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Sunday, May 04, 2003 :::
A FANTASY WORLD. That is the shared home of the intellectual Left, most of the Arab world, and Islamic fundamentalists. The Arab world can sustain their fantasy in the face of reality's continuous onslaught because of the presence of oil in their region. For them, money grows not exactly on trees, but almost. Money without work makes their Fantasy world go round. For Islamic fundamentalists, it is religious zealotry that does it. For the intellectual left, it are the tools of philosophy -or, rather, 'philosophy'- that allow them to deny reality with a smile, even when it hits them on the head with a sledge hammer. For them, truth does not exist, only 'truth' does, and reality is just a social construction. Forget about such niceties as the performative contradiction (i.e. if truth does not exist, what is the status of the statement that truth does not exist?).The distinction between poetry and philosophy is false, I was cheerfully told even yesterday, with a reference to Heidegger. However, the currently most influential provider of hot air to puff up the intellectual left's fantasy world -at least in Anglo-America- is Richard Rorty.

::: posted by our man in Chicago at 3:58 PM

DO CHECK OUT the latest issue of the New Criterion. Amongst other things, you will find this: "For more than twenty years now, The New Criterion has been dilating on the nullity of literary so-called theory and the destructive commitment to adolescent leftism that it involves. Naturally, we have been routinely abominated for our pains. It is pleasant, therefore, to find, if not a concession, then at least a tacit acknowledgment that the humanities have taken a wrong turn." Intrigued? Go on, take a look...

::: posted by our man in Chicago at 3:47 PM

JOHN MALKOVICH IS A CONSERVATIVE. First, he feels he is forced to move from France back to his home-state of Illinois because of France's punitive taxes. Second, he despised France's policies during the crisis with Iraq, describing Chirac's stance as "highly cynical and arrogant". Indeed, during 'a debate at the Cambridge Union last year, he named the MP George Galloway and the journalist Robert Fisk as the two men he would most like to beat to death. Later the outspoken actor, who objects to their anti-Israel views, amended his suggestion, saying: "I'd rather just shoot them."' Third, he has 'attacked American liberals' approach to crime, saying he would happily execute criminals personally. "The Left-wing want criminals coddled and no one wants anyone punished. I would have no problem pushing the switch while having dinner."' No misunderstandings there! Who said all hollywood actors are liberals? Still, moving from the lovely Provence to the cold Illinois is perhaps a bit, well... drastic?

::: posted by our man in Chicago at 3:37 PM

TRUTH IS STRANGER than fiction, as the continuing story about Saddam's former propaganda minister proves. "Mr Sahhaf worked from a transmitter van parked in the studio garden, sustained only by a few cups of tea and an occasional slice of cake."

::: posted by our man in Chicago at 3:23 PM

MORE EVIDENCE of Tony Blair's deep religiosity and of its influence on his political decisions. I do not wish to say anything negative about it. Indeed, on balance I believe that in practice the Prime Minister's religiosity makes for better policy. Nevertheless, although Americans are used to religious politicians -whether their religion is real or feigned- Britons are not. Unlike America, Britain is a profoundly secular country. Blair's religiosity is even more remarkable given the fact that the Labour Party used to be the proud home of what was considered an enlightened atheism. Apparently adding the 'New' to Labour did not just mean goodbye to Marxism; it also meant a renewed appreciation for traditional religion.

::: posted by our man in Chicago at 3:10 PM

A SERIOUS DEMOCRAT. Don't miss this long profile of Bob Graham, the Sen. from Flordia, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. I think that Graham is the most serious Democrat running. A Bush-Graham race would be very good for the Republic: I would love to hear Bush explain exactly why hitting Iraq is a more pressing issue than hitting Hezbollah.

::: posted by our man in Oxford at 8:46 AM

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