Sunday, September 29, 2013

Listening to Shastekovich

The Russians lost 30 million in WWII.

We lost 50 thousand and had no business in that war, anyway.

Whose was the greatest generation?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

But they didn't understand him

De Gaulle.

The pieds-noirs.

A million settlers fled to France and those who stayed were much the worse.

As were, have been, and still are the natives of that sad country, Westernized - meaning Gallicized and Francophone - elites apart.

All the same,  the General was right.

Cutting Algeria loose was best for France.

As, in the 1990's, was helping the army and the elites sabotage democracy to stop the FIS.

The stupidest thing Reagan ever did was aid the mujahedeen against the Russians.

You may say at the time they were the lesser evil, but they were even then the more threatening and crazy evil, though the establishment could not see it then and still does not.

To this day they really worry more about a post-communist Russia and a faux communist China and the hereditary and pseudo-Marxist dictatorship in North Korea.

But the communists thought they could just wait for inevitable history to bury us.

A foolish belief, but not that scary.

And in the 90's history let everyone in on the joke.

Nowadays, their successors are in it for the main chance, like any normal folk.

Quite otherwise, the Islamists think they must and will conquer everyone else at any cost to us, them, or the world.

That is why they are more dangerous, though they are for now much less organized and less well armed than the communists were or the post-communists are.

It would be best if they never took over a really strong state.

The dead are their bodies

They are no more when their bodies are no more.

Before that they are dead but they are not gone; they still exist.

They are not even irreparably dead, save relative to our inability to revive them.

And that can change.

Over the course of time, as medical technology progresses, the boundary is pushed back between what we can fix and what is beyond repair.

Grid willing, that will continue.

Who knows how long or how far?

Everything goes as though .  .  .  .  .

Misnomer

A woman in Florida got 20 years for firing a warning shot in a domestic squabble.

A girl of 14 was raped in Montana and later, at 17, killed herself. The man who confessed got 30 days in jail plus probation.

They call it "the criminal justice system."

But, then again, there is no such thing as justice, so I guess that's all right.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Christian terrorism?


Well, one does hear from time to time about a PC bias at Wikipedia.

Not everything bad is actually terrorism.

Not every act of terrorism perpetrated by a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or whatever is, in the relevant sense, an act of Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or whatever terrorism.

Killing out of tribal loyalty or hatred is different from killing because it is God’s will that you do so.

The long tradition of Christian anti-Semitism is an interesting twist of the knife.

There is no divine sanction in Christian scripture or tradition for the slaughter or persecution of Jews, and yet hatred of Jews, abuse of Jews, and violence against Jews were for centuries taught and sanctioned by churchmen, if not quite officially the Church.

The reasons given for this hatred were commonly the Jews’ continuing rejection of the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and their apparently hereditary status as “Christ killers.”

We see here that hatred finds the most bizarre things to blame people for.

The “Christ killer” thing is transparently absurd, even on the assumption of the truth of the New Testament narrations, in a manner very similar to ethnic and racial hatreds fed by tales of ancestral crimes and ancient injustices.

And the Jewish disbelief of the Christian Jesus Christ never made Jews particularly unique.

Too, note that hating people for not believing what you personally believe, or what your tribe believes, is not per se in any sense due to or traceable to or imputable to religion.

People hate each other for having different tastes in novels, ice cream, or poetry.

Nobody blames that on the ice cream.

Obfuscation is a very popular form of propaganda, as is the false tu quoque.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The desires of men are insatiable."

"Nature prompting them to desire all things and fortune permitting them to enjoy but few, there results a constant discontent in their minds[.]"

Machiavelli, Discourses, Bk II, preface.

Popular vs. Princely government

In his Discourses, Machiavelli gives us in Book I, Chapter 58 an excellent exposition of the superiority of popular to princely government.

Marvelous, and a bit surprising from the celebrated father of modern political realism.

The superstitious realist

Machiavelli, Discourses, Book I, Chapter 56.

When great calamities befall a city or country, signs and portents precede them.

No kidding.

Very interesting speculations on natural or supernatural sources of same.

Is the very air filled with intelligent beings who foresee the future and warn men out of pity?

Unsure of that, he is certain warnings are given and such portents are always followed by disaster.

And that calls to mind that as to ordinary matters of fact we believe what many believe and none we respect deny.

And we disbelieve what none we respect will affirm.

Russell was not quite right when he said the natural human response to anyone's affirmation of anything is belief.

But he was close.

Feminist rules

"Pussy riot" is fine.

"Cunt riot," maybe not.

Liberals lie about race and sex


Well, actually, they're lying about Republicans, white people, and men.

Why do they spin everything the Republicans do that they don’t like as racism or a war on women?

Because calling those things by their true names seems to them a losing path.

This is how the article in Salon begins.

The recent vote of House Republicans to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program reflects a deep-seated and insidious racial resentment toward Americans of color.

This racial resentment rears its ugly head within the provisions for the bill that demand that non-employed participants in the program get a job, job training or do community service activities.

After that, the author Brittney Cooper is all over the court with equally baseless accusations.

How many burning cities will it take for liberals to accept their responsibility for inflaming black hatred of whites?

Easy question.

There aren’t that many cities.

PS.

Brittney Cooper is a black woman venting her hatred of white people and Republicans, for which liberals will pat her on the back and assure her she has it all right.

What does that mean?


“You cannot serve both God and mammon”?

OK, and that’s why the regular clergy withdraw from the world to spend their lives in service to God, making prayer and contemplation and other acts of worship their full-time job, their career, their whole life.

So why do lefties read this as if it meant “you cannot serve both humanity and mammon,” as if had been said by some career social worker, peace corps fellow, or community organizer?

Does the new pope intend it that way?

He has not budged on anything related to sex, morals, church order, or actual theology.

St Francis, apparently his model, was not a sexual revolutionary or champion of feminism.

His big thing was that the clergy ought to be more diligently poor, and so should the godly laity.

Hard to see how that bodes well for those already poor, though not voluntarily.

A Clinton doesn’t change his stripes


KOS doesn’t get it.

It’s not the voters she has to sell herself to.

It’s the lesser-evil faction of the plutocracy that supplies the money.

And a lesser-evil plute is still a plute.

She could find good things to say about Ryan's plan to voucherize Medicare before she retires.

And everybody knows those spoiled geezers are just buying lobster by the truckload with all that totally undeserved and unearned Social Security money they get.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Machiavelli - atheist and amoralist?

He says he accepts the Catholic religion and Catholic morals.

But he says neither can control appraisal or action in politics, the only subject on which he wants to write or give - or draw - lessons.

It has been thought he might really have been an atheist.

And an amoralist?

If not immigration, what?

The idiot underclass of blacks and white trash aside, modern, native born American women will not do much more than replace themselves, quite apart from their men, if any.

Contraception and abortion have made parenthood voluntary as never before.

Factor in the abandonment of the Christian sexual morality by all but a steadily shrinking minority and we discover that, without coercion or the frank pursuit of purposive alternatives the population cannot be kept up without immigration.

Assuming we want to keep it up, we need to be aware of that.

Purposive alternatives such as paying couples or single women specifically to bear and raise children, or to raise adopted children.

If we are not to rely on that idiot underclass for either the parenting or the providing of babies we will find ourselves paying the already better-off for these services.

The underclass generally make terrible parents and provide very poor genetic material.

Or we could go in for bottle-babies and massive, government orphanages, though perhaps not quite as Huxley described.

Too scary and "far out"?

Immigration, then.

Philanthropy, pets, and socialism

Two arguments for the rich, against resisting socialist redistribution.

First, enough is enough.

After that, the rest matters very little and most of it not at all.

Read Hobbes.

You risk the real good of peace for what, to you, are necessarily trifles of vanity.

Second, many of you spend lavishly on pets, stables of horses, saving the whales, preserving polar bears, and the like.

Why not take as much interest in necessitous people as you do in necessitous animals?

But overseas philanthropy will not do, whatever accolades it wins from other rich folk.

It is your neighbor's lot you must relieve.

Your near neighbor's.

Your countryman's.

The distress of distant foreigners, however much greater it may be, is outside the city walls.

Your disaffected compatriot is by your side.

Consider that, carefully.

Libertarians, soi-disant "cosmopolitan liberals," and all forms of contemporary post- and anti-nationalists are unanimous in rejecting compatriot - I leave the issue of nationality aside - as a morally significant category.

That is unfortunate since accepting it as that makes what is anyway necessary more palatable.

《Pause》

But socialism, you say, is far from philanthropy, and the latter is much the lesser evil.

It is voluntary, no more costly than one will allow, covers only expenditures one approves, and teaches gratitude or, at any rate, helpless dependence on the benevolence and power of the rich.

Socialist redistribution is just the opposite.

It is involuntary, more costly than one wants, spent in ways one does not control, and teaches the altogether unacceptable lesson that the state can and even perhaps morally may take what it wants from the rich and spend quite as it likes, if they, the people, like it as well.

And as for dependence, there, too, it teaches a bad lesson.

It teaches dependence on the state, on the party of the people, on politics, and on the vote, but most certainly and most objectionably not on the rich, their power, and their good will.

But surely that, too, is not too great a price for peace, though many a foolish oligarch has thought so?

Bismark, you recall, was quite clear it made good sense.

You may think the thousands of years of successful slavery show the rich can have peace on much better terms than that, if they are determined and bold.

But plebians are not slaves, and slaves do not vote.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The state

Zarathustra, part I, section 11.

What the Hell?

NASA considering suicide mission to Mars

The problem is that no Mars mission is possible without unavoidable exposure to cancerous or lethal levels of radiation.

But they really want to do it and the pressure is huge.

So, says USA Today, they've got scads of scientists and professors and ethicists hammering away at it, and I fear they'll keep hammering until they get the answer they want.

Then they'll stop.

And we'll have all the assurance any rational person could possibly want that it's truly morally OK, won't we?

Society's best and brightest consulted, everybody with his ass covered, no stone unturned, no trick missed, nothing left to chance, nobody to be blamed.

Once upon a time, they'd have asked a congress of clergy or the Pope.

Say what you will, those clerics were a lot closer to real independence.

Anyway, having got their OK, the powers that be will go ahead.

They will have officially espoused the kamikaze ethic we refused even in the desperation of WWII.

And for what?

A really expensive science project.

Under capitalism, government checks pressures on businesses to do their worst.

Under socialism, what will check pressures on government?

The independent moral authority of the churches?

Not at this late date.

God is dead,  remember?

Big Weekend for Muslim murderers

68 in Nairobi, 77 in Peshawar, 50 in Sadr City.

And the day is young.

Update, Monday.

This does not seem, by itself, to call for an American invasion of anybody, or an uptick in military aid.

It might be yet another occasion to urge friendly cooperation with Russia and China in matters related to global Muslim terrorism, though that is not how our classe politique will see things.

All part of the new normal we can expect to go on for several centuries, I suppose.

Atheists almost without exception think ill of any religion they know of.

As for me, Islam is the one religion alive today I would most like to go away.

Just go away.

I think this opinion is pretty widespread, too, among atheists, though not among liberal shilly-shallyers.

"Reality-based," indeed.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New carbon limits from EPA

CNN reports new regulations from an administration that cannot face voters again impose emissions limits on coal burning power plants that are impossible to meet.

The EPA says cheerfully that necessity is the mother of invention.

A senator from West Virginia says the industry will be destroyed, which result environmentalists would welcome.

As they would the also possible result that the price of coal energy rises to make the hitherto prohibitive costs of cleaner energy competitive.

And as for their inevitable impoverishment that also results, the American people can just suck it up.

Liberals will cry crocodile tears about increasing poverty in America.

Pope Francis

True believers and profound enthusiasts make the best salesmen.

Most likely, like John XXIII, a reformer who's all hat and no cattle.

In legacy, anyway.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Libertarian ideology at work


No one was really surprised when someone famously called out during the Republican primaries, when a would-be candidate was asked what poor people without health insurance were to do, “Let them die!” and the audience laughed heartily, not nervously, not in shock, and not in embarrassment.

It is not as though conservatives have been hiding what they are and what they want from America, you know.

And the poor whites among their base stay loyal.

Well, as the Republicans themselves are among the first and most frequent to point out, those people are exceptionally poor in large part because they are exceptionally stupid.

Stupidity, they point out, does not pay well, and even has its own special costs.

When you’re right, you’re right.

One does have to recall, from time to time, that intelligence is roughly normally distributed and half the population is even stupider than the average fellow.

A fair number are a lot stupider.

Hillary Clinton, lesbian?


If somebody wants to know what “slut” means, just point to Gennifer Flowers.

Possibly excepting Hillary (?), Bill seems to have always been partial to, ahem, loose women.

Think Monica.

Anyway, the interview says GF was asked about rumors of a sexual relationship between Hillary and Anthony Weiner’s wife, Hillary’s staffer, Huma Abedin, and reports this.

Gennifer said: “I don’t know Huma or the Weiners. I just know what Bill told me and that was that he was aware that Hillary was bisexual and he didn’t care. He should know. He said Hillary had eaten more p***y than he had.”

The liberal Steve M says that conservatives are having fun with that bit, that GF’s story is 18 years old, and yawns.

What he does not do is object that this bit of gossip unfairly or inaccurately portrays Bill Clinton as having the mind and speech patterns of Larry Flint, discussing his own wife as a producer of magazine porn might one of his most sluttish and ruttish “models.”

What he does not do is report that the story was ever denied or contested, that Bill denied saying that, or that Bill or Hillary denied her lesbianism.

But then, why on Earth should anyone believe Bill’s denials, if there ever were any denials, given he is the most notorious and unrepentant frat boy and shameless liar, including if not especially about sex, ever to inhabit the White House?

And that’s saying something, after Kennedy.

A point for which, as I recall, Bill Press and several liberal bigmouths close to the Clintons gave him a pass, even when it was a matter of actual perjury for which he was ultimately disbarred, insisting “it was just about sex” and “we all lie about sex” - "we liberals," or maybe "we Democrats," or even "we men," and apparently even under oath.

On the other hand, liberals of all classes have long been partisans of the moral legitimation of the sex trade, in all its facets.

But usually respectable liberals try to avoid vulgarity and sound like UN bureaucrats or researchers discussing working conditions among, and the woeful social prejudice against, “sex workers” in Bangkok or Singapore.

Or Sherlock Holmes in an episode of Elementary.

Of course, when Holmes goes in for such liberal/libertarian UN-speak about whoring and porn, it’s supposed to be amusing and just a bit outrageous.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

George Will, sissy liberal


Here and there on the net, conservatives have been whining that people who express this concern are girls and whiny, sissy liberals.

On the other hand, why leave pro ball out of the discussion?

On the other hand, Will has long been the Republican Party’s Mister Baseball, eh?

The long string of stuff about the big money in football seems like undigested research he couldn’t make some sort of point with before his deadline.

A sly Republican attack on Obama, posted at KOS


This is exactly the point the WSJ angrily made, and many other conservatives have been angrily making.

Obama is the cop who appears in this comic.

Bolling has done this before.

His readers are too stupid to notice or too loyal to care.

Quid pro quo? Always?



My two cents.

It’s true that from exchange both parties benefit.

But there is no guarantee the parties gain equally and anyway the fact is that ownership itself is coercive and, in that sense, pretty much every exchange is a stick-up.

("Property is theft," remember?)

Because I own X you cannot simply use it if you need it.

I can demand you pay me, perhaps a heavy price.

And it is the community whose collective will makes me, perhaps for better but perhaps for worse, the owner in the first place, whether or not the community is at most a metaphor, as Binswanger's individualism entails.

And in any case parenthood is not readily explained as egoism masquerading as altruism.

Nor are such efforts as those cited by Steve.

In such cases, selfish genes might somehow be at work.

But those are not selfish people.

Yes, writing of genes as selfish is a metaphor.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

WSJ plays the retribution card – against the Administration’s new plan


If you bought the Obama/Kerry line that the world, the US, or somebody has a duty to blow something up in Syria and kill a few thousand Syrians to punish Assad for a choice he may not personally have made, anyway – and certainly those to be killed did not make – , to use chemical weapons then the Russian disarmament plan is a good thing but nevertheless leaves that duty unfulfilled.

And that’s annoying, says the WSJ.

But their writers in this very piece undermine the idea there is a morally significant difference between blowing rebels up with bombs and gassing them, anyway.

And the whole article betrays the real frustration of the Journal is not that Assad will go unpunished but that he will continue to successfully resist overthrown by the rebels.

That is what really sticks in their craw.

These are not the conservatives who fear another victory for Sunni Islamism and the ideological kin of al-Qaeda.

Their hatred is greater for the Shiite Hezbollah who send rockets now and again into Israel from the safe haven of Syria. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What price justice?

If no one gains and no one loses, what is the value of justice?

So many have died for this nullity.

Along with so many others.

Equal opportunity, meritocracy, Horatio Alger, and the Olympics

The motto of the American rat race has always been the well known quip, "Whoever dies with the most toys wins."

And yet it has also always been known that the bitch goddess, Success, patroness of the mad competition, devours her worshippers, first basting most excellently the most devout and most victorious, as they thrust aside what matters in pursuit of what does not.

But if the prize is an illusion and they who live best are not among the racers why does it matter, and to whom, whether the conditions of entry are equal?

How can it matter whether that race is fair?

This very same competition, by the way, and the compulsion to emulation that drives it, though native to our species, are commonly blamed in pious popular propaganda on materialism, decadence, and insufficient religion.

There is an ancient tradition that life is like the Olympic games.

There are those who come to honor and applaud, those who come to compete, and those who come only to watch.

It is said the philosophers are among the latter.

But the analogy dissatisfies.

It's hard to imagine why they would attend, at all.

Not life.

But so absurd an event as that.

The Lesser Evil

Pity the Russians fighting for Stalin to defeat Hitler.

Or did they get it wrong?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Resisting global Jihad

In his piece in the Times, Putin called for cooperation in the struggle forced on so much of the world by persistent global Jihad.

But so much of the right wing noise machine was so preoccupied with bashing Obama, and so many across the American spectrum are so relentlessly anti-Russian, that few took note that this is a very real concern uniting the interests of Cold War enemies including Russia, China, America, and many US allies around the world.

Most chose to see only the particular common threat posed by a possible Jihader takeover of Syria.

The taboo still holds against recognition, in American public discourse, of Jihad as the most annoying - though certainly not the only - chronic menace to global security in our time.

Though it is a threat to us only because it is a threat to others, because of its possible bearing on the oil supply, and by way of blowback, it is still a threat that continues to be undervalued by our classe politique, even as their responses to individual attentats continue to be wildly, stupidly, and clumsily disproportionate.

Only that and the persistence of America's traditional national vanity can explain such pig headed and unquestioned prioritization of great power rivalry, putting the need for cooperation quite that far out of sight.

The concerns not to offend necessary Muslim allies or unnecessarily provoke Muslim enmity do not explain it.

Much less any legitimate concern not to inflame popular sectarian strife at home.

Putin spoke better than he knew.

And perhaps better than he meant.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The music of your generation

stays with you all your life.

The music of your adolescence and early 20s.

I stopped listening to pop music not long after that.

So did my peers, my parents, and their parents.

Very late in life I recovered a taste for jazz.

Jazz of that same period in my life.

Even the classical music I like is mostly what I first heard then.

I have the same haircut and much the same sort of clothes.

Different beard, though.

Too much gray, now, for a full beard.

Too much like Gabby Hayes.

Now it's just a Van Dyke.

Update.

By the time Hill Street Blues came along I watched nothing on TV but news, cop shows, and mysteries.

Sine then, I've come to depend on the Internet for news.

All-American jackasses


A key point in favor of representative government as opposed to flat out democracy is that the people, in the lump, are ignorant, stupid, and malevolent.

The representatives are, one hopes, better than that.

The difference is often less than one would wish.

Note that Jay Carney at the White House bragged of American freedom of expression on the very day Terry Jones, harassed, intimidated, and bullied by the White House and numerous American political and police officials, was again arrested for preparing to express himself freely, and thus again prevented from doing so by the coercive and repressive power of the state.

No free speech for him!


The left rejoices.

Because support for the troops.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"The body does not say 'I,' but does 'I.'"

Everything happens as if the mental emerged from the physical.

Reading Zarathustra.

The will to power among the philosophers

Consider that prescriptivism was long the most popular alternative to non-naturalist cognitivism.

And is there any form of prescriptivism that makes moral judgment a demand to do so and so rather than to value as does the speaker?

But the latter is a much deeper, more penetrating, and more despotic demand.

Reading Zarathustra.

Nietzsche, Marxist

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it."

Theses on Feuerbach.

Reading Zarathustra - though by no means for the first time.

Even Red Emma could see it.

Nietzsche is one of those I always come back to.

Even for his failings.

When you’re right, you’re right. Or, Obama the Schmuck.

Conservatives are pointing to the last week or so, during which the still current Syria affair had its beginning but not its end, as exemplary of a signal Obama blunder and his inability to measure or decisively influence congressional or popular opinion.

Liberals are claiming Obama made a threat that worked, or even - and wholly without evidence or corroboration or even plausibility - that he coordinated the whole thing with Putin.

The conservatives are surely right, on that narrow point.

But they wildly exaggerate how far this sort of weakness and this sort of blundering are bad things in a president, and talk no end of entirely partisan nonsense about the alleged need for Republican leadership in the White House.

Pshaw.

Not so good news


Liberation Theology is pretty much nothing but a license for red revolution passed out by the Catholic clergy.

Its teachings differ from the traditional teachings of the church as to political economy not by being progressive – the traditional teachings are already that, to the permanent distress of America’s showily Catholic conservatives – but by being sympathetic to revolutionary socialism and, in particular, Marxist-Leninism, which the church otherwise and elsewhere vigorously condemns.

Fellow-traveling liberals, themselves to this day front-men for the reds of foreign lands, including retrospectively as in the cases of Allende vs. Pinochet or the Sandinistas vs. Reagan, don’t mind that, and even welcome it.

Like John Amato, who uses “progressive” the way the reds did throughout the 20th Century and still do, today, to cover over both differences among democratic and anti-revolutionary leftists and the differences between them all and the reds.

The definition of liberation theology Amato publishes is a mendacious and tendentious self-definition, a piece of pure propaganda, much as though the Catholic Church were to offer as a definition of “Catholic,” “a member of the one true Christian Church, within which alone salvation can be found.”

If the church drops celibacy it will lose many people to more attractive Protestant sects and subject itself to greater pressure for ordination of women.

Down that road is the extinction of Christianity.

I who write this am an atheist.

And a progressive, though not a liberal and in no degree a fellow-traveler.

What do you suppose JA thought of the film, JFK, loved by fellow-travelers, radicals, and reds but loathed by any who were none of those things?

(The same people really loved Reds.)

A good time to stick to the charter?


Putin makes many arguments against a US attack on Syria that are familiar from other authors.

In the role of defender of international law and order, he writes one such argument as follows.

The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not.

Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council.

Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

If Putin takes the matter seriously enough to publish in the leading American newspaper, should not Washington take more seriously not only these arguments but also the Russian president’s previous warnings that his country will stand up for Assad?

People insisted on playing globo-chicken in 1914 despite plenty of warnings on all sides, and the result was The Great War.

The League and its successor, the UN, were founded precisely to prevent such a thing happening again.

Though it will deeply offend their pride, the denizens of DC should listen carefully and heed Putin’s warnings.

It makes no sense for the US to carry out an attack for no purpose whatever except to vindicate an international norm when the attack violates more important international norms and is not sanctioned by the only licensed defender of international order and agent of the international will, the United Nations.

I am not saying there are not plenty of reasons to question membership in the UN and even to consider eventually abandoning it and rejecting its claims to authority.

But so long as the UN continues to play a sufficiently helpful role in maintenance of international peace and order, and so long as the Security Council veto permanently assigned the world’s leading powers is essential to that role, we have to hope our government is very loathe to undertake a military attack of choice and not plain necessity without an OK from that body and, indeed, when consent from that body would clearly not be granted.

Politics, lies, and coercion

Yet another form of political realism.

Religion and morality, both of which are manipulative and coercive fabrics of lies, are rooted in the fundamental realities of politics, the will to and exercise of power.

There are no gods, there is no natural law, there are no natural rights, and both religion and morality are carefully cultivated delusions functioning as frameworks of coercion.

It is not merely that religious and moral convictions purport to justify coercion, it is that they purport that there is - yes, and is required - such a thing as justification with respect not only to coercion but any other object of practical concern.

They are enablers of coercion, means for and aids in the exercise of power.

They are hence intrinsically political, and the liberal idea of a politics entirely independent of both and yet not a naked contest for domination through force is just another hypocrisy, delusion, or fraud of the soi-disant “reality based” and “enlightened.”

Difference of opinion brings with it disputes about opinions, in turn leading to the deployment of religious or moral “justifications” for coercion of opinion, demands for such coercion, and actual use of it to suppress condemned opinions that themselves condemn or license something.

And there is really no intrinsic difference between culture wars, purely secular political disagreements concerning rights and justice, and other disputes about right and wrong.

Legislative bodies are mischaracterized when described as deliberative bodies.

They are arenas.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Greenwald hates America

Because he's gay and Jewish.

Couldn't be more alienated without being black.

You bet it's personal.

Why are comments closed so soon?


Perhaps a bit too much like trying to undo history.

I think of the Taliban destroying that huge and ancient Buddha.

Imagine Egyptian Jihaders wrecking the Temple of Luxor.

Or whining if there is an image of it on Egyptian currency.

(I have no idea what’s on Egyptian currency, and don’t actually care.)

And, anyway, that's a pretty thin slice of establishment to be worrying about it, much.

Why, no. That’s not it, at all.


He writes well and intelligently, and is often right.

But human-like, he is not always right.

9/11 was a moment of utter moral clarity that has been succeeded by twelve years of moral chaos.

Twelve years of duplicity, flim-flam, double-dealing, humbug.

Twelve years of timorousness, incompetence, impotence.

Thousands of lives have been sacrificed in vain; inconceivable amounts of money have gone to waste.

America’s financial security and its international standing have been imperiled.

And all for one simple reason: because, from the very beginning, the powers that be, in both political parties, chose to lie about the nature of the enemy we were up against.

That “moral clarity” stuff is not in my line, but otherwise his litany of failures is spot on, down to but not including his last sentence.

Very nearly everybody was perfectly right from the first day in identifying “the enemy” – that is, the folks who had actually attacked us – as al-Qaeda.

And nobody who reached that opinion ever abandoned it.

What went wrong?

Our entire response was wildly out of proportion.

The manhunt for the Boston Bombers was a perfect example of this same mad disproportion, in miniature, as Pat Buchanan, almost alone, pointed out at the time.

The proper response would have been a simple, quick, and limited punitive attack on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and, in lesser degree, on the military facilities of the Taliban in that country.

No fantastic airport security measures undertaken against everyone.

No disproportionate spying on communications.

No regime change in Afghanistan.

No regime change in Iraq.

No 12 years of war against al-Qaeda everywhere along with other Islamic militias, guerrillas, or terrorists.

Their delusional ambitions to conquer the world for Allah just don’t matter.

No more than the sad aspiration of that silly American terrorist who thought he was going to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch supplied him by the FBI.

And way, way less than Khrushchev pounding the podium at the UN and yelling absurdly and so very, very untruly, “We will bury you!”

Certainly, it would be best if their ideological kindred – by which I mean all tribes of Muslim fanatics devoted to imposition of Islam and Islamic law, the destruction of Israel, and the conquest of the world for Allah – did not succeed in taking over any states, anywhere.

But not everything that would be best is worth much cost, if any, to the United States, anyway.

And the chaos we have brought to that part of the world in the last 12 years looks to have been rather a waste, as far as that goes, anyway.

Bawer’s comparison of Bush talking about the 9/11 perpetrators to Churchill talking about the Nazis is perfectly symptomatic of this same wild disproportion.

Though of course that service at the National Cathedral was ludicrous, considering the popularity of the 9/11 attacks everywhere in the Muslim world and the motives of the perpetrators.

And he is quite right about PC-driven willful blindness to just who it is that poses a threat of terroristic violence.

The following, however, is flat untrue, and reflects the refusal of many on the right to accept that the neocons’ ill-considered Wilsonian devotion to democracy – admittedly seconded by idiotic Democrats – has from the day after 9/11 helped empower Islamists all over the Maghreb and elsewhere.

Nay, from the day the Shah fled Iran!

But they prefer to blame everything on Obama, so far as they can.

When the “Arab Spring” came along, only the systematically enforced ignorance about Islam made it possible for so many Americans to respond enthusiastically to the overthrow by religious fanatics of relatively secular, America-friendly regimes.

Seems? Nay, is!


Ed Asner plays an arrogant, physically dangerous man very well.

Recall his role in JFK, for example.

It’s his natural demeanor.

No acting required.

False advertising in politics. Or false reporting in the media. Whichever. Both.


What is described in this article is not a ban on assault weapons but on all semi-automatic rifles with a removable magazine.

The first sentence of the story.

New sales of semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines would be banned in California under a bill passed by the Democratic-led state legislature on Tuesday, and those who already own such weapons would have to register them.

Actual assault rifles are fully automatic weapons and they are already banned everywhere by federal law.

On the other hand, semi-automatic versions of these – and hence not actual assault rifles – can be legally bought and privately owned, transported, and fired in most states and locales.

But the ban here reported, which does not concern assault rifles, is not even limited to these not-really-assault rifles.

The class of all semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines is a much broader than that and includes a multitude of hunting and sports shooting rifles.

Way too much ban.

But the first sentence of the story is an alarmist lie, even as it stands.

Later we are told this.

[The new legislation] would classify an assault weapon as any rifle that accepts a detachable magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and would ban its sale or purchase.

Don’t know how that affects hunting or sports shooting rifles.

Still, they’re not assault rifles.

The president climbs down


My response to the president’s address.

It is a silly norm.

We are not sure the Assad government did it.

There is no threat to us if we do not intervene and no increased danger to the world of future use of gas by dictators.

It matters no more whether Assad uses gas in future in this war than it does whether his forces use fragmentation grenades, claymore mines, or napalm.

This is a silly norm.

It is possible that use of gas could become more common in future warfare if the norm is abandoned, but so what?

And as for it becoming more common, not because the norm is generally abandoned but because it is not enforced on this occasion, or even on any occasion, again, so what?

As for the danger that failure to “stand against chemical weapons” might encourage Iran to go nuclear, isn’t it more likely that our constant meddling encourages that?

And isn’t that much more Israel’s, and Europe’s, and Saudi Arabia’s, and Turkey’s problem than ours?

One lesson of history is that there is always another dictator and there are always more war crimes and crimes against humanity, anyway.

One lesson of GW’s neocon wars, in particular, is that a war for the elimination of evil-doers must go on forever and fail just the same.

Remember the flood only Noah and his righteous family survived?

Didn’t help.

But liberals love massive bloodshed in defense of absurd taboos.

Think of the beheadings we have seen for even the most private mumbles of “nigger” by angry white men or “kike” by Christians.

As to his assertion that he has the authority to order the military strike he describes for retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation that may or may not be correct.

It is certainly different from what he said in 2007 and a very unpopular view, this week, in DC and throughout America.

His assertion that he rejects the role of globocop in a speech demanding we be the world’s one and only is absurd.

Particularly given his resounding endorsement of the role at the end of his speech, complete with hypocritical quotation of FDR’s own hypocrisy on just this point.

His attempt to put off any congressional vote until after the Syrians have a plausible shot at fulfilling the Russian plan is understandable and deft, given the excellent chance he would lose the vote and that the loss could easily scuttle the Russian deal.

Update.

Wow.

Spinmeisters, indeed.

TPM’s headline for the story of this very prudent presidential move to avoid even worse humiliation.


Yeah.

That’s what happened.

Update, again.

And then there is spin in the opposite direction


With the equally ludicrous subtitle, “The President lets Putin outmaneuver him on Syrian chemical arms.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A tactical change of purpose to save his own face


Retribution was just sooooooooooooo important to the administration, as a necessary act of deterrence.

The congress isn’t going to give him permission to do that.

So now he magnanimously and sagely shifts gears.

It was all about retribution and deterrence and now he gives up both if Assad will simply hand over the gun.

Oh, what joy in Obamaland!

Well, better than a stupid attack, anyway.

Damned if you do . . . .


Yesterday they were all over him because they thought he would attack.

Now they are all over him because they think he won’t.

History you can believe in.



John Locke?

Immanuel Kant?

Adam Smith?

John Stuart Mill?

Robert Nozick?

Jan Narveson?

It got personal


All over the web, liberals who bayed for his blood are salivating at the chance to tear him to shreds with their teeth.

They hate him.

It's personal.

Update.

Why the (relative) silence?


The technique of selective outrage.

There’s no end to liberal fury and panic over the environmental messiness of fossil fuels, even apart from their transparently opportunist bleating about global warming.

And who does not see their remarkable silence about the world’s greatest environmental disaster since Chernobyl, the ongoing, slow-mo horror at Fukushima, is likewise explained by their agenda?

A good part of the left has decided nukes will have a big place in the future, helping fill up the huge, and hugely costly, energy shortfall that they, themselves, will cause by beating the global ruling class into submission on the non-use of fossil fuels.

Undaunted by Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stupid arguments befitting a stupid attack


Even worse than the arguments of the neocons for Iraq and Afghanistan before that.

This from a man who claimed to oppose stupid wars.

A fussy, prissy, finger-wagging, schoolmarm liberal’s argument for a stupid intervention, combined with stupid appeals to stupid national vanity.

Not to mention a noun, a verb, and 9/11.

Did I mention this is stupid?

Too bad I was banned at KOS for denouncing their hateful attacks on men and white people, and cannot there endorse their own view that this is stupid.

They have the whole transcript as well as the video.

Horse and buggy, more like.

Recent posts by Hunter at KOS and recent discussions of various topics related to sex raise the question whether we ought to take another look at Aldous Huxley’s classic, Brave New World.

Critics even as late as the current century, smart critics who should certainly be able to see the noses in front of their faces, commonly think of Huxley’s book as if it were just another in the wave of postwar (the Second World War) attacks on “totalitarianism.”

But it was written in 1931 and published in 1932, and that was not its theme, at all.

And anyway, compared to the social revolution contemplated by Huxley, the endless alternations of dictatorships and democracies of the modern world are, on the whole, quite superficial changes.

Perhaps more surprisingly, we have yet to see emerge in the public view of this book, and Huxley’s repetitions of the same themes in other books, recognition that it is very much a Tory attack on the kind of society post-Christian, secularist liberals and feminists, together, seem hell-bent on building.

Contraception, abortion at will (and particularly late term abortion at will) at the sole option of the mother, infanticide likewise at mom’s sole option, no-fault divorce at either party’s option, the rise in single-parent – usually, mom only – families, fewer and later and much less stable marriages, more cohabitations with the institution of common law marriage carefully abolished, and the like, are just a few relevant bits of evidence.

So, regarding the world of Mustafa Mond, which side are the liberals on, again?

Huxley thought he was writing a dystopia and that is how the book has been viewed - anyway, throughout my lifetime, so far.

But now?

Could this book be written as a dystopia, today?

What would be its reception by critics, liberal or conservative, and particularly feminist?

Wouldn’t it be revealing to have a set of lefties and a set of righties, most certainly including representatives of the fair sex, provide political criticisms of the society Huxley envisioned, rather than merely literary critiques of his book?

It most certainly would.

Both what they did criticize and what they did not criticize would be revealing.

(Love and marriage, horse and carriage?)

Aldous Huxley

None of which is to recommend what I suppose we have to call "the positive vision" of Huxley.

Not actually a Tory, he was silly in 1931 and became sillier as he got older.

Neocon anti-warriors


The piece has a subtitle, too.

Syria and Obama: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man.

And that about sums up the propaganda point she here is making.

GW vs. Saddam in the neocon conquest of Iraq a decade ago was right place, blah, blah.

That, of course, was the war Obama had opposed, later explaining that he did not oppose all wars but only stupid wars.

But taken all in the lump, our entire classe politique stretching across both parties and major factions, seems entirely devoted to reducing the historic core of the Muslim world to chaos.

Given that was al-Qaeda’s plan from the beginning, may we not question the wisdom of all this?

Even apart from the fundamental points that nobody is paying us to be the globocop, it’s contrary to our interests in numerous ways, and anyway we just don’t want the job?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Obama’s brain cracks under the stress


Says the Telegraph,

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, compared the Syrian crisis to World War II, likening his country’s debate over intervention to the eventual American decision to support Britain against Nazi Germany.

Right.

Just like.

The story quotes O thus,

The US president admitted he faces a tough battle to win Congressional approval for intervention, but insisted he will stay the course.

"I expected this. This is hard, and I was under no illusions when I embarked on this path. But I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's good for our democracy.”

He added: "I'm not drawing an analogy to World War II other than to say that when London was getting bombed, it was profoundly unpopular, both in Congress and around the country to help the British. Doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do."

And yet, it wasn’t.

And yet, it’s so irrelevant to the present case.

Cameron yelling the moral necessity of intervention and urging others to support American action when he is already committed to doing nothing because parliament told him to stay out of it is more than a bit rich.

And then there is Putin drawing his own red lines.

Ending the summit, Mr Putin said that world opinion was firmly against US-led intervention, and warned that Russia would take the Syrian side in the event of conflict.

“Will we help Syria? We will,” he said. “We are already helping, we send arms.”

He added: “We cooperate in the economics sphere, we hope to expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, which includes sending humanitarian aid to support those people - the civilians - who have found themselves in a very dire situation in this country.”

Russia has been a long-time supplier of weapons to Syria, including a state-of-the-art air-defence system that would threaten even US warplanes attempting to attack.

In recent weeks, the Russian navy has also sent three warships to the Mediterranean off Syria.

Russian reports suggest a fourth vessel, carrying a “special cargo”, is now on the way to the area.

Do I recall Europe blowing itself to smithereens over an Austrian Archduke at the beginning of the 20th Century?

I sure do.

No one thought so small an affront could have such vast consequences, that summer.

No one thought the ruling classes of Europe could possibly be that irresponsible.

Did we and Europe and Russia get through 50 years of cold war without going at it only to find ourselves dragged into another real war over Syria?

Syria?

We all still have nukes, you know.

Something to think about.

BooMan turns isolationist?


He quotes Timothy Egan,

The isolationists in the Republican Party are a direct result of the Bush foreign policy.

A war-weary public that can turn an eye from children being gassed — or express doubt that it happened — is another poisoned fruit of the Bush years.

To which he replies,

When I read something like that, I think about the citizens of other countries besides our own.

Are the people of Norway or Brazil or Angola turning a blind-eye to dead children because they are "war-weary" or because Bush lied about Saddam Hussein?

There's this idea that simply by virtue of being born here that citizens of the United States are more morally responsible for war crimes than anyone else.

If nothing is done about a chemical attack in Damascus, then we are all somehow complicit, indifferent, callous, amoral, and unworthy.

But no one says that about the people who live in Australia or Canada or the Cayman Islands.

Or Russia or Germany or Japan or . . . . .

Welcome to the team, BooMan.

You will be a full-scale isolationist when you reject talk of a duty of rescue and denounce the idea, very popular among our rulers, that we are or should be “the indispensable nation.”

When you can no longer seriously believe “the world will be a more dangerous place if America is unwilling to ever take unilateral action to protect international norms,” or concern yourself much about it without first asking, “for whom?”

Without shame.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Political leaders and leaders of cults

What do they have in common?

An uninhibited delight in groupies.

See the Mail.

US throws tantrum at G20

Samantha Powers pitched a hissy-fit in St Petersburg because Russia and China are blocking a US attack on Syria at the Security Council.

Well, boo-hoo Samantha.

Welcome to the majors.

The self righteous and angry entitlement of these warmongering liberals when they can't get their way is much more offensive to behold than the merely absurd conservative propaganda we saw when it was GW looking to the Council to OK his stupid war.

Freedom fries, anyone?

Poor Samantha.

She must be very used to getting her way.

Why Americans should emigrate to Europe or Canada, if they can

To avoid taxation to support the exorbitant costs of global interventionism.

To escape the lower quality of life and standard of living brought about by expenditure of resources otherwise available for domestic needs on global interventionism.

To avoid the dangers of blowback, foreign responses to global interventionism.

To avoid the risk of a renewed draft, for oneself or one’s children, in support of the manpower demands of global interventionism.

Phooey.

Why stay?

“If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate.”


The senator is a man who publicly embraces stupid ideas.

The quote I used as the title for this post is from him, according to the story.

It’s a stupid remark, since depending on the case it may be that stalemate is what best serves American interests.

And for that matter even a war that just goes on and on.

One thinks immediately of the Iran-Iraq War president Reagan sought to prolong as far as possible.

Or the Hitler-Stalin War so many America Firsters argued was good for America, and better for America the longer it went on bleeding both countries white.

On the other hand, I agree that we ought to just stay out of the mess in Syria, and renounce altogether the costly, dangerous, and unrewarding role of globocop of which so many respected academics and leaders of both parties are so vain.

Is addiction per se “troubling”?


What law authorizes this?

Or is this just another case of the Obama administration doing its own thing?

As for e-cigarettes, what’s the up side?

All the benefits of nicotine (yes, you bet there are benefits) without the worries about lung ailments caused by actual smoking, or any of the cancers caused by not only smoking but chewing or snorting actual tobacco.

The down side?

Addiction.

On the other hand, why is that a problem if (a) the user has no wish to quit and (b) (relatedly, no doubt) the price is not unreasonable?

Our ties, after all, to food, water, and air are even stronger than addiction, and nobody thinks to declaim against God for treating us shabbily.

Sometimes Nanny is a pain in the butt.

Didn’t he say he was against stupid wars?


He lied.

They all lie.

KOS, too? Really?


This morning, KOS personally wrote a post opposing any military action against Syria.

This is part of what he wrote.

War opponents have another simple fact: There is no alternative to Assad.

The insurgency is dominated by Islamist radicals.

It seems like our best post-Assad scenario looks depressingly similar to post-Soviet Afghanistan.

Does that remark indicate the he thinks it would have been better for Reagan to let the Russians have their puppet in Afghanistan than to see them chased out and replaced by the Taliban, as I do?

Interesting.

Does that mean he is not an altogether qualmless devotee of democracy everywhere, democracy now?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Who needs education?


It was only for the money, anyway, right?

And you don’t need it for the money!

The death penalty: more merciful than life plus a thousand years.


Reputedly, people facing much less daunting sentences try to kill themselves, too.

Eventually they succeed or stop trying.

Perhaps they just run out of courage.

Sex and parenthood. The same subject, continued.


Hunter at KOS on sex, again.

Same culture war.

For Hunter, the guy is a crackpot because he said that about sex, you see.

Liberals are so dedicated to enabling purely recreational sex without consequences they have become the anti-child faction.

Historically and still defenders of the rights of society's adult underdogs, they have become the mortal enemies of children, born and unborn.

From earlier denial they have moved to agreeing with conservatives that there is no morally significant difference between a late term, unborn child and a just recently born infant.

But while conservatives from this conclude that late term abortion is infanticide and to be outlawed and stopped, liberals conclude actual infanticide is to be allowed, along with late term abortions.

And now Hunter plays avid defender of unilateral divorce at will for marrieds with kids of any age, refusing even to see that perhaps the interests of the children affected should be factored into a decision what the law should be.

Much as they have successfully made totally taboo the question whether same-sex couples do or don't stack up as effective and good parents, compared to straight couples.

Taboo or irrelevant.

Everything is about the rights of adults; nothing is about their possible duties toward children.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reading Spinoza: Political Treatise

A fugitive thought on the idea of consent.

Surrender is not consent.

Well, I suppose that's really more relevant to Plato.

On the other hand, there's a lot of Plato in this essay.

Chapter II, Section 23 sounds like Rousseau and Hobbes, and most certainly not like Locke, Paine, or Nozick.

There is no mine and thine in a state of nature.

Property and whose is what are settled in civil society by the state acting for the General Will, says Benedictus.

Yes, la volonte generale.

Chapter III.

More that sounds a lot like Hobbes, including the egoism.

Section 10.

You can see how the Jews would throw him out.

Too much Hobbes by way of Plato,  so to speak.

Too much deference concerning the "cultes exterieurs" based on too much importance attributed to a Platonic, mystic, or personal love of a God too detached from historic religion.

House leadership on board with Obama


John Boehner is a big, fat liar.

This is just not true.

And if it were true it would be a shitty argument.

If it were true it would be still none of our affair, and if “the world” wanted somebody to play Robocop they could wait for some other sucker to volunteer.

The French, maybe.

Apparently, not the Brits.

House Speaker John Boehner [said] only the United States has the "the capability and capacity" to respond to the use of chemical weapons.

Pshaw.

And here is Nancy, liberal interventionist, on whom Wilson and Eleanor have nothing.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added that Washington must respond to actions "outside the circle of civilized human behavior."

We are always at war, with all the expense, danger, and destruction that entails, because our classe politique likes it that way.

With friends like these, O could have a heck of a time preventing "mission creep" all the way to regime change.

Die Hard 2,367. Without Bruce Willis.


Yippee Ki-Yay . . . .

Not bad for a movie of this kind, but the entirely uncontested background political assumptions are annoying.

It is certainly not true that North Korea would crush South Korea if we didn’t defend that non-communist regime.

It is not true that Russia and China would go on a military rampage if we withdrew the protection of the 7th Fleet from our allies in the Far East and Oceania.

It is not true that if we stop playing globocop the whole world will quickly go straight to hell.

Also, it’s a bit weird that the script has Mike Banning, the character here standing in for the John McClane of the Die Hard films, save the US and maybe the world from the cowardice and stupidity of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Vice President, and the President.

And the immediate willingness of the Speaker of the House as acting president, introduced at the start of the movie as a definite hawk on Korea, to surrender the South to the North and withdraw the 7th fleet at the cost of a Russian and Chinese rampage to save the life of one guy, the captive president of the US, is also weird.

Just weird.