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Friday, January 06, 2006

The Ones Who Matter

The ones who matter in life are the ones who refuse to lose sight of their overall goals and principles, as Ilona of True Grit wrote in a comment below. And these days, they are sounding the same theme. Here's a few samples:
Pedro The Quietist writes a movie review with a twist:
The fact is that today's foreign policy in the Middle East is informed by the neoconservatives who are really old school internationalist liberals with muscle. Their goals (universal human rights, democracy, freedom) are the same as the UN's (on paper at least). The only difference is that they do something to attain them besides cut deals with dictators, pass resolutions condemning Israel, and send $20 million "fact-finding missions" to check up on the situation in Rwanda or the Sudan.
It's less muscle than commitment.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred on people who do:
In making the decision who best represents interests, consider this: Anyone who really wants to help his fellow man or represent the best interests of citizens, will not make the focus of their work speaking of human weaknesses, failures and hate. They will speak of man's great potential and the possibility of participating in good works. More than anything, they will let their love for their fellow man and good works speak for them.
The Anchoress on Negativism:
I am simply wondering, as a blogger who has herself participated in a few of these collective diss-fests if we are not putting too much energy into negativism, whether it’s actually constructive or just mean-spirited. It doesn’t matter if the left does these things, compiles these lists; for conservatives, some of this just seems to not be the best use of our time or our minds.

...if we are aware of how easy it is to fall into such patterns, and how childish and pointless they ultimately are, then perhaps we should be on guard against them, because in the end if all the blogs promote are cynics on the left and cynics on the right…well…what good thing will that ever lead to?
The question irritated some people. It's the just reproof that always stings!

Carl of No Oil For Pacifists chronicles what can only be called the failure of a culture's immune system in a series of simply astonishing links. It cannot be excerpted. You must read them. He chronicles is the death of any goals other than the goal of not having any goals. It is chaos pretending to be a society.

Minh-Duc of State Of Flux on Spielberg's "Munich":
Spielberg repeats the Hollywood mantra that violence in all circumstance is futile.
There is a clear distinction between the internal struggle to maintain one’s humanity when facing an inhumane enemy and the surrendering to the same enemy because it does not feel good to fight him. The former is bitter medicine, the later is sugarcoated poison. Spielberg simpl(y) does not know the difference.
You cannot fool a man like Minh-Duc because he is fighting his battles with himself out honestly. No one whose ego is not fleeing from reality can fail to recognize that some things are bad and some judgements must be made. The consequence of that is that some action must be taken. Innocents must be defended, and their attackers must be stopped. Spielberg is trying to rob us not of our right to defend ourselves, but of our right to morally disapprove of criminals. That is a mindset which no civilization can adopt and survive.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves."

And finally, Ilona upon the difference between revolution and reformation (which is an apt description, although she does not mean it this way, of the currents in today's parties):
...getting back to the idea of the Reformation and the difference between the words reformation and revolution. There was a time when the Roman Catholic Church was pretty much all there was. It was the institution. And it had moved far from the scriptures and from healthy organic Christianity. The Reformation began as a desire - much of it engined by sincere and godly priests- to return the Church to the oversight of Christ and His Scripture.

If you look at the Catholic Church today you can see that eventually that did happen. I am not talking about Vatican 2 in particular, but in the devotion that many Catholics give to learning about the Faith, studying scripture in their own language, giving service to God on the individual level. Those are influences of the Reformation -however oblique. Today you can find high levels of scholarship among the Catholic laity. I read alot of their blogs, and their skill and intellectual virility is impressive. Very impressive...which I say coming from a Calvinistic Reformed tradtion- the highest and most rigorous of those who use intellectual pursuit and Sola Scriptura as their rule.
Later on in the same post Ilona addresses the basic rule of Christianity - that it is not an institution but an individual encounter. Again, this is the basic criterion which divides not just churches but political movements in the US today. Some adherents seek winning, power and support of their institution, and some are truly dedicated to their own principles and and ideals. Using SC&A's acid test you can easily sort the one set from the other, and after the sorting it's obvious that the groupings don't match the party lines at all. Those who are ruled by conscience can be found in both parties, and the cynics and the manipulators can too.

We are on the brink of massive social change in this country. I don't know how it will come out, and it will play itself out over 20 years or so.

I am presently on a strange computer-so can only leave a note, but I must say ou are a master at synthesizing the best of information in the very best way.

Perhaps it is your heart that filters things with such a high view while your mind puts things together in a way that exponentially improves the understanding.

Thank you(and I am tempted to rename you 'MasterMom'-but it ought to be apparent that I'm not much good in the witty name dept)
Ilona, I'm cracking up.

Unfortunately it is neither my heart or my mind but a small working segment of my brain that has a visual vocabulary. It cannot make a straightline association, because it can only use patterns with at least two dimensions.

So I cannot even retain information that is not triple-anchored. I am still trying to learn my new phone number, for example. But this last-left-standing unit is truly excellent at picking up patterns and representing them to itself. I believe it is a hunk of brain designed to control movement and physically interact with the environment.
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