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Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 5:07amSanction this postReply
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Orion,

Thank you for posting this.  I found it concisely informative.  The Koran sounds like an inversion of the Bible, making New Testament Golden Rule teachings subordinate to Old Testament intolerance and mayhem.

I recall this teaching from my youthful days in Lutheran Catechism:

The New Testament offers God's new covenant with Man through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.  It left individuals peacefully to live with each other by choosing to accept Christ voluntarily and commanded followers to love their enemies.  Penalties for failure to accept Christ came in the form of eternal damnation after death and not from government punishment during life.  This replaced the Old Testament code of "chosen peoples", plagues, tribal slaughter and so forth.

I am not a Christian, but assuming your analysis withstands scrutiny, I can have a hell of a lot more respect for the individualism of Christianity than I can for the tribalism of Islam.


Luke Setzer


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Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 8:29amSanction this postReply
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Here is a searchable copy of the Koran.

http://etext.virginia.edu/koran.html

Craig (Houston)


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Post 2

Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 3:56amSanction this postReply
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In Dostoevski's The Brothers Karamazov Ivan Karamazov observes "Without God, everything is permited." Every deep thinker from Nietzsche on down seems to agree. But the truth is "Without god, only humanity is permitted." People must behave. They aren't allowed to waste their existence or perpetrate atrocities. Their implied, implicit, universal, ineluctable, grand Personal Contract and Social Contract forbid them from renouncing their humanity and converting to monsterdom. There is no god in existence to forgive Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Osama, etc.and allow them to get into heaven anyway, provided they sincerely humbly "believe," "confess," "ask forgiveness" or some such.

All people who believe in god are evil. The level of their evil is equal to the level of their true, honest, sincere belief. They all believe they're allowed to repudiate their humanity and thence waste their individual existence and slaughter their fellow man.But they aren't. Their human nature, as Rand observed, forbids this behavior. It is not "permitted" in the Dostoevskian sense because no god exists to redeem their subhuman, self-destructive, social-destructive behavior.

In many ways Mr. Reasoner is right to note the difference between Meccan and Median islam. It's like noting that hypocritical "not overly religious" people are better than fundamentalist believers. Or that christians are better than moslems, protestants are better than catholics, unitarians are better than protestants, etc.

In many ways distinguishing between different types of moslems and religious beliefs is helpful and important -- but in most ways it isn't. At bottom, all people who believe in god are subhuman, inhuman, humanity-destroying, society-destroying, self-destroying slime. They are a menace to, and even annihilater of, themself and their fellow man.         


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Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 5:16pmSanction this postReply
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Andre:

"All people who believe in god are evil."

"all people who believe in god are subhuman, inhuman, humanity-destroying, society-destroying, self-destroying slime."

...Whereas your philosophy is one of tolerance and reason!

All X are Y. This sort of rigid thinking is dangerous.
All Jews are thieves.
All Moslems are killers
All blacks are rapists.

Ahhh - but YOUR particular prejudice is based on reason, right Andre! Not on emotions at all. Not on blind faith to a prophet....hmmm is Rand a prophet?...anyway....

Fanatical, Evangelical Athiesm (of your sort) scares me as much as fanatical, evangelical Christianity or Islam. When you start to view a group as 'subhuman' the next step is often to treat them as subhuman. When do you plan to set up your gas chambers and rid the world of all the 'sub human slime', Andre.

The hatred and anger flowing from you speaks more about your philosophy than any of your illogical arguments ever could.




Post 4

Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 7:50pmSanction this postReply
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Dear Martin,


Just wanted to point out that you're doing the same thing that your accusing Andre of doing.

1.)
What you're doing is called a False Analogy

Definition:
    In an analogy, two objects (or events), A and B are shown to
    be similar. Then it is argued that since A has property P, so
    also B must have property P. An analogy fails when the two
    objects, A and B, are different in a way which affects whether
    they both have property P.
Your False Analogy is simple.

Prophets had ideas
Ayn Rand had ideas
 
Prophets is followed based on faith
Ayn Rand is followed based on faith.

This is a False Anaology because, unlike Prophets, Rands Ideas are not based upon an appeal to a nonexistent entity who simply gave her a message. 

2.)
What you're doing is also called a Unrepresentative Sample

 Definition:
    The sample used in an inductive inference is relevantly
    different from the population as a whole.
Andre's hatred for theist actions is in no way related to the philosophy of Objectivism or Objectivists as a whole.

3.)
Finally, I would like to point out your inconsistency with regards to another post on this site.

You wrote:
To the others, who I will not name, who think that Mere Assertion is an argument, or that your views do not need to be backed up by logical argument - why are you posting on a site dedicated to rationality and logical debate?

I would ask the same of you.  Don't expect people to take your poorly written, pseudo communicative posts seriously.  This is a site for Sense of Life Objectivists either back your assertions with a logical argument or leave.  I personaly find no value in your being here.

Regards,

Eric J. Tower


Post 5

Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 2:24pmSanction this postReply
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Martin Schultz in Post 3 (actually 4 -- what's the deal here?) doesn't give me much to work with, but I'll try:

This sort of rigid thinking is dangerous....hmmm is Rand a prophet?...Fanatical, Evangelical Atheism (of your sort) scares me as much as fanatical, evangelical Christianity or Islam. When you start to view a group as 'subhuman' the next step is often to treat them as subhuman. When do you plan to set up your gas chambers and rid the world of all the 'sub human slime', Andre.

The hatred and anger flowing from you speaks more about your philosophy than any of your illogical arguments ever could.


Atheism (of my sort) isn't so much rigid as calm, relaxed, easy-going, and NORMAL. It's pedestrian, garden-variety common sense and good sense applied to this very important question (i.e. Do the gods exist?).

Religious belief is naturally and indeed inevitably fanatical and zealous. True philosophy never is. Everyone who believes in god has a black heart and wants to hurt somebody -- even all those sweet, loving, tolerant, ultra-kindly, little old nuns. To confirm this all you have to do is look deeply enough into their eyes. But be forewarned: this is UGLY knowledge to obtain.

As for the gas chambers for those who dispute me...Well, maybe for fundamentalist parents who are assiduous enough in brain-washing and mentally/psychologically torturing their kids with god. But I concede adults utter freedom to believe what they wish no matter how irrational and godly. Too bad no true believer in god will grant me the same. They always have murder in their heart -- whether they know or admit it, or not.

As for my flowing hatred and anger...The Beatles said "All you need is love." But they were wrong. Hatred and anger are 100% legitimate emotions. You just have to direct them at the right phenomena and people -- at evil.


Post 6

Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 7:01pmSanction this postReply
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Andre:

Your post speaks for itself - your hatred and nastiness is even more obvious....

"Everyone who believes in god has a black heart and wants to hurt somebody"
"Hatred and anger are 100% legitimate emotions. You just have to direct them at the right phenomena and people -- at evil."
"subhuman"; "inhuman"; "slime"

If this is: " calm, relaxed, easy-going, and NORMAL" - well I shudder to think what the Fanatics are like!

You think your particular brand of hatred and nastiness is so much better than the hatred and nastiness of others don't you....because...Oh yes...YOUR hatred is based on reason....


Mr Tower:

About your points (which are good ones...but not applicable right now)

Andre is a hateful individual - he admits to this himself. My comments were directed at him alone - not at objectivists as a whole (Point 2 dealt with)

I don't think Ayn Rand was a prophet. I don't think ALL people who follow her ideas, follow them on blind faith. I do think that SOME people follow them on blind faith however. I was not making an analogy of the sort you imply. My "..is Rand a prophet" statement was not to imply that she was - More to imply that some people act as though she was. Andre is not a man capable of very complex thought - as shown by his simplistic hatred and generalisations. Hence he is MOST LIKELY to follow Rand upon faith rather than reason. I do not know about other Rand followers...and I was not talking about them.

You assume that my statements apply outside the sphere I intended (ie. Andre)


As fot the other point...I was not putting forward an argument. It was not my intention. I was just pointing out the ludicrous hypocritical thoughts of Andre. If you REALLY want to know my opinions (backed up by "reason") please ask away.

Post 7

Monday, September 27, 2004 - 7:02amSanction this postReply
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Andre, you say that what you believe is based on reason. Well, I'm calling your bluff. This nonsense must be put to rest. You must either state your case, evade real inquiry, or show yourself as the intellectual charlatan that you really are.

Cards on the table, Andre! What is your worldly and rational explanation why people who believe in god are, categorically, subhuman, inhuman, humanity-destroying, society-destroying, and self-destroying?

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Post 8

Monday, September 27, 2004 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
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Orion,

What a nice little article on some basic essentials about Islam and the Koran. The things you mention are there for all to see, but nobody ever talks about them.

I especially appreciated the Meccan/Medinan "love/hate" observation with the implication that this orientation has more to do with Mohammad's personal affairs (discrimination in Mecca) than with divine revelation.

I have been meaning to study the Koran a little to see what all the fuss is about in today's world. This essay of yours is a pretty good "roadmap" of things to look for as I do.

This reminds me a little of something extremely obvious in Christianity that nobody ever talks about either. Christianity simply cannot be understood without understanding the culture of animal sacrifices to gods. Leviticus, from Christianity's "instruction manual", the Bible, even gives some pretty gruesome instructions on where to cut and what to burn.

From there the jump to human sacrifice is a pretty small step. But Christianity then went whole hog with the "mother of all human sacrifices" - supposedly to redeem or atone for something bad Adam and Eve did by listening to a talking snake, and thus make such sacrifices necessary no more.

When you put it that way, it sounds a bit silly, doesn't it? The same thing goes for the way you broke Islam and the Koran down to bare bones.

It is there for all to see, but nobody ever talks about it.

Congratulations of a fine article.


Post 9

Monday, September 27, 2004 - 5:15pmSanction this postReply
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David Ostroske asks:

What is your worldly and rational explanation why people who believe in god are, categorically, subhuman, inhuman, humanity-destroying, society-destroying, and self-destroying?



Why do you think not? Virtually all the sensory and cognitive evidence in the world says there's no such thing as god. Religion seems to repudiate logic and reason utterly. What do you think the "believers" in such stuff are really like? 

I wrote a whole article on this general topic on this website a few months back ("The Holy Sixth Century") and it admittedly says a great deal no-one else has previously argued. The piece is pretty long and detailed, and I don't have time to repeat it here, but the main idea is that, with the possible exception of overall general philosophical skepticism -- which admittedly is the root of religion -- "god" is the most evil phenomenon which has ever existed or ever can exist. It's the biggest lie anyone can tell, represents the purest opposition to reality possible, and thus is the greatest destroyer of man by far. Followers of such an ur-black belief-system have the nature and behavior that you would expect.

I should really turn this whole question around: What lie is bigger, blacker, more painful, more destructive, and more evil than god? What lie attacks man's mind, heart, and soul more? What idea or phenomenon -- historically, currently, or theoretically -- is more evil than religion?   


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Monday, September 27, 2004 - 7:12pmSanction this postReply
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You mention important points that people need to understand about Islam. The distinction of the earlier Meccan passages from the latter militant Medinan suras is important since the latter ones abrogate the former. Also, as you point out, the tone of the Islamic literature (Koran and Hadith) makes it harder to toss aside anecdotal incidents as historical oddities only relevant to the past.

 

In Christianity, the Old Testament isnít about Christianityís main figure. It can more easily be view as background history and judiciously applied as desired or rejected as being superseded by the New Testament. Thus, the harsh militant half of Christianityís literature (the OT) is earlier and it is not about the main religious figure. For Islam it is the latter suras that are harsh and it is from the main religious figures life as a ruler and conqueror.

 

Now this didnít stop Christianity from have a bloody and unjust history whenever it was in full force. Religion, undiluted by reason, is fundamentally inimical to life. I assume we all know this. My point is that there are some greater challenges for Islam in its attempts to establish a stable and liberal society. Iíve mentioned only a few that build on your article. And even given these advantages it took from the 13th century, when Aquinas championed Aristotle, to the 18th century British Enlightenment to establish a sound and sustainable basis for a liberal society. Let me add that Orthodox Christianity did have such an achievement.

 

With Islam, I believe we have to focus on abandoning the religion; a new tolerant variant of the religion that allows reason to move to the center stage is just not feasible. We need a direct attack on the religion both as a religion and as the religion it is.

 


Post 11

Monday, September 27, 2004 - 10:40pmSanction this postReply
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What's more evil than religion? Hmm... Communism? Fascism? These are secular political systems that have systematically killed more people in shorter periods of time than any religious sect. Also keep in mind that Soviet Communism was atheistic. Don't ever forget that wiping out god doesn't necessarily wipe out evil.

That's all I really need to say. But I'm just getting started. Because I'm aware of nuances that you would rather pretend didn't exist.

Religion carries with it mysticism that denies logic and reason, but not "utterly," as you claim. Many religious practices came about not because some thinkers consciously thought them up, but because people who adhered to them tended to live better than others. For instance, Hindus keep sacred cows because those cows are worth more to them alive than dead. That's a belief that's in line with reality nearly all of the time, and these people know it.
http://catallarchy.net/blog/archives/2004/02/19/the-economics-of-religion/

Where's the skepticism at the core of this belief, smart guy?

Yes, I do think that religious belief is an impediment to full enlightenment, but it's not the cancer that you spell it out to be.

I know religious people. I know what they're like. I know some real flaming zealots, too, and those people can be dangerous. But I'll bet you know some religious people, too. You know exactly what they're like. And from experience, I'll bet you know that non-political religious people are, at worst, a danger only to themselves.

The way that you overgeneralize amounts to scare tactics. It's also intellectually dishonest. It's context-dropping, and you practice it consistently. That's why I can't take you seriously, and it's why I see you as a threat to real efforts to promote reason as a way of life.

Post 12

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 9:27amSanction this postReply
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Luther,

Thank you for your reply.  And yes, I do have to concede that Christianity does certainly allow for much more individual choice than does Islam.  There is no incontestible order to do precisely this or precisely that.

In the book of Exodus, I believe, there is the story of The Ten Commandments.  Now, very often people erroneously use that as an example of how The Bible also commands its readers, just as does The Koran.  But that's false... because The Ten Commandments are mentioned as an account of what God told his followers at a certain point in the past.  I don't recall, however, if those passages declare whether those instructions are forevermore.

But again, thanks.  


Post 13

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 9:42amSanction this postReply
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Andre,

I think that you have a very valid point.  Faith and reason are opposites.  The moment that you declare that you will blindly follow and enforce some set of dictates, you simultaneously abdicate your logical mind. 

I will go one further than you, too, and say that the embracement of religious fervor is about a sadistic addiction.  People who engage in this, know that they are embracing the ways of cruelty, of inflicting a painful cognitive disconnect on those around them... and they love how the possession of that power flatters them. 

Very often, these sorts of people already hunger for something that will bolster and cultivate their precious need for irresponsibly and precariously inflated high self-esteem.  They choose the quick, dirty, cheap, and lazy way of feeling like a million bucks, rather than rolling up their sleeves and actually working for the real deal, through rational, balanced achievement and living.

Your name suggests to me that you might be Russian.  Am I right?  If so, you have my deepest sympathies regarding those Chechnyan Muslim fundamentalist monsters.  I think that the Bush administration should lead a movement to allow Putin to do whatever he has to do, to neutralize their menace. 

I also believe that we should absolve Slobodan Milosevic of the "war crimes" rulings that have been made against him.  What was he doing?  Well, our lovely world media neglected to mention to us -- or perhaps prior to 9-11 we had no appreciation for the fact -- that he was fighting a Muslim fundamentalist murder-movement in Bosnia.  The Croats, who are Muslim, were pushing the same terror and butchery campaign there, as they do everywhere, and he did what he had to do to stop the tide.

The only problem is that by then, the Muslim terrorist nation of Syria had weaseled its way into a high seat on the U.N. Security Council, and was able to withhold crucial information about the "atrocities" and brainwash the rest of the U.N. into demonizing Milosevic.

In fact, the same thing is happening all over the world.  If you look at every instance of ongoing warfare (such as in the African nation of Sudan), and investigate further, you will find that what our lovely world media is not telling us, is that it's really about some Muslim group bullying and butchering some other group, that is fighting heroically for its life. 

And you have to realize that our world media has been deeply and pervasively infiltrated by Muslim fundamentalists and their sympathizers, and that is why we're not being told the whole truth.

Interestingly, the only newspapers which have been telling the whole truth all along, are papers such as The Christian Science Monitor.  I acknowledge this and tip my hat to them, despite the fact that I am not particularly a Christian.


Post 14

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Thanks for the acknowledgement.  And yes, it really does boil down to something quite simple, as I've related here. 

I'm not sure why the simple truth has become so clouded, and people believe it's this hugely complicated issue.  It's not.  I mean, simplifying analyses are always available about Islam and so many other things, but I think it's the great pervasiveness of the evil philosophy of anarchistic postmodernism that has done such a malignantly spectacular job of convincing so much of the human race that nothing is knowable.

So yes, I basically blame it on postmodernism, this reason why we don't know.

And once again, I strongly recommend to you a short, clear, and concise book by Mark Gabriel called Islam and Terrorism.  Also, his second book, perhaps even better, is called Islam and the Jews


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Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
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By the way, if this essay helped you, please forward it to others... Only when all people know the full truth, will the human race ever find the fully awareness and steel to know that they are fighting "the good fight", and against precisely what. 

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Post 16

Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
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Orion,

You just gave "postmodernism" as the main cause why obvious things about "complex" religious issues continue to stay clouded over.

Well, OK... I don't really know what you mean by that and I am sure that there is an article on it somewhere . But still, how about last century, or the one before that, etc.? Were these times subject to "postmodernism" too? They sure were confused times as well.

I personally believe that there is a deeper reason. I remember reading a while back in some essay by Ayn Rand (sorry I can't remember which right now) basically that the "con game" side of philosophy consisted of establishing some silly premise or other, writing a long, boring, contradictory and sometimes incoherent book about it - and then waiting. When other books started to be written about that one, then even other books were written about those and so on, and then aspects of all this sieved down into popular culture, voilŠ! - you had a new "philosophy". (I think I got that right.)

Couldn't there be this same type of thing going on with religion? It sure looks like it.

It would be interesting to examine why this process actually works. Why on earth do people accept absurd notions as the truth when they are presented as religions? They sure don't use them in their everyday lives. For instance, most everybody would laugh at woman who missed work because a talking snake told her to. I don't think that would be accepted as a valid excuse either. Well, that is the reason given for so many strange things in the Bible, including public animal sacrifices and the brutal torture of a man to death for the good of all.

Reasons off the top of my head I can think of are mental laziness, lack of time, peer pressure, use as a tool for dominating others, passive acceptance because of use of the religion as guidelines for social ceremonies like marriages and funerals, and a whole bunch of other "common sense" reasons instead of compound-word "isms". There are other even more violent reasons with respect to Islam, like physical mutilation for one, as you so nicely pointed out in your article.

I mention this because religion normally uses common, everyday language (even when it is a little archaic) and not long, technical words. Common people can sort of understand it without getting bored. Simple-language commands, stories and even vagueness are exploited by the herd's leaders of a religion to keep the herd in line and keep the leaders in power. An effective stance against this is greatly enhanced if objections and alternatives are put forth using the same type of simplicity.

After all, if the idea is to try to take the cover off the garbage and make the simple even more visible to all (and hopefully, help stop the slaughter), it makes sense to use language that is not academic or complex.

Orion, your simple clearness is one of the reasons, among others, that I find your article so refreshing.


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Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 3:41amSanction this postReply
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Orion,
 I also believe that we should absolve Slobodan Milosevic of the "war crimes" rulings that have been made against him.  What was he doing?  Well, our lovely world media neglected to mention to us -- or perhaps prior to 9-11 we had no appreciation for the fact -- that he was fighting a Muslim fundamentalist murder-movement in Bosnia.  The Croats, who are Muslim, were pushing the same terror and butchery campaign there, as they do everywhere, and he did what he had to do to stop the tide.
Actually, the Croats are mostly Catholic.  Muslims didn't cause the wars in Yugoslavia, Milosevic did.  He was a Communist dictator, and then an ethnic-cleansing nationalist dictator.  Milosevic was as bad as Saddam. 
 If so, you have my deepest sympathies regarding those Chechnyan Muslim fundamentalist monsters.  I think that the Bush administration should lead a movement to allow Putin to do whatever he has to do, to neutralize their menace. 
Whatever he has to do - at the cost of freedom?  Do you think these brutal ex-Communist dictators are so much better than Muslims that we should applaud their every action?  Is this a case of choosing the lesser of two evils, or do you think that freedom can be sacrificed when it comes to killing Muslims?

Phil


Post 18

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 1:45pmSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Thank you for your acknowledgements... And there are several questions you've raised that I'd like to address:

1) Postmodernism is, in my eyes, basically an enshrinement of apathy and enforced confusion.  It goes beyond even nihilism in my eyes, as the thus-far, ultimate evil.  It has gone by other names in centuries past, but the idea is still the same. 

2) I think that religion is the pitiful attempt to create subjective "truths" and then iron-handedly entrench them as "self-evident", "objective" truths thereafter.  This feeds the human need for indisputable, objective truth, without having to expend the energy to employ the diligence and discipline necessary to discover actual truths, but rather to just politically manufacture it.  Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.

Beyond these two points, I'm glad to hear what you have to say about religion... very comprehensive.  The person that I most respect who ever spoke out on religion in general (aside from Ayn Rand and Madeline Murray O'Hare) was Robert Ingersoll, who lived and died in the 1800's.  Both Mark Twain and "comedian" Bill Maher (basically the same personality, separated by the gulf of time), spoke of him with the highest regard.  Books of his brilliant writings are in print, and I think you would find them immensely refreshing and inspiring to read.

Take care.


Post 19

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 1:52pmSanction this postReply
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Philip,

I'm going to go back and check my premises on Milosevic.  If you're right and I'm wrong, I'll apologize and correct myself in here.  Thanks for the feedback.

Regarding Putin, I'm not advocating unconditional support of everything he does; far from it.  But I am convinced that a policy-by-policy evaluation of Putin's -- or anyone's -- policies should be conducted, and that Putin should be given credit and wholehearted support for any objectively proper decision he makes, regardless of the fact that he is Putin.  To borrow a concept from the movie Forrest Gump, "virtue is, as virtue does".  He is virtuous when he makes virtuous choices, and evil when he makes evil choices.  On this matter, I judge his want to deal decisively with the Chechen? butchers to be worthy of my most ardent support... especially after the horrific, gratuitous murders of those hundreds of children and others within the past month.


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