Decentralized democracy, sputtering economy, Iranian Empire, the “Marxifix” and The Festival of Insignificance

Democracy today needs to be right more often and more quickly, because our accelerating technology creates more rapidly developing threats abroad, like new weapons of mass destruction, and new dislocations at home, like the disruption of employment through automation.   Man is both homo faber–nature’s preeminent maker of tools to change the world– and homo sapiens–nature’s master of symbols and language to represent and understand it.   We will continue to thrive only if these capacities develop in tandem.

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. A deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
— Sen. John F. Kerry, Oct. 9, 2002

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists.”
— President Bill Clinton, 1998

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program… ” — Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct 10, 2002

Sometimes the price of being right is looking like you’re wrong, eh guys?

But the four people quoted above weren’t lying. Okay, maybe they weren’t 100% certain, but based on whatever intelligence they had access to at the time, clearly they were convinced Saddam Hussein had WMD’s.

And would ‘ya looky here:

Sunni extremists in Iraq have now occupied what was once Saddam Hussein’s premier chemical-weapons facility and found…. wait for it: The dreaded, long lost, never were there in the first-place, Bush lied – people died: Weapons of mass destruction.

ISIS, the group people are saying is worse than Al Qaeda – I guess you have to be competitive in today’s world – has apparently captured a stockpile of chemical weapons which if you listen to the aforementioned Clinton, Clinton, Gore & Kerry since the war, never existed.

To sum up: The agreement with Iran, even if Iran complies (which is a heroic assumption), will merely delay the weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program by a few years, while giving Iran a massive boost in conventional power in the meantime. What do you think Iran’s Sunni neighbors, all of whom are terrified of Iranian power, will do in response? There is a good possibility that this agreement will set off a massive regional arms race, in both conventional and nuclear weaponry, while also leading states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar to make common cause with the Islamic State as a hedge against Iranian designs in the region.

That’s assuming, of course, that the agreement is not blocked by Congress. But it’s unlikely that the Senate can muster a veto-proof majority to override the veto Obama promised to deliver of any bill that seeks to block this terrible deal. Assuming, as appears probable, that this deal is in fact implemented, future historians may well write of July 14, 2015, as the date when American dominance in the Middle East was supplanted by the Iranian Imperium.

In 2015, the human race will create about $75 trillion in economic output, well more than half of which will be the product of the three largest economies: those of the United States ($18 trillion), the European Union ($16 trillion), and China ($11 trillion). Two of those economies are in the midst of serious economic and political crises. The other is in the grip of something much more difficult to overcome: complacency.

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The Marxifix was created by radical Jesuit Luis Espinal as a symbol for Liberation Theology, an attempt to blend Marxism and Christianity—or rather, to take over the latter as an instrument of the former. The previous pope who understood the evil of Communism—John Paul II—made a significant effort to suppress Liberation Theology during the 1980s, particularly in its stronghold in Latin America. So the presentation of the Marxifix to Francis is a deliberately provocative act, aimed by a socialist at a fissure within the Church.

That’s why Francis’s response is ominous. Hetook Morales’s gesture, not as an affront to the faith, but as an opportunity for “dialogue” between Christianity and Marxism.

“Insignificance, my friend, is the essence of existence,” Kundera writes. “It is all around us, and everywhere and always. It is present even when no one wants to see it: in atrocities, in bloody battles, in the worst disasters.” Here he echoes a passage from The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and an idea that he’s developed in much of his work:

The assassination of Allende quickly covered over the memory of the Russian invasion of Bohemia, the bloody massacre in Bangladesh caused Allende to be forgotten, the din of war in the Sinai Desert drowned out the groans of Bangladesh, the massacres in Cambodia caused the Sinai to be forgotten, and so on, and on and on, until everyone has completely forgotten everything.

In Kundera’s novels, forgetting is often not only unavoidable but also desirable. “How sweet it would be to forget history!” he wrote in Life Is Elsewhere (1973).


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