I am writing to you because I hope you will bring the job advertisement below to the attention of qualified women and minorities who work in 18th and 19th century history of philosophy.Sheesh, that might as well say: "Don't bother forwarding this announcement to white males; we're not interested in them, no matter how qualified they are." The note definitely says more than the standard boilerplate at the end of job announcements to the effect that women and minorities are encouraged to apply. I still object to that version, particularly since it reflects academia's now-standard reverse racism and sexism in hiring. Still, it doesn't convey the impression that white males are unwelcome, as the above note does.
The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people -- the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped -- have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."Without a doubt, communists slaughtered millions of people -- due to their communism, not their atheism. The slaughter was made possible by the idea that individuals can and ought to be sacrificed for the sake of the "higher ideal" of the collective. Notably, serious religionists share the same basic view, although their "higher ideal" is the Kingdom of God. If they fully accept that the good is defined by God's arbitrary will, they will commit any atrocity to achieve it, so long as they can find some rationalization in their barbaric holy texts. (Given what the Bible actually says, that's easy enough!)
There is a story that Alexander sent for the sophist Anaxarchus, in the hope he might give him comfort, and was still on his bed, bewailing his fate, when he came in.That's a rather different view of justice in governance than found in the New Testament. For example, Paul writes:
Anaxarchus laughed. "Don't you know," he said, "why the wise men of old made justice to sit by the side of Zeus? It was to show that whatever Zeus may do is justly done. In the same way all the acts of a great king should be considered just, first by himself, then by the rest of us."
This was some consolation, at any rate for a time--though in my opinion he did Alexander a wrong more grievous than his grief, if he seriously, as a philosopher, put forward the view that a king need not act justly, or labor, to the best of his ability, to distinguish between right and wrong--if he really meant that whatever a king does, by whatever means, should be considered right.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:1-8).For Paul, subjection and obedience are themselves good. The rulers need not act justly; they need not earn obedience by governing well. God is in charge of such matters, since rulers only rule by His will. Moreover, according to Christian principles of judgment, mere mortals ought not dare judge the fitness of their rulers, lest they be judged for their inevitable faults in return. (On that point, see Matthew 18, for example.)
"I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."That is Virgil Goode's position, and he may say what he pleases. He is probably one of those who believe that America was founded on Christian principles, and that any elected official, in any level of government, should be sworn into office with a hand on a Bible. In practice, it may as well be a chunk of the Blarney Stone. I don't believe any elected or appointed official over the last century has ever strictly "upheld the Constitution." If any had, would we be saddled with a wealth-consuming, rights-violating welfare state that is drifting towards out-and-out statism?
"In the spirit of the season, I am sending Mr. Goode a Christmas present - a copy of the Constitution."This is the same Nihad Awad who said a few years ago that he wouldn't mind seeing the Constitution some day replaced with the Koran.
"CAIR today asked Wal-Mart to stop selling a video game that glorifies religious violence and may harm interfaith relations....CAIR says it has received complaints about the game 'Left Behind: Eternal Forces,' produced by Left Behind Games Inc. the game reportedly rewards players for either converting or killing people of other faiths....The game's enemy team includes people with Muslim-sounding names...."I am no fan of the "Left Behind" series of novels - it is, after all, an apocalyptic Christian story - but if CAIR is so concerned about the "negative images" such games and rhetoric promote or perpetuate, it can do something about the violence of Islam's practitioners in the Mideast.
"We also believe that as a company that prides itself in hiring and offering services to a diverse group of people, it is Wal-Mart's corporate social responsibility to take into account the potential social impact of its decision to sell this harmful game. We, therefore, respectfully request the removal of the video game...from your selves."
"Skeptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument and they compel necessary corrections."His letter to Rockefeller and Snowe concludes:
"I challenge you to withdraw [the assertions that ExxonMobil is engaging in fraud and disinformation] or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably called 'disastrous' and 'calamitous' consequences."Or, as Ayn Rand once put it: Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one - in this instance, innumerable and noisy computer-model obsessed nerds who prefer verisimilitude over reality. His letter would have been faultlessly perfect if Monckton had further stated in it that it is global warming advocates (such as the "Gorebies") and environmentalists who engage in fraud and disinformation. It would be refreshing to hear someone say that the exponents of global warming's alleged disastrous and calamitous consequences and of environmental catastrophe fall into one of two categories: uncritical dupes, and power-lusting, man-hating political opportunists to whom truth is not only irrelevant, but the enemy.
"Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"It is a free and open encounter that is the nemesis of the religious and environmental totalitarians among us and which they wish to suppress. In a culture of consensus and political power to enforce it, it is Truth that is "out."
DEAR ABBY: Am I a "sicko" because I step out of the shower naked in front of our dog? My wife thinks so. The trouble started when we got a female dog, "Taffy," from the local animal shelter. Taffy sleeps in our bedroom and is there in the morning when I take my shower.Really, that's just freaky.
My wife insists that I cover up in front of the dog and that Taffy is no different from a child. This has created a lot of stress between us because, to me, a dog is a dog. Is it wrong to be naked in front of a dog? -- IN THE DOGHOUSE, TEMECULA, CALIF.
DEAR IN THE DOGHOUSE: Even though many people treat their dogs like children, the fact remains that dogs are canines -- not homo sapiens. Your wife appears to be either jealous or have an overactive imagination. It is no more wrong for a human to be naked in the presence of a dog than it is for a dog to be naked in the presence of a human.
One meaning of all of this is that we may not be losing after all. If most of the country is prospering and Iraqis are forming new businesses, then can we assume that overall, we are indeed winning? Another meaning is that Iraqis are showing that they can operate in a liberated economy and if they can work in a free market economy during a war time setting; imagine what they could do if the insurgency is defeated? One important aspect of a liberal democracy succeeding is a liberal economy that frees entrepreneurs from the shackles of government. And Iraqis, with lower tax rates than even seen in the United States, have the money to form new businesses and spend money on new goods. [bold added]Yes. Iraqis can "work in a free market economy" (to speak somewhat imprecisely) -- as could Russians during the Cold War, Germans during World War II, the Chinese ever since the Maoists took over China, and Moslems today. The major difference is that of these groups only these Iraqis have not had to emigrate to free societies in order to enjoy prosperity.
You might remember Ivy Starnes from Atlas. Ayn Rand drew her as an ascetic, disdaining material wealth, to illustrate the sort of greed that really IS the root of all evil: the lust for power.
I wonder if she knew that Stalin, too, fit that pattern.
"You know who we're talking about: the meanest, most dangerous criminal that lived on the face of the Earth. The one who built a kingdom around himself and possessed almost unlimited power.
"In his private life, however, he rarely used this power to get himself nicer things. His lifestyle was more of a soldier, of a man possessed... Except for a very few 'special' things, which he cherished almost to the point of a fetish."
Objectivists are often criticized for their public break-ups, but I think being forthright when a relationship ends is the more honest approach. Reality demands an unflinching dedication to the truth, including the fact that some relationships deserve to end.If I can manage the time, I'd like to write a post or two on Robert Tracinski's significant departures from basic principles of Objectivism in recent years. In particular, I have much to say about his switch from rationalism to empiricism in his view of the role of philosophy in human life found in his not-yet-finished "What Went Right" series. At the moment, however, I'm intensely busy with real work. If I can find the time though, I'll write what I can.
In my opinion, Tracinski has publicly embraced a theory of history that rejects the importance of Objectivism and principled consistency in defining and defending the long term good. As such, it would be dishonest to claim that he continues to be a public advocate for Ayn Rand's philosophy. If the end of Tracinski's association with ARI was brought on by his recent thinking, I am glad for it, for it would be an honest end to recent events.
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.Dear Virginia,
Papa says, "If you see it in the Sun, it's so."
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
By Alex Epstein
Every New Year's Eve millions of
Americans make New Year's resolutions. Whether the resolution is to get out of
debt, to spend more time with loved ones, or to quit smoking, these resolutions
have one thing in common: they are goals to make our lives better.
Unfortunately, this ritual commitment to self-improvement is widely viewed as something of a joke--in part because New Year's resolutions go so notoriously unmet. After years of watching others--or themselves--excitedly commit to a new goal, only to abandon the quest by March, many come to conclude that New Year's resolutions are an exercise in futility that should not be taken seriously. "The silly season is upon us," writes a columnist for the Washington Post, "when people feel compelled to remake themselves with new year's resolutions."
But such a cynical attitude is false and self-destructive. Making New Year's resolutions does not have to be futile--and to make them is not silly; done seriously, it is an act of profound moral significance that embodies the essence of a life well-lived.
Consider what we do when we make a New Year's resolution: we look at where we are in some area of life, think about where we want to be, and then set ourselves a goal to get there. We are tired of feeling chubby and lethargic, say, and want the improved appearance and greater energy level that comes with greater fitness. So we resolve to take up a fun athletic activity--like tennis or a martial art--and plan to do it three times a week.
Is this a laughable act of self-delusion? Hardly. If it were, then how would anyone ever achieve anything in life? In fact, to make a New Year's resolution is to recognize the undeniable reality that successful goal-pursuit is possible--the reality that everyone at one time or another has set and achieved long-range goals, and profited from doing so. Indeed, not only is it possible to achieve long-range goals, it is necessary for success in life. To make a New Year's resolution is also to recognize the undeniable reality that rewarding careers and romances do not just happen automatically--that to get what we want in our lives, we must consciously choose and achieve the right goals. We must be goal-directed.
Unfortunately, a goal-directed orientation is missing to a large extent in too many lives. It is all too easy to live life passively, acting without carefully deciding what one is doing with one's life and why. How many people do you know who are in the career they fell into out of school, even if it is not very satisfying--or who have children at a certain age because that's what is expected, even if it's not what they really want--or who spend endless hours of "free time" in front of the TV, since that's the most readily available form of relaxation--or who follow a life routine that they never really chose and don't truly enjoy, but which has the force of habit?
Too often, the goal-directedness embodied by New Year's resolutions is the exception in lives ruled by passively accepted forces--unexamined routine, short-range desires, or alleged duties. It is the passive approach to happiness that makes so many resolutions peter out, lost in the shuffle of life or abandoned due to lost motivation. More broadly than its impact on New Year's resolutions, the passive approach to happiness is the reason that so many go through life without ever getting--or even knowing--what they really want.
It is a sad irony that those who write off New Year's resolutions because so many fail reinforces the passive approach to life that causes so many resolutions--and so many other dreams--to fail. The solution to failed New Year's resolutions is not to abandon the practice, but to supplement it with a broader resolution--a commitment to a goal-directed life.
This New Year's, resolve to think about how to make your life better, not just once a year, but every day. Resolve to set goals, not just in one or two aspects of life, but in every important aspect and in your life as a whole. Resolve to pursue the goals that will make you successful and happy, not as the exception in a life of passivity, but as the rule that becomes second-nature.
If you do this, you will be resolving to do the most important thing of all: to take your happiness seriously.Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to a proposed merger between United and Continental, as well as reports that US Airways is considering a merger with Delta, politicians criticized the companies and called on the Justice Department to block any consolidation in the airline industry.
House Representative James Oberstar, for example, says the government should not allow any airline mergers because they would only benefit stockholders and airline executives. Senator Frank Lautenberg, echoing the anti-merger sentiment in Congress, opposes any merger that the government deems not "good for the flying public."
"But politicians have no right to interfere with the mergers of airline companies--or any other companies," said Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute.
"Mergers are a legitimate business strategy used to cut costs, improve efficiency, gain customers, grow sales, and increase profits. All companies, including airlines, should be free to decide whether to merge or break up; if customers do not like the prices or practices of the merged company, they are free to take their money elsewhere."
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.Frank P. Church wrote The Sun's famous, oft-reprinted answer:
Papa says, "If you see it in the Sun, it's so."
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be that is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.Church's popular answer represents and advocates an utterly mystical worldview -- one where man is low, little, helpless -- one where the universe of science is barren, while what is really real and truly valuable is hidden behind the veil of the supernatural, accessible only by faith and feelings. It is a sustained attack on reality and reason, including the genuine spiritual values important to human life.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We would have no enjoyment, except in the sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside the curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Frequently dismissed as cranks, their fussy eating habits tend to make them unpopular with dinner party hosts and guests alike.Yep. These are the first two lines of the article: all many people will have time to read, all any leftist needs to know, and all that will fit into any of the sound bites we're all going to be subjected to non-stop from every direction in the broadcast media. Prepare to have it beaten into your skull that vegetarians have been proven, once and for all, to be more intelligent than everyone else.
But now it seems they may have the last laugh, with research showing vegetarians are more intelligent than their meat-eating friends.
There was no difference in IQ between strict vegetarians and those who classed themselves as veggie but still ate fish or chicken.Got that? All this study (third link) shows is that people who consider themselves vegetarians (even if they are not) scored a few points higher on IQ tests -- as children. We'll even ignore that pesky group of nine vegans who were below average intelligence overall.
However, vegans - vegetarians who also avoid dairy products - scored significantly lower, averaging an IQ score of 95 at the age of 10.
Researcher Dr Catharine Gale said there could be several explanations for the findings, including intelligent people being more likely to consider both animal welfare issues and the possible health benefits of a vegetarian diet. [bold added]
[S]ome attrition has occurred in the cohort over time. The participants at the 30 year follow-up did gain significantly higher IQ scores at age 10 than those who did not take part, although the size of the differences was modest (0.3 of a standard deviation). Unless the relation between childhood mental ability and vegetarianism is in the opposite direction in non-participants, little bias will have been introduced in our study.Given that "some attrition" means that over a third of the original 17,198 subjects did not report on vegetarian status as adults and that the article's own literature review admits that "Findings are mixed" in previous studies that attempted to link vegetarianism to educational attainment (which is a "strong correlate of mental ability"), this finding has to be viewed as a preliminary addition to "mixed" evidence at best.
Although the vegetarians in this cohort were, on average, more intelligent, better educated, and of higher occupational social class than the non-vegetarians, these socioeconomic advantages were not reflected in their income. It may be that ethical considerations determined not just their diet but also their choice of employment. Compared with non-vegetarians, vegetarians were less likely to be working in the private sector and more likely to be working in charitable organisations, local government, or education: 17% of the vegetarians worked in education compared with 9% of non-vegetarians. When asked, as part of the follow-up survey, what they thought of the statement "The government should redistribute income," 50% of vegetarians said they agreed compared with 41% of nonvegetarians, and this proportion was even higher among male vegetarians (61% v 42%). Such views may not be compatible with a career in the more lucrative employment sectors. [bold added]In other words, the vegetarians are more left-wing than non-vegetarians! This comes as no surprise since those who are more intelligent generally remain in school longer, where they are subjected to more of the same relentless left-wing indoctrination than their counterparts. I would have loved to see a statistical analysis of that! Or even the slightest acknowlegement of that fact in the news media.
Although our results suggest that children who are more intelligent may be more likely to become vegetarian as adolescents or as young adults, it does not rule out the possibility that such a diet might have some beneficial effect on subsequent cognitive performance. Might the nature of the vegetarians' diet in this cohort have enhanced their apparently superior brain power? Was this the mechanism that helped them to achieve the disproportionate number of higher degrees? Benjamin Franklin and George Bernard Shaw, both ardent vegetarians, would have us believe so. According to Shaw in an article published in The Star in 1890, "A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows."The bit about the study not "ruling out" an intelligence boost due to vegetarianism is worth noting. The study has nothing whatsoever to say about whether a vegetarian diet might yield the benefits to intelligence alleged by some famous vegetarians in the past: Those who called themselves vegetarians started out that way and there was no difference between real and fake vegetarians among that group!
Alternatively it is possible that the link between childhood IQ and vegetarianism in later life is not on a causal chain of mechanisms related to health. People with a higher IQ may well differ from those with less superior brain power in many of their lifestyle decisions: for instance, choice of newspaper, type of books read, preferred form of entertainment. The association between IQ and vegetarianism may be merely an example of many other lifestyle preferences that might be expected to vary with intelligence but which may or may not have implications for health. [bold added]
From the Center for Consumer Freedom:
Bruce Bawer writes in the New York Sun about Sweden’s “soft dictatorship:”
. ...the official view was neatly captured in a post-September 11 editorial in the nation's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, which assured readers that the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington weren't Sweden's enemies but simply hated " U.S. imperialism," a reasonable position given that "the U.S. is the greatest mass murderer of our time." Such views, taught in Sweden's classrooms and enshrined in Sweden's state-approved schoolbooks, are reiterated daily by Sweden's mainstream press organizations, all of which are either government-owned or government-subsidized.
In Sweden, whose murder rate is currently twice that of America and where Muslims now constitute over 10% of the population and are disproportionately unemployed and prone to violence, the Swedish press routinely depicts America as crime-ridden. Polls show that the majority of Swedes are deeply disturbed by their country's dramatic social changes and highly critical of the policies that brought them about. Yet the crime and violence generally go unreported, so only rarely does any of the criticism seep into the press.
Recently, the city of Stockholm carried out a survey of ninth-grade boys in the predominantly Muslim suburb of Rinkeby. The survey showed that in the last year, 17% of the boys had forced someone to have sex, 31% had hurt someone so badly that the victim required medical care, and 24% had committed burglary or broken into a car. Sensational statistics -- but in all of Sweden, they appear to have been published only in a daily newssheet that is distributed free on the subways.
When voices of dissent do break through in Sweden, they're often punished. During the runup to the Iraq war, the Swedish government censured the independent TV channel TV4 for running an "Oprah" episode that presented both pro- and anti-war arguments. TV4 was charged with violating press-balance guidelines when in fact its offense was being too balanced -- it had exposed Swedish viewers to ideas from which journalists had otherwise shielded them.
Earlier this year, for example, the government closed down the Sweden Democrats' Web site because it had published a cartoon of Muhammad... If the Bush administration had closed down a Democratic Party Web siteÂ¸ there would be scare headlines and editorials thundering about dictatorship -- and rightly so. But when Sweden's rulers did it, it was apparently acceptable -- because they did it in the name of political correctness.
Sweden (along with Cuba) has long been the darling welfare state of leftists everywhere. Do you think they would find the above facts shocking, or just brush them off, just as they have brushed off the millions of starving serfs and thousands of dissents murdered and imprisoned in Cuba?
Edit: I looked up some economist statistics for Sweden:
Sweden had a de facto unemployment rate of 20-25 percent…. Sweden has gone from being the fourth richest country in the world in 1970 to being the fourteenth richest in 2002. Today the average American has 37 percent higher purchasing power and almost twice as high private consumption as the average Swede… More than 30 percent of the Swedish population falls below the American poverty line.
"Saudi Arabia, America's closest ally in the Arab world, is considering backing anti-U.S. insurgents because it is so alarmed that Sunnis in Iraq will be left to their fate - military and political - at the hands of the [Iranian-backed] Shia majority."How would the Saudis accomplish such backing without alienating the prostituted affections of the Bush administration and the State Department? The Associated Press provided an answer in an article headlined, "Saudis reportedly funding Iraqi Sunnis." The report is that of the Iraq Study Group.
"Private Saudi citizens are giving millions of dollars to Sunni Muslim insurgents in Iraq, and much of it is used to buy weapons, including shoulder-fired [Russian Strela] anti-aircraft missiles, according to key Iraqi officials and others familiar with the flow of cash."This is an interesting subject in the ISG's report that hasn't received the attention it deserves by the American news media, whose news anchors and Washington correspondents are barely able to contain their joy over the bipartisan recommendations that President Bush abandon the idea of victory in Iraq and begin talking with Iran and Syria with the goal of "stabilizing" the chaos in Iraq.
The article reports that the Saudis claim to be tracking "suspicious financial operations." Tracking and policing such operations, however, are two distinct actions. The AP article continues, "The ISG report said that 'funding for the Sunni insurgency comes from private individuals within Saudi Arabia and other (Persian) Gulf states.'" Oman? Kuwait? Qatar? Bahrain? The United Arab Emirates?
"Saudi government officials deny that any money from their country is being sent to Iraqis fighting the government and the U.S.-led coalition. But the ISG report said Saudis are a source of money for Sunni Arab insurgents. Several truck drivers interviewed by the Associated Press described carrying boxes of cash from Saudi Arabia into Iraq - money they said was headed for insurgents."
"Two high-ranking Iraqi officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, told the AP most of the Saudi money came from private donations, called zaqat, collected for Islamic causes and charities."
"Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for CAIR, said that the show was 'taking everyday American Muslim families and making them suspects. It's very dangerous and very disturbing."CAIR's Annual Report continues:
"At the meeting, which included CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Fox officials agreed to distribute a CAIR public service announcement to network affiliates and ask that it be aired in proximity to '24.' Network officials also agreed to air a disclaimer stating the American Muslims reject terrorism."Mr. Holzer writes:
"Although many Americans were rightly enraged at Fox's capitulation to CAIR, they wrongly complained of 'censorship.'" Holzer, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, correctly counters that Fox's submission - and remember that "Islam" means "submission" - did not constitute censorship. "Only the government has the power to censor (subject to whatever protection that might be afforded by the federal First Amendment and state constitutions)."What Fox's decision did constitute was: cowardice.
"Wrapping itself in the flag, invoking the Constitution, and hiding beneath its veneer of a self-styled 'civil liberties' organization - modeled on its anti-American mentor and template, the American Civil Liberties Union - CAIR is the preeminent domestic mailed fist of Islam in the velvet glove of civil liberties....CAIR is using the American legal system to intimidate the exercise of free speech, to undermine our homeland defense and to advance Muslim cultural infiltration of our domestic institutions by seeking special dispensations concerning dress, national holidays, educational texts, the content of books, movies, television, and more. In addition to its incessant intimidating complaints about the alleged violation of 'Muslim Civil Liberties.'"(The balance of Holzer's article is a description of the extent of CAIR's legal activism in the U.S., to which the news media and our elected representatives are either oblivious or criminally ambivalent.)
"We propose that this House adopt and forward to those parties [Parliament and King George the Third], not genuflective beseechments or adulatory objurgations, but pungent resolves of our understanding of the origins and practice of British and American liberty, resolves which will frankly alert them to both the error of their presumptions and our determination to preserve that liberty. These resolves, in order to have some consequence and value, ought not to be expressed by us in the role of effusive mendicants applying for the restitution of what has been wrested from them, but with the cogently blunt mettle of men who refuse to be robbed."The historical irony is that when Henry made his speech, the Wahhabist Saudis were engaged in the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, which they completed in 1806. Who could have predicted then that their descendants and their hired fellaheen would invade America unopposed two and half centuries later with the express purpose of gagging the likes of Henry in the name of Allah?
New epidemic diseases, even if they kill fewer people overall than the old ones, are particularly frightening, making it almost impossible for people to proportion their anxiety according to the objective risks. Though cholera was not one of the greatest killers of the nineteenth century (tuberculosis easily took the palm in Western Europe), it was new and unfamiliar when it first reached Britain in 1831. The suddenness of the epidemics it caused provoked panic; but by the time Robert Koch proved the bacteriological cause in 1883, cholera had not shown up in Britain for nearly 20 years.This story amazes me for two reasons. First of all, Snow did a remarkable bit of original thinking that very quickly started saving lives. Second, thanks to his own efforts, basically everyone takes healthy urban living so much for granted that few remember the man. Chalk one up to the discipline of history for reminding us of just what a remarkable achievement that aspect of our daily lives really is.
Not bacteriology but epidemiology and sanitary engineering defeated cholera. The 1854 cholera epidemic in London, and the subsequent removal of the handle of the Broad Street pump by John Snow, was to epidemiological history what the Declaration of Independence was to American history.
[Snow] was responsible for the greatest single feat of epidemiology ever. It would hardly be too much to say that he founded the discipline.
By examining the distribution of cases, starting from the new hypothesis that cholera was waterborne rather than miasmatic, Snow deduced that the epidemic's source was contaminated water from the Broad Street pump, and he persuaded the reluctant authorities to remove the pump handle so that water could no longer flow. A local clergyman, the Reverend Henry Whitehead, at one time skeptical of Snow's theory, then proved that the initial patient who began the epidemic (the index case, as epidemiologists call it) had poisoned the pump's water supply.
It took a while before everyone accepted the waterborne nature of cholera, though the theory did win over the leading medical statistician of the day, William Farr, who initially believed that it was elevation above sea level that accounted for the distribution of cases, with filthy, cholera-carrying air stifling lower elevations. One of the greatest engineering projects of all time, the construction of a proper sewage system and clean water supply for London, then got underway, and no large-scale waterborne epidemics have plagued the city since. Indirectly, Snow made vast urban agglomerations safe, for the developed world soon copied London's example. [bold added]
By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog
Yesterday in my thoughts about Robert Tracinski's "What Went Right?" essay, I noted:
But there do have to be fundamental ideas, someone needs to package them into a system, and someone needs to advocate them -- or else they won't spread. That someone is a philosopher -- whether it is Augustine, or Plato, or Aristotle, or Aquinas, or Kant, or Democritus, or Ayn Rand or whomever.
And it is those systems of ideas which have both identified and driven the history of the world with varying consequences -- from the splendor of ancient Greece to the Dark Ages to the Englightenment to the horrors of the 20th century and now who knows where in the future.
If you wish to spread ideas, the value of pointing to a philosopher makes the job easier.
The key word is integration. To the greater degree that a philosopher can provide an integrated philosophy, the more important the philosopher. One may not like Kant, but one can not discount his integrated approach -- and his influence.
From personal experience -- prior to becoming aware of Ayn Rand, I was an implicit "believer" in reason. Religion was not an important factor and in fact I had told my girlfriend in 8th grade that I thought I was an atheist. I couldn't explain why other than religion didn't make sense. That didn't keep me away from religion as I participated in various groups, mostly for the social aspects, over the next few years.
But most important to me was understanding "why" and what was real. I remembering listening to adults and wondering where they got their opinions. Why did some ideas make sense? Why did some ideas some crazy? How would I ever decide what to say?
Politically, I endorsed "capitalism" without a definition. I knew it produced prosperity. I knew communism was bad because of the experience and stories of my Russian grandparents.
In the end, I was a "secular capitalist" (as Andy Bernstein once told me). But as you can see, I held a hodgepodge of ideas all loosely connected but unknown as to how by me.
I spent several years "shopping" for the connection. Was it religion? Conservatives? Libertarians? Liberals? None of them could provide a case that was both integrated and made sense.
Until I read "Atlas Shrugged" and followed up with other works by Ayn Rand. Now I had the tools to determine on my own what was right and wrong -- and most importantly why. I could see that ideas connected. Metaphysics to epistemology to ethics to politics -- it all made sense. I was able to begin to judge the good and bad ideas I held and the keep the good and toss the bad.
That is the value of a philosopher -- to provide an integrated view of life at all levels. Philosophers build systems of thought -- not random catch-alls. Thus, when Robert Tracinski says the following, he is incorrect:
Unfortunately, that has been an implication of the common Objectivist interpretation of the role of ideas in history. In this view, all important intellectual trends begin in books written by philosophers and are then propagated downward into a culture's political ideas, its art, its sense of life.
Of course, good ideas (such as reason) can be passed from person to person implicitly and without the knowledge of the important philosophers. Without a doubt that happens everyday. But the risky result is individuals and cultures won't have a clue as to the essentials of what they know and why they are important. Without an integrated view individuals and cultures can easily lose the good and their confidence.
Ideas are important. They are sacred to human life. They must be defined carefully and integrated with other ideas in order to provide value to human life and to be preserved. Individuals need to be able to access explicit abstract ideas in order to use them. And that is what philosophers are important.
Open Letter to RepublicansDr. John Lewis is Assistant Professor of History at Ashland University.
by Dr. John Lewis
There are two things that all Republicans know today: that you lost the mid-term election, and that the loss was a repudiation of President Bush's policies. What you must now figure out is why. Why did Americans vote as they did? What specific policies did they reject? The answer you accept will determine whether you discover a road to victory for your country and your party, or whether you stumble further into defeat.
You have heard--and will continue to hear--many explanations for the election results. You have been told, for instance, that Democratic obstruction stymied the president, and leftist defeatism undermined support for the war. These answers will not cut it. Republicans held a political majority in Washington for six years, and the President was given all the resources and authority he asked for--including a solid re-election two years ago.
You have been told that Democrats wanted to spend like crazy on domestic programs, and that they turned on Bush because he sought to allow Americans greater choice in how they spend their money. But the president has increased spending to a degree not seen since LBJ and FDR, and has not vetoed a single spending bill.
It has been said that the election was about values--meaning, religious values--and that you lost because you were not "Conservative" enough. But what does this mean? That you did not lobby strongly enough for government intervention in family affairs, education, and science? Religious conservatives--such as Senator Santorum--were also soundly defeated. The American people expressed no desire for more religious values in government.
It remains telling that the American people were solidly on the president's side when he promised a reduction in government coercion at home, and a victory in the war overseas (over 80% supported the invasion of Iraq)--and that they withdrew their support only after he failed to follow through on his promises.
I'll offer a different reason for your defeat. You lost because you ceased being Republicans, and became new, "Neo-," Conservatives. You were too Conservative, and not Republican enough. To earn my vote, it is Conservatism that you must reject, in favor of freedom, rights, and reason. You must once again become Republicans--the party of the American Constitutional Republic.
What Republicans once stood for, despite many compromises and errors, was preserving and extending American freedom. But where in recent history have you upheld this value? Have you, for instance, defended America's freedom against foreign enemies? The "Forward Strategy of Freedom" uses our soldiers to dig toilets for foreigners, claims success when a hostile government is elected, and promises years of American casualties. The result has been permanent airport checkpoints at home and armed guards on our borders. Whatever happened to the idea of driving to victory over avowed enemies?
Have you preserved freedom at home? Did you demand spending reductions along with your excellent tax cuts, or rather settle for deficits in the hundreds of billions of dollars? Who doubled the size of the Department of Education, which some of us once hoped that Reagan would eliminate, and which is now pursuing a de facto federal takeover of the schools? Who enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley persecutions of businessmen? Who projected government power vigorously into bedrooms and marriage contracts? Who showered government money onto churches as replacements for the local welfare office?
Fiscally, you have accepted without question a God-given imperative to distribute other people's money by force--not as a compromise with the Democrats, but with a commitment to outdo them. Every time you have set out to eliminate or reduce a government program, you have ended up energetically saving it. Social Security, for instance, once facing elimination, has been saved--by Republicans. You have surpassed the Democrats in spending other people's money.
In no case have you been Republicans--meaning, defenders of the American Republic. You have been Conservatives--conservators of your vision of America, in the form of the liberal welfare state.
The first cause of this problem is the moral premise that you share with the leftists: altruism. You have accepted that moral goodness means sacrificing for the (alleged) good of others, and you have worked to shape America in this image. This ideal has defined President Bush's policies overseas, which purport to wage war by bringing benefits to enemy nations. It has defined a domestic policy that sees moral goodness in expanding programs of redistribution. Whereas the Democrats do this in the name of socialism (a discredited doctrine that has wreaked havoc wherever it has been tried), Conservatives do it in the name of "compassion." Democrats base their vision on class warfare and revolution; Conservatives base it on charity. But the practical results are the same: Socialism, now anchored not in Marx, but in civic religion.
Is this what you want for your party? If so, then stay the course, and continue your competition with the Democrats. But if you wake up one day and find that no area of life is beyond the reach of government power, and that we are all wards of the state, then you may rejoice. You will have reached the Promised Land. This is what you wanted.
If, however, you want to restore and protect freedom in the Land of the Free, then you must see the error of your ways. The proper state of man is not that of a beggar, demanding handouts by coercion and moral blackmail. The proper state of man is that of a thinking being--a being free to act on his own judgment for his own sake--free to produce and to trade for what he needs--free to achieve his full intellectual and physical potential--free, that is, from coercion by others.
This idea of freedom is based on a moral conception of man that is radically different from man the dependent. By this vision--the vision of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"--each person is an autonomous moral agent, free to act as his nature requires, for his own benefit, without sacrificing self to others or others to self--free to deal with others voluntarily, by offering values, not by imposing "duties."
But where, in our culture today, is this moral conception to be found? Leftists claim that moral principles--the broad generalizations that define the basic terms of right and wrong for every area of our lives--are not derived from facts. No "is" can lead to an "ought," they claim; moral principles are invented, culturally relative, subject to change, mere conventions that shift with the winds of the day. This premise led to the 1960s, freedom of speech as sit-ins on private property, and freedom from political authority as smashing "the system." The basis of this anarchy is subjectivism--the idea that we create reality in our minds, rather than grasp it through our senses and our reason. There are no absolutes, in this view; there is only man the follower of whims. Vox populi, vox dei.
You were appalled at this, and rightfully so. But what was your answer? There are standards, you said, but they are not derived from facts. With this basic premise you agreed with the leftists: There is no "ought" to be derived from this world. Where then shall we find moral principles? In another world, you said. Moral principles are supernatural and beyond reason, but they are imbedded in society and tradition, and knowable by faith. The result is an undefinable feeling that tells you to give to the poor, to render unto Caesar, to turn the other cheek, and to lose your fortune--or to tax mine--if it benefits others. Vox dei, vox populi.
The root of the moral views shared by leftists and Conservatives remains the conviction that the mind is incapable of grasping moral principles--and that we must rely on the authority of feelings, whether from the immediate consensus (vox populi) or from claims to divine sanction (vox dei). The clash between the leftists and the Conservatives is a clash of feelings. Neither side appeals to the mind; each wishes to impose its views by force.
This elevation of Feelings over Reason is precisely what you must reject. You must learn that your emotions are not tools of cognition. Your feelings will not tell you how to run a business, how to protect freedom, how to win a war, or how to distinguish good from evil.
If you, as Republicans, want to regain control of your party and end its malignant alliance with the looting left, then you must stop being looters yourselves, both in mind and in matter. Intellectually, you must grasp that rights and freedom can be discovered only through rational thought--individual thought--and that only the rational mind makes rights and freedom necessary. Materially, you must end your love affair with socialist redistribution, and become protectors of property rights--the practical expression of individual thought and freedom.
Each man's rights are inalienable from his being. This is a fact of nature--not of "supernature." Since each man must act on his own judgment in order to live as a man, he must be free to do so. This is his basic right: The right to act on his best judgment--that is: the right to do what is right. It is right to identify the facts and think--and to act as reason dictates--because we can live only by using our minds. It is right to keep what we produce--and to trade in a free market--not because this embodies some mystical "invisible hand," but because our lives depend on it. It is right to interact with others by rational persuasion and values--because the alternative is the club. And it is right to use physical force to restrain--and, if necessary, to destroy--those who attack us.
If you Republicans want to become true rightists--and a real alternative to the left--you must accept a morality of reason and become its advocates across the board: in classrooms, in newspapers, in board rooms, and in town squares. You must recognize that there is no dichotomy between what man is and what he ought to do, and no chasm between moral rights and practical consequences. The only true alternative to the left is a view of man as a rational being who owns himself and is the proper beneficiary of his own productive effort.
Grasping this makes it easy to evaluate the numerous issues swamping political discourse today. Domestic programs? Redistribution means taking from one person by force because another (allegedly) needs it. The principle is not changed if extended to millions--only the scope of the destruction is broadened. What of Social Security, Medicare, and government funding of medical research, agriculture, and education? There is no basis in reason for making an employee, a CEO, a doctor, a researcher, a farmer, or a teacher, into a slave to others because he produces--nor to demand the enslavement of others to fund him. Republicans can seize the moral high road by opposing such redistribution forthrightly, as a matter of principle.
The purpose of the government is to prevent criminals from preying on us. We need a domestic policy that does this and this alone--rather than turning police into social workers, and courts into moral censors and persecutors of businessmen. Republicans need to become voices for objective, rights-based, reason-based law, as a matter of principle.
What of foreign policy? Support for the war in Iraq has collapsed because there are no goals being pursued except the sacrifice of our youth for strangers, and no accomplishments except a demonstration of America's weakness. Republicans need to become advocates of a foreign policy of self-interest, by which we fight to defend the freedom of Americans, and only the freedom of Americans, with the goal of a fast and decisive victory when we do fight, as a matter of principle.
To preserve and extend the freedom of Americans was once the mission of the Republicans. But this mission was never properly understood. This is what you must discover. Your choice is: Conservatism (i.e., faith, self-sacrifice, and religion-inspired socialism) and its consequences of enslavement, self-loathing, and further defeat--or proper Republicanism (i.e., reason, self-interest, and individual rights) with its consequences of freedom, self-respect, and victory. I hope you Republicans--and all Americans--make the right choice: the rational choice.
By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog
Originally posted on HBL.
The Pope recently made a distinction between Christianity and Islam. His primary message was the god of Islam is completely transcendent and has no interaction with us. The message is that we are to simply follow the will of Allah. On the other hand, God of Christianity is connected to us. The link, the Pope says, is "reason".
At first this sounds interesting. It seems the Pope advocates reason. Is it possible that Pope Benedict is a modern-day Thomas Aquinas? Reviewing the Pope's statement, I doubt he is speaking of reason as Objectivists do.
He criticizes "modern reason" as limited through a 3-step process he terms "dehellenization."
Steps 1 and 2:
Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant's "Critiques", but in the meantime further radicalized by *the impact of the natural sciences*.
Step 3 is stripping the Greek spirit from the New Testament. That Greek spirit is Platonic.
The Pope's solution is to remove these limitations upon reason and to expand reason. He calls for "the right use of reason," "reason as a whole," "breadth of reason."
This is achieved:
if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the *empirically verifiable* . . . A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.
I think the "non-deaf" reason is Philo's "logos" as described by Wilhelm Windelband:
The Logos is Reason as coming forth from the deity ("uttered Reason") . . . With this Logos doctrine the first step was taken toward filling the cleft between God and the sensible world. (Windelband, p. 241--242).
Throughout, the Pope refers to "logos":
The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur--this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. 'Not to act reasonably (with *logos*) is contrary to the nature of God', said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great *logos*, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.
...the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos.
In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist.
"Logos" has many meanings. But, in this case it is Philo's. Kant and the Pope are two sides of the same coin. They both present a distorted view of reason. Objectivists should oppose the Pope's efforts just as they do Kant's.
A Vancouver Island artist has put an effigy of a crucified Santa Claus on his front lawn, causing some neighbours to complain it's traumatizing their children.To deliberately set out traumatizing children in an effort to start a "dialogue" is as close to actually going into a courthouse and filing for intellectual bankruptcy as one can possibly get.
Jimmy Wright said the figure is intended to be a comment on society's growing appetite for consumer goods.
"I don't know how it came into my mind but I thought I'm going to take Santa Claus and I'm going to crucify him."
Wright said his latest work is not for sale.
"I think it's an evil way," one woman said. "Kids see things like that and children -- they see that on the front page -- I think that's terrible."
Others are also wondering what motivates someone to crucify Santa.
"All I wanted to do was to promote a dialogue," Wright said.
"Global warming is consumption-driven so there's the argument. We have to come to terms with our hang-up on consumption. We're in a consumptive orgy, I feel."
Critics are concerned the effigy will spoil the magic of Christmas for children.
"If that magic is Santa and if that magic is 'oh boy lots of stuff,' well then that kid needs the message right away and so does the parent," Wright said. [bold added]
A Swedish citizen of Moroccan origin is one of five men to have their assets frozen by the US Finance Department. The man is suspected of supporting the al-Qaida terrorist network and other groups. (TheLocal.se, 12/07/06.)
The Treasury also says the 41 year old "was the uncontested leader of an extremist group centered around" a mosque in the Swedish capital. (SR.se, 12/08/06.)
Irvine, CA--On October 27 Sens. Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) and Snowe (R., Maine) sent a letter to ExxonMobil's CEO requesting that ExxonMobil end its financial assistance and support of groups and individuals who reject global warming claims, and urging it to "publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it."
"This letter constitutes an outrageous violation of ExxonMobil's right to free speech," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "Whether or not one believes there is a threat of catastrophic global warming, the government has no right to tell ExxonMobil what ideas it should advocate or fund.
"Free speech means the freedom to promote any idea one wishes without the danger of suppression or punitive action by the government. When two United States senators declare that a company has 'manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years,' that is clearly a thinly veiled threat, and any sensible organization must regard it as such.
"Observe that the senators do not offer a single fact intended to convince ExxonMobil of the truth of their position. Their message is not 'agree with us because,' but 'agree with us or else.' That is a message appropriate to a dictator, not to the representatives of a free nation.
"Defenders of free speech must stand up against this vicious attempt to intimidate ExxonMobil into embracing the global warming cause, and declare that the government has no business telling Americans what they should think or say."
Copyright 2006 Ayn Rand Institute.
It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer - excellent for drawing the veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his.
On that one residential block, Venkatesh focuses on three women: Bird, a prostitute; Eunice, an office cleaner who sells home-cooked meals on the side; and Marlene, a nanny who is president of the block's neighborhood association. (All the names in the book are pseudonyms.) The women share tart observations about their respective livelihoods: Bird thinks gangsters should "let the pimps show them how to run a business." Through them, we come to meet a diverse cast of locals, "nearly all linked together," Venkatesh writes, "in a vast, often invisible web that girded their neighborhood. This web was the underground economy."A big problem with many pro-free-market economists is that they do not consider the moral aspects of capitalism and it would be interesting to see whether Venkatesh makes the same error, and whether he in fact regards how the economy works in the ghetto as "capitalism" or merely sees elements of capitalism at work there.
Licit and illicit economies tend to be entwined, and in a closely knit urban neighborhood, this mutual dependence means that public-minded civilians and hardened criminals are regularly forced to negotiate. In the spring of 2000, an entrepreneurial gang leader, Big Cat, was elevating the criminal activity in a local park. Marlene and a preacher, Pastor Wilkins, arranged a tense summit with the kingpin in a church basement. Venkatesh talked his way into the room and watched as Big Cat agreed to stop peddling drugs in the park during after-school hours. For this concession, Pastor Wilkins promised to persuade a nearby store owner to allow Big Cat's gang to deal in his parking lot, and Marlene agreed to ask the cops to leave the dealers unmolested in their new location.
If Venkatesh sometimes marvels at the ingenuity of the people he writes about, he does not overlook the essentially tragic nature of the story he is telling. The depredations of daily life mean that for many residents, what Venkatesh calls the "perceptual horizon" does not extend beyond the neighborhood. Sadder still, it doesn't reach beyond the struggles of the day to day. Bird, Eunice, and Marlene each envision a leisurely future of comfortable retirement. But none is clear on precisely when and how that future will come to pass. In the meantime, they hustle to get by, and the hustle means relying on one another. "You have to do things shady," one local businessman tells Venkatesh. "Well, maybe not shady like committing a crime, but shady like you depend on each other." [bold added]
Mr. Thompson argues that the rights to life, liberty, etc., matter because self-interest is the American ideal. The Declaration, however, states quite clearly that they matter because the Creator endowed us with them. Similarly, when it came time to institutionalize the genuine American ideals, the Founders not only made no mention of self-interest but were quite forthright about their purposes being social, rather than individualist: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Their concern is general welfare, common defense, etc, not your own welfare or your own defense or other narrow and selfish aims.This argument on the part of the conservatives shows how they seek to enshrine the aspects of the founders' philosophy that embraced faith while rejecting the more influential (and consequential) aspects of their philosophy that embraced reason. Frankly, to claim that the Declaration of Independence did not establish the principle of individual rights (including the right to pursue one's own selfish happiness) as the governing philosophy of America is ludicrous and dishonest. How does one then explain the Bill of Rights, which limited government power to enter into the individual's private spheres? And almost more importantly, how does one then explain the industrial revolution, were it not an expression of individual men's selfish desire to conqueror nature and prosper accordingly?
By Elan Journo
The Iraq Study Group has issued many specific recommendations, but the options boil down to a maddeningly limited range: pull out or send more troops to do democracy-building and, either way, "engage" the hostile regimes in Iran and Syria. Missing from the list is the one option our self-defense demands: a war to defeat the enemy. If you think we've already tried this option and failed, think again. Washington's campaign in Iraq looks nothing like the war necessary for our self-defense.
What does such a war look like?
America's security depends on identifying precisely the enemy that threatens our lives--and then crushing it, rendering it a non-threat. It depends on proudly defending our right to live free of foreign aggression--by unapologetically killing the killers who want us dead.
Those who say this is a "new kind of conflict" against a "faceless enemy" are wrong. The enemy Washington evasively calls "terrorism" is actually an ideologically inspired political movement: Islamic totalitarianism. It seeks to subjugate the West under a totalitarian Islamic regime by means of terrorism, negotiation, war--anything that will win its jihad. The movement's inspiration, its first triumph, its standard-bearer, is the theocracy of Iran. Iran's regime has, for decades, used terrorist proxies to attack America. It openly seeks nuclear weapons and zealously sponsors and harbors jihadists. Without Iran's support, legions of holy warriors would be untrained, unarmed, unmotivated, impotent.
Destroying Islamic totalitarianism requires a punishing military onslaught to end its primary state representative and demoralize its supporters. We need to deploy all necessary force to destroy Iran's ability to fight, while minimizing our own casualties. We need a campaign that ruthlessly inflicts the pain of war so intensely that the jihadists renounce their cause as hopeless and fear to take up arms against us. This is how America and its Allies defeated both Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan.
Victory in World War II required flattening cities, firebombing factories, shops and homes, devastating vast tracts of Germany and Japan. The enemy and its supporters were exhausted materially and crushed in spirit. What our actions demonstrated to them was that any attempt to implement their vicious ideologies would bring them only destruction and death. Since their defeat, Nazism and Japanese imperialism have essentially withered as ideological forces. Victory today requires the same: smashing Iran's totalitarian regime and thus demoralizing the Islamist movement and its many supporters, so that they, too, abandon their cause as futile.
We triumphed over both Japan and Germany in less than four years after Pearl Harbor. Yet more than five years after 9/11, against a far weaker enemy, our soldiers still die daily in Iraq. Why? Because this war is neither assertive nor ruthless--it is a tragically meek pretense at war.
Consider what Washington has done. The Islamist regime in Iran remains untouched, fomenting terrorism. (And now our leaders hope to "engage" Iran diplomatically.)
We went to battle not with theocratic Iran, but with the secular dictatorship of Iraq. And the campaign there was not aimed at crushing whatever threat Hussein's regime posed to us. "Shock and awe" bombing never materialized. Our brave and capable forces were hamstrung: ordered not to bomb key targets such as power plants and to avoid firing into mosques (where insurgents hide) lest we offend Muslim sensibilities. Instead, we sent our troops to lift Iraq out of poverty, open new schools, fix up hospitals, feed the hungry, unclog sewers--a Peace Corps, not an army corps, mission.
U.S. troops were sent, not to crush an enemy threatening America, but (as Bush explained) to "sacrifice for the liberty of strangers," putting the lives of Iraqis above their own. They were prevented from using all necessary force to win or even to protect themselves. No wonder the insurgency has flourished, emboldened by Washington's self-crippling policies. (Perversely, some want even more Americans tossed into this quagmire.)
Bush did all this to bring Iraqis the vote. Any objective assessment of the Middle East would have told one who would win elections, given the widespread popular support for Islamic totalitarianism. Iraqis swept to power a pro-Islamist leadership intimately tied to Iran. The most influential figure in Iraqi politics is now Moktadr al-Sadr, an Islamist warlord lusting after theocratic rule and American blood. When asked whether he would accept just such an outcome from the elections, Bush said that of course he would, because "democracy is democracy."
No war that ushers Islamists into political office has U.S. self-defense as its goal.
This war has been worse than doing nothing, because it has galvanized our enemy to believe its success more likely than ever--even as it has drained Americans' will to fight. Washington's feeble campaign demonstrates the ruinous effects of refusing to assert our self-interest and defend our freedom. It is past time to consider our only moral and practical option: end the senseless sacrifice of our soldiers--and let them go to war.
Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (www.AynRand.org) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at email@example.com.
As Deng correctly calculated, shedding the blood of hundreds had the effect of intimidating hundreds of millions. There were few disturbances in the years immediately following Tiananmen. But the event irrevocably changed the People's Republic. By the end of the 1990's, Chinese society was turbulent once more as individual protests, both in the countryside and the city, began attracting tens of thousands of participants. In early 2002, two of them -- one by oil workers in Daqing in the northeast and the other by factory hands in nearby Liaoyang -- may have reached the 100,000 mark. In late 2004, in China's southwest, about 100,000 peasants protested the seizure without compensation of land to build a hydroelectric plant in Sichuan province.This would seem to indicate a growing dissatisfaction with the regime. As we have seen with Russia, though, even the overthrow of the Communist regime, should that occur, will not guarantee that China will end up with a government designed to protect individual rights.
Protests have not only become bigger in size; they are now more numerous. In 1994, there were 10,000 such "mass incidents"; by 2003 there were 58,000; in 2004 and 2005 there were 74,000 and 87,000 respectively. This is according to official statistics, which undoubtedly undercount. According to the legal activist Jerome Cohen, a truer figure for the last year may be 150,000.
As Tocqueville observed, "steadily increasing prosperity" does not tranquilize citizens; on the contrary, it promotes "a spirit of unrest." In pre-revolutionary France, discontent was highest in those areas that had seen the greatest improvement; the Revolution itself followed a period of unprecedented economic advance. In the late 20th century, the same trends played out in Thailand, in South Korea, and in Taiwan. [Might Iran's effete upper classes disprove this "rule"? -- ed]This section is very interesting. It would be confusing enough on its own without its author conflating the two cultural trends that seem to be affecting the intensity of the protests. I would be more favorably inclined to believe that China's unrest was a manifestation of an explicit desire to be free from tyranny if the "mass incidents" were better-organized and coordinated. Perhaps they are, unknown to the West, or they are not -- yet.
In China today, it is middle-class citizens, the beneficiaries of a quarter-century of economic reform, who are once again confirming the pattern. In Shanghai, homeowners recently fought a state-owned developer who had reneged on his agreement to keep an area of open land in the middle of a multi-building project; one group of residents tore down a fence to stop construction, and when the developer put up another, an even larger group demolished it. In Dongzhou in prosperous Guangdong province, riot police ended up killing perhaps as many as twenty people who were protesting the government's arbitrary seizure of their land for a power project and denying them the use of a nearby lake.
This is not like Tiananmen. In 1989, Chinese protesters were peaceful until attacked. Those in Dongzhou, however, used pipe bombs as an initial tactic, to break up police formations. In present-day China, the well-to-do act like hooligans, and will even resort to deadly force, if that is what it takes to defend their rights. [But do they really know what "rights" are? Or is this heightened violence only indicative of desperation? --ed]
Deng Xiaoping's strategy after Tiananmen was to buy off the people by means of economic growth. It was successful, but only for a decade. Change begat the demand for more change. Grievances that were once tolerable began to appear intolerable when people realized they could be remedied. Since the end of the 1990's, the laobaixing are no longer, to borrow one of Mao's favorite phrases, "poor and blank."
Paradoxically, it was Mao himself, the great enslaver, who in his own way taught the Chinese people to think and act for themselves. In the Cultural Revolution, he urged tens of millions of radical youths, who were then forming themselves into roving bands known as Red Guards, to go to every corner of the country to tear down ancient temples, destroy cultural relics, and denounce their elders, including not only mothers and fathers but also government officials and Communist-party members. The young radicals seized these "reactionary elements" and paraded them in the streets, barred local officials from their desks, tortured and killed millions. Urban residents were "sent down" to work in the countryside. In some places, Red Guard factions fought pitched battles with one another.
It would be difficult to underestimate the role played by wireless communications and the Internet in this phenomenon. Societies change -- or reach a "tipping point," to use the contemporary term -- when enough people begin to think simultaneously in a new way. These days, Chinese thoughts and emotions travel through optical fiber at the speed of light -- there are 123 million "netizens" in China, and 34 million of them are bloggers -- and the Chinese are holding nationwide conversations for the first time in their history. Ideas -- like, for instance, the idea of representative government -- start out small and spread rapidly via countless chatrooms and online forums.But this technology is just that: an opportunity. This is a point too many commentators very giddily fail to appreciate (search "An Army of Davids"). China has perhaps a greater opportunity to become free than Russia did. To desire more prosperity is one thing. To know what conditions such prosperity requires (i.e., for a culture to generally hold a political philosophy that will lead to freedom) is quite another. The Internet could help the Chinese learn quicker how to build a free society, but it cannot do their thinking for them. In the end, the Internet will be only as good for the Chinese as their own efforts to understand it are.
Let’s assume that “global warming” is the hoax that I think it is. What happens when, sometime around 2020, no evidence of global warming (as a historically unique trend) is found? The following scenarios are three plausible outcomes to the “global warming” crisis.
A) The Fraud Discredited
Politicians and the scientific community admit their error. Environmentalist regulations and environmental agencies are cut back or eliminated. The hundreds of think-tanks, non-profits, and lobbying agencies that survive on the profits from the environmentalist hysteria voluntarily disband.
B) A disaster narrowly averted
Continual improvements in solar power or another renewable technology make it more cost efficient than fossil-fuel based power. The market gradually changes until solar power is dominant.
Politicians proclaim victory, and praise the regulatory state and state-coerced green energy. They stress the need for continual vigilance as they look around for a new crisis to bankroll their campaigns.
C) A self-fulfilling prophecy
Faced with a lack of evidence for global warming, environmentalists focus instead on random climate variation and natural disasters under the banner of “climate change,” which can conveniently be blamed for heat waves, cold fronts, hurricanes, and even tsunamis. The draconian regulatory state gradually erodes the wealth producing capacity of industry, thus destroying the only tool man has to deal with nature’s fury. The EPA/ /DOJ wrecks the economy, FDA causes plagues, and the FCC makes sure the party line gets coverage. The Son of Kyoto shifts energy production and industry from relatively clean, developed nations to environmentally irresponsible developing ones. Innovations in energy production/consumption become prohibitively expensive to get past the regulatory state.
By 2020, nature is unpredictable as ever, but our ability to deal with it is crippled by the state. Politicians seize upon the global havoc they unleashed as proof of the need for further regulation.
Which outcome is most likely? Very likely, it will be a combination of all three. Which one is pre-eminent depends on your estimate of the worldâ€™s sanity.
Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.
Under the rule being considered by the cityâ€™s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.
Applicants would have to have changed their name and shown that they had lived in their adopted gender for at least two years, but there would be no explicit medical requirements.
What is present in the rule being considered by New York Cityâ€™s Board of Health is an attempt to forcibly impose the fantasy of some people on everyone else. It is an attempt to elevate fantasy to the level of actual reality and to compel everyone else to accept it as though it were reality.
"Rather, we lazily allow Islamist fundamentalists to equate our culture with trashy television programs about penile implants rather than Bach, Rubens or Mozart, Newton, Pascal or Einstein. As the philosopher Roger Scruton has written, we should be more careful about what image (and reality) of ourselves we project into more traditional societies."Translation: We should strive to assure "moderate" Muslims that we are not "profiling" their barbarous creed, and that we really don't believe the jihadists and suicide bombers and ranting imams among them are practicing that creed in its most fundamental terms or are in the least representative of Islam in its ideal state.
"...When such a calamity strikes a Muslim population, whom are we trying to rescue? We are rescuing our future murderers. The suicide bombers on the London Tube came from Pakistan. [Actually, they were British citizens of Pakistani origin.] They were the kin of those whom we rescued in Muzafarrabad." [Actually, their more animated spiritual kin.]Although much of the anonymous post is rambling, it does make a few trenchant observations and draws some legitimate parallels. The best one is this:
"In Tehran, Iranian leaders have made clear that they believe they are the big winners from America's involvement in Iraq. 'The kind of service that the Americans, with all their hatred, have done us - no superpower has ever done anything similar,' Mohsen Rezal, secretary-general of the powerful Expediency Council that advises the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei, boasted on state television recently."In the meantime:
There is a widely believed urban legend that Eat a Peach was a reference to the type of truck that killed Duane, however that is not true; though the cover art of the album does a depict a truck underneath a giant peach, and whether or not it is a reference to Duane's accident or not is unknown.
Is that supposed to be a serious proposal? If so, it means that we should strip something like 5 million people of their citizenship and eject them from the country -- solely based upon their private religious beliefs. Some of those people would have no ties to any terrorist or Islamist organizations, nor even sympathy for them.
That would be the end of freedom of conscience in America. It would mean that Christians would be free to eject their devils from the US, namely "secular humananists" and other godless heathens, provided they could muster the vote. Then the Christian Reconstructionists would be free to make America into a thoroughly Christian nation, complete with the stoning of adulterers, abortionists, and homosexuals.
People have the absolute, inalienable right to believe what they please. They do not have the right to support enemy countries, such as by funneling money through charities to Hezbollah. They do not have the right to involve themselves in organizations seeking the violent overthrow of the US government. That's the line. Yes, our government permits Muslims to cross that line, just as they did with the communists decades ago. That does not justify violating it in the other direction. It would be morally wrong to do so -- and the consequences would be horrifying.
Charles Rangel wants to have a draft. What is he after? What is at the base of this? As someone who worked hard to abolish the draft in my youth, and as an upper-middle class mother whose daughter is an enlistee in the Army, I want to know.Thank you for writing that, Hannah!
Does he want to destroy the military? Because make no mistake, this will do it in our present culture. And I can think of several politicians (John Kerry and Bill Clinton come to mind for starters) who would cheer that effect.
But Rep. Rangel is after something much more than that. He wants to punish the middle and upper classes, that 20 to 30 percent of top moneymakers who pay the bulk of the government's cost of doing business. Listen carefully to what he says! Giving him more credit for innocence than is due, he is looking to "level the field," to stop the trend of those who are poorer to join the United States military. Never mind the ignorant enlistee in my daughter's boot camp who learned basic hygiene in her first week in the army, never mind the life lessons my daughter has learned, while many of her high school classmates party and drift aimlessly in college.
Consider the reality: Rep. Rangel is out to change our armed forces from a volunteer to a conscripted service. The fact that he is out to do this by force is the issue. This is not about the myriad problems in the military under the draft during the Vietnam War. It is not even about the fact that a draft allows a government to pursue an unpopular military action without the consequence of a drop in enlistment. This is about denying young people their right to pursue their lives by their choices (whether others deem them wise or not), and he and his allies will work tirelessly to do it.
If you believe that the majority of the middle and upper class works honestly and hard to earn a good living, then the fact that Rep. Rangel wants to punish them by taking their children against their wishes should disturb you. And he wants to punish the children as well: the idea of forcing a young person to sacrifice part of their life and perhaps to die, based on his or her "luck in life's lottery," should chill you to the bone.
The morality of altruism (self-sacrifice) is the morality that Rep. Rangel is relying on to advance his agenda, and that morality is anathema to America's founding principles. If we really believe in those inalienable rights: "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," then we need to preserve the system in which young people choose military enlistment, for reasons of principle, self-improvement, opportunity, or any other reason that they may have.
November 20, 2006
Any government that is as big as ours, as powerful as ours, that controls so much of our lives, will always be susceptible to corruption.
Because power does corrupt.
But we can reduce the temptation by taking power out of Washington and putting it back into the hands of the American people.
It has to be us.
It has to be our Party.
Because the Democrat Party sure won't do it.
They're the party of government.
They believe it has the answer to every question, the solution to every problem.
We Republicans don't believe that . . . but sometimes, over the last few years, we've behaved as if we do.
In the 12 years since Republicans took over the House of Representatives, the size of the federal government has doubled. That's right...it's now twice the size of what it was in January of 1995. And it's not hard to see why. Look at all of the new agencies that have been created and/or expanded. The Department of Homeland Security? That was a Republican idea. No Child Left Behind? So much for getting rid of the Education Department...the Republicans expanded it.
Prescription drug coverage for Medicare...that's another one. The list goes on and on. Then there were the endless pork projects the GOP was pushing...the bridge to nowhere among them. There is no question that the Republican Party became the party of big government. The only difference between them and the Democrats is they like to borrow money instead of raise it through taxation.
I'm talking about expanding the role of faith in the public square for people who need not just a hot meal, but sustenance for the soul.
For the greens, power outages represent a victory in their 30 years' war against power plants. Over the past decade alone, environmentalists have succeeded in shutting down nuclear reactors at Rancho Seco, San Onofre, and the Trojan plant in Oregon, wiping out more than 2,000 megawatts of power capacity. They have made it impossible to build coal-fired generators, and even some natural gas plants, like Hunters Point in San Francisco, are slated for shutdown. What about clean, renewable hydroelectric power? The newest green crusade is to free the "shackled rivers" and "breach the dams."Fortunately for California, other parts of the nation (like Texas) with regulatory climates friendlier to industry remain able to make up for its shortfall of generating capacity by exporting surplus electricity to the Golden State. But that may change soon:
The result: There is less generating capacity in California today than in 1989. And thanks to environmental activists, the state has allowed the completion of only one, tiny, 44-megawatt power plant since the crisis began last year.
A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declined to comment on the case or discuss why Texas decided to side with EPA. Environmental groups in the state say they can guess why the state intervened.And why might we soon face a national shortfall in electricity production? Because the federal government wasn't moving fast enough to force us to sacrifice our standard of living to head off a hightly speculative scenario of future disaster.
"Among all states, Texas is by far the No. 1 emitter of greenhouse gas pollution," said Colin Rowan, director of regional communication for Environmental Defense.
If Texas were a country, it would rank seventh in the world in greenhouse gas emissions.
"But Texas has no plan to stop it, slow it down or deal with the consequences," Rowan said. "We don't even have an official state inventory of what's at risk. Other states are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but Texas is poised to build 19 coal-fired power plants that will emit an additional 110 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution a year. That's a pretty good snapshot of the path our leaders have taken us down." [bold added]
Fed up with what they perceived as a glacial federal response to melting ice caps and warming temperatures, environmental groups in 1999 asked the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles.The judges start hearing arguments this Wednesday. And they rule next summer on whether the EPA can (and if so, is required to) regulate greenhouse gases.
When the EPA declined, the matter went to court, with a dozen states siding with the environmentalists. Nine other states, including Texas, have argued against regulation and sided with the EPA.
DV Co-Editor Kim Petersen is an average dude who enjoys scuba diving, working out, and advancing the struggle for a world based on principles of peaceful and equitable sharing and respect for the environment and life. He studied at universities in occupied British Columbia, Canada and Norway. He contributed "Western Imperialism and China" to the upcoming Alternative Atlas, which critiques imperialism around the world over the last 15 years, to be published by French editor Le Temps des Cerises in October 2005. His articles have appeared in various progressive media, and he has been a contributing writer to Dissident Voice since 2002. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. [link dropped, all bold mine]Love that leftist mini-rant that follows "scuba diving, working out"! Everything is a speech to these people. And "occupied British Columbia"?!?! Occupied by whom? The Brits left long ago. And if this is supposed to be some kind of statement of solidarity with the American Indian population, why not call the rest of Canada "occupied"? Or does Canada (snicker) "occupy" British Columbia? He does list Canada separately, although whether he sees it, too, as "occupied" is open to debate. (And if Canada is not "occupied", is this but the tip of the iceberg of Canadian Imperialism soon to be revealed by the Alternative Atlas? What are those devious Canucks up to over there, anyway?)
Conversely, civil war may pose serious threats to Syrian interests -- and offer significant benefits to Israel. If Hizbullah's energies are seriously depleted in a civil war, Israel may be in a much better position to attack Lebanon again. Almost everyone in Israel is agreed that the Israeli army is itching to settle the score with Hizbullah in another round of fighting. This way it may get the next war it wants on much better terms; or Israel may be able to fight a proxy war against Hizbullah by aiding the Shiite group's opponents.Never mentioned is the fact that the Party of God provoked the Israeli attack. Do I detect a pattern here?
According to William Bird, a Berkshire GP and Natural England's health adviser, "increasing evidence suggests that both physical and mental health are improved through contact with nature". A campaign factsheet claims that "aggression and domestic violence is [sic] less likely in low-income families with views or access to natural green space", and "crime rates are lower in tower blocks with more natural green space than identical tower blocks with no surrounding vegetation" (no references provided).Of course, by "nature", the environmentalists basically mean "anything unaltered by human efforts" because, somehow, man's rational faculty -- despite the fact that it evolved naturally over many eons -- is "unnatural".
Dr Bird is worried that "people are having less contact with nature than at any other time in the past" and insists that "this has to change!".
Natural England's campaign, which is endorsed by Britain's deputy chief medical officer and the BBC and supported by a budget of Â£500million of taxpayers' money, offers a curious combination of the silly and the sinister. On the one hand, the notion that a breath of fresh air and the sight of a few trees can cure the ills of both the individual and society has the aura of whacky green fundamentalism. On the other hand, Dr Bird's schoolmasterish tone and his offer of a natural cure for a wide range of social problems clearly appeals to the authoritarian instincts behind New Labour's public health policies. [minor punctuation and format changes]
Chikungunya, a severe and sometimes deadly infectious disease that has devastated the islands of the Indian Ocean, has arrived in the United States.DDT would not alone head off Chikungunya, but the very idea that we are wrongly forgoing even a single weapon in the arsenal against this emerging threat is unconscionable. Worse, there are still those who are working to ban DDT worldwide, and they make DDT out to be as much of an all-destroyer as Nature England makes "contact with nature" out to be a panacea!
Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota and at least a half-dozen other states have reported cases of travelers returning from visits to Asia and East Africa sick with the mosquito-borne virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chikungunya can cause fever, chills, nausea, headache, rash, crippling joint pain and even neurological damage. There is no drug treatment, just bed rest, fluids and mild pain medication. [bold added]
But what about immigrants ... who ... might have been exposed to DDT without even knowing it? That certainly describes many thousands of immigrants who enter as farmworkers critically needed to keep crops from rotting in fields or on trees, as about 20 percent of this year's Florida orange crop did because of a labor shortage.Notice how long it is -- and how expensive it is made to sound for victims of the welfare state -- between author Thomas Elias's implication (based on an unreferenced source) that exposure to DDT might have caused a case of conjoined twins and his admission that the whole linkage is speculative at best!
If their children are affected in the ways the Berkeley study suggested, those kids will inevitably pose problems for public schools as long as they remain here.
And what of persons who enter this country as visitors but stay to have babies, who automatically become citizens with rights to emergency healthcare?
The most spectacular recent instance of this came at midsummer, when surgeons in a 22-hour operation at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles separated tiny twins who had been conjoined at birth.
Their mother and father, Mexican nationals Sonia Fierros and Federico Salinas, entered this country last year on tourist visas and had those permits extended after Fierros suffered a urinary tract infection during a visit with relatives and learned from doctors she was carrying conjoined twins.
The couple stayed on long after their visas expired, they said, because, "We thought (the babies) would be able to get better medical care here," the 23-year-old mother said after the successful operation, which cost an estimated $900,000, a cost shared by Childrens Hospital and the Medi-Cal program.
No one knows if either parent had been exposed to DDT or whether the insecticide caused the babies' problem.
The other certainty is that the longer this country remains passive about pushing a complete worldwide ban on DDT, the worse the problem will get. [bold added]
Given that Colin Powell and John McCain -- to name just two prominent Republicans -- both favor national service, how likely will other Republicans be to take a stand against Rangel's "draft"? If volunteering for the military can substitute for it? If the military gets to cherry-pick from the draftees? If some of the draftees get to serve in "faith-based" initiatives?The more I think about this, the more worried get that unless more and better arguments are made against this horrendous idea on moral grounds, the more likely we Americans are to get blindsided by a bunch of politicians pulling the bait-and-switch of a national service measure Republicans foolishly support in the initial guise of an anti-war draft proposal by a Democrat.
Such an innocuous name: net neutrality. Who could be against that? And the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 sounds so fair! What bigot would dare oppose nondiscrimination?There have been rumbles about this for quite some time, too.
Under the cover of these happy fuzzy words the Democrats are about to slap price controls on internet providers. Americans should be happy, as the consumers in the Soviet Union were under price controls. Oh, wait -- there were long lines and empty shelves? Scratch that.
But making the internet better is not really the point of all this legislation. Giving the state power over the internet is the point.
Rude immigration officials and visa delays keep millions of foreign visitors away from the United States, hurt the country's already battered image, and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in lost revenue, according to an advocacy group formed to push for a better system.Gosh. I wonder why. Before I get to my point, though, there is the following not unrelated story.
To drive home the point, the Discover America Partnership released the result of a global survey on Monday which showed that international travelers see the United States as the world's worst country in terms of getting a visa and, once you have it, making your way past rude immigration officials.
A passenger initially raised concerns about the group through a note passed to a flight attendant, according to Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways. She said police were called after the captain and airport security workers asked the men to leave the plane and the men refused.As I said about a similar incident, in which a Middle Easterner wearing an Arabic tee shirt in an airport raised Cain over being told to wear something else:
"They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way," said Omar Shahin, of Phoenix.
"CAIR will be filing a complaint with relevant authorities in the morning over the treatment of the imams to determine whether the incident was caused by anti-Muslim hysteria by the passengers and/or the airline crew," Hooper said. "Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it's one that we've been addressing for some time."
While we all have freedom of speech in America, we are not entitled to express our opinions through the use of someone else's resources. This is why I cannot simply plant a campaign poster in my neighbor's yard. This is why [Raed] Jarrar should not have my tax money at his disposal (if he does) to finance his various foreign junkets. Nor I his money for my causes. Indeed, Jarrar himself seems to apprehend this point: He has closed the comments on his blog. This is no more an infringement of my freedom of speech than JetBlue's imposition of a rule against Arabic script would be an infringement of Jarrar's. If he objects to the notion that an airline can have "no Arabic script" as part of a customer dress code, then he has some explaining to do. [bold added today]So these imams were allegedly praying. Let them pray, but do not force an airline to ignore the fact that they are Moslem or pretend that their religion does not rightfully arouse suspicions among most Americans. If they haven't the foresight to schedule a flight around prayer time in an overwhelmingly non-Moslem country which has been repeatedly attacked by Moslems, then tough nuts. Have these nincompoops never heard of red-eye flights? Or trains? Or automobiles?
But even if our government actually protected the right of a carrier like Jet Blue to bar certain forms of dress on its flights, all the above still does not mean that the government would properly just ignore suspicious-looking characters with an interest in domestic aviation. Not after the atrocities committed in the name of Islam on September 11, 2001.
But the tectonic plates move in dangerous ways when the topics are taxes, trade, torts and terrorism. [George] Miller voted against reducing the federal tax code's "marriage penalty"; [Ellen] Tauscher was for it. He was against liberalizing trade with China; she was for it. He was against limiting awards in lawsuits; she was for it.Tauscher is a mixed bag to be sure, but if there are more people like her in the party (and this article is accurate), that would be a very good thing.
Then there is terrorism -- and Iraq. Tauscher, with her lower Manhattan ties and her swing district (which includes two of the government's most important defense-research labs), voted to authorize the war in Iraq and is wary of the consequences of a too-hasty exit. To Miller, the war is an unsalvageable blunder. Coming of age in antiwar San Francisco, his view is framed by Vietnam. He voted against authorizing the invasion. He admires Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania for having come forward last year to denounce it. "Everyone discounted the criticisms of people like me because we were the 'antiwar crowd'," Miller says. "Jack gave the Democratic Party a place to stand."
The Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. manufactures a Jesus doll that is less a toy and more a tool with which to preach Christianity to children. For example, the toy quotes the Holy Bible with statements like "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." The doll's manufacturer offered to donate 4,000 of its dolls to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, founded by the Marines in 1947 to ensure that needy children received some toys for Christmas.The purpose of our military is to defend the United States from foreign threats. Not to serve as an overseas welfare agency (to which many conservatives rightfully object) or as a religious order. This is an outrage.
The foundation, supported today by the Marine Corps Reserves as part of its official mission, opted to refuse the Jesus dolls on the grounds that the Marines don't profess one faith over another, and that the doll was an inappropriate gift for a non-Christian family. And that's when all hell broke lose.
In response to its decision, the foundation was peppered with so many calls of Christian outrage that The Washington Post reports that it became impossible for the foundation to perform its mission -- which is simply to give some hard-luck kids something nice to play with on Christmas Day. Caving in to the pressure, the foundation reversed itself and agreed to accept the Jesus dolls, and will simply have to make an extra effort in addition to its already large commitments to ensure that these dolls don't go to families that don't want them.
To say grace is to give credit where none is due -- and, worse, it is to withhold credit where it is due. To say grace is to commit an act of injustice.Thank you, Craig, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Rational, productive people -- whether philosophers, scientists, inventors, artists, businessmen, military strategists, friends, family, or yourself -- are who deserve to be thanked for the goods on which your life, liberty, and happiness depend. This holiday season -- and from here out -- don't say grace; say justice: Thank or acknowledge the people who actually provide the goods. Some of them may be sitting right there at the table with you. And if you find yourself at a table where people insist on saying grace, politely insist on saying justice when they're through. It's the right thing to do.
Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether.This is worse than the proverbial "shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater'. This is standing in front of the screen, turning on the lights, and waving a machine gun around. My only question is this: Will our government bring up criminal charges, as it should, against these "scholars"? (HT: Harry Binswanger List)
Witnesses said the imams stood to do their evening prayers in the terminal before boarding, chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah" -- coincidentally, the last words heard by hundreds of airline passengers on 9/11 before they died.
Witnesses also said that the imams were talking about Saddam Hussein, and denouncing America and the war in Iraq. About the only scary preflight ritual the imams didn't perform was the signing of last wills and testaments. [bold and link added]
There are few sweeping generalizations to which I will adhere without considering new evidence, and one of those is that any philosophy, religion, meme, superstition, saying, or other effect which discourages critical thinking, discredits itself in so doing. It cuts to the central tool for the evaluation of truth -- the truth withstands any amount of critical scrutiny.Are you listening, Reverend Jackson? I didn't think so. He also invites readers to weigh in on what they think the Song of the Year should be....
New dollar coins. Again !?!? Looks like the mint got it right this time as America wants Presidents and symbols of our values like Lady Liberty on our money, not more affirmative action creations. Personally, I wish they had done a series on Fed Chairman to remind us why the dollar has devalued over time. At least with the first coins, we will be reminded of real American Presidents, but will the political parties identify their recent shortcomings in time for 2008.I'm mostly with Jim here but for the fact that I actually liked the Sacagawea Dollar in an aesthetic sense. Yes. The design was unfortunately chosen in a nod to multiculturalism, a fact I do not like. But since there was ample precedent for Indians on American coinage, I thought that this multiculturalist dollar coin fit in far better than its predecessor. Aside from being better-looking, you could easily forget the multi-culti claptrap.
One day, I asked the students, "How is Robin like the bird?" I then watched as one face after another illumined with the glow of a new understanding. They saw it.Fixing the broken mechanics of how children are taught to read -- by abandoning the "look-say" method -- is only the initial battle. Opening the eyes of children to literature is just as important in preparing them for adulthood.
In Lana's words: "They both have a problem and then they solve it. The branch is falling, but the bird knows he has wings, so he flies. Robin's legs don't work, but he learns to read and whittle and swim. They both find a door in the wall: if they can't solve something one way, they find another."
I recognize what I see in these pictures. Ruins. I see the ruins of a once beautiful city. I am reminded of Miami and New Orleans. Places with so much flavor that they live. Places where you know, every minute, exactly where you are. I see a shadow of that in the corpse of a once great city, a once great country. It hurts to look at it. The thing is, I am not Cuban, not really. I am an American who was born in Cuba. What must real Cubans think when they see this tragedy?This post is its author's tribute to his departed father for having the foresight and courage to take asylum in America when Fidel Castro took power, get his family here, and work their way up from being poor. His father saw the ruins long before most others did, and he acted decisively.
And, my prediction to you is that ether before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.This is a warning we should heed. Gingrich has just told us how many of our leaders might react to such a calamity. For to indefinitely restrict freedom of speech is both an abominable suggestion and a confession that one so poorly understands the value of freedom that one cannot see a way to offer intellectual competition to brutes.
The bombings marked America's total victory over a militaristic culture that had murdered millions. To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others. The abstraction "war," the propaganda of their leaders, their twisted samurai "honor," their desire to die for the emperor--all of it had to be given concrete form. This is what firebombing Japanese cities accomplished. It showed the Japanese that "this"--point to burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation--"this is what you have done to others. Now it has come for you. Give it up, or die." This was the only way to show them the true nature of their philosophy, and to beat the truth of the defeat into them.How well could the jihadists raise recruits if we started leveling cities in their home countries? How well would terrorists continue being tolerated in the Islamic world? How effective would blowing oneself in an airplane look, compared to an, say, atomic blast?
Such activism only makes sense if it takes a minimal amount of time. I recently discovered the Congress.Org site . It tracks what Senators and Congressman are doing and what Bills are coming up. It makes it easy to enter one's details one time, and then send emails out every now and then with very little effort.Keep this post in mind.
I figured that it would be even easier if the research part was shared. So, whenever I do send an email, I'll post a copy here, in case anyone else wants to send something similar to their rep. I'd ask that if anyone else sends an email to a rep about a bill, they could do the same: post the text here. Again, for me, this particular strain of activism is not about making arguments, but about "being counted", so to speak.
Sharia, derived from several sources including the Koran, is applied to varying degrees in predominantly Muslim countries but it has no binding status in Britain.Perhaps I should have said "leg-hold"....
However, the BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law. Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a youth worker from Somalia, recalled a stabbing case that was decided by an unofficial Somali "court" sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.
"Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions," [Patrick Sookhdeo] says. These are based on sharia councils, set up in Britain to help Muslims solve family and personal problems.
[Faizul Aqtab] Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.
Such behavior is certainly not limited to East Coast universities. Last February at San Francisco State University, former liberal activist-author turned conservative activist-author David Horowitz had his entire speech shouted down by a group of protesters. Composed primarily of students and other members of the Spartacus Youth Club, a Trotskyist organization, the group stood in the back of the room shouting slogans and comments at every turn.The whole article, by Cinnamon Stillwell, is well worth a full read, and not merely because it is so eye-opening. On the bright side, the piece also introduces the reader to a several courageous individuals who have renounced terrorism and are now fighting the Good Fight against Islamofascism.
Recently, reformers from within the Muslim world itself have been on the receiving end of such treatment. Whether it be the work of student groups or faculty, insurmountable security restrictions and last-minute cancellations have a strange way of arising whenever such figures are invited to speak on college campuses.
Arab American activist and author Nonie Darwish was to speak at Brown University earlier this month, when the event was canceled because her views were deemed "too controversial" by members of the Muslim Students' Association. Given that Darwish is the author of the recently released book, "Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror," such claims are hardly unpredictable. Like most Muslim reformers, Darwish must overcome the resistance within her own community, aided and abetted by misguided liberal sympathizers, in order to get her message across.
Community activists are calling for a moratorium on the use of Tasers after an HPD officer fired her stun gun at a Houston Texans player during a traffic stop after police said he resisted arrest earlier this month.You will notice that all context is dropped except skin color. Weary is black, the officer who tasered him is white. It was racist for Whitey to taser poor, oppressed Mr. Weary. Case closed.
"This white officer saw a big black man and had that innate fear of a big black man in her presence," said Quanell X with the New Black Panther Party. "The minute he made a slight move or gesture she disagreed with, (he) was 'Tased.' "
Deric Muhammad of the Millions More Movement agreed.
"If you are caught at the wrong place, at the wrong time and clothed in black skin, you are a target," he said.
Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted "Allah" when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.These enemies of civilization knew exactly what they were doing. To act so much like terrorists that numerous people agree they were rightfully removed from the plane -- and then piss and moan about "flying while Moslem" -- is beneath contempt. Every major news outlet in the country should plaster their cowardly faces -- along with that of the "prophet" they so admire -- all over their front pages with the most embarrassing headlines their writers can muster. For the barest minimum of a start.
"I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud," the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.
Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks -- two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.
"That would alarm me," said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. "They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane."
A pilot from another airline said: "That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry."
But the imams who were escorted off the flight in handcuffs say they were merely praying before the 6:30 p.m. flight on Nov. 20, and yesterday led a protest by prayer with other religious leaders at the airline's ticket counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, called removing the imams an act of Islamophobia and compared it to racism against blacks.
"It's a shame that as an African-American and a Muslim I have the double whammy of having to worry about driving while black and flying while Muslim," Mr. Bray said.
The protesters also called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling. [bold and link added]
In a freshmen geography class at East High School, students were instructed to "assume the personas of individuals in the next century or after, and write a letter to people in the 21st century, saying what they could and should have done to address global warming before its effects became so devastating." This is indoctrination. The question presumes an outcome that is debatable. Shouldn't a student have the option of questioning the premise? Isn't that a mainstay of critical thinking? How about writing a letter from the not-globally-warmed future thanking those in the early 21st century who had the foresight to resist unfounded claims of global-warming alarmists and avoid squandering trillions of dollars on a fool's errand? This is a possibility, too. How do you suppose that would be graded?Students, it would appear, will continue being told what to think, rather than being taught how to think.
"Critical thinking" is too often a catchall buzzword to justify blatant propagandizing and political activism. That was the lame excuse Overland High School teacher Jay Bennish used to shield himself from accountability when he abused his students with a political tirade denouncing capitalism and comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler. [bold added]
This is one of the more popular, trendy concepts in public education circles these days. In theory, it sounds like a wonderful idea. Teachers should lead students to suspend their beliefs, biases, preconceptions and conventional wisdom in order to evaluate information, ideas, theories, statements, propositions, historical events, political movements, individuals, etc., on the basis of facts, evidence, logic and reason. Who could disagree with this approach?Many leftists would probably regard the belief in the validity of logic and sensory evidence as a "bias". Many would doubtless also question whether there is such a thing as a "fact" and whether reason is a valid means of grasping the truth, if they even accept the notion that truth exists. They are wrong on these counts, but in their error, they point out the real problem.
I wonder if students are ever challenged with questions from the right, not just the left, such as:In doing so, Rosen shows the real beauty of critical thinking: Reason always eventually leads us to the correct answer which, in this case, is a question. He may not have gone down the avenue I would have liked him to, but the kinds of questions he asks will lead, sooner or later, to the right one: "Why do Americans not morally oppose a system that confiscates their money in the name of educating their children, but uses the funds to cripple their minds and entrench itself instead?"
I invite students, teachers and administrators to contact me with such classroom examples.
- Name fives ways teachers' unions might be obstacles to improving the quality of public education.
- Critique Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and theorize about what motivates American leftists who obsess about their country's shortcomings while downplaying its greatness.
- Explain why the ideology of socialism is in direct conflict with human nature and, consequently, perpetually doomed to failure.
- Read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and give five examples of violations of individual rights in the name of "the common good."
- The mainstream media largely ignore qualified global-warming skeptics. Name five scientists who dispute global-warming theory and explain their arguments.