Ordering Our Lives Together

I was going to call this "The Art of the Possible" because it's about politics, but politics isn't the art of the possible, science fiction is. So I'm fallen back on an older definition, that politics answers the question "How ought we to order our lives together?"
  • So apparently the latest round of wiki-based intelligence leaks has revealed that, well...Saddam Hussein did, in fact, have lots of uranium "yellowcake", and other WMDs. I sincerely doubt vindicating the Bush Administration's position on Iraqi WMDs was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's intent, but there you are.

    What fascinates me is people who can't be made to understand the concept, "even if there weren't WMDs, it is a good thing to get rid of someone who uses the systematic gang-rape and meat-grindering of the relatives of dissidents as a political tool." Go ahead and say the war was imprudent, if you think so (though we had less than half the casualties in five years that France had in one day at the Battle of Agincourt, so this ain't exactly a taxing war), but saying it was immoral is, as far as I can see, endorsing Saddam's practices. If not, how not?

    Finally, as a person of Irish and Acadian descent, I know a little something about having your resources taken by people with names like Bush and Cheney. It's something Anglos have historically proved quite good at. The fact we don't have Iraq's oil (and, by the bye, we don't) means they weren't after it.

  • Pat Buchanan and his ilk point to the violence against Chaldean Christians, in the absence of Saddam's more egalitarian terror state, as justification for opposing the war, but, I have a question. If the fact people abuse their freedom means they should not be liberated, mustn't we also scrub the operations inaugurated by the Declaration of Independence and the 13th Amendment?

  • One more point against a number of "Catholic" opponents of the Iraq War, and the larger War on Terror: waterboarding. So essentially what people like Mark Shea, who gets his news from Harper's (and therefore from the far-left MacArthur Foundation), say is, "War is not intrinsically immoral but torture is."

    Two things, jackass. First, the use of spanking in child-rearing is far more "torture" than waterboarding, since the former involves the deliberate infliction of pain and the latter doesn't (fear is not pain). Since the Catholic Church is not opposed to spanking, we may conclude that the deliberate infliction of pain is not intrinsically immoral. Similarly, the Church's lack of opposition to the deterrent use of any threat of force, lethal as well as nonlethal, forces us to conclude that inflicting fear, as well, is not intrinsically immoral.

    Second, your position is, given the ways one often dies in modern warfare, that it is immoral to subject someone to a little fear and discomfort (again, not even pain), but it is completely morally neutral to turn him into a gigantic plume of blood and tattered entrails on a crumbling wall with jagged shards of bone buried in it. Even though, given the evils terrorists perpetrate, his death is unusually likely to send him to hell.

    I don't know what cosmos you learned moral theology in, but in mine, that seems questionable.

  • So they're making a movie of Atlas Shrugged. Why? Shit, how should I know? But I'm sure the question on everyone's mind is, "Are they actually going to have John Galt Speak at the end for, what, an hour? Two?"

    I doubt it; yet not only is that speech the point of the book, it's probably the best part of the book (yeah, not a fan). The plot and characters are as worthless as Rand herself (who is, in my opinion, a one-woman tragedy of Stalinism and Nazism, namely that so many worth a damn people didn't escape them, and she did); only that one speech has any merit at all. Rand was a complete drool-soaked wrestling-helmeted incompetent at most aspects of writing, but she was good at rhetoric.

  • Speaking of strange movie news, Mark Johnson, producer of the Narnia films, claims he's not sure if they're Christian. So, Mark, are you also in doubt as to whether Rand might've been a socialist? Does Childhood's End leave you thinking maybe, just maybe, Clarke might've been a Southern Baptist? Just how much do you need to be beaten over the head with a message before you'll even acknowledge its presence?

    That is, indeed, my one complaint about Narnia. The characters and writing, and basic plots, are excellent; Lewis had a largely unrecognized talent for writing characters, especially children, and also a disarming style that also served him in his apologetics. But the Narnia books, far more than the Space trilogy, beat you bloody with their Christian allegory.

    Actually my problem with That Hideous Strength, the book in the Space trilogy everyone likes to pick on, is probably unusual. My problem with it is: there's no Church. There's Ransom and his tiny group of friends, and a bunch of spirits. There's no community, formal or informal, of believers. And Christianity is nonexistent without the Church, far more nonexistent than any religion except Buddhism without the Sangha (that's why most western Buddhists feel inauthentic).

  • More from Hollywood: Salma Hayek was apparently playing the Halle Berry "nobody casts minorities in good parts" card. Only, wait, what minority? Turns out she's Mexican, it's just hard to tell 'cause she's as güera as my (Czech-Irish) mom and has a German name.

    Hint, Salma: if you both look German and have a German name, you are not being discriminated against. Go look up the phrase "visible minority."

  • How come nobody's pointed out, to Libertarians who support gay marriage, that it's the thing they hate most, resource redistribution? And not a necessary resource like money, that people will die without; but a complete frill, social approval.

    Remember, the Libertarians are the ones who pride themselves on their "rationality" (i.e. shallow selfishness) and love books like Freakonomics, one of whose theses was that the recent drop in crime rates was due to a high Black abortion rate. When these people wax sentimental about "the right to love", either they're nuts or they're putting on a con-job.

1 comment:

penny farthing said...

Many excellent points! I totally agree with you That Hideous Strength - that bothered me too when I read it.

Also, don't put it past filmmakers to have a character talk for an hour at the end of a movie. I thought Apocalypse Now was shaping up nicely into Metal Gear 2 (he has to kill this crazy soldier dude who's building up a private army, and along the way discovers that the last guy who was sent on that mission switched sides and is defending him). But no, there's no mini boss fight in a minefield followed by the main boss (or big boss, if you will). He just finds Marlon Brando, who talks for an hour.