Friday, July 11, 2008

Making the World a Better Place

My natural inclination was always to empathize with the downtrodden and with all those who were less lucky than I in the hope that their conditions could be bettered. In the early 1990s I finally had enough spare time and spare income to allow me to subscribe to The Economist, a paper I'd grown up reading through my father's subscription. For the first 5-6 years I read it, I disagreed furiously with it's economic line. As time went on, however, I noticed, quite to my surprise, that the avowed Left media was giving an inordinate amount of attention to what Joan Baez had once famously called "All the scummy things that America does", while The Economist was seriously focussed on what needed to happen to make poor people's lives better. Like their economic line or not, you couldn't deny that they were consistent advocates of doing things that would reduce poverty, all over the world. (As you'd expect with highly educated Englishmen and women, they were also rather poor on understanding the Israel-Arab conflicts, but no-one's perfect).

Why am I mentioning this? Because Charles Krauthammer's column today demonstrates the same template in a different context. It is the political Right, or at any rate, parts of it, which cares about the mass persecutions of the world's uglier regimes; while the Left is still fixated on those same "scummy things America does". This isn't exactly what Krauthammer writes, but it's a reasonable proximation.

A few weeks ago at that conference in Melbourne I participated in, an elderly man posed a question to one of the lectureres, to nods of agreement from everybody else in the room: "Shouldn't we admit that the Left has lost its soul?"


Anonymous said...


Gee, Ya'acov, we have different "inclinations." Perhaps, associated with gender? But I figured out, as I traveled through life, that I did not have to become a worry-wart for the world's problems. There are whole cases out there that have nothing to do with me. Nor can I solve the problems they provoke.

Yes, during the 1960's, the math requirements came off what's referred to as 'higher education.' So what? You need their paper? And, if so, why?

True, some people can increase the amount of money they charge by the hour, when they wave fancy paper. But you have no idea, even from Harvard, how many parents have been stuck with the bills. And, kids who don't earn their own keep, either.

It's in the nature of things.

While the best lesson I ever absorbed is that it is unnecessary to convince anybody of the opinions you hold. Versus the ones they hold. Because? They're not gonna cure the ills of the world, either. And, it gets so much richer to live where there are freedoms to hold opinions. Rather than watching, for instance, the Saudi nuts who beat women with sticks, if they dare show up in their streets, with arms exposed. Sure. Those people (or at least somewhere around 35,000 of them), have leached themselves to all the oil wealth. But I'm not impressed.

As far as I'm concerned, in 50 years people may ask "what's a saud?" And, the french will hold upper division classes, in french, of course, where the tablecloths from bistros will become useful classroom examples of what those lunatics wore to cover their heads.

That's right. 50 years from now stuff you see, today, will be kaput.

And, the other good thing about free speech is that it keeps lots of people out of trouble. Too exhausted to start wars.

Yes. Our world changed! Yes, the media hottentots are still fabricating "wars" erupting as soon as the curtain goes up.

Sure. You can believe them.

As I said, I don't. And, the more people voice different opinions, the better.

I didn't even event NIMBY. Which stands for the ways most people react to those "downtrodden." With 'not in my backyard.' So I know I'm onto something.

Oh, Ya'acov. The other thing? Political views don't have "souls." All they have are the opinions people carry. And, if you want to swim in the mainstream, ya gotta let go of the left and right shores.

The other thing I know? Those American Founding Fathers had, what they had hoped, would be a lock on the governmental slots, in the nacient AMerican government. But people adopted the framework. And, everything grew from there.

While John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, to their dying day (July 4th), remained enemies. On either side of the political divide.

Me? I see grandeur in the works of both men. And, I don't have to choose.

Someplace, I read, that men don't arrive on horses, events do. But of course, people say "George Washington rode the horse;" and they forget the events that put him in the saddle. Do I care? There are no tests in life where you have to worry you're gonna get back a paper saying your opinions are wrong.

Unless you've invested "paper" into the undeserving. Like they used to do with priests. Another area where human forms have shown the capacity to leave "old teachings" behind.

The other observation, because Americans now share this with Israelis, is worth mentioning.

Arik Sharon, Israel's best general, went as far as he could go into Lebanon. It was a bust. (While the air force, under Menachem Begin went as far as Osarik. And, this was a win-win; in spite of Reagan speaking out against it.)

So, there ya go. How's that? ON THE SAME PAGE. Today, Americans hate helping arabs on par with the way Israelis feel about the Ba'kakta Valley (which produces even better hashish than Jamaica in the Caribbean.) Does it matter?

WHy? Dopers can still travel, freely to Amsterdam. No need to help the Lebanese. Where every varient is consumed by hate.

Sometimes, in history things get solved: America's Civil War.

Sometimes, the opposite. Carnage without resolution; The Crimean War.

When the pot got stirred, however, a lot of Europeans went to the wooden boats, and traveled by sea to America. They were lucky.

The Jews who survived hitler were lucky, too.

All time gives ya ... with the passage of time ... is that you can see results that weren't on the answer sheet when they were happening.

As to the media giants? I fart in their general direction. I do not support the Washington Post, either. When I care to read anything they print, I go to DRUDGE.

Drudge, a news source I depend on.

Anonymous said...

Carol, I haven´t read any of your comments, but I like how you comment on every single post and especiall, how you put your "BY CAROL HERMAN" on top of every comment. Hilarious.

Lydia McGrew said...

Well, Yaacov's different "inclinations" from Carol can't be due to gender, because I'm probably the rightiest commentator on this blog, and I'm a woman. :-)