Sunday, September 14, 2014
I regret that I cannot do my duty as a true modern, by cursing everybody who made me whatever I am. ~ G. K. Chesterton
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Instead, let me expand on a few things I've said elseweb, in answer to proggs and their endless blaming of the U. S. for terrorism. After all the atrocities we and others have endured from jihadists over that time, proggs have learned nothing except new terms of abuse for conservatives. "Taliban wing of the Republican Party", and so forth.
Further, one of the big lessons of 9/11 was this: There is nothing, literally nothing, that could befall the U.S. which would induce progressives to float down from their presumed higher moral plane and stand together with those icky fellow Americans. Instead, they bitterly cling all the more tightly to their exploded yet still treasured memes: poverty causes terrorism, the straight white male conservative middle class taxpayer is the root of all evil, to be brown, foreign, and angry at America is to be in the right by definition, etc. How ridiculous their beloved "world citizenship" looks now.
And they continue to conflate crime and terrorism. Poverty most assuredly does not cause Islamic terrorism. The Saudi millionaires funding it, and the middle class "Britons", "Australians", "Germans" and so forth going abroad to commit it, are not doing so because their welfare payments are inadequate. They are fired by religious and political zeal--which in Islam are the same thing--and long to fulfill The Prophet's command to "make wide slaughter" among infidels and apostates.
Liberal self-flagellation, Christian or otherwise, is no good guide to this challenge. Nor is cheap parallelism. I could tick off a dozen similarities between the Jihad and the Western Left, to match your list. But what good would it do? Despising America, the Right, and whatever else is not going to put us in the jihadists' good graces. They're not going to eat you last!
Islam is a religion of peace. [Insert today's outrage here] has nothing to do with Islam. Why? Because Islam is a religion of peace!" This circular alibi only fools people who want to be fooled, for fear of having their heads explode from considering the wider implications. Yes, most Muslims are not out there setting bombs and slitting throats. Most of us Christians are not out there giving our possessions away to the poor, either. They and we are just not committed enough to follow our respective religions' Call to the hilt. But plenty of people are, and so we have scenes like the Taliban's execution of Christian aid workers in Pakistan. The tree is known by its fruit.
Have some quotes:
Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is working to destroy it. ~Jean-Francois Revel
I think people have spoken much rubbish about that event[9/11]. The poor revenging themselves on the rich! It's nothing but an aspect of religious hatred. And that is so hard to deal with, or even contemplate. You can deal with the poor striking out, but you can't deal with the threat of a universal religious war.
-- V. S. Naipaul
We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you. -- former Hezbollah leader Hussein Massawi
Thursday, August 07, 2014
First bit of bad news: ISIS may be getting the better of the Kurdish militias in northwestern Iraq. The Peshmerga stiffed the jihadists' original offensive, but if these jihadists roll up the Kurdish militias, then Iraq is done for. I hope we are supplying the Kurds with weapons, over the objections of Turkey if need be. Your go to site for Kurdish news is Rudaw, although their battlefield dispatches seem rather rosy to me. Meanwhile, persecution of Iraq's Christians is turning to outright massacre. Death Toll on Shingal Mountain Rising by the Minute. That's in Erbil, in Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, ISIS is moving into Lebanon, by some reports having captured a city and nabbed some soldiers of the Lebanese national army. Hezbollah, that viper pit, is standing off for now, but says that they will fight if ISIS muscles in too far. So, we may find ourselves supporting Hezbollah in extremis--did I mention what a viper pit they are?
Saturday, August 02, 2014
The other is more unexpected: the Lebanese mathematician, investor, flaneur and Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
You can assess kindness & mental clarity at one's compassion for Palestinians; vicious ignorance, heartlesness at his demonizing/casuistry.— Nassim N. Taleb (@nntaleb) July 31, 2014
Tonight, a thought for Palestinians who, since 1948, have been dispossed, beaten, uprooted, demonized, & humiliated. #Gaza— Nassim N. Taleb (@nntaleb) July 30, 2014
I can't presume to know what he's thinking, as he is so fearsomely learned that I could never hope to hold up my end of a serious conversation with him. I've never heard him say a bad thing about Jews. Elsewhere he's written about growing up in Lebanon during that unfortunate nation's civil war, which was caused in part by the Palestinian Liberation Organization setting up shop there after they were kicked out of Jordan. He is certainly aware of Hamas' charter to eliminate the Jews. He is also surely aware of the tried and true human shield ploy, the credulity of Western news media in areas they don't understand, and the cynicism endemic in Arab ruling circles. So what is he thinking? I don't know. My guess is just that this is his gut feeling, no analysis involved. I hope he realizes that he's being played, along with the rest of Western celebrity-hood.
A terrorists' tool meets a terrorists' tool: Gaza Reporter Startled by Palestinian Rocket Launch during Live Broadcast
EDIT: And thanks to Donald Sensing for the link love.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Much of humanity longs to massacre Jews, and much of the rest of humanity is content to sit and watch it happen, be it with a shrug, a smirk or a fistpump. So of course the Jews need a state in which and with which to defend themselves. When we talk as if their present state is a mistake—a rectifiable mistake—then that is just shark chum in the water for would-be pogromists.
Or you can listen to Pat Condell explain it, much more tartly than I could:
Friday, July 25, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Meanwhile, there's a support group for parents who lost their children's lives in hot cars:
"I always tell them, you're not a bad parent," Balfour said. "No one is going to judge you more than you do yourself. I know that I did not leave my son in the car intentionally when I left that day. People tell me I need to forgive myself -- I don't feel like I have anything to forgive. I made a mistake and it cost me my son's life. But I certainly didn't leave him in the car to go bowling or to get my nails done."
So, what constitutes being a bad or good parent in these cases? Should we judge by past history, by intentions, or by outcomes? Does one fatal mistake make you as bad a parent as someone who is habitually negligent but whose child nevertheless beats the odds? People have to make their own peace with themselves, and I hope I never have to face myself in the mirror after a tragedy like this. But if I did, and I asked myself if I was a good or bad parent, I would have to answer:
What you do
When it counts
-- John Steakley
As I've said before, here is the problem in miniature: There is in my town a football complex, next to which are apartment buildings full of illegals. The local leagues pay registration fees to use the fields, and of course only use them when the fields are open. Not so the illegals! They hop the fences at night or out of season, tear up the fields having their own tournaments, todo gratis, por supuesto. Now expand that attitude of su casa es mi casa to include schools, hospitals, all other social services, and scale it up into the millions. This trend needs to be reversed, not sentimentalized.
I wonder if my kids will be able to have summer jobs, as the illegals have taken the low-skill entry jobs (hard times have put retirees into that labor market too, to be fair). If you are not in competition with cheap illegal labor for your livelihood, if you are not having social services you depend on eroded because of illegals' free overuse of them, if you are unlikely to fall victim to crimes that some of them commit, then your "compassion" is very cheap indeed.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
I have never understood the reasoning behind reparations for slavery but not for Jim Crow. There are no living victims or perpetrators of antebellum slavery, but there are plenty of living victims of Jim Crow. Maybe TNC's scheme will attempt to account for these.
When you get your living and indeed your very identity from presenting yourself as a grappler with some issue or other, the last thing you want to do is solve the issue. Let's say that reparations would involve a massive transfer of wealth to blacks from non-blacks, racial set-asides in government representation, public and private jobs, and university admissions, maybe some sort of get out of jail free card for black criminals, and just about any other goodie that the racial avengers could think up & bully the rest of us into going along with. What do you think would happen after that? Would that be the end of the Civil Rights Movement? Would we all come together at a summit and say "There," air checkmark..."all done!" Of course not! New grievances would be wailed over; new adjectives with which to prefix "racism" would be trotted out ("invisible racism", "unconscious racism", and now "elegant racism"), the Left would continue its present trajectory of screaming louder and louder about less and less. And dissidents, of all colors, would be studiously ignored or vigorously attacked.
And there is nothing uniquely black or white about this. Revolutionaries, which pampered academic leftists so frequently imagine themselves to be, usually act as if the ground ahead of them is virgin soil. Edmund Burke said as much more than two centuries ago:
With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme
because it is old. As to the new one, they are in no sort of fear with
regard to the duration of a new building run up in haste; because
duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been
done before their time.
-- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
It's as if the Great Society trillions of dollars never happened, nor all the civil rights legislation, nor the more than half a million Civil War dead. In part it's due to the climate of the times; the Left has successfully mauled the universities and thereby much of our nation's intellectual discourse into its own rigid template. If all human interaction throughout history consists of an oppressor and a victim, then of course the moral high ground lies with the victim, and thus we have the current campus imperative to prove oneself a victim, in order to maintain a passing grade, tenure track or employment. And of course all racism is in the sole eye and judgment of its self-proclaimed victims. So there will be a very long line indeed for these reparations. There was a very long line to join Native American tribes decades ago, once there began to be federal money connected with belonging to those ethnicities. How much of the reparations movement is driven by a quest for justice, and how much by the scent of cash money? It's probably forbidden to even ask that question on campus nowadays.
A typical Ta-Nehisi Coates race column nowadays is rather samey at times. A current event deemed to be deplorable is duly deplored, the animating cause of which is laid to the racism deemed to be constant, like the speed of light, and pervasive, like nitrogen. This is followed by relating a historical atrocity or five, seemingly selected by free association, juxtaposing it to the current event, and then wrapping up as if anything, anything at all, had been illuminated or proved. I'll be disappointed if this forthcoming feature doesn't have more meat on its bones than that.
Five decades? Six? Seven? How long should it take to understand that the life of a community cannot be reduced to politics or wholly encompassed by government?
The time in which we live has unfathomable depths beneath it. Our age is a mere film on the surface of time.
--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, November 1916
Friday, April 04, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
What Everyone Gets Wrong About The New York Draft Riots
No, The Blockade Runners Will Not Save The South
The Myth Of Heroic Southern Womanhood
The Fredericksburg Disaster, In Three Simple Graphs
How Lincoln's Exchange With Horace Greeley Emboldens Foreign Intervention
When Habeas Corpus Is Just A Memory
Why The Substitute Soldier Is The Future Of War
This list is inspired by this article from The Atlantic last autumn.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
But I've been struck how many comments will be deleted and commenters banned, for stating obvious facts. I myself was threatened with banning, for mentioning the fact that Africa's post-colonial human rights record is an appalling horror show, and its leaders have until recently been mostly larcenous and murderous despots. His truth narrative doesn't seem to like having its toes stepped on by other truth narratives, apparently. I mean, what would the reaction be if the Nigerian academic George Ayittey logged in and said the same things? Things are a bit more relaxed when he deals with topics in which race is not always front and center, such as his experiences in Paris or his readings in Eastern European history. (Speaking of which, I wonder if he's going to take up Iron Curtain anytime soon, as promised some time back? Maybe he's lost interest.) Then the crowdsourced knowledge of the commenters is giving freer rein, and the threads make for quite educational and enjoyable reading, for those interested in those subjects.
Lately he's been posting articles and leaving the comments off for days, if not permanently. I hope he doesn't leave the magazine because of commenters, the way Steven den Beste gave up political blogging because he was tired of getting crapped at by his commenters. If the comments are too wearisome to police anymore, my suggestion would be for him to do away with them, a la James Fallows, and just post open threads once a week. That ought to simplify things from The Atlantic's end.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Back when the Soviet Union was still around, I used to enjoy "eavesdropping" on the Kremlin by browsing the publication The Current Digest Of The Soviet Press. Snippets of old issues are available in Google Books, and while spelunking therein I found this announcement from 1954:
It's just a snippet, but you can grasp the high-handed optimism so typical of communist propaganda. Little did they realize that their "reforging" of humanity would fail, and the consequences of their social engineering would ripple out for decades.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
The single coffee cup craze has been rolling now for several years in both the United States and Canada, with Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso all battling it out to lock down the market. In order to protect their dominant market share, Keurig makers…
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
ISIS just killed Abu Khaled al-Suri, Zawahiri's personal envoy to IF rebels. Now either AQ takes Baghdadi's head or they fade into obscurity— Zedd Rebel (@ZeddRebel) February 23, 2014
Venezuela just shut down the Internet. I will give a cookie to the first emoprog who has the balls to call it a just step to deter "fascism"— Zedd Rebel (@ZeddRebel) February 23, 2014
And, the most striking image of the day, someone repainted the Soviet Army memorial in Sofia, Bulgaria with the national colors of Ukraine:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Finally, we can always blame the Bible. Whether you think of it as casting a long shadow across the history of Western culture or as fathering a great light within it, there is no denying the Bible’s powerful influence on the way that we think today. And you might have noticed that there’s not much about a billion-year future in it. The Bible does not tell us ‘The beginning is near!’ but rather ‘The end is near!’
I don't think that American fundamentalist end-times theology is a wide enough lens through which to view the Bible nor its influence on our attitudes through the millennia. Sure, the Bible makes no mention of billions of years--but its authors were very pre-occupied with eternity, which for humans amounts to the same thing. Psalm 103:17 says that "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." The old king who narrates Ecclesiastes muses at length on the passage of time and the successions of generations stretching into the future. Remember that the Christian Bible was written by dozens of authors over the course of about 600 years. They weren't all just huddling around the altar all that time, waiting for the world-ending thunderbolt to strike.
Indeed, a case could be made that the thinkers of antiquity, both Judeo/Christian and Greco/Roman, had a firmer grasp of the immensity of time and their own minuscule place within it. Since the beginning of the Mechanical Age, events have rushed past in such a blur, that the present has perforce absorbed most of our attention. In addition, we spend the yet-to-be-created wealth confiscated from yet-to-be-born posterity for our own present gratification. "Just keep the checks coming til I'm dead, and then the world can go hang!" Attitudes like that are not found in people who plant acorns, the shade of which trees they will never sit under. Attitudes like that are denounced in the Bible, in fact.
An attempt to excogitate from scratch a new way of regarding the future will most likely sound strangely familiar, in some parts. It's already part of our heritage, if you know where & how to look.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
And that's all I've got. Have some good tweets from the #creationdebate tag. Boy, was it a fast thread!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
In search of answers, Woodberry traveled to West Africa in 2001. Setting out one morning on a dusty road in Lomé, the capital of Togo, Woodberry headed for the University of Togo's campus library. He found it sequestered in a 1960s-era building. The shelves held about half as many books as his personal collection. The most recent encyclopedia dated from 1977. Down the road, the campus bookstore sold primarily pens and paper, not books.
"Where do you buy your books?" Woodberry stopped to ask a student.
"Oh, we don't buy books," he replied. "The professors read the texts out loud to us, and we transcribe."
Across the border, at the University of Ghana's bookstore, Woodberry had seen floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with hundreds of books, including locally printed texts by local scholars. Why the stark contrast?
The reason was clear: During the colonial era, British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries. The French authorities took interest in educating only a small intellectual elite. More than 100 years later, education was still limited in Togo. In Ghana, it was flourishing.
Enough examples like that added up to this:
Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren't just part of the picture. They were central to it.
Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.
It's sad to think of such an important bit of the Western heritage being downplayed or denied in modern academia. In at least one country I know of, South Korea, they remember and honor the missionaries that came in the late 19th Century, the Bells, the Junkins, and many others. It's too bad Christopher Hitchens isn't around anymore; I'd like to see how he would have reacted to this. The same effects took hold in their native anglophone nations too, of course; and still do to this day. It's too bad we are as ignorant of them as fish are ignorant of water.
Edit: Dr. Horace Jeffrey Hodges, the Gypsy Scholar, has excerpts of the original academic paper and further thoughts here.
Nobody disputes the fact that, in order to make efficient use of the means at its disposal, the government must exercise a great deal of discretion. But, to repeat, under the rule of law the private citizen and his property are not an object of administration by the government, not a means to be used for its purposes.
-- The Constitution of Liberty, by F.A. Hayek
Previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh discovered.
America does not know the difference between money and sex. It treats sex like money because it treats sex as a medium of exchange, and it treats money like sex because it expects its money to get pregnant and reproduce.
- Peter Kreeft
Liberal, 2.0 A view of the wreckage by James Bowman at The New Criterion.
Islamic Extremists in Nigeria Attack Christians at Sunday Worship Every Week in January
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
-- Gustav Mahler
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
This is [a] wonderful thing about Zionism: it was right. Every other "ism" of the modern world has been wrong about the nature of civilized man—Marxism, mesmerism, surrealism, pacifism, existentialism, nudism. But civilized man did want to kill Jews, and was going to do more of it.
Friday, January 10, 2014
From the Pentagon to homelessness.
"For nearly 30 years I have asked myself this question: Why Richard?"
My goal in life is to be really opinionated about the work of creatives while remaining completely uncreative and just work at a carwash— Different Fur (@differentfur) January 4, 2014
Everyone's racist, except me #LiberalismIn4Words— Matt (@Matthops82) December 31, 2013
What American malls need: Husband storing facilities.
Okay, so Melissa Harris-Perry is smart. Maybe after this she'll also be somewhat wiser. Is MSNBC's bubble so thick that she, her co-hosts, writers, producers and everyone else involved in show prep all thought that this segment was a good idea? "We were jeering at the family photo to highlight how racist Republicans are. Because white Romneys." Too clever by half. She should have known better.
Goodbye to Amiri Baraka. It was rather hypocritical for New Jersey's poet laureate people to get all offended after his despicable reaction to 9/11. He had never misrepresented himself. What did they think they were getting when they awarded the post to him? But as with so many other Sixties radicals who went on to receive establishment recognition, he was well summed up in V. S. Naipaul's observation about the U.S.:
Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the
world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law
and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed
himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could
make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself. –V.S. Naipaul,
Beyond Belief, 1998