Guaranteed Income, Pay Limits – The New Drugs of Public Life?

Duly Noted

There are clever ways to ruin a successful society.

We know that there are no truly local and thereby isolated developments. No criminal insanity that becomes the law of a foreign land will rest in the “Half-Baked Oddities Museum”. Be certain that what you filed as “how did those nuts come up with that?” will be presented to your community to save it and the world.

Bringing coal to Manchester is a deed that responds to a need that is already filled. Knowing that, we could avoid the critique of measures to which the title refers. It is unlikely that the readers, not being inmates of closed institutions, need arguments against the capping salaries to twelve times of the lowest paid by a firm. So, this piece does not intend to recruit support but warns, “You are next”. 

Confused Societies - Contradictory Goals

Duly Noted

Modernization’s  inconsistencies.

Regardless of popular shibboleths, more often than not, the meeting of cultures took the form of collisions. These tended to be wars followed by the subjugation of the beaten. If the weaker people survived the conquest, if it could maintain its identity, the calamity provoked a search for the causes of the rout. This has especially been the case once mankind became aware of technology and its impact on human affairs. 

There is nothing inevitable about the investigation of the origins of might and subservience. Some cultures failed to raise the question even if the answer presupposed their survival. The time gap between subjugation and the response could take generations. Here the dissimilar cases of China and Japan occur. Regardless of its isolation prior to 1854, Japan reacted promptly to reverses. The switch from seclusion to conscious adaptation, transformation through learning, was instantaneous. China, on the other hand, responded by ignoring challenges. Her rulers stubbornly resorted to old approaches that have become irrelevant through the achievements of her foes.

Towards A Recovery Of The Conservative Imagination

The American journalist Cornelius Vanderbilt IV, interviewing Adolf Hitler before WW II, captured the German Führer, who after he introduced himself in German, with a motion to the throngs that awaited him, began speaking: “Tell the Americans that life moves forward, always forward, irrevocably forward.” 

Was Hitler a progressive or conservative? Certainly a difficult and irritating question which cannot be answered straight forwardly - however it symbolizes how much blurred the features of Western progress have become. The aim of this essay is to separate those blurred features by tracing them back to their roots in antiquity, and in the process referring to Jerusalem or Judaism with the same confidence that we invest in Athens and Greek philosophy. 

The Courage to Change

Duly Noted

Self-confidence is needed to propel nations from the past into the future.

As we look back and around, myths appear to be a reoccurring product of all communities, civilizations, nations and religions. This is so because of our addiction to explanations that can create “order” amidst the seeming capriciousness of man’s experiences. This craving for certainty and their incessant repetition sustains myths so that their illusions serve as substitute truths. 

Not surprisingly, also our present kowtows to articles of faith that serve as palliatives and as reassurances of lived collective morality. At present, a significant one of the species is that the encounter between cultures leads to their convergence and that the result is their mutual enrichment. This tale of Green – Left vintage not only ignores reality but also replaces it with an illusion. The concept is that, in the meeting between the rocket scientist and a shaman that invokes the rain god, the involved parties are equal. For that reason, it is incumbent upon the scientist to “show respect” and to adapt. It is rated as racist cultural chauvinism to entertain the thought that if this happens, the rockets might stay on the parched ground.

Misopaedia and the Insolence of Gay Monarchy

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Today’s issue of depreciating childhood dovetails perfectly with my previous installment on infantilizing adults: both are reflecting a loss of the sense of maturity and responsibility in our Western culture. For instance, today every newborn is burdened with a four to six figure number of debt depending on his or her whereabouts ( cf. David Willets; “The Pinch – How the Baby Boomers took their Children’s Future-and why they should give it back”, Atlantic Books London: 2010, p.259, 269). Now the first dramatic example of instrumentalizing childhood was the Bohemian version of the Dreyfus affair. In Prague it was the Jewish cobbler Leopold Hilsener who was falsely accused of ritual murder. A little Christian girl called Anezka Hruzova had been found dead on the 1.4.1899 in Polna. And it was the first Czech president after gaining independence in 1921, Professor T.G. Masaryk, who made is name with the revision of the court indictment finally exonerating Hilsener. Nevertheless since then the West is drifting towards a gradual and not merely symbolical - think of child rape and “pedophilia”- reversal of the Abrahamic abolition of child sacrifice.

Wealth, Poverty And Ignorance

Duly Noted

Favored myths and popular lies.

There are developments that do not fit your anticipations if you are socialized by Western values. Reality and our cultural assumptions can clash. Several postulates that are said to be mankind’s goals only express local cultural preferences. Their summary would be a sentence about “liberty”, the “pursuit of happiness” and “self-evident”. 

True, the order that produced these concepts has been sufficiently successful to justify emulation. However, it does not follow that the way of the achievers is predestined to become a guideline for all of mankind. We may add that, the worldwide differences in wealth and rights reflect this. The rejection of the values that advanced societies hold to be universal explains global differences in achievement. The attitude expressed through this rebuff reveals why much of mankind remains unfree, badly governed, and poor. 

René Guénon and Eric Voegelin on the Degeneration of Right Order

I. Introduction. No area of Western history is quite as recondite as that of the Diadochic empires, the successor-kingdoms that sprang up in the wake of Alexander the Great’s meteoric campaigns (334 – 323 BC) to subdue the world under militaristic Hellenism. One knows that the unity of Alexander’s Imperium, ever tenuous and improvisatory, broke down immediately on his death, when his “companions” fell to bellicose squabbling over bleeding chunks of the whole. Of Ptolemy’s Macedonian Egypt, one knows something – largely because the realm’s newly built Greek metropolis, Alexandria, became culturally the most important polis in the Mediterranean world, even after Octavian conquered Cleopatra and organized her Macedonian rump-state into Rome’s emergent world-federation. To transit from historical fair-certainty to historical incertitude, however, requires only that one switch focus from the Ptolemaic kingdom in the Nile Delta to the Seleucid... Indeed, to the Seleucid what? For Seleucus’ prize in the wars of the successors stretched in geographic space from Syria and Cilicia, and associated insular territories, eastward through portions of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor into the hinterlands of Parthia and Bactria. The Seleucid kingdom’s borders, as distinct from those of the more stable Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt, remained, like the Heraclitean river, in constant flux; moreover, the Seleucid kingdom steadily withdrew in the direction of the sunrise, sacrificing its westerly regions for the defensibility of its easterly keeps, until in its last act, as the remnant Greco-Bactrian principality, it attempted to perpetuate itself against political mortality by an exodus-through-conquest from Central Asia across the Hindu Kush into Northern India.

The Nations’ Calling Card

Duly Noted

Representation by the worst we have.

There is a wisdom that Duly Noted likes to repeat. Quite often, their most despicable members define communities. This is a likely outcome as we notice the “bad ones” first. This expresses an evolutionary trait that helps us to avoid danger. Furthermore, “good news is no news” makes us emphasize the negative. No conversation is made about good weather. Most Letters to the Editor are gripes. When have you thanked a tour operator for a perfect trip? 

Can Islam Be Reformed? A Response Essay To Daniel Pipes

In a past article, I already discussed some issues of Islamic civilization which we are apt to neglect in our analysis of the current situation in the Middle East. Obviously, the potential force of democracy to conquer once primitive countries has been greatly overestimated; nobody will disagree anymore on that count. However, the explanations for this failure of democracy vary a lot, and quite independent of the political alignment of the commentators: it appears that all shades of opinion are quite confused by what is happening in countries recently “liberated” by the Arab Spring. The main reason for this confusion, as I stated before, is that most people in the west do not understand the wider civilizational questions involved: first, can we equate any popular uprising with an ideologically inspired revolution, but second, and most importantly, can revolutions in the Islamic world ever resemble those in the West and why are we so sure that the Islamic pattern of history must correspond to the earlier Western? The first point has been conceded by many observers, albeit implicitly and not in wider historical context, since today the dominant opinion is that these countries were not “ripe” for democracy and that popular rule does not necessarily imply democracy as we understand it in the west. The second point requires more insight, and is not even addressed by most commentators or journalists, although in fact to pose the question of essential differences in culture is not at all new; indeed, it only implies further investigation of the popular thesis Samuel Huntington developed about the “clash of civilizations”. But since western nations have lived in peace for over sixty years now, and we tend to believe that the whole world potentially is a prosperous and peaceful place like the western nation states, the concept of wholly different civilizations has become quite incomprehensible to most opinion makers. Nevertheless, we shall see it is essential to understand the ordeal the Muslim world is currently going through. 

Thought Control In The Name Of Mother Earth - Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part essay.

In Assignment in Utopia (1937), Eugene Lyons offers what were at the time perhaps the best eye-witness accounts of Stalinism as a state religion. He was UPI's journalist in Moscow during the early years of Stalin's rule (1928-34), which coincided with Stalin's first Five Year Plan, and, despite all we have learned since then, his first-hand observations remain both vivid and strange to this day. Among several websites that I chose at random, for example, all give 1928 -1932 as the official dates of the plan, but none comments on the transformation of five years into four. Lyons literally saw how it happened. In his chapter "Two Plus Two Equals Five," he describes the frenzied proclamations of the arithmetic that would later appear as an instrument of psychological torture in George Orwell's 1984:

Optimism ran amuck. Every new statistical success gave another justification for the coercive policies by which it was achieved. Every setback was another stimulus to the same policies. The slogan "The Five Year Plan in Four Years" was advanced, and the magic symbols "5-in-4" and "2+2=5" were posted and shouted throughout the land... . Under their pseudo-scientific exterior of charts and blueprints the planners were mystics in a trance of ardor.

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