Monday, March 05, 2012

The Genius of Blaise Pascal

Over the years I've provided bits and pieces of the history of Pascal. At my old website I had several links that were frequently used by visitors to find out more about the man. When I moved my activities here, I overlooked transferring them over. But I never really laid out what I've learned about him over the years.

For a starter, view The peerless Genius - Blaise Pascal (sorry, its author does not permit embeds). The video is pretty good. Beware that the score near the end gets a bit too intense.

Now I'll add a few notable accomplishments that were left out.

1) There was no mention of The Provincial Letters, with its invention of a new form of social satire. I see them as something prompted by his religious conversion because he saw that the men ruling the church were at odds with its stated principles. He wrote the letters as a form of defense of another man who the church elders sought to persecute because of his criticism of their laxity and subsequent corruption. They felt their ends justified their means, and they could not rest while some renegade publicly condemned their means. Pascal took their sophistry, which they claimed was pure casuistry, and demonstrated how it had been debased by the whim of men rather than soundly founded upon the faith.

If that sounds vaguely familiar to today's religious institutions, you know why I am so critical of them. (Let me be more clear of what I mean by my agnosticism at this time. While I don't know that God exists -- and that seems to be the way He has meant it to be -- He can't be found by logic alone, I do know that far too many who claim to know Him act like they are far from sincere. I'm more agnostic that any contemporary religious institution provides anything but self-serving shepherds.)

Straining from embarrassment, the church elders persuaded Louis XIV to outlaw the letters and demand all copies to be burned. For that turn of events alone, Pascal showed great wisdom and foresight in penning the Letters under a pseudonym. We are beginning to see a similar wave of censorship descend upon speech in this age -- as with the new religion I call sustainability worship -- so don't be too hard on bloggers who choose to remain anonymous.

2) There's no mention of Pascal's Law by that name. Perhaps because it's stated a bit too technically for the majority of people. The video's author does mention his development of the science of hydraulics, which is to what Pascal's Law pertains. The most significant single thing that you see every day (and take for granted) are the brakes on all sorts of vehicles. Pascal invented them. Furthermore, he built the first omnibus lines with them installed. Mechanical brakes would not work well to stop heavier vehicles. By installing them on the buses made them safe enough to carry passengers.

3) There's some mention of the varied uses of his probability theory. (This video goes into more details about it, and is superior to the video above.) What was not specifically mentioned was actuarial tables. Pascal's invention made the modern insurance industry possible and the monetary evaluation and assignment of risk to enterprises where the possible things that could go wrong could be soundly evaluated. Such as being able to spread around the risk among shipping businesses where not every ship would flounder in storms or be lost to pirates. Thus Gambling was from thence on made productive and was no longer solely a gaming trait.

4) I did like that the author was offended at how many critics of Pascal's Wager make it sound like he had to have been a dunce rather than the brilliant man he was. I will venture further into this another time.

Let me end this with a deep thought posed at the end of the video which that author did not dwell on.
"All of our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves."
However, there is a cautionary tale there too. Today's wannabe rulers see themselves and those that agree with them in that quote. They feel elevated because they are such great thinkers. And each amongst them -- those they've permitted into their tight circle -- agrees. Isn't that comfy? The rest of us are but unthinking riffraff in need of their guiding paternalism -- STFU.

But because all of mankind can think, all of mankind can choose not to behave by animal instincts alone. In some ways the simplest among us, who know humility, are apt to elevate ourselves more than the brightest thinkers. The more bright are most apt to be corrupted by the pride in knowing their brilliance and then go on and inflict their hubris on the rest of us.

Its parallel may be seen in the often-times paradox of accumulated wealth. The greatness of most men of wealth was in achieving that wealth lawfully and ethically; but the world tends to view them as great only after their success. That natural reaction by others tend to affect their view of themselves. A tendency to enjoy being adored. Have you any doubts as to where that can lead? So it's later, when they (or their heirs) choose to protect all that they have accumulated that they are most apt to have forgotten the virtues and be suspicious that no man can be as good as they once were.

Hence the crackdown on liberty we are witnessing today? I think that (license granted by "obvious" superiority) is a big reason why. (Well, that's after the sustainability issue that provides these supermen a "moral" reason for their hateful behavior).

95 comments:

  1. I was working on a doctoral dissertation from 1984 to 1991 (unfinished) on B.P. and his idea of Casuistry and Sartre's critique of Mauvaise Foi and came across quite a few parallels.

    Earning a living became more important than being a Ph.D. but that is life.

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  2. I'm always pleased to run into others who know of casuistry. We are so few.

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    1. Escobar today would live on K Street.

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    2. K Street? Where "they of means" have hired agents to twist matters so that what were once nefarious ends have been made to appear glorious, and vice versa.

      Here is my opinion abreviated. We live in a world where our sustainability has been propagandized. Never mind probable. Sustainability is POSSIBLE only if the best and brightest are permitted to rule indefinitely. and the Precautionary Principle has been overused to lend them the moral imperative.

      Well allegedly moral and allegedly imperative. Contrary arguments on found on blogs like this one (forget any media left or right) and thus hardly are discussed broadly for the general public to rally around.

      The the airing of contradictory evidence and arguments, and exposures of outright falsehoods, are either not heeded (hands on ears), or shouted down (subjected to far more than merely LALALALALAs). So bad that, in seeking respite, even an agnostic may turn to prayer.

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  3. Escobar is my defense for the entire North American madness. If you want to banter or joust I will look at this link. I have no home computer so I cadge the time from work.

    Et ancien ami...

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  4. We cannot blame our leaders for the lives they chose to lead. Pascal, Newton, Leibniz, all great men of numbers were also devout theists and for this their reputation was glossed over. Stephen Hawking is a smart one for staying away from the biggest issue.

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    1. "We cannot blame our leaders for the lives they chose to lead."

      I'd like to hear more. I blame myself daily for having done so little earlier in my life.

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    2. How and why we believe is the mystery of life itself. God has always had a problem of changing people without destroying them in the process, thus the Incarnation was the solution. Why are we still existing in a post-Ressurection world is an open question.
      Others are happy to tarry, and their lives were intense enough to leave a trace for the avid reader; Teihard de Chardin, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, S. Kierkegaard, T.S. Eliot; Gibbon said he would not trade his love of books for all the riches in China; he was not a Christian but if you love learning you can appreciate his soul.

      If i didnt have a few like-minded friends I would feel the terror of the vacuum. Even the French thinkers Camus and Sartre, and the Irish and Brits Beckett and Burgess keep the flame going.

      Reading is the thing; its a golden age for that.

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    3. Such faith is under attack. Of the links I provided you above, the bullets segment in this particular post provide not a bad summary of the opposing sides.

      This all implies that leadership for the optimistic side (i.e., faith in God in most cases) has to extend beyond reading.

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    4. I used to believe that the Universities held a place in speaking Truth to Power, but now they are beholden to the purse-strings of the State. The British don't mind biting the hand that feeds them, but here in North America we fear bad manners. The man in the street will have to fight Moloch himself.

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    5. Fear of bad manners? I see that as the major ploy played by those who control the GOP. Their pretense to manners disappears instantly every time they are confronted by principled conservatives. And of course, one way or anther, they are the favorites of the media every time until the general elections, when the media favors the Left.

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    6. Thus, the parties are essentially allied to one purpose -- the increase of State power, and the reason I awarded SKUNCs when I was seeking an alternative for RINOs, which is a misnomer at best. When viewed from the perspective of the self-assessed best and brightest, they merely laugh since the inference means the hoi polloi really believe the opposition party belongs to them.

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    7. Being a Canadian, I can only lament your state of affairs. Gun manufacturers have poisoned the communities they helped defend centuries ago. Drugs have buried the rest. Its not Paradise up here but those who have moved up from the South say differently.

      Back, and to the Left!

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    8. "Gun manufacturers have poisoned the communities..."

      ???

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    9. Yes, the gun manufacturers have enabled every man woman and child to own multiple weapons of every calibre (no pun intended) and to defend their God-Given homestead etc. etc. Never mind the narcotic and alcoholic haze that permeates the landscape; the small-bore weapon will take out the will to live from everybody left standing. Look at all those dummy shooters lately? Mommy didn't love them enough, or the judicial system failed them. Who needs foreign threats? North Korea? Islam? AIDS? Sturm and Glock will do the job nicely.

      The point is, you will never reverse this condition. In the Old Testament is a line; Is the Earth not large enough to flee in?

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    10. My gun friends would likely be hostile to your point. Expect the worst if they happen upon this string. I'll not alert them.

      Leaving arms solely in the hands of govt would most certainly fan their hubris, already too large.

      I suspect as do you that drugs are probably the greatest reason for those recent shootings -- and I have come to expect that the media will never mention their presence. They want to eliminate guns so that the state has the monopoly. Somehow neither the Swiss nor the Israelis have our problem, and they have fully automatic weapons.

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    11. Your gunslingers don't affect me. Odd how they are your first concern. USA is now first century A.D. Rome, with human rights crucified daily. The tongue has gone around the world for long enough.
      How can you compare the Swiss to the average American? Like comparing a chronometer to a jumping jack. As for Israel, they are the pariah of the West.

      Obama will go down in history as the first Black President to bomb Africa and vacation in Hawaii. Not much else.

      Its rich to say that an armed population is a defense against the State! The drug dealer wants you high and wasted at the same time.

      Nothing personal. Too much Cornelius Jansen?

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    1. Absolutely. In memory of JFK and RFK.

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    2. I re-posted the whole thing but added the link this time (and forgot the bold of the first sentence.)

      Absolutely to what? There was more than one question among the 3 elements of the comment.

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  6. 1) I've enjoyed our conversation and was most concerned for the integrity of this thread. There are a FEW of my gun friends who would see your words and treat you as a troll, dismissively, in a manner similar to what you have done by calling them ALL "gunslingers."

    2) Funny, since we still have individual weapons rights, and we don't have a godhead dictator yet -- among other things -- wouldn't you say that we still have elements of the Roman republic, circa 85BC? That was when the proto-socialist Marius was consul for an unprecedented 7th term and Sulla had not yet come to relieve him. I'd be happy to hear your reasoning as to how America is already a tyranny both at home and abroad. I agree it's getting there. In fact, I touched on my point about preventing any further global encroachment here only yesterday. Read the 3rd from last paragraph. You might be surprised at how much I agree with your concerns.

    3) As for "It's rich to say that an armed population is a defense against the State!" I do know some less strident gun advocates who might provide you with a better answer than I.

    With your permission I'll invite one gun-writer who loves to engage politely with people such as yourself. And there are also two retired cops with whom you might enjoy engaging. Are you game?

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    1. Every year just over 30,000 people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Every two years more US citizens are killed by gunshot wounds than were lost in the entire Vietnam war.

      Lets look at this another way. With a population of 310 million and an annual death rate of 8.3/1000 , we can calculate that 2,573,000 people die in the US each year.
      Of which 30,000 die of Gun Shot - so if you live in the US you have a 1.166% chance that you will die of Gun Shot wound. The rate of gunshot deaths is about 8 times that of economically comparable nations.

      Approximately 8,000 homicides annually occur with gunshot wounds. About 16,000 commit suicide with handguns. Nearly 1,000 die in gun related accidents each year. The number of persons shot by police is slightly elusive.


      Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_gunshot_deaths_occur_each_year_in_the_US#ixzz1rfPGrCFh

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    2. Bring it on. What a blood sport this will be. Everyone wins. Eradicating disease and violence are two pet projects of civilized nations. Creating viruses and running guns to all nations in the name of freedom sound like Barbarians at the Gates! Those values you hold dear are smoke and mirrors to the Bilderburger crowd.

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    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Incarceration_rates_worldwide.gif

      Another reason to be armed, I guess. All the bad guys are in jail. Except for their friends and families. A criminal society! When Lincoln said he would free the slaves, he meant it as a threat to the well-being of the plantation owners, not as a humanitarian gesture.

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    4. Anon,
      I find that your statistical references to "gunshot" deaths fails to include the primary sources for the numbers you quote and additionally omit the global statistics generated by recognized "governments" (tens of millions). Homicides perpetrated by the governments of Russia and its associated "Republics", China, Germany and Cambodia were generally either the result of gunshots or other means such as rounding up disarmed citizens (at gunpoint) and killing them by more efficient means.
      I suggest that if you oppose the possession of firearms that you refrain from acquiring them. What I object to, is the forcing of that policy upon the rest of us law abiding citizens. You mind your business and we will mind ours. For additional edification I suggest you read this.
      You must remember that a gun is merely a tool to be used for good or evil. It is foolish to blame the evil act on the means by which the act is perpetrated. Virtually every adult male possesses the means by which to commit rape yet the proponent of mass penis amputation would be rightfully ridiculed.
      Full disclosure: I spent 15 years as a law enforcement officer on the streets of Los Angeles County. It is a truism that "when seconds count, the police are only minutes away".

      ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!!

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    5. From your cold dead hands! My argument here is that for generations the USA has been featured as the golden state of humanity within and without its borders, and has taken advantage of every foreign war to control those failed states. I respect and trust my neighbour more if all he has is a rolled up newspaper; if he had your arsenal in his Wal-mart case I doubt I would want to live in his neighborhood.
      Your city, state, and nation are well-documented and I am fairly well-informed about your society. Your choice is to remain and fight with the hoi polloi or live elsewhere.
      The Dirty Harry/Omega Man characters who survive (not Heston) have been eclipsed by your huge underclass of illiterate homeboys. Quantity will always defeat quality (thats you).

      Life in Asia is cheap, as it is in Africa. My father was in Korea in in two operations in the Belgian Congo. Both were US Peacekeeping missions which failed utterly. The massess will prevail.

      Hey, don't get me wrong; i went through the Cold War and the whole sheebang. In the end God told me Seriously?

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    6. To Pascal Fervor; I guess a Jeremiad is good the soul if not the mind; I know historically that Americans do not take criticism well. Those who do tend to have the wherewithall to improve themselves.

      I really admire Fletcher Prouty, miss Spalding Grey, and John Mack. Great Americans.

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  8. I'm one of your so-called "gunslingers." Pascal sent me an invitation.

    Well, as Pascal is aware, I tend to be verbose, so a discussion of this type in his comments would probably be unwieldy. Anonymous is more than welcome to email me, and I'll post his emails (like I did with Alex and Dr. Cline). You're more than welcome to use a pseudonym.

    But first we have to decide what we're going to discuss. So far all I've seen is descriptions of "gun death" in the U.S. I'll stipulate that in advance. The question is "so what?" As in "so what are you recommending?"

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    1. So what? Thats the military man talking; one bad day in Flanders Fields; one bad morning in Stalingrad, one bad Shock and Awe! All those unnecessary deaths; people don't have to die courtesy of a machine-milled weapon which has only one purpose! The massess will abuse whatever you give them; guns, freedom, food.

      Hunting Humans is the news pastime. Hunger Games the lighter side of life now.

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    2. So your contention is that without firearms, our murder rate would be... what, exactly? Or even approximately? I note you include suicide (by your own statistics, 16,000 suicides to 8,000 homicides - you might want to check those numbers) in your protests. Is it your contention that, were there no firearms, these suicides would not occur?

      I'm just trying to get a feel for your arguments. So far all I see is "Guns are bad, m'kay?" with a dollop of "Americans are assholes" spread on top.

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    3. If motive for murder equals means to murder, then the rate would stay the same. In Canada, more people are stabbed than shot; why is that? Blood lust or availability? People are lazy and cowardly and guns offer the cleanest way out of their misery.

      Now you summed it up yourself; your words!

      What really makes me sick is seeing some natural disaster and the big American flags are flying over to attract what? The military? God as Redeemer or Allah as Avenger? You hate Big Government and yet there is nothing bigger than Government! Either work with it, leave it alone, or destroy it.

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    4. So, you're not really anti-gun, you're anti-American, and an elitist, then?

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    5. Ha Ha Ha, why would you think I am elitist? What is anti-American anyway; More ante-American in my attitudes. You're the volcano we have been sitting on for 250 years, so true Anti-Americans are far-away defenseless drones who look up in the air for high tech death and surveillance.
      Brilliant how you get into bed with the Arabs, into debt with the Chinese, and toy with the rest. How long can that go on for before drawing criticism and chagrin?

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    6. ...why would you think I am an elitist?

      This:

      The massess will abuse whatever you give them; guns, freedom, food.

      You know those proles! They never do what they're told is best for them by their betters!

      And apparently Americans are the basest of proles, not doing what their betters tell them they should. No, we stayed out of WWI and WWII for too long, but we're in Afghanistan and Iraq for too long. And we have the audacity to fly our flag when there's a natural disaster! How gauche!

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    7. I think Americans do as they're told very well. They stay on the sidelines and then pile in remorselessly! Really, what does a flag have to do with an effing natural disaster? Its not the Alamo! Its not Gardens of Stone!

      Look at Katrina and New Orleans! Troops opening fire on blacks trying to escape rising waters. They knew nothing, lost everything, and the National Guard and N.O. Police thought it was another insurrection. Sho' 'nuff!

      I really do miss Nicholas von Hoffman on days like this.

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    8. Anon: "Ha Ha Ha, why would you think I am elitist?"

      Gee, I don't know. How about: "The massess will abuse whatever you give them; guns, freedom, food."

      It appears anon gets most of his statistics and views of the US through the prism of the leftist media, the Brady Campaign and Hollywood boxoffice hits. Earth to anon: That's not reality it's fantasy.

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    9. Yes, its pure Fantasy! You win the argument! Mea Culpa for not verifying my sources, Sir!

      And now please stand and sing the hymn of your choice....

      The President of, the United State of..sheet, if you gonna feed him...

      Now Hair! was a great synopsis of America 1968.

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    10. Look at Katrina and New Orleans! Troops opening fire on blacks trying to escape rising waters.

      Five NOPD officers were convicted of the Danziger Bridge murders. Two of them are black. I have seen no evidence that "troops" - either National Guard or others - have committed similar acts. I have seen evidence of them going house-to-house to confiscate privately held firearms. I have seen video of a California Highway Patrol officer volunteering in NO body-slamming an elderly woman (dislocating her shoulder) in order to disarm her and forcibly evacuate her from her (well stocked) home.

      So, what was your point again?

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    11. My point is that the man in the street whether he or she is running for their lives, clutching skittles, or waiving a placard is perceived as a threat by a poorly trained police force, militia, or army.
      Just imagine what will happen with the real shit hits the fan. All that money going to foreign debtors, black ops,; that cash pallet missing in Iraq; they would never have spent it to raise the education levels in the South or Inner cities. You have a Lost Generation down there.

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    12. So now we're going to debate school spending?

      You just can't stay on a single topic, can you? And your flippant comments illustrate that you have essentially no understanding of any of the topics you do touch upon. No, you just repeat the Narrative™ you've been spoon-fed, accepted as Gospel because it fits your worldview.

      Sorry, Pascal, but if Anonymous isn't serious about having a discussion (as opposed to venting his little Jeremiads) then this isn't worth my time.

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    13. A single topic! The malaise that permeates you and your country is the single topic. The raw failiure of conquest, submission, and overlord roles (the Old West; the South; the 3rd World)has not produced a 21st century winner.

      Back to Les Provinciales. Merci!

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  9. Thank you ΛΕΟ & Kevin. I suspect our Canadian friend will return on the morrow.

    Nony. ΛΕΟ & Nemesis (if he shows on Oz time) will speak frankly as you might expect of good officers no longer subject to retaliation by command structure.

    Give Kevin a series of issues of concern to you and he will address it in a manner worthy of a PhD.

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  10. My email address, if you're so inclined, is thesmallestminority@gmail.com

    And thanks for that compliment, Pascal.

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    1. Hello, I don't have a home computer; call me old-fashioned. Privacy concerns? Cheap? Mebbe? This is my beef. Your international footprint has been very big and has often come to the party very late (1917, 1941, Sarejevo, etc.) It overstayed its "welcome" in Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan. Cambodia would not have happened if the living shit had not been bombed out of it. This is Kissinger's legacy.

      Apart from that Life's Good!

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    2. Anon, In case you haven't noticed, the US has evolved into what amounts to a global empire similar to Rome. As soon as a republic shows some military survival skills in defending itself it is "invited" into political and internal squabbles such as the Spanish war of 1898, the "Great War" act I 1914, act II 1939 Vietnam 1954, Balkans 1992 to name a few. In most of these the vital national interests were not involved and the US began to "invite" itself via UN and NATO entanglements. The cumulative costs of these adventures when added to the expansion of the welfare/regulatory state being financed on credit and counterfeiting has resulted in the present economic crisis. All empires historically have failed. The US will not be an exception.
      Segue: your mistranslation of ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is hereby excused.

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    3. Even the Stalinists preached Socialism in One Country; had Hitler not invaded they would have felt no need to claim Eastern Europe and strip it of their factories and raw materials to rebuild. The Chinese have historically stayed within their borders. Germany, Italy and Japan were punished for straying into the British Commonwealth and the Americans were only too happy to supplant them.

      When the money runs out, the Piper will still be paid.

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    4. Even the Stalinists preached Socialism in One Country

      And that is such complete bullshit that the needle on my bullshit meter wrapped around the shaft twice.

      You sir, are not intellectually honest. I will waste no further time on you.

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    5. What school of history do you belong to? Just curious? Have you read E.H. Carr? Or do you think Richard Pipes is the final word?

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    6. One final reply: I belong to the reality school of history. Stalin and Hitler divided Poland between them before Hitler invaded Russia. Per Lenin, Marxists have no morality that "does not advance world Socialism," and Stalinists had (and still have) no qualms about lying to advance their agenda.

      That you could write that sentence and expect it to be accepted tells me that you're either a fool (which I doubt), or a True Believer (which I find more likely.) As Thomas Sowell once said, "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."

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    7. The Molotov Ribbentrop pact. What are the chances that Jansen claims it isn't what it was?

      It's also funny that somehow Jansen forgets the name of the Soviet National Anthem prior to 1944. Nothing internationale in that, right? Unfreakingbelieveable if you ask me.

      He could very well be a practical joker as well. Remember there are two freaky sorts behind every utopia. Check out my Utopia keyword and discover the other one along with the secret of all utopias.

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    8. We could go back to Brest-Litovsk to justify the Molotov Ribbentrop pact. The British had an Expiditionary in Russia and pulled it out.

      The Germans broke the Treaty and showed the Russians that the West was unreliable, totally. I don't blame Putin to this day for standing up to the White House.

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    9. I take History seriously, obviously your world view differs from my and ours from the experts. I suppose if I had not been a reader for the last 40 years on European history I would feel very intimidated by your assessments.

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    10. You claim to take history seriously, yet ignore the Internationale as if we are not to take the aims seriously. I'll be gone a good portion of the day. Even though you've backed off on your diatribes, you fail to answer direct questions. I am lacking the time to waste with you. In the mean time, give us some mercy and show us Kevin isn't correct.

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    12. Wiki-woo! Manifest Destiny!

      The 13th Directorate never loses.

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  11. "Sorry, Pascal, but if Anonymous isn't serious about having a discussion (as opposed to venting his little Jeremiads) then this isn't worth my time." Kevin at Apr 11, 2012 08:28 AM

    I apologize Kevin. Anon sounded reasonable at the start. Maybe I should have been skeptical when, in response to my offer to invite you here, he wrote "What a blood sport this will be." [AnonymousApr 10, 2012 12:28 PM]

    Double talkers seem not to care that their efforts fail in print because the disjointed words are visible and not lost in the jumble. Outside of direct insults, it is hard to show more contempt for your opponents and your audience than by engaging in such intercourse.

    Before we entered this hoplophobia tangent, I was hoping to learn what Anon knows and thinks of the repercussions from Pascal's anonymous political pamphlets.

    Now? It's awfully difficult for a poor soul to regain its credibility after so cavalierly discarding it. Another opportunity lost, perhaps even more than not finishing that PhD, and he knows of it not yet.

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  12. Irony, sarcasm, are all weapons of choice for those who wield not firearms. I never heard of Pascal Fervor or his pamphlets and doubt that they could change the face of American politics. It really is the ultimate fix down there; make everybody semi-literate, flood them with freedom of information, and let them worry about something else. Even the plain facts will get lost in the maw of duplicity. Look at the JFK Assassination. People are so comfortable that it was an inside job that it is no longer unacceptable to revisit the subject. 9/11 is the biggest inside job ever. The physical evidence of manuels, passports and DNA which would have otherside disappeared were immediately found and put forth as proof of guilt.
    You can't afford to play the Devil's Advocate because you may have a yachting accident (William Colby), or get shot on a Georgtown towpath in broad daylight by an African-American with a fishing rod. (Mary Pinchot Meyer)

    Between the Skull and Bones and all their ilk, there is an American Star Chambre that rules supreme. That really scares me.

    My credibility has no coin here, and at least i made a go at it; more than I can say for the gunslingers here.

    I understand Congresswoman Giffords owned the same handgun as her assailant. Do you find this ironic? When Brady was shot in the head instead of Reagan he suddenly got a hard-on for gun legislation. Self-interest there!

    I thank you Pascal for your hospitality; my work is done here and i hope that you find solace in the Library of Man and in the heart of God.

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  13. Ahh, you meant B.P.'s lettres Prov.; sorry, i thought you meant your own; the literature is broad on this subject and i suspect that B.P. was able to broach the public domain only as an anonymous scribe since extant personalities were involved as were their lives and reputations. He actually harmed Antoine Arnaud with his pseudonymous initials which were misinterpeted by the authorities E.A.A.B.P.A.F.D.E.P.

    Once the damage was done Pascal threw caution to the wind and tore into the Jesuits. The last person to have so much fun was Hugh Trevor Roper, of which I just read his new biography. Hiding and lying behind an alias consumes a lot of energy.

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  14. Anonymous, Anon, Nomy, whatever, please give us an pseudonym of your choosing. Only God goes without a commonly recognized appellation. You're simply not of that calibre.

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    1. I tried the menu below but since I do not have an active account it bans me from doing so.

      Anonymous Scribe is what I would select anyway. My passion for truth and argument transcends diplomatic nicities that I could indulge your friends in. I can't pat people on the back unless they want to burp.

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    2. Using Anonymous Scribe with wikipedia.org as its URL in the Name/Url option works

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    3. I'm now gonna try it in a non-signed on mode and see if it still works.

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    4. Hey, it worked, just call me Jansen! I am not a hacker, as you can see. I love Julian Assange and his work. If you cannot speak Truth to Power, unmask Terror.

      Delete
    5. There you go. This time I used none.com as the url.

      You might want to choose a pseudonym that doesn't appreviate to AS so that AS's becomes common parlance.

      Delete
    6. Hey, appreviate: that's evidence of a new kind of dyslexia.

      Delete
    7. I do apologize to all your friends, Pascal, for my diatribes. At least you know where I am coming from. I spend my best years growing up on American Air force bases in Europe in the 1960s, and have had the imprint of US info and culture since then. Do you know that thousands of Canadians volunteered to fight in Vietnam because they knew the military was well-equipped? They had no fight with no Cong, just wanted to use unlimited bullets and ordinance which in the Canadian military was stingy (the word is too generous)

      Delete
  15. Jansen,

    Pascal was clearly irked by how explicit probabilism crowded out intrinsic. Don't you agree he had good cause and thus was handed quite a lot writings to satirize?

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  16. "I do apologize to all your friends, Pascal, for my diatribes."

    Good to hear. So go apologize as Jansen over at Kevin's blog on some thread as off-topic, and where you may seriously respond to some his answers. He'd actually dedicate a whole thread just to you if you're REALLY game and not simply trolling. OTOH, he has good cause to doubt your sobriety now, so maybe just forget it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read Kevin's profile and we definitely have no main interests in common. My apology goes to his person, but not to his interests.

      Delete
  17. The casuist tomes were many and handed about like over the counter medicine today. My favorite was probabliorism
    which held that it is not lawful to act on the less safe opinion unless it is more probable than the safe opinion and which was in vogue before the time of Medina, was renewed in the middle of the seventeenth century, as an antidote against Laxism.

    You can see that someone like Pascal who had access to the Patristics could only chafe at the success of the neo-Cons of the Church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is most troubling trait of extrinsic probabilists?

      Delete
    2. I battle between grace and freedom; undeserving of one, unrepentent in the other; look at the idea of sufficent grace! Pascal thought the entire science was ridiculous and unsustainable for a moral theology; in essence it is a liberal legal world which is more or less the society of tolerance we live in, esp. up here in Canada.

      Delete
    3. Think of your Supreme Court as being moral pontiffs for society. Somebody has to do it. One will always sway the opinion of having been the wisest. Its this or moral anarchy.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous/Jansen....I have read all of your comments. You appear to be someone who bases their thinking on perception of how things should be, rather than how things really are. Your perception that firearms are somehow symptomatic of a nation in decline is, I find, fanciful and without foundation. Perhaps you would care to enlighten us further with some empirical evidence to support your perception?

    Did you know that there are more people killed in the United States by motor vehicle, 36,000, and approved drugs, 82,724, each year than the 30,000 deaths by gunshot as quoted by you?

    Going on the logic as presented in your comments, and based on your generalizations of nations in decline, what would the deaths of 82,724 citizens each year through approved drug use then tell you?

    Based on your own logic as presented I would then assume that you would be on a crusade against the motor vehicle and those drugs that are available without prescription.

    Did you pick the gun to denounce because you perceive gun ownership as some kind of bravado? You also seem to paranoid when it comes to firearms; are you a member of a gun control lobby? If that is the case I would remind you that the firearm is just a tool, a means to an end, and it is the person pulling the trigger who is charged for the killing, not the firearm. The favored response by the gun control lobby in my country whenever someone is killed by gunshot, is to unleash their inner totalitarian ideals and call for banning firearms altogether. I would ask you to also remind yourself that the criminal has always had the upper hand in society when it comes to obtaining the latest and most devastating firearms available to use against their victims, including of course the police. What would you do to personally protect yourself from the criminal element if there were no police?

    I can agree with you in some of your comments concerning how the world has been shaped, particularly over the past 100 years, but our personal lives revolve around our own little world which we tend to project onto others if given the opportunity. I believe that most of us yearn to be left alone and not have government in our face all the time. You cannot project onto others what you perceive to be as a fault with them if you wish to retain a workable society. Each of us values to some extent our personal freedom, although I admit there are those who would be quite happy to hand their life over to some kind of control so that they wouldn't even have to think for themselves, but that kind of thinker is thankfully very few. Today, respect and tolerance of others opinions or habits now seems to have been practised in some bygone era by people who valued their liberty and culture and knew from where those values came from.

    While you denigrate the American Nation, you fail to realize the significance of the greatest document ever written which was born in that nation. It is not the nation that has let America down, but its very human politicians that the founding fathers knew full well would not be able to abide the words as written in that document. That is America's failing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Transportation is a risk regardless of the mechanism involved. We have a police force in place; in your country authority without weaponry was once respected, and even armed, now not respected; you are outgunned regardless, so the point being is that like the perfect drug addict looking for the next hit; its the overdose that he so desperately tries to avoid.
      All those wounded vets coming back from Rock and Roll Iraq are human time bombs; remember the movie The Deerhunter? Three bullets!

      Your Founding Fathers have has much to do with a modern liberal nation-state as Henry VIII has to do with monogamy or Christian forgiveness. Today he would be hanged or excommunicated.

      Things change, but your Pogo Swamp is not one of them. Enjoy your decline. Don't put the brakes on for us. What really makes me puke, to quote Santorum, is when a murder weapon has been declared to have been bought legally! Oh, what an effing difference that will make to the card-carrying cadaver of gun ownership. I met my Maker with a blessed Peacemaker!

      If I wanted to live any safer, I would move to Japan and Saudi Arabia; you know what they do to home-boys there!

      Delete
    2. Oh, Nememis, I like your home page. By the way, I'm not a Pommy Bastard, but I did like what the English did with the Continent. The Lucky Country of the 60s is not known for anything more more than opals and Roo meat and very bad Lamb!

      Delete
  19. Pascal, Jansen reminds me of the typical troll: ie; no basis in fact, can't present a coherent point of view and lacks in basic correspondence techniques, such as, no writing manners! The reply to my comment from Jansen does not rate, and in my humble opinion, a response!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you gentlemen for honoring me by accepting my invitation to inform Jansen. I mistook his love of books, and his sharing of my deep and thus esoteric interests in Pascal's works, for love of learning.

    On my waking early this morning, I read JansenApr 12, 2012 07:49 AM, and felt compelled to remove his first comment because it was non-responsive in a polarized way, if you know what I mean, and was on the road to begin another day of insults. Sorry Kevin, Sorry Neme. I'm thoroughly embarrassed now. It won't keep me from continuing to break the red-blue barrier, but it is so sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought you were tough guys! Guns 'N Roses! I think the blood-brain barrier is the one you need to solve.
      If you really understood Pascal, you would have known that he was a Pro who rarely had to show up his adversaries. Your friends' blog pages show them as being racists or misogynists to the core, wrapped in a nylon Flag and paper constitution.

      I dare you to remove this Post! Shredding history is your only defense.
      Have another case of Beer, Bruce!

      Delete
    2. You have until 2 PM Pacific today to provide sufficient evidence to mount an indictment on those charges for each of my 3 friends or you get deleted.

      Not just links, but excerpts in context with the links.

      Let's see if you can do some work besides shooting off your mouth, Mr. almost a prof.

      Delete
  21. I love Mad Max! The only contribution from Aussie to USA that needed no translation.

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  22. I'm sorry, but I can't do but more of what I've been doing.

    You've shown me up to be a dilettante, a fraud, and a blow-hard.

    Do with me as you will. You will never find another Jansen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So long, tough guy. Back, and to the Left!

      Delete
  23. Oh, Leonidis! No argument with him. I like his link to Chris Sullivan. Imagine a Hillaire Belloc fan. Wow. that makes my day.

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    1. Oh yeah, look how far we have come:

      "He lives across the water"

      "He has four lackeys"

      Where you live and whom you hang out with seems to matter more than who you are.

      Delete
    2. I hope you never host an Osterman Weekend!

      It's been fun, but if you want a Cdn view of the USA today, watch The Handmaid's Tale.

      Delete
    3. Aurora! One more reason to rethink your so-called freedoms.

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    4. "Jansen," why I ever thought you had a lick of sense is beyond me.

      Aurora is another reason to see that the laxity is to blame. Not laxity in allowing individuals their rights, but laxity in government officials not administering swift and sure punishment.

      No matter how many "mad-men" go on a rampage (and the govt press tries to blame it on TEA party patriots), the fact is that it takes the power of government madmen to kill on scales undreamed of by individual cretins. Disarming the subjects simply makes the killings more efficient and less dangerous for government cowards.

      150 million subjects were murdered by their own governments in the last century, and billions more were forced to live fearful and squalid lives as a consequence. It's simply sad that you are not alone in your blinkered ignorance. You have learned nothing and will continue to refuse to see the dangers.

      Your asinine conclusion could be made the reason for a full blown post, but I rather not encourage you to come back. Nobody that needs to hear this rebuttal will heed it.

      Delete
  24. The asinine conclusion; Americans need to be armed because they fear their government, police force, paramilitary groups, neighbours, foreign nationals, insurgents on other continents. Every American dummy has access to multiple guns and ammo, and yet you still scream INSECURITY.
    The rest of the world really doesn't shake its head, it says hurry up and join the slaughter. Kids, women, servicemen all dead and dying because of your precious laws; you would have thought Jesus Christ wrote the second amendment.

    Your constitution is your Third Testament and it is not full of grace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, this might please you. It asks the question Is Our Culture Sick?

      Delete
    2. I never heard of him or his forum; it won't bring back your dead. Whats worse are the living dead who cradle their guns and nurse their fears, flag fluttering on the screen porch and fingering a brown document of the 18th century like some Masonic Master.

      Add this to a drug-infused nation, corn fed and sugar charged, free from foreign influence...You would have to be a top WASP in a gated community to survive and prosper.

      Delete
  25. To Anonymous (aka Jansen) in his last two responses.

    Aurora was an OT matter you chose to inject into this thread rather than contact me via email. There are a couple of other troll types who have at least been courteous enough to do the latter. But not you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Still enjoying the fruits of guns and drugs and AMERICA TOP SECRET Kultur? The Chinese and Muslims will eat away at your power. Like the Ottomans, you will sink into the mire.

    ReplyDelete