Ranklin' Franklin

How very inconvenient a fact it must be for a pacifist that there are bad people in the world, people bent on the destruction of innocents for no legitimate reason. How problematic the existence of governments who support, encourage, and nurture them. What an awkward truth that these individuals and governments are impervious to reason, that they have an operating framework that does not recognize the evil of their actions, that they respond only to the thing that they themselves rely on for getting what they want: force.

The extent of the dilemma is on full display in this essay by Ursula Franklin, in which she puts forth her view that we would all be better off if we had pretended that September 11th was a natural disaster. An earthquake to be exact. I am not kidding.

Franklin asks us to look at the video tape of those jumbo jets being carefully and deliberately steered at high speed into buildings full of innocent people and react as if the event were equivalent to the dispassionate, clockwork operation of inexorable geological processes. Only a pacifist, who has so much to lose from recognizing the real truth, could make such an obscene suggestion and expect to be taken seriously. In her own mind, however, this rewriting of reality lets her observe that "geological fissures… [cannot] be eliminated by bombing" and pretend she's saying something deep and relevant.

I wish this kind of approach worked. If it did, I could make the world a better place just by pretending that people who think like Ms. Franklin don't exist.

Misfit Medium

Andrew Sullivan, in a Slate discussion of a new books on weblogs, writes about the blogging personality.

Absolutely. If we're talking about blogs of ideas (as opposed to online diaries, for example), what interest would your run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen, leftist, statist guy have in starting a weblog? And what interest would anyone else have in reading it? Those ideas are already permeating the culture. Anyone can watch the nightly news, pick up the New York Times, or go to college and get all they want of that segment of the political spectrum. Socialist ideas are flooding the market. The interesting thing about blogging is the low-cost way it lets different, non-mainstream thought compete.