Brassolaelia Yellow Bird
Commentary from a pro-reason, pro-egoism, pro-capitalism perspective
Hamas spokesman thanks America for the aid which makes their jihad possible. Will our leaders (and the public at large) figure it out before it's too late?
I'd first seen a mention of the fact that a Hummer uses less energy in its lifecycle than does a Prius on Art de Vany's blog, and now I've run into more details via Going Private. As usual, the environmentalists' arguments depend on emotional outpourings and moral posturing, their actual programs waste resources as any elementary economic analysis will show. (However, I think equity private neglects a factor explaining why manufacturers have built the cars -- government-mandated average mpg standards.)
It's funny how quickly people can reconsider when they are forced to face the consequences and repercussions of the ideas they advocate. Just imagine how quickly the Islamist problem would be eradicated if they were faced with a real war from an intransigent West.
Riddle me this: Why is it that: (1) When a scientist expresses his disagreement with the idea that global warming is a catastrophe caused by man, his credentials are suddenly so important that such keepers of the scientific flame as Heidi "Lysenko" Cullen demand that they be stripped of them or worse? And yet: (2) You will hear no questions about qualifications raised by any of the same people when a group of fourth graders writes a column in support of the current global warming "consensus"/orthodoxy/fashion?
Will the recent knighting of Salman Rushdie be the next excuse for Islamists to try to impose their will on the West? Early indications are yes (e.g. see these posts at LGF 1, 2). Note that due to the illiteracy, general ignorance and dependence on the guidance of their "spiritual" leaders, it often takes weeks for any "reaction" to be orchestrated from the depths of the Islamist cesspools -- so it may take a while before we see the full vehemence of their attack. Should widespread riots and threats emerge, I hope the West mounts a much better response than it has in the past. (See my article, All For One, for my take on the bigger picture.)
I'm behind on my reading, but here are a few links which have caught my eye lately: Dr. Bingswanger on anarchy. Galileo Blogs says Goodbye to Toucan Sam and denounces his killers (see also the comments where he aptly notes: "Liberty is lost in small steps, one spoonful of cereal at a time."). Gus Van Horn points us to a John Stossel video on education in America. Grant Jones posts a short video on the Founding Fathers. A video of physicist Freeman Dyson on Global Warming.
This is a fascinating documentary on the bombing of the Osirak reactor. It's a reminder of how much we owe to the courageous actions of the Israelis and an example of the benefits of assertively engaging in self-defense.
This article provides some interesting economic data on Iran to argue that Iran wants war (in order to deflect or mask internal problems). I tend to agree, but am mainly posting the article because I like this observation:
Josef Stalin's terror saw to it that the only communist true believers left alive were lecturing at Western universities.
My relative silence here is attributable in large part to starting several new reading/learning projects including: reviewing my old copies of Access to Energy (now available online), deciding to go through the entire archive of Going Private in an effort to gain some grasp of private equity and its impact on the markets (more on that in a future post), listening to Ayn Rand's lectures thanks to ARI making so many of them available for free (navigation a bit confusing, turns out they're available only on the registered user page), and reading the updates to Dr. Peikoff's Q&A section on his website (HT Diana).
And more vintage Brucer, in the Tuscon Arizona Daily Star, 6/5, in reply to scare-mongering about radon. Note the brevity of the letter (which gets it both published and read); to adapt it to your own needs, note that 1 newspaper sheet (2 pages, New York Times size) has an activity of about 0.04 pCi. This is a general unit of activity, not necessarily due to radon."To the Editor:
The average issue of the Arizona Daily Star contains, by measurement, approximately 1 picocurie of radium and associated elements.
With your circulation, you are the most widespread unnatural and unnecessary source of radon in Tuscon.
Marshall Brucer, M.D."
Though I was reading this article for its discussion of motivation, particularly with respect to exercising, I was fascinated by the background story of how the man they deem the "Most Successful College Football Coach in the History of College Football Coaches" began coaching:
Back in the 1940s, Gagliardi played on his high-school football team in Colorado, and he doesn't have fond memories of the experience. The coach of the team made the players run laps, do extreme calisthenics before practice, even duckwalk across the field. "We never duckwalked during the game," Gagliardi says, shaking his head. The worst part of all? "We were terrible."
Midway through his junior year, however, the coach quit. To save the season, Gagliardi, at age 16, volunteered to take over. When the school administration agreed, he did what any teenager would do: He jettisoned all the stuff he and his buddies couldn't stand. He ditched the laps, calisthenics, and duckwalks, and started letting players drink water between plays, which the previous coach had outlawed. He also implemented a new philosophy: Run plays until we're good at them. Now, Gagliardi was operating purely by instinct, but in fact he had created a perfectly self-determined climate. The players were autonomous running plays was exactly what they wanted to do. They were competent the more they ran the plays, the better they were at them. And since football is the ultimate team game, they couldn't help but feel a sense of relatedness.
"The good part is, we succeeded boom!" Gagliardi says, his face lighting up at the memory of it. "We were pretty good. We started knowing what we were doing." He's being typically understated, of course. Led by their student coach, the team won two championships, and four more when he kept coaching while he was in college.
In an editorial last week, Norman Podhoretz provides a good overview of (some of) the arguments for bombing Iran. In many ways he doesn't go far enough (e.g. he doesn't even mention regime change), and his evaluation of Bush, even based on the facts he presents in the article, is laughable. Nonetheless I recommend the piece as a good historical review.
Paul Hsieh has published an excellent editorial opposing the various socialized medicine programs being considered in Colorado.
I think Charles Johnson makes some good observations on TIME's reporting of the Six Day War.
Who says that the ideas one advocates don't have consequences?
A week or so ago, Isaac Schrodinger blogged about this excellent Theodore Dalrymple piece. Whenever I read about the Muslims, I have the same thought as that which Isaac excerpted from Dalrymple's article:
During my reading, I found myself swinging like a pendulum between taking Islam as a threat very seriously indeed, and not taking it seriously at all. The reasons for taking it seriously were that a large proportion of humanity was Muslim, that an aggressive and violent minority had emerged within that population with apparently very widespread, if largely passive, approval, and that the leadership of western countries was very weak and vacillating in the face of this, or any other, challenge. The reasons for not taking Islam seriously were that, in the modern world, it was intellectually nugatory, that the disproportion in power between the rest of the world and the Islamic world appeared to be growing rather than contracting, and that behind all the bluster about the certain possession of the unique, universal and divinely ordained truth for man was an anxiety that the whole edifice of Islam, while strong, was extremely brittle, which explained why free enquiry was so limited in Islamic countries. There was a subliminal awareness - and perhaps not always subliminal - that free philosophical and historical debate could quickly and fatally undermine the hold of Islam on various societies. Fundamentalism was therefore a manifestation of weakness and not of strength.There are also other excellent observations in the article, including the comparison of Islamism with Marxism and the recognition that theocratic and communist governments are both species of totalitarianism -- and therefore both have to rely on force to be implemented.
Curiously, though, Qutb’s thought has many parallels with Marxism. Where Marx has Historical Inevitability, Qutb has God‘s Law. Marx, you remember, envisages a time when the state will wither away and history will end. In Marx’s vision, political power will have dissolved, and the exploitation of man by man will have ceased, to be replaced by the mere administration of things. (How anybody of minimal intelligence could have believed such a thing beats me.) In Qutb’s vision, all political power will have dissolved, replaced by man’s spontaneous obedience to God’s law. Just as the administration of things in Marx’s utopia will not confer power on the administrators, presumably because everything will be so plentiful that no one will be tempted to appropriate more than the next man, so in Qutb’s utopia no one will have to interpret the law and gain power from doing so. God’s law will be as evident as thing will be abundant in Marx’s classless society.Finally, Dalrymple observes that the political form of each doctrine depends on its more fundamental philosophic views:
Marx understood that the classless society could not come about by merely preaching socialism, as if it were merely an ethical demand or theory. Violence would be necessary. Similarly, Qutb denies that the world will become Islamic merely by preaching the word of God. He refers to Mohammed’s Meccan period, when the Prophet did not resort to arms. This, he says, was merely tactical; it would have been impossible in practice to impose his rule by force. But when he went to Medina, he had no hesitation in fighting his enemies, including those who simply did not accept his message.
Just as Marx says that a showdown between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is inevitable, leading to the triumph of the former and the subsequent establishment of a classless society, so Qutb thinks that a showdown between believers and infidels is inevitable, leading to the victory of Islam, which will eliminate all religious conflict. Is this Marx or Qutb speaking:[there] is a natural struggle between two systems which cannot co-exist for long.It is Qutb; but it could have been taken from the writings of thousands of followers of Marx, if not from Marx himself, including Mao Tse-Tung.
The violent imposition of a socialist and Islamic society is justified in the same way in Marx and Qutb: if people were really free, that is to say suffering from neither false consciousness not jahilliyah (ignorance of divine guidance), they would accept the socialist or Islamic state not merely without demur, but joyously, as being for their own good freely chosen. True freedom in both Marx and Qutb is the recognition of necessity. Everything that prevents people from seeing the truth of their messages is an enemy of real, as against merely apparent, freedom.All in all a very worthwhile read.
Via Andrew Medworth comes this fascinating experiment. At first I thought the results weren't surprising given that it was conducted in the morning and no one wants to risk a job by being late to work, but the fact that (almost) no one even stopped or noticed the playing suggests the time of day is not the issue. And if so, it's a pretty sad reflection on our times....