July 05, 2013
The long lazy summer is upon us, and as I walk the Swiss hills below the mountain ranges my thoughts are always of the past. I think of long hot summers of long ago: girls in their pretty dresses and my father in his whites sailing around the Saronic Bay with a ball-and-chain standard flying from his main mast. It meant “Wife Onboard,” which really meant that when he dropped anchor on some nearby port, local talent should stay away. Dad was famous—infamous, rather—for flying that ensign, because he loved partying with loose women on his boat, and during the rare occasions my mother would come onboard, he didn’t want to embarrass her with the inevitable visitors coming around. After his death I would drop anchor in different islands and people would ask what happened to the flag. “Unlike my father, I am monogamous,” I’d lie, and they’d invariably answer, “If only you could be half the man he was.…”
Yep, that’s how it was long ago. How did Browning put it? “God’s in His Heaven; all’s right with the world.” The trouble is nothing’s right with the world. Every time I open a newspaper all I see are Muslim faces, their mouths wide open with rage, screaming and shaking their fists.
I recently read a profile of a man called Hirschman. He was a planner, as the technocrats would call him, but a man of extraordinary talents and foresight. A German Jew, he fought with the French in World War II and afterwards wrote about economic development in literary style, not with mathematical formulas and other types of jargon. His motto was, “I want to prove Hamlet wrong”—i.e., Hamlet should not have been frozen by his doubts but freed by them. Doubt is a motivating freedom which liberates agents from their dependence on needing to know everything before one acts.
So how did we get to Hirschman and all those enraged Muslim faces? Easy. The angry ones seem not to have a scintilla of doubt in their stupid bearded faces, just a simple 110 percent belief that the Prophet is going to send them to heaven where 70 virgins and lotsa pilaf are waiting for them. What fools these fools are. I’ve yet to meet a virgin who was good in bed, so what the hell are these Muslims getting so excited about? (And rice constipates.)
These jerks should try and read Hirschman and his theory of doubt. Instead, they embrace rulers who claim to represent the Prophet or his progeny. In return they get an education that teaches them to be ignorant, intolerant, stupid, and one step away from the apes. (I apologize to the monkeys for the comparison.) They are absolutely no better or different than the hated fanatic Zionist settlers who are stealing Palestinian lands and shooting at Palestinian children who pick olives from lands that have been taken away from them with American arms. Funny, but most fanatics wear beards—something that should be outlawed in the West—but then the West has now the power and commitment that Byzantium had in 1453. Even demanding that Muslims adjust to core Western values such as freedom of expression is seen as racism. At least in Constantinople in 1453, resident Muslims were not allowed to openly cheer for the downfall of Constantine Palaiologos, which came soon enough that same year.