Saturday, October 21, 2006
Kirsten Dunst interview (Sofia Coppola, Jason Schwartzman)
Video interviews with Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Nolan, and Michael Caine, along with some Red Carpet vids
Flags of Our Fathers
And... images for 300 (still not interested...)
The Myth of Microloans
I haven't read much about microloans, so I don't know what to make of them... or if they really address the problems of globalization.
Distributism Blog comments on Grameen Bank. The Western Confucian reports on Muhammad Yunus winning the Nobel Prize for Economics.
His reaction to the arrest of a UK student for a section 5 racial public order offence, after she requested (with complaints?) to be transferred to a different lab group where everyone spoke English
The U.K. (and Canada, too) needs to learn about the limits to positive law, even if the elites like social engineering through totalitarianism.
But it is necessary at this point to note something very central to the particular corruption toward which the Actonian system actually tends. Acton speaks of “power” and not “authority”. If what he really intended to say was that a raw, stubborn, unbending power tended to corrupt, he would have been correct, and would not have encountered the criticism that he did from nineteenth century counterrevolutionary opponents in the Catholic camp. Unfortunately, what Acton meant by “power” was precisely the activity of that mesh of social authorities, guided by a sense of philosophical and religious responsibilities and hierarchical organization, developed by Greco-Roman culture and Catholic thinkers tying natural wisdom together with the message of the Incarnation. It was this mesh that had, through its tendency to heighten awareness of the burden and the exalted mission of authority, tamed illicit strength and hemmed in its possible misuse at the hands of passionate and ignorant men. What Acton, in his assault on a social authority incorrectly identified as raw power was, in fact, urging, was a flight from an accurate and responsible use of a tool demanded by God and well developed, as a “seed of the Logos”, in the natural world of Greece and Rome. What he was really calling for was creation of a social jungle in which the kind of truly raw power that ultimately destroys both the strong and weak would happily flourish. This wicked power, which definitely does tend to corrupt, and, if absolute, corrupt absolutely, would then be limited by absolutely nothing substantive. How could it be? For every effective attempt to control its evil would involve the use of authority of some kind or another, be it philosophical, religious, or traditional, and would be condemned by Acton as a step backwards into tyranny! The irony of this position is only surprising to someone unaware of the whole syllabus of ironies of the modern world that Acton loved so deeply. Remember, just to take one other example, that this civilization is one that praises as a glorious founder of the modern commitment to human liberty a Luther who believed that the concept of free will was a total absurdity.
``The convicted person has damaged society by circulating abnormal Japanese pornography. He distorted the healthy sex culture and corrupted juveniles. As such acts violate the law, punishment is inevitable,’’ police said on their homepage on Thursday.How Confucian.
Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency
National Police Agency
Avoiding the Stigma of Being an 'Ajumma'
The Korean word “ajumma” means a married woman or woman old enough to get married, but it has negative connotations when used in everyday life. Few women would be pleased when they hear someone calling them “ajumma” from behind. Some would just pretend not to hear and walk faster in the belief that it cannot possibly mean them, while others may get upset and ask the caller, with a shrill edge to their voice and a wobble of the head, what makes him or her so sure that they are married. The Chosun Ilbo has a handful of tips on avoiding such vicissitudes altogether.
Situation 1 : On the bus or subway
The ajumma tends to step on someone’s foot and give them a dark look when they say “ouch” instead of apologizing. She is not ashamed of nudging someone’s bottom with an umbrella on the bus or subway to occupy a seat, and weighing down a person next to her by not taking hold of a handle in a joggling bus or train. What is worse, she shouts into her cell phone so everyone around can hear, and it is never even about serious matters. A lady, by contrast, says sorry when she breezes past, and is told it’s all right in reply: the magic word. Strictly speaking, it is pukkah to refrain from talking on your mobile altogether in a public place. If you get to get a call, keep it short and call back later.
Situation 2: In the health center or sauna
The ajumma shows no consideration for others. She takes her time in using a massage machine at a health center even if there are people lining up to use it. She also tries to butter up young trainers. She offers to buy lunch or dinner for them or asks them to analyze her body composition to have a moment with them without good reason. In the sauna, should the ajumma let out a fart and people stare at her, she will just leave without saying sorry. Ladies show respect to everyone, even their juniors. They are well aware of etiquettes in public places. They tend to be strict with themselves and generous to others: with ajumma it is the other way round.
Situation 3: Shopping
When shopping in a flea market, the ajumma does not hesitate to throw money short of the price at the vendor without saying a word. Even when she shops for expensive items, she first tries to haggle the price down to half rather than checking other services offered. She treats staff at gas stations or restaurants with contempt because she thinks that makes them think she is a big fish. In addition, the ajumma is so vulgar that she buys expensive designer clothes without batting an eyelid but tries to save money on the hairdresser. Ladies do not seek a discount at all cost. They know to be frugal, but haggling is not their style: instead, they negotiate, taking the seller’s position and the situation into account. Tipping does not make you a lady, but saying thank you and being civil does.
Are you an ajumma? A checklist, somewhat slanted to the men’s point of view.
1. Do you have a potbelly?
2. Do you carry a big handbag that looks like a diaper carrier?
3. Do you fail to keep your hair tidy?
4. Do you tuck your underwear in properly?
5. Do you throw your bag on an empty seat to secure it when you get on a bus or subway?
6. Do you talk loudly on the phone in public?
Ha Ji-won Speaks Up for Chosun-Era Gisaeng
It isn’t until the setting sun makes the shadows grow long on the set of “Hwang Jin-I,” the KBS 2 historical drama that took a staggering 20 percent of the viewing rate at its debut, that Ha Ji-won can settle down for a moment’s rest. “This is the first time that I have felt jealous during acting,” she says. “The charisma of a world-class beauty, the intellect to keep her on a par with the scholars in a poetry contest: there was nowhere she was lacking. More than anything else, she didn’t give in to the pressure of her class or of the era in which she was born. She took the life she was given and lived it in an admirable way.”
To the brassy question, “Aren’t gisaeng just the girls who pour the liquor?” the actress kept her cool: “You can look at it that way, but they were at once entertainers and artists.” “Nowadays you can see celebrities on TV and on stage, but in the Chosun period it was the gisaeng that filled that role,” she said. “But they did have to pour the drinks, and sometimes they had to give their bodies, and since they could never love easily, their lives were often filled with pain.”
Through the role, the actress is living the arduous life of a Chosun-era entertainer for herself. “There was one extra who cried real tears during the shooting of a scene where their feet were bound and strung upside to perform a dance,” she recalls. “Physically and mentally, the life of the gisaeng is hard.”
And she added, “For a female entertainer, the closest companion is pain.” Asked if there is a line like that in the drama, Ha smiles. “Yes, it’s a line from the fourth episode. Since I’m going through the joys and sorrows felt by the gisaeng throughout the drama, certain lines speak to my heart word for word.” Ha is an actress who has a wide range of room to be analyzed. In an industry full of stars who have finely chiseled noses and wide eyes, Ha looks like the girl next door. Ironically it was that ordinariness that helped her to grow into a top class actor on the big and small screen. Most of the characters she played in some way broke the mold, and it was possible because of an appearance that can become any character as well as her fine dramatic craft.
For Ha, a drama requiring her to embody traditional feminine beauty is both an opportunity and a risk. “As you know, I don’t have a pretty doll-like face, nor do I have a lot of charisma. But because of that, I can fit better into various types of characters. I often wish I were prettier, though.” In the drama she refused to use a double for the tightrope walk scene. She set up a rope in the yard of her house and learned herself over the course of two weeks. “I felt like I lack something, and that’s why I always want to learn. Interestingly, whenever I want to learn something, there comes the chance to shoot a movie or drama related to it. When I started to get interested in dance, I ended up starring in ‘Duelist’, which allowed me to learn both ballet and tango. Do you think I have some sort of psychic power? It’s scary.”
As the point bears repeating, what is normative for human beings is not determined by what some animals may do. Who can deny that animals can be ruled by the desire for sense pleasure and act accordingly? Or that some animals that are more advanced can even use such acts for other purposes, such as socialization? Still, such activity does not destroy the intrinsic purpose or function of the mating act between animals--procreation. At best the defenders of illicit sex can only say that sex doesn't have to be ordered towards procreation, it can be for pleasure or some other perceived good... nothing more than "If it feels good, then do it."
The Oslo Natural History Museum opened the show last week and says it has been well attended, not least by families.
Organisers reported early criticism of the project, and being told by one opponent they would "burn in hell".
But there has been strong interest in an aspect of animal behaviour the museum says is quite common.
It says homosexuality has been observed among 1,500 species, and that in 500 of those it is well documented.
The exhibition - entitled Against Nature? - includes photographs of one male giraffe mounting another, of apes stimulating others of the same sex, and two aroused male right whales rubbing against each other.
We hope to reject the all too well known argument that homosexual behaviour is a crime against nature
Oslo Natural History Museum
"Homosexuality is a common and widespread phenomenon in the animal world," says an exhibition statement.
"Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even long-lasting partnerships; partnerships that may last a lifetime."
The museum says it is the first exhibition in the world to touch on a subject that has been taboo in the past.
It says sex between animals - as between humans - is often a matter of enjoyment, rather than procreation, and that this applies to animals of the same sex as well as opposite sexes.
While homosexuality would appear to contradict evolutionary imperatives, scientists involved in the exhibition say it appears to do no harm and may actually help in some circumstances.
Sometimes a pair of male birds may rear eggs "donated" by a female.
In the case of flamingos, for instance, "two males can hold a much larger territory than a regular flamingo pair, thus more chicks can grow up", the exhibition states.
Story from BBC NEWS:
In some colonies, as many as one in 10 pairs of penguins may be same-sex, while "in some animals the whole species is bisexual", the exhibition says, giving bonobo chimpanzees as an example.
There has been some hostility to the exhibition. An American commentator said it was an example of "propaganda invading the scientific world".
Petter Bockman, a zoologist who helped put the show together, admitted that "there is a political motive".
In Norway there was a desire among publicly funded museums to be "deliverers of truth" and to "put on display controversial subjects, things that are not said and are swept under the carpet".
The museum says one of its aims is to "help to de-mystify homosexuality among people... we hope to reject the all too well known argument that homosexual behaviour is a crime against nature".
Published: 2006/10/19 13:35:02 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Another subtle attempt by the Father of Lies to reduce human beings to nothing more than beasts. Humans can choose between doing x and not doing x--and they can use reason to determine whether x is right or wrong. The argument that x is done [in nature, or by certain animals, or by human beings], therefore x is right should be the real naturalistic fallacy.
So is there a principle of human action (i.e. reason) to which the passions should be subordinate? Or do we want our bodies simply to be pleasure machines?
Let us recall that Aristotle and the Catholic moral tradition teaches that pleasure is not neutral or an absolute good; rather, there is a difference between good pleasure and bad pleasure. Good pleasure is the consequence of acts that truly attain their end and are right and good, bad pleasure is what accompanies disordered acts.
Oh dear, there's that other word, disorder, as in "objectively disordered"... those whose reason has been corrupted by passion will not understand that order comes from above, and not from below.
Now, granted there are exceptions made for agricultural use, but what of those who do not use their land for agriculture, but would like to keep that option open? What if the property taxes that are assessed based on the "market value" are too high for them to pay? What other choice would they have than to sell the land? What of protecting the economic freedom of the little guy?
Does this not seem a bit problematic? Small wonder that some see the property tax as being unjust.
It's one thing to assess a tax based on the projected productivity of the land (+ labor), it's another to assess a tax based on the perceived value of the land itself.
Another important topic that we didn't learn in Government class.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Father Cantalamessa on PowerI think he is not making the proper distinctions with respect to power, and the important distinction between power and authority. I certainly take issue with his assertion that power confers authority.
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings
ROME, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on this Sunday's liturgical readings.
* * *
The Great Exercise Power
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Isaiah 53:2a.,3a.,10-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45
After the Gospel on riches, this Sunday's Gospel gives us Christ's judgment on another of the great idols of the world: power.
Power, like money, is not intrinsically evil. God describes himself as "the Omnipotent" and Scripture says "power belongs to God" (Psalm 62:11).
However, given that man had abused the power granted to him, transforming it into control by the strongest and oppression of the weakest, what did God do?
To give us an example, God stripped himself of his omnipotence; from being "omnipotent," he made himself "impotent."
He "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). He transformed power into service. The first reading of the day contains a prophetic description of this "impotent" Savior. "He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth. ... He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity."
Thus a new power is revealed, that of the cross: "Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise" (1 Corinthians 1:27). In the Magnificat, Mary sings in advance this silent revolution brought by the coming of Christ: "He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones" (Luke 1:52).
Who is accused under this denunciation of power? Only dictators and tyrants? Would that it were so! It would refer, in this case, to exceptions. Instead, it affects us all. Power has infinite ramifications, it gets in everywhere, as certain sands of the Sahara when the sirocco wind blows. It even gets into the Church.
The problem of power, therefore, is not posed only in the political realm. If we stay in that realm, we do no more than join the group of those who are always ready to strike others' breast for their own faults. It is easy to denounce collective faults, or those of the past; it is far more difficult when it comes to personal and present faults.
Mary says that God "dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart; he has thrown down the rulers from their thrones" (Luke 1:51ff.). She singles out implicitly a precise area in which the "will to power" must be combated: our own hearts.
Our minds -- the thoughts of the heart -- can become a kind of throne on which we sit to dictate laws and thunder against those who do not submit to us. We are, at least in our wishes if not in deeds, the "mighty on thrones."
Sadly, in the family itself it is possible that our innate will to power and abuse might manifest itself, causing constant suffering to those who are victims of it, which is often -- not always -- the woman.
What does the Gospel oppose to power? Service: a power for others, not over others!
Power confers authority, but service confers something more, authority that means respect, esteem, a true ascendancy over others. The Gospel also opposes power with nonviolence, that is, power of another kind, moral, not physical power.
Jesus said that he could have asked the Father for twelve legions of angels to defeat his enemies who were just about to crucify him (Matthew 26:53), but he preferred to pray for them. And it was in this way that he achieved victory.
Service is not always expressed, however, in silence and submission to power. Sometimes it can impel one to raise one's voice against power and its abuses. This is what Jesus did. In his life he experienced the abuse of the political and religious power of the time. That is why he is close to all those -- in any environment (the family, community, civil society) --who go through the experience of an evil and tyrannical power.
With his help it is possible not "to be overcome by evil," as he was not -- more than that, to "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
[Translation by ZENIT]
Correction: Last week's commentary by Father Cantalamessa should have read: "However, it is clear that today almsgiving and charity is no longer the only way to use wealth for the common good, or perhaps the most advisable." The word "only" was inadvertently omitted from the English translation. We apologize for the error.
Good. That's a little bit better. But perhaps he should have elaborated on what these other ways might be, or refer us to a place where we could find out. Unfortunately, that sort of practical advice can't be found in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Perhaps he has a more radical program in mind, but he isn't saying anything here.
Korean Translation of Compendium OK'd
SEOUL, South Korea, OCT. 20, 2006 (Zenit.org).- This country's bishops have approved the Korean translation of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The translation was approved during the plenary assembly of the bishops' conference, held Oct. 9-12, according to the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The compendium is a "faithful and sure synthesis" of the Catechism, said Benedict XVI in the document that approved its publication in 2005.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has been translated into more than 50 languages, was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992.
During their assembly, the Korean bishops elected Bishop John Chang-yik, 72, of Chuncheon as president of the conference.
The bishops also established a commission for youth pastoral care, and appointed as its president Auxiliary Bishop Basil Cho Kyu-man, 51, of Seoul.
Plus, from Jihad Watch:
Robert Spencer introduces Religion of Peace (apparently Mr. Spencer has a new book out, The Truth about Muhammad)
link to Front Page Symposium, featuring Mr. Spencer, Mustafa Akyol, David Aikman, and Andrew Bostom
Apparently James Keenan, S.J. is spearheading this, along with Professor Kalscheur. Since Fr. Keenan is involved, I am skeptical that this will really reflect the Hellenistic roots of the Catholic Intelletual Tradition that our Holy Father discussed during his lecture at the University of Regensburg.
From the email sent out to the graduate students at BC:
Last year Greg Kalscheur, Assistant Professor at the Law School, and I began chairing a committee entitled, the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT).
This year, under the auspices of the Provost, Dr. Bert Garza, Greg and I and our committee are rolling out a three-year program for the BC faculty to examine more concretely the CIT at BC.
The first event was a working luncheon held on two consecutive days (October 3 and 4) to enable as many faculty as possible to attend. Over 175 faculty members participated in these luncheons and they provided us an opportunity to discuss our individual understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition, share our hopes and fears about the tradition's relationship to Boston College faculty, and identify ways that we could subsequently hold sustained critical discourse on the Catholic intellectual tradition.
For our second event, we have invited Associate Professor Steve Schloesser History) to speak on the Catholic intellectual tradition. His paper, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Resourcing Catholic Intellectual Traditions for Higher Education" will be presented on Tuesday October 31 (Halloween), at 4.30 in the Heights Room. Professors Ali Banuzizi (Psychology) and Ray Madoff (Law) will be the respondents. Cocktails follow.
Steve Schloesser, S.J. faculty page
Looking at his "representative publications" I don't see anything really appealing. Perhaps his paper will be more interesting, but I will be surprised if it is.
"Over 175 faculty members participated in these luncheons and they provided us an opportunity to discuss our individual understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition, share our hopes and fears about the tradition's relationship to Boston College faculty, and identify ways that we could subsequently hold sustained critical discourse on the Catholic intellectual tradition."
Beautiful: Share our hopes and fears. And pray tell, what might those fears be? An authoritarian Church clamping down and stifling academic freedom? Boohoo.
"Sustained critical discourse." More critical than constructive I bet. Why doesn't he say: "ways that we could bring the Catholic intellectual tradition to light at Boston College"? Or "ways that we could expose our students to the Catholic intellectual tradition and help them better appreciate it"? I think that this is just another attempt at subversion.
The wicked go astray from the womb,
they err from their birth, speaking lies.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
or of the cunning enchanter.
O God, break the teenth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
Let them be like the snail which dissolves into slim,e
like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,
whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I have not read his Modern Physics and Ancient Faith; if someone were willing to publish a review, I'd be happy to read it and write one. Based on what I've read of his work, I suspect that his attempt to harmonize contemporary science with the Faith doesn't really succeed, and only has the appearance of succeeding because he adopts a certain philosophical framework which has some affinity to the truth (most likely quasi-Platonic).
Ah, the wonders of makeup.
An older one:
Good intention, but I wonder if the video itself isn't too pedophile-friendly.
And lest we buy the rad-fem assertion that women can do no wrong, should we not ask about women's responsibility for reinforcing current pressures to conform to a certain ideal of beauty?
Dove Self-Esteem Fund
Evidently some members of the faculty are ignorant of the Catholic identity of Boston College and what that exactly entails (Professor Purnell?). Could Dr. Behe have squarred off with, for example, Dr. Ken Miller? Sure, but that opportunity was missed last semester. There needs to be a distinction made between speeches dealing with speculative issues and those focused on moral questions. If those who dissent from the moral teachings of the Church are allowed to speak on campus, it can only be for the purpose of being shown that they are wrong. Anything else is poison to the students, many of whom clearly do not have the critical thinking skills needed to sort truth from falsity, right from wrong. I definitely do not trust the "intellectual capabilities" of BC's students, and who is to blame for this? Members of the faculty, take a good and hard look in the mirror.
Student guide revised to allow scrutiny of events' content
Policy mandates balanced panels
By: Tom WiedemanIssue date: 10/16/06 Section: NewsQuestions of academic freedom are likely to arise again, now that the speaker policy in the Office of the Dean for Student Development's Student Guide has been revised to state explicitly that the University has the power to balance and even cancel speakers it finds are not "sensitive to and respectful of the Catholic heritage of the institution."
The new policy, which can be found on the ODSD Web site, states that "the free exchange of ideas is a principal value of the University," but a new passage in this year's guide says that "such freedom of inquiry is, however, not absolute and must be balanced by the University's obligation to adhere to the principals and values inherent in Boston College's identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution."
"What we're trying to do is have clear guidelines and reminders that this is a Catholic and Jesuit University," said Dean for Student Development Robert Sherwood.
The policy represents another case of the Universities' recent progression toward emphasizing balance in sponsored events. For instance, an abortion rights advocate who represents a stance contrary to Catholic teaching would potentially need to be contrasted by an anti-abortion advocate.
"The provision on 'balanced views' suggests that we don't quite trust the intellectual capabilities of our students when we leave them to their own devices," said political science professor Jennie Purnell. "Based on my own experience as a faculty member, I believe that students are fully capable of realizing when they are hearing a one-sided presentation and of evaluating the merits of any particular argument."
John Hellman, vice-president of the GLBT Leadership Council (GLC) and A&S '07, said he saw a double standard in events that present a viewpoint consistent with Catholic teaching, but that did not present balanced views - such as the lecture by Michael Behe, a supporter of the intelligent design theory."We have to present both sides and go do the extra work to present both views," he said regarding GLC sponsored events. "Other groups on campus have the luxury to just go about planning their events."
The revision of the policy is meant to clarify the University's position on dealing with events that run counter to the Catholic-Jesuit teachings. Uncertainties in the policy, as it read last year, contributed to several controversies, particularly involving the sponsorship of events by the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a group that advocates abortion rights and women's health issues. A panel on women's rights in light of Samuel Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court was originally cancelled because WHI, which is not recognized by the University because of its stance on abortion, could not sponsor events as an unrecognized student group.
The restriction was circumvented when the sociology department stepped in to sponsor the event, prompting Jack Dunn, University spokesman, to say at the time: "The University will review the sponsorship of all future events."
"We don't want to be involved in a perpetual tug-of-war with the administration," said Katherine Adam, a member of the WHI and A&S '07. "We'd like to work with them and not hide things from them. We're not trying to change policy, we just want to promote free speech and dialogue about reproductive rights issues.
The policy only specifically addresses speakers or events that are paid for with University money - namely, the student activities fee that funds many UGBC programs and other programs. Sherwood said even if University money was not used, however, "the expectations are the same in adherence to Jesuit values."
"It seems the new policy is intentionally vague in order to allow it to be selectively applied to specific, marginalized groups on this campus, such as GLBT groups, or supporters of abortion rights," said Nick Salter, member of the Global Justice Project (GJP) and A&S '07. "For example, I highly doubt that the University will equally apply this policy to supporters of the Iraq War, such as Sen. John McCain, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or weapons manufactures. It is the subjective nature of this policy that makes it especially outrageous."
At other Catholic and Jesuit Universities, the policy on bringing speakers varies. At Notre Dame, "students and student organizations are free to examine and to discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Notre Dame students may invite and hear any person of their own choosing," according to its policy. It also makes no reference to the school's Catholic heritage, or to potential limitations on speakers based on that heritage.
Marquette University, a Jesuit school in Milwaukee, Wis., has a policy similar to BC's. Its student guide states that "sponsorship of visiting speakers and public performers...will be considered in light of the educational purposes and the Catholic identity of Marquette University. In those cases where a program, film, or printed material is considered to be opposed to the mission of the university, there may be a requirement for the presentation of multiple points of view."
The approach taken by Georgetown University differs starkly with BC's revised policy. Its policy states that because of the "Catholic teaching that between faith and reason there can be no fundamental conflict" and the "Jesuit principles about putting the most favorable construction on your neighbor's argument...Georgetown's identification with the Catholic and Jesuit tradition, far from limiting or compromising the ideal of free discourse, requires that we live up to that ideal."
History professor Lynn Johnson agreed with that sentiment. "I think the review policy will have a chilling effect on academic freedom in the larger BC community - it's designed to promote self-censorship among students who will know that events they plan involving certain types of controversial speakers will likely be reorganized or cancelled. Despite the administration's nod to the importance of the free exchange of ideas, the policy is clearly injurious to the Jesuit tradition of free inquiry that is at the heart of the university's mission," she said.
Sherwood said that, to his knowledge, no events or speakers had been scrutinized under this new policy thus far this year.
Greater leeway can be given to those who are dealing with speculative issues, though if a scientist were to come to campus and preach materalism and naturalism, or deny the existence of an immaterial soul, or if a philosopher were to argue for the non-existence of God, strict application of the new guidelines would be appropriate.
Meanwhile, St. Columbkille is doing some major improvements to its school, with the partnership of BC and Cardinal O'Malley--in fact, this coming weekend there will be a reception after the main Mass (which the cardinal will be celebrating), with Fr. Leahy in attendance. So I ask again--given the sales of archdiocesan property to BC, and this partnership, does the Cardinal have a too chummy of a relationship with the college and the Jesuits to do what he needs to do with respect to reform? God will not be mocked, and weakness in leadership will bear its fruits, if Boston Catholics are not learning that lesson already.
The exercise of free inquiry, academic freedom, freedom of speech--all of these are subordinate to higher goods, including TRUTH and the COMMON GOOD of the university. If a proposition contradicts the teachings of the Church, no dialogue, discussion, or argumentation, no matter if it is "honest" and "sincere" or not, will be able to support that proposition. God trumps the weakness of the human intellect, and if teachers and students do not believe in that Faith has a normative role to play in guiding intellectual inquiry, while playing up the harmony between Faith and reason to justify unfettered inquiry and the disregard of authority, they should read Fides et Ratio. If they still disagree, having read this encyclical and the other relevant documents of the Church, they should leave for a non-Catholic college. Hell, if you really disagree with the changes to the policy, show some integrity and leave now, because those of us who agree with the decision are praying that the administration shows some backbone and adheres to it, for the sake of their souls. It's easy to protest if there are no repurcussions against you, and meanwhile you're drawing a nice big salary from the university.
University speakers policy: before and after
Boston College is a private institution founded to further the goals embodied in the Jesuit tradition of higher education. An essential element in the Jesuit tradition is an emphasis on the search for truth in an academic community.
Since the search commands that the freedom of inquiry be protected, the free exchange of ideas is a principal objective of the University.Since the search for truth demands freedom of inquiry, the free exchange of ideas is a principal value of the University. Such freedom of inquiry is, however, not absolute and must be balanced by the University's obligation to adhere to the principals and values inherent in Boston College's identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.
To maintain an environment in which such freedoms can thrive, while at the same time being sensitive to and respectful of the Catholic heritage of the institution, the University administration reserves the right to review presentations funded by student activity monies. Such a review could result in necessary adjustments to require that balanced views be presented, postponement of the program for further discussion and review, or, in rare instances, cancellation of the program. In addition, in cases where the University may not be able to assure the adequate safety of either the University community or an invited speaker, Boston College reserves the right to reschedule or relocate the presentation or, in rare instances, to cancel the event.
Additions in bold
Deletions crossed out
Harvard Crimson: BC Requires ‘Catholic Perspective,’ Could Cancel Speakers
This is what happens when the Jesuits get rid of their ideals and turn their colleges into a business enterprise. It all becomes about consumer choice and consumer rights. The editorial board does not seem to understand that the medieval disputation had its limits, and that the ultimate arbiter of discussion was the Tradition, not "pure Reason". Seriously, read Ex Corde Ecclesiae and stop whining about intellectual freedom, because it's clear that you have no grasp of the beginnings of wisdom. Another reason to disregard The Heights as a liberal rag that seeks to undermine Tradition. The philosophes and secret societies would be proud.
Heights Editorial Board
Posted: 10/16/06The Issue: New speaker policy places restrictions
What we think: BC must listen to repeated complaints
We're tired. We, along with a majority of students, have clamored for our rights again and again. Our right to speak, our right to challenge, our right to listen, our right to learn, and our right to be students at one of the finest Universities in the country. We figure that $44,000 would buy at least buy us respect. Or a voice.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record of Aretha Franklin's classic hit, we're going to say yet again what we've said in over a dozen editorials: All we want is a little respect.
A revised policy in the Student Guide for inviting speakers - which states that "freedom of inquiry is, however, not absolute and must be balanced by the University's obligation to adhere to the principals and values inherent in Boston College's identity as a Catholic and Jesuit identity" - is at first seemingly small, but its implications and adherence to a recent trend are troubling.
The very fact that this change to the student guide was not made known to any students or student groups is upsetting in its lack of transparency. But more disturbing is that if the University knew students would be outraged with the new policy, the only reason not to publicize such a change, then it shows a deliberate attempt at ignoring the wishes and concerns of a large number of students.
Many of these policies seem to be coming down from the very top of the school, from University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J. on down. Though we have the utmost respect and admiration for Fr. Leahy and what he has done for the prestige, fundraising, and growth of Boston College, we feel that on this and many other issues he has been consistently out of touch with the current student body.
The Heights isn't pro-life, or pro-choice; creationist or evolutionary; conservative or liberal; Catholic or Protestant or Muslim or Jewish. The Heights is pro-knowledge, anti-complacency, and pro-discussion.
At a university like Boston College, Catholic teaching should be explained, celebrated, encouraged, and expressed in its fullness. Catholic teaching on abortion rights, the sanctity of marriage, and the morality of war should be professed - just as the Catholic practice of "disputation," or academic debate, and its historic role in the discussion and clarification of Catholic doctrine should also be encouraged on our campus. This requires that pro-abortion rights views, supporters of gay marriage, and the necessity of just war be professed with equal fervor.
Boston College professes to be one of, if not the premier Catholic university in the country. We believe it can and will be, but at this time, policies like this suggest an overemphasis on being Catholic at the expense of being a university. The two are by no means mutually exclusive and in combination the pursuit of being the premier Catholic university in the nation will ultimately push BC forward in a unique and positive way - if it is approached with appropriately and with an open mind.
If the University's goal is the formation of obedient, unquestioning, faithful Catholics, then policies like the revised speaker policy will move the University in just that direction. But if Boston College wants, as its students hope it does, to foster the growth of intellectual, inquisitive, and ultimately faithful Catholics, this policy is moving BC in the wrong direction.
As the broken record plays again, we are simply looking for Fr. Leahy and other administrators to listen to students on this point and to make this the last time we write about this topic.
If the majority of the student body really consist of people who think like this, BC needs to reconsider its admissions procedures and perhaps think about whether they should get out of the education business, because it seems to be attracting people with the wrong goals in life. Better to be out of a job now than face Judgment after having done a shoddy job nurturing the minds and souls of students.
If the college wants to foster the faith of its Catholic students, it should clean up the Theology departments and take a look at its core curriculum. (Incidentally Prof. Cobb-Stevens is giving a talk tonight for the Lonergan Institute on the BC core curriculum:
The Lonergan Workshop presents...
JESUIT TRADITION AND
THE CORE CURRICULUM
Philosophy Department, Boston College
Chair of the Core Curriculum Committee, 1992-present
Thursday, October 19, 7:00 p.m.
McGuinn 121, Boston College
And people wonder why I don't think I would be able to get a job at most Catholic colleges or universities....
Letters to the Editor
The world tells us that the way to know whether two people are "right for each other" is to measure the white-hot physical attraction between the two, combined with the idea of "chemistry" on steroids — their ability to effortlessly have day-long conversations anytime about anything, punctuated by the quick, witty exchanges found mostly in edgy independent comedies. In our culture — and in many churches — "attraction," whether purely physical or "chemistry-related," is considered the foundational way to evaluate a potential marriage relationship.
Biblical Christians, however, are called to think differently. We are to use Scripture as the measure of our desires. We are to take every thought, every area of our lives captive to the word of God. Thankfully, "attraction" does play a role in finding a husband or wife. Read Song of Songs sometime. Biblically, however, attraction as the world understands it cannot be the foundation on which a godly marriage is built.
PLENTY OF MEN TO GO AROUND, PART 2 by Candice Z. Watters
BA: HOW IMPORTANT IS A PARENTAL BLESSING? by Candice Z. Watters
A reaction to the Campaign for Real Beauty over at the blog...
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
But the Church doesn't care.Somewhat puzzling. Mr. Butterworth claims to be Catholic but then he writes this. One wonders if he will end up taking the path of Rod Dreher.
The movie doesn't understand that the Church has been doing this for nearly two thousand years. It has an agenda that does not reckon the value of it members, only the importance of its clergy and the perseverance of the institution.
And that works. The laity remains passive and cowardly while continuously offering up themselves and their children for sacrifice as if before Moloch rather than Christ. The Church set up an annuity for O'Grady so that he wouldn't testify to Mahoney's culpability.
The Vatican even asked President Bush for immunity from prosecution (and got it) for Pope Benedict since he was responsible for the clergy prior to his election and could be held to account by a US court for his inaction in the face of so much abuse that was never attended to.
The Church's attitude about the abuse is quite simple and logical -- we may be responsible but it's your job to find the spiritual good that can come of such suffering rather than seek justice or revenge against us. Why persecutest thou me, is the Church's belief. After all, the Church is spotless and holy. Not to blame.
This is a sad and disturbing movie, but in the end it makes not one whit of difference. The Church, the hierarchy, doesn't care and has never cared and will never care. It only cares about itself. Not even about Jesus. It has no shame or accountability in this world.
Apple trailer for Deliver Us from Evil
Fortunately for women who wear make-up, men are generally as shallow as some might make them out to be--after all, if they really were that shallow, how many of them would stick around after seeing their beloved withot makeup for the first time, if the difference were really obvious? Then again, given the rates of cohabitation and pre-marital sexual activity in this country, the unmasking probably happens long before marriage (if that even takes place).
Then again the cynic might say that the men would leave, but they've grown comfortable or co-dependent, and ultimately, don't care that much about what a woman looks like as long as he can get what he wants...
by Richard Heinberg
It may be presumptuous to try to forecast what post-hydrocarbon style will look like, as people will have to make it up as they go along—and creativity is, almost by definition, difficult to predict. It will by definition be true post-modernism—though the use of the term may be more confusing than helpful. In any case, the following are a few of the characteristics that must inevitably adhere to the new aesthetic.Could a distributist want anything more? Now I don't think a distributist wishes peak oil to be true, just for the sake of bringing about a distributist paradise. The evidence for peak oil has to be evaluated on its own terms, and it's not necessary that people will want to take responsibility for their own lives and communities, regaining and exercising economic freedom. The worst-case scenario could happen as well.1. Workers will incorporate no or minimal fossil fuels, either as raw material or as energy source, in production processes. This is the defining condition for all that follows, and its implications will be profound.These are, of course, only the most general of parameters within which specific new regional styles may emerge over the coming decades. What exactly these styles will look like won’t be known until millions of craftspeople and builders undertake the processes of (re-)learning skills and producing large numbers of buildings, tools, furnishings, and artworks. However, one can hardly help noting that most of the characteristics listed above apply to the products of the Arts and Crafts movement.
2. Construction of buildings and objects will depend substantially on the application of muscle power and hand-craft. This necessarily follows from (1).
3. Pride in workmanship will therefore return.
4. Previously cheap petrochemical-based materials (such as plastics) will gradually disappear, necessitating the use of natural materials; however, many of the latter (such as wood) will also become rarer and more expensive (as is already happening). Thus workers will inevitably develop more respect for natural materials.
5. Because buildings and objects being produced will require more hand labor and scarce raw materials, the throw-away mentality and the phenomenon of planned obsolescence will disappear. Durability will be a required attribute of all products.
6. For the same reasons, reparability will also be requisite: the average person will need to know how to fix anything that breaks.
7. Since products themselves will need to be durable and reparable, the continued rapid changes of fashion and style will seem nonsensical and counter-productive. Planned aesthetic obsolescence will be replaced by the imperative to lend an enduring quality to all design.
8. Because the transitional era (i.e., the coming century) will be one in which species will continue to vanish, and because people will find themselves having to adapt to weather and other natural conditions (since they will no longer be able to insulate themselves from these with high-energy buildings and machines), workers will probably be inspired to incorporate themes from nature into their products.
9. In their efforts to identify aesthetic themes appropriate to hand labor and natural materials, workers will likely end up drawing upon vernacular design traditions.
10. Because people living in the transitional era will be witnessing the passing of the fossil-fueled machine culture of their youth, they will probably be inspired to incorporate occasional ironic or nostalgic comments on that passing into their artistic output.
11. Beauty may to a certain extent be in the eye of the beholder, but there are universal principles of harmony and proportion that perennially reappear; and, given that workers will be required to invent much of their aesthetic vocabulary from scratch, they will no doubt fall back upon these principles frequently.
12. Since we are entering an era of declining availability of raw materials, the new aesthetic will by necessity emphasize leanness and simplicity, and will eschew superfluous decoration. The Zen architecture of Japan may serve as an inspiration in this regard.
More on Richard Heinberg
Richard Heinberg's website
His speeches, etc. at Global Public Media
Powerdown: An Interview (RA, mp3)
The Oil Depletion Protocol
The primitivist critique of civilization
Raise the Hammer interview
A conversation with Richard Heinberg
"The Party's Over"
The Post Carbon Institute (Mr. Heinberg's profile; blog)
Not it! Mass. elementary school tagClick on link to read the rest (with the inevitable quote illustrating a negative parent reaction).
1 hour, 46 minutes ago
ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out!
Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.
Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.
While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.
Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.
What does this say about our society? Unbelievable.
Something that Watcher will like:
New Infiniti: The New Infiniti G35 sedan, Nissan’s latest model, is on display at an unveiling ceremony in Seoul, Tuesday. /Yonhap 10-17-2006 21:20
Stainless steel phone: Top actress Kim Tae-hui demonstrates LG Electronics’ new cellular phone, nicknamed the “shine phone,” at the handset’s unveiling ceremony at the Seoul Plaza Hotel, Wednesday. LG plans to start marketing the model today at 599,000 won. /Korea Times
Business - Oct. 17, 2006
Samsung Electronics’ new 2007 desktops PCs, the slim Magic Station MZ58 and the ‘tower-style’ Magic Station MV60.
Front - Oct. 17, 2006
With autumn approaching, farmers hang up harvested persimmons to dry on Monday in Sangju city, North Gyeongsang Province, where they are a specialty.
Front - Oct. 18, 2006
Kim Sa-rang performs a traditional one-man opera or pansori during a festival named after legendary pansori singer Im Bang-ul (1905-1961) at the Gwangju Culture and Art Center in the city on Tuesday. Kim won gold in the high school students’ category.
Has Kim Tae-hee Found a Part That Suits Her at Last?
She walks almost like a model on the catwalk, and though she is reputedly a big eater, she has not an ounce of fat on her. With her flawless cheekbones and perfect image, Kim Tae-hee has become the queen of advertising. But although her acting resume includes tough-girl roles, action and even villainous parts, many say her range as an actress is limited. Acting, indeed, is not the first thing that comes to mind under her wide-eyed sharp glance. Yet perhaps the parts she has played so far have not been the most suitable.
Now she is excited about her first starring role in the film “The Restless”, which opens Dec. 21. “It’s a part made for me,” she says. Her first major work, she has a lot riding on the film, but says she was comfortable and happy throughout shooting, so the hard work never got to her. “The Restless,” is set in an imaginary space conceived at the 49th day rites, the culmination of seven weeks of mourning following a death in Buddhism.
The film is also the directing debut of the Jo Dong-oh, who was assistant director for the classics “Beat” and “The Warriors.” Kim Tae-hee, who, in the film, is the earthly girlfriend of Jeong Woo-sung, plays the angel Sowha. “People don’t see the me that way, but there were many times when I felt inexperienced and empty-headed. Sowha doesn’t preside over anything; rather, she’s like an innocent child.” But no matter how childlike Sohwa may be, she is an angel. Just looking at the costumes that make the characters look as if they could fly off at any minute creates a fantastic, dreamlike atmosphere, not unlike the film “A Chinese Ghost Story.”
“I’m not really as alluring as Joey Wong,” the female led in “A Chinese Ghost Story.” “In one scene I turn to Jeong Woo-sung, who is completely naked, and say, ‘Don’t worry, angels can’t feel lust.’” Often thought of as aloof, Kim gives an easy chuckle at the memory.
She seems like a perfectionist, but she says about herself, “I’m kind of dense and slow-witted.” “I thought I was fine, but as an actor, I sometimes felt that I didn’t have the depth of emotion or the sensitivity required,” she adds. “Now I’m trying to give that a try.” She wants to be a “real” actor. Her pretty-girl face and short stature gave her pause, but she says she plans to turn her weak points into strengths.
“Acting is the path that I have chosen, so it’s something I will spend my life doing,” she says. “Acting is the medium that will help me to become more mature as a person.” It may have taken her a little longer than most to find the clothes that fit her best, but about this role she is confident: “It’s exactly my style.”(firstname.lastname@example.org )
Tips for the Scarf Season
Female Robot Walks, Talks and Sings
Return of the Empire (waist)
I assume this can be illustrated by these pieces from Dolce and Gabbana Fall 2006 Collection:
Let's not get started about the physique of the models... (really, what's so attractive about that silhouette? Eat something!) Plus my generic complaint: I don't see what's so attractive about most things contemporary designers put out. *shakes head*
Unbelievable what Elle features -- Fashion Shows. But after doing a search, one finds that the Vogue UK and Vogue/Style also have such features. (Plus Glamour, New York magazine, Lucire, Metrofashion, Iconique, FocusOnStyle)
Ah well, it's a good thing I'm not into fashion; otherwise I would be looking through ALL these websites.
Project Runway official site
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Now is this sort of movie really necessary? I mean, really, what's the point? Creepy guy obssesses about creating the perfect perfume, distilled from the essence of woman, which he obtains from the bodies of the women he murders?
I'm just baffled. Or is this just an excuse to indulge in some sick anti-woman fantasy? More on that when I talk about horror movies...
Interview with Sofia Coppola
The Prestige video interviews
Read Peter Hitchens only in The Mail on Sunday
Nothing like enough attention has been paid to General Sir Richard Dannatt's other amazing statement. Almost as astonishing as his views on the Iraq war was his series of comments on Britain's moral vacuum.
Click on the link to read the rest. Amazing, a general who speaks like this--should not the Catholic bishops of the United Kingdom be ashamed?
Today Programme interview
The General is a practising Christian and this informs his views on the Army's role and place in society. He believes our weak values have allowed the predatory Islamist vision to take hold.
"We can't wish the Islamist challenge to our society away and I believe that the Army, both in Iraq and Afghanistan and probably wherever we go next, is fighting the foreign dimension of the challenge to our accepted way of life.
"We need to face up to the Islamist threat, to those who act in the name of Islam and in a perverted way try to impose Islam by force on societies that do not wish it. In the Cold War, the threats to this country were about armies rolling in. Threats now are not territorial but to the values of our country.
"In the Army we place a lot of store by the values we espouse. What I would hate is for the Army to be maintaining a set of values that were not reflected in our society at large — courage, loyalty, integrity, respect for others; these are critical things.
"I think it is important as an Army entrusted with using lethal force that we do maintain high values and that there is a moral dimension to that and a spiritual dimension.
"When I see the Islamist threat I hope it doesn't make undue progress because there is a moral and spiritual vacuum in this country. Our society has always been embedded in Christian values; once you have pulled the anchor up there is a danger that our society moves with the prevailing wind. "There is an element of the moral compass spinning. I am responsible for the Army, to make sure that its moral compass is well aligned and that we live by what we believe in.
"It is said we live in a post-Christian society. I think that is a great shame. The Judaic-Christian tradition has underpinned British society. It underpins the British Army." I ask what this means for Muslim soldiers and their allegiance.
"These are British Muslims who are also British soldiers. If they are prepared to take the Queen’s shilling they will go wherever the mission requires them to go."
BBC article; The Observer article; Times Online; politics.co.uk
Chief of the General Staff
Colonel Commandant, Army Air Corps
Sir Richard Dannatt (wiki)
Windsor Leadership Trust bio
RDS Military Interview
Photo from an appearance at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale:
A great speaker, confident and handling himself with military poise, a true military leader and hero. I respect his assessment of U.S. preparation before the invasion of Iraq and also of the conduct of the war and what is taking place now.
I had a chance to ask him to sign his book, Battle Ready (which he co-wrote with Tom Clancy); he has some other books as well, including The Battle for Peace. I don't see anything else currently in print, though he says that he has written a book titled America's Power and Purpose. I'm not sure if I would read them; why do you ask? I'm sure he is an expert on all things military, and what doesn't work if the military is to deal with 4GW. (Colonel Hackworth had high praise for General Zinni.) But...
When he was signing his book I asked him two questions:
1. Is there an impending energy crisis, especially with respect to oil?
He said there may be one 50-70 years down the road, there may be an energy crisis, and we should be looking for alternative fuels. But at present, no. (Apparently he accepts the more optimistic estimates of when peak oil will take place.) He does admit that at this point supply is meeting demand, but what needs to be done is to construct more refineries, so that production can be increased. In this way there can be a cushion against emergencies and keep oil prices low. (Supposedly this is what the Saudis have been demanding.) But from what I have read from those claiming peak oil is at hand, there are reasons why new refineries are not being built.
2. Had he read Thomas Barnett's books, and does he have any major disagreements with what Barnett says in those books?
He has read his books, and there wouldn't be any major disagreements; General Zinni would just caution against generalizations. For example, Muslims countries differ from one another, and so one should not generalize and try to come up with a solution that will match every Muslim country--rather, it has to be more nuanced. (Solutions have to address particulars.)
Why did I ask this latter question? Because during the lecture (which was about leadership and what is required of our future leaders), he made several recommendations that seemed very close to what Barnett advocates. General Zinni believes that neo-isolationism is not possible (we can't build a wall), and that globalization is inevitable. Naturally, I want to argue that globalization is certainly the trend, and it may very well be impossible to stop, given the power and influence of those who are pushing for it, and benefit from it, but it certainly is not determined.
During the lecture
Someone asked the general about the divide between those doing the fighting and those who are at home, benefitting from it. (Or, living as if there is no war going on.) The general emphasized that "war" is really the wrong metaphor to use in understanding what is going on. Rather, what we are trying to do is to bring stability to the world, and this is to be done not only through military force, when necessary, but by building up institutions in other countries. He lamented the fact that the possibility for national service had been passed up, something akin to the Peace Corps for college students and young adults. (The proposal sounds familiar to me, but I can't remember the details. It would be something akin to conscription/national service in other countries, particularly Europe, where one does not have to enter into the military but can fulfill service through other ways.)
Do we really need to send the young overseas? After all, what can they really do to make things better? Perhaps "diversity training" and multiculturalism can prepare them to understand others, but I wonder about this. How well can Americans really understand other cultures, without being immersed in them for an extended period of time? (I wonder if 1 or 2 years is enough, especially if Americans are not adopting the local customs and etiquette, and just acting like "friendly Americans.") And is this wise, if we are concerned about them losing touch with their own traditions and roots?
Also, do we really need this sort of missionary spirit among the youth? (This is a prominent practice for certain Protestant groups--sending teenagers, college students, and young adults to other countries, especially Catholic countries, to spread their version of the Gospel. Are social justice /charity projects in poor countries, by Protestants, Catholics, and non-Christians nothing more than feel-good exercises? What do these projects teach them about functioning as citizens and the importance of the local community? Or the defects of current economic practices?)
It is bad enough that most young adults are infantalized during college--what will another one or two years do? Will this provide the growth experience they need? Yes, they may learn how to take responsibility and to work for a common purpose, but can this not be done in a way that more directly fosters citizenship? Young adults should be formed as citizens by learning the ropes in their own community--recognizing what the common good is, and how it is to be fostered.
What developing countries do need are experts who can teach them how to build sustainable economies. I really doubt our youth have much knowledge of this, if our academics and politicians don't. If modernization = aiding other countries to become servants of corporations, are we really doing them a service? Should we not look at how self-sufficiency can be achieved overseas? And if self-sufficiency is a concern abroad, why not at home?
General Zinni does not think we can become self-sufficient--we are too enmeshed in the global economy/community. I think we can become self-sufficient with respect to food production and the production of necessities; but this needs to be coupled with efforts at relocalization. Is there a political will for this? Not at the present moment. He states that it is necessary for us to be engaged with the world, because the system's problems will eventually be transferred to us. Now, if we cannot bring about reform in our own country that will disentangle us from being dependent upon other countries, this would seem to follow. But is this ideal? Should we not work towards disentangling ourselves. The general and others talk about the dimunition of national identity and the nation-state in favor of the global community. Mr. Lind and others see the decline of the nation-state, not towards greater global unity, but towards fragmentation and possible chaos.
I won't attempt to justify my opposition to the global community or global citizenry, as the internationalists understand it, if the reader is interested in learning more, I would invite them to learn more about distributism and paleoconservatism.
General Zinni also advocates nation-building--not that we should build socities in our shape or image; they don't have to have Jeffersonian democracy, but a native form representative government may be possible, one blended with their culture and traditions. (But by what standard do we judge representative government to be desirable? What if there is nothing within their culture or tradition to support this ideal?) The intellect is not enough--desire must also be swayed, and this may not be possible, and I think the general at least recognizes this. For example, talking about Islam, he says that the moderates must speak out against the "extremists" and take charge of their religion--they are prevented from doing so because they are intimidated by the "extremists" and do not receive support and protection from the government (Or there any moderate governments? Would not the secular government of Syria and possibly Turkey qualify? I do wonder about Turkey, since it does not seem to be as free as Syria or Iraq, before the downfall of Saddam, at least as measured by the freedom given to Christians to worship in their own religion.) As I have stated before, what Islam teaches will not be decided by numbers or the amount of airtime a group gains--it will be decided by those who are deemed to have authority, and those who have authority are more amenable to an understanding of Islam that justifies the use of force than not.
The general is correct in saying that we should do what we can to resolve the issue or problems that lead some to join violent groups; if we can resolve the issue, then we remove the opportunity. But he thinks that this is to be done primarily by improving the quality of life, economically, socially, and so on. No doubt that those whose bodily needs are not satisfied may become desperate and resort to violence to get what they need. But what if they want more than this? Nothing can be done to combat inordinate desire or jealousy over the things that industrial and post-industrial countries have, our toys, gadgets, etc. But what if it is not things that they want? What if those who have authority recognize that this masks a deep spiritual poverty? What if what they want is a preservation of a traditional way of life? And what if their tradition and culture is truly at variance with Western liberal ideals? While it is said that many of the 9/11 terrorists partied it up before they sought "martyrdom" can it really be the case that religion is just a mask used to justify a power grab? Do we really think Osama is doing what he does so that he can obtain power and create a future earthly paradise for himself? What if those who become terrorists are really reacting against what they perceive to be corrupting influences on their societies? Would not further globalization fan their fears instead of allaying them?
As for the preparation of future leaders, General Zinni encourages a broader understanding of the world. What will they need to address? (1) Our global identity. (2) Our core, or ethics, ethos. (3) The mastery of technology. (2) is especially important when looking at, for example, the question of torture. American cannot abandon its moral standards, and adopt a "the end justifies the means" mentality. We cannot compromise our ethos for the sake of profit (greed) or because of threats (fear). He does think that America is the "birhgt shininng light on the hill" and cites anecdotal evidence that non-Americans do see America as the model for the rest of the world. "Oh, really." He quoted Toqueville--America is great because she is good; if she ever stopped being good, she would stop being great.
Well, if you know me you can guess what my reaction is to rhetoric like that.
One final point--he talked about the bloated bureaucracy of the Federal Government, and stated that the solution is not more layers of bureaucracy, but streamlining of government; our leaders need to be quick thinkers and a broad education, able to make decisions with less info. But is this really possible, if what is being governed (or managed) is too big? Might it not be the case that the problem lies primarily not with the government, but with what is being governed? After all, one could say that bureaucracy is needed precisely so that enough information filters up for those at the top to make decisions. (I don't think this is how our bureaucracy works, nor is it the ideal in this country, but it could be an argument.) Streamlining government does not sound to me to be the same as decentralization/relocalization. If those in the Federal Government have less info, would it not be better than to leave decision-making to those who presumably have a better idea of what is going on, those who are close to the issue or problem?
Rather than seeing the building up of a global community as a solution to the decline of the nation state caused by globalization, we should recognize that those forces pushing for globalization ultimately work against stability at all levels.
(One wonders if there isn't a conspiracy to destablize the world on such a broad scale precisely through economic means. Who needs political power when financial power suffices? Without a sound economic system and sufficient economic freedom diffused among its members, a community is left at the mercy of those who hold economic power.)
General Anthony Zinni
Photos (large): 1, 2
Meet the Press (April 2, 2006)
Interview on The Battle for Peace (audio file)
A Middle East Assessment
Remarks at CDI Board of Directors Dinner
Appearance on Hardball with Christ Matthews (May 25, 2004)
Smearing General Zinni, by Justin Raimondo
San Diego Tribune Q&A
60 minutes interview
Florida Economic Club
interview by Harry Kreisler
Photos of him at BC to come.
The Chinese are our Friends, by Thomas Barnett
Patterns of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency, by John A. Lynn