Friday, August 18, 2006

All things are nothing to me: Now as song

Wall Nosek has composed and recorded the song All things are nothing to me; you can listen to (or download) the song from this link: All things are nothing to me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Israel and Hezb'allah and all that jazz

During the current spectacle in Lebanon, some random thought sediments have settled in my brain:

Gandhi's strategy of non-violence worked pretty well when meeting an enemy opposed to senseless slaughter. I doubt it would have worked overly well on Djenghis Khan. But it can be formulated as a reasonably succesful strategy in game theoretic terms. Another strategy is fighting back, or guerilla war. It seems - if we are to believe reports of massive civilian support of Hezb'allah - that they have hit upon something which is more or less the ultimate game theoretic strategy: Fight, but behind willing human shields. The human shields do the Gandhi work, whereas the fighting strikes down your enemy.

I'm not drawing any moral conclusions here; just making an observation. I think cynicism is the best view when judging the conflicts around Israel, and take no sides because there is no side I would really like to be on - only against, or preferrably very far away from.

It reminds me a bit of a battle when Germany was invading the Soviet Union: The Soviet Union ran out of guns, and instead sent just masses and masses of unarmed soldiers at the Germans, until their own slaughter fatigued them, and they were overrun by the Soviets. I can't recall the name of the battle, but the strategy has some semblance to Hizbollah's, except the blurred dividing line between combattant and non-combattant.

Of course, the problem with intelligent leaders with intelligent strategies like that is that the leaders of the other side will ultimately evolve into the only type of leader that can handle the civilian/soldier blurry-lines: The indiscriminately killing Djenghis Khans; you know, the guy whose nephew razed all of Baghdad. In Hitler's case, the solution was "hardening camps" for the SS Officers, so that they wouldn't be so prone to weaken from slaughter fatigue. Their hardening camps? Yep, the extermination camps like Auschwitz. The theory and practice being that once you had been through that - done all those atrocities - you could be commanded to do anything, and you would perform.

So I sometimes fear for the near future of civilization. Stalin-Gandhis vs. indiscriminate Hitler Khans. I don't quite know which "smart" side to run away from, but I'll try to keep a remote island in mind.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Quotable Max Stirner

Every state is a despotism, be the despot one or many...

Everything sacred is a tie, a fetter.

The state practices 'violence', the individual must not do so. The state's behavior is violence, and it calls its violence 'law'; that of the individual 'crime'.

Owner and creator of my right, I recognize no other source of right than - me, neither God nor the state nor nature nor even man himself with his 'eternal rights of man', neither divine nor human right.

Political liberalism, like everything religious, counts on respect, humaneness, the virtues of love. Therefore does it live in incessant vexation.