COLLOQUIUM:  Truth in Language,  the War of Words and an Iraqi Constitution

FROM JEREMY HENZELL-THOMAS

In relation to Jim Guirard’s recently circulated 20-point advisory giving Action items in the “War of Words” and “War of Ideas”, I heartily concur with your suggestion that a focus on liberty, freedom and democracy while ignoring fundamental principles of social and economic Justice (as set out, for example, by the Just Third Way) will fail to carry widespread moral credibility.

I would also go further than you in questioning an approach to Truth in Language which is aimed solely at the misuse of certain words by Islamic fundamentalists and the definition of the meaning of words in accordance only with a particular ideological position. Point 9, after all, advises us to “select only half a dozen principal Arabic and Islamic words”, and point 17 aims to complete a glossary of 50-60 Arabic and Islamic words with redefinitions of those which are “currently distorted by either careless or deceitful influences”. Why wouldn’t such a glossary also list key English words whose meaning is distorted? What about the misuse of the word “freedom”, for example? What about the sanitization of evil by substituting neutral abstract words for words which concretely evoke that evil? An example, as I discuss below, is the word “rendition” to describe the “kidnapping or abduction of suspects in contravention of international law and human rights with the intention of sending them for torture in foreign countries”. There is a vast vocabulary of such abstract neutralisation of the meaning of words, particularly in the language of war, military strategy and corporate management.

While it is vital to expose the misuse of certain Arabic words (“jihad” for “hirabah”, for example), an objective and balanced approach to Truth in Language must surely seek to scrupulously avoid the same pitfalls, and such an endeavour requires a very finely attuned ear to the way truth can be obscured by the misuse of language. Such an ear must surely be possessed by someone like Jim, who, as you say, is a “gifted wordsmith”, although we must be careful to distinguish between truth in language on the one hand, and propaganda and rhetoric on the other. The term “wordsmith” is ambiguous in this respect, since the “skilled use of words” as you and Jim would surely agree, can be used either in the service or disservice of truth, depending on the extent to which it embodies or fails to embody moral principle, without which there can be no Truth.

One of the founding principles of Western civilisation is enshrined in Plato’s dictum that the process of dialectic (or critical examination of opposing views for the purpose of refinement and synthesis of ideas) is immeasurably superior to rhetoric, or the manipulation of people through language. This is why, in all modern European languages, the word “rhetoric” has a markedly negative connotation, implying the misuse of language, usually for political ends.

We in Britain are used to critiques of our own government that it favours “rhetoric” or “spin” over “substance” (And by the way, Blair’s “Third Way”, which you rightly expose as a “perversion” of a morally just way, is an example of this kind of “spin”). In the case of truth in language, the necessary “substance” is attained through an uncompromising and consistent adherence to truth in the use of words by using truly objective and even-handed criteria for the evaluation of the misuse of words by everybody, and not only by one group of people.

As someone who works for truth in language, and who has spoken at conferences to media professionals (including the editors of national newspapers and journalists) to try to increase their awareness of the misuse of words, may I take just one example from Jim’s advisory which might benefit from a more “universal” and “just” perspective. This is the use of the word “war”. Point 4 advises us to ‘Avoid the careless and gratuitous terms “invasion”, “war” and “war on Iraq”, and use, instead, such correct terms as “liberation”, “democratization”  “peacekeeping” and “reconstruction”, none of which are per se WAR or per se OCCUPATION.’

I am puzzled here by the advice to avoid the use of the word “war”, since I had understood that the “invasion” of Iraq was part of a “perpetual war against terror”, and that the post 9/11 nation security state was justified in restricting freedoms and even sanctioning torture because of this “war”. Only yesterday I heard a deeply disturbing program on BBC radio about the policy of “rendition” by which “suspects” in foreign countries are kidnapped by US security personnel and sent to countries like Egypt and Jordan to be tortured in the most hideous ways. Many of these ended up in Guantanamo Bay. A number of US officials interviewed in the program said that they had “no problem” with this abuse of international law and human rights because America was in a state of “war”, and that this was a “new kind of war” which required the overturning of the Geneva Convention. One said that he would never have any problem with any directive as long as he believed they came with the ultimate sanction of the White House, as was the case in the policy of “rendition” (is this morally “neutral” word a kind of Orwellian Newspeak for “kidnapping with the intent to send suspects for torture in foreign lands”?) Having heard on this program the actual methods of torture used in these countries to extract “confessions” (some of which are cruel and ingenious in the extreme and deliberately designed to leave no mark but to subject the victim to unimaginable terror, I can only say that had the experience of looking directly at the face of Evil.

Many people will be puzzled by this advice to avoid the use of the word “war”. Is there a war, or is there not? Many will see the substitution of the word “peacekeeping” for “war” as an example of the Newspeak of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwells’ “1984”, a book I used as a teacher of English to develop critical faculties about the use of language in my students. If there is not a war, then why speak in terms of a “war of words” (is this an instrument in the “clash of civilisations”?)  when what we should surely be doing is to try to find common ground in our universal human heritage of concepts which express universal truth and transcendent principles of justice across all peoples and civilisations?

And many of those puzzled by such contradictions, and worried about the emergence of Newspeak in the USA seem to be American citizens. I include two articles by American writers below on Orwellian Newspeak, the first by Daniel Kurtzman in the San Francisco Chronicle of July 28 2002, and the second by Bob Burnett.

Many will need reassurance that when Jim proposes the use of “slogans” (point 18)  “liberty handsigns” (“subject to White House approval”) (point 19) and the like, he is not contributing to the very use of totalitarian “labels” which he is purporting to overthrow.

The word Justice in Arabic (‘adl) has the sense also of “proportion” and “beauty”. What is just is well-proportioned, unbiased.  Truth in Language, if it is to support Justice, must be proportioned and unbiased, in the sense that it serves linguistic truth equally and openly for all communities.

In the service of Peace through Justice
Jeremy

Learning to love Big Brother :George W. Bush channels George Orwell
Here’s a question for constitutional scholars: Can a sitting president be charged with plagiarism?, Daniel Kurtzman in the San Francisco Chronicle of July 28 2002 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/07/28/IN244190.DTL

Here’s the other article by Bob Burnett:  IRAQ: ROLL OVER GEORGE ORWELL http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0109-20.htm

FROM BOB CRANE

Jeremy and Norm,

  I must admit that I probably am partly at fault for not responding to Jim Guirard’s request that I send him definitions of Arabic words related to justice.  A month ago, he said that a glossary aimed at encouraging American spin-meisters to use Arabic words in a war against terrorists certainly should give high priority to justice. 

  I am too busy waging wars within the Muslim community to worry much about those outside it, so I am remiss in working with Jim on his project.  Perhaps you had time to read my broadside sent yesterday evening to the CUII egroup blasting Amina Wudud and calling her a Beast of the Anti-Christ for being a progressive Muslim(though I did not use those exact words).


FROM BOB CRANE

  Question:  Does the Iraqi Constitution lay the groundwork for a Shi’a Empire and global war?  Is the quote below a cornerstone in a self-fulfilling prophecy?

“It is quite possible that the US led invasion of Iraq has replaced an overt and brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein with a covert and subtle dictatorship by Marja-e-Taqleed [Role Model for Emulation] Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani who is the highest-ranking Shiite authority on the planet.”

  The key question right now for the future of the Middle East is the future of the constitution in Iraq and of the role of Islamic law as either “a” or “the” source of authority.  Ayatollah Sistani managed to deep-six Paul Bremer’s constitution a year ago because it relegated Islamic law only to the status of “an” authority, which could mean none at all. 

  Muslims are lining up on opposites sides of this critical issue.  The above quote exposes the position of those who oppose Ayatollah Sistani.  This seems to be the new party line of Muslim progressivists as presented by probably the most PR savvy Muslim in America, Muqtedar Khan.  He focuses the discussion among Muslims on the future of Islam in the world by comparing Ayatollah Sistani with Saddam Hussein, thereby feeding the fear that the Shi’i may now be on a roll to conquer the Middle East as they once did a millennium ago. 

  The suggestion is that President Bush has now unknowingly created a threat within a threat, a new axis of evil within the overall Muslim threat to global civilization.  Popular pundits are already talking about a new Shi’a empire stretching from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean and deep into the oil-rich Gulf countries in Arabia.  I expect that we will soon hear that Syria is a Shi’a stronghold, because it is run by the Alawis, who are an offshoot of the Ismailis, who are an offshoot of the Shi’a, and that now Iran, Iraq, and Syria are poised to smash the Christians in Lebanon, tighten the vice around Israel, and launch a new world war.

  The secularists’ confusion of Sistani’s power through moral leadership with Saddam’s power through command could contribute to civil war in Iraq and to U.S. support for the secularists, namely, everybody but the Shi’a.  This, in turn, would strengthen the extremists among the Shi’a and produce the very clerical fascism that almost all the Iraqi Shi’a and everyone else want to avoid. 

  As I have contended in recent emails, Ayatollah Sistani spent enough time in Iran to see the dangers of clerical fascism arising out of armed revolution, so he is the only person in Iraq with sufficient authority to counter the spread of extremism and keep the country united peacefully.  Those who view him as a threat to freedom and democracy and as the god-father of a new Shi’a arc of evil may conclude that the only way to block this emerging threat is to break Iraq up into three separate countries and isolate the Iraqi Shi’a in a southern ghetto.  This would create the very region-wide war that the secularists ostensibly want to avoid.

  The Israeli, Nathan Sharanski, has persuaded President Bush that democracy inherently produces peace, but a new line seems to be that this applies only if the elected governments are secular and pro-American.  Secular governments will never be popular in the Middle East and therefore cannot be truly democratic, and truly democratic governments will never be pro-American unless the current American call for democracy remains principled.  American support for democracy would be unprincipled if it is used as a propaganda tool or merely as a tactic to secure regime change only in countries that have been declared to be evil, i.e., independent of U.S. influence. 

  Such support for democracy as a political tool to support American policies would cause the truly democratic forces, such as most of the Muslim Brotherhood and those who support moderate Muslim leaders, like Ayatollah Sistani, to become extremist.  Some people call this the law of unintended effects.  I call it the presentation of evil as good and good as evil, whether intended or not.  There is a name for this.  It is called the work of the Anti-Christ.

Please see Muqtedar Khan’s ground-laying position paper Iraqi Elections 2005 : Have the Iraqis Voted for a dictatorship of Ayatollah Al-Sistani?  at http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2005jan_comments.php?id=603_0_31_0_C 

  Cicero, who is regarded by some to be a Founder of America, said two thousand years ago that before one discusses anything one should first define terms.  We should begin by defining Deism, Theism, Christianity, and Islam.

  None of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists, although some people claim that Benjamin Franklin was.  A deist by definition believes that God created the universe but does not sustain it.  All America’s Founders believed that God sustains the universe, which makes them theists.  They also all went to church regularly, except perhaps Franklin. 

  Very few of them, however, believed in Christian dogma.  Jefferson was a model Christian, but he did not believe that Jesus is God and therefore he could not believe in the Trinity, which was invented to explain how Jesus could be God.  The principal charge during his presidential campaign in 1800 was that he is an atheist, because some dogmatic Christians claimed that either one agrees with them or one does not believe in God.  These were the people that were targeted in the First Amendment, but they seemed never to get the point.

  One signer was a Quaker, which meant that he was a self-proclaimed non-Christian, but nowadays he too would be considered a Christian.

  For political purposes a Christian is someone who practices Christianity, and if he or she does then he or she is also a Muslim, because the moral teachings are the same.  The same would be true of Jews.  You know my contention that America was the most Islamic nation ever created, even though it still has a lot of aberrations to overcome, especially racial prejudice and economic injustice.  For the same reason, I would claim that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are perhaps the least Islamic nations on earth.

  I am proud as a Muslim to be part of Christian nation because that means that I am living in an Islamic society.  Since we have a long way to go to be truly Islamic, however, this is why for more than twenty years I have been calling Muslims to join an ecumenical jihad to Islamize America. 

  Once a government proclaims that it represents any religion exclusively in the ideological or sectarian or denominational sense, then it is dangerous.  This is what the First Amendment is designed to avoid, because any religiously exclusionary government cannot possibly promote political or any other consensus.  Without such consensus there can be no civilization, just as there could not ever have been a United States of America.

                      Peace, freedom, and democracy through justice,  Bob


FROM JEREMY HENZELL-THOMAS

Just a comment in response to this statement of Bob’s :  “In a Muslim country, the most effective framework is Islamic law, provided that this law is interpreted as a universal code of human responsibilities and rights.”

I have just received the recent issue of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, in which there is a review of ““International Human Rights and Islamic Law”  by Mashood A. Baderin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, 279 pages). Accorsding to the reviewer, this book demolishes the myth of a clash of perspectives between the West and the Shari’ah. The author defuses the apparent incompatibility between the concepts of human rights and Islamic law. It refers to Ann Elizabeth Mayer’s “Islam and Human Rights (Westview Press, 1997) which shows how the Islamic heritage offers many philsosophical concepts, humanistic values and moral principles that are well adapted for use in constructing human rights alternatives to the current dubious Islamic human rights schemes which borrow their substance from international human rights but use Islamic law to limit human rights applications.

Baderin establishes the concept of international human rights from within the theme of Islamic law, rather than as a concept that is alien. He manages to synthesize the differing approaches of international human rights and Islamic law.

The reviewer concludes by saying that “there is a pressing need to shift the intellectual discourse from that of a clash of civilizations to that of a dialogue among cultures.”

I’ll be out of the loop for a while, traveling and conferencing in Germany and then in England until the end of February, but please continue to copy any relevant emails to me. I’ll read them all and answer when I can.

Salaam, Jeremy

FROM NORMAN KURLAND

Let me accept the compatibility of Western concepts of human rights and Islamic law, without further investigation of my part but on the strength of my appreciation of the convictions of the two of you, both scholars whose lives are committed to the search for the Truth.  Again without further investigation, I have never detected any incompatibility with my understanding of universal principles of human rights and the Law of the Torah or Catholic Social Teachings. 

On the other hand, I’m surprised that Bob argues that the American Constitution established a “Christian nation.”  If the founders, many of whom were self-proclaimed deists, agreed with Bob, they would have explicitly added the word “Christian” to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  They did not.  What they did use as a common framework for the moral basis of the American constitutional system were Judeo-Christian moral principles, and as you add, Islamic moral principles, all principles based on God as the Creator of all that exists and ever existed, the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, and inalienable and absolute values of Truth, Love and Justice.  They tried to realistically erect a system that took into account the dual side of human nature, our aspirations for good and proclivity for evil.  I think we all would agree that the system they erected was not perfect, but the founders left space for continued perfection of the American experiment, not only for Americans but for the world at large. 

Bob knows that I refuse to identify as a citizen of a “Christian nation” or a “Jewish nation” or an “Islamic nation”, all exclusionary terms that are inconsistent with universal human rights.  To identify the religious character of any naturally diverse people living on any particular piece of turf on planet Earth with the particular religion of the majority of its inhabitants led to the abuses of human rights that drove the original European immigrants to “the New World.”  To use make religious labels part of the constitution of any nation is a dangerous road to travel . . . and totally unnecessary for promoting a harmonious and pluralistic national culture anywhere on Earth.  That Shi’ite theocrats have declared that Islam law governs Iran doesn’t make it right.  From the standpoint of any non-Muslim, it is wrong.  I personally reject citizenship in any “Islamic state”, Jewish state” or “Christian state.”  If you want to promote harmony, stop using religious labels for political purposes and state the universal and transcendent principles that no human being can rationally object to.  Stop trying to force the religion of the majority or a ruling elite down the throats of non-believers.  That what Qutb was trying to do and Osama bin Ladin wants to do, and that is the root of today’s global ideological war.

Bob, your relentless attack on the neo-cons diverts your valuable energies from the more dangerous foes of Peace through Justice, those who advocate constitutions and states identified with any particular religion.  I personally fear them much more than any of the neocons, who are at least half-right in their advocacy of political democracy.

Yes, Jeremy, words count.


FROM BOB CRANE

Cicero, who is regarded by some to be a Founder of America, said two thousand years ago that before one discusses anything one should first define terms.  We should begin by defining Deism, Theism, Christianity, and Islam.

  None of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were deists, although some people claim that Benjamin Franklin was.  A deist by definition believes that God created the universe but does not sustain it.  All America’s Founders believed that God sustains the universe, which makes them theists.  They also all went to church regularly, except perhaps Franklin. 

  Very few of them, however, believed in Christian dogma.  Jefferson was a model Christian, but he did not believe that Jesus is God and therefore he could not believe in the Trinity, which was invented to explain how Jesus could be God.  The principal charge during his presidential campaign in 1800 was that he is an atheist, because some dogmatic Christians claimed that either one agrees with them or one does not believe in God.  These were the people that were targeted in the First Amendment, but they seemed never to get the point.

  One signer was a Quaker, which meant that he was a self-proclaimed non-Christian, but nowadays he too would be considered a Christian.

  For political purposes a Christian is someone who practices Christianity, and if he or she does then he or she is also a Muslim, because the moral teachings are the same.  The same would be true of Jews.  You know my contention that America was the most Islamic nation ever created, even though it still has a lot of aberrations to overcome, especially racial prejudice and economic injustice.  For the same reason, I would claim that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are perhaps the least Islamic nations on earth.

  I am proud as a Muslim to be part of Christian nation because that means that I am living in an Islamic society.  Since we have a long way to go to be truly Islamic, however, this is why for more than twenty years I have been calling Muslims to join an ecumenical jihad to Islamize America. 

  Once a government proclaims that it represents any religion exclusively in the ideological or sectarian or denominational sense, then it is dangerous.  This is what the First Amendment is designed to avoid, because any religiously exclusionary government cannot possibly promote political or any other consensus.  Without such consensus there can be no civilization, just as there could not ever have been a United States of America.

  The new millennium’s five award winners for idiot autism are announced in the essay below by one of America’s premiere experts in political-economy.  He is Paul Craig Roberts, who was Assistant Treasury of the Treasury back when President Reagan said that the art of grand strategy and global leadership in pursuing the rule of law is to empower others by understanding, appealing to, and following the global electorate, rather than pursuing power for one’s own narrow self-interests. 

  The five morons nominated by Secretary Roberts are tacticians who are in way over their heads and lost in a dream world that already is turning into a nightmare.  A tactician may be defined as someone who knows a lot about a little but nothing about the big picture.  A tactician who claims to be a strategist is known as an idiot.  In extreme cases, they may properly be called idiot savants. 

  The word picture below of the five idiot savants in the White House is worth a thousand emails.  Although no pundit can know the future, the signs in the winds, such as the assassination yesterday of Lebanon’s greatest political leader of this generation, suggests that for this column Paul Craig Roberts deserves a Michelangelo Award in journalism. 

The article “Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself” by Paul Craig Roberts http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02122005.html


FROM JEREMY HENZELL-THOMAS

The word ?moron? comes from Greek ?moros?, foolish or dull. The American
Association for the Study of the Feeble-Minded adopted the word in 1910 to
designate an adult of the mental age eight to twelve. The 1933 OED defines
?moron? as a species of salamander. Oliver Goldsmith, in ?A History of the
Earth and Animated Nature? (1774) states: ?With respect to the salamander,
the whole tribe, from the moron to the gekko, are said to be venomous to the
last degree.?

I guess there is nothing more venomous than a witless fool who considers
himself to be clever, which is another way of describing a mere tactician
who masquerades as a grand strategist.  It also gives new meaning to the
Orwellian Newspeak ?Ignorance is strength? which is but one of many
oxymorons which the five morons (to use your phrase) have used to deceive
the American nation, or at least half of it.

The word ?oxymoron? is of course derived from the same word, and means
?pointedly foolish? (Greek ?oxys? sharp + moros), or blatantly absurd.

Perhaps a better word than ?moron? is ?morosoph?, a rare word used by
Urquhart in his translation of Rabelais (1693). It means a ?foolish
pretender to wisdom?, which is worse than a mere moron, who is simply
feeble-minded. The idea behind ?morosoph? captures the Dajjalian deceit of
the one who covers folly with the appearance of wisdom by changing the
meaning of words. It seems particularly appropriate that Iblis, having
disobediently failed to recognise the power conferred upon man by the gift
of the Names, should pervert the Naming faculty for his own ends. I had
wanted to write something about this perversion for the discussion on the
nature of Evil, but never had the time. I don?t think Evil is essentially
about taking pleasure in harming others but in pretending that doing such
harm is good. This is the substance of the story I related about al-Junayd?s
meeting with Iblis. In relation to words, it means the gilding of corrupt
meanings so as to present falsehood as truth.

The ultimate Indo European root of the Greek word ‘moros’ is unknown,
although some scholars connect it with the root ?men? which gives us all
those words to do with the mind, mood and morality.

There is a good joke about the unfortunately names Immorality Bible printed
by James Carew in 1607, By omitting the ?t?, Carew promised immorality
everlasting to all the faithful. For this particularly inept proofreading he
was fined ?300 by King James I. Carew had declared in 1607 that preachers
made their sermons ?one part allegorical, another anagogical, and a third
tropological, whereas they should have made one part morological, another
mythological and a third pseudological?.  I guess early 17th century
printers must have had a good vocabulary. My wife is reading Peat?s
?Blackfoot Physics? at the moment, and tells me that whereas most non-native
Americans use an average of 1,500 words in their daily discourse, the
shamans of the Yakut of Siberia use some 12,000 words. That is absolutely
extraordinary. Even ordinary Yakut use 4,000. There is something horribly
inverted in the world when people who only use 1,500 words can overwhelm the
culture of a people who use so many more.

I guess one aspect of moronic discourse is that it has a limited vocabulary.
Morosophic vocabulary is perhaps even smaller, because morosophs use the
same word to describe many different things, obscuring all the sharp edges
which should distinguish meanings. The only sharp edges they use are the
ones in the pointedly foolish oxymorons.  Thus, in the vocabulary of the
Great Morosoph, the word ?strength? means not only overwhelming military
power and full spectrum dominance but also ?ignorance?, ?arrogance?,
?isolation?, ?self-righteousness? and so on and so forth.  The words ?peace?
and ?peacekeeping? are particularly useful in also being able to designate
the state of ?perpetual war?. If one word can mean at least five things, and
the average command of words is 1,500, then this leaves us with a vocabulary
of 300 words. It is useful to be able to use a single word for so many
meanings. The word Morosoph itself could be adopted by the Great Leader to
mean Lover of Morality (following the pattern of words like ?philosopher? -
lover of wisdom) rather than what it actually means: ?foolish pretender to
wisdom?. After all, the present administration was elected, was it not, on
its moral messages, if not on its linguistic profundity. It is quite easy to
confuse ?moronic? with ?moral?, especially if both words come from the same
root, and how many people in America would be able to tell the difference?

The impression is fast growing in Europe that most Americans seem to have
command of only a few words, which they repeat a lot. Most common (in
descending order of number of syllables) are ?democracy?, ?liberty? 
?freedom?,  ?progress?, ?liberty? ?good?, ?evil?, ?war?, ?peace? and
?fries?.  This is patently unfair because I have to say that the best
on-line discussions I have are nearly always with Americans, the best of
whom are able to think outside the box in all kinds of creative ways.  It?s
just that the ones who know more words (and can therefore think and handle
more concepts) and the ones who see through morosophistry (I just invented
that) don?t seem to get heard very much. Perhaps this is changing now if
articles like the one you sent from someone as important as Reagan?s
Assistant Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, are beginning to get aired
more widely. Perhaps Jim Guirard?s ?War of Words? could be as usefully be
spent on exposing the misuse of words by morosophists of all persuasions
within America as it is on the misuse of words by Muslims alone.

It was interesting to see the reaction of the French to Ms. Condoleeza
Rice?s recent performance in Paris.

Firstly, they were puzzled by the fact that she did not use a single French
word in her address. How is that a concert pianist of her dexterity is
incapable of uttering a single word in the language of her hosts? Or does
she only play American pieces?  Can she not even say ?merci? or ?bon jour??
Even Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles take the trouble to speak quite a
lot of recognisable French when they make important speeches in France or
when French Heads of State visit England, even if some of their attempts at
French vowels are overwhelmed by English diphthongs. Is this linguistic
vacuity by Dr. Rice a sign of linguistic incompetence or arrogant
mono-culturalism, or both?  Is this the ultimate source of the behavior of
US marines in Iraq, who, having kicked in the door of a terrified Iraqi
family, shout at them in English (a language they do not understand) and,
when they fail to understand, shout at them louder as if they are morons.
Only a moron would shout at someone else in a foreign language believing
that by shouting louder they will make themselves understood. Is this how
the US military builds relationships and wins hearts and minds?

Secondly, they were puzzled and amused by what one French official (it may
even have been the French foreign minister) called her ?Manichean? outlook,
by which he meant the puerile division of the world into good guys and
evildoers.  I believe he even used the word ?puerile?, which is in keeping
with The American Association for the Study of the Feeble-Minded
designating the meaning of the word ?moron? as an adult of the mental age
eight to twelve.

He might also have mentioned the morosophistry inherent in manipulating the
human penchant for simple dualistic Manicheanism so as to blame your own
folly on others (e.g. blame the Syrians for the situation in Iraq) - crude
psychological projection is always the outcome of dichotomization of
reality. Most people do it unconsciously, and I guess this is the case for
the vast majority of the sadly misinformed and manipulated masses who
support the Great Morosoph in his crusade to ?civilise? the world, but when
the tendency is deliberately manipulated so as to deny the truth, then it
becomes not a work of ignorance but of evil. Evil is not ignorance per se
but is concerned with manipulating and deceiving others by claiming that
their ignorance is the opposite of what it is.

Salaam
Jeremy


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