Posted by: quiscus | January 29, 2012

January 29, 2012

1. Good:

“Britain could not reclaim the Falklands if Argentina invades, warns General Sir Michael Jackson

The Falklands will be lost forever if Argentina invades again, one of Britain’s senior military figures has warned. ”

2. “Language Imperialism, Concepts and Civilization: China versus The West

If you are an American or European citizen, chances are you’ve never heard about shengren, minzhu and wenming. If one day you promote them, you might even be accused of culture treason.

That’s because these are Chinese concepts. They are often conveniently translated as “philosophers,” “democracy” and “civilization.” In fact, they are none of those. They are something else. Something the West lacks in turn. But that is irritating for most Westerners, so in the past, foreign concepts were quickly removed from the books and records and, if possible, from the history of the world, which is a world dominated by the West. As the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once remarked, the East plays no part in the formation of the history of thought.

But let us step back a bit. Remember what school told us about the humanities? They are not the sciences! If the humanities were science, the vocabularies of the world’s languages would add up, not overlap. Does that surprise you?

I estimate that there are over 35,000 Chinese words or phrases that cannot properly be translated into the English language. Words like yin and yang, kung fu and fengshui. Add to this another 35,000 Sanskrit terminology, mainly from India and Buddhism. Words like Buddha, bodhisattva and guru.

In a recent lecture at Peking University, the renowned linguist Gu Zhengkun explained that wenming describes a high level of ethics and gentleness of a people, while the English word “civilization” derives from a city people’s mastery over materials and technology.

The correct Chinese translation of civilization should be chengshijishu-zhuyi. Wenming is better, but untranslatable. It has been around for some thousand years, too, while Europe’s notion of “civilization” is a late 18th-century “invention.”

Tourists and imperialists do not come to be taught. They call things the way they call things at home. Then they realize that the names are not correct.”

3. “Vote? Why? What candidate in the quadiennial resurrection of the Mickey Mouse club wants to do anthing that I want done?

Why vote at all? Nothing of substance is on the table, other than the desire of Republicans to attack Iran. Yes, we must get America back on track, get it going again in the right direction, turn the country around, get back to the American values that made the nation great, promote the American Dream—none of which means anything. We must creatr jobs (how?), get America back to work (how?), and favor all the vague platitudes intended to mulct fools. All right, I hereby declare myself mulcted. So why vote?

The elections are supposed to indicate the presence of democracy, but they do not. Elections do not determine policy but only the division of spoils. An election in which candidates take no positions becomes a high-school popularity contest. The way to have elections without having a democracy is to let the people vote, but not on anything.

Having a one’party system called by two names is a technically slick way of disenfranchising the public without their noticing. In a parliamentary system all manner of politics would gain expression in proportion to their prevalence in the population. With two identical parties, no dissenting view can ever gain office. A masterly dodge, this.”

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