Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Thucydides Tapes
A summary of my IR Core reading for the past few weeks, courtesy some grad student from Harvard:
Wolferes: This is where I question this approach. I simply cannot accept the idea that some type of ethical standard doesn't bind states. Didn't anyone take the classical ethics seminar over at the Academy? Survival may be the highest value, but not all issues are ones of state life or death, including the ones leading up to this conflict. Our expansion and actions towards the lesser Ionian city-states [the Greek island states that Athens had turned into virtual colonies] should have been tempered with a realization of their greater negative impact. There is an inherent contradiction in leaders claiming moral principles to guide the individual and then pursuing immoral means and goals for our state. Like the people that make them up, states should also be bound by morals, merely under more difficult circumstances. Just because those of us who are realistic believe in power, does not mean that we all can't just get along.
[Assorted hisses and boos from the crowd dominate the transcript at this point]
Unidentified: How can you even suggest the big tits girls have morals? This is treason and heresy! Who let this guy in?
Gilpines: I don't think that the more realistic of us are suggesting that ethics are useless. It's simply that an examination of war can proceed better without resorting to questions of morality.
Vasquezes: But hold on a minute. Are there not connections between this negative type of "realist" reasoning and their implementation in war?
Wendtes: This is exactly what I have been trying to tell you all! This structure you speak of is like one of Democritus's tiny unseeable "atoms." We can't see or touch it. It is not of any material like gold or marble, but a construction of our own minds. Thus, there remains a possibility of transforming how we see ourselves. If we returned to thinking of all of us as noble Greeks and Hellenes, first and foremost, none of this "rationalized" madness would be occurring and we could transform the system to one of cooperative security rather than destructive anarchy.
Goldsteines: Quite so. In Thucydides' work, one can see that ideas themselves have had power and impact. The concept of how to treat an opposing state, or even a former colony, has tangible impacts on how states interrelate.
Gilpines: That's enough of this fluffy babble about "ideas" and "identity." Let's remember that this is the HPSA and any further unconventional, immaterial outbursts will be dealt with!

Monday, January 28, 2008

None of the school children, or teachers for that matter, liked him and he was in a constant state of frustration because although he was an intelligent boy, his social skills were severely lacking. He couldn't get along with his peers and as he was in constant trouble at school because of his behavioural difficulties his frustration would make him bang his head against walls in temper. By chance I happened to hear a radio program discussing a condition called ADHD and after research I came to realise that this was what was probably affecting my son. The UK Support group gave me the name of a paediatrician who I eventually managed to get George referred to, and he did indeed diagnose George. After this, we managed to get Special Needs help at school which meant one to one assistance in class. Things gradually improved over time and although George's problems are still severe, we are surviving and things get easier all the time. We use a number of behavioural management techniques at home which do alleviate the tension somewhat, but George's main difficulties are still social in nature.This year George got a further diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. He has no learning difficulties, in fact his IQ is extremely high (within the top 2% of the population) but socially he still struggles. These conditions can only be managed; not cured and although sometimes these children's symptoms subside with age, often they remain into adulthood.

He's at it again. my little boy is at it again. He would frighten the life out of me with all his thrill seeking behaviour. Often he would zip himself up in a sleeping bag and throw himself downstairs repeatedly. My heart would be in my mouth as I would hear his little body bump, bump, bumping down the stairs. He loved it! Soon strange ritualistic behaviours began to show. George would hide his underwear in out of the way places, or throw it in the dustbin. Every day he would extract his duvet from it's cover, and he started to sleep either *under* his bed or with his head at the foot* of the bed. His pyjamas he would wear over, not instead of, his daytime clothes and as one would imagine, all this was extremely worrying for us. By 1995, George was eight years old and things had sunk to an all time low. I felt as if I was teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown as he had become aggressive, oppositional and violent. His behaviour impacted on every aspect of our lives. My marriage was suffering, I was in disagreement with my parents regarding the way George was turning out and I felt like an old woman.

am Gail. Mum to George; a beautiful blond haired, blue eyed 12 1/2 year old. Although he looks a normal and rather handsome chap, George is diagnosed with ADHD (Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger syndrome (high functioning Autism). I first knew that he had problems when he was about a year old. He wouldn't sleep at nights, preferring to scream and holler for hours on end. As soon as he got to his feet, he became like a tiny tornado. As he had become accident prone and hyperactive, I voiced concerns to my health visitor (children's nurse ). Apart from the violent temper tantrums he had started having, he didn?t play 'properly' and would destroy anything he could get his hands on. By the time he was around 2 1/2 years old the physical strain of looking after him was exhausting for me. His attention span was almost non-existent and he would flit about from one thing to another. Things got worst when he got to school as his difficulties now became public, so to speak. He stuck out like a sore thumb in class. He was disruptive and often wandered round the classroom for no reason. His tutors found him difficult to supervise as his poor attention span meant he couldn?t stay on task long enough to complete work. Years went by and things got worse as we consulted a string of heath-care professionals who didn't help us. It was subtly suggested that we were at fault; that our parenting skills weren't up to scratch! George would butt in when other people were talking because he was so impulsive, and would throw the most almighty tantrums should something not go his way.