Archives for category: Politics

Could our political mess be the mere epiphenomenon of the UFO story?

Multiple Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts have discussed their UFO experiences while in space flight, though usually briefly and not in public. Gordon Cooper was most frank, and Edgar Mitchell impressively took up the cause, while Buzz Aldrin’s cryptic and not-so-cryptic pronouncements are often most interesting (such as his discussion of the L-shaped craft that tracked Apollo 11 for days was famous for a day, but quickly given an official public massaging). Many NASA alums have become UFO researchers. The lore on all this is vast, but NASA treats the issue as one to be kept strictly mum.

Wally Schirra is said to be the first astronaut to use “Santa Claus” as codeword for a UFO close to a capsule. You can run through NASA transcripts for discussion of that jolly ol’ elf. Medical channel communications were, multiple sources claim, how some of the Apollo astronauts on the Moon discussed the tricky matter of being observed by UFOs. Yes, this was said by several NASA employees as having occurred on all Apollo missions.

We should consider the possibility that one reason not to have gone back to the Moon is to avoid close encounters in full public view. There was a famous oops with Apollo 14 and Walter Cronkite. Too hard to manage.

Now, I am as far from NASA as we are from that mysterious sphere in our night skies, the Moon (which really is bizarre), and I know little for sure. But I do know that quite a few astronauts have been believers in UFOs, and some appear to have been scared to their core — see Neil Armstrong’s strange behavior post-11. And then there are the cosmonauts! I have mentioned before that one female cosmonaut has even written a book on the subject of UFOs … but this Polish publication has not seen print in the English language.

I watch and read debunkers on this and similar subjects, and am usually unimpressed. They seem to always be spewing bunk. Cooking up a few counter-explanations for a few claims is not a way to falsify the vast lore on the subject. But they do have something on their side: the practice of secrecy by the U.S. Government. However, we know quite a bit about that secrecy, now. And it does not really supply any epistemic weight to the debunkers’ cause. The fact that several segments of the U.S. Military have admitted that UFOs have been studied for a long time, that their telemetry data and testimony by military people are not faked, and do not point to incidents of known technologies within U.S. inventories, well, that puts the debunkers at huge disadvantage.

Like political and religious debates, the public debate over UFOs is not very rational. Because public officials and academic scientists are not allowed to discuss the issue in a straightforward manner — disallowed by cited NDAs as well as the obvious cultural taboo — the popular discussions are often dominated by religious cultism, hucksters, and bizarre political psy-ops like Q.

Trump seemed uninterested in the subject, while Hillary pushed for full UFO disclosure. This has led me to speculate that the reason Trump was allowed to win in 2016 was to punt the issue down the field for four years. Now, perhaps, the Deep State has its act together enough, and has figured out a way to lie about UFOs that will please its Democratic voting base. But that is mere speculation. Nevertheless, I expect a shift on this subject with Biden-Harris in office.

My guess is that this is one of two issues that worry our overlords most, the other being the unsustainable financial system. They may even be oddly connected — perhaps by the pandemic, which could very well have been another diversionary tactic. We may see.

Much depends upon what UFOs are. They do not constitute a uniform phenomenon. From my recent reading, and reading between the lines, the issue is not just a simple matter of “extra-terrestrials.” I suspect UFOs are far, far weirder than that, probably an admixture. But of what? Perhaps extra-solar space travelers, interdimensionals, crypto-terrestrials, recent secret space program reverse engineering projects going back to the 1950s and beyond, and even maybe time travel and Simulation interfaces. I would not wholly rule out angels and demons.

If the UFO subject is a hoax, and I am wrong on its existential reality, then — considering all the NASA involvement — it is a Deep State psy-op at base, and that could be the worst of all possibilities.

Talk about conspiracy!

twv

So. I am staring at my computer screen the night before the inauguration of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., as President of these United States, and of Kamala Devi Harris as his (and the union’s) Vice. I wonder: what is going to happen?

I cannot predict what kind of protest and violence we will see. Four years earlier, there was protest and there was violence, but we have forgotten all about that now. The slate’s been wiped clean. Pussy hats are, today, a flickering pixel of a dim memory.

I would not even know how to figure the odds.

Will the lockdowns vanish after Biden/Harris are safely installed? A number of governors, led by COVID Cuomo in New York, are saying we just cannot go on doing this any longer. Nicely timed, Governor, nicely timed! But others say that masks, social distancing, rolling lockdowns, and other tyrannical controls are planned to continue well into 2025. Trust/oppose the Plan. I haven’t been let in on this conspiracy. I’m out of the loop.

Will Joe Biden himself even stay in office? I know people who speculate that his apparent senility has been a fake. This is a great age of fakery, but I prefer to believe what’s in front of us, that the bumbling fool we saw mumbling behind a mask from his basement is the real deal, and will not last his four years in office. The question really is: will he outlast William Henry Harrison?

Kamala Harris is no John Tyler, though, the man who established how vice presidents would take over from the passing of a president. I don’t see her vetoing any bills on their unconstitutionality. 

I would swear on her family Bible that I don’t know the future any more than the next person.

twv

This is quite a piece of … rhetoric:

Dear Powell’s community,

At Powell’s, a lot of our inventory is hand-selected, and hand-promoted. And a lot of our inventory is not. Unmasked by Andy Ngo came to us via one of our long-term and respected publishers, Hachette Book Group. We list the majority of their catalogue on Powells.com automatically, as do many other independent and larger retailers. We have a similar arrangement with other publishers.

Since Sunday, Powell’s has received hundreds of emails, calls, and social media comments calling for us to remove Unmasked from Powells.com. Due to protests outside our Burnside location, we have chosen to close our store, including curbside pickup, to keep our employees and customers safe. We are monitoring the situation daily and we will reopen when it is safe to do so. Our other locations and website remain open. 

As many of you may be following these events, I want to offer additional context about our decision to allow this book to remain online.

Since the first published texts there have been calls to disown different printed work, and at Powell’s we have a long history of experiencing these calls, and the threats they bring with them, firsthand. Until recently the threats were from those who objected that we carried books written by authors we respected or subjects we supported. The threats were real but we could feel virtuous — we were bringing the written word to the light of day. We could feel proud of our choices, even when the choices created conflict.

Our current fight does not feel virtuous.  It feels ugly and sickening to give any air to writing that could cause such deep pain to members of our community. But we have always sold books that many of us would reject.  We have fought for decades, at Powell’s, for the right of a book to stand on its own. Doing so is one of our core values as booksellers.

In our history we have sold many copies of books we find objectionable. We do that in spite of all the reasons not to, because we believe that making the published word available is an important and crucial step in shedding light on the dark corners of the public discourse. It is actually a leap of faith into the vortex of the power of the written word and our fellow citizens to make sense of it.

That leap of faith is inextricably woven into our existence as Powell’s: faith in our customers is what first propelled us from a small corner store into who we are today.  We recognize that not every reader has good intentions, or will arrive at a writer’s intended destination, but we do believe that faith must extend to our community of readers. That offering the printed word in all its beauty and gore, must ultimately move us forward. As my father says, if your principles are only your principles sometimes, they’re not principles at all.

Emily Powell, of Powell’s Bookstore, the world’s greatest independent bookstore, implies that she does not respect Andy Ngo and his reporting on antifa riots in Portland, Oregon.

Since Mr. Ngo is the only person in Portland I have cause to believe is heroic, by a sort of moral algebra Ms. Powell looks rather bad, I think, and “members” of her “community” are implicated in her half-poltroonish statement.

But remember: Ms. Powell is a liberal — not daring to call progressives knavish, but still standing against progressives’ worst demands. We need more liberals like this. Sure. But we can hardly admire them.

A courageous person would not have engaged in the back-handed slight of Mr. Ngo.

twv

The Left has captured the Democratic Party . . . and leftist resentment at having even to answer challenges is fueling their mad lust to engage in full-on mob- and state-based attacks against all major competing ideas, personalities and platforms.

And libertarians who yammer on about how awful Trump is, and how he should, in January 2021, be impeached, place themselves on the side of these new totalitarians. Sure Trump was what he was: no savior. But he was also wasn’t what he wasn’t: an Antichrist. But what the Democrats now yearn for is an Antichrist, their own false savior in The State. And they are gearing up to stamp and contract-trace every citizen they can.

twv

What do libertarians think about the statement, ‘Individualism is a stupid idea because humans are social animals’?

…as answered on Quora….

There are many definitions of “individualism” — what Alexis de Tocqueville meant by it is radically different from what Wordsworth Donisthorpe meant by it. I have written about Tocqueville’s word choice elsewhere. Here I will discuss something very much like Donisthorpe’s usage in Individualism: A System of Politics (1889), H. L. Mencken’s in Men versus The Man (1911) and F. A. Hayek’s in Individualism and Economic Order (1948).

This libertarian judges the queried statement [“individualism is a stupid idea because humans are social animals”] to be silly and unlearned.

Why?

Because individualism is a doctrine of sociality.

Individualists make the fairly obvious point that it is only by protecting individual personsalong with their justly acquired property that robust sociality can evolve. Individualists look upon our social natures as best maturing when as many relations are voluntary as possible, and when people are judged according to the same standard applied up and down the institutional, class, and tribal order. Persons are not to be given special license because of some specific social connection, but, instead, defended according to basic rights that all may have so long as they reciprocate.

Individualism is a doctrine of free association and voluntary community.

Sure, we are social animals. But from this it does not follow that a “socialism” that coerces compliance and corrals people into groups and regulates them by means of “the public ownership of the means of production” is in any way an expression of humane sociability. This sort of collectivism is a deeply anti-social doctrine. And if you doubt, study the mores of Soviet subjects, or read Orwell’s 1984 — no great society there, no triumph of “social man.”

It is individualism that defends our social natures from the con artistry of any number of collectivisms. To buy the idea that individualism (understood as a rule-of-law standard based on a division of responsibility) is corrosive (by its very name?) of society is to misunderstand society itself. And perhaps to have a very, very low opinion of humanity.

Folks who hold to this notion are easily taken in by simplistic word association. This individualist sees the queried statement as a typical example of ideological trickery, as sophistry, as base rhetoric, as ugly propaganda. It is the kind of thing unscrupulous people say to fool the distracted, the inattentive and the not very bright.

Don’t be conned.

twv

The rains came to my valley, this week, and left a freshet.

Do libertarians think that progressives are good people with policy differences or immoral people who express their immorality through their politics?

… as answered on Quora….

Both.

That is, some libertarians believe that progressives are merely misinformed and misguided; others believe that progressives have a deep evil streak; and some hold to both positions at the same time.

How is that latter possible? Well, a bad idea can be adopted for good reasons, but then the idea’s own entelechy guides its holder into evil. (Ideology is an awful lot like a Ring of Power, and power corrupts.) One may start out just wanting to help the poor and downtrodden, but then, later on, come to revel in hurting those who disagree with you, even those who contribute a lot to society, merely because they are successful while remaining uninterested in one’s own projects.

What can begin in compassion often progresses into envy, resentment and deep, abiding hatred.

I believe this happens to a lot of people, all across the political spectrum.

With progressives it can happen like this: one enthusiastically supports a policy, say, the minimum wage. Then one encounters reasoning and evidence that indicates the policy does not do what its proponents say they want, that is, to help “the poor” and low-skilled workers generally. Most progressives I have met immediately reject the idea that their favored policy prescription can have negative effects, and, especially, that it can have net negative effects. Not only do they not research the challenge to their policy in an honest way, but, instead, grasp at straws, looking for excuses for their “side,” and even press on to engage in cultic social control methods (scorn, shunning, and worse) to attack their chosen policy’s critics.

At this point they embrace evil, for they stick to a policy regardless of its effects. Evil can be defined, here, as causing harm with malign intent.

And yes, their intent to their ideological opponents can become quite combative, and astoundingly malign (just consider the bike-lock-in-a-sock ethician), and the heedlessness with which they marshal to “help” the alleged beneficiaries of their chosen policy becomes gross negligence. They lose sight of the end because what they come to really like is the chosen means. At this point in their ideological development, they no longer “care” about the poor and downtrodden at all. They just like to wield power.

Yes, politics can be an ugly business.

And no one knows this better than libertarians. Which is why we wish to limit the scope of the state and the politics that seeks to control it.

It is a trap that catches good people and turns them into bad people.

twv

Another random image to spruce up the page: me with two iPads in front of the TV!

Who started the libertarian movement?

…as answered on Quora….

The libertarian movement evolved. It was started by the first person to articulate the notion that initiating force is a bad idea not only when private citizens to it, but also when people in government do it.

Modern libertarianism, as understood in the sense usually discussed in America, is a revived and refined classical liberalism, with ties also to 19th century individualist anarchism, which was itself called “philosophical anarchism” in its heyday, and, most astutely, “unterrified Jeffersonianism.” The main libertarian idea can be found in a diversity of liberal writers, such as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, but received its first clear discussions in the middle of the 19th century in writers like William Leggett, Henry David Thoreau, Herbert Spencer, Frédéric Bastiat, and Gustave de Molinari. The American brand of anarchism (which I do not regard as a form of anarchism) was invented by utopian experimenter Josiah Warren and jurist Lysander Spooner. But by the end of that century, though the obviously libertarian theory received a great deal of careful elaboration by writers who called themselves “individualists” — Auberon Herbert, J. H. Levy and Wordsworth Donisthorpe to name three — classical liberalism had collapsed as a movement, and for half a century only a few obscure figures and their favorite authors (like Albert Jay Nock) survived . . . as “a remnant.” (See Nock’s essay “Isaiah’s Job,” and his book Our Enemy, the State; see also Garet Garrett’s The People’s Pottage.)

Now, three American women novelists might be said to have “created” modernlibertarianism in the middle of the 20th century: literary critic Isabel Paterson (esp. in The God of the Machine), journalist Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder), and Russian expatriate Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged). The revival of classical liberalism in the writings of two Austrian economists — Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek — spurred the movement, intellectually, especially with their more overtly political books, the elder Austrian’s Socialism and Omnipotent Government, and the younger man’s Road to Serfdom. By the time Murray N. Rothbard made a name for himself in the 1960s, the intellectual movement was well underway. Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia basically sealed the deal, and, as an intellectual movement, libertarianism appeared on the American scene as quite robust by 1976, with Nobel Prizes in economics going to Hayek and the astoundingly brilliant Milton Friedman. Milton and his wife Rose Director, and their son David D. Friedman, were all important exponents of variants of modern libertarianism, with the son being the more daring and radical.

As a political movement, libertarianism erupted out of the Young Americans for Freedom organization in the 1960s and a political party forming after Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard, which helped disenthrall libertarians from conservative politics.

The definitive account of libertarian history was written by Brian Doherty in Radicals for Capitalism.


N.B. The Jeffersonian reference is to a passage from Benjamin R. Tucker:

The development of the economic programme which consists in the destruction of these monopolies and the substitution for them of the freest competition led its authors to a perception of the fact that all their thought rested upon a very fundamental principle, the freedom of the individual, his right of sovereignty over himself, his products, and his affairs, and of rebellion against the dictation of external authority. Just as the idea of taking capital away from individuals and giving it to the government started Marx in a path which ends in making the government everything and the individual, nothing, so the idea of taking capital away from government-protected monopolies and putting it within easy reach of all individuals started Warren and Proudhon in a path which ends in making the individual everything and the government nothing. If the individual has a right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny. Hence the necessity of abolishing the State. This was the logical conclusion to which Warren and Proudhon were forced, and it became the fundamental article of their political philosophy. It is the doctrine which Proudhon named Anarchism, a word derived from the Greek, and meaning, not necessarily absence of order, as is generally supposed, but absence of rule. The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that “the best government is that which governs least,” and that that which governs least is no government at all. Even the simple police function of protecting person and property they deny to governments supported by compulsory taxation. Protection they look upon as a thing to be secured, as long as it is necessary, by voluntary association and cooperation for self-defence, or as a commodity to be purchased, like any other commodity, of those who offer the best article at the lowest price. In their view it is in itself an invasion of the individual to compel him to pay for or suffer a protection against invasion that he has not asked for and does not desire. And they further claim that protection will become a drug in the market, after poverty and consequently crime have disappeared through the realization of their economic programme. Compulsory taxation is to them the life-principle of all the monopolies, and passive, but organized, resistance to the tax-collector they contemplate, when the proper time comes, as one of the most effective methods of accomplishing their purposes.

Benjamin R. Tucker’s Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy to Write One (1893/1897).
Additional Reading:

The funny thing about Impeachment 2 is that it smacks so strongly of anti-democracy.

I know, I know. Folks are talking about the payoff being the Senate forbidding Trump (if removed) from ever holding office again. Seems a tad personal. Not anti-democratic.

And hey: doing this to Trump after a miserable, humiliating failure of it a year ago is so embarrassingly petty that I shake my head. So the personal animus must be high. Were they humiliated by Trump? I suppose that could be what galls them so.

But I think it is something else.

Of course, I do find it funny how under their skin he got — and it is hilarious to witness Democrats talk about how awful a president he is, but when you probe them they almost always mean BECAUSE HE SAYS ICKY THINGS not because he’s murdered people (like LBJ) or started wars (like Bush and Clinton and Bush and Obama), or even because he WASN’T DICTATORIAL ENOUGH about COVID (my favorite Intellectual Death Knell of the Democracy ploy). But, behind the whole circus, what seems pretty obvious is this: he gave voice to the people Democrats hate most, “the Deplorables.”

Who now number over 70,000,000 strong, and are getting quite fed up with Democrats.

These Deplorables wanted to “Drain the Swamp,” but, until Trump, none of their respectable Republican champions could dare take it seriously. So the Deplorables went “another direction.” And that man fought hard for them. True, he accomplished little swamp-wise — the Swamp’s gotten bigger and nastier — but he did something they didn’t think they needed: he drew out the swamp creatures, into the light beyond Swamp cover, for all to see, and the Deplorables looked at the creatures, red in tooth and communism, and said, “at least we can understand Trump’s problems — these people seem malevolent and dangerous.” They stuck with their man.

And Democrats went bonkers, for five years.

And now a second impeachment! I mean, suppressing nearly half of the electorate because you disapprove of their political attitudes is quite anti-democratic. That is the next worst thing to one-party-statism — that is, fascism/communism/tyranny. And, amusingly, it sure smacks of “voter suppression”: it isn’t against Trump so much as the people he’s given a voice to that Democrats have it in for. Those people must not have power!

But mainly, the left’s hatred for the right isn’t really ideological. It may be the old the-political-is-the-personal. But what is that, though, really? Sexual loathing, class-based revulsion. Add on the racism and sexism against white males, and maybe you can see what I mean. Trump the billionaire personifies what leftists think Deplorables are. Or: Trump is the perfect champion for Deplorables’ deplorableness.

But it is worse: the Democrats are the Swamp! Maybe the reason Democrats hate Deplorables so much is that each side now knows and hates the other for what the other is. Deplorables know Democrats’ secret, that the Democratic Party is a Deep State creature, the ultimate Swamp Thing; and Democrats know the Deplorables’ secret, that they are weak and demoralized without a leader who pushes fantasy above reality.

So I’m trying to get in the spirit of the whole affair to cheer on the divisiveness.

Why applaud rather than leave it at a sneer? Well, I think it would be good for the United States to split up — and the Pentagon be dissolved, above all else. If ideological and partisan division can get the union dissolved on more workable lines, so be it!

Let’s go for it. Go, Democrats! Let’s do Civil War! (You morons.)

twv

P.S. Or it is just the humiliation Trump gave them that sticks in their craw. Why, they’d love Trump’s Deplorables so long as they bowed down to everything they said and be good little . . . well, you know.

“Cops are taking selfies with the terrorists,” tweeted Timothy Burke. Another Twitterer quipped, “White privilege is . . . Being part of the mob while taking a selfie with the cops.”

After citing these two tweets, Heavy noted a third: “To be fair, you could see a cop doing the right thing to de-escalate by saying ‘all right, you can take your selfie now get the hell out.’” 

That last thought is reminiscent of Paul Jacob’s Andy Griffith reference at Common Sense

The protest-turned-invasion of the Capitol was, all in all, not very violent. One woman was shot and killed as she advanced upon police within the building. No one else was. The other listed deaths were outside the trespass event, on the streets.

Were the trespassers “terrorists”?

Well, terrorists are those who use violence upon civilians to gain some political effect. The breaking-and-entering incursion into where Congress works was illegal, and “violent” in the sense that breaking glass is violent, and marching into property without the owners’ permission is violent. So: not-very-violent. The woman shot was not brandishing a weapon. The oft-cited deaths outside the Capitol building turn out to be mostly . . . irrelevant. But, and this is key: this riot was turned against the government directly, not against the citizenry. Insurrectionists would be a better term, but even that is a bit much, since it is obvious that they just wanted to “make a statement,” not take over the government. The various riots over the summer lasted weeks, months. This lasted a few hours.

Now, is this general low-key quality of the whole affair — as exemplified by the selfie moment — an example of “white privilege”? That seems a little off. The protesters-turned-trespassers had no beef with the police. So the “privilege” consisted in not being a threat. Sounds like the wages of peace rather than the perks of privilege.

Their beef was with the machinery of vote counts and the whole system that they think stole the election for Biden over their candidate, the current president.

Most people in media and on the Democrat side — and many, many Republicans — say “there’s no evidence for a stolen election.” While it is possible that the election itself wasn’t stolen (I’ll abide by evidence rationally presented) to say “no evidence” is off. There’s a lot of evidence of voting schemes and ballot abuse. It’s just that the system isn’t set up to deal with it in the time allotted by the Constitution.

The proper time to deal with election fraud is before and while it is happening — definitely not a few weeks before inauguration. Even of a Manchurian Candidate.

twv

Does the left or the right in the West generally have a higher and deeper sense of “spiritual maturity”?

…as answered on Quora….

One of the hallmarks of spirituality in nearly all traditions is to embrace or somehow unify a basic metaphysical duality. At first blush, one would expect neither “the left” nor “the right” — each by emphasizing one tendency in political thought and practice — to sport a deep spirituality. Both are doomed to shallow gambits and contradictions scuttling unity of wisdom and meaning.

The problem is, what do “the left” and “the right” represent?

For decades I was on the wrong track on this. I have always deeply distrusted both leftists and rightists, but, to make sense of their characteristic follies and perversities, I kept looking to their policies and their basic orientations as defining. Not a wrong-headed approach. But the world seemed too complex to reduce to a one-dimensional spectrum. I was troubled by the prevalence of the same kind of policies on the left and the right. A certain arbitrariness seemed most evident. The idea that left-right served as little more than a chaotic delusion or distraction kept on coming back to me.

In the last few years, though, I applied it to my most basic interest in social theory: in-group/out-group alignments and dynamics. And I listened to the latest metamorphosis of leftist obsession, with the focus on “inclusion.” And it struck me: leftist thought isn’t about oppression (per Arnold Kling) or egalitarianism (per Michael Malice), it is about appealing to the cause of outsiders or an outsider group as a rationale to attack and either reform or destroy (or just take over) the in-group hierarchy. Rightist thought is all about something more basic: defense of the in-group and its hierarchy from outside threats, or merely leftist ones.

Protecting self from other (self-defense) and one’s own in-group (in traditional societies this often amounts to “kin group”) is a basic, natural, and necessary tendency. A basic interest. We would not be here as a species had not our ancestors successfully accomplished this. But protecting the outsider from abuse by the in-group and its defenders is absolutely vital to the growth of civilization. Also a basic interest. For the rightist vice is overkill, treating every perception of human difference as evidence of an enemy. It needs to be counterbalanced with a willingness to defend the underdog, the loner, the misfit, or merely a wanderer or trader from another tribe, to allow civilization to grow.

So “the right” is traditional order; “the left” reaches beyond the programmed-into-us defensive instinct to protect and nurture the other. This “orientation” is at least as old as the Amenist/Atenist (right/left as in setting sun in the West versus rising sun in the East) split in Egypt, and comes to us from both our Helenistic and Hebraistic traditions. It is not an accident that “right” is both a direction and a key term in moral philosophy. It is funny to have seen leftists so despise tradition that they now see “right” as utterly evil. Ah, the comedy of partisanship.

Rightists assume that they are always in the right — denying that they can be oppressors to outsiders, denying the possibility of “right vice.” Leftists assume the opposite. But obviously there is right-virtue and right-vice just as there is left-virtue and left-vice.

The rightist vice is oppression of outsiders and other groups; slaughter; exploitation, etc. The leftist vice is treason, taking in outsiders to destroy other insiders.

Justice is when both sides’ virtues are in play, and both sides’ vices are repudiated.

Nowadays that does not seem possible, since both sides see only vice in the other. There is no possibility of achieving spirituality in such out-of-balance nature.

Instead of spirituality, there is only ideological mania.

The principles that would determine what virtue is in defense of self and kin from invasive, threatening others (and of course any group can seek destruction or exploitation of another), and virtue also in defense of others from the “no kill like overkill” extremism of the rightists, while being able to discern where both insider and outsider defenses go beyond the fit and proper — that is justice.

Spirituality would be the “feel” for that just balance, the sheer perspectival ability to create the balance and cultivated instinct to dispose the imbalancing passions.

Hint: that spirituality does not arise in politics, normally, since politics in a democracy (as well as other governmental mechanisms) is all compromise based on expedience and what-you-can-get-away-with, not principle: politics forms shotgun compromises. A spiritual, justice-oriented middle-ground balance would achieve ideal compromises, where the middle ground is virtuous.

I am pretty certain that our form of modern governance engenders and promotes left-vice and right-vice, which in turn reinforces our mixed system, and if we want peace and a vital spirituality, we are going to have to rethink our fundamentals.

I know: not likely.

twv