Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bush's Stem Cell Hypocrisy

Bush rejects stem cell research on the basis that "its wrong to sacrifice one life for another." To call him as hypocritical would be a vast understatement.
Bush has shown no reluctance to take this country into war. Whether a war is justified or not it will result in civilian casualties. The rational in such cases is that in the end, you’re saving the lives your enemy might kill. So the benefit of many occur at the sacrifice of a few.
In Iraq, the situation is much worse because, there’s no evidence that Saddam was a threat to the world or that the estimated 70.000 to 100,000 dead civilians would be any less that Saddam would have killed himself. There were no WMD’s, no signifgant ties to terrorism and it seem that his regime was on the verge of collapsing anyway. So all the Iraqi civilians, and US soldier more or less died for next to nothing.
Of course, some might ague that this is nessicary sacrifice to until democracy in the Middle East. But, of course, this is easy for the people who arn’t being sacrificed to say this.
What’s even more galling is that the "human life" Bush is talking about is just a ball of undifferentiated stem cells(which is technically not even an embryo yet), with no consciousness, no perception of pain. They have no organized nervous system at all, period.
The real icing on the cake is that stem cell research holds the promise to save many lives and to vastly improve the quality of many chronically ill people.
In the end, opposition to stem cell research is an exercise in futility. Europe and Asia are developing it with breathtaking speed. And the billion of dollars in profit will go to their country and not to ours.
Bush’s opposition to stem cell research is not only hypocritical, it is also sanctimonious and in the end, ineffectual

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Only The Arabs Can Reform The Arab World

The Arab world, in terms of politics, religion and respect for personal freedom and the rights of woman, it very much behind the West. But, the West, (And the United States specifically) cannot force the Arab world to change. Only the Arabs can save the Arab world.
The Arab and Moslem world must choose whether it wants to go forward or backwards. Its all in their hands.
There are indeed some very profound difference between Arabia and the Western world. But, this does not have to lead to violence.
Our difference should not be glossed over, but there is hope for some kind of meaningful dialogue.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Just a clump of cells

Every day millions of people around the world die of desease, war and starvation.
Meanwhile, global warming continues to worsen, food production is barely keeping up with population growth, and nuclear proliferation is spreading like wild fire.
We should not waste one millisecond of our time worring over a tiny, insignificant clump of cells.

Save worry for the larger things

We need to be selective in our outrage. Wasting time on trivial issues only means less time spent on the more significant issues. There are much more significant issues than gay marriage, political correctness, stem cell research and celebrity gossip. The fate of our society, and the world have nothing to do with such matters.
The truth is seldom found through belief, ideology or preconceived notions. There is more truth is genuine experience, exploration and evidence than in any Church, any Government or Holy book.
For those who depend on contrived doctrine to make sense of the world are denying what there own eyes can see and what their own mind can think. This tendency, at the same time, is equally arrogant and spineless. It’s arrogent because i causes a person to think that they have all the ansewers. It is cowardly because the true believer lacks the resolve and backbone to question their own preconceptions.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Archaics vs Prometheans

Another way of conceptualizing this basic conflict is that of Archaics vs Prometheans. What both sides have in common is a desire for transcendence. The difference is how they set out to achieve it.
Archaics find it through religion of one kind of another. The Prometheans a achieving it by their own hand and the tools at their disposal.
So, the archaics are sitting around and waiting for some God for "salvation" while, the prometheans are busy bringing about their own salvation.
Science, technology and individualism have brought about an unprecedented revolution for the human species. It has given us the capacity to transform ourselves and our societies in ways past generations could only dream of.
It has given us the capacity to throw off the shackles of the past and embrace something fresh, challenging and new. And the archaics can’t handle the new possibilities. In this respect, they are quite cowardly.
This is not to say that the modern world isn’t without a dark side. There is no free lunch, after all. And many have missused technology( Just look SUV’s, nuclear proliferation, etc. But, it gives us opportunities which we would otherwise not have.

Monday, May 16, 2005

My Dream Last Night.

I drempt last night that I was staying in a hotel room with the actress Rachael Leigh Cook and another some other male actor.(in separate beds) But, we all slept naked.
Rachael got up just before I did and saw her naked from the back. I knew better than to pounce on her.(a PG-13 rated dream, apparently)
Then I woke and found I had already gotten up in another way..

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Prometheous and his enemys

The basic conflict in modern society is primitivism vs promethenism. This conflict manifests itself in many different ways.
The attackers of 9/11 weren’t just apposed to the US, But to the modern world in general. It was attack against freedom of religion, of reason, tolerance and the pursuit of knowledge. It was an attack against gay rights, freedom of expression, the rights of women and personal autonomy.
This is not just a global war on terror, but a war on ignorance, poverty, fear, intolerance and narrow-mindedness. All these are factors in both the growth of extremism and terror.
Some think that US policy is to blame for the rise of terrorism. This is overly simplistic. Its possible that some of our actions have exsasperated anger and distrust among Moslems, but this alone is not sufficient to explain the rise of extremism.
Because much of it has to do with incombatible world views and values.
The extremists are indeed apposed to democracy and personal freedom. They’ve come out and said it themselves!
Some on the far left don’t seem to grasp this. They view Moslem terror as a result of an insurgency against Western colonialism. Therefore, they may be apt to view Moslem extremists as being "freedom fighters" rather than the opponents of personal freedom and progress. In doing so, they gloss over the ultra-conservative nature of Islamic extremists.
Ironically, some on the religious right(who are distrustful of anything Islamic) have also downplayed the threat of terrorism. Pat Robertson recently called liberal Judges a "greater threat than Al Queda."
It would seem that the far left, Islamic extremists and Christian Funidmentalists are all really "birds of a feather." They are, indeed the "axis of primitivism." They all, after all have a mutal enemy in science, reason and personal freedom. And they are all fighting a losing battle.
The future hold unprecedented technological change and social upheaval. It is a tidal wave of transformation accelerated evolution that will crush or change anything in its path. And, in the end, Homo Sapien will give way to homo Promethean, assuming humanity still exists in any recognizable form at all.

The primatives(like the dinosaurs of ages past) are staring down at the comet about to hit and wipe them out.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Primitive Verses Modern

The line between the "primtivists" and "modernists" is most profound about the concept of personal freedom. Primitives tend to be communal and their mind set is all about the subjugation of the individual. And threwout human history, this is the way most societies have been.
The Moderns, on the other hand, believe in the celebration and the elevation of the individual. This belief is a clear departure from history and tradition. It has allowed democracy and innovation to exist.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Global Culture War

After the attacks of 9/11, Jerry Falwell stated that God let it happen because of "homosexuals, pagans and feminim." Many on the left viewed it as a result of America’s forein policy. Both extremes of the political spectrum seem to agree that America deserved the attacks.
From a broader perspective, Islamic extremists, Christian Fundamentalists and the radical left are all esennsually, on the same side.
They are all part of the "axis of primitivism." Despite some differances in idealogy, they are all united by one thing: The hatred and distrust of the modern world. They believe in tradition, dogmatic purity, tribal identity and reject science, reason and personal freedom.
They embrace blind emotion (especially fear) and want to take the world backwards to some idealized "garden of eden".
In contrast to the "primativists" there are the "modernists."
These are people who embrace the modern world with little reservation. They tend to believe in "free minds and free markets."
They believe in breaking boundaries(especially those imposed by blind traditionalism) going beyond the limits of sovereignty.
There tends to be a an economic, as well as differences in values.
The "primitivists" tend to be left out of the benefits of the global marketplace. Much of support of "primitive" values tends to come from the working class, which is increasly voiceless and powerless on the global stage/
The "modernists", on the other hand, tend to be college educated, have well paying jobs and have a more sophisticated world view. They have access to good healthcare and tend to embrace science and rationality.
A rather graphic illustration of this split in world views can be found in Morracco. The kingdom has long been known for its tolerant brand of Islam. But, something hass started to happen. The poverty rate has increased, the inequlity of wealth has gotten greater. As a result, much of the population outside of the cities has become more funimentalists and intolerant in their thinking.
In future, the split between these two groups will only become more pronounced. The modernists will have longer lifespans, genetic and cybernatic enhancements perhaps even colonizies in space. They will increasingly live in a very different world than a villager in the Middle East or the working class white male in the American South. Indeed, because of all the artificial enhancements, the "modernists" may evolve into an to another form of humanity altogether.
The "primitives" will live in a world which they no longer, understand and feel alienated from. As a result, they will become increasingly desperate, turning to ever more radicalism and violence. The moderns, of course, will fight back with techlogical proress and sophistication.
9/11 may be remembered by future generations as just the opening salvo in a global culture war.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Working Class, continued/

William Saletan makes the point that Bush won because of simplicity. Unfortunately, the leader of the most powerful country on Earth cannot afford to be that way.
And that's the dilemma. Many people want an "average joe" to be their leader, yet, an average person can't run the country very well.
The strength of Clinton is that he was able to come across as an average joe, yet was smart enough to confront the complexity of the world.
Part of the trend with Bush supporters is to vote for people who reflect personal values. They forget, however, that just because leader might share a voters personal values doesn't mean he will engage in policies that will benefit his consistence.
People should vote for someone who engages in policies that benefit the voter and society as a whole. (the whole premise of the book "What's the Matter with Kansas")
Many working class and middle class are not making the connection between Bush’s flawed policies and the man himself. Because he is perceived as "one of us" all is apparently forgiven.
This is "identity politics" in its most destructive form.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Chilling trend in Europe..

The US is not the only Western country to worry about faniticism, as the quote from blogger Andrew Sullivan Illustrates.

THE NEW 1930S IN EUROPE: My friend Bruce Bawer, conservative literary critic and astute commentator, now lives in Norway and knows northern Europe well. His emails about the growth of Islamo-fascism get more and more worrying. He gave me permission to reproduce his latest. Here it is, prompted by a gang of Moroccan youths who gay-bashed a friend of mine and a leading gay journalist, Chris Crain, last week, for holding hands with his boyfriend on the street:
I would encourage all responsible-minded people, to get up to speed on what's going on in the Netherlands, and in Western Europe generally. The country I cherished a few years ago as the most liberal in the world has an increasingly large – and increasingly alienated – population of extreme reactionaries who despise, and seek to destroy, its liberalism. It is frankly stunning that Crain, in his posting, doesn't even mention Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, who were murdered for daring to take on this intolerance, or Dutch Parliament members Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, who have also spoken out and as a result are forced to live (respectively) on a Marine base and in a prison in order to avoid being murdered.One night in December 1998, T. and I were walking along the Singel canal in central Amsterdam when a Moroccan teenager pulled a knife and demanded money. (T. saw the knife, but the kid held it so low and so close to me that I didn't see it.) A half dozen of his friends hovered nearby, at the edge of the canal, looking threatening. I told him angrily to hit the road. He hesitated, looked back at his friends, and then they all ran off. We were lucky. Year by year, it's only got worse. The assaults are more frequent now, and more likely to be violent. They're less about money now and more about contempt – not just toward gays but toward all infidels.We still visit Amsterdam, but we keep our eyes open. It's a great city – you just can’t be naVve about what’s going on. We spent a weekend there in March. We checked into our hotel, went to our room, and I turned on the TV. The news had just come on (AT5 news, March 24, 8:30 PM). The lead story was about how Muslim intolerance of homosexuality was making life much worse for gays in Amsterdam.But what are the authorities doing about it? What can they do? Half of Amsterdam's population is of non-Dutch origin. It was recently reported that 40% of Moroccan youths in Amersfoort between ages 15 and 17 were suspected by the police of criminal activity. The Amersfoort police have files on 21% of Moroccan youths and 27% of Somali youths. A criminologist said this was probably representative of the situation nationwide.As for the cops finding the guys who beat up Chris Crain: I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they haven’t lifted a finger. They probably thought he was nuts for confronting the guys. The authorities’ traditional policy is: keep your head down and don’t provoke anybody. In January, two schoolboys in IJsselstein were ordered to remove Dutch flag patches from their backpacks because Moroccan students might consider them provocative. It turned out this flag ban is officially in force at many schools. Meanwhile Muslim kids have pictures of van Gogh's murderer on their lunchboxes because they consider him a hero, and nobody dares tell them to remove those pictures. In a recent article, a teacher at a school in Amsterdam said that a decade ago, ten-year-old Muslim kids were saying, 'We Moroccans are going to take over the Netherlands'; now five-year-olds who can hardly write are scrawling 'Fuck you Netherlands' on scraps of paper.Crain quotes Queen Beatrix on intolerance. I'm sure she meant that ethnic Dutch people are growing more intolerant of Muslims. Some are. My fear has long been that the Dutch liberal establishment’s unwillingness to confront Muslim bigotry would feed the rise of anti-Muslim neo-fascism, resulting in a society split between two extreme rights – one Muslim and one non-Muslim. In any case Beatrix’s handling of these matters has been (shall we say) dismaying. After van Gogh’s murder she refused to attend his funeral or meet with Hirsi Ali; instead, she went to a Moroccan youth center and made friendly chitchat. Compare this to Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who in a new authorized biography addresses these issues head-on, saying 'there are certain things of which one should not be too tolerant.' Precisely. Tolerating gays: good. Tolerating intolerance of gays: not good. It ain't brain surgery.
This is how the new brownshirts are making progress. First they take over the streets with thuggery. Then they kill politicians. And Europe is - surprise! - appeasing them. And then I see the president of the United States holding hands with the Arab dictator whose oil money is financing the propagation of this fascism. We have been here before. What part of "Never Again" does Europe not understand?

Copyright 2005 Andrew Sullivan