Friday, June 21, 2002

Global Warming or hype?
A Light in the Darkness: Feelings of impending doom, downfall, decline, decay, and getting overun by cultural barbarism began to overwhelm me late today. But the Instapundit's link to this story about Iranian protests against European support for Iran's regime was heartening.

Of course the same people - the EU - that are hesitant (at best) about including Hamas and Islamic Jihad on a list of terrorist organizations stumbled all over themselves to quickly add the enemies of the Iranian Ayatolah's to such a list. That's what stuck out to me - because that's the sort of "glass half empty" mood I'm in, I suppose.

Thousands of people protesting such a policy, and the opressive Iranian regime, is the central feature, however. Something to be celebrated and a sign of potential renewal in one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.

The problem, of course, is that the People's Mujahedeen may indeed be a terrorist organization (I am not knowlegable enough about this particular group to claim to know one way or the other). I do hope that in their efforts to get the boot of repression off their necks the Iranian resistance does not resort to attacking civilians. It would not seem to be a policy they're likely to adopt, however, since their aim is the overthrow of a corrupt religious oligarchy, not the destruction of the Iranian people.
The Strategy of the Palestinians is Genocide says Steven Den Beste in this response to letters. The key line is this one: "that the Palestinians are actually engaged in a war of genocide. The only reason the body count has been as low as it has been is that the Palestinians are mercifully short of the means to engage in deadly war. But within the limits of their capabilities, their campaign has been to deliberately try to kill as many Israelis as possible, no matter who they are." which seems to me to be the proper analysis of the situation, given the goals of those who are conducting the attacks (which aren't a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, but a Palestine consisting of those areas plus all the land that currently comprises Israel).

The rejoinder people could make to that conclusion I suppose is that the Palestinian terrorists aren't, per se, out to kill all the Jews of Israel, but simply to draw blood - of any kind - until the Israelis say "uncle" and asceed to a peace favorable to the Palestinians. People then debate what that might look like, with some saying that they'll be satisfied with just a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel, or with (to push it further) a "return" of Palestinians to Israel and some sort of co-existance will be worked out. One of the letter writers, Aziz Poonawalla, advocates this; but Steven concludes that he's wrong and wouldn't work.

I admit some sympathy for the Aziz Poonawalla position; indeed, I once wrote a term paper on the situation and a possible "peace plan", and the "plan" I proposed was a Confederation - Israel, Jordan, and Palestine as a joint state, with overlaping legal authority, kind of like Switzerland. But I wrote that in the mid-80s. I don't think that the situation now makes that kind of idea a plausable possibility. It exists in a fantasy-dreamland. Everything that's happened since, and everything we know about how people have behaved in similar situations (the Captain mentions Zimbabwe, only one of dozens of possible examples) shows that this is simply too risky, at best, for the Jews of Israel to stake their lives on. No mistake about it, that is exactly what they would be doing.

I got an A on that term paper, but that sort of solution is a fantasy, and now I think a dangerous one.

The reason is because it's foolish to believe that this sort of ending is what the terrorists who are lauded as heroes by the vast majority of Palestians are seeking. Oh, some members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas might be willing to live alongside Jews who are reduced to the status of Dhimminis, second classed citizens (subjects, really) of a Palestinian state, but they aren't looking to live side by side with Jews as equals. They've been very clear in stating their goal, and it's nothing short of killing and scattering the Jews and creating a Palestine on the wreckage. Any Jews that remain are destined for Dhimminitude at best (or enslavement at worst, as one "enlightened" Saudi recomended the Palestinians do with Jewish women).

In his own blog Aziz says that he knows the terrorists can never be pacified. But he then expects the Jews of Israel to conceed to the joint state, to be shared with people who are, at best, indifferent to their welfare and unwilling to actively oppose those who are going to be killing the Jews of this joint entity, and at worst encourage and celebrate (as they're doing now) these attacks.

This doesn't seem to be something that a reasonable person should expect of others. It's a very unreasonable expectation to assert that the Israelis should, in effect, conceed all the land of Israel in return for the status quo of violence. This is very similar to the "Imagine" editorial I commented on yesterday, in that it makes expectations of the Jews that are not expected of the Arabs or Palestinians. There, the writer was proposing that the Jews not respond, and hope that the "international community" will come to sympathize with them and the Arabs ostracize the terrorists. He wasn't proposing that the Palestinians not respond. Note that there are also some similarities with the usual position that makes a big deal out of "Jewish Settlements" but says nothing about the Arabs living within the borders of Israel (Jews living outside of Israel are an issue, a impediment to peace, a sore point that causes people to support Hamas, etc. Arabs living within Israel is something normal, not an issue, not a problem, hardly even noticed).

Here, Aziz is not asking the Palestinians to submit and put up with a certain level of violence. Which is quite odd because, if the shoe really were on the other foot and, say, the Palestinians were told "hey, the occupation is not going to be pacified through terrorism. We should just agree to live in peace with our Jewish neighbors" it's very possible that the Palestinians might not only have gotten a state, but had the door opened to the very thing Aziz proposes - which is roughly what the Israeli Arabs already have; having shown that they're more willing to live at peace in Israel, they participate in political and social life (in a far more democratic manner than they would experience in the neighboring Arab states, at that). But the Palestinians in the occupied territories have chosen another path.

Aziz stakes a lot on the fact that a majority do not "strongly" support terrorism, many only "somewhat" do. This however does mean that the Jews of Israel really can't be expected to rely upon their good will in helping prevent attacks against them. "Well, we only somewhat support people killing you, so you shouldn't be opposed to having us vote to decide how we're all to be ruled and by whom" doesn't sound like it will convince many Israeli Jews that they will be defended in any joint state.

I don't know if it's unconciously or conciously that the proposal Aziz endourses and says should be the model effectively imposes all the burdens on the Jews of Israel - they are to submit to a joint state, hope that eventually as a result terrorism abates some (though Aziz conceeds the terrorists can never be pacified), and rely upon the goodwill of those who have called for their extermination or removal for their survival (the joint state will mean, at minimum, joint control over military resources. Eventually even in the event that they rely entirely on democratic processes to ascend to power, on complete control over armed forces by the Arabs). The Jews of Israel (or, rather, what will effectively become "Palestine" in this scenario) will then have to hope for the best but have already been told that the best they can hope for under this "solution" is a certain level of violence.

He says that the Palestinian population has been radicalized (by Israel's reaction to terrorism, such as "Defensive Shield"), almost as if this is understandable and the problem will abate if the Jews stop. But, again, as is I'm afraid typical, there is no converse understanding or exhortation to understand (nothing saying "the Jewish people have been radicalized by the terrorist attacks and if they stop then there's no reason to believe that this is a permanent state of affairs", thus putting an onus upon the Palestinians to be more non-violent in their policies).

This is odd, because there's actually more empirical evidence to support the converse (that the Jewish people of Israel will be more positive if the Palestinian violence level abates) than there is for what Aziz proposes. After all, the PLO started its terrorist campaign before the "occupied territories" were even occupied, while the Jewish people have voted for pro-peace candidates when the violence directed at them has been lower. Certainly, then, a rational person who really wanted a solution leading to peaceful coexistance would have priorities the reverse of what is proposed here - they would suggest to the Palestinians, rather than to the Israeli Jews, that a non-violent response to the occupation become the policy. They would point out that the hard-liners would be a fringe in Israel if it wasn't for the terrorism, and that the fringe would be disempowered as a result of Israel's political culture (an electorial process). There would, then, be far greater likelihood for peace and even, perhaps, once the distrust abated and people came to believe that they could live and work with each other without fear of being blown into tiny fragments, unity. After all, if the French and Germans can create a project for living in a Unity together, then anything is possible. But it didn't happen because the French were told to expect a certain level of German violence towards them as inevitable.
Speaking of the NIONers, I just stumbled upon Debra Saunder's San Francisco Gate column on the same topic.
Volokh Conspiracy makes a excellent point countering the twisted logic of the anti-American Leftists diatribe in the Guardian. Of course the "letter" those disemblers have promulgated has more inaccuracies (and out and out lies) than Mr. Volokh pointed to.

The most obvious conciet and deciet of the entire piece is that they're bravely speaking out against Castro-like repression of dissidents (you know, the kind of regimes these jackanapes typically heap praises upon, the dictators they traditionally genuflect to when they go on junkets to visit these places). The very fact that none of them are in jail or even imminent jailing for expressing their opinions is a counter to that. Indeed, here are some of the most prominent people in America, enriched and lauded by our society, acting as if they're members of a marginalized and opressed underground movement.

Then we get to the claim that what is going on here is a "war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration," a calumny that cannot help but bring to mind the reasons why George Orwell was so concerned about the tendencies of the Socialist Left (who's world-view he otherwise shared) to rewrite and distort events.

In the next paragraph they engage in specious comparisons, trying to draw parallels between Sept 11th (an action not "loosed on the world by the Bush administration") and prior U.S. military action, without any reference to the distinctions between them. One example they use is telling, however. Not telling regarding either Bush or America, but regarding them. They mention Vietnam. At bottom one suspects this is what it's all about - the inability of the signatories to move beyond the Vietnam metaphor. They see everything through the prism of the Vietnam-era New Left. Everything is a "new Vietnam", and their interpretation of events is shaped entirely by their views on that war - and the most negative and hostile views of America's motives.

The implication is also made in the letter - never openly stated (these people, many of them at least - not Chomsky this time - are too cowardly to openly say what they clearly believe when it comes to this at least) - that if we were attacked, if we're hated, it must be our fault; the reason or reasons must be ones that are not only understandable, but good ones, ones that should cause us to change. This section of the letter, though it skirts around the issue rather than adressing it as boldly as these people's self-image would have one think, is unmistakable:
"We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen.

But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good v evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home."

This is a presumptive assumption that the U.S. is always wrong and its opponents - whomever they are - are always justified. Almost akin to their views on Israel, wherin when Israel does something it's never, in their minds, a justified, measured, reaction to the activities of others, but when the Palestinians do anything - no matter what that thing might be (blowing schoolchildren into small chunks of quivering flesh, for example), it's always understandable because of some previous injustice commited against them. This is the Cherie Blair outlook (say what one will, but at least she was more forthright in expressing this view than our "brave dissidents" were).

"War abroad and repression at home", this sentiment expressed by people who have penned, spoken, and had published uncounted (at least I haven't counted them) anti-war polemics since Sept. 11th, acting as if they've been repressed. But I ranted about this, above. As for "war abroad", well, these are people who, in their heart of hearts, believe that America (and the West generally) should essentially commit sepuku, agree to voluntary extinction; so the fact that war was declared upon us by Osama bin Ladin and his ilk, rather than the other way around, and that we were attacked, rather than the other way around, is meaningless to them. They do not believe we have the right to fight back, because they hate and dispise their own society and civilization (they have all lived and prospered in America and the Western civilization, and are members of it, if their membership is one that causes loathing in them, they do not leave it - which they are of course free to do. Again, unlike those societies they hold up as models for the future).

Oh, and spare me, please, the rejoinders of "oh, well what about Iraq? Indeed, what about Afganistan, didn't we attack them first? Isn't this just blowback from our agression?" This only flies on Universities where the students are deliberately kept ignorant of events. Afganistan was invaded and attacked not by the America they fulminate against, but by the Soviet Union that so many of the signatories effectively made themselves the propagandists for. We aided the resistance (again, they curiously invert things, always claiming to be on the side of those who resist repression and coersion, but actually being opposed to people fighting for self-determination unless they're fighting against their one true enemy - free market Western democracies). Iraq launched an attack against its neighbor (these minions of deciet claim to be speaking out for the principle that "nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion", and yet, solely in the interest of propaganda, they elide over the fact that America acted to defend that principle. Chomsky and his followers also accuse America of bad motives in the Balkans, where we likewise acted to defend the principle that they invoke in words, but have often - if not always - opposed in practice; like their intellectual predecessors, the Stalinists, they believe the "peoples of the world" are free to agree with them, but if they choose otherwise, it must be because they're deluded by false conciousness or some propaganda model, therefore folks can be safely ignored and even "forced to be free" and coerced by the governments Chomsky has called the "civilized" nations of the world - that is, those nations that jail or murder people who do not agree with Chomsky's political philosophy).

I guess I'll close with this; they act as if they're bravely taking a stand when they declare that the war is not being conducted in their name. Well, folks, I don't think anyone who knew anything about you people would have ever held the misimpression that you supported it. It simply shines through the words not only of this letter but all of what you have said and written before that you make common cause, not with the "people of the world" (there are many, many brave people in this world, including especially the third world, who are Unpersons to Chomsky and these others - actual dissidents who suffer actual harms and repression, and experience the knock at the door at night, and who die opposing represiver regimes that you approve of), no you do not make common cause with the "people of the world" but with groups - of whatever stripe and beliefs, be they Communist or Islamofacist (any ideology will do) who are willing to do what you lack the fortitude to do, and murder Americans (or Israeli Jews). Thus your effort, even within the letter, to offer a justification for even the Sept. 11th attacks, an understanding of them based upon your distorted portrayal of prior American action (thus Sept 11th caused you all to recall "similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam" - even though there were no "similar scenes" to be recalled; the point here is obvious, an attempt to exculpate the attack on the basis that American policy had somehow provoked it).

No, no one who knew anything about any of you people, who have prospered mightily both in materiel wealth and fame and emulation (there are countless thousands of second-rate Chomskys, taking him as their inspiration and role-model) in the very society you claim is repressing you, would ever have operated under the misimpression that you were on our side in this or any other conflict, against anyone anywhere at any time.
Oh Well U.S. lost 1:0 to Germany and won't win the World Cup (yah, that was going to happen). We played well, though, showing we were no longer completely outclassed by the world's better teams. This is the best showing overall that we've had in the WC.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Successes of the Multicult Left are highlighted in this survey of college students. I'm not sure what more to say about this right now. It's pretty clear, though, that while many have been denuded of actual knowledge they have been made to feel (better word than think in this case, I think) they are perfectly able to make categorical pronouncements (such as asserting that this country's values aren't anything special). Of course, it's all of a piece, I suppose; only by being held in ignorance of reality could someone be lead to believe (and that is, make no mistake about it, what has happened here - they have been lead to certain conclusions) that a free republic wherin open expression and political debate, protection of liberties (including that of women and minorities) is no better (and possibly worse) than repressive dictatorships wherin dissidents are jailed or islamic states wherin women are sentanced to being stoned to death after having been raped or forbidden to drive.

Fully consistant with these conclusions is their unwillingness to defend the country. Again, that's completely predictable, and, as a Marxist would put it, "it's no accident" that college students hold such views.
Thanks to NRO's Corner (again) for pointing out the survey.
The Best Humor is often touches on something true. From a joke file making the e-mail rounds we have
"You read about all these terrorists who came here legally yet hang around on expired visas, some for as long as 10-15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster: you're two days late with a video and these people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration."
This Will Hurt You: This is going to sound unduly harsh, but in the Id-y back of my mind I've often wondered why so many jews walked into the concentration camps and so few resisted going to the gas chambers, especially by the time that there was no mistaking what was happening (I mean, they're going to kill you anyhow, you may as well rush them, has been my thinking. Kind of the same reaction Americans had in the wake of the Sept. 11 hijackings, with the concept of what to do if anyone tried the same thing again. Indeed, the passengers of the "fourth plane" are American heroes for doing just that).

Yes, I'm aware of all the explanations. I understand them, conciously. But a little part of my heart still wonder why? And yes, I am aware of those who did resist, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and all that. But comparatively few people were involved with those, while the vast majority walked to their deaths on their own two feet. I know it's not a very nice complaint on my part, not very sensitive and understanding.

So why babble about that at all? Aren't the Jewish people resisting today anyhow? Didn't they internalize - if hardly anyone else in the world did - the concept of never again? Well, yes. Sort of. But today, in one of the foremost Israeli daily papers, we have this editorial by Ari Shavit. Mr. Shavit is a intelligent, well educated and patriotic Israeli Jew. He advocates a "radically new response" (as the BBC World News Hour put it this morning) to terrorism. This "response" consists of not responding at all to attacks and relying upon the non-existant good will of the Arab world and "international community" (which usually means the Europeans; in America we're already onboard in being sympathetic to Israel) to shame the terrorists into not killing any more Jews.

Interviewed on the BBC World News Hour, Ari Shavit repeatedly said that what we're seeing here from the Terrorists is a "brutal fascism". But here we have a well-educated man, who, inspite of the fact that we have a historical record of the Jewish people doing just as he advocates in the face of a fascistic menace (surely the Germans, a civilized people, won't let Herr Hitler go that far. Surely they'll stand up to this when they see what's happening. And if they don't, then surely the international community will put a stop to it.)

In addition, Mr. Shavit is willfully blind - he does not want to see, so he does not see - to the fact that a policy similar to that which he proposes was already tried, after a fashion. Israel did not respond very forcefully when the current wave of terrorism first began. They tried to cajole Arafat, the "Palestinian Authority", Arab World, trying to enlist "International Opinion" to push the Arabs and try and discourage them from resorting to these tactics. It's only the prior failure of this "Barak" approach that has - gradually, almost reluctantly, but inexortably - led to the current policy of "Seize Land for Terrorism". Mr. Shavit, and he's not alone, does not want to see that because he is desperate to believe that, in their hearts, the Arabs do not want to see Jews killed and will stop killing them if only the Israeli reprisals end. The idea here is, again, that surely, the Arabs are a civilized people, and they'll oppose this when they see what's happening, when they see Jewish dead without a counter-image of Arab dead. And, well, if they don't, then surely the international community will rally to support the Jews and put a stop to these attrocities.

On the BBC, an implication was made between Mr. Shavit's editorial and recent statements by Arafat and others calling on an end to attacks on Israeli civilians that it is Shavit's policy which would work. However, that is more wishful thinking and a refusal to see why Arafat and his ilk have called for an end to attacks on Israeli civilians. It's not out of an incipient goodwill towards Jews. It's purely tactical. It's in response to the very policies of Israel that Mr. Shavit would reject. The reason - the self-proclaimed reason - for calling on terrorism to stop has been that it is, because of Israel's reaction, causing more harm to the Palestinian cause and to Palestinians.

Or, lets look at this another way, and play a similar "imagine" thought-experiment to the one Ari Shavit did (I can almost imagine him listening to the John Lennon song while composing his editorial), only this one by a Palestinian calling upon them to enschew violence entirely. What might happen then? Again, this is actually a scenario that we've already seen, and we can come to conclusions based on experience (wisdom being intelligence guided by experience). Israel unilaterally withdrew from wide swathes of the West Bank and all of the Gaza strip, and effectively ended the occupation there (which is why Israel has to go back into the territories it "occupies" when it conducts counter-Terrorism ops; was no longer really "occupying" these areas until the recently announced policy of re-occupation). Israel offered Arafat more than anyone ever thought they would. They even put a piece of Jerusalem on the table. This was rejected, and a new intifada started. Mr. Shavit refuses to learn the lesson of this experience - the goodwill he sees just waiting to be expressed simply isn't there.

This quote, cribbed from NRO's The Corner, made by Bassam Tibi in a UPI interview pretty much sums up why Ari Shavit's well-intentioned proposal is futile and even harmful, and would just result in many many more Jewish deaths:
"The dialogue is not proceeding well because of the two-facedness of most Muslim interlocutors on the one hand and the gullibility of well-meaning Western idealists on the other"
More Proof that restoring higher education and evicting the anti-scholars who hold forth in countless classrooms is one of the necessities for successfully fighting Islamofacism can be found in this article by Martin Kramer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

No Peace? No Land: Well, land for peace was the deal. I suppose the usual suspects (Cheri Blair and our "Very Good Thinker" among others) who are not appalled by the massacre bombings will be outraged that Israel is "going back on the agreement". Tough darts, anal orifices.
Another Must Have for the war on terror to be successful, is for mainstream Moslems to actively and vociferously speak out against and refute the "Jihad Mentality". Too often they're as silent as a mainstream liberal confronted by the excesses of the radical left. They aren't for bombings, per se, they're just not actively opposed to them.

They need to be. If Moslems don't make the ideology inhospitable in their own societies, there is no way it will be put down (short of, that is, a "attitude adjustment" requiring that some major catastrophy be imposed upon Islam by external force, which is the alternative, but a rather harsh one; better, I would think, for the speak-up thing to be tried first, guys).
When is Free Speech Verboten? When it's directed against a hate-group-of-color by a nonfavored group. MECHA is one of the worst, most overtly and proudly fascistic organisations around today (they proudly advocate blood-and-soil values and anti-semitism that would have made Himmler or WAR proud). On today's campuses, they receive funding (drawn from student and state/tax dollars) from approving administrations, while their opponents are villified, condemned, and actually supressed. Thanks to the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today for pointing out this latest campus atrocity against freedom of expression.
Very Good Thinker exposed as moron.
CEDAW: Last week the Bloggosphere was up in arms over a perceived alliance between the "Christian Right" and the "Islamic Extremists" over this treaty, but in their outrage ignored the content of the treaty and the reasons why people might oppose it (and also fell into the logical fallacy of belieiving that just because two groups oppose the same thing, that means they oppose it for the same reason, and therefore Fundimentalists were, in their minds, only opposing CEDAW because they wanted to see women put in Burkas or stoned to death after having been raped or otherwise opress them; it couldn't have been for any other reason, certainly not legitimate or reasonable ones). This piece by Wendy McElroy mentions only some of the reasons why reasonable people might be suspicious of, and oppose, this treaty.

In any case, anything smacking of "Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Stuff We Don't Like" is, IMO, inherintly suspect utopianism combined with a totalitarian mentality, and should be looked at with a jaundiced eye unless proven otherwise.
Can '60s Culture Fight terrorism? asks John Leo. The answer is "No", because the outlook he is talking about was deliberately designed to euthenize this civilization and make people feel guilty of defending it to the point of rendering them impotent. It hasn't affected everyone, but it's sunk so far deep into the "opinion leader" class that there is endless handwringing, waffling, and quick retreats into PC (as in the Gitmo Prisoner Fiasco, where we demonstrated we weren't mistreating them but then bent over forwards to treat them even better). As Derb pointed out some weeks ago, people are going to die because of PC. They already have. Almost three thousand of them and counting.

The problem is, '60s Kultur, right from the begining, identified itself with and promoted the culture of death and terror directed at America and at Western Civilization generally (there were more bomb attacks conducted in this country in '70 than there were last year, conducted by '60s radicals. The father of two girls I went to high school with was murdered by one such bomber). So is there any wonder that these people, now tenured professors, are more than willing to turn commencement stages and even classes over to people who will preach this stuff?

Shouldn't surprise anyone at all. That it does only shows how many of those of us who are vociferous in our support of the war to defend our society from Islamofacism have - rather conciously, considering that the people holding the views of the New/Counterculture Left have hardly hid them under a bushel - stuck their heads in the sand so they wouldn't have to face this difficult problem. But until the 5th column at home is defeated, intellectually, and we regain control of the institutions that promulgate values and virtues, we'll never be able to fight this conflict effectively.

I don't say that such a struggle for the hearts-and-minds at home will be easy, nor will it be easy to come up with an effective strategy comensurate with our own values (which means avoiding "witch hunts", but also refusing to succumb to accusations that a "witch hunt" is being conducted or accusations that we're "silencing" or "censoring" people when we simply expose, confront, and refute the claims of Leftists, as happened late last year).

The good news is that some students are fighting back. Perhaps that's what is needed to reverse the decay. A new student "movement", one to reverse the excesses of the last. Not necessarily everything the last one did (no doubt someone can list a number of good things that came out of '60s radicalism that should be preserved), but one that will counter the nihlism and hostility to American and Western Civilization, restore intelllectual rigor and rational enquiry, and the concept of liberal arts education as the study of the "best of what has been thought and said" as opposed to an oportunity for advocacy on behalf of pet causes and "radicalizing" people.

The other thing that article shows is that whenever these things come up for an actual vote, "our side" wins hands down (1043-481 in this case, to spare the Western Civ course from being cut). The radical leftists on campus do everything they can to intimidate people into thinking that they have majority opinion on their side and thus are justified in imposing these things on everyone. But there does happen to be (to use a phrase with unfortunate connotations) a "silent majority" which emerges any time things are put to the test of democratic processes. Like the EU Commissione, though, the campus Comissariat would rather ignore the results of referendums that go against their wishes.
When is a "Hate Crime" not a Hate Crime? When it's directed at whites. But we knew that already.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Brad Delong rips Chomskyites quite tellingly.
"Very Good Thinker" Scores Own Goal: Ted Turner proving once again he has Foot to Mouth Disease. Probably he's just not as good a thinker as he gives himself credit for.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Rights and Government: Jonathan Foreman's column in yesterday's New York Post made some good points, but he fell off the mark in recommending that if only the administration would get Congress to pass a law, everything would be cricket. He wrote:
"Does this allegedly conservative administration believe that American liberties exist only at the government's discretion?"
But his solution to this was:
we in America urgently need special anti-terrorist legislation that allows for the detention without charge of terrorist suspects for a limited period of time on the order of suitably cleared federal judge.
I have no desire to see Abdullah al-Muhajir (Jose Padilla) back on the streets. And certainly a federal judge will rule on whether the detention is acceptable. But Foreman has made a hash of the philosophical premise he built his column on - something that's not a secondary or specious matter.

If it's the case that rights are not derived from government, then they cannot be abrogated by act of Congress, either (or the Judiciary, for that matter). Not legitimately at least. So recommending that Bush go get Congress to pass a law providing for thus-and-such, if one believes thus-and-such violates liberties, is fallacy. The government doesn't consist of simply the Executive branch. Nor does the Constitution mean whatever Congress says it to mean (McCain-Feingold to the contrary notwithstanding), nor should it mean whatever the Judiciary says it to mean, either.

This is one of the things that is going to make fighting the "Homeland" front of this war so difficult - sorting out matters to maintain the liberties we're defending while keeping ourselves secure from those who would twist them and use them as a weapon against them. It's true that, on a scale of liberties violations, this is far from the worst we've ever experienced during wartime. But that's not sufficient to excuse the matter.

The problem here is we don't know why the administration chose to deal differently in this case than in the Lind case, whether there's a compelling state interest to act in this questionable manner in this specific instance. They haven't really explained why. Getting either congress or a judge to provide a patina of legislative or judicial cover won't necessarily do that - and certainly won't justify deprivation of civil rights, if they are being violated.

Eugene Volokh's article at Slate makes a good case that the reasonableness or unreasonableness of searches is at least in part tied to the significance of the potential threat or crime, and that inflexibility will possibly result in less general protection of Fourth Amendment rights rather than more. That concept may not translate directly in cases of detention of suspects (or hostile combatants), but surely some sense of proportion should be kept in mind when it comes to holding people who are an actual threat to others. Dirty bombers are certainly an extra-ordinary circumstance and quite far from being a "slippery slope" that will inevitably lead to the detention of Michael Moore or Noam Chomsky as a result of their expressing their odious political opinions. In other words, it's not obvious that this will lead to widespread, wholesale violations of constitutional rights (not that this is necessarily an argument in favor of doing something "well, it won't lead to wholesale violations of rights if I just lob Chomsky into a deep well, will it?" is not a convincing argument for doing so).

A fair case can be made that he is a prisoner of war. But then why isn't Lindh? The problem with "administrative laws" such as this is that they are inherently arbitrary. In this sense, legislation such as Foreman suggests might help, by creating a more uniform standard (which is publicly announced and formulated). But that wouldn't make it less of a violation of civic rights, if indeed that is what is occurring here. It would just be an example of elective tyranny in that case - something we actually see plenty of, and this is by far the most trivial, least reasonable example of it. Civil liberties advocates seem to mainly get into an uproar only in instances where there are at least strong reasons for such violations (like national survival being at stake), but are silent, or, more shamefully, even supportive when the reasons for violating rights are trivial (just seems easier to extend government power to cover matters of "safety" like helmet laws, or outlaw drugs - believe what one likes on drug legalization, and I'm not that enthusiastic about the idea, but at least when they prohibited booze folks had the honesty to amend the Constitution to do it), or specious power grabs (like eroding property rights or privacy rights, or political speech), or willfully and insidiously destructive of even the concept of individual, personal rights (such as on many State University campi).

I might be more sympathetic if the people howling the loudest weren't the very people who quietly allowed, or loudly encouraged, the undermining of civil liberties in these cases where it's not even arguable that lives were at stake. This is at least a more compelling reason for doing so. It thus ranks somewhat lower in priority of Constitutional violations and rights violations to be overturned. Don't get me wrong; if I could have all such violations eliminated at once, I'd do so. But that's about as likely as monkeys flying out of my ass, so one has to make a judgement call on which things to work hardest on. The dirty bomber isn't #1.
Terminal Condition: The state of liberal arts education today is pretty much summed up by two articles, one by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, lamenting the conscientious objector status of many writers and intellectuals in the war against censorship - when that censorship has come from the left. They stood aside and did nothing while literature and history were pillaged and bowdlerized for political purposes, simply because they would not oppose extremists who were within the camp of the Left. The other is an article by David Horowitz that effectively explains how we got here in the first place. This quote is telling, and should shock decent Liberals as much as it does anyone on the Right:
"The transformation [of the universities] was succinctly described by the distinguished intellectual historian, John P. Diggins, at an annual meeting of the American Studies Association in Costa Mesa, Calif., a decade ago. Diggins told the assembled academics: 'hen my generation of liberals was in control of university faculties in the Sixties, we opened the doors to the hiring of radicals in the name of diversity. We thought you would do the same. But you didn't. You closed the doors behind you.'"
The open exchange of ideas and encouragement of different perspectives that was promoted by the old, pre-60s liberal establishment was, in effect, used as a tool then subverted and destroyed by the cultural Left radicals that masquerade as liberals today. The "Long March through the Institutions" has proven to be quite an effective strategy (c.f. "Liberating Tolerance" below).

Some folks, I'm sure, are tired of these things. They may not disagree that this stuff is outrageous, they just see making a point of it as, well, pointless, and the whole thing as a side-issue. Well, in my non-humble opinion, it's at least as important as the war (and I myself have no time for those who don't take the war seriously). If the war is a battle to preserve our civilization against those who would destroy it (and I believe that's part of it - not needing to subscribe to the whole "Conflict of Civilizations" thesis to do so), this is likewise as important. Make no mistake that what we have here is a struggle against forces inimicable to our civilization. Fewer lives are lost, there are no bombings (haven't been many since the Weather Underground at least). But on the "Hearts and Minds" front it's at least as significant.

Especially if you think the current war is one that is worth fighting and winning. Because the forces at work here are the same ones that seek to turn people against us and blame us for the Islamofacists, and have as much as said so in a letter they've circulated (and published in the Guardian). These people do the same in college (and secondary education) classrooms around the nation every day.
Loya Jurga Delegates Walk Out: Because the sessions weren't being handled democratically enough. Good move. The more I hear about these folks the more I like them, refusing to be railroaded.
Socialists Crushed: in France. Seem to be in complete denial, believing they lost to the Center Right because the voters didn't find the Socialists to be leftist enough for them. Keep thinking that way, guys.

The Center Right proposes to lower taxes, reduce regulations, and put in place a number of reforms of the civil service and welfare sectors. We'll see how long it takes before the streets are filled with protesting civil servants and welfare recipients (they have a union there, if I recall correctly, for welfare beneficiaries) who will try to remind Chirac that elections are supposed to be, as H. L. Menchen termed them, "an advance auction on the sale of stolen goods", and that reducing the flow of swag will not be tolerated.
U.S.A. In Quarterfinals: After defeating Mexico 2-0. Will face Germany on friday and if by whiskey we win that, we'll be in the Round of Four. U.S.A. went two for two in contests against Germany last century. But, oh, wait; those were wars.