Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Wiping Away the Spittle over Tancredo
This discussion over at Baldilocks' place helped solidify the crux of the recent nastiness over Rep. Tom Tancredo's statements on possible terrorist WMD attacks.
I think both sides have engaged in far too much emotional decision making. At least some who defend Tancredo do so on the basis of a desire to "lash out" in the event of a WMD attack, regardless of whether such a response would be useful. Most on the other side have responded with pure emotion to what is perceived as thoughtless violence.
What is needed, then, is a purely reasoned examination of the proposal to determine whether it is valid.
The most reasonable formulation of Tancredo's proposal that I have yet heard is the destruction (or possibly, the defilement) of the Ka'ba in Mecca as the proper deterrent. I refuse to discuss nuclear strikes on Mecca or widespread destructive bombing. I have not heard anyone argue convincingly for those responses.
In order for this proposal to make sense, we must consider two premises:
- An effective deterrent to radical Islamic terrorists directly attacks that which they hold most dear.
- Destruction of the Ka'ba would devastate those Muslims* who threaten the safety, security, and independence of the Western world.
The first premise may be open to debate but is generally accepted. Sun Tzu argues that seizing that which your opponent holds most dear is vital to taking control of a situation. Furthermore, the history of war has demonstrated that those who fail to observe and match the strategy of opponents lose. Talk of not descending to the level of one's enemy is LOSING talk. All who win will match the enemy's strategy, though not always the enemy's tactics. I do not expect much disagreement here but would welcome reasonable arguments.
The second premise is where the action is. Is the Ka'ba "precious" to fundamentalist Muslims? What evidence is there for it? What evidence is there against it? Does it break down along theological lines? If so, which ones? If so, what significance do they posess? In short, would the destruction or defilement of the Ka'ba be a credible threat?
We desperately need reliable answers to these questions before coming to a conclusion about the proposal. Am I going to offer these answers? No chance—I'm not that smart and I'm not that dumb. But I would like to hear from people who are in a position to know.
* This would undoubtedly devastate many others as well. But that is a different question.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The President's Pick: John Roberts
The President has announced his pick for the Supreme Court: 50 year old John Roberts.
This story from Sign on San Diego is the second match from Google, and does provide a few scant details. But it makes the sort of silly mistake with which I am easily annoyed:
Abortion rights groups allege that Roberts, while deputy solicitor general during former Bush's administration, is hostile to women's reproductive freedom and cite a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision that legalized abortion.
(Emphasis mine.) Roe v. Wade did not “legalize abortion”. Abortion was already legal in several states. What Roe v. Wade did was to further the nationalization of morality. Which is a hint on just how trustworthy Sign on San Diego is.
But getting back to the President's nomination: I would much rather have seen Janice Rogers Brown nominated. My personal feeling is that while Roberts is reliably Conservative, he is not necessarily the principled Federalist that Brown would be.
This is not, however, what our friends at the Daily Kos think. This should come as no surprise, of course, but it's amusing to read the comments. A summary of the viewpoints expressed, roughly in order of dominance:
- John Roberts is Hitler reincarnate.
- John Roberts is a stupid inbred TV evangelist from Fumbuck, Arkansas who wants to force everybody to put up Sunday School pictures of Jesus and Mary on the walls of their homes.
- President Bush is moving his jaw a lot and must be a Meth addict.
- This is just a conspiracy to take the heat off Karl Rove! Don't let the Rove issue die!
- This guy wants to take us backward instead of forward.
- GOD! GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD! I HATE GEORGE BUSH! I WANT TO KILL HIM! I WANT TO RIP HIS GUTS OUT AND KILLLLLLL HIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Um, guys? Maybe we should wait to see if this guy is as bad as we think, then decide on a strategy.
- Are you kidding me? Go crawl back in your hole, Rush Limbaugh!
Needless to say, I find nothing here that I can substantively debate or engage as an intellectual argument. And I really do find that sad. I would like to have a serious discussion on the direction of our nation but these people are impossible. They have nothing but bile and saliva.
A little background is necessary: I'm a very conservative Christian, I believe in the infallibility of God's Word, the Bible, and the deity of Jesus the Messiah. And I don't want imposed morality from the Central Government. This is exactly what the Left fears, and I, very much to the Right, oppose it. But the Left is so consumed by emotion that such productive revelations are out of the question: Daily Kos will not allow me to comment.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Happy 229th Birthday, America
And just to be fair, other nations have a right to self-determination too. Let a thousand flowers bloom. My support for the war in Iraq doesn't change that. In self-defense, we have temporarily interfered with a foreign state. Once we have them back on their feet, we should leave. Then we can send them a card on their national birthday.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Just What Went on in the Hanoi Hilton?
Senator Richard Durbin (D-MoveOn.org) claimed that our Guantanimo Bay POW camp was reminiscent of Nazi and Soviet death camps. Uh-huh. I don't think that even needs comment.
But Senator John McCain (D-Belguim), speaking on Tim Russert's show yesterday, said that we need to have the moral high ground:
We will not have as high a moral ground the next time we are in a conflict and Americans should become prisoners of war,'' he warned. "And it worries me, it keeps me awake at night. It really does.''
I'm worried too. Worried about all those great late-night Hanoi philosophical debates we've missed. Apparently, Senator McCain had endless discussions with Nguyen and Tran Anh about the moral significance of having his shoulders pulled out of their sockets. I'm sure their discussions of Nietzsche were powerful. Nguyen is rumored to have studied philosophy at Leipzig.
Meanwhile, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) noted that it was all just a trick by the Republicans to draw attention away from the issue. The problem with a 3-ring circus is that you never know which ring to watch. If you're not careful, you might miss something important. Like McCain's PhD in philosophy.
Monday, May 23, 2005
A Fillibuster-Breaking Deal?
OK. 3 points:
- Saad and Myers deserve votes. Period.
- If Republican appointees are not Marxists, they will be considered extreme and will be fillibustered.
- Republicans will not procede with the Constitutional Option
ifwhen the Democrats go back on their word. The fact that this quite half-baked opposition plan has been handled with kid gloves for the past 4 years makes it clear that Republicans have neither the will nor the aptitude to take initiative and stand up for anything.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Catching up is Hard to Do
School is over for another year and my textbooks are safely on the shelf, where they will stay for the next 40 years. Someday I'll get tired of dusting them and will sell them at a garage sale, if such things still exist in 2045. Anyway, this all means that I can start blogging again, which is much more enjoyable than burying my face in this worthless object that purports to be an Algebra/Trig/Precalc textbook. I'm not going to sell this one at a garage sale. I'm going to burn it.
I missed out on quite a lot over the past 2 months. Terri Schiavo died, the Pope died, the Right split up, and the Left remained as fanatical as ever. I'm working on a string of posts to link these issues because they all are directly related. Until then, however, we have the juicy story about the absence of anything approaching journalism over at Newsweak.
Many theories have been proposed for the origin of Left-leaning bias in the media. Here's mine. In any given situation, there are two sides: the powerful and the powerless. The standard operating procedure of major media is to give much more credence to the powerless than to the powerful. When a journalist tells you he is impartial, he means that he uses his internal "balance meter" to correct the natural imbalance of the powerful and the powerless.
Modern journalism is not the pursuit of truth. It is the pursuit of a satisfying result—which is to say, a result that satisfies the journalist's internal moral compass. It's the same agitated fury at a perceived lack of equality that drives Obsessive-Compulsives to arrange their pencils by length. But journalists are paid for it.