Scarfe, Ward, Lethal Frames, and the Unbearable Lightness of Simon Kellner

posted recently about the problem of lethal narratives circulating in our information system, vicious and hate-mongering accusations laundered of their malevolent (and dishonest) origins and presented to the public as “news,” a process I think well designated as DurahJournalism. In that essay, I mentioned both David Ward and Gerald Scarfe as examples of the unthinking adoption of a Islamist narrative frame in which Israel was the global Dajjal (Antichrist). Now Simon Kellner explains why this sewage in the public sphere is not really a problem – indeed the objections from his fellow Jews rather embarrasses him – and, here’s the killer, if only everyone were as indifferent to this kind of stuff as he, the world would be a better place. It would be harder to ask for a more obvious case of moral narcissism.

Rupert Murdoch, Gerald Scarfe, and why – as a Jew – I’m dismayed by the Jewish lobby’s outrage This cartoon was provocative and grotesque, but an assault on my religion? No way

It was Woody Allen, appropriately enough, who best articulated my relationship to the Jewish religion. “I’m not a real Jew,” he said, “I’m Jew-ish”.

Although I was born Jewish, my parents were not so much liberal as permissive when it came to religious observance, and I have never really regarded my faith as part of my identity. I always remember the late writer and journalist John Diamond being interviewed about his Jewishness. “What does being Jewish mean to you?” he was asked. “Well,” he responded, hesitantly, “I suppose it’s about being funny and clever.”

So wait. Simon doesn’t have a religion. He has a vague identity as someone who’s funny and clever, but no knowledge of, or interest in, Judaism. And he - as a Jew - is in a position to tell people what is and isn’t offensive to Judaism (i.e., “his religion”)? This raises an interesting problem. Is Simon serious? Or is this an Onion piece?

I would never be as presumptuous as that [! sic], but do I know what, for me, being Jewish doesn’t mean. It means not getting offended every time someone makes a critical remark about the policies of the Israeli government, deeming it be an attack on all Jewish people and hurling accusations of anti-semitism.

The classic trope: “every time… a critical remark…” Shades of Letty Pogrebin and the rest of the “progressive” circle, playing down vicious attacks – Israel as Nazi, blood libels – as mere “criticism. Now it’s hard to know just how to interpret this folly this late in the game.

My position on the politics of the Middle East is neither unusual nor contradictory: I believe that the state of Israel has a right to exist, but I think the monstrous injustice that has been visited on the Palestinian people shames the civilised world. So I’m afraid I see any attack on Israeli actions through this particular prism.

The “monstrous injustice visited on the Palestinian people shames the civilized world.”

This statement implies two major points, both of them problematic to say the least. First, the “monstrous injustice visited upon the Israeli people,” suggests that the author gets most of his information from the two fonts of DurahJournalism, the Guardian and the BBC, with their blaring headlines about Israeli war crimes and their breaking heart for the victims of those war crimes. In the scale of both history and current events, the Israeli treatment of Palestinians hardly comes near “monstrous” (Sri Lanka and the Tamil, China and the Tibetans, Democratic Republic of Congo and everyone unfortunate enough to inhabit those fields of slaughter), a fortiori what Arabs do to others (Sudanese Arabs and both the inhabitants of the south and the Darfuris) and to each other (Syrians and Iraqis and their opposition). Indeed in three years the Syrian civil war has killed more people than 65 years of Arab-Israeli wars (60-50,000 dead). Indeed, a close look at what the Israelis had done to the “Palestinians” would reveal matter far from monstrous, and only believing exclusively in the lethal narratives the Palestinians peddle to anyone who will listen – “the Israelis are the Nazis, we are the Jewish victims” – could come up with so inaccurate a formulation.

Which brings us to the second part of Kellner’s statement about shaming the civilized world. That may offer us a key to his selective concerns. If I understand correctly, a reader like Kellner would have responded to my previous passage by telling me not to change the subject and try and “Assadwash” the Israelis, whose behavior towards the Palestinians is in question, regardless of how others behave. In other words, the really monstrous injustices visited on the Palestinian people by Arabs (Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Kuwaitis) doesn’t shame the civilized world since they’re not civilized. So this is really about Kellner’s moral narcissism. He has the kind of moral contempt for Arabs and Muslims so scathingly described by Pat Condell, and his “shame” is reserved for those he holds to civilized standards.

I have been accused of being self-hating Jew more times than I care to remember. (My friend, the novelist Howard Jacobson, was indignant about this. “Him?” he said. “A self-hating Jew? Certainly not. He loves himself”.)

Precisely: you’re self-loving, but you loathe other Jews, Jews not as refined of sentiment as yourself, and “as-a-Jew” you freely self-degrade in front of your fellow progressives to prove what a great and moral person you are and how awful all those “Israel-firsters” are. Jews who embarrass and dismay you by not embracing the accusations hurled at them by malevolent people. And you do so by eagerly believing any Palestinian lethal narrative passed on by the press (“monstrous crimes”), by openly embracing them in front of others. It’s not the civilized world that’s being shamed by Israel, it’s you.

And so, you separate yourself from those crude, regressively patriotic Jews.  You make yourself look big – look how self-critical I am, look how civilized I am – by making your fellow Jews look smaller. Of course you don’t feel this Scarfe drawing attacks your religion, because you have no sense of history or any historical relationship to your people. So when people like Scarfe invoke blood libels, you don’t feel a thing. Anomie, anyone?

Anyway, all these issues have come to the fore in recent days as I observed the minor controversy over a cartoon by the veteran draughtsman Gerald Scarfe in the latest issue of the Sunday Times. It depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall, and squeezed between the bricks are Palestinian bodies. He is using blood to hold the wall together, and the caption on the drawing is “Will cementing the peace continue?” It is a powerful statement. Scarfe, like many who plough the same furrow, is not one to pull his punches.

It’s only a powerful statement to those foolish enough to think that the wall – built to keep out suicide terrorists driven by a ideology of genocidal hatred, who have no commitment to peace whatsoever – is there to prevent peace. Only a systematic process of auto-stupefaction could possibly lead someone to ignore the Palestinian “contribution” to the conflict and find this drawing “powerful.” Powerfully stupid, yes.

The cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day, which even Scarfe himself thought was insensitive, but I examined my reaction on seeing it for the first time. I was taken aback. I winced. It made me think.

Really? What did you think? “Gee, that’s deep. The Israelis really are mean to the Palestinians?” Like Lindsay Graham’s questions to Chuck Hagel (“name someone ‘intimidated’ by the “Jewish Lobby,” and “name one stupid thing that the ‘Jewish Lobby’ has led the USA to do”), please answer, “Name one concrete instance that this drawing made you think of.” My bet is, that they are either the products of DurahJournalism (Jenin, Kafr Qana, Mavi Marmara), or, in the scale of behaviors in this conflict, of such minor significance that none of them could justify so grotesque an unpulled punch.

I imagine Scarfe would think that, in my case, he had done his job. At no stage did I think it was an assault on my religion.

You’ve just told us you don’t have a religion. So what would you know? But your formulation does permit an important observation. What about all the other cases where Scarfe’s job was “done.” What about the people – non-Jews, Muslims, for example, who didn’t wince in shame, but who responded in anger, whose pity for the poor Palestinians and hatred of the evil Israelis was moved? People like Mohamed Merah, who kill little Jewish children to avenge the treatment of his cousins in Palestine? Or is the only thing that matters to you, your own moral purity: “not in my name?”

There were plenty, however, who thought precisely the opposite, and they swung quickly into action – I have been on the wrong side of the Jewish lobby at various times in my career, and they’re a pretty formidable bunch. Rupert Murdoch, no less, was forced to tweet an apology. “Gerald Scarfe’s has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times”, he wrote. “Nevertheless, we owe a major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.” Of course it’s grotesque. Has he never seen a Scarfe cartoon before? But offensive? I can’t find any impulse, emotionally or intellectually, that causes me to be offended. Does this make me a bad Jew?

Not bad, not a Jew, just a self-indulgent fool who thinks that going “ouch” makes him a moral person, a post-modern masochist who thinks “their side right or wrong” is a moral stance, and who thinks that “as a Jew” he’s in a position to not only propound his weightless opinion, but look askance at those who don’t share it.

Maybe it does, but I do think the world would be a better place if people were able to tell the difference between a political comment and a religious insult.

Maybe civil polities would not be so vulnerable if moral narcissists who think that if everyone were as fatuously tolerant as they, the world would be a better place.

275 Responses to Scarfe, Ward, Lethal Frames, and the Unbearable Lightness of Simon Kellner

  1. SerJew says:

    Wait for some huge cut-and-paste of Voegelin and Erich von Zipper, partly in German partly in Serbo-Croatian. And of course, Mika Meshugannah will say something terrible about the latest machinations of the Jesuits.

    • @ Sir Jew

      I falsified your prediction, inadvertently!!!

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Comments by rl interspersed

      To live up to expectations, I wanted to use a reply to Mika that hadn’t come up where I first wanted to put it. And it again refused to come up! SerJew has an ally in the spam filter against huge cut and pastes, I guess. What I’m working on right now is a response to Martin Kramer’s argument against ‘linkage’ and Chuck Hagel. And it may even become a reply to this post, because it has as an underlying idea, that if we talk too much, we shouldn’t be all that surprised by the confusion we end up with.
      The Germans just commemorated the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s power grab with an address by Inge Deutschkron to the German Parliament.

      link?

      The Germans at least are trying, whereas for other Europeans it’s most of the time simply “Hitler/Germans bad, we good” (and I maintain that Germany is Israel’s best option to turn Europe around, if ever there is a chance of that). (I still haven’t got a reply from Der Spiegel to my Open Letter to Jakob Augstein. But I’ve sent a copy to Henryk M. Broder, who has tried the same thing before, unsuccessfully.)

      Germany may well be Israel’s best hope in Europe but only if it really comes to grips with what it did – passively or actively all Germans. But if it sides with Israel that really means it’s Europe’s best hope, because tossing Israel to the Jihadi wolves (which many Europeans seem hell-bent on doing) is guaranteed suicide.

      Voegelin was an anti-positivist, who didn’t “dismiss the findings of modern science”, because he was talking about something else entirely. And I also maintain that our human soul is something we have right under our noses. The “backing in reality” isn’t really a problem, as we have a direct experience of it (Voegelin refers to meditation and Husserl style phenomenology in his theory of consciousness). If there is a difficulty, it is a difficulty of ‘literacy’: finding the words for transforming intuitive truth into rational truth, so that ideological untruth can be resisted. Such as “the general interest”, which is an empty concept, today no less than in the Nazi-past.

      i understand people’s discomfort with this. this appeal to a higher consciousness in the human soul can backfire. how far is Voegelin from Heidigger on these matters?

      Literacy and dialogue go together, of course, in a way that remains somewhat mysterious to me. But that’s why I find it interesting to try out dialogue. And I would like to try it with Jostein Gaarder. (Studying Plato first is also useful, of course.)

      I don’t want to discourage you, even if i don’t think there’s much hope.

      • @ Martin

        “a response to Martin Kramer’s argument against ‘linkage’”

        Off the top of my head a response in defense of Kramer:

        What does instability in Syria, Egypt, or Iraq have to do with Israel? Nothing.

        What do Iran’s nuclear ambitions have to do with Israel? Nothing (if they did, the Arabs wouldn’t have been opposing Iran).

        But fairy tales always need a dragon.

        And the anti-Semitic ones have found their own in Israel – more politically correct than speaking of Jews in general.

        • Just so that no one gets mixed up with what i said about Iran’s nukes having nothing to do with Israel: i meant it was not the Israel-Palestine conflict that made Iran pursue them, therefore it is not Israel that is the source of instability in this issue.

          But, of course, Iran might use the nukes against Israel.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Dionissis, you are indeed young and impatient! I said that I was working on a response to Martin Kramer’s argument against ‘linkage’ and Chuck Hagel. That doesn’t imply that I was going to argue against Martin Kramer’s argument. The piece isn’t finished, so this is just one paragraph on Martin Kramer’s argument:

        «I’m not going to say more about it, because it is not my intention to criticise his argument. I actually think he is argueing convincingly. But I also think that one can explain the idea of ‘linkage’ in another way without those two explanations being incompatible. (Following Wittgenstein, who after his famous conclusion “what we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence” at the end of his analytical-positivistic phase, then remained silent for a long time before coming out with the more pragmatical conclusion, which I would summarise as follows: “if people say something, and keep saying it, there must be some sense to it, or they wouldn’t keep saying it.” Especially as the conclusion does not imply that the suspected sense of what people are saying is necessarily clear.) »

        or accurate. just because people repeat something doesn’t mean there’s sense to it (in the sense of a rational or realistic assessment of what’s happening). it can often mean that we repeat what we need to hear, and in some cases (as with the “pro-Palestinian camp”), the repetitions take them farther from an honest assessment of either the Israelis or themselves. i’m very wary of the expression where there’s smoke, there’s fire. in the case of Palestinian lethal narratives, “where there’s smoke there will be fire.” -rl

        If I may say so, to Dionissis: you should live out your youthful impatience somewhere else, e.g. in giving your woman pleasure! Because that’s where youthful impatience belongs (or comes from), in my opinion.

        let’s try and steer clear of such asides. -rl

        I thought of attracting Martin Kramer to this blog (occasionally), and sent him my piece on the Western natural law tradition and Islamic political thought, together with the Ahmadinejad letter. He replied, commending me for my “quite thoughtful and stimulating effort”, asking for more when I had more. But he has his own blog (where you cannot respond) and facebook page (where you can, in those tiny boxes). And of course he must be very busy doing all that astonishing work as a contemporary historian, like his efforts to establish the facts about (1) Martin Luther King’s statement: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” and (2) why MLK cancelled his pilgrimage to Israel in 1967. Everybody has to play his role, and he’s already playing a very useful role in what he’s doing. So let’s not distract him.

        http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2012/03/in-the-words-of-martin-luther-king/
        http://www.martinkramer.org/sandbox/2013/01/why-martin-luther-king-never-visited-israel/

        Kramer is a wonderful writer-researcher. -rl

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Voegelin and religion

        It’s got nothing to do at all with ‘higher consciousness’, but everything with ‘real consciousness’, i.e. faith in the experience (and you must take that literally) of the individual human soul (which includes reason) by the individual himself, because that is the only solid foundation for human (indivdiual) sovereignty. And that’s were the link is with Frank Van Dun’s fundamental principle of law (who talks more about reason than about soul or faith, but I don’t think it is all that different): “every human person is a sovereign subject of law”. If that faith gets eroded by ideologies (imbeciles, including positivists, conceiving the notion of changing human nature instead of respecting it), people can easily be intimidated, and politics can take over (power of men over men) and crush people (break down their natural rights). As it has. I don’t remember any reference to Heidegger (and I myself know nothing about Heidegger). To Karl Jaspers, yes, axis-time and many other things. Voegelin’s theme is: the order of history is the order of the human spirit or soul, and consequently, the disorder of human affairs also has its origin in the disorder of the human spirit.

        Take my grand-father: without his wife, who knows how he would have ended up. Or with another wife, one that said things like: “you’re not going to endanger your career, or even your job security, by going against the world? Think of us! Look at what the others are doing!” My grand-mother didn’t budge. It is always difficult to know how much of it she knew by heart (experience), and how much of it was obedience to catholic doctrine (symbols of experience). But the catholic doctrine cannot be said to be a dehumanising doctrine. The German protestants were much more vulnerable to dehumanising ideological seduction than the catholics.

        Experience of the soul: I find (sexual) love quite helpful, and my aside to Dionissis was more than banter. Music also is helpful. I’m listening to Mozart’s Requiem these last days: he was taking leave from life when he wrote that, and you can hear the women he loved in that music, at least that’s what I think. Words, speech, writing, reading (the right stuff) also help, although reason is probably the more difficult part of the human soul to experience, it’s quite easy to get lost. When you know all that of yourself, and you know it from your fellow man, then there is no need to fear your fellow man. That’s also why I think the ‘pneumopathology’ is quite widespread: it’s very difficult these days to meet a fellow man or woman that is not dumb and boring (and very busy living up to expectations), in my experience.

        Inge Deutschkron’s address to the German Parliament:

        http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/holocaust-gedenken-kraft-der-alltaeglichen-erinnerung-12045229.html http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/inland/rede-im-bundestag-zerrissenes-leben-12044887.html

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          I think it is important to add: not only is there no need to live in fear of your fellow man (when you’re in possession of your soul and know the same from your fellow man), you can even start to enjoy life with him! Can you believe that? And since Aristotle, natural law philosophers have a word for that, namely ‘summum bonum’: ‘it can’t get any better’ that means. And it’s sort of the opposite from living in fear of hell-bent jihadis and their Western intellectual sympathisers.

          I’ll get accused again of being an arrogant, pompous prick, but I do indeed think it is important to keep these things in mind, always, no matter what we believe reality forces us to do. Just to keep them at the back of our mind, so as to never completely lose sight of them. And if you think that that is a somewhat naive religious attitude, I don’t know what to say anymore. Apart from: maybe you’re right, and so what?

          To be complete, a natural law philosopher will stress that the ‘summum bonum’ must always be understood in the plural form: there’s yours, and there’s your fellow man’s, and there’s absolutely no need why these should be the same. Which also means that enjoying life together is always something of a chance encounter: you in pursuit of your summum bonum and he in pursuit of his happen to meet somewhere, that’s all. But there many fellow men around, right? So we meet plenty of them all the time, although never all of them, of course. And that’s another insight from natural law philosophers: only the encounters that do happen matter. All the encounters that don’t happen you can simply forget about. That has enormous implications, on a global scale, once you start to think about it. Is all of this not politically naive? Of course it is, politics changes all this, in a very fundamental manner. (And we already had that discussion somewhere else on Etienne de la Boétie’s “Discours de la servitude volontaire”.)

  2. Precisely: you’re self-loving, but you loathe other Jews, Jews not as refined of sentiment as yourself”

    Dr Landes, i protest.

    We cannot attribute refinement of sentiment to anyone who, aware of the facts of the Israel-Palestinians conflict, does not show concern for the justified fears of Israelis and does not acknowledge the unbelievable restraint that Israelis have exhibited in their war with the terrorists.

    Repudiating nationalism or religion are not sufficient conditions for one to be considered emotionally subtle.

    And disregard for Israelis’ emotions coupled with indifference towards the Palestinians’ Jew-hatred surely prove that we are talking about someone emotionally coarse – a coarseness i would explain in terms of his self-love that you alluded to.

    Like with all drugs, shooting too much narcissism kills the emotions.

    • Richard Landes says:

      i meant that term ironically. of course i don’t think of this kind of self-indulgent nonsense as “refined.” it’s just that people like Kellner do think they’re of the “higher sort of folk.” sort of like the Swedes.

  3. What.about.the.Arab.lobby? says:

    “I believe the state of Israel has a right to exist…” Simon Kellner

    With this statement Kellner unwittingly steps over the line of speech allowed to him by his Palestinian friends. In no terms does Israel have any right to exist in the belief of Palestinians and their right-wing supporters. Even to suggest it as a minimum standard of justice as Kellner does puts him in the wrong. His standards, viewing all humans as deserving of life, come from the values of the Jewish religion he disavows.

    i’m rereading Patai, Arab Mind, for my honor-shame class. he points out that the collective, defined either as the patriarchal household, clan or ummah, has a much greater claim on the life of the individual in Arab culture (and in the more aggressive forms of Islam), and hence they actually do value human life differently (if not necessarily less) than we in the Judeo-Christian-progressive West do. Kellner is a classic liberal cognitive egocentric.

    They are less than universal. In the Arab world, those on the wrong side: women, Christians, other non-Muslims, and Westerners, deserve nothing! They may be permitted to live, under proper suppression and obeisance.

    they certainly don’t have equal status or claim to equal status. indeed the dhimma specifically degrades them (religious and gender apartheid). “nothing!” is a bit rhetorical. don’t go native on us.

    There is a lot Simon Kellner doesn’t know about Judaism and Jews, although he makes many assumptions. He would do well to conduct a little research before his opinions can be aired.

    that would mean an intellectual modesty that’s not very detectable, at least in this piece. but who knows…?

  4. mika says:

    The ‘banality of evil’ is a phrase used by Hannah Arendt in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Her thesis is that the great evils in history, and the Holocaust in particular, were executed by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their surroundings and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

    of course, that begs the question, which is how “ordinary Germans” allowed things to reach the point where genocide was “normal.”

    Explaining this phenomenon, Edward S. Herman has emphasized the importance of “normalizing the unthinkable.” According to him, “doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on ‘normalization.’ This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable actions become routine and accepted as ‘the way things are done.’”

    interesting. where does he do that? what’s ironic is that the left has tried to make so many things “unthinkable” (e.g., not all cultures think, feel, and value alike), that they have made recognizing a culture in which the “unthinkable” in terms of unspeakable actions has become the rhetorical norm, and only powerlessness prevents them from acting out.

    This is how the program works. They precondition people psychologically, and then they get to work on their murderous plans. The propaganda is ubiquitous and uncontested.

    the question is, “why uncontested?” why do Europeans and “leftist” “progressives” unquestionably accept the demonization of Israel and shudder at the very suggestion that there’s a problem with Palestinian/Arab/Muslim culture?

    They’ve built the ghetto walls around Israel and deprived her of all physical protection. Care to guess what comes next?

    And yes, it all leads to ROME. Always has.

    lol. this comes out of nowhere. or does it?

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On the banality of evil

      I asked my mother again (83 now), about the deportation of the Jews in the Nazi Germany of her childhood. Most of the Jews of the little town were already gone, they had either emigrated or moved to the big city (Frankfurt). But the official announcements of resettlement of the Jews to the East or their being sent to labour camps were of course commented in the family. And mind you, this was a catholic, working class kind of town, the combination that usually proved quite resistant to Nazism (at the last election the NSDAP came last, after the KPD, the SPD and the catholic Zentrum). My grand-father was a primary school teacher, one of the best doing the higher classes, but then demoted by his colleagues to the first class when he didn’t take the party membership as all teachers were urged to do. (After denazification the same reason got him promoted to headmaster, and that’s how I knew him: Herr Rektor.) He was a talkative man, a bit volatile surely, as men interested in ideas typically are. And he wanted to believe the official story, to reassure himself and hope for the best. My grand-mother, who was more rooted in her catholic faith than her husband, didn’t buy it. “They’re taking the children, the elderly, everybody. That’s not for work. Der bringt sie alle um! (He’s going to put them all to death!)” My mother broke down and cried when recollecting her own mother’s words. Then excused herself: “I don’t know why I’m crying.” To which I replied: “How can that be difficult to understand?” That is what remembrance is about, after all. And what it is for, too.

      there’s no question we don’t want to believe that people (much less our own leaders) are not bent on evil. as long as we don’t, we don’t have to put our lives and families and well-being on the line. ironically, the west has developed a class of intellectuals who make a profession of denouncing the least sinister governments (democracies) of the worst intentions. and at the same time, they stand silent before the grotesque spectacle of radical Islam engaging in the most disgusting verbal and physical behavior. talk about moral disorientation.

      The banality of evil I don’t think is all that central to the story. The Hitler power grab three months into his chancellorship after the Reichstagsbrand is the central event: all legitimate avenues for organised opposition were cut off (parties, trade unions, independent newspapers) and political opponents capable of organising opposition and taking the lead were murdered or taken into protective custody.

      the fact that that could happen in a supposed democracy suggests a serious problem. i think your version is way too “pat.”

      From that point on the spirit of the civil society was choked off. Only the communists were prepared for that, and they were obedient to Stalin. It would have taken civil war and the joining of forces between the KPD and the SPD for defeating the Nazi police state. Because decent people just aren’t made for that kind of thing. They try to keep their decency by keeping to themselves, hoping for the best. Sure, there were enough voluntary collaborators to make it work. In all shades and degrees, so that the whole thing worked by auto-selection. Even in the inner machinery of the police state you weren’t really penalised for staying away from the dirty work. It was indeed acknowledged to be dirty work, but dirty work that had to be done, by those who had the mettle for carrying out that kind of duty. (This is just my interpretation of what seems the most plausible. Not a universal truth.)

      this is thrashed out by Goldhagen and Browning. the key, i’d say, is the social “peer pressure” to have the “mettle” to do the “dirty work” of extermination. the men of the 101 Police division who refused to murder thousands of men women and children were not punished by their superiors, but by their peers, who considered them weaklings. not to make invidious comparisons, but, biblical texts notwithstanding, you could not have that phenomenon in the Israeli army, despite the far greater provocation.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        About remembrance: for those who dislike Voegelin, he calls it “having a mind open towards the divine ground of being”. I mean the same when I say that we have our human souls right under our noses. The point is: we shouldn’t let ourselves be intimidated by positivists and other imbeciles into abandoning our ‘faith’.

        can you give an example. this kind of rhetoric strikes me as way over the top. if anything, the beautiful souls among the left have completely abandoned positivist principles (trying to get an accurate story that connects to the real world, not the world of their personal and often pathological emotional needs). i’m not a positivist, but i’d never call a serious one an imbecile. i’d sooner apply it to the anti-positivists.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          On the destructiveness of positivism.

          http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/01/28/goldberg-and-the-daniels-of-sewage-pipes-lethal-narratives-and-durajournalism/#comment-619220

          The exchange in the other blogpost I see as such destructiveness in action. And it ended in the same misunderstanding, which I find a very strange misunderstanding. It clearly has something to do with a blind spot, and it is difficult to identify such a thing. So this is just another pedantic attempt of mine. Positivists have an understanding of the exact natural sciences as it is practised (and not necessarily a reflexive understanding of what it is). You can of course practise empirical social sciences in the same way, and find out things. They then somehow jump to the conclusion that that is the only way of finding out and understanding things, while at the same time they are clearly not submitting the question of their own practice of science and their own thinking about science to that same method! When you then ask them how they know they can jump to that positivistic conclusion, they get agitated and start ranting about the empty babblings of philosophers, condemning them wholesale for ‘totalitarianism’ and such things, as if ‘totalitarianism’ were a theory in itself and not simply an opaque word.

          It is that irrationality on fundamental questions, which are excluded from ‘science’ by scientism, that is the result of the destructiveness of positivism. And it is not limited to the science practitioners, of course. Once you see it, you see it almost everywhere, the philosophical illiteracy, the banality and the foolishness (that’s how the Greeks called it, and in Hebrew they call it nabal or nebala, I believe, but I’m not entirely sure, because I don’t speak Hebrew).

          I always thought that historians are somehow more protected from it, because their hermeneutics cannot entirely make abstraction from human nature, and they thereby get a sort of permission from the positivists to do quite sensible stuff that is otherwise forbidden. Nevertheless, and that is Voegelin’s theme (the order of history is the order of the human spirit or soul, and consequently, the disorder of human affairs also has its origin in the disorder of the human spirit), there is a difference between political science and the political ideas playing out in politics, just as there is a difference between the philosophy of history and the historical understanding to which historians contribute. The historical form itself is what he calls a ‘leap in being’ , a departure from cosmological civilisation, and it first occurred in Israel (1st volume of “Order and History”). The Greeks he understands as a similar ‘leap in being’, and that’s really where his heart is, with Plato, not necessarily because of his theories on this or that, but because of his method, which I suppose one can best describe as: thinking, and then take that thinking and do some more thinking on that, etc, a mystery in the process of revealing itself, or anamnesis.

          The imbeciles are those (among others) who talk about brain science and ethics and tell me that that can teach me something that is in the same category as what Mozart’s Requiem or Shakespeare’s Othello can teach me. Yes, it’s a category error. They do eventually concede that the arts, etc can contain valuable ethical ideas, but they just as easily dismiss these same ideas as empty babbling whenever it suits them. Because they have no method for telling which is which, and furthermore deny that there can be a method. They mock Voegelin even without having read him, let alone understood, because they have already decided that they didn’t need to read or understand him in order to dismiss him.

          It isn’t only rhetoric. When imbeciles are not called imbeciles anymore, they become respectable. When Jakob Augstein isn’t called an idiot anymore, for defending Günter Grass and his warning that Israel is becoming a menace to world peace, because he thinks that he can reduce the conflict to a conflict of interests(!) and not a conflict of rights, we could end up again with a German foreign policy that blames the crime on the victim of the crime. Because that’s what he’s advocating, against Angela Merkel, whom he thinks is too stubborn in her duty of holocaust remembrance to be able to see that such a new policy would be in the interest(!) of both Israel and world peace.

          To SerJew: I’m not calling you an imbecile; but I do think you played the role of one.

          • SerJew says:

            “To SerJew: I’m not calling you an imbecile; but I do think you played the role of one.”

            Oh, so kind of you. I must say that as you insistently & consistenly play the role of a pompous arrogant, I can only conclude (or, should I say, infer) that’s exactly what you are. Don’t take it personally, though.

            Now, let me return to my listening of Schubert’s piano sonatas while I indulge in the indisputable aromas of a Chateneuf-du-Pape (or sans Pape) and savring the poems of Pablo Neruda, in the Sanskrit translation. Later, of course, a cappuccino machiatto.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (1)

          Richard Landes: “The fact that a police state could so easily be established in a supposed democracy suggests a serious problem.”

          You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          On post-modern anti-positivists (not Voegelin)

          I suppose that’s who you have in mind when making the distinction between positivists and anti-positivists: Judith Butler and the rest. I don’t have too many ideas on them, because I don’t know them, except Karl Marx, who launched the whole thing, and whom I studied thoroughly in German when I was still young and under the impression that he was important as a philosopher and economist. Generalising a lot, I would suspect them to be ‘intellectual swindlers’ in Voegelin’s terms, because they exploit the ruins of philosophical illiteracy left behind by the positivists to peddle ideas for effect. I wouldn’t exclude that occasionally you can find valuable insights in what they produce, but it will then be more in spite of their method than as a result of it. People always remain people, their nature doesn’t change, their capacity for reason doesn’t change, it’s all a question of training and literacy.

          I’m aware that I am myself a victim of such a philosophically illiterate and therefore insufficient education, but for some reason or other I have always been aware of it, I have always felt the insufficiency of what I had learned. An for the same reason, I suppose, I can still see the difference between a Judith Butler and an Eric Voegelin, I can recognise substantial thought when I come upon it.

      • akmofo says:

        Explain to me why your Catholic mom be crying, Martin. The bloodthirsty Jews killed Christ, your new/old roman God and Savior, and were using the blood of Catholic children to make their matzos every Passover, for hundreds of years. The Catholic Church taught this throughout its institutions in Germany and everywhere else in Europe as well as the Arab Middle East. Why would your mom be crying? Good riddance! The population voted for Hitler. The population enthusiastically supported Hitler and wanted to conquer the world to establish the blue-eyed devil dogs as the master race and only race on this earth. Why be crying for the Jew-rats, who got themselves (and they are entirely to blame) in the way of such noble plans?

        i really think this remark is either unfair, or deliberately misunderstanding Martin’s point. please try and engage on a more substantive and less sarcastic level.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Why the ‘banality of evil’ gives me second thoughts

        Because it suggests that ordinary people are psychologically conditioned into accepting ‘unspeakable things’ as normal. And I don’t think that that is true or possible. I prefer Voegelin’s explanation on ‘pneumopathology’: people lost faith in their own human soul and its practical significance (human nature as a measure of things), a form of conditioning that was going on for much longer and was not exclusively German. In that condition they went along with a political development also spanning a much longer period (increase of state power) that closed on them as a trap in a crisis-situation (no constitutional centrist government was possible with the NSDAP and the KPD holding a majority of seats), when some ruthless and deranged men carried that political power (of the state over its citizens) to its extreme fulfillment. Most ordinary people were not conditioned into accepting ‘unspeakable things’ as normal, but were practically helpless under the pressure of a police state, and tended to look the other way out of shame for their helplessness. The ‘unspeakable things’ were most of the time not done by ordinary people, but by self-selecting not so ordinary people that found their job in the machinery of a police state.

        My conclusion: politics is the risk, not people, and of course the ‘pneumopathology’ that favours politics (legislation) and disables people (breaking down their individual natural rights and their individual autonomy). It is therefore important to see the political risk coming and to defuse it before the crisis erupts. That’s why Richard Landes is right to warn of the risk of civilisational suicide now, when there is as yet no crisis. But it is difficult, even impossible, in a gradually changing world (frog in boiling water). So you need some salient hooks to get a grip on politics, and I would think that these are the Iranian nuclear threat and the Israel-Islamist conflict. They need to be confronted head-on soon before they have a chance to produce a crisis. But the ‘pneumopathology’ is quite advanced, no less advanced I think than at the time of WWI, Versailles and Hitler’s power grab. We’ve almost learned nothing since then, not in depth at least. And the crisis will of course be unexpected, not simply a repetition of the previous crisis. You’ve heard of the European sovereign debt crisis, right. How did that come about? Where does the fault lie? With people? Or with politics?

        What is the meaning of ‘pat.’? Patronising? Patriotic? Paternalistic? A police state is indeed an extreme form of paternalism, but how is my view paternalistic? I don’t get it.

        I just read in the FAZ that some in the Chinese communist party are discovering Alexis de Tocqueville and his “L’ancien régime et la révolution” as a diagnosis of the problems building up in their society. Well, well, that looks quite smart, on the face of it, at least.

      • w.w.wygart says:

        Mr. Malliet,

        Well put. I defer to your more personal sources of information on the subject, but I think the term you used, “Protective custody” was probably not what you really meant, especially in regards to the days of the “Wild Camps” set up to enforce obedience to the Nazi regime and terrorize the opposition into submission. As I said at my own blog last March:

        http://thecoralinememe.net/2012/03/02/victims-of-thier-own-oppression-some-random-thoughts-on-nazi-manipulation-of-reality-2/

        As it turns out, when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933 they moved to ruthlessly suppress all real [or potential] opposition almost immediately. The general public was intimidated through threat of arrest, imprisonment and arbitrary psychological terror for years before the War began. This was before the eugenics programs, before the euthanasia of the mentally ill and the handicapped, before the rounding up of the Roma, [gypsies] and the Jews – before all of that came the rounding up the Germans. Dachau came first in March, 1933, more so called, “wild camps” soon followed. It was the case that by 1935 little ditties were being sung warning: “Dear God, make me dumb, that I may not to Dachau come” – and this was the so called Aryan Germans. Between 1933 and 1935 3.5million Germans of all sorts spent time in various concentration camps or prisons and some 77,000 were executed – that’s a Bend, Oregon – dead.

        I don’t think people can look at what took place later, or was allowed to take place in the Nazi state without bearing this in mind – the Germans were the first victims of their own oppression.

        I also tend to support Mika’s notion of the “banality of evil”, at least an an enabling factor. I just finished a three part essay that deals in part with that subject:

        http://thecoralinememe.net/2013/02/10/a-tale-of-two-secrets-part-three-the-horror-how-to-get-it-right/#more-2035

        Namely how the change of language by those within the Nazi system who where the ones who carried out its evil tasks, enabled the perpetrators to keep their own consciousness suppressed. This is of course in addition to the phenomenon that you point out, where there is a natural kind of self-selection process that goes on. People with little or no moral compass, or with a taste for violence and cruelty naturally rise into positions where one is allowed or encouraged to use violence and cruelty and complete power and control over other people.

        I also make the point, that people like your Grandmother, people with a strong moral compass, could easily detect and reject this propaganda. The regrettable tragedy is that no one could pull themselves together as a group, and I don’t mean just the Germans, to put a stop to the Nazis before it was too late.

        W^3

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Of course, I just translated ‘Schutzhaft’ with ‘protective custody’. It was said at the time that the nazis had never touched a hair on anyone. No one ever had a hair touched. But that was about the only thing that they did not do.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            I figured it was something like that, and I’m not saying that with any blame. I like the German language, they’ve got such great words, some of them though have this strange kind of hook to them – at least to non-Germans.

            W^3

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          I’m not afraid at all that we’re talking about different things. So don’t worry. But I thought that it was simply the same in both languages, because ‘Schutzhaft’ means exactly the same in German than ‘protective custody’ in English, both are neutral terms referring to a lawful practice, the taking into custody of a suspected criminal in order to protect the law respecting people. So that using the term in the context of a nazi police state could also not be misunderstood as something else than what it was, a perversion of a neutral lawful term by a perverse and unlawful police state.

          I’m still not sure whether that makes it any clearer, but as there was a lot of twisting going on at the time to establish what Voegelin calls a ‘second reality’, maybe you should go back to Voegelin’s 1964 lectures on “Hitler and the Germans”. I don’t think one can misunderstand them, and the thing about “no hairs being touched” I actually took from him.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            What I always thought the common definition of ‘protective custody’ is:

            Protective custody is a type of imprisonment (or care) to protect a prisoner (or other person) from harm, either from outside sources or other prisoners.” [Henderson, Phillips, James D., Richard L. (1991). Protective Custody Management in Adult Correctional Facilities. The National Institute of Corrections]

            As opposed to simply arresting someone suspected of wrongdoing which does protect the general populace from continued wrongdoing of the suspect. Though I’m sure both definitions do get stretched considerably in practice.

            W^3

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (1)

        Richard Landes: “The fact that a police state could so easily be established in a supposed democracy suggests a serious problem.”

        You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

        (More on the ‘banality of evil’: although personal guilt should indeed never be denied, I sometimes wonder whether not taking sufficiently into account the fact that the political system (and a fortiori a police state) takes away so much of an individual person’s autonomy does not lead to an impasse for the difficult question of “how to separate the sinner from the sin”. A difficult question Koenraad Elst also sees in the confrontation with Muslims and Islam.)

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (2)

        I don’t think it is all that ironic that Western intellectuals are denouncing democratic governments. They have never done anything else. It is the essence of a Hobbesian democracy that parties fight, not the democratic governments as such, but the governments in power, i.e. each other. Our Western democracies are only the least sinister governments because of that underlying natural law tradition of civil society, which is much older than the democratic constitutions (and of which the theory or jurisprudence goes back to the Stoics, Roman law and Cicero, Christianity and Thomas Aquinas, etc). And together with Voegelin and Van Dun, I don’t think it is wrong to say that that natural law tradition and the civil society that lives by it have been more eroded and endangered by democratic constitutions since 1848 than they ever were by the older regimes, leading to the “apocalypse of man” in the 20th century.

        • w.w.wygart says:

          Would you include the US constitution [pre-1848] in this assesment?

          W^3

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I would simply like to point you back to Frank Van Dun’s work on natural law and in particular to his article on “Hobbesian Democracy” (as opposed to lawful democacy), and then leave it to you to think about your case.

            http://rothbard.be/artikels/350-bibliografie-van-dun

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Actually, I was interested in your opinion, not knowing much about natural law theory. Any of the articles in English that you could recommend as an entry point into Van Dun’s work?

            Thanks,

            W^3

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            But I don’t have a ready opinion on the US constitution [pre-1848]! Or I would have given it to you right away! It’s work, making an assessment! And the article on “Hobbesian Democracy” I mentioned is a good entry point in this context! That’s why I mentioned it! You people, I already get accused of logorrhea and pedantry, and then you make me repeat myself! Ça va pas la tête? (I’m not really mad. Just a little bit.)

            About your not knowing much about natural law theory: I may be mistaken, but if you think that natural law theory is some legal speciality, you would be wrong. It’s actually something quite fundamental with wide ranging significance and applications. It’s about the kind of stuff you already know intuitively, such as the distinctions between persons (you are you and I am I, and we are not the same person, but two different persons) and “to each his own” (colloquially often expressed as “mind your own business”). That’s why it is called ‘natural’ law, it comes with the nature of things. And it is very powerful to learn about it, you will be able to see and name the things you already intuitively feel in a fundamental way but never quite can get hold of when it would be very useful.

            The rules for dialogue for instance are also natural law rules: the distinction between the person saying the thing and the thing said is very fundamental, and consequently there is a big difference between attacking the thing said (legitimate) and attacking the person saying it (ad hominem and not legitimate). That’s what the stuff in the court room is about: “objection” – “sustained/overruled”. These things can become very useful when argueing with a woman, I can assure you. Because it is about transactions between persons in general, and “to each his own” is central to transactions. It means staying on your own end of the relationship, always. And you will then notice how people out of self-interest, habit and stupidity constantly violate that rule and invade your domain (and you may be doing the same yourself). “You don’t love me” she says. How could she know? You react with “how can you say such a thing!” And then spend an extraordinary amount of time to prove your point. Big mistake. Because you never even notice that what she actually meant was “I miss you”. Sure, it was her mistake not to say it the right way and to invade your domain. But once you’ve studied natural law, you are able to see through these mistakes and you can save yourself a lot of trouble. Especially by avoiding the mistakes yourself.

            Collaboration is another domain where it is useful to think ahead by putting yourself in the other’s place and look at the thing from his point of view before deciding on your own course of action. A lot of problems stem from the fact that people forget to do that. They simply assume without warning you that you know what they are expecting from you, and when it then becomes clear that they were mistaken, there’s not enough time anymore to correct the mistake.

            So, from pillow-talk to NASA, benefits everywhere.

            The fundamental reason why people have become so bad at it, I believe, is because of the multiplication of hierarchical or command-obey relationships in our overpoliticised and overorganised society. Because these relationships are completely different from the transactions between equals. That’s the main reason for self-righteousness in people and their inability to build constructive relationships. They are so used to politicking, forming coalitions and outmaneuvering each other that they cannot do anything else anymore. They see everything in terms of power: rule or be ruled. And that ruins many things, in my opinion. Just like the other day in a big café with many people. I’m looking at her because I like her. She comes to me asking “why you’re looking at me?” What a stupid question! Couldn’t she figure that out by herself? And then decide by herself what to do with it? No, the best thing she can think of is suspecting me of I don’t know what and then defending herself against I don’t know what by attacking me! Well, that way I already knew she wasn’t much fun even before I had started talking to her.

            Seeing the distinction between persons and holding your own: that’s the fundamental principle from which it starts.

            In my opinion Frank Van Dun is the best teacher on the fundamental stuff. There are others, who write much more, such as John Finnis, but they are confusing. They talk too much about the origins, the developments, the theology that was linked up with it, etc, etc. Frank Van Dun keeps it simple and naturalistic. But beware, it’s not a self-help manual. It’s a theory of which you must grasp the fundamentals before you can start reasoning with them.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Mr. Malliet,

            Thanks for taking the time to reply, I for one haven’t had any reason to complain about the length of your replies. I’ve been engaged elsewhere and have just downloaded the Van Dun you mentioned. Must have missed the earlier mention, not quite hanging on your every word yet.

            W^3

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Wygart, you’re definitely coming closer than Dionissis, in my opinion.

            I’m quite certain that she wasn’t really annoyed. Because the way I looked at her wasn’t meant to annoy her. As I said in the beginning, I looked at her because I liked her. And I’m in a good position to know that I did indeed like her, right? And I do not ‘stare’ at a woman I like, I don’t believe so.

            If she had been really annoyed, the right thing for her to do (me thinking while putting myself in her place) was to ignore me. She shows up herself in a café where there are plenty of people! People who look at other people. That’s why they come to the café. Me including. She had plenty of options other than the one she chose.

            Anyway, she had her boy friend with her, as it appeared. That may explain something. But even without any boy friends in the background, these things never really work out the way I want them. And that’s a problem of narcissism. It’s not easy to explain in a few words. I actually have a whole book project on it, titled “Tractatus Logicus-Sexualis”. But it isn’t written yet. That’s why I call it a project. Any valuable input will be appreciated.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I should have been more evenhanded and given Dionissis his due as well. His hunch was quite remarkable. To me, her coming up to me proves that I wasn’t staring. It is easy for me to draw that conclusion, because I know of myself already that I wasn’t staring. For Dionissis that took some thinking, which he managed to do almost right.

            See now what natural law and dialogue is about? We have the girl in the café, me in the café, me on this blog, Wygart and Dionissis on this blog, some cavedwellers in the background, Richard Landes as the owner of this blog, the readership of this blog (and its main purpose). I really would like to know more about the readership to figure out my own course of action. Our capacity for reason is made for that kind of complex stuff, with an almost limitless potential. But it always takes some training. In former times (like in Plato’s times), they called that training ‘education’.

            My pedantry has a lot to do with me writing ‘blind’. I don’t know what common knowledge I can count on. When you know, you can leave out a lot of words and still say something incredibly complex, while being certain that it is correctly understood. But dialogue itself is also about finding out what knowledge we have in common. With SerJew that has been a quite fascinating experience. I even wrote a little article on it, titled “The positivist destruction of the mind: an application of the paradox of incompetence”, but when I post it it doesn’t come up. (The paradox of incompetence is a well known theme even in ‘management literature’, and is explained in: Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999, Vol. 77, No. 6, 1121-1134.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            About women and their options: an African woman once chose a completely different option (in a somewhat less crowded place): she came over, bent over me, bit in my chest (through my t-shirt!) while grabbing my dick. That felt delicious at first. Later on it appeared that she was a bit crazy, she even started to swing a bottle at me. So, these things never really work out the way I want them.

          • @ Martin

            I’m quite certain that she wasn’t really annoyed.

            If so, why did she come for you, Martin?

            Because the way I looked at her wasn’t meant to annoy her. As I said in the beginning, I looked at her because I liked her.

            It doesn’t really matter what your look was meant to convey. What matters is how it was interpreted – and how it was bound to be interpreted by most people under the circumstances.

            And I’m in a good position to know that I did indeed like her, right?

            Yes, the epistemic primacy of the agent in such matters is indisputable – though not necessarily faultless.

            And I do not ‘stare’ at a woman I like, I don’t believe so.

            What more elements than prolonged looking would you add to the concept of “staring”? The mere act is intrusive, but it can be made even worse by accompanying body language. Haven’t you seen the stray dogs how they are all about domination through looks and body postures? – i am in love with them, though, despite their Palestinian attitude. Then again, they are more cute than the Palestinians, not to mention that they are not firing rockets against children.

            If she had been really annoyed, the right thing for her to do (me thinking while putting myself in her place) was to ignore me.

            I explained that before. I surmised that she wanted to make you stop. Would you have stopped eventually if she ignored you? But even if yes, why did she have to put up with refined alpha male looks until the time you decided to stop? Why did she have to bother her brain with a command of the sort “avoid looking diagonally to the left, it’s him and he is bound to take it as encouragement”? And even if she were willing to put up with this, how could she know that you wouldn’t become even more imposing in case she affected indifference?

            She shows up herself in a café where there are plenty of people! People who look at other people. That’s why they come to the café. Me including.

            Some people go to a café just to talk with their friends. Some others because they can’t stand the idea of staying alone at home. And, yes, some go in order to score.

            She had plenty of options other than the one she chose.

            Not plenty, but yes, more than one. But which option was the least costly for her?

            Anyway, she had her boy friend with her, as it appeared. That may explain something.

            Something like what?

            And was the boyfriend sitting next to her when you were looking at her? Could he see you looking? And why did you keep on looking at a girl who was with her boyfriend?

            But even without any boy friends in the background, these things never really work out the way I want them.

            Because of a breach in communication, if i may suggest.

            And that’s a problem of narcissism.

            Whose narcissism?

            Anyway, and generally speaking, i am more for attributing breaches in communication to emotional and cognitive egocentrism, than to narcissism – but i am not excluding this possibility in our case.

            It’s not easy to explain in a few words.

            Indulge me with more words, then.

            I actually have a whole book project on it, titled “Tractatus Logicus-Sexualis”. But it isn’t written yet. That’s why I call it a project. Any valuable input will be appreciated.

            Hey, that’s what i have been doing, providing input.

            Wygart, you’re definitely coming closer than Dionissis, in my opinion.

            You two have hit it off, i can tell!

          • @ Martin

            To me, her coming up to me proves that I wasn’t staring.

            Ok, let’s parse your statement in explicit argument form:

            Premise 1: If she comes to me, then i have not been staring.
            Premise 2: She did come to me
            Conclusion: I have not been staring.

            The argument is valid but unsound. The premise that is false is the first one. Obviously, if she comes to you, it might be because you have been staring (or, alternatively,because she is crazy, or for any other reason). Yet, you want her reaction to count as proof that you were NOT staring. Martin, not even Voegel could pull this off.

            It is easy for me to draw that conclusion, because I know of myself already that I wasn’t staring.

            Even if it is true that you were not staring, this does not mean that her reaction is proof that you were not staring, as you claimed in your previous sentence.

            All you did with your present statement is to assert that you were not staring. You did not offer any evidence to justify your conclusion of your previous sentence.

            And you haven’t yet explained what counts as staring for you.

            For Dionissis that took some thinking, which he managed to do almost right.

            I always do my best – but it never seems enough. I am frustrated.

            See now what natural law and dialogue is about?

            I see we are having a dialogue. I don’t see any Voegelin in what we are doing.

            We have the girl in the café, me in the café, me on this blog, Wygart and Dionissis on this blog, some cavedwellers in the background, Richard Landes as the owner of this blog, the readership of this blog (and its main purpose).

            And you think that labeling SerJew and E.G. as “cave dwellers” augments the dialogue? Even calling them stupid might have been more charitable.

            My pedantry has a lot to do with me writing ‘blind’. I don’t know what common knowledge I can count on. When you know, you can leave out a lot of words and still say something incredibly complex, while being certain that it is correctly understood.

            Not knowing what common knowledge one can count on is a problem for anyone in any blog, not just you.

            But dialogue itself is also about finding out what knowledge we have in common.

            Yes, but dialogue has as a precondition to give some space to one’s interlocutors. Contempt does not help – even if it’s witty.

            With SerJew that has been a quite fascinating experience. I even wrote a little article on it, titled “The positivist destruction of the mind

            I am of the same science-oriented attitude that SerJew evinces, so you might as well include me in your little article, too.

            I should have been more evenhanded and given Dionissis his due as well.

            No worries.

            His hunch was quite remarkable.

            Thanks. I suggest that if you were making a few compliments to the others in the blog, as you did now to me, we could all keep our disagreements focused on the topic, without name-calling diversions arising all the time.

          • @ Martin

            About women and their options: an African woman once chose a completely different option (in a somewhat less crowded place): she came over, bent over me, bit in my chest (through my t-shirt!) while grabbing my dick. That felt delicious at first. Later on it appeared that she was a bit crazy, she even started to swing a bottle at me. So, these things never really work out the way I want them.

            Now i know you are a serial offender in staring!!!

          • @ Martin

            If she had been really annoyed, the right thing for her to do (me thinking while putting myself in her place) was to ignore me.

            Why put yourself in “her place” and not in “her shoes”? You know the English expression.

            And with all this Paris talk i would have thought you refined enough to be able to entertain for a few seconds a foot-fetish image, without blinking!!!

            I shall complain to Dr Landes that you are turning us all lascivious in here.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Narcissism and liberty

            OK then, Dionissis, we’re in disagreement again, and in a quite fundamental manner. But no problem with me. It is remarkable, though, this divide. You’re making things so complicated, it’s surprising me each time. I think it has to do with that widespread misunderstanding about ‘ethics’, and how it is a complicated thing of values, norms and rules, in other words expectations. I already wrote about that misunderstanding before, as in:

            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/01/28/goldberg-and-the-daniels-of-sewage-pipes-lethal-narratives-and-durajournalism/#comment-618622
            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/multiple-part-essays/open-letter-to-jostein-gaarder-fisking-crypto-supersessionism/#comment-587766

            Let’s take the ‘staring’ again. You came up with that, and defined it as something that was annoying to her. I went along with that definition and said that her coming over to me proves that she wasn’t really annoyed. I continue to think that I am free to look at a girl in a café as much as I want. Although I’m not going to do that when I don’t like her. Why would I waste my time on that? So I only look at a woman when I like her. And I am quite certain that she can then tell from my looking at her that I like her. She therefore has only one very simple choice to make by herself: (1) she either likes me and wants to do something with that, and then she has a motive for coming over, but should at least prepare a more delicious first move than simply asking me “why you’re looking at me”; (2) or she doesn’t and has better things to do, and then she has a motive for doing these better things, while leaving it entirely to me to deal with my disappointment. Instead of making up her mind, she came over to defend herself by attacking me, sort of, because it is not all that clear what it really was, neither in her mind nor in mine. We didn’t fight, you know. It was just some awkward thing instead of a much better thing. As it so often is.

            I very much try to live by what I now understand to be the natural law: I do what I want to do while respecting other people’s right to do the same. You are constantly trying to tell me how I should be different from what I am. Exactly like most of the women I’m having trouble with. Expectations! And they are at the heart of narcissism. Because as long as, by imprisoning me in their expectations, they cannot leave me free to be what I want to be, I cannot love them the way I want to. Period. Theorem of impossibility. With as a counterpart, that they can’t even start to love me, for they would need to look at me as I am first in order to find out whether they do indeed love me and how they want to do that, which they never really do, caught up as they are in expectations about what they themselves or I should be. The whole thing of love could and should be very simple. It’s the narcissism and the expectations that make it incredibly complicated. And very unsatisfying at the same time. Lots of work. Very small satisfactions. It’s just not for me.

            Suum cuique. To each his own. That means taking responsibility for one’s own words, actions, interpretations, expectations, etc, etc. And never to burden someone else with them. Like in: “You should not be staring at me.” It’s a mistake. It stems from confusion in the mind of the one making the mistake (in the most benign interpretation I can think of). It sows confusion in the relationship with others. And overall it poisons life. One could even say that in some cases it has ended in war. Unnecessary war.

            As far as I could see from afar, Israel is very much caught up in such a narcissistic love story. After reading Richard Landes’s material on this blog (and on http://www.seconddraft.org) I saw it even more clearly: how the root of the conflict lies in a disrespect of the natural law. Zionists and Arabs have claims (expectations) on the territory of Palestine. They both had a duty to negotiate in good faith an agreement on how to reconcile those claims, each from their side and without invading the other side by argueing about each other’s claims. Claims are just claims, and the whole point of negotiation is to find an agreement, not to poison each other’s lives. That is what the natural law says. The Jewish Zionists, I believe, were willing to do that (I really hope I’m not wrong about that, because in that case I would have to shut up definitively). The Muslim Arab rulers refused to do that (and continue to refuse until today). They furthermore started a war to defend their unproven right to refuse negotiations, a right they onesidedly believed to be justified by utterly dehumanising revelations made by a dead deluded and paranoid prophet. That is a clear violation of the natural law, an unjust war, a crime against humanity, of which the Jewish State of Israel is the victim since 1947-48 (whatever Mika will come up with). The everlasting and neverending arguments, in whatever fora, about claims I tend to see as one big red herring, one big distraction from the fundamental fact: that there simply is no negotiaton in good faith, but that it is a war, an unjust war. Just as arguments with a narcissistic woman are nothing but a distraction from the fundamental fact: that there is no love to be had from “la femme trouée”.

            I never really studied the Greek myth of Narcissus, and I don’t know whether there are insights for actual use to be gotten from it. But I do remember that Narcissus couldn’t see his reflection in the mirror-pond, and that is something I can apply. He didn’t see his reflection, because there was nothing to reflect! That’s what narcissism is about, not self-love, but not existing and not seeing, like SerJew, who cannot see either me or himself in his rants about me. Narcissists are just all fused into one single social ego struggling with its conflicting impulses. That’s what the theory of natural law has taught me: you have to make the distinction between persons in order to start really seeing both yourself and the other. Social expectations, values, norms or rules (as opposed to individually chosen expectations, values, norms or rules) never even come into the picture, except in the very general meta-sense that everybody ought to respect the natural law, i.e. the facts of the distinctions between different persons.

          • @ Martin

            OK then, Dionissis, we’re in disagreement again, and in a quite fundamental manner. But no problem with me. It is remarkable, though, this divide.

            The divide might be a problem to you in case you take yourself too seriously. If you don’t, you won’t have a problem, and you won’t feel the need to degrade your interlocutor.

            You’re making things so complicated, it’s surprising me each time.

            You can’t help going condescending, can you?

            Mind you, my replies to you concerning your confrontation with the girl were concise and to the point. So i couldn’t have been complicating things that much. On the contrary, you have gone into writing a whole diatribe, instead of responding to each of my points.

            Are you sure what you really value is dialogue, and not monologue?

            Are you sure you are interested to hear what the other one says, and not just listen to yourself reciting your favorite opinions?

            I think it has to do with that widespread misunderstanding about ‘ethics’, and how it is a complicated thing of values, norms and rules, in other words expectations. I already wrote about that misunderstanding before

            I am afraid i won’t read anything else except what you take the pains to write right here right now.

            Let’s take the ‘staring’ again.

            At last!

            I had asked you, among other things, what you consider staring to be.

            You came up with that, and defined it as something that was annoying to her.

            No, i did not define it thus.

            I spoke about a prolonged look and asked you for your version of it.

            I went along with that definition and said that her coming over to me proves that she wasn’t really annoyed.

            Yes, you did, and i took the pains to prove to you that your purported argument was a non sequitur.

            I continue to think that I am free to look at a girl in a café as much as I want.

            But you have brought no argument forth to support your purported right. And you haven’t felt the need to refute my own arguments against it.

            Are you sure you like logical reasoning and philosophy? The “rabble”, which you so much despise, cannot be possibly more assertive than you are right now.

            Are you sure you do not like reading through philosophical works just to get quotes that look like confirming your preferred theses?

            Although I’m not going to do that when I don’t like her. Why would I waste my time on that? So I only look at a woman when I like her. And I am quite certain that she can then tell from my looking at her that I like her.

            What she can tell is that you want her, for whatever reason. You might want her because you like her, or you might want her because, say, you want to rape her.

            How can she possibly tell?

            She therefore has only one very simple choice to make by herself: (1) she either likes me and wants to do something with that, and then she has a motive for coming over, but should at least prepare a more delicious first move than simply asking me “why you’re looking at me”; (2) or she doesn’t and has better things to do, and then she has a motive for doing these better things, while leaving it entirely to me to deal with my disappointment.

            In our particular case, it was #(2). She didn’t like you. Has happened to me many times. But not because i was staring.

            Instead of making up her mind, she came over to defend herself by attacking me, sort of, because it is not all that clear what it really was, neither in her mind nor in mine. We didn’t fight, you know. It was just some awkward thing instead of a much better thing. As it so often is.

            It must have been very clear in her mind that she was annoyed by your looks. And that she wanted to make you stop.

            So, it was only your own mind that wasn’t clear enough about what was going on, not hers.

            I very much try to live by what I now understand to be the natural law

            You try to live by something you call “natural law”, but what you have in mind might not be natural at all.

            Not taking into account emotions such as mild fears is very unnatural.

            I do what I want to do while respecting other people’s right to do the same.

            Thank you, Martin, that was really enlightening!

            Maybe you could proceed and explain how you resolve conflicts when what you want to do and what she wants to do are incompatible?

            You are constantly trying to tell me how I should be different from what I am. Exactly like most of the women I’m having trouble with.

            You are surely mistaking me for some other control freak. And that freak is not any of the women you are having trouble with. I am guessing (s)he (the controller) is a thing of the very distant past.

            Expectations! And they are at the heart of narcissism.

            I agree.

            Because as long as, by imprisoning me in their expectations, they cannot leave me free to be what I want to be, I cannot love them the way I want to.Period. Theorem of impossibility.

            All you have to do is say no to the expectations that suffocate you.

            Not staring at women in public is not among them – it costs you nothing not to do it. But if it so happens that you indulge yourself and do it now and then, just don’t complain if she reacts.

            With as a counterpart, that they can’t even start to love me, for they would need to look at me as I am first in order to find out whether they do indeed love me and how they want to do that, which they never really do, caught up as they are in expectations about what they themselves or I should be. The whole thing of love could and should be very simple. It’s the narcissism and the expectations that make it incredibly complicated. And very unsatisfying at the same time. Lots of work. Very small satisfactions. It’s just not for me.

            If you feel that it’s not for you then don’t do it.

            Suum cuique. To each his own. That means taking responsibility for one’s own words, actions, interpretations, expectations, etc, etc. And never to burden someone else with them.

            It depends on the expectations. If, say, my parents expect me to do things that please them but not me, i see no reason (on the face of it) to comply with the expectations. It has to be decided on a case by case basis.

            Like in: “You should not be staring at me.” It’s a mistake. It stems from confusion in the mind of the one making the mistake (in the most benign interpretation I can think of). It sows confusion in the relationship with others. And overall it poisons life. One could even say that in some cases it has ended in war. Unnecessary war.

            No, the “do not stare” prohibition is not one of the expectations you are allowed to disregard. It hurts women to stare at them in public (by instilling in them a feeling of humiliation or subjugation or, even, fear), and it costs you nothing not to do it, so you shouldn’t.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            These are indeed important points.

            MM: I continue to think that I am free to look at a girl in a café as much as I want.

            DM: But you have brought no argument forth to support your purported right. And you haven’t felt the need to refute my own arguments against it.

            MM2: There is a presumption of liberty: I don’t have to prove my right, she has to prove that her right is violated by me if she wants to restrict my freedom to look at her. For this it is not enough just to claim a right at will, like her ‘right not to be looked at’. There is no such thing as a ‘right not to be looked at’ in a public place.

            MM: I do what I want to do while respecting other people’s right to do the same.

            DM: Maybe you could proceed and explain how you resolve conflicts when what you want to do and what she wants to do are incompatible?

            MM2: Rights are always objectively defined (life, liberty, property). As long as we both remain within our rights and do not violate other people’s rights, we are indeed free to do what we want. If what we want is not compatible, than that is just too bad for one of us. This happens all the time. It’s the risk of life. Although there may always be a possibility to negotiate another outcome to the incompatibility between our interests. It’s called trade and freedom of contract, and it is as old as humanity. It becomes more difficult when the parties defend different and conflicting interpretations of their rights; they will then have to negotiate an agreement on a common interpretation or find a jurist to help them with that.

            Dionissis, I’m not going to give a longer course on natural law jurisprudence. You’re either willing to learn, and then I have already given you enough leads, or you’re not, and then that isn’t any of my concerns either.

            Frank Van Dun, who has spent his whole career teaching natural law philosophy to law students, is very pessimistic about the chance of being understood as a natural law philosopher in our contemporary politicised society dominated by legal positivism. That pessimism must stem from the generations of law students he has seen passing through his classes. And I’m afraid he is right in being pessimistic. But that does mean that the theoretical foundation of our Western civil societies is going to get lost. And I find that a frightening perspective. I’ve learned a lot in this discussion, but it wasn’t very reassuring. There is the positivist destruction of the mind in general, and there is the positivist destruction of the understanding of the natural law in particular. The latter is surely the most dangerous form of destruction.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (3)

        It is important to understand that political democracy is not simply ‘vector geometry’ as John Rawls wants us to believe. Collective choice means violation of individual choices. Always. Without exception. (Consensus politics is an oxymoron.) Frédéric Bastiat spelled it all out in 1850: you can’t practice legal solidarity (fraternité) without practicing legal injustice. If politics is pursueing anything else than liberty and equality before the law, you will loose both liberty and equality before the law. You may think that it is a question of trade-offs, of more or less of the one or the other thing. But who is going to do the choosing, the arbitration? It’s dangerous, democratic politics. Very dangerous. Especially as long as people are fooled into believing that it is the best of all available options, because it is ‘democratic’.

        • @ Martin

          She comes to me asking “why you’re looking at me?” What a stupid question! Couldn’t she figure that out by herself? And then decide by herself what to do with it? No, the best thing she can think of is suspecting me of I don’t know what and then defending herself against I don’t know what by attacking me! Well, that way I already knew she wasn’t much fun even before I had started talking to her.

          Just to make a philosophical point on the issue:

          The question was not a question, it was a declarative statement meaning “i don’t want you to look at me”. She had decided (rightly or wrongly) that your look was inappropriate, and tried to eliminate the source of her annoyance without having to leave the cafe.

          I would have found her ok, i like strong women.

          • SerJew says:

            @ Dionissis

            But beware! Sooner or later, Doktor Pneumatics will return to deliver yet another verborragic lecture, this time on a porno-Voegelinesque panorama of the meta-modalities of neo-positivistic antinomies in the spirit of humanist Sturmabteilungsphilosophie, as see from his semi-demented mom.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Dionissis,

            I think you might be in danger of making Mr. Malliet’s point for him. The woman in the cafe wasn’t merely expressing herself ineffectually by stating as a question what she really meant as a command. She wasn’t just being “strong” she was being controlling, like she had the authority to tell someone else what to do, or decide for them what they should or should not be doing with their own attention. She could just as easily have walked over and said, “I don’t like it when you look at me like that, so please stop.” which would have been an expression of how she felt coupled with a polite request to respect that – as between two equals.

            M.M. did I get that right?

            ~W^3

          • @ wygart

            I think you might be in danger of making Mr. Malliet’s point for him. The woman in the cafe wasn’t merely expressing herself ineffectually by stating as a question what she really meant as a command. She wasn’t just being “strong” she was being controlling, like she had the authority to tell someone else what to do, or decide for them what they should or should not be doing with their own attention. She could just as easily have walked over and said, “I don’t like it when you look at me like that, so please stop.” which would have been an expression of how she felt coupled with a polite request to respect that – as between two equals.

            M.M. did I get that right?

            But that’s what she told him with the question, i.e. that she did not like the way Martin was looking at her and that she wanted him to stop. If the request does not sound polite enough, it is because she cannot know beforehand how forcefully to talk, and she is forced to go for the most harsh option just in case. She is not controlling, she is preempting a possible rude reaction by someone she already considers rude on account of his (perceived as) rude stares. And by all means she has the moral authority (or, better, the moral right) to protect herself from a transgressor – especially a male one. I think you need to take into account the timeline of events: it was Martin who FIRST stared at her. What was she supposed to do? Sit down and take it like a good girl?

            And they could never be equals. Martin assumed a dominant role the minute he started staring in a way that brought about reaction. It’s not very common for women to go around telling people “why are you looking at me?”. She must have felt threatened, or subjugated, in order to act the way she did.

            I understand you like Martin a lot!

          • SerJew says:

            What if the girl had Asperger’s Syndrome? Nah, I bet that whole situation is linked to pneumocrisis of humanity and a bit of irritable bowel syndrome. It was very explained completely and definitively in Voegelin’s magnun opus, titled “Schniztel, schmitzle und pretzle: mit ein Paralipomena”. In fact, the whole thing is a simple application of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem and Pytaghoras propedeutics. And of course, there’s the “loss of reality or something” and the “divine spirit of the groundless realms”, but that’s a whole new thesis that I cannot explain right now because I’m being fondled by an imaginary camel.

          • @ SerJew

            but that’s a whole new thesis that I cannot explain right now because I’m being fondled by an imaginary camel.

            !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (that’s when emoticons are useful!)

        • SerJew says:

          “The divine ground of being.”

          Whatever. And now, the pornographic side of Voegelin:

          “About women and their options: an African woman once chose a completely different option (in a somewhat less crowded place): she came over, bent over me, bit in my chest (through my t-shirt!) while grabbing my dick. That felt delicious at first. Later on it appeared that she was a bit crazy, she even started to swing a bottle at me. So, these things never really work out the way I want them.”

          Another pearl by doktor Pneumaticus Pedanticus. He’ll write a little paper on that, maybe for the Playboy magazine.

        • @ Martin

          “There is a presumption of liberty: I don’t have to prove my right, she has to prove that her right is violated by me if she wants to restrict my freedom to look at her. For this it is not enough just to claim a right at will, like her ‘right not to be looked at’. There is no such thing as a ‘right not to be looked at’ in a public place.”

          There is a moral right of women not to be unjustly humiliated or intimidated by males. And there is clear proof that lots of women feel bad when being stared at by males, but you are just too self-centered to see their behavioral signs that clearly convey the feeling of humiliation and/or subjugation and/or fear when you stare at them. I can’t help thinking that, most of the time you are staring, you are probably imagining yourself in hypothetical scenarios with her. You don’t really look at her, you fantasize through her what a great guy you are. That’s why they have to resort to ridiculing you in public, because you don’t really see them and, hence, you have no clue how lots of women feel.

          But, hey, you can ask her to prove the violation of her right and try to refute her with Vogelin.

          Martin malliet said:

          “I do what I want to do while respecting other people’s right to do the same.

          DM: Maybe you could proceed and explain how you resolve conflicts when what you want to do and what she wants to do are incompatible?

          MM2: Rights are always objectively defined (life, liberty, property). As long as we both remain within our rights and do not violate other people’s rights, we are indeed free to do what we want. If what we want is not compatible, than that is just too bad for one of us. This happens all the time. It’s the risk of life.”

          So, instead of respecting the justified female fear, you just tell her “tough! That’s life baby, get used to it, i will keep on staring”. Formally, it’s called indecency.

          Martin, you are on your way to become an educated Islamist.

          And, by the way, since you admit that this natural law situation might turn out badly for one of the two, why did you complain about her coming and protesting for your stares?

          “Dionissis, I’m not going to give a longer course on natural law jurisprudence. You’re either willing to learn, and then I have already given you enough leads, or you’re not, and then that isn’t any of my concerns either.”

          I never asked you for a course in natural law. For one thing, i don’t trust your philosophical reasoning capabilities anymore, seeing that you cannot even bring a proper philosophical argument in defense of your homo-erectus-behavior of staring.

          For another, it was me who was trying to give you a course in everyday decency, for the benefit of both you and the females that you will surely intimidate (to say the least) in the future.

          Oh, and yes, i realized that your not being concerned anymore, as you claim, stems from the fact that you realized that in applied ethics you will face serious philosophical opposition from me, an opposition far more knowledgeable than yours. And it’s not just because i have a background in philosophy, Martin.

          It’s because in associating with people i pay attention to them, i make an effort to understand them, to empathize with them, instead of living in my own fantasies.

          Go now say something about the rabble and stuff, you need your pain killer of degrading so as to maintain a modicum of self-respect.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            How not to write a book about women with Dionissis in the background (1)

            Dionissis, you are fascinating! Producing ever more complications, projections and expectations all the time. As if I had explained nothing. You still haven’t grasped the only point that matters: this is all about a transaction between her and me, about nothing else! I am responsible for my actions, i.e. my way of looking her, while she (not me) is responsible for her interpretations of my way of looking at her. You still labour under the assumption that there is somewhere a model of right conduct by which my actions and her actions can be judged, in other words, you still have expectations about how all that complicated stuff that happens in real life should happen. That’s the fundamental mistake. There is no such model, apart from the fundamental principle of natural law that we ought to respect each other as persons. Both she and I are persons. We are both free to choose our actions etc while assuming responsibility for the consequences of our actions, as long as we respect each other’s (objective) rights. (I can indeed not obduct her, rape her, knock out her boy friend, place a bomb in a waste bin outside the café to create a panic in which I could then become her saviour, or whatever else would be a clear violation of her or other people’s rights.)

            So, I really don’t see how by looking at her I could effectively do her some violence, something to scare her out of her wits, or it must be that I just don’t have your imagination for that kind of thing. So whatever she feels about my looking at her is entirely her responsibility, and if she doesn’t like what she feels, she is in control of herself, she can simply put it out of her mind, which is what I said all along, she can simply ignore me. Finally, at last, back to where we started and should never have left!

            Personally, I’m a bit more worried in that kind of situation of not showing clearly enough that I like her, because I cannot always free myself well enough from that fear of being perceived as ‘staring’ you also seem to be very focused on. That’s the real problem: fear of staring makes you stare, getting rid of the fear makes your facial expression more sincere. And if I do indeed like her, that cannot be threatening to her. I know that from experience. I have never felt threatened myself by a woman whose eyes told me that she liked me. Never. Not once. So I assume it is the same for her. Gender equality, I’m all in favour of it.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            How not to write a book about women with Dionissis in the background (3)

            Dionissis, I have said good-bye to this blog (and to Richard Landes), and have no need anymore for holding back (not that I had one before). You should get a grip on yourself, get some focus in your thinking, a sense of purpose, or it is going to end badly. It is that I have been so used to abuse from SerJew that I have become unassailable, but there are an awful lot of presumptuous transgressions of my boundaries in your piece. I’m not going to parse them for you, you’ll have to do that for yourself. Just by asking yourself two simple questions: (1) can I know with certainty that my interpretation of him is correct? (2) what does my interpretation of him reveal about me? These two questions always go together, that’s the natural law. I tell you, if you had talked to me like that in that café, I would have dressed you down in front of that girl in a way that might have helped a lot to impress her.

            You think I don’t pay attention to people? Don’t empathise? How do you know? Just staying on the woman subject, to remain a bit focused for the moment. Is my paying attention to her expectations empathy? Or my longing for her? What do I want from her? Her paying attention to my worldly success (bank account)? Or her demented eyes inundated with pleasure? Pleasure she wants from me! I know, at any time, without hesitation. And I’m all for gender equality, I said that before. It’s also the natural law, gender equality. Although not in the islamic variant on which some Palestinian stray dogs may have instructed you. I was quite clear on that in my little article for Martin Kramer. Don’t you ever dare put me in that category again, or I’ll bring out my pocket knife. I have one in my pocket all the time, like a good Frenchman. And I’m not stepping into the gutter anymore here in Brussels, when some proud dimwits are obstructing the sidewalk. I get called ‘fils de pute’ all the time. Or driven off the road when I’m on my bike by some irresponsible BMW-drivers who are too young to know what they are doing. You see, I pay a lot of attention to people. More than you think.

            In short: “Mind your own business, will you!”

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            How not to write a book about women with Dionissis in the background (4)

            And don’t write to me anymore. Especially not to accuse me of condescension. Because I’m not patronising you. It only feels like that to you. Because you’re weak in the head. Do something about it. Instead of burdening other people with it.

            By the way, that’s how fascists become fascists: they are weak, full of resentment for those who aren’t; then they concoct some moral code that suits them, that allows them to put other people in their place, to subjugate them, and to disrespect their natural rights as free persons. It can end very badly.

            Friedrich Nietzsche knew all about it. But he is not easy to understand. I personally think he wrote in such a way, that you cannot understand him as long as you have not already learned by yourself what he has to say. So that the fact that he is so awfully misunderstood by such an awful lot of people reflects rather badly on these incomprehensive people. Nietzsche is like a test: you can tell a man from how he understands Nietzsche. If you do not see the compassionate kindness in Nietzsche, you’re not really a compassionate kind man. (SerJew will be surprised to hear that. But that’s not my fault. It’s his fault.)

            This impenetrable writing as a test of the reader may at first seem like a bit of a nonsensical self-defeating style for a philosopher. Until you realise, as I have on this blog, that whatever you do to express yourself clearly, you get the most unexpected misunderstandings hurled back at you. What can you do? What could Nietzsche do? I read him assuming that he has done the best he could. And I already read him when I was around 18, the aphoristic stuff mainly, and in German, which must make a big difference, for when I see Nietzsche quotes in English or French, I don’t recognise him at all. But I understood him at 18 exactly as I understand him now, no change of perspective at all has intervened on my behalf: as a philosopher of individual freedom (discovery of the individual). Eric Voegelin has taught me in the mean time how to see him in relationship to Blaise Pascal, and I’m discovering all that right now. How stupid these contemporary and conventional ideas about ‘religion’ are. Anamnesis: seeing clearly at last what I have intuitively known all along. That’s what is happening to me while I’m writing and learning at the same time. That’s also why I’m writing so lengthy pieces. And I’m not just cutting and pasting pompous quotes as the other one would have me. I need the quotes as signposts to find my way. Everybody needs signposts.

            What can you do about it, Dionissis? I already told you. Ask yourself these two questions each time you want to say something. And keep your mouth shut as long as you’re not sure to have found an entirely satisfying answer to them. Plato and Nietzsche can surely help you to find these satisfying answers. Satisfying answers will always feel good to you. Not like heroine, though. They will feel good like the sun on your body when you come out of Plato’s cave. And there will not be the slightest trace of resentment in it for others. Not even for people like SerJew. That’s how good it feels. And it is all about using your reflective capacity for reason to experience your individual soul. It’s as simple as that. Although it took me an awfully long time to finally understand it and write it down. So, don’t waste yours. Please?

          • @ Martin

            Here is my proposal:

            You stay in the blog, and i will not, ever, talk to you (as you have asked). I will not even make references to you, or talk to others about you.

            I hate it to be on me that a supporter of Israel leaves the blog.

            So, please, give me an answer to my proposal.

          • @ Martin

            Come on now, Martin, we have real anti-Semites in the other thread (the thread about anti-Semitism and Judeophobia), you could show up and give a hand by writing something. I said i am not going to annoy you again, ever. And i apologize for having crossed your boundaries.

            Are you leaving now that we need you?

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I’m not in any way mad at you, Dionissis, or disappointed (well, maybe a litte bit, but more in general than about you in particular). It’s just that I have other things to do. And as I wrote before, these everlasting and neverending arguments, in whatever fora, about claims, I tend to see as one big red herring, one big distraction from the fundamental fact: that there simply is no negotiaton in good faith, but that it is a war, an unjust war.

            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/02/08/scarfe-ward-lethal-frames-and-the-unbearable-lightness-of-simon-kellner/#comment-623227

            You may remember also that as a famously pompous arrogant prick I had explicitly stated what I think you should do.

            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/02/08/scarfe-ward-lethal-frames-and-the-unbearable-lightness-of-simon-kellner/#comment-622749

            I had even granted Mika his wish with my seemingly anti-semitic rant on “You Jewish people, you argue far too much!”

            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/02/08/scarfe-ward-lethal-frames-and-the-unbearable-lightness-of-simon-kellner/#comment-623097

            I had thought about all these things quite seriously before I posted them, because that’s what the natural law is: think first until you feel good about your conclusions, then speak. That’s what I did. So I’m not going to change my mind easily.

            Feel free to use my stuff, that’s why I published it.

            As I have still received no reply from Der Spiegel to my Open Letter to Jakob Augstein, I have written to the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (by feedback/email on their website, not by formal letter, just as my contact with Der Spiegel Online was by electronic means and not by formal letter.) I copy this message hereafter.

            Frau Bundeskanzlerin, Liebe Angela Merkel,

            Ich möchte Ihnen einen Vorschlag machen, im Namen meiner nicht mehr lebenden deutschen Grosseltern, Michael Gustav Bergmann und Klara Schneider: um endlich die deutsche Schuld am jüdischen Holokaust in einer für anständige Deutsche annehmbaren Weise zu mindest teilweise zu entgelten, indem Sie die deutsche Aussenpolitik unzweideutig auf das Recht des jüdischen Staates Israel in Frieden zu leben abstimmen, und im selben Zug das Verbrechen des ungerechten Krieges der gegen Israel seit seiner Gründung in 1947-48 von muslimischen Arabischen Führern geführt wird genauso unzweideutig als ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit benennen.

            Um Ihnen deutlich zu machen wie ich dazu komme, füge ich meinen offenen Brief an Jakob Augstein bei. Er trägt den Titel: “Im Zweifel zweimal nachdenken, oder schweigen: Herr Augstein, Sie haben nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank” und wurde von mir am 5.2.2013 elektronisch an die Redaktion von Spiegel Online verschickt. Eine Antwort vom Spiegel habe ich nicht bekommen, und es ist diese Unverschämtheit die mich dazu bewegt an Sie zu schreiben. Das geht nämlich einfach nicht, um anständige Deutsche, lebende und tote, so als wäre es selbstverständlich, in diese jetzt 65 Jahre dauernde unausgesprochene Leugnung eines nicht anerkannten Verbrechens gegen die Menschlichkeit miteinzubeziehen! Mein Grossvater war nie damit einverstanden. Und meine Grossmutter schon ganz und gar nicht! Nie! Als sie noch lebten nicht. Und heute wären sie es auch nicht, das müssen Sie mir halt einfach glauben.

            Der Begriff des anständigen Deutschen ist kein unanständiger Begriff. Er lässt sich sogar sehr genau bestimmen, wenn man sich an den deutschen Politikwissenschaftler Erich Vögelin (Eric Voegelin) hält. Das sollte ersichtlich werden aus dem folgenden Abschnitt, den ich in einem anderen Zusammenhang an Richard Landes und Martin Kramer geschrieben habe (auf Englisch, ich lege auch den ganzen Artikel bei, sowie einen zweiten der auch mit der Sache zu tun hat):

            “About the decent part of Germans being much greater than commonly recognised: my reasoning on this hunch is that this decent part of the Germans is never ever going to protest against their being unjustly shamed by implication with Germany as a whole. It is never from them that you will hear talk about “putting the Holocaust guilt behind us” and the like. For a very simple reason: they will always put the victims first, before themselves. Which is exactly why they are decent Germans. Only people in possession of their human soul, i.e. decent people, can really see the victims as what they were, their fellow men. And they will therefore never forget. Without needing any rule or memorial for that.”

            Meinen offenen Brief an Jakob Augstein habe ich mit dem Absatz beendet: “Nun überlegen Sie mal, Herr Augstein: hat Günter Grass wirklich Recht, wenn er behauptet, dass Israel den Weltfrieden gefährde? Wo kämen wir denn da hin, wenn wir auf solch eine Umkehrung der Verantwortung und der Schuld eingehen würden?”

            Wo kämen wir denn dahin? Genau das würde meine Grossmutter Sie auch fragen, wenn sie es noch könnte.

            Frau Bundeskanzlerin, ich möchte Sie allen Ernstes bitten meinen Brief nicht einfach unbeachtet zu lassen, wie der Trottel Jakob Augstein es getan hat.

            Mit freundlichen Grüssen,

            Martin Joachim Malliet.

            PS: Klara Schneider war die Schwester des Industriellen Ernst Schneider aus Heldenbergen, der seinem jüdischen Partner Siegfried Arndt geholfen hat, seine Geschäfte über die Nazi-Zeit zu retten. Es hat sie immer gegeben, die anständigen Deutschen. Nur haben sie eben nie damit angeben wollen. Und wollen es auch heute nicht, was hätten Sie denn gedacht! Deshalb muss die deutsche Bundesregierung sie repräsentieren. Nicht indem sie angibt, sondern indem sie das Rechte tut. Wie es sich eben gehört!

            Offener Brief an Jakob Augstein:

            Herr Augstein, Sie haben nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank. Der Satz von Günter Grass, den Sie für richtig halten, ist falsch. Und dass Sie nicht nur zu so einem Fehlurteil im Stande sind, sondern es auch noch als Journalist bekannt machen müssen, um dann weiterhin daran festzuhalten, obgleich Sie alle Gelegenheit gehabt haben zu besseren Einsichten zu kommen, das alles macht Sie tatsächlich zum Antisemiten. Oder zum Anti-Israel-Journalisten, wenn Ihnen das lieber ist.

            Es geht nämlich in dieser Angelegenheit (wie überhaupt in allen Angelegenheiten) nicht nur um politische Interessen und Werte, d.h. Motive. Es geht an erster Stelle um Recht und Unrecht. Und um darüber urteilen zu können, muss man genau und vollständig über die Tatsachen verfügen, d.h. über das was die eine und die andere Seite in dem Konflikt getan hat.

            Der Vorwurf des Antisemitismus der Sie trifft, ist der Vorwurf einseitig und ungenau mit den Tatsachen umzugehen, in einer Weise die Israels Politik in ein unrechtes Licht stellt.

            Dass Sie alles so kurzerhand auf Motive reduzieren (politische Interessen und Werte), sagt schon sehr viel über wie Sie mit dem Problem umgehen. Nämlich in einer Weise die eben alles auf parteiische Motive reduziert. Sodass Ihnen (und Ihren Lesern) nichts anderes übrig bleibt, als im Zweifel einen parteiischen Standpunkt einzunehmen. In Ihrem Fall ist der links, darin zumindest sind Sie ehrlich. Aber nicht unvoreingenommen. Die Voreingenommenheit drückt sich auch in Ihrem insinuierenden Sprachgebrauch aus (“vorgebliche Freunde Israels”) und in Ihrer leichtfertigen Unterstellung von Handlungsmotiven (“sind bereit einen hohen Preis in Kauf zu nehmen …”). Solcher Sprachgebrauch und solche Unterstellungen sind für einen Journalisten, der um die gewissenhafte Beurteilung der Tatsachen bemüht ist, unzulässig. Daran jedenfalls braucht niemand zu zweifeln.

            Der parteiische Umgang mit den Tatsachen, an dem leider nicht nur Sie sich schuldig machen, wird von Vorurteilen geleitet. Und zwar nicht sosehr von explizit für wahr gehaltenen, falschen Vorurteilen über die Juden, wie das beim alten Antisemitismus der Fall war. Sondern viel mehr von normalerweise vorauszusetzenden Annahmen, wie zum Beispiel die Vermutung der Unschuld, die erstaunlicherweise unterschlagen werden. Die Vermutung der Unschuld habe ich schon genannt. Weiterhin geht es um die Vermutung der Verantwortlichkeit der Palästinenser, die auch sehr oft, in dem Bild des Kampfes zwischen David und Goliath, so nicht ganz, dann doch sehr weitgehend heruntergespielt wird. Und dann wäre da auch noch die Vermutung der Sympathie für die Juden von Israel, die nicht nur sehr oft, sondern eigentlich fast immer fehlt, da ja alle Sympathie schon ganz verausgabt ist an den schwachen David.

            Der ganz grosse Trick jedoch der antisemitischen oder anti-israelischen Propaganda betrifft den Ursprung des Konflikts. Der bleibt nämlich auch unausgesprochen. Dabei wird entweder angenommen, dass er ja schon hinreichend bekannt sei. Oder, dass er einfach nicht mehr auszumachen sei in der ganzen unentwirrbaren Geschichte des Konflikts. Das sind schon sonderbare Annahmen für Journalisten, die um eine gewissenhafte Beurteilung der Tatsachen bemüht sind.

            Die damit unausgesprochen bleibende Wahrheit aber ist, sowohl heute als zur Zeit der Gründung Israels, dass nur eine in gutem Glauben vereinbarte Regelung der gegenseitigen Ansprüche zu einer rechtmässigen Lösung des potentiellen Konfliktes führen konnte. Die Repräsentanten der jüdischen Zionisten waren zu solchen Verhandlungen bereit. Die Führer der muslimischen Araber waren es nicht (und sind es bis heute nicht – lesen Sie bitte zurück, da steht “in gutem Glauben”, und darauf kommt es doch an). Nur dadurch wurde der potentielle Konflikt zu einem wirklichen Konflikt. Und weil die Araber obendrein auch noch ihr unbewiesenes Recht auf Verweigerung jeglicher Verhandlungen mit Gewalt und Krieg verteidigten (und weiterhin verteidigen), sogar zu einem blutigen Konflikt.

            Die Verteidigung mit Gewalt und Krieg eines unbewiesenen Rechts ist ein Verbrechen. Ein Verbrechen gegen das Völkerrecht und ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit. Und wie alle Verbrechen hat es Folgen, bis heute, nicht nur für Israel, sondern ganz besonders auch für die palästinensische Bevölkerung. Und damit hört es noch lange nicht auf.

            Ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit das einfach unausgesprochen bleibt, so weit geht er in der Tat, der Antisemitismus in der Weltpolitik. Und all diejenigen die zu dieser unausgesprochenen Leugnung des Verbrechens beitragen sind folglich Mittäter. Da gibt’s nichts dran zu rütteln.

            Nun überlegen Sie mal, Herr Augstein: hat Günter Grass wirklich Recht, wenn er behauptet, dass Israel den Weltfrieden gefährde? Wo kämen wir denn da hin, wenn wir auf solch eine Umkehrung der Verantwortung und der Schuld eingehen würden?

            Martin J. Malliet

            Jakob Augstein Zitate:

            “Es ist dieser eine Satz, hinter den wir künftig nicht mehr zurückkommen: ‘Die Atommacht Israel gefährdet den ohnehin brüchigen Weltfrieden.’ Dieser Satz hat einen Aufschrei ausgelöst. Weil er richtig ist. Und weil ein Deutscher ihn sagt, ein Schriftsteller, ein Nobelpreisträger, weil Günter Grass ihn sagt.”

            “Jeder Kritiker Israels muss damit rechnen, als Antisemit beschimpft zu werden. Das ist ein gefährlicher Missbrauch des Begriffs. Im Schatten solch falscher Debatten blüht der echte Antisemitismus.”

            “Das ist das Problem: Es geht bei diesen Auseinandersetzungen in Wahrheit um politische Interessen und Werte. Aber die vorgeblichen Freunde Israels sind bereit, für ihre politischen Interessen einen hohen Preis in Kauf zu nehmen: die Ernsthaftigkeit der Antisemitismus-Debatte.”

            PS: Nun setzen Sie das bitte auf “S.P.O.N. – Im Zweifel zweimal nachdenken, oder schweigen: Herr Augstein, Sie haben nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank.”

            Und zeigen Sie damit, dass Sie noch lernfähig sind.

            PS: Ich kann leider die beiden anderen Artikel nicht mehr hinzufügen.

          • @ Martin

            Martin, the whole thing has surely something to do with my transgression of your boundaries. You wouldn’t want to leave the blog, no matter how many other things you have to do, because you can always combine those things with blog commenting.

            I believe that if we don’t talk to each other for a while (or for ever, if you wish), we will have a terrific modus vivendi in this blog. And i think the same goes true for SerJew and E.G. and akmofo. Since it was me who excited the passions against you, i will ask them as a favor to me to refrain from any ad hominem attacks against you. Deal?

            Martin, Nietzsche (whom i thought you like) has spoken about oblivion as a power:

            “However, with the smallest and with the greatest good fortune, happiness becomes happiness in the same way : through forgetting or, to express the matter in a more scholarly fashion, through the capacity, for as long as the happiness lasts, to sense things unhistorically.
            The person who cannot set himself down on the crest of the moment, forgetting everything from the past, who is not capable of standing on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without dizziness or fear, will never know what happiness is. Even worse, he will never do anything to make other people happy. Imagine the most extreme example, a person who did not possess the power of forgetting at all, who would be condemned to see everywhere a coming into being. Such a person no longer believes in his own being, no longer believes in himself, sees everything in moving points flowing out of each other, and loses himself in this stream of becoming. He will, like the true pupil of Heraclitus, finally hardly dare any more to lift his finger. Forgetting belongs to all action, just as both light and darkness belong in the life of all organic things. A person who wanted to feel utterly and only historically would be like someone who was forced to abstain from sleep, or like the beast that is to continue its life only from rumination to constantly repeated rumination. For this reason, it is possible to live almost without remembering, indeed, to live happily, as the beast demonstrates : however, it is generally completely impossible to live without forgetting. Or, to explain myself more clearly concerning my thesis : There is a degree of insomnia, of rumination, of the historical sense, through which living comes to harm and finally is destroyed, whether it is a person or a people or a culture.”

            Come on now, you can forget about my transgression as time goes by.

            You can keep on commenting, but we will not be talking to each other. That’s a good arrangement that allows us both to stay in the blog.

            Please, give me an answer to this.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Hey, this is a picture of my German grandfather and grandmother. They are sitting just behind Ernst Schneider, who is in the front row in the middle and receiving some honour or other in Heldenbergen, where the Schneiders were from. My grandmother is the woman just behind him to the right, my grandfather the man next to her to the left. Their names: Michael Bergmann and Klara Schneider.

            I was quite surprised to meet my grandparents again, in 2013, on the internet! Of course, it is Ernst Schneider, my grandmother’s brother, who is the reason why they are there. I never could find out much about Ernst Schneider’s senior business partner Siegfried Arndt, who was Jewish and emigrated in 1933 to Switzerland and the USA, except that he owned several Sisley paintings.

            http://www.geschichtsverein-windecken.de/schneider/2004-03-23-2g.jpg

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I’m a little pissed off that “My little movie on islamic injustice (as a counterpoint to Gerald Scarfe’s anti-semitic blood libel cartoon)” is not published in full. It’s the best that I have done so far, in my always humble opinion.

            https://plus.google.com/115911169418029127652/posts/QhLTVaDVBxk

          • @ Martin

            I see you have hefty pedigree!

            Let me spoil your reminiscences with an 80′s (cheesy video) pop hit that encapsulates my mental state in anticipation of your answer:

            “You just keep me hanging on”.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNyRU0fKHAY

            Hey, you knew i am impatient!!!

          • @ Wygart

            @ Martin

            Wygart, Martin wants to leave the blog because of me. Do you think that’s wise? Especially after i apologized and offered assurances that i will never violate his natural rights again?

            Isn’t Martin a valuable addition to the blog? And isn’t it unwise to leave a blog he enjoyed contributing to, just because of a rights transgression that will never be repeated?

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Maybe it’s that I’m not very bright, but I seem to have trouble, the way this blog is threaded, putting my comments where I intend. I hope this one does not go too far astray.

            Dionissis wrote at February 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm:

            @ Wygart
            @ Martin

            Wygart, Martin wants to leave the blog because of me. Do you think that’s wise? Especially after i apologized and offered assurances that i will never violate his natural rights again?

            Isn’t Martin a valuable addition to the blog? And isn’t it unwise to leave a blog he enjoyed contributing to, just because of a rights transgression that will never be repeated?

            Mr. Malliet is of course free to do what he wishes.

            Myself, and this is just me, I find Mr. Malliet to be a rare and valuable asset to this blog, don’t run into people like him every day, though you might notice him at the right cafe. There are doubtless particulars that I might take issue with, but one must be careful with a well armed man. I hate being proved wrong. Ugh, death. Reading Nietzsche in the original German at 18 and getting it? I blush to think what I was doing at that age, learning new and improved ways to kill a human being, severing a man’s aorta with a quick thrust down between his clavicles – fun stuff; oh, and of course, developing an immense capacity for enduring privation, pain, terror, and psychological abuse.

            Dionissis,

            I’m not sure you really understand what the violation of rights was quite yet.

            As far as I can tell Mr. Malliet has the whole issue very well in hand, and explained himself perfectly, here:

            You still labour under the assumption that there is somewhere a model of right conduct by which my actions and her actions can be judged, in other words, you still have expectations about how all that complicated stuff that happens in real life should happen. That’s the fundamental mistake. There is no such model, apart from the fundamental principle of natural law that we ought to respect each other as persons.

            That is precisely correct in my experience. I would underscore the point, [but I'm never sure where these blog platforms will start gacking at the in-line HTML], “…somewhere a model…” Physicalist thinking again.

            You’re going to a fine teacher so I have every confidence you will not be spared the lesson.

            To quote someone who I am very sure has been quoted even more rarely than Nietzsche on this blog, [not as an authority on the subject, mind you, but just to show the diversity of personalities that arrive at the same basic conclusion]:

            Love is the Law,
            Love under Will,
            And do what thou wilt
            shall be the whole of the Law.
            ~93

            I will provide the citation if anyone is interested, but note that it is simply a rephrase of Rabelais and so back to St. Augustine, “Love, and do what thou wilt.” You just have to recognize it when you see it.

            Mr. Malliet,

            What ever you decide to do, you are most welcome to stop by and comment over at my blog, you can run on as long as you like. If you ever run on too long, I’ll simply exercise my divine right to use my scroll-wheel. I can almost guarantee that no one will leave you an unfriendly comment – until other people start commenting that is… Then by all means the knife. As the grand-son of a Frenchman, myself, I always keep one handy, though he always preferred a sword-cane.

            There he goes, pimping his damned blog again.

            Regards,

            Wygart the witty wight

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Mr. Malliet,

            Again, not enough levels of indentation permitted in the threading to make this a contiguous reply.

            On the subject of the photograph you posted of your parents. Hans Schwerte? [a slightly younger contemporary to my own grand-parents] There is some real irony there. I’m not sure what to make of it except that history, and people certainly do move in mysterious ways, especially in regard to everything you have told us so far about your grand-mother, and your family.

            What was up with HIM? I don’t know enough about the situation to really form an opinion, I find it HUGELY ironic though, apparently, after faking his own death as ‘Ernst Schneider’ that when confronted with reality at the end he said famously, “I do not know who Schneider is, but I will have to take responsibility for him.” Denial? or Contrition?? Schnieder/Schwerte was a smart fellow by all accounts, what was going on there?

            What a trip.

            W^3

          • @ Wygart

            Who is ‘Ernst Schneider’? I tried to look him up in Wiki, the info was only in German, so i forgot about it and just concluded that he was some sort of big-shot intellectual.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Wygart, you’re tempting me, to plunge into this dialogue again and right away. But I will resist the temptation, I have other things to do first. It cannot be our purpose to continue this thread forever, we will most certainly get lost. So I don’t know how and when we will meet again. But when we meet again, there will be a good reason for it. At least, that’s the purpose I’m having in mind.

            Dialogue or talking to people can become disorderly, but at least there is a chance that it rightens and orders itself again, because people’s souls are involved in one way or another. Talking about people on the other hand is always dangerous, because you can so easily deny their souls without even noticing it (‘banality of evil’). We talk far too much about people and not to people in our public discourse, that at least I am certain of. (And then sometimes we even talk about how to talk about people, like when there is talk about dropping the term ‘immigrants’ when talking about immigrants.)

            This blogosphere is still puzzling me, so by default I just use my Google+ profile where my email is. I definitely prefer the open garden of Google+ to the walled city of Facebook, but I haven’t tried out the video hangouts yet (technologically superior to Skype, I believe).

            I didn’t post the picture, I found it! And it was there not because of them, but because of Ernst Schneider. And they’re my grandparents, not my parents. Klara Schneider, my grandmother, older than in the picture I have of her in my mind, not smiling, probably just doing her duty in attending that event with her brother, and not being all that taken in by the offical talk. When a girl and a bit heavy, Josef and Ernst, her two brothers, called her ‘Brauereigäulchen’. That’s what my mother last told me. I said “what?” thinking of my grandmother, and then laughed: because it is somehow an affectionate term and not really nasty, sort of expressing affection by contrast for their middle sister. There is the power of the German language Schopenhauer spoke about. Michael Gustav Bergmann, my grandfather, taking it all much more seriously and trying to look serious at the same time. He had lived through WWI exactly as Hitler had, they were both messengers, I believe. Karl Kraus called Hitler ‘einen Trottel’ (an idiot), and he saw that from the beginning of Hitler, as he saw so many other things even before Hitler. My grandfather was no idiot, and you couldn’t take him for one either, but without his wife, who knows how he would have ended up. He always wanted us to write him letters, and his insistence was self-defeating: we didn’t like to write him letters, or rather, we couldn’t find what to write to him. Still, they say he was a good primary school teacher, when he had the first class he started each schoolyear with a lesson on the tale of ‘Heiner im Storchennest’. I still remember how still of pre-school age he once took me along to follow a lesson from the back of the classroom, but not what the lesson was about. And then these heated arguments on Sunday after church, mostly against the priest who the grownups found too conservative and authoritarian. He was still a priest who climbed up his rostrum (‘Kanzel’) four meters high to talk down to his congregration, lashing them for their foolishness (‘abkanzeln’). My grandfather and my mother especially couldn’t stop venting their disagreement, which must say something about their inner stability. My grandmother never lost a word in these discussions, as if she had much less difficulty making up her mind, letting the priest be as foolish as he wanted to. She prepared the goose and the sauce for dinner. We liked that goose and that sauce a lot. And now I sent a letter in their name to Angela Merkel. Can you do that, using the name of dead people? Just because you’ve known them? I’m not sure. But I felt quite certain about what I had to say, so that it cannot be all that wrong in the end to say it also in their name. If Angela Merkel wants to lash me for it, at least I’ll get a chance to talk to her in earnest. Smart trick, isn’t it? I didn’t plan it so, though, just found out about it now.

            Some time ago, I read in the FAZ that it is still an open question for historians how Hitler, in 1919(?), transformed himself, or got transformed, from an idiot into an impressive rabble leader. “Hitler: vom Trottel zum Leithammel.” That history book appears not to have been written yet.

            Of Ernst Schneider himself I have no memory, I may have seen him once before I was 4 or so. Each year at Christmas he had little presents sent for us to his sister. He was a self-made man, not pretentious, I don’t believe so, and no loud talking man either, not even when he was DIHT president. (He was no Hanns Martin Schleyer, the BDI president. That’s big industry vs SMEs.) He lived through the bombardement of Dresden, when much was lost: the Odol Lingner Werke factory and a train car full of art he had had evacuated from Berlin just before (I don’t know really what it was). He wrote a very disturbing letter to his sister Klara after that destruction of Dresden, that’s what my mother’s brother the professor told us at the last family reunion. I haven’t seen it and don’t even know whether it still exists, or where.

            Hans Ernst Schneider (1909–1945) alias Hans Schwerte (1945–1995): “Ich habe mich doch selbst entnazifiziert!” That’s an immeasurably intrigueing story to think about, and I haven’t started yet, because you are the first to tell me. I’ll have to ask my uncle the professor if he is aware of it. But Hans E. is not recognisably the same as Ernst, and Schneider is a very common name (tailor). I said it before, this nazi-history is an unbelievable crime story nobody will ever elucidate.

          • @ Martin

            I agree with what you wrote:

            “We talk far too much about people and not to people in our public discourse”

            So, can you talk to me and give me an answer to my proposal? I can improve it actually, i can refrain from commenting here for, say a couple of months, while you keep on contributing to this blog as you used to. If when i come back you feel ok in my presence, we can both stay in the blog. If not, we might work out something else through dialogue.

            Can you please give me an answer? A “yes”, or a “no”, or an “i’ll think about it”?

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I’m a bit hesitant, but these are the stories one should invent about people when one doesn’t know their real story. And it’s coming straight from my mother, so why not. My mother was conceived when Michael and Klara thought they could have their fun without worrying about a new pregnancy, because Klara was still breastfeeding their first child. Bad luck. My mother still believes that she had a bad relationship with her mother because her mother blamed her for that bad luck. That’s what she said was the reason when the other day she started to cry while recollecting her mother’s words. I don’t really believe her. The words she recollected from her mother were far too disturbing in themselves. And they were in fact not how I wrote them, but more colloquially: “Der bringt die alle um!” It looks like a slight difference, ‘die’ instead of ‘sie’. The latter sounds more neutral, correct, you could hear it on the news. The former is far more direct, you could never hear it on the news, it does not simply designate people, it points with a mindful finger to people you’re actually seeing in your mind. German is a powerful language, Schopenhauer was entirely right.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Dionissis, I already gave you my answer, twice, are you deaf? It’s not about you! I have other things to do. If I were you, I’d ask Richard Landes to clean out your useless complaints (together with this useless response of mine). This is his blog, it’s there for his readers, and for nothing else.

          • @ Martin

            I just found out who Ernst Schneider was. I had no clue that you had to cope with such a thing, and i sincerely apologize for anything i have said. I am out of this blog for two months. If after i return you still feel annoyed at me, i am out for good. Stay in the blog, please.

            Dionissis.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Mr. Malliet,

            Very, very interesting stuff. You wrote above:

            Some time ago, I read in the FAZ that it is still an open question for historians how Hitler, in 1919(?), transformed himself, or got transformed, from an idiot into an impressive rabble leader. “Hitler: vom Trottel zum Leithammel.” That history book appears not to have been written yet.

            There was a report commissioned by the OSS during the War on Hitler’s personality, psychology and motives that you might be interested in. It was prepared in 1943 by the late Dr. Henry A. Murray of Harvard. It is available on-line from the Cornell University [my erstwhile alma mater] Law Library here:

            http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/library/whatwehave/specialcollections/donovan/hitler/

            It goes into that subject in several places, this among others:

            Hitler’s egocentrism has always been so marked; he has been such a Bohemian, if not a lone wolf, in many phases of his career that his undoubted devotion to Germany strikes once as most unusual. Since this devotion began at an early age and was the factor, more than any other, which decided that he would become a supreme success rather than an utter failure…

            Much has been written since, but what I find most compelling about this analysis is that it was produced to meet an operational requirement, namely to try and figure out what the ‘Der Trottel’ was we were going to have to do about him, rather than intellectual trophy polishing. Fascinating stuff, some of the terminology is a bit antique though.

            W^3

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Dr. Henry A. Murray, Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler: With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing with Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender

            I haven’t looked into it, and won’t do so in the near future as I have other things to do. But from the little bit I can see right away I will only look into it to see how close they come to what people like Eric Voegelin or Karl Kraus already saw in the 1930s. The Americans had Eric Voegelin at their disposal starting from 1938, but he didn’t like the East Coast establishment very much and went to work in other places. Eric Voegelin explains it very clearly in his 1964 lectures: there were of course quite a number of decent Germans, people who weren’t taken in at all by his so-called charisma and saw him for what he was, “ein Trottel”. When some of those came into direct contact with Hitler, it was typically a one-time event, Hitler didn’t want to repeat it. That’s exactly the William Blake quote on Richard Landes’s masthead.

            The kind of question I find interesting is how this sort of dialogue could also be established in public discourse. In other words, how the leaders of the other powers could have recreated that situation in which Hitler would have been exposed as “ein Trottel” to the world. A thing that would have induced decent Germans to feel less helpless. So that they might have been encouraged to come out with their exact same opinion about Hitler, and would possibly have been able to simply shame him into resignation. If you think that that it is just speculative dreaming and not applicable to the real world, you must also realise that you are actually saying that politics always and everywhere is like war, and that there is simply nothing we can do about that, at all.

            I’m quite certain that the fundamental reason why foreign leaders did not succeed in exposing Hitler to the world as an idiot is that they never even thought of trying to do that. And they never even thought of trying to do that because they couldn’t see him as an idiot themselves. Which says a lot about them, about politics, and about the crime story that was the nazi-period. And the same stupidity is being played out again for 65 years now in world politics, with Israel being just one of the more obvious examples.

            Democratic politics is dangerous. Very dangerous. Especially as long as people are unable to see that it is not the best available option. Which they aren’t as far as I can tell. In that same café, I met an Englishman with his wife, and showed him my piece on “Natural law and Nietzsche’s discovery of the individual; or how it is not the madness of the prophet that is the problem, but his godforsaken self-righteousness and disrespect of the natural law”. Asking him whether it made any sense to him. He said it did. But then immediately continued saying that it would never be enough, because we live in a society, and simply leaving people to their own devices is something we definitely shouldn’t do, the law of the jungle would prevail, etc, etc. His wife weighed in to explain the benefits of social security and publicly funded education. I tend to be distracted in cafés, and simply forgot to ask them the question: fine with me, but why don’t you give us backward people who would like to go back to the 13th century the opportunity to opt out of your beneficial system? Well, as I forgot to ask the question, I can’t tell you their answer. But I’m sure they have one. An answer that is somewhat similar to that of the prophet: if you’re not with us, you’re against us, and we will deal with you accordingly. See how dangerous it is?

            There was another nice girl in that café, working, preparing the food behind a counter, in an almost transparent light t-shirt showing her bra and beautiful breasts. When I came back to her to ask for more bread because I was hungry, she started to do complicated things with gloves on her hands and a pincer, while there was a whole pile of baguette ends they are apparently instructed to discard right in front of her. I stopped her: just give me some of those, I like crusts. She reluctantly dropped the pincer, and grudgingly gave me what I wanted with her gloved hands. I must find a way to make up with her the next time I’m hungry again in that café.

            Tractatus Logico-Sexualis (first draft) – Copyright 2013 Martin J. Malliet

          • @ Martin

            “See how dangerous it [democracy] is?”

            Martin, it’s my mistake that i didn’t read you carefully and did not make myself clear.

            I agree that there are dangers in democracy. It just looks to me that any other system of governance will be even more dangerous. So i am in favor of democracy. Of course, i might be mistaken in my assessment.

            Which more specific dangers of democracy do you have in mind? I am interested in political philosophy and i would like to be exposed to perspectives i haven’t thought about.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (1)

        You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        (There is of course a beginning to this piece, but cutting it up in parts still doesn’t always work for me.)

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (1)

        You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        There is of course a beginning to this piece, but cutting it up in parts still doesn’t always work for me.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        (Dummy phrase to fool the robot!)

        On serious problems with the Weimar Republic (1)

        You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

    • akmofo says:

      of course, that begs the question, which is how “ordinary Germans” allowed things to reach the point where genocide was “normal.”
      =

      Very simple, Richard. They believed and trusted in the government mafia.

      They believed and trusted in the pederast thieving lying mass murdering mafia that is Rome. Same today. Believe and trust in the government mafia and that will only get you and yours killed in their contrived wars of mass murder and plunder. Another example: People are being killed and made to kill and maim their own children by the simple use of gov mafia issued vaccines. These vaccines contain cancer viruses and poison metals such as mercury, aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, as well as other neurotoxins. People are causing themselves and their children great great harm, because of trust and ignorance. Cancers, retarded child brain development, permanent brain damage, and whole host of neurological, DNA and immune damage.

      That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On serious problems with the Weimar Republic

      Richard Landes: “The fact that a police state could so easily be established in a supposed democracy suggests a serious problem.”

      You’re right, of course, but the serious problem you’re pointing to had to do with democracy itself, i.e. with its Hobbesian variety. Hindenburg and his clique tried to hold it off for a while, but it was too much even for the old Prussian. A political democracy of the Hobbesian variety is nothing else than the fight of all against all for control of an interventionist state interfering with natural property rights and freedom of contract in a constant political arbitration of ‘interests’. The democratic struggle was ruthless in that period, with socialists fighting communists, nazis fighting communists and socialists and all the rest, etc. That’s how the crisis was conjured after all, and it is during that political struggle that the nazis learned and practised what they needed to establish that police state soon after they were admitted to official state power in order to end the constitutional crisis.

      (More on the ‘banality of evil’: although personal guilt should indeed never be denied, I sometimes wonder whether not taking sufficiently into account the fact that the political system (and a fortiori a police state) takes away so much of an individual person’s autonomy does not lead to an impasse for the difficult question of “how to separate the sinner from the sin”. A difficult question Koenraad Elst also sees in the confrontation with Muslims and Islam.)

      I don’t think it is all that ironic that Western intellectuals are denouncing democratic governments. They have never done anything else. It is the essence of a Hobbesian democracy that parties fight, not the democratic governments as such, but the governments in power, i.e. each other. Our Western democracies are only the least sinister governments because of that underlying natural law tradition of civil society, which is much older than the democratic constitutions (and of which the theory or jurisprudence goes back to the Stoics, Roman law and Cicero, Christianity and Thomas Aquinas, etc). And together with Voegelin and Van Dun, I don’t think it is wrong to say that that natural law tradition and the civil society that lives by it have been more eroded and endangered by democratic constitutions since 1848 than they ever were by the older regimes, leading to the “apocalypse of man” in the 20th century.

      It is important to understand that political democracy is not simply ‘vector geometry’ as John Rawls wants us to believe. Collective choice means violation of individual choices. Always. Without exception. (Consensus politics is an oxymoron.) Frédéric Bastiat spelled it all out in 1850: you can’t practice legal solidarity (fraternité) without practicing legal injustice. If politics is pursueing anything else than liberty and equality before the law, you will loose both liberty and equality before the law. You may think that it is a question of trade-offs, of more or less of the one or the other thing. But who is going to do the choosing, the arbitration? It’s dangerous, democratic politics. Very dangerous. Especially as long as people are fooled into believing that it is the best of all available options, because it is ‘democratic’.

    • akmofo says:

      the question is, “why uncontested?” why do Europeans and “leftist” “progressives” unquestionably accept the demonization of Israel and shudder at the very suggestion that there’s a problem with Palestinian/Arab/Muslim culture?
      ==

      Because all these groups are fake CIA/Vatican fronts. One way or another they’re ALL financed by the CIA/Vatican and the CIA/Vatican sets the propaganda agenda.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On Hitler, the Nazis, and the question of genocide

      (This is my way of understanding it. I may be wrong here and there about facts, but if these errors do not really matter for my understanding, I would like to avoid a discussion of these irrelevant errors, or more simply, I do not intend to participate in it.)

      With the Jews, the Nazis and even Hitler were not genocidal. The ‘Jewish problem or disease (including bolshevism)’ of German society were one of the two obsessions of Hitler, the other was about the menace to Germany coming from the Russians, with whom he was much more openly genocidal, and whom he wanted to either exterminate or push out of Europe in order to create Lebensraum for Germany and get to the Caspian oil resources. (I’m summarising what I think Rudolf Augstein worked out quite convincingly over his career as a journalist-historian.) If Hitler could have passed on the ‘Jewish disease’ to the rival powers of Germany, he would have preferred that. But they didn’t let him.

      When the Nazis became genocidal with the Jews, they didn’t do so openly, far from it. They were criminals, and in their heart they knew it. So they covered up their crimes from the outset, what else would you expect criminals to do? And that’s why we will never completely find out about how it really went: this is like an unbelievable detective story nobody will ever elucidate. And the German Jews were Germans, not really different, and therefore as much affected by the pneumopathology as the Germans. Which would explain why they didn’t know how to defend themselves any better than the other Germans against the ideological and political (democratic) derailment, that started much earlier than in 1933.

      The question “how ordinary Germans allowed things to reach the point where genocide was normal”, in my view is an ambigous question. For one, genocide was never normal, and certainly not in the sense that ordinary Germans found it normal. So in a way they were always right when they said “wir haben es nicht gewusst”, if ‘wissen’ is understood as “we knew that an (open) genocide against the Jews was being committed and we all knowingly made up our mind to find that normal”. When you understand the question as “how the spiritual and thereby enabled political derailment in which ordinary Germans participated led to a point where this genocide became at all possible” on the other hand, the question makes a lot of sense, I think. But it becomes then a very complex question that is much more about understanding pneumopathology and politics than about historical facts of the nazi-period.

      Methodological individualism: ordinary Germans were people with their individual horizon and understanding of the world they were living in. On this blog of all places we are very conscious of the disorientation caused by the MSNM in particular and public discourse in general. It was very much the same at that time. I also asked my mother about what they heard on the radio. Goebbels, she answered, announcing: “Ab heute wird zurückgeschossen!” That was in 1939, and she was 10 then, but she remembered it first hand. Germany was under attack! Again! After Versailles and all that injustice it had already had to swallow! How do you want ordinary Germans to see through all that, especially as some of it (Versailles) was not altogether wrong?

      Did you ever read Max Weber’s memo after he resigned in complete disappointment: “Bemerkungen zum Bericht der Kommission der alliierten und assoziierten Regierungen über die Verantwortlichkeit der Urheber des Krieges”? J.M. Keynes’s “The Consequences of the Peace” also contains that disappointment, but in a more forward looking way. And Max Weber may have been somewhat volatile in his early years, but he was no criminal. He actually was very sensitive to the ‘pneumopathology’, but unable to figure it out theoretically. And that intellectual and practical helplessness broke him as a man. It makes me cry, right now, while writing this down, when I think of him! If he had had Voegelin to learn from, and had become President of the Weimar Republic, there would have been a chance of an attempt to try a different history for Germany. But that’s dreaming, isn’t it?

      I have other such dreams, about Ludwig Bamberger and Otto von Bismarck, after 1870. Ludwig Bamberger was Jewish, and had married into the von Bischoffsheim family to become a banker (Paribas). He was a classical liberal who understood economics and capitalism, and who admired Bismarck for very good reasons after German unification. But he didn’t see it either, just as Max Weber later couldn’t see it. The chance they had with Bismarck, instead of fighting his so-called anti-democratic authoritarianism in order to get to the executive power, to take him on his word and to use the legislative power they had to keep the executive power in its place. In that dream, Bismarck would have understood and cooperated from his side of the executive power. Bismarck somewhere expresses the idea that objectively he thinks of himself as a republican. But he disliked theoretical speculation in politics, and as long as there was no true liberal on the other side of the legislative power to make him a proposal, he wasn’t going to investigate it any further. In that dream Germany would have become the first lawful democracy in Europe. The first anti-political and truly civil polity. And in that same dream we would now live in a completely different Europe, with government capturing no more that 5% of national income, and not 50%. And in a world without a single Jewish Holocaust memorial.

      These are speculative dreams, I know. The kind of speculative dreams you start to develop once you’ve understood Frank Van Dun’s theory of natural law and Eric Voegelin’s idea of pneumopathology. If the disorder of the human world is the disorder of the human spirit, why not dream of an ordered world in accordance with the order of the human spirit you find in yourself? And in my speculative mood, I would think that that dream is not all that different from a very particular (!) idea some at least have had in the past of the catholic church.

      • SerJew says:

        “On Hitler, the Nazis, and the question of genocide”

        Another pompous title for yet another confused rambling, full of pneumatic non-sense, von Zeppelin and whatever comes to the scholastic egomaniac.

        Now, check these priceless pearls:

        “(This is my way of understanding it. I may be wrong here and there about facts, but if these errors do not really matter for my understanding, I would like to avoid a discussion of these irrelevant errors, or more simply, I do not intend to participate in it.)”

        Translation: mr. Pneumatic doesn’t care much about facts and his mistakes are excusable because he’s such full of himself that his errors
        are irrelevant. Yet another example of unbridled narcissism.

        And, as facts don’t count anyways, here’s a momentous discovery of Mr. Pneumatics:

        “With the Jews, the Nazis and even Hitler were not genocidal.”

        Yeah, right. In fact, they were not even anti-Semites. And the Germans were just misguided people that really loved Jews and were just afraid and angry with Versailles and the “dolchstoss”, etc. And the catholic Church didn’t celebrate Hitler’s anniversaries and the Pope was very vocal on behalf of the Jews. Yeah, just ask mr. Pneumatic’s mom, she knows all about it, though she may be wrong with some irrelevant facts here and there.

        Just amazing.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Now that I’ve calmed myself down and can think straight again, I want to protest against SerJew’s luciferist misinterpretation of my words.

        I had written: ‘(…), but if these errors do not really matter for my understanding, I would like to avoid a discussion of these irrelevant errors, (…).”

        It’s a small word, but it is there, the word ‘if’. And it means that if my errors of fact do not matter for my understanding, i.e. are not of such a kind that they force me to revise my understanding, then they are irrelevant. How can that be so difficult to understand?

        But that’s what SerJew is doing all the time: not understanding what I am saying, then draw his awful conclusion from that misunderstanding of his own, and then hurl that awful conclusion back at my head as if it had been my fault all along! That’s how illogical a positivist mind thinks! Hard science? Dickhead science, I would rather call it.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          I should have written: “now that she has calmed me down”, because it would have been a more accurate statement of the truth. We all make those fundamental mistakes, all the time. I don’t know why. But they do matter and should be avoided. Because it feels better when you manage to avoid them.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Actually, she’s still here, and it was she who pointed it out to me, the inaccuracy of my statement. And made me correct it. So, congratulations to her for her good thinking! – Now she’s proud. She loves to get compliments. When they are deserved, especially. And this one is. That’s why I’m telling you.

        • SerJew says:

          “But that’s what SerJew is doing all the time: not understanding what I am saying, then draw his awful conclusion from that misunderstanding of his own, and then hurl that awful conclusion back at my head as if it had been my fault all along! That’s how illogical a positivist mind thinks! Hard science? Dickhead science, I would rather call it.”

          Listen, Doktor Pneumaticus, there’s absolutely nothing to understand from your egocentric logorrhea, except to conclude the obvious fact that you are just a pseudo-intellectual pretentious prick. You might impress your french buddies with your empty babblings but not people with a modicum of intelligence and less self-focused. Now, go back to your porno-Voegelinesque stupidities.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Pneumopathology demonstrated in action

        I would of course rather see you draw the conclusion by yourself, and not have to point it out in my pedantic manner. But as I cannot be sure that you’re going to do that, I will continue in my pedantry.

        The dialogue we’re having in this thread (and in other threads before) is my way of showing to you what Voegelin means by ‘pneumopathology’ and the destructiveness of the positivist mind. One of the central exchanges in this thread, for me at least, because I care mosts about being understood by Richard Landes, is the following:

        [Martin Malliet:]
        About remembrance: for those who dislike Voegelin, he calls it “having a mind open towards the divine ground of being”. I mean the same when I say that we have our human souls right under our noses. The point is: we shouldn’t let ourselves be intimidated by positivists and other imbeciles into abandoning our ‘faith’.
        [Richard Landes:]
        can you give an example. this kind of rhetoric strikes me as way over the top. if anything, the beautiful souls among the left have completely abandoned positivist principles (trying to get an accurate story that connects to the real world, not the world of their personal and often pathological emotional needs). i’m not a positivist, but i’d never call a serious one an imbecile. i’d sooner apply it to the anti-positivists.

        The ‘faith’ I was talking about is the faith in our individual human soul, soul which we have right under our noses because we can experience it in our mind by reflective thinking. That’s Plato’s method, that reflective thinking. That’s the human capacity for reason. That’s the only solid foundation of our individual sovereignty. And if you let yourself be intimidated into losing that faith, you’re into pneumopathology, and God knows where you will end up then.

        The ‘faith’ I was talking about had absolutely nothing to do with “the beautiful souls among the left”. And Richard Landes should have understood that right away, because he knows that I am not one of these “beautiful souls among the left”, and he should therefore have understood that I could not possibly have meant what they mean. It may look difficult, this reflective thinking, but it is not. Not really, once you have found out how it works. And that’s also why everybody is supposed to understand the (natural) law, it’s not really that difficult. But for mysterious reasons, people always manage to avoid it. In French they call it: “chercher midi à quatorze heures.” And Richard Landes speaks French, so I continue to be confident that in the end our minds will meet. (Somewhere in Paris, preferably.)

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          And the moment our minds will meet, we will know it, that they have met. We will know that we have gotten out of Plato’s cave.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          How will we know it, that we have gotten out of Plato’s cave? Because it will feel good! I think that is always the surest sign, the feel good sign. Because that is what shows that you connect with reality, or Voegelin’s ‘divine ground of being’. I suppose that’s also what mystics talk about. Although I still prefer to understand myself as a materialist, because I cannot see how I could make that connection with reality if it were not with other people. But the ‘definitions’ don’t matter, at all. It’s the reality that matters. And only this individually experienced reality really matters. (It’s politics, and only politics, the systems of power of men over men, that gets us into a situation where we lose this individual sovereignty, and another reality, a collective reality, starts to become more important for our lives than our individual reality. And that’s bad, always.) And the connection with reality always has to be conformant to natural law: the people must be individual people, different and sovereign people, who then have a meeting of minds (and bodies, female bodies, in my case). All that pleasure and happiness that is not picked up! Because of this political derangement that transforms us into dhimmis! Because that’s what it is. The discovery of the individual is a recent discovery, Nietzsche said. In one sense I think he is wrong: cavemen were just as capable of discovering their individuality as we are. In another sense he is even too optimistic: it’s not even actual, not even a well ascertained discovery as of today, far from it. As I said to Mika, when I tried to recruit him as an agent for the Vatican, there’s still a lot of work to do. An awful lot of work. No wonder the Pope felt tired and wanted to resign. (He had tried after all with his Regensburg lecture in 2006(?), and gotten nowhere.)

          • @ Martin

            “How will we know it, that we have gotten out of Plato’s cave? Because it will feel good!

            So does heroine. It doesn’t mean it’s good.

            “I think that [the feel good sign] is always the surest sign, the feel good sign. Because that is what shows that you connect with reality, or Voegelin’s ‘divine ground of being’.”

            Connecting with reality might involve feeling pain. Coming to realize things about ourselves hurts a lot. The consolation is that it makes us better persons, because it sets us into the path of letting our frailties melt on their own through the passage of time. But, first, we must become aware of them. This hurts.

            “All that pleasure and happiness that is not picked up!”

            I agree. But you cannot force it, the more you try the more the pleasure or the happiness evade you. What you end up with if you strain yourself too much is neither pleasure nor happiness.

            I think we can only take as much of them as our conditioning allows. And in letting parts of our conditioning wither away, we become more and more capable of feeling pleasure or attaining some sort of happiness.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I was waiting for it, and there it is: the ‘I’m sure I’m not alone’-argument, a very convincing rabble-like argument offering a smooth conduit for tapping into the well of resentment and hatred. Of course you’re no alone, SerJew. The rabble never is.

          • SerJew says:

            “Of course you’re no alone, SerJew. The rabble never is.”

            Sure, dr. Pneumaticus. Contrary to your pathological egocentrism I can figure out there are other people around. And, amazingly to you, they also don’t swallow your BS.

        • @ Martin

          And Richard Landes speaks French, so I continue to be confident that in the end our minds will meet. (Somewhere in Paris, preferably.)

          I find French culture very pretentious. Give me London anytime.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Going back to Plato’s cave? Do you have any idea how narrow-minded, self-righteous and heartless these cavedwellers are, SerJew?

          • SerJew says:

            “Going back to Plato’s cave? Do you have any idea how narrow-minded, self-righteous and heartless these cavedwellers are, SerJew?”

            I dunno. But they may not put up with your pompous logorrhea.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          You’re perfectly right, SerJew. They won’t put up with it. They told me that already before I got out. So I can’t even go back, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t.

          • SerJew says:

            Absolutely NOBODY with a modicum os self-respect would put up with your pathological narcissism, dr. Pneumaticus.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On criminal, spiritually deficient and decent Germans during and after the nazi-period

        Your idea of the Germans coming to grips with what they did is probably too much to ask for. For the simple reason that it is just too complex a phenomenon to be summarised symbolically. At least I don’t see how. Although I admit that it is an interesting challenge to find a summarising formula for Germany’s guilt that also does justice to the decent part of Germany. I’ve always sensed that the inevitable collectivist symbolisaton of the problem had two bad effects: it somehow protected the criminals and the seriously deficient part of the Germans, while shaming too much the other part by implication. It’s just too difficult to identify and separate them, and that has also to do with politics: politics cannot function without that collectivist fiction that ‘collective choice’ is somehow the choice of the people. But it is fiction, not reality. (Impossibility theorem of Kenneth Arrow.)

        About the decent part of Germans being much greater than commonly recognised: my reasoning about this hunch is that this decent part of the Germans is never ever going to protest against their being unjustly shamed by implication with Germany as a whole. It is never from them that you will hear talk about “putting the Holocaust guilt behind us” and the like. For a very simple reason: they will always put the victims first, before themselves. Which is exactly why they are decent Germans. Only people in possession of their human soul, i.e. decent people, can really see the victims as what they were, their fellow men. And they will therefore never forget. Without needing any rule or memorial for that.

        • @ Martin

          About the decent part of Germans being much greater than commonly recognised: my reasoning about this hunch is that this decent part of the Germans is never ever going to protest against their being unjustly shamed by implication with Germany as a whole.

          But no one is shaming contemporary Germans, let alone unjustly. What do you have in mind when you imply that someone is shaming them?

          It is never from them that you will hear talk about “putting the Holocaust guilt behind us” and the like. For a very simple reason: they will always put the victims first, before themselves. Which is exactly why they are decent Germans. Only people in possession of their human soul, i.e. decent people, can really see the victims as what they were, their fellow men. And they will therefore never forget. Without needing any rule or memorial for that.

          It has always been a hunch of mine that the rule or the memorial is very useful in protecting Germans from going mad again. Do you deny this value of the rule or the memorial (whatever you mean by those two last terms)? If yes, do you deny that there should be a rule or a memorial?

        • SerJew says:

          “On criminal, spiritually deficient and decent Germans during and after the nazi-period”

          What now? Doktor Pneumaticus is trying to rewrite history to exculpate his beloved Germans?

          Fact is that high-cultured Germans enthusiastically embraced nazi rule and were either very happy or indifferent to watch their fellow Jewish citizens (who by the way, were even more German then the supposedly superior aryans) being humiliated and stripped of their humanity. Moreover, those “decent” Germans knew very well what’s going on in the “wild east”, the mass shootings and summary executions.

          I guess you really are a cave-man, but not of Platonic ilk. More of a Sturmabteilung type.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        History and anamnesis

        Dionissis: try to think a bit about the whole picture. Should I go off now on discussing the value of Holocaust remembrance rules and memorials, in Germany, in general?

        I don’t want to do that. I’d rather stay on the subject I was on, and which is far from being exhausted: in this case the decent part of the Germans that remain in the background, exactly because they are decent, and will therefore never push themselves onto the scene as the loud talking people are doing, the people like Günter Grass, Martin Walser and Jakob Augstein. Who are then taken as proof for justifying some nasty but unfounded projection on ‘the Germans’ as a collective, like SerJew is doing all the time.

        The fundamental idea I am trying to explain is that politics, even democratic politics, especially democratic politics, is dangerous, very dangerous, exactly because it gets you inevitably into that kind of reasoning on collectives like ‘the Germans’. Whereas we know from ourselves, looking at our own mind and listening to our own heart (i.e. the soul right under our noses I mentioned elsewhere), that we are individuals, and that collectives simply do not exist as such. They are always fiction, political fiction, without a single exception. When we then understand how this political fiction has helped to produce the “apocalypse of man” in the 20th century (these are ideed Eric Voegelin’s words again), we should not have too many difficulties to figure out that repeating the same mistakes is not such a good idea. As Anthony de Jasay would say: “we could try it, but it would be better not to.”

        (I really like that phrase, and if you, Dionissis, love the English language, you should have a look at how he uses it. He was Hungarian when he started, but he found his own English language. And I would think that it is in general a very good criterion to judge a thinker valuable: the feeling you get that he has found his own language.)

        Of course I have no empirically validated count of these decent Germans, and on this point I would entirely agree with SerJew that it would be extremely interesting to have one before going on to talk about the subject. But then, we already know that we will never get such an empirically validated count, because it is by the very nature of the thing not something that can be done (or very difficult, to say the least). Therefore speculation is probably the best method we have, and this speculation of mine in particular I would think is a good reason at least to suspect that the decent part of the Germans is probably greater than commonly recognised.

        That’s a reasoning on probabilities, no more. Richard Landes as a historian is actually quite good at those kind of things, his whole work on apocalyptic movements in history starts from such a probabilistic speculation, because he can see a good reason why the historical sources would tend to downplay or even hide what actually happened.

        At the bottom of it all is this illuminating idea of Eric Voegelin that the order (or disorder) in history comes from the order (or disorder) of the human spirit. I for one find it illuminating, and I have never encountered it elsewhere. SerJew may go on ranting about birdie, schnitzels and pretzels, it will not make the slightest bit of difference for me. Maybe I was lucky, because I had studied Frank Van Dun’s theory of natural law first, and he explains that connection between the individual spirit and the order of human conviviality much better than Eric Voegelin anywhere does. The natural law (or its disrespect) is the connection. History is a mystery in the process of revealing itself, just like thinking is a mystery in the process of revealing itself (anamnesis). The divine ground of being obviously is there.

        • @ Martin

          Dionissis: try to think a bit about the whole picture. Should I go off now on discussing the value of Holocaust remembrance rules and memorials, in Germany, in general?

          You shouldn’t go off discussing anything you don’t want to discuss. But i would insist on an answer to my previous question: who is the one you had in mind when you talked about shaming contemporary Germans?

          I don’t want to do that. I’d rather stay on the subject I was on, and which is far from being exhausted: in this case the decent part of the Germans that remain in the background, exactly because they are decent, and will therefore never push themselves onto the scene as the loud talking people are doing, the people like Günter Grass, Martin Walser and Jakob Augstein. Who are then taken as proof for justifying some nasty but unfounded projection on ‘the Germans’ as a collective, like SerJew is doing all the time.

          I suggest that your starting point should have been your last sentence, about SerJew and his reaction to you. As his name suggests, he is a Jew – and nobility at that! I love blue-bloods!

          If Jews have been talking about Germans as a collective, it is because of 6 million reasons. That alone should have silenced you – no, no intimidation, you should have felt like silencing yourself.

          But tell me something about those Germans that stay in the background: how hard can it be for them to come out and verbally attack the Gunter GraSSes? If they don’t, what does this say about them? And, anyway, if they don’t speak up, why should they complain when they are considered members of the collective German attitude? Haven’t they implicitly acquiesced to anti-Semitism just by refusing to react to anti-Semitism?

          The fundamental idea I am trying to explain is that politics, even democratic politics, especially democratic politics, is dangerous, very dangerous, exactly because it gets you inevitably into that kind of reasoning on collectives like ‘the Germans’.

          What is your proposal for governance? An aristocracy of intellectuals? If yes, what if they get it wrong? How can we elect them out of office without bloodshed? Democracy is the shelter of the risk averse – and, personally, i am risk averse.

          Whereas we know from ourselves, looking at our own mind and listening to our own heart (i.e. the soul right under our noses I mentioned elsewhere), that we are individuals, and that collectives simply do not exist as such.

          Collectives do exist, and one such manifested itself in the Holocaust. It was the German collective.

          Hey, i just demonstrated the reality of a stone by kicking it – if you know what i mean.

          I really like that phrase, and if you, Dionissis, love the English language, you should have a look at how he uses it. He was Hungarian when he started, but he found his own English language. And I would think that it is in general a very good criterion to judge a thinker valuable: the feeling you get that he has found his own language.

          Thanks for the tip. But my reading list grows bigger and bigger all the time.

  5. sshender says:

    Just finished reading Kenneth Levin’s seminal work “The Oslo Syndrome” and can’t recommend it enough! Should be (but of course never will be) made mandatory reading in all Israeli schools, or at least for political science university students. The book is superbly written with astonishing amount of data and research, and appeals to those of a skeptical mindset in that it doesn’t just gloss over any counter arguments, but tackles them convincingly head on.

    It’s mind boggling how such an important tome received so little traction, and worse yet, was not translated into Hebrew.

    it has, just now.

    also, Ofira Selektar, Doomed to Failure? The politics and intelligence of the Oslo Peace Process

    • E.G. says:

      Well, it might end like the Janis & Mann classic.
      For those who weren’t there or were trapped in the delusional bubble, it is a very recommended reading.
      Next time you hear/read of Messianic ideas, recall the felicity of the Oslo war years and its Orwellian communication laundromat.

      aside from not knowing what the ref to “Janis and Mann” means, i’m in complete agreement with you… including the handling of cognitive dissonance at its failure by blaming israel – which takes us back to Martin’s comment on how people can not withstand evil.

    • w.w.wygart says:

      Interesting. I’ll have to put the book on my ever-expanding “to read” list.

      Speaking of the “Oslo Syndrome”, as being something possibly irrational. Back in my earlier days in counter-terror training [mid '80's] I was taught as part of US Army doctrine at the time, that the Stockholm Syndrome, the “feelings of trust or affection felt in certain cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor,” functioned because of a rational perception of survival advantage by the hostage, namely that he was more likely to survive the experience by taking sides with the most immediate threat to his life, the people he was locked in the same building with. The possibility of rescue, or though of the outside world and its value system or helpfulness became very distant prospects to the captive when he or she was under threat of almost immediate and arbitrary death. Under those circumstances, some hostages resisted or actually took up arms against their rescuers.

      [Thus we were trained that when going hot into a room to put two bullets in the chest of anyone holding a weapon, you look at the hands first, not the face - potentially messy - however if you realize that even under the best of circumstance you are likely only to have a half second advantage on the hostage takers, there zero time to sort out people intentions, loose that edge and things get very, very messy indeed.]

      Makes you wonder what the rational motive of Israelis who take sides with the Palestinians vs the people they are “locked in the room”with [their fellow Israelis] is exactly. Is it really as simple as the Stockholm Syndrome on a societal level? But he Palestinians have already stated their intention to wipe them out in the end anyway – or is that prospect distant enough that people feel safe in ignoring it. Curious.

      I guess I’ll have to buckle down and read the book.

      Even in today’s political sphere there might be an analogy hidden here, look at the hands first, not the face.

      W^3

      • @ w.w.wygard

        “Makes you wonder what the rational motive of Israelis who take sides with the Palestinians vs the people they are “locked in the room”with [their fellow Israelis] is exactly. Is it really as simple as the Stockholm Syndrome on a societal level? But he Palestinians have already stated their intention to wipe them out in the end anyway – or is that prospect distant enough that people feel safe in ignoring it. Curious.”

        I found your suggestion about a societal Stockholm Syndrome very insightful and having the ring of truth (but i would leave room for synergistic explanations, such as Israelis hateful of their own society and willing to take their revenge anyway they can, e.g. by siding with the enemy). Here is just a thought of mine:

        Ultimately, the rational motivation of the hostage rests on resolving the fear for her life. As you said, seeing that she can survive if she takes sides with her captor, she takes sides with him, identifies with him, and the fear goes away.

        In the case of Israel i would propose that the fear might not so much be fear of Palestinian violence, as it is fear of a negative world public opinion. It feels bad to be hated by the world. I don’t have empirical data to base my suggestion except my introspection after engaging in thought experiments where i am an Israeli, and also people’s heavy dependence on how other people view them. And if this fear of being perceived by the world as utterly immoral can be resolved by suicidal moves, such as siding with the enemy, the Israeli victims might indulge in it. This would explain the apparent disregard of the Palestinian genocidal intentions that you mentioned.

        I don’t know, but i think that the dimension of fear resolution has a role to play in any explanation of the phenomenon.

        The analogy with looking at the hands first was great.

        • w.w.wygart says:

          Thanks, it’s a hell of an analogy unless you’ve ever been put in the position of having to put it into practice.

          As I said, I haven’t read the book yet so I was completely guessing where it was going. The point about, the “threat of almost immediate and arbitrary death,” is I think psychologically significant. When death becomes both arbitrary and immediate, people do the craziest things [as well as the bravest]. This was the world of the death camps, immediate and arbitrary death. This was also the motivation of the Sonderkommandos, how do you get someone to participate in the genocide of their own people?? It can be done. Indeed it can be done.

          If I were to start ‘theorizing’, I would probably take the tack you were starting on and point out that there are people for whom being “Right” and having “The Answer”, is more important than just about anything else – or anyone else [the ego will on occasion kill the Self who offends it as well]. Actually its no theory, it is precisely the intellectual environment I was raised in as a good New England liberal. It has become the work of the second half of my life trying to reign in that propensity in myself and balk the desire to denounce it whenever I encounter it.

          I’m not sure if guess and theory are contradictory or mutually exclusive or a case of ‘yes-and’. I’ll have to hunker down with the book.

          W^3

          • @ w.w.wygart

            “As I said, I haven’t read the book yet so I was completely guessing where it was going. The point about, the “threat of almost immediate and arbitrary death,” is I think psychologically significant.”

            You are the expert on that. I have never found myself in life-or-death situations, with or without holding a weapon, so there is nothing in my personal experience that can hint to me the whole range of the emotions generated by such situations.

            “If I were to start ‘theorizing’, I would probably take the tack you were starting on and point out that there are people for whom being “Right” and having “The Answer”, is more important than just about anything else – or anyone else [the ego will on occasion kill the Self who offends it as well].”

            Moral narcissism (“Right”) and intellectual vanity (“The Answer”) then?

            “[the ego will on occasion kill the Self who offends it as well]“

            Is there anything on this subject in your blog?

            “Actually its no theory, it is precisely the intellectual environment I was raised in as a good New England liberal. It has become the work of the second half of my life trying to reign in that propensity in myself and balk the desire to denounce it whenever I encounter it.”

            I grew up Lefty myself. Why should we not denounce the “Right-and/or-The Answer” manifestations when encountering them? (it’s not a rhetorical question, i really don’t know if we should denounce, even though i do it guilt-freely). On a political level i would venture that denouncement is beneficial. Are you also making a point about the particular person who might have to decide between denouncing or not?

            Sorry if i am imposing with all those questions, you are probably too busy, but i like your approaches very much.

          • Richard Landes says:

            by theses standards, one of the major “players” with raging stockholm syndrome is the journalists, who know that only by making friends with the enemy can they survive.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            I tend to agree with Dr. Landes on this one:

            “by theses standards, one of the major “players” with raging stockholm syndrome is the journalists, who know that only by making friends with the enemy can they survive.”

            I had written an overly lengthy comment on that subject back in November [which you were all mercifully spared] in reply to your post:

            http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2012/11/27/women-journalists-in-gaza-a-new-niche-for-the-third-gender/

            There is a kind of professional corruption that happens in the media world when the journalist starts to identify with their subject, and at the same time are in an environment of complete dependency and implicit coercion – “immediate and arbitrary death” again??? It’s a complex psychology, and one that has apparently become completely rationalized [is that Voegelin coming in again by a back door?] by a profession that is intellectually not quite up to the task of spotting where they are being manipulated – because they have completely identified with their subjects, and seem to have redefined their profession around that process.

            Reminds me of the situation you have in the biological sciences You have a scientist who studies naked mole rats, eminent, leader in his field [I'm thinking of someone in particular, btw] been studying the naked little beasties for twenty plus years and has become so identified with his subjects that his conclusion is that the naked mole rat’s eusocial social structure is superior to all other animal social orders and that it would be good for humans to be more like them [or exactly like them, its hard to tell sometimes how far people really would like to take their 'pet' ideas]. So what you have is a very smart, well educated professional scientist who due to this identification process starts to lose, not just his scientific objectivity, but lose touch with the brilliance and exceptionality of the species [society] that produced him. It seems that some minds are small enough that they cannot contain the possibility two different societies each having their points of brilliance and deficit – one has to be elevated and one has to be lowered – what is that? zero-sum thinking again???

            Apologies for the pregnancy of the reply.

            W^3

  6. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Gerald Scarfe’s anti-semitic blood libel cartoon in the Sunday Times, Rupert Murdoch’s apology for it, and Simon Kellner’s diversion about Jewish sensitivities

    So it is almost 1 to 3, the public’s agreement or disagreement with Rupert Murdoch’s apology for the ‘insensitive’ cartoon.

    Not being even Jew-ish, I think it is high time for Jews (and other people as well) to get really angry and to say so: this isn’t about ‘sensitivities’, this is about a crime against the Jewish State of Israel going on since 1947-48 that remains unacknowledged up till today, and that can thus be ‘unspokenly denied’. A thing that by its very nature is easy to do without attracting attention.

    Of Rupert Murdoch one should ask: is he going to continue selling his newspapers with anti-semitic cartoons and ‘news’ first, to the 3/4 of his readership expressing a demand for them, only to apologise afterwards, to keep the other 1/4 of his readership. Or is he going to become a mensch and draw a line.

    To SerJew: can I get some praise from you now that I managed not to drag Voegelin into it?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iv-drip/was-rupert-murdoch-right-to-apologise-for-gerald-scarfes-cartoon-in-the-sunday-times-8471099.html

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      On the power of the ‘negatives’

      It took me a while, although I sensed it from the beginning.

      Gerald Scarfe obviously doesn’t see his cartoon as an anti-semitic blood libel. But he did apologise for the insensitivity of having it published on Holocaust Memorial Day. He doesn’t spell it out, but he seems to imply, that on all other days of the year than Holocaust Memorial Day, mocking the victims of the Holocaust or those who want to keep them in remembrance is not insensitive.

      There is in other words a real suspicion that by using the familiar ‘don’t you patronise or demonise me as an anti-semite for expressing legitimate criticism of Israel’ tactics, these auto-proclaimed legitimate critics of Israel have moved far into the territory of the good old anti-semitism.

      PS: The slap on the wrist by Richard Landes for making the “crazy analogy” I thought was not justified, and here is why I thought so. There is a difference between giving patronising advice, i.e. advice that is indeed patronising, and being a patronising prick giving unsollicited advice, whether that advice is in itself patronising or not. The ‘don’t you patronise me’ defense is justified only if the unsollicited advice is indeed patronising, which therefore needs to be shown first. When this demonstration is not supplied, the defense becomes a form of libel, taking the simple fact of unsollicitated advice as sufficient proof for accusing somebody of being an arrogant patronising prick.

      All this is nothing else than the classical invalidaton of ad hominem attacks. And as such there is a logical analogy with the ‘don’t you demonise me for being critical of Israel’ defense by ad hominem attack.

      By the way, even when the man giving you unsollicited advice is habitually a pompous arrogant prick, the accusation would still not be justified in the case of him giving you some unsollicited good advice. It would indeed be an abject show of ungratefulness to take the good advice and call him in return a pompous arrogant prick!

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      I have a not so long piece of advice to Israel Defenders titled: “As a now famously arrogant pompous prick, I will tell you what I think you should do.” But I wouldn’t dare to publish it.

      Well, as the damage is already done, and I’m already a famously arrogant pompous prick, I can just as well publish it.

      As a now famously arrogant pompous prick, I will tell you what I think you should do.

      In defending Israel against both unjust acts and words, it is more effective to keep it simple and to draw attention to the ‘negatives’, that is the just acts and words that remain undone or unspoken. It is more effective than endless complaints about the all too numerous unjust acts and words that are done and spoken all the time, for a number of reasons.

      (1) It is less time and energy consuming for you.
      (2) It is less demanding for the people you want to listen to you.
      (3) It has a surprise effect, it stands out, it goes against routine.
      (4) There are probably more reasons that you will discover as you go along.

      The bundling of forces should at least happen in Israel. Nobody should even suggest that freedom of speech is somehow a danger to the nation, and that political debate should be curtailed in one way or another. But one should be able to agree on the first priority in every debate, namely the right of the Jewish State to exist, and that means the right to be left in peace! Peace is not some added luxury of life, peace is a right that comes with life. And the fact that that right is not respected by those who wage an unjust war against Israel motivated by nothing more than a preposterous claim made by a dead prophet constitutes a crime against humanity. It should therefore be pointed out. Relentlessly. That should be the unquestioned priority number one, whatever else one may think of this or that Israeli policy.

      It is certainly possible to go beyond an Israel-centered defense and to draw attention to the wider implications of this ungoing unjust war waged against Israel by Islamic states and terrorist groups. But there is a danger with this appeal to interest with your Western potential partners. It is the danger that in our overpoliticised world, where the notions of right and lawfulness are already so much devalued by the constant struggle between conflicting political interests and the relentless advancement of partisan motives, your appeal to interest will be seized upon eagerly (only to be then turned against you in some surprising way), while the insistence on your right will go unnoticed. That would be no progress. Furthermore, figuring out their interest is something your Western potential partners are quite capable of doing by themselves. Giving them unsollicited advice on what is in their interest may even be taken as a sign of arrogance and pompousness.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Does it hurt being called a pompous arrogant prick, and if so, when, how and why?

      This is in fact an ongoing investigation of mine into the concept of self-righteousness (and the accompanying feelings) that is preoccupying me for quite a while already, because I can’t seem to make much progress.The last experience of dialogue however did add some clarity to what I was thinking up till now.

      (1) First note conceived as a reply in the dialogue:

      I’m not trying to be kind to you, I’m trying to be honest with you. And I don’t care all that much about your ad hominem attacks, because they are just that, ad hominem attacks.

      It is indeed a puzzle to me for quite some time already, to completely understand the underlying dynamics of the following exchange:

      A says to B: “You’re talking nonsense.” And then doesn’t get a chance even to explain why he thinks
      B is talking nonsense, because B responds to A: “You’re just an arrogant prick.”

      To me it seems obvious that A was in his right (didn’t cross a boundary), while B behaves indeed as an arrogant prick crossing the boundary by simply accusing A of being an arrogant prick without justification, and of course, without listening to A’s reasons and a fortiori without argueing with them.

      I can understand it as a tactic, a tactic to avoid the difficult question of the nonsense. And in a group especially this works generally well for winning a debate. Political debates often contain hardly anything else but such tactical arguments.

      What is puzzling me is that it happens even when there isn’t anything to win. That it happens most of the time. People then say that it is simply a question of being more diplomatic and respecting other people’s sensitivities. I don’t buy it. Because it doesn’t answer the question why people are so sensitive in an argument about form, style and diplomacy and so little interested in the substance of the argument.

      No, it remains a puzzle to me. If you could make me understand what I am missing, I would be grateful to you.

      PS: The tactical argumentation actually prevents substantial dialogue, which is the somewhat mysterious process by which an exchange of arguments helps to build a new kind of truth, one that goes beyond whatever the participants brought to the table. Because it is rare that right after the first exchanges of arguments, one side simply wins the argument entirely. Normally after the first exchange, the matter or truth under discussion changes: the critique by one side may prove to be valuable, but help the other side to further develop the initial idea. And this can then go on as long as the participants have a reason to see progress.

      PPS: My fundamental suspicion, however, is that it is just another symptom of this incredible blurring of the distinction between rights and interests in our over-politicised society. Everything has become political; everything is seen as simply a case of conflicting interests and claims; there’s nothing else but to fight in order to see who can make his interest prevail over the interests of others. The fundamental notion of rights and boundaries that must not be crossed under any circumstances is clearly devalued and made subordinate to overriding interests and so-called ideological principles. In everyday life and small-talk discussions this habit is then reproduced. Everybody just exhibits opinions as if they were pieces of clothing, and it’s just being disagreeable when you do not always approve with “absolutely” and “I agree entirely” (a bit like saying to a woman that her hair looks awful, something you just don’t do that, even when it is true). The word ‘disagreeable’ says it very well, in fact: argument or disagreement is in itself unwelcome. Period.

      (2) After not publishing the reply and giving it some more thought:

      The hurt may have different origins, but it supposes that you respect the other side and that you want to continue to do so. Whenever it is immediately clear that your attacker is just making a base ad hominem attack with no justification, you lose your respect for him and there simply is no hurt.

      However, when that is not the case, you’re left in an emotional limbo as long as you cannot clearly figure out which of the three possible outcomes is the one that applies. And figuring it out takes indeed some skills, thinking skills, no less. And these seem to be quite unevenly distributed. (Which must be one of the reasons why having a substantial dialogue without getting trapped in streams of invective has become so difficult.)

      (i) You can work out that the other side is clearly wrong, and wrong in such a way that you cannot very well keep your respect for him. This is the least painful outcome, but it is actually the worst, because you’re losing a (potential) friend.

      (ii) What you find out points to some misunderstanding, for which neither side is truly responsible, and it should be possible to straighten things out. As this takes some effort at least from your friend, you’re not completely in control however. Nevertheless, this is the most frequent outcome and apart from the time consumed it is hardly painful. To the contrary, most of the time you learn at least something from it.

      (iii) You come to the conclusion that your friend was indeed right in accusing you of some awful act or word. That is painful, and can become even excruciatingly painful when it is so that the ugliness is structural and old, in other words a true character flaw (and then we’re into Dostoyesvky terrain). But true character flaws are not so common, it’s often no more than a really bad habit that you discover in yourself. And the most common case anyway will be just some awful mistake, a fault to be sure, but nothing to despair about. With the advantage that you are in complete control. And if you do it right, there is the big consolation that you can keep your friend. It can even lead to that kind of over-joyous conclusion that makes you feel diffusely grateful for having done the awful thing in the first place. And grateful to your friend for having drawn a line.

      • @ Martin

        “And the most common case anyway will be just some awful mistake, a fault to be sure, but nothing to despair about. With the advantage that you are in complete control. And if you do it right, there is the big consolation that you can keep your friend. It can even lead to that kind of over-joyous conclusion that makes you feel diffusely grateful for having done the awful thing in the first place. And grateful to your friend for having drawn a line.”

        Martin, that is what i was trying to do, draw a line. And i couldn’t think of any other way than the way i did it. I have a thing for people that are both educated and intelligent (all the more so when they happen to make good contributions in this blog, as you do), so i want us to be friends. If you still want that too, i am in.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Dionissis: I never held it against you. I somehow continue to believe that you are simply young and impatient. And I didn’t even dislike that, if you care to believe me. When I was young myself, my uncle the professor thought me somewhat impetuous, like a “young dog”, he said. I guess I was unwittingly repeating that to you. Let’s just forget about it. On the other hand, I was trying to make a deeper point, about mind and love. But let’s not get started on women (etc), that would be really off-topic.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      My little movie on islamic injustice (1) (as a counterpoint to Gerald Scarfe’s anti-semitic blood libel cartoon)

      Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo Van Gogh are known for having produced a little film about islam. I’ve never seen it. Because I didn’t feel the need to see it. I already had a little film in my own head, no longer than 30 seconds, less time than you need to read my description of it.

      There are two sequences of 15 seconds each, the first coming from some TV pictures I once saw on the news, the kind of pictures preceded by a warning about their disturbing character. It was from an execution of a woman by the taliban, pictures of her being put to death for adultery in some football stadium. You saw it all happen from afar, she walking forward under her light blue burqa, followed by a taliban man dressed in brown, leisurely carrying his kalashnikov in his arms across his chest. She kneeling down and he lowering his kalashnikov to shoot her through the head. 15 seconds. You could see some smoke, and her head exploding under her burqa, how her body was knocked forward, and how she fell on her face. Her life destroyed by some unassuming self-righteous taliban man in a football stadium. In front of I don’t know whom.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      My little movie on islamic injustice (1b) (as a counterpoint to Gerald Scarfe’s anti-semitic blood libel cartoon)

      There is a second part, but it doesn’t come up. I find it frustrating, this sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and not understanding why.

  7. @ Martin Malliet

    Martin Malliet said:

    “Dionissis, you are indeed young and impatient!”

    I cannot recollect when exactly it was that i asked you for an assessment of my character.

    Martin Malliet said:

    “That doesn’t imply that I was going to argue against Martin Kramer’s argument.”

    I never said, or implied, that you were going to argue against Martin Kramer. I talked about a response in defense of Martin Kramer, obviously referring to his criticism of the idea of linkage.

    “If I may say so, to Dionissis”

    I guess that your sentence addresses your admirers.

    But, Martin, you don’t have any, i’m afraid – even though it’s perfectly clear how desperate you are for it to have been the case.

    “you [Dionissis] should live out your youthful impatience somewhere else, e.g. in giving your woman pleasure!”

    And how do you know that i am not gay, or bisexual?

    Have you been stalking me?

    “Because that’s where youthful impatience belongs (or comes from), in my opinion.”

    Couldn’t you think of better cliche?

    Anyway, as i explained, there was never any impatience on my behalf, only an ego-oversensitivity of yours of Islamic honor-shame proportions.

    And if your ego weren’t so fragile, you couldn’t have missed the missing impatience.

    And why did you add the “in my opinion”? You almost always mean your statements to be universal truths – but, sadly, they are not.

    Martin Malliet said:

    “Everybody has to play his role, and he’s already playing a very useful role in what he’s doing. So let’s not distract him.”

    Do you dream at nights how great it would be if people felt like this for you?

    Anyway, i should have never given you a free pass the first times you patronized me.

    Only served to make you more arrogant.

    Same thing with the Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and the international community. Israel just takes too much from them without reacting.

    this whole exchange strikes me as honor-shame driven. rl

  8. @ Martin Malliet

    Martin Malliet said:

    “He [Kramer] replied, commending me for my “quite thoughtful and stimulating effort”, asking for more when I had more.”

    Any chance he just skimmed through it, found it boring, and just tried to get rid of you in a polite way?

    Not that we should take you at your word, anyway.

    The other time, I think it was Nidra Poller that complained in this blog that you presented a chance meeting with her as something far more significant.

    Martin Malliet said:

    “But he [Kramer] has his own blog (where you cannot respond) and facebook page (where you can, in those tiny boxes). And of course he must be very busy doing all that astonishing work as a contemporary historian … Everybody has to play his role, and he’s already playing a very useful role in what he’s doing. So let’s not distract him.”

    Translation: I got an inkling that maybe Mr Kramer wasn’t really interested in my brilliance, and I felt hurt (because I have delusions of grandeur), so let me rationalize it: Mr Kramer is busy, that’s all. If he were not, he would have made me his associate.

    genuinely gratuitous. adds nothing valuable to the conversation. rl

    • E.G. says:

      Correction:
      If he were not, he would have made me his associate Guru.

    • SerJew says:

      @ Dionissis

      LOL! I wonder what Eric von Voegelin (aka “Birdie”) would have said about all that. Some immanence and eschaton, indeed.

      • E.G. says:

        Can’t you show a minimal respect for European eminences? After all, we do see their relevance and efficiency (or is it effectiveness?) these very days. Mostly in Africa, though.

        • SerJew says:

          Sorry! How could I dare mock some of the greates philosophrasters of the universe. We had Voltaire, father of secular anti-Semitism, boot-licker of Prussian emperors and part-time slave-trader. Rousseau, a professional scoundrel, full of “sensibilité” and a penchant for totalitarianism. And let’s not forget the nazi and full-time charlatan Heidegger of “the nothing nothings” fame. Should we also include that Jostein Gaaaaaaarder, the hysterical Jew-hater with which we should eagerly and slavishly engage in dialogue?

  9. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Dionissis: I obviously hit a nerve with you, and I’m sorry for that. But as I don’t understand which nerve I hit, I don’t know how to salvage this either, so I won’t try.

    (Defending Kramer when he wasn’t even attacked, and doing it completely off topic, I believed to be a sign of impatience. And so I believe is your diatribe, although even E.G. sniping from the background, unlike on other occasions, can bring herself to make some appreciative noises. As for the rest, apart from taking it too literally, why do you call it a cliche? I can’t think straight myself, when I want her. And Sigmund Freud is famous for having complained about this problem not going away even with old age.)

    But OK, I’ll cut down on dialogue, reminding myself of Schopenhauer’s first lesson on dialogue. Which I could quote to you in German, but as that will most certainly not be appreciated, I will restrain myself. This whole exchange, in my humble opinion, shows why dialogue, i.e. talking to people, is so much more effective and revealing than simply talking about people.

    you would have done better leaving out the Schopenhauer mention (altho i’d be interested in the remark). -rl

  10. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Let’s take some inventory.

    There’s the ‘don’t you patronise me’-argument, somewhat similar to the ‘don’t you demonise all legitimate critics of Israel as anti-semites’-argument.

    not very similar. avoid bringing in really crazy analogies to deal with banal issues.

    But what I think it reveals most is how people want to see themselves in a command-obedience relationship even when there is none. And thereby forget that they still are in an ‘equality before the law’ relationship. (You find my advice patronising? You’re free to shrug it off, I have no power over you.) So that one wonders how people will deal with real power when it hits them. When the costless option of simply shrugging it off is not available to them anymore.

    on one level, good point. on another, patronizing tones (or in your case, i’m guessing, pedantic tones) have an “honor-shame” effect and rub people the wrong way. not all power is coercive, it can just be on a spectrum from irritating to infuriating.

    Then there is the ‘I’m sure I’m not alone’-argument, a very convincing rabble-like argument offering a smooth conduit for tapping into the well of resentment and hatred. Have you ever remarked how they’re never alone? The rabble, I mean? And thereby feel empowered to do whatever they want?

    huh? what are you talking about? -rl

    Last there is the ‘guilt by confused association’ argument. Voltaire, right. (Voegelin on Voltaire: “a vulgar thinker”, that’s all.) And Rousseau! I hadn’t mentioned him yet, but he had to come up one day. He’s more or less the father of the Hobbesian democratic system we’re living under: everybody belongs to everybody, and everybody has a say in everybody’s affairs. The general will replacing the will of each and everybody. Like when some very democracy-minded politician or public figure calls for a large societal debate “to decide on how we as a society want to deal with this or that”. As Anthony de Jasay would say: “we could try that indeed, but it would be better not to.” From what I understand Rousseau himself was not without apprehensions, and hedged himself with all sorts of precautions, like ‘education’ and the required ‘wisdom’ of the legislator. I think in the end he even concluded against the idea altogether. Not that it mattered what he thought. Because it is never the manual to the machine (or its author) that makes the machine what it is.

    Well, shame on all three of you. That’s all I can say. You’ve given me a good laugh.

    • SerJew says:

      You forgot to excuse herr Heidegger. But never mind. Talking about Freud (or fraud), have you noticed you happen to be very fond of projection (and Voegelin, of course), for it’s clear that Dionissis hit a nerve of yours. Not to mention narcissism. So, may I make an “inventory” too?

      -Voegelin quotations ad nauseam;
      -pompous patronizing snippets (“young and impatient”, “quit repeating yourself”, “shame on you”, etc);
      -shameless liberal cognitive egocentrism: “let’s talk to islamists, they are rational people too and they will even understand Rousseau (and maybe Voegelin); let’s engange in dialogue with unrepentant Jew-hating Gaaaaaarder”;
      -cut-n-paste logorrhea;

      I bet that next you will throw some indignant rant about freedom of speech, how you are being silenced by the rabble (ooops, you did it already) and cite some deep thoughts by…Voegelin.

      some good points, some off-target. i don’t think Martin’s a cognitive egocentrist. and i don’t know of anywhere where he’s suggested “talking to islamists” as if they’re part of our culture of dialogue. -rl

  11. Martin J. Malliet says:

    Richard Landes tends to be optimistic about the power of the blogosphere and social media to correct the MSNM. I’m not so sure, but don’t know really what to think. My impression is that it is often just more of the same: like-minded people reassuring each other, opposite-minded people sniping at each other, and Babel-like confusion increasing overall.

    until, at some crisis moment, when the shit hits the fan, there’s a realignment. progress in these matters is not linear by any means. -rl

    • SerJew says:

      Do you want to be reassured in your patronizing pompous arrogance? You are not exempt of criticism (and irony and sarcasm).

  12. Martin J. Malliet says:

    To Richard Landes: this is Philip Greenspun’s piece on Israel, the guy I mentioned to you saying”feel free to watch the Simpsons whenever there is another crisis in the news”. He’s interesting on many other topics as well, but beware that he also gets accused of arrogantly expressing his thoughts as universal truths. Which he shrugs off: if people want to see it that way, I can’t help them, and I’m not going to repeat all the time that the thoughts I express are indeed nothing more than my thoughts, because that should go without saying.

    http://philip.greenspun.com/politics/israel

    • akmofo says:

      It’s amazing how completely people have bought into the matrix of lies and illusions propagated by the media propaganda outlets. The main and ONLY practical supporters of “Palestine” and Arab Imperialism are Israel and the US/Rome. Any honest and objective observer can see this right away. That Philip Greenspun is unable to see this, tells you all you need to know about Philip Greenspun. Unthinking propaganda parrots and confused idiots is all that you manage to bring to the table, Martin.

      oh boy. akmofo, you’re mika.

      even if you want to argue that some of the key supporters of “Palestine” and Arab Imperialism are (some) Israelis and US/Rome, they’re hardly the only, or even most enthusiastic supporters of these movements. -rl

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Come on, Mika, get some sense. I wrote to Richard: “Mika the conspiracy theorist is more of a mensch than some of the others, because conspiracy theorists always are methodological individualists who are unsufficiently trained in understanding ‘systemic’ implications of human actions.”

        • akmofo says:

          What, come on? It takes less than a minute to size up your confused idiots and propaganda parrots. I didn’t want to ascribe pernicious motives to your constant and completely tangential tugs to the “philosophical” deep end and intellectual dead end, but I’m becoming more and more inclined to do just that.

          So let me ask you this: What is so “interesting” about your Philip Greenspun? What it is that you find so refreshing in his parroted propaganda vs the rest exact same? Where is it that you find any illumination is his parroted drivel and lies? Come on, Martin, tell me. Tell us!

          You are either completely captured by style over substance, which would make you a confused idiot, or you are operating on a deeper sinister level, which would make you pernicious snake. Which is it, Martin?

        • SerJew says:

          Well, you’ve got to be incredibly naive to think that propagandists are such innocent people. It’s astounding that someone supposedly so learned about von Voegelin et caterva can be so intellectually irresponsible to the point of respecting propagandists. But, thinking again, it’s not that surprising, but just the outcome of that same lack of grounding on reality.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Now, that’s a nicely put mutually exclusive choice: style over substance versus sinister snake-like motives. Fortunately, you’re friendly enough to offer me a way out of that apparent dichotomy: substance over style and motives!

        • akmofo says:

          I’m not at all friendly to you, Martin. In fact, I dislike you more and more with each day that passes. Interestingly, you now explicitly state that you share Philip Greenspun’s contentions, and have for a long time. So, my advice to you, Martin, is that you go back to your Philip Greenspun and YOU do the clicking to his Vatican propaganda website yourself. We’re not interested in your Philip Greenspun or supporting him by reading his crap. You like him, YOU go there. And stay there.

      • akmofo says:

        “even if you want to argue that some of the key supporters of “Palestine” and Arab Imperialism are (some) Israelis and US/Rome, they’re hardly the only, or even most enthusiastic supporters of these movements”
        ==

        Richard, if you followed my argument you’d know that I think that ALL of the actors are really hired puppets operated by the same hands. At the top, it’s one big mafia originating in Rome, with a specific and long running agenda (counter-Reformation, disfranchisement and genocide of “heretics”). Plans have been decides upon and put into motion already a long long time ago. We are living through that contrived dialectic script, propaganda theater of lies and illusions. Remember, they control the media, they control the Secret Services, they control the banks and corporations, they control the money, politics, and the spectrum of conversation and attitudes — what is talked about and what is taboo, what is widely known and what is kept hidden and widely unknown.

        • Richard Landes says:

          yes. that’s precisely why i find your arguments so unconvincing. you turn almost everyone into a two-dimensional figure. that’s not been my experience of the world and the people i’ve met. people are not sheep, even if they behave that way most of the time (mimetic behavior). i don’t expect consistent and pervasive individuality. passivity and conformity are part of the human condition. but i would never reduce people to puppets. no one (or small conspiring group) can wield so many strings effectively.

          look, the pope resigning (in my opinion) because he can’t keep on top of one of the most rigidly hierarchical organizations, whose initiates are hammered away at with the themes of humility and obedience, and yet who all have strong minds of their own (including, surely, some who want to make sure these sex and cover-up scandals go no further into the public realm).

          • akmofo says:

            i don’t expect consistent and pervasive individuality. passivity and conformity are part of the human condition. but i would never reduce people to puppets. no one (or small conspiring group) can wield so many strings effectively.
            ==

            Firstly, there aren’t that many string to wield. The people who count are very few, and they set systemic and institutional action in motion. Secondly, the motive and agenda is a long running thread of history. The motive is religious political economic familial and multi-generational. Thirdly, the people (managers) that are used, are used because they fit a particular emotional profile. They are zealots captured by their emotions. When they stray too far from their script, they are removed. You don’t hear about these things in the media, but people are being done away with all the time, and the reasons contrived for their death often border on the absurd.

            The more you will investigate this, the more to will come to realize this for yourself. I was skeptical myself, but when I learned what bullshit they feed people about Israel on the MSM propaganda outlets, my whole outlook about the other lies they feed us also changed. I started reading historians like Anthony Sutton, Carroll Quigley, Edwin Black, Eric Phelps, Hyam Maccoby, Marvin Antelman, Barry Chamish, etc., and a whole new universe of hidden history and understanding opened to me.

          • akmofo says:

            Richard, you can explain to me why the al-Durah fraud receives practically ZERO coverage on the MSM propaganda outlets. Why is it that the Israeli government has done practically nothing to expose the al-Durah fraud for what is it. Why the conspiracy of silence? Or maybe you don’t believe there is a conspiracy to bury this story.

            i think there’s a consensus to bury it, not a conspiracy. and the explanation is multiple, not some tiny group pulling strings. and even when some pull those strings (eg the early years where there was a broad consensus in the Israeli govt not to say anything), it’s not because they’ve received directions from the vatican. i think the dynamics are more emperor’s new clothes – which i suppose you can attribute to a conspiracy. -rl

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Philip Greenspun’s piece on Israel, which I think I discovered around 1995, has for a long time been my guide or position. But not anymore. He obviously also believes that Israel is the victim in this conflict, but remains silent on the significance of that fact, as well as on the significance of his silence (which isn’t only his, to be sure). Apart from that, I just like the guy for what he’s doing (and has done, like photo.net). Is that permissible?

      i’d be interested to know what he’s written since on israel. as it stands that’s a pretty undistinguished essay (if useful, only as an example of how not to think about this conflict). -rl

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        On Philip Greenspun’s undistinguished essay.

        Useful only as an example of how not to think about the conflict? I can’t follow you at all, as you do not say why. He’s talking to his many friends from Harvard and MIT, some of whom are Jewish, and who ask him what to think, as they are normally just following the news in the MSNM and have no reason for spending much time on thinking about the conflict. People just like me, in other words, when I found his article. Who typically have two notions picked up from the MSNM: (1) intractable conflict, (2) the zionists took the land from somebody else. What he made me see immediately was that for the Arab rulers the conflict is not a problem in search of a solution, but a solution to their problem. In other words, that the endless repetition of crises was not simply a sign of how divergent the mutual claims were and how difficult it was to reconcile them. That was a quite a distinguished accomplishment, I thought then, and I think now. Something more partisan sounding Israel defenders (with their tendency to overargue their case instead of boiling it down to the essentials) had not done for me. As far as I know he may update the essay a little bit from time to time, but he’s not going to write more. As he says himself, he wrote the essay to save time, because he has better things to do.

        • akmofo says:

          So, let me get this straight. US/Rome installed Arab/Jihadistani dictators use conflict with Israel/Jews are a tool to deflect from their corrupt and thieving regimes, that was a big revelation for you? And you only managed to discover this by reading Philip Greenspun’s “Palestine” propaganda?

        • w.w.wygart says:

          On Philip Greenspun’s undistinguished essay.

          Good points MM. I just read the essay to it’s way to early to have much of an opinion, but I had never thought, on top of everything else, of the state of Israel as being the world’s Get-Rid-of-your-Jews-Free card before. That deserves some real thought. I wonder if the various governments who may be carrying out this objective have noticed that’s what they are really doing?

          W^3

        • Richard Landes says:

          Irshad Manji called anti-zionism a “weapon of mass distraction.” it’s pretty obvious. but the deeper question is, why are arabs/muslims so easily distracted into Israel hatred? it’s more than the rulers who are obsessed with a hard zero-sum outcome: they must lose, completely, in order for us to win (which we must).

          the essay is, as you describe it, marred by his pontificating stance. some interesting ideas but presented as definitive when they’re not. his opening point about israel having no use to the west is pretty colossally misguided.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          It isn’t really their objective, it is the objective of the Zionist project itself to create a concentration camp for homeless Jews in Israel, and it is a valuable objective, because that homeland concentration camp is very different from all the other concentration camps Jews have known in their history: (1) it is governed by the Jews themselves and not by their enemies; (2) admission to it is always free for Jews who have to flee from somewhere else, and not simply imposed on them by their enemies.

          Whether other governments are consciously or not taking advantage of it I don’t know, but it seems plausible. At any rate, what I understood when reading this blog is that the question of anti-semitism today is essentially a question of ‘negatives’, of things that are not said or done.

          It is thus my thesis (on which strangely enough nobody has taken me up) that Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48, a crime against humanity that is not explictly acknowledged, and that can thus be implicitly denied. That unspoken thing is poisoning Western foreign policy in the Middle East for quite some time already, and because of Muslim immigrants to the Western world (and their uncontrolled population growth), domestic policies more and more as well.

          • akmofo says:

            By that argument every ethnic state is a ghetto state committing crimes against humanity against its own population I presume. That kind of idiocy is really nothing more than a derivative on zionism is racism.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            What are conspiracy theorists good for?

            This is for me a genuinely new insight, and it came from this exchange with Mika. Because I first couldn’t understand how Mika could read “Israel commits crime against humanity against its own population” where I had written “Israel victim of crime against humanity”. So my first reaction was to ask him: “Are you out of your mind?” To which I already knew the answer. So that was a superfluous question.

            Then it dawned on me: conspiracy theorists always start from the conclusion! Which is always the same! They then read, interpret and argue backwards from that conclusion to the meeting point. Occasionally this can only be done with some very obvious twisting of words, like reading ‘criminal’ where it is written ‘victim’.

            Which leaves two obvious questions: (1) Why are they so wedded to their pet theory or conclusion? (2) Why do they talk to other people at all, when they already know the conclusion, including all possible explanations leading up to it, no matter what other people tell them?

            Here is one possible answer: they obviously do not want to learn; but it would also be a mistake to simply believe that they want to spread the truth of their pet conspiracy theory. It is much more plausible, and not in contradiction with them being rational agents, to believe that their true and unavowed goal is to spread disinformation. Now, it is in the nature of disinformation that it is a ‘negative’, it is not so much a false truth that is spread, but an attempt to dispel truth that is still in existence. We may have not paid enough attention to it, but which are the possible truths Mika is trying to dispel? Which are the still solid beliefs he is trying to undermine?

            I suppose everybody must make his own examination and ask himself the question: on which points did Mika ever make me doubt? I for myself cannot find any. And his ludicrous attack on Philip Greenspun then clinched it, because I know Philip Greenspun, and I saw how desperate Mika was to undermine that confidence, even to the point of reading ‘criminal’ where I had written ‘victim’.

            Here’s another possible answer: like with his last suggestion about “the Rolling Stones knowing about the Vatican”, he obviously tries to undermine whatever trust people may still put in the Vatican and the Catholic Church by spreading his lie that Vatican = Lucifer. Which consequently makes him an agent of Lucifer, desperate to get a foothold in the Vatican. His rant about my catholic grand-mother also was clearly irrational: if he really believed that Vatican = Lucifer, and that the whole history of catholic anti-semitism is proof of that, why does he get angry with my catholic grand-mother who was obviously not taken in by that catholic anti-semitism? He then tried to say that he wasn’t really angry with my grand-mother, he was angry with me, and accused me of telling a lie with that story about my grand-mother. However, I do know that that was no lie. Ergo, Mika is just angry with catholics rooted in their faith. Which is another sign that he is an agent of Lucifer desperate to get a foothold in the Vatican.

            At any rate, Lucifer is just some dumb sorry ass. Working as an agent for Lucifer doesn’t look to me like a particularly smart choice. People are already so good themselves at missing the whole point of their lives by relentlessly pursueing their ‘intrests’, that all the agents of Lucifer are simply out of a job. There’s nothing more to do to corrupt humanity!

            So, Mika, my advice to you as a now famously pompous arrogant prick: just drop sorry ass Lucifer and switch to the other side, come and work for the Vatican, there’s a lot of work to do.

            PS: Watch your cover if you want to offer yourself as a double-agent.

          • akmofo says:

            You can stop with the bullshit, Martin, we’re not stupid. We can see right through you.

            You write that Israel is a “concentration camp” for unwanted and rejected Jews from elsewhere. What is the reason for the unwanted and rejected Jews? That you don’t tell us. We are left to presume its the Jews fault that they are unwanted and rejected.

            Then, you write that “Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48″. 1948 is when Jews in Israel declared their sovereign independence. In other words, a sovereign ethnic Jewish state is a crime against humanity, which is the old zionism is racism bullshit and classic Vatican/CIA Jihadi-nazi propaganda.

            Israel has benefited hugely from its Jewish immigrants. Its cities grew, its economy grew, art, science, culture, sophistication in every sphere of life in Israel hugely improved as a result of Jewish immigration. What was a backwards, barren and desolate landscape was transformed into amazing lush beauty and a breathtaking technological marvel.

            Israel is not a victim. Israelis are victims. Because they are used and abused by a government mafia that is not their government. A government mafia that is an arm of the Vatican mafia, whose aim is to reduce (largely succeeded) Israel to indefensible borders in preparation for another planned Vatican genocide. Israelis paid a huge cost in blood, treasure, and personal sacrifice for their military victories, and all that is simply thrown away by the Vatican government mafia ruling over Israelis.

            The master plan of the Vatican has always been the genocide of Jews, and making Jerusalem (and Israel) Vatican property.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I called it a ‘homeland concentration camp’. Zionists would omit the concentration camp part and simply call it a homeland, and they would be right. Someone who omits the homeland part and simply calls it a concentration camp would also be right. As long as the thing itself remains the same, namely the Jewish State of Israel, I don’t see any problem with calling it the one way or the other. Because words are words and the things they name are the things they name, and not something else.

            Why are you always sowing confusion in such bad faith, Mika? In the beginning I thought you were some Moishe Pipik. But you are no Moishe Pipik, sadly enough.

            When I wrote “Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48″, I meant of course that “the Jewish State of Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48″, and in another context I think I wrote it exactly like that. Because I am not Jewish and I don’t speak Hebrew, and I am not really aware of the fine distinction between ‘Israel’ and the ‘Jewish State of Israel’. For me, and for many other people as well I believe, these two expressions mean exactly the same thing.

            But you have to be of good faith in order to believe someone else to be in good faith. That’s a fundamental and revealing truth. Sorry ass Lucifer has never been smart enough to figure that out. He’s still scratching his head, trying to figure it out. Some dumb sorry ass, he is.

            I suppose your tactical goal in particular has always been to provoke me into some anti-semitic rant, and then say: “Ha! See? Martin is an anti-semite! I knew it all along.” Tactical goals are typically the kind of thing sorry ass Lucifer has a habit of wasting his time on. Sorry asses are like that: they never learn, no matter what you tell them.

            SerJew is another case in point. Phew! If I had time for that, I could work out a tactic to lead him into making some clearly anti-positivist statements, just out of positivist resentment of me, without him even noticing it. And if I then pointed it out to him, he would start calling me names again, like “empty scholastic narcissist” or something of the sort. If he has managed so far to prove one thing, it is his own narcissism. Go figure how he manages not so see that. I suppose narcissism does that to a man.

            I’ve got to go. I’ve got a girl for tonight.

          • SerJew says:

            “SerJew is another case in point. Phew! If I had time for that, I could work out a tactic to lead him into making some clearly anti-positivist statements, just out of positivist resentment of me, without him even noticing it. And if I then pointed it out to him, he would start calling me names again, like “empty scholastic narcissist” or something of the sort. If he has managed so far to prove one thing, it is his own narcissism. Go figure how he manages not so see that. I suppose narcissism does that to a man.”

            Oh, I thought you wouldn’t continue talking to me. Man, you are such a pathetic egomaniac. And a major hypocrite too. You, dude, began with name calling, remember? You reap what you sow.

            “I’ve got to go. I’ve got a girl for tonight.”

            Question: who the hell cares?

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            That clinches it!

            I care, SerJew! It’s my girl for tonight! I want her! And if you were my fellow man, you would care, too! Dude!

            By the way, Richard Landes has put something on his masthead, it’s by William Blake. And it must have a meaning, at least I believe so. There could even be more than one meaning to it. Because obviously the promise doesn’t always get fulfilled.

          • SerJew says:

            “I care, SerJew! It’s my girl for tonight! I want her! And if you were my fellow man, you would care, too! Dude!”

            Once again, Dr. Pneumatic: nobody else cares about your private life. But, as an egomaniac freak you just don’t get it, do you?

            Ok, next time, bring your mom and your cousin to the discussion.

          • akmofo says:

            I have news for you, Martin, calling the 1948 establishment of an ethnically Jewish State of Israel a crime humanity is anti-Semitic. Lots of words from you, Martin, and nothing to the point — just more logorrhea, as SerJew aptly calls it. Anyhow, anyone with an IQ over their shoe size has already figured you out. My assessment stands.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            Mika, here’s my anti-semitic rant for you. Because all along I had one at the back of my mind, and it was (and still is): “You Jewish people, you argue far too much! And you thus seem to be missing the point! Proof: when I as a gentile offer you my demonstration that Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48, you simply remain dumbfounded, and then go on argueing about everything else! Are you Jewish people out of your mind?”

            Now, what is the criterion for deciding whether that is indeed an anti-semitic rant? I would say it is the question: do I (Martin J. Malliet) say and think this, because you (the imaginary Jewish people I am thinking of) are Jewish, or do I say and think this because I believe it to be the truth?

            Now, I solemnly swear, that I simply believe it to be the truth. And that there is nothing I can do about it. Not even your calling me an anti-semite will make me change my mind. Which you will then of course take as proof of my anti-semitism. But it would be an argument ad hominem, this calling me an anti-semite and take it as a premise to deduce that I am an anti-semite because I don’t let myself be intimidated by it. And an argument ad hominem cannot lead to a valid conclusion, everybody knows that. Check-mate, Mika! There’s no way to avoid the only interesting question, the question of the truthfulness of the belief I expressed in my apparently anti-semitic rant. There simply is no way around it.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            I forgot to point out that your obviously nonsensical restatement of my words that “Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48″ as “the establishment of Israel in 1947-48 constitutes in itself a crime against humanity against Israel itself”, and then use that twisted nonsensical restatement of my words as a premise to deduce that I am an anti-semite, isn’t any more logically valid than the argument ad hominem. So you can stop that line of attack (or defense, I don’t know which it is as I don’t understand what you’re after), after your two previous attempts. You’re actually weakening your own position, because I will not hesitate to use your logically invalid attacks as proof of the truthfulness of my apparently anti-semitic rant, namely that you Jewish people argue far too much! Check-mate, again, Mika!

          • @ Martin

            “You Jewish people, you argue far too much! And you thus seem to be missing the point! Proof: when I as a gentile offer you my demonstration that Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48, you simply remain dumbfounded, and then go on argueing about everything else! Are you Jewish people out of your mind?”

            Martin, the Jews already know that they have been the victims of crimes against humanity, not just since 1947 but since times immemorial.

            Akmofo’s sensitivities might be related to this timeless persecution. Why are you pushing him?

          • akmofo says:

            Martin J. Malliet @ February 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm
            “when I as a gentile offer you my demonstration that Israel is the victim of a crime against humanity since 1947-48,…”
            ==

            You did no such thing. You offered not a single demonstration or explanation of why the creation of Israel as a Jewish homeland is a crime against humanity, even though I gave you plenty of opportunity to do so. What you did, is engage in an old Vatican/Nazi propaganda technique of word association. So, along with your long and tedious cut & paste logorrhea that you’ve been crapping all over this blog (with the deliberate purpose to obscure other comments and dissuade others from reading the comments section), you decided that that wasn’t fun enough for your malevolent soul. You decided to up the level by dropping classic Vatican Jihadi-Nazi propaganda bombs. So what we have from you is that Israel is a ‘concentration camp’, and (by virtue of its creation as Jewish state in 1948) Israel is ‘a victim of a crime against humanity’.

            Why only Israel a concentration camp? Silence. Why is it that when Jews created their nation state it is a crime against humanity? Again, silence from you. Why is it that other nation states are not “victims” of a crime against humanity. Again, silence. You refuse to address these most basic questions. Instead, what we get as a reply from you is more nazi propaganda and more of your sick and pernicious “humor”: I’m being an “argumentative Jew” out to “intimidate” you.

          • akmofo says:

            Dionissis Mitropoulos @ February 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm
            ==

            w.w.wygart says: Defeat me now with some facts.
            Martin J. Malliet says: Check-mate, again, Mika!

            DM, tell me that’s not the same personality.

          • @ akmofo

            w.w.wygart says: Defeat me now with some facts.
            Martin J. Malliet says: Check-mate, again, Mika!

            DM, tell me that’s not the same personality.

            Same personality? I don’t know. But definitely not the same person. Martin is not interested in Wygart’s interests.

          • SerJew says:

            Doktor Pneumaticus is only interested in himself.

          • @ Martin
            @ Akmofo

            But it would be an argument ad hominem, this calling me an anti-semite and take it as a premise to deduce that I am an anti-semite because I don’t let myself be intimidated by it.

            Martin, it is not a matter of caving in to intimidation to take into account certain justified sensitivities. And if you deem akmofo too sensitive, then you may cease speaking to him. What’s the point in pursuing dialogue with someone you consider oversensitive?

            I think your uncle the professor might have been right about a certain aspect of your personality. By the way, what has he been teaching you? (i mean the subject matter of his expertise, not just the extra curricular advice – which advice is of course at least as important, if not more, as the subject of his expertise).

          • w.w.wygart says:

            akmofo,

            I made a solemn promise to myself that I wouldn’t engage with you till you managed to get yourself kicked off the list. It is necessary for me to defend Mr. Malliet in this baseless, fact-less and paranoid accusation of him somehow being associated with me. I only speak German at the Kindergarten level, and only now am beginning to tackle Van Dun and Voegelin.

            arrivederci,

            W.W.Wygart

          • akmofo says:

            w.w.wygart @ February 18, 2013 at 6:31 am
            “I only speak German at the Kindergarten level, and only now am beginning to tackle Van Dun and Voegelin.”
            ==

            It must be a German thing then. Which would explain their behavior and history as Rome’s blue-eyed devil dogs.

  13. Sharon Klaff says:

    Well that puts Kellner clearly in the camp that doesn’t mind lies so long as he is not offended. If he doesn’t understand what the offence is then he should either get informed or shut up. Does he also base his day job views on information he fails to check up? I guess so. Next time I see an article by him I’ll remember that it probably also contains misinformation. People like him really make me sick as they are the types who thought in their denial of Judaism as their faith that Hitler would give them a free pass. As we know those types got the shock of their lives as they silently entered the camps.

  14. Martin J. Malliet says:

    To SerJew: I promised to cut down on dialogue. And now you’re tempting me again! So it’s not my fault! I’m far from being indignant, I’m having a good laugh. (If you care to believe me.)

    You’re entirely right, we cannot interpret the world and the people in it without making projections. The only interesting question therefore is whether these interpretations/projections are accurate or inaccurate. The same goes for free speech: speech is free because we cannot know whether an idea is valuable before it is expressed. But the right of free speech doesn’t imply that all ideas expressed are equally valuable.

    so far, i agree entirely.

    I don’t quite understand why you are so resistant to Voegelin’s (or other’s) critique of positivism: it isn’t directed against ‘hard’ natural exact science, not even against empirical social sciences (although the relevance of it is often questioned), it is about something else entirely. I’m a bit disappointed, because I gave you 2 references to Frank Van Dun, who tackles the problem in a rigorously logical way (no babbling at all about undefined concepts). I said to Richard Landes “that Frank Van Dun solves Max Weber’s problem”, and I meant that. Because it was a real problem for Max Weber, it ‘broke’ him if I understand things right (he had a nervous breakdown and abandoned his teaching career).

    i confess to not really following this. you lost me when you wrote “not against… about something else entirely” and then didn’t explain what it was about. what do you mean when you criticize positivism?

    Not unrelated to this ‘loss of reality’ in the humanities is the idea of ‘repentance’. I was flabbergasted by E.G.’s attempt to mock the idea, as if it had only currency in some gothic Dracula’s world. When I wrote my letter to Ahmadinejad I didn’t think too much about composition, I more or less let it flow naturally. But I did some composition. Putting the idea of repentance completely at the end in a PPS was done on purpose. I tried to express in that PPS that putting it there was in fact superfluous, because the idea should go without saying and not need to be expressed; but that unfortunately it had to be expressed, because that’s how bad things are.

    To satisfy your aversion for Voegelin quotes I’ll give you another one (a paraphrase really): “If the nature of man has ceased to be the measure of things, it is only because some imbecile had conceived the notion of changing it.” Well, more than one imbecile, I would say, unfortunately.

    changing what? man? of the idea that man is the measure of things? since “man as the measure of things” is a peculiar notion become widespread after the renaissance, it hardly seem imbecilic to change/challenge that notion. -rl

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Changing ‘the nature of man’ instead of respecting it

      The quote I took from Voegelin’s review of Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism”. Voegelin was in substantial disagreement with her on her philosophy, but kind enough to praise her for the parts in her book that weren’t affected by her theoretical derailments.

      «These sentences of Dr. Arendt, of course, must not be construed as a concession to totalitarianism in the more restricted sense, that is, as a concession to National Socialist and Communist atrocities. On the contrary, they reflect a typically liberal, progressive, pragmatist attitude toward philosophical problems. We suggested previously that the author’s theoretical derailments are sometimes more interesting than her insights. And this attitude is, indeed, of general importance because it reveals how much ground liberals and totalitarians have in common; the essential immanentism that unites them overrides the differences of ethos that separate them. The true dividing line in the contemporary crisis does not run between liberals and totalitarians, but between the religious and philosophical transcendentalists on the one side and the liberal and totalitarian immanentist sectarians on the other side. It is sad, but it must be reported, that the author herself draws this line. The argument starts from her confusion about the “nature of man”: “Only the criminal attempt to change the nature of man is adequate to our trembling insight that no nature, not even the nature of man, can any longer be considered to be the measure of all things”—a sentence that, if it has any sense at all, can only mean that the nature of man ceases to be the measure, when some imbecile conceives the notion of changing it. The author seems to be impressed by the imbecile and is ready to forget about the nature of man, as well as about all human civilization that has been built on its understanding. The “mob,” she concedes, has correctly seen “that the whole of nearly three thousand years of Western civilization . . . has broken down.” Out go the philosophers of Greece, the prophets of Israel, Christ, not to mention the patres and scholastics; for man has come of age, and that means “that from now on man is the only possible creator of his own laws and the only possible maker of his own history.” This coming-of-age has to be accepted; man is the new lawmaker; and on the tablets wiped clean of the past he will inscribe the “new discoveries in morality,” which Edmund Burke had still considered impossible. It sounds like a nihilistic nightmare. And a nightmare it is rather than a well-considered theory.»

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Changing ‘the nature of man’ (instead of respecting it). The quote I took from Voegelin’s review of Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism”. Voegelin was in substantial disagreement with her on her philosophy, but kind enough to praise her for the parts in her book that weren’t affected by her theoretical derailments.

      that’s a reasonable formula. what i just taught my class is that honor-shame systems accept the “natural” tendencies of alpha males to dominate and work around them (libido dominandi, masculinity/virility) whereas modern civil polities challenge them with an egalitarian ethos. totalitarian systems try and reprogram. -rl

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Richard, I hope you’ll not going to react like SerJew, but we’re going to have a real confrontation. And if we had had more time to talk in Paris, we would have gotten to that point then. Of course, you’re busy, and you haven’t had time to look up Voegelin’s review, and although I tried, I couldn’t post a longer quote from it and had to cut it down to a short reply. But your reaction tells me that your thinking is as much the target of Voegelin’s critique as Hannah Arendt’s was. (You see, I’m making the distinction between you and your thinking in the hope of avoiding the trap I got into with SerJew.)

      ‘Nature’ is a philosophical concept and not a positivist ‘definition’, the ‘nature of man’ is what makes man man (identity), if you change it or try to improve it you destroy man, you dehumanise man. In Voegelin’s view (and in Frank Van Dun’s view and in Plato’s view, etc, etc) the ‘nature of man’ includes his capacity for reason, and from there, his capacity to know that he ought to respect the law, i.e. that he ought to respect both himself and other people as people, which means respecting their natural rights to life, liberty and property. It is in that sense that the order of the human world (natural law) is derived from the order of the human spirit (the nature of man, his capacity for reason, his insight that he ought to respect other people as people, which is the natural law).

      Man’s inclinations and desires (interests) also are part of his nature, to be sure, and man is indeed a quite complicated animal. What do you think Thomas Aquinas and all the others who thought about natural law and human affairs were all about? The peculiar thing with human nature is, although it is complicated, we all know intuitively what it is, for the simple reason that we are human. (It’s actually simple logic: we are human we have a capacity for reason we know that we are human.) We also know intuitively what the natural order of the human world is (natural law), because that order is derived from the order of the human spirit (nature of man). Cavemen or alpha-males know it no less than Thomas Aquinas, although they may not be as philosophically literate as Thomas Aquinas. Unfortunately, due to the destruction operated by positivism, contemporary Western intellectuals are also on average much less philosophically literate than Thomas Aquinas. Which has already caused lots of problems in modern history, at least that’s what Eric Voegelin thinks, and I tend to follow him in that.

      The difference between a working civil society and a dysfunctional one, independently from its empirical manifestations, is the difference between a society in which the law respecting people manage to gain the upper hand and to contain the criminals, and a society in which the criminals manage to get on top and exploit the others by disrespecting their rights. That is not an empirical finding, it is a philosophical truth.

      That Thomas Aquinas was a Christian theologer doesn’t fundamentally matter. Frank Van Dun, in his article on “The Perfect Law of Freedom” (2004), can quite convincingly read into Genesis and the Decalogue what is the fundamental principle of law, namely that every human person is a sovereign subject of law. So it was already in the Hebrew bible. And it can certainly be found in other places as well, because the nature of man has not changed, and cannot change. A truth that religious people express with the formula “God has created Man in his image”, whatever evolutionary scientists may find out. Because what evolutionary scientists (or brain scientists etc) find out is in an entirely different category. It’s only philosophically illiterate people, who don’t see these differences in category anymore, who mistakenly think that they must choose between religion and science. And then start a big fight with the other illiterate people who want to make a different choice. It’s really as simple as that. And all very funny when you look at it. Whether you drink Château-neuf-du-Pape while doing that, like SerJew, or simply tea, like me.

      Now it is obviously true that making a civil society work (uphold the law) is also a practical matter, and not only a theoretical one. But that’s no reason for abandoning the theory. It’s in fact dangerous to forget the theory, because it increases the risk that in practical matters one makes the wrong choices.

      That’s what theory is for, to make the right choices, nothing more, nothing less.

      PS: You’re a bit harsh on the Pope. I always liked the man, because he reminds me somewhat of my German grand-mother. His eyes tell me that he is somewhat funnier than my grand-mother ever was. And I know he has already read Eric Voegelin, some of it at least. I believe he is just tired. And I wish him all the best for the years that are left to him. Maybe I should write to him, and not to Jakob Augstein, and then go with him on a secret mission to talk to Angela Merkel about Israel and Islam. If I have dreams, that’s the kind of dreams I have, not dreams of being admired, that’s childish.

      • SerJew says:

        “That’s what theory is for, to make the right choices, nothing more, nothing less.”

        Nonsense. A scientific theory aims at understanding some aspects of the real world; this is an epistemological aim. Making choices has to do with praxiology (human conduct, pragmatics) and axiology (values and ethics). So you commit such a basic category mistake, that you keep accusing people of.

        Now, as science is the best tool we have to understand reality (including human reality, as humans are not supernatural beings), it’s natural that human conduct should be INFORMED by that best knowledge, when relevant. So, most probably knowledge of quantum physics or general relativityy, though mind-blogging discoveries of human mind, is not that relevant to social issues; on the other hand, the existence of mirror neurons (discovered in the 1980′s by Rizzolatti et al) has important implications regarding issues such as empathy, which is crucial to human social cohesion. Many other such discoveries are changing the way we understand human nature.

        That has absolutely nothing to do with “positivism” but in trying to keep up to date with (and grounded on) reality.

        Of course, you might not be interested in that or you might prefer to confortably stick to XVI-century cartesian mind-body dualism and his absolute non-sense about the pineal gland (that doesn’t change the fact that Descartes was one of the greatest philosophers ever). Or to pontificate about “pneumothorax” or “unchangeability of human nature”, withouth even investigating what the heck is that nature. It’s your choice and risk.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          Epistemology, praxeology and axiology

          We already discussed this in the other thread, the gap between is and ought, and I had pointed you to two articles by Frank Van Dun that address the issue. But you simply do not want to hear what we’re saying: we’re not denying the gap, we’re saying that there are rational (or scientific) answers to both questions! To all questions, in fact. Because that is what our human capacity for reason means, in a very fundamental way. Why is that so difficult to understand?

          And that’s exactly the destructiveness of positivism, this refusal to understand, this denial of rationality in fundamental questions, backed up by nothing else than twisted ad hominem attacks, like accusing me of a category error simply out of nowhere, without any foundation at all, just by bringing in some new terms like epistemology, praxeology and axiology that do not really say anything different from what we were already saying.

          And what has the century in which a man has produced his thoughts to do with the validity of his thoughts? I would like to point you back even further, to the 13th century and Thomas Aquinas, if you really want to understand epistemology, praxeology and axiology. Or to the even older Plato, although I learned from Voegelin that you must be able to do it in classical Greek, because the translations are no good and marred by very fundamental misunderstandings of Plato’s intentions.

          Pneumothorax? On a friendly basis, this could be a good jibe. Thomas Mann did a whole book on it, playing in Davos: “Der Zauberberg”. But you are not friendly. So I conclude that this is just your way of mocking Voegelin’s concept of ‘pneumopathology’ without understanding any of it.

          It’s just hopeless, and I want to end it here.

          http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/01/28/goldberg-and-the-daniels-of-sewage-pipes-lethal-narratives-and-durajournalism/#comment-617792

          http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/01/28/goldberg-and-the-daniels-of-sewage-pipes-lethal-narratives-and-durajournalism/#comment-618622

          • SerJew says:

            “And that’s exactly the destructiveness of positivism, this refusal to understand, this denial of rationality in fundamental questions, backed up by nothing else than twisted ad hominem attacks, like accusing me of a category error simply out of nowhere, without any foundation at all, just by bringing in some new terms like epistemology, praxeology and axiology that do not really say anything different from what we were already saying.”

            Good grief, can you be a little less hypocritical? So, you can use all your buzz words, calling people imbecilic and hectoring them all the time with your pompous logorrhea, but then you get all upset and indignant when challenged?

            “And what has the century in which a man has produced his thoughts to do with the validity of his thoughts? I would like to point you back even further, to the 13th century and Thomas Aquinas, if you really want to understand epistemology, praxeology and axiology. Or to the even older Plato, although I learned from Voegelin that you must be able to do it in classical Greek, because the translations are no good and marred by very fundamental misunderstandings of Plato’s intentions.”

            Why stop at the 13h century? Why not get some nice Neanderthal epistemology, maybe australopithecine methodology? Oh, sorry, evolution theory is part of the destructive positivism, blah, blah.

            For your information, there’s something called learning and advancement of knowledge, that your type of medieval scholastics are so afraid of. Maybe when you get out of your bubble you’ll figure that out.

            “Pneumothorax? On a friendly basis, this could be a good jibe. Thomas Mann did a whole book on it, playing in Davos: “Der Zauberberg”. But you are not friendly. So I conclude that this is just your way of mocking Voegelin’s concept of ‘pneumopathology’ without understanding any of it.

            It’s just hopeless, and I want to end it here. ”

            Indeed, dude. You are a hopeless pedant.

        • Martin J. Malliet says:

          The positivist mind and the humanist mind

          Let’s assume that rigorous empirical brain science can establish as a fact that some human brains contain a hindrance to reflective thinking while others do not. The people with the first kind of brain are stuck in a positivist notion of reality (called the positivist mind), while the others have the second kind of brain that allows them to conceive of reality in a broader way (called the humanist mind).

          The momentous decision that must then be taken is whether to consider people with either kind of brain or mind as rigorously identical and human, or whether to divide people into two different kinds of humans, belonging either to the positivist human nature or the humanist human nature. This decision cannot simply be taken by preference or vote, it must be scientifically and rationally argued and founded.

          I don’t know how a man with such a positivist mind would argue the case. And nobody does, because this is an unproven hypothesis in my example, this existence of a positivist mind or brain.

          But I do know that similar kinds of facts have been used to argue against the inclusion of people in our common human nature. People who themselves didn’t agree at all with that exclusion, but simply weren’t heard or respected. And I suppose you also are aware of these antecedents. But these horrible antecendents do not in themselves form a truly clinching argument: they are no more than historical antecedents. When past mistakes are repeated, they are never repeated as exactly the same mistakes. Future mistakes will be as surprising in the future as the past mistakes were surprising in the past.

          However, I know how a man with a humanist mind would argue the case: he will say that these findings of brain science are simply irrelevant to the decision at hand, because they belong into a different category, and that we ought to respect as our fellow man every fellow man who simply says: “I am as human as you are, and I have a right to be respected by you exactly as you expect me to respect your right.” That’s enough, him simply saying this, to establish him as a human person with a capacity for reason. Nothing else matters.

          (This is not a full demonstration, to be sure. For a full demonstration I would like to point you to Frank Van Dun’s “Fundamental Principle of Law” (only available in Dutch), which contains the best demonstration I ever encountered. There surely are others, I am not a philosopher of law myself, just a student.)

          ‘Ius’ actually means ‘solemn speech’. Solemn speech by someone who declares himself to be a human person is enough to establish someone as a human person. Even if it turned out that he has a scientifically proven positivist mind or brain, and proves himself to be decidedly obnoxious in discussions about philosophy and science.

          Now that must be the end, it’s becoming exhausting, and dull.

          • SerJew says:

            “Now that must be the end, it’s becoming exhausting, and dull.”

            Finally you saw the truth! Maybe there’s still hope for you.

          • Martin J. Malliet says:

            A suggestion for editors

            Frank Van Dun’s essay “Het Fundamenteel Rechtsbeginsel” (1983) (“The Fundamental Principle of Law”) is a book that deserves to be translated into English. If you look it up in his autobiographical note, you’ll understand how he came to write it: after doing eight years of research, he was abandoned by his promotor (a leftist bigshot professor). He had to put his original project aside and change tack. That’s how in only a few weeks he wrote that 600-page essay, pouring it all out. And you can feel how it is of one piece, his thoughts on everything he had learned so far. There are quite a few funny and sarcastic passages, I’ll give two at the end in my own translation. He got his PhD, together with remarks of the kind: “A strong book, but don’t expect any critical response, it will be ignored completely.” Which it was, and still is. Another leftist bigshot professor had the temerity to write: “I agree with the premises, I agree with the reasoning, but I don’t agree with the conclusions.” To which Frank Van Dun replied in his deadpan manner: “Your problems appear to be greater than mine.”

            On the mind-body dualism: “Man is neither a corpse, nor a phantom.”

            On dialogue: “It is an absurdity of monstrous proportions to assume that a dialogue is directed at reaching a compromise, a common standpoint, which is in fact nobody’s standpoint, and exists for no other reason than that a majority is of the opinion that there has been enough talking already, and that the time has come for taking action.”

            http://rothbard.be/artikels/350-bibliografie-van-dun

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        “That’s what theory is for, to make the right choices, nothing more, nothing less.”

        It is always difficult, indeed impossible, to say it all. That phrase about theory isn’t just addressed at ‘decisionmakers’, as they are called, who need to be ‘informed’ by knowledge. It is in fact addressed at everybody, and it is just another formulation of the old ‘everybody is supposed to know the law’.

        The latter phrase is often mocked in our contemporary world of legal positivism and impenetrable legislation. And at the same time maintained as a sort of legal fiction. That is because the original meaning is completely forgotten: everybody was supposed to know the (natural) law, because everybody with a capacity for reason and a minimal education was indeed capable of understanding the law.

        The law as meant in that phrase, in other words, is the natural law that simply needs no legislation or legislator. “Ius sine lege” is what Frank Van Dun has put on his personal website, and you must take that literally.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Pneumopathology and external shocks

        Although SerJew is hopeless as a discussion partner, and I mean totally hopeless or otherwise I would not write out this conclusion, he is at the same time an almost perfect example of what the destructiveness of positivism can achieve: a sort of perfect blindness in spiritual matters, and by that I do not mean ‘higher consciousness’, but ‘real consciousness’, the capacity to reflect on his own mind, or probably more accurately, on his own soul, and on that of his fellow man, because it clearly encompasses more than simply intellect. (See Robert Musil’s lecture “Über die Dummheit” to understand the place of the intellect in all this.)

        It is mysterious to me, because I cannot put myself in his place at all. For me, saying something like “being in the possession of my human soul, knowing the same of my fellow man, and enjoying life with my fellow man” is the expression of a truth rooted in experience, and a far more solid truth than whatever truth I can find in a sociological report commissioned by the Ministry of Education on the state of mind of our school population. For SerJew apparently these are buzz words, and mind you, not buzz words he finds funny, but buzz words he viscerally dislikes.

        But it explains very well the idea Voegelin expressed with the phrase that behind every positivistic professor or liberal pastor he could see the visage of the SS-murderer he causes. That phrase does not mean (and has never meant) that positivistic professors or liberal pastors ‘have a tendency to become SS-murderers or to encourage SS-murderers or to support SS-murderers’; that would typically be an interpretation or explanation out of the positivist social sciences. The phrase means (and has always meant) that in a society populated by too many people with such a deficiency in spiritual matters, due to a lack of education – and it is here that lies the responsibility of the positivistic professors, and the liberal pastors, and all the other spiritually diseased or imbecilic intellectuals – a nihilistic nightmare brought about by quite ordinary political criminals such as the nazis (simple rabble, nothing out of the ordinary) cannot be easily excluded. It can even become very difficult to exclude it. And once underway, it cannot anymore be stopped.

        It is in that sense that I would like to recast the idea of the ‘banality of evil’: that such a bunch of undistinguished rabble as the nazis, banal to the outmost, could lead a spiritually diseased society to such an apocalyptic extreme, without there being any effective means to stop the descent into the abyss, that is the banality of evil. And that can definitely happen again as long as the ‘pneumopathology’ is not cured. And it is not cured, at all.

        Now imagine some external shocks: European sovereign debt crisis provoking a break-down of the so-called European social model (generalised social and political strife between people who have lost the grip on their lives, as it already can be seen in Greece); hyper-inflation in the USA as an alternative outcome of the US sovereign debt crisis; Iranian take-over of Arab oil resources on the back of a nuclear threat; Muslim populations in the Middle East and in Europe not cured of islam, and roused as well as terrorised by islamist rabble. What will we do then?

        As Koenraad Elst says somewhere in his writings, taking his inspiration from the Yugoslav wars, “a few well placed bullets” can have serious consequences in such a situation.

        http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/02/08/scarfe-ward-lethal-frames-and-the-unbearable-lightness-of-simon-kellner/#comment-622689

        • SerJew says:

          More logorrhea and of course, more Voegelin. But these lines are priceless:

          “It is mysterious to me, because I cannot put myself in his place at all. For me, saying something like “being in the possession of my human soul, knowing the same of my fellow man, and enjoying life with my fellow man” is the expression of a truth rooted in experience, and a far more solid truth than whatever truth I can find in a sociological report commissioned by the Ministry of Education on the state of mind of our school population. For SerJew apparently these are buzz words, and mind you, not buzz words he finds funny, but buzz words he viscerally dislikes. ”

          In fact, you cannot put yourself in anyone’s place because you have a humungus ego that cannot contemplate a bit of self-criticism without feeling threatened; thence your distortions, dodgings and plain intellectual dishonesty. All that, of course, masked with an insufferable pedantic & uncontrolled logorrhea that tries to pass as scholarship, but which is nothing but empty scholastics.

          Never mind, dude, just cheer up. Go read the history of Narcissus (in the original, of course).

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Politics and the nature of man

        This is as short as I can make it.

        From the nature of man (his capacity for reason) follows the natural law (we ought to respect each other as equal persons).

        Politics (power of men over men) always disrespects the natural law (respect for each other as equals) and therefore always violates the nature of man (dehumanises man).

        That dehumanising result of politics on the individual human spirit is in itself the pneumopathology of which Voegelin speaks.

        The girl in the café not knowing how to handle my looking at her is a sort of proof of this pneumopathology in our society. Because she’s far from being alone. It is I who feel often quite alone in the company of others, and bored.

  15. Fritz Wunderlich says:

    Hannah Arendt`s banality is not the best source bearing in mind that Eichmann served as important role model for her thesis.
    Eichmann was a committed Nazi, not just a bureaucrat fulfilling orders, and emphasized his regret about the unsuccessful try to extinguish the Jewish population of the world in an interview only spome years before his abduction.
    It was a major error of her to mistook his defence strategy, successful in previous German trials, as empirical source for human condition.

    Arendt’s book on the Eichmann is one of the great embarrassments of her often embarrassing career. great analysis in Yakira’s, Post-Zionism, Post-Holocaust: Three Essays on Denial, Forgetting, and the Delegitimation of Israel by Elhanan Yakira and Michael Swirsky

    • akmofo says:

      Eichmann wasn’t alone. He had most of Europe, the Catholic Church, and a culture of over 2,000 years of war, thievery, brutality, mass murder, to back him. Evil permeated the very fabric of European society. As it does today, btw, to be honest.

      • Fritz Wunderlich says:

        Better read some books about the NS-indoctrination of the generations drafted by the Wehrmacht, not to speak of SA and SS, the culture of force and of antisemitism in the Republic of Weimar and about the conduct of war from the begin in Poland to ..
        instead of resorting to generalisations.

        • akmofo says:

          Fritz, I agree with you. It was a culture of barbarism brutality racism and war. And it wasn’t unique to Germany, but to the whole of Europe for thousands of years.

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            I completely disagree.
            Antijudaism was shared throughout Christian Europe, partially in the Islam Near East and North Africa. Antisemitism evolved in Europe in the nineteenth century, and quickly spread to other continents.
            The invemtion of racism dates too into the nineteenth century although some prefere the eighteenth.
            A sort of racism certainly was the high prize paid through centuries for white slaves in Islam countries till the abolition of slavery by the west, whereas black slaves were common at the markets of Cairo and Sansibar.

          • SerJew says:

            Hyam MacCobby in his “Antisemitism and modernity” argues that the Spanish notion of “limpieza de sangre” was probably the first manifestation of European biological racism.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limpieza_de_sangre

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            Yes, I read about it in a bit speculative book of Wiesenthal.
            It is certainly a antecedent.
            http://robtshepherd.tripod.com/columbus.html

          • akmofo says:

            Well, now that you’ve elaborated,.. yup, we disagree.

            European anti-Judaism precedes “Christian” Europe by many centuries. (Like many others, I don’t consider Catholicism to be Christianity). The Maccabees revolt against the Ptolemaic Greeks, then the Roman destruction of Jewish Temple, the destruction of the Jewish homeland, the Roman hijacking of the Jewish Nazarene political revolt and turning the Jesus movement into a concocted imperial Roman pagan imperialist cult, aka, Catholicism, all are acts of anti-Jewish genocide. And then, we have the Roman Catholic creation of Islam, by which the Romans used the Arab tribes to genocide Jews of the Middle East as well as Orthodox Christian “heretics”.

            Semites are not a race, but they are different and are not Europeans, so that’s where “racism” comes in. Anyway, I kind of reject the whole pseudo-science of “race”. Probably a better term to use is xenophobia.

            Whatever you want to call it, bigotry and acts of hatred, plunder, and genocide towards the Hebrew tribes and their religion by the old and new Europeans existed for a long long time. Thousands of years, not a mere hundred(s) of years. That’s what Europe does. It’s whole history is that of non-stop mass murder, plunder, slavery, war, and constant drive for domination over others. That’s really what defines the blue-eyed devil dogs and their culture, as much as they like to pretend otherwise.

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            This is just too weird to earn a serious answer.

          • akmofo says:

            When all hear and know is lies and propaganda the truth can sound weird.

          • Richard Landes says:

            the opposite of a mistaken “take” on reality is not necessarily correct.

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            Some points could be disputed, but the whole is too weird.

          • akmofo says:

            the opposite of a mistaken “take” on reality is not necessarily correct.
            ==

            Richard, if you have a curious and critical mind and I believe that you do, you will follow up on the list of historians and investigative journalists that I’ve mentioned and what they have to say. The facts are there. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots. Many, as myself, have connected the dots and arrived at the same conclusion. The historical pattern is unmistakable.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Would the “Limpieza de sangre” represent a new political expression of biological racism, or a tribalist counteraction to an innovation in traditional [tribal] marriage customs [do to whatever cause] that allowed the possibility of marriage outside of one’s tribe in the first place? Or is there even a difference?

            Over the ages there have been lots of places where different, ethinc, racial, tribal – whatever – groups have lived in relative peace in very close proximity, Nassim Taleb waxes eloquent on the Lebanon of his youth in this regard, but the community elders always kept a very tight lid on intermarriage [without any external coercion], to prevent exactly the types of troubles being experienced by the Spaniards, the reestablishment of tribal hegemony, or the maintenance of their own tribal identity.

            W^3

          • SerJew says:

            Well, it’s a complex of issues involved, as always the case in historical processes; for instance there was the need to establish Spanish national “homogeneity” and to legitimize the christian monarchy after the ‘Reconquista’. But there’s a clear “biologization” of differences, because after all, Jews and Moors were forced to convert to catholicism, but that was not enough to end discrimination; and to keep the separation they invented this ‘blood cleanliness’ criteria that set people apart in terms of biological ancestry. And there was an institution, the Inquisition, a kind of proto-totalitarian secret police, heavily involved in the business. It’s a landmark in biological racism that would be superseded by the ‘veterinarian philosophy’ of the mid-19th-century (as Leon Polyakov called the pseudo-scientific racism of the likes of Gobineau).

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            In the context of the forming of Spain out of different political identities like Leon, Navarre, Castile, Aragon and Andalusia a perceived or imagined homogeneity certainly is crucial after 150 years of war between the Christian states.
            But if we take into account that under the Almohads and Almoravids not only Christians and Jews were harassed and fled to the North (Maimonides to more liberal Islamic Egypt), but even Mozarabs and liberal minded Muslims, we see a certain forming of a closed mind, a concept evolving, of exclusion and inclusion. I maintain that al-Ghazali`s influence, the philosophical cul-de-sac of Islam, had reached the Iberian Peninsula. If those more fanatical dynasties were a reaction to the crusades I don`t know. But crusading on the peninsula was a quite normal alternative for individual Christians when not bound for the Holy Land.

            Although both dynasties liberalized during the generations of ruling it was the beginning of the religious separation on the Peninsula, under the impact of these dynasies and the crusaders from outside of the Peninsula.
            So to resort to Christian blood purity for a uniting concept and to commit crimes against the citizens of other faiths or converted citzens for the brotherhood of crime, justified by the pope, the faith, the robbed wealth and the royals might have formed a Spanish unity. But the nobility of the Christian states has to be counted, too.
            An endless stream of wars, fights and robberies have formed its perception and behaviour and the royals had to pacify them by searching for common enemies and enough bouty. There are some indications that not only the Osman control of the trade in Eastern Mediterraen was a motif to search other ways round and to found colonies, but another motif could have been to export social unrest, opening new oppotunities for the nobility outside the court, outside of central control.
            The other side is to offer inner enemies, hidden or not so hidden ones.
            Both, Jews and Moslems, were outsidets of the Christian feudal world and treated likewise, converted of a considerable mass were, I suppose, something new.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            In my own learning there is are these kind of largish blank spots in the history between the Punic Wars, the later Roman emperors, and when things start picking up again from the Kingdom of Castile, and even that is more from the literary history.

            What are the population fractions: Jew, Muslim, Christian in the periods you are describing?

            W^3

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            I recommend to follow the link which SerJew gave.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            If you are going to make a distinction between historical “Antijudaism” and more modern “Antisemitism”, could you please explain the difference in the context you are using them? Just to get us all on your sheet of music.

            W^3

          • Fritz Wunderlich says:

            It is not ‘my’ distinction, but a scholarly one.
            The change from hate of the Jewish religion to the hate of Jews at all, for their existence.
            As SerJew put it, biological racism.

          • w.w.wygart says:

            Sorry if you felt slighted in any way. I’m not a scholar, I was wanting to be informed since I didn’t understand the distinction. Makes perfect sense now that I know.

            Best regards,

            W.

          • SerJew says:

            BTW, I’m not a scholar either. I just recalled the issue of “blood purity” & thought it was an interesting input.

            Regards.

    • Fritz Wunderlich says:

      Thanks for the tip. I already ordered the book.

  16. Richard Landes says:

    i’ve gone through this sometimes/often unnecessarily contentious exchange and left comments in italics. i hope, among other things, it can add a useful push in the direction of constructive discussion.

    • w.w.wygart says:

      Dr. Landes, could you please initial when your are doing this in-line? just to make it a little easier for the rest of us to see where you are interjecting. The inter-fisking can get a little complicated sometimes to keep straight.

      W^3

      • w.w.wygart says:

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, this looks like the real deal to me though. Here it is:

        “Explain to me why your Catholic mom be crying, Martin. The bloodthirsty Jews killed Christ, your new/old roman God and Savior, and were using the blood of Catholic children to make their matzos every Passover, for hundreds of years.” [SOMEBODY on this blog, February 12, 2013 at 12:26 am]

        This is the textbook example of the blood libel isn’t it? or have I got it wrong?

        W^3

  17. w.w.wygart says:

    Wow, this has been quite the thread hasn’t it? I’ve seem some of the very best and some of the very worst I’ve seen on the Augean Stables. I’d thought I’d never live to see the day I would see someone seriously propose that Jews made their Passover matzos with the blood of Christian [Catholic] children on this blog. A genuine blood libel here on the Augean Stables, THAT has to be one for the record books.

    did i miss something? where was the blood libel?

    This, I think, is one of the most cogent, and relevant, observations that Dr. Landes makes:

    “In other words, the really monstrous injustices visited on the Palestinian people by Arabs (Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Kuwaitis) doesn’t shame the civilized world since they’re not civilized. So this is really about Kellner’s moral narcissism. He has the kind of moral contempt for Arabs and Muslims so scathingly described by Pat Condell, and his “shame” is reserved for those he holds to civilized standards.”

    I’ve made this point before here, yet it seems to be an ongoing problem so I’ll say it again. When I get into this argument [it always devolves into an argument] with my family or friends, I refer to what Dr. Landes just described as, “Treating the Palestinians like pets – not like people”.

    did you watch the great Pat Condell rant that i linked to?

    When we do this, we are robbing them of all power, all responsibility, all agency and effectively treat them as automata, animals… pets. Yet, the best and brightest amongst us [sic], seem to be intellectually blind to the concept that the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Muslims, the whoever, have any responsibility for the outcome of the situation, any input to the process, or any alternative at all for their behavior. I find this equation a bit disgusting, and unfair to all, the Palestinians not the least.

    Cherie Blair et al: “what choice do they have?”

    “Moral narcissism”, what a great term, but not quite powerful enough to completely describe the pathology or the completeness of the double standards involved, indeed many such as Kellner don’t seem to be able to hold the Palestinians to any standards of behavior at all. Why is that? Can’t Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims be thought of as being able to operate by modern human standards of behavior?

    It seems ubiquitous that if you look at the statements and arguments of western liberals who defend the Palestinian position that what you find a complete and total one-sidedness of the argument, it seems to many like Israeli action is in a complete vacuum. I for one can’t conscience that.

    W^3

    yes, moral narcissism only explains some impt reasons why people get involved in moral inversions, not the inversions themselves (e.g., the image of al durah replaces erases one symbolizing the Holocaust).

    in the case of the europeans (who want to be seen as the most moral people on the planet), dumping on israel and supporting those who hate her is a way of eliminating the competition.

    this makes the jewish moral narcissism of wanting to live up to perfectionist standards all the more ironic because the harder they strive to please western progressives, the more those people hate them for doing more than they, and their cultures could ever do under the circumstances. -rl

    • @ w.w.wygart

      “I’ve made this point before here, yet it seems to be an ongoing problem so I’ll say it again. When I get into this argument [it always devolves into an argument] with my family or friends, I refer to what Dr. Landes just described as, “Treating the Palestinians like pets – not like people”.
      When we do this, we are robbing them of all power, all responsibility, all agency and effectively treat them as automata, animals… pets.”

      I think we are being very kind to the morally vain liberals when we say that they treat Palestinians as pets. Our behavior towards pets is beneficial for the pets.

      I will offer one more analogy: the self-aggrandizing liberals are behaving like heroine dealers and treat the Palestinians as junkies. They indulge the Palestinians’/Muslims’ genocidal hatreds and in return they get paid in moral pseudo-superiority. In the process, they hurt the Palestinians too, not just the Israelis.

      Dr Landes has used an expression he picked from one of his commentators in his Telegraph blog: codependency. (he was referring to the relationship between Hamas and the human rights activists, but i think it is safe to extrapolate to Palestinians and liberals in general in this case).

      good point. if anything they treat them the way that the pigs treated the puppies that they turned into killers in Animal Farm. the reason that the europeans nurture palestinian hatred of israel and cheer it on, is because the palestinians represent their proxies in an anti-semitism they can’t own either publicly or even to themselves. that such behavior also trashes palestinian culture is not remotely one of their concerns, despite their heated expressions of support. rl

      • w.w.wygart says:

        Maybe I really am becoming too much of a woosie and I’m just too damned polite to name it ‘Holocaust by Proxy’.

        Shame, shame, shame. Shame me once, shame on me; shame me twice shame on me [??!]; shame me thrice I kill ya!

        W^3

        • @ wygart

          “Maybe I really am becoming too much of a woosie and I’m just too damned polite to name it ‘Holocaust by Proxy’.”

          None of my business, but it is obvious that you are not a woosie. I think you are trying not to become hateful.

          It’s one thing that Europe is 100% on the wrong in supporting the Palestinians against the Israelis. It’s a completely different thing that Europe AT THE SAME TIME accuses Israelis with a histrionic sanctimoniousness.

          What is it like to be wronged and, yet, be morally vilified by the one who wrongs you? “Adding insult to injury” does not really capture the monstrosity of the European stance.

          If i were a Jew i would have snapped long time ago – and, i think, the same goes for most Europeans, if they found themselves in Israelis’ shoes

        • Dr Landes, i tried to leave a reply to wygart twice, but it got spammed.

      • akmofo says:

        good point. if anything they treat them the way that the pigs treated the puppies that they turned into killers in Animal Farm. the reason that the europeans nurture palestinian hatred of israel and cheer it on, is because the palestinians represent their proxies in an anti-semitism they can’t own either publicly or even to themselves. that such behavior also trashes palestinian culture is not remotely one of their concerns, despite their heated expressions of support. rl
        ==

        They did exactly the same with Islam. They created Islam and supported Muhmud’s army as a proxy army to genocide Jews and non-Catholic “heretics”. They couldn’t do this directly because these Jews and Christian “heretics” were Roman citizens and under Roman protection, so they created their Islamic army and gave it a free hand to carry out its acts of genocide against Roman citizens who were not Roman Catholic.

    • @ Dr Landes

      “this makes the jewish moral narcissism of wanting to live up to perfectionist standards all the more ironic because the harder they strive to please western progressives, the more those people hate them for doing more than they, and their cultures could ever do under the circumstances. -rl”

      Speaking of the devil, here is Mr Philip Weiss from Mondoweiss, engaging in projection of his own moral narcissism:

      http://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/israel-social-credential.html?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=461aceb196-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email#comments

      “I got upset on the commuter train the other day. There’s a woman in my town I run into five or six times a year. She’s social, and she’s conventional. The best schools, the best causes. She’s the soul of convention. If they were having charity slave auctions in New York, she’d be primping the centerpieces at the tables as the wranglers pulled the wives apart from the husbands in chains. And smiling, with her good lipstick and hairdo.”

      Her crime, according to Mr Weiss, is that she supports the existence of a Jewish state. And he had to criticize her.

      You see, Mr Weiss felt “disgusted”, and in his piece he explains his harsh criticism: “the issue is too important for me to be polite”.

      Self-glorification, sans the lipstick, but as a Jew – this last one, he stated it.

      • Richard Landes says:

        wow. that’s something. maybe we should start a set of case studies. if you work up a blogpost fisking this piece by m-w as moral narcissism, i’d be happy to put it up.

        his description of her sounds like a novel. preening in a misanthropic novel: we all know that I, Philip Mondoweiss would never do anything as despicable as this woman would (i know it) do. and i must speak out.

        finish with some thoughts on why someone like him has the audience he has: what does that say about their moral compass.

        • Dr Landes, this is probably too upfront to go up, but I couldn’t restrain myself, I have commented extensively in m/w two times, and it wasn’t the name calling that I received the first time that still rankles, but the MORE THAN 70 decent (no profanities) comments of mine deleted. They seem to have an aversion to mention of Hamas’ practice to use human shields, as well as with evidence for Iran’s irrationality, and in general with anything the spoils their fairy tales. Anyway, here is what I came up (I left out the thoughts on the moral compass of the Mondoweiss dupes, since I thought I was kind of late in coming up with something, I understood you wanted to see my piece quickly, so that you could decide if it would be better to handle the issue just by yourself).

          When loving bashing Israel is a social credential

          We all have seen the psychological phenomenon of projection in action: someone attributing to her interlocutor mindsets or emotional states that she herself experiences. What is really rare is to see a moral narcissist projecting his own moral narcissism to other people. Yet this is how Mr Philip Weiss (head of the Israel-has-no-right-to-exist Mondoweiss site) started his article entitled “when loving Israel is a social credential”:

          “I got upset on the commuter train the other day. There’s a woman in my town I run into five or six times a year. She’s social, and she’s conventional. The best schools, the best causes. She’s the soul of convention. If they were having charity slave auctions in New York, she’d be primping the centerpieces at the tables as the wranglers pulled the wives apart from the husbands in chains.”

          She’s the sort of woman that is probably too bourgeois for Mr Philip’s taste. And he ascribes to her an indifference to other people’s suffering. Now, how he could have known that, since, according to him, he runs into her just five or six times a year is something we are not being told. Has she confided that she doesn’t mind slavery? Or something equally despicable? Besides, wasn’t it Mr Philip that described the woman as committed to the “best causes”?

          Anyway, Mr Philip proceeds to inform us that this terrible woman not only would she be oblivious of the slaves’ suffering, she would also be in good mood in their presence:

          “And smiling, with her good lipstick and hairdo.’

          And why just smiling? I mean, now that we have seen a shadow of the dominatrix in her, why not describe her as crackling the whip on the slaves’ backs? But Mr Philip left it at that, no S/M treats for his (radically) liberal audience. Maybe, after all, he was not just engaging in fiction, maybe he was talking about things he senses in himself – an attitude of disregard for Israeli suffering, for example. And maybe he felt the need to stress to his audience what a moral bloke he is, by looking down upon a (fictional, no one supports slavery in the West) immoral character. “Moral preening [of Mr Philip] in a misanthropic novel [with the woman as the heroine]” as Dr Landes put it in a comment when presented with Mr Philip’s opening gambit. But I digress. Here is Mr Philip continuing with his diatribe:

          “Anyway, last year she invited me over to her house for dinner to talk about Palestine before she went on an Ivy League alumni tour to Israel and Palestine. I didn’t see what was coming: I drank her wine and gobbled the chicken and laid out my serious concerns about the politics of the place. Then when she got back, I found out that she hadn’t visited Palestine for a second. They’d gone to one high tech factory after another, with the alumni spooning praise over Israeli high-tech wizardry, marveling at their intelligence and resourcefulness, in the very worst neighborhood in the world.”

          Makes sense for the woman to visit only Israel. Who can guarantee what might happen to her if she gets lost in Gaza or the West Bank? The Palestinians, being Muslims, are not exactly world champions in the treatment of women. Lots of honor killings, lots of dress-code related commands, if I were an Ivy League independent woman I would have the Palestinians at the bottom of my people-to-meet list – and, come and think of it, I wouldn’t visit them in my capacity as a woman even if I were not Ivy League stuff.

          Israel, on the other hand, is world champion in technological innovation, so it is perfectly normal for one (be it a man or a terrible woman) to want to have a glimpse at this miracle that is taking place in a place that gets bombarded with terrorist rockets daily – not right now, though, Hamas needs to rearm first. Anti-terrorist operations War crimes such as operation Pillar of Defense tend to have this unfortunate effect of reducing the terrorists’ arsenal.

          So why was Mr Philip so upset that the woman did not visit the Palestinians, and why he laments himself for not “seeing it coming”? Here comes the combustion of the morally righteous, the indignation of a man with a clear heart:

          ”And I felt disgusted with myself that I had been a party to it; I’d offered her preemptive atonement by talking Palestine with her sitting there nodding. Then she’d gone off with her fancy friends and felt, all is right with the world.’

          A non sequitur, but I guess no bigger than a Jew wishing for the Jewish state to dissolve, as is Mr Philip’s wish.

          But how exactly did he unintentionally offer her atonement? It is well known that Mr Philip bashes Israel almost every day. There’s no way that anything he might have said made her feel exculpated – exculpated from what, really? From wanting the most persecuted people in history to have a state of their own, where they can live without the constant humiliations they have suffered elsewhere?

          Now, I could also point out that the atonement that the terrible woman needed (according to Mr Philip), is emotionally dissonant with MrPhilip’s account of the woman’s attitude, an attitude of smiling in the presence of slavery (or any other form of suffering). If the woman is so self-centered and detached in the presence of suffering, she can’t possibly feel the need for any sort of atonement.

          Let us then write the whole thing off as Mr Philip’s unsuccessful attempt to engage in the genre of fiction, an inconsistency in character plotting – makes one wonder, though: does the woman really exist? But even if she does, it is becoming very clear that Mr Philip is caricaturing her in order to aggrandize himself: “I, Mr Philip, must be always cautious even in the slightest details, my mission is too great to permit even minor blunders”.

          Well I ran into her on the train the other day, and she said that she had been to the Other Israel film festival, hosted by Carole Zabar. You would like it, she said. There are all kinds of films there, in Hebrew and Arabic.
          And I said, “I’m sure I’d like some of the films. But it’s hosted by Zionists.””

          Yes, of course, a state for the Jews is a crime, and anyone supporting this state must be boycotted – it’s a sad thing about addiction, it makes the victim escalate, more and more is required of the morally vain person to get a high, hence boycotts.

          ”My friend’s smile froze.
          “A Zionist,” I went on prosecutorially, “is someone who believes in the need for a Jewish state. You’re a WASP, right?”
          Frightened nod.
          “If you wanted to set up a Christian white state in this country, I’d have a real problem with it.”
          “So would I,” she said, chirpingly.
          “Well good, we agree,” I said. “And my people have set up a Jewish state in a land that has got a sizeable population of non-Jews. It’s not fair.”

          A thing I have noticed in anti-Zionists is that they have a thing for failed analogies. The Nazi analogies are an obvious case (no, Mr Philip, the Israelis are not putting the Palestinians in gas chambers, therefore they are not Nazis), and the analogy that Mr Philip offered now fares no better:

          There is already a state in America, but there was no state of Palestine when Israel was formed.

          And should Mr Philip be reminded that the Palestinians rejected the 1947 Partition Plan of the UN, and instead relied on the invading Arabs to exterminate the Jews? If the Palestinians wanted a state, they would have had it, not just then, even now.

          But why should Mr Philip bother with such a mundane concept as truth when the whole world is out there ready to offer him ethical glory, if only he denounces Israel in any way he can? If analogies do the trick, who cares if they are inaccurate?

          “My friend was now trying to edge away into her seat. I decided not to let go.”

          “My friend”! He describes her as his friend! After having talked about the woman in his article in the way he did! I guess with friends like Mr Philip we don’t need enemies, do we?

          And despite her edging away into her seat, Mr Philip decided not to let go. Well, he must have thought of his duty to save the terrorists (by annihilating Israel), who can blame him for proceeding? At least, by insinuating that he deliberated before going on, he let us know that it wasn’t sadism motivating him, no – just delusions of ethical grandeur.

          “And my people– we were at the forefront of the civil rights movement and many other liberal movements; we helped move this country forward. But on this issue, we’re by and large reactionary—and that’s why I’m engaged on it, as a Jew.”

          Self glorification, sans the lipstick, but as a Jew – hey, slandering is not that destructive for Israel if the perpetrator is not a Jew. But, thank God, we have Mr Philip to give a hand in the dirty job of relocating/eliminating 7 million Jews. And all he’s asking for is the chance to show off morally – a real bargain for anti-Semites.

          “My friend had a curare look, as if I’d shot a poison dart.”

          Yes, it might feel bad to frighten people, but I, Mr Philip, will not let sentimentalities enter the picture, I’ve got Palestinian terrorists to protect from Israeli oppression. And it feels great to be (seen as) a moral hero.

          And, now that he got his virtue fix, he considers the consequences – consequences to himself, not to the Israelis, not even to the Palestinians:

          ”I imagine she will gossip about me now: that I’ve gone nuts. And that’s fine. The issue is too important for me to be polite.”

          Wow, gossip. Can Mr Philip overcome this momentous threat? Yes, he can. The issue is too important, ethically speaking, to allow himself to be diverted from his task of … being considered the most moral boy in town.

          Not to mention that gossip doesn’t hurt as much as the Palestinian rockets that he, Mr Philip, is helping perpetuate.

          “Not when socially aspiring Americans find that sucking up to Israel burnishes their date books.”

          Come on now, Philip, don’t be such a fraud!

          Nowadays, it’s sucking up to the Palestinians that does the trick with the date books – why don’t you ask Mr Tom Friedman?

          But you knew that already, didn’t you?

    • @ akmofo

      “They know about the Vatican, why don’t you?”

      How could we possibly know, they have made us not want education:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dabH45Af2bo

      And they used this anti-Semitic dude, Roger MudWaters, to spread the lie.

      PS. I fully sympathize with your sentiment. I just disagree on the plausibility of the view that some single unified center can control the globe. I think it’s technically untenable. Wouldn’t there have been a whistleblower? Egos tend to clash all the time, someone from the cabal would have taken his revenge by spitting it all out to the world.

    • w.w.wygart says:

      akmofo,

      Surely you jest – the Rolling Stones? They are like the Graeae, four old women with two brain cells and one synapse to that they pass around between them. You are going to publicly put someone else down citing THEM as an authority???

      W^3

      • akmofo says:

        W^3, I don’t cite the Rolling Stones as an authority. Authority is for idiots and slaves. What I do say, the Rolling Stones know and you don’t. And I ask, why is that?

        • w.w.wygart says:

          akmofo said:

          I don’t cite the Rolling Stones as an authority. Authority is for idiots and slaves. What I do say, the Rolling Stones know and you don’t. And I ask, why is that?

          Fell face first into that one didn’t you?

          You do not know me, and you do not know what I know, you don’t even know the Rolling Stones. Every time you have disagreed with someone on this thread you have come back with the same lame, intellectually vapid reply, “And I ask, why is that?” That is not an argument, that is not a position, that is a dodge.

          From time to time you have come up with some interesting points, I’ll entertain them, but you have demonstrated no great scholarship – and there are obviously some genuine scholars here – and have presented no non-UTube facts to back up your paranoid claims.

          No one here takes you seriously.

          Your behavior and lack of self-restraint invalidate everything you say.

          Defeat me now with some facts.

          I will accept the chastisement of: Dr. Landes, Martin J. Malliet, Fritz Wunderlich, SerJew or just about anyone else on this thread but not you.

          I apologize to Dr. Landes for loosing my cool on his blog; as a blog owner myself I understand the implications of my behavior. Does akmofo understand the implications?

          Regards,

          Wygart

          • akmofo says:

            That is not an argument, that is not a position, that is a dodge.
            ==

            Who the hell are you!? Why should I or anyone care what YOU want to believe or not? I’m not here for YOU. I couldn’t care less what YOU think. I’m here because of Richard Landes. Because I respect his efforts to expose the truth, his honesty, his intellect. I want to make him aware of what I know. What he does with that information and how he processes that information, I leave that to him. As for YOU, as far as I’m concerned, you’re just another puffed up ego and/or a dissembler. That’s what I think of YOU. So buzz off, creep.

  18. akmofo says:

    the question is, “why uncontested?” why do Europeans and “leftist” “progressives” unquestionably accept the demonization of Israel and shudder at the very suggestion that there’s a problem with Palestinian/Arab/Muslim culture?
    ==

    Because all these groups are fake CIA/Vatican fronts. One way or another they’re ALL financed by the CIA/Vatican and the CIA/Vatican sets the propaganda agenda.

  19. @ SerJew

    @ Martin

    Martin said:
    “I’ve got to go. I’ve got a girl for tonight.”

    SerJew replied
    Question: who the hell cares?

    “Whatever makes her happy on a Saturday night”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g28CpuEoQU

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      One man at least in possession of his friendly soul! And you never need many friends. A few is quite sufficient.

      Dionissis, do you read classical Greek? Schopenhauer explains somewhere that of all the living languages he knew, German is the most powerful, because it comes close to the most powerful of all, classical Greek. Unfortunately, I have no means to check that for myself. And what do they mean when they say that modern Greek is different? How can it be so different that you cannot get back anymore to the original? Well, that would be very off-topic, and I can try to find out by other means.

      • @ Martin

        Dionissis, do you read classical Greek? Schopenhauer explains somewhere that of all the living languages he knew, German is the most powerful, because it comes close to the most powerful of all, classical Greek. Unfortunately, I have no means to check that for myself. And what do they mean when they say that modern Greek is different? How can it be so different that you cannot get back anymore to the original?

        I could read in ancient Greek in the past because i was at the time intent to enter the Law School of the University of Athens (which i did, but then abandon it), and ancient Greek were a compulsory subject to be tested. But once you leave it, it leaves you. I could catch up though, if i wanted to.

        I don’t know how you mean the term “powerful” as applied to languages. I have an aversion to modern Greek because i am averse to Greece – but i am great at writing in Greek, this isn’t bragging, i really am. The only language i wish i could fully know is English, i find this language especially suitable for describing emotional states. I think that English humor (which i cherish) is partly a product of the English language. There is something else about the English language that i find significant, but i cannot test my hypothesis. The way they pronounce “r”, which to my knowledge is unique, must have something to do with the fact that they are more subtle than the rest of Europe. The English pronunciation of this sound is far less macho than, say, the German or the French way (not to mention the Southern European way). And a brain bombarded every single minute with gentler sounds might be more likely to become gentle. Just a hypothesis.

        Modern Greek is different enough from their ancient counterpart for most Greeks not to be able to read them, but there are many words that are the same. There are significant differences in grammar and syntaxis, but i have no way of explaining them to you in English – my English skills don’t suffice.

    • akmofo says:

      The guy is 60 something and he’s still dating girls? Is that girl even of age? Did he pay for her? Or was she passed on to him from the pederast Roman clergy and their mafia prostitution and drug businesses.

      • Martin J. Malliet says:

        Watch yourself, Mika! She’s looking at the screen and making some interesting observations (while doing other things to me as well). Summum bonum. It can’t get any better. And she wants me to stop it now. Giving me some powerful arguments of her own.

        • SerJew says:

          “Watch yourself, Mika! She’s looking at the screen and making some interesting observations (while doing other things to me as well). Summum bonum. It can’t get any better. And she wants me to stop it now. Giving me some powerful arguments of her own.”

          Oh, yeah, oh, yeah! Please, tell us more. Is she reading Voegelin too? Wow, that’s sooooo hot.

  20. @akmofo
    @SerJew
    @Martin

    Isn’t it better for us to leave all our replies at the end of the comment section? As a separate comment? It’s getting tiresome to sort through all the comments to find out where any new comment is located.

  21. akmofo says:

    Dionissis Mitropoulos @ February 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm
    ==

    Good point.

  22. @akmofo
    @SerJew
    @Martin

    Isn’t it better for us to leave all our replies at the end of the comment section? As a separate comment? It’s getting tiresome to sort through all the comments to find out where any new comment is located.

  23. SerJew says:

    “This is as short as I can make it.”

    Not short enough, unfortunately. You have a real talent for writing BS.

    • @ SerJew

      And it is Plato, no less, that has made the point that “to be laconic is to philosophize”. Now we caught Martin on his own terms!

      • SerJew says:

        @ Dionissis

        It’s obvious that Doktor Pneumatic is just a pseudo-intellectual crackpot.

        But beware, ’cause his next little “thesis” will be a porno-Voegelinesque rant about the negativistic effects of positivistic approaches in the paralogical insights of the Sturmabteilungphilosophie, as seen from his semi-demented mommy.

      • SerJew says:

        @Dionissis

        Doktor Pneumatic is just a pseudo-intellectual crackpot.

  24. akmofo says:

    SerJew @ February 16, 2013 at 5:24 pm
    “Ok, next time, bring your mom and your cousin to the discussion.”
    ==

    I think he already has. Either that, or that “w.w.wygart” creep is a sockpuppet, which given Martin’s psychological profile wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

    • @ akmofo

      I think he already has. Either that, or that “w.w.wygart” creep is a sockpuppet, which given Martin’s psychological profile wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

      Hey, akmofo!

      Don’t push people like wygart away from the blog, he’s on our side.

      And do you really think that Martin would be maintaining a blog like Wygard’s?

      • akmofo says:

        Dionissis Mitropoulos @ February 16, 2013 at 8:24 pm
        “he’s on our side”
        ==

        Ok. I’ll lay off. But he smells. I’ll try hold my nose, but he still smells.

  25. SerJew says:

    “But that’s what SerJew is doing all the time: not understanding what I am saying, then draw his awful conclusion from that misunderstanding of his own, and then hurl that awful conclusion back at my head as if it had been my fault all along! That’s how illogical a positivist mind thinks! Hard science? Dickhead science, I would rather call it.”

    Listen, doktor Pneumaticus, there’s absolutely nothing to understand from your egomaniacal logorrhea, except that you are a pretentious pseudo-intellectual crack-pot. You might impress some of your French buddies, or your mom, but not people who still have self-respect and intellectual honesty.

    • @ SerJew

      Listen, doktor Pneumaticus, there’s absolutely nothing to understand from your egomaniacal logorrhea, except that you are a pretentious pseudo-intellectual crack-pot. You might impress some of your French buddies, or your mom, but not people who still have self-respect and intellectual honesty.

      Martin is a Catholic, right? I thought Catholics are not allowed to have extramarital or premarital sex. Is it true?

      • SerJew says:

        @Dionissis

        Who knows? But surely Doktor Pneumaticus will find some excuse for his escapades(or fantasies?) in some arcane quotation by Voegelin or some other hocus-pocus of superior Alzheimerphilosophie.

        • @ SerJew

          Who knows? But surely Doktor Pneumaticus will find some excuse for his escapades(or fantasies?) in some arcane quotation by Voegelin or some other hocus-pocus of superior Alzheimerphilosophie.

          If i may predict, the justification will be based on Nietszche. The love-of-life theme is his, to the best of my knowledge – i exclude the ancient Greeks or Romans.

          • SerJew says:

            @Dionissis

            Could be. Or some convoluted hogwash involving “natural law” and “loss or reality” and, of course, some rant about evil positivism. It’s all the same repetitive & recycled BS, over and over, in the most ridiculous rocambolesque fashion. Doktor Pneumaticus could exemplify the formula of that other charlatan and master of non-sense, Martin Heidegger: “The Nothing nothings.”

          • @ SerJew

            Could be. Or some convoluted hogwash involving “natural law” and “loss or reality” and, of course, some rant about evil positivism. It’s all the same repetitive & recycled BS, over and over, in the most ridiculous rocambolesque fashion. Doktor Pneumaticus could exemplify the formula of that other charlatan and master of non-sense, Martin Heidegger: “The Nothing nothings.”

            I have just learned two new words, “hogwash” and “rocambolesque”! I will be using the first one.

      • SerJew says:

        Catholics and nazis.

        Now that Dr. Pneumaticus Pedanticus decided to talk about “decent Germans”, he should have said something about the nauseating pusilanimity of the catholic in face of nazism. Like the self-dissolution of the Zentrum party. And what about the teutomaniac anti-Semitic Pious XII, ready to make any deals with the nazi-lucifer against the communists, forgetting every single tenet of catholic (universal) principles. His deafening silence to the fate of Jews and even to the killings of priests in nazi-occupied Poland. Or course, after the war, the Vatican was quite compassionate to nazi-criminals, furnishing the infamous “rat-line” for such prominent mass-murderers as Franz Stangl (a catholic!) to south america and the middle-east.

        And what about the shameless celebrations of the Führer’s birthdays in churches all over “decent” Germany. And why the Church, as fas as I know, never ever excommunicated any of the mostly catholic germans and austrians that served in the concentration camps? Not even Hitler himself, a catholic, was excommunicated.

        Recall that the Church had huge mobilization capabilities. Barely 60 years before, it managed to stop Bismark’s Kulturkampf. Also, though with a strange lag, it managed to react to the nazi T-4 Euthanasia program that killed some 70.000 handicapped and mentally ill patients (taken from mostly Catholic institutions) and stop it for a while. Of course, they couldn’t move a finger to save Jewish lifes.

        So much for catholic decency. Of course, catholics were not alone, though they are specially guilty, as they supposedly spoke for “love” and “humankind”. The German medical establishment was enthusiastically nazi and criminal. And academics, of course, after expelling all Jews. And the many anonymous civil servants and bureaucracyt, without which, the nazi-killing machine couldn’t work with teutonic efficiency. And people in Jurisprudence, like Carl Schmitt, that helped destroy the rule of law and subscribed to all the steps of moral, legal and economic dispossession of Jewish citizens. And “decent” Germans were just indifferent, or pretty happy to take jobs, apppartments and position of the Jews.

        Now, dr. Pneumaticus Pedanticus can go back to his nauseating pseudo-humanistic historical revisionism.

        • akmofo says:

          Notice how Martin still hasn’t replied to my questions to him @ February 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm

          Why he called Israel a concentration camp, and only Israel a concentration camp? Silence. Why is it that when Jews created their nation state he called it is a crime against humanity? Again, silence. Why is it that other nation states are not “victims” of a crime against humanity. Again, silence.

          Instead, what we get from Martin are volumes of obfuscation and provocation.

  26. Martin J. Malliet says:

    The positivist destruction of the mind: an application of the paradox of incompetence

    Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1999, Vol. 77, No. 6, 1121-1134

    Dialogue is at:

    http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2013/02/08/scarfe-ward-lethal-frames-and-the-unbearable-lightness-of-simon-kellner/#comment-622683

    (H): normal or humanist mind (me);
    (P): positivist or reductionist mind (he).

    (H->): I’m sending a message to P; that message may be a bit long, but it is not longer than what I think is necessary to explain what I have to say.

    (->P): On receiving my message, P cannot make any sense of it; it’s not that he understands most but not all of it, and thinks himself ready to make a reply; no, he just cannot connect to the words and understand anything. He therefore has two (and no more) normal, lawful choices (lawful meaning with respect for my rights and taking me seriously and in good faith).

    (<-P1): He can respond that he is sorry, but cannot make any sense of what I'm saying; but that he is not interested enough to continue the dialogue, because he has better things to do; he is perfectly in his right to do that, he doesn't owe me anything.

    (<-P2): He can respond that he is sorry, but cannot make any sense of what I'm saying; but that he is interested enough to continue the dialogue, because he might learn something; however, he must ask me to explain my first message better, because in the current state it doesn't make any sense to him; eventually, not just because he wants to be friendly, but because he is interested in continuing the dialogue, he may give me some hints on what is not clear to him in order to help me to explain better what I have in mind.

    However, P hasn't chosen any of these two lawful replies. He has done something altogether different.

    (<-P3): He has reponded that my message did not only make no sense to him, he has immediately maintained that it did not make any sense at all! How can he know that? That question he simply does not ask himself, and it is that omission that is at the heart of the paradox of incompetence. He simply disrespects my right to maintain that my own message makes sense to me, myself! No, he knows better than me! And he can even explain to me why my own message makes sense to me without making any sense at all: it is because I'm backward, I'm trapped in a scholastic bubble, and I haven't made the necessary progress to learn how my nonsensical thoughts are nonsensical. This idea of linear progress in learning and in history is a very characteristic component of the positivist mind, which is an unidmensional mind and therefore cannot see it any other way.

    The two main characteristics of what I would call the reductionist-imperialist mindset of the positivist therefore are:

    (1) Loss of reality and paradox of incompetence: we all have limits in our minds, and these limits have the peculiarity not only to confine, but to define our spiritual world; we cannot look beyond them, we cannot know what is beyond them. ("Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt." – Ludwig Wittgenstein.) Strictly speaking we cannot even know whether there is anything beyond them, but as we all have made learning experiences in our lives, we also know that we can never simply exclude that possibility. It is therefore a clear sign of incompetence to be unaware of that possibility or even to deny it. And it is that unawareness of the limits and of the possibility of the beyond that explains the paradox of incompetence: the fact that incompetent people tend to believe themselves much more competent than they really are. The unawareness of the reductionist approach to reality (a reduced field of view taken for the whole) is what Eric Voegelin calls the 'loss of reality', the loss of something without the accompanying awareness of the loss. And his distinction between transcendentalists and immanentists is also related.

    (2) Imperialist or dominant denial of rights to 'inferiors': starting from his own incompetence, the positivist has no qualms at all to judge those in disagreement with him to be his inferiors for no other reason than that he cannot understand them. There's no presumption of innocence at all. He can convince himself without the least of problems that his partner in dialogue is simply inferior to him and therefore guilty of ignorance. And he shows this by calling him names. He is like a proud Muslim dealing with a dhimmi or an infidel. No awareness at all that he is committing an injustice in condemning an innocent. Just behead the fucker, he's not worth the dust on my shoes! And let's turn to some more serious business, like doing hard science. Because science is hard and nothing for incompetent scholastics. So a positivist, apart from being incompetent, has also a tendency towards rigorous unlawfulness, and that can become quite dangerous. These people are the material of the narrow-minded self-righteous and heartless judges we have seen at nazi-trials.

    I saw it all coming from the beginning, in fact his first question "care to explain …" already told me he was one of those narrow-minded superior intellects, displaying that typical stern severity that is linked to some considerable reservoir of resentment. The resentment I cannot really explain, but here we get into some deep psychology I'm not so familiar with. Let's just say that those stern intellects are never much fun, and it is quite possible that it is the lack of fun that explains the severity and the positivist narrow-mindedness, and not the other way around. Or they just have the same root in some insufficient education, education in the broad sense of course, not simply education of the intellect. At any rate, what Plato called the bios theoretikos is a condition for experiencing joy in life, because you need an intact soul for that, not just an intellect.

    This dialogue was a demonstration of the positivist destruction of the human mind or spirit for Richard Landes. And it is not just an unfortunate incident. It is widespread. Once you've learned to recognise it, you'll see it almost everywhere, the banality, the foolishness, and the rudeness! And that's also how the remaining decent and civilised Germans were treated under the nazis, by the overpowering rabble and their narrow-minded self-righteous heartless helpers taking their revenge, taking out their resentment on the decent and civilised people, who felt humiliated, powerless, seeing their society ruined, the crimes, the numerous unfortunate victims, the destruction of the war, for twelve long years! Twelve long years!

    And you must always take into consideration that politics is just not something people can really comprehend with their natural social intelligence. The natural law of a civil society, yes, that is what they can naturally understand with their natural social intelligence. But not the artificial game of politics. People like my German grand-parents knew that it was bad. But they could never understand why it happened. I've seen my grand-father searching for a solution in theology till the end of his life. He may have found some consolation there, but he couldn't find a political theory where he was looking. And I'm not sure he would have understood Voegelin's 1964 lectures on "Hitler and the Germans", if he had known about them. I would of course be very interested to know what you think after having read them: are they accessible for someone with no more than a basic education but not a spiritually deficient mind? My opinion for now is that it is too difficult even for many higher educated people.

    It would of course be highly interesting to find out how the empirical proportions were in the German population. But by the very nature of the thing (nobody had even a theory before Voegelin) this has never been attempted. My speculation would be that the decent part is much greater than commonly recognised, and that you simply cannot make abstraction from the effects of a police state to somehow maintain the fiction that the actions are always the actions of men and therefore representative of the men. It would be grossly underestimating the dangers of the combined effect of pneumopathology, ideology (second reality) and politics to assume that you need a lot of spiritually deficient people before it can get out of hand. But I admit, this is pure theoretical speculation of mine.

    Your idea of the Germans coming to grips with what they did is probably too much to ask for. For the simple reason that it is just too complex a phenomenon to be summarised symbolically. At least I don't see how. Although I admit that it is an interesting challenge to find a summarising formula for Germany's guilt that also does justice to the decent part of Germany. I've always sensed that the inevitable collectivist symbolisaton of the problem had two bad effects: it somehow protected the criminals and the seriously deficient part of the Germans, while shaming too much the other part by implication. It's just too difficult to identify and separate them, and that has also to do with politics: politics cannot function without that collectivist fiction that 'collective choice' is somehow the choice of the people. But it is fiction, not reality. (Impossibility theorem of Kenneth Arrow.)

    About the decent part of Germans being much greater than commonly recognised: my reasoning about this hunch is that this decent part of the Germans is never ever going to protest against their being unjustly shamed by implication with Germany as a whole. It is never from them that you will hear talk about "putting the Holocaust guilt behind us" and the like. For a very simple reason: they will always put the victims first, before themselves. Which is exactly why they are decent Germans. Only people in possession of their human soul, i.e. decent people, can really see the victims as what they were, their fellow men. And they will therefore never forget. Without needing any rule or memorial for that.

    At any rate, I would not think that it is necessarily a condition for what is the really valuable goal today: to turn around German foreign policy in the question of the Israel-Islamist conflict and make them clearly choose sides: for Western Israel and its right to exist in peace, against Islamic unjust war-wagers. Would that not be some decent and honorable act of restitution for Germany's Holocaust guilt? I would say: don't ask for more, but don't ask for less either. But do ask for it, with insistence. The Israeli government has such a good case, why hesitate to make it?

    • SerJew says:

      Good grief, another rocambolesque pile of BS. Point is, Dr. Pneumaticus, is that you just hate when people challenge your egocentric logorrhea. As a shameless narcissist, your universe is divided into *you* (“humanist”, “normal”, “smart”, “compassionate”, etc) and *not-you* (“positivistic”, “reductionistic”, “luciferian”, etc).

      As I said, you might impress some fools with your empty prolixity, but you can’t fool anyone with a minimum of intelligence and intellectual honesty.

    • @ Martin

      I saw it all coming from the beginning, in fact his first question “care to explain …” already told me he was one of those narrow-minded superior intellects, displaying that typical stern severity that is linked to some considerable reservoir of resentment. The resentment I cannot really explain, but here we get into some deep psychology I’m not so familiar with. Let’s just say that those stern intellects are never much fun, and it is quite possible that it is the lack of fun that explains the severity and the positivist narrow-mindedness, and not the other way around.

      Martin, you are holding back, i am sure now!!!

      You want to talk Nietszche but you are afraid to do so because there are Jews around.

      The stern intellects and the fun and the resentment, this whole package gave you away!

    • @ Martin

      This dialogue was a demonstration of the positivist destruction of the human mind or spirit for Richard Landes.

      It was not dialogue, it was monologue.

      If you feel you have something to say to SerJew, say it to him.

      If you don’t want to address him anymore, then don’t. But stop talking about him, it ignites the passions.

      • SerJew says:

        @Dionissis

        It’s just more of Doktor Pneumaticus’ intellectual bankruptcy. He’s finally found people that won’t swallow his egomania and he’s quite flabbergasted at that. How is it possible that somene is daring to challenge his babbler? That are not impressed with his scholastic cut-n-paste nor with his real or imaginary sexcapades? His fragile ego then needs to find explanations to soothe the painful dissonance; so he concocts distortions and makes pathetic projections. What a freak!

  27. SerJew says:

    “About women and their options: an African woman once chose a completely different option (in a somewhat less crowded place): she came over, bent over me, bit in my chest (through my t-shirt!) while grabbing my dick. That felt delicious at first. Later on it appeared that she was a bit crazy, she even started to swing a bottle at me. So, these things never really work out the way I want them.” (dr. Pneumaticus Pedanticus)

    Wow, that deserves a little paper, maybe on Playboy magazine. There must be a connection of all that with the “divine ground of being” and the “loss of reality”. But mainly it’s just self-indulgent BS.

    • @ SerJew

      @ Martin

      Martin said:
      About women and their options: an African woman once chose a completely different option (in a somewhat less crowded place): she came over, bent over me, bit in my chest (through my t-shirt!) while grabbing my dick. That felt delicious at first. Later on it appeared that she was a bit crazy, she even started to swing a bottle at me. So, these things never really work out the way I want them.” (dr. Pneumaticus Pedanticus)

      SerJew replied:

      Wow, that deserves a little paper, maybe on Playboy magazine. There must be a connection of all that with the “divine ground of being” and the “loss of reality”. But mainly it’s just self-indulgent BS.

      I think that Martin felt like having a friendly chat where he could offer a tidbit of personal info, i.e. that things never really work the way he wants them. The rest, i am guessing, was just introduction.

      Once we get the name-callings out of the way, all of us, we will be able to talk about that, too.

      • SerJew says:

        @ Dionissis

        I fail to see any relevance whatsoever to Doktor Pneumaticus’ description of his sexcapades, real or imaginary. It just once again proves he’s a pathological narcissist.

        Just my opinions, of course.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      As is usually the case with SerJew, he mocks what is fundamentally true: the ‘divine ground of being’ is indeed visible in a woman’s happiness, pleasure and joy; whereas the ‘loss of reality’ is implied in the idea that you can find divine creatures in Playboy Magazine.

    • Martin J. Malliet says:

      Oh, the disgusting banality of that nabal! Is he ever going to stop making his single-mindedly dimwitted points? If only I could escape to Nabokov’s Antiterra and find me a girl like Ada. Together with her I could easily forget even him, for good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>