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Reading List: looking, Reading, Just Finished

  • Dr. Robert T. Morris: Fifty Years a Surgeon
    A clear window into many important and interesting areas of life in general - as well as medicine - in the mid-19th to early 20th century. Warts and all. Good read. (***)
  • Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex

    Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex
    Interesting and well developed characters, in genuinely tension inducing situations - even when the matter of "who did it" is not really a mystery. Vivid enough for the place and period - WW2 North Africa to early 1950s Britain - to come to life inside your mind. (***)

  • Karl Von Clausewitz: On War

    Karl Von Clausewitz: On War
    I read this first many years ago. The author then impressed me as being more lucid and broadly learned than many contemporary writers on this and similar areas. He still does. (****)

  • Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community

    Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community
    Well written, and clear. Many interesting ideas and explications of problems, but his theory itself - on a derivation of rights, seems possessed of unnecessary elements. Worth reading. (***)

  • J. B.Schneewind: Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral PhilosophyVictorian Moral Philosophy
    Details life and analyses work of one of the great figures in 19th century philosophy. Well written, gives good insight into the context of attitudes, assumptions, and circumstances affecting much of the intellectual spirit and life of Britain during those times. (***)
  • J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World

    J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World
    Another (long-time) re-read. Ballard tends to play one note - but it's a good one - and he plays it VERY well. Some uncontrolled/unforeseen calamity engulfs the world. Protagonist(s) confront general realization of the coldly impersonal nature of the world and how human responses are to a large extent a product of the interaction of those forces with his/there-own biological pre-dispositions - engraved in the structure of each and every one of their cells. And, that the true and only expression of one's authentic self and humanity, lies in how and whether one can/does inwardly accept the truth of these constraints, and expresses that realization, in those (few) opportunities available for actual personal choice. Intentionally or not his work gives powerful and poetic expression to the Existentialist perspective. The world of this novel happens to be slowly drowning in the over-heated flood-tides that result from a run-away solar anomaly. But, it could be just about any such occurrence - e.g. A "Wind From Nowhere," or the Japanese invasion of Shanghai (both of which served as the backgrounds of others among his novels). The story-line, character-types, dilemmas, decisions, and general moods are much the same in each story, but the pacing, poetry, intensity, and aggravating authenticity of the characterizations in each instance are gripping enough to make every reading worthwhile. (***)

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13 July 2006



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mauve 1

DBA: After all, just what do they gain by sticking their necks out like that when they know full well that - sooner or later - someone will snitch on them?

mauve1: The increased support they gain from those tending to be in their political base who are or may be wavering isn't negligible. Taking a risk usually is seen by some as a very positive step. Taking risks may been seen as demonstrating conviction or courage, while to others it may be seen as self-serving.

An element I see as very significant in comparing wwartime now to wartime of the past is that we exist in an instant communications culture, and well as a time of radical terrorists who care not about their lives to make their wretched points.

This is a difficult balance. In such an extreme situation as we have now, Americans may be eager to give up checks and balances they would absolutely insist on in peacetime. But such a situation makes watchdogging the actions of those in power even more important, if one truly wants to protect democracy. (That's the point here, right?)

Power indeed can and often does corrupt. Earning the absolute trust of the governed for those who govern in a time of eroding checks and balances requires much more trust than many can reasonably muster. If politicians of all parties conducted themselves in such a way that they could admit to a mistake now and then, and instead of denying they were wrong, speak the truth (and not wait until they came under intense pressure from the governed to do that), many more people might afford them the trust that IS very important to this country's future.

Every person who wishes to become a political leader should look hard at how they respond to difficult situations. Postures and responses that connect fully with one audience may sabotage completely any hope of relations with another, especially when the stakes are global. There is an art to being tough.

BTW, wasn't it YOU who fell out of that tree? :)

mauve 1 (do not post email addr.)

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