Soccer went pretty well, maybe even better than Tuesdays (fewer people, less formality, even less in the way of rules). I was amused to hear someone else call me a star player - I doubt it was meant seriously (I may be kind of useful, but I'm hardly a star). Feet took the normal injuries from people with cleats, but they're getting used to it, and the evening jogs I've been taking seem to be getting my cardiovascular efficiency up (I still have a decent ways to go though before I'll be able to run as quickly as I used to be able to without exhaustion though). Unfortunately, there wasn't food or anything afterwards, so I went to the 61c and read a bit more of my collected works of Lenin.
The place I am in the collection talks about the importance of pushing for more than just small reforms in moving for social justice, as with the way it can be manipulated it usually ends up being a shell game on the part of owners of capital. Lenin had a lot of faith in the organised labour movement - in their capability to understand the importance of aiming for the long-term. Having met with some local labour unionists at POG events and some other events, it's easy to recognise that they're intelligent folk, but those are presumably different from the common worker (I guess - I wouldn't know for sure). By several lines of reasoning, I think that the average American is politically naïve (I'm primarily focusing on the local matters - the international scope goes without saying) - at the very least, the vulnerability to campaign ads and marketing shows that votes are typically not based on particularly deep thought (people who talk about the deep meaning of american-style democracy have a lot of explaining to do to deal with issues like this, just as people who strongly argue about capitalism/competition leading to better products might be made nervous when marketing and brand identity is discussed). Reconciling smart labour and dumb consumers is difficult (unless targeted consumers, as a group, are more "brainwashed" than labour as a group), and further shows the harm marketing and PR as a profession does society. Back to Lenin, he also wrote about how pushing too early for Democracy among revolutionaries is counterproductive, which I think is interesting (especially in light of the Bolshevik-Menschevik divide) and challenging to some of my ideas. I have been inclined to draw inspiration from Iran's idea of the Islamic Republic (in structure, not content) on how to guard the values of the revolution within a structure that is still significantly communal in decisionmaking. To what extent should governments of any sort be democratic as opposed to being run by experts? One obvious division (that doesn't stand up to light, I don't think) would be to say that for matters of value, the people should decide, and for matters of fact, experts should decide (and additionally be permitted to frame the question to the people). The problem is that experts presumably understand the value issues better than the people do, and the people would end up making rash decisions (that is, thinking in the short-term rather than the long-term). Perhaps if/when people are educated to a higher level of political sophistication, that wouldn't be such a concern..
After that, I went to dinner at Pacific Ring (I think that's the right name?) for some nice vegetarian sushi, sake, and their tasty green tea banana split. There was a smaller second dinner afterwards with Eric at Milky Way (and then Coffee Tree), after which I went home and spent a good deal of time drifting in and out of sleep.
- Bad Religion is to release a new CD soon called New Maps of Hell. I found a preview of "Honest Goodbye" on youtube - it's a pretty song...
- Honour killings in Britain.. this kind of thing disgusts me to no end - I don't think people who support this should be permitted to immigrate. It is a bloody shame when the progress we've made away from this attitude comes back to the west in the form of immigration.
- In the wake of the sudden power shift in Gaza, Abbas appointed a new Prime Minister. I'm sure YNetNews loved to print this, but it's probably true (by western standards, at least) - Gaza under Hamas is worse off than under Israeli authority. Unfortunately, the fighting has now spread to the West Bank.
- The President of the Czech Republic wants science to be more democratic. He shows the same kind of political illness (that, to me, is almost like mental illness) that's the reason I generally can't stand males from Poland of a certain age - their experiences with polish communism cause them to lockstep towards the purest, most destructive forms of capitalism (and all too often into the embrace of loathsome philosophies like Objectivism). Grr.
- MPs in Britain are considering making safe houses to help people escape gang life. This is a fantastic idea.
- Salman Rushdie, in a rare royal move that may have deep political consequences, was knighted by the British Queen. Iran is not amused, calling it part of struggle against Islam.
- Uttar Pradesh, to deal with power outages relating to India's poor power grid, is successfully using solar power in it's schools.
Next tuesday at 19:00, Rabbis from several Synagogues representing different flavours of Judaism are going to have a "friendly discussion" in public at the JCC, discussing the history and perspective-basis of their movements. I am considering skipping soccer for this.
For today: the Southside (bookstore and Beehive, maybe the used bookstores as well).