Postmodern classic?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sunday roundup

My pet subjects: social philosophy, International Relations, etc. Not much new in the world, but some interesting things to look at (picture from the Economist).

Some measured skepticism on China (via The Economist), regarding the upsurge in riots. It could be a nasty few years, what are the chances for democracy there? Some people have done the math and aren't so optimistic. Then there's the math of blood, not so nice but is important and must be considered with the different estimations of death by political violence in the PRC.

While China's future is of great significance, Iraq is the present focus of shifting power in the world. And of course many disagree on it- what about those who are there? LTG Petraeus is one of those whose experience gives him an unconventional but amazing opportunity into how the future might be. He spoke at Princeton this past week, luckily Tigerhawk was there to record it. Through that site I found Westhawk, who had a fascinating analysis on the New Middle East that we will be facing in the years to come. Iraqi empowerment is not popular in the other countries, to say the least.

And I conclude with an interview in Frontpage with Theodore Dalrymple. This is a very nice articulation of the problems we face as a society if we can't stand up for principle. I think it's important to see how certain policies that 'protect' people end up degrading them by taking away their responsibility and initiative. The devil is in the balance between government and individuals... choice quote on human nature below:

"I take it as given that man, having contradictory desires, is always subject to frustration, even when happy. For example, we want both adventure and safety, and when we have the one we long for the other. All forms of human happiness contain within themselves the seeds of their own decomposition.

Modern man particularly - or so it seems to me - is particularly bad at recognising that much of his unhappiness or discontent stems from this inevitable source. Rather, he blames the structure of society and thinks that a perfection that will resolve all contradictions and eliminate all frustrations can be achieved, if only we abolished private property or followed the example of the 7th century followers of Mohammed. The attempt to force people to do so gives meaning to their existence, and of course a lot of sadistic pleasure into the bargain."


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