Re: Absolutist memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 28 Oct 2004 - 01:06:02 GMT

  • Next message: John Wilkins: "Re: Absolutist memes"

    --- Dace <> wrote:

    > According to Israeli journalist Uri Avnery, Jewish
    > fanaticism has reached
    > such a fever pitch that the country is now obsessed
    > with the possibility of
    > civil war. The fanatical Jews, no different in
    > principle from fanatical
    > Christians or Muslims, want to abolish democratic
    > institutions and turn
    > Israel into a fundamentalist state. The fanaticism
    > is most prevalent among
    > Israelis who have illegally settled on Palestinian
    > land.
    > Avnery asserts that most settlers did not begin as
    > fanatics but only
    > developed an absolutist stance as a result of their
    > situation. Only a
    > minority of settlers, the "hard core," began as
    > fanatics and remain to this
    > day totally open about their beliefs. The
    > implication, from a memetics
    > point of view, is that absolutist memes are more
    > powerful than rationalist
    > memes. Even when the number of individuals
    > harboring absolutist memes is
    > tiny, at first, compared to the number who harbor
    > rationalist memes, over
    > time the group as a whole is liable to fall under
    > the spell of the
    > absolutist memes.
    Taking the discussion away from the Levant for a moment, I have recently gotten interested in the history of US-Cuba relations. No doubt that Castro is an intolerant absolutist ruler who has outlasted many administrations and jailed his post-Revolution competition, but the exile community that escaped his rule has also developed its own brand of absolutism. Exiles that are moderate and see dialogue and normalization as alternatives to the status quo are subject to being branded traitors to the anti-Castro cause and could suffer being ostracized or worse
    (given the historic nature of the exile underground). The ideological differences between the Cuban island and South Florida are stark and those who dissent from the absolute stance of Castro or hardline exiles in Miami do so at their own risk. In this polarity between Havana and Miami is a great example of absolutism at work.

    I often wondered how much of a factor the Nader vote in 2000 election was in Gore's loss, but several books I've read recently have made me wonder if the Cuban exile vote (post Elian Gonzalez) may have also played a role too. Exiles may have been slowly warming to Clinton over the course of his administration, but Elian may have been a lightning rod that helped tipped the vote in Bush's favor.

    People running for elected office in Florida or for the presidency probably take the views of exiles seriously when formulating policy towards Cuba. CANF has had similar clout to AIPAC as a political lobby at least before Mas Canosa's death. Presidential candidates must figure out how to negotiate the dilemma of peace in the Middle East without offending AIPAC too much, but the pro-Israel lobby and voters might be a tad more relaxed than the Cuban exile lobby and voters when it comes to a potential candidate's views on the embargo and other Cuba issues.

    With Castro's recent tumble and sustained injuries one can only wonder what turmoil awaits the island of Cuba when he eventually departs upon the celestial Granma to the Sierra Maestra in the sky, where Che no doubt is already fomenting revolution.

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