Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Courageous Citizen's Reporting of CAIR's Anti-Israel Rally

A video report via LGF. (The woman at minute 0:00:31 of this video captures the spirit pretty well.)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Withdraw from the United Nations

This is a good summary of the latest UN perfidy. I wish that someone could explain to me why the US condones and sanctions such a group, not only by belonging to it, but also by being its primary source of funds?

On the other hand, Elan Journo provides moral arguments for abandoning the UN posthaste, while Mark Steyn takes a closer look at the practical consequences of operating an institution made up largely of dictators and criminals.

(As an aside, it seems to me that for those people who aren't interested in changing the culture at a deeper level, but instead want to take specific political actions, working towards our withdrawal from the UN would be an ideal and invaluable project.)

See also this and, for a laugh, this.

Google Failure

On the heels of this post at the Dougout, try the same substituting "failure" as the search term.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More of the Same in England

The English have taken another step back by giving in to threats and advising a film company to stop filming, rather than assuring them that they will be given every protection possible in the pursuit of their rights. (See my longer essay for thoughts on where this is leading.)

Hezbollah Prisoners

As much as Taranto often annoys me, today he has something well worth quoting in its entirety:
When Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers two weeks ago, provoking the current conflagration, the Shiite terrorist outfit apparently intended to use them as bargaining chips to demand the release of prisoners. Press reports often discuss this as if there were an equivalence between the Israeli soldiers, who committed no crimes but were simply defending their own country within its borders, and Arab terrorists. So it's worth pointing out just who the "prisoners" in Israeli hands are.

According to the BBC "the prisoner Hezbollah wants most" is Samir Qantar. On April 22, 1979, Qantar murdered 28-year-old Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter and caused the death of another Haran daughter, age 2. Haran's widow, Smadar Haran Kaiser, describes the crime (she transliterates the murderer's name as "Kuntar"):
It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border.

Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer.

As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.
The BBC gives a rather more sanitized account of the crime: "Qantar . . . attacked a block of flats in Nahariha in 1979, killing a father and his daughter."

Lebanon is Not Innocent

David Horowitz has a good piece out on the culpability of the Lebanese. A few excerpts:
Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, occupying two cabinet positions and seats in its parliament. The Lebanese government agreed to enforce UN Resolution 1559 which calls on it to disarm all militias on its territory, namely Hezbollah. If the Lebanese Government had performed this obligation, there would be no war, and there would be no Lebanese civilian casualties.

Instead the Lebanese government allowed Hezbollah to build its headquarters and underground bunkers in the populated neighborhoods of Beirut. It allowed Hezbollah to import 13,000 missiles to be fired into Israel’s cities and towns. The 75,000-man Lebanese army has not sealed off the Syrian border and, according to reports, has allowed Syria to re-supply Hezbollah in the midst of its aggression. The Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to build underground fortresses on its southern border in position to attack. It has allowed Hezbollah to launch rockets into the towns of northern Israel to terrorize and kill innocent civilians.

Israel has done nothing to provoke this attack from Lebananese territory. But in the midst of Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel, Lebanon’s prime minister has joined the attackers, blaming Israel for Lebanon’s misery instead of its source.


If Americans taught their children to murder Muslims as a quick pass to heaven, the left would regard this as a crime against humanity. But if Palestinians are the perpetrators of such crimes and Jews are the targets, it’s a different story. In this case terror is the only means (and therefore the understandable means) of a “desperate” people. Jews who have been told by Iran and Hezbollah that their extinction is imminent of course aren’t desperate.
I do, however, disagree with his conclusion -- the contrast isn't between Islamism and Christianity, but between faith taken seriously on one hand and reason & freedom on the other.

HT Sixth Column

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


LGF has a plethora of valuable information regarding the current war in Lebanon. This interview with a retired Canadian General is must listening.

ARI Editorials

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) has been putting out quite few good editorials lately -- in fact so many that I haven't been able to keep up here. I'll draw particular attention to Peter Schwartz's latest piece, but you can find them all here (link also available on the sidebar).

Turning the Other Cheek


Blog Roll Additions

I have just added "Mike's Eyes" to the blogroll. Mike seems to have a very grounded approach in looking at issues. For instance, I liked this post on "proportionality" which includes the following:
For example, you are attacked by a virus and become ill. You go to a doctor and he identifies the virus. But then he tells you that he is not going to give you enough vaccine to kill the virus and return you to health. Instead, because he believes in proportionality, he is only going to give you enough vaccine to make the virus as sick as you are.

What would you think about that? Would you want this doctor to draw up your family health plan? Would you want to see doctors with this kind of thinking in charge of world health? And what do you think would happen to world health if they were?
[As an aside to my biologist friends, I realize that strictly speaking one might not be able to make a virus (which is only quasi-life-like) "sick", but nonetheless the spirit of the analogy is quite helpful, and Mike has many more of them throughout his posts.]

I have also added a link to Mark Steyn's Chicago Sun Times columns in the "Jihadist Threat" section of the sidebar. As always, blogs in that section are there because they often provide insight into Islamism, not because I like or agree with their views on other topics. (In fact I often vehemently disagree with them on other matters.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

UN Supports the Enemy

It's hardly news that the UN is morally on the side of evil -- that seems to be their raison-d'etre -- but now they're stepping it up a notch by also providing physical and logistical support to the terrorists. Given their unconscionable actions, I shed no tears when UN "observers" in enemy territory meet an early end (as they did today).

Update: See also this LGF Post

Appeasement as Weakness

Lest there be any doubt that Islamists and other totalitarians see appeasement as anything other than weakness and an invitation to continue their predations, consider this story:

Hezbollah Says Israeli Response a Surprise
"The truth is - let me say this clearly - we didn't even expect (this) response ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel.

In the past, he said, Israeli responses to Hezbollah actions included sending commandos into Lebanon, seizing Hezbollah officials and briefly targeting specific Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon.

Komati said his group had anticipated negotiations to swap the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese held in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it has in past prisoner exchanges.
(Emphasis added)

Update: These people learned the same lesson from previous Israeli withdrawals and concessions. I think it's high time for the West to begin teaching from a radically different lesson book...


If ever I were to do aerobics, this is the type of routine I'd like to learn ;-)


Seriously though, watching people do stuff like that really gets me motivated to exercise harder.

HT Today's crossfit comments

Jose Maria Aznar Speaks Out

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar gives an encouraging interview with the BBC in which he advocates that Israel be added to Nato and that Nato bomb Lebanon. He also recognizes that the freedom of the Western world depends in part on the success of Israel's war of self-defense. (If time is limited, listen only to first 7 minutes.)

HT Ergo in comments at Noodlefood

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Few Good Links

Michelle Malkin answers the oft-repeated claim that we shouldn't be involved with routing out Hezbollah because "You don't go after people unless they come after you". Daniel Pipes weighs in with the idea that Israel's decade-long policies of appeasement and concessions have turned them into a "paper tiger" -- effectively removing any deterrent to further Arab atrocities and dreams of conquest.

Hezbollah and Iran

LGF points out an invaluable timesonline article on Hezbollah and its relationship to Iran. Be sure to read the whole thing, but in the meantime here are a few excerpts:
What are the links between Hezbollah and Iran? In 1982 Iran had almost no influence in Lebanon. The Lebanese Shi’ite bourgeoisie that had had close ties with Iran when it was ruled by the Shah was horrified by the advent of the clerics who created an Islamic republic.

Seeking a bridgehead in Lebanon, Iran asked its ambassador to Damascus, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a radical mullah, to create one. Mohtashamipour decided to open a branch in Lebanon of the Iranian Hezbollah (the party of God).


In 2000, when the Israelis evacuated the strip they controlled in southern Lebanon, Tehran presented the event as the “first victory of Islam over the Zionist crusader camp” and Hezbollah was lauded across the Arab world. Hezbollah taunted the Israelis with billboards on the border reading, “If you return, we return”.

To prop up that myth, Tehran invested in a propaganda campaign that included television “documentaries”, feature films and books and magazine articles. The message was simple: while secular ideologies — from pan-Arabism to Arab socialism — had failed to liberate an inch of Arab territory, Islamism, in its Iranian Khomeinist version working through Hezbollah, had achieved “total victory” over Israel in Lebanon.


Hezbollah is a state within the Lebanese state. It controls some 25% of the national territory. Almost 400,000 of Lebanon’s estimated 4m inhabitants live under its control. It collects its own taxes with a 20% levy, known as “khoms”, on all incomes. It runs its own schools, where a syllabus produced in Iran is taught at all levels. It also runs clinics, hospitals, social welfare networks and centres for orphans and widows.


“The Israelis would be foolish to think they are dealing with nothing but a bunch of mad fanatics,” says a former Iranian diplomat now in exile. “Hezbollah in Lebanon is a state in all but name: it has its territory, army, civil service and economic and educational systems.”

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Beware of Modern "Art"

It appears that modern "art" can be dangerous to more than just your mind.


A month ago, at the suggestion of a friend from my climbing gym, I began doing the crossfit exercise program. So far I have nothing but praise for it and have already made noticeable progress in several areas, that despite nursing an injured shoulder and having to work around a bad knee (not to mention being way over the hill). For anyone looking for a new fitness program, I'd definitely recommend considering crossfit. The basic principles of their approach are outlined in these two (somewhat overlapping) documents:

What is Fitness?

If anyone is already familiar with the program, and has thoughts (whether negative or positive) I'd love to hear them. Likewise, if anyone finds it of interest and has questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them to whatever extent I'm able. Just post to the comments.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hezbollah IS the Local Population

This Fox video report (hosted by LGF) is another great example to use as a data point when considering the issue of "civilian" casualities and the loss of so-called "innocents" in war.

The Ghost of Churchill

Gus Van Horn points out this excellent editorial and rightly notes that it's surprising to see something so good come out of the MSM. Let's hope there's a trend starting.

I particularly liked the closing paragraphs:
Perhaps the incessant nattering about "the occupation" will finally give way to a recognition that the real "root cause" of Middle Eastern wars is a genocidal Islamicist culture, which must be uprooted by a process roughly akin to the denazification of Germany after World War II.

Perhaps the Israeli politicians who were so proud of their flight from Lebanon and Gaza will conjure the ghost of Winston Churchill rebuking arch-appeaser Neville Chamberlain: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war."

Perhaps — but maybe this is too much to hope — even our Middle East experts in this country (who bear a large portion of responsibility for our mental unpreparedness for 9/11) will be subject to liability laws for scholarly malpractice of the sort that have long been in place for medical malpractice.
Also be sure to check in on Gus' site regularly as he has been unearthing many good references.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Disproportionate Response

In an ignominious attempt to discredit Israel's (relatively meek) actions of self-defense, pundits throughout the world have been decrying the so-called "disproportionate response" that such military action entails. Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna is promoting a new sidebar logo to counter these critics by proudly asserting the right to respond to aggression with overwhelming force:

A commenter at Gates of Vienna, R Combs, has the best short formulation on the issue at his blog:
The contemptible blather about "disproportionate response" comes from people who refuse to distinguish between the aggressor and the victim -- who remain morally neutral as to which one ought to prevail, and thus believe that "fairness" requires each to have an equal chance.

For those of us who insist that there is no right to rape, mug, burgle -- or murder (again!) six million Jews -- the concept of proportionality of response is a moral abomination. The correct response to aggression is whatever is necessary to stop it, to punish the aggressor, and to prevent repetition of the aggression in the future. The correct response to Islamofascism is to wipe it out.
Combating the evil inherent in the idea of "proportionality" requires denouncing and demolishing the whole theory of "Just War" since it is the doctrine responsible for the widespread acceptance of this idea, and unfortunately, it is also the doctrine underlying, guiding and shaping our political and military policies. No one has done this better than Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein in their seminal "Just War Theory" vs. American Self-Defense. They summarize Just War Theory and its requirement of "proportionality" thusly:
All forms of Just War Theory provide guidelines that fall into two categories: justice in entering a war, and justice in waging a war. (These two categories are known as jus ad bellum, and jus in bello, respectively.) Broadly speaking, Just War Theory holds that a nation can go to war only in response to the impetus of a “just cause,” with force as a “last resort,” after all other non-military options have been considered and tried—with its decision to go to war motivated by “good intentions,” with the aim of bringing about a “good outcome.” And it holds that a nation must wage war only by means that are “proportional” to the ends it seeks, and while practicing “discrimination” between combatants and non-combatants. Finally, in a requirement that applies to both categories, Just War Theory holds that the decision-making power for when, why, and how to wage war—including the declaration of war—must rest with a “legitimate authority.”


Given that the purpose of war, according to Just War Theory, is the well-being of others (including those who are, in fact, one’s enemies), it is logical that Just War Theory also precludes a nation from waging war in a manner that will destroy its enemies. It is imperative, according to Just War Theory, that war be fought by unselfish, sacrificial means, in which great value is accorded to the citizens of enemy nations. This is the meaning of the requirements of “proportionality” and “discrimination.” Proportionality is the idea that the value gained by the ends a war seeks must be “proportional” to the damage incurred during the war. To advocate that ends and damage be “proportional” presupposes a standard of value by which these are to be weighed. What is the relative weight, for example, that the U.S. government should accord an American civilian and an Iraqi civilian? Since Just War Theory holds that a government’s intentions are “good” to the extent that it places value on other peoples, including enemies, by its standard of value a government of an innocent nation should place equal value on the lives of its citizens and those of enemy nations. On this view, in America’s “War on Terrorism,” we have to “balance” the lives of American soldiers and civilians with the lives of the enemy nation’s soldiers and civilians. According to Walzer, “In our judgments of the fighting, we abstract from all consideration of the justice of the cause. We do this because the moral status of individual soldiers on both sides is very much the same: they face one another as moral equals.”


Observe the inversion of justice here. Benevolent, individualistic, life-loving Americans, and death-worshipping, collectivist, nihilistic Arabs—such as the dancing Arabs who celebrated 9/11—are regarded as equally worthy of protection by the American military. The exception is if the American is a soldier and the Arab is a civilian, in which case the Arab’s life is of greater value.
Brook and Epstein go on to offer a positive alternative theory to "Just War", one which asserts the absolute right of self defense, but rather than quoting any further, I'll just leave the pleasure of unfolding their arguments to my intrepid readers.

(See also this post by Gus Van Horn for his take on the subject; John Lewis' Article on Hiroshima and his chapter on Sherman for historical examples of the type of action endorsed by Brook and Epstein.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Indispensable Condition of Peace

Be sure to read Onkar's latest editorial.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monks as Anti-Reason

While reading selections from Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire I came across this passage describing Christian Monks.
After a sufficient trial, the fidelity of the novice was secured by a solemn and perpetual vow; and his irrevocable engagement was ratified by the laws of the church and state. A guilty fugitive was pursued, arrested, and restored to his perpetual prison; and the interposition of the magistrate oppressed the freedom and merit which had alleviated, in some degree, the abject slavery of the monastic discipline. The actions of a monk, his words, and even his thoughts, were determined by an inflexible rule or a capricious superior: the slightest offences were corrected by disgrace or confinement, extraordinary fasts, or bloody flagellation; and disobedience, murmur, or delay were ranked in the catalogue of the most heinous sins. A blind submission to the commands of the abbot, however absurd, or even criminal, they might seem, was the ruling principle, the first virtue of the Egyptian monks; and their patience was frequently exercised by the most extravagant trials. They were directed to remove an enormous rock; assiduously to water a barren staff that was planted in the ground, till, at the end of three years, it should vegetate and blossom like a tree; to walk into a fiery furnace; or to cast their infant into a deep pond: and several saints, or madmen, have been immortalised in monastic story by their thoughtless and fearless obedience. The freedom of the mind, the source of every generous and rational sentiment, was destroyed by the habits of credulity and submission; and the monk, contracting the vices of a slave, devoutly followed the faith and passions of his ecclesiastical tyrant. The peace of the Eastern church was invaded by a swarm of fanatics, incapable of fear, or reason, or humanity; and the Imperial troops acknowledged, without shame, that they were much less apprehensive of an encounter with the fiercest barbarians.
I think Gibbon's appraisal, which differs so markedly from how a contemporary intellectual might evaluate an undiluted adherent of faith, illustrates the degree to which rationality was esteemed during the Enlightenment, and how far its value has fallen in modern times.

Monday, July 17, 2006

NY Post on the Prisoner Problem

Given the state of the world today -- where justice is so glaringly absent -- I agree with the gist of this article from Ralph Peters at the NY Post: Kill Don't Capture.
Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial. Severity, not sloppy leftist pandering, kept warfare within some decent bounds at least part of the time. But we have reached a point at which the rules apply only to us, while our enemies are permitted unrestricted freedom.

The present situation encourages our enemies to behave wantonly, while crippling our attempts to deal with terror.

Consider today's norm: A terrorist in civilian clothes can explode an IED, killing and maiming American troops or innocent civilians, then demand humane treatment if captured - and the media will step in as his champion. A disguised insurgent can shoot his rockets, throw his grenades, empty his magazines, kill and wound our troops, then, out of ammo, raise his hands and demand three hots and a cot while he invents tales of abuse.

Conferring unprecedented legal status upon these murderous transnational outlaws is unnecessary, unwise and ultimately suicidal. It exalts monsters. And it provides the anti-American pack with living vermin to anoint as victims, if not heroes.

Isn't it time we gave our critics what they're asking for? Let's solve the "unjust" imprisonment problem, once and for all. No more Guantanamos! Every terrorist mission should be a suicide mission. With our help.


This isn't an argument for a murderous rampage, but its opposite. We must kill our enemies with discrimination. But we do need to kill them. A corpse is a corpse: The media's rage dissipates with the stench. But an imprisoned terrorist is a strategic liability.

Nor should we ever mistreat captured soldiers or insurgents who adhere to standing conventions. On the contrary, we should enforce policies that encourage our enemies to identify themselves according to the laws of war. Ambiguity works to their advantage, never to ours.

Our policy toward terrorists and insurgents in civilian clothing should be straightforward and public: Surrender before firing a shot or taking hostile action toward our troops, and we'll regard you as a legal prisoner. But once you've pulled a trigger, thrown a grenade or detonated a bomb, you will be killed. On the battlefield and on the spot.


The ultimate act of humanity in the War on Terror is to win. To do so, we must kill our enemies wherever we encounter them. He who commits an act of terror forfeits every right he once possessed.

International Opinion

As usual, Cox and Forkum distill the insanity of the day's events with one cartoon. Here's their take on the world's reaction to Israel's very limited efforts of self-defense:

Be sure to read their commentary and to explore the other cartoons on their excellent site.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The War Comes to Us

Be sure to read Rob Tracinski's excellent article analyzing the current situation in the Middle East. (HT Gus Van Horn)

"By Right of the Holy Qur'an"

This type of horrific story is made possible by those who teach that truth is gained by faith -- that 'revealed' knowledge is not to be questioned by the lowly human mind.

(Sometimes I think it's too bad that their story of hell is a myth, for that is where such teachers deserve to be... )

Story via Isaac Schrodinger; be forewarned that it is quite brutal.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

John Lewis on William Sherman

In my inaugural post, I lauded John Lewis' talk on Homeland Defense, particularly his discussion of Sherman's march during the Civil War. As such I was immensely pleased to find that this quarter's Objective Standard features his article "William Tecumseh Sherman and the Moral Impetus for Victory". It is an absolute must read -- well worth the cost of the journal on its own. The lessons Lewis draws are crucial in today's world, as he himself notes in the intro:
Sherman's march demonstrates how a forthright, confident, singular offense, directed against the center of the aggressor's power -- and armed with moral certainty in one's own cause -- can extinguish the fire behind the war.


As we today face attacks by a highly motivated, worldwide movement of suicidal warriors, we urgently need to reconsider our goals and strategy for attaining them. To do this, we must reexamine the nature of the conflict, the nature of our goals, and the nature of our enemy. This process is essential to waging the right war in the right way against the right regime -- and winning it. In this regard, there is no better example than that set by Sherman.
Lewis achieves his stated goal and more, for in the article he also gives the best summary of the civil war that I've come across, as well as providing clarification on several key distinctions (e.g. between defeat and surrender, and between the means and the goals of a war.)

In summary I'm happy to report that as much as I loved the talk on Homeland Defense, it was merely an appetizer for this paper and the others which eventually will form John's forthcoming book: "Nothing Less than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History".

Friday, July 14, 2006

Muslim Informant

This is an encouraging and fascinating interview with a Muslim informant who recently helped catch 17 Islamic terrorists in Canada. Would that more Muslims follow his courageous lead. (Click on "Video Feature - Bomb Plot Mole" on right hand side bar for 9 minute video, click on "Linden MacIntyre reports for CBC-TV" for 4:05 min intro video).

HT: Dad

Net Neutrality

Alex Epstein has an excellent new editorial out on net neutrality.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Movie on Islam

George Mason has a review of a limited release movie: "Islam: What the West Needs to Know". I haven't seen it, so can't comment, but from the review it sounds interesting.

A Few Zingers from Tim Blair

A movie starring Chomsky? India's forceful response to terrorism? (The 'Update' says it all.)

Microsoft and Antitrust

Nicholas Provenzo has some good commentary.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Islamist Puzzle

Baron Bodissey over at Gates of Vienna has an interesting and very well-written post analyzing the rise of the modern Islamists. (HT The Belmont Club). While I don't necessarily agree with every point he makes, particularly some of the emphasis of his arguments, I definitely recommend that anyone interested in the topic take the time to read it.

In the piece, he rightly points out the increased funding available, the support of the media, the nihilism in our culture and the craveness of our leaders as all being contributing factors to the accelerating adoption of the Islamist creed around the world.

I would amplify this on at least two fronts. First, the issue of Saudi funding only became possible because the West allowed the product of Western knowledge, capital and effort to be nationalized by a gang of 7th century goons. It is yet another example of Ayn Rand's key identification that evil on its own is impotent; to become powerful evil must obtain both the moral sanction and the material wealth of the good. Conversely, to defeat evil, it is essential that the good withhold both (defending its property by force if necessary).

Also, I think that to understand the rise of Islam one must not just cite the nihilist element in the West, but more generally note that in today's culture there are few alternatives to the man looking for truth. There is essentially nobody with a positive and rational message to offer as an antidote to those who claim that only by faith can you find Truth. Who now defends the secular, pro-reason, pro-science Enlightenment tradition? Where can one find advocates of egoism? How many voices does one hear championing the only true alternative to faith- or authoritarian-based societies -- laissez-faire capitalism?

It is the intellectual vacuum of the modern West -- a vacuum not limited to the nihilist camp -- that so far has allowed Islam to advance relatively uncontested. Were enough people to stand up and proudly assert and explain that each man is an end in himself, that he must think to survive, that thinking requires freedom, and that success on Earth is both possible and his proper goal, then those looking for answers would truly have a positive alternative to Islam. If (or hopefully when) such voices appear, I think Islam and other faith-based societies will quickly lose their appeal and momentum -- while absent those ideas I see little hope of stopping them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Islam and Apostates

Don't think that the horrors are limited just to Afghanistan and the Middle East. Here's a story out of Pakistan. (Via Isaac Schrodinger)

Conservatives and Islam

Jason Pappas has written a good post summarizing the historical attitude of Conservatives towards Islam. I think his survey shows that Conservatives haven't, and can't, fundamentally criticize Islam because doing so would require dismissing faith as a means of knowledge -- an objection which would be equally applicable, and equally devastating, to the Conservatives themselves.

Ryanair Doesn't Mince Words

I wish more companies would follow Ryanair's lead and name government intervention when it impacts their business plans:
Low-fare airline Ryanair is to cut back on services to Sweden because of a proposed new flight tax, it was announced today.


Ryanair said the Swedish government’s proposed tax would effectively add a further 30% to the average cost of its fares.

Ryanair deputy chief executive Michael Cawley added: “The Swedish government is destroying low fare travel for Swedes and for those people who want to visit this beautiful country by attempting to push up the average cost of Ryanair’s fares by over 30%.

“The introduction of this tax will make Swedish tourism uncompetitive when compared with cheaper alternatives in Spain, Italy and elsewhere in Europe.”

Monday, July 10, 2006

Onkar on CNBC?

Onkar is tentatively scheduled to be on CNBC tomorrow morning (be forewarned that these appearances often get postponed or cancelled at the last minute):
Dr. Onkar Ghate, senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, is scheduled to appear on CNBC's "Morning Call" tomorrow, Tuesday, July 11, between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. (EST) to discuss America's so-called addiction to oil.

Oil and Foreign Policy

Alex Epstein has a good editorial out on Oil and American foreign policy. I particularly like the observation in the last paragraph of this section:
One means of ending the Iranian and Saudi threat would be to issue an ultimatum to these regimes: cease all anti-American aggression immediately, or be destroyed. Many, witnessing the Iraqi quagmire, might scoff at this option. But such a course is eminently practical if America's unsurpassed military forces are committed to the task, not of "rebuilding" or "liberating" these states, but of making their inhabitants fear threatening America ever again.

Another means of addressing the threat would be to remove Middle Eastern oil fields from Iranian and Saudi control, put them in the hands of private companies, and then employ surveillance and troops to secure that oil supply. Contrary to popular assumption, Middle Eastern dictatorships have no right to their nationalized oil fields, which should be private property--the property of individuals who work to find and extract the oil.

Still another option might be a comprehensive, all-out embargo by the United States and its allies to starve the leader of the enemy, Iran, until the regime crumbles and the Islamic totalitarians lose their will to fight.

Which policy is best is for military strategists to determine--but our politicians and intellectuals refuse to consider any of these options. Instead, they decry our "addiction to oil," condemn us for not all wanting to drive Priuses, and urge, as penance, that we cut ourselves from the world oil market. Can anyone honestly believe that such asceticism will protect us from attack--given that Saudi Arabia and Iran both actively sponsored terrorism when oil was $10 a barrel?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Who's Educating Your Kids?

Most people in the general public consider many of the criticisms leveled against academia to be exaggerated hyperbole. Wanting to believe well of their fellow humans, they consider professors like Ward Churchill to be complete aberrations from the norm. Unfortunately however, there is a large contingent of nutcases out there in academia, most of them ultra-left-leaning, and these are the people most influential to the youth of our nation. As yet another example, follow the links in this LGF post to see the lunacy of a University of Arizona psych professor, Ms. Deborah Frisch.

Friday, July 07, 2006

NYT's Chief Hypocrite

I find Paul Krugman to be one of the most dishonest, hypocritical and illogical commentators out there, so I couldn't help but smile at this Tim Blair posting (copied in its entirety, link in original):
In the wake of Enron founder Ken Lay’s death, Mark Steyn reminds us that NYT columnist Paul Krugman received $50,000 for serving on Enron’s advisory board:
Fifty-thousand dollars is a high price to pay even for prestigious nothing. It’s 10,000 more than the median household income of the United States, never mind all those little folks the Prof feels so badly for. The man who sneers at the malign influence of Enron money on Republican politicians - or, as he calls them “the people Enron put in the White House"- has received more money from Enron than any member of the House of Representatives. If he were in the Senate, where 71 of 100 members have been endowed with Enron moolah, he would rank in that crowded field as the third biggest beneficiary of the company’s generosity.
The above was written in 2002. Krugman is still on staff at the NYT.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lessons in Justice

Contrary to the claims of most modern pundits, the only “fair” distribution of wealth is the one that arises when the creators of the wealth decide what to do with it. After all, the wealth only exists because of the efforts of these producers -- and it would therefore be patently unfair if they didn’t own and control it. Thus in a proper society, one in which each individual’s right to expend his time and energy to produce and own wealth is protected, there is no question of how to ensure that the goods are distributed “fairly”. The name for such a system is capitalism, and it is the only social system which results in true fairness -- better known as justice.

But if one dispenses with the view that individuals create wealth and thereby own it, to instead assert that wealth should be confiscated from the producers and distributed “fairly” among the collective, then there is no objective way to establish what is fair. A story on NPR’s Marketplace today (unintentionally) hammers this lesson home, showing a glimpse of the functioning of a society built on values opposite those underlying capitalist societies. Indeed, the society in question has explicitly racial, collectivist and tribal foundations; which is why one can only laugh at the problems they have in “fairly” distributing their confiscated spoils: who is of pure enough race, who can lay claim to being truly part of the tribe, who can control the gang. The society in question is the modern Native American tribal society – and their pitiful example is one that every person concerned with “fairness” and justice should heed.