Sunday, November 26, 2006

White Privilege

Erin Aubry Kaplan makes a very interesting point:

American society seems to be more tolerant of a white man screaming racial epithets and making threats that he obviously has no power to make good on at black people at a comedy club than it is of (what they believe to be) a black man murdering two white people and getting away with it.

I particularly like this line:

Sounding uncannily like Richard Nixon in 1973, Richards declared, "I am not a racist." This may make liberal Hollywood in particular and white people in general feel better. But how about facing the black people he so viciously maligned? And how about probing the possibility that he may be racist — why should we take him at his word?

Should we also put your comment, "I'm not equating racist invective with charges of double homicide" to the same scrutiny as we do Cosmo Kramer's Michael Richards' claim not to be racist?

Thanx and atip o' the hat to Steve Sailer.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Trouble with the Philosophy

Penraker demonstrates the major failing of the ideology that the main problem in Iraq is Iran and Syria.

The entire argument he presents is based on the notion that the Iraqis are on our side and want the same things for Iraq that we want. According to Ol' Penny, Bush was right that we cannot win the war in Iraq, we must elt the Iraqis win the war for us.

From the start, Rumsfeld and company took the right approach. They decided that ultimately, this was Iraq's war to fight. Once it became clear that the insurgency had lots of staying power, due to the help coming in from outside the country, the decision was made to build the Iraqi forces so that they could counter them.

What this ignores is that many of the Iraqis see no need to counter the various insurgencies, or see only the need to counter insurgencies other than the ones they themselves are planning; that is, they may wish to wipe out other death squads, but also want to form their own.

The public has no idea that an insurgency is fought differently. In an open and truthful media, we would have had insurgencies explained to us by numerous experts. They would have told us that you can't win this type of war by injecting huge numbers of troops and killing as many as you can. No, you win them by being steady, by gradually cutting them off from all their support mechanisms, and by showing resolve.

Ah, yes, showing resolve. That gets the enemy down. Of course, the fact that doubling troop levels might be seen as resolve is too much for Peny's poor, overtaxed little brain to understand.

He keeps on repeating the myth that the insurgency was entirely "dead-enders," but that they have now "petered out" and are replaced by non-Iraqis, and that the insurgency could not last without outside governmental support (i.e. Iran and Syria).

The Iraqis are not on our side, Penny, unless they are the leaders who know that they only have power because the U.S. is propping us up. And even they only pretend to be on our side, for as long as we can benefit them.

Get used to it.

That is all.

Limbaugh Parrots Glaivester

Further, it might be helpful if the administration gave us a clearer picture of our desired end game in Iraq. Isn't it true that we don't have to achieve anything close to a violence-free zone in Iraq in order to accomplish our mission and leave? Shouldn't our goal merely be to train the Iraqi troops to the point that they can furnish stability for a government – preferably democratic – that is friendly to the United States and that will not allow itself to be a safe haven or training ground for international terrorism?

-David Limbaugh Addressing the elephant in the room

Wow. Who? has been saying over and over again that we have no clear goal in Iraq?

That is all.

Monday, November 20, 2006

No Matter How you Couch it

This pre-election article by Joseph Farah is still essentially "bend over!"

Note added on December 8, 2006): I know that I wrote this two weeks after the election, but it Farah's bendiness deserved to be pointed out even after time's arrow has made it irrelevant.

That is all.

Science and God

It is often brought up that most of the top scientists are non-theistic (i.e. they are atheists, agnostics, or believe that there may be some sort of God, but not a personal one) as proof that religion is silly and the refuge of the deluded.

The argument is essentially that science disproves the supernatural, and thus religion is entirely due to the ignorance of the masses. The fact that the top scientists are not religious proves that science and reigion are incompatible, and that science is correct and religion wrong.

What is ignored, however, is the issue of professional bias. Scientists study natural things, things that can be studied scientifically (i.e. by reproducible methods that are falsifiable). The supernatural is by its nature ascientific, that is, outside of what science can study. Belief in the supernatural is not by necessity antiscientific or unscientific, unless it makes you reject the things that science has actually found (e.g. you deny the theory of gravity). It is rather ascientific, outside of science.

The fact that so many scientists reject the existence of the supernatural is, I think, less evidence that the supernatural cannot exist than it is evidence that they have given in to professional bias; that is, they believe that anything that they cannot study through their methods cannot exist. It is hardly surprising that the top scientists tend to come to believe (or come from those who already believed) that nothing exists outside of the natural world, after all, if your tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

However, we are left with a question here. Can this professional bias be found in other fields?

Of course. Most notably, it is found in economists. Some of the most brilliant economists are so in love with their field of study that they come to think that all of life can be explained in material economic terms. Issues such as culture and people's biological and cultural limitations are often cast aside as irrelevant, in the belief that a desire to maximize one's material comfort is all-important (in a certain sense, all behavior can be reduced to economics, that is, making choices as to how to use limited resources; however, when we talk about economics we are usually thinking in terms of material comforts, and most economists when trying to analyze society do so in this way). This is part of why so much of the world seems to resist the economists' theories: they are not taking into acount things that go outside of their field of study.

So what does this mean for religion and science? It does not prove that the supernatural exists, of course; that some arguments for atheism are not valid, or not entirely valid, does not make the atheists wrong; moreover, that they are not entirely valid does not, of course, mean that they are not valid at all; definitely the fact that many or most scientists are irreligious is not a neutral argument or one that would support belief in the supernatural. However, it makes those arguments less than the devastating blows to religion that some of the antireligion critics think they are. what it does mean is that "what do the top scientists believe?" is not necessarily the only or best guide for determining the possibility of the existence of the supernatural, anymore than economists should be the sole or primary guide to social policy.

That is all.

Glaivester on a New Blogroll

Creative Destruction has added me to their blogroll.

Naturally, I am reciprocating.

That is all.

The Army We Could Have Had

There has been a lot of brouhaha over the years bout Rumsfeld's statement that "you go to war with the Army you have."

Both conservative Lawrence Auster and liberal Matthew Yglesias have pointed out that going to war in Iraq with large army was impossible, because we didn't have the army that would be required (although Yglesias believes that to be one reason why we shouldn't have gone and Auster thinks that we had to go, because he still believes the old line that everyone thought Iraq had WMDs). Lots of conservatives have blamed Clinton for gutting the U.S. military.

But few have pointed out the fact that Bush has had five years since 9/11, and we have seen no major push to increase the size of the army. So while we can blame others for the fact that our army was too small for Iraq, the fact that it is still too small to hold onto Iraq must be at least partially blamed on Bush.

Granted, we are not getting enough volunteers to double the size of the army currently, but that just means that the government isn't offering enough incentives, such as higher pay or better benefits. Bush tried this war on the cheap, and we are paying the price.

That is all.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Typical Neocon Play

When all else fails, blame the doubters for your failed policy.

It's a clever ruse. If the doubters continue to dout, blame all failures on their lack of nerve. If they syop doubting, you can avoid their criticism by saying "everyone supported it."

Ol' Penny also brings up that old chestnut, if we would be willing to slaughter a whole bunch of Iraqis now and let God sort 'em out, it will reduce the long-term suffering. An easy excuse for pooh-poohing concerns about power abuse.

In reality, he is half-right. Genocidal fury unleashed is the one thing that can pacify Iraq. However, I doubt that it will reduce the suffering of the Iraqi people, and I further doubt that down the road it would be good for us, either.

That is all.

Common Sense on Iran

Contra the democratists, by Randall Parker.

That is all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What You Cannot Say, Part Two

This piece by Jonah Goldberg is interesting for what it does not say rather than for what it does. He is worried about qualified Asian students getting passed over for less qualified blacks and Latinos due to affirmative action. He also points out that affirmative acion was intended to be temporary, but is now permanent.

But notice that nowhere does he speculate as to why affirmative action didn't work when it was done as a temporary measure, or why blacks and Latinos stll can't see to meet the normal wualifications for elite law schools at rates approaching their representation in the population.

Nor does he offer any real solutions to helping blacks and Latinos (1) improve their performance, or (2) to participate in our society productively in other ways if their performance in this area cannot be improved.

Until we deal with the issue of why racial disparities exist and how to either fix them or deal with them, there will never be any real clear debate on affirmative action, just a bunch of nibbling at the fringes.

That is all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pro-War Lie #7

(Okay, I just made that number up. I was going to give it a larger number, like 785 or something, but I figured that among pro-war lies, this was near the top ten).

the Iraqi insurgency is mostly foreign-based and will subside if we attack Syria and Iran.

More commentary on this coming.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joseph Farah is Right - Sort of

Genocidal slaughter is the only way to win in Iraq - if by winning we mean pacifying the country, not making Iraq a self-sustaining democracy (which is impossible in my opinion). The question is, is it necessary or desirable to win in this way, rather than to simply declare victory and leave (which could still be considered winning if we define winning by the removal of Saddam and not by the pacification of Iraq as it now exists).

That is all.

Quote of the Day

Putting up with the inflated self-regards of Hollywood artistes is the price we pay for the occasional non-moronic movie. -Steve Sailer

That is all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Let's Be Honest

Every time Matthew Yglesias or Tamar Jacoby open their gaping yawps, another person is converted into a (Kevin) MacDonaldite.

On Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David once said that his brother's obnoxious behavior was the cause of most of the antisemitism in the U.S.* Obviously he has not heard of Matt or Tamar.

That is all.

* Or something along those lines.

What We Cannot Say

All of the brouhaha over the new film Borat, featuring a Jewish comedian portraying a stereotypical Polish man mispronouncing "Poland" as "Kazakhistan" brought something to mind that has been bothering me for a while, but not enough so that I would post about it.

It is strange that in the current culture, we can laugh at things while having to deny what we are actually laughing at. In this case, we are laughing at eastern European Gentile stereotypes (okay, I admit that all of this part of it I amn taking from Steve Sailer), but pretending to be laughing about people from a more isolated area (the reason being, of course, that Kazakhistanis have not entered our national consciousness enough for people to be worried about offending them as much as we would Jews, Poles, or Gypsies. Plus, unlike Arabs and Muslims, we aren't as worried about retribution [Salman Rushdie, anyone?]

What this brings to mind is something they had on VH1 a year or so ago. It was something like "100 funniest television moments," and one of them was about Crank Yankers character "Special Ed." (Crank Yankers is a show where they re-enact prank phone calls with puppets). When describing him, he was described as "a really enthusiastic kid," or something like that.

At no point did anyone mention that he was mentalli retarded, or even say something along those lines. Which one might argue was necessary, because to mention that fact would be offensive. But for Pete's sake, that he was mentally retarded was the entire joke to his character! His name made fun of the classes that people with mental deficiencies (amongst others) take. So it's okay to make fun of the retarded, provided you don't actually admit that that is what you are doing.

It's as if there was a skit about a black man with huge lips eating a watermelon, and people laughed at it and called it funny, but for some reason no one pointed out that the humor was based on racial stereotypes. Is it somehow less offensive if you pretend not to know what the joke is?

This also reminds me of the Supreme Court case a few years back about affirmative action, where it was ruled (essentially), that affirmative action was okay provided that you were vague enough about ho it worked. Any method of affirmative action that actually quantified anything or that had any sort of paper trail to show how it worked was verboten.

Something is very wrong in a society where this level of hypocrisy is maintained.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thought for the Day

When people wonder why initiatives to cut spending and lower taxes are not more successful, the answer is obvious: because we let the parasites vote.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Good Article on Our Traitor President

Lawrence Austeron how Bush's cult of personality may have doomed us to more illegal immigration, perhaps dooming us as a nation.

That is all.

Thoughts on the Saddam Verdict

It's good that he has been sentenced. However, I doubt that it will change much in Iraq, as Saddam is unlikely to be of much use to the multiple insurgencies. I don't think that any of the insurgents ever thought he would get back in power, even if the Ba'ath Party were to take over again. And the idea that one of my friends suggested, that there are lots of people in Iraq who love us and want to help us, but who are not doing so because Saddam is still alive and they fear he will make a comeback - I sseriously doubt that there are a significant number of people in Iraq whose actions for or against us are determined by thoughts about Saddam's fate.

Definitely some will protest his execution, because as a Sunni Arab, he on some level is considered to be representative of the Sunnis in general. He is, in a sense, their man, and they will object to his execution for that reason (even if it is a pro forma gesture), or because as Sunnis they fear reprisals or alienation from other Sunnis if they are not seen as "part of the team." However, I doubt that many really have their heart in it for Saddam's sake, and likely this will pass quickly, as they have far more pressing concerns that they will insurge for.

That is all.

We Wuz Stabbed in the Back!

Charles H. Featherstone on the perennial excuse for losing poorly thought-out and unwisely entered wars.

That is all.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Agree with Penraker on Something!

Although I find him to be a bit of a hack on Iraq issues, Penraker certainly has some good points on the euthanasia issue.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if every time a liberal shows a pro-life person who speaks out against birth control and uses him as evidence that all pro-lifers are against birth control and that the movement is really about controlling women, what he would do if someone put out an article like this and suggested that the pro-choice movement was really about eliminating the inconvenient.

Certainly some feminists seem to have few qualms with a woman committing (post-natal) infanticide, although they express their upsetness at society that she was forced into it. In fact, her biggest objection is that it is a more inconvenient form of birth control than abortion:

I think it would be a hideous form of birth-control, because you would still have to go through the stress and danger of nine months of pregnancy.

Notice how she doesn't really care if the baby suffers or not. Or maybe it's not a baby, it's a post-gestational fetus.

That is all.

Sailer on Iraq

Why the idea of installing democracy was always loopy.

That is all.