A handful of interesting, informative, and insightful articles.
News, editorials, columns, essays, et al.
Paganism and the Conversion of C.S. Lewis by Clotilde Morhan @ Ignatius Insight (ht):
"Nearly all that I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless." With these words C.S. Lewis, the great Christian apologist who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia, described the early years of his life. The story of his pre-conversion self, however, is much more than the autobiography of one 20th-century Englishman. It depicts the spiritual torpor of modern man, namely post-Christian man.
For the first time in the history of humanity, man does not believe in the supernatural. The supernatural was natural to the pre-Christian age. The sun and the stars, trees and rivers, everything that surrounded them was inhabited by dryads and nymphs and all sorts of mythological creatures. Everything bore the trace of the divine. Modern man may smile at the primitiveness of their beliefs. In the best case, he will admit that it would make a good fairy tale for children.
Lewis did not think so; to him it was the twentieth century that was regressive. By reducing the world to the material reality which one can experience with one's senses, man has turned the world into a vacuum in which men spend their time, as T.S. Eliot would say, "dodging [their] emptiness." Surprisingly enough, it was pagan mythological literature, permeated as it was with the intuitive belief in the supernatural, which set Lewis searching for God. He became a theist and his conversion to Christ followed later. Pagan literature Greek myths, the sagas and eddas of Norse mythology and the epics of classical antiquity acted upon him as a preparatio evangelica. His imagination and his sensibility were "baptised" first, which proved to be a pre-requisite for the conversion of his heart. The material reality around him was the same but his gaze had been converted. Like the post-conversion T.S. Eliot, he ended up revisiting the ordinary experiences of his daily life and saw a transfigured reality: ....
Is Jimmy Massey telling the truth about Iraq? by Ron Harris @ The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (ht):
For more than a year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq.
In scores of newspaper, magazine and broadcast stories, at a Canadian immigration hearing and in numerous speeches across the country, Massey has told how he and other Marines recklessly, sometimes intentionally, killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians.
Among his claims:
Marines fired on and killed peaceful Iraqi protesters.
Americans shot a 4-year-old Iraqi girl in the head.
A tractor-trailer was filled with the bodies of civilian men, women and children killed by American artillery.
Massey's claims have gained him celebrity. Last month, Massey's book, "Kill, Kill, Kill," was released in France. His allegations have been reported in nationwide publications such as Vanity Fair and USA Today, as well as numerous broadcast reports. Earlier this year, he joined the anti-war bus tour of Cindy Sheehan, and he's spoken at Cornell and Syracuse universities, among others.
News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.
The World Can't Wait Rally, San Francisco by Zombie @ Zombie (ht):
For the past several months, the Bay Area (like other left-leaning regions around the country) has been plastered with stickers, signs and posters advertising a movement called "The World Can't Wait," which was to have its grand unveiling on November 2, 2005, the one-year anniversary of Bush's election (or non-election, depending on whom you ask).
Though it was promoted as a mainstream uprising to toss Bush out of office, many of the people I observed handing out flyers advertising the November 2 rally were well-known members of the local chapter of The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a cultish political group devoted to the teachings of Chairman Mao.
Sure enough, several weeks ago bloggers began pointing out the connection, and it was even noted on Wikipedia that "The World Can't Wait" (WCW) was founded by the RCP. After the RCP started promoting WCW on its own Web site, the cat was out of the bag; even the San Francisco Chronicle (perhaps stung by criticisms of their failure to fully divulge the nature of earlier anti-war protests) had no choice but to join the chorus of outlets acknowledging that WCW was nothing more than a front for the RCP.
I was ready to write off WCW as a fringe political fantasy with delusions of grandeur, when I noticed that its official list of endorsers included celebrities such as Cindy Sheehan, Gore Vidal, Ed Asner, Alice Walker, Harold Pinter, Eve Ensler, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Rickie Lee Jones, Casey Kasem, Ron Kovic, Studs Terkel, Cornel West, and Howard Zinn; local politicians such as Tom Ammiano and Chris Daly (San Francisco Board of Supervisors), and Mark Leno (California Assemblyman); activist groups such as ANSWER and Code Pink; and many others.
Were all of these people aware that they were endorsing a Maoist group's call for revolution? Or do they just sign whatever politically correct petition that arrives in their In box, without bothering to research it?
November 2 arrived. I decided to find out....
The Real Global Virus: The plague of Islamism keeps on spreading. by Victor Davis Hanson @ Private Papers (ht):
Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.
Apart from the continual attacks on civilians by terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the West Bank, there have now been recent horrific assaults in New Dehli (blowing up civilians in a busy shopping season on the eve of a Hindu festival), Russia (attacking police and security facilities), London (suicide murdering of civilians on the subway), and Indonesia (more bombing, and the beheading of Christian schoolgirls). The loci of recent atrocities could be widely expanded (e.g., Malaysia, North Africa, Turkey, Spain) and, of course, do not forget the several terrorist plots that have been broken up in Europe and the United States.
The commonalities? There are at least three.
First, despite the various professed grievances (e.g., India should get out of Kashmir; Russia should get out of Chechnya; England should get out of Iraq; Christians should get out of Indonesia; or Westerners should get out of Bali), the perpetrators were all self-proclaimed Islamic radicals. Westerners who embrace moral equivalence still like to talk of abortion bombings and Timothy McVeigh, but those are isolated and distant memories. No, the old generalization since 9/11 remains valid: The majority of Muslims are not global terrorists, but almost all such terrorists, and the majority of their sympathizers, are Muslims.
Second, the jihadists characteristically feel that dialogue or negotiations are beneath them. So like true fascists, they don't talk; they kill. Their opponents whether Christians, Hindus, Jews, or Westerners in general are, as infidels, de facto guilty for what they are rather than what they supposedly do. Talking to a Dr. Zawahiri is like talking to Hitler: You can't and it's suicidal to try.
Third, there is an emboldened sense that the jihadists can get away with their crimes based on three perceptions: ....
State and Federal Treasuries "Profit" More from Gasoline Sales than U.S. Oil Industry by Jonathan Williams and Scott A. Hodge @ The Tax Foundation:
High gas prices and strong oil company earnings have generated a rash of new tax proposals in recent months. Some lawmakers have called for new "windfall profits" taxes similar to the one signed into federal law in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter that would tax the profits of major oil companies at a rate of 50 percent. Meanwhile, many commentators have voiced support for the idea of increasing gas taxes to keep the price of gasoline at post-Katrina highs, thereby reducing gas consumption.
However, often ignored in this debate is the fact that oil industry profits are highly cyclical, making them just as prone to "busts" as to "booms." Additionally, tax collections on the production and import of gasoline by state and federal governments are already near historic highs. In fact, in recent decades governments have collected far more revenue from gasoline taxes than the largest U.S. oil companies have collectively earned in domestic profits....
Lane Core Jr. CIW P Tue. 11/08/05 07:39:00 AM
Categorized as Readworthies.