Thursday, July 02, 2015

Raising Relative Values to Absolutes

A relative value raised to the level of absolute? What does that bring to mind? Homicidal humanitarianism perhaps?
What are the ends? Under what narrow circumstances may the State inflict its wholesale civilian slaughter? Of what might that Overriding Public Interest consist to justify what are sure to be only a few and far between if not-so-enumerated atrocities?
Enforcing tariffs (read: "ending slavery"), civilizing savages, vanquishing monarchy, thwarting Nazism, stymying imperialism, containing communism, ensuring the free flow of oil to thankless allies, propping up "friendly" dictators, overthrowing "unfriendly" dictators, curbing extremism, fighting terrorism, exporting democracy, ensuring equal rights, liberating Mohammedan women from their burqas!
What are the means? What form may the homicidal humanitarianism take? What few and far between if not-so-enumerated eggs may the State break to make its tasty omelet?
The March to the Sea, Shenandoah Valley, Trail of Tears, Pacification of the Philippines, Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq War I, Iraq War II, Beneath the Planet of the Iraq War, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ad Nauseam-stan!
See? In the American experience, the State is a model of restraint. And when it acts, it acts only to advance noble goals.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dying for Freedom: the Unending Saga

American soldiers, allied with Stalinist Russian soldiers, died fighting German Nazis in World War II. They died for freedom.
American soldiers may soon find themselves allied with Ukrainians Nazis and dying at the hands of semi-capitalistic Russian soldiers. Will we say these American soldiers also died for freedom?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Immutable Rights

If A assaults B, B has a natural tendency to defend himself. He does so without asking whether he may defend himself. This is posited as evidence B has a "Natural Right" to self-defense.
Nevertheless, A assaulted B without asking whether he had a right to assault him. A may well have concocted some self-serving pretext (e.g., pre-emptive strike) for his assault. Does A have a "Natural Right" to assault B?
N.B., when it comes to foreign policy, the Randroids think so. At least they do when A is a civilized nation like the U.S. (!) defending (!!) itself via wholesale civilian slaughter (!!!) of barbarians like Iraqis and Afghanis (among others).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Israelis Bomb Catholic Church

Hell-Bound Whore of Babylon! They had it coming!
Because, you know, . . .
CONSTANTINE! NICEA! ARIANISM! CHARLEMAGNE! CRUSADES! INNOCENT III! INQUISITION! COLUMBUS! THIRTY YEARS WAR! GALILEO! HAPSBURG! GOLD-FILLED COFFERS! PIUS XII! HITLER! HOLOCAUST! HEARTBREAK OF PSORIASIS!
One cannot victimize the Eternal Victimizer. One can only deliver comeuppance. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Zio Nino

In memoriam: Bartolomeo "Nino" Pivetta (1922-1944?). My paternal uncle, an infantryman in the Italian Army, went MIA during in the Siege of Stalingrad. He was never heard from again.
With his Belgian wife and two-year-old daughter in tow, he tried to sneak back to the family farm near Pordenone, Italy. Alas, the carabinieri nabbed him at the border. He became fodder for Mussolini's war.
The court historians insist my uncle did not die for freedom. After all, he was fighting against Stalin, FDR's beloved Uncle Joe, and on the same side as Hitler. Hitler, as we all know, was the Implacable Enemy With Whom No Compromise Is Possible in 1944. Stalin wouldn't take Hitler's place for another year.
Timing is everything in a world of empire, perpetual war, and shifting alliances. Sorry, Zio Nino.
I honor him for putting his family first. Everything else is just a lie. As my late father once put it, in his own inimitable way:
"What? Fight for your country? Are you crazy?! Where do you get ideas like this? No! You have no country! You know where my country is? Right here! Between my legs! That's my country! It's all I live for! It's all I fight for! It's all I'll die for!"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Memorial Day Goes Groundhog

By all means, make it about a three-day weekend. Make it about parties and the beach. Make it about playing polo or square dancing or throwing a frisbee in the park. For the love of all that is decent and reasonable, make it about just about anything else.
What's the alternative? Honoring their sacrifice?
They killed and died in senseless wars. Isn't that clear to you by now? If we honor killing and dying in senseless wars, the politicians will keep sending them off to kill and die in senseless wars. Haven't you had your fill of that?
What does it take to get through to you? Do I have to grab you by the shoulders and shake you? Myth-building mantras do not reality make.
Those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Groundhog Day loses all charm when it showcases an endless loop of drone-struck foreigners and American flag-draped coffins. Enough already.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Into Great Silence

I thought immediately of the Carthusian monks when I saw today's Word of the Day. The 2005 film Into Great Silence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Great_Silence) gave us a taste of their asceticism and the rhythms of their monastic life. 

It took a level of asceticism just to sit through this 162-minute cinematic tour de force.  Those who did could not help but emerge with a newfound appreciation for the Carthusians' simplicity, spirituality, and self-discipline. Interestingly enough, Buddhists and New Agers were as apt to be seduced by this "slow" film as traditional Catholics--proving, once again, that Truth knows no religious, cultural, racial, national, or socio-economic barriers. 

[This was sent to Anu Garg, in response to asceticism, the Word of the Day for Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Needless to say, Garg ignored it.]