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"They hate our freedom"

I'm a little surprised I haven't seen this old canard trotted out to explain the sometimes violent protests in the Middle East aimed at the United States because of a film (made by Egyptians in the US) which virtually no one stateside saw or cared for.  The outrage halfway across the world certainly shows a lack of understanding of western culture and a general distrust of it--a distrust which, let's face it, is both understandable and historically justified, particularly in the case where a western government might be involved.

Perhaps more importantly, we are seeing the results of a nascent republicanism amongst a poor, underemployed populations who have been and have felt put upon by their governments and the world.  These events and circumstances are obviously beyond our ability to control, but I wonder if we could not influence them in a finer way than we have in most of our dealings with that region. Perhaps a new Marshal Plan is called for.  Any attempt at convincing 'the Arab Street' that the government of the United States does not support something which it allows to exist will fail so long as those we are trying to persuade see it as antithetical to their own experience.


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More Political Notes

-Rick Santorum seems a somewhat likeable guy who believes several crazy, distasteful things. It may not be helpful to say his ideas are nuts, but it still is less useful to fashion him an evil man because his discriminatory views don't jive with the left, centre, or centre-right in America.

-Calling a person a 'front runner' before votes are counted is just plain wrong.  Calling one a front-runner after some votes are counted is slightly misleading.  The race isn't about who the media thinks is ahead, and it is only indirectly about who gets the most votes.  What really matters is accruing the most delegates.  In the race for a major party's nomination for POTUS, the guy with the most delegates-who-will-actually-vote-for-him-at-their-national-convention is ahead. If no delegates have been awarded, there isn't really a front-runner, no matter what polls might say.

-I doubt the primary process will hurt the eventual Republican nominee for POTUS all that much.…

Pointless Ruminations on the Absurd

The world around us is in no way required to conform to our expectations, beliefs, or desires. Rather, it is all but guaranteed to disappoint us, at least once or twice a lifetime. The loftier (or more deeply felt) our ideals, the more this may be true.

When we accept this incongruity and are keenly aware of it, but cannot change our thinking, absurdity steps in. The world no longer quite makes sense. It is untethered from rational or moral concerns, adrift in a bizarre joke told by no one.
Desire for normative order is often irrational and misplaced. Placing ethical constraints on amoral matters makes no sense. Yet these appear (sometimes, seemingly) inescapable conclusions. Hence the sensation of absurdity.

We can apply these incongruous demands to anything and anyone. But this is not a universal philosophy. It is a philosophy of the self, a diagnosis.

Magical Unrealism

The same men who say global warming is a hoax, Obamacare has been failing for eight years, and abstinence-only sex-ed works are also convinced even basic gun control is an impossible and useless approach which would only make us less safe. These are also the dudes most likely to tell you black and brown folk have it too good, Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya, and Sharia law is being forced on American legal systems. I wonder if there's some sort of overarching thread or theme to all this.