I still don’t know what to think about current world events.
I’ve been trawling the web searching for contrasting opinions
that might help narrow down my thoughts. For example Dave Winer writes about his own attitudes to the America he lives
in and how they are changing, and contrasts this with the pulse
of anti-Americanism he feels in Europe. He and others refer to an
excellent Sunday Times article by Brian Appleyard. Appleyard quotes George
Orwell from 1941
"In so far as it hampers the British war effort,
British pacifism is on the side of the Nazis and German
pacifism, if it exists, is on the side of Britain and the
USSR. Since pacifists have more freedom of action in
countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act
more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively
the pacifist is pro-Nazi."
Now this really made me think – my late father was a
conscientious objector during WWII – and although I never quite
understood why, after his death I began to realise how much this
was about his very strong sense of his values. However,
I began to realise that the key difference between Jack and the
"chattering classes" who would knock America now was
that he did contribute to the war effort, albeit indirectly. As I
wrote in his eulogy
"This isn’t the time to recap the things he did,
except to note that in his work with the Civil Defence he did
his part to support the community he lived in, regardless of
the prejudice he often faced for his views."
So can our thinking be subtle enough to distinguish between
"not bearing arms" and "opposing the war" ?
The essence I think is the difference between on the one hand
supporting the society within which you live (even if you set
some barriers around what you consider ethical to do in support
of that society), or on the other reaping all of the benefits of
the society without supporting it. For all that the
"fashionable elites" (Islington or otherwise) wish to
knock America and the West in general, every aspect of their
lives revolves around being part of the Western world, from the
economic success of capitalism to the freedom under a democracy
to express their opinions.
Yes, undoubtably, there are many millions outside the West who
look at our lives (even the poorest of us) with envy, and perhaps
millions who look at us with hatred. Many of those who hate
exploit those who are envious to gather recruits to their cause.
The balancing trick our leaders have to follow is to defend us
against those who would destroy our way of life whilst ensuring
we do not create more enemies amongst the ones who merely envy.
A news article today about the background of the terrorists suggests
that they were far from being the dispossessed – so can there
really be any weight to the argument that says the West "had
Finally for this entry, I’d like to link to an article by
Robert Dilts, written the day after the WTC attack and simply
on September 11.
Robert is one of the world leaders in NLP,
and a very gentle, thoughtful and spiritual man. In his article
he calls on us all to be awakeners, and says:
"The job of the awakener is to shine light into
situations which are dim, not cast his or her own shadow into
the darkness that is already there. Awakeners have no
illusions about human nature so they do not have negative
surprises. But they have a strong belief about what is
So I wonder what we believe is possible?