Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and North Africa. Call it the realm of the former Ottoman Empire. I have been chewing on a few topics for several days. Each of these could, perhaps, be turned into a complete meal but I am not in a position to devote the proper attention to each. So, for now, I will just serve each as a small dish. It is also equally likely, as is usually the case, that the mezze platter will be sufficient for the entire meal. Diversity is Our Strength If there is an overriding theme to the societal disaster that defines the current times, it is this slogan. More specifically, it is the context in which this slogan is
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Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Greece, and North Africa.
Call it the realm of the former Ottoman Empire. I have been chewing on a few topics for several days. Each of these could, perhaps, be turned into a complete meal but I am not in a position to devote the proper attention to each. So, for now, I will just serve each as a small dish. It is also equally likely, as is usually the case, that the mezze platter will be sufficient for the entire meal.
Diversity is Our Strength
If there is an overriding theme to the societal disaster that defines the current times, it is this slogan. More specifically, it is the context in which this slogan is used. Certainly, diversity can be a strength if ends are held in common; certainly, diversity is a strength if the rules of the game (the means) are respected.
Can you imagine any social institution being successful if the individuals who make up such an entity are working toward different ends? We see this in the least effective such entities; in the successful ones, we see that all individuals are working toward a similar end, purpose, objective.
Can you imagine any social institution being successful if the individuals who make up such an entity are all playing by different rules? Each one defining how his role is governed, independent of the governance of the entity as a whole?
Further, the ends and means are completely interrelated: It isn’t that the ends justify the means; it is that the ends define the means. Within such a framework, diversity is a strength: diverse skills, temperaments, capabilities, ideas – all moving toward a common end, all playing within a common framework of means.
Diversity is not a strength when the subject population does not hold to common ends and does not agree to play by common rules (the means). In such a case, diversity is hell. If the diversity of hell is where you look for your strength, feel free to welcome diversity as it is celebrated by the broader culture.
Everything is a Lie
Everything. Out of the mouths of politicians, news reporters, journalists, thought leaders in sports and entertainment. Well, not everything. On the rare occasion we hear some truth from any of these, they are shut down and ostracized.
Everything we are taught about history is a lie. Not a little lie, like George-Washington-cut-down-the-cherry-tree lie; big lies – lies that have resulted in the deaths of millions and the cost of trillions. The dead can be considered the trophies in the game rooms of the liars and the sacrifices of a worshipful population; the cost is going into the pockets of the same liars. Whenever someone sticks his head up and says “wait, that isn’t true,” he is labeled a conspiracy theorist – before being shut down and ostracized.
Do you want to succeed by the standards of this world? Be a champion of the biggest lie. Do you want to survive? Don’t openly challenge any of the lies.
Do you want to do righteous work? Speak truthfully.
The Meaning Crisis
To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
– Illumination Theory, Dream Theater
This idea of a meaning crisis has gained increased popular traction recently. What is the meaning crisis? A very complicated question. It is easier to describe it by what is lacking in Western society than what it actually is, I suppose. On one level, it can be captured by noting the superficiality of the material life – a life consumed with getting more stuff. There is no depth in this life, no relationships, no connections of value, no reason to cherish the joy in life – because “more stuff” doesn’t bring joy to life.
But as I think about it, at its most fundamental level, it strikes me that the things that give life meaning are those things for which one is willing to die or kill. Of course, what one is willing to die or kill for matters – a lot.
Jeff Deist raised just such points (and quite a backlash) when he spoke at Mises University two years ago:
In closing, I’ll mention an email exchange I had recently with the blogger Bionic Mosquito. If you’re not reading Bionic Mosquito, you should be!
Well, yeah. That’s true. But you are already here…so….
I asked him the same hypothetical question I have for you: what would you fight for? The answer to this question tells us a lot about what libertarians ought to care about.
By this I mean what would you physically fight for, where doing so could mean serious injury or death. Or arrest and imprisonment, or the loss of your home, your money, and your possessions.
In other words, blood and soil and God and nation still matter to people. Libertarians ignore this at the risk of irrelevance.
What in the West is worth fighting for? Who in the West is willing to do the fighting?
They shoot without shame
In the name of a piece of dirt
For a change of accent
Or the colour of your shirt
– Territories, Rush
There are some answers. There are those in the West willing to go overseas and kill people who have never been a danger to anyone in the West; there are those in the West who are willing to kill others because they wear the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.
Beyond these? Virtually nothing (other than family for some of us). And given that these are the two best examples I can think of, it suggests something about the cultural degradation of the West. Western society is willing to kill and die for evil purposes.
And this is, for the moment, the best description I can give of why there is a meaning crisis. Well, this and having “diversity is our strength” shoved down our throats. Oh, and knowing that everything told to us is a lie.
The Mess of Romans 13
Other than the end times interpretation by followers of the Scofield Bible, there is probably no misinterpretation of the Bible that has caused more harm than the “obey-the-government-at-all-times” interpretation of Romans 13 (and these two are certainly quite related today). I have offered that Gerard Casey has provided one of the many good evaluations of this fallacy.
Just reading and listening to the Gospels, in how many cases is it offered that the governmental authorities were defied? Not deified as in the standard interpretation of Romans 13; defied! Jesus would not have survived his first years had this not been the case.
I know, I am the one pushing Christianity as the necessary foundation for liberty. But organized Christianity – almost whatever the denomination – is so compromised morally and doctrinally. I take comfort that this situation has been seen many times before and has been overcome.
It will be overcome again. What would you expect, given He who is in charge?
I can’t remember which one of you wrote it and I cannot find it now, but we had an exchange on Jesus overturning culture some weeks ago. I keep writing about the value of common culture, not overthrowing the culture but allowing it to evolve naturally. The example was given by one of you of Jesus: He sure overthrew a lot of culture!
This has been on my mind since then. When I consider the cases where Jesus overthrew the existing culture – usually to be found in passages where He is dealing with the Pharisees or which begin “You have heard it said…” – the examples I can think of off of the top of my head are all examples of overturning culture in favor of Natural Law. In other words, Jesus makes clear that what many refer to as Judeo-Christian as the basis for Western civilization is simply Christian. The Judeo part of the equation destroyed the love inherent in Natural Law.
I write often about the old and good law. This means…not just old law – as the Pharisees would see it. “Good” law is grounded in Natural Law (and I don’t mean to imply here physical punishment for all violations of Natural Law, as I do not believe this nor is this the example Jesus gave us).
Where Jesus overturned culture – again, from my memory – He did it in the direction of Natural Law, law that recognizes the proper ends for human beings. You don’t get much better “good” law than this.
Of the five topics here, it is the last one – if any – that I might pursue further. In the meantime, back to the mezze:
Meze is generally accompanied by the distilled drinks rakı, arak, ouzo, Aragh Sagi, rakia, mastika, or tsipouro.
Each of these drinks is regional – specific to a place. I always choose based on the country (or restaurant) in which I am dining. When in Rome and all that. But my go to? The one in my liquor cabinet? I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but it is the state-owned Yeni raki from Turkey. More bite than ouzo or arak, but what do you expect from Turks. Add a little water and a little ice….
All I can say is…pass the bastirma.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.