Hi Keith/John et al,
                              Thanks for putting me right on the scope of
this group, Keith. Us newbies tend to errrors of ignorance. H'sever, I'm
pleased. It gives me carte blanche to address John's very pertinent point
regarding democracies as the most progressive form of government.
Despite Churchill's view of democracy ("The worst possible form of
government except for all the others") it is still the only way forward in a
less than perfect world. On that basis Israel as a functioning democracy has
the built-in capacity for the will of its people to find a way out of this
mess whereas Palestine, while it operates under the Al Fatah regime, has
little such ability.
That possibly goes for all Arab theocracies. Their people can never aspire
to change their condition under an autocratic form of government. Karl
Popper's "The Open Society and its Enemies" lays out the conditions for a
functioning democracy. His intellectual heir is Ernest Gellner who posited
that totalitarian states had to jump the "Big Ditch" between tribally based
thinking to an open society. Look 'em up on the web.
In the western world the Greek city state of Athens was the first to make
the jump. Greek ideas helped leaven Roman imperalism. But the process lost
its way. After the fall of the Roman Empire it took Europe more than 700
years to drag itself out of the Dark Ages and then another millenium to
reach it its present imperfect approach to democratric government.
That said, numerous cultures have managed it over the past few hundred
years. As one source has it "even the Wild Welsh, the woolly highland clans
of Scotland and the pig-ignoratnt bog Irish have achieved it." Who knows,
post-Bush perhaps even the Americans may return to it.
Which is getting a bit off the point re the Arab/Israeli conflict. To get a
bit more insight take a look at David Pryce-Jones's book "The Closed
Circle". He spent a lifetime studying Arab society. His conclusions are
blunt, shocking and leave little hope for immediate change in the region.
Perhaps if Bush had read Pryce-Jones before 9/11 he would not have gone into
Iraq. The corrollary of course is that if he'd ready anything before 9/11 it
would have helped.    .
What was that again about biofuels?


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