Monday, March 24, 2014
We have gone live with our Kickstarter campaign! The goal is to raise $10,000 in 30 days and we are excited about getting this book published and out into the world. We feel that this is a very important message about the survival of our species, using lessons from the long travail of the Jewish people. Please take a look at our campaign at http://kck.st/1d1lNvF, or go to Kickstarter and search "Architecture of Survival: Lessons from the Jewish Experience." Please act fast if you are interested in donating to our project as we have a limited time to make this happen.
I'm having a "Bad Putin" day, folks. He's messing with my life again, and I don't like it. As a youngster in the high mountains of Colorado what endangered my life were rattlesnakes and ticks. The bite of either could be deadly.
Growing up on the flat plains of Colorado what endangered my life were gopher holes (Step in one and you could break an ankle) and snow up to your arse (nuff said).
Then foreign influences began to endanger my life. Hitler, Stalin. Those megalomaniac tyrants literally made me rearrange the furniture of my life--with the draft and all. Now Putin.
He makes me appreciate what the American flag stands for all the more. We live in a great country at a great time, and while there are troubles galore beyond Putin, we're in the process of building a Society of Dignity.
Take a deep breath and smell the roses.
80 and Too Busy to Die.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
The foundation of Jewish ethics is, and has always been, Mosaic Law; and the main thing to be kept in mind here is that human life is sacred, because man is created in God’s image. Rabbinic Judaism rejects the dichotomy between body-soul, as well as the good-evil paradigm—this is the main distinction between Christianity and Judaism. It follows that the Jews would reject asceticism in any form—bodily mortification, fasting, monasticism etc. It follows, also, that any rigid form of abstinence—particularly celibacy—would be rejected. Abstaining from wine, or meat, or sex, or any worldly pleasure, is to be seen as a rejection of God’s gifts; the clear message here is everything in moderation. This seems to me a healthy survival attitude on many levels and for many reasons. One reason is obvious: celibacy and monasticism don’t tend help in the perpetuation of the species.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
The Ukraine has been Russia's breadbasket for centuries. After Stalin murdered his way to power he collectivized Ukrainian farms; famine was the result, and an estimated 10 million people died. Mao collectivized farming in China, and an estimated 30 million people died of starvation. Is it any wonder that most Ukrainians don't want to hear even the echo of Russian-Communist rule?
The Jews are a scholarly people, they have always been capable of innovation and adjustment; they have recorded and studied their history; they know where they have been. In Jewish society scholars of both religious and secular subjects hold a high esteem—in many ways even higher than priests and rabbis. The historical record as begun in the Old Testament, preserved and compiled and reorganized—and rethought since—provided the blueprint for a moral society that could survive and thrive. They have needed this strong foundation. Moses lived in the thirteenth century BC. For the next 1300 years his people would fight for control over their homeland, and over their lives. Abraham’s children clearly had more to learn, and over the centuries that are known as the Middle Ages, they would learn well, adjusting and evolving.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Let me state plainly here that we are not talking about any kind of racial superiority of the Jews, or anybody else; that would be to confuse the forest for the trees, the same false logic that created Hitler’s horrific mindset. Rather, we are talking about “survival strategies,” many good examples of which can be found in the Jewish culture and experience; and these survival strategies can then be applied to the whole of the human race. Value judgments about “success” can be made based on culture, social structure, religion, law, philosophy etc.; but no such value judgment can reasonably be made based on race or ethnicity. Modern genetic science has all but ruled that out as a factor of “success.”
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
In an age when we are beginning to recognize that we are facing a species-survival situation, we had better learn to get along with one another. No one of us, nor any particular group of us, can do it alone. As we pass the torch to future generations, it is important that we continue to push these processes of advancement from Status to Contract and to Dignity. And that is where I believe the lessons from the Jewish experience can be helpful. In terms of survival, the Jews are, I contend, the most successful “tribe” in history—bar none.
Monday, March 3, 2014
The Olympics and recent events in Kiev have placed Russia in the spotlight, and Russian Premier Putin has some choices to make. How big a bite of the apple will he take? The smallest would be to protect the naval base at Sevastopol. This is a given. Any Russian leader would go to war to assure Russia could keep its one warm water seaport. The Black Sea exits into the Mediterranean and that give Russian ships year-round access to the waters of the globe.
The mid-bite would be to safeguard the Russian population of the Crimea. Most of that area identifies with Russia and speaks the Russian language. One resolution would be to partition Ukraine; one part Russian, looking east, and one part more Europeanized, looking west.
The largest bite Putin could take would be to use military force to seize control of Kiev and the national parliament and re-install the ousted president.
Unfortunately, my educated guess is that he will chose to take the largest bite. Five reasons: One, he's Putin. Two, he can get away with it; NATO is not going to invade Ukraine. Third, he can hold off Western aggression by cutting off oil and gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe. Fourth, Russia has used its army to assert its self-interest before, despite huge costs; obtaining a warm water port was the reason Russia invaded Afghanistan. Fifth and most important, Putin is opposed to popular uprisings forcing a change in government; his ongoing support for Assad in Syria is a prime example.
Sadly, Putin is probably going to accomplish a fait accompli, sit back and watch Europe and the United States squirm. There will be no military war, but in Ukraine the war for democracy and government of the people, by the people and for the people, will intensify. It is not a happy scenario.