Good Sunday afternoon, fellow bloggers. Here are a few interesting news stories on this relatively busy Sunday (from a news perspective). First, wasn't it Goebbels who said that controlling a population was an easy thing, all you have to do is convince them that they are in danger and then tell them you have the key to protecting them. Recently, in a meeting with a marketing specialist, he commented about the one marketing expert who had coined the idea of "appealing to the reptilian brain." Quite simply, our best chance of "selling" something to someone is to appeal to their basest instincts. Our instinct for survival and self-defense is as strong as anything. So, we'll let folks engage in all kinds of foolishness, as long as they promise they are doing it to protect us. We, as Christians, ought best understand the bankruptcy of such an appeal, but, alas, we too easily fall prey as well.
On the growing disasters in the Middle East, Chris Matthews had some interesting insights on how failed US policy has only exacerbated difficulties. Perhaps, after 8 years of the sheer incompetence of the group in charge, we will at least have the wisdom to elect somebody with a bit more curiosity and a whole lot more humility about their own wisdom....ah, just kidding, not counting on that. Along similar lines, Fareed Zakaria reminds us that the Emperor, ah, Donald Rumsfeld, has no clothes.
In every war, there is a defining moment, one that unites folks in an unexpected way. Will this attack, that led to the deaths of 34 children, be that in this war between Israel and Hezbollah? If not, what would it take to show that one cannot simply "do anything one wants" in attempt to defend one's self? The presumption of the right to self-defense assumes some basic justice, doesn't it? The popular defense of attacking civilian targets has been that, well, that's where Hezbollah hides. Not so, says these folks. How does one sort out the truth of it? More, here.
Lee Atwater lives, or so it seems in Ohio. The popular Democrat candidate for governor (Strickland, a graduate of Asbury College, in the town where I teach at the Seminary) is far ahead of the repub candidate (the well known Blackwell who received a good deal of press as a result of his, shall we say, creativity during the last election in Ohio). So, what do we do? Well, we lie and suggest he may be gay. How do you deal with folks who have no sense of decency?