Dear Ms Palin,
tried to contact you through your governor’s office but could not get past the ID panel as my address is outside of the US. So I have decided to post my message to you on my blog instead. I remain confident that if you are meant to receive it (both literally and figuratively), God will arrange for it.
I am a Canadian, and of course our two nations being so close, and the US so much bigger and powerful than us, we will be with the U.S. wherever the U.S. goes, whether or not we actually want to go there. That is why I think you should be exposed to as many views from Canada as possible, even the seemingly ‘Neanderthal’ ones such as mine.
I hold no grudge against you, nor do I have a problem with anything you have done or said, nor do I have any opinions about your family or its size in relation to the extent of your public responsibilities. Quite to the contrary, I believe you to be a bright and capable chief executive of the state of Alaska. Nothing else really matters, beyond this and your confidence in accepting the nomination of being a presidential running mate. It is up to the American people to judge whether to entrust the Republicans and you with the office, and how much your own view of your preparedness for it is relevant in making that call.
The writing below is from a discussion I participated in in 1999, on one of the usenet groups. I have decided to share it with you to give you a sense of the complexities of the world on the outside of Alaska you would be facing.
As, I am sure you are aware, Russia is no longer in the state of disarray as I described it nine years ago. If that is so, much credit for it goes to Vladimir Putin who, like yourself in Alaska, took on big oil in Russia and made it serve the people of his country, ….well, perhaps somewhat more forcefully. He has managed to consolidate Russia and make it more confident in its ability to counter American policy if it becomes too aggressive in Russia’s neighbourhood.
FYI, in case you are curious, the former Yeltsin’s National Security Advisor, Alexander Lebed (mentioned below), who in the years of deep decline teased about the possibility of nuclear exchange with the U.S., is no longer with us. He became a governor of the largest Siberian region and later opposed Putin’s policy of one Russia. He died in a tragic helicopter crash in 2002.
I wish you the best, and remain yours,
James hit on a theme which has exercised me personally for some time and which I consider of primary importance in uderstanding the current Balkan events, our failing grasp on reality, and our possible demise as species. It's the problem of 'cultural feminization' (or obversely a 'rapid cultural demasculization') and its destructive power as it projects on the civilizing institutional framework in the West. The lament lies with our emotional brain so brilliantly exposed by Arthur Koestler and so ingeniously described by Oscar Wilde in The Ballad of Reading Gaol: 'each man kills the thing he loves'.
The NATO propaganda in the Kosovo crisis has a strange new and yet familiar clamour about it, a quality of 'protesting-too-much'. The idea of throwing bombs to save lives, or threatening war to produce goodwill, or dropping cluster bombs in 'good faith', all have insanity written about them, yet it is a constitutional insanity of homo sapiens, not individual pathology. Consider Exodus 4.21: And the Lord said unto Moses. When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart , that he shall not let the people go. Well, this is the Omnipotent's idea of negotiations, Madeleine Albright's infallible instinct telling her what comes after Rambouillet: (Exodus 7.3-4) And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders, in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth my armies, and m y people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgements. Of course in Madeleine's Testament Egypt shrinks and Egyptians are exiled, but that's a detail. What is important is 'the idea of having the sentence first', the realization of that we possess the technological means of destroying utterly those whom we don't like without having to worry about the consequences.
In the fifties, the American neuropathologist Paul MacLean postulated the thesis of 'limbic system', to this day unchallenged view that our emotional undercarriage is structurally a hostile reptilian brain which is telling us when to placate by submissive rituals (,or to love,) and when to hate. It is also the unique feature of our mental equipment - which explains a lot about the 'victim-striking-back' mentality - that the agressive expansive infantile feelings are neurologically bound to the fright syndrome. In other words, the sensations of Omnipotence carry along with them feelings of acute insecurity. (I find it fascinating that in all the great religious experiences, Jesus', Paul's, Mohammed's, Gautama's, their godlike ascension is immediately followed by a struggle with the 'devil'.)
Our psychohistory of the last five thousand years can be understood in terms of the struggle of the two brains: the neocortex (the machine) has attempted to exercise control over the inveterate ambivalence of the emotional brain (the ghost) to the proposition of life, and its denial of death. This struggle has taken on the form of cultural competition among the different human tribes for an optimum control of productive resources. Cultures clashed in wars and the one better equipped neocortically to handle life's challenges prevailed and imposed its mentograms on the simpler, more primitive or bashful rivals. In this manner we continued to develop culturally until we reached a stage in which viable competition for better mentograms has come to a screeching halt. We have arrived at the end of History of Francis Fukuyama, although he seems quite innocent of the strange reasons why it happened.
Today, at the end of that road, we do not live in the best possible worlds but in one which is suppressing vertical selective social processes which enable us to develop. The VSSPs, as I call them, have been biologically the domain of human males. We have developed in cultures through the stratifications of males in functional hierarchical societies. The primaeval hunting band and its organization gradually gave way to a multiplex of male hierarchies within modern societies which controlled discrete resources and processes and which assured quality by individual and group male competition and separating its members by abilities into ranks. As a result of this cultural competition of male societies, the neocortical imperative and techniques of resource management have conquered the existing human cultural varieties, interconnected the world in a single communication network, and created technologies and organizational blueprints which can sustain human life almost effortlessly.
Unfortunately, at the very moment of triumph of human intellect comes a strange Moebius-like reversal in fortune. Our progress is killing us with kindness by assaulting the very cultural foundation upon which it is built. The neocortical societies are constructed on the premise of control and supression of strong instinctual drives in its individual members and maintaining a level of discipline which allows them to execute complex social functions. But at a certain point in the development of these societies the high level of material comfort, and its effortless acquisition begin to militate strongly against mental organization based on self-denial, transcendent values and the acceptance of self in a subordinate role within a hierarchy. In the measure that these are defining structural elements of male psychology, these societies become feminized, 'flatten out' as it were, and become transformed from a functional manifold striving for excellence to an endless variations on a theme of catering to the immediate needs of members with an overriding emphasis on security which so characterizes human childhood.
There is an immediate danger lurking in this blueprint. When the pundits asked Einstein what he thought changed with the advent of the A-bomb, he said: ‘everything’. The old method of cultural competition - war - became outdated by the accumulation of military technology.
Of course it did not disappear overnight, but its very nature changed. Henceforth, it was not possible to destroy the 'enemy' in war without certain high probability of destroying life itself. So the purpose of war became self-defeating. Some old warriors just could not grasp it. McArthur, who so volubly echoed Einstein's sentiment in Tokyo Bay on the day of Japan's surrender, ended up cursing Truman for refusing to escalate Korea to a nuclear war with China. But Truman was a 'neocort' man; he calculated that the use of nuclear weapons against China would have opened up the US to a likelihood of nuclear attack from Stalin because in the days before MAD, the first strike conferred a huge advantage on the aggressor. By the time of Vietnam, MAD as the new paradigm of 'war-as- self-destruction' so thoroughly confused the politicians and military planners that it ended up on a note of bitter defeat for the U.S.
Yet as we progress along the path to the matriarchal setup, which by the way has absolutely no idea what to do with the human male, the previous complex technological organization is still capable of delivering the self-destructing blow. The unleashing of a nuclear holocaust becomes a distinct possibility because the male neocortical politics of 'balance of terror' have been taken out, together with the logic of a geopolitical strategy. Russia has been devastated by the Western policy of minimization of her influence, and the internal economic decay brought about by dismantling the old communist planned economy and replacing it with the soft, postindustrial, highly-speculative finance bazaar which now utterly dominates. But Russia's nuclear arsenal still counts 7,500 ICBMs and it has passed into the hands of an increasingly unstable and decaying social and political structure. Given the pathetic decline of the Russian military, and the increasingly derelict state of the society itself, coupled with the famed Russian moribund view of life, the scenario of Russia-as-the-nuclear-Cain has acquired an increasingly probabilistic shape. Russia has become so destitute that nuclear-death blackmail may actually become an attractive option in the postcortical Thatcher-Albright-Amarpour version of Balkanized politics. General Lebed, about whom we should be worried because he is a smart chap who does not scare at all ("he who shoots first, laughs last", he once said), has been making noises about escalating the Yugoslav crisis to a tactical nuclear level. He means business because he knows when people have been pushed down culturally to an apocalyptic stupor where they will not feed themselves, the threat of nuclear craters becomes an alternative promise of liberation. He is a tough cookie (said to be a wife-beater) who sees the Western political elite as a spineless bunch of spoiled-brat Marx-sucking sissies - 'chicken-hawks' as Michael Harris calls them - utterly woman dominated, and personally cowardly men: men without qualities. He just might be tempted to trade "cities" with the Clintons. Perhaps, all it might take is another "bad" winter.
There is another scenario perhaps even more likely to materialize. Benjamin Barber's response to the MacWorld neocort rule takes shape in the classic Jihad's limbic response. Not able to comprehend that the push for world integration comes as a result of a historical process of cultural selection, the Jihad forces, among whom Islamic fundamentalism leads the way, resist furiously the agenda of globalization. The Islamic jihad groups, the political wreck of the Left splintered into an anarchic nebula, and the far-right acephalitic mob, will probably acquire one or more types of weapons of mass destruction (Lebed has already announced that 160 of Soviet suitcase nukes went "missing"), and they will assault the civil society of the West, at random, with total disregard to human life. The pseudo-politics of Osama bin Laden will align with the Theo Kazcynski's and Timothy McVeigh's. It will not be a meeting of minds, but a fusion of the diseased human emotional undercarriage. The new paradigm of war will then announce itself as a 'generalized paranoia in the process of getting rid of itself’.