TMLutas' blog posts can now be found at Flit(tm)

July 28, 2003

Is the US trying for something different than a Pax Americanus?

Posted by TMLutas

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.

Everybody seems to be looking at Iraq, Afghanistan too for that matter, through the framework of a colony in the making. We look to Rome, to England, even to Carthage for inspiration to make sense of it all. I can't count the number of times I've hear Pax Americana.

I suggest that what might be happening is something altogether different. We are attempting to plant a liberty tree, an altogether tricky business. We will not always be in these countries to provide it with its natural manure, and in a real sense, we can never do so as we are foreign to the soil and though our soldiers' sacrifice may be many things, it simply does not serve to nourish this tree. But what can? Iraqi blood, shed in the cause of liberty. Iraqi blood, tyrants blood struck down trying to regain power.

In a way, I think US forces are waiting for Iraqis to step up and push them aside, not to overthrow them, but to make their own soccer fields, their own infrastructure improvements, their own watch against the tyrants who creep in the night. I am not sure if this is purposeful strategy or something buried so deeply in the character of America that it is just unconscious. They are waiting to be stopped and told, "no, we do this for ourselves, not because we hate you but because it is our job, not yours". They are waiting for Burke's little platoons to make their appearance.

Does anybody read Burke in Iraq?

The beginning of the end for planned obsolescence

Posted by TMLutas

Replacing well engineered, durable parts with cheap ones that break and cost so much in labor to fix that you're better off just buying a new appliance is an old manufacturer's trick. But what if you could make your own replacement parts? The strategy no longer works because with your own parts, you can replace them yourself and not be stuck having to pay for the repairman that is attached to those custom parts you can't order yourself.

This has wide implications all across the manufacturing economy. As these 3D printers get perfected, they will come down in price and win a wider and wider market, reducing the need to hire craftsman (though increasing the need for do-it-yourself classes). It would also tend to reduce the amount of stock that a hardware store has to keep on hand. all they would need would be very large, very efficient 3D printers of their own to manufacture a large proportion of their own stock without the need for wholesalers. Home Depot might still carry highly durable tools that a 3D printer can't make but to some extent the Home Depot of the future will resemble Kinkos, a service bureau.

I'll need to think about it more but it seems that this sort of thing makes disarmament schemes completely impractical in a society with privacy and freedom of speech. You could build your own guns. Volatile components for ammunition might be a problem but I don't doubt that this is something that would be solved fairly easily for low muzzle velocity ammunition.

The Koran changes

Posted by TMLutas

Islam has a fragility that is quite unlike Judaism and Christianity. The majority of believers hold the theological position that the only change made to the Koran since it was first written was the later addition of pronunciation marks and that not one word, not one syllable has been added or subtracted and nothing has been shifted around that would change meanings. This, they claim, compares favorably with the 'lying scribes' who have altered and changed the Jewish and Christian holy texts to fit their convenience, not God's (this also resolves, in Islam's favor, any discrepancies between the Koran and the Bible).

In discussing this, I've personally seen the veracity and unchanging nature of the Koran backed up with the most serious religious statement possible, the promise of conversion away from the faith if it were ever found to have been changed over time.

Thus we have a significant religious claim that can actually be historically verified or falsified, at least in theory and which could convulse the muslim world, with those who are more inclined toward Islamism being far more susceptible to disruption than their more moderate and liberal counterparts who can see a wider path of Islam.

But all this is so much speculation unless early koranic texts that differ from the modern koran have been found. Well, they have, and the idea that somebody copyedited God has people scared.

Establishing that the Koran has a history, when Islam claims it does not levels the playing field between the Christian/Islamic debate as most christians admit the historical record, that the Bible has a history.

But establishing that koranic writings were assembled and developed, also has a disparate effect on the various strains of Islam and most strengthens muslim liberals at the expense of Islamists and other inflexible muslim fundamentalists. Like the old millenarian christians who set a date for the 2nd coming, when the testable statements are falsified, that movement tends to die out.

The political use of religious debates has a long history. "God is on our side" is possibly one of the oldest political tactics known to man. Discrediting a violent, religious based, political movement has got to be the fundamental strategy of the resistance to Islamist aggression. If a challenge to Islam is presented that only the more peaceful moderates and liberals have an answer to, the hard line extremists will be left unable to adjust and will die away. They can threaten to kill researchers and publishers but that can't hide the truth for long.

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