Friday, April 07, 2006

Miscellaneous

The WSJ carried an editorial arguing that Islam is both a religious and a political doctrine, whose ultimate goal is to create an Islamic caliphate or umma. And while I disagree with some of the interpretation in it (for example "fighting and raiding" aren't "sources of livelihood' but merely ways to take what someone else produced) and the implication that "true" devotion to religion would be desirable, it is refreshing to see a major publication clearly state the goals and intent of Islamists worldwide.

Nick points out that South Park is doing a two part show on the Cartoons. Michelle Malkin also has coverage.

Grant Jones blogs on the Objectivist Club of NYU which has published an editorial correcting several reporting errors on their free speech event.

Gus Van Horn makes some good points regarding the WTC site and rebuilding on it. I particularly liked this passage:
The solution to this dilemma involves no "government-business-real estate coalition". It involves our government doing what it is supposed to do and butting out of what it isn't supposed to do. You, Uncle Sam, guard the perimeter, and let the Larry Silversteins and Donald Trumps decide what to do with the billion-dollar commercial real estate.
For those interested in Objectivism and its critics, this thread is pretty revealing. And major kudos to Mike Mazza who I think did an incredible job of debating the issues, naming the evasions and pointing out the obvious reasons why no reasonable person would want to waste their valuable time dealing with someone like Robert Campbell. (My co-blogger Rob follows these issues much more closely than I do, so perhaps he can put up a longer post on the subject.)

Finally, I just read Theodore Dalrymple's "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris". It is a very prescient essay written in the autumn of 2002 and still well worth reading (it also adds to Dalrymple's credibility as a social commentator). In addition to predicting and explaining much of what has since happened in France, I was struck by some of the similarities between what he describes in the cités and the actions of a sub-group of the population in New Orleans during the Katrina disaster. Says Dalrymple:
Antagonism toward the police might appear understandable, but the conduct of the young inhabitants of the cités toward the firemen who come to rescue them from the fires that they have themselves started gives a dismaying glimpse into the depth of their hatred for mainstream society. They greet the admirable firemen (whose motto is Sauver ou périr, save or perish) with Molotov cocktails and hails of stones when they arrive on their mission of mercy, so that armored vehicles frequently have to protect the fire engines.

Benevolence inflames the anger of the young men of the cités as much as repression, because their rage is inseparable from their being. Ambulance men who take away a young man injured in an incident routinely find themselves surrounded by the man’s “friends,” and jostled, jeered at, and threatened: behavior that, according to one doctor I met, continues right into the hospital, even as the friends demand that their associate should be treated at once, before others.
These actions seem somewhat comparable to shooting at rescue workers, and they are explainable (at least in large part) by similar forces, most notably the welfare state. (See Rob Tracinski's and Gus Van Horn's commentaries.)

Update: I also wanted to thank Annaqed for republishing my essay All For One on their site.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Richard Bramwell said...

I was disappointed you (Thrutch) directed us to the R. Campbell Mazzo thread.

The whole debate, from its starting point (Ayn Rand's issues with Evolution), was a dog's breakfast of speculation, knee jerk reaction to non-essentials and abundant mis-use of concepts (e.g. "instinct" is an anti-concept). There were some interesting points among the mess, but not enough to warrant the patience it took to get to them.

It's beyond me why people spend time responding to the nonsense of such as Robert Campbell. Their rationalism and crude manner are too common on Objectivist blog/discussion sites. The best solution is to ignore them and the sites that give them a voice.

Mazzo, and Hsieh, surely have smarter and happier things to do. I know I do, which is why I generally come to Thrutch. I'm afraid that link was a let down.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Grant Jones said...

Ah, the spambot has found you.

Thanks for the link to my bit about the antics of NYU.

Grant Jones

1:12 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the comment (and sorry for taking so long to respond). Believe it or not, originally I had started that paragraph with "Probably not of interest to most here...", but then I thought it was a bit too lame to actually say. Instead I tried to indicate that the post was revealing of the mentality of Objectivists' critics (or at least one brand of them), and I think that even your comment suggests that it did indeed fulfill that purpose.

Nonetheless I agree that that post was a bit of a departure from the typical Thrutch subject matter, as I have tried to position Thrutch to deal with issues of a more general nature, and will continue to do so in the future.

As to your comment about Mike and Diana, I have to disagree, I think it is a value to confront those who make wild claims and show how ridiculous they truly are. This is a benefit to the new reader or the genuinely confused, and I think by the comments of others on that thread, that purpose was served.


Obviously it's not necessary to do it over and over, but I don't think that's been the case, and from here on out people can link to that thread to see the typical Objectivist basher's claims for what they are-- baseless drivel.

11:53 AM  

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