Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"The last brother"

(who asked if it is moral to use the blue pill that sanctifies on a monster)
Kennedy's father lobotomized his own daughter. To the power mad we are all objects to be arranged, used and disposed of. Real education is part of societies balancing act. We need to raise people who are empathic and other directed while at the same time secure in their own individuality and creative. People who are not easily manipulated but who decline to manipulate while remaining engaged. We need people who do not simply live in a herd but who explore the path, without going out onto that ledge. How is this balancing act achieved? Through the family and religion and education.

Broken families or abusive ones spread dysfunction like a virus and yet millions do survive and rewire a path around the damage. The brain can compensate for a defect on the retina and still allow the eye to see a normal picture, until the damage is to great to work around and the failure in the neurology becomes catastrophic.

While partisans might argue for the purity of their religion there is a commonality among most but not all creeds. It is clear to me that in principle how a religion describes the nature of God and of man does affect the ability of someone to walk the line without viewing members of their own community as sheep or those of other communities as cattle. Did the callous hypocrisy of the Kennedy's stem from some defect in 20th century Boston Catholicism or were they a force of nature that the diocese could not control? Perhaps the Vatican will seek to repair any damage the infection they brought caused. Was the malevolence of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed caused by the Wahabi creed or is it general to Islam? If either can it be contained or cured?

Can education serve a moral purpose? In 1987 John Mearsheimer gave the "Aims of Education" address to the incoming class of 2001 at The University of Chicago. If you search using the terms "John Mearsheimer on moral education" you get an interesting set of responses.

My fear is that those who seek to rule believe that there is a blue pill that will "turn a fanatical monster into Mother Teresa" and they want to use it. Sixty years ago little old ladies in tennis shoes got excited about the fluoridation of water because they thought that it represented an effort to slip the blue pill into our system. All they did was set themselves up for Alinskyite ridicule as caricatured by Stanley Kubrick in Dr Strangelove. There the little old ladies morphed into the lunatic General Jack Ripper. My worry is that those who want to hand out the pills to others are at heart themselves Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds.

Mad in Madtown,
(who worried that John McCain admitted that he broke under torture)
Everybody breaks. That is the lesson of SERE school. Every military pilot and every CIA Clandestine Service officer goes through it. Once you know where your line is you are stronger. It is the fear of the unknown that weakens you. I did not have to go through it, others I knew did.

Thank you for confirming my thoughts on SERE school.

And so it is with the war terror. Such an impolite word
The designation WoT always suffered for being an elision. If it had to be broad enough to threaten the NorKs as well as Islamofascists then we should have considered calling it the "War to make the world safe for Democracy."

Bogoe wheel,
Stanley Kubrick disliked The Ox-bow Incident (which was shown to me in Junior High under the title "Due Process Denied") because it condemned the lynching of an innocent man. He made a point of rubbing in how guilty Alex was in A Clockwork Orange because he wanted to drive home his objection to any State control of an individual, even a guilty one. Kubrick was talking through his hat. He knew photography and filmaking but nothing of the subjects he instructed on. Born in 1928 he was an adolescent in NYC during WW-II and somehow he managed to avoid Korea.

the process of more or less killing the wrong people
You mistake the purpose of revolutionary terror. People are not killed to effect justice. Their guilt or innocence is incidental to their fate. They are killed to instill fear in the audience who are thereby stripped bare of all defenses and made receptive to the messages of the revolutionary vanguard. Terror is a heuristic tool. When the Black Marias come for you what happens once you are off stage is a mere administrative or technical problem. The important moment is when you are taken, with your neighbors leaning on their doors listening.

May I propose a campaign theme for 2010?
You don't have a damn thing to apologize for.
You don't own anybody anything.

Aug 30, 2009 - 8:28 pm

luddy barsen,
Agreed about Barry Lyndon, Good movies are a collection of good photographs and Kubrick was a great photographer. He was also a perfectionist about details. His unmade movie about Napoleon would have interested me. What he did not understand were the underlaying issues behind war (and peace) and crime (and punishment). He did have the right attitude about drugs though.

Aug 31, 2009 - 7:00 am

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