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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Friday, August 02, 2002
Just this past Tuesday there was a dicussion on MPR over the lunch hour that touched on that very topic. How 'today's young people' have been encouraged to have opinions without any underlying knowledge and seem to believe that all opinions are equally valid regardless of their factual basis. The speaker seemed to think that creating a generation of activists without any background in reasoned informed political reflection is a dangerous thing. I agree. I think it's a catastrophic thing. It was Les Lenkowski: Building a New Generation of Patriots. You might enjoy it.

"We do the young a disservice and our nation a disservice by allowing them to think that all opinions, all actions, are equally valid, no matter how uninformed these opinions and actions may be both by experience and knowledge. In evaluating the merits of political action by the young we too often allow depth of feeling to become the only way to distinguish between alternatives. Depth of feeling which the founders had in spades, (remember they were risking their lives, which students passing around a petition certainly aren't,) ought to come from a certitude that your cause is just, and that certitude ought to proceed from reasoned reflection and deep knowledge. Without these things political action is just activity and no more or less just than any other activity."
posted by Rachel 8/2/2002
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USS Clueless has a fantastic essay detailing exactly why Islam and the West are on a collision course. Here's the money shot:

"It isn't American politics, or American military power, or American economic influence which motivated al Qaeda. What they really fear is much deeper, much more subtle, much much more insidious.

Their leaders are (or were, since many are now dead) religious zealots. Their goal is to establish a world-wide Islamic republic, with everyone everywhere living according to the tenets of their faith. Their view of the world is the Islamic equivalent of millennialism; and in a sense they think of themselves as fighting a holy war.

The Q'uran tells them that God will fight on their side, and that Islam will eventually rule the entire world. It is both the inevitable destiny of Islam to rule the world, and the duty of all good Muslims to work to that end.

The problem is that Americans permit freedom of religion; Islam is tolerated and even celebrated here, along with many other religions. We certainly are making no important attempts to suppress it. But it doesn't seem to be dominating, and there's no sign that their attitudes are affecting us in any significant way. On the other hand, American ideas and attitudes are infiltrating their own societies and eating away at the foundation of Islamic practice. We offer things which are attractive to individuals, and they find them irresistible. Their young people want to wear blue-jeans. They want to listen to loud music. They like the idea of dating one another, just like young people do in the west. To reactionary Islamic zealots, it's not just that they don't seem to be spreading the faith, but that the faith is being eaten alive by a sinful attraction to our heathen ways. Islam is actually in retreat. It can't even be secure in its own nations, let alone try to take over ours.

The Q'uran also tells them that their nations should be powerful and important, and there was a time when it was true. The golden age of the Islamic empire was glorious. It also ended 600 years ago, and these days the reality is that the only reason that Saudi Arabia isn't a terribly impoverished third world nation is that it's sitting on reserves of oil. But among the Islamic nations, the only ones who have managed to succeed at anything other than selling natural resources have been those which have adopted western ways, western technology, western attitudes. The more devoutly Islamic a nation is, the more it seems to be a failure in all other ways. To be devout should mean being strong, but it seems to make them weak. It's almost as if the Q'uran was wrong but the Q'uran cannot be wrong; it's the word of God. ...

...We have no problem living side by side with them, but to Islamic extremists we are a stark danger and we would remain a stark danger even if we militarily disengaged from the world, stopped supporting Israel, and made all the other concessions that some suggest we should. Because it isn't the Third Armored division which they fear; it's television and radio and fashion and the Internet. It's bikinis and Saturday night dates; it's rock-and-roll. It's comfortable clothing. It's Saturday in the park, and hanging out at the mall after school. And it's our women, our damnably independent women, who not only demand equality with men but have proved that they deserve it by performing just as well as men. They fear our women, because they fear their own women.

In actuality, they attacked us out of self defense, as they viewed it. They were attempting to defend their faith against the heretical influence of our culture, and the slow but sure way that it is destroying what they see as the true practice of Islam. And as long as we believe in things like freedom of expression, and freedom of behavior, then to a greater or lesser extent we will continue to eat away at the roots of Islamic culture simply by existing."

posted by Rachel 8/2/2002
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I discovered a new product in Target a few month ago. It's called Orabase. It's a canker sore soothe and seal product. It creates a protective film over the sore. I was so proud that I bought it before I needed it just so I'd have it in the medicine cabinet next time. Anyway, it works well. It feels weird but it works.

So I was using it tonight and studying the back of the package as I waited for the film to dry. Surprise! It's super glue! The active ingredient is cyanoacrylate. Dude...
posted by Rachel 8/2/2002
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I want to get a big wiffle bat, stencil the word 'stupid' on it, and carry it with me everywhere.
posted by Rachel 8/2/2002
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