Monday Morning Spy

It’s looking more and more as though the Obama Administration didn’t have a post-war plan in Libya.  Radical Islamists will indeed be a part of the government.  And tribalism (to put the most polite possible face on it) is rearing its ugly head.

For Labor Day:  The bad of unions, and the good.  The Americans always saw ourselves as potential winners rather than losers, settling for what came along, explains why unions never really achieved the sort of radical political power they did in Europe.

View has long been a booster of ties to India.  So, a little news from that part of the world.  At least one Japanese economist sees India as overtaking China in Foreign Direct Investment over the next decade.  Perhaps, as long as the Reserve Bank of India doesn’t try to dictate its terms.   It’s only recently that currency controls have been loosened in India, so the bureaucrat-think is still strong there.  Even the paperless office doesn’t seem to be a goal, much less on the horizon.  Hey, I appreciate a good Selectric as much as the next guy – they’re smooth machines – but I don’t think View would have much readership without the Net.

The business establishment sees opportunity with China, rather than rivalry.  I’m not sure the Chinese see it the same way, and I think the world outlooks are sufficiently different that they’ll come into conflict eventually.

In the meantime, cultural schackles can be hard to shake off, even for immigrants.  I wonder if Indian immigrants to America see things the same way.  It’s possible, but my first guess would be that they don’t.

In the meantime, over in Europe, Merkel, in order to form a more fiscal union, may propose an end run around Lisbon, which was itself, an end run around the people of Europe.  I don’t see how a two-speed Europe is any more sustainable than the current model, but maybe there’s a plan in mind.

And in other European Trends We Don’t Want To Follow, in our zeal to record and hold the police accountable, we can’t destroy respect for them.  That way lies London.

Crumbling infrastructure?  We’re actually spending more. The two statements aren’t in opposition, of course.  If you go on a building spree, a lot of those projects will fall apart at the same time, and government’s never been very good at setting aside sinking funds for future expenses.  Our problem is that we’re spending the money in the wrong places.

Yes, Social Security IS a Pyramid scheme.

There are Icons, and then there are icons.

In a wide-ranging study (L’image interdite, 1994) the French philosopher Alain Besançon has argued that the fear and suspicion of images has influenced the development of religion and philosophy throughout recorded history, and has not disappeared merely because we are now surrounded and distracted by images on every side and at every moment of the day. Indeed, much of what disturbs people in our image-saturated culture is what disturbed the theologians of Islam (and Judaism – ed): namely, that the “graven image,” which begins as a representation, soon becomes a substitute. And substitutes corrupt the feelings that they invite, in the way that idols corrupt worship, and pornography corrupts desire. For substitutes invite easy and mechanical responses. They short-circuit the costly process whereby we form real relationships, and put mechanical and addictive reflexes in their place. The idol does not represent God: it defaces Him, in something like the way pornography defaces love.

Can batteries boost solar power? The author is clearly a booster himself, and I think he wishes away a lot of the economic, technical, and agricultural issues.  But it’s always worth know the latest.

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