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October 25, 2005



I can only offer a resigned sigh of uncertainty.


Well.. The cold war was two groups, only one 'capable' of truely surviving it, staring at each other and beating their chests. One because they knew they where powerful, the other because they where the human equivalent of a Chiwawa. All bark and bluster, but no real bite (unless you counted the case of rabies, in the form of nukes, that both had).

The current conflict of ideology in the US is between those that make everythign go Bing! and those that think if they pray hard enough things will still go Bing! and the third group who thinks things go Bing!, *because* venus is in decline over their fairy godmother, who is coincidentally talking to ghosts on her off hours, while wearing a lab coat and washing bottles in a genetics lab.

The later group scares the hell out of me almost more than the far right. Both the far right and left suffer the delusion that the universe works by 'their' rules, not its own. The only major difference of opinion between them is that the far left thinks rules from a dusty old book, instead of based on their own bizarre and convoluted misunderstanding of science, psychology, philosophy, etc. is pure BS. The right calls this 'moral relativism'... The right on the other hand claim 'moral absolutes', only having spent an hour ramming their ancient book down your throat, proceed to completely ignore all its rules, even the ones they insist are not metaphorical, in order to get what they want.

Then there are the majority semi-religious, who only identify with the right when confronted with non-believers, the athiests, the agnostics, etc., who think both sides are completely nuts. The right knows this and attacks us based on 'non-belief', the left does the same. That its our refusal to believe in the right's devine destiny to screw us vs. the lefts insistence that leprechauns really do polish their shoes every night, doesn't change the fact that the far right and left hate those of us that invent the shit they depend on to piss on us with almost as much as each other.

Maybe the only universal rules are a) ME version: if you don't mind never progressing, kill everyone that says, "But it doesn't work that way!" or b) Progressive version: "First step in making sure civilization doesn't collapse back to using sticks with rocks tied to them: Shoot all the priests."

We tried the (a) version and got tired of it. We tried the middle ground approach and got Bush vs. the loony left. I say we now try the third option... ;)

Well, not really. Its only fundimentalism on one side, combined with vast ignorance on the other, that causes this idiocy. But some moments I really wish it was that simple.


It seems to me that the presidency of Bashar al-Assad has become a variant of the Peter Principle. He is a man who has reached his first level of incompetence. Unlike a similar person in a private organization, he cannot be shunted aside by the methods that Prof. Laurence Peter sets forth in his landmark book, "The Peter Principle: Why Things Go Wrong", which he wrote together with Raymond Hull. Because he is incompetent as a national leader--I cannot assess his competence as an ophthalmologist--others around him must, in essence, assume his responsibilities and powers as head of state. The result, as we all know, is bad for Syria, for the Middle East, and perhaps, ultimately, for the world at large.

It is heart-rending that things in Syria have turned out as they did. Potentially, Syria is a wealthy country in natural and human resources, which, if used in a positive way, could make your country a great contributor to humanity's knowledge and general good, as it has been in historical times.

Keep up the good work!

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