Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 27th, 2010

Part one: Twilight of “Love of Knowledge”

            There is this notion that philosophers are after the “Truth” based on the assumption that they have this urge to go to the tiniest details and exhaustive possibilities of a concept.  I beg to differ. Once a philosopher starts building structures for his line of thinking then it is the system that tows and guides the “Truth”. It takes an insurmountable character of honesty to shake off the inertia erected by a system for a philosopher to restart his independent reflection in search of truth.

            Philosophy from Antiquity to the last century was what is currently called “Ideology of the power to be” of the politico-economic system (the dominant classes of the period). Philosophy was the super-structure or the apologetic social structure of a culture that has been flourishing for decades: philosophy tried to make sense of the mood of the time.

            What is striking is that most philosophical systems refrained to include the economical structure aspect into the equation; at best, the economic structure was indirectly referred to.  For example, slavery was accepted as a qualitative level in human nature: since animals are difficult to communicate with then it is better to leave it as is.  It was if economy was a taboo notion because the class structure could not be altered.

            Every politico-economic dominant class needs a valid interpretation of the statue-quo coupled with a rational for the intelligentsia to take stock of the inevitable status that settled in and come along.  Thus, philosophers’ interpretations always were phased out by several decades of the “has been reality”.

            In periods of alliances between the religious institutions and the monarchy it was required for God to taking center stage: people had to get used to letting God run their destinies. Usually, the philosophical lines of thinking revolved in that guideline; these philosophical trends lasted long because the power was concentrated in the hand of the almighty alliance.  Superstition was king and empirical works led the bold experimenters to the fire to be burned alive as witches.  Knowledge was built around abstract concepts or the realm of religious dogmas. Religious institutions dictated how the universe functioned and detailed the proper mental activities.

            In periods of the rising middle classes (of traders, merchants, and lately the industrial class of entrepreneurs) philosophical systems set man in center stage of the universe. It was important that man regains his place instead of God: The church-monarchy alliance was not to regain political-economic supremacy and control.  Consequently, man was to discover and investigate his “backyard” (earth and universe).  Scientific knowledge, empirical experiments, discovery, and world adventures were the result of opening up new market for exploiting many more people for added values of merchandises.

            Hegel realized the historical interpretation process of philosophical structures as a fundamental aspect of civilization changes; Hegel failed to find the intimate connection with the politico-economic source. The historical dialectic method could make sense of the super structure of “knowledge” development in an a posteriori phase; thus historical dialectics could not forecast the synthesis for the current period since the source of the dialectics (politico-economics) was not within his range of expertise.

            It was Marx who realized the power of historical dialectics when applied to politico-economic realities. It made sense from Marx position to declare that history started when class struggle was identified as the catalyst for change and knowledge development.  It means that if a “hot” culture wants to understand or create a history for its society then it must invest in gathering artifacts and ancient manuscripts that shed light on the class structures through the phases of its history.

Democratic systems are trying hard to diminish civil administration interference with religions in its habit of demanding religious inputs and backing to political activities and programs.  This phenomena is called “separation of religion and civil rules”

Obama-metrics: What to expect?

In the previous two posts I enumerated the promises of Barack Obama campaign promises and how to rebound. Bill Adair (Pulitzer Prize) published the Obama program that included 510 promises. Promises being executed are 240 promises, 86 promises were kept, 26 were compromised, and 62 were blocked by the oppositions.

            Russell Banks reported the restrictions of the US political systems on the initiatives of President Barack Obama campaign program.  The US system is Not democratic for two reasons: First, in a democratic system the leader of the winning party is the leader of the nation and it is the way around in the US except when the President is running for a second term: Once a President is elected then his party appoint him leader of the party. Thus, the President is controlled by the heavy weight politicians and administrators of his party.  Actually, the President is not elected by the majority of popular votes but by the delegates of the States.  There are many instances when the majority of the popular vote was defeated (Bush Junior is the most recent example)

            Second, even if the winning party has majority in the Senate, any text of law needs 60 out of 100 Senators to agree on reading a text.  A Senator from Nebraska has as much power as the one representing New York State. Thus, the President is constantly managing the heavy weight politicians and Senators of his party to passing any law before even negotiating with the opposing party.  Anything in the US to get moving needs frequent popular active pressures on the Senators of the States of both parties to reaching a law favorable to the neediest: a Senator has to realize that financial backing by lobbyists cannot counter balance the angry voters.

            The US is a Republic trying for a century to becoming a plutocracy (run by the heavy weight politicians and lobbyists); the US political system might get there if Obama fails to capitalize on his landslide victory. We can understand why for a century the successive Administrations did their best to alienate people from getting involved in politics by making the political process more complex and by extending activities that shun people away from politics such as sports and entertainments.

            In a bipartite system it is the center that is the determining factors; mainly the economic and internal policies. Obama shifted the center a bit to the left by moving from total privatization concept that began 40 years ago to involving the Federal government.  Obama re-appointed the culprits of the financial disaster such as Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Peter Orszag, and Ben Bernanke; all of whom coming from Wall Street related institutions. For example, the Administration refrained from selecting among the syndicate leaders, militant associations, intellectuals and university professors. It seems that Obama started with a high dose of confidence in the authority of the richest class in matter of financial and economic management.

                        Obama managed to bring public opinion around the classes that need more attention and care or what is more likely, it is the American people that opened Obama eyes to new realities and he grabbed the opportunity. If the public was not convinced that banks, lobbyists, and multinational financial institutions are pure robbers of their public wealth then Obama could not have won with such a landslide.

            So far, Obama was successful in forging ahead and putting in execution many promised reforms of his program announced during his campaign trail by shear momentum: The public that supported him failed to get on the move; thus, Obama had to relent and bend before the opposition public activities before launching new “controversial” initiatives. The new public health program added 30 million more citizens but it is to kick in by 2013.  More citizens are demanding and expecting to witness a Presidential will for stringer regulations and control on the banks and multinational financial institutions.

            Unfortunately, in foreign policies Obama is playing the traditional and exhausting Washington provincial game that requires internal consensus: Obama is resuming the traditional strategy save in his rhetorical ability in the selection of words, tones, and style.

            Obama did not prove to the public that he exercised good imaginative alternatives to redressing the financial and economic crisis.  Obama has to remind the public that he is the victor so that the public may extend him voluntary rights to guide the nation against the many political restrictions that are erected against public opinion pressures.  For the time being, if you inhale deeply then you realize that US policies didn’t make a qualitative dent for long-term reforms.

Obama-metrics: How to rebound; (Jan. 29, 2010)

            In the previous post I enumerated the promises of Barack Obama campaign promises. Bill Adair (Pulitzer Prize) published the Obama program that included 510 promises. Promises being executed are 240 promises, 86 promises were kept, 26 were compromised, and 62 were blocked by the oppositions.

            How to amplify reforms:  The modified universal health plan added 30 million more citizens to health coverage that should kick in 2013.  Between now and then, the Administration has to pay close attention to the lobbying schemes for altering the plan, lightening bureaucratic inertia, and keeping the public convinced that the current program is but a stepping stone for the ultimate coverage of the remaining 20 million most needy citizens.

            How to consolidate successes:   There is a serious risk that the economy might falter again as what happened in 1930.  The list of fragile sectors is long: Real Estates (private and commercial), too fast climbing in stock exchange trading, international trade crisis, and slow consumer confidence.  Regaining optimism is more valuable than any grandiose public plans for re-launching economic development.  Obama has to make sure that money will be available for job creation but no more extra expenses: the public deficit needs to get under control.

            How to rectify faltering reforms:  Regulating financial institutions should be the next priority.  It is the public anger against the highway robbers in the financial circles that should be re-directed into more focused pressures on particular targets: Banks and financial multinationals are regaining overwhelming power.  Otherwise, people will have to wait for the next financial crash to offer another opportunity for Obama to enact stricter regulations.

            How to rebound in Foreign policies:  Obama has to break with Washington provincial attitudes toward foreign policies.  For a century, the US Administrations thought that it was imperative to secure internal consensus on foreign problem resolutions before taking serious decisions.  It should be evident that securing internal consensus is an exhausting process and time consuming for urgent decisions; courageous long-term interest should be factored in the equation.  Consequently, Obama has to retake the Israel/Palestine file as a Presidential personal will and thus take all the necessary initiatives to bringing an atmosphere of serious negotiation. For that, diplomatic initiatives toward Iran must be activated on first gear.

Obama-metrics: First year performance; (Jan. 28, 2010)

            Bill Adair (Pulitzer Prize) published the Obama program that included 510 promises. Promises being executed are 240 promises, 86 promises were kept, 26 were compromised, and 62 were blocked by the oppositions.

            First, let me present a run down of the major promises according to the previous categories.

            For promises being executed we have the following:

Creating 5 million “green jobs”

Restraining eavesdropping without authorization

Shutting down Guantanamo prison center

Stopping the usage of torture

Creating CO2 emission market

Creating a universal health plan that added 30 million more citizen benefiting of coverage

Setting up new financial regulations

Repealing the tax cut for the higher incomes

Reducing nuclear arms reserves in a verifiable manner

Re-enforcing anti trust laws that favor consumers

Reducing oil consumption of 35% by 2030

Securing borders by increasing personnel

            For promises kept we may mention

Sending two supplementary brigades to Afghanistan (30,000 soldiers)

Creating a fund to prevent further real estates foreclosures

Reforming prison terms to clear prison overpopulation

            For promises compromised we have

Creating a tax credit of $500 for employees

Requiring transparency in the process of budgetary credit by Deputies in Parliament

            For promises blocked

Extending citizenship to immigrant with no work permit

            For promises betrayed

Hardening regulations in the Administration on conflict of interests between public carriers and private jobs


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2010
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