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[Copied from a comment of mine in _debate_.]
And yes I am aware that I may be the only person who *reads* in _debat_, they would be the first to admit it. : )

Am I the only one who reads history in this community??

"Let the point of extreme depression to which our national dignity and credit have sunk, let the inconveniences felt everywhere from a lax and ill administration of government, let the revolt of a a part of the State of North Carolina, the late menacing disturbances in Pennsylvania, and the actual insurrections and rebellions in Massachusettes, declare------! So far is the general sense of mankind from corresponding with the tenents of those who endevor to lull asleep of apprehensions of discord...that it has from long observation of the progress of society become a sort of axiom in politics..."
---Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 6 (1787!!)

The US has always been in "decline", in someone's opinion. A brief, thumbnail sketch of a century's worth of trepidation. At the turn of the century labor unrest and anarchist violence would divide the nation. In the teens the Great War would carry all before it to destruction. In the 20's the rejection of traditional morality would make the world a "Wasteland." In the 30's economic disaster heralded the end of civilization. In the 40's we would soon abandon democracy for a brisk and efficient fascism as the world burned around us. In the 50's we would soon fall to the unstoppable Communist Revolution. In the 60's race wars and social corruption would break up our nation. In the 70's we had runaway inflation and the Carter "malaise". In the 80's business corruption and runaway government debt (sound familiar). In the 90's the fall of our great enemy the USSR would unbalance the world and tip us into anarchy.
Is this the end of the USA as we know it? Well, if history is a guide, I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Tough times come, tough times go but a nation as large and flexible as this is hard to un-construct or make irrelevant. This doesn't mean it won't happen, but it just makes it pretty unlikely. In 1987 I remember very clearly the stock market crash and how pundits tisk tisked over deficits and spending and the "world situation." The Japanese were supposed to be buying up the west coast as an "economic colony" and we were being handed our lunch. Turns out the 90's weren't all that bad and the very things the Japenese were feared for in the 80's have plunged their economy into an endless recession truly fitting the Carteresque term "malaise." Now the pendulum has swung back a bit and we are looking over the edge of an abyss yet again. Maybe...but what would these wags have said in 1777? or 1787? or 1812? or 1832? or 1837? or 1861? or 1873? or 1876? or 1886? or 1894?

Do they teach history anymore? Its wonderfully comforting to have a little perspective on which veiw currrent events.
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War! Hungh! Good God ya'll....what is it good for?

How about freeing Iraq and starting to stabilize the Middle East for starters?

We have been standing on the banks of the Rubicon long enough. The die is cast, If it goes well it will be terrible and bring bring this nation a chance at peace. If it goes ill, it will be horrible and our nation will be shaken in a way it hasn't been since before the Civil War. For myself, I am content. I think it is the right thing to do for many reasons, not the least of which is that Saddam is a cancer that can no longer be controlled with chemo and radiation. He must be excised.

I have a great deal of respect for those who are pacifists, but I must admit not much understanding. Its like talking to someone who believes in reincarnation. A passionate point of faith, but without much reason.

I have some respect for those who honestly look at the options and think that war is too risky. I see the risks of action as well as anyone, and the wrong outcomes are quite scary. But the risks of inaction are greater. Not just that Saddam would acquire WMD, or give WMD to terrorists, or even conquer the Kuwaiti oil fields and the Saudi's too with a Iraqi nuke, but that the world, but more specifically the US, would be responsible for another failure like Rwanda, it would be a Rwanda in slow motion. First the Marsh Arabs, then more slowly maybe, the Kurds. Then maybe Kuwait again. The stench of that hypocrisy would make me retch every time I thought of it. Not to mention the license it would give to other dictators or genocidal madmen.

I honestly don't know what to think about France. It is a mystery to me that Chirac can send troops to enforce a French peace on Ivory Coast without one shred of international support and still prate away about us while 17 UN resolutions are openly flouted. They are playing a dangerous game in the Gaulist tradition. But I seriously doubt that DeGaulle would have acted so contrary. He stood up for the "independence" of French foreign policy, but his policies did not actively support the Communist Block. When this is over we will see that the money is the motivator here, not principle. Who has pushed for the reintegration of Saddam since the mid-90's? Who has the most money to loose from a new government in Iraq? The most oil contracts? I love France, I love almost everything about its culture, arts, food (obviously) even its people I have found generous and warm...but its politics are fucked beyond all belief.

I have no respect at all for the "no blood for oil"/"shrub is doing it for daddy" crowd. A more glib and callow group I can hardly imagine. Listening to Holocaust apologists and America-is-the-great-satan freaks like Noam Chomsky and Ramsey Clark and applauding the old, old marxists screeds is disgraceful in a group that makes claims of being "pro-peace." Pro-peace the way Stalin was pro-peace. Shame on them all and their self righteous posturing. Where will they be when the truth comes out about Saddam? They will sit with the rest of those who applauded "Uncle Joe," deliberately blind to the evil they were willing to accept because of their "principles."

It is a terrible thing we are about to do, no doubt. But it is a terrible world, with terrible people in it. Let us all pray that out of the terrible some good can come. Its happened before, after all, perhaps it will happen again. Amen. Amen.
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Will spring ever be here? I wonder. The garden is a sight to see, now that the last of the snow has melted away. A wreck of a garden. The rosemary looks like it didn't make it, which is distressing but not surprising. I am exceedingly curious if our figs have survived the arctic blasts, wrapped as they were in layer after layer of burlap, 25 yards a tree. As for the rest I am reasonable confident, they are hardy. I will have to reinforce the wattle, that was something I should have done in the fall, now it will be a pain.

A author of a scientific bent on CSPAN was arguing the other day about the death of the book. The inevitable march of technology will soon replace the books paper pages with digital images, etc. By books, of course, he means the codex. It may be true, but I doubt it.
Sitting here at the computer a world of information is at my finger tips, but can I enjoy a novel online? I do not know anyone who has participated in the e-book craze of a couple years ago. Nor do I know anyone who has read a book online ala Steven King. Maybe that is because of the quality of the literature rather than the method of distribution. But even if I was sitting down with Shakespeare, I think the electronic images would grate on me. How can I curl up with a book online? How can a glowing pad compete with the solid heft of a good novel? I understand that digital technology can shrink the space needed, so you can house vast stores of knowledge in tiny spaces. Still, as much as I enjoy the net I do not think that it beats my 25 year old set of Britannica sitting on the bottom shelf of my library. I will challenge anyone to get the information on a given topic via the net faster and more compeletly and accurately then the old Britannica. No computer, no phone line, no cable access, no electricity required.
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Went to a Library fund raiser last night. Saw some friends we don't see all the time...nice. They had a pianist and after the first hour I was ready to strangle the woman. Is it too much to ask that she finish a song before segueing into another? It was just supposed to be ambient I know, but she'd play maybe half of some Porter standard and then, just as it entered the back of your mind, bam! on to something else. I don't know why it distracted me so much, when I mentioned it on the way home K honestly said she hadn't noticed. And she is the perceptive one. I suppose that I picked up on it early and then my mind kept picking up on the pattern as a reflex. What does that say about order in chaos?? Over the drone (and it was an almighty drone) of conversation, muddled by mediocre wine and salty snacks my brain kept saying, "Hey, she didn't finish "Night and Day!"

In other news,I outed myself as a theist and a Christian to boot on the philosophy forum. Reading the atheists and the agnostics debate what each other believes reminds me of listening to a bunch of Baptists at a picnic. A friend of mine once said his pastor was no longer going to hold the annual church "field day" because every once and a while a third of the congregation would leave and start another Baptist church.
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Is it wrong to engage someone you disagree with in a debate if you think there is no common ground on which to meet?

A live journalist who is young and full of passion wrote an entry that I passionately disagree with. But I stand back, and have not commented on it, although they specifically asked for comments. I feel like a coward, but at the same time I believe that any criticism I might offer will simply cause more anger and pain. I mean, I know I could demolish the arguments, but there is a strong sense that no matter how reasoned I may be, it will not change any opinions or even modify them. If you cannot even agree on basic premises can you really debate? I see this a lot in _debate_, People go back and forth and round and round and really they are talking from totally different basic understandings of what truth and reason mean. They talk past each other.
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Well, I've decided to start posting to this thing. I have been lurking around LJ for about a year and have found it fascinating. But I must be honest, I am very ambivalent about starting one. To me a journal is very personal, private affair in which one putatively addresses to yourself, not a community. So far in my life I have felt no real need to keep a journal except on my travels. I remember in 7th grade they made us keep one. I basically blew it off and then wrote the whole thing in 2 days as a extended piece of fiction. The thing is, it didn't read much different than friends who were religious about it. In my rambling around LJ I have found writers who are intensely personal and confessional. They are laying out their souls in print and then letting it be read by anyone. To me that smacks of spiritual promiscuity. Other posters seem to view this as a bulletin board for their ideas and a kind of cyber soap box. That strikes me as fairly egotistical, kind of like a maniac street preacher. Many are boring recitations of the day's weather and routine. I think...what's the point? Does anyone care? Why not use a $5 notebook. And still my 7th grade experience haunts me. Are these folks for real?? How much of this LJ thing is a total fabrication? And what does that say about our culture and its sudden need for "reality?" What does that say about the internet and its ability to inform and enliven society?

Still, I am starting a livejournal.

I'm going to be a blogger.

I have recently been posting to some communities, mostly philosophy and debate. I find them at times amusing and at times frustrating. The way folks cling to ideology is daunting. Still, I try to stay out of the mud and only post on topics I'm fairly well versed in. A certain top_debater person challenged me about not keeping a journal for her to read. I never replied to that, but it did strike something of a chord. After all, I often check out other LJ's to find out more about someone. Why should I be immune? In part I feel her complaint was not valid because, while I have not posted since I joined on Feb 2, I have not used my, how shall I put it?, anonymity to be a jerk. I think my posts have been reasoned and to the point. I have not been a flamer or a troll. I would not be ashamed to own any of my debate positions if everyone knew my name and face and I don't really understand what knowing about a bunch of unconnected minutia from my life would change. Yet, her comments have moved me.

So, here it goes. I can't promise you a lot of excitement. The years of my debauchery and lechery are well behind me. I am not angst ridden or driven by a passion for social justice. I find most of modern culture pretty trite, so I usually ignore it. My parents and I get along just great, and always have. I am in a very loving marriage and will certainly not speak about it again. As I said, I am very ambivalent about this exercise.

I am committed, though. I will post.

First Entry

Feb. 2nd, 2003 06:10 pm
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This is a test, this is only a test.

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