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Re: Theos-World Status of Indigenous Australians

Nov 15, 2002 11:08 AM
by Bart Lidofsky

Steve Stubbs wrote:
> That is an excellent point. Let me get your thoughts on this: a few
> weeks ago the NY Times quoted a government official who spoke on
> condiion of anonymity. He said the war would be an oil war and that
> Bush's intention was to secure a source of oil which would guarantee
> his supplies "forever." I have to say, I think this fellow was
> telling the truth, although admittedly neither of us knows for
> certain. It makes me very uneasy and what particularly bothers me is
> that there seems to be no check or balance against Bush's ambitions
> anymore. He runs all three branches of the government. He runs the
> UN. He runs much of the rest of the world. And now he wants to run
> Iraq. I do not feel comfortable with a man I do not trust in the
> first placce having such unrestricted power. I hope war can yet be
> averted but do not see much hope at this point. Time will tell which
> way it goes.

I happen to think that the Supreme Court, at this point, is pretty well
balanced (3 conservatives, 3 liberals, and 3 swings), and would not like
to see any of the latter 6 replaced with a conservative. On the other
hand, you can never tell; there have been a number of cases of judges
changing political stripes once their sinecure was assured. 

Yes, Bush has complete control now, but it is limited by the fact that
his margin of control is small, and there are another set of elections
in two years. One difference between a republic and a democracy is that,
in a republic, those making the rules are judged more on the results of
their actions then on their actions themselves. An unpopular action with
a popular result can take place in a republic, but is almost impossible
in a pure democracy (a republic is more karma based, if you will). I am
just thankful that the U.S. doesn't have a parliamentary system;
otherwise, we would have had somebody like H. Ross Perot (do you think
they modeled the Ferengi on him?) or Ralph Nader as the major power in
this country. 

Frankly, I think the Democrats brought it upon themselves; they have
been far more interested in stopping Bush than in putting forward any
positive ideas of their own. When a group of prominent Democrats have to
be taught dignity by a professional wrestler, you KNOW they're in
trouble. On the other hand, I am greatly afraid of too much power going
to the FBI, such as full access to every American's email and financial
transactions without a warrant; luckily, it seems like an issue that
conservatives and liberals can agree upon.

> > I assume that is a joke. There's a term for those who don't obey the
> > government in every particular in Arab countries: corpses.
> One is required to obey the government everywhere, Bart. Unless you
> are wealthy and know when to keep your mouth shut you are required to
> obey the government here. Leona Helmsley had half of that but missed
> the other half. Ditto with John Gotti.

A) The United States has fines, jail sentences, and probation. The
death penalty, although it occurs far too much, is still not imposed
anywhere nearly as much as it is in Arab countries.

B) Leona Helmsley went to jail because she was a woman in a man's
business, and, even worse, good at it. If she were a man, she would have
just paid a substantial fine. She didn't open her mouth until AFTER she
was being treated in an unjust way. Note that much of the admitted
testimony had NOTHING to do with her crimes, and EVERYTHING to do with
negative PR.

> In most countries the law only applies
> if you don't know someone or pay a bribe. Most countries also do not
> have the phenomenal number of laws that we have, a point made by
> sociologists. 

Ah, now we can get back to Theosophy. There is a theosophical principle
(well, like virtually all theosophical principles, it is by no means
unique to theosophy) that, while good intentions are key, they are not
enough. You must also know what the good is. There is a wonderful book
called THE DEATH OF COMMON SENSE, which explains that the ridiculous
overload of laws in the United States started with excellent intentions.
The idea was that if the law was clear in all cases, then nobody would
be at the mercy of the whim of some petty bureaucrat with his/her hand
out for bribes. The problem with this was twofold: You can't have a
finite number of laws cover an infinite number of cases, and, as laws
multiply, it is far too easy to have laws overlap. The result is that it
is virtually impossible to exist without breaking some law or other (as
many of the overlapping ones are contradictory, requiring to do
something that you are not allowed to do), that petty bureaucrats are
almost always required to say, "no.", putting EVERYBODY at the mercy of
some petty bureaucrat, often with his/her hand out for bribes. 

> Try a thought experiment. Imagine that you have entered a time
> machine and been transported five hundred years into the future.
> Imagine further that you are busy acquainting yourself with the then
> current state of affairs in Palestine.

I'm not quoting the whole piece back, but things like this are the
reason I continue to respect you in spite of our disagreements. 

> There is a third possibilty which will require vision and strong
> ethical commitment in which baby steps are taken to bring about a
> reconciliation with the Arabs. The idea of a "Jewish state" in which
> everyone else is unwelcome would have to be abandoned and Arabs would
> have to be given the opportunity to participate and take an interest
> in the welfare of the state at every level. 

That currently is the case in Israel, proper, at least in law and
theory (and might very well happen in practice if peace ever breaks

> Then as the Arabs come
> to the ascendant position they could be caused to think of the Jewish
> minority as playing an important part in the community and therefore
> serving the self interest of the Arab majority. 

That is a major part of Israel's dilemma. If they annex the West Bank,
the Jews will become a minority in their own country within a decade or
two, and, all things being equal, there will be genocide against the
Jews. But if they give the Palestinians a full-fledged state, then they
will be creating a nation dedicated to their destruction, without secure
borders. If they commit genocide, then they are violating the very
principles upon which their country was created. Israel already tried
giving the West Bank back to Jordan; Jordan wouldn't take it. Now....

> The ideal would be
> to create an Arab state in which Jews and Arabs coexist congenially,
> unlike the situation everywhere else in the Muslim world. I think
> with sustained commitment it could be done. 

I believe that most Israelis would be willing to do this. I also
believe that most Palestinians would not. 

> The Kahanist alternative, which is so popular today, 

While it is more popular today than it was even 3 years ago, I don't
think that it has much popularity. 

Frankly, I think that the solution would be indirect bribery. For
example, the schools Col. Olcott founded in India are a good model; very
high quality schools, so high quality that parents would be willing to
give up their intolerance so their children can attend. Corporations
giving good jobs at good salaries, but any religious infighting will
result in termination. Give the people positive rather than negative
incentive to get along with each other.


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