Monday, December 03, 2007

Musings of the Mind II

1. It is important to be a skeptic but at the same time never intolerant toward contradictory evidence.

2. I don’t pay much attention to political opinions originating from Hollywood. Anyone who does is engaging in mindless time wasting.

3. What the world needs is more intelligent generalists. What it has in abundance is a cacophony of half-witted specialists.

4. Canada for the most part is a nation of marginal significance its luxury (as an accident of history) though is that it can afford to be so.

5. String Theory is the fly in the ointment of modern physics…..Cleaning up its overriding presence will be the great task of 21st century thinkers in the Queen of All Sciences.

6. I endeavour to constantly challenge my beliefs…Not a day goes by when I don’t drag my assumptions through the ringer. This is both a curse and a blessing.

7. I am a complex person. Sometimes this complexity paralyzes me.

8. It is not my intention to sound arrogant in my writing but it definitely ill affords me to be insincere and to censor myself as well.

9. Classical and Romantic poetry tantalizes me. I have written some poetry myself but looking back at it now these are most streams of consciousness than anything else. A lack of cadence negates the poetic volume. The ideas and richness of thought are however very much present.

10. Humanity is not a great species. Our folly as thinkers is that too often we choose to ignore this truism.

11. Ten Individuals from history that I most admire (not in order are): Winston Churchill, Maimonides, Blaise Pascal, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton (despite the fact that he was not a likeable person), Marie Curie, Joseph Lister, Abraham Lincoln and Menachem Begin.

12. I was born and spent all of my childhood in South Africa (I immigrated to Canada in 1987 at age 18). Africa as a continent has a special place in my heart and I have a strong inclination towards understanding its politics, people, successes and failures. Sub-Sahara’s five most successful countries are:
South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique (in the last fifteen years) and Kenya. Its ten most dismal failures are: Sierre Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe (under Mugabe), Sudan, Congo (formerly Zaire), Angola (under orthodox Marxist Rule) and Uganda (under Obote and Amin).

13. Asia’s (not including the Middle East) nine greatest success stories are: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India (in the last ten to fifteen years), Thailand, Malaysia and China (economically but definitely not politically). Asia’s list of failed states include: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Cambodia, Myanmar, Phillippines (for much of its history), Sri Lanka, Laos and North Korea.

14. Above anything else I value my role as a father.

15. Modern Leftism and the anti-intellectualism that suffuses its being nauseates me. Unfortunately all too many in Canada and Western Europe have bought into the false dreams that Leftism alludes to. In doing so they often tend to short circuit reasoning at the expense of ill-thought out idealism.

16. If I was an American I would have voted for: Truman (48), Eisenhower (52), Stevenson (56), Kennedy (60), Johnson (64), Nixon (68 and 72), Ford (76), Reagan (80 and 84), Bush Snr (88), Clinton (92 and 96), Gore (00) and Dubya (04). Having said that of all the candidates listed the only three that I truly admire are: Truman, Kennedy (even if he is a bit overrated) and Reagan.

17. In Canadian politics I have voted once for the Liberals (Jean Chretien in 93 – my first election vote in Canada). All other times I have backed either the Progressive Conservatives or their later incarnation the Conservative Party of Canada. I regret voting for Chretien and consider him to be one of the worst Prime Ministers in Canadian history. Despite my opinion on this issue I am no fan of Brian Mulroney either but would have voted for him as the ‘greater’ of a bunch of lessers in 84 and 88.

18. For US 2008 I am backing Rudy Giuliani. I will not be averse though to see Al Gore come out of his self imposed exile to steal the Democrat nominations from Hilary (whom I don’t like but do respect). I am completely opposed to the candidacies of Obama, Edwards, Romney, Kucinich (the moron’s choice), Gravel, Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Biden, Brownback, Hunter, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd. I am indifferent to Fred Thompson but have much time for John McCain. (although the Arizona senator shot his bolt some time ago with respect to 2008).

19. I have diverse movie tastes that span the continuum from foreign films to black comedy to political intrigue to biography. I have even been known to enjoy the occasional ‘chick flick’ or two. A trip to the video store often results in an unpredictable array of movies. On average 30% are gems, 40% mediocrities and the remainder duds. My wife sees this as being part of the crapshoot of marriage with me.

20. Britain’s three best prime ministers of the 20th century were Churchill, Lloyd George and Thatcher in that very order. Baldwin, Blair, MacDonald, Macmillan, Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Wilson were average while Chamberlain, Callaghan, Atlee, Major, Heath, Eden were sub-par. The rest – Hume, Balfour, and Bonar Law (who was Canadian-born) weren’t in power long enough to register an impact on the political Richter Scale.

21. I can think of only two French politicians in the 20th century whom I believe to be admirable. These were Georges Clemenceau and Leon Blum.
De Gaulle was malicious and arrogant, Mitterand and D’Estaing inconsistent, Daladier ineffectual and Chirac both useless and dangerous. Pompidou was a competent president but nothing special. I will not waste my time analyzing the leaders of the Failed Fourth Republic. I am hoping that Sarkozy brings a fresh outlook to French Policy (a movement away from short-sighted Anti-Americanism would be a start) but the jury is very much out on this one.

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