Random thoughts, 24 March 2009

2009/03/24

Just two brief thoughts:

First, The Huffington Post has an online version of President Obama’s op-ed piece regarding the need for global economic reform. [1] I’ve read through the piece, and I have to confess, I still don’t really understand what he intends to do. Perhaps my inadequete brain cannot comprehend the higher-order principles with which he is working (or he doesn’t have a clue). As with many of his previous public speeches and interviews, he seems rather short on details. Granted, after hearing all his high-minded but detail-light proposals during his campaign, I’m not surprised by this. On the other hand, he’s already won the election, and he is facing serious challenges, so it would be nice to hear some more detailed information WRT his plans for the nation. President Obama is fond of saying that he respects the intelligence of the American people; it would be nice if he did more than just say it.

Second, I read this post on Jerry Pournelle’s blog earlier today. A brief study of history easily shows that his conclusions are not far off the mark; many tyrants, throughout history, were initially greeted as liberators, rather than conquerors and tyrants, when they first rose to prominence in their respective countries. [2] I can only hope that our nation remains ever vigilent; I’m also proud that my home state’s motto is sic semper tyrannis – hopefully, they, at least, will not forget that lesson. [3]

Notes:

[1]: The Huffington Post, 24 March 2009. Curiously, this article was only printed in three American newspapers (The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, and The L.A. Times); not sure if this is significant.

[2]: Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, and many others were initially greeted as saviors to their people, or, at the very least, as ones who would end the chaos and corruption, and would lead their respective countries to their rightful place of world dominance. We ignore history at our peril.

[3]: Sic Semper Tyrannis, or “Thus Always to Tyrants”, is the state motto of Virginia. See here if you don’t believe me (PDF warning; from the official State of Virginia website). Additional note for you Seinfeld fans out there: he got the translation wrong; the literal translation is as I have stated at the beginning of this note (I studied Latin in high school, so you can trust me!). Seinfeld’s translation was “Death to Tyrants”, which is within the spirit of the statement, but it is not literally correct. This also happens to be one of my favorite state mottos.

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