Print Story Why Islam will win war-torn Africa
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By lm (Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:38:56 AM EST) (all tags)
From a Reuters article on Somalia
The warlords, who had divided the capital into rival fiefdoms with their private armies since ousting Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, are largely despised by ordinary citizens.

In contrast, the Islamic courts were popular for restoring a semblance of order to parts of the violent and anarchic city.



This is essentially the Augustinian argument that the one thing that everyone can agree on, and thus the only basis for government, is the desire for temporal peace. Christians, Augustin argued, want temporal peace because it is a necessary condition for the pursuit of spiritual peace. He also pointed out the flip side of this that non-Christians will always concede that temporal peace is a good unto itself. The only real difference, then, is a difference over just what constitutes temporal peace.

But in places that have been ravaged by war for decades, that question is relatively easy to answer. Any group where the rule of law is partly present is vastly more desirable than places where there is no rule of law. No matter how dictatorial a regime may (or may not be) if it allows people to carry on their daily life with any semblance of normalcy, it is preferable to a an apparently permanent state of civil war.

In this context, whether Islamic regimes are oppressive or allow for freedoms or not is irrelevent. All that matters to the people involved is that they find some measure of outer peace. The only reason that I'm even bringing up Islam is that various Islamic groups, perhaps because of the role that Law plays in Islamic theology, seem to be the only groups that understands the importance of the rule of law.

Which is the largest failure of US action in Somalia. (The same mistake is also currently on-going in Afghanistan and Iraq.) The US did not go in with the intention of establishing civil order, but only to depose a certain regime or to prevent certain warlords from coming to power. Such involvement is useless at best without the establishment of civil order.

This same drama will play out time and again. Whichever group proves best at bringing civil order will first win the hearts and minds of the people. Once these hearts and minds are won long enough to come to power, all that needs to be done  is maintain civil order relative to the expectations of the people.

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Why Islam will win war-torn Africa | 55 comments (55 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
FWIW by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:41:07 AM EST
this is pretty much exactly what happened when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan, ending the civil disorder which had been prevelant since the collapse of the Soviet regime: the war-weary people welcomed them with open arms, because they brought order.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
IAWTP by lm (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:44:08 AM EST
I intentionally did not bring that up, though, because I didn't want to put Africa in the title and then start talking about Eurasia.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
who cannot learn from history yadda yadda cliche by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:57:48 AM EST
Establishing civil order could take a large army by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 07:58:41 AM EST
working a long time. Fortunately, we have a President who doesn't believe in nation building.


And he obviously learned the lessons by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:10:44 AM EST
from his father's interventions in Somalia and Iraq.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I'll give you Somalia by lm (4.00 / 3) #7 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:14:25 AM EST
But an argument can be made that GWB, by allowing Saddam to stay in power in Iraq, chose the option that was most likely to maintain civil order.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Absolutely... by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #49 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 05:26:18 PM EST
But it was his intervention in the Iraq/Kuwait dispute that got us stuck out there.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
There is that by lm (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:12:56 AM EST
But in most of the recent situations, it could be argued that it is the American people that doesn't have an appetite for nation building. In a bygone era Sun Tzu pointed out that a general that plans for a long war is planning to lose that war because the war will lose support and troops will be demoralized more and more as time goes on.

On top of this, the American people has been especially fickle because no one has made any war in recent memory into a national effort. When war is cheap, no one is invested and consequently few are willing to stay the course because they have nothing to lose by walking away. If the entire nation had been asked to share in the sacrifice, then the people would hesitate to see their blood and sweat come to naught.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Are you suggesting by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:23:40 AM EST
A return to conscription?


[ Parent ]
That is a different argument entirely by lm (4.00 / 3) #13 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:43:30 AM EST
Some of the things that could have helped.

A request for a voluntary return to a national 55 mph speed limit to conserve scarce resources at a time of war.

A call for all able-bodied men and women of age to volunteer for the armed forces.

Asking the public to start up victory gardens so that food could be used for the troops and for rebuilding order overseas.

Raising of taxes to fund the war effort.

If we use Iraq as an example, To my knowledge GWB did not make a single request for military volunteers in a nationally televised speech until 2005.

We're all just kicking back watching the fireworks with no real involvement.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Sacrifice by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #29 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:11:11 AM EST
He tried to have it both ways, be a "war" president, yet sell it as something that'd require no public sacrifice.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Very much so by lm (4.00 / 2) #31 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:14:52 AM EST
Regrettably, our children and their children and their children will pay for it with interest.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Lies by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #35 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:23:28 AM EST
It's the modern lie, and one that by no means started with the current idiot in office. The idea that we can have anything we want with no sacrifice.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #43 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 12:02:07 PM EST
Rogerborglet's college fund is invested in Halliburton, so I guess your taxpaying children will be paying for that.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
I'm somewhat chilled by the thought... by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:45:53 AM EST
...that I tend to agree with Heinlein's position that in order to be a full citizen with voting privileges, one must have been willing to serve in the military. It's more or less "Put up or shut up", in that putting your life at risk for the protection of your country (and by extension, its values), you've proven yourself worthy of determining the course that country takes.

The argument against this is pathetically easy, however: A military solution is rarely necessary except when defending, and history has shown repeatedly that ordinary citizens will volunteer for service when attacked.

Getting back to where you started, you nailed it completely: Order of any kind beats the hell out of prolonged chaos, and Sharia is pretty well-defined (though subject to interpretation).

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
Oddly enough by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:58:10 AM EST
Sometimes I have a hard time thinking that it's 2006 and we still need huge armed forces. Also, the whole idea of belonging to a country seems silly.

We really haven't evolved much at all over the past few thousand years.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
I'd be willing by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #27 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:06:51 AM EST
I'm not willing. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #41 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 10:30:26 AM EST
And they wouldn't have me anyway. Or would they, since I'm in a straight-appearing LTR?
--
I've got more than one membership to more than one club, and I owe my life to the people that I love. - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
It wasn't just by MartiniPhilosopher (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:09:17 AM EST
the military that one could get their franchise through in Troopers, it was any public service. Which, incidentally, included quite a broad spectrum of positions in the government.

However, the base idea has a sound theoretical standing: People are going to be far more involved in their own governance if they had a hand in building it and maintaining it. I think it would be greatly amusing to see what would happen to the US should it be decided that instead of electing most of the offices of government they were instead decided by a jury-pool selection process with everyone possible in the pool.

Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.

[ Parent ]
Random selection of citizen-governors by lm (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:13:33 AM EST
Plato argued for such a system in his Laws.  For most government positions he advocated candidates for the position being selected at more or less random and then elected by the people if a major office or apointed if a minor office. And when service is complete, the citizen should return to private life.

On the other hand, this regime was to have been built by the labor of guest-workers who had no path to citizenship, no property rights and no voting rights alongside hereditary slaves.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I have wanted to get into Plato by MartiniPhilosopher (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:20:47 AM EST
after having to read Aristotle's Rhetoric in college which referenced a good deal of Platonic material. Alas, I have not done it yet. This irrates that itch all the more.

Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.

[ Parent ]
Ooh, me, sir, I can spot the flaw in that by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #44 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 12:08:13 PM EST
The only thing standing in the way of brutal dictators is brutal democrats.  Apathetic leaders will soon be replaced by people who want the gig for life, and then it's torches and pitchforks time again.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Actually... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #36 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:26:28 AM EST
FWIW: This is what Heinlein repeatedly said about the book, but the book itself only talks about military service.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
the flipside by martingale (2.00 / 0) #48 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 03:29:42 PM EST
On the flipside, the fact that there is little to no sacrifice going on with America's imperial ambitions makes it more likely that nobody is going to oppose this aspect of foreign policy.

When it's the kids of some people across the country who are raping and dying far away, it's not an urgent action-item to support or oppose.

When it's nameless money that gets used to finance nameless actions, it's not worth getting upset about - can you point out exactly what your tax money actually does? Is it part of some defense contractor's salary, is it used to buy cereal for somebody's breakfast?

Unless the bastards come after you personally and take away your children or your husband, or put you to work in factories and give you food rations, there's little need to align for or against.

It's when people's back is against the wall that we truly learn what people approve of or not in their name.
--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

[ Parent ]
But by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:16:22 AM EST
The "Islamic militants" must have some sort of political as well as religious structure. They must have their own leader, governing council, warlord, junta, soviet or whatever.

In a typical fight in the anarchic capital, poorly-trained and paid gunmen clattered into battle en masse on the back of "technicals" -- pick-up trucks with heavy guns -- and blasted wildly with mortars, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).

But on several occasions over the three-month battle for the Somali capital, the Islamic side carried out night commando raids, attacked before dawn or fought through the night -- all rare tactics in Somalia, residents and experts said.

"If you've got military leaders, you can do that. The warlords are living in medieval times," said a Western diplomat who follows Somalia but whose job does not permit him to be quoted by name.

I don't see why this has to be particularly Islamic or religious: any well-organized movement whether fascist, communist, nationalist or whatever could gain advantages by creating stability in the same way.

Seems more likely to me that the big advantage is that an Islamic movement can cross tribal lines, while an individual warlord's support usually only extends to his own. As it happens, the only significant non-tribal movement is Islamic. However, they could still split apart on tribal lines later on.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

Warlord Clans by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 3) #10 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:34:13 AM EST
In the Times today, they've reported that at least two warlords have joined up in an effort to put up a unified front against the Islamic Court Union.

The warlords have proven extremely flexible in the past. They fought against the US and then they took money from the US to root out "terrorists." I wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of warlords "convert" - joining the ICU while maintaining their power.

[ Parent ]
More importantly, though ... by lm (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:45:20 AM EST
... which (if any) warlords in Africa have insisted on putting a legal system into place after capturing a given territory?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
It does seem unlikely. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #26 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:06:24 AM EST
I'll grant that your original thesis still holds.

I suspect that, after much fighting, several clans will "convert" and support Islam in exchange for being left relatively autonomous in a specific geographical region. We'll get something like a theocratic, but thin, central government whose will is enforced locally by converted warlords.

And, remember, the Taliban never completely pacified Afghanistan. The warlords of that nation were still in charge in the North.

[ Parent ]
I don't disagree by lm (4.00 / 2) #12 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:38:21 AM EST
My point is that adherence to Law is so much a part of Islam, then when Islamic militias move in, they do their best to instill civil order. Other groups could do this just as well. It just so happens that the other agents involved with Somalia do not appear to be doing this for one reason or another. And until they do, the hearts and minds of the people will go out to the Islamic militias.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:44:48 AM EST
Your title is "Why Islam will win war-torn Africa". Going beyond Somalia, I'm not convinced that the temporary order instilled by Islamic militants will be more permanent than the temporary order instilled by Marxist movements.Though I suppose Sharia law might give them an advantage if it's less prone to corruption than alternatives.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Here's a chance to educate me by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:47:51 AM EST
Which Marxist (or other non-Islmicist) movements are on the rise in Africa and instilling civil order in recently war torn areas?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Um, I don't really agree by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:56:44 AM EST
With your "stability breeds stability" concept. Stability tends to dissolve into instability without the right structures.

Africa has had plenty of Marxist leaders though, and Mugabe and others have certainly created more stability than in Somalia.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I never argued that stability breeds stability by lm (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:01:29 AM EST
Your reading words that I never wrote if that's what you took away. Perhaps I ought to have been more clear, though, and the fault is mine. My point is that popular support cannot be won without stability and that, presently, Islamic factions are the only groups providing stability in strife-torn regions. Mugabe is not a good counter example unless you're arguing that there is a current slice of Africa with little to no civil order to which Mugabe is presently bringing the rule of law.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
But by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:54:43 AM EST
No person or group seeking power wants instability once they're in charge. There's nothing unique about the Islamic groups wanting it.

The article says "the Islamic courts were popular for restoring a semblance of order to parts of the violent and anarchic city"

Now even if popular support follows the Islamic groups in the case of Mogadishu, it doesn't follow that "Islam will win war-torn Africa". Whatever group happens to create temporary stability will reap the popular support.

I think you're reading too much into the popular support thing though. The article says the Islamic group seem to have superior military tactics, and seem to currently be united and have the upper hand. If they break into factions, or start losing, then that popular support could drain away just as easily.

You seem to be trying to make a special case of Islamic movements over other movements: that the popular support generated by temporary stability will somehow be longer-lasting or more powerful than if they were Communist/Fascist/Corporate/Imperialist/Whatever.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I'm with you until the last paragraph by lm (2.00 / 0) #40 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 10:24:19 AM EST
I don't know that I agree, but I think your criticisms of my points are valid and need to be addressed up until your last paragraph. But I've run out of time to address them right now.

Your last paragraph, however, suggests that you're being almost deliberately obtuse. How many times do I have to say that my point is one entirely of particulars with no special pleading involved. I'm not claiming that no other group could have the same success. I'm only pointing out that Islamic groups are presently the only groups taking this approach in areas in Africa in chaotic areas. You've yet to disprove me when all you need to do so is point to a single non-Islamic group in the present (or very recent past) setting up civil order in an area they recently gained control over in a civil war.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Don't fool yourself, Theo, into thinking that by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #14 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:44:36 AM EST
"...the big advantage is that an Islamic movement can cross tribal lines, while an individual warlord's support usually only extends to his own."

The most important thing to most Muslims is family, then clan and/or tribe, then Islamic sect, then fellow Muslims, then maybe country.

Infighting, prejudice and xenophobia are all rampant in Muslim regions, perhaps worse that in other areas. The justifications are just different (e.g. skin color means nothing).

[ Parent ]
yeah, Theo's point begs the question by lm (4.00 / 1) #20 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:50:20 AM EST
If memory serves me correctly, many of the warlords in Somalia are Muslim.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Moslem cultures differ greatly by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:52:32 AM EST
Somalia is a highly tribal culture. Read a couple of books on it years ago.

It's very hard to generalize about the desires of "most muslims".
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Aye, I probably should have been more clear by lm (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:05:01 AM EST
It isn't Islam that is sweeping the strife-ridden portions of Africa, but a particular form of Islam that places a large emphasis on Islam's inherently cosmopolitan theology. Not all Muslim groups do that.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Ummm. So you're agreeing with me? by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #32 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:20:19 AM EST
What you say above supports me and the tail end of the root of this chain. And it's not hard to generalize about the desires of "most muslims". Family and clan are in fact the center of the religion.

Careful, I think we're arguing because we're in agreement.


[ Parent ]
Which is part of why the sun never set by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:35:12 AM EST
on the British Empire. They came in, kicked any asses that needed kicking, and established an unprecedented level of law and order. Of course, when they left, many (if not all) places when to hell in a handbasked (or, at least weren't as stable anymore).

c.f. "The Roman Empire" by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #19 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:49:07 AM EST
Something Augustin was a somewhat familiar with.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Correct. Just modernizing you point. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #34 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:21:14 AM EST
In fact, it's really true of any empire.

[ Parent ]
The institutions that make civil by cam (2.00 / 0) #37 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 09:46:42 AM EST
order take a long time to develop, and even in Au it was a long time before the natives (Au born) worked their way through it in expertise to take over the structures seamlessly. It was only 70 years ago that Governers were still british and the heads of the Au military were British.

I agree with lm that Islam's inbuilt legal system (and cooperative action through a shared belief system) make it a better social system to quickly institute civil order. Unless of course the west does longtime ass kicking to ensure their more liberal structures are the dominant ones.

Raises all sorts of issues. If Islam is superior in creating law and order in lawless places, then terrorism and failed states are better places for new Islamic states to be created then liberal democratic ones.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Heh. I wonder if Dubya has considered that. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #39 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 10:20:18 AM EST


[ Parent ]
I doubt it by cam (4.00 / 1) #42 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 10:45:16 AM EST
he is working off the end of history principle. I reckon there is an argument in nation-building that the country doing it take over the legal, civil and juridicial structures. ie Au in East Timor. Promote the local specialists as high as as is dared, and have Australians do the rest. The Qld police force can do the policing, NZ/NSW the courts, Malaysia the bureacracies. You could train the East Timorese in Au/NZ and Malaysia etc and have them work there too for a period, until they go back and take over their own civil structures.

I think the nation-state is viewed as such a discrete and inviolable entity that we are making mistakes galore in the respect. We can do it like colonialism, but without coercing the social, cultural and political aspects as well (with colonialism you get the whole kit and kaboodle).

lm has a good point that Islam is able to work in legal structures without needing the legitimacy of a nation-state. It is far more amorphous and decentralised, hence it is capable of reacting faster locally.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
nation states by martingale (2.00 / 0) #46 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 02:50:54 PM EST
I think the nation-state is viewed as such a discrete and inviolable entity that we are making mistakes galore in the respect.
There is a simple reason why the nation-state is considered a good basis for international interaction: it establishes boundaries which therefore reduce international conflict. That was the big political advance of the 19th century.

Without a nation-state structure, we are bound to go back to more primitive ideas such as feudalism and vassal states. You can see it quite well with Australia: it is a vassal of the US, and it tries to become the local liege lord of weak states around it, like East Timor and island states.

Such a regression is only possible when the nation-state idea is sufficiently weakened that it is expected and accepted that some other state has interests in, and rights of control over, some other lesser state.

The fact that we have _less_ safe international mobility now than ten years ago (ie it is more dangerous for ordinary people to travel now than then) is a direct consequence of the artificial conflicts imposed by the rejection of nation-states by powerful players. conflict is always higher when you stick your nose in other people's business.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

[ Parent ]
oh I dunno by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #47 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 03:11:49 PM EST
I'd rather live in a former British colony than a former French colony...

[ Parent ]
Ye' still makin' my point honey. by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #50 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 05:41:33 PM EST
The Goddamn frogs were no good at real empire building -- rather like Dubya and his interns...

[ Parent ]
indeed by martingale (4.00 / 1) #51 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 06:12:15 PM EST
You are talking about Napoleon III, whose foreign policy legacy is apalling. However, Napoleon I's empire has been extremely successful. It's a pity that III > I.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
These dead guys you keep quoting by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #45 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 12:12:30 PM EST
Did they ever produce anything useful?  You know, maybe some nice recipes for fruitcake.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Recipes, of course. Though not fruitcake. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #54 Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 06:55:36 AM EST
Any philosopher that enjoyed fruitcake was obviously too stupid to really be a philosopher.

Instead, enjoy this fig grantia recipe from Mithaecus, 5th century B.C.

 1 cup white wine and 1 cup water
 250g chopped whole dried figs
 1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese or whipped cream

Method:

  1. Bring wine to a boil in large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by half (about 5 min).
  2. Add figs, sugar, ginger and 1 cup water and return to the boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer until the figs are very soft - abourt 10 min. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Press bread crum mixture on top of each fillet
  5. Add lemon juice and 1 cup cold water and puree until smooth with a blender.
  6. Pour mixture into shallow baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  7. Mash mixture with fork and serve in chilled wine glasses with a dollop of cheese or cream.


[ Parent ]
Useful, like a vacuum pump? by lm (2.00 / 0) #55 Thu Jun 08, 2006 at 02:01:36 PM EST
I suspect that you might be one of those blokes that thinks that Aristotle's invention of formal logic wasn't very useful and that the Pythagorean contributions to geometry were overrated and that the university system is nothing but a drag on society.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
stupidity by Skull Woman (2.00 / 0) #52 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 08:05:22 PM EST
Who is running the world anyway?  Mostly it is a bunch of old farts who are macho s#%theads.  Wonder if women could do any better.  I sometimes fantisize what it would be like if all people worshiped god as a woman.  What if all rulers would be woman?  Would there still be as much corruption?  I know some pretty ruthless women out there, but I also know some who are ethical and wouldn't be so caught up in saving face.  If the horse is dead, get off.  If it doesn't work, why keep kicking it to make it go?

You made some really good points.  Liked your story.  Skull Woman

This just the domino theory revisited by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #53 Wed Jun 07, 2006 at 11:30:49 PM EST
You know the one that lead to the US involvement in the "American war" as the Vietnamese call it. Once one state goes communist, the whole surrounding areas goes communist.

Somalia is more akin to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan than other parts of Africa. Made up of warring, nomadic tribes with Islam being the sole and long established religion with a tradition of Islamic judges being peacemakers.

As other troubled sub saharan African states like Zimbabwe or the DRC have no or tiny muslim minorities, the chances of them falling under this sort of regime is non existant.

We wouldn't have cared much about this 10 years ago, it's only the association between strict Islamist regimes and terrorism that gives us pause today.

Why Islam will win war-torn Africa | 55 comments (55 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback