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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] facism gaining ground in US

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] [OT] facism gaining ground in US
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 00:30:53 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) XEmacs/21.5 (chayote, linux)

Trying to wind this down, I'll cut out the pedantic stuff, and stick
to advocacy.

>>>>> "Frank" == Frank T Pohlmann <address@hidden> writes:

    >> And what do you propose as a solution?  Censorship, so that the
    >> media only disseminates exactly what Bush wants them to?

    Frank> The reality is that very, very few journalists and fairly
    Frank> few bloggers attempt more balanced reporting. I read French
    Frank> and German, so I try to get other views and a more complete
    Frank> picture.

Yeah, but that's not a solution available to Bush in making
presentations to the American people.  It's _not_ Bush's decision in
the long run, even if he wanted to make it, unless he can sell it and
the implications to the voters.  I don't see how to do that quickly.

    Frank> But I am, or rather was, actually equipped to part of the
    Frank> solution and back in the days when it would have been
    Frank> relevant, I was told in no uncertain terms that having
    Frank> expertise in the history of Islam is the most useless,
    Frank> irrelevant expertise one could possibly hope for. That was
    Frank> in 1991-1994.

....   (recovering from speechless amazement)  Expertise in history is
_never_ irrelevant.  As to your anger ... what can I say?  "Justified"
seems weak, even after 10 years.

Regarding being part of the "solution": sure, it would be nice if you
could get the ear of someone who pulls the levers.  But that only
affects a couple of decisions.  In the long run in democracies you
need to educate the people.  The American people are far from prepared
for the necessary debate.

    Frank> Frankly, I have no idea to this day how to have any kind of
    Frank> impact on a very screwed-up situation.

Patience.  Unfortunately, that's all I can say.  Plan for the long
run.  We've been (as a race) screwing up for tens of thousands of
years, and (the U.S. in particular) for about a century (in foreign
policy, our foreign policy didn't matter _too_ much before then).  If
we do nothing now, it'll be just as bad ten years from now.

Practically, blog for the general public (that's a new option),
educate people like me and Pierce who disagree with much that you say
but have open minds.  I _do_ have a teaching position, and even if I
can't teach much Islamic history, I do make a habit of trying to
contradict whatever stupid thing I saw on the telly in the morning in
class that day.  If Pierce doesn't have a blog, he might as well, the
amount he can post in a day.

Even if I can't help defending my country, that doesn't mean I have to
demonize other countries.  I don't have to ignore them.  Rather I try
to do the reverse, and "encourage" my students to do so, too.  Help me.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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