Good to see that some noble work is being done out there. I cannot help but be reminded, however, of the various dictatorial and fairly evil regimes propped up by America (as well as Britain, alongside most of Europe, back in the days of empire) and supported by her soldiers over the years. Vietnam seems to be a prime example. Of course there is the current issue of the Middle Eastern and African rebellions as well, with Libya, Egypt etc. How exciting and duplicitous one finds the marvellous world of politics to be! At least they're trying to keep in line with some of the suggestions of the Just War theory whilst out in Afghanistan.
I quite liked the 'Spirit of America' site. 'Make our troops safer' is perhaps my favourite of their statements, considering that the site if full of pics of soldiers helping small children and so on.
03/10/2011 at 11:47 AM
Do you think Viet Nam is better off today, and has been better off over the last 35 years with the Communists government in control or would they have been better off with the worst of the several last governments of the south? A million people fled the north when they had the chance. After the fall of the south, millions fled the country completely. I've personally heard the stories of a couple of people who fled and the sacrifices that they made, the risks they took to get out. One guy told me about sitting in a tree in the jungle for something like a week with very little to eat or drink, hiding from their army until things calmed down enough that they could be smuggled out. Not saying the south was good, but I've stopped listening to what people say and pay much greater attention to what people do. Especially with their feet.
Spirit of America is one of the very few charities I support any more. What's great about them is that they give you updates on what they do with the money. One time they put out a call for money to establish a radio station in Iraq (iirc). When they received far more than what was needed for the job, due to some extra publicity they got from a writer for the Wall Street Journal, they offered to return the excess.
I talked with one of the people there when my donations that I was having deducted from my work paycheck were not matching the statements they sent me and she was very helpful and concerned. Turned out that unbeknown to me, my employer had contracted another company to handle the payment transfers and this company was taking 4.5% of the donation for itself. I would never have known this if Spirit of America wasn't making the effort to send Thank You note emails out to its donors each quarter stating how much they had received.
Good to hear from you. Stay in touch. BTW, I did hear from Amy recently. But just an email. Not sure what's up with her, but hope to see her back here.
03/11/2011 at 04:39 PM
I agree that the 'Communists' certainly weren't the best governors, but I think that the Americans, and the French before them, could have established more democratic governments which cared for the people properly. I cannot help but remember a picture of a local priest (a Buddhist, I believe) sitting calmly cross-legged and burning himself alive in protest. Protest because the dictatorial nutter of the time wanted to force as many people to become Christian as possible and refused to respect alternative and native beliefs. He was probably as bad as any North Vietnamese 'Communist' alternative, but was accepted because he was Christian and liked America. From my point of view: if one is going to build an empire, one must ensure that it will benefit all of the people within it, not merely one's own people.
I typed Communist in quotation marks because I recently had a long argument with a Conservative and Capitalist chap regarding 'Communist' Russia, in which I found myself saying that Stalin and most of the others (but Stalin was perhaps the most obvious) were probably more fascist than Hitler, thus 'Communist' in name only.
I'm glad that you've found 'Spirit of America' to be a good charity and that they show you where the money is going/what happens to it. Too many charitable dontations from governments have been spent on Ferraris, fine wine and Ak-47s in the past.
Personally, I hate seeing adverts on the telly telling stories of small children being beaten by parents, or someone in Africa starving to death - they make me feel awful and ruin a good comedy, if there's one on. That said, I'd probably endorse such tactics in charitable organisations, as they can extract money from people who do not need it and use the cash to build a school or find a cure for cancer.
Talking about Spirit of America being so helpful to donors has just reminded me of a chat that I had recently with a bloke into computers. He said that google provide brilliant on station accomodation for employees including slides in between floors and comfy sleeping pods. That's supporter satisfaction.
Hope to see Amy back soon, the long three-person philosophical debates were most enjoyable.
03/12/2011 at 05:06 AM
In my innocent youth I recall observing that the Commie left and the Fascist right were more alike each other than to us. It took years of "schooling" to "teach" me how "wrong" I was. I never really "learned" it but I did understand that to be taken seriously in most "intellectual" circles, I had to either shut up or find politically correct ways to state my point of view. Fortunately, I wasn't a history/humanities major so I wasn't around such people very often, and most Comp. Sci./Business/Engineering people were either politically indifferent or at least open to non-lefty points of view.
While I don't consider the enemy of my enemy my friend, I'll take the lesser of two evils any day. As a rule, while I admire principled stands, I believe puritanism is an evil that has no politics.
03/13/2011 at 05:30 PM
Been away for a couple of days without an internet connection. I'm feeling a bit tired and have other tasks at hand, so I'll have to make this quick and expand on it later. In fact, I'll just say that most often the practisors of a theory take the name of the theory and disgrace it by being corruptible, dishonourable and generally idiotic. Theories tend to be very well composed etc, but usually people simply cannot keep to them in practice. 'Political correctness' and freedom of speech appear both to be lies.
03/19/2011 at 01:09 PM
Yes, a lot of life getting in the way of thoughtful blogging here, too. Or what for me passes as thoughtful, anyway. Funny, though. I recall the first time I heard the phrase "politically correct" it was in a context in which it was not meant to be taken pejoratively.
03/20/2011 at 12:45 PM
As to your comment on 03/13, I'd say that one is most fortunate to chance upon another who is willing to discuss the merits and demerits of any political point of view, whilst remaining fairly neutral in the process. Such a person would probably be able to develop an excellent politcal stance. One good thing that might be said of political correctness is that it is often fairly utilitarian, attempting to please (or simply not offend) the majority.
I'm one of those irritatingly persistent people who often refuses to accept what is generally deemed to be reality and says that some good can always be achieved, it can just be very difficult to do so. Hence I tend not to go for the old 'lesser of two weevils' statement. I don't want to risk commenting on the Puritans - I just don't know enough about them off hand to make confident asserions. I will however say that they were reputed to be brilliant front line troops during the English Civil War.
I was reading an article recently on the ever altering meaning of words in the English language. It's always interesting to observe how words develop and have developed. Of course, there are very many which have double or more meanings. Some say that it confuses, I say it adds to the variety of the lingo. I vaguely recall that 'politically correct' was once not too often used perjoratively, but as it is used more and more often to inform people how they should speak and so on, the many Conservatives of Britain have (alongside many others) become increasingly pissed off by it.
Just wondering, what do you think of the current business in Libya? There's a TPM post around the subject which managed to get me thinking and I currently have little confidence in any endeavours to improve the system over there in the long term.
03/24/2011 at 01:44 PM
I'm off again - four days (ish) this time, so sorry if I don't post for a while.
03/25/2011 at 03:57 PM
Thinking about Libya. One of the most frustrating and yet amusing current events of my life. Will try to put something coherent up by Sunday.
03/25/2011 at 05:35 PM
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