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History

Historical background related to current issues and/or events.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Kingdom of Judah, prior to, during and after the conquest by the Babylonians. He was, so to speak, a "gadfly on the wall" as great tragic events swirled around him, events that were inevitable as the people, especially their leaders, abandoned faith in the Living God. Instead, they sought refuge in all the wrong places. Their leaders even fled to Egypt to escape the Chaldeans (whose capital was Babylon)… Yet, their alliance with Egypt proved fruitless.

What is Fascism, really, and why is it regarded as "right wing"?

I find it puzzling that serious intellectuals can find it so difficult to recognize that fascism has nothing to do with either conservatism or liberalism. Indeed, calling it extreme right-wing shows a fundamental ignorance of the fact that political ideology is inherently a multi-dimensional phenomenon. A more accurate assessment would be that fascism is not even on the same multi-dimensional axis as liberalism vs. conservatism.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

A perfect storm of evil, yet good will ultimately triumph.

When we think about the darkening currents of history, we should reflect upon the following:

On the postmodern hubris of meta-level thinking

Ever since computer games developed significantly beyond the PACMAN stage, and imagined realities took on three dimensions and other attention absorbing features, our inveterate game players have come to think of reality itself as a kind of programmed virtual reality, and, as such, that it could be reprogrammed. This may strike someone who entered adulthood before PACMAN went viral as delusoinal. Reality, we might say, is a given. Our capacity to shape reality is very limited, and subject to unforeseen consequences. We might even wonder at the sanity or the cluelessness that this almost godlike attitude seems to imply.

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