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Cultural Amnesia: Who would you remember?

Cultural critic, Clive James, has gathered 106 biographical essays in his recent collection, CULTURAL AMNESIA: NECESSARY MEMORIES FROM HISTORY AND THE ARTS, with the hope that future generations will learn from the lives and interconnections of these individuals; how they each contributed to our collective story, for good or bad.

You can read many of his essays here at Slate.com including commentaries on Duke Ellington, Adolph Hitler, and Leon Trotsky.

But since we all have different lives, and inhabit various circles, we are each affected by a diverse group of people.

  • So who do you believe is worth remembering?
  • Which individual, for good or ill, do you believe is most important for generations to come to understand and learn from? And why?


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Karl Popper had his blind side Ted. This society is not open because of power disparity and intimidation. It is "Open for Elite Business Only." I admit it would have hurt Karl to see us now. Both his wonderful volumes are wishful. Could you share with us your favorite insight of his?

Sir Karl Popper is one celebrity I recall with great affection.

John Munden: You're correct. Notice how Jimmy Carter was not allowed to speak live at the DNC ? Americans are capable of watching our polls but cannot detect programming machinations or other clever manipulations. In fact, we can't even come to the aid of voters accused of being convicted felons. How many times can party hacks saw off the limb on which they perch: Democracy?

Dear Bill Moyers,
I will try other ways to getting this appeal to you as well as the blog. My overwhelming concern is with the coming election and it's potential for compromise as with the last two elections. Unless we take extreme measures, the "powers" will again take charge using whatever means they find necessary. Witness the last two elections when not only the elections but the supreme court were compromised. We can't afford another diebold election.
My appeal is for Bill Moyer to get the lady from Seattle who stumbled onto the diebold programming information and pursued an analysis of that information and the election results which were alarming but, in reality, proved what we already knew about the election.
Bill Moyers would then structure one of his excellent programs around the issue of rigged voting machines and the profound danger of the next election being controlled electronically by the diebold voting machines and the republican machine - as in the last two elections.
I know that Bill is aware as he had Kevin Spacey and the producer of Recount on his program. So, my suggestion at the end of the program would be for Bill Moyer to call for both the major and minor countries of the world to send poll watchers to provide as much election coverage as humanly possible for the upcoming election. We have offered our assistance in the elections of other countries, now its our turn as a needy third world country, election wise, that is.
Further, that the foreign poll watchers bring with them skilled computer programmers and analysts in order to assure, insofar as possible, a fair and honest election. The loss of the previous two presidential elections in the United States have been costly in the lost lives of our military to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of lost lives in the countries we invaded. It has been costly in terms of our national treasury and the largest debt ever in the U.S. We cannot afford to let that happen again if we truly care about this country.
John R Munden

Dear Bill Moyers,
I will try other ways to getting this appeal to you as well as the blog. My overwhelming concern is with the coming election and it's potential for compromise as with the last two elections. Unless we take extreme measures, the "powers" will again take charge using whatever means they find necessary. Witness the last two elections when not only the elections but the supreme court were compromised. We can't afford another diebold election.
My appeal is for Bill Moyer to get the lady from Seattle who stumbled onto the diebold programming information and pursued an analysis of that information and the election results which were alarming but, in reality, proved what we already knew about the election.
Bill Moyers would then structure one of his excellent programs around the issue of rigged voting machines and the profound danger of the next election being controlled electronically by the diebold voting machines and the republican machine - as in the last two elections.
I know that Bill is aware as he had Kevin Spacey and the producer of Recount on his program. So, my suggestion at the end of the program would be for Bill Moyer to call for both the major and minor countries of the world to send poll watchers to provide as much election coverage as humanly possible for the upcoming election. We have offered our assistance in the elections of other countries, now its our turn as a needy third world country, election wise, that is.
Further, that the foreign poll watchers bring with them skilled computer programmers and analysts in order to assure, insofar as possible, a fair and honest election. The loss of the previous two presidential elections in the United States have been costly in the lost lives of our military to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of lost lives in the countries we invaded. It has been costly in terms of our national treasury and the largest debt ever in the U.S. We cannot afford to let that happen again if we truly care about this country.
John R Munden

Clive James, what a deep thinker! Barbarism is bad, but intervention in Iraq, as long as well done is fine.
Truth is good, but internet is at about all bad ( 70% pornography and the rest is just sheer barbarism). Sounds to me, like it should be cencored!

Mr. Joh Seifert posted comment:" I think Mr. Davis should read a little slower. I'm reading this book now and the author's point is America does very little to prevent Genocide unless self-interest is at play. US only acted after the Holocaust, never in the case of Pol Pot's remapge through Cambodia, never in the case of Sadam and the Kurds. We also didn't do anything (as a country) in the Balkans, Rowanda and Darfur.

America didn't ratify the Genocide Convention until 1988, about 40 years after most of the world community signed off."

John. Do not forget, that Americans not only not prevented genocide, but they made theirs very own American genocide killing Native Americans.

Leslaw Wajcowicz.

I agree with many of the comments regarding who we should remember, and I would like to add one. we must also remember the "ordinary" people who have sacrificed for humanity.

We often celebrate single figures in history so that they seem superhuman and out of reach. So many people are disatisfied with the state of our nation for whatever given reason, but we're all waiting around for some iconic figure to give us the answer. We must remember it was ordinary people who marched side by side with Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks didn't commit an act of civil disobedience because she wanted her name in history books or because her feet hurt as I was taught in school. People didn't march with King because they wanted to be remembered; they did it because they truly believed in justice.


Us ordinary folks will have to be the ones to make a difference in this country. Not to be in history books, not to have our names engraved on a memorial, but purely sacrifice for what we believe in.

It is our responciablty to look out for our own soul

Not surprisingly, most of the responses to your query are positive role models. I would agree with them. However, it is also instructional to remember the bad examples. If we don't familiarize ourselves with the tactics used by tyrants to usurp power and subjugate others, then we may fail to recognize the same ploys when used by our own leaders under a benevolent guise. The current U.S. administration's usurption of power and suppression of essential liberties is a classic example. Historic parallels are legion: Hitler, Napoleon, etc. The current U.S. administration focuses its appeal on self-interest: tax cuts that appeal to greed and which hide the transfer of public wealth to a chosen few; fear, which enervates opposition and is used to justify totalitarian measures. Liberty requires individual responsibility--and risk--rather than relying on the benevolence of the state, which is ultimately susceptible to the corruption of individual officials. We would do well to remember the words of abolitionist Wendell Phillips (often attributed to Jefferson or Patrick Henry)..."Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty—power is ever stealing from the many to the few…. The hand entrusted with power becomes…the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity."

@RacetoInfinity said:
***
"It isn't true! Humans lived in peace for hundreds of thousands of years before violence and "barbarity" became institutionalized in religion and government. Read James DeMeo's SAHARASIA or THE FALL by Steve Taylor."

Nonsense. That's Retro-romantic pre-trans fallacy nonsense. Read Ken Wilber's "Up From Eden".
***

What you and Ken Wilber are talking about is nonsense that serves the power structure. That kind of pessimism should stay in the 20th century where it belongs. People can do better - we are not doomed to the violence, greed or selfishness that your position presupposes. We survived as a species because we are able to make individual sacrifice for the good of our social group and were able to work together cooperatively.

There's an entirely new school of thought begun by Elizabeth Gould Davis (among others) in the late 60's and early 70's continued by people like Elaine Morgan and Marija GImbutas and it's finally being taken seriously by at least a few forward-thinking elements in academia. New studies and papers are being presented that reach the same conclusions that these women have been teaching for nearly 60 years. Why don't you read The Fall and Saharasia before you criticize? You and Ken Wilber are spinning your wheels in the past. Why not embrace a more positive view and move forward?

On your Aug. 3rd program, you invited discussion of the question of impeaching the President. I have been giving a lot of thought to this and have come to believe that it is imperative that we impeach the current president and vice-president NOW. We have moved from the rule of law to the rule of men which is in direct opposition to the core premise of our constitution. The members of administration have consistently, concertedly, and with forethought, circumvented the constitution; and therefore, have not fulfilled their oaths of office.
President Bush has consistently thwarted Congress and belittled and avoided the courts in their attempts to fulfill their check and balance roles.
The behavior of Alberto Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee has been criminal in itself. However, it seems obvious that he stays because he is acting as he is instructed to act. The Administration cannot allow him to resign, no matter how lame he appears, because to open the Attorney General position to the Congressional approval process and to allow a new person to fill that position would expose too much of what is going on behind our backs.
There are two other concerns (among many):
1. The functioning of our government from Justice to FDA to Home Land Security has been consistently and maliciously undermined. Individuals placed in charge are either incompetent or have agendas inconsistent with the mission of their agency. Industry oversight has been weakened and individuals who feel it part of their life’s work to conduct this oversight have either been removed or forced to “shut-up” or loose their jobs. My big question now is how is this mess going to be cleaned up? We are not asking the current candidates how they plan to deal with our domestic governmental crises. All eyes are on foreign affairs. I plan to determine how to cast my vote, in part, on the competence and leadership of an individual to repair the general damage done to our government. This will take years and focused attention.
2. It does not appear to me that the current administration plans to relinquish power at the end of their term. One of the great premises of our democracy is that those in power give it up willingly after a national election. The current slate of Republican candidates for office seems very lame for an organization that loves power to the extent that this Republican administration does. There is no candidate that represents the core power structure of the current administration, an unusual circumstance for an administration that has attempted to take control from the other branches of government. My great fear is that there will be another terrorist attack next summer, the administration will declare martial law, and the elections will be suspended. I know this sounds way out there. The President has the power to spy on us at will, our national guard is mostly over seas and we simply are unprepared for such an event. How easy it would be.
This is the ingredients for a totalitarian government. How can we avoid it? All of our hope is in the coming election. However, I have lost hope in the Democrats, especially after the passing of the spying bill last week. I am frightened.

In the Republican Presidential debate, "The leading Republican presidential candidates said yesterday that the military escalation in Iraq appeared to be restoring stability, and they berated their Democratic counterparts for advocating an end to American involvement there."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/us/politics/06debate.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

? They must have been reading that idiotic O'Hanlon and Pollack study that Frank Rich put the lie to. Or smoking something.

In contrast to claims of military successes, back in reality, I believe the statistics of Americans dead in Iraq last month were 81, the same number as in February and March, before the most recent escalation started. Iraqi casualties rose 33% over the prior month. And by the way on the political front a Sunni faction walked out of the government.

To cap it off the candidates knocked Obama for saying he would actually take action against bin Ladin in Pakistan if Pakistan refused to, then they said they might do it, but also said they shouldn't say they might do it because it might "offend" Pakistan to put such real pressure on it (horror of horrors to offend a country for not going after our real enemy).

These Fox-Republican officials and politicians (fops) are truly just that. Pandering idiots. Bad for America. It's time to turn the page already. If these idiot fop candidates are against Obama, that's the man I am for all the way!

"Both Mr. Romney and, to a lesser extent, Mr. Giuliani criticized Mr. Obama for a speech in which he threatened to send American troops into Pakistan without that nation’s approval. But later, under questioning, both said that as president they would keep open that very option, although they said Mr. Obama had been imprudent to raise the prospect of invading an ally.

“That is an option that should remain open,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I believe the senator didn’t express it the right way. I think the senator, if he could just say it over again, might want to say that we would encourage Musharraf to allow us to do it if we thought he couldn’t accomplish it.”

A spokesman for Mr. Obama, Bill Burton, said: “The fact that the same Republican candidates who want to keep 160,000 American troops in the middle of a civil war couldn’t agree that we should take out Osama bin Laden if we had him in our sights proves why Americans want to turn the page on the last seven years of Bush-Cheney foreign policy.”"

"It isn't true! Humans lived in peace for hundreds of thousands of years before violence and "barbarity" became institutionalized in religion and government. Read James DeMeo's SAHARASIA or THE FALL by Steve Taylor."

Nonsense. That's Retro-romantic pre-trans fallacy nonsense. Read Ken Wilber's "Up From Eden".

I finally got the streaming video to work and I'm HORRIFIED! Bill and Clive James both bought into the great lie of the patriarchy - that humans are naturally violent. It isn't true! Humans lived in peace for hundreds of thousands of years before violence and "barbarity" became institutionalized in religion and government. Read James DeMeo's SAHARASIA or THE FALL by Steve Taylor.

MR. MOYERS!
You, better than anyone, are in a postition to get this idea into the public consciousness - violence is INHUMAN! We are not this way "naturally" but because we have learned this behavior from a racist, sexist, elitist system - the same system you and Barbara Ehrenreich were decying as "class warfare." Clive James is reinforcing the lie that we can't control our violence because it's a part of us - don't fall for it! Violence and oppression are a direct result of the patriarchy advanced by the Abrahamic religions. That lie, that single, misunderstanding, keeps us passive in the face of genocide, slavery, rape and other forms of exploitation which enrich a few elite groups at the expense of the many.

PLEASE, PLEASE read those books and tell your viewers that humans CAN do better!

Mr. Clive James speaks of Ayaan Hirshi Ali as a hero and feminist, and wonders why more women, especially in the West, do not admire her more. I feel compelled to respond. First, women do not view heroism as men. We have watched our mothers suffer and overcome, we endure pain, we raise our children in a world where the child often come in last, and poverty, abuse, and lack of support is alive and well in all our cultures and nations. Thus Ayaan Hirshi Ali life’s experience does not strike most women as something extraordinary. Actually, she is a lucky woman to have been given a voice. Ayaan Hirshi Ali will never gain the respect of most women because most women this world have a strong belief in God and/or higher power, and respect their faiths. Believing women do not admire women who lack the wisdom to distinguish faith from culture. Ayaan Hirshi Ali experiences have to do with Islamic culture, not Islam itself. Islam is a religion that gives great status and respect to the female, and is one of the most liberating faiths for women. Many Islamic cultures (key word: CULTURES) have perverted the Islamic texts in the name of maintaining control and dominance over women and the family, when in fact, Islam was (and still is) the most liberating of faiths for the female. Perversions such as banning women from driving, beating women, wearing a veil, circumcision, or denying women education has nothing to do with Islam. So too are Ayaan’s experiences. What she has endured has to do with her culture and family, not Islam. Where she has gone wrong is banning the amazing and beautiful wisdom of faith. If she could only change her fight toward the dominant patriarchal culture she has emerged from, she would find support, sisterhood beyond imagination, and energy for her cause. Because inevitably, her plight is one of human rights, and human rights are congruent with true faith.

I believe most children who lose a parent find it difficult to not blame God. This saddens me and I would like to send Mr. James the following:
"We can, perhaps, conceive of a world in which God corrected the results of this abuse of free will by His creatures at every moment: so that a wooden beam became a soft as grass when it was used as a weapon, and the air refused to obey me if I attempted to set up init the sound-waves that carry lies or insults...In the game of chess you can make certain arbitrary concessions to your opponent, which stand the ordinary rules of the game as miracles stand to the laws of nature. You can deprive yourself of a castle, or allow the other man sometimes to take back a move made inadvertently. But if you conceded everything that at any moment happened to suit him-if all his moves were revocable and if all you pieces disappeared wheneverf their positions on the board was not to his liking-then you could not have the game at all. So it is with the life of souls in a world:fixed laws, consequences unfolding by causal necessity, the whole of natuaral order, are at once limits within which their common life is confined and also the sole condition under whch any such life is possible. Try to exclude the possiblity of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself." C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. You're a thoughtful man and man of conscious and I will, if you do not mind, pray for you...

There are three issues which must be represented for the General Population, so that government at all levels can be realigned to represent the interests of the Common Population, also.

The first issue is culture and the fact that all levels of government in the United States are harvesting the masses of the Common Population of the United States for maintenance and perpetuation of the culture of the U.S. Government, the culture of Commercial Interests and the Interests of Capital and the culture of the Professional Class to the exclusion of cultural interests of the 70% majority Common Population, and that through monetary harvesting of resources and educational inculcation of the masses of the Common Population of the United States, the Common Population are being intentionally suppressed, oppressed and tyrannized by ways of law, education and enforcement authority, the Common Population is being denied the means to develop and maintain its own Class and Culture. I am concerned that harvesting of the economic resources of the Common Population as indicated leaves the Common Population in a constant fight for both actual and cultural survival without a culture of its own and without the economic means even to originate and maintain a cultural infrastructure and framework that can allow the Common Population to establish a Class and Cultural infrastructure and framework for the Common Population that will secure their interests as a Class and Culture in their struggle with the cultures of all levels of government -- city, county, state and federal, the culture of Commercial Interest and the Interests of Capital and the culture of the Professional Class.

The second issue is politics and that the 70% majority Common Population of the United States as a Class and Culture are not politically represented in all levels of the government of the United States, and are in fact oppressed, suppressed and tyrannized by laws that benefit only the culture of the Government, the culture of Commercial Interests and the Interests of Capital and the culture of the Professional Class without the provision of substantial benefit to and for the 70% majority Common Population as a Class and Culture.

The third issue is the United States maintaining a National Economy that is not deindustrialized and financialized in pursuit of the Private Interests of Globalization, a World Economy and a New World Order that will create a common world population that functions as an UNDERCLASS, a Class and Culture without substantial economic benefit from their efforts designed by advocates of the New World Order to provide added value only to interests of Government, Commerical Interests and the Interests of Capital and Professional Interests without benefit being provided to the Common Population on a global basis.

Radio Stations would provide forums for the discussion of these issues with the broad masses of the Common Population of the United States and I feel that since the interests of the Common Population, the broad masses of the United States, are not represented in the Government of the United States at all levels, that it is necessary to talk directly to and with the broad masses of the United States, the Common Population, about the three issues I have indicated herein, so that Government on ALL levels in the United States can be realigned to represent the interests of the Common Population of the United States with regard to all three issues of my concern.

My concern in total is democracy for America and that at present I do not see our Government in the United States representing the tenets of democracy for America. Democracy is inclusive of all classes and cultures of society in a country. When, as in America at the present time, the 70% majority Common Population is politically excluded from all levels of Government and used and harvested as commodities in support of classes and cultures that are not their own without benefit to their own class and culture, this is not democracy.

Liberal Radio Stations would provide a forum for dialog regarding democracy for America and it would behoove the liberals of our country to somehow through the grace of God take advantage of the FCC's grant to whoever will come the chance to operate full powered radio stations during the one week window starting Oct.12th. See following link:
http://www.getradio.org/secure_a_station

Thomas G. Miller

Mr. Davis referred to Samantha Powers "a problem from hell-america and the age of genocide" and stated that the author points out that America has acted to prevent genocide and is a force against genocide. I think Mr. Davis should read a little slower. I'm reading this book now and the author's point is America does very little to prevent Genocide unless self-interest is at play. US only acted after the Holocaust, never in the case of Pol Pot's remapge through Cambodia, never in the case of Sadam and the Kurds. We also didn't do anything (as a country) in the Balkans, Rowanda and Darfur.

America didn't ratify the Genocide Convention until 1988, about 40 years after most of the world community signed off.

Clive James is very, very Australian, and that was the most fascinating part of a fascinating interview for me. If we wanted to know how the people of his generation (and mine)in that part of the world (which is also my part of the world) have thought of the United States until very recently, and have formed ideas about how to relate to this country when called upon to do so, his expression of thought, both with regard to politics and spirituality was an encapsulation of such motivations.

I was a child in New Zealand during World War Two, and have the same undying affection for the United States as a consequence. The situation then was, however, far different than what we find in Iraq or Afghanistan or even Dafur today. The Americans came down to fill a gap - ANZAC forces were away overseas fighting the Germans. Our countries hadn't been bombed by either side, nor would they be. American troops were not occupying our country; they destroyed no infrastructure to arrive; they came as peaceful protectors.

For both Mr. James and myself that 'invasion' was the best possible one that could ever be - it was Disneyland, bubble gum and toys and heroic young men who went off to fight terrible battles in distant islands. We didn't even hear the sound of the guns.

Iraq had been 'softened up' with bombing raids all during the Clinton administration. We ought never forget that. The civilian population had been subjected to hardships we can't imagine, and already the refugees were streaming out, even before the invasion. The entire operation was criminal and outside the rubrics of the United Nations.

I cannot join with Mr. James in saying that the toppling of Saddam was a good thing that would have worked if a few Australians had gone in and done that. All such interferences in sovereign countries are wrong.

Nor do I agree that the Constitution as written was a flawed document since those writing it were eager to maintain the power of a white oligarchy, only to be 'put right' as ideas of democracy developed. The very fact that the Constitution posed ideals towards which it could be pragmatically expanded is a credit to those original founders. Indeed they were only men, but they did know that the narrow cultural bounds in which they were forced to operate must continually be challenged, and they intentionally laid down that challenge.

And lastly, on the comment about the relations with Islam, I thought that the ease with which Mr. James addressed the confrontation with a bellicose cleric was a bit patronizing. Surely, Australia is a hot country, but so is the Middle East. In contrast, I listened in on House deliberations yesterday on amendments to a bill about energy. A congressman from Pennsylvania was addressing the plight of the Amish in his state, asking for an exception for their non use of electricity with respect to the boilers they operate. And I'll use that word again - respect. It seems to me that is the key to all interfaith discussions. Matters of dress are important in certain faiths, and they should be respected for that. As the Amish are respected here for the kind of boilers they operate.

But I don't want to be too harsh; I'm fairly sure Mr. James would agree with me. I wish he didn't feel as he does about the impossibility of divine intervention, but then, my father came back from that terrible war, so I have a different perspective.

And from that perspective, I was glad that the interview went as it did. The points on which we individually disagree with what Mr. James was saying, we are free to express opposition to - and I think Mr. Moyers manner of drawing out his guests rather than confronting them aggressively on critical ideas allows us to get a full expression of their ideas, which we then can and should chew on here as well. I would LOVE to see a discussion forum go up on the PBS boards for Mr. Moyers' Journal - I think it would rapidly outpace the old sadly defunct NOW board in contributions.

Please do keep this show on the air, powers that be! If I had an extra anything to contribute, I would, but nickeled and dimed is universal these days.

Wow Bill you really cannot win can you. I do pray that both Clive and yourself find and get reconciled with God as Clive especially will get a dreadful OMG no experience when he tries to wave that "it's all your fault finger" in God's face. I do appreciate to hear you and those you interview. Thanks!

thank you, Bill, for bringing us Clive James and for the program with Nichols and Fein. time for impeachment to properly addresss the Constitutional crisis, as the Founders intended and provided for. how do we help bring this about? We're grateful that you're doing a magnificent service to this country by bringing intelligent discourse to the airwaves.

Educaton is advertised to pursue either higher wages or a new kind of employment which, coupled with a higher wage, would inherently amount to fulfilling Adam Smith's philosphy in "The Wealth of Nations."


....Unfortunately I did not get to see Bill's recent interview with Mr. James..It was not broadcast on my PBS channel. I received a repeat of the mass media and the selling of the Iraq War. In any case I always find the comments on Bill's Journal page very insightful and enlightening, especially the comment on what an American education is really for. The "Wealth of Nations" seems to be based on a proletariat(people who work using their bodies with no college education vs. the college educated (people who make their money using their brains). Education is only for moving up the social Darwinism ladder. Apparently nobody wants to a person who uses his/her body parts to make an honest living and this is supposed to be why education, a college education, to be exact is all important. It's scary to think of all those people coming home each and every day to have to do house-work or home-work, who have come to believeit is beneath their education level. This is a sad, sad reflection on our social Darwinism education ladder. Better to hire an illegal immigrant aka new slave who's "just happy to be here" in the United States, to do that thankless job......or those without a college eduation. Chief Cook and Bottle Washer seems to be so beneath the Social Darwinism ladder climbers.

When I sat down to hear Clive James talk to Bill (on tape, my PBS station runs it at 11 PM Fridays,) I was ready to hear a good discourse on liberal humanism. Instead, at the end, I arrived at the conclusion that we now have a new version of Humanism and for want of a better label I will call it "NEOliberal Humanism." Neoliberal Humanism, as I concluded from James' rapid-fire delivery of his "moral truths" is one that defines the "Human" in Humanism as only those of us who believe in the Western tradition of thought and Judeo-Christian value system.

Starting with the limitations of that framing, it is no wonder that he would not ponder why it is morally OK for the West to arm and finance the tyrants who suppress their people and then claim to go to the rescue of those people, to bring down the tyrants who no longer do our bidding, just to replace them with those who will do our bidding for a while.

No wonder that he would not ponder why it is morally OK for the Western powers to not allow, in international organizations of justice, those who do not fully subscribe to the Judeo-Christian system of oppression. No wonder that he would not ponder why it is morally OK for the West to dominate these institutions and, for instance, never have an adherent of Islam (or for that matter, an atheist) to become the Secretary General of the U.N. or be given the same veto powers accorded to others on The Security Council.

No wonder that he would not ponder why it is morally OK for there not to be a single judge representing the Islamic values on the International Court of Justice. We always seem to find the Christians or Jews who live in moslem countries to represent Moslems on the International institutions.

But Clive James also has a large contribution to make to this discourse, if others like Bill Moyers would leave their adoration of him aside and give him the benefit of their critical thinking by questioning James' conclusions.

James' fast thinking on his feet and rapid-fire delivery of answers make for good television but not for good discussion.

Bill, you need to bring him back and this time fully engage him with critical questioning. I know you can do better!!

This is one of those times when I really mourn the fact that PBS won't let me get their channel through Direct TV anymore.

The most important people to remember are obvious, I guess - Hitler, Kennedy, Mao Tse-Tung, Jefferson, Shakespeare...

I'd like to see some unusual people make the list, though, like Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary; Starhawk and Z. Budapest; Elaine Morgan and Elizabeth Gould Davis. Anyone who doesn't know the work of those 6 people has half an education as far as I'm concerned.

When religion is defined publicly as a set of personal beliefs, the level of discourse will rise. Let those who know the Devine share there Love, and the rest continue the quest, for at the end of our days well shall all know peace.

God is Love and Love alone. Judgments of all kinds are only the folly of man.

We only judge to excuse our own conscious, we judge to justify our own fortunes.

God has not need for conscious nor fortune, and therefore need not judge.

Realize we are all God's consciousness and the eternal fortunes will be bestowed upon you in this vary moment.

When you judge, you leave this moment in favor of the past, or for future reward, you leave God.

This is my first post on the Moyers blog. I have been a Moyers fan since hearing his commencement speech at Wake Forest University in the nineties. However, this is the first time he let me down. He did this by not critically questioning Clive James (I think in an effort to be amiable and civil and maybe due to his admiration for him.)

Bill, how could you not ask him if it wasn't "Cultural Imperialism" to project our values to other societies? How could you not ask him how his attitude differed from "Might makes Right"? There is no doubt Clive James has a lot we can learn from. But we (and you) also owe him a critical review of his ideas.

after listening to clive james last night I am given reason to consider the idea of how we rationalize killing.
This is not the first time I have looked into the many ways that seem at times unacceptable and then acceptable to kill human beings. From a death penalty of errors to the idea of a good war, we seek to assuage our doubts and fears and make ourselves good no matter the outcome of our choices. We desire to create a bigger and better way to hide our responsbilities as our poor choices build upon themselves making our society and world unliveable for ever greater numbers of people, plants and animals.

We are killing one another and it is harder to hide the action.

We have made a blind fold for God and we wear it.


Yes, Clive james didn't seem to think George W. would enact his desire to be supreme leader but he did mention a future where he felt a president would build upon what this president has started.

Power corrupts and the history of the world has been a testament to individuals who would be corrupt and those who would follow corruption. I think with this new book, Clive is trying to remind us that even though millions will follow such corrput leaders there will always be those who would risk their lives to stop corruption based on their inner wisdom and will to make real the reasons to act upon the good in our nature.

I have always thought Evil is not chosen by the many unless it is well disguised as good. This president has made me re think this as I watch all the fools of us choosing evil eveyday with the obvious disguises he has placed upon his plans for wealth and war with every word he speaks.

We that act out even the most simple evils that hurt our enemies or our neighbors or both for any reason, make the worst possible future inevitable.

I am shocked by the lack of postings on the first segment of the show. I find only 3 that are arguably from that part and it is the part that affects us all the most. Inequality is getting UGLY. Not only is there so few talking about it, no one has any thoughts on what, if anything, can be done about it. When and who will that person be?

Clive James has educated himself on the major issues of the day and his cultural critiques have much to offer any citizen of the world. His concept of democratizing knowledge--making it available to anyone who cares to learn--is particularly important.
All of this makes it more confounding that he has not found the study of God to be worthy of his time. Instead, he has chosen to cling to a concept of the divine that occurred to him at the age of six when his father was tragically killed on his way home from WWII. I do not believe we would excuse a man of such enormous intellect for expressing a lack of curiosity about any other topic. However, as long as religion is defined publicly as a set of personal beliefs, the level of discourse will remain abysmally low.

After watching last nights "Journal", I was moved to tears over the state our country has found itself in. The masses that could actually effect a change in leadership and policy have become so disenfranchised by their struggle to simply survive, one can not imagine our candidates in the next election swaying much off the course we are currently on. As long as those with the most money are allowed to buy the political figure of their choice, nothing will change.

As a student of International Relations, I submit the following candidate as the "one person worth remembering", and it is a chilling one:

Sirhan Sirhan, assasin of Robert Kennedy.
As quoted in the Sept. 6, 2005 issue of "Crime Magazine", "Sirhan knew that his crime propagandized a political or ideological point of view – "a propaganda of the deed" as the 1969 National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, described it. Sirhan attempted to advance his cause through publicity and there was a cause and effect relationship to his crime. In effect, Sirhan was an "unaffiliated terrorist" and the motive for his act was established on the night he murdered Robert Kennedy when he cried out, "I did it for my country.""
Additionally, the article states:
"There were a few media outlets in the United States that recognized the true nature of Sirhan's act but their voices went unheard. The Jewish Observer recognized that Robert Kennedy's assassination would leave a "deep scar on America's relations with the Arab world" and it noted how the State Department played down Sirhan's Arab origins in order not to offend Arab states. They also observed that members of Congress were avoiding all reference to the Arab-Israeli conflict."
It is of interest to note that Sirhan was not, a "muslim extremist", but actually a Christian Palestinian, refugeed from Jerusalem and educated in this country, who claimed to have witnessed as a young child, Israeli soldiers slashing off the breast of a family member, and who felt that the plight of the Palestinians was largely being overlooked or ignored by this country. That Sirhan had been a supporter of RFK until he learned that RFK intended to continue and expand US support of Israel is also worth noting.
What amazes me is that these sort of statements are still being made by extremists today. Change the names and nationalities, and you have Bin Laden justifying bombing the World Trade Center, the train bombers in Spain, "Tube bombers" and the group of Middle Eastern Doctors in England who recently attempted terrorist strikes in UK airports. What motivation can create an assasin, or "suicide bomber" out of someone who has personally benefited from living in the West? Could it be that in the midst of trying to eek out a living, we have inadvertantly overlooked and allowed our government's continued disinterest in the plight of Palestinian refugees, and unwavering military support of Israel in the Palestinian conflict? Could the answer really be so simple? Sirhan, and his declarations, deserve to be remembered, before it is too late.


I know all this hateful talk, that comes from people who claim to be Christians, can be very disturbing. But there are Christians who understand what means to be a Christian. those of us who ask ourselves, what would Jesus do or say, if he had to deal with Terrorists, muslims, or anyone else who is not a Christian. I think jesus would say that he gave each person a right to make there Choices in life, and he will Judge them Later. It is our responciablty to look out for our own soul,Treat others with respect,and love our neighbors. You can't make anyone love god. You can only set an example and Hope they Will follow. Those on the Religious Right will have their time to be judged by God. the rest of use should keep on fighting, in our our own non Violent way for what we believe in.

Thank you, Virginia Lavender, for pointing out the silence that Mr. Moyers exhibited when Mr. James approved of the invasion of Iraq (to eliminate a tyrant).

By pointing it out you have renewed my faith in Mr. Moyers judgement. The British Empire was built on the kind of interventionism that we exhibited in Iraq - from the getgo, not just the occupation. Mr. Clive appears to be what we refer to as a kind of neo-liberal, a shallow progressive. This is a point of view taken only from the interview. There's a strain of islamophobia in what he had to say. He's a throw back to what we think liberalism was in the Kennedy years, when the best and brightest looked to dominate the world through gun-boat diplomacy, government toppling, and overall bullying. Of course, Mr. Clive sees only an America that came to Australia's "rescue", not the one that burned the civilian population of two major Japanese cities and Dresden, among other atrocities (after all we're the "good guys"). It's this asymmetrical moralism that has been our demise. Bush is but one example - Mr. Clive is but another.

Thank you Mr. Moyers!

Enjoyed hearing thoughts of Clive James. Another voice from the left, by PBS' favorite talkshow host from the left, Bill Moyers.

It is particularly fascinating that Mr. James recognizes that delicate balance we reside in with regards to the muslim majority vis a vis that minority of muslim terrorists.
He clearly states his opinion, and I quote,
"The biggest problem we face on the international scale is that-- is to protect the majority of Muslims, the vast majority of Islam, to convince them somehow that their extremists are their enemies and not just ours. And if we can't do that then we don't deserve to survive. And there's a reason why the majority is silent. And there's a very simple one. And that's fear. The extremists are very dangerous."
Is it not an indication of fear, that PBS itself has prevented moderate muslim voices to be heard criticizing those, terrorists, within their own faith? PBS has not allowed a movie, "Islam Vs. Islamists" to be shown across the United States as it is deemed too controversial. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) helped fund to the tune of nearly $250MM this production, only to prevent it from being broadcast on PBS. And this documentary's valiant effort is to present to the viewer that indeed there are moderate muslim voices to be heard; chastising the terrorists within their faith.
So, Clive James makes his thesis regarding the challenge in dispelling the fear among the vast majority of muslim believers who would otherwise not subscribe to terror---but PBS refuses to assist with this concept in broadcasting the courageous voices within the muslim faith. So, Americans ask, "Where are the moderate voices within Islam?" PBS shrugs its shoulders and responds, "We don't know, we have not seen nor heard of any".
But they are out there. PBS simply will not help in revealing them in broadcasting, nationally, productions such as, Islam vs. Islamists.
Why? As Clive James says, "Fear". PBS is fearful.
I look forward to next weeks' guests from the Left, those who will be interviewd by Mr. Moyers on their ideas of impeachment of our president. Another predictable production from that side of the aisle which is so well represented on PBS.

Terrific interview with Clive James. I agree with his statement concerning the existence, or lack of, God. I thought it was odd that Bill didn't interject an opposing opinion, after all we are all entitled to our own beliefs in what remains of our democracy. The absolute hypocrisy of George W. Bush to claim he is a Christian floors me. He used the fundamentalist movement to get "elected" and has continued to use them whenever it suits his fancy. I have been actively involved in elections and government since my teen age years, longer ago than I care to admit, and I find myself at a point in life where I have no confidence in my government at any level. The interests of large corporations seem to come before the interests of my fellow citizens. My daughter just returned from a trip abroad and I asked her what reactions she heard from her foreign hosts concerning our government. She said they were more concerned about the filtered news that Americans receive. So keep on being my reason for staying home on Friday nights, Bill. We need your voice to keep us sane.

Dear Baby Boomers (and their children, by association),

Please realize that your residual disillusionment is that of your twenty year old self, crystallized within your psyche, frozen at the level of a very young person's innocence and life experience. You didn't receive the gratification you expected at the time, became disillusioned, cynical, bored and lazy. You gave up and forgot about what you once thought mattered, too burned out to allow that part of you to mature to a place of more patient resolve.

As you approach the later years of your lives, I encourage you to allow your life experience to re-ignite your passions in the more evolved way that is now available to you. Have the courage to "be real" for real this time.

Your numbers are great, as is the influence you have on your children.

Get your buns out there and vote! Don't wait around for the perfect candidate to appear, to be inspired to fulfill your responsibility as a citizen in a democracy. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.

In spite of all the ugly truths of the nature of politics, elected officials are still elected by the people. The 2000 election is the perfect example of voter self-interest and laziness. The Ralph Nader bunch picked a bad time to be self-serving and tout their views by voting for a guy who will never be elected president. The lazy people, who didn't bother to vote at all, because none of the candidates "turned them on", as one woman I know said, deserve their share of responsibility for the present circumstances.

Government involves diplomacy and compromise, whether we like it or not. As a result, there are times when one may feel forced to choose the "lesser of two evils".If you haven't bothered to participate, you have no right to complain.

History thunders on, with or without us. Yours might be that one last voice that sends the see-saw in the other direction.

PS - Check out the children's book "Horton Hears a Who"

It seems there are so many voices who agree something should be done about this administration. Why isn't anything being done? We used to be able to make a difference by marching in mass but even the masses can no longer make a difference. Neither side is listening to their constituents. Is this a sign that it is hopeless ?
Just put your earpods in, hook up to your Iphone and you can ignore the loss of your freedom.

The people, who refuse to see the evil crimes of this administration even when faced with facts, are of the brigade of the WILLFULLY IGNORANT.

These YES people (or afraid-to-be-wrong people) are harmful to America and our democracy. Citizens of a democracy should question their leaders, question war, question spending of OUR tax dollars, question the kowtowing to business at the expense of the people and our aging infrastructure.

I find it ironic that a morally abiguous Rudy Guliani finds supporters in SC, where they NEVER would have supported such a candidate before. It shows that the label on the can is more important than the in ingredients within.

Wake up! that's what we got the last time.

There used to be a comic strip, called Pogo, and the best thing to come out of the Okie Panokie swamp, was;"we have found the enemy! And the enemy is us!
Could it be said now, that we have found the axis of evil, Dick, W., and Karl,This would best, discussed at a trial for high treason don't you think?

Simply put Clive James should have opened some eyes tonight. I think our current president should be remembered for his insistance of being the man in charge. He should go down in history as the worst goof in that office we have ever had.

First a commendation to PBS for bringing back one of a few honest journalists willing to report critical truths in a critical time - and to Bill Moyer for coming back. Don't leave again, okay! These truths are too important and sources are limited.
There is no question as to whether Cheney and Bush and others should be impeached, none. They have made a mockery of the laws of the land and of the Constitution and that alone, to say nothing of the lies, the cheating, the graft and warping of our major institutions, is grounds for impeach-
ment.
Now George, our born again christian, took his solemn oath to uphold the laws of the land and to defend the constitution, so help him god!! He immediately set about, under the direction of Dick Cheney, to destroy and disobey many of the laws and to ignore much of what we and the constitution holds as sacred to our democracy. I have a list of ten unquestionable affronts in case you need them.
There is no question as to whether but as to when as the timing is critical and grows more so for the very reasons that Mr. Nichols and Mr. Fein so openly discussed on your previous journal program on impeachment. The problem, as they described it, is the unmitigated power grab by our titular president and the absolute dangers of "taking impeachment off the table" and doing literally nothing. Impeachment is a constitutional prerogative to be exercised by the congress when it becomes obvious that the very Constitution they, the Congress, are sworn to uphold is being shredded by the executive branch of government. Might I be so brash as to suggest that if the Congressmen/women do not institute proceedings for impeachment when it is so blatantly obvious, that they too are impeachable and should be impeached for not abiding by their sworn oath to defend the Constitution.
That may be quite a stretch, but a quorum would be much easier to achieve.
Out of abject fear may I refer you to a piece by Elliot D. Cohen in the Democratic Underground where he sites and i quote,"In may 2007, Bush posted a NATIONAL CONTINUITY POLICY to the White House Web site that bypasses Congress and puts him in charge of all three branches of the federal government if there is a "catastrophic Emergency" vaguely defined to include anything from a destructive hurricane to a terrorist attack. This leaves democracy in America dangling on a thin thread of chance that such a "catastrophe" doesn't happen." Now, if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it sure does me.
Then immediately following that power grab by Bush and crew, his lacky Michael Chertoff National Security Adviser came out with is "gut" feeling that there woul be a terrorist attach probably this summer, just prior to some big elections stuff. Almost makes one wonder what the Adminstration has planned. It's not a matter of whether, but when and the sooner the better.
Thank you for what you do.
John R Munden


Clive James, himself, is a MOST memorable person! He is exactly right that Americans must impeach Bush (and Cheney!) because they have damaged the rule of law of the USA by placing their views and values ABOVE everything else. They are forging a still more adversarial society and economy based on anxiety and endless war.
Clive James is also brilliant in his comment that detainees should not be treated with punishment and deprivation, but kindness and comforts to show OUR compassion. Most were only in the wrong place at the wrong time, but do become radicalized in detention. Torture produces resistance , hatred and more terrorists with bigger grudges. Hurray for Clive, too, about his championing of non-academic language!! As a longtime teacher of high school and college writing, less formal language tends to invite understanding and, as Clive James says, the world of thought and ideas IS the world of Everyone.

Thanks to Bill Moyers for bringing these human treasures to Everyone!
J. Thielsen

"Clive James: Thank you for offering your views. I think the most imperative idea is that religion does not give mankind its humanity, its altruism. It is time to eradicate the idea of a Sky-god who is responsible for us. Quite the contrary, we must assume responsibility for ourselves. This is the only way to eliminate the "barbarism" in all of us--no more excuse of "god's divine plan" allowing genocide, rape, murder, prejudice. The time is now for us all to "put ourselves out there"--to live with courage and without fear. Many thanks to you and to Bill Moyers--please continue!"

For these reasons, a Moyers interview with the theologian Gordon Kaufman is in order. I think Mr. Moyers would enjoy Professor Kaufman.

Clive James is possessed of a fine intelligence, and tremendous insight. I am grateful to him for his generosity in expressing respect, and even affection for, the United States, and all that it has been (and in many ways, still is).

Carl Jung expressed the ugly side of an entity's nature as its shadow. It's hard to deny that our country and many of its resident "Individuals" have succumbed to the shadow, by way of fear, greed, judgment, despair or ennui.

The gifts and the burdens of the Individual are responsibility and free will. These universal truths cannot be denied. In trying to deny responsibility, one has acknowledged it, and in avoiding choice, still a choice is made.

Disdain and cynicism are not courageous. The concept of fairness, human construct that it is, affords the individual the challenge to choose right action, especially when fairness is lacking. This is true no matter which side of "Fair" one finds oneself on.

As a society of individuals, we have the power to courageously acknowledge our shadow, and engage the effort and attention required to retrieve our equilibrium, both personally and collectively. We have the ability to restore the unique balance that has given the US its distinctive place in history.

The individual who draws strength from a place of grace, rather than fear or anger, is the foundation of a truly successful society.

Clive James: Thank you for offering your views. I think the most imperative idea is that religion does not give mankind its humanity, its altruism. It is time to eradicate the idea of a Sky-god who is responsible for us. Quite the contrary, we must assume responsibility for ourselves. This is the only way to eliminate the "barbarism" in all of us--no more excuse of "god's divine plan" allowing genocide, rape, murder, prejudice. The time is now for us all to "put ourselves out there"--to live with courage and without fear. Many thanks to you and to Bill Moyers--please continue!

Funny, We look at these so called "great people" and of the times in which they made their mark as if these individuals single handedly accomplished the evil or good all by themselves. We need to remember, these people are simple a product of thier times. The hopes,values, ambitions and fears of the people is very much reflected in the ability and power of the leaders. What we are seeing unfold in our beloved country is a classic case of this.

We have become aloof and indeferent to the injustice, and crimes to humanity, because we are isolated in our beautiful homes and luxury cars.

Some justify their ignorance and indeference, by identifying some source of their fear wheather it be Al Queda, Saddham or mr boogy man, it does't matter. We simply need an object of fear and agression. We make a case for a religious conflict, but in fact non of the religions supports the violence we see. Let me clarify that. On the contrary, yes, the religion will support the conflict, the prophets or Saviour have not.

So you see my dear friends and fellow citizens, we are actually seeing ourselves in the actions of these men, and women for that matter. If you for one moment acknowledge this, then it makes us responsible. Responsible for the good,..as well as the evil we live in our time.

Our present political situation needs to be looked at in this light. We have the ability and responsibility to do something. It is imperitive we put aside our self-indulgence, intimidation and fear and act to revive, uphold and maintain the founding principles that has made this country great. My friends, this is the only thing of value we really have, our fundamental values. Not the million dollar houses, cars and boats. It is the concept of justice, the honor of sacrifice, and the value of accountability (not necessariliy revenge), that has brought nations to our door steps.

Please wake up!

In my opinion impeachment should be very much on the table for Bush & Cheney.
This administration is full of corruption and lies that has cost this country dearly both monetarily and ethically.
It is my feeling that a special prosecutor should be appointed so that the subpeonas have to be honored and executive privilege cannot be used to stop testimonies.

Our Congress has an obligation - not a choice - but an obligation to at least look into impeachment. We have a lot of candidates running for President telling us what they will do if they are elected, and most of these candidates are currently servicing in Congress. Wthe exception of Dennis Kucinovich, I haven't seen any of them moving toward impeachment. My question is, if they are unwilling to do their duty as congressmen, why should we believe they will do their duty as President?

For all the posturing about how impeachment is 'off the table', I encourage our representatives to view it from a totally different perpective.
Considering the degree to which this administration has ruined America's moral standing in the eyes of the world, impeachment of Bush and Cheney may indeed stand as an act of redemption, allowing We the People to distance ourselves, albeit only symbolically, from these madmen at the helm.
In the end it is their arrogance and pride which have undone us. We must abandon these destructive attitudes and begin the long apology we owe the world.

Tim
Santa Monica, CA

So is anyone going to answer the questions, or do you continue your interminable rants?

Bill, I have respected your sinceretity but your objectivity is very poor. I try to be as objective as my own biases will allow. In your interview with Clive I noticed that when he commented on the very real fact that TYRANTS, have to be disposed and he agreed with the disposition of Saddam, you were silent. (See the tape). Clive was right he should have been replaced and Bush and his advisers underestimated the aftermath of conflict. No one has a crsytal ball and as you stated on the program, the Muslims Extremest have one adjenda
TO CREATE A Muslim World. You are a very bright and sincere man but you too are also caught up in this Liberal/Conservative orientation. After all these years and especially because it is PUBLIC TELEVSION, WHY NOT JUST BE OBJECTIVE. I AM AN OBJECT PERSON AND I TRULY TRY TOO SEE BOTH SIDES OF AN ISSUE. IT VERY DIAPPOINTING TO ME WHEN I SEE THIS EXTREME BIAS ON ISSUES (NOT ONLY BY YOU BUT ON THE RIGHT AS WELL) BECAUSE IT STRKES ME AS PETTY.( Your better than that)! WHEN ARE BOTH SIDES GOING TO GET THE MESSAGE!!! LOOK AT CONGRESS ISN"T A DISGRACE?

Should Bush and Cheney be impeached? Absolutely! I'm 56 years old and never have I felt ashamed of my country until the past few years following the policies and incompetence of this administration, the new Republicans and weak Democrats. I feel America's greatness is questionable for the future. Our democracy is being eroded by growing influence by monopolistic trends in big business. Our Congress is being bought by lobbyists. Our country is in decline and I've lost trust in my government's ability to do the right thing to the point of actually thinking about somewhere else to live someday. How's that for irony Mr. President? America may someday have refugees wanting to flee America looking for freedom.

We will have todeal with Muslem extremist as long as we have designated leaders who are fundamentalist Christians or other intolerant Christians who are trying to destroy Islam or are perceived as trying to destroy Islam. Christians would have people ready to give up their lives for their faith if they perceived that someone was trying to destroy their faith. We have to identify as people who are opposed to George Bush or anyone else who is trying to lead an anti-Islamic Crusade. This is the only way that Islam and Christianity can survive. They must see that we who are not Muslem are not all trying to destroy them. I had three children who attended Chicago Public Schools and had Muslem classmates. Many of these students dressed in accordance with Islamic rules but were also very outgoing and accepting of those outside their faith. They only wanted to be respected and be allowed to practice their religion. Just as Catholics and Protestants ended their extreme positions of each other in the Treaty of Westfallia, so Christians and Muslems need a Westfallia.

If we must trust our government then we must impeach G.W. Bush. If proceedings are not initiated (even if unsuccessful) then we are condoning this executives (or monarch's) over throw of our government. And for the comment that we just need to back this president on the "War On Terror," just consider that his policies have increased global terror... How convenient for him!

I believe that each speaker tonight touched on the supreme value in each citizen having a vote.
What shall we do to ensure that those in power don't take that away from us?
Perhaps the YES men idea of selling our votes isn't so very funny afterall.
Who will teach the people what to do to breath life into our democracy?
Who will show us how to galvanize our voice in our vote?
Where might the moments of harmonious joy take place?

The Supreme Court has begun to repudiate some of the Bush initiatives. This will take too long. The House must build a strong case for impeachment of this administration. Their whole sense of government is based upon assumptions that are antithetical to Constitution of the United States of America.

Reading the variety of comments on just one interview,, I am amazed, as always, by the differences of perception of identical information. It is as if some people do not-cannot hear what someone else is really saying.
Misinterpretations, from inability to understand another frame of reference, is what the metaphor of "The Tower of Babel" means. Given nearly universal blindness and deafness--and they're watching Bill Moyers, by All That Is--I despair of there ever being a sane world inhabited by homo sapiens. Next species, please.

Ah, yes. Let us remember all the hyperbole and promises about post-9/11. Let us remember that we were promised a short war, and that on a carrier, we were told "Mission Accomplished." Now, as I stated earlier, with more than 3,000 of our young, and not-so-young, women and men sacrificed to a "war" that should never have been fought, we can proudly say that we are winning??? Who is doing the dying for you? Do you care? I do.

I would like to see all the people that say "Bush is bad" go thru the stress of being president, 9/11, military pressure after 9/11. Invading Iraq was the right decision, Americans have just lost the faith in our Commander in Chief. If we just stand by him, we can win this war on terror. I'm not saying you have to stand by the Bush Administation, stand by this government and military that gives you the right to say these things on here. 6 years ago, people wanted revenge for 9/11, now that we are taking revenge, they don't want it. The President was doing what the people want, and now he's standing up saying to us, if we can't make up our mind, you elected me, so i'll make the decision. If we leave Iraq now, it will give "Al Queda the political support and hate of the US they needed to strengthen their position" so its up to us, as Americans of the Greatest Country on this Planet to make the decision: do we, or don't we want Freedom?

trust the government, not the "drive by media"

I had the distinct pleasure of receiving your broadcast tonight interveiwing cultural critic Clive James who, among other worthwhile topics, speaks of humanism and history as often popularly irrelevant and relegated to convenient importance. Often irrelevant because "western culture" is still perfecting Adam Smith's philosophy of self interest, quintessentally to the exclusion of others and historical relevance. The result of which is what we refer to today as "lobbyists." Culturally this translates into the ever popular pusuit of consumer goods which are marketed to our basic desires to feel good about ourselves. But who remebers "The Wealth of Nations?" The success of it is such that we don't have to remember it, we live it.

Educaton is advertised to pursue either higher wages or a new kind of employment which, coupled with a higher wage, would inherently amount to fulfilling Adam Smith's philosphy in "The Wealth of Nations." Even in academia, where one should resonably expect that there ought to be a free exchange of ideas, the elite academicians require club membeship into their sphere of influnce, which by the way is a pursuit of self interest. I think the only humanistic plug for education is in the form of an advertisement for the Untied Negro College Fund "the mind is a terrible thing to waste." What a humanistic statement that is!

Humanism, if it were to really work, (to really work as well as The Wealth of Nations)would have to be a self interest of and in the pursute of learning; a renaissance of "Humanism." Humanism not however posited in and controled by the ever impending ivory towers, but humanism as a grass roots movement which political leaders don't just tap into, but are instead a part of (in some ways suggestive of Al Gores new book "The Assult On Reason.") The United States, is a democracy becoming a democracy. It is a democracy because, theoretically, everyone (everyone eligable) can vote; we are a democracy of self interests. We are not a democracy of humanist interests; and if Adam Smith had writen the "Humanism of Nations" we might be complaing that there isn't enough focus on the "individual" and that there should be some mystical mechanism in place (the electoral college) to be the gate-check on rampant democracy. Mr. James has a point! If there were some "divine intervention" NOW would be the time, but as it turns out chance rules the universe. Can "We" by chance make a change?

For CLive:

Your comment on there not being a god or God because horrible things happened and he/she/it didn't intervene is interesting in light of your earlier comment on the world waiting for the United states to intervene in the world's various genocides. If God intervened then there would be no opportunity for any country or individual to intervene on the side of good. The hard choice to make sacrifices for others would be gone. Then who would be good and why? Or possibly why would anyone choose to be good except because of fear? And that begins to sound like the comment you made about moderate Muslims being quiet because of the terrorism of the religious fanatics. Which leads us to the question, if God would intervene overtly in human affairs where would it end? Who would love the ultimate religious terrorist - an omnipotent God who leaves no chance for the independent emergrgence of human decency?

It seems that America in general is consumed with a focus on "me" and unwilling to exert the simple efforts to make their voices of discontent with the current bungles, blunders and blatent disregard for choices that best serve Americcans. This acceptance of the sad status quo we live sets a dangerous path for those that follow after us.

We are living in a time of the loss of civil liberties, a shrinking of the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, and a presidency which seems hell-bent on fostering a society based on the promotion of wealth and the disregard of the worth of the common citizen. I am frightened, not so much for myself, but for my children. Please keep bringing people in who are as able as Clive James in analizing the current political and social situation that has come about as a result of 6 1/2 years of the Bush administration.

I would be on board with a movement to impeach the president for all of the above reasons and so many more that could be listed here.

Thank you for riveting and thoughtful television!

Peter Eldridge

Yes, during the conversation with Mr. James, I heard what I keep thinking about myself--I am the conservative. These bloks who claim to be are anything but.

The right has failed. Of course, I am ardently pro-union.

I believe President Bush should be remembered for the lesson he gives regarding democracy and the Constitution--by his unapologetic ignorance and ignoring of the pillars on which our country's existence was founded. He should be remembered for his ignoble and hypocritical shrugging off of the horrific results of the devastating decisions in Iraq, resulting in the loss of over 3,000 lives, whose unknown and unfinished additional contributions to our country's life and welfare will forever be lost. I watch the daily casualty roll call and feel a sadness that will always be with me.

I BELIEVE THAT MR. BUSH SHOULD AT LEAST BE CENSURED IF NOT IMPEACHED. ANY FUTURE PRESIDENTS OR VICE PRESIDENTS MUST BE AWARE THAT IN OUR DEMOCRACY OTHER BRANCHES OF OUR GOVERNMENT CAN NOT BE IGNORED. MAYBE WE NEED TO MAKE CHANGES IN THE CONSTITUTION TO PREVENT THE PRESIDENT FROM USURPING HIS POWER.

How about "Civil Disobedience" H.D.Thoreau,or "Common Sense" T. Payne? The commander in "Thief" hasn't read either, I don't believe.

So who do you believe is worth remembering? Which individual, for good or ill, do you believe is most important for generations to come to understand and learn from? And why?

Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher.

Gosh, Chris Hayes, I am proud to be a Christian who reveres the Beatitudes. You might look them up. They mention nothing about following the tenets of St. Rush. I bet David Eddy could share them with you.

Putting that aside, it's a very long list of those who are worthy of remembrance but often forgotten. How about Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, forgotten while still alive, who just received the Congressional Gold Medal in July? In all of human history, there have been few figures who have had such a profound, positive impact.

Bill Moyers,
I think Jesus Christ is the most important person to remember. What He taught was the importance of the individual. He also taught the importance of doing what is right and good to support quality people in a quality society. He came to save the world; not condemn the world.
He taught love one another; not preemptive killing just in case someone might be a problem. The Christian consevatives do not follow the teachings of Christ. They are supporting death and destruction to support their love of self and materialistic capitalism.
Our infrastructure is crumbling and we are trapped in a no win quagmire. We know the truth and ignore it.
Dave

To Chris Haynes -

Did you seriously just write that you are "proud to be a conservative American Christian" because you abhor politically motivated dishonesty and the obstruction of justice?

I wonder only one thing: have you been awake for the past seven years?

Perhaps we should remember Sandy Berger, who, as a FORMER member of Clinton's cabinet, went into a Federal building, took classified documents, destroyed them, and when caught, lied about it. I am proud to be a conservative American Christian.

Well Bill, I'm hoping we won't need to make a choice on who our culture includes or excludes as models of democratic voices. I've been quoting at my blog one man who's been largely forgotten, a minister named William Sloane Coffin, who died last year. But as Al Gore mentions in his new book, the Internet has opened up the forum and has the potential to bring many who would otherwise be voiceless into public awareness, if not prominence. The Web won't create the light of transformation, however: we'll have to do that, one individual at a time. For as I mention in my various writings on what I call "neo-transcendentalism," the universal can only be realized through the energy, commitment, and above all, the autonomy of the individual.

Whom should America remember?

A Republican, whose sobering words his foolhardy contemporaries have chosen to ignore:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

We are the United States of Abnesia...I am the author of a petition to bring baqck an agency that is the reactivation of the US Civilian Conservation Corps.

Sadly many Americans need to know of this agency and needs good PR as the enrollees are fading away fast and this excellent agency is still on the books and never was abolished and it only needs to have money appropriated...and our youth will not be wasting their lives in quiet despiration and give them something constructive to do than holding a rifle.

Jay

St Petersburg.FL

We are not fighting Al Queda in Iraq; we are fighting the Bush Administrations bungling of the Iraq war and occupation. We should never have occupied Iraq.
It gave Al Queda the political support and hate of the US they needed to strengthen their position. We need to do what ever it takes to eliminate Al queda in Pakistan.
Selling our weapons to the Arabs in the middle East when we have killed a lot of their innocent people is madness.
While we fumble around in Iraq, Iran is developing nuclear weapons. That should be our main concern. Iraq is a waste of lives, time and resources. They will never change.
Dave

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