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Saturday, December 31, 2011

LEADERSHIP?

'Forty years ago (in the 1930s) the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead thought it self-evident that you would get a good government if you took power out of the hands of the acquisitive and gave it to the learned and cultivated. At present, a child in kindergarten knows better than that.' These words were written 37 years ago by a man I consider one of my 'mentors': Eric Hoffer.
He wrote in the wake of sixty-odd years of wars and revolutions brought about by the type Winston Churchill called 'bloody-minded professors'. I also might call them the world's second-most recent versions of this world's Wackford Squeerses--some of whom actually believe they make a better world by making more of us miserable. I'd say our current Wackfords are the Islamists and, also, their 'Christianist' counterparts in this country.
But to return to the main point: men who cared nothing for money, wealth or riches made charnel houses of Russia, Germany and much of Europe besides, China and other, smaller, countries. Now we see before our eyes the evil that men do who lust after riches as after nothing else. And if we don't change course now, we'll be on a trajectory right back to feudal times--maybe even with, God save us all, a new Holy Office! (Inquisition, dude!)
'Crisis in leadership' is, I'd say, a much-overused phrase. But what else can we call what we now have? The people with ideas to 1) get us off the fossil-fuel tit and onto cleaner, renewable energies 2) thereby restart our economy for real 3) make our educational systems more equitable and thereby continue to keep the economy humming are mostly far from power while those with actual power seem, for the most part, to have as much useful ideas for action as they have knowledge of either ancient Sanskrit or ability to read cuneiform! And such ideas as most of them do have are about as relevant to most of us right here, right now as is cuneiform or Sanskrit!
'Occupy' does seem to be more leader-full than leaderless to me. And now I say, let all of us either in Occupy or sympathetic with it step forward--now. By and large it may be too late for the year now beginning, but 2014 and 2016 are coming right quick! Let's continue organizing--including starting political campaigns. And let's do something else I see as very much in tune with Occupy's spirit: explore ways in which to mount inexpensive, low-cost campaigns. And this isn't only because most of us haven't much money, although that fact dovetails with this idea. But more than that, do we or don't we want to rebuke the overweening power of wealth and do so as sharply as possible? Not possible, say you? Who saw Occupy coming? Why not use social media and, perhaps, other online ways which Anonymous might create and teach to us all to get the messages out?
Finally, we need to ask ourselves these questions: between Lenin, Mussolini and those that followed them along a path of horror on the one hand and the still mostly faceless and fecklessly greedy and incompetent traders and banksters who've all but ruined us--what, if anything, do these groups have in common? What sort of person or persons do we need to avoid having in positions of economic and/or political power? As I sit here and mull this over, it also occurs to me if, at least to some extent, the 'anti-intellectual' strain in our politics perhaps confuses the actually knowledgeable and authoritative person with the authoritarian 'know-all'? Dislike of the former is largely unhelpful; aversion to the second is profoundly necessary. Obama can come off as a 'know-all' but he is actually the real article. The Gingrinch is a near-perfect specimen of the latter. I think we need to beware of anyone who sounds as if they know it all and also act as if they've nothing to learn from you, me or any of the 99%. Any one of us can always learn something new from anyone. So let's beware of such creatures, whether they act professorial (Gingrich) or anti-perfesser (Palin, Bachmann, Perry). One things both groups seem to have in common is a belief that they know and/or own it all--except, of course, their own malfeasances, mistakes and misdeeds!
We also need a variety of 'markers'. One has to be the willingness to take 'radical' action coupled with the readiness to shape it pragmatically. FDR is still a good model of this: he took action and was ready to experiment but he was no ideologue. And being no ideologue never meant he lacked principles. He once said this when asked about his 'philosophy': "Philosophy! Philosophy? I am a Christian and a Democrat--that's all." Well, make the 'd' lowercase and add 'Judeo-' to 'Christian' and that's good enough for me. Which leads to another necessary marker: leaders need to know the difference between infusing society with God's Spirit and keeping government and religion separate. Everyone has to understand that religion and state both do better when strictly separate--and spiritual infusion has to be from the bottom up and never from the top down. A third marker needs to be a leader has to have some idea of who s/he is independent of any office they might hold. We don't need any hollow wo/men who seem to need power so bad they'll sell their office for it.
I could probably say more, but this'll do for now. Think these things over, everyone: perhaps even as we hear the notes of Auld Lang Syne tonight. A blessed New Year to all of you.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

BOTH SIDES NOW?

Ever since Newtie said the 'Palestinians' were an invented people--and, by the way, I do believe he told a truth few want to hear, for a change--I've been mulling that over in light of other things I know since long before Gingrich said that and also in light of what others have had to say about the Gingrinch's words.
First thing worth mentioning: between 1920 and 1948, the Palestine mandate actually saw slightly more Arab immigration than Jewish. The latest figures I've seen have 498,000 Jews versus 558,000 Arabs. One of the inconvenient truths involved here is how often Arab 'leaders' (self-chosen as often as otherwise) have said, from Jemal Pasha's protege and Hitler's ally Haj Amin el-Husseini right up to officials of the PLO including Arafat himself (who, by the way, was Haj Amin's nephew) that there is, essentially, no difference between Jordanians, Syrians, 'Palestinians' and Israeli Arabs. And that the press for a separate 'Palestinian' state is, essentially, today's road to get to Shoah II.
Second thing: without Israel, why should there be anything here but what Mark Twain illumined in Innocents Abroad? A deserted and denuded land, where no more than 250,000 inhabitants scratched for a profoundly bare living. Yet between 1870 (about that time) and 1920 the population of Eretz Israel doubled. Why? Because the Jews were returning and bringing new life and new hope into the land. They actually started coming fifteen or so years before Herzl's congress in Basel. These Jews were known as the Bilu. This was an acronym from the Hebrew phrase Beth Yakov Leku Venelkha, meaning 'House of Jacob, let us go up!' Even when only the Bilu were coming they brought new opportunities into the land. By 1900 and after the new Zionist movement continued the process. So if Mexico invites Israel to decamp to Baja del Sur and gets an affirmative response (yes, G-d forbid!) the UN will probably have a large number of crooked beggars on its hands (and the higher up, the more crooked!) of which they might tire remarkably quickly. Famine, dispersion and re-denuding of the land would surely follow. As to other possible reasons for the population doubling between 1870 and 1920, give me leave, I pray you, to doubt that Western medicine had yet cut into the appalling mortality or that the people of 1920 in 'Palestine' were significantly better nourished (and hence more resistant to disease) than the inhabitants of 1870. Let him or her with proof positive step forward; otherwise open your flap and be known for a fool.
Third: having said all this, I confess to a certain unease about the phrase 'an invented people'. Could not Israel herself be an 'invented' people, albeit created by their relationship with G-d through His Word and mighty miracles on behalf of His first and abiding people? I certainly know myself to belong to an 'invented' people--what else are we Americans? Many years ago I moved from one apartment to another with the help of an Anglo-Irishman who looked remarkably as if he were Donald Sutherland's younger brother and who said, "The only time Ireland was ever one country was when the Brits ran it all." So, even though Irish and Scots (at least Highlanders) are apparently of the same stock, how 'invented' are the Irish as a people? If Brian Boru (whose first name I share) had survived Clontarf, maybe he could've started that consolidation rolling but, alas, things didn't happen that way. And how invented is India, with its northern and southern languages and peoples belonging to completely different groups? And so on ad nauseam.
However, there's invented and there's invented. Specifically, invented for what most of us (mostly regardless of our culture of origin) would call 'positive' reasons--such as bringing G-d's light before the nations, being a refuge for the oppressed, a beacon of liberty (ESPECIALLY religious liberty), liberte, egalite, fraternite, establishing peace under just rule of law or adding to economic democracy. No nation is meant to be sovereign over all the rest, much less a subsumer of them all as Islamists seem to want the Arabs to swallow the rest of us! It's not that the 'Palestinians' are an invented nation; too many nations are also that. No, 'Palestinian' nationality was invented, and is still largely used, for the most negative reason of all: the annhilation of another people and the destruction of their nation-state, the one place on the globe where they know they can protect themselves. This is also why all 'Palestinian' nonviolent resistance campaigns have collapsed: they are unwilling to recognize the humanity, much less the equality, of their opponents. And this is also why the 'Palestinians' are not like other 'peoples of color' either here or in India or South Africa so much as they are like our Tea Partiers: they are so angry over the loss of a 'superiority' they barely had if they had it at all, but now with not having anyone else to humiliate with impunity and having that lack aggravated by having a member (or members) of a previously humiliated and cowed group placed over them is driving one group and a preponderance (?) of the other over the cliff into the sea of political (and actual?) lunacy.
I know that those who hate Jews will do so regardless of whether or not the Jews can protect themselves or not and I hope all those (underneath all their sophistries) who are simply galled by Jewish blood no longer being cheap are consumed by their gall and rage. May they all die with foam on their lips!!
But here's where it feels to me as if G-d intervenes. Those of us who know Scripture know G-d's ways are not our ways and He seems to enjoy surprising us. Recent studies have shown that a whopping ninety percent of 'Palestinians' and Israeli Arabs have Jewish DNA. Not Edomite, not even Israelite, but Jewish. To top it off, 'Palestinians' have DNA closer to the Ashkenazim (!!!) than to the Sephardim. I at least have to ask the questions: Did these 'Arabs' come to Eretz Israel for more than just opportunity? Why did they come to 'Palestine' when their neighbors stayed home? Did something in their DNA or unconscious call them 'home' as it were? And what, if any, 'positive' purpose is or can be served by 'Palestinian' nationality? What, indeed, does G-d require of Israel? Not to give up its state and power, no. It's especially not for Aryans trying to wash the (mostly inherited, true) scent of Jewish blood off their hands to self-righteously lecture Israel on this matter. If they want that scent off their hands, let them show that they will have Israel's back this time as we say in the 'hood by words and actions!
But back to the question: why should there be 'Palestinians' as such? Is it time for them to rejoin their real brethren and return to the Torah and become Israelis? Or is that at another spot in their road ahead? I claim to have absolutely no answer to any of the questions I raise in this post, but I believe they're worth raising nonetheless for a' that, as the poet said.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

'REPLACEMENT' THEOLOGY= BULLS**T!

'Replacement' theology is, to put it with downright indelicate truth, a crock of s**t. True, some would think that by now this is merely stating the obvious. I would to God (literally) that they were right. Too many prelates and theologians are preaching it again. A British theologian recently quoted in the Jerusalem Post, the Roman Catholic bishop of Israel and another Catholic prelate of the Middle East, not to mention the Coptic Pope Shenouda III and other Eastern and Orthodox prelates.
Nothing in Scripture says that God has abrogated His Covenant with the Jews or indeed with the Hebrews at large. (I'm thinking of the 10 'Lost' Tribes here) There is nothing in Scripture that needs to be so interpreted. On the other hand, Paul says in no uncertain terms in his letter to the Romans that God has NOT forsaken Israel, nor will He ever do so! And, indeed, had God done so, we Christians might be in serious trouble too. For if God drops Israel, what about us? Listen, you lunkheads: there's a direct connection between how a country behaves toward the Jews and how much resistance it has and will have to Islamization. For if God ever forsook the Jews, then who's next? Can anybody reading this not see the connection between 'replacement' theology and thinking, maybe the Muslims are the next real thing--and then, quite literally, it's downhill all the way! And is it a coincidence that the most heavily Muslim-beleaguered sections of Christendom are also the ones with the worst opinion of the Jews? I don't think so-o!
So how did 'replacement' theology get off the ground and become so persistent? Well, I'm not sure but I'll venture some ideas: as the first Christians were also Jews, they struggled with other strands of Judaism to be the dominant one. Also, because it was flattering to the Gentile proselytes to be considered 'true' Jews. We all like to think Dad loves US best, don't we? But that spirit can only be called ungodly when it comes to judging the 'correctness' of other people's relationships with God. It is against the Christian spirit, it's also against the Hebrew prophetic spirit! God is not a man that He should change His mind!
Maybe the idea acquired additional wings when Theodosius made Christianity the Empire's state religion and into the Middle Ages. Certainly the Crusades rooted this syphilitic idea deeper. But through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and Reformation and on into the Enlightenment, God smiled on those realms that treated the Jews better than others. Sultan Bajazet II knew his empire was enriched by the Spanish refugees and the New World's gold and silver only passed through Spain and created inflation all over Europe. John Sobieski of a relatively tolerant Poland saved Vienna from the Turks in 1683. After Oliver Cromwell reopened England to the Jews in 1655, we have first an agricultural revolution and then the Industrial Revolution, not to mention the growth of Britain's colonies and the opening of North America to those colonists. And everyone knows how other Iberian Jewish refugees enriched Holland around the same time!
Part of this pernicious idea is whining on the score of 'what business has anyone calling themselves 'chosen'?' Well, the Jews were not chosen in order to think themselves better than anyone or because they were better than anyone. If there's any 'reason' Jacob was chosen, I'll suggest two: first, God admires the quality known as chutzpah, despite all efforts by parents, teachers, clergy and temporal rulers to convince us otherwise! Second, Jacob had another trait God loves: we now call it 'thinking outside the boxes'. No, the Jews were chosen to be God's first people and to share God's light (and the lights of earthly knowledge) with as much of the rest of the world as possible. Which they have done and are still doing, to a very considerable extent. Most Jews seem to know and understand this better than we do.
No, I'll stand with the theologian Franz Rosenzweig. He died too young in 1929, but during his lifetime he did some sterling work and he also made this all-too-true observation: "When the pagan within the Christian soul rises in revolt, he vents his fury on the Jews." I defy anyone to show me this is mistaken!
'Replacement' theology is like saying the new ingrafted branches replace the old. It's like saying Illinois replaces New York, or Arkansas replaces North Carolina when we're all the same country whether we live in a 'new' state or one of the original thirteen! I plead with all who call themselves Christians to throw 'replacement' theology out the window and leave it behind--or know that, by holding onto it, you render yourselves horrifically vulnerable to Islamism swallowing you up!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL

I just finished reading a post on a blog I hadn't seen before, and which I rather like. It's titled 'Cranmer' and tends to lean towards the 'conservative' side of things. Among other items, it has a scroll of British Conservative 'greatests', with a defining criterion of combining a 'disposition to preserve' with an 'ability to improve'.
Now, for myself, whether or not I, or anyone you'd care to name, has an ability to improve is always open to question and debate, even if the debate goes no further than between one's ears. And so it should be. Each of us needs to check ourselves to see if we are improving ourselves and/or the world around us. But the first one, the disposition to preserve, that I have in some abundance!
What do I wish to preserve? Let's start with some things we all require and for which there are no substitutes, shall we? Uncontaminated land to till, graze animals and to build on. Clean air to breathe. Clean water to drink and to wash with. Wild, untouched places to get away to at times and restore our flagging hearts, minds and spirits. Food fit for human & pet consumption. Energy that isn't overly costly in one way or another. A level playing-field for all of us, especially where elections are concerned. Transparent elections where as many people as possible have their say. Elected representatives accountable to the people as a whole and not to those who currently buy legislators as slaves were once bought. The separation of religion and state. A healthy (in every way) and expanding middle class, the common cornerstone of democracy in every country legitimately calling itself one. Services available to and supported by ALL of us, from the Post Office to Medicaid to the FDA, EPA and FHA, to name but a few. And I suppose I can legitimately say, this makes me a conservative!
But that's not the whole story either: in accepting 'Cranmer's' definition of conservative for myself, I think of what 'liberal' means as well. For one thing, it connotes generosity. I hope I am as generous as my circumstances permit--not only monetarily, but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually as well. That sort of generosity usually requires 1)some degree of open-heartedness and 2) A willingness to at least hear new ideas, and then to consider them carefully. It certainly does not mean blind acceptance of new ideas, nor should it! All it means is a readiness to at least hear and mull over new ideas before deciding either they have a point or two or are simply dressed-up rubbish. Maybe in order to preserve what's best, and most essential, in our country we need to be conservative in our treatment of the essentials--and liberal as we consider how best to preserve these things for those that come after us.

Friday, July 29, 2011

CREDIT SCORES: THE BEAST IN EMBRYO?

My wife said something very thought-provoking this morning, something she does fairly often: she remarked on how, when we were growing up, there was no such thing as credit scores. This is true. It's also true that today it's increasingly hard to even get a job, never mind a mortgage, without a halfway-decent credit score. (Cars are something else; unless you want a high-end machine you can still count on credit somewhere to buy a functional auto)
I can understand the rationale behind credit scores: it saves banks and bankers lots of computer legwork and we can also keep track of the quality of our credit for those times when we really need it. These are not bad things in and of themselves, although I for one have NO desire to make things easier for banks or bankers right now; indeed I'm closer than ever to Tom Jefferson's opinion of banks, viz. "I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." This, however, is definitely not to say that this doesn't have the potential, like every other human creation, to become diabolically dangerous.
Look at what's happening today: not only is it hard to find even a job without a decent credit rating, but that can also apply if, so far, you haven't needed to use credit. In addition to which the revelation of how Standard & Poor's, during the past decade, essentially painted s**t gold, then rated it as gold and received profits from it being sold as such. To quote one of their execs to a staffer: "Let's hope we're all wealthy and retired before this house of cards collapses." This in 2006. So S & P knew what they were doing! With this in mind, what is to stop purveyors of credit from asking applicants their political or religious affiliations and using them as at least partial, but maybe crucial, factors in determining who gets credit and who doesn't? Not to mention race? Do we have any safeguards in place to prevent such a thing or at least give warning signals? My opinion is, such safeguards need to be part of a new regulation system for credit bureaus and rating agencies with hard-time penalties attached to violating them.
Remember the words of Revelation 13:16-17: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free or slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name." To some fringey folks, that's what barcodes uncomfortably resemble. But reading those lines now--just how far a leap is it from where we now are to no one being able to buy or sell--including their own skills--without such a mark of approval from credit rating agencies?? I know some people will think I've gone round the bend, but to them I have just questions, viz. Really? Why do you say that? I'm not saying this is so; all I'm doing is asking questions. Are you ready to ask and consider them? And that's all I'm encouraging anybody--and everybody--to do: consider these questions.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PROGRESSIVES' PLATFORM FOR 2018, 2020 &....


 Here's a platform I think most if not all progressives can and should stand behind for 2018 and 2020. Let's also start picking candidates for ALL offices from the local level up, both state and federal, up to Congress and the Presidency. We should join, and work with, Brand New Congress and Indivisible, to this end. But let's also try to fly under the MSM radar for as long as we possibly can, so feel free to send 1) feedback to me at anglohebraicus@gmail.com and 2) this platform to as many others as possible whom you think might favor it. And look for people whom you think would be good progressive candidates for this or that office. We shall see if simple people power--we the people communicating and discussing with each other, person by person, by e-mail, the social networks and face-to-face--can carry an election with either no or minimal help from the big money dragons. Its success will depend on each and all of us in a very real sense.

 Here's the platform as follows:

1)CAMPAIGN FINANCE OVERHAUL--GET CORPORATE $$$ OUT OF ELECTIONS!!!!!
2) Medicare for ALL
3) Minimum wage set AT LEAST at $16/hr.
4) See what uses the 60,000 abandoned factories can be put to. Encourage working people to form democratically-run cooperative businesses in them, including financial encouragement.
5) End all favors to fossil-fuel companies and speed up transition to renewable energies. Lester Brown makes a good point when he notes that after Pearl Harbor, we retooled our economy in a matter of a few months. Yes, the analogy is imperfect but maybe instructive just the same.
6) Progressive taxation with the top rate as high as it needs to be to pay down the debt and keep middle-class programs functioning.
7) Expand other necessary programs such as HeadStart and WIC. Cut deep into the military-industrial complex's funding.
8) Pass a law which would render anyone trying to hide their money from Uncle Sam at least under threat of losing their citizenship and forfeit their wealth.
9) Form state banks owned by the people of each state
10) Reinstate Glass-Steagall and discuss nationalizing the Fed
11) Collect information for a National Infrastructure Databank so that we know what needs repair and when. This takes roads, etc. out of the pork barrel. It'll also put people to work inspecting and collecting info on roads, bridges, water-pipes, dams--everything!
12) Once infrastructure information is collected, prioritize and get (re)building. Push towards educational equality across class lines.
13) Commonsense 'militia' regulations as per 2nd Amendment, including a permanent ban on private ownership of all military-style firearms and plastic weapons. Otherwise, firearms ownership to be regulated exactly as is motor vehicle ownership
14) Bring business back under firm and fair regulation coupled with open and firm support of labor's rights to organize.
15) Cool, if not end, culture wars. Support women's rights and LGBT rights but leave marrying same-sex couples by clergy to be settled by each individual church congregation. Resurrect the ERA and no more reactionary judges!
16) END the useless and counterproductive 'war on drugs'. Switch emphasis to prevention and education. Blanket amnesty for ALL imprisoned for nonviolent small-amount-of-drugs crimes. Decriminalize and TAX formerly illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, hashish, peyote and opiates. Regulate these drugs along the same lines as alcohol (maybe sell them in State or package stores) with warning labels on them as we have on tobacco.
17) Compulsory two years of National Service for ALL between high school and college, including but not limited to the Armed Forces, ACTION, Teacher Corps, urban or rural internships. Inductees may indicate preferences but with understanding that they are subordinate to service needs. ONLY honest conscientious objectors may be excused from the possibility of military service.
18) Term limits to be discussed and deliberated. (Suggestion: no one may spend more than 30 years total in elective office, ex. six terms (12 years) in the House plus three terms (18 years) in the Senate.
19) Cut Congress's salaries by half and double the number of representatives. All former elected officials will have Medicare, but no more insurance without paying for it.
20) No more 'voter fraud' scams. A national system of voter registration
21) No more 'revolving door' between Congress and lobbyists
22) Encourage states to adopt ranked choice voting and/or proportional representation
23) Removal of the 75-year pension window requirement from the USPS.
24) Put a firm economic 'floor' in place in addition to strengthening and increasing the 'ladders' into the middle classes
25) In the Middle East, 'evenhandedness' only to secularizers of the Arab/Muslim states. 'Evenhandedness' will be based on close listening to what Arabs and other Muslims tell each other as per Israel (which will remain our ally) and the West. Cool current relations with Turkey and make it clear that re-warming them depends on re-secularization.
26) Make it clear that our closest allies will always be fellow democracies and that 'democracy' means free and fearless public discussion and examination of religious faith along with anything else.Openly promulgate liberty--ESPECIALLY religious liberty--throughout the globe. Encourage honest dialogue and discourage those who can't take satire and/or honest questions.
More points are likely to be added with time. Feel free to offer suggestions.
Please pass this on to at least twelve more people as you love our country! If you haven't that many on your e-mail list that's OK; just send it to all. This is one campaign cycle where I feel we the people need to do something RADICALLY different from past campaigns; join me if you feel the same way. God bless you all and--in a most urgent way--God save the United States of America!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

BACK TO IBN RUSHD (AKA AVERROES)!

Where is Ibn Rushd when we all need him more than ever?
This is not a frivolous question, but a very serious one. In the third century A.D.,the Christian theologian Tertullian asked: "What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?"
What he meant by this was, essentially, what do empirically-based knowledge and divine revelation have to do with one another? This viewpoint continued to be important for a few centuries. Enough for the last Roman Emperors to order the old Greek academies closed once Christianity became compulsory courtesy of the emperor Theodosius in 390. I am not as well acquainted with the process of reconciliation in Judaism as I am in Christianity, but I'm willing to bet Ben Maimon (also known as Maimonides) at least completed that process in Judaism as Thomas Aquinas (with addenda from the Franciscan scientist Roger Bacon) performed that very necessary-for-scientific-and-technological-service for--actually, more for Western Christianity as opposed to Eastern Christianity. What Aquinas, BenMaimon et al did was:they constructed the philosophical underpinnings by which scientific and technological progress could live under the umbrella of, and be seen as being part of, divine revelation.Without this, some nutty monk or hedgerow priest might have been able to call even a windmill heretical. (Step up, Don Quixote!) A millennium ago, Islam led the world in science and technology. They did so because the Caliphate had plenty of Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians inside it and because there was then a Muslim party called the Mu'tazilites. Suffice it to say for the moment, their theology left the door open for human reason, and empirically acquired knowledge, to come under the umbrella of divine revelation.  One of, if not the, foremost Mu'tazilite known as Ibn Rushd or Averroes, actually laid the ground for the work of both Aquinas and Maimonides. The Mu'tazilites were opposed by the Ash'arites.The Ash'arites basically said, nothing happens without God taking an active part and to say anything else is heresy. So, too, is the idea of humans being co-creators with God. Essentially, they did not believe in the laws of physics nor even in cause and effect. The Ash'arites won and, today, the Muslim sects without the Ash'arite stamp on them need to be looked for. Mainstream Islam is almost completely Ash'arite today. There are those seeking to reopen the doors of free inquiry and independent research within Islam today, and their numbers are growing, but they need an oilfield or two under them to have the power they need to spread their words and to have those who agree with them to courageously say so instead of keeping a cowardly silence. That's also one reason the Islamists are doomed to defeat: without Jews and Christians, all of whom the Islamists wish to murder, all the techno-scientific progress of the last six centuries would go gurgling down the drain and the resurgent Caliphate would be hardly larger than 500 years ago, except maybe for new areas of Eurabia.Underpinnings are important, ladies and gentlemen! If they go, so do the bridges! Maybe not immediately, but soon--and Muslims could not shore them up and no one else, if they're smart, would want to do it for them!
In my opinion, the two 'persons' Islam needs today more than ever are: 1)Thomas Aquinas, to build the underpinnings for earthly progress, and 2)Thomas Jefferson, to apply to Islam what the original said of Christianity: "If my neighbor says there are thirty gods, or no god, what is that to me? It neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket." Maybe today's Islam needs many Aquinases and Jeffersons, but they need to act together, in concert and with the faith that it is they, as opposed to the Islamist enemies of all of us, who are truly doing God's work. Only thus will they find the strength and courage they need to contend with the common enemies of all of  modern civilization. The Islamists are enemies to the best in Islam as well as everything in other faiths; that cannot be said often enough right here, right now. Perhaps the anti-Islamist Muslims ought to have, "Back To Ibn Rushd!" as a rallying cry.