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IT’S TIME FOR A RETURN TO TRADITION

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Modernity is in trouble. From the menace of migrant crime in Europe to the sexual transgressions rife in modern-day Hollywood, the moral argument for modernity is quickly waning. How did things go so wrong? And how do we fix it? Perhaps a return to traditional values and ideals are in order.

The modern world developed over hundreds of years. The post-medieval period has seen the advent of tolerance as a social and political virtue, the rise of the nation-state, the increased role of science and technology in daily life, the development of representative democracy, the creation of property rights, urbanisation, mass literacy, print media, industrialisation, mercantilism, colonisation, the social sciences, modern psychology, emancipation, romanticism, naturalist approaches to art and culture, and the development of existential philosophy.  From the computer to the mobile phone, the motor car to the aeroplane, the marvels of the modern world are all around us.

The modern world has replaced the Aristotelean and faith-based concept of human life that was popular in the Middle Ages with a worldview based on science and reason. Modern intellectualism, therefore, follows the example set forth by Cartesian and Kantian philosophy: mistrusting tradition and finding its roots in science and rationality.

Culturally and intellectually, the 21st century represents the postmodern era. Postmodernism can be difficult to define accurately because the various cultural and social movements that use it as their central philosophy define it for their own purposes. Jean-Franҫois Lyotard (1924 – 1998), who introduced the term in his 1979 book, The Postmodern Condition, defined postmodernism as “incredulity towards metanarratives.” Similarly, Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as a philosophical movement in opposition to the philosophical assumptions and values of modern Western philosophy.

Postmodernism came about as a reaction, indeed a rejection, to modernity. With its roots in the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976), Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939), and Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), the postmodernist rejects the philosophical theory of Foundationalism – the idea that knowledge is built upon a solid foundation – in favour of large-scale scepticism, subjectivism, and relativism.

The postmodernist likes to see himself as Beowulf fighting Grendel. That is, he likes to see himself as the mythical hero fighting the historical-critical monster. Inspired by doctrines of white privilege and toxic masculinity, and driven by an anti-capitalist (except when it comes to their I-phones), anti-racist (provided the person isn’t white), anti-imperialist (but only European imperialism), and anti-transphobic (because gender is a “social construct”) rhetoric, the post-modernist inspired neo-Marxists and social justice warriors have invaded the modern university and college campus.

Modernity and post-modernism have produced a swathe of existential and moral problems that the Western world has, as of yet, proved unable (or perhaps even unwilling) to solve. To begin, the modern world has abolished the central role that God, nature, and tradition has played in providing life with purpose. In spite of all its cruelty, the German sociologist, Max Weber (1864 – 1920) saw the Middle Ages as a highly humanistic period. Everything was considered to have a divine purpose. Even someone as lowly as a Medieval serf, for example, could feel that he had a role in God’s greater scheme. There was a sense of, as Martin Buber (1878 – 1965) puts it, “I-thou.” Modernity swapped “I-thou” for “I-it”. The human will replaced God as the ultimate arbiter of meaning.

This problem has been further exacerbated by the alienation of the human spirit to nature. Science, for all of its positive qualities, has had the effect of rendering nature meaningless. No longer is a thunderclap the voice of an angry God, nor does a cave contain a goblin or a mountain harbour a giant. Science may be an excellent means for understanding facts, but it is not a substitute for wisdom or tradition when it comes to determining human purpose. No longer does the natural world command the sense of reverential majesty that it once did.

The answer to the problems of the modern, and, by extension, post-modern, world is a revitalisation of the traditional beliefs, values, ideas, customs, and practices that have made the Western world great in the first place. We must reject the destructive ideas espoused by the postmodernists and work to revitalise our traditions. It is high time we started taking some pride in the traditions that have made our civilisation so great.

GENERAL DUNFORD SPEECH AT 9/11 ANNIVERSARY

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General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, made the following address at the Pentagon:

“Mr. President, Mrs. Trump, Secretary Mattis, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, and most importantly, to the family and friends of the fallen, and to those gathered here who survived the attack on the Pentagon, good morning.

It’s an honour to join you as we pause to reflect [on] all those who lost their lives on September 11,  2001. At this ceremony, we are particularly mindful of the 184 who died here in the halls of the Pentagon and aboard Flight 77.

16 years ago when terrorists attacked the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and as they attempted other attacks in Washington D.C., they did so with a sense of purpose. They were attacking symbols that reflect our way of life and our values. The terrorists believed that these attacks would shake our commitment to those values, and as President Bush said hours after the attacks, the terrorists thought they could frighten us into chaos and retreat – but they were wrong.

Instead of retreat, the tragedy of 9/11 produced in us an unyielding resolve. Instead of hopelessness,  our morning turned into action, and we have strengthened our commitment to the idea that the freedom of many should never be endangered by the hatred of a few.

So this morning, as we recall the events of 911, it’s appropriate for those of us still serving to remember and honour those who died, those who continue suffering from injuries, and those left behind.  But if we truly want to honour those remembered today, each of us will walk away from this ceremony with a renewed sense of commitment to our values and the cause of freedom. Each of us will walk away from this  simple ceremony reminded that the war is not over, and that further sacrifice will be required; and each  of us will walk away with resolve to strengthen our personal commitment to protect our family, friends,  and fellow citizens from another 9/11.”

16TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11

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President Trump has spoken today at a 9/11 commemoration at the Pentagon on Monday morning.

Sixteen years ago, Islamic terrorists hijacked four aeroplanes and used them to strike fear into the American people. At 8.46am, American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Centre.  Seventeen minutes later, American Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the south tower. By 10.30am, both towers had fallen.

At 9.28am, American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon and started a violent fire. A final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers attempted to retake control of the aeroplane.

By the end of the day, 2,997 people lay dead.

Speaking at the Pentagon, President Trump stated:

“This is an occasion that is extraordinary and it’ll always be extraordinary. Today our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16  years ago. On that day not only did the world change but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the  depths of the evil we faced.”

President Trump continued by praising the American military and vowing to hunt down those who terrorise others:

“In the years after September 11th, more than five million young men and women have joined the ranks of our great military to defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction.  American forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring, and these are horrible, horrible enemies, enemies like we’ve never seen before. But we’re ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country.  We are making plain to these savage killers  that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere  on this very large Earth.”