Thursday, December 04, 2008

Train-wreck of thoughts.

If there's one thing we can be counted on to provide, it's a perspective from somewhere decidedly "outside of the box," wherever that might be. And we don't do so simply for the sake of doing so. Nay, we think it's good to know what's going on inside the box, too. But the only way to keep that in context is to look at it from somewhere outside. The zeitgeist, after all, is transitory by definition.

Having offered that disclaimer, we're going to rattle off a few things inspired by current events and some of our current posts about current events.

First off, a bit about "the religion of peace" mentioned below. It would be easy for a reader to conclude that, since we dare associate Islamic terrorism with Islam, we must be religious bigots. Not so. Two of the kindest, humblest men we know in this City are devout Muslims (though, to be fair, we've come across a couple of really obnoxious and rude hyper-devout ones). Yet the reality of Islam is that, where it is also the law of the land, women are treated like animals, other religions are persecuted, and terrorism is bred. It's impossible to separate the two (Islam and Islamic terrorism) and before you start parroting the litany about the Catholic Church and the Crusades we humbly suggest an effort to "think outside the box" on this topic.

The simplest conclusion we can come to about our two dear friends is that they act like typical, salt-of-the-earth Americans. They may do the outward things associated with their nominal religion, but their personalities have been formed by the best tenets of the pre-Muhammedan monotheisms -- in other words, by western civilization. Presumably, they live here because they couldn't live like they do here, elsewhere. They wouldn't have the freedom or opportunity to do so. That's instructive.

Concerning the interminable dirge about organized religion having too many enslaving rules and somehow failing to be "authentic" -- a complaint levelled at the Catholic Church, with its Canon Laws and Liturgy -- G.K. Chesterton observed what is really obvious but missed by most: that the religious impulse in the human race is so powerful, so passionate, and so prone to grotesque extremes (you don't need any proof of that besides the testimony of history, especially of recent history, do you?) that a church that brings authority and order to it is rather a liberator than an enslaver.
This begs the question: what authority is there in Islam to restrain that awful tendency toward wanton religious fervor, to prevent it, for example, from spawning a sect that is an evil cult of death, laughing as it slaughters babies, women, innocents, anything and everything including civilization itself?
In civilized western countries, the culture restrains. But the culture is unquestionably Judeo-Christian in its traditions, mores, and laws. Thus it must be acknowledged that Islam is moderated by Judeo-Christianity, its two older siblings. Enough on that for now.

Next, laying around in the "Drafts" folder is something with the working title, "The Rhetoric of Power." We hope to make a typically witty, incisive and cohesive if somewhat eclectic literary collage the slogans that have gotten the most airplay in the recent presidential campaign, slogans that seem to both lay claim to power and to elevate doing so to a virtue, which we will argue it is not.

For the moment, however, let us just say anecdotally that our inner skeptic has one eye cast warily upon this age when there are so many "messianic" references to a certain sketchy political leader, references he seemed quite comfortable to let people indulge in because they helped pave the way for his rise to...power.

We simply cannot let it slip by unremarked upon that history is not without precedents to show the downside of entering into economic catastrophes with messianic figures on the scene. How much more so given, in this current version of the theme, the magnitude of a) the economic catastrophe and b) the level and acceptance of messianic rhetoric.

At some point in the near future we expect to post a brief commentary entitled, "Four Heartbeats Away," or something along those lines, if/when the Secretary of State Designate is confirmed.

Did they mean, "Obama's job?"
Finally...can you believe it? She's that close?! And already prying in the back door is the old man, who was quoted by Yahoo! News the other day as being willing to take a post in the administration, if offered. Apparently his latest press release was a little too gauche for even for Hillary, because, when attempting read the details at the link, we found the story had been pulled. Guess maybe we should include references to media and propaganda in that post about the Rhetoric of Power we have cooking...


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