Thursday, November 19, 2009

Approaching the End of November 2009 Links and Quotes

Thomas Sowell
"One of the common failings among honorable people is
a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable
some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them."

It has always been a pet peeve of mine that when people think of Frank Sinatra, they think of the song My Way as being his signature tune.  In the podcast listed above, a rabbi does the same thing.  However, he does give some very good reasons why "My Way" is a terrible song with some of the dumbest lyrics ever put to paper.

Yiddish Proverb

 "The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks."

    Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe 

"One who desire the attention of others has not yet found himself."

I found this gem of a story in the comments to the article about Karen Armstrong:

I think a story about Mother Teresa is applicable here. One day, Mother Teresa attended a theological conference. She was later asked, “What did you think of the conference?”
“Too many words” was her reply.
“But Mother, they are theologians….all they have is words.” was the response.
Mother Teresa quibbed, “I would be more impressed if they picked up a broom and swept the place”.

Academics love creating committees, coming up with high minding sounding statements which they trumpet as being significant. History is littered with such ideologist statements. They have no backbone. They have no passion. They have followup. They’re just words which disappear into the wind.

True compassion happens outside the ivory walls.

The idiot twins of American idealism

Here is another thought-provoking essay from Spengler: this time on American Foreign Policy:

Former president George W Bush thought that the United States could turn Kabul into Peoria, the archetypal American city in the state of Illinois. President Barack Obama thinks that Kabul is just as good as Peoria. America has shed idealist delusion - that imposing the outward form of democracy in Iraq or Afghanistan would implant its content - in favor of an even stranger delusion, which refuses "to elevate one nation or group of people over another", as Obama told the United Nations on September 23. 

It was mad to believe that America could remake the world in its own image. Given that more than half the world's languages will go extinct for lack of interest during the present century, it is even madder to turn foreign policy into an affirmative action program for disadvantaged cultures. 

But those are the idiot twins of American idealism: either one size fits all, or size doesn't matter. I do not propose to draw a moral equivalence between presidents Bush and Obama: Bush wanted to elevate American Power and Obama wants to diminish it. Bush had better motives, but he was no less destructive of American influence. 

America, says Spengler, has been lacking in Foreign Policy Realism.

  • When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

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