Saturday, May 30, 2009

Horatio’s Response to MJ Malec’s comment: “America Alone”

Gallup conducted tens of thousands of hour-long, face-to-face interviews with residents of more than thirty-five predominantly Muslim countries between 2001 and 2007. It found that - contrary to the prevailing perception in the west that the actions of al-Qaida enjoy wide support in the Muslim world - more than 90% of respondents condemned the killing of non-combatants on religious and humanitarian grounds

The not-for-profit group Terror Free Tomorrow carried out a public-opinion survey seeking to establish why people support or oppose extremism; it found that fewer than 10% of Saudis had a favourable opinion of al-Qaida, and 88% approved of the Saudi authorities pursuing al-Qaida operatives

Pew surveys in 2008 show that in a range of countries - Jordan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh - there have been substantial declines in the percentages saying suicide-bombings and other forms of violence against civilian targets can be justified to defend Islam against its enemies. Wide majorities say such attacks are, at most, rarely acceptable

The source of the previous quotations was taken from Wikipedia, section 7.5, 2009 Surveys and Polls. Depending on the accuracy of the Wikipedia article, I would say from that page that somewhere just under 10 % would be my response to your question of me: Would you say 10% or 1% of the worlds Muslims are the 'radical few' extremists?

However, this really does not answer the heart of your question: what percentage of the worlds Muslims are radical view extremists. I don’t know how, or if there is a reliable unbiased statistic, an accurate figure could be established.

In response to your question: Would you say also, Wahabism is radical and extreme? Yes, Wahhabism is an extreme and fundamentalist form of the Islamic religion.

In answer to your final question: If so, what percentage of mullahs and imams adhere to those teachings and promote those views financed by Saudi Arabia in the US and Europe? is simply, I don’t know. I don’t know if there is a reliable statistic. I can only say what seems to be reliable information can be found on the aforementioned webpage: Islamic Terrorism.

Other pages that may be of interest: Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents, Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents; and, Islam by country.

MJ Malec’s comment: “America Alone”

"I do not say that we should deject and denigrate those who write or speak out about it; I do say we should deject those who characterize a whole group of people because of the actions of a few radical extremist within the group who make claims to be one of that group."

Would you say 10% or 1% of the worlds muslims are the 'radical few' extremists? Would you say also, Wahabism is radical and extreme? If so, what percentage of mullahs and imams adhere to those teachings and promote those views financed by Saudi Arabia in the US and Europe?

MJ Malec

Monday, May 25, 2009

Common Ground: Abortion

The anti-abortion protests by students and others against President Barack Obama’s appearance to deliver the commencement address to the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame, and to receive an honorary law degree from the university, I hope was not representative of the education they received, but rather representative of those protestor’s Catholic fundamentalism. It was heartening to hear shout-downs by the majority of the graduates in opposition, which stood to demonstrate that the former rather than the latter is true. I always thought that one of the goals of a university or college education was to teach receptiveness to new and different ideas, listening to the opinions of others, and to respect views and beliefs that differ from your own -- in other words understanding the importance of reaching common ground on issues. I am sorry that these folks did not learn from that teaching.

Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins defended the university's decision to invite Obama and honor him with a degree. In doing so, he demonstrated the universities commitment to open-mindedness. He said:

We honor all people of good will who have come to this discussion respectfully and out of deeply held conviction.

Others might have avoided this venue for this reason, but President Obama is not someone who stops talking to those who differ with him," Jenkins said. "Mr. President, this is a principle we share.

President Obama: … When we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe -- that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

What is common ground? It is the foundation for mutual understanding. It is a place where reasonable people find and then agree on the commonality of both sides of an issue, and in that spirit work collaboratively to, as in the case of pro-life and pro-choice, improved its legislation.

I could not state the common ground concept surrounding the issues of the abortion debate more clearly than Richard Galikov in his preface to The Abortion Debate.

Here is an excerpt:

Many pro-life and pro-choice advocates cannot even accurately state the other sides' position; and many people cannot even state their own position in a way they would be comfortable with after even just a few questions that get them to reflect on it. Almost no pro-choice advocate believes, for example, that giving a woman choice over whether to have an abortion or not means that she cannot make a wrong choice or choice that she would regret -- a choice made, and honored, say, in a moment of panic or fear, or a choice made on wrong information about the health of the fetus, the likely future quality of life of her child, or insufficient information about the resources available to help her have, care for, and successfully rear a healthy child. Almost no pro-choice advocate believes that abortion should be a person's chosen first-line method of birth control or method of gender determination. Almost no pro-choice advocate believes that promiscuity or sexual irresponsibility (male or female) is a good thing or that either ought to be encouraged. Almost no pro-choice advocate thinks that teen-age sex or teen-age pregnancy is a good thing. Almost no pro-choice advocate believes that abortion is or ought to be considered a casual event or that it should be undertaken without reverence and respect for the life or potential life that is being ended. Almost none but the most zealous pro-life advocates think babies should be made to be born if that means they only suffer painfully and prolongedly until they die with nothing to somehow make up for that suffering. Almost no pro-life advocate can consistently maintain for any length of time their initial view that quantity of life is more important than quality, or, put in another way, that life under all circumstances is better than, and preferable to death under any circumstance. (They would have to disavow Patrick Henry's revered statement "Give me liberty or give me death", for example.) Almost no pro-choice advocate thinks abortion is a good thing; but many simply think it is sometimes the best of a bunch of bad options; and that it would be better if women's other options were better so that abortion would not have to be chosen. [italicization and underline mine] Pro-choice advocates would prefer to see fewer abortions chosen voluntarily -- not by making abortion even less desirable due to more punishment, but by making the other alternative (in regard to having and rearing one's children reasonably) proportionally more desirable than it currently is. Almost no pro-life advocate argues that it is better to force women to have babies they do not want than to help them want the babies they might have.

For many years, before legal abortion, women sought back-alley abortions. They were unsafe abortions. Women would die or suffer lifelong physical damage as a result. This is the danger of pro-life law. On the other hand, one of the dangers of pro-choice law is that it results in the possibility of using it as a method of birth control, and it, at least in current law, allows for late-term abortion. It seems to me that reasonable people with good common sense could find common ground from which to work, within political and religious accommodation, can produce a reasonable, workable, and mutually agreed upon consensus resulting in agreed upon legislation.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trail of Tears

On May 26, 1838, federal troops forced thousands of Cherokee from their homes in the Southeastern United States, driving them toward Indian Territory in Eastern Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died of disease and starvation along the way.

Althought PBS's five part series, We Shall Remain, is in its entirety outstanding, I found part 3 Trail of Tears to be the most poignant and profound.

It makes me wonder if today our Constitution could be interpreted in such a way that similar actions could be taken against Americans. You might say that's rediculous that could never happen today, but just think about it in view of current history.

It's an hour and 10 minute video, but it's worthwhile setting the time aside to view: Trail of Tears

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Barack Obama speaks on national security, Guantánamo, and Enhanced Interrogation

Today, President Obama gave a major address on national security. In my view, it was outstanding. Of course, I have this view because we share the same views and values associated with national security, treatment of terrorist detainees, and the closing and disposition of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. I believe that a majority of Americans today share the same views. That is why he is our President.

I must say, I am a proud American when President Obama expresses his view of America’s values.

I am proud that we elected Barack Obama as President of the United States of America.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Afghanistan: Becoming What We Seek to Destroy

Chris Hedges in his “” article, “Becoming What We Seek to Destroy,” writes about the American experience in Afghanistan, and he writes of Dr. Juliette Fournot, who led teams of French doctors and nurses from Doctors Without Borders, into Afghanistan during the war with the Soviets.

As he indicates in his book, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” is an American pathology that is in desperate need of a cure.

In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, it would be as morally irresponsible simply to leave, as it was to invade in the first place

However, since we are there we should make the best of it, as we can. To me this means our action against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups should be based on a multilateral agreement to act against these groups. The action should be international action, with police action, paramilitary action, and with a well-balanced action of soft power and hard power. NGO groups working within the tribal communities supported with action by culturally trained and military trained Special Forces should carry out this strategy; the emphasis being on NGO groups and soft power.

The antiquated strategies of belligerent threats and antiquated military tactics are not appropriate, and even useless in the changing nature of American power and conflict engagement.

The Obama Administration, Robert Gates, General Petraeus, and the Pentagon seem to be working in that aforementioned strategical and tactical direction. The strategy must include considerations other than military.

A new approach to handling conflict is badly needed. In some manner or form, the aforementioned new strategy and tactic may be a stepping-stone on our evolutionary path to global order and world peace.

Mr. Hedges has wide experiences with war and conflict, which have marked most of his adult life, and has written extensively about the ravage, calamity, and chaos of war. He is an outstanding voice in opposition to war.

Read the article here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Ways of Thinking: Consciousness, Pain, and Suffering

A commentary to “Can Spirituality Heal Suffering” by Deepak Chopra

Other life exists in completely different dimensions than human life, even though that life seems to be life governed within the principles of our laws of physics.

Humans can only relate to what is existential in the particular dimension we live governed within our laws of physics. Our responses are a result of how we sensorially interpret phenomenon resulting from chemical reactions that trigger associated biological behavior.

Therefore, humans can only determine their world within the limitations of their five sensory receptors. We do not have the capability to go beyond or change that fact. However, there is a great deal of knowledge still to be gained within these limitations leading to greater acknowledgement and understanding of the existential/knowable and of the transcendent/unknowable principles of our environment.

There are transcendental dimensions beyond those of humans and the other life on earth. Human beings in the great scheme of things are very limited. We are limited to certain color perceptions, since we can only determine color that is available from within our color spectrum through the absorption and reflection of light, and likewise sound only within our auditory spectrum. Sight is limited to only three dimensions. Things like time and space, beginning and ending, life and death, a black hole, our system of mathematics, the laws of physics, the bible, language with words like reality, and virtually everything else have been created by human beings for human beings to meet human needs.

We have learned through those things we have created, and as a consequence we have a greater understanding of life in our spectrum. Thanks to quantum physics we know there is something else out-there, let’s call it another strictly human term like stuff, a consciousness that we are not capable to authentically know.

There are those, including Dr. Chopra, who have expressed their view that there are levels of consciousness belonging to all life, and that consciousness is not specific just to human life. Dogs, cats, horses, birds … respond to a different level of consciousness than humans. They too experience pain and suffering, but not profoundly like humans.

Pain creates certain levels of suffering depending on the extent of a physical injury; but not all suffering is created by pain. Pain is the hurting, such as from a cut or burn, conveyed to the brain by sensory neurons, a physical activation, and all animals suffer from such afflictions. Suffering is also conveyed to the brain by sensory neurons, but does not have a physical activation, its activation is a result of human awareness or consciousness, such as the death of a loved one or the suffering of a soldier experiencing post combat stress. It is transcendent and abstract because we really don’t know its mechanics, its principles. As Peter Russell explains in Mysterious Light, consciousness can be very analogous to light. The stuff, as I previously expressed it certainly includes consciousness, but may be all inclusively consciousness. Consciousness may be the derivation of all things.

All of life’s vicissitudes, its pluralism, dualism, and its yin and yang, which includes unhappiness/suffering as opposed to happiness, are important to our evolution; each would not be known without experiencing the other. We would not know or understand compassion if it were not for the experience of suffering. There would not be any meaning to the words sympathy or empathy.

The answer to the question “Can Spirituality [consciousness or soul] Heal Suffering?” is no. It is not possible to heal suffering, but understanding its nature and principles can help alleviate its affect, and by gaining greater knowledge we can certainly minimize its physical occurrences, such as in famine, violence, accidents, and disease.

Suggested reading: Peter Russell -- The Spirit of Now


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Healthcare Inequality and Inequity

The question of healthcare inequality and inequitiy raises an important question: Should consideration of money or the issue of socialism, which many conservatives forecast will lead to Marxism or Communism, even be an issue in relationship to profit when it comes to the care and well-being of anyone.

This basic moral question needs answering before any healthcare system reform plan is considered.

Ability to pay, when life, liberty, and freedom are concerned, is an ugly factor that rises from a money-based economic system. It becomes a very suitable argument in opposition to our current system of capitalism and free market, where pursuit of profit supersedes pursuit of decency and morality. Do we let a human being suffer from an incurable disease or let them die because they do not have the ability to pay for treatment? To say yes, money does count, would lead to an important question about America, and its regard for the quality and depth of its proclaimed humanity. In my view, our current healthcare system is in violation of the principles Americans have held sacred since its founding.

The incentive for unreasonable profit by healthcare insurance companies, physicians, hospitals, other health care providers, and associated research and development is high because of the nature of the industry – people need healthcare. It’s very seldom a personal choice, very different than the decision to purchase of a new car or new home of which the cost of healthcare exponentially exceeds. Most of the time there is no choice, it’s simply necessary. Let’s face it, for health care providers, pharmaceutical companies, or R & D it is not in their best interest to keep people well and free from run-of-the-mill illnesses. There have been cures discovered for diseases such as polio, and there are great efforts to resolve the problems of other diseases such as cancer, but to cure many of the nondisabling or otherwise debilitating afflictions … well, I just wonder.

Healthcare in America, for the most part, is provided by institutions or corporations who negotiate a group policy on the behalf of their employees and who each pay, employer and employee, an employer-assessed portion of the premiums. Suppressed wages are a result of this picked-up cost by the employer, and are even more so as insurance premiums rise. Employees who lose their jobs may lose health insurance coverage, and as a result, in order to continue their previous coverage, will pay COBRA payments that are 110% of their original healthcare group insurance cost, while at the same time, for many, losing their source of income. From personal experience, and from CNN reports of others, COBRA payments can equal and in some cases exceed ones rent or home mortgage payment.

As of 2006, medical expenses have annually caused at least 425,000 bankruptcies, and one in six or more working-age adults are burdened with medical debt. Health insurance for individuals and small firms have become prohibitively expensive with many organizations reducing coverage and/or contracting for higher deductibles.

Healthcare professionals, insurance providers, and politicians, claim America has the best healthcare system in the world. I ask, Oh really? Why is it that no other national health care system allows their citizens to file for bankruptcy under a claim of excessive medical debt? Why is it that so many Americans leave our country to receive healthcare in another? Why are our emergency rooms flooded with patients who need non-emergency care? Why is America’s infant mortality rate so high compared with other developed countries? Why do politicians and others opine that in other countries with national healthcare one must wait months for treatment, and fail to understand the fact, or are ignorant of the fact, that in America the average Jack and Jill who try to make an urgent doctor’s appointment that is not a life or death emergency is in many cases impossible.

“Additionally, among developed nations, waiting lists are not a major factor in explaining lower costs. Examining Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, one study identified twelve countries that had waiting lists for elective surgeries and seven countries besides the U.S. that did not have these waiting lists. Per capita health spending averaged $2,366 in the countries with waiting lists, $2,696 in the non-U.S. countries without waiting lists, and $5,267 in the U.S. (See Exhibit 3). Thus, waiting lists are neither inevitable nor necessary in systems that cover all of their people.” A report by: Tom Daschle

“It is hard to believe that, in the wealthiest nation on the planet, 77 million people – 37 percent of all adults – report having difficulty paying medical bills or medical debt. In this regard, we do stand out among the world’s leading nations; we are the only one that fails to ensure that health care is affordable for all.” A report by: Tom Daschle

In the view of republicans/conservatives/libertarians, we need to restore and revive a free market health care system.

“We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions.” National platform adopted at Denver Libertarian Party convention May 30, 2008. This is the same position taken by the Republican Party, as well.

Because of this capitalist, free market, free enterprise healthcare insurance ideology, which is substantially our current system of providing healthcare, this system, like our economy, is essentially a failed system. It is broken.

At least the Obama Administration, unlike republicans, acknowledges that it is a broken system, and they are listening to recommendations for Health Reform in order to address the crushing cost of health care. President Obama has received from the House of Representatives their commitment to pass a comprehensive health care reform bill by July 31, 2009..

Our healthcare is dependant on insurance programs that avoid the sick, but will insure the healthy, and in doing so only if you have the ability to pay; it is analogous to providing an umbrella on a sunny day.

If we can afford, have unyielding support for the most undemocratic, socialistic, and sophisticated killing machine entity the world has ever known – the U.S. Military -- then America should be able to afford to provide for its citizens an affordable, accessible, high quality healthcare for all.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

New Ways of Thinking: Life, Prayer, Consciousness

Dr. Deepak Chopra’s insight regarding prayer and its relationship to consciousness, his insight regarding the importance of acknowledging, and making an attempt to understand, the unseen, unknowable reality relationship of the inner-world experience of every human being and our connection to the universe is profoundly provocative. Over the centuries, the same notions have repeatedly come to light and endured. For eons these revelations have been the basis of Eastern philosophy.

The insights of Dr. Chopra, and others, have seemingly undeniable connections between our ever-growing knowledge of quantum physics and our understanding of consciousness.

The issue of God, whether God exists or not, in my mind is not debatable. In my mind, God is as good a synonym as any other word for this unseen, unknowable, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient reality. The world just needs to adjust to new ways of thinking. I view myself ideologically as a secular humanist, which in my mind should not be interpreted that I am an agnostic or atheist. I suppose I am in the Muslim-Judaic-Christian … view an atheist, but not within the sense of this new definition.

There are so many hidden dimensions that are a part of our existence. We only understand, and not completely, that which is in our dimension governed by our law of physics.

Life’s purpose for all human beings is our evolution. It is important to understand that “Dying in Order to Create” is as important to our existence as living. There may not be heaven in the religious sense of that word, but there is something unseen and unknowably more. Whether we can call that another reality or not, I don’t know, for words like reality, begin and end … are all the creation of human beings in this dimension.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New ways of thinking: No Money

Conduct a thought experiment: just visualize and imagine what our country and the world would be like without a money-based economy, i.e. literally living ones life without money. The immediate response most people will have without any further thought: What, are you crazy? Can’t happen! How in the world could you suggest such ridiculous nonsense? You certainly can’t be serious. That’s utopian

The reason people have this response is because they are viewing the suggestion with some immediacy and not that it would be a process that evolves over time. They cannot view things 100, 300, 500, 1,000 years or more from now and that we can evolve in a process of social change where that will come to fruition. Their visualization is what happens tomorrow morning when all of a sudden there is just no money. If that should happen, I agree, it would be devastating.

“Money is the root of all evil,” or at the very least a coconspirator with evil. That is not just a cliché, it so happens to be a fact. The pursuit for money is the cause of waste and human exploitation; it breeds the incentive for corruption, theft, and greed; it’s behind the motivation for war, and is the direct cause of poverty, homelessness, hunger, debt, and much more senseless and unnecessary human suffering.

It is the reason for taxation and the IRS. It is the reason we have the communism vs. socialism vs. libertarianism debate. It’s the basis of capitalism and free market vs. the liberal view.

It is the reason for class stratification. Money is used to regulate the economy for the benefit of the few who control the financial wealth of nations.

It is the cause of stress over a college education, retirement, and social security, for it is the reason a college education might not be achieved, or retirement may not be possible, and the reason we need social security at all.

The pursuit of money limits progress and creativity. It’s a major impediment, because a person whose dream and passion may die on the vine because of his or her ability to make more money doing something else.

The pursuit for the acquisition of money is in reality the pursuit for power and control. Although there are many outstanding human beings who have pursued dreams based solely on their altruistic desire to improve life, most Americans and others idolize and emulate those who have wealth because they view money as synonymous with power, and with power there is control. The view is that if you have money you can acquire more toys and therefore build on your stature. Money is the reason only a few have a say in how they exist in life, and in some cases because of their wealth feel they can, or in fact can, dictate how the rest of us must live. Oligarchies and corporatocracies come into existence and become powerful because of the money they can direct at their self-interest.

Governments, business organizations, communities, and even individuals use money, or money in its applicability in the enforcement of law, to control and coerce people into submission.

Thus, it is a fact that most of the world’s people have less freedom in a money-based economy, regardless of its social, governmental, or economic system, than they would have in another system that is not money-based.

The reason our world evolved to this money-based economic system is precisely because greedy men saw the advantages of power and control such a system would have over others. It is not creation because of some divine cause, it is strictly created by men so that he could immorally possess the hearts and souls of others.

Jacque Fresco has proposed a resource-based economic system. It is a system in which goods and services are available without the use of money, credit, barter, debt, or servitude.

The reason behind his proposal is based not only on the aforementioned many problems of a money-based system, but also that the resources of the world should be universally free and freely accessed, because as a citizen of the world they are every human’s common heritage.

It seems logical to me that if we could only shed a money-based economic system where we would not be influenced by any method of exchange for goods and services, whether that is fiat money, a value based currency such as gold-backed currency, or any other system that provides for advantages one could take over another as with our current economic system, would go a long way to making this a better world.

In order to evolve into this “Future and Beyond” that would be congruent with this philosophy are certain things, among many other things, that need to change: Heterarchy or homoarchy rather than hierarchy models of organization; Our inability to shed old ideas and adopt new ones; and, a change in how we perceive the qualities of true leadership in a non-hierarchical world.

There may be some drawbacks: You will probably have to iron your own cloths, clean your own house, and mow your own lawn.

I seemingly always come to the point where I ask myself this question posed by Robert F. Kennedy: "... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Just look at the seemingly impossible things that have evolved over the years, coupled with the fact that the majority of our problems have been created by man, so man can change them, and also man can create new things.

The social changes proposed in the Venus Project may not be the end design, perhaps that paradigm needs to be tweaked, or perhaps new ideas have to emerge. The process of moving to a resource-based economy or some other non-monetary system needs to evolve. We need to take the incremental steps to get there. Our civilization is at an evolutionary stage type 0 as described by Michio Kaku, and we need to take the necessary steps to achieve an evolutionary stage type 3 or 4. It is not an impossible task.

Now I Ask You: WHY NOT?

Further reading:

Read the Ron Paul page, and its commentary

The Zietgeist Movement

Friday, May 8, 2009

A new way of thinking: The Afghanistan War

“War represents the supreme failure of nations to resolve their differences. From a strictly pragmatic standpoint it is the most inefficient waste of lives and resources ever conceived by any creature on the planet. This crude and violent way of attempting to resolve international differences has taken on even more ominous overtones with the advent of elaborate computerized thermonuclear delivery systems, deadly diseases and gases, and the threat of sabotage of a nation's computer networks. Despite the desire of nations to achieve peace, they usually lack the knowledge [bold and underline not in the original] of how to arrive at peaceful solutions.” Jacque Fresco

However, despite the calamity and risk that a nation assumes in waging war, in our zeitgeist war will always continue to be on the horizon. They say that war is the result of failed diplomacy. The problem is that nations make war part and parcel of their diplomacy, with war in the forefront of all possible strategies to resolve international differences. It seems to always be used in the context that “all options are on the table,” as if that is a diplomatic thing to say.

Diplomacy and war are antonymous. The dictionary defines diplomacy as the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements -- tact and skill in dealing with people. Considering war in the context of diplomacy should be the furthest from the mind and not entertained at all. An act of War should only occur in defending ourselves, as with anytime one human finds it necessary to kill another in self-defense.

America will never acquire the knowledge to arrive at peaceful solutions if there is never an attempt to do so. We need to gain the same body of knowledge to solve conflicts peacefully as we have gained to solve them militarily. America seems to be reluctant in assuming the risk in diplomacy, as they are to accept willingly the risk of war. The warrior mindset informs Americans that it is more effective to kill than to talk.

Talk, which by no means should be considered in setting up a process of communication – diplomacy -- with non-states, for with whom would you talk? The actors in non-states have no direct means of controlling those who merely share their ideology; there is no direct span of control accountability within which an individual leader could be held responsible. One might say, what about bin Ladin? Well I am not sure. We are holding bin Ladin accountable for the crimes and atrocities committed by al-Qaeda and deservingly so, but I don’t believe he has the span of control with which we credit him, and he has such an incorrigible focus on terrorism, military action is the only course of action.

The Iraq War was conducted preemptively because the Bush Administration viewed Iraq as a potential threat; war against the Afghanistan Taliban and their harboring of al-Qaeda, who were directly responsible for 9/11, has been taken in our self-defense; at this stage in our evolution, it is the only step that could be taken. Globally we are not united and so we do not have sufficient resources or collective knowledge to act effectively. For example, if we were united we could use the theory of overwhelming force to conquer any insurrection in or on any country by another. In my mind, that is the promise of the United Nations.

Therefore, I believe our action against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups should be based on a multilateral agreement to act against these groups. The action may occur within a state or include international action, depending on the degree of terrorist activity or insurgency, either by police action, paramilitary action, with a well-balanced action of soft power and hard power. This strategy would be carried out by NGO groups working within the communities of the affected territory combined with action by culturally trained and military trained Special Forces. The antiquated strategies of belligerent threats and antiquated military tactics are not appropriate, and even useless in the changing nature of American power, and especially in consideration of America’s relationship with the world community.

The Obama Administration, Robert Gates, General Petraeus, and the Pentagon seem to be working in that aforementioned strategical and tactical direction. The strategy must include considerations other than military.

A new approach to handling conflict is badly needed. In some manner or form the aforementioned new strategy and tactic may be a stepping-stone on our evolutionary path to global order and world peace.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Comment from Jermo Sapiens on "Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”"

Horatio: you have fallen in the same trap as most of Steyn's critics. In particular, you sense that Steyn says some not-so-nice things about people who arent white, and that sets off your politcal-correctness alarm, and you then feel free to call him a hater and a racist, thereby relieving yourself of your obligation as a critic to actually understand his point and to offer a logical response to his point.

In fact, as an avid Steyn reader, I can assure you that he is neither a hater nor a racist. He wouldnt have such a following if he was. He is certainly not politically correct, and is not afraid to offend those who make a living out of taking offense, and that is why he has so many fans.

The point he makes in America Alone is not that its worrisome that muslims have lots of kids - its that its worrisome that those of european descent have essentially stopped breeding and that we reflexively yield every aspect of our culture.

Anyways, I challenge you to come up with an actual critique of Steyn's work which is more than just throwing slanderous labels around and ad hominem attacks. Try addressing his points, without comparing him to other right-wing bogeymen like Rush Limbaugh. This attempt was particularly pathetic.

From Horatio’s Perspective

I could be wrong when I say, “Perhaps he adopts these positions in his writing because he knows that hate mongering against Muslims, immigrants, and other ethnic groups such as Mexicans, will sell books.”

Mark Steyn is a terrific writer of political and cultural satire, there is no question in mind about that. I wish I could write as well as he does, without the satire, of course. In his book, "America Alone,” his argument is logical to the conclusion he makes. I just don’t believe that he does not mean what he says, as some have suggested. I don’t believe the “jokes on us.” I don’t necessarily believe that he is at heart neither “a hater nor a racist.” I don’t suppose to know that or what is motive is in writing satire in the manner that he does, and the only way I will ever know that is when I have the ability to read the mind of man, his mind or anyone elses.

Whether he believes in what he says or not, I am still in opposition despite the logic. For some their critique will lead to agreeing with the conclusion he makes; for some their critique will be that it follows in a logical manner, but would treat the subject matter differently -- i.e. in a different writing style, but then again he is a satirist – and the conclusion or consequences could have a variety of outcomes or different scenarios other than the one drawn; but, unfortunately, for some it may lead to the emotion of fear with a resulting hate towards a population (not the zealot-extremist-radical type) that all-in-all do not deserve it.

I do understand Mark Steyn’s argument: that if the Muslim total fertility rate continues to rise above those of other ethnic groups as demonstrably indicated in the demographics of some European countries, then when those babies become the age of majority their enculturation or socialization will have a profound influence in the world. If that enculturation remains Muslim, especially if it is of the fundamentalist ideology, and there is continued adaptation of Shari‘a Law where there is no differentiation between the state and the religion of their culture, while retaining primitive attitudes of how people should live, and with primitive forms of civil and criminal justice and its punishment, Europe will be in increasing servitude to that emerging culture. Confluent with that scenario is if America’s non-Muslim total fertility rate decreases or is stagnant or we like Europe suffer an increase in Muslim birth rates there is then a certainty of doom and gloom, not only for Europe, but for America as well. If we don’t understand, acknowledge, anticipate, and act by being proactive on this overseas forecast by increasing America’s total fertility rate of non-Muslims and this forecast comes to fruition then America faces an apocalyptic end to life as she knows it. On the other hand, if America wakes up to the call of increasing their population of non-Muslims then we will certainly stand alone in the world as the only non-Muslim country in the world. In either case we are going to have the fight of our lives to preserve what we have or will be in total submission to the dominant prevailing forces. If the world, not just America, lets that happen it certainly is a frightening forecast indeed.

On your last point in your comment, I was not comparing Mark Steyn with Rush Limbaugh in the sense I believe you are implying. I was merely saying that to me it seems logical that his views in some very important ways match those of Rush Limbaugh’s conservative views or else he would not be selected by Rush Limbaugh as a substitute host for his program. After all, Mark Steyn is a conservative, is he not. It was just meant to be a small incidental point to reveal his political position.

I am not alone in this world regarding Mark Steyn.

Thank you for your comment,

Comment from Kralizec on Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”.‏

Kralizec said...

"In my view, Mark Steyn in his book, America Alone, disseminates fear and hate, plain and simple."

“Most of us got something much more difficult and complex from America Alone. It seems to me that one's interpretation of another's work often shows more about the interpreter than about the writer. For it seems the interpreter must interpret in accordance with his capacities and effort, and finish with an interpretation 'plain and simple' enough for him to understand.”

From Horatio’s Perspective

It might surprise you, but I totally agree.

There is "something much more difficult and complex" to understand from Mark Steyn’s “America Alone,” but because I did not write an extended book-like treatise does not mean it’s so complex that I don’t have an understanding of his work. An internet search will provide a plethora of pro and con critique and in-depth analysis. My blog is biased to my opinion only of what I believe he is communicating or what others might interpret it to be.

When I write the result is always “in accordance with my capacities and effort,” and in doing so it simplifies and contributes to my epistemological evolution. I don’t pretend do be anything else.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Interesting that all your excerpts are from the "inside flap". Let me don't need to actually read the book right? You can tell hate monger

No, I did not read the entire book. But I did read enough of the book to surmise the view of Mark Steyn in his book. Although some may think my opinion is based on insufficiently conclusive evidence because I did not read the book cover to cover, I have read enough of his book coupled with columns and articles that he has written, and coupled with many interviews to which I have listened or have read over the years, to know, derived from that viewpoint, the way Mark Steyn thinks, and will write, as well as his humor.

Just this morning I was listening to panel discussion, in which Mark Steyn gave his view of multiculturism, it was classical Mark Steyn, and he was expressing views with which I very strongly disagree.

Here also is a couple of quotes with which I disagree:

“… Let me put it in a slightly bigger nutshell: much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries.”

“… With respect to Francis Fukuyama, it’s not the end of history; it’s the end of the world as we know it. Whether we like what replaces it depends on whether America can summon the will to shape at least part of the emerging world. If not, then it’s also the end of the American moment, and the dawn of the new Dark Ages (if darkness can dawn): a planet on which much of the map is re-primitivized.”

“So this is a doomsday book with a twist: an apocalyptic scenario that can best be avoided not by more government but by less - - by government returning to the citizenry the primal responsibilities it’ taken from them in the modern era.”

I agree to an extent with the latter statement, a “…scenario that can best be avoided not by more government but by less - - by government returning to the citizenry the primal responsibilities it’ taken from them in the modern era.” I believe the people have a significant obligation to steer this country down the road toward world peace and avoid the calamity of hate, violence, and war.

I disagree with the former statements because, in my view, he is manipulating fear to coerce others to view the world as he views it.. He did not need to use the hyperbole.


“When Osama bin Laden made his observation about people being attracted to the strong horse rather than the weak horse, it was partly a perception issue. You can be, technically, the strong horse – plenty of tanks and bombs and nukes and whatnot – but, if you’re seen as too feeble ever to deploy them, you’ll be kitted out for the weak-horse suit.”

I disagree because Mark Steyn, George W. Bush, and others, including members of my family, seem not to believe that “talking is better than killing”; they are not even willing to give it a chance.

I agree that the planet is in peril if we do not heed the warning signs, but we do not share this life with ourselves alone. A unified people of the world community need to take the appropriate action, not “America Alone.”

It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading Mark Steyn, and on occasion savoring his humor. Although I am in agreement in some of the points he makes, I simply disagree with him on most issues. I agree there are certain dangers and that we live in a dangerous world, we always have.

I do read and listen to Mark Steyn precisely because his views are contrary to mine, which he presents in a logical and articulate way. A view that helps my own view have legs or die on the vine.

I have crafted a general response to other negative comments made on my blog.

"America Alone": Response to comments

There have been so many negative comments to the Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”post I felt compelled to respond with this post:

My only purpose in writing this blog is to express my view on issues that will have an affect on the evolution of peace and stability in this world. The blog description in the title bar explains it best: This world, you and I, should dedicate ourselves to building a culture of peace by affirming that humanism will triumph the theologies of despair and the ideologies of violence: a commitment to eliminate war and all other forms of violence.

I believe that it is every American’s obligation to weed out those things that are said, written, or acted upon that will harm America, or does not set the best example of those high standards we as Americans promote we stand for. That is my intent.

Some of the reader’s comments and emails that I have received, in an effort to put me down, or to belittle, disparage, and humiliate, suggest that I must think I am some great expert or great writer or author. Well, to those who feel this way, I can tell you that I do not, and my only purpose is to express views as stated in the two opening paragraphs. I am not under the impression that I am always right, or that others who express a different view than mine are always wrong, but that the discussion over time will lead in a positive and viable direction.

I don’t intend to provide a lot of analysis or to provide statistics; that can be found in abundance simply through an internet search. I will leave that to others, except when it may not be available. I intend only to present my view.

I don’t know nor do I have any evidence that Mark Steyn is statistically wrong. His statistics on Muslim demographics may very well be accurate. I just seems to me that he in a way is putting all Muslims in the same basket.

In all religion, or secularism, in all nationalistic and patriotic passion, there are extremist, radicals, and fundamentalist who carry a particular ideology to the extreme. We must acknowledge that fact, but when in doing so we paint a whole culture, ethnic grouping, or race with the same brush stroke, we are heading down the wrong path.

I am also not saying that “there is no difference between the West, and all that Liberty we enjoy, and Shiria Islam.” There is a huge difference between Sharia Law and U.S. Constitutional based Law. Our law is based on the separation of religion and the state and Sharia Law is not.

I don’t believe that I am violating what is called "Goodwin's Law." I am not placing “Nazi Germany and Joe McCarthy on the same moral plane.” I am warning that it’s dangerous to employ fear as a tool to coerce others to your way of thinking in the way governments do.

I disagree with the statement: “We need to stop equating multiculturalism with tolerance and diversity.” Multiculturalism is synonymous with diversity. I believe through a greater understanding of others and their cultures, tolerance and honest debate concerning our mutual concerns, progress can be achieved. For at the base of the majority of American concern is the same concern of the majority of the people in this world. I believe the majority of the people in this world, not the extremist, radicals, and fundamentalist, want essentially the same from life for themselves, their children and family, their nation and communities.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

An Absurd and Radical View

Okay, even though I think this is absurd and a radical view, to all of those on the right or anyone else who buy into this nonsense: what is your plan? What would you do?

I don’t hear anyone on the right that has an answer except to say that the miracles of unbridled capitalism and free market in time will work its magic. That is exactly what got us into our current economic quagmire.

Basically this writing, “Written by an unknown Pastor's Wife, and brilliantly said,” is nothing more than a fear tactic used by those who for some unknown reason hate Obama, either because of his color, or because he is an elitist, or because he is a socialist, or they are from the right side of the aisle, or really don’t understand that whether they are democrat, republican, or independent they all embrace some form of socialism, or they are simply interlocutory demagogues. They use the same tactic of fear manipulation to draw people into their cause or point of view as Mark Steyn does in a similar way in his book, “America Alone.” They are adverse to reasonable argument put forward in a reasonable way.

There is a lot of overheated discussion these days about socialism. The discussion centers on President Obama’s economic programs, which are unquestionably socialistic. America blames the democrats for fostering these views and for writing legislation that mirrors socialism, but with President Obama they specifically find fault, even taking the extreme by calling him a communist. However, for many Americans it is the old simplistic view that my Great Grandfather preached: “Democrats are for the poor,” therefore democrats support entitlements and take a liberal view on legislative issues and do embrace the corporatocracy; “Republicans are for the rich,” therefore republicans do not support entitlements, or it’s better to say they support limited entitlements, and take a conservative or more fundamental view on legislative issues, but seemingly at least more socialistic when it comes to the corporatocracy and Wall Street. The empirical facts are that republican, democrat, or independent embrace policies that are socialistic and all in some fashion or degree embrace a certain level of entitlement spending through taxation: the government taking from those who have and giving it to those who have not.

Please tell me why in this writing that there is not blame to be passed to the prior administration.

Please tell me why any reasonable thinking man or woman would not think that Bush defiled our nation, because he did in so many ways.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”


Mark Steyn’s “America Alone” exploits Islamic demographics to predict gloom and doom for the world. Simply, it seems, because they produce more babies than the rest of us who will grow up insisting upon the enforcement of Sharia Law and in the end change our culture, which will end our world as we know it.

In my view, Mark Steyn in his book, “America Alone,” disseminates fear and hate, plain and simple. Perhaps he adopts these positions in his writing because he knows that hate mongering against Muslims, immigrants, and other ethnic groups such as Mexicans, will sell books.

He substitutes for Rush Limbaugh on Rush’s radio show, so that certainly is an indication where his political, social, and economic views are positioned. His modus operandi (MO) is the same as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and that of Jay Severin of Boston’s WTKK radio, as well as many others of the same ilk. These folks take mainstream highly sensitive subjects making them as controversial as they can, use highly sensitive, caustic, hyperbolic language to elicit exaggerated and extreme reactions from their audiences in an effort to increase their ratings. Steyn’s use of acerbic humor has this same affect on his readers, which puts Steyn in the category of a literary shock jock.

He has positioned himself as an anti-multiculturism protagonist. He supported former president Bush’s war, and Bush in turn recommended Mark Steyn's “America Alone” (not to be confused with “America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order” by Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke). Just as Bush, he has a penchant for using the politics of fear and hate to motivate a following and a call to action.

This is the same manipulation of fear with hate as its consequence exploited by some who talk about pending disaster for America in the same way as Nazism, which asserted the superiority of a pure Aryan race that created a hysteria to the extent that it lead to the holocaust; in the same way paved the way for the hysteria of McCarthyism, which was employed to rid America of communism in the 1950’s; in the same way created the hysteria that Islamophobes and xenophobics employ against Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrants in our zeitgeist. With the history of Germany’s Adolf Hitler and America’s Joseph McCarthy so firmly in place without controversy by reasonable men and women, and in view of there tragic consequences in the aftermath of those events so well known that Americans could be imbibed with such notions is astonishing.

From the inside flap some excerpts:

“It’s the end of the world as we know it… “

“Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are.”

“The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West—wedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion—is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.”

“Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alone—with maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world’s last best hope.”

“Steyn argues that, contra the liberal cultural relativists, America should proclaim the obvious: we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America’s influence around the world—for our own sake as well as theirs.”

In the former quote “… we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America’s influence around the world …” is a Bush attitude and a nationalist mindset of a majority of Americans that influenced the anti-American Foreign Policy predicament of the Bush administration in the first place.

Such provocations as those of Mark Steyn should not be embraced; however in America they must be tolerated. The only portion of Steyn, Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Jay Severin’s diatribe, as well as that of all others with the same MO that is in keeping with American ideals is in preserving their freedom to say or write what they wish. It is every American’s obligation to weed out those things that are said, written, or acted upon that will harm America, or does not set the best example of those high standards we as Americans promote that we stand for.

Americans must not accept them through their acquiescence.

Related reading: Mark Steyn spins reality with "America Alone"