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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

GROWING UP

'Grow up!'
How often do men hear this from women (usually not without considerable justification)? Well, now a man is saying the same, especially to the NotAllMen crowd and such as they, not to mention those who actually do harass and threaten women.
I don't choose those two words idly or capriciously, either. I mean them in a very real sense, viz First, I suspect that a lot of the male bile over this comes from men who, as boys, were ruled by women whose 'default' setting towards them included 'do not believe; side with those for whom he makes trouble' or something like that. This is not something of which men speak openly, so I may be starting something. Indeed, I remember believing that the primary woman in my young life had such a 'default'--not that I put it so to myself then as 'default settings' were as yet undiscovered. Second, I wonder how many class A p***ks, to use an epithet to which my dad was partial, are now exacting vengeance with the women they threaten and exploit, for being mistreated in that way when they could do nothing about it. In either case, the 'grow up' advice applies. Let it sink in that you really are the grownups now and that the women before you are NOT your (fill in the blanks), nor are they stand-ins for them. You've been subject to abusive power before; why will you mimic what was done to you instead of showing yourself better--yea verily, showing yourself a REAL MAN by using your power wisely, judiciously, and not oppressively?
Twelve years ago, an employee of ours (my late first wife and I) accused me of harassment. There was absolutely NO truth in anything she said and indeed her attraction was to her own sex, which is why my wife had a 'creepy' feeling about her. But she wanted to blame me for my wife's non-response towards her. I was acquitted eleven years ago; the local police were familiar with this woman as a bringer of seriously wacky charges against others. Now let me ask you ladies: all this notwithstanding, how many of you have a 'guilty' default setting toward anyone against whom such charges are brought? Seriously. Take some time answering here; your answers are important.
Nine years ago, my late first wife and I visited a woman with remarkable psycho-spiritual 'sight'. She asked me then, "Why are you still so tied to your ******?" I barely understood the question then; now I know I understand at least a bit more. And that 'guilty' default setting is partly why I feel we ought to teach our boys to never, never, never touch a woman before she touches you and all nonverbal 'signals' be DAMNED--I mean that quite literally! Teach our sons to be masters of their own hormones and make no move from them except if she moves first and does so unmistakably! Even without the ache from my early life that seems like a very good idea; feel free to weigh in on that too.
How about you, brothers? Ready to grow up, or grow further? Let's go together.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

OPEN LETTER TO KIM JONG-UN

Sir,

I don't know whether you and our current 'president' are playing some sort of juvenile game of 'chicken' or whether you'd really rather deliberately destroy our country and, with it, the whole earth. Either you believe your own propaganda (rather like the Great Orange Cheeto in the White House) or you know that the 'nuclear winter' which would follow a nuclear war (and we only learned this during your young lifetime) would mean nearly all surviving life on the planet would starve to death! Is this why you've decided you'd rather be able to destroy our country than negotiate?
Mr. Trump does not represent most of the people; through an anomaly of our Constitution (an anomaly overdue for abolition) he won with fewer actual votes than Mrs. Clinton--but I'm sure you know this too. In any case, none of us like seeing any new nuclear power but, if you can convince more of our people that you can be trusted (me, for openers) we can be convinced to live with that if you are prepared to be other than a rogue power!
This is not a plea; we are all free people and we sue for peace before no one, especially not our own leaders, let alone those of other countries! I just wonder if you're as irrational as Trump or whether that's what you want him and his subordinates to believe. If you're more rational, I promise not to tell them. I hope and believe the pair of you are trying to convince each other that you are biocidal little madmen, but I can tell you dam' few of we who watch and pray are enjoying the show! I certainly am not! If you show me you are rational, I shall be immensely relieved but will not tell the media, at least not till this becomes academic--and you shall see me keep my word!
I am no one in particular: I am a man in my early sixties with a wife and no children, although we do have three dogs and a cat as pets which we cherish, as well as friends and other relations not as close as children would be. So you can see I haven't much personal stake in seeing life continue beyond our own lifetimes. But sometimes we look at our pets and I think of all the innocent animals who we'd be vaporizing, starving in nuclear winter and God only knows what else--and the thought of inflicting such harm on all those innocent creatures is too much for a plain, small man like myself. I have some acquaintance with history, geography, literature and language as well and I'm still open to learning. As we say in my language, I take what both my government and the mainstream media tell us with a fairly liberal amount of salt.
I humbly ask you, young sir, to consider these things if you haven't already and to seek other ways which will enable negotiations to recommence between your country, my country, the PRC, the ROK, Japan and probably Russia as the main actors in northeast Asia. And whatever you tell me to convince me of your rationality, I shall keep it to myself for the foreseeable future.

Anxiously,
Brian S. Meadows
anglohebraicus@gmail.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

TO DEFEND, STRENGTHEN & EXTEND

Democracy, so the Founders wrote, is always a generation away from being extinguished. And in my threescore years and one, I'd say they are being borne out.
I don't know whether democracy has had such a combination of internal and external threats against it since the 1930s (I tend to worry more about the internal ones) but I think some words about what we want to defend and extend in our country and indeed our civilization as a whole are in order.
First and foremost: democracy. What I mean here is 1) the ability of ever more citizens to have their voices heard and at least registered in the national, provincial, local councils. 2) While this does not and should not mean that my ignorant 'feeling' is as valid as your expertise on (fill in the blank), I do have the right to expect you to be able to express your knowledge in language I can understand. If the great nuclear physicist Lord Rutherford expressed doubt about the utility of any idea which couldn't be put into language which the most ignorant among us can understand, who are any of us to argue that point? I also think that, when a speaker can't or won't pull themselves away from their professional jargon, let's put up our flimflam alerts. 3) It has to include a wealth ceiling for individuals, families and corporations. Without economic democracy, political democracy will be vitiated into being meaningless.
Second: diversity. Not for its own sake (nor are all cultures 'equal' by any means, though whatever healths each has do deserve respect) but because, however much we know, we can always learn infinitely more. And we can always learn new things from just about anyone regardless of wealth or education. Nor does this mean we do not vigorously assimilate new arrivals into our societies. And not digesting the idea of religious liberty (NOT 'toleration'; see 'The Rights of Man' for further distinction) ought to be seen as a disqualification for entry into our societies. Ditto for freedom of speech and the press.
I wrote that all cultures are not equal. While I stick to this, I should also say any cultural superiority is NEVER due to superior DNA as such! One thing which DOES give a culture superiority is its openness to new genetic material, though. Anyone who knows anything about dogs knows that it's the 'mixed' breeds--that is, the mutts---who live longer and more vigorously than do any purebreds. In the Arab/Muslim world, first cousins have married each other for fourteen centuries. I strongly suspect this, and the dying of innovation and ijtihad and the loss of scientific primacy, are strongly connected!
Not to mention all the hereditary afflictions of royalty and nobility. Thereby one is deposed and the other declines into no-ability! We also need to relearn the art of vigorous yet civil debate to defend what we hold dear for our societies and our civilization.
Last is a trait which seems quite special: a growing intolerance of hypocrisy. But as we hunt hypocrisies, never mind the 'uniforms'--be they outfits, real or purported (cockroach-in-hijab, my sights are fixed on you!) skin tones or whatever. No, pay attention to the behavior patterns. In a conflict which looks intractable, ask these questions: who's willing to share power and land and other resources and who insists on ruling the whole show or they'll ruin it all? Who holds on tighter to 'intangibles'--that is, to purported 'honor' or 'prestige'? And who says (or has said in the recent past) that equality with their adversary would be UNIMAGINABLY SHAMING AND DEGRADING? I can think of two examples right off the bat: one is seen here and the other in the Middle East.
Whoever says the above and shows, underneath all their attempts to hide and camouflage them, such behavior patterns can NOT be our friends and must be the enemies of both our societies and of our civilization--however much they may look and sound like 'us'! Indeed, the smarter they are, the more they'll put on just that gambit!
PS. Spiritual truths will never have quite the same 'shape' for any two of us. Beware especially of ALL those who insist that the same shape or labels are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! It's not God's people that goose-step in lock-step, but the other guy's troops! OK, I'm done, so feel free to sigh with relief!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ISRAEL: PAST AND FUTURE GLORY


I think back to how the times of kings David and Solomon are, by large numbers of Jews, still considered Israel's 'glory days'. Then I start to ask myself: did David or Solomon ever have such hospitals, laboratories, green fields and greenhouses as does Israel today, not to mention their water-management technology which is light-years ahead of almost anyone else on earth, ESPECIALLY Israel's neighbors? Was that long-past Israel appropriately hospitable to the poor and the stranger and the non-Israelite among them? If the story of Rehoboam's succession to his father is accurate, there can be no doubt that today's Israel makes it plenty easier for the ordinary Moshe and/or Rivka to register discontent with the government--a government which can always be voted out and exchanged for another, without violence, at the next election!
As I contemplate today's Israel and compare it with ancient Israel, it seems to me that the times of David and Solomon might be better described as the days of Israel's INITIAL glory. Based on the Israel I see today, I believe that God has such glory in store for Israel that, beside it, the Israel of David and Solomon will be as a flickering candle beside a high-wattage floodlight! And NO, real peace with the neighbors will not mark its beginning! Not as long as most of those neighbors still look on Israel with the same malevolence as struggling peckerwoodies looked on both the Greenwood section of Tulsa and upon Rosewood in Florida! (For those who don't know of these things, go google them and be illumined!)
But what I think will bring Israel closer to such glory is making it a less hospitable place for billionaires and more so for the working poor and its middle class, together with the marvelous variety of ecosystems that flourish in that little space! Let there be more and better provenance for the poor and needy and may fewer Israelis be uncertain of their next meal! If Scripture tells the truth (and I believe it does) will not such measures bring Israel's next great glory closer? I believe it will! Make equal rights for ALL Israelis more of a daily reality; Israelis themselves know far better than I do what needs to be done to push that along--so I excuse myself from that debate.
We (I mean all of the West) also need to back up Israel in 1) its strengthening of ties with sub-Saharan Africa, including and perhaps especially the peoples who have shown themselves to be connections of the House of Israel and 2) administering sharp correction to ostensibly religiously-inspired attempts at murder or to set off Shoah II. Because for us in this respect, Israel is still very much our canary in the coal mine. What has happened in Israel we are now seeing in our own countries!
But above all, such aggression should never terrorize us to the extent that we forget who we are--an alliance of FREE peoples, open to admitting those who really do want to join us as equals and show that by their individual and collective actions. This is why I think Turkey ought to be suspended from NATO until and unless it re-secularizes itself!
I believe Israel still is God's 'pilot light' for the nations and that, when this twilight struggle is won as I believe it will be if we stay true to ourselves, Israel will stand in glory and be known for its light! So let us all take heart, do all we can and march on--to greater glory than has yet been known!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

GOD'S ACTUAL WAY v. THAT OF THE ELDER BROTHER

This post will take Strict Father rule (or, mostly, misrule) as articulated by George Lakoff in his most recent post at alternet.org --and, I hope, rip it to shreds. Theologically as well as in other ways. And where will I start? Why, where else but in the Bible itself?
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4, NIV. And again: "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Colossians 3:21, NIV. Based on what I know of Lakoff's Strict Father paradigm, it is hard for me to see how anyone having the misfortune to exist in it would not become embittered. Or does seeing others punished severely mitigate that bitterness? Probably if you're one of those holding the power you may like 'riding and whipping [others] as you like', to paraphrase a Chinese saying.
The bible from which I quote is a study Bible and apropos of the last quotation, there is this note:
"Children must be handled with care." True. "They need firm (and FAIR) discipline administered in love." Again, true. Parentheses mine. "Don't alienate them by nagging, deriding or destroying their self-respect so that they lose heart." VERY true! Parents (not just fathers) also need to let children know when they have done right. Punishing wrong actions but not reacting at all to right actions, aside from, perhaps, a growled "you only did what you should have" is part of such exasperation and embitterment. Sooner or later, children brought up that way will either go insane in the way that those who'd rather devour Trumperies and/or other conspiracy theories (and Russia and the Arab/Muslim world are far worse this way than the West) rather than hear hard truths have done--or they will correctly conclude that there is no pleasing one or more parents and give up on trying!
Firm and fair discipline needs to be a part of rearing children, yes---but only part of it! Some who know a thing or two about children will say that every sharp "No!" needs ten affirmatives to avoid such discouragement as Paul mentions. And in a country which wants to remain a free country, children must be encouraged to ask questions and to seek out answers for themselves. Children who are taught blind obedience become German Michels. Just ask any German with at least a rudimentary knowledge of their own history what that means. They'll tell you what it is and how thinking of themselves that way led Germany to catastrophe in 1918 and again in 1945. Thanks to those who live by the Strict Father paradigm, we are in serious peril of losing our freedoms right here, right now!!
And the problem with many of those brought up in the Nurturing Family paradigm is that they seem to have lost the spine and/or gonads to know that negotiations with bigots and bullies of any and all cultures and colors is impossible and what both require (at least if they persist after warnings and explanations) are sharp, short slapdowns! There's the time to 'put some stick about', to use a good British expression.
It is against bullies, bigots and the ways our system is slanted in favor of white males in particular, and in favor of 'white haves' in general, that strength needs to be applied. Each culture, if it wants to be termed a 'civilization', needs to take its own measures against being skewed in favor of a particular dominant group. I should mention that, by such a measure, the West is far ahead of the rest, although that's not to say by any means that there's not considerable room for improvement on our part too. I simply mention race because, in the West, it's a large factor in determining who gets what. The same is true of other races and groups in other cultures.
But of Lakoff's two paradigms, only the Nurturing Family makes room for such improvement.
And wouldn't God agree that each individual, and all societies, could use considerable improvement to get at least somewhat closer to what He surely wants for all His children--to end hunger, hatred and ruin of nature and to stop judging each other as if we could see what's inside each other as well as outside? I believe He would, and anyone who thinks that this is not a worthy goal for which to strive--well, I could argue with you, but I'll suggest y'all go and talk to the Boss (NO, I don't mean Bruce, although he'll probably tell you much the same thing!) first and argue it with Him! I mean, He is the one Who set it all up, right?
I think He's already given us an idea of how He will respond to all you obnoxious Elder Siblings (I'm one, btw). Take another look at Luke 15:11-31. That's how He responds and that's the response He wants from us if you mean to call yourselves Jesus's followers. Think twice before responding as the Elder Brother did, all y'all Strict Father folks! And until you do so think, keep your hypocrisies (by which you, when curtailed in persecuting others, howl you are being persecuted!) to yourselves!

Friday, May 12, 2017

PROGRESSIVES: AIM FOR GUTS AND HEARTS BEFORE HEADS!!


·
. I've been asking myself how we can best produce a progressive Democratic tsunami next year, and here are some things which, to me anyhow, stick out:
1) Most eligible voters don't. We all know and, being Democrats, pretty much deplore this.
2) I'd guess most of them don't vote because they think 'they're all the same', ad nauseam that way. If I'm off, please tell me so--and the how and why thereof.
3)We Democrats have, with almost nauseating consistency, pitched our message to the Sober And Thoughtful Citizens. Again, let me know if I'm missing something here.
4) Sober, etc., citizens generally vote and appear to be something of a minority. Again and always, please check my observations and let me know what I miss, if anything. In any case, they're the ones who may draw back from Democrats who pull no punches but name treason (in this case, 50 years of it) on the GOP's part out loud. But what about the non-voting majority? Might such frank talk not be as it were the cold water that gets them off their couches?
5) Yes, ask for small amounts of money but ALSO ask for them to share the messages. Such as 'half a century of treason' and 'No jobs on a dead planet' and so on. Get them thinking and bring them into the political process. I cannot say this often enough: ordinary citizen engagement is democracy's lifeblood!
The 'professionals' whose mannerisms too many Democrats have adopted (mostly that of schoolmarms, male and female, it seems to me) will vote for us anyhow; it's the disengaged we need to bring in. But to bring them in, we need to also aim for the gut and the heart as well as the head! We've been aiming almost exclusively at the head, with an occasional word to the heart, for far too long!! And once we do, and engage the former non-voters--there will be our tsunami! Again (ad nauseam yet?) have I missed anything?
There are some who feel that such frankness will damage our civic fabric further. My reply is this: how much further can that fabric be shredded before we realize we can't cover the fissures with it anymore? We need to rebuild that fabric and that can only be done with firmity and strength. without any wet-noodling and in the light of clear and (sometimes) merciless truth!
Let's all think about ways to do this and share them with each other! I know this much: I intend to aim my posts squarely at the guts and hearts of the disengaged, with due attention to their heads, between now and November 2018!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LEFTWARD BACK TO THE FOUNDERS!

Well, at long last, another new blogpost. Aren't you all thrilled to bits? OK, never mind.
When I awoke this morning, a strange (?) combo of things were rolling round my head: the current regime of course, an increasing number of people being displaced from paying jobs as the middle class continues to evaporate and, related to it, the rights of property.
The words of John Taylor of Caroline County, VA (a friend of Jefferson's) linger still in my mind--the words about 'the grossest abuses artfully allying themselves with real property'--that is, the financial sector allying itself with  yeoman farmers, artisans, and mom-and-pop merchants--'and when attempts to remedy abuses are attempted, loudly exclaim against the invasion of property and against levelism.'
I'm sure many of you, Gentle Readers, recall Jefferson's own words about his hope to crush the aristocracy of moneyed corporations. I also remember what Paine had to say about property in his Dissertations On First Principles of Government, viz. "The protection of a [human's] person is more sacred than the protection of property; and besides this, the faculty of performing any kind of work or services by which [one] acquires a livelihood, or maintaining [their] family, is of the nature of property! (Italics and exclamation point mine) It is property to [them], [they] have acquired it; and it is as much the object of [their] protection as exterior property"--or, at least, I for one say it should be--all the more now!
This is not to stifle innovation nor to say that working people don't owe it to themselves, their families and the country to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date; they most certainly do! I think we should start discussing 'compensations' for those whose skills have been rendered obsolete such as retraining with a stipend to keep hardship at bay during the re-training period (not to mention that such re-training ought to include something on how to keep one's skills current or a bit ahead of the curve) or other appropriate remedies.
I also favor a ceiling on compensation along the lines proposed by Ben Franklin in a letter he wrote to Robert Morris on Christmas Day 1783, viz.
"All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a [person], for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is [one's] natural Right, which none can justly deprive [one] of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."
Remember, digest and share these ideas from the Founders' well as widely as we can!!