Category Archives: Chomsky

Ignorance supports one side in the class struggle – rationality the other

“Ignorance has become a virtue” is a theses argued by Tom Nichols in a timely book, reviewed in New York Times the other day. The author has of course plenty of recent illustrations with which to back up his supposition. But hasn’t this race into darkness been in the works long before Trump?

After the failed attempts of revolution in the 1960s, progressives had difficulties in dealing with their disappointment. Some of them (also “leftists” in their own mind) made an about-face and ended up in the arms of Saussure, Nietzsche, Heidegger and other solid reactionaries (and, occasionally, Nazis). They effectively declared the end of all factual knowledge, roughly claiming that reality existed only in language and nowhere else.

It all started in France but spread like a flu to the “soft” departments of western academia, such as literary studies, social sciences and the like. Their scholars, who had lived in the shadow of natural sciences, now got a weapon against the intrusive scientists with their annoying claims to know anything about the reality (that the “soft” scholars had no clue about themselves). These delicate minds called their teaching by different names, often beginning with “post”, but may for simplicity all be named “postmodernists”.

Michel Foucault, a kingpin among them, asserted that every narrative was as true as anyone else, only too late realizing that such theses can be aimed at itself, making it arbitrarily true or false. This is the level of postmodern thinking, only becoming increasingly absurd when the proud new thinkers ventured into science (hilariously undressed by Sokal and Bricmont).

The emperor’s new clothes come certainly to mind here. Postmodernists don’t seem to realize how naked they are. Noam Chomsky has famously said about them (paraphrasing): of the lashings of postmodern verbiage there is, I only understand a small part, and that is either truisms or false.

When large parts of the academic world have grown accustomed to believing in nonsense, it could not be surprising to find the political apparatus going down the same path. Is there even a class analysis to make here?

Postmodernism and neoliberalism are roughly contemporaries. The forceful counterattack by Capital, starting late 1970s, swept through the western world and stunned the progressives. Those “leftists” who retreated into the postmodern nonsense world became in effect fifth columnist. They distracted popular opposition by combatting the most important instrument for people’s struggle: rationality.

If I were a multi-billionaire, strictly caring about my own money, I would certainly encourage and support every stupid prophet who deceives people into all kinds of gibberish that takes their eyes off me and my absurd wealth. Postmodernism has served that duty quite well, as far as it reaches.

Now the political world itself has been endowed with a master deceiver who certainly will do as much he has time for to lure and betray his electorate. Ignorance has not just become a virtue; it has been made a main principle by a ruling class that has everything to gain from public stupidity and everything to fear from rational class analysis.

Democracy as a Glass Bead Game for “academics”

Today’s New York Times has a piece titled Democracy in America: How Is It Doing?, presenting a study that excels in political scientists’ most dear subjects: formalities and instrumentalities forming a rather shallow analysis, if one by democracy means people’s real power. It’s of course presented with much (insipid) statistics and graphics. The summary of the study is: “Democracy in the United states is strong, but showing some cracks”.

I submitted the following lines to the NYT Readers Comments’ section:

Really prudent and knowledgeable American thinkers, most prominently Noam Chomsky, argues convincingly that today’s USA is a plutocracy, not a democracy at all. He bases his view on the fact that the economic powerful simply are able buy political decisions that are gaining their interests. This power mostly overrides voters’ real influence on politics, something that has been demonstrated in numerous polls (such as on health care).

Citizens United stands for legalized corruption on a limitless scale, not really intelligible for many outside US. That should have been be none of our interests, were it not for US being a role model followed by other states, not least Sweden, with some years’ or decades’ delay. So, let’s unite across oceans and reclaim real democracy.

 

To Noam on his 87th birthday!

Dear Noam,
[…]
Sometimes fragments of sentences stick to one’s memory, such as for me a remark once by a reporter at the Swedish Radio, who talked about “Chomsky’s fans” in a slightly derogatory manner. Well, I thought to myself, we are the fans of facts and rational analysis based on facts, fans for whom Noam Chomsky is the unchallenged teacher and inimitable role model. And I wondered what reality is like for intellectuals who seem ignorant of the very meaning of the word “rational” and consider everything to be opinions, emotions and whatever. They can’t possibly be able to realize, for instance, that the computer they rely heavily on for their work hadn’t even existed if everybody’s brains worked in the same esoteric way as theirs.

It seems impossible to get rid of postmodernism with its denial of knowledge and reason. Although not being exceptionally “modern” any more, its still seems to be endemic in many intellectual circles. Facts are replaced by factoids and for each day it becomes increasingly hard to plow through the daily paper with sustained presence of mind. I remember regretfully the 1960s and 70s when progressive enlightenment was the norm, even in mainstream papers.

Our national paper (Dagens Nyheter) was in those days remarkably left-wing on the editorial and cultural pages. Its chief editor (Olof Lagerkrantz) visited China and came home dressed in a kind of Mao coat (!) He admitted all the brilliant progressives to write frequently in his paper. Those were the days! The question is how long we are to wait for the next enlightened period, ever so short.
——
The problem overshadowing everything else right now in Sweden is the refugee crisis. Authorities have a hard time finding even primitive shelter for the thousands pouring in daily across the border. The government took last week a drastic step and pulled the brakes on refugee reception, by some interpreted as equivalent to closing the borders (from one of the more generous nations to almost the opposite in a single step.) How it really turns out remains to be seen.

When the flow of refugees began there were positive sentiments among the public towards them. At the same time our xenophobic, right-wing extremist party, the Sweden Democrats, gained strongly in polls. There is a frightening possibility that these former skinheads with troubled childhoods one day may end up in the government (the Weimar syndrome again!).

Of course nobody talks about what lies behind the whole situation. The discussion in every media is focused on the Muslim terrorists, without mentioning that we created them, and that we continue to propagate them with each bomb and each drone.
——-
Sweden is since centuries and almost by tradition a deeply Russophobe society, which plays out in full now with the Ukraine conflict. The disgust is almost unanimous and boils down to a few concepts such as “Putin’s war”, “Russian aggression” and the like. Dagens Nyheter doesn’t even mention analysis such as those made by John Mearsheimer, Stephen Cohen, a number of German ex-chancellors and many others with a different perspective (they even overlook Henry Kissinger’s).

I don’t think one has to have special considerations for Russia to oppose the 25 years of aggressive behavior by western powers, particularly performed through NATO. It’s just so repulsive to see well-paid journalists excel in stupid propaganda which has no other conceivable effects than to possibly take us even closer to a final world war. (Well, it’s hard to keep a straight face these days.)
——-
As I mentioned in a mail to you last year Sweden held elections in 2014 in which the Social Democrats barely managed to replace a government that had enforced (by our standards) rather harsh right-wing policies for eight years. The time since the election has brought very little of what we used to call Social Democratic policy.

On the hottest topic, profits in private welfare enterprises, nothing concrete has happened. Thus tax-payers money is still poured over fortune-hunters and private equity firms (and occasionally some serious businesses) by authorities lacking resources to adequately monitor the process, leaving room for continuous fraud and mismanagement. On this issue the party leadership dismisses a strong opinion held by 95 percent of their membership (simply the familiar capitalist democracy).

To pick just one small example from a pile: one private nursery home ordered its staff to weigh the patient’s diapers during use in order to minimize the diaper usage. This aroused the public to both ridicule and detest the company, which had to back down.

On foreign policy the new government has been even more right-wing than the previous one. Our defense minister seems to do his utmost to appease his NATO friends, to a degree that it now is unnecessary to actually join the treaty. Large military drills with NATO participating have been held in northern Sweden. We have had soldiers in Afghanistan for a considerable time. Then we suddenly heard, without foregoing debate, that Swedish soldiers were stationed in Iraq! The next thing to surprise us was that we were going to “help” France in Mali, of all places. And to top it all our air force is preparing to join other bomb-happy states in Syria (probably, as in Libya, not in actual bombing operations, just surveillance).
———–
There are some things left of old Sweden, but a lot has changed for the negative. That unique politician Olof Palme, whom we had a lot of disagreements with in his days at the helm, looks in retrospect as some kind of saint. But it’s just to keep up the spirit and look forward to a brighter era that inevitably will come, if not in our lifetime maybe in our children’s or grandchildren’s.

When I need inspiration I happily turn to you! A speech by Noam Chomsky on the Internet brings forward new strength and optimism to start again and afresh. You are a powerful inspiration, a uniquely rational voice and a hope for mankind. Thus I wish you all the best of everything in life.

Best regards
Lars Schaff
Lysekil, Sweden

Propaganda killing workers rights

There is a saying in Sweden that whatever evolves in USA will eventually reach us, may it take 10, 20 or 30 years. We might think of many American habits as utterly superficial and even childish, but some day they’re all over us.

I’ve been reminded of that recently as a relative is about to graduate from our high school (gymnasium in Swedish). This has always been a solemn day for a young person, ending with a memorable party: dressed-up graduates, a formal dinner and dance. But everyone got to the dinner individually. That’s now transformed into full American prom-style. Today’s students must come in pairs, the girls (usually) picking a partner, styling him in matching colors and accessories; all the US “naiveties” we used to laugh about.

A more serious thought of this kind hits me when I ponder over Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and another one of his blows against working people in his state. I’ve heard that Wisconsin used to be socially well-organized and as much Social democrat as is possible in USA. I like to think that the influx of Nordic immigrants into Wisconsin has something to do with that. But times are a ‘changing.

The scary question now is how long it will take for “Right to Work” to reach Sweden, if ever. The concept itself is disgusting, taken as it is directly from George Orwell’s dictionary. It’s a token of a crushing propaganda victory that reactionary – though elected – leaders are able to humiliate working people not just in action but also in words.

Reactionary victories are nowadays not just multitudinous but perform on two fronts. First the policymakers can enforce far-reaching neoliberal rules, serving primarily the business community, without much popular resistance at all. And then when people occasionally are called to express their opinion at elections they are indoctrinated to vote against their own interests. This trend for the last 30-40 years is the same in Europe as in USA, though not yet as extreme here.

Readers Comments in New York Times on articles about “Right to Work” overwhelmingly points to the circumstance that people seem to vote contrary to their own interests. Orwell had it right here too, as had Herman & Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent. Our western propaganda model is extremely successful and far superior to any state commanded, regardless of the level of oppression in the latter. Or as Chomsky has said: a dictator doesn’t need to bother with sophisticated propaganda since he has a club in his hand ensuring the “success” of his politics anyway.

Recent scholarly work has shown that Soviet state propaganda was a failure. Large segments of the people got their information from western propaganda radio and Samizdat literature (which explains the clueless view many had on western prosperity and happiness). Today western media are trying the same old grip on the contemporary Russian propaganda, pointing to the fact that most television broadcasting is state owned or controlled. The misconception is even greater this time since we have unlimited “Samizdat” available on the Internet, on which Russians are among the most frequent visitors in the world. On top of that we find the most extensive translation operations in Russia, where many western newspapers are found translated on the Internet.

The attack on labor called “Right to Work” is depressing even to write about. Together with Mr. Walkers earlier blow against unions by banning collective bargaining for public employees we have witnessed clear violations of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 23, point 4, which reads: “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.” In the spirit of that article trade unions should be free to negotiate with their counterparts with no other restrictions than such negotiations entail. State interference in that process is clearly a violation of the workers human rights.

Here we just may hope for an exception to the rule that every US peculiarity reaches Sweden sooner or later. May it this time prove to be never… ever!

To fight terrorism by intensely nurturing it

Last week the usually very mainstream Swedish public service television made an embarrassing gaffe in an interview with the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden. The reporter asked: “Do the Jews themselves have any responsibility in the growing Antisemitism that we see now?” to which the Ambassador immediately answered: “I reject the question altogether. There is no place for such a question to be asked.” He was immediately supported by media in general.

The reporter obviously confused Antisemitism with critique of Israeli politics, a rather ignorant mistake. Antisemitism as such is of course irrational expressions of unfounded emotions, often accompanied by paranoid notions. Hitler’s view is archetypal as he considered Jews to be the lowest kind of existence, hardly human at all, and at the same time a phenomenal force that threatened to conquer the whole world (a type of madness that even couldn’t be called illogical, it would be too kind).

With a small adjustment the reporter’s question would have been more than appropriate: “Does the Israeli government have any responsibility for the increasing terrorism that we now see?”. Questions with corresponding significance could also be directed to many western governments and media. The more so since their reaction now to ISIS military actions and terror operations are dazed: where did these monsters come from?

Noam Chomsky, who has studied the proper documents in depth, reports that US intelligence already prior to the war of aggression against Iraq warned that terrorism would increase in case of such a war. They were more than correct: terrorism mushroomed seven-fold. From then on it has just continued growing.

When it all started is almost a semantic question. The roots can be followed centuries back when the Europeans started to conquer and oppress the rest of the world, with its off-shoot USA eventually taking over the main role as the bully. The only territories in which the conquerors in any sense succeeded were in those where the indigenous people were almost completely wiped out, such as North America. In other areas the imperialists generated a lasting hostility, more or less violent.

After WWII imperialism step by step hit back at the imperialists. It became too costly to uphold, and neo-imperialism came instead, meaning total dominance without occupation but also requiring constant military threat and frequent wars. The oppression created resistance forces and liberation movements fighting for national sovereignty and freedom. From the 1980s most violent actions performed by “rebels” began being labeled “terrorism”.

The present terrorism in the Middle East has a simple genealogy. USA created the Mujaheddin to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Out of these groups evolved the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Then USA invaded Iraq which intensified recruitment to these terrorist armies. It so happened that an initially unobtrusive religious scholar named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi witnessed the horrible US attack on Fallujah, an experience that is said to have turned him into a dedicated militant. Today he is head of ISIS.

For every terrorist killed by western forces more than one new terrorist is mobilized. Is it pure lack of mathematical knowledge that make some decision makers believe that even more bombs and killings will solve the problem?

Noam Chomsky 86 today – may he live forever!

An email to Noam Chomsky on his 86th birthday:

Dear Noam,

My warmest congratulations to you on your birthday! I sincerely hope that you will have an enjoyable day, which you deserve more than anyone. Your contributions to progressive development for mankind are unmatched, as are the wonderful inspiration you give to many, many of us who want to work for the elimination of unnecessary deficiencies of our societies. Like Galilei and other great minds demonized by the powerful of their times, you will one day be recognized by all as a leading thinker in man’s whole history.

I wrote you a few lines one year ago, telling about the neoliberal deterioration in Sweden since at least 2006. You asked me if there was something written in any of your languages on the matter. My answer bounced, since your were travelling, so I can say now that I haven’t come across anything of what you asked for. Our intellectuals and scholars usually work within the system, producing the customized texts, molded after the requirements posed at them. There are many more independent, competent thinkers in USA, and they are allowed much more space in media.

I can think of just one clear-sighted writer published in English, Jan Myrdal (son of the Nobel economist Gunnar Myrdal, who in 1928 wrote a fundamental critique of neoclassical economics). Jan M’s translated works on Swedish matters are from the 60s and 70s, when he was a central figure in the left-wing movement. He is now 87 and still very active, but ostracized and exiled to marginal, dissident papers. His latest book in English is about the Naxalites in India.

Our “intellectuals” of international fame are caricatures like Johan Norberg, who earned his credentials with a book titled “In Defense of Global Capitalism”. There seem to be some shortage of neoliberals capable of writing a whole book, so Norberg became a kind of celebrity in the US (and in Egypt). He is now a freelance writer and blogger, connected to the Cato Institute as a fellow.

To the morning coffee I now read, among others, New York Times on the web and find it to be an enlightened and versatile paper compared to its Swedish counterpart, Dagens Nyheter. Particularly now, with the conflict in Ukraine, DN appears in comparison to be a provincial, propagandistic and warmongering rag. To obtain insights not heard of here we have furthermore The Nation magazine and a host of other well informed US websites. On the other hand we don’t have the opposite extremes like your worst neocon talk show hosts, religious fundamentalist congress members, fanatic climate deniers and their compatriots (but perhaps rather that than the one-dimensional conformity we suffer here).

There is not much new to report on the Swedish neoliberal front. The core of our welfare state is admittedly still there, but the right-wing government succeeded to stab some rather ugly wounds into the body of the caring society. We had an election in September in which the Social Democrats together with the Left and the Green parties barely became the largest fraction. But our ultra-right, xenophobic party (The Sweden Democrats) doubled its number of voters, thus becoming kingmaker in Parliament. Since none of the others wanted to have anything to do with the xenophobes, and yet wouldn’t cooperate over the aisle, a government crisis was inevitable. Thus a new election will be held in March next year.

Our neoliberal government since 2006 managed to privatize and deregulate some parts of key sectors of the welfare state, such as pre-schools, schools, pharmacies, health centers, hospitals, nursing homes and the like. Robber capitalism was invited into the system and a number of scandals followed. Even the mainstream press reported on the scandals and people got furious. In polls the government parties were practically destroyed. Still they won the elections in 2010, for the same reason as in the US (in your words): elections in our democracies are not won on issues but on imagery. And our whole media apparatus is nowadays in the bourgeoisie playing field. The Social Democrats have only some small countryside papers left.

Just one example of the neoliberal stranglehold on politics is people’s view on profits in private welfare corporations. Two polls have been taken, both with the same result: 90 percent of Swedish voters want either a total ban on profits or a ban on dividends paid to shareholders. Of those who vote for the Social Democrats 99 percent want such restrictions. So when the new leader of the Social Democrats, Stefan Lofven, had been installed he immediately and strongly declared that there would be no changes in the present system, thus challenging 99 percent of his own voters. Why, one could ask. Well, he probably knows where the real power lies, and what the media had done to him had he said anything different.

We have in other words a lot of work to do and we try to do what we are able to. In that effort your dedication is our inspiration, together with your wisdom and unbelievable knowledge. I simply want to thank you for all that, and for what your work means for me personally.

Best regards

Why did Sweden succumb to neoliberalism?

Noam kindly answered my mail, asking if I could provide him with references to written material, preferably in English, about the dire developments in Sweden the past years. (The only authors I could think of are themselves neoliberal believers who don’t even see the problems.) If any reader of these lines have information of that sort, please post a message!

A few words to Noam in reply:

Although I’m following media and the debate as close as I can, it’s my impression that there is no substantial scholarly work on controversial issues in the social and political fields in this country. Here we are lagging miles behind the US, as I conclude from your lectures. We are a compromising consensus people always trying to avoid controversies in well-washed circles. Thus I have no references to any reliable work on the current and serious problems in Sweden. The debate goes on in the ordinary media, thus mainly in Swedish.

One episode two years ago illustrates this provincial condition quite well. A research institute called SNS published a study in which they concluded the absence of proof that privatization of welfare services had made them better or less costly. The main reason was simply that no substantial research to evaluate the privatizations had been performed by anyone. This seemingly uncontroversial conclusion nevertheless caused uproar in business circles, and thus also in media. The CEO of SNS got cold feet and muzzled the main author of the report, which was a little too much even for right wing papers, and the reverse pressure eventually forced the CEO to resign.

SNS’ history is interesting in itself. It was created as a joint venture between labor and capital shortly after the last war, when business leaders still were somewhat defensive after the Russian (and labor) victory. Serious discussions in Sweden even opened for the possibility of a command economy. As one way of approaching the unions some more progressive business leaders suggested the creation of SNS, through which the two parties could share findings reached by impartial research. (But who’s the real boss was revealed by the scandal.)

One other important obstacle to productive scholarship in these areas is the dominant postmodern deconstruction of reason the last decades, from which the formerly rational Sweden hasn’t been spared. An illustrative example highlighted the issue some years ago. The government was about to appoint a new principal of a medium-sized university and presented a postmodernist professor, Moira von Wright, for the job. A number of science professors reacted publicly in protest, calling von Wright “an enemy of science”, based on statements of hers such as: “Gender-aware and gender sensitive physics requires a relational approach to physics and that a lot of the traditional scientific knowledge content of physics be removed”. She was of course appointed and remains at the job.

Sweden is a small country, still showing a lot of characteristics from the backward farmers’ society which is just a couple of generations away. In moments of self-awareness we call our country a duck-pond, referring to the restricted and sometimes claustrophobic debate environment we have to endure.

That’s why it is so liberating to listen to you on the Internet. It may be that information is filtered in the US, but it’s there anyway, and you bring it to us. Here everything is stirred down in media porridge and no one bothers. It’s in fact no great wonder that a neoliberal (and postmodern) breakdown of the magnitude we have experienced the past decade can take place without much ado.

Noam Chomsky has lived for 85 years to become our greatest inspiration

Today is Noam Chomsky’s 85th birthday. The most important intellectual leader on earth has reached a mature age and is still an active forerunner in the struggle for an equitable, humane and reasonable world in which he wants the well-being of humankind to be in the center of our efforts. I sent him my warmest congratulations, adding a few notes on the current situation in Sweden, an excerpt of which follows:

On this day one year ago I wrote you a few words about the deconstruction of the concept “Sweden” as it usually has been known by many people. I’m afraid that the decline has continued since then, even manifesting itself in further disastrous developments.

But today we of course remember Nelson Mandela. For us his memory is tied to an era when “Sweden” was a different society. This was then my country to which Mandela made his first foreign visit, just one month after his release from Robben Island. That country had given more financial support to ANC than all the large European countries together. It was furthermore a policy supported by a substantial majority of Swedes and agitated by numerous solidarity movements. But a key decision maker was naturally Olof Palme.

Only one political party here opposed the support of ANC, thus in fact backing apartheid, namely the Right Party, at that time a rather insignificant party on the remote flank of the bourgeoisie. Today that party – now (naturally) calling itself “The Moderates” – dominates the government and provides our Prime Minister. One renowned left wing commentator recommends their ministers to stay away from the Mandela funeral because “their party’s breath stinks from dead viper” when it comes to ANC and Mandela.

To pick another shock that hit us the other day: the 2012 PISA report. Swedish scores in math, science and reading are falling like stones, in a speed not matched by any other OECD country. It’s now widely held that the reason can be directly derived from the neoliberal excesses, starting with free choice of schools in the 1990s, accelerated by anarchistic privatizations and erupting in robber capitalism with dismantling of resources in private schools resulting in huge profits transferred to tax havens.

The dire consequence of this experiment is that schools in Sweden have become extremely segregated, this in turn being the basic explanation behind the disastrous performance. We who grew up in the old Sweden (I’m 72) can hardly believe our eyes. Our country once had the most homogeneous schools in the world, a property now considered by many experts to be the foundation for good performance. It’s not just that the least talented kids are hit by the segregation; the performance by the top students is also declining!

All the neoliberal reforms are enforced on pure ideological grounds, based on the religious belief that market principles are infallible. Thus regulatory bodies usually haven’t been set up, let alone effective regulations carried through. Politicians seem to have shown the most naïve confidence in their religion, but perhaps they just don’t care (“if we privatize as much as we can manage we’ll leave the problems to the next government, since we know that people won’t put up with us for much longer anyway”).

If I were to say a few words on another neoliberal experiment and some democratic paradoxes I could choose an exotic welfare measure for the rich called RUT. In short it means that the government (tax payers) picks up half the bill when people buy domestic services of different kinds (including homework assistance for their kids, and hiring of butlers).

As one would expect it’s only ten percent of households that are entitled to this welfare check, since the rest cannot afford the services in the first place. In a democratic society it would seem self evident that the 90 percent of voters abolish an absurdity like this. But no way! The Social Democrats don’t dare to touch the “reform” which was pitched as a means of “gender equality” and a way to reduce black work. (The last argument is just too wonderful: rich criminals should be bribed to stay legal!)

Although Sweden isn’t business run to the extent the US is, “democracy” seems to work in the same way. The RUT absurdity is not in any way the only example where a large majority has no say. One way it’s made to work is through media. It’s said that we are obedient here, don’t want to stand out, feel safe with social conformity etcetera. But if that’s an explanation, the same seems to be the case in all (so called) democracies.

In polls 10 percent say that they are fully content with the present form of profit-making in schools and welfare businesses. The rest want some kind of restrictions, from banning dividends to prohibiting profits altogether. The only party whose program deals in at least some way with the wishes of 90 percent of voters is the Left Party, which nevertheless is supported by only about 7 percent in polls. It would have been a paradox if you hadn’t taught us that democracy in our sense is just a marketing procedure.

Well, crisis and opportunity are synonyms, as the old Chinese teach us. And there are more and more signs of a change in politics here. The impediments should just inspire to do more work (I try to contribute verbally in a blog). And in this work, dear Noam, you are the most inspiring person on earth. You demonstrate that rationality is the fundamental way to progress. And as you often point out there is constant progress going on, with one or other setback here and there, of course. So if my report seems depressing, I myself am filled with optimism regarding the development in the longer run. And this optimism is something I gain from listening to your talks regularly.

Nelson Mandela was a hero and a model for humanity. In my world you are even more so!