Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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The Post-Patriot Age

Stumbling around in my own mental attic - what am I doing up here? Impressions of anatman - bridges from moment to moment break as delusions of mental continuity begin to rattle.. Some large part of my mind is tucked in to bed and beginning to doze.

Random philosophical sketches that have also fallen a bit from context:To rawls:

  • By deciding on material goods/values as the basis for justice, he avoids wading into a mess, but there is a great risk that this will stunt the people both by validating crass materialism and establishing it as an effectively prime end
  • Democracy versus any comprehensive set of ends - raises question of "what are you going to do about it?" - is the basic structure of a just society outside his realm of democratic consideration, or is he prepared to take on the responsibility for building a love of justice in the people? This is the dividing line between full compliance and partial compliance theory, but it is not adequately addressed in Political Liberalism. It is an issue for all political philosophers who advocate democracy though - if the people are incapable, unwilling, or unable to be convinced of the propriety of a new system, what does one sacrifice, democracy or the system? I am not partisian on the matter, and distrust democracy as an ideology, but it has certain practical effects that are desirable, whether implemented partly or fully (and whatever its jurisdiction), and if the populance is difficult to persuade of alternatives then a non democratic society may lack stability, suffer corruption, and other issues.
  • Issue with raising political consciousness of everyone as much as possible, for meaningful democracy and dialogue - enlightened, really freethinkers, in sufficient numbers, would destroy society. Unless they are constrained towards similar values through social traction or specifics of the educational system, we have no reason to believe their value systems would accept mediation between them - commitment to democracy is a variable that could swing just as easily as anything else, and valuing things more than life or the "crass materialism" I mention above is not unreasonable.
  • Direct-er Democracy - a society without any leaders at all, even temporary ones? Would this be doable? At least two issues emerge: Who frames questions that are currently under consideration, and who chooses which questions to raise? The answer to "who" could be a system - challenge: figure something workable. Note that by asking this question I am not embracing democracy as a good - this is a theoretical question in the game-sphere of governance.
  • Criticism: Mathematical models of voting fairness are similarly just puzzles and have no deep meaning that doesn't already typically follow from whatever models of justice/governance they depend on.
  • Criticism: Of approaches to governance that are idealist to the point that they binarise all matters of judgement - "either speech is completely free or it is not" - likewise democracy? Gradations of free-ness of speech, purpose for that free-ness.

Amusing recent idea prodded at me, entering politics.. reasons why not:

  • I am utterly unelectable in the United States. I'm on the far-left, far enough where the deep divides in philosophy start to really matter. Some people would consider my not being entirely straight to be a "skeleton in the closet" (although I am not ashamed of it). I'm not on speaking terms with my father, am not married, am completely atheist without a shred of belief, and am deeply suspicious of business interests
  • I loathe Washington DC (the museums make it a place worth visiting, and the inner bits may be a nice place to walk around, but I hate the area)
  • I am an idealist, and have puritanical attitudes towards political corruption. I would probably boot most lobbyists from my office, and would like to purge people from government whom I see as corrupt. This would probably lead to a lot of political enemies.
  • I know other idealists who ran for office - they described it as a miserable experience
  • The responsibility (even though shared) for managing a society with so many people would weigh very heavily on me - this isn't a disqualifier, but it would be a heavy burden for however long I would be in office
  • I am uncertain how well I'd be able to maintain openness while in office
  • I am worried that I might end up standing, ideologically, nearly alone while in office. That could also be wearying.
  • I'm not much of a people person, and believe that representing/leading should generally be a matter of quiet competence (quiet meaning little concern with campaigning/being popular) mixed with complete openness. I'm not sure if that would really work for a leader.
I don't know what kind of an elected leader/representative I'd make.. I could see myself theoretically being a better leader in a non-democratic (or less democratic) state/system (e.g. a monarch working to obsolete themself or a benevolent dictator).. but even that would be a heavy burden.

"If you were to walk a mile and turn back, you would see nothing here but memories and discarded delusions.. that's why if you leave, you will never be able to come back..."

Could these prophets have spoken in this value-clean way that they argued for? Or were their claims mere fluff?They may have, but like a language, there must be ears capable of understanding for the words to be worth speaking. In their times, there were very few, and so while they transformed their mind so their first philosophical language was that which we now speak, they had to continue speaking the old tongue as a newly foreign language. Besides, their role was not to be a citizen of the post-change world - they were transitional figures. We might even jest that they're more secretaries or .. accountants of the revolution.

In the news, I read about a Canadian television programme called A Little Mosque on the Prarie, a (Cosby-esque?) exploration of interfaith/intercommunity relations set in a small prarie town in Canada. Lower in that article, I spotted something interesting - a suggestion by a founder of a group of "secular Muslims" in Canada who notes that "The vast majority of Muslims in North America don't go to mosques.". The term "secular Muslim" is one that I was afraid of encountering for a long time, and (like with so many things relating to Judaism and Islam) which has a clear counterpart on the Jewish side of the definitional line. As mentioned before, in an attempt for clear terms, I use "Hebrew" as a term to refer to the ethnicity tied to the ancient Hebrews (one can obviously not convert to another ethnic group) as well as the primary language (common usage in English, as I understand). I use Judaism to describe the faith (which conversion would land one in) and Jewish to describe the community (conversion also might land one in - sorry for the repeated term here but I wanted to give my initial comment context). This set of terms works pretty well for that group, although it doesn't carry over to Islam/Muslims so well - there's the matter that Muslims are not as centred on a particular ethnic group and Muslim culture, while not an incoherent concept, takes pretty different forms as it mixes with different ethnic culture (the Ashkenazim/Sephardim/Mizrahim cultural divide isn't as broad and, at least in theory, is branched mostly from a single culture). If culture were more of a concrete entity, we might call Muslim culture a metaculture, although cultural fluidity makes that fanciful. I don't know if I like the term "secular Muslim" much because it at least suggests a contradiction (but then, I do describe ex-Catholics who are "that way" as "Atheist Catholics") - perhaps a term like "Post-Muslim" would be better? Anyhow, some interesting links about the "Secular Muslims" in Canada:

Chávez will release a CD of him singing traditional Venezuelan folk music. Hopefully it'll be less horrible than what we've heard from recent politicians doing the same...

Other news worth noting:

  • The Koreas are moving very well towards peace, even if all we're seeing publically is a radical softening of attitudes. I understand that this is infuriating a number of people in Washington who want to precondition a friendlier atmosphere for the North with American security (and business) objectives.
  • Ecuador is following in Venezuela's footsteps with similar constitutional reforms.
  • Unfortunately, Fatah is starting to allow its need for support from religious factons to lead it to let Islamic morality enforcers become active within its areas of control. Not a good sign..
  • Washington wants to divide Iraq into semi-autonomous areas. Iraq's Prime Minister (for whatever parts of society he represents) is not fond of the idea. Related, Doha suggests that the United States won't be able to hold Iraq together on its own. It's interesting to see that - Qatar is not, as I understand, a particularly vocal country in its foreign affairs, and prefers to be a soft-spoken business/cultural partner of the west. I wonder if their statement was meant to satisfy some factions in society, if it was meant to push the state of things to better their interests (even security interests), or if it's simply advice..
  • Zimbabwe has decided to localise all firms operating in the country on their next significant reorganisation. This might, simply considered, be a good thing - radical shifts in ownership might be needed to correct the historical inequities plaguing the country, and if self-perpetuating inequities have been laid out within the legal system and traditions of ownership, this kind of correction may be warranted. I just hope it doesn't blow up on them..
  • Mauritius is awarded as sub-saharan Africa's best-run state by a businessman.
  • It would be very cute if BushJr were to take Ahmadinejad up on his offer to come speak at an Iranian University.

I read this editorial on "Who Really Rules Israel?" at YNet, and couldn't help but think that things are not radically different there than here - power conglomerates that are similar in a lot of ways are present in many democracies I've looked at - only the specifics differ...

It's sometimes odd/awkward meeting up with people after having dreams that have them in a very different role from life. Heh.

Somehow I had never heard of Tijuana Bibles before (NSFW).


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