June 10th, 2011

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miyuki ishibashi


Ishibashi’s strong resentment toward the establishment stems from her family’s plight at the end of World War II, a war she blames on Japanese militarists.
    As Japan’s defeat became increasingly evident in 1944, Ishibashi’s father was drafted in Korea.
    He died a year later. Ishibashi said her mother “went through hell” in the course of being repatriated to Japan and in raising her then 1-year-old daughter amid the rubble of a defeated nation.
    After graduating from Waseda, Ishibashi spent some 10 years as a singer and actress, traveling to Russia for the first time in 1976. She was captivated by Moscow’s desolate nature, which dovetailed with her childhood hardships.
    Ishibashi began to collect and sing underground Russian songs, which portrayed the true feelings of the people suppressed by the communist regime, and grew increasingly aware of the reality of Soviet life.
—Yumi Wijers-Hasegawa, “Songs of oppressed now serve to inspire”, The Japan Times, 25 March 2003
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plato and the other companions of sokrates

All of Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates is now available online.


Portrait of George Grote by Thomas Stewardson, 1824

It was necessary to create in the multitude, and through them to force upon the leading ambitious men, that rare and difficult sentiment which we may term a constitutional morality; a paramount reverence for the forms of the constitution, enforcing obedience to the authorities acting under and within those forms, yet combined with the habit of open speech, of action subject only to definite legal control, and unrestrained censure of those very authorities as to all their public acts—combined too with a perfect confidence in the bosom of every citizen, amidst the bitterness of party contest, that the forms of the constitution will be not less sacred in the eyes of his opponents than in his own. This co-existence of freedom and self-imposed restraint—of obedience to authority with unmeasured censure of the persons exercising it—may be found in the aristocracy of England (since about 1688) as well as in the democracy of the American United States: and because we are familiar with it, we are apt to suppose it a natural sentiment; though there seem to be few sentiments more difficult to establish and diffuse among a community, judging by the experience of history. We may see how imperfectly it exists at this day in the Swiss Cantons; and the many violences of the first French revolution illustrate, among various other lessons, the fatal effects arising from its absence, even among a people high in the scale of intelligence. Yet the diffusion of such constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community, but throughout the whole, is the indispensable condition of a government at once free and peaceable; since even any powerful and obstinate minority may render the working of free institutions impracticable, without being strong enough to conquer ascendency for themselves. Nothing less than unanimity, or so overwhelming a majority as to be tantamount to unanimity, on the cardinal point of respecting constitutional forms, even by those who do not wholly approve of them, can render the excitement of political passion bloodless, and yet expose all the authorities in the state to the full licence of pacific criticism.
George Grote, History of Greece, Volume 4, London, 1847
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untermenschen sind nicht brüder

On 16 September 1941, my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother were exterminated by Einsatzgruppe C, led by Otto Rasch, holder of two university doctorates in political economy and philosophy. On 13 June 1942, my 16 year-old maternal aunt was raped and killed by a Tadjik collective farmer. I owe my descent to my mother’s refusal to follow the example of three generations of women in her family, expressed by her bearing arms against Nazi invaders.

Comes now Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick to bemoan and decry “hurt feelings” that according to her comprise the real concern driving the hotly contested Florida law that makes it illegal for any physician to “ask questions concerning the ownership of a firearm” or “harass … a patient about firearm ownership during an examination”. She fails to note the symmetry of this law across the political spectrum with proposed and existing laws that bar insurance companies such as those that bear the costs of medical inquiries at issue, from asking potential clients about their sexual orientation or framing questions in such a way as to determine their sexual orientation. In Lithwick World, protecting the purview and privacy of citizens’preference in the pursuit of happiness goes without saying—until and unless their private preference stays outside the purview of pursuing the right to keep and bear arms. In Lithwick World, concern over President Obama “coming for yer guns”, realizing his signed support for legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns and assault weapons, is concern over “the lie that keeps on giving”.

According to Wikipedia, Dahlia Lithwick is Jewish, and keeps a kosher home. Regrettably, her Yiddishkeit does not deter her from pandering to lily-white middle-class gentiles eager to turn a blind eye to the perennial perils that inspire the keeping and bearing arms by Untermenschen not privy to their innate privilege. The last word on her subject belongs to Zero Mostel: “With kikes like you on the loose, who needs Hitler?