Thursday, January 22, 2009

90 Most Influential philosophers of All-Time

My Opinion Again:

1. Socrates - He Taught us to question.
2. Abraham - Father of Western Monotheism.
3. Confucius - Created the structure upon which China is modeled.
4. Jesus Christ - The Center Point of Christianity.
5. Mohammed - Father of Islam.
6. Buddha (Siddhartha Gatama) - He taught us about moderation.
7. Aristotle - A wonderful classifier of knowledge.
8. Plato - Author of the Republic.
9. Georg Hegel - Champion of the Dialectic.
10. Martin Luther - He galvanized the Reformation.
11. Voltaire - One has to love his satire.
12. St. Augustine - The central qualifier of Church orthodoxy.
13. Friederich Nietzche - Journeyed with us Beyond Good and Evil . He threw Absolute Morality on its head.
14. John Locke - Empiricist writings are crucial to Western Democracy.
15. Niccolo Machiavelli - In the Prince he described the rationale of the power holders.
16. Rene Descartes - In a sense Descartes and Cartesian thought are the basis for Modern Science.
17. Francis Bacon - A pioneer in the legal world he also stressed the importance of inductive methodology in scientific research.
18. Immanuel Kant - No, he wasn't a real 'pissant' as the Monty Python Song goes but a critical figure in our understanding of reason, ethics and aesthetics.
19. Adam Smith - He put in words the workings of the market economy.
20. John Stuart Mill - Great voice on liberty and utilitarianism.
21. Karl Marx - Birth figure of Dialectic Materialism.
22. Carl Jung - One of my favourite philosophers. Spoke about the collective unconscious and the psyche as a self regulating system.
23. John Wycliffe - Early Church reformer.
24. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Author of the Social Contract.
25. Mohandas K Gandhi - Indian Champion of Passive Resistance.
26. St. Thomas Aquinas - Wrote Summa contra Gentiles and Summa theologiae. The latter has a five point proof for the existence of God.
27. David Hume - Empiricist philosopher. Extended work of Locke and Berkley.
28. Mary Wollstonecraft - Feminist. Wrote Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
29. Sören Kierkegaard - Danish Philosopher. Specialized in existence making choices.
30. Martin Heidegger - Changed philosophy with his classification of 'being'.
31. Baruch Spinoza - Dutch Rationalist.
32. Erasmus - Scholar. One of the leading figures in renaissance philosophy.
33. Zeno - One of the leading proponents of Stoicism.
34. Philo - Hellenistic Jewish philosopher. Works bought together Hebrew scripture and Greek writings.
35. Lao-tzu - Early Chinese Libertarian.
36. Maimonides - A wonderful voice for Jewish thought.
37. Thomas Hobbes - Political Philosopher. Famous for the Leviathan.
38. Mencius - He took the mantle of Confucius to the next level.
39. Pythagoras - Polymath. His work influenced music, math and the concept of the soul.
40. Arthur Schopenhauer - He rejected Hegel's idea and emphasized the role of human will.
41. Ludwig Wittgenstein - His Tractatus logico-philosophicus looked at the role of language in philosophy.
42. Gottfried Leibniz - Well Renowned generalist. Rationalist Philosopher.
43. Edmund Husserl - Founder of the School of phenomenology.
44. Plotinus - Father of Neoplatonism. Advocated asceticism and the contemplative life.
45. Thomas More - Humanist scholar. Wrote Utopia.
John Calvin - Church reformer. Proclaimed a Protestant Confession of Faith. Emphasized moral severity.
46. David Hume - Empiricist philosopher. Extended work of Locke and Berkley.
47. Sigmund Freud - Father of Psychoanalysis.
48. Edmund Burke - British statesman. Writings influenced the American revolution.
49. John Dewey - Philosopher and Educator. Leading thinker in pragmatism school.
50. Tom Paine - Revolutionary Philosopher. Wrote the Rights of Man.
51. Bertrand Russell - Philosopher/Mathematician/Pacifist. Wrote Principia mathematica with A.N. Whitehead.
52. Thales - Greek natural philosopher. Some see him as the first philosopher.
53. William of Ockham - Scholastic philosopher. Said that 'entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.'
54. Peter Abelard - Philosopher and scholar. Was condemned by the Church for his Nominalistic doctrines.
55. Auguste Comte - Father of Sociology.
56. Diogenes - Ancient Greek Cynic and austere ascetic.
57. Averroes - Arab philosopher. Wrote commentaries on Aristotle and effected both Jewish and Christian thought.
58. Simone de Beauvoir - French Feminist. Wrote The Second Sex.
59. Henri Bergson - French philosopher. Contrasted the fundamental reality of the dynamic flux of consciousness with the inert physical world of discrete objects. Wrote about the 'creative impulse'.
60. Boethius - Roman philosopher. Spoke about the mutability of all Earthly fortune. His book Consolation was the most widely read book for its time after the Bible.
61. Heraclitus - Early Greek philosopher. Argued that all things consist of opposites eg. hot/cold, wet/dry etc.
62. Max Weber - Sociologist and economist. Spoke about the Protestant Ethic.
George Lukacs - Marxist philosopher. Influential in literary criticism and Socialist Realism.
63. Epicurus - Greek Philosopher. Argued that pleasure is the chief good, By pleasure he meant the absence of pain.
64. Jean-Paul Sartre - French Existentialist Bulldog.
65. Avicenna - Arab Philosopher/physician. Interpreted the works of Aristotle.
66. Protagoras - Greek sophist. Presented a system of practical philosophy designed to train people for their duties as citizens.
67. Jeremy Bentham - An important Utilitarian figure.
68. George Santayana - Philosopher, writer and novelist. Wrote The Life of Reason.
69. Antonio Gramsci - Political Philosopher, Important socialist figure.
70. Baron Montesquieu - Liberal philosopher influenced French Revolution.
71. Marcus Aurelius - Roman Emperor. Stoic. Influenced both law and philosophy.
72. St Jerome - Early Christian philosopher.
73. Georges Sorel - Social philosopher. Argued that serious political opposition must resort to violence.
74. Kurt Gödel - Logician. Showed that any formal logical system adequate for number theory must contain propositions not provable in that system.
75. Thomas Kuhn - Philosopher. Historian of science.
76. Henry Thoreau - American essayist and transadentalist.
77. Willard Quine - Philosopher and logician. Challenged distinction between analysis and synthetic truths and between science and metaphysics.
78. Karl Popper - Philosopher of Science - Fasification Notion.
79. Franz Brentano - Developed doctrine of 'intentionality' characterizing mental events as involving the 'direction of the mind to an object'.
80. George Berkley - Philosopher/Anglican bishop. Argued that 'to be is to be perceived'.
81. Michel Foucalt - Modern French philosopher. Wrote Madness and Civilization and The Order of Things.
82. Seneca - Roman Stoic.
83. William James - Pragmatist. Involved in both philosophy and psychology.
84. Martin Buber - Zionist thinker and existentialist.
85. Friederich Hayek - Economist/Philosopher. Strong opponent of government intervention in free market.
86. Jurgen Habermas - Philosopher and social theorist.
87. Alfred Whitehead - Philosopher and Mathematician. Worked with Bertrand Russell on Principia mathematica.
88. Gottlob Frege - Set up a complete system for symbolic logic
89. Jacques Derrida - French Deconstructionist.
90. Thomas à Kempis - Religious writer. Wrote The Imitation of Christ (1415-1424).


Other than Barack Obama here is a list (in my opinion) of the 40+ Most Influential African-Americans of All-Time
Martin Luther King - Clergyman and Civil rights Leader. Won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Rosa Parkes - Civil Rights figure. Actions led to Selma bus boycott.
Thurgood Marshall - First Black American to sit on US Supreme Court.
Louis Armstrong - Pioneering Jazz Musician.
Muhammed Ali - Greatest Boxer of All Time.
Harriet Tubman - Founder of Underground Railroad.
WEB Du Bois - Civil Rights Advocate.
George Washington Carver - Scientist.
Frederick Douglass - Writer, Abolitionist and Political philosopher.
Colin Powell - General and Secretary of State . First Black American to head US Armed forces.
Coretta Scott King - Civil Rights advocate.
George Washington Carver - Scientist. Specialized in Agricultural problems.
Malcolm X - African-American nationalist leader.
Benjamin Banneker - Mathematician and Astronomer.
Ralph Ellison - Author. Wrote the Invisible Man.
James Baldwin - Author. Wrote Go Tell it on the Monuntains.
Jackie Robinson - Baseball Player. First Black American to play in the Major Leagues.
Marcus Garvey - Founder of the Back to Africa Movement.
Medger Evers - Civil Rights Leader.
Jesse Owens - Athlete. Embarrassed Hitler in 1936 Olympic Games.
Nat Turner - Slave Rebellion Leader.
Duke Ellington - Jazz Musician.
Hank Aaron - Baseball's All Time Great.
Oprah Winfrey - Talk Show host and cultural phenomenon.
Maya Angelou - Writer/Poet. Wrote I know why the Caged Bird Sings.
Alex Haley - Author. Wrote the novel Roots.
Andrew Young - Politician. Former US representative to the UN.
Asa Randolph - Labour and Civil Rights Leader. Formed the first African-American trade union known as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
Michael Jordan - Greatest Basketball player of All Time.
Jessie Jackson - Civil Rights leader. Former presidential candidate.
Ralph Abernethy - Clergyman and Civil Rights leader.
Arthur Ashe - Tennis great and civil rights advocate.
Toni Morrison - Nobel Prize Winner. Author. Wrote Song of Solomon.
Black Panthers (Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and gang) - Political Activists.
Jim Brown - Greatest Football star of All-Time.
Ralph Bunche - Diplomat. Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Tiger Woods - Golfing sensation. Maybe the greatest Golfer of All Time.
Chuck Berry - Rock Musician.
Whitney Young - social reformer. Wrote To Be Equal and Beyond Racism.
Bill Cosby - Comedian.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Exclusive Club in the White House

THE CLUB that Barack Obama now joins has traditionally been far more exclusive than just all white and all male. There has never been an Italian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Russian, Greek, Spaniard, or Hispanic elected to the White House. No descendent of the great waves of immigration from southern and eastern Europe that washed over this country in the 19th century has ever made it. Most presidential ancestors came from earlier, 18th- and 17th-century British immigrations in which the few names ending in vowels were mostly Scottish or Irish.

Michael Dukakis, of Greek ancestry, went up to the clubhouse door but wasn't allowed in. Nor have there been any Swedes, Danes, or Norwegians. Walter Mondale, of Norwegian descent, didn't come close. In more than 200 years there has never been a Jew, and only one Catholic, John Kennedy.

The genealogical background of presidents has been conspicuously narrow. Many are distant relatives of each other. The Bushes are allegedly related to 16 presidents and Franklin Roosevelt to 17.

All presidential surnames, save five, derive exclusively from the British Isles. The exceptions are the two Roosevelts and Martin van Buren from Holland; and Herbert Hoover (Huber) and Dwight Eisenhower (Eisenhauer) from Germany. And even then, both Teddy Roosevelt and FDR were only one-quarter Dutch. Most of their ancestors were English, Irish, or Scot.

Glance into the deep gene pools of our presidents and you will see the majority of their ancestors clustered into this same northwestern corner of Europe, with a few Frenchmen, mostly Protestant Huguenots, thrown in.

Even the two presidents whose presidential names were not their original surnames fall into the same ancestral corridor. President Clinton, originally William Jefferson Blythe, and Gerald Ford, originally Leslie Lynch King, took the names of stepfathers, but the old names, like the new, came from the British Isles.

There may be no more roots-conscious group in America than the Irish, and politicians are quick to claim Irish connections. The Blythes may have come over from England, but Bill Clinton said: "I've always been conscious of being Irish . . . It means a lot to me." Ireland lays claim to anywhere from 16 to 23 American presidents, depending on who is doing the counting.
Protestant Northern Ireland, however, has the edge, many presidents having descended from the traditionally feisty Scots-Irish. They originally came from the Scottish borders, where they were deeply involved with fighting the English. Recruited to put down the Catholics in Ulster, many then participated in one of the earliest mass immigrations to America, where they were in constant conflict with Native Americans. John McCain says he is descended from Scots-Irish stock.

Genealogy shops in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are often competitive, but there was a time when both were willing to let the other have Richard Nixon.
Genealogists say that both Adamses, Taylor, Grant, Garfield, and FDR were descended from the Mayflower settlers in 17th-century Massachusetts. Nixon, Ford, and the two Bushes have Mayflower connections.

Some presidents can claim royal blood. Clinton is said to share ancestry with Henry III on his mother's side, and may be related to both presidents Harrison as well as Ford and Carter.
George Washington, FDR, both Bushes, and Coolidge are said to descend from a 15th-century Englishman named John Spencer from Warwickshire - as was Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

For the rest go to the Source of this post: Exclusive

Presidential Trivia Humour

Source: Go Now

Barack Obama is the 44th U.S. president, which means there were countless presidents before him. So before we embark on this new four-year journey, which unbiased media reports tell me will be characterized by everyone’s dreams coming true and an end to all bad things, let’s look back at the presidents who came before Obama:

1: George Washington: He did not really chop down a cherry tree and tell his father the truth. This was a tale created by writer Mason Weems, who wrote a book that glorified the first president. The Bush administration is actively trying to hire him. Faulty intelligence led them to believe he is still alive.
2. John Adams: A key opponent to the Stamp Act who presided over the Alien and Sedition acts. He was also the cousin of Samuel Adams, who had a beer named after him. Guess which one more Americans admire.
3. Thomas Jefferson: The longtime bachelor once said “many and great are the comforts of the single state.” He did eventually marry, though, to a woman twice as rich as him. He’d have my vote.
4. James Madison: Napoleon Bonaparte was making short rulers all the rage. The U.S. followed suit by electing its own pocket-sized president. The shortest and smallest president was said to be the first to wear long pants rather than knee breeches. How do we know he wasn’t just wearing Jefferson’s oversized hand-me-downs?
5. James Monroe: When he ran for his second term, no one was named as an official candidate opposed to the popular Monroe. He received all but one electoral vote. That vote came from Florida, for Pat Buchanan.
6: John Quincy Adams: His election was unlike others because none of the candidates declared a party. He ran against independents Andrew Jackson, William Crawford, Henry Clay and Ralph Nader, who has run in every election since.
7: Andrew Jackson: He was a prisoner of war and killed a man in a duel. He’s like a combination of John McCain and Dirty Harry. The forceful leader vetoed more bills than anyone else, survived an assassination attempt, and his favorite hobby was cockfighting. If the presidents were in a yearbook, Jackson would be voted most likely to punch you in the face.
8: Martin Van Buren: The origin of the word “OK” is believed to come from Van Buren, who was nicknamed Old Kinderhook. He married Hannah Hoes, a relative of Van Buren’s mother — not OK, dude.
9. William Henry Harrison: Was more dead in the first 30 days than any other U.S. president, unless you count brain-dead.
10. John Tyler: Claimed to be the reason Texas became a state. But in an even greater achievement for a dude, he was 54 when he married his second first lady, a 24-year-old. This is the last time I’m going to tell you this, kids: BECOME PRESIDENT.
11. James Polk: The first “dark horse” president was remembered for keeping all of his campaign promises, at least according to Mason Weems.
12. Zachary Taylor: Once said, “It would be judicious to act with magnanimity toward a prostrate foe.” Which proves he had access to both the phrase “Don’t kick a man when he’s down” and a thesaurus.
13. Millard Fillmore: Inherited the presidency after Taylor’s death and ran for re-election with the Know-Nothing Party. He was predictably defeated by the candidate from the Nothing is Outside the Realm of Our Experience Party.
14. Franklin Pierce: I honestly forgot that this guy was president.
15. James Buchanan: His presidency featured economic recession and several states seceding from the union. Fact: On his way out, he said, “I at least meant well for my country.”
16. Abraham Lincoln: Loved the theater.
17. Andrew Johnson: The first president to be impeached didn’t feel too bad about it, considering the way the previous guy was removed from office.
18. Ulysses S. Grant: President when the 15th Amendment passed, saying no one could deny anyone the right to vote based on race. Sex, of course, but not race. He also created the first national park in 1872 — distant relatives of Rod Blagojevich immediately tried to close it.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes: His election opponent Samuel Tilden won the popular vote. Hayes, a Republican, needed only one electoral vote from three Republican-controlled states to win the presidency. If you know our electoral system well, you can probably guess that democracy prevailed and a fair election was able to proceed. I’m kidding, of course. Actually, many Democratic ballots were ruled invalid and Hayes entered the White House with the nickname “His Fraudulency.”
20. James A. Garfield: Was shot by Charles Guiteau in July 1881, but didn’t die until two months later. Doctors had the ability to save him, but his health plan at the time only covered bullets that didn’t come from an assassin.
21. Chester A. Arthur: Nicknamed “Elegant Arthur” because he was known to change his outfit several times a day. He had 15 personal groomers for his mustache alone.
22. Grover Cleveland: We’ll get to him later.
23. Benjamin Harrison: He was the first to have electricity in the White House and the first to have his voice recorded, a momentous occasion that he marked with his most notable quote, “Oh my God, is that what I really sound like?”
24. Grover Cleveland: See, here he is.
25. William McKinley: Passed the Gold Standard, which meant the dollar was backed by gold, versus what it is backed by today. (Hint: It’s worth about as much as what it’s backed by.)
26. Theodore Roosevelt: Survived an assassination attempt because he had a 50-page speech in his pocket that slowed the bullet down. For other examples of this phenomenon, see every Hollywood movie ever made where the main character is shot.
27. William Howard Taft: The fattest president in U.S. history once got stuck in the White House bathtub. His cabinet included Secretary of State Philander Knox, Ho Hos, Twinkies, cupcakes, Twizzlers ...
28. Woodrow Wilson: Made Mother’s Day a national holiday and was president when women were given the right to vote. And all I got my mother was a card. Way to set the bar too high.
29. Warren G. Harding: During prohibition, he served alcohol at weekly poker games. Was brought down by scandals from members of his administration famously saying, “I have no trouble with my enemies ... But my friends ... they’re the ones who keep me walking the floors at night.” So, let me get this straight, he was surprised that people who would drink and gamble — both of which were illegal — inside the White House also turned out to be untrustworthy?
30. Calvin Coolidge: Fact: A woman once bet “Silent Cal” she could get three words out of him. His response: “You lose.” His actual campaign motto “Keep Cool with Coolidge” was either written by an eighth-grade student council campaign manager or he really cared about global warming.
31. Herbert Hoover: The richest president during the nation’s poorest time. Hoover refused to accept his own salary, a move that all 535 members of Congress responded to immediately, and without hesitation, by asking if they could then give themselves raises.
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The press at the time agreed not to photograph FDR in his wheelchair. In a similar measure, the modern media has agreed only to photograph Obama while he’s walking on water.
33. Harry Truman: “Give ‘em hell Harry” is best known for dropping “little boy” and “fat man” on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But, when Madison and Taft’s bodies had no effect, he decided to drop actual atomic bombs.
34. Dwight Eisenhower: He believed in the “domino theory” of communism, which meant that if one Southeast Asian country fell to communism, the others would follow in 30 minutes or less or their communism was free. How many years did this avid golfer serve as president? Foouuuuuuur! OK, actually, eight.
35. John F. Kennedy: Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he shot and killed President Kennedy. You heard right, he only “acted” alone. Kennedy is responsible for the space race to the moon and the Civil Rights Act, which are separate, but equal, moments in history.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson: Led the nation through two wars: Vietnam and his own “war on poverty.” The latter of which was far more successful because none of them were armed.
37. Dick Nixon: Improved relations with the USSR and China, ended the military draft, established the Environmental Protection Agency, and signed the Clean Air Act and the Nuclear Weapon Non-Proliferation Treaty. But all this doesn’t overshadow his biggest mistake — making Columbus Day a national holiday. I mean, seriously, the guy found America by accident.
38. Gerald Ford: Pardoned Nixon, I assume for the Columbus Day thing.
39. Jimmy Carter: He spent his post-presidency building for homes for Habitat for Humanity. You’ll recognize those as the only homes that aren’t actively being foreclosed on.
40. Ronald Reagan: He was never actually president. He’s just that damn good an actor.
41. George H.W. Bush: Was known for three things: The phrase “read my lips, no new taxes,” his ventriloquism and raising taxes.
42. Bill Clinton: First Baby Boomer president and very likely responsible for his own personal baby boom.
43. George W. Bush: Brought global relief for AIDS victims, saving thousands of lives in Africa. Some said he was the greatest U.S. president for Africa and the fight against AIDS in history. (See, sometimes we can be nice.)
Sources: “U.S. Presidents Factbook,” “The Everything American President’s Book” and a bunch of lies I made up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On the Necessity of World War II

Victor Davis Hanson is a wonderful history mind. In this video clip he discusses, with Christopher Hitchens, Pat Buchanan's new book on World War II. Buchanan has as his central thesis the idea that World War II was an unecessary war. Both Hanson and Hitchens argue otherwise.

To check out the video go to: Victor Hanson/Chris Hitchens

Both thinkers also comment on Niall Ferguson's analysis of World War II and its causes as well.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

On Jewish Survival

The following is the next installment in my Reply to John Ray of Dissecting Leftism fame.

On Jewish Survival

To John

It is certainly on the mark to argue that Jewish history has been cursed with a litany of horrors. It is also correct to note that the Judaism with a history over three thousand years ultimately survived these horrors. What is open for real questioning (as you duly infer) is whether this survival has been one of style and from a strategic standpoint could it have been more impressive in both number and in form. Your argument makes a good point in noting that the Jews, from a numerical perspective are a relatively small population. I agree less than fifteen million in a world closing in on seven billion souls is clearly small potatoes. Many a biologist would scoff at such notions of real survivability especially in a world where offspring numbers seem on the surface to be a clear indicator of success in nature.

However numbers, particularly in a biological framework, can mislead perhaps just as easily as they affirm. The Passenger pigeon for one dominated North American skies up until the 18th century, but today it is extinct. The same fate would likely have befallen the American Bison if it not for the brave work of conservationists. Biological history is suffused with other creatures whose numerical advantage proved to be of little ultimate value in the duration of the survival game. On the other hand the rare Coelecanth has survived from Ancient times outliving a plethora of other fish that once dwarfed it in abundancy. The same is true of that living fossil, the crocodile. (While it is true that crocodiles sit at the top of the food chain and therefore have no predators, as a top predators it is even more likely to face extinction as its energy requirements aren’t usually tolerant of a compromise in the trophic levels below them).

So what do these life science examples mean for the Jews? We know that temporally related number counts are not everything. The Great Empires of the past boasted large numbers but most lie on the scrap heap of history today. Each of the Akkadians, Hittites, Lydians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, Nazca, Mayans, Aztecs, Incas all fall into this category. Not to mention the Old Celtic and Harappan civilizations. All had their style once but now that style is more of a curiosity than anything else. One could say that some have survived under a different guise: The Zoroastrian Persians are now predominatly Shi’ite Muslims - an outsider cultural takeover if ever there was one - while the Ancient Egyptians have been assimilated into an Arab World that for all intent of purpose has regressed considerably from the Golden Age. I am therefore not convinced that this qualifies as survival at all. The Jews on the other hand stared down many of their adversaries (and pf course suffered for it at times), but the core of the culture, the very basis that certainly defines it has emerged largely intact despite the turbulence.

Yes Ashkenazic Jews do differ from Sepharidic Jews. In fact each of these categories have sub-categories within them (leave it to the Jews to find some minor points to squabble over) rendering such a classification system partly meaningless. However at its core (among Judaism’s adherents) lies a commonality which champions free will and the responsible philosophy of ethical monotheism. This is part of the Jewish survival strength. Not easily quantifiable but certainly background significant.

One additional point you mention that Christianity has expanded in number to the point where its followers number around a billion. However what you didn’t mention is that Christianity’s rapid expansion (a physicist may call this inflation) was largely due to its vigilant promotion by the Roman Emperor Constantine, following his defeat of his rival Maxentius at Milvian Bridge in 312AD. Constantine was a zealot in his stance. He actively worked to eradicate paganism and promoted Christian bishops to high positions in his court. There is some arguments as to why he adopted this pro-Christian stance. One school argues that it was for the sake of political unity (Rome was divided by a multitude of conflicting beliefs…Constantine may have been an original opponent of multi-culturalism…and needed a new glue to bind his subjects to a common cause). Others believe that his transformation was genuine and of spiritual significance. Regardless how one sees it, the end result was Christianity received the single greatest growth boost in its history.

A further milestone was reached when Theodosius, the Eastern Emperor and Gratian, his counterpart in the West, recognized Christianity as the official Religion of the East (380 AD) and Western portions of the Empire respectively. The religion’s dominance was now solidified. Judaism on the other hand would never be the recipient of such official sponsorship from such influential figures. European History is filled with further examples of local leaders first converting to Christianity (for one reason or another) and then bringing the bulk of their populace into the umbrella of the church in the follow-up.

I will not enter into the ‘people without a state argument’ as it has already been dealt with in earlier posts by others. However I will take up the ‘choice of allies argument that you put forth’. The Jews I believe have traditionally looked for allies…however where they have erred is that in doing so they often compromised their beliefs to fit in with the nuances of the so-called brothers in arms. This has almost always backfired. The Marxists/communists/socialists offered them lip service (behind a veneer of anti-semitism) in exchange for a divorce from their religious soul while a rush to join the ranks of capitalism has had the consequence of catalyzing a materialistic assimilation. In addition the Christian churches traditionally turned a cold shoulder to any advances.- preferring conversion to accommodation. In short where were the Jews to turn?

Now its true in contemporary times that Evangelical Christians (particularly in the US) have offered a hand of friendship, which I believe that Jews should take. Many have, especially those on the conservative real of Jewish politics (Israel itself has a multitude of programs that encourage Evangelical Christians to visit the Holy Land). The fact that some in the ADL chooses to see otherwise, in turning a blind eye to such assistance, is more of its leadership sinking into the sludge of anti-clerical secularism than anything else.


Gavin Kanowitz
A South African- born Jew in a Canadian court.