tisdag 13 oktober 2009

"The arrogance of clergy"

A much appreciated speech from the ranting comedian Pat Condell, a man I seldom agrees with, but in this case, he definitely has a point:

"Public religion exist for the sole benefit of clergy, and clergy exist for the sole benefit of clergy". Priceless.

Arrogance in the metal scene

Obituary Interview HARDTIMES.CA


Obituary is one of the classic death bands I used to adore, alongside Carcass, Death, Dismember, Entombed and Morbid Angel. They've done excellent music and their approach to death metal is unique.

Sadly mr. Ralph Santolla, guitarist in Obituary, seem to think that militant islamist (in general i assume) is determined purely to destroy the U.S. This sounds more like arrogance, and those who propagate it haven't much clue on the political islamist culture (both the peaceful movements and the militant ones) and how the West has influenced it. Next time these xenophobics stop by the library, they should visit the History and Religion - sections. Maybe it'll help them develop a broader sense on cultures other than their own. Militant islamistic movements, as an example, has been created over a long period of time. Mainly outside (West) extortion on sitting governments in the Middle East and North Africa thru military invasion and occupations but also grave cultural offence (such as U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia), Western economic exploitation of these countries' resources and labor, Western colonialism and political manipulations of elections, and their support to antidemocratic factions and assassinations of officials opposed to the Western states is some of the factors that have influenced the re-growth of radical Islamic movements and the military side of them.

Also very disturbing is Ralph Santolla's view on the U.S. political power structure and their political tradition: "That's because in America the power really flows upwards from the people to the top, rather than downwards, and people don't want to turn the United States into a socialistic country, period", as in response to the reporter's notion: "...now it has been revealed that, in fact, he [President Barack Obama] doesn't have as much power as everyone hoped he'd had".

First: The U.S. has had a long tradition of segmented corporate lobbyism in politics, directly affecting the agendas and policies of ordinary day-to-day legislation and administration. On the surface it might resemble other state-institutional traditions of the Western countries. But in reality U.S-lobbyism is a big client-based organisational system, which influences judicial and administrative praxis and also operates a lot with unofficial handshakes, and that's why some honest politicians for once legislated against it, in order to make the government and the Congress a more transparent, consistent and reliable institutional foundation. To believe that the U.S. politics (in general) is incentive for grass-root movements is therefore false and wishful-thinking. Especially when the U.S. has always been advocating the individual as the main player in ordinary life and example of consideration in law decision, therefore creating obstacles for collective groups in society to influence the government and the parliamentary work.

Second: Barack Obama and his government doesn't act socialistic. He/their ideas does not originate from that ideological tree at all. He/they may talk in socialistic terms sometimes but their idealistic background and actions are based upon the same political realism and liberal ideas that Carter, Clinton, Johnson, Roosevelt and Truman embraced, especially when it comes to foreign policy and U.S. domestic security, which is based upon strategic thinking and pragmatic decision over most moral codexs.

Third: Robert Dahl, Professor in Political science at Yale University, U.S., noted that "...democracy provides opportunities for: 1. Effective participation...[] 3. Gaining enlighted understanding, 4. Excercising final control over the agenda..." (note).
Now, how many citizens can actually participate in U.S. legislation, how many citizens actually vote, and moreover, which kind of citizens do vote? We know from statistics that the U.S. has had a long history of pretty low voting participation, sometimes under 50%, which is demoralising for a constitutional body and its mandate ability to wield power. Moreover, how easy is it as a private person to try and influence the legislation, whether it's on federal level or in a member-state, when you're competing with institutions and organisations (=lobbyists) who have a network of intelligence and partners to halt your efforts, resources that easily outmatches your own when it comes to marketing your ideas to the legislators, and a decisive position in the labor market, a crucial part of the society, influencing a lot of the workers political ideas thru labor-producing campaigns or indirect extortion with pressure on labor unions?

Summary: It's always easier to fear what you don't know anything about, especially when it comes to foreigners and their "strange" cultures. Unfortunately that's a very destructive behaviour and has been a contributing factor to many wars.
It's also very destructive to believe a political system is constituted from the people, when in fact the political participation doesn't have full inclusion, for example the leftovers of McCarthyism, which hinders all real socialistic ideas to come forward in U.S. legislation and bureaucracy.
Many people in the U.S. still seem to think that socialism automatically equals communism, which of course is false. Communism is a derivation of Marxs ideas. Communism propagates public right over both produced goods and services and private property, while socialism only propagates the workers rights over their own produced goods and services. This crucial difference is something that people, sadly, tend to forget, or ignore.

Note: Page 38, Dahl, Robert, On Democracy, Yale University (ISBN 0-300-08455-2)