April 2003

Selling empire: “The historian Niall Ferguson claims that the British Empire brought open markets and prosperity to large swaths of the globe. But some say his argument doesn’t add up.”

The Empire Slinks Back: “Iraq has fallen. Saddam’s statues are face down in the dust. His evil tyranny is at an end. So — can we, like, go home now?” – Excellent.

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The Paradox of Democracy

by Limbic on April 29, 2003

From “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” [Chapter 8 – ‘The West and the Rest:Intercivilisational issues’ – pg. 196]

“The paradox of democracy weaken western will to promote democracy in the post Cold War world. During the Cold War the West and the United States in particular confronted the ìfriendly tyrantî problem: the dilemmas of cooperating with military juntas and dictators who were anti-communist and hence useful partners in the Cold War. Such cooperation produced uneasiness and at times embarrassment when these regimes engaged in outrageous violations of human rights. Cooperation could, however, be justified as the lesser evil: these governments were usually less thoroughly repressive than communist regimes and could be expected to be less durable as well as more susceptible to American and other outside influences. Why not work with a less brutal friendly tyrant if the alternative was a more brutal unfriendly one? In the post-Cold War world the choice can be the more difficult one between a friendly tyrant and an unfriendly democracy. The Westís easy assumption that democratically elected governments will be cooperative and pro-Western need not hold true in non-Western societies where electoral competition can bring anti-Western nationalists and fundamentalists to power. The West was relieved when the Algerian military intervened in 1992 and canceled the election which the fundamentalist FIS clearly was going to win. Western governments also were reassured when the fundamentalist Welfare Party in Turkey and the nationalist BJP in India were excluded from power after scoring electoral victories in 1995 and 1996. On the other hand, within the context of its revolution Iran in some respects has one of the more democratic regimes in the Islamic world, and competitive elections in many Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt would almost surely produce governments far less sympathetic to Western interests than their undemocratic predecessors. A popularly elected government in China could well be a highly nationalistic one. As Western leaders realize that democratic processes in non-Western societies often produce governments unfriendly to the West, they both attempt to influence those elections and also lose their enthusiasm for promoting democracy in those societies.”

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mondegreen (mon-dah-GREEN) n. a series

by Limbic on April 29, 2003

mondegreen (mon-dah-GREEN) n. a series of words that result from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric.

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Laird Wilcox on Extremist Traits

by Limbic on April 29, 2003

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” Robert F. Kennedy

1. CHARACTER ASSASSINATION.
2. NAME-CALLING AND LABELING.
3. IRRESPONSIBLE SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS.
4. INADEQUATE PROOF FOR ASSERTIONS.
5. ADVOCACY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.
6. TENDENCY TO VIEW THEIR OPPONENTS AND CRITICS AS ESSENTIALLY EVIL.
7. MANICHAEAN WORLDVIEW.
8. ADVOCACY OF SOME DEGREE OF CENSORSHIP OR REPRESSION OF THEIR OPPONENTS AND/OR CRITICS.
9. TEND TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF WHO THEIR ENEMIES ARE: WHOM THEY HATE AND WHO HATES THEM.
10. TENDENCY TOWARD ARGUMENT BY INTIMIDATION.
11. USE OF SLOGANS, BUZZWORDS, AND THOUGHT-STOPPING CLICHES.
12. ASSUMPTION OF MORAL OR OTHER SUPERIORITY OVER OTHERS.
13. DOOMSDAY THINKING.
14. BELIEF THAT IT’S OKAY TO DO BAD THINGS IN THE SERVICE OF A “GOOD” CAUSE.
15. EMPHASIS ON EMOTIONAL RESPONSES AND, CORRESPONDINGLY, LESS IMPORTANCE ATTACHED TO REASONING AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS.
16. HYPERSENSITIVITY AND VIGILANCE.
17. USE OF SUPERNATURAL RATIONALE FOR BELIEFS AND ACTIONS.
18. PROBLEMS TOLERATING AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.
19. INCLINATION TOWARD “GROUPTHINK.”
20. TENDENCY TO PERSONALIZE HOSTILITY.
21. EXTREMISTS OFTEN FEEL THAT THE SYSTEM IS NO GOOD UNLESS THEY WIN.

These point are dealth with in detail in the article.

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"A healthy appetite for righteousness,

by Limbic on April 29, 2003

A healthy appetite for righteousness, kept in due control by good manners, is an excellent thing; but to ‘hunger and thirst’ after it is often merely a symptom of spiritual diabetes.” Charlie D. Broad (Attributed)

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LSD and the English mind [Wash. Post]

by Limbic on April 28, 2003

Includes a lovely old idea – ‘a gratuitous grace’: “One not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available.” from The Searcher a review of ‘Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual’ by Nicholas Murray.

also see: OUT OF SIGHT by CLIVE JAMES – The curious career of Aldous Huxley.

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Mens sana..* [Jan Mag]

by Limbic on April 28, 2003

Maverick psychotherapist or revolutionary?

“Dr. Gabor MatÈ has lived several lives in one. He’s most decidedly a risk-taker: the bestselling author of a controversial book on attention-deficit disorder called Scattered Minds, MatÈ is a political activist known for his (even more controversial) views on the Middle East, and a physician/psychotherapist who gave up his family practice several years ago to work with HIV-positive heroin addicts on the Vancouver’s downtown east side. Unflinching in the face of criticism, this is a man who will not keep silent about his multiple passions.

In his latest book, When the Body Says No, he goes out on a medical limb with his passionately-argued thesis that certain types of chronic disease can be triggered by stress. And not the garden variety stress we usually think of (the job, the kids, the mortgage), but internal stress generated by the repression of powerful emotions, particularly anger.

In his many years as a palliative care physician, MatÈ observed in his dying patients certain eerie similarities in personality. Many of them were cheerful and agreeable to a fault, never seemed angry, placed everyone else’s needs above their own, and were harshly critical with themselves. Their personal boundaries seemed fragile and uncertain, as if they did not know where they left off and others began. In many cases, it was nearly impossible for them to say “no,” to the point that their bodies had to say it for them.

These personal observations matched up with certain discoveries in the relatively-new field of psychoneuroimmunology, the science studying the intricate interaction between psyche and soma. The mainstream medical idea of a “mind/body split” no longer made sense to MatÈ, so he set out to probe the mystery of what makes us sick, and how we can guard our health through a better understanding of boundaries, emotional honesty and personal autonomy.”

Some of reminds MatÈ’s ideas remind me of a technique called “Focusing” developed by University of Chicago professor Eugene Gendlin and made famous in the eponymous book published in 1982. Focusing is a “technique of self therapy that teaches you to identify and change the way your personal problems concretely exist in your body. Focusing consists of steps of felt change. Unlike methods that stress “getting in touch with your feelings,” there is a built-in test: each focusing step, when done correctly, is marked by a physical relief, a profound release of tension. Focusing guides you to the deepest level of awareness within your body. It is on this level, unfamiliar to most people, that unresolved problems actually exist, and only on this level can they change.”

*Mens Sane Incorpore Sano: Healthy Body, Health Mind.

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"Euphemisms are not, as many

by Limbic on April 27, 2003

“Euphemisms are not, as many young people think, useless verbiage for that which can and should be said bluntly; they are like secret agents on a delicate mission, they must airily pass by a stinking mess with barely so much as a nod of the head, make their point of constructive criticism and continue on in calm forbearance.
Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.” [Quentin Crisp; quoted in the “Cassell Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations” (1996)] via http://www.worldwidewords.org

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"Laypeople frequently assume that in

by Limbic on April 27, 2003

“Laypeople frequently assume that in a political dispute the truth must lie somewhere in the middle, and they are often right. In a scientific dispute, though, such an assumption is usually wrong.” – Paul Ehrlich

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!The elderly Iraqi farmer who, according to Baghdad officials, literally shot his way to fame by downing a state-of-the-art US Apache helicopter with an old carbine has flatly denied he had anything to do with the crash.”

I have been had my the Iraqi Information Minister yet again!

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