. Do not tell us we need to care about your beliefs and your concerns above all else and above our own beliefs. If you do try to make that assertion, you will soon be surprised at how easily you will be marginalized and resented- not for your beliefs, but rather, for your attempt to jump to the head of line. You are not more important than anyone else. We don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu. You are free to worship as you believe. In fact, that is the last thing we worry about. America and free nations have long ago dispensed with the notion that what you believe or how you believe is relevant to peaceful existence. Notwithstanding some religious voices from the pulpits and the media, America has learned to live and let live...
You are not free to react violently or threaten those with whom you disagree. Western democracies are just that- free societies- and we do not operate under the 'laws of the jungle.' If we did, we we would not take kindly to even the firdt display of barbaric behavior. Your dissent is a right- but it is also a privilege, contained in the same way a painting is contained in a frame. You are free paint the canvas of your dissent as you please- as long as you stay within the borders of what is deemed accetable behaviot- that is, behavior that non-violent ior destructive.
These truths are not subject to debate. They are and have been the underpinnings of civilized societies. Any 'debate' that attempts to obfuscate these truths or serves to justify what is barbaric behavior does not serve democray or civilized society.
See the Baron's post here. Take a few minutes and view the videos links. The various contexts between the views of Livingstone and Pipes are startling.
"The Demands of Muslims and other religious groups are compromising the principles of liberal democracy, writes Frances Fukayama," in the Sunday Times of London.
Modern identity politics springs from a hole in the political theory underlying liberal democracy. That hole is liberalism’s silence about the place and significance of groups. The line of modern political theory that begins with Machiavelli and continues through Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and the American founding fathers understands the issue of political freedom as one that pits the state against individuals rather than groups.
Hobbes and Locke, for example, argue that human beings possess natural rights as individuals in the state of nature — rights that can be secured only through a social contract that prevents one individual’s pursuit of self-interest from harming others.
Modern liberalism arose in good measure in reaction to the wars of religion that raged in Europe after the Reformation. Liberalism established the principle of religious tolerance: the idea that religious goals could not be pursued in the public sphere in a way that restricted the religious freedom of other sects or churches. (The actual separation of church and state was never fully achieved in many modern European democracies.) But while modern liberalism clearly established the principle that state power should not be used to impose religious belief on individuals, it left unanswered the question of whether individual freedom could conflict with the rights of people to uphold a certain religious tradition.
Freedom, understood not as the freedom of individuals but of cultural or religious or ethnic groups to protect their group identities, was not seen as a central issue by the American founders, perhaps because the new settlers were relatively homogeneous. In the words of John Jay (in the second Federalist Paper): “A people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles.”
Multiculturalism — not just as tolerance of cultural diversity but as the demand for legal recognition of the rights of racial, religious or cultural groups — has now become established in virtually all modern liberal democracies. Politics over the past generation has been consumed with controversies over affirmative action for African Americans, bilingualism and gay marriage, driven by formerly marginalised groups that demand recognition not just of their rights as individuals but also of their rights as members of groups. And the United States’ Lockean tradition of individual rights has meant that these efforts to assert group rights have been tremendously controversial — more so than in modern Europe.
Modern liberal societies in Europe and North America tend to have weak identities; many celebrate their own pluralism and multiculturalism, arguing in effect that their identity is to have no identity. Yet the fact is that national identity still exists in all contemporary liberal democracies.
In Europe after the second world war there was a strong commitment to creating a “post-national” European identity. But despite the progress that has been made in forging a strong European Union, the continent’s identity remains something that comes from the head rather than the heart.
But many Europeans also feel ambivalent about national identity. The formative experience for modern European political consciousness is the two world wars, which Europeans tend to blame on nationalism.
Yet Europe’s old national identities continue to linger. People still have a strong sense of what it means to be British or French or Dutch or Italian, even if it is not politically correct to affirm these identities too strongly. And national identities in Europe, compared with those in the Americas, remain more ethnically based.
So while all European countries have the same commitment to formal political citizenship equality as America, it is harder to turn that into felt equality of citizenship because of the continuing force of ethnic allegiance.
The old multicultural model has not been a big success in countries such as the Netherlands and Britain and needs to be replaced by more energetic efforts to integrate non-western populations into a common liberal culture. The old multicultural model was based on group recognition and group rights. Out of a misplaced sense of respect for cultural differences — and imperial guilt — it ceded too much authority to cultural communities to define rules of behaviour for their own members.
Liberalism cannot be based on group rights because not all groups uphold liberal values. The civilisation of the European enlightenment, of which contemporary liberal democracy is the heir, cannot be culturally neutral since liberal societies have their own values regarding the equal worth and dignity of individuals.
Cultures that do not accept these premises do not deserve equal protection in a liberal democracy. Members of immigrant communities and their offspring deserve to be treated equally as individuals, not as members of cultural communities. There is no reason for a Muslim girl to be treated differently under the law from a Christian or Jewish one, whatever the feelings of her relatives.
Multiculturalism, as it was originally conceived in Canada, America and Europe, was in some sense a “game at the end of history”. That is, cultural diversity was seen as a kind of ornament to liberal pluralism that would provide ethnic food, colourful dress and traces of distinctive historical traditions to societies often seen as numbingly conformist and homogeneous. Cultural diversity was something to be practised largely in the private sphere, where it would not lead to any serious violations of individual rights or otherwise challenge the essentially liberal social order.
By contrast, some contemporary Muslim communities (and those of other religions) are making demands for group rights that simply cannot be squared with liberal principles of individual equality. These demands include special exemptions from the family law that applies to everyone else in the society, the right to exclude non-Muslims from certain types of public events, or the right to challenge free speech in the name of religious offence (as with the Danish cartoons incident).
In some more extreme cases Muslim communities have expressed ambitions to challenge the secular character of the political order as a whole. This clearly intrudes on the rights of other individuals in the society and pushes cultural autonomy well beyond the private sphere.
Asking Muslims (and other religions) to give up group rights is much more difficult in Europe than in the United States, however, because many European countries have corporatist traditions that continue to respect communal rights and fail to separate church and state. The existence of state-funded Christian and Jewish schools in many European countries makes it hard to argue in principle against state-supported religious education for Muslims.
In Germany the state collects taxes on behalf of Protestant and Catholic churches and distributes revenues to church-related schools. Even France, with its strong republican tradition, has not been consistent on this issue. After the French revolution’s anti-clerical campaign, Napoleon restored the role of religion in education and used a corporatist approach to manage church-state relations.
These islands of corporatism where European states continue to recognise communal rights were not controversial prior to the arrival of large Muslim communities. Most European societies had become thoroughly secular so these religious holdovers seemed quite harmless. But they are obstacles to the maintenance of a wall of separation between religion and state. If Europe is to establish the liberal principle of a pluralism based on individuals rather than groups, then it must address these corporatist institutions inherited from the past.
An Israeli promotional campaign involving balloons caused panic among Lebanese civilians Saturday when the wind carried them over the border into southern Lebanon.
The Lebanese media reported that some civilians were hospitalized after inhaling the gas in the balloons.
However, the photographs published on the Web site of Hezbollah's TV station Al-Manar show green balloons from a promotional campaign for Ha'ir, a Schocken group newspaper.
Lebanese sources said the balloons reached the southern Lebanese cities of Nabatiyeh and Tyre, and the Lebanese army warned civilians not to touch them. Some were brought to Italian UN troops for examination.
Lebanon's official news agency claimed that they were "poisoned balloons" dispersed by IDF aircraft.
Now, why would the Israelis disperse gas in balloons- unless of course you add wind and weather to everything else they control the wind.
If the Israelis really wanted to poison Lebanese Arabs, why use neon green balloons so easily identifiable with Hebrew writing on them?
Balloons are highly inefficient as delivery system for poison gas, because in order to release the gas, you have to puncture the balloons.
According to the great minds of Hizbollah, Israeli aircraft released the balloons. That's right- squadrons of Israeli fighter jets took off with neon green balloons as their payload.
You get the the idea. Is it any wonder Hizbollah and the Arab world have zero credibility?
(We can just imagine the entire Italian contingent of peacekeepers dropping their pasta forks and laughing their asses off.)
Of course, stupidity isn't just purview of the Arab world (despite so much evidence to the contrary). There are legions opf people in this country and all over the world that are also monuments to two digit IQ's. The best place to find the purveyors of the mighty wind of stupidity are on Dr Sanity's Carnival Of The Insanities.
Every week, the Carnival Of The Insanities presents a cyclone of stupidity and a typhoon of torpid thought. Dr Sanity offers up the tools and insight you need to recognize and withstand the blowing debris and foul wind of the world around us.
What is about about religion that scares so many people? The vast majority of people who express their faith, do so quietly and usually within a community of like minded believers. They, like most Americans, hold the concept of 'live and let live,' dear. Most Americans do not impose their belief on others nor do they support those who do.
Nevertheless, there seems to be a deliberate attempt to lump all believers together, regardless of their affiliation. We talk about the 'moderate' right, or the 'moderate' left, but when we talk about religious people the word 'moderate' is never spoken or implied. Religious people, it is assumed, are, well, religious. Enough said.
Religious people, as we noted, are for the most part, perfectly happy to live life in happy obscurity. Unfortunately, all too often religious people are dragged into political debate, or they are excluded from political debate, simply because they are religious. Faith seems to infuriate some people. The faiths, beliefs and believers that are shared and so familiar to most Americans are often subject to fierce criticism, ridicule and even vicious attack.
Of course, not all not all faiths are treated in the same way. Religious beliefs that are out of the mainstream of those that originate in far away places, or beliefs that are to be regarded as suggestive only, are fine.
Why is there such a disparity in how adherents to different faiths are treated?
The answer lies in the kind of demands and expectations our faith, beliefs and fellow believers make upon us . Real faith demands morality, not just from the individual, but from an entire community as well. Faith demands sacrifice. Friday, Saturday or Sunday prayer instead of Friday, Saturday or Sunday sports or shopping. Real faith demands that charity, given on a regular basis, without the need to be prodded by guilt or by images of disaster.
Religions are not measured by what they destroy, but rather, by what they build. Religions are not measured by how many they kill in God's name, but rather by how many they save in God's name. Religions are not measured by who they hate in God's name, but rather, they are measured by how many they extend their arms in acceptance, in His name.
Those non believers or those who claim to be believers, who profess hatred toward God or others in His name, reject the notion that there is something more important than the self. They reject the notions of responsibilities, accountability and a living up to higher expectations. They reject the notion of a higher self with moral obligations. They want to be free of obligation and expectation.
The confrontation between believers and non believers is really a battle for the soul. That battle is not so much about belief in God as it is about the human conscience. There are plenty of non believers that believe that we are more than just animals, concerned only with our own pleasure and needs and thus understand the significance of human responsibility and accountability.
In fact, the battle for the soul of an individual or a nation is a battle that scares a lot of people, because if there is even the possibility of a soul, everything changes.
The atheist says, “I don't believe in God.” In truth, people of faith don't believe in the God the atheists reject, either.
Non believers cringe at the words 'Fear of God' and other similar expressions. They only see fear as a negative expression- the fear of the powerful intimidating the weak. They rightly understand that 'fear,' as they understand it, is a negative expression. They use that expression, as a mantra- because without it, the argument weakens.
What many non believers do not admit is that fear is not always a negative human emotion. Often, fear can be a positive expression. For example, when an athlete faces his opponent or a when a public speaker first faces an audience, the nervous fears they experiences can lead to heightened awareness. All his or her senses are at a heightened level. Any and all of the skills and capabilities they have worked so hard to achieve, can be called upon in an instant. In fact, every one of us knows the kind of fear that can brings out the best in us.
The right expression and description of a believer's relationship with God is 'Awe.' When we stand and behold the magnificence of nature, we are in awe. When we gaze upon an artist's work that talks to us, we are in awe. There is music, sounds created out of thin air, that make us cry or can evoke memories, for decades. That too, inspires awe.
In fact, the awe we experience is a manifestation of human dignity. We see and understand ourselves to be a part of a greater scheme. We understand ourselves to be a part of the masterpiece that is Creation. We- each of us, have a starring role in the play of life- Creation. It is an unfolding drama, comedy and musical- with our best efforts and intentions a part of the script. We are not meant to ad lib our way through life. We are obligated and meant to make Creation an even more magnificent expression that It is, and we each of us have lead role in doing just that.
It is clear that when standing in Awe of God, we recognize what the gift of life means.
When we acknowledge the gift of life, we acknowledge that we have a purpose. We may not understand or even clearly understand our purpose, but we don't have to, any more than we have to clearly understand nuclear physics or organic chemistry. We know they are there and they impact our lives. That is enough.
It is man's objective to seek- it is a natural instinct. It is what we look for that to a very large extent, defines us. It is our charge to discover and celebrate, not our basest selves, but rather, that part of us that is as majestic as anything in nature or art. We are charged to take center stage in God's creation. We seek the majesty that is in each of us- we seek to know our own soul.
It is not easy. It is not easy at all. We must acknowledge that even if we are to take center stage, we share that stage with everyone else- and sometimes, that may go against our very nature. It is then that we must put in that performance of a lifetime. Like the athletes that play beyond their capabilities in that last game, we must reach inside to our souls, to pull from within the very best of ourselves, especially when it seems the odds are stacked against us.
Sometimes, center stage can be a very scary place- and that is why so many people fear having a soul.
All gardens need tending. If we can remove the weeds in life- those things that restrain, contain us and hinder our growth, we will grow. When we refuse distort the reality we know exists so that our selfish needs are sated, and when we choose to remove the doubts and fears that hold us back, we will thrive.
We may indeed, be small in the eyes of history and Creation. That doesn't mean we can't be great.
..."The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."We want to pick up on that theme, because left unanswered is a simple question: Do our lives really matter? Would the world be a different had we not been born?
Clearly, within the search for community is also the search for meaning. The search for meaning is also a call for an audit of our attitudes, biases and values. That 'inner audit' has to be done in the context of our relationships with others and even our own closely held beliefs. Our existence, as we and others relate to it, is really no more than a manifestation of our inner selves. Virtually every problem we face is the conflict between our 'inner' and 'outer,' or manifested, selves. Reality is the expression on canvas of our 'inner' and 'outer' selves.
Real self esteem is derived from 'selfless esteem.' No matter what great strides we have made in technology and interdependent economies and societies, we must make a difference in the lives of others if we are to make a difference and find meaning in our own lives. Information and technology will not make our world a better place. They can contribute to the effort, but no more.
On the face of it, we are part of a disposable and dispersible world. Whole populations are killed and are seemingly forgotten. As events around us fly by at the speed of light, there is no real sense that our lives- or anyone else's for that matter, are of significant or meaningful merit in the great scheme of things.
In fact, we suffer a kind of debilitating malaise- “Nothing I do or say really matters.” There is the belief that whether or not we contribute anything to the the world and those around us, the world would be no different. It is the 'my vote doesn't really count' school of thought. No matter our efforts, nothing will ever really change.
If you truly believe that your efforts and contributions are meaningless, can you really know and have passion? What can you truly look forward to, what will truly excite you? To what can you truly be committed? Will you ever know that 'fire in the belly'?
Of course, that way of thinking is skewed. You matter because you were born. For those of you that believe in God, man's destiny is waiting to be written by virtue of your efforts and passions. For those of you that do not believe in God, the power and potential of man is in your hands. This means that your very existence is vital. You are indispensable to mankind.
What notes will you choose to play in the symphony of life? Will you add to the music, or will your efforts be lacking, resulting in a hollowness?
Many people have had the great misfortune of growing up in less than ideal, or even dysfunctional families. There is no question that many of us, in one form or another, carry a certain amount of 'baggage.' That truth begs another question: “Is my worth based on whether or not I was valued at home by my immediate family, is it based on my achievements, or, do I matter because I exist?”
The almost universal knee jerk reaction is, “Of course I matter! My family, friends and community value and love me!”