Saturday, January 28, 2006

Progressive thinking

Two Christian pastors were convicted in Australia for vilifying Islam. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

In Victoria, two hellfire Christian preachers, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, are facing jail after preaching against Islam in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Ever since, they've been fighting an action brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria under the state's new Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

That's not too surprising. Everyone knows Oriana Fallaci is facing charges before an Italian magistrate for her criticisms of Islam. What about this: a French member of parliament has been convicted in court of making derogatory remarks about homosexuality. The The Brussels Journal notes:

Stating that “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” and that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality” can cost you dearly in France. Exactly these opinions, expressed by the French politician Christian Vanneste last year, led to him being sentenced on Tuesday to payment of a heavy fine.

A court in Lille [Rijsel in Dutch], in the French northern province of Flanders (adjacent to the Belgian Dutch-speaking region of Flanders), ruled that Mr Vanneste has to pay a fine of 3,000 euro plus 3,000 euro in damages to each of the three gay organisations that had taken him to court. The politician, a member of the French National Assembly for the governing UMP, also has to pay for the verdict to be published in the leftist Parisian newspaper Le Monde, the regional Lille daily La Voix du Nord, and the weekly magazine L’Express.

Again you might say, no surprises here either. But what about this: An Austrian cartoonist is facing charges in Greece for writing a satire on the life of Jesus in his home country. The Guardian reports:

Haderer did not even know that his book, The Life of Jesus, had been published in Greece until he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January charged with blasphemy. ... "It is unbelievable that a person can write a book in his home country and be condemned and threatened with imprisonment by another," said Nikki Conrad, a human rights expert who organised yesterday's press conference. "But he is not going to just sit back and accept this injustice. He is prepared to take this to the European court of human rights. When Gerhard first got the summons he thought it was a joke. But now he is starting to get a bit nervous."

Whole categories of discourse are now being outlawed in the West. At least two celebrities are fighting this trend, probably because they lead active lives of the mind. One of them is Mr. Bean.

Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson has launched a comedians' campaign against a government bill to outlaw inciting religious hatred. ... Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are "quite a few sketches" he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law.

He added: "To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society."

The other is Michael Crichton. At a speech entitled  "Fear, Complexity, Environmental Management in the 21st Century" that he gave before Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy, Crichton described one the major unrecognized dangers stalking the world: bad information. Crichton meticulously showed how grossly hysterical coverage of Chernobyl reactor incident, for example, caused deaths far more numerous than the incident itself. He went on to trace the history of public policy fads, Global Cooling, the predicted Y2K meltdown, the Population Bomb, Electromagnetic Fields and so on, and shows how we have nearly forgotten them in our rush to replace them with new ones. We live once again, in Carl Sagan's phrase, in a demon-haunted world.


It has been observed that Marxism was itself a religion. It had its martyrs, processions, ritual flagellations, paradises; and other things besides, though they went by other names: but chiefly it had its Inquisitions -- the Great Purges, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution -- which consumed millions. It is ironic that the single greatest imperative of its ideological heirs is the urge to persecution. At heart political correctness is the rejection of the scientific method. Truth is measured by conformity to the unholy writ. What is the essential difference between these two reactions to blasphemy?


Harvard Chief's Comments on Women Assailed
Washington Post

Mark 14:61-64
King James Bible

During nearly four years as president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers has earned a reputation for blunt, sometimes brutal comments. After upsetting African Americans early in his tenure, he has provoked a new storm of controversy by suggesting that the shortage of elite female scientists may stem in part from "innate" differences between men and women.

"I felt I was going to be sick," said Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who listened to part of Summers's speech Friday at a session on the progress of women in academia organized by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. She walked out in what she described as a physical sense of disgust.

"My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow," she said. "I was extremely upset."

14:61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

14:63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.


Except two thousand years. Blasphemy is the end of argument. The high priest rent his clothes as though it settled something. The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It certainly appears to me that the west is under a virulent, sustained and even supernatural assault. I say "supernatural" because I don't know how the moral pillars of Western Civilization could have been undermined in such a short period of time (since WWII)without a supernatural force.
Liberalism in all its manifestations have brought us to the point, where having achieved power the leftists are attempting to invoke thought control. At the same time, in a diversionary sleight of hand, they accuse George Bush of destroying the Constitution and remaking America into a police state.

It's a world turned upside down and frankly, I don't think it's going to get any better.

1/28/2006 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

You have to love a country that sends its police to defend KKK bigots, pro-life marchers, and Bush effigy burning performance artistes alike. Needless to say, those nations that punish thought crime will ultimately reap what they sow.

1/28/2006 05:57:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

It's interesting how these speech codes rarely, if ever, seem to be enforceable against speech by Muslims.

There are other examples of how Western governments are essentially ceding control of whole areas of life and territory to Islamic immigrants, almost without being asked to do so, driven solely by their own political correctness.

Some people have asked for instance how it is that so many English people can no longer afford to live in central London, while more and more relatively poor immigrants apparently can (the city's non-immigrant population has now been falling sharply for some years).

Part of the answer is that the extremely restrictive planning regulations are in effect no longer applied to immigrant-owned properties, particularly in religious communities, which are then rapidly adapted to far higher density (and consequently lower cost) occupation than is permitted to the English themselves. Once modified in this way the properties pass permanently out of the zone of local authority control, into a region which may as well be another country.

This issue is clearly also recognizable in France, not just in the recent riots, which were largely about preserving already established 'no-go' zones, but also in the many fires in Parisian apartment buildings which have resulted in amazingly high numbers of immigrant deaths per building.

It seems odd that a citizenry would rather evacuate its capital city over time than tackle the question of what set of rules should apply consistently across both traditional residents and immigrants, but that is now what we are seeing across Europe.

The key mechanism in action here may well be that an offence against political correctness has become virtually the only way in which a bureaucrat entrusted with rule enforcement can summarily lose his or her job. From that fact to ceding control over whole areas of your own country is in practice but a single step.

1/28/2006 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

I agree wholeheartedly with whit that the forces of evil are among us. During the Reagan administration I took to describing liberalism, leftism and all their variants as original sin. These philosophies deny any transendence whatsoever save that which they concoct in their own minds. THEY become the sole arbiters of right and wrong. The forces of evil have grown increasingly virulent and aggressive. Islam is evil personified and the Left is fast alligning themselves with Islam.

And now, one of the pillars of our liberty has been nearly been destroyed. Freedom of expression is under constant assault by the PC nazis who believe their own version of the truth trumps this sacred freedom. How can we combat Islam when we cannot even truthfully discuss its nature instead blindly accepting the PC nonsense that it is a religion of peace, its history and Koran notwithstanding.

To call Islam the religion of peace is a mockery. That our own Left would be complicit in this is nothing short of sedition.

1/28/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"These philosophies deny any transendence whatsoever save that which they concoct in their own minds."
Indeed. Take Plame/Wilson:
They have defined their own self-interest as patriotism and purity.
What does your comment have to do with the treatment of Larry Summers?

1/28/2006 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

Sir, do you think this is the answer?
Science must destroy religion

1/28/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...


It's interesting how these speech codes rarely, if ever, seem to be enforceable against speech by Muslims.

Muslims have perfected the most advantageous method of playing the victim of "free speech" while circumventing the laws put into place to "protect" them from this speech. The local mosque with fiery sermons conducted in arabic fall outside the radar of the local speech police.

1/28/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

here's a pertinent snippet--

"...most sensible people advocate something called "religious tolerance." While religious tolerance is surely better than religious war, tolerance is not without its liabilities. Our fear of provoking religious hatred has rendered us incapable of criticizing ideas that are now patently absurd and increasingly maladaptive. It has also obliged us to lie to ourselves — repeatedly and at the highest levels — about the compatibility between religious faith and scientific rationality."

and this--

"Every sane human being recognizes that to rely merely upon "faith" to decide specific questions of historical fact would be both idiotic and grotesque — that is, until the conversation turns to the origin of books like the bible and the Koran, to the resurrection of Jesus, to Muhammad's conversation with the angel Gabriel, or to any of the other hallowed travesties that still crowd the altar of human ignorance.

Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe. Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe such propositions when reasons fail. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and a passionate unwillingness to do so."


"Religion is fast growing incompatible with the emergence of a global, civil society. Religious faith — faith that there is a God who cares what name he is called, that one of our books is infallible, that Jesus is coming back to earth to judge the living and the dead, that Muslim martyrs go straight to Paradise, etc. — is on the wrong side of an escalating war of ideas. The difference between science and religion is the difference between a genuine openness to fruits of human inquiry in the 21st century, and a premature closure to such inquiry as a matter of principle. I believe that the antagonism between reason and faith will only grow more pervasive and intractable in the coming years. Iron Age beliefs — about God, the soul, sin, free will, etc. — continue to impede medical research and distort public policy. The possibility that we could elect a U.S. President who takes biblical prophesy seriously is real and terrifying; the likelihood that we will one day confront Islamists armed with nuclear or biological weapons is also terrifying, and growing more probable by the day. We are doing very little, at the level of our intellectual discourse, to prevent such possibilities. "

Should we just scrap religion? Could we?

1/28/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaker: 7:02,
Is this the answer to what?

1/28/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Are you an animal?
Mind your own business!

1/28/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

whit, it seems religion is a destructive force to world order and the civility of nations.
Wouldn't we just be better off without it, instead of trying to accomodate diametrically opposing belief systems?

1/28/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

and, (((doug)))...
we are all animals on this bus.

1/28/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What is your opinion of Scot Atran's post directly above the one you cited.
Or DAVID LYKKEN'S, on the next page?

1/28/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Churchill
When you say
".. To call Islam the religion of peace is a mockery. That our own Left would be complicit in this is nothing short of sedition. ... "

So now the President of the US is a liberal seditionist?
There in your argument fails, because while Mr Bush is both a Liberal & a Progressive he is no Seditionist, IMO.

1/28/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Beautiful post, Wretchard!

In the US, for liberal arguments to "make sense" it is absolutely necessary to embrace willful ignorance. For example, to argue that active fighting against declared enemies, like OIF, is wrong, you must disremember that we already tried NOT fighting back all through the 90's. Or a more pedestrian example, to be outraged over Abramoff as indicative of a new Republican "Culture of Corruption" you must pretend you never heard about the PRC intelligence penetration of the White House during the 90's, and especially ignore the bribery agents' own testimony before the Senate.

Jimmy Carter gives us an excellent example of this with his comments on the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections. First, he mentions that Yasir Arafat renounced violence in 1988. (huh?) Here's the quote that is the example: "And I believe public opinion polls have shown that the Palestinian people want peace with justice." Get it? That's why they voted for a self-declared terrorist organization as their elected government.

Just like American Dems pointing to skewed public opinion polls as definitive, while ignoring the actual election results of 2000 and 2004.

Embrace willful ignorance, all else is blasphemy.

1/28/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"a Liberal & a Progressive"
What else does it take?

1/28/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

For Tony, (again!)
Google Removes Its Help Entry on Censorship — Incredible. Google removed their help entry on censorship, as Gary Price discovered. Here’s what it used to read:

“Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results. To learn more about Google’s search technology, please visit ...”
This is what the page reads now:

“Document Not Found

Sorry, the document you requested is not available. You can visit the main page.”
The document at this time was still accessible through the Google cache (I’ve made a screenshot).

Google may now delete this help entry as well:
“As you may know, Google is a reflection of the web. Although we aggregate and organize content published on the web, we don’t control the content itself.

It’s our policy not to police or censor content.”

1/28/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

-- The Second Coming , W. B. Yeats

Not being a liberal, I have a poor grasp of things that I don't understand
-P.J. O'Rourke

1/28/2006 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Yep, good old Google. I won't be able to find it now, but remember a while back a Google guy came out and said that their editors rank SOURCES for their relevance. In the spirit of this thread, I suppose we could read that as code that they don't manipulate the actual "search results" - just rank the sources of those results by hand.

As for this bit about the "democracy of the web" - that's what allows the good, old-fashioned Google bombs to work. Google's great innovation was to add a ranking algorithm that calculated how often a certain site was pointed to or linked by other sites. That means a bunch of sites can get together and determine the "meaning" of any specific term they decide to bomb.

The funny example is to do a "I'm Feeling Lucky" search on (French military victories). It's funny, but it is absolutely false in its results. You can't get to the truth from Google. (Okay, I use hyperbole, GOI.)

1/28/2006 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


1/28/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

To be a Seditionist?

Use Federal Agencies to break Federal Law,
Not defend the Borders of the US,
Increase Federal Spending on redistributive programs,
Pursue Wars with no Goal of Victory within one's Term of Office

Wait, Mr Churchill may be right, Mr Bush MAY WELL BE a Seditionist, sorry.

1/28/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


1/28/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Try that from Arizona! ;-)

1/28/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Only Google Knows)

1/28/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger NN said...

Yes, it is a collapse from within. What will be our rallying cry? "King and country"? So 19th century. "That they may take our lives, but they may never take our freedom!"? What freedom? "The Lord God, our Mighty Fortress?" Now, there's a thought. Only we know how that ended last time. A millenium of darkness to be sure.

1/28/2006 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Freedom is a relative thing, as is Wealth.
Go traveling abroad.
Check out Freedom in Austrailia,, but don't say anything Provocative.
Check out Freedom in North Korea, but do not say anything.
Check out Freedom in Iran, just do not say your Gay, the Ultimate "don't ask / don't tell".
Check out Freedom in the KSA, just don't bring a Bible.

Come to AZ, we still retain our basic Freedoms here. At least if the Federals don't target you.

1/28/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(You were OK by me before you wrote it, and afer.
...I'm easy)

1/28/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(for people that sleep)

1/28/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mahmoud al-Zahar the "leader" of Hamas had the following to say:

“With America in such a ‘dirty man’ period I think nothing can be changed. In America there is a Christian Zionism. They believe that Jesus will return for the second 1,000 years. You heard from Bush when he said, ‘It is a new Crusade’. He is arousing a deep hatred, an historical hatred in this area.

What would you have the President say? The truth? Why should he do that when the Islamists are doing such a good job?

1/28/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" Come to AZ, we still retain our basic Freedoms here. At least if the Federals don't target you."
The Citizens are cool, but not the feds.
Same in HI, except the State and the Feds are indistinguishable.
Could be worse.

1/28/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Crichton has a point, though not necessarily a new one. Several social scientists have noted the tendency of ideas to spread through populations in a manner not unlike the ways innovations diffuse (bell-curve, S-curve) or the contagious diseases do. One interesting group of studies by Eric Abrahamson of Columbia Business School has found the population of managers, or managerial discourse to be precise, is very susceptible to fads and fashions promulgated by management theorists and consultants. One of his more interesting findings is that at the peak of every fad is the genesis of the next, one that is usually posed as the anti-dote to the one then so in vogue.

While he made no qualitative judgment as to the worth of the theories that became fads or that spread like them, as I understand it there is no reason to think apriori that bad ideas are more (or less) prone to rapidly and widely diffuse. That having been said, I could easily envision an argument that posits bad ideas spreading faster, doing more harm, outnumbering and drowning out their betters.

Anyone wanting a copy of abrahmason's papers can drop me a line at starlingdavidhunter at gmail dot com. I'll grab them from a academic paper database and send them to you via email.

1/28/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Crusade" was quickly banished from polite political conversation.
Praise be to Allah!

1/28/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an answer:
Rom 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

1/28/2006 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Our greatest statesman in these troubling times, Rodney King, asked the scholarly question: "Can't we all just get along". It would appear, when God's honor or oral or anal sex is at stake, the answer is a thunderous "No!". Who are we to worship now? An over sensitive god, a god who's feeling are frail and likely to be hurt, or Barney Frank and a legion of Sodomites?

1/28/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

The GOI was for Google Big Brother in the Sky.

1/28/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Google has provide all of US an alternative Broadcast means. Biggest Revolution in Media distribution, ever.

As over nine & Half million visits to Belmont, Wretchard has begun to influence the Intellectual Marketplace. If those viewers were "Watching", the impact on Society higher.

If you dislike the MSM, embrace Google. If Google is not perfect for you, and they are less than Intellectually Pure, work to modify their Policies.
But do not think that we should throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Yahoo is always there for your searchs, vote with your eyes & fingers.

1/28/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"One of his more interesting findings is that at the peak of every fad is the genesis of the next, one that is usually posed as the anti-dote to the one then so in vogue."
As Sowell points out, you can tell when a society had the solution to a problem well in hand by seeing when it was that Government stepped in and created the "solution" that exacerbates the problem.

1/28/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...


What is your opinion of Scot Atran's post directly above the one you cited.
Or DAVID LYKKEN'S, on the next page?

i am actually mostly in agreement with Dr. Atran, of the three posts. I've read his books, In God's We Trust and Explaining Culture ;)
i think god is in our genes, and we are hardwired in some sense.

I personally like to think all religions and philosophies, marxism, feminist identity politics, islam, christianity, can be scientifically described as ESS's, Evolutionarily Stable Strategies, from John Maynard-Smith's Evolutionary Theory of Games.

I think Harris's post is interesting in that he sees a basic dichotomy between ALL religions and Science, whether the religion is marxism, christianity, feminism or islam. I thought Wretchard might enjoy that.

And I think Dr. Lykken is absolutely correct. A lot of our adaptation in the EEA (environment of evolutionary advantage) drove cultural evolution--a two parent family is optimal, for many reasons. But, I think the sucessful two parent family unit could be same sex, polygynous or polyandrous as long you have the two roles (XX/XY) supported in some fashion by the caregivers.

1/28/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I feel the same about the MSM, and from the Death Spiral of the NYTimes, I worry.
Without "traditional" "news" gatherers, it would take a heck of a lot of infrastructure to replace what we have now.
...but the spiral continues:
That LA Times Wuss you pointed to makes $75 k plus for one column a week!
...not a viable business model!

1/28/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But, I think the sucessful two parent family unit could be same sex, polygynous or polyandrous as long you have the two roles (XX/XY) supported in some fashion by the caregivers. "
Would make a good "reality" series, at least.
Heck, I might start watching TV again.
(You left out transexual/"heterosexual" "parents")

1/28/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah whit,
Better he lie to the US Public.

The President lied about States that Support Terroists & US reactions to them. In Sudan, Syria, Iran & Pakistan.

The President lied about bringing Osama to justice. That lie is dovetailed with the Pakistani lies.

His lack of Integrity and Mr Cheney's lack of a desire to achieve Victory over, well not Mohammedans, with in a DECADE.

They have failed to protect US troops in Iraq, releasing Enemy troops and Agents to return to Combat against US.

No Goal of Victory, No definition of the Enemy, No change in US Military Policies in the face of new threats.

Yeah, whit, better to an Administration of Liars than Honest men.

You must think better of Mr Chamberlin than Mr Churchill.
Because Mr Bush is more of a accomadator and apologist towards the Mohammedans than Mr Chamberlin ever was with NAZIs.

We never sent US Aid checks to the NAZIs, as we do with Egyptians, Iraqis and even the Palistinians.

1/28/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

marxism, feminism, christianity = equally stable

1/28/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

speaker-to-animals said...
whit, it seems religion is a destructive force to world order and the civility of nations.
Wouldn't we just be better off without it, instead of trying to accomodate diametrically opposing belief systems?

I have opined several times in these pages that "Islam is not a religion", I meant that I thought it an archaic form of government, where psuedo religion was merely another arm of government, in fact the state security system. Religion in the West has probably moved beyond this in most of its present forms, so you may be a little off in wanting to abolish it totally. I think most people who are non believers such as myself (agnostic) recognize that it is usually a force for good and some of us are even envious that our rationality prevents us from having the ability to accept the comforting nostrums. There are fringe elements in Western religion who are quite as loony as the Islamo-Fascist's however.

That said, it seems that in some malicious fashion, the enemy has managed to seize the lever's of power and persecution of Christian's is quite acceptable in many places while mere criticism of Islam is not.

Somehow we must reverse this process.

1/28/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger oseaghdha said...

The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.
The west is menaced by it's own sucess. A life of leisure, relatively speaking, allows the luxury to be more concerned with the goings on of television characters than with the "abstract" concepts of liberty and civilization. This is the "What, me worry?" stage. Only when the wolf is at the door will most stand, with mouths agape, and wonder how things got so fekked up.
The liberal butterfly hold hands and sing types thrive when times are good, but scurry off to hide when events call up the hard men to do to work of the time. Then it's like," Wow, that sucked, we can't let that happen again!" But it always will.
Life is a greed based system. Some folks can't get their heads around that. Which is why we are doomed to repeat history.

1/28/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"We never sent US Aid checks to the NAZIs, as we do with Egyptians, Iraqis and even the Palistinians. "
Yeah, but the NAZIS were atheists.
(or Christians or...)

1/28/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an illustration of the result of "Progressive Reason"

Speaker: You ask if we should do away with religion and later post that you believe in a God gene. You're on a slippery slope.

1/28/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

I would add to this the court caee in Italy in which a Priest is being forced to "prove" that Jesus Christ actually existed. I blogged about this yesterday, along with an update on the bill in the UK to outlaw hate speech which offends a certain religious group.
Free speech rights throughout the West are under attack. Just for a bonus I threw in some thoughts about the aattempts to extend McCain-Feingold to bloggers; attempts which have not yet been euthanized.

1/28/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Nnot really, doug.
The MSM stand in packs to get US handouts. Press Conferences at the White House, at the Green Zone, etc.
Each Government Agency release the news, the MSM is but a pipeline for Government Propaganda.
Find some investigative reporting, from Iraq, that can match Mr Yon, Roggio, or that fella that was killed in Basra. It is not in the MSM.
Datelines from Europe or Asia, Government releases are the fodder of the MSM, there.
Look behind the curtain and see what the MSM really is.
The MSM was caused by a lack of capacity in distribution channels, not capability of producing product.
CNN & FOX News are both proof positive of that.

1/28/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Datelines from Europe or Asia, Government releases are the fodder of the MSM, there."
But then isn't that then fodder for blogs/talk radio/fox, et al?

1/28/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

I do not know if God is hard wirde into our genes, But I have made the argument that he is necessary from a psychological point of view. In brief,just as a young child needs to believe their parent(s) are in control of their world or they would be paralyzed with anxiety and fear, so, too, adults, living in a frightening world have a need for a force greater than themselves that they can imagine is in charge of the world and its capricious forces. Much of the paranoia of the left stems from a need to minimize the terror that they would feel if they thought the world was random so they create fanatsies that humans are in control of everything, including the weather (global warmign). It is easier, and more comforting, to rail against the evil GWB than to recognize that some things are out of human control.

1/28/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just sayin it will take a while to replace the MSM, and their death wish is so strong, we may not have time to replace them with something equal or better to what we have now.
(the combination of the two)

1/28/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

doug, the the hetero model is the ideal--i was only enumerating the approximations to the perfect form. ;)

An evolutionarily stable strategy is one that if adopted uniformly by the population, cannot be penetrated by a "mutant" strategy or a new, conflicting meme.
Take the example of feminism--Dr. Nancy Hopkins rejected the meme that XX and XY have a biological basis for differing mathabilty because believing that XX==XY in ability (as long as environmental artifacts are stripped out) is a stable strategy for feminist identity politics.

1/28/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Governments will continue to supply the fodder, the pipeline delivery will transform to a flood.
As more and more channels are opened to the info flow.

The US Government will operate well behind this curve. Using the MSM while others are abandoning it. This can be seen today, by our Enemies in Iraq. They use modern media to distribute their Propaganda, Sec Def Rumsfeld says US does not even have a corresponding Force.

The majority of the info flow, in Iraq, comes through the MSM Pipeline. It causes US heartburn, but we do not even try to match them. When articles are placed in Iraqi newspapers, pay for placement, large portions of US think that Policy is a basic wrong.

1/28/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am not worried about Scot and Nilliah. As Pentecostal zealots, they have the financial backing to continue their legal struggle. If they go to jail, it would only serve to elevate their status among their constituents. Prison would be an energizing interlude, preparing them for greater works.

The same cannot be said for me, an average western couch-potato. I have no political associations to call upon for legal aid. My life is justified by career and material wealth. Prison and legal bills represent frightening penalties.

1/28/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

whit, i said i believed "god is in the genes", not that i believed that silly Dean Hamer book.
He has been widely discredited by real geneticists. ;)

1/28/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger speaker-to-animals said...

shrinkwrapped, that is the argument for why we need god--but does that mean we need religion?

1/28/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You must think better of Mr Chamberlin than Mr Churchill.

Please!! Do I sound like an appeaser to you?

Do you think Mr Churchill revealed his every thought to the public? You think Churchill eschewed deception in war?

If you were the President and 9/11 was thrust into your lap how would you wage war? Would you immediately attack 100 billion people? Did the US and Great Britain launch their first attacks against the strength of the Nazis in Europe? Did this mean they weren't serious about defeating an enemy and had no plan? Has Bush given up on getting Bin Laden?

I'm not saying your points don't have merit or aren't true but tell me what war has ever been waged perfectly and without deception.

1/28/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You are thinking top down, doug.

Organic growth, in new distribution channels, will more than make up for the demise of Dinosaurs.

Half the time the stories from NY Times cannot be trusted for veracity.

The history of US is one of a Partisian Press. It is a recent and unnatural trend for the Public to believe the Press is non-Partisian, it never really was.

To expect otherwise is foolish and naive.

Mammals will beat the Reptiles, done it before, will do it again.

1/28/2006 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

""Religion is fast growing incompatible with the emergence of a global, civil society."

What evidence is there that a "global civil society" is emerging, or even possible?

Most of the globe is populated by illiterate savages. Their "representatives" are not chosen by them, nor are they removeable, other than by assassination. Their values are the values of barbarians.

The notion that they, or their fake "representatives", will EVER participate in anything remotely resembling a civil society spanning the globe is an absurdity.

Therefore, the question of whether Christianity is incompatible with such a mythical creature is irrelevant.

1/28/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The amazing thing about this sort of thing is the transference.

The Nazis oppressed and killed homosexuals, so anyone who disagrees in any way with the latest homosexual fad is a Nazi.

Salmon Rushdie wrote a book that led to Islamic radicals calling for his assassination, so now anyone who writes a book critical of Islam is accused of acting not like Rushdie, but like the Islamic fascists that threaten him.

Men in uniform marched into Africa, most of Europe, China, and committed horrors - so now all men in uniform are guilty of such horrors - even those who are the physical and spiritual descendants of those who stopped the horrors.

Hard line Islamic radicals oppress women terribly, so Christians who speak out against abortion are the equivalent.

The last phase of any failed enterprise is "punishment of the uninvolved." Liberalism is clearly in its last phase.

1/28/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The War, whit, is over and the Enemies are still in place.
Wars are a series of Military Actions. US Action is suspended, in Iraq, except for Police work. Police work is not War, even when the Poicemen are Soldiers.

We are not pursuing the Mohammedans, especially against those that attacked and killed over 3,000 US Civilians on 9-11.

I keep forgetting, though, that those guys were NEVER in Iraq.

They are in Pakistan, under the Protection of the Government, there. That Pakistani Government, our 'best' ally in the War on Terror.

When we had the capacity, politically in the US, to drive to Damascus, we demurred. The window closed, the Baathists in Syria continue to support the Insurrection in Iraq.

We are not at War with Iran.
Plain and Simple.

Pakistan is home to the Taliban and aQ, is sheltered by the General President, whom we send checks to.

Perhaps like Italian Fascists, the Pakistanis are not as bad as the rest of their Axis. But they are stil bad.

1/28/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

yah man

Good stuff wretchard.

I've heard it said that in the old testament there ia an angel with a sword that prefigures Jesus.

that angel appears first east of eden

Genesis 3
New International Version (NIV)

Genesis 3
The Fall of Man

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side [e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

the second occurance of the angel/cherubem with the sword came to balaam --a subtle caananite whom the hebrews encounter on the way Israel. His experience almost inverts that of paul on the road to tarsus only in the end balaam didn't accept the Lord---

# Numbers 22:23
And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
Numbers 22:22-24 (in Context) Numbers 22 (Whole Chapter)
# Numbers 22:31
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
Numbers 22:30-32 (in Context) Numbers 22 (Whole Chapter)

later the Lord didn't dignify balaam with the angel --nor did balaam fear the Lord--and balaam was killed

This angel with the sword appears twice more in the OT.

The first time is to Joshua with his warriors before Jericho. The angel tells Joshua that his success depends on Joshua following the Lord and not vice versa. the second time the angel with the sword appears is to David in Jerusalem after ordering a census of his warriors.

God is not pleased because david is relying on his warriors for his eternal security/rest and not on God.

1/28/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

I do not know if we need organized religion; I do think that our need for God will cause us to (unconsciously) create a religion. Atheists are passionate believers in the absence of God and fight and proselytize thier views, mostly thorugh the courts. They are clearly not responding to religious beliefs (ie, faith based beliefs) because just as they might assert their is no proof God exists, it is also a truism that there is no proof God does not exist. Ultimately, withotu a religion to beleive in, people will find an alternative. Communism, radical environmentalism, leftist intolerant liberalism, all are based on belief structures that have never been proved; believing in something becasue it is revealed faith is a religion by another name.

1/28/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

Sorry about that: Athiests are responding to religious beleifs of their own (rather than "not" responding.)

1/28/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This in from CNN about Hamas in Palistine, dateline for the story - Gaza City

" ... Israeli and U.S. leaders indicated that little progress was possible unless Hamas denounces violence and disarms.

Mashaal said Hamas will not consider disarming, but would instead form an army to defend the Palestinian people

"If you do not like our militancy, we are ready to unify the Palestinian arms ... and create an army, just like any other country," Mashaal said. ... "

There you go, another Arab Army.

1/28/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Check out
Westhawk's take on the FARC & aQ connection that is developing in Columbia.

Another of those "one of" challenges that cannot be planned for by the Army. One that will not even be acknowledged by the Federals.

1/28/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

RWE - The last phase of any failed enterprise is "punishment of the uninvolved." Liberalism is clearly in its last phase.

Interesting thought, also the transference phenomenon, RWE.

I note that suppression of free speech was traditionally in the spheres of dissing rulers and law (sedition) and dissing religion (blasphemy). Crimes of sedition and blasphemy have roots as old as civilization itself and continue to present day.

The 20th Century added "thought crimes" as Orwell accurately called them, when totalitarian and later, Leftist governments recognized that suppressing speech in other areas might, according to their theory, enhance the march to social and human progress.

So we had one of the first laws of this sort made in the Soviet Union, where expressing anti-semetic thoughts was termed "counter-revolutionary" and made a capital offense. Other sorts of counter-revolutionary thoughts were soon identified and added to the list of thought crimes that could get a person sent to the gulag or just mean a pistol bullet to the back of the head. Questioning a 5 year plan's implementation may just mean the Larry Summers routine of group criticism and apology tours by the culprit, a gulag stretch, or if the specific plan was near and dear to a leader, a dirt nap. You never knew, and that was part of the power of the state. Pure discretion. Anything from writing 500 times "I will not question the shoe quota" to being executed...

The Nazis liked this system and adapted it. Obviously they didn't emulate the Bolsheviks in making criticizing Jews a death penalty offense, but in wartime, the Nazis executed citizens for complaining about rationing, any expressed "defeatism" as it was clear the Nazis were losing, but it was worth one's life to say so in public.

After WWII, thought control was started in Europe by liberal regimes that also believed human progress required certain thoughts be controlled. It started with creation of a "special victim" identity, the Jews again, echoing the 1st Soviet thought crime law, and made things like Nazi sentiments & "Holocaust denial" illegal.

Over the years, more and more special victims groups have been added to the list of "verboten" speech items. And sometimes the people push back and eliminate "thought crime laws" - such as concluding "Laughism" was not in fact a crime in Scandanavian countries when people or politicians were ridiculed by others.

But Leftist PC has become a real problem in stifling politics and academic inquiry, and now religion. The example of the Ministers in Australia is a good example. The Aussie Left has tried "protecting" Islam and homosexuality from criticism - but in doing so, have created a situation where "protection" of certain preferred groups butt up against the interests of "unprotected groups" like raped infidel women who dress too suggestively or Christian ministers who make a theological address saying "gayness is not good" in their Biblical interpretation.

Canada is having problems with PC codes, as even the Lefties are now getting ensnared as laws passed to "prevent criticism of nationalities" like, I suppose, Mexicans or Algerians...have been turned on Lefties up there who hate Bush and the USA. Some BC prof was dumfounded at being hoist on that petard as a criminal complaint was made following an anti-American speech she gave. And Canada is embroiled in "Homos are great, Homos are bad" controversies where freedom of religion is acknowledged to be threatened by PC. And Canada is wrestling with the old bar on Holocaust scholarship that diminishes the magnitude of the Holocaust rather than augments it. Can it be a crime to say "only 4.5 million were killed", as certain scholars believe...whereas saying 7 million were killed adds to the magnitude of the Holocaust and is thus acceptable?? And what if it is an Islamic leader that just says he questions the documents since the Koran teaches that Jews are deceivers? Does he have the religious right to say so?

IMO, the less infringements on free speech the better. I do think that two exceptions should exist other than the obvious "falsely yelling fire in crowded theaters, deceptive advertising, libel" exceptions. One is deliberately disturbing the public order and tranquility by verbal attacks or calls to violence that can reasonably be expected to provoke a response - like walking up to a black guy and calling him a nigger out of the blue or calls to bomb abortion clinics on "inciting riotous behavior" grounds. And add crude inappropriate language intended to demean a specific individual like calling a co-worker a whore, etc. Which disrupt a workplace and harm domestic tranquility...

The other exception is sedition, where for example the UK became so anal about protecting free speech on political expression it woke up one day after the tube bombings and asked "How did we and the lawyers ever determine is was OK to "tolerate intolerance" to the extent we have welcomed Islamoid Mullahs and Islamoid gang punks to call out for killing infidel Britons in their own country and elsewhere??"

Sedition, that parent of treason, is real, and we pretend that seditious people do not exist at our societal peril.

1/28/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Off-topic alert – the good guys are winning in Iraq.

But, strangely, you don't hear about it in the NYT or Google News. Isn't that strange?

1/28/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Not at all, tony.
Just be thankful that Mr Murtha and friends are such "dead enders".
If they had claimed that the US had WON and needed to withdraw, they'd have done much better.

The Dems proved, with that episode, that they are not smart enough to lead US.

1/28/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

"Sedition, that parent of treason, is real, and we pretend that seditious people do not exist at our societal peril."

Another example of transferrance. How many times have you heard someone prectice sedition and give as his justification that the "good Germans" in WWII did NOT practice sedition?

So sedition is a good thing here in the USA because it would have been a good thing in Nazi Germany.

Under this same reasoning, the devoted consumer of nothing but health food is "equilvalent" to the glutton who eats 4 boxes of twinkies for breakfast every day because both are to some degree obsessed with food.

1/28/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger THE said...

Speaker to Animals asks:

"Should we just scrap religion? Could we?"

My take on this is the following:

"When the hunter-gatherers of the Old Stone Age spread out across the planet, they put all their knowledge of the world together with their myths. From these two components, they constructed their overall world-view. This was what Joseph Campbell called, the Way of the Animal Powers. This was the era of Shamanism. Note how the best religion of the time was founded on the best knowledge of the time.

After the development of agriculture the first farmers created the first mythologies that drew on the vegetative cycles of the seasons. These were the ancient fertility cults. Not long afterwards, the calendar-makers discovered astronomy and the cycle of the heavens. This element too became incorporated into the body of myth. Hence we have the growth of astral religions, worshipping the heavenly powers. Once again, the best religion of the time was founded on the best knowledge of the time.

Then the deepest philosophers, in some cultures, started to suspect that there was a cosmic unity to nature, a single universal order. As this idea gained ground, polytheistic and polydaemonistic religions were replaced by cosmic hierarchies with a single, all-powerful creator-god. So yet again, the best knowledge of the age influenced the best religion of the age.

Can we see the point? This is the real answer to the question of what should be the proper relationship between science and religion. In every age, knowledge came first. In every age, religions incorporated the latest knowledge into the ever-growing synthesis of myth and religion. In the longer flow of history, there was never a conflict, because religion adapted and restructured itself. It repeatedly threw out its past concepts and invented new ones. It was knowledge that shaped religion, not the other way around."

The Tao of Science
Section 5 A Better Way?

1/28/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Everyone, even atheists, have a religion and have a god.

Type 'religion' into the following,

"A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion."

I'm far more worried about those who hate 'religion' while holding on to even more odd beliefs (images of Carter, Dean, Kerry, Kofi, Gore saving the world from America come to mind and worry me).

1/28/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

We won't scrap religion; we can't scrap religion, but we can keep it religion. There's a need in humans for dealing with issues that empirical observation and measurement can't tackle. There are areas of knowledge we will never "know" in the mathematical sense. That one of the outcomes of the Godel theorem.

What the West has done is replace Christianity, which by the beginning of the 20th century, was a religion with an all-encompassing belief system which was at once faith and science. I'm overstating the case, but the trend is there. Political correctness is becoming an established religion. When European heads of state describe themselves as defenders of the faith, they are not referring to themselves as defenders of Christianity but increasingly as the Sword of Political Correctness.

1/28/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Terrific article Wretchard, as usual providing plenty to discuss.

First order of business is an apology to desert rat. I apologize for getting personal it was uncalled for and only proved that I should pause before posting.

On another note, I do not believe that religions are created equal. Nor do I believe the war with the Islamofacists has anything to do with Christianity. However, we are definitely in a religious war. The best essay I have read describing the roots of this war can be found on American Digest. The First Terrorist War

Regards to President Bush it is amazingly simple to be branded a leftist BDS around the right wing blog world these days. Simply offer some criticism of his policies and you are instantly labeled as a leftist moonbat. I know because it happens to me far more often than I would have imagined possible. To say I am disappointed is a vast understatement since I have always believed that the strength of the right was our ability to look at our policies and offer honest criticism. Apparently the virulent left has won the battle in one area by making the right so reflexively pro Bush that no criticism can be offered even when valid. To offer any sort of criticism is to risk having to defend oneself against charges that you are Kos’s love child.

This obviously is a very bad state of affairs when so much of what President Bush has been doing of late should be open to debate. The fact that he perpetuates the fantasy of the religion of peace is only the most obvious mistake.

1/28/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Took me a while to remember what I was trying to say:
Look at how many times we all still link to some MSM source when we think it brings something worth knowing to bear.
(That ABC News Pakistan/Warizistan report comes to mind.)

How can we say they presently have no significant value?

1/28/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Pierre,
Searched last 4 threads for your offensive remarks toward 'Rat.
Found none.
Hate to miss a good Rat fight, esp when 'Rat gets his due.
Got link?

1/28/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika 8:24 AM,
Maybe she just had you and your brother fooled all these years? ;-)

1/28/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I never said they held no value. I recall posting some multi million dollar values a few weeks ago.

I said that they will begin to be by passed. As already occurs, but multiplied. As newer technologies become "News Blogs" or whatever it morphs into. The next generation, raised on the INet, will not pay homage to the Broadcast networks or old line Publishers.
One reason Knight-Ridder cannot find a decent PE Multiple offer, while Newspapers are still a very profitable business.

1/28/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I read each passage and was never offended, doug.
pierre is just a gentleman, unlike most rats and some Hawaiian Beachcombers.

1/28/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The next generation, raised on the INet, will not pay homage to the Broadcast networks or old line Publishers."
Or old books, education, religion & etc.
Some will be more informed than ever, many will descend further into the dark ages, judged by extrapolating present trends.
...but that never works, so hope springs eternal.
Who knows, maybe Paris Hilton is a Prophet?

1/28/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Moneyrunner said...

Wretchard: an outstanding essay. I have cited it at Regarding the comments: there is a set of sloppy thinking that equates all religions. Christianity = Islam = Religion, therefore since Islam is violent, the answer to violence is to ban religion.

I say slopping thinking, but I suspect it’s really not. It’s probably the hobby horse of an individual who has a beef with Christianity. And having found a religion that is really violent today, it’s used as a convenient club to bash people of faith.

I frankly can’t remember the time that I have been afraid of Presbyterians. Even the high profile Pat Robertson, the poster child of politically incorrect Christianity, is not leading his “500 Club” membership in pogroms against unbelievers.

How about this equivalence. US Government = the Third Reich = All Government. Let’s have speaks-to-animals discussion if governments should be abolished.

If this strikes you as infantile, so do I. Think about it before posing another infantile proposal.

1/28/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

Much progress is made daily in reducing human populations. And it certainly appears to be generally accepted thinking judging by the way discussion of it and its consequences are avoided.

Am I blaspheming by challenging fears of overpopulation? I tried again on Friday.

Do you not see how it threatens everything you appear to defend Wretchard? If there are too many people on the planet, then the very definition of innocence changes radically. The paradigm shift it asserts upon society makes a horror of Locke's definition of the social contract.

Under such a system every truth is subject to being tossed down the memory hole, every truthteller sent to room 101 for expediency.

1/28/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Pierre Legrand,

I am not confident we can avoid partisanship any more than one can avoid hooking up with allies in a barfight. Survival requires it.

Both Marxism and Islam are churches militant. Sometimes you have to stand fast against the encroacher purely for the sake of it. In my twenties I remember moving to a new town where I was asked, by some local thugs, if they could have an article of clothing which they fancied. It was essentially worthless but I said no and was prepared to keep saying no even if it meant a fight, because to say 'yes' to a certain kind of person means having to say 'yes' over and over again.

1/28/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Can't one be adamantly against abortion and still worry about populations in some cultures that double in 3 generations?

1/28/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

Whit at comment #1:

Supernatural forces are unnecessary. Have you ever read C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man, a compendium of 3 lectures that was published in 1943?

He saw the undermining of the West in how teachers were being taught to teach in the 1930s. The closing lines of the first lecture, Men Without Chests, says so very much: "In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

Man devoid of that which ties together his head and his gut becomes those demons to which you refer.

1/28/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

In the immortal words of Liberal Larry:

You conservatives are so damn judgmental! Remember what Jesus said: Get off your high horse and remove the mustard seed from thine own eye before casting stones at my glass house!


1/28/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

In re. Speaker to Animal's rant concerning the superiority of Science over religion: in my experience they are both products of the human social animal and susceptible to the same social human frailties. Scientists believe that Science can perfect man. Traditional Religion believes that it can perfect man. Neither has succeeded to date - (present company excluded for purposes of this discussion.) How does this relate to the original post?

1/28/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We just wanted to out any of
The Perfect Ones
Hiding in the closet.

1/28/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

First of all Doug, where is it written that a trend must be repeated forever?

The fear of whatif is not the If of which Kipling approved -- was it Wretchard?

Secondly, what cultures are you most worried about and why? There may be a solution in keeping with our principles.

1/28/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

All I can say is long live Marylyn Monroe--I loved her movies

1/28/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

And Tina Turner and Rita Hayworth too--wow

1/28/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Out the perfect ones hiding in the closet?

Hmm,.. may I suggest you check under the skirts of Helen Thomas, Janet Reno, Madeline Albright, Teresa Heinz Kerry?

1/28/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I simply think we pay a high price for ever increasing population densities.
Would you like to live in a world as densely populated as LA that stretched on forever?
In my lifetime our population has doubled.
Any number of nations have populations that I think are beyond optimal for the good of the people living there.
I find many of God's works of nature more nurturing to body and soul than many works of man on this earth.

1/28/2006 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Get down with Reno!
Did you catch her performance?
Don't knock Teraaaza, she might take it out on poor old JFK2.

1/28/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

No, but I did catch gorgeous George Galloway bent over an oil drum. Too late to add him to da list?

1/28/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Up to 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year in China, many killed slowly and cruelly to supposedly enhance the meat's flavour, according to animal rights groups."
Sure hope Google doesn't let that get in the database.

1/28/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Was he in a Kilt?

1/28/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger PaulPsy said...

you can laugh, cry, or check your guns and ammo supply.

1/28/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Your Opera Glasses Post disappeared.

1/28/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...


Simply, eh? Well, you did simply ignore my "where is it written?" response. That's the point of fear Doug.

Just as others have, and will continue, to ignore the challenge of this dilemma: face down the fear or betray their principles. You are not alone.

You retreated to your preferred position. Secure in your redoubt (with C-4 there beside you) that somehow man's success is the one thing God didn't foresee. Now there's the "Duh!" of all time, right? We are somehow less than "many [other] of God's works of nature," rather than the one achievement capable of appreciating all He did.

Thank you Doug. This is the precisely the kind of misanthropic madless that makes a mockery of all that America was founded upon.

BTW, that one Startrek episode which conforms to your fears had a rather grim counterpart that Roddenbury also wrote. I somehow doubt you understood the message of the two episodes combined.

1/28/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"that somehow man's success is the one thing God didn't foresee"
What if one has a different definition of "man's success."
...and you did not answer my query about living in a world of eternal LA Scapes.

1/28/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've never seen a single episode of Startrek, so cannot comment.

1/28/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In case you're interested, Videoblogging . I'd guess it's too elementary for da 'Rat.

1/28/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"We are somehow less than "many [other] of God's works of nature,"
Where did I say that?
I said many of man's works are.

1/28/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

You are actually going to make me rephrase my answer which did rhetorically answer your question even before you asked it? You been in there too long with C-4 or something? j/k (I hope.)

There must be some who here who know the two stand-alone Star Trek episodes to which I refer. Okay. So change my comment from "understood" to "would understand." And I'll repeat for emphasis, sadly, you have company in your viewpoint; much too much company (See, there is something you and I can agree on.:))

1/28/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Pascal said...

I inferred it. I isn't much of a stretch.

1/28/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Back on point: I really asked a dear friend of mine, a brilliant mind and fellow barefoot snow walker when we were teens, what he meant when he recently told me he is an atheist.

I asked if this is what he meant: "Atheism is the rule of “shit happens” and everything that exists is just random events that happened to turn out as this complicated mess we perceive as Reality. That when we are born, some chemicals, germs and nucleic acids happened to clump together in the form of each one of us. And that when we die, the lights go out, period."

My dear friend affirmed this is exactly what he thinks.

I'm saddened, so I peck away.

But all cultures have believed in God, all of man's history is full of religion... did the Age of Reason render all former civilizations dumb?

But the finest product of the Age of Reason, Science, has found ever finer reasons for why the world is as it is, and discovered formerly hidden orders and forces. And even Einstein believed in God.

I finally blurt out that before Newton, Gravity was a mystery. Up to now, for Science, God is a mystery.

Eventually I confess. I'd rather live as if there is a God, and if there is none, it's still more fun.

My friend the atheist says if there is a God when he shows up at the Pearly Gates, he's not going to get kicked out for not believing.

That's not the point.

If Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, how in hell would our own souls be the one thing that blinks out without leaving a trace?

O wait, this IS off topic, isn't it?

1/28/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...


Certainly partisanship will always rule in normal times but its disappointing to find that when we face what I believe to be an existential threat it continues to color our response. Comprimise and the regular give and take of our government is fine when we are talking about Social Security but when your house is on fire it seems to me that we must rise above the squabbles and find the most direct route out of the house.

I realize that is too much to hope for but hoping does no harm as long as one doesn't waste time waiting for the impossible.

What we must hope for though is our side never stops questioning where we are in any given moment during this war. Truly I believe that President Bush is one of the best Presidents of recent memory and I thank god every single day for his election. That does not mean though that I believe everything he is doing in this war is correct. I wish to reserve my right to speak out against the wrong without the burden of reestablishing my credentials as a supporter of his each time I offer a dissent. To me President Bush has always been far more vulnerable to attack from the "right side" of the equation than the left. And yet because of the rights preoccupation with the left any criticism of President Bush is not studied for its merits it is merely dismissed as the more attacks from the left. Seems like without a valid opposition party we are at risk of becoming flacid in the response to threats. Witness the travesty of the release of Robert Stethem's murderer who gained freedom without even a whimper of protest from the Bush administration...How do knee Jerk Defenders of President Bush answer this powerful letter? Part 2

Self doubt is not a bad thing in this war. The enemy is clever and we underestimate his capacity for innovation and cruelness at our families peril. I am not willing to underestimate anything about this war.

Thank you so much for having comments on your blog and for allowing dissent. I wish others would see the value of open discourse.

1/28/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Moneyrunner is spot on. The infantile moral equivalency that equates all religions is the sort of bovine ignorance that one expects to find exclusively on the Left. Islam does not equal Christianity. Christianity springs from an entirely different wellspring than does Islam. The former from the teachings of Jesus Christ - a peacemaker, and the latter from the ravings of a lunatic warmonger - Mohammed.

The two "religions" are practiced entirely differently. Their adherents have entirely different animating forces. Have some Christians been sinful and deviated from the teachings of their Church? Of course. But when they have done so it is not with the imprimatur of their Church. OTOH, Muslims commit gastly crimes not only with the approval of their religion, but at the explicit direction of their religion and holy books.

No, all religions are not remotely equal and the say so is to succumb to the sort of mind-numbing multicultural PC nonsense that renders rational analysis impossible.

1/28/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...


There are a lot of people out there who are well educated, but their cosmologies are slightly behind where physics, astrophysics, and mathematics now are. They cannot imagine that random events simply cannot create laws, because they look at life and all that exists as simply finer particles of matter. They truly have not integrated the laws of thermodynamics into their epistemological paradigms. Typically, these people are in the biological sciences, where cataloging discreet observable to the senses events are what are focussed upon. However, pondering the the processes and the laws which govern them are less important.

Your friend's philosophy is "shit happens" and that's all there is. That is a most cynical and pessimistic outlook. How is it that a different person can also take note of the bad things that happen, but also notice the wonderous and the good AND TAKE CONSOLATION FROM THAT?

The problem for many atheists is that the more dramatic Deus ex Machina of a more naive period was found wanting in the face of a reality that seemed to lack this more direct Hand. What if the agency of this Deus ex Machina is far more subtle while being startlingly omniprescent, and needs to work through us for this "agency" and love to work? And why is it that people like me, for example, are attuned to this very subtle Creator working in a far more subtle way, while some people are not and probably would need to be belted over the head with a hammer in order to notice it?

The topic of the thread has been fascinating, with all of its twists and turns. I just want to add my $.02 worth. Our Western societies need to do a serious examination of what ails us when we erect protections for Islam to shield it from fair criticism and questioning, and yet it is a free-for-all to savage and trash our Christian and Jewish traditions. We do indeed savage them, and there is no penalty for that. Legions of lawyers, academicians, politicians, judges, journalists, etc., all fall over one another to defend a nasty, brutish death cult, yet spare no amount of fake rectitude when damning the very traditions which give us the moral courage to resist tyranny.

1/28/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

Assume for the sake of argument that our ambassador to Germany delivered a stern note regarding Robert Stethem to his counterpart in the German government - is it a given from a diplomatic point of veiw that the general public in either country needs be aware of this? Is it possible that sometimes good things happen and for excellent reasons nobody takes credit or leaks it to the press? What if the cynics are wrong? What if good intentions also pave the road OUT of hell?

1/28/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

dave h said @ 8:48:
"That said, it seems that in some malicious fashion, the enemy has managed to seize the lever's of power and persecution of Christian's is quite acceptable in many places while mere criticism of Islam is not."

Paul told early followers of The Way they would be persecuted as was their Lord. What does that tell us about the state of the world?

Whit said @ 5:53:
"It certainly appears to me that the west is under a virulent, sustained and even supernatural assault. I say "supernatural" because I don't know how the moral pillars of Western Civilization could have been undermined in such a short period of time (since WWII)without a supernatural force."

Rev 12:12 "....but terror will come on the earth and sea for the devil has come down to you in great anger and he knows that he has little time".

1/28/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

More Video Info:
Video Stars

About the Brothers and their Creations

1/28/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pascal 7:46 PM,
Just Wrong.

1/28/2006 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"while some people are not and probably would need to be belted over the head with a hammer in order to notice it?"
Laura Schlesinger attributes it to parental issues.
One thing that comes to mind for me about you is that I'd guess your educational experience was vastly different than the average public school graduate. True?

1/28/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Good point:
Bubba and Jimmah could make us forget that we have had emotionally mature, responsible presidents at other times.

1/28/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Kefauver Hearings were a real turning point in American Politics.

1/28/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." This is germane to the original post.
However, there was a time in my life when I took an oath and signed a document stating the I would not reveal certain information that the United States government felt should be kept secret. There were many other people in the same boat, and the vast majority of us valued our honor and kept the faith. Who thinks that "freedom of speech" excuses treason?
John Coltrane said, "It's not the notes you play, it's the notes you don't play and the space in between". Just because you have the right to engage in inflamatory rhetoric does not mean that you have the obligation to do so or freedom from the consequences thereof.
Many of the sinners and hypocrites in mosque, church and synagogue are there because they sense that is a good place to combat their sin and hypocricy. Others are there for less noble reasons. Most of my experience is with Christianity, and there is plenty of self-righteousness and sanctimony to be found there, but Christians certainly don't have a corner on the market, now do they?

1/28/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Typically, these people are in the biological sciences, where cataloging discreet observable to the senses events are what are focussed upon."
Points to how much bad science is considered science in these pop-culture times.
One course taught at UC in the old days had the entire semester taken up studying 1 square foot of earth up in the hills.
Discrete in a sense, perhaps, but it's effect on me was far different than the negative effects you are refering to.

1/28/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

For sure I understand that sometimes diplomacy works and we might never see the mechanism. In this case though the mechanism should have been transparent simply because the most important part of the equation was showing the families and servicemen that this Government honors its promises and respects their service above trivial Diplomatic relations. In other words stepping on Germany's toes to make a point of backing up our servicemen and women was a fair tradeoff.

Assume for the sake of argument that our ambassador to Germany delivered a stern note regarding Robert Stethem to his counterpart in the German government - is it a given from a diplomatic point of veiw that the general public in either country needs be aware of this?

We need to step up and stop worrying so much about being cute and diplomatic. Its more important to win than to appear to be stylish...and we will not win if we lose the faith of our marvelous servicemen and women.

When I was competing in Judo we had lots of people who were marvelous at technique and very studious at the traditions...they simply didnt win because they forgot what was important. Attack, attack attack...and when you are finished attacking...attack some more. All the rest of it is preparation for attacking. To attack we need the faith of our service men and women and the backing of their families. To allow one of them to be mistreated and murdered then to allow his murderer to breath air for more than 12 hours after his release is insulting to all those people we must never insult. Those that protect us and the very politicians who believe its more important to protect a worthless ally than a soldier.

1/28/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

"Laura Schlesinger attributes it to parental issues.
One thing that comes to mind for me about you is that I'd guess your educational experience was vastly different than the average public school graduate. True?"


As you know from my past revelations of my background, I was in Catholic schools from grades 1-12. I have an M.A. in Philosophy from Loyola of Chicago when I was a Jesuit seminarian and my M.B.A. in Finance is from Boston College. I guess I've had enough of a Catholic education.

Seriously, I think that I was always primed to reflect deeply on matters and always had that optimistic Thomism so characteristic of Roman Catholics exposed to Aquinas and Aristotle. Plus, I have a mystical bent which, when mated with my curiosity about the physical, as opposed to the biological sciences, lends itself to understanding that God acts very, very subtlely. I have had my moments of contemplation when for fleeting moments I had experienced a startling integration of what my heart was understanding and what my mind was comprehending. For me, Love is what holds the Cosmos together and gives it purpose, despite the conflict, death, and chaos that also exist. If everything were just decay and chaos, there could not be any laws holding it all together and entropy would overcome everything.

Nor is it a more subtle appreciation of science that matters. Anyone who really gets involved in good literature and art understands the slyness of symbol and the depth it reveals and also hides.

It's called having a sense of the multidimensionality of being.

1/28/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I believe in god, but I am not sure that I believe god is any more that
everything that is, everything that was, and
everything that will ever be. There are 6 billion
people on this planet as we speak , 6 billion people that probably will all be
dead 100 years from now. We cast our earthly bonds and become one with God when
we die. But being part of billions does not bear individualism. Everything that
is our being, our ego is of this earth, is of our corporal existence. We will
lose this, we will lose ourselves in effect and become God. What
need does heaven have for less than extraordinary souls? Egotism might lead one
to believe that we are needed as an individual point of perception but as much
as I believe in and love God, as much as I think God loves me, it is my belief
that if God has a plan for me it is in the here and now. I am but an instant, an
atom in God's torrent. I will go where God goes. But with the matter that is me,
goes my sight, goes my hearing, goes my touch,
and all that I have remembered.

As far as the earth being over-populated. I think that the greatest danger is
the world would be over-populated by @ssholes. It bothers me that the cultures
of science and reason will rationalize their own extinction and the ignorant
masses whose stupidity and bestial violence will re-populate the world and make
it in their own image. But I don't think God cares. What is a whisper of gas
though the ages of time but a breath of Brahma?

I believe in God. I do no visualize God in long robes like a Michelangelo
fresco. I don't see the God of Abraham being a pissy, spiteful god, constantly
smiting and smote'ing this and that person because little sisters impropriety
demanded his vengeance. I don't think God animates men to kill in his name. I
think God is the supreme inspiration of all that is right and beautiful. Am I
Gnostic? I don't know. I once pleaded with God to reveal to me His divine
presence. I had a dream that night that I was visited by one of God's emissaries.
He had a message from God and God spoke through him; "I am! and don't
make me remind you again!"
I awoke to crashing thunder that sounded
like it was in my room. The earth shook violently. I asked everyone I could the
next day they felt the earthquake. Unanimously, no one felt the earthquake but

1/28/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"When we had the capacity, politically in the US, to drive to Damascus, we demurred. The window closed, the Baathists in Syria continue to support the Insurrection in Iraq."

- Desert Rat

This reminds me of the remarks of Anthony Cordesman in a presentation given last summer at CSIS, shortly after his return from Iraq. Cordesman went at the behest of State and DoD and had virtually unlimited access during his 2-week visit.

Cordesman said in response to a question regarding when he thought the insurgency would be defeated, that it never was and never will be the plan to defeat the insurgency, to "break the back" of the inusrgency, but rather to contain it, and that anyone who says differently is either lying or mistaken. (That would include an awful lot of people.) Cordesman was so plain and unequivocal that it's difficult not to credit his assertion.

I asked (not Mr. Cordesman) whether the insurgency would end without going into Syria and was told, No, probably not.
This from the same person who, just before the elections in Iraq last January, correctly outlined the shift in posture and operations that has taken place since, calling it "the back door exit".

I began this war thinking in terms of "winning" and "losing." I stopped thinking that way some time ago.

1/28/2006 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

This past August my wife and I were on the Big Island of Hawai'i and we decided to do the tour up to the Observatories at Mona Kea and afterwards, after sunset, we were taken down to the Visitor Center for a couple of hours with the astronomers and physicists who were were manning the large refractor telescopes. Besides observing heavenly objects through the telescopes and with our naked eyes (and what an incredible night sky it was)two of the more learned guides had some interesting discussions with my wife and I. None of them were atheists and none knew anyone in their fields who had studied fairly recently were. All had read Stephen Hawking's work. We had some great discussion about the meaning of time and of the ridiculously tiny mathematical probability that "all of this" is simply the result of a random occurence.

1/28/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

On our mountain here, much of the telescope work is of a more prosaic kind.
(but very important in these times)
High speed tracking of man-made objects.
Our son had to take time from his usual security work with computer code to scan security videos for four hours.
Seems someone had been stealing the toilet paper!
I would have thought when they have the world's fastest large tracking scope, they might have come up with some system that would flag the tapes at the times there were movements in the field, but what do I know?
Have you ever been to the top of Haleakala?
When our son was about 6 we were up there when there was a good 8 inches of snow on the ground!
Quite beautiful, and a very clear view of the two large mountains on the big Island.

1/28/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tell me how you put the possibility of losing out of your mind.
I'll pay.

1/28/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

In terms of Church history, there has been more than one "great" schism. The one that concerns me here is the one between faith and science. For much of Church history the concern was to nurture Truth in all its manifold forms. About the time of the crusades, Greek philosphy re-entered the intellectual life of the Church (thanks be to Allah) and the Theological orders and the academic orders decreed a urinary olympics.
When people analyze, here are two of the primary activities they pursue: 1. Figure out what makes everything different; 2. Figure out what makes everything the same. Some people think that one of these approaches is right and the other one is wrong. Is it possible that there is a calculus of human thought that requires both differentiation and integration for a working system?
Maybe the next big step in our evolution will be the reconciliation of science and religion.

1/28/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Nor is it a more subtle appreciation of science that matters."
I would still maintain that bad "Science" gets in the way of understanding for many.
...and leads to some folks disparaging All Science.

1/28/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

It would be remarkable if everyone had the same sense of the divine. Not everyone has the same intellectual capacity, and some can see further into both ends of the visible spectrum than others. So how do you know that you are having the same vision as your brother when you see the light?

1/28/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

If a sparrow falls, and nobody sees, is that disparaging?

1/28/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I had a feeling, after I posted that, Doug, that you would ask.

Let me put it another way: Losing, or not winning, is pretty damned unappetizing. Depressing and demoralizing. But once you realize that the Plan isn't to win - not in any way that you normally grasp, anyhow - then you don't have to see it as failure, but as fulfillment of the Plan.

Make sense?

1/28/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sure, but it doesn't help, does it?

1/28/2006 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Well, it doesn't help win. That's certain.

1/28/2006 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger Porkov said...

Pierre said at 9:49 - ...the most important part of the equation was showing the families and servicemen that this Government honors its promises and respects their service above trivial Diplomatic relations.
Most of the servicemen & women I know realize that war is diplomacy by other means. Perhaps my perspective was warped by the attitude of the public during my service during the 1960s. To this day it embarasses me when anyone makes a fuss about my service. It's great that people who care enough to serve today are respected, but they are not all heroes. Some of them don't get the opportunity, and some of them are more prone to discretion than to valor. Just like in every war we have ever fought.

1/28/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In the spirit of Trish and I removing all doubt, and knowing it's probably not really necessary in either case, I should have written:

"Nor is it a more subtle appreciation of science that matters."
*I agree,* but I would still maintain that at another level bad "Science" gets in the way of understanding for many.
...and leads to some folks disparaging All Science.

10:35 PM

1/28/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Stetham family is a special case.
They are all heros of the first order.
You can read about them at Michael Yon's place.

1/28/2006 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Lunar New Year UnGoogled c. Doug Inc.

1/29/2006 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Porkov said...

Thank you for directing me to Yon's place. We could take the 70,000 troops we have in Germany and send them to Lebanon and the equation would be balanced.

1/29/2006 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

More than welcome.
Amazing family, amazing website.

1/29/2006 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Be sure not to miss Michael Yon : Online Magazine » Blog Archive » Gates of Fire and if you think you might not want to read the whole thing, search down for:
"Kurilla spotted three men in a black Opel"
To see what it's about, and when you have time I have no doubt you'll read the whole thing.
When you hear 'Rat spitting and sputtering, just remember all that action, chaos, and injury was visited on Deuce Four by our catch and release policy.

1/29/2006 01:37:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Michael Yon makes so much of a mockery of what so many journalists idea of journalism is and is not.
Thank you for directing me to Yon's place. We could take the 70,000 troops we have in Germany and send them to Lebanon and the equation would be balanced.

There was a few recomendations made by Robert Stehem's big brother that I would think hit the mark of supporting our troops without the need to invade Germany or Lebannon. Though we may have other reasons for doing so that I could agree to...heh. Here is Ken Stethem's idea:

While military operations might be able to capture and return these four individuals, it would be at great risk to our men and women. And although I am quite certain that there would be many brave volunteers for a mission of this type, and that the military plays a pivotal role in the War on Terrorism, the military must not fight this war alone. It is strong leadership and true statesmanship that is required in this circumstance, and you are the key player. You are the leader of our great nation and the free world. You alone can make a defining decision at this moment in the War on Terrorism. Rather than facing Iran, the Mother of all Radical Islamic Terrorist Groups, head on . . . . it would be much better to fight them as they fight us, locally, nationally, regionally and then globally.

My family urges you to force Lebanon to make a decision in this War on Terror. Lebanon is ” . . . either with us in this War on Terrorism, or they are against us.” Let them choose. If they do not give us these four terrorist (these four make up over 30% of the terrorists on the FBI’s Most Wanted List of Terrorists) then they will qualify themselves to become members on the list of State Sponsored Terrorist Nations. It is that simple. Let them make the tough political decisions, as our Founding Father did. That is how character is built and revealed. They and their posterity will either benefit or be cursed by their decision(s). But by providing Lebanon with $40 million dollars in U.S. aid while allowing them to harbor indicted terrorists and also a recognized terrorist group (Hezabollah), your actions truly conflict with the National Strategy for Counter-Terrorism and is also an act of political cowardice as well. And while this might not be an easy political decision for you, I trust that you will take comfort in the truth as it was written long ago, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and women.

1/29/2006 04:49:00 AM  
Blogger Porkov said...

Balancing the equation is probably not the solution to this problem or many others. I sometimes find it difficult to resist being facetious. With a lot of press over a few people recommending an immediate withdrawal or a fixed exit strategy, I regret that I have fixated on the cute and clever trope that we're still in Japan and Germany and nobody is clamoring for an exit strategy from those countries. The last thing Lebanon needs at this time is another occupation or more conspicuous foreign bullying.
I do believe that the best diplomacy is quiet diplomacy. If it gets into the press, somebody has failed to do their job. I pray that the Stethem family finds justice and that it doesn't have a draconian foreign policy cost.

1/29/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...


Back in late August and early September of 1993, on our first trip to O'ahu and Maui my wife and I did drive up to Haleakala on a brilliant sunny day. And what a sight it was to peer into the crater! We were again in Maui in late April, early May of 2002, but it rained off and on the entire time we were there (there was a big low pressure system sitting over the islands, which I am told does happen from time to time)and so did not go up to Haleakala again, but tended to stay closer to Lahaina and to our resort on Ka'anapali. We did try to drive to Hana, but the winding road made my wife very green with motion sickness so we had to turn around.

I believe you may be right about how science is taught. I still want to know why, among people who teach and do science, that there is this divide of sorts between the biological sciences and the physical sciences on the matter of atheism and theism. Why do the atheists tend to be clustered more in biology and chemistry and the theists tend to be more clustered in physics and astrophysics? I am truly curious about this. Could it be that the paradigm shift has occured sooner in the physical sciences, where cosmology is more de rigeur? What gives?

Getting back on topic... I think the reason why, as a Roman Catholic Christian, I am so hostile towards Islam is because of the fact that the underlaying values and principles of the two belief systems are so antithetical. For me, the most important qualities and values of life are love, freedom, compassion, truth, inquiry, celebration, mercy, and beauty. As I have read the Qur'an, commentaries on ahadith, a couple of biographical works about the life of Muhammed, and I am currently working on Andrew G. Bostom's history/compendium of Jihad, I am convinced that I am faced with something ineluctably evil. It runs counter to everything I believe in about God and about humanity, and therefore a considerable danger to the human race, aside from its ideological manifestations.

Why on earth our "intellectual" and legal elites so want to create space for this death cult and to protect it from fair and constructive criticism is absolutely astounding. It has to be one of the most perverted phenomenon of our times. Again, I keep coming back to the fact that my tradition seems to be fair game for both fair criticism and carricature and slander. We can take fair critique, because it has a cleansing effect upon the churches. However, why a similar service is considered off limits when it comes to Islam is an intellectual perversion.

1/29/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Better cancel your subscription to the resurrection.

1/29/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dostoevsky's reply to the Utilitarian Rationalists is found in Notes from Underground. Dostoevsky asks if man by his very nature is at all compatible with this utopian ideal.


Free Will, may, or may not, be exercised in harmony with reason, but it can not be included in the system of Utilitarian Determinism, the system of the "lovers of humanity". Because Free Will makes forever impossible the dream of transforming human nature to desire only the “good” and “rational”.

Dostoevsky grants the fact that “man likes to create and build roads,” that man wants to occupy himself with useful and productive activities, but he denies that mankind is longing to achieve the static state of the “Crystal Palace”, a utopian ideal, which would mean the end of further striving, aspiration, the end of history, hope, free will.

“There it is, gentleman, does it not seem that something really exists that is dearer to almost every man than his greatest advantage, or (not to violate logic) that there is one most advantageous advantage for which, if necessary, a man is ready to go against all laws, that is, against reason, honor, peace, prosperity -- in short, against all those wonderful and useful things if only he can attain that fundamental, most advantageous advantage dearer to him than everything else?”

“May it not be that he so loves chaos and destruction (surely this is incontestable), because he instinctively fears to attain his goal and to complete the edifice under construction.” So that even if the world of the “crystal palace” really existed, “even if man really were nothing but a piano key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics - he will devise destruction and chaos, will devise suffering of all sorts, and will insist on getting his way!” And, if this suffering and chaos could be calculated and tabulated in advance, then man would purposely go mad to be rid of reason and to insist on getting his way.

Islam is essentially a nihilist ideology, but its basic goal is the same as that of Judaism and Christianity. Where Judaism and Christianity try and build toward the Utopian Ideal of “Gan Eden”, Islam tries and teardown towards that Utopian Ideal. But that is irrelevant to the point. And whether this Utopia, this Garden of Eden, is centered on a god or a godless universe, is also irrelevant.

1/29/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Nice post, Mika.

The nature of the religions in the context of this thread vary almost diametrically. Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, directs us to peace among men, human rights over totalitarianism, and clear separation from worldly government powers. Today's fanatic Islamism is opposite on all three points.

The other difference, one of the themes here, is that it is fine and dandy to blaspheme Christianity, or even to enforce laws, such as Roe v. Wade,in specific antagonism to Church teachings. We've seen examples in Islamism where blasphemers are sentenced to death just for their words. And now, it appears the Western media and politicians are accepting this odd imbalance as normal, as just another point of view we should consider as valid as our own.

Fred - Agreed, that's why I use physics as an example to help my friend imagine God. And also agreed, that biology, specifically evolutionary theory, have led a lot of smart people to imagine that things all just rolled together into this big blue ball we call Life. Physics doesn't lead to that easy conclusion, it leads to infinite wonder, and a breathless amazement at the acceleration of man's understanding of the world.

If we've learned this much in the past couple of hundred years, what will we come to understand in the future? The history of science is the advance of Reason into what was previously only Mystical.

1/29/2006 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger fred said...


There are plenty of people in this world who do not believe in the reality of something you cannot see, taste, touch, hear, or measure. They vary from very educated, sophisticated individuals to the very simple. They all have in common a predisposition to not trust ANYTHING that can be reduced to a mental construct. Yet, when I talk with such people inevitably, even though they cannot verify these things according to the above criteria, they do believe in the reality of gravity and the laws of physics. They even trust the workings of mathematical equations. Yet, when it comes to logical, reasonable thought about "all of this" being the unfolding, over time in an evolutionary way and according to some Plan, of the agency of a Creator they balk.

One of the things I had to do with myself, at a time in my life when I too had deep, dark doubts, was to ask myself "What precipitated this experience of doubt and what is the thought process which attends it?" For me, it was the disappointment at discovering that Bad Things Happen to Good People and its corollary. In effect, what happened was that an older, more childish understanding of God had crashed and burned. Born of disappointment and pain. I could at least admit it to myself that this was the real source of my intellectual forays into atheism. Once I had that groundswell of disappointment, anger, and fear I then began to search for ways to justify my belief that God could not exist. I went looking for ideas to latch on to which would bolster my current worldview and cosmology. The problem with that was, after spending a few years entertaining the ramifications of this flat, one-dimensional reality, born out of a childish disappointment, the world described by this nihilism was a shallow one indeed. The richness of my inner life AND the things I was learning from a survey course in physics shook me out of my funk. Plus, I was also putting together within my mind the very suspicion of subtlety operative in the universe and in history. I also recovered that sneaking suspicion from my adolescence that the the hyper-supernaturalistic interpretations of God and God's agency were simplistic and really made for children, not an adult faith.

I stayed the course and re-worked my faith out of this growing experience. I did not jettison my tradition, but forced myself to follow this seduction down another road. Most atheists I know have not completed this journey. Emotionally, for whatever reason, they remain stuck at stage one and seem perfectly content with it. For me, stage one was a morose experience, however liberating it was of the earlier childish understanding of God.

Actually, I am not at all uncomfortable with atheists, as I have them in my own family and among my in-laws. It doesn't make them bad people at all. Not at all.

It does, however, beg the question why one stops searching and is content to just leave it at that. Why was that not the case for me? Almost always, when I talk with them, I find bright people who seem drained of a sense of wonder or a sense of depth to everything. It isn't that they are necessarily unhappy people. But something is missing.

1/29/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

As is so often the case, Mika, Americans find a shortcut around ancient verities.
Your post reminds me of the Chinese Proverb:
"House Finished, Man Dies"
Americans have morphed that into
"House Finished Man Divorces"

Fred, no time right now, will respond later. Also to ask about your post re Hamas a few days ago.

1/29/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

LOL! Well, it is the year of the dog.

1/29/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Doug, 7:10 PM

That is not important. What is important, today we are at war with Eurasia.

1/29/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Where did Imannuel Goldstein disappear to?

1/29/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wiki: Mereological nihilism (also called compositional nihilism, or what some philosophers just call nihilism) is the position that objects with parts do not exist (not only objects in space, but also objects existing in time do not have any temporal parts, and thus only exist in the present moment), and only basic building blocks without parts exist (e.g., electrons, quarks), and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with parts is a product of human misperception (if we could see clearly, we'd not see compositive objects).

1/29/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Yeah Mika,

We'd see straight through Yin and Yang, we'd see the Tao.

And it would be cool, man.

Writin' poetry on bits of bark, letting it go in the mountain stream.

1/29/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Peter: What is the truth?
KCC: The truth?
Peter: You say that all our training is really a search for the truth.
KCC: Yes. Yet the truth of the Tao cannot be known or touched or described.
Peter: But then how will I know when I have found the truth? How do we even know that it exists?
KCC: On a summer day, do you not feel the warmth of the sun upon your skin?
Peter: Yes.
KCC: Then is it necessary to look at the sun, in order to know that it is shining?
Peter: I couldn’t anyway. It is too bright to look at for more than a second.
KCC: Then is it not better to be content with the sun’s warmth, than to be blinded by its light? What we seek cannot be gazed upon. Look too hard for the truth and you would be blinded by the truth as well.
Peter: Then how will I find the truth?
KCC: Be patient and it will find you.

Done that!


1/29/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Now don't tell me your soul hasn't left your body after this, and that you haven't achieved a higher consciousness. :D

1/29/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Don't you mean ...
Ah so.

1/29/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger downtowndubai said...

a people stuck on stupid-

1/29/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Immanuel Goldstein said...

mika. said...:
“Where did Imannuel Goldstein disappear to?”
12:35 PM

To the shady netherworlds, busy making my small contribution to that old timeless and relentless plot to run the world to the ground. I do get some time-off from time to time though.

Few short comments on the fly:

Not only do we loathe the Gan 'Eden, we feel repulsion to anything reminescent of it. With hindsight, I can tell it's no surprise the very first generations to experience such abundance of peace, proserity, and personal freedom, that is: those born in the West after 1945, are so keen to rebel (right and left indiscriminately), not against some real persecution or distress but against the very manna they enjoy.

Your mentioning Dostoevsky's diatribe against utilitarian determinism reminded me of an old friend, also a zealot for free-will, a biologist and an physicist, and unlikely disciple to both the RAMBA"M and the AR"I.

Humanity has experienced the ability to bring devastation evocative of the most imaginative mythologies, and to make changes undreamt of (even by the most inspired fools and prophets, and the most hopelessly stoned science-fiction writers) in our living conditions, and yet still unable to find definitive answers to our age-old questions, that is our very inability to possess truth.
So once again we are tempted by all things mediaeval. Nothing new, it's all so early nineteen-hundred-ish.

The exercise of our ability to reason along with our free-will, is that heavy burden of liberty of which one often wishes to liberate oneself, and many takers are all too happy to oblige.

And given that you have now “found truth” you now know why so many people around say “it's the end of Gondor as we know it”.

As the saying goes: “we got over Pharoah…, etc.”

1/29/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"So once again we are tempted by all things mediaeval. Nothing new,.."

See: RAMBA"M and the AR"I.

1/30/2006 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger George Broderick said...

Wow the title of the piece grabbed me: "On re-reading William Manchester's 'Alone'". Manchester quotes a poem from Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome" in the title pages that Churchill memorized at ate thirteen.

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon the earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his gods?"

2/04/2006 11:35:00 AM  

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