The following are selected
commnets on the article How America Will Handle the
Fall of Its Middle East Empire published on telegraph.co.uk.
Time for the Europeans to organise
a credible, united and coherent defense instead of relying
on the USA for protection. The pro-western rulers are falling
fast in the Arab world and whether or not they will be
replaced by peace-seeking democracies is anyone's guess.
Morocco and Spain's coasts are virtually joined!
Until America falls into deep pain
- and it will, it will not change. The real danger is that
America will lash out at other nations, like an angry giant
that has been severely wounded (and blinded), taking down
as many as it can, as it suffers crushing defeat of one
kind or another (economic, military, all of the above).
美国这个国家，除非被打得满地找牙 - 这也是早晚的事 - 要它放下屠刀立地成佛，门也没有。最大的危险是美国破罐子破摔，死也要拖几个垫背的，像一头受了伤的瞎了眼的野兽一样，横冲直撞，直到受到最后的一击倒地而死，这一击可以来自经济、军事或二者皆而有之。
There no longer exists the same kind
of economic imperative for slavery (and hasn't been since
the industrial revolution,) … I take the view based on
my own experiences and the insight gained from my natural
curiosity about the world and about history that the idea's
and the ideals expounded by Jefferson and co do in fact
represent a high water mark of civilization. I probably
accept the notion of cultural pluralism ... at some length
and with such conviction. What I do not accept is that
all such, takes, on morality are of equal legitimacy or
I couldn't agree more. But it doesn't
make sense to speak of "moral progress" in the
same way as material progress. As Berlin says, approving
the sentiments of Vico, "we ... have our sciences,
our thinkers, our poets, but there is no ladder of ascent
between the ancients and the moderns". This principle
is clearer still if we apply it to the arts: could we say,
for example, "that Racine is a better poet than Sophocles,
that Bach is a rudimentary Beethoven, that, let us say,
the Impressionist painters are the peak which the painters
of Florence aspired to but did not reach"? I don't
I'm not sure that the absence of slavery
from industrial and post-industrial societies - where there
is no longer, as you say, any "economic imperative" for
that institution - is a reliable indicator of moral, as
opposed to material progress. If there were some kind of
catastrophe, and we had to return to pre-industrial conditions,
then I'm sure human ingenuity would find some way of rehabilitating
the institution of slavery.
Well, I take the view that the "high
water marks" of Western civilization were Classical
Athens, Renaissance Florence, and Augustan England. The
American constitution is just a rag-bag of second-hand
ideas, borrowed from original thinkers like Locke and Montesquieu,
and of course, that enterprising mountebank, Thomas Paine.
But the grotesquely disproportionate relationship between
America's economic and military might and its comparatively
puny contribution to intellectual culture serves to illustrate
the fallacy of speaking of moral or artistic "progress" in
the same way as material progress.
Human nature is fallible: it is therefore
possible for us to make mistakes, as it is possible for
us to learn from them and from those of others (although
it is not always easy to learn the right lessons). But
this doesn't mean that it makes sense to talk about a linear
model of "moral progress". Indeed, as the moral
philospher Bernard Williams has argued, it is even possible
for "ethical knowledge" to be "lost",
as our changing beliefs about the world undermine established
moral codes without suggesting credible alternatives.
In short, we do not stand in the same
relation to Socrates as the microprocessor to Archimedes's
screw, and, therefore, returning to my original point,
we must reject the "idea that there must exist any
kind of objective, immutable, and universal truths, applying
equally to all men at all times".
of America's Middle East Empire
House's White Wash