Your treatment of history definitely drew me into this article. Nonetheless, the thesis seems to be that the current war on Russia is just based on a misunderstanding or poor thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth. The war on Russia and soon China is based on the desperation of the ruling class of the west. The RC see their socioeconomic system crumbling and seek to militarily oust their rivals while taking their resources and expanding western capital across the "world island". The dying man of western capital sees this as the rejuvenating shot in the arm that can allow it world dominance once again. It's a crazy idea but it's not due to some confusion about WW2, it's due to the fact that the western RC can find no other means at this point to save their once dominant position in the world. Similar imperial calculations led to WW1 and WW2.

The ghosts of WW2 may still haunt the general population and to that extent the essay is somewhat interesting, but the RC of the west knows exactly what it's doing and why, despite the overwhelming propaganda of the last years, so overwhelming in many cases it would make Hitler jealous.

If readers want an explanation of why we are once again on the precipice of nuclear war, Lenin's imperialism will give you a much clearer picture of what's happening today.

US imperialism is not a democracy, it's not responding to the feelings of it's populous. It's crafting those feelings through extreme propaganda to get the populace to accept and even desire WW3 with Russia and China. It sees that great war as it's only chance to regain it's dominant position before China is too powerful to stop. It includes nuclear warfare in it's calculations this time around, so it's also clearly gone insane in it's efforts to turn back the clock.

There is no reasoning with the RC on this issue. They (the billionaires and both oligarchical parties in the US) and their system must be removed from power in the west before they launch a third and last WW.

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I also thought that this essay was a mixed bag, due to its extreme "ideologization". The west and the US reaction after WWII towards the Soviets was definitely passive aggressive, to say the least. Some even claim that the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan were also warning signes for the Soviets. Nevertheless, war with the Soviets was not on the cards due to lack of popular support, not because US and western upper eschelons did not want to purge the scourge of communism and that ideology from the face of the earth, since it threatened the sacrosanct and God given idea of "private property" and "liberty/freedom" - we know that as with Magna Charta, this was envisioned to apply only to the nobility, not to hoi polloi.

After WWII the US and the west knew how exhausted the USSR was after the war, but nevertheless started all sorts of pressures, overt and covert, Yalta agreement be damned. Same as the "no inch east promise was tossed to the winds after only a couple of years. Sucking Russian wealth in the 1990s, was like the first hit of heroine and since then the Wall Street is chasing the dragon. No ideology, that is only for population consumption and bamboozlement.

The true powers that be, the men in black suits behind the US presidents, as Putin once charactherized them, are not taken by any ideology, other than power, control, and extraction. To reach these imperatives, any means are justified, including and especially brainwashing their own population, PMC included.

The class war is alive and well, and is going on, with the evident desire to fully domesticate and forever subdue the masses for the benefit of the few for many thousands of years now. I think Aurelien would be wise to include this filter when doing his analysis. Present world oligarchy/plutocracy is seething at the idea of nation states or civilization states, where "authoritarian" elements can curtail their take over. It is the multi milenial struggle/dance between oligarchy - democracy - tyranny.

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aye. thats more or less my assessment, as well.

its Sithian...Power, uber alles.

money and honorarium and all the rest are just outward expressions of the desire of Those Behind Things to return to circa 11ooAD sociopolicical structures, but with cell fones, WWW,HVAC and flush toilets for them and theirs. Aeon Flux-world, Altered Carbon, and an hundred others....

everybody also leaves out that nukewar would pretty much undo climate change...as well as take care of the pesky population problem.

we are regarded as livestock.

35 years ago, wall to wall people in a movie theater in huntsville texas...big hats all around, elbow to elbow...and my brother, in his last act of rebelliousness, started mooing.

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I get the criticism, but I also think that Aurelien's post is true as well. Talking with American leftists, really more American neoliberals, and I realize that religion is for the deluded, the insane, children, or is fake, a grift. Then add the self enbubblization of not only the Ruling Class, but much of the college educated class in the Blue enclaves particularly the coast, and you have people so ignorant and propagandized, they do not understand enough to know that they do not understand much of anything.

It would be nice to have everyone get a philosophy degree or make them all live for a year in some poor Red enclave, which even a state like California has much of much; anything to shake them out of their self created ignorance; maybe, self created is wrong as all the political and social terms that we use have be so corrupted, we cannot think and communicate clearly with others. We often cannot even communicate with ourselves.

So, not only do with have massive corruption and incompetence, we have people braying the formulaic "liberal democracy" without even knowing what those two terms actually mean.

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Golly, I wonder how you didn't get snared by propaganda, like the rest of us. Maybe you hang out with the Ruling Class and are familiar with their thinking?

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Aug 24, 2023·edited Aug 24, 2023

Both you and Aurelien get the Ukraine war confused. USA is indeed trying to maintain hegemony but it certainly doesn't want nukes, though nuclear escalation is possible as an accident of reckless policy. What USA State Department ideologues want is to regime Russia by causing suffering among the Russian people. Then USA can co-opt the new Russian regime and thereby surround and control China. This grand plan is unlike to work and is reckless because of danger of escalation and do is being opposed by the military and billionaires oligarchs, who tend to be more cautious than State Department ideologues. Hence the 110% propaganda effort by the West and 10% actual military effort using obsolete weapons and all sorts of excuses about why ammunition production cannot be increased, impossible to hand over F-16 (never mind more modern F-35s), etc . State Department indeed cannot understand Russia because of ideological blinders, but military most certainly can understand that Ukraine+USA is to Russia what Canada+China would be ro USA.

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I wish I could believe that, but nukes are part of their calculations. Also, this comment "What USA State Department ideologues want is to regime Russia by causing suffering among the Russian people.", Seems to reveal that you are a Dem, crypto or not, who believes the war on Russia is good, but wants to (economically sees no choice) but to work with China somehow. Likely by further weaponizing (and devaluing as a reserve currency) the dollar.

They put their two parties out there so you can debate which war and never if war. Anyone who's supporting either imperial party in the US at this point is lost or knows exactly what's going on and still supports it. Your seeming faith in the sanity of the RC and your apparent disappointment at the collosal amount of money and arms already sent to Ukraine, indicate you may be one of the latter group. The reality is there is no amount of money that will change the hard fact that Ukraine can never have a chance to beat Russia, without a full mobilization of NATO and WW3. Even then, I still doubt it.

And why would anyone want them to? The leadership is dominated by real Nazis, not someone who got a pronoun wrong, which passes for being a Nazi in the US. Like the real Nazis, the Ukronazis are irrational madmen who believe in magic. When Ukraine is crushed they will become a European ISIS.

It's not a fun reality, Rev, but it's a sad fact that when an imperialist RC of any era sees it's status threatened it sees no other solution but war. That's happened twice now. Hence trillions for the Pentagon while the infrastructure, schools and all of society in the US is catastrophically breaking down.

If in their madness for war you don't think they have considered and are actively considering using nukes, I've got some excellent water front property in Bakmut for you.

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If you listen some of the US retired military men, youll find out that the help is not 10% but as much as they can actually give. Full involvment of US and/or NATO is not supported by the population in any of these countries and the elite cannot push the population in this corner without facing maor backlashes...

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RC - would help if i knew what the shorthand meant..

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Ruling Class.

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PTB is more common.

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Oh ... Professional Managerial Class or PMC would be PTB in American speak. I scrolled most of the way down a list of 60- 70 possible meanings for PTB before finding Professional, Technical Business which was the only one that made sense to me in the context ... and that is why I wish everyone in every situation would spell out what they mean and not throw these broad hints that I'm an insider and your not. I found the article thought provoking if not entirely persuasive.

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. It means the Powers That Be.

Also known as TPTB.

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You are right, Aurelian but not quite. The most important objective of US policy in Europe has been for years to destroy the cooperation between Russia and Germany. Nordstream always was the litmus test. I know from a participant of a talk of bankers with a high ranking member of the SPD in Munich that even in the summer of last year there was optimism in the German government that the Ukrainian crisis would be resolved and Nordstream reopened. The pressure on the German government from industry and the unions was tremendous and therefore the pipeline simply had to be blown up. The war in Ukraine has finally forced Germany back into the US orbit. That is as clear as daylight to me. The war in Ukraine is anything but irrational. War in Ukraine was the objective of US policy since 2014. The only question is whether things aren´t spinning out of control now. That is whether the US is about to fall into her self laid trap. I think that is where we are heading: chaos.

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“The choice that we faced in Ukraine — and I'm using the past tense there intentionally — was whether Russia exercised a veto over NATO involvement in Ukraine on the negotiating table or on the battlefield,” said George Beebe, a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and special adviser on Russia to former Vice President Dick Cheney. “And we elected to make sure that the veto was exercised on the battlefield, hoping that either Putin would stay his hand or that the military operation would fail.”


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If your assumption that « the most important objective of the US policy in Europe has always been to harm German/Russian collaboration » is correct, the Nord Stream « disasters » have a rationale. Interestingly, the US massively depends on Russia for its uranium …

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Yes, destroy the cooperation between Russia and Germany. Another one of those semiconscious lessons from the past, fighting the last war again.

Driving a wedge between Russia and Germany has forced cooperation between Russia and China, which is even more of a threat to the USA. It will go down in history as one of the worst strategic blunders of any empire, ever.

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This is what I couldn’t understand about US strategy at the outset of the SMO — if China is “the real threat” how is driving the only other nuclear power of consequence (not to mention one with vast natural resources in food and energy) into closer cooperation with China remotely helpful? Wasn’t avoiding this scenario the whole point of “only Nixon could go to China” way back in the early 70s?

The only conclusion I could draw was that the “unipolar moment” (91-08?) ate America’s diplomatic and strategic brains.

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I think it's a repeat of Hitler's decision to start operation Barbarossa rather than finish off the war in the West first. The assumption is that Russia is a giant lumbering giant that could be easily defeated with sufficient (economic) force. Further pushed by the racist prejudice of the Western elite (even though many of them trace origins from the region). Then they could isolate and defeat China after taking Russia off the Chessboard. The idea that their enemies might have agency and insight beyond their own conceptions for those enemies, did not occur to them.

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One might add, to the picture of confused "Western" narrative of World War 2, the increasing penetration of the Eastern European worldviews, in which (Nazi) German liberators freed them from the Soviet (or Yugoslav/Serbian in some cases) yoke. Nazi collaborators are openly extolled in Croatia, the Baltic States and the Ukraine, while the memory of the Soviet/Yugoslav era are increasingly obliterated, after all.

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So NATO was a defensive alliance but as soon as the Wall fell they started to brew wars in the Balkans and in the Caucasus culminating with an all hands on the deck (including Germany) war against Yugoslavia. And BTW, the EU is the Fourth Reich, new clothes and a cleaner image but same goals via different means.

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I was thinking of that as well. Also, West Germany was intentionally not de-Nazified after WWII and many key intelligence and military positions were held by individuals who should have been jailed or executed for war crimes. So the belief that West Germany was a Nazi state under modified garb has substantial footing in reality.

I also don't think the Russians are refighting WWII now. If they were, they wouldn't have spent the 8 years prior to February 2022 doing everything in their power to try and enforce Minsk I then II. They could have fought and easily won everything east of the Dneiper in 2014-5 and they pointedly throttled the two people's republics from doing so.

NATO did make the same mistake as Hitler, in assuming that Russia would be a house of cards that can be brought down with a single shock and awe campaign (this time economic sanctions rather than liquidating 3 million Soviet frontline troops). The Western population might be mindlessly throwing around jargons about Russian aggression and democratic values, but the Western ruling class acted very clearly and decisively after the SMO started - sanctions package from hell was supposed to bring Russia to is knees and instigate a regime change there, paving the way to deal with an isolated China a few years down the line.

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History it seems, has vindicated the Soviet fear of the Nazi freaks to their West, the instant the CCCP dissolves it's just endless war, courtesy of the Paperclip/Ratline People

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Aug 23, 2023·edited Aug 23, 2023

To be honest, there are genuine parallels to Russia post Cold War and Germany after World War I, except for the leap of imagination that draws extension to Hitler (and his supposed exceptionalism--something that AJP Taylor warned about).

1. In both cases, a large number of ethnics of the putatively defeated power were left stranded in countries gripped by nationalism hostile to their "homeland." The German denizens of Sudetenland and Danzig, in a sense, became even more hypernationalist than their brethren back in Germany precisely because of the hostility they were subjected to by the Poles and Czechs. They have their parallels in the large number of Russophones in the Baltic States and Ukraine.

2. Following up on #1, both find themselves confronted by hypernationalistic neighbors--Poland and Czechoslovakia for Germany, the Baltic States and, well, Poland again, for Russia (perhaps Ukraine is more like Czechoslovakia than not? A divided country with population split in 3--back then, the Czechs hated the Germans--both in Germany and Czechoslovakia; the Slovaks resented the Czechs and didn't have much beef against the Germans, and well, a third were German, increasingly more nationalistic than the Germans in Germany; a third of Ukraine, more or less, is Russian, another third didn't have much beef, and another third, in the West, hate both Russians and Russophone Ukrainians). These hypernationalistic neighbors were pretty open about their hostility being directed at Germany then, Russia now--Poles in 1920s, in particular, openly talked about invading Germany and taking advantage of its demilitarized state ("Cavalry ride to Berlin" and all that) and a lot of Reichswehr's planning was directed at how to manage the likely conflict with the Poles and/or the Czechs.

3. Neither country was "defeated," or, at least, was perceived to have been defeated by their own populations. In case of Germany, the military situation was dire and the defeat was inevitable at a huge cost if they hung on--but that was obvious only to the leadership, not the general population who did not know the particulars at the front. In case of Russia, it's even murkier because the Soviet leadership wanted to reform their system and sought reconciliation with the West in process, except it unleashed a series of events that fatally undermined their institutions from within. Yet both were treated as defeated powers by the supposed "victors" in particularly humiliating fashion, to be ruthlessly manipulated for the latter's sole benefit. In particular, we know that the French hawks really wanted to split up Germany into small manageable pieces like before 1870, or even earlier, harking back to the Napoleonic Era, (with the Saarland occupation, after both World Wars, in fact, being designed to bring about such a result) and that drew much German ire. Splitting up Russia into manageable pieces seems to have been constantly on the agenda of the Western powers since 1991 onward.

This brings us back to Taylor's argument that seeking to restore Germany to the position of a great power commensurate with its national capabilities, by reversing the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, was something that any German leader would have pursued (and did!), and that clash with Poland and Czechoslovakia was almost certainly inevitable. These events, in the end, did take place and set the stage for the Second World War, and that had nothing to do with the evils of Hitler. So could we have expected anything otherwise from Russia now? Taylor's argument was that the crises in the 20s and 30s was exacerbated because of the wobbly decisions made by the Western leaders--but he makes the argument with the recognition that they really did have very little choice, given the multiple pressures they were facing--and that the presence of an obviously evil (for reasons unrelated to foreign policy) Hitler made accommodating Germany in an international framework difficult. I suppose where the argument deviates for today is that there were opportunities for accommodating Russia at various times that were unavailable in 1920s. After all, Cold War was not World War I: it stayed mostly peaceful (at least in Europe) and Russian leaders, even Putin, were not "obviously evil" in their domestic policy. Instead, again to paraphrase Taylor, the West learned all the wrong lessons from World War 2.

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I've always thought that one of few things to admire about Reagan was that he was at least willing to consider that the others did not share our own views of ourselves, even as he was himself responsible for reinforcing (and feeding from) the American/Western exceptionalism. After Able Archer 83 (and learning about how the Soviet beliefs about imminent NATO aggression almost led to World War 3), Reagan supposedly commented ""I don't see how they could believe that (that NATO is always planning an aggressive war)—but it's something to think about." It is pretty clear that he was a changed man after learning how close we came to a nuclear exchange. IMHO, it does make Reagan a more human a leader (and by extension, a better foreign policy leader) than many American presidents in the past 75 years or so.

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A great essay, and many thanks. I could comment on so many levels and points that you raise.

I recently had a long and quite liquid conversation with a very dear friend the other day about - you guessed it Ukraine. He could not understand why Russia might be p*ssed by it joining NATO. My point was this was not about his view but about the views that Russian defence experts and politicians hold and have expressed clearly on many occassions. They told us this was a red line and it was. We in the West encouraged the war to start - on this basis.

In an age where we lack religion, and that includes me, we hang onto a sense of self and tribal values and belief systems. The two become intertwined. I am not saying I am immune to these influences - exactly the opposite. When you believe certain things about the world and the way it works in the widest sense - and are an intelligent, educated and accomplished person - well it is hard to rethink things. And it is difficult spending your time appearing like a lunatic with people you like.

If you regard the classic renaissance man, he was very smart, a thinker and captured by and large by religion. It is simply that we in the west have replaced God in our lives by something else. It might be green climate alarm, or wokeness, or CoVid fear or maybe even a fear of the evil Russian bear - or maybe veganism or whatever. People that subscribe to these modern religions genuinely believe they are the rational ones and that the heretics are mistaken at a moral level. Non-believers are the pagans, the fallen.

Science and the media are the new Priests, leading us to the truth. We have sin, repenetance and redemption.

I'm going to have another glass of wine. Non-organic. Even the doc knows it helps my blood pressure.

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I love the fact that you insist on history and ask us to take other people seriously. It's incredibly fresh. It's rather telling and depressing of the state of things that such position feels fresh.

I am just wondering about the absence of materialism in any of it, a fortiori historical materialism of course ;-)

For example, it's one thing to say that political fundamentalist Islam is rising in some places and that those people are really serious and committed to their belief system, without further qualifications; but it is quite another to simultaneously point out that Islam is not itself homogenous, neither in space or time, that there are presumably reasons for a particular kind - rather conservative or rather progressive say - of Islam to 'resonate' and be taken up by wider segments of population whether in the West or elsewhere.

Indeed, in a direct sense a terrorist is a terrorist, whether Islamic or not. I personally feel closer 'ideologically' to a progressive Muslim than I do to an atheist Identitarian racist, and I think there is good reason to.

Yet still, to make things even more complex, not all terrorisms are equal either, whether in terms of tactics or goals: some aim much more at institutions and property than they do at people, and there have been 'terrorisms' fighting for emancipation rather than to install 'terror' or fundamentalism as a goal e.g. IRA, ANC, etc (with their own internal streams and friction).

Further, it is important to note that the 'historical materialist' observation holds equally true for Western liberals' belief system (whether states or individuals): they aren't homogenous across time and space, nor are they all equally hungry for domestic or international confrontation. Again, there are reasons beyond people's seriousness about their belief systems. One can use religion as easily as rationalism to justify war, whether responsive or first strike. What tends to matter ultimately is why a particular narrative appears to resonate with large enough sections of the population, and those reasons are presumably ultimately socio-material, even if, as we know, ideas also shape material conditions.

The West's near sole explanation for Ukraine is: evil and Putin. It's indeed pretty ridiculous for even dictators need a following, otherwise, if the narrative doesn't hold for a large enough section of the population, then the dictator gets deposed. So what were the socio-material conditions that made invading Ukraine so resonant with Putin and a large enough section of the Russian populace? And what are the socio-material conditions that make so resonant for the West to frame Ukraine the way it does? And the same holds for what are the socio-material conditions that make the mainstream media opt for the lazy 'single person good-evil' analysis rather than offer a serious and insightful analysis? (tip: same as governments, they primarily need to sell to their audience not necessarily provide quality analysis)

*it'd be nice to get a source for the 50k adherents to radical political Islam in France.

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Dear Aurelien, as always, you manage to make connections that would never occur to me.

"When you have eliminated everything that is ideologically unacceptable, whatever remains, however stupid, must be the truth."

Right and wrong at the same time. Right, because liberal societies actually think that way. Wrong because neoliberalism has no ideology. It prefers pragmatic views. Right is what is good for me. Neoliberalism plays with ideologies. Globalization used to be good, now it is bad. Security used to be indivisible, and today even a Nazi Ukraine is allowed to join NATO.

I would like to read an essay of yours in which you address the influence of neoconialism, the work of intelligence agencies and their media manipulations on world events. Because this is where I see the missing link to your outstanding texts.

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i find it helpful to remember that even the Masters of the Universe...the Violent, Parasitical Elite(who never go on tv, save in rare circumstances)...are mere humans...subject to the same flaws of logic and reason, the same cognitive fallacies...the same dirty windshields as the rest of homo sapiens(sic)...they just have better connected steering wheels.

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I always find your writing enlightening.

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You touch on this in your article, but one point to draw out that helps explain the behaviour of the governing class captured by Liberal ideas occurred to me as I mulled this further this morning. Since Liberalism preaches that all men are atomized rational utility maximizing machines, and it sees this purely or nearly-purely on a material basis and no other (thanks Adam Smith, we have enough pins now), it makes members of the governing class uniquely blind to not just the effect but even the existence of their own symbolic logic.

This becomes a cybernetic loop when combined with the natural class filter effects of any governing class, and you eventually end up with a PMC completely incapable of even elementary theory of mind.

Aside, this is one area where Marxism has one up on Liberalism. Marxist ideologies are also materialist, but being based on Hegelian dialectic, at least recognize the existence of symbolic logic in guiding human behaviour. It just insists these symbols arise uncomplicatedly from material circumstances.

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Liberalism can be said to have its flaws, but demanding that people talk, debate, and listen is not one of them. Classical Liberalism, to me, is one of the best things ever, but like anything, you can take it too far. Free speech, equality especially under the rule of law, individual rights are all liberal ideas, but they do not preclude faith, or anything else.

I think that modern Neoliberalism, which is a form of American libertarianism and has American ideas of meritocracy, social Darwinism, and eugenics tossed in, is the the real problem. People look at this neoliberalism and think that it is true liberalism, which it is not. Then add that almost every ideology or system of belief has variants. Just look at Communism.

Further, many Westerners treat Neoliberalism or even classical Liberalism as one would with a religious faith. I could also add that the religion of Scientism, which its own doctrine of materialism, is lumped into Neoliberal to form the religion of Western Neoliberalism. The deliberate separation from even other social and economic classes within their own nation just makes their ignorant, unthinking, groupthink worse. Perhaps the growing fear we all feel at least a little is helping to create this as fear usually does not make people more mentally flexible. And having a theory of the mind requires some mental flexibility does it not?

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Interesting take. As with all your pieces, many interesting skeins, each worthy of extensive further treatment....

Small observation: it occurred whilst considering your thrusts about our not understanding other or different POV these days, which also means we tend to be unable to appreciate previous faith-based perspectives that

a) this has always been true on some level and

b) we have largely eliminated traditional class systems.

a) in days of yore when our shared religious faith defined our worldviews, I believe often we were unable to appreciate different views based on different faiths, or cultural regions or whatever. Did Christians, Jews and Muslims, for example, all three branches sharing similar philosophical and regional origins, ever see eye to eye, or even see well into the other's eyes or minds? I don't know, but that has not been my impression.

b) growing up in England (born in the fifties) there was still a very strong class system. There still is but it is much diluted in terms of how it appears in the public sphere. But in those days you could tell someone's class almost instantly, just as their accent revealed within a few miles from where they came (if you had an ear like Professor Higgins!). In such a cultural milieu, everyone was daily exposed to people who didn't think like them, not only because of peer-level differences - which are certainly commonplace - but mainly because of class differences. How the Master views the latest scandal in the village is very different from how his Butler or scullery maid would view it, moreover the Butler and scullery maid were very well aware of that fact. In other words, we were all aware that different people view the same thing quite differently. That was part of everyday experience.

In that context, interestingly, shared religious faith smoothed over the obvious differences in the classes (which were as much good as bad things) by providing a universal collective Heaven principle under which all equally lived. So they enjoyed a sense of shared unity with each other along with stark differences.

It was a more layered, sophisticated culture. I think since the Great War European culture in general has been in steady decline. Which also means our intelligence level has been going down and no doubt our ability to gauge what other nations are doing is fairly abysmal.

If you compare the Heads of State of Russia, China, India, Iran with the US, UK, France, and Germany, say: well, 'nuff said.

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when i started my big(unpublished) 7 year study of the american right, both foundational texts and online duckblinds, i found really quickly that i had to put myself in their place...to Be Jane Goodall...to make any kind of sense out of it all.

it was enlightening, to say the least.

"forgive them, father, for they know not.." is as true as it ever was.

it takes effort to understand one's crazy zealot neighbors.

let alone tribesmen in Baluchistan.

in reflection, i reckon reading natgeo from early on(long before murdoch took it), and having the deluxe edition of encylopaedia britannica maybe pre=loaded me for such an outlook...perhaps we could replicate that process, somehow...after all, there's more info available to all and sundry right now than ever before in human history.

....and...rambling, here...maybe thats part of the underlying problem of apprehending the world...we have yet to integrate access to the whole of human knowledge, and are still wandering around looking at cat pictures. its been a much bigger event than Gutenberg.

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Aug 23, 2023·edited Aug 23, 2023

"...all decisions (including, implicitly political decisions) as made for reasons of utility maximisation on a purely rational basis, and with perfect information."

When I taught game theory, I openly told the students that we make these (very SILLY!) assumptions so that we can use math to analyze social situations, not because real people act like this. This confused them enormously. Apparently, even "real" people do act like this if they are sufficiently "educated.".....

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Thanks. Very stimulating.

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This line confuses me, and maybe I am misinterpreting:

"It’s’s hardly surprising, then, that in our hyper-secular age, the idea that there might be people out there who believe that their religion is literally true, and that those who do not share the particular interpretation of their faith are enemies to be literally destroyed is hard to accept. So far from western Liberal understanding were these ideas, that it was only the terrible events of 2015-16 that forced them into public awareness."

I read this as a claim that religious extremism is the cause of terrorism. But, were not the numerous wars of choice in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria not a contributing factor? By wars of choice I mean - the decision of 'Western' countries to invade or intervene in these different countries to various degrees. And thus, how can religious extremism be the causal factor, if it is itself a response to an external factor?

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the argument, or over analyzing a minor point. Or maybe I am just wrong about terrorism.

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The point I was making is that, until the attacks of 2015-16, Political Islam did not have a high profile, and interest in it was largely confined to specialists. Its tradition had always been political and quietist, and it wasn't until the Algerian Civil War that we started to see, in the form of the GIA, really serious and violent attacks, and even the they were often directed against the state. It was really the triumph of the Islamic State in Raqqa that made people sit up, but even then nobody thought that the iS would have the logistic capacity to mount attacks in Europe. France was chosen not only because it was fighting the Islamists at the time, but because, as a secular society in which women were educated and mixed freely with men, it was a particularly sinful country, and its inhabitants deserved to die. Afghanistan etc. were peripheral factors at best, although helpful in IS propaganda: the IS and the Taliban are bitter foes and have been slaughtering each other over the last few years.

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I have been following the debate in Muslim countries for years about their alleged hatred of our values. In reality they hate us that it these values are only pretext for death & destruction.

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I think poloitical islam has deeper roots and one can see it in the "Old Man of the Mountain" and his hassassins, killing califs and vizirs left and right until the mongols rooted them out...

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That's quite different from what our host is calling Political Islam. It's related in history and perhaps cladistics, but it's not the same thing.

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Not so sure. Those hassassins targeted rulers that had a propensity to cut deals with the occupying crusaders...

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It's about as related in aim and self-described place as the Kingdom of Italy and the Roman Empire. Political Islam definitely uses ties back to such organizations as an aspirational claim of legitimacy and longevity, but the hashish-eaters are their own complete cultural act without any reference to later events, and importantly, no forward-looking thread of real traceable continuity in either institutions or people. You can't, for instance, point sheik-to-sheik and say "And he was taught by him, who learnt from him, who learnt from him, who learnt in the school of him, who was a disciple of the Hashashin.

You might as fruitfully trace it back to the Jewish zealots striking Roman power in Jerusalem in the first century.

On the other hand, recognizing that political assassination has a long and storied history intertwined with Islam is absolutely called for.

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Political assasination is way older than Islam.

The brothers Gracchi comes to mind, Caesar, Alcibiades, etc. Let's not kid ourselves.

Political Islam reared its head when Umma was under threat, i.e. under the Crusaders attack, or after the fall of the Ottoman empire and especially after WWII. And Arabs, as the Greeks,, wrote abundantly, so it didn't have to be from "sheik to sheik". Ideas don't die as easily as people.

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Astute analysis

One wonders where European societies will be in 50 years, if only because in their liberal dreck they have nothing good to direct their societies toward. (Political Christianity is dead as of Westphalia in Western lands)

One suspects a great growth in Islamic converts, for the basic fact that it has something to propose for people's lives. (Which Western Christianity refuses to do so, and hides from interaction with the culture)

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ive given that a lot of thought, over the years...and, not to get too Nietzschean,...we'll hafta invent it...and collectively,lol.

this is of course made much more fraught with 40+ years of neoliberal indoctrination(Hobbes' state of nature as political goal, that "our betters" think they can more easily control).

Humanism, perhaps...and an appreciation for our species' incredible diversity of lifeways, beliefs and just about every other aspect of US.

Humanity is a Rainforest.

the Vulcan IDIC comes immediately to mind.

aint never gonna happen until we start discussing this very thing in beerjoints and feedstores.

so go forth and evangelise.

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