Sunday, December 22, 2013

Socialism Explained - Abbott & Costello and the wailing wall in Jerusalem

Apply What You Have Learned

When you hear a good idea, focus on what you can do on a practical level to apply what you have learned. Don't feel that you fulfill your obligation by just hearing good ideas. On the practical level, what can you do to improve?

Love Yehuda Lave

Socialism explained
here is the link, hope it lightens your day

On the way to the Wailing wall to wail with Joy and tears:

Trust Must Be Earned

by Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Orwell was 29 years before his time.  1984 has occurred in 2013. We live under the watchful eyes of governmental voyeurs, being watched and eavesdropped on by self appointed 'security bureaucrats' and our private space invaded by officious aliens.
On the one hand one might be tempted to respond, so what? Why resent the voyeur? Or is that Big Brother cramps our style? Are we not secure enough to be oblivious of others' quest for our vital statistics?
Or is their something inherently immoral about invasion of privacy, about super secret governments undertaking clandestine and covert activities against its citizens? And we must therefore resist.
At the same time is it not also true that most people in today's world will defer to the argument that security and intelligence services are necessary to protects its citizenry by keeping tabs on anti social and terrorist groups?
So where to draw the line in the sand?
There is a Mishnaic (Jewish literary) wisdom teaching that we should always behave as if we are being observed by 'a watchful eye' and listened to by 'a listening ear'. There is however a crucial distinction: Trust. The wisdom teacher was referring to the Divine eye and ear. The 'greenback' says it all: In G-d we trust. Not so governments and political leaders!
I recall, as a young final year law student, listening to a lecture by one of the most distinguished English jurists who happened to be visiting at the time; the iconic Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls (no, not the car nor the bread! – the English do have a somewhat peculiar set of historical distinguished titles, even, 'The most Noble Order of the Garter, for chivalry – spare me!) Lord Denning identified the law of privacy as the most significant law in existence. He didn't wax eloquent about ethics or apply inscrutable legalistic reasoning.  He simply correlated the sense of privacy with psychological wellbeing. We cease to be truly human when we live in a fishbowl.
Yet Snowden and Assange are not noble heroes. One only has to read of their 'other sleazier sides' to recognize obvious opportunism. But they have certainly struck a respondent chord with societies throughout the world. Why? People simply don't trust their leaders.
Trust is to cast your lot with someone – utterly and fully.  It is to rise above logic and emotions to be fully committed to the other despite all. Most children trust their parents in that way. Most parishioners trust their religious leaders like that (or used to!) Most spouses trust each other like that (well, perhaps a trifle overstated in our own days). Most citizens used to trust their President like that. But trust relationships these days have eroded to the point of actual suspicion.
In such a climate of distrust - mistrust that is often substantiated by the facts on the ground - it is neither the time or setting for Big Brother to rule the roost.
That is not to say that we are sufficiently grown up, mature, honest, and filled with integrity that a police force is not warranted, that there should be no laws for wiretapping, or that surveillance of truly suspicious activity should not take place. And we have no choice other than to trust the judiciary to supervise the efficacy and ethical use of such mechanisms.  But a general system of surveillance, holus-bolus, dredging millions of innocent phone calls, a general dredging exercise without parameters, in the fond hope that it might turn up some criminal intent – sorry, I simply don't trust you to do that, Mr. President.
Trust must be earned, and leaders today have, by their mendacious behavior simply not earned it.
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