The Present’s Past and the Future

Pearl and its perspectives.

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Duly Noted addresses a topic for which a grandchild is responsible. The young man prepares a presentation about the USA’s entry into WW2. During our talk, “Pearl” emerged as an instrument to correct some perspectives of the present and its future.

What should another continent know about America? How is one to tell the story so that it is intellectually grasped and emotionally comprehended? We are mistaken to think that, given the USA’s media presence, one can build on that information. On both sides of the Atlantic puddle, it is obvious that, while the quantity of data is extensive, the quality of its understanding is inferior. The problem is compounded because many accepted facts are half-truths, inventions, or simply misinterpretations. 

America might be transcontinental country with a growing focus on the Pacific. Still, tradition and necessity involves her in European affairs. This need arises because Europe can be notoriously inept in managing her business. Thereby, informed thinking about the US in her global role becomes a must that Europe likes to ignore. Even for Americans, it is of use to approach their function from diverse perspectives. Today, exactly 72 years after the attack, thinking of the event’s meaning is more than an abstract exercise about the unalterable. Several of the distortions tied to America’s entry into the world are apt to be repeated by friend and foe.

Applied Hypocrisy?

Duly Noted

Why  liberals support the “other side”.

Even mankind’s best ideas are not immune against abuse. The record, such as mass murder in the name of God –the Wars of religion in Europe, Islamism-  secular salvation –Socialism’s GULAG- make the point. 

A note jotted down in response to something your correspondent has read says, “Liberalism (in the American sense of the term) is applied hypocrisy”. At first, this appeared to be a finding that this column could not use and so the memo seemed to be headed for oblivion. Upon some reflection, that was not to be.

To begin, a correction is in order. A few years ago, the caveat regarding the American meaning of “liberalism” would have avoided misleading associations. By now, Europe’s Liberals have also fallen victim to the vulnerability of their US ilk. As a result, they have become Social Democrats in their soul. This Achilles heel of Liberalism’s mutations comes from a commitment and of an aversion. If properly applied both express ethical values and are even essential for the function of freedom as a system. As we know, the difference between medicine and poison is the amount of the potion. The adage is true in Liberalism’s inclination to let freedom  degenerate into license.

Dangerous Weapons for Dangerous People

Confirmed by Chamberlain: negotiations bear risks. 

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We begin with a quote. Without intending to do so, it reveals more than its source might care to divulge. “Iran’s government blasted Dr. Shaheed’s report as not being objective”. (He is the UN’s Human Right Rapporteur in Iran.) An Iranian official said that Shaheed "has not paid sufficient notice to Iran's legal system and Islamic culture and he considers whatever he sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world."

Noteworthy subliminal warnings hide in this statement. The key components are “Iran’s legal system,” her “Islamic culture” and “the West as a standard for the world”. The phrasing reveals the perspective of Iran’s government and its quality as a treaty partner. This reflects on the nuclear weapons area where trust is, more than formal pacts, crucial. The assumed intent is in the nuclear realm more important than the treaty right to blame cheaters. Once a swindle is unmasked, the defrauded party has options. One is to sue before an international tribunal. The other is to deliver a preventive nuclear strike. The first reaction is useless. The second one is as effective as it is unpleasant. 

The Right of Migration

When obvious remedies are difficult to implement.

The more crucial a subject, the more myths will shroud it. Pretentions, lies, and mindless conventions make it difficult to discuss such matters sensibly. Even more difficult is to avoid curses for crossing an arbitrarily red line that the sanctimonious exploit. The “refugee” crisis in the Mediterranean is such a taboo subject. Unless, of course, that one says what is “proper”, in which case, the pre-programmed answers make it superfluous to address the matter.

A subject that the wise avoid concerns the Mediterranean as a zone of death. The area owes its name to Africans that chase chimeras and to their morally castrated Arab exploiters that provide passage on vessels that are more likely to sink than to sail. Let us repeat the salient fats of the shocker that writes headlines. 

Not All Jokes Are a Laughing Matter

Humor is, as the reaction of dictatorships shows, an effective weapon.

Political jokes are more than expressions of vitriolic wit. Consider such jokes to be a sub-form of an art. It thrives in communities that are in a “prone position”, therefore powerless to strike back with other means. Accordingly, totalitarian dictatorship has been the context for the best political jokes. National-linguistic factors have enabled subjugated peoples to produce in their own way attacks on tyranny. At least in Hungary –whose case the writer knows best-  the collapse of communism has ended the era of hilarious political jokes. 

The reader that has not experienced totalitarianism will fathom only with difficulty the cultural-emotional dimension of humor used as a weapon of last resort. The exposure to such material is therefore an intellectual submergence in an alien culture. While humorless, totalitarians grasp that jokes are weapons and for that reason, they do not find fun funny. The case of a full railway compartment illustrates this. Someone makes funny remarks, folks smile, and then the mood gets better. Carried away, someone injects a political joke. The smiles freeze. However, one guy laughs loudly. “This one is great. I must jot it down. What is your name?” 

Revealing Tidbits

Duly Noted

Small items that define our time.

1. The Left is international. Due to the global spread of its creed, it is ”indigenous” in many places. Local conditions and traditions demand fitting camouflages. Because of this outward flexibility, what may be true in one place might not fit the appearances in another. The West’s Left derides all that smells patriotic and is aggressively pacifistic where the defense of a way of life and its institutions is concerned. In several underdeveloped states the Comrades organized as a party, are indistinguishable from their combat branch. In these cases, the Left is militant and nationalistic. Elsewhere the Left is pacifistic and claims that peace is best preserved if the victim disarms. 

Some Plain Talk About Rights

Disaster: Import an underclass, then give it with the free meal ticket the right to vote.

The right to vote is a key feature of the democratic order. This is so self-evident that one fears to state it. Now, a reason emerges to commit in favor of the sensible application of the principle. The reason is as stunning as it is threatening. This practice is now under attack by the multiculturalists and the Left. 

The right to vote is the ability to decide a group’s future. True, this right is not limited to balloting. The concept assumes that a choice is offered. When the writer was young, the police came to herd voters to the local “Council House”. There one was to vote for Our Beloved Party. Thus, the right to vote deteriorated into an obligation to legitimize oppression. There was no right to abstain or to vote “wrong”, that is for the “Class Enemy”, and against the Soviet “Camp of Peace”.

What Conservatives Can Learn From Ayn Rand

That the West is in steady decline, is clear for all to see, and equally clear is the answer to the question which forces are destroying it: generally speaking, the misguided ideas of the left and extreme left, the delusions of utopianism, collectivism, –as it is often termed- and egalitarianism, etc. For many conservative intellectuals and commentators, this seems to be a sufficient explanation for the development that definitely set in after the first world war, and had already begun at least some decades before. The answer to the problems that have beset the West is a return to the social and moral codes of the past which had always worked so well. The idea that society can be molded according to human wishes has to be forgotten; the mind is not omnipotent, and it is utter foolishness to try to alter the traditional form of society, the product of generations of organic growth. Although the conservative family is a large one, and many variations exist within it, even touching on fundamental issues, this is roughly the point of view espoused by this school of thought. 

The Trap

Inadequate solutions and the “diplomatic process”.

By now, you must have had more than your fill about Syria, WMDs and the Guardians of Peace in Moscow and Peking. Early on, the case has been “interesting” and now, when nothing new seems to be left, the matter becomes crucial. 

At the outset, the writer must confess to a bias. It relates to a childhood experience. My father, an MD used to take me for walks. He used the chance to instruct me about medicine because he wanted me to become a physician. One item I recall was that whenever possible, we should avoid medicine. Due to his lessons I am now fortunate because, having avoided pills, medication has its full effect on me. Other units of instruction related to the detection of cholera and typhoid. I can still recall his lecture about wearing silk shirts in a trench. It is supposed to keep lice away. As a 1914 volunteer at the age of 18, he must have had a valid experience to pass that one on to a kid that did not know much about lice.

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”. 

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