Welcome to the December 2018 issue.
As in previous issues we have covered a variety of issues:
Thucydides Trap vs Ghengis Khan_ Western Hubris or How Harvard fails to read history
There has been considerable debate in US and Europe at the rise of China. Behind closed doors much of the commentary has been close to racist and deeply xenophobic. I attended a meeting in Brussels at EU Head Quarters with top diplomats where one of them asked the assembled ‘what can we do to stop China?’ I recall asking politely if they were suggesting that our welfare in Europe was dependent on a million Chinese starving to death every year? Possibly for my benefit conversation then moved towards seeking a creative response to the forthcoming changes. At another private meeting at the Oxford & Cambridge Club, London with a senior academic and friend of mine speaking, one of the attendees asked what could be done to prevent China rising and how dreadful it was. But frankly, in ‘While America sleeps:’ by Donald Kagan and Frederick Kagan and published in 2000, it is stated that ‘America is in danger …’ and that China was ‘openly hostile, antagonistic, and threatening ..’ to the U.S. These war mongering, bellicose words make my colleagues at the European Union and Oxford and Cambridge Club appear bucolically pacific. But what makes Graham Allison’s book so damaging is that he is clearly a person of goodwill and the fact that he is encased within cultural blinders of Western hubris does not augur well for the future. His book is focused on Thucydides statement that ‘The rise of Athens and the fear this provoked in Sparta, made war inevitable’. This is his text for an extended sermon on Western real politik. However his views are drenched in Western hubris as the article seeks to show.
Agency, divinity and scientism – part 1
There has been much debate about the ‘new atheism’ and a return by theologians to direct engagement. This article returns to matters of pure philosophy and identifies issues with the concept of agency and the role of natural law. Agency has created difficulty for both atheists and theologians. Famously Luther could not reconcile agency with Divine omniscience and omnipotency. Many radical epicureans also find agency difficult to reconcile with a world of natural physical causes. This paper, part 1, explores these issues at a fundamental issue.
There is much debate in South African academia about whether ‘white’ South African can be ‘African’. However this paper argues that the way the debate is constructed is an exercise in abuse of academic power by giving sympathetic interpretation to views of ‘white ‘ students while avoiding challenging these views or comparing them to other countries. By generally conflating race ethnicity and nationality the South African academics allow the young inexperienced African students to appear to be racists. Issues of power and legitimacy are evaded and this paper argues that this evidences an abuse of academic power since the issue is symmetrically evidenced in all multi ethnic countries from Britain, Canada, USA to Israel etc.