Henry Farrell's post at Crooked Timber, touching on a certain right-wing attitude towards science, which expresses skepticism about limits placed on human capacities, on the possibility of serious blockages in scientific and particularly technological progress, is interesting. I think this hostility to the idea that there are problems which cannot be defeated with the application of a simple combination ingenuity and practical-mindedness is peculiarly American, related to the rugged individualism of Manifest Destiny, the myth of a country of infinite horizons, both physical and social.
Lenin does a fairly good job accounting for the causal commonalities in which suicide bombings tend to occur here, concluding, perhaps predictably, that the single obvious commonality is personal experience of significant injustice. He is, as a Marxist, understandably keen to connect the motivational features of suicide bombers to structural features of late capitalism, if not directly, in the sense of recognising them as structural features of late capitalism, then indirectly, through its inevitable brutalities. I, however, think that suicide bombing inherently has something otherworldly, postponed about it, and not in the relatively straightforward sense that any sacrifice, because it often does not see its own success, but in the more profound sense that it has no hope of seeing its own success, and this in two senses. Firstly, that the end it aims at is usually totally beyond it, alone, as a means to it, and secondly, that the end is somehow intrinsically unworldly: most obviously, anyone seriously aiming at the destruction of Israel as a state, but also, I think, Marxists. I think that otherworldliness is perhaps essential to the suicide bomber.
Finally, one quick thing about the Blimpish piece from the Sharpener I linked to last time. He's writing on that topic much beloved of conservatives, the need for a moral community, substantially created by reference to tradition, to sustain a polity, and makes the claim that the Hindu caste system disproves ethical universalism, because Hindus don't believe that all human life, qua human life, is worth an equal amount. This only matters if the Hindus are right: the fact that some people believe ethical universalism is false does not disprove ethical universalism, just as the fact that some people believe the world is not round does not disprove the world being round. Broadly, if ethical universalism is true, then what people think about its truth doesn't have that much bearing (I mean that broadly: it's complicated).