NYTimes: email from Israel

Stephen D. Williams sdw@lig.net
Mon, 01 Oct 2001 23:24:45 -0400

Justin Mason wrote:

> Mike Masnick said:
>>I disagree.  Israel is a homeland for Jews in the same way that Ireland is
>>a homeland for the Irish.
> Ooh, bad example ;)
> Even disregarding the disastrous situation in Northern Ireland for the
> past 30 years, the south (ie. the Republic of Ireland) has spent most of
> the last 20 years, at least, consciously making itself a more secular
> state.

And a description I read once explained the problems in Northern Ireland 
by pointing out that the Catholic and Protestant people each had their 
own vertically integrated governments, schools, shops, etc. 
Essentially, seperate but equal segregation in intertwined 
neighborhoods.  Both the religious spins of their sub-governments (which 
sounded like neighborhood based village-like councils or something) and 
the segregation caused friction to spiral out of control.

A secular government, economy, and other general interaction causes 
everyone to spend more time with opposing viewpoints thereby preventing 
'thermal runaway' of various kinds.  It also both tends to soften 
cultures or subcultures and sometimes to create and strengthen them as 
new ideas are tried with like-minded individuals.  The great paradox, 
writ large via the Internet, is that by mixing peoples of various ethnic 
and racial backgrounds you increase the cross section that persue 
various interests that might not have critical mass in their own small 
enclave.  (Arts, music, science, business, etc.)

> Many bad things happened before then, when Ireland *was* a religious
> state, and most people there don't want that kind of society anymore
> as a result.

I'm glad to know this.  Thanks.

> --j. (Irish)
> http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork

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Stephen D. Williams
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