Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stilll alive

I do have at least one intermittent reader, who observed recently that I haven't updated this blog since November. Really? That long?
Well, I had been been emphasizing political things, and with the election of Barak Obama as President, I got discouraged. There was just too much going on, and too much of it uncertain, at the time. Also, I was getting too incensed at the various forms of stupidity that are becoming predominant in American culture, and lack the tools for effective rational argument.
In essence, I decided that I was going to have to go back to the slow and thorough approach of my knowledge base that I have been describing on the Independent Learning blog, and even that has been going slowly, since I decided that it made more sense if I turned the whole thing upside down. That project has been sort of crawling along. Shortly after making that decision, I decided to switch to what I call a need-driven approach to development. Results of that aren't in yet, but they are starting to look promising.

Today's work touched on the UN, so I think I'll mention something of my opinion of that body. It was created in the aftermath of World War II, and its charter was shaped by the politics of that time. I once encountered an analysis of political power based on the mathematics of voting coalitions, which concluded that most of the power is concentrated in the 5 permanent member of the Security Council, (precisely as intended by its founders). With the changes in in the world during the sixty years since its founding, this is becoming increasingly out of step with current world realities. I am uncomfortable with its clear secularism. Given the vigorous and intense disputes among religions, I can't think of a better alternative, secularism at least gives the pretense of neutrality, although in many ways it gives offense to traditional Christian, Muslim, and Jewish beliefs. The degree of hatred for Zionism in general and Israel in particular that I see in various UN resolutions and proposed resolutions surprises me. Far from being the "last, best hope" for world Peace that John F. Kennedy called it, it has developed a reputation for incompetence, inefficiency, and corruption. While it can claim a few successes, its failures appear to outnumber and outweigh them. In short, I have little trust in or respect for it.

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