Thursday, May 31, 2012

The "75%" and the pro-life surge

National Review On-Line has a nice symposium on the recent surge in public support for the pro-life position. The pro-abortion view has dropped seven points in a year.

What's up?

The participants in the symposium discuss a variety of explanations-- the vibrancy and manifest rightness of the pro-life movement, the increasing availability of pre-natal ultrasounds, the stridency and plain ugliness of the pro-abortion movement, among others.

These all matter, for sure. But I do note that much of the pro-life ascendency is among the young. There is growing and passionate support for defense of innocent life among young people.

There is a reason for that, a reason that transcends ultrasound technology and marketing of ideologies.

One quarter of children conceived in the U.S. since 1973 have been aborted. Young people today are the survivors of Roe. Literally the survivors. Every person under the age of thirty-nine is one of the 75%-- the fraction of children conceived who were not aborted.

Young people are beginning to understand abortion in a way that is quite different from the way their parents understood abortion. Young people are increasingly pro-life because they are realizing that the abortion battle is their battle.

Abortion is personal for the young, in a way it has not been for us older folks. Young people-- the 75% of children who survived Roe-- understand which side in the abortion battle fought to protect their lives, and which side was willing to forfeit their lives for profit and for convenience.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Planned Parenthood's war on girls

My hero Lila Rose of Live Action releases this undercover video of a Planned Parenthood counselor helping her work out the logistics for a sex-selective abortion. The "pregnant" woman tells the Planned Parenthood employee that she will abort her child if she's a girl. The Planned Parenthood hack also gives her some tips on how to defraud Medicaid, lie to her family and lie to doctors, etc.

The video (also at the links)

Abortion is the world's most prolific killer of girls. 100 million girls are missing in the world today, mostly because of sex-selective abortion, most in Asia, but sex selective abortion is common in the West as well.

In the undercover video, the Planned Parenthood counselor wraps it up with "Good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy".

To "get your boy", Planned Parenthood will help you kill your girl.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"For Greater Glory"

Commentor Joey directs us to a superb new movie. For Greater Glory is the story of the Cristeros war in Mexico from 1926 to 1929. It was a counter-revolution by Catholics to resist the brutal anti-Catholic repression and the attempt to secularize the country by the atheist Mexican government. The government repression included the torture and murder of priests and enforcement of laws that criminalized Catholic worship and criminalized public expression and actions based on Catholic beliefs and morals.

The movie should be in theaters in the U.S. on June 1st. Here's the trailer:

The movie is a must-see, and is particularly timely, given the milder, but similarly motivated, efforts today to drive the Catholic Church out of our civic life

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank you

'Oh, that tree-ring data...'

Andrew Montford and Harold Amber have a great post explaining the cherry-picking of tree ring data that was used to fabricate the global warming hoaxers "hockey-stick" graph.

If Briffa and and his fellow scientists had done this in the business world, rather than in the scientific world, they'd be in prison. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God bless our veterans

A special thanks to all who have served our country to protect our freedom.

How can we thank our vets? What can we do that would be anywhere near commensurate with their enormous sacrifices?

Lincoln said it:

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We can fight for freedom in the arena in which we find ourselves. In our schools, in our jobs, in the voting booth, on the web. By doing so, we are doing the unfinished work which they who fought for freedom have thus far so nobly advanced.

Please join the fight. 

David Brooks on our patch for morality

David Brooks has a good essay on our choice of careers and our broken moral compass.


... community service has become a patch for morality. Many people today have not been given vocabularies to talk about what virtue is, what character consists of, and in which way excellence lies, so they just talk about community service, figuring that if you are doing the sort of work that Bono celebrates then you must be a good person. 
Let’s put it differently. Many people today find it easy to use the vocabulary of entrepreneurialism, whether they are in business or social entrepreneurs. This is a utilitarian vocabulary. How can I serve the greatest number? How can I most productively apply my talents to the problems of the world? It’s about resource allocation. 
People are less good at using the vocabulary of moral evaluation, which is less about what sort of career path you choose than what sort of person you are. 
In whatever field you go into, you will face greed, frustration and failure. You may find your life challenged by depression, alcoholism, infidelity, your own stupidity and self-indulgence. 
So how should you structure your soul to prepare for this? Simply working at Amnesty International instead of McKinsey is not necessarily going to help you with these primal character tests... 
Furthermore, how do you achieve excellence? Around what ultimate purpose should your life revolve? Are you capable of heroic self-sacrifice or is life just a series of achievement hoops? These, too, are not analytic questions about what to do. They require literary distinctions and moral evaluations.

It’s worth noting that you can devote your life to community service and be a total schmuck. You can spend your life on Wall Street and be a hero. Understanding heroism and schmuckdom requires fewer Excel spreadsheets, more Dostoyevsky and the Book of Job.

I believe that Brooks' strictures apply to socialism as well. Pope John Paul II spoke about the danger of statist morality-- the use of government coercion as a substitute for personal morality. The Lord's command is to love our neighbor, not to take money by force from some neighbors to give it to other neighbors and call it virtue. Support for or opposition to various redistributive programs is not intrinsically moral or immoral. The moral status of the programs is a matter of prudential judgement. Some programs help those in need. Some hurt those in need. Many programs do both.

The Gospel provides the questions (how can I best help?), not the answers. Our moral responsibility is to provide the answers-- and to act on them, with the Lord's guidance-- putting our talents to effective use.

But with the "death of God" in the West our transvaluation of values (Nietzche) has left us bereft of a moral vocabulary, and we have substituted a political vocabulary. We flounder, substituting service to ideology and to government coercion in place of love of God and neighbor.

It is a pitfall that Christians and non-Christians alike find difficult to skirt. We are constantly tempted to public ostentation as a patch for asthenic private virtue. But we must strive to share God's love, and eschew moral patches.

He was awfully hard on Pharisees.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog about Brett Kimberlin Day!

This is hard to believe, but it's true.

There's a convicted felon ex-con mad-bomber accused child molester litigious harasser well-funded leftie named Brett Kimberlin who has been terrorizing conservative bloggers for several years now. Kimberlin served 17 years in the federal pen for terrorizing a town in Indiana with a series of bombings (including one bombing in which a man was so seriously injured that he later committed suicide). Read all about Kimberlin here and here and here and here.

Here's a very informative video.

"Speedway Bomber" Kimberlin studied law in prison, and on his release found his obvious niche.. as a leftie activist. He's a big booster of the Occupy movement, global warming, the whole scam. He's been funded by George Soros and the Tides Foundation, Barbara Streisand, Theresa Heinz Kerry, and it seems, the State Department.

Kimberlin's a nasty act. A conservative blogger who posted about Kimberlin subsequently found himself facing an armed swat team at his front door. "Someone" had called 911, pretending to be the conservative blogger, confessing to have just murdered his wife.

Kimberlin needs to learn about the Streisand effect. I ask all bloggers-- conservative and otherwise-- to blog about this psychopath. While Kimberlin is a creature of the left, this affects all bloggers and represents an execrable attempt to silence free expression. We need to tell the truth about Kimberlin-- even more so since he's tried to terrorize people into silence.

Law enforcement needs to be all over this guy. Hopefully soon Kimberlin will have time to study the Streisand effect in his new residence, which needs to be a prison cell, where the "Speedway Bomber" should have been all along.

And then we can ask questions about where his lavish funding came from. 

Shameful: The Olympics in London won't have a moment of silence for murdered Jewish athletes

From the American Spectator:
No Moment of Silence for Murdered Israeli Athletes at London Olympics 


The International Olympic Committee has rejected a proposal by Israel for a moment of silence at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in honor of the eleven Israeli athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.
I cannot say this comes as a great shock. The IOC is probably no different than the UN. If the IOC were to have honored the fallen Israelis in this way then the Arab/Muslim bloc would have either threatened to boycott the ceremony or the Olympic Games altogether. The truth of the matter is that most of the Arab/Muslim bloc is delighted the Israelis were murdered forty years ago and would probably celebrate if the entire Israeli delegation were to be slaughtered again this summer.

Such venality and cowardice. The Olympic committee's decision is motivated by transparent anti-semitism and obsequity to Muslim thugs. The American team should have its own moment of silence in honor of the brave men who were murdered by Muslim terrorists on that horrible day in Munich.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why are we funding Planned Parenthood health clinics?


From Bonchamps at American Catholic:

... Planned Parenthood presents us with a false choice: accept our network of abortion mills as legitimate, or women everywhere will suffer. Let us kill children with impunity, or watch your women die from easily preventable illnesses! However did the world and the women within it survive before Planned Parenthood emerged as the sole guardian and guarantor of “women’s health”? 
The truth is that there is no reason whatsoever why abortion must necessarily be tied to the other medical services that PP provides. There are pro-life groups within and outside of the Church that are prepared to offer such services. The nightmare scenario constantly offered by PP is nothing but a giant fallacy. And while I am not really a fan of taxpayer money being used for anything other than the legitimate functions of the state, if such funding IS going to be used to fund health clinics, there is no reason why it can’t be used to fund those that don’t butcher children for profit. When PP is a state-funded monopoly (or at least when the attempt is made to establish it as such), of course they can argue that their sudden absence would mean a setback for some women who depend upon them. But there is no reason why PP has to remain a state-funded monopoly. Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. Where there is competition, there will be lower prices. And where there is charity, there will be compassion for those who truly cannot afford to pay. In this case, money that would have gone to PP is simply going to other health clinics that do not provide abortions.

Why are we sending any tax money to the organization that is the most prolific killer of Americans in history? Planned Parenthood kills 300,000 American children each year-- equal to the number of American combat deaths in World War II. A third of the dead children are minority kids, because Planned Parenthood sites their clinics preferentially in minority neighborhoods.

Let's use taxpayer money to fund health services provided by people who do not butcher our children for profit.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Philip Kitcher on the trouble with scientism

Philip Kitcher at the New Republic has a magnificent essay on The Trouble with Scientism.


There are two cathedrals in Coventry. The newer one, consecrated on May 25, 1962, stands beside the remains of the older one, which dates from the fourteenth century, a ruin testifying to the bombardment of the Blitz. Three years before the consecration, in one of the earliest ventures in the twinning of towns, Coventry had paired itself with Dresden. That gesture of reconciliation was recapitulated in 1962, when Benjamin Britten’sWar Requiem received its first performance at the ceremony. The three soloists were an English tenor (Peter Pears), a German baritone (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau), and a Russian soprano (Galina Vishnevskaya). 
Since the 1960s, historians have worked—and debated—to bring into focus the events of the night of February 13, 1945, in which an Allied bombing attack devastated the strategically irrelevant city of Dresden. An increased understanding of the decisions that led to the fire-bombing, and of the composition of the Dresden population that suffered the consequences, have altered subsequent judgments about the conduct of war. The critical light of history has been reflected in the contributions of novelists and critics, and of theorists of human rights. Social and political changes, in other words, followed the results of humanistic inquiry, and were intertwined with the reconciliatory efforts of the citizens of Coventry and Dresden. Even music and poetry played roles in this process: what history has taught us is reinforced by the lines from Wilfred Owen that Britten chose as the epigraph for his score—“My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity. All a poet can do today is warn.”It is so easy to underrate the impact of the humanities and of the arts. Too many people, some of whom should know better, do it all the time. But understanding why the natural sciences are regarded as the gold standard for human knowledge is not hard. When molecular biologists are able to insert fragments of DNA into bacteria and turn the organisms into factories for churning out medically valuable substances, and when fundamental physics can predict the results of experiments with a precision comparable to measuring the distance across North America to within the thickness of a human hair, their achievements compel respect, and even awe. To derive one’s notion of human knowledge from the most striking accomplishments of the natural sciences easily generates a conviction that other forms of inquiry simply do not measure up. Their accomplishments can come to seem inferior, even worthless, at least until the day when these domains are absorbed within the scope of “real science.” 
The conflict between the Naturwissenschaften and the Geisteswissenschaften goes back at least two centuries, and became intensified as ambitious, sometimes impatient researchers proposed to introduce natural scientific concepts and methods into the study of human psychology and human social behavior. Their efforts, and the attitudes of unconcealed disdain that often inspired them, prompted a reaction, from Vico to Dilthey and into our own time: the insistence that some questions are beyond the scope of natural scientific inquiry, too large, too complex, too imprecise, and too important to be addressed by blundering over-simplifications. From the nineteenth-century ventures in mechanistic psychology to contemporary attempts to introduce evolutionary concepts into the social sciences, “scientism” has been criticized for its “mutilation” (Verstümmelung, in Dilthey’s memorable term) of the phenomena to be explained.
Scientism is emerging as one of the greatest threats to humanity in the 21st century. It is a crass mistake-- a logical mistake-- but it has an appeal to a broad spectrum of disingenuous power-seekers, ideologues, and commonplace crooks. Scientism is the antithesis of democracy-- it rationalizes rule by unaccountable elites-- and it denies all reality but mere material reality, thereby eroding respect for natural law, which is the basis for human rights.

The scientistic hoaxes of the past century-- eugenics, pesticide hysteria, population-explosion junk science, global cooling, global warming, the looming... acidification of the oceans!, along with the sputtering New Atheist ignorance that has infested our public discourse-- are but a taste of the boot-print of scientism that we are yet to bear.

I'll post in several installments on Kitcher's brilliant essay. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The mainstream media has a double standard?

From Breitbart.

The networks obsess over Romney's high school pranks, and you can expect the man to get a high-tech colonoscopy from now until November.

But the mainstream media had and has no interest whatsoever in Obama's close relationship with Franklin Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, Tony Rezko, and Jeremiah Wright.

In fact, Obama's decades-long work in the Chicago Democrat mob has gone largely unexamined.

The MSM does many things, but this double standard is just cheap advocacy, not journalism. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Never again, again

Jeff Jacoby has a disturbing post on the atrocities-- the holocaust?-- in North Korea.

When Shin was 14, he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother for attempting to escape. His chief emotion as he watched them die was not sorrow, but anger: He was furious at what they had caused him to be put through. Because of their infraction, he had been savagely tortured, suspended in mid-air over a charcoal fire as interrogators demanded information about where his mother and brother were planning to flee after their escape.

“Shin, crazed with pain, smelling his burning flesh, twisted away from the heat,” Harden writes. “One of the guards grabbed a gaff hook from the wall and pierced the boy in the lower abdomen, holding him over the fire until he lost consciousness.”...

But what excuse do we have [for inaction]? We who know what freedom and civilization mean, who live with law and justice and decency, who intone “never again” to accounts of genocide and holocaust — how do we justify our emotional paralysis? 
There is no cruelty so depraved that people cannot be induced to do it, or to look the other way while it is being done. “Escape from Camp 14” reconfirms what we have known for years: North Korea’s rulers brutalize their people with unparalleled and bloody barbarity. Why do we find it so easy to look the other way?
I'll refrain from atheist-baiting here. North Korea is an example of the worst humanity can be, on a par with the Holocaust and the Killing Fields and the Holodomor and the Great Leap Forward. There is much to say about the ideology that makes such horror possible, but not to be said now. The atrocity in North Korea is so appalling that it's beyond invective. Starvation, torture, summary execution, are the way of life (and death) for these tragic people.

How should the civilized world respond? War to overthrow the regime would kill millions of innocents. Sanctions probably merely make life even harder for the helpless civilians. International reproach falls on deaf ears.

I see no easy answers. Perhaps massive aid, food, medical supplies would make a difference. Most of it would probably go to the army and merely strengthen the monsters ruling the gulag. That might prolong the life of the regime. But maybe it would help.

Please pray for these poor people. This is a time for all people of goodwill to work together to end this horror, if we only knew how to end it.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why atheism fails

This could be a very long post. But atheism's abounding failures can be succinctly posted to three failures.

1) Atheism is bookless.

By that, I don't mean that it is without apologetic literature-- there have been many efforts to justify it, by many learned men. That is evidence for it's weakness. After millennia of variations of "God is not Great", atheism remains bookless. There is no systematic atheology, analogous to systematic theology. Theist philosophers such as Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and Maimonides and Averroes and Aquinas and Bonaventure produced more or less systematic understandings of existence and of man's role in it using theist precepts.

There is no cogent systematic effort to explain the world using atheist precepts.

Atheism-- older than Christianity and as old as Judaism and the philosophy of the Greek world that were illuminated and given metaphysical coherence by the Church-- has no summa and no ways of demonstration of God's inexistence and of the source for nature's or for man's existence. Even developed philosophical systems such as Confucianism are not atheistic inherently; they are ethical systems that sidestep the deep metaphysical questions of God's existence and creation that are addressed in the theist systems.

Atheism lacks explanatory power. It lacks a body of metaphysics and natural philosophy and anthropology in which the presupposition of atheism sheds light on existence or nature or man.

2) Atheism is purposeless.

Atheism lacks any basis for morality. Atheists insist that atheists can be moral people, and of course they're right. Although trends certainly seem to suggest that Christians and other theists are more moral, there are countless atheists who are personally very moral, more moral than many Christians. Morality is written in the human heart. Even when we violate it, we nearly always know it.

But an atheist can only be moral by implicitly denying atheism.

If atheism is true, there is no transcendent morality. There is no objective morality, no genuine right and wrong. There is no actual ought. There is only is, which we naively take to be moral imperative, when it is merely a survival imperative.

Atheists claim that man makes his own morality, his own purpose. But if the universe has no purpose, nothing in it has purpose. And purpose is then everywhere an illusion.

Without God, there can be no morality. There can be only human opinion. Opinions alone, without transcendence, can be effective or useless, beneficial or destructive, but not right or wrong.

Genuine morality-- objective morality-- must transcend man, or it is no morality. Just strategy.

3) Atheism is giftless.

Boris Pasternak in Dr. Zhivago enraged the atheist Soviet Government by thinly veiled observations about the brutal soulless rule of atheism in power. He lamented the inevitable

... sanguinary swinishness of the cruel, pockmarked Caligulas, who did not suspect how giftless all oppressors are... Ages and generations breathed freely only after Christ.

State atheism has produced only pockmarked giftless Caligulas-- Danton, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Ceausescu, Honniker, Castro, Pol Pot. The Pan-atheon is a monument to unprecedented cruelty.

Where is atheism's critique of its pockmarked spawn? The only manifestation of atheism in state power is totalitarianism. No exceptions. For two centuries-- from 1789-- every atheist philosophy that has risen to power has brought hell to earth among the people under its boot. Atheist 'secular humanism' has one salient characteristic-- it never survives the rise of atheism. What begins with an edited Jefferson always ends with a pockmarked Caligula.

Atheists expend tons of ink denying the obvious link between atheism and totalitarianism. What is needed, rather, is humble soul-searching about the only consistent manifestation that atheism has taken in politics at the level of the nation-state-- the level where atheism has real power. Atheism in power has always been totalitarian.


To engage atheism with respectful discourse is to compromise with it, to participate in the lie. Sometimes, for rhetorical reasons or for humane reasons-- the desire to help our friends escape atheism's intellectual and moral and historical sewage-- such lying is perhaps justified. Respectfully engaging offal may be an effective tactic just to show it to be offal.

But I insist that reasoned debate with atheism is always a sham. A noble sham, perhaps. But we must not forget that atheism is nothing but lie. It is a pitiful self-refuting sewer of narcissism and ignorance and malice.

The only entirely honest response to atheism is contempt and derision. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Clueless. Idiot. Liberal. Hypocrite.

This is almost hard to believe. I laughed so hard I hurt myself.

She is an archetype of our cultural elite-- a marginally sentient lefty snob with a media sinecure based solely on her conformity to ideology. She plainly couldn't reason her way out of a paper bag.

Angelo Codevilla understands it, and explains it beautifully.

Friday, May 18, 2012

George Weigel's commencement address on natural law

Catholic theologian George Weigel delivered the commencement address to Benedictine College in Kansas. It is a beautiful reflection on religious liberty and natural law.

Weigel first quotes Father John Courtney Murray, a Jesuit theologican and great student of religious freedom in America:
[Fr. Murry] “Catholic participation in the American consensus has been full and free, unreserved and unembarrassed, because the contents of this consensus — the ethical and political principles drawn from the tradition of natural law — approve themselves to the Catholic intelligence and conscience. Where this kind of language is talked, the Catholic joins the conversation with complete ease. It is his language. The ideas expressed are native to his universe of discourse. Even the accent, being American, suits his tongue.”

Weigel observes:

[Weigel] In this second decade of the third millennium, there are many grave questions be debated in America: the question of the legal protection of innocent human life from conception until natural death; the question of long-term strategy and morally worthy tactics in the war against Islamist jihadism; the question of how we attend to the sick and how we manage immigration; the question of fitting public policy ends to fiscal means; the question of building an appropriate regulatory structure around the biotech revolution so that the new genetic knowledge leads to genuine human flourishing rather than to a stunted and manufactured humanity; the question of the health of American civil society and of the American national character; the list goes on and on. The very question of what should be on “the public policy agenda,” and what ought to be left to the private and independent sectors, is being as vigorously contested in our country today as at any time since the Great Depression and the New Deal. Yet amidst all this churning, the gravest question for our public culture is whether what Father Murray called the “American consensus” — that ensemble of “ethical and political principles drawn from the tradition of natural law” — still holds. 
There are reasons to be concerned. 
In October 2009, the nation’s political newspaper of record, the Washington Post, ran an editorial condemning what it termed the “extremist views” of a candidate for attorney general of Virginia who had suggested that the natural moral law was still a useful guide to public policy. The Post, determined to nail down the claim that homosexual orientation is the equivalent of race for purposes of U.S. civil rights law, deplored this as “a retrofit [of] the old language of racism, bias, and intolerance in a new context.” Yet the Post’s own claim was, to adopt its language, “extremist.” For it suggested that the label “bigot” ought to be applied to notable historical personalities who had appealed to the natural moral law in causes thePost would presumably regard as admirable: figures such as Thomas Jefferson, staking America’s claim to independent nationhood on “self-evident” moral truths derived from “the laws of nature”; or Martin Luther King, Jr., arguing in his Letter from Birmingham Jail that “an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law”; or Pope John Paul II, who, at the United Nations in 1995, suggested that the truths of the natural moral law — “the moral logic which is built into human life,” as he put it — could serve as a universal “grammar” enabling cross-cultural dialogue...

A very serious danger in the relentless attacks on real marriage and on the sanctity of life and on a host of basic moral principles is that they are attacks on the concept of natural law itself. Of course, the attackers, who are generally ignorant of the philosophical implications of their denial of objective moral law, invoke natural law to deny natural law. They accuse defenders of life and marriage as oppressors and bigots, not pausing to note that the very concept of human rights and human equality presupposes the existence of natural law. What is it, after all, that one is transgressing by bigotry and oppression, if not fundamental human rights held by all? The argument that policy based on natural law is oppressive is itself an argument for a policy based on natural law.

The real debate is then not whether natural law exists objectively and can be invoked to guide public policy. The debate is about who is right about what natural law prescribes.

And, of course, the more fundamental debate is about the Source of the natural law that everyone-- everyone-- invokes.

To deny the existence of God is to take oneself out of any rational discussion of human rights. The denial of God is a denial of objective right and wrong, of any sort. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

John Fund on Naomi Riley's firing

John Fund has a great post on the firing from the Chronicle of Higher Education of Naomi Riley. Riley wrote a post criticizing Black Studies Programs as “obscure at best . . . a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap at worst.” Over 6000 academics signed a petition demanding that Riley be censored, and she was gone.

Excerpt from Fund's post:
Nick Cohen is an atheist and former leftist who writes for the Observer andGuardian newspapers in Britain... He warned that many in the West now “surround taboo subjects with a bodyguard of politically correct humbug. This form of self-censorship has had a profound effect on liberalism.” He noted that “censorship is at its most effective when no one admits that it exists. ‘No one else is complaining, so move along now,’ becomes the mantra.”
For decades, academics have demanded tenure, ostensibly not to secure the effectively lifetime employment it creates but to give them the freedom to voice unpopular opinions and conduct research that challenges conventional thinking. Well, Naomi Riley isn’t an academic and didn’t have tenure at theChronicle. But she had a right to express her view, have her employer back her up, and not see her reputation attacked. Few, if any, of her critics actually tried to refute her criticisms of black-studies dissertations. Instead, they sought to shut her up, and in so doing, they sent yet another message that some liberals today have become at least as intolerant of debate as any of the fundamentalists and traditionalists they abhor.
Censorship is the cornerstone tactic of the left. They can't win arguments-- note the failure of the left in the medium most suited to arguments, which is talk radio-- so they advance their cause by intimidating people who speak out against them. They sue Christians to silence them in civic life, they sue parents who want an open discussion of evolution in schools, they compare people who question global warming orthodoxy to Holocaust deniers, they call people who believe in a color-blind society racists, and they gag people who point out that their academic niches in Black Studies and Womyn's Studies and various LGBT programs are little more than far-left victimology in drag.

The proper response to censorship is fluent defiance. Every time they try to stop the debate, we need to speak out, even more clearly and with even more passion. The internet is a great medium for defying censorship. The left, at least in the West, hasn't figured out how to silence it. Yet.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Political scientism

A rather remarkable essay at Science Friday, with my commentary.

Has Science Outgrown Democracy? 

"Whenever the people are well-informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government."

If you are in Washington D.C., you can step inside Jefferson's library -- it has been recreated at the Library of Congress. It's a roughly round room that contains books outlining virtually the entirety of what was know in Jefferson's day. It was his version of the Internet.
Nonsense. No library has contained even a miniscule fraction of human knowledge. What Otto is referring to is mostly knowledge of natural science, which, even in the late 18th century, far exceeded anything that Jefferson could hoard or even understand.

And much of knowledge in other massive spheres of human understanding-- theology, literature, art, philosophy, history, were far beyond Jefferson's purview. He had some wisdom-- political wisdom for sure-- but he was a man for a season. His knowledge of theology, for example, was sophomoric.
But today it's no longer possible for one person -- even a scientist and someone as well-read as Jefferson -- to know all that there is to know.
It never was, at least not since Aristotle.
And for the rest of us who lead busy lives outside the spheres of science and policy, it's virtually impossible to keep up with the pace of science, much less to actually read scientific papers and understand what scientists are basing their conclusions on. Science is increasingly becoming a matter of belief.
Science always was, and always will be, a matter of belief. The sharp "demarcation" between science and other kinds of knowledge is a fallacy. Science is a discipline of philosophy-- natural philosophy-- and is a node in the web of epistemology and metaphysics and theology and logic and ethics that constitutes human knowledge.

No kind of knowledge is an island.
So what happens to Jefferson's insight today, in a world dominated by complex science?
Thomas Jefferson... 'Endowed by our Creator"... "unalienable rights"... "We the People"... times have changed... irrelevant to the modern world... everything is different...

Just say it, Shawn. We know where this is going.
Science influences every aspect of life, yet very few people have a good understanding of most science. 

Actually, logic influences more areas of life than science. Mathematics does too. Religion too. Philosophy too. Ethics too. 

Especially ethics. We lived for millennia without science. How long would we last without ethics?

Perhaps we'll find out.

Is the ever-increasing burden of education that science places on the people making it hard for democracy to continue to function as a viable form of government? And if it is, what's the alternative?
The alternative is rule by self-appointed elites.
Using science, we've vastly multiplied our power over nature. Science has given us control over the reproductive cycle, it has doubled our average lifespan and it has multiplied the productivity of our farms by some 35 times -- all in the last 140 years.
Science has many blessings. And curses. Just like religion. Just like every kind of knowledge.

Much of the radical improvement in our health and longevity has come about because of a reduction in childhood mortality, largely as a result of prevention of epidemics by effective public health measures-- good sewage systems, etc. Actually, rather low tech stuff.

Relativity and quantum mechanics and human genetics are fascinating and important, but have not played a significant role in human longevity.

Evolutionary biology has contributed nothing at all to human flourishing, and applied evolutionary biology-- eugenics-- has caused much suffering. (contra the Darwin fan-boys, the management of microbial resistance to antibiotics is dependent on microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, etc. 'Just-So-Stories' about survivors surviving play no role).

It has also enabled a population explosion. We have created a system that cannot support our population without posing serious challenges to our environment.
The population increase of the past century is leveling off, and is becoming an implosion in many parts of the world. Our environment is doing just fine-- technological advance and free markets have made our environment much cleaner and healthier.

The most environmentally filthy places on earth are in the old socialist/communist paradises, ruled by scientific socialists (like Mr. Otto).
That's the way it is with power: it carries with it responsibility.
For example:

1) It would be irresponsible to acquire the power to eradicate malaria, and then for ideological reasons ban the agent most effective for that eradication. That could kill a lot of people.

2) It would be irresponsible to acquire the power to control human reproduction, and then for ideological reasons based on politicized junk science impose totalitarian control of reproduction on billions of people. That would be a crime against humanity.

3) It would be irresponsible to acquire the power to make fuel from corn, and then for ideological and crassly political reasons to jack up the price of corn by converting a major portion of the United States' corn crop to ethanol. That could cause food riots.

Luckily environmental scientists were on the right side of these issues, right?

Using science, we are just now coming to understand complex systems and how to manage our power in more sustainable, responsible ways.
Just now? What the hell have we been doing for the last few centuries, if we haven't been "understanding complex systems" and "understanding how to manage our power in sustainable, responsible ways".

Perhaps Mr. Otto is saying that now that he is on the scene, we're finally getting smart.

But with a democratic form of government that relies on the votes of the people, we've been increasingly unable or unwilling to enact regulations that help us act responsibly in our use of power.
'We've been increasingly unable or unwilling to enact regulations preferred by Shawn L. Otto."
We have created a global economy with no global regulatory system
Global regulatory system? Chosen by... whom? Run by... whom? Accountable to... whom?

and placed our corporations in a feudal chase after the cheapest labor, the least-restrictive environmental regulations, and the easiest methods of exploiting natural resources. 
Free enterprise. The most effective method ever found for human flourishing and maintaining a healthy environment. If you don't believe me, visit any city saddled with 80 years of "scientific socialism".

Of course, Mr. Otto wouldn't be advocating an economic system based on science and... socialism.
And those are just the problems left over from the last century of science. In the next 40 years, we are poised to create as much new knowledge as we have acquired in the last 400.
Imagine the policy challenges that new knowledge will create as we master genomics, neuroscience, and nanotechnology -- just to name a few emerging fields that have huge public policy implications.

Thank goodness we have scientific socialists to help us muddle through.
So what's the answer?
Shawn's gonna tell us. Let me guess: it has something to do with giving unprecedented power to guys like Shawn L. Otto.
Has science outgrown democracy?
Getting closer...
Should candidates for public office be required to have degrees in science?
Or at least 'should politicians who hawk scientific theories be required to get more than a "D" in college science?'
Should we require everyone to have more science education?
They need to be taught the stuff that Shawn L. Otto believes!
Even when they do have an adequate foundation of science knowledge, why do so few people seem to understand how important science is?
Only people like Shawn L. Otto understand how important science is.
Should we have science-civics classes?
Why not science-civics camps, for deniers.
Or do scientists simply need to be more communicative?
They sure don't talk enough.
Of course these are questions I delve into in my new book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America.
Shawn's been fooled a lot more than twice.

The theme of Shawn's book tour is "If voters don't appreciate science like Shawn L. Otto, let's question the relevance of democracy".
But they are also questions that I and others are seeking to address by creating a new form of political debate -- a presidential science debate -- to tackle the big unresolved questions that increasingly revolve around science.
This year's big science question in politics: "How can we keep spending more money than we have?" Actually, it's a math question.
We want to address these questions in a way that adults are used to taking in complex information -- within the context of our national public policy dialogue.
That's why science guys like Shawn and his Darwinist/warmist buddies keep trying to stop people from discussing controversies in science classrooms.

A presidential science debate isn't some wonky quiz about the third digit of Pi; it's an exploration of our greatest aspirations as a country, and a chance to reorient our discussion on not just the next election, but also the next generation.
Right, Shawn. We need a debate organized by a coven of half-educated narcissists with science degrees and undiagnosed Asperger's to tell us how important it is to give them more money and do everything they say.

So, back to Shawn's original question: "has science outgrown democracy?"


It is imperative, however, that democracy outgrow scientism.

(HT: Wesley Smith @ Secondhand Smoke)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap..."

Great post in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Naomi Schaefer Riley on the scandal of Black Studies departments and other race and gender based academic niches. It's so good I'm reproducing it in full:

The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations. 

April 30, 2012, 10:24 pm 
By Naomi Schaefer Riley

You’ll have to forgive the lateness but I just got around to reading The Chronicle’s recent piece on the young guns of black studies. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations being offered by the best and the brightest of black-studies graduate students has made it. What a collection of left-wing victimization claptrap. The best that can be said of these topics is that they’re so irrelevant no one will ever look at them. 
That’s what I would say about Ruth Hayes’ dissertation, “‘So I Could Be Easeful’: Black Women’s Authoritative Knowledge on Childbirth.” It began because she “noticed that nonwhite women’s experiences were largely absent from natural-birth literature, which led me to look into historical black midwifery.” How could we overlook the nonwhite experience in “natural birth literature,” whatever the heck that is? It’s scandalous and clearly a sign that racism is alive and well in America, not to mention academia. 
Then there is Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of “Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s.” Ms. Taylor believes there was apparently some kind of conspiracy in the federal government’s promotion of single family homes in black neighborhoods after the unrest of the 1960s. Single family homes! The audacity! But Ms. Taylor sees that her issue is still relevant today. (Not much of a surprise since the entirety of black studies today seems to rest on the premise that nothing much has changed in this country in the past half century when it comes to race. Shhhh. Don’t tell them about the black president!) She explains that “The subprime lending crisis, if it did nothing else, highlighted the profitability of racism in the housing market.” The subprime lending crisis was about the profitability of racism? Those millions of white people who went into foreclosure were just collateral damage, I guess. 
But topping the list in terms of sheer political partisanship and liberal hackery is La TaSha B. Levy. According to the Chronicle, “Ms. Levy is interested in examining the long tradition of black Republicanism, especially the rightward ideological shift it took in the 1980s after the election of Ronald Reagan. Ms. Levy’s dissertation argues that conservatives like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, John McWhorter, and others have ‘played one of the most-significant roles in the assault on the civil-rights legacy that benefited them.’” The assault on civil rights? Because they don’t favor affirmative action they are assaulting civil rights? Because they believe there are some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people they are assaulting civil rights? 
Seriously, folks, there are legitimate debates about the problems that plague the black community from high incarceration rates to low graduation rates to high out-of-wedlock birth rates. But it’s clear that they’re not happening in black-studies departments. If these young scholars are the future of the discipline, I think they can just as well leave their calendars at 1963 and let some legitimate scholars find solutions to the problems of blacks in America. Solutions that don’t begin and end with blame the white man.
She's exactly right, of course. Black Studies is really "Far left Black Victimology". The same goes for Women's Studies and LGBT Studies, etc. It's just whack-a-loon lefty politics in academic blackface/drag. There are many important aspects of black life in America-- the disintegration of the black nuclear family, the educational collapse of inner city schools, the horrendous violent crime-- that are critical topics for research. Honest research on these matters would obviously lead to questions about liberal government programs/policies that foster government dependency and replace the husband/father in poor black families, and with Democrat-licking teachers' unions concerned more with teacher sinecure than student success, and with "crime prevention" fantasies (midnight basketball!) that serve only to employ bureaucrats who dream up crime-prevention fantasies and that have turned our inner cities into war zones with violent death rates for young black men that exceed the death rates of American soldiers in Fallujah.

What are the chances of seeing honest research-- research that might upset the pretensions of the liberal academic elites-- done in Black Studies departments? About the same chance as seeing a delegate at the Democratic National Convention who's not receiving some kind of government check.


So, you ask, how was Ms. Riley's perceptive essay received in the Chronicle of Higher Education?

She was fired. She was fired specifically for writing the post.

Read all about it. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Be careful about inviting Bret Stephens to your graduation...

Bret Stephens has a commencement address. From hell.

Dear Class of 2012: 
Allow me to be the first one not to congratulate you. Through exertions that—let's be honest—were probably less than heroic, most of you have spent the last few years getting inflated grades in useless subjects in order to obtain a debased degree. Now you're entering a lousy economy, courtesy of the very president whom you, as freshmen, voted for with such enthusiasm. Please spare us the self-pity about how tough it is to look for a job while living with your parents. They're the ones who spent a fortune on your education only to get you back— return-to-sender, forwarding address unknown. 
No doubt some of you have overcome real hardships or taken real degrees. A couple of years ago I hired a summer intern from West Point. She came to the office directly from weeks of field exercises in which she kept a bulletproof vest on at all times, even while sleeping. She writes brilliantly and is as self-effacing as she is accomplished. Now she's in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. 
If you're like that intern, please feel free to feel sorry for yourself. Just remember she doesn't. 
Unfortunately, dear graduates, chances are you're nothing like her. And since you're no longer children, at least officially, it's time someone tells you the facts of life. The otherfacts. 
Fact One is that, in our "knowledge-based" economy, knowledge counts. Yet here you are, probably the least knowledgeable graduating class in history. 
A few months ago, I interviewed a young man with an astonishingly high GPA from an Ivy League university and aspirations to write about Middle East politics. We got on the subject of the Suez Crisis of 1956. He was vaguely familiar with it. But he didn't know who was president of the United States in 1956. And he didn't know who succeeded that president. 
Pop quiz, Class of '12: Do you? 
Many of you have been reared on the cliché that the purpose of education isn't to stuff your head with facts but to teach you how to think. Wrong. I routinely interview college students, mostly from top schools, and I notice that their brains are like old maps, with lots of blank spaces for the uncharted terrain. It's not that they lack for motivation or IQ. It's that they can't connect the dots when they don't know where the dots are in the first place.

Now to Fact Two: Your competition is global. Shape up. Don't end your days like a man I met a few weeks ago in Florida, complaining that Richard Nixon had caused his New York City business to fail by opening up China. 
In places like Ireland, France, India and Spain, your most talented and ambitious peers are graduating into economies even more depressed than America's. Unlike you, they probably speak several languages. They may also have a degree in a hard science or engineering—skills that transfer easily to the more remunerative jobs in investment banks or global consultancies. 
I know a lot of people like this from my neighborhood in New York City, and it's a good thing they're so well-mannered because otherwise they'd be eating our lunch. But if things continue as they are, they might soon be eating yours. 
Which reminds me of Fact Three: Your prospective employers can smell BS from miles away. And most of you don't even know how badly you stink. 
When did puffery become the American way? Probably around the time Norman Mailer came out with "Advertisements for Myself." But at least that was in the service of provoking an establishment that liked to cultivate an ideal of emotional restraint and public reserve. 
To read through your CVs, dear graduates, is to be assaulted by endless Advertisements for Myself. Here you are, 21 or 22 years old, claiming to have accomplished feats in past summer internships or at your school newspaper that would be hard to credit in a biography of Walter Lippmann or Ernie Pyle. 
If you're not too bright, you may think this kind of nonsense goes undetected; if you're a little brighter, you probably figure everyone does it so you must as well.
But the best of you don't do this kind of thing at all. You have an innate sense of modesty. You're confident that your résumé needs no embellishment. You understand that less is more. 
In other words, you're probably capable of thinking for yourself. And here's Fact Four: There will always be a market for people who can do that. 
In every generation there's a strong tendency for everyone to think like everyone else. But your generation has an especially bad case, because your mass conformism is masked by the appearance of mass nonconformism. It's a point I learned from my West Point intern, when I asked her what it was like to lead such a uniformed existence. 
Her answer stayed with me: Wearing a uniform, she said, helped her figure out what it was that really distinguished her as an individual. 
Now she's a second lieutenant, leading a life of meaning and honor, figuring out how to Think Different for the sake of a cause that counts. Not many of you will be able to follow in her precise footsteps, nor do you need to do so. But if you can just manage to tone down your egos, shape up your minds, and think unfashionable thoughts, you just might be able to do something worthy with your lives. And even get a job. Good luck!
The truth is that there are many fine young people who are graduating from college this week (my oldest daughter is one of them), and many of them will make great contributions to our world. Most will be good and honest people and do right by their families and friends and by God, which is a great contribution in itself.

The shame is that colleges too often fail to do their job-- to strengthen to the upmost the mind and the morals of each young person in their charge. Many professors and administrators do excellent, even heroic, work. Yet there is on college campuses today a smelly orthodoxy and bigotry that is particularly shameful in institutions of learning. But the students are better than this. Many will and do see through it. I entered college-- a very liberal college-- a passionate liberal. I left college a conservative, largely because I met other passionate liberals. A mirror can be quite a shock, if you're paying attention.

But a good thing, as Mr. Stephens notes, is to begin post-graduate life with humility. It is the beginning of wisdom. Mr. Stephens probably just ruined any chance he might have to give a commencement address to any actual college, but he tells the truth.

The truth, that is, that students probably have not heard in class.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chesterton reflects on Mary and her Son

A nice reflection on Mother's Day from G.K. Chesterton:

When I was a boy a more Puritan generation objected to a statue upon my parish church representing the Virgin and Child. After much controversy, they compromised by taking away the Child. One would think that this was even more corrupted with Mariolatry, unless the mother was counted less dangerous when deprived of a sort of weapon. But the practical difficulty is also a parable. You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a newborn child. You cannot suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a newborn child at all. Similarly, you cannot suspend the idea of a newborn child in the void or think of him without thinking of his mother. You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother, you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other idea follows I as it is followed in history. We must either leave Christ out of Christmas, or Christmas out of Christ, or we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that those holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross.

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and my mother-in-law (both departed but always in my heart), and to my wife, the best mom I know.

Please don't forget your mom on her special day!

The Word became flesh...

A fascinating book review and reflections by Phillip Cary at First Things. He asks:

"Could God be a material being?"

Cary notes:

In classical Greek thought, pure matter was infinite, which was not a good thing. To be infinite was to be limitless and so without form. And since form is the basis of all understanding—making it possible for us to perceive the physical or conceptual structure of a thing and thus grasp its essence—it follows that pure matter must be not only formless but an incomprehensible chaos. 
Orthodox Christianity could not accept this notion of limitless, chaotic matter. To begin with, the early Church put a definite limit to matter in one direction by rejecting Aristotle’s notion of the eternity of matter. Matter is among the things God brought into being when he created the world out of nothing. Then, hesitantly at first but in the end decisively, the orthodox theological tradition transferred the attribute of limitless infinity to God, accepting the Neoplatonist contention that the highest divinity was above the ontological level of form and beyond any level of being that a finite mind can understand. God, not matter, was both infinite and incomprehensible 
The road not taken... is to retain the limitless eternity of matter but relocate it in God, and then to break the connection between infinity and incomprehensibility. And so an infinite divine materiality—matter that God never created because it has always existed—can be the ground of our likeness to God and our understanding of him. God’s material substance is something he has in common with us and therefore something we can comprehend. And Christ has yet more in common with us than God the Father does, because even before he came into the womb of Mary he had a particular material body.

[This means] jettison[ing] every form of negative theology, or apophaticism, and even the Thomistic strategy of analogical discourse about God, in favor of Duns Scotus’ metaphysics of univocal discourse, where being means the same whether we’re talking about God’s being or ours. For both God and his creation, to be is to be material. And a material God, even if infinite, has enough in common with us that he is not beyond our understanding.

It this "road not taken"-- the location of the limitless eternity of matter in God-- the truth about God?

Cary demurs:

As Plato pointed out long ago, a material being is not simple but composed of parts that are other than the whole. Hence a material God is dependent for his being on what is not identical with himself. The material he is composed of is not only necessary for his constitution but in an important sense prior to himself—more primordial than God. A materialist metaphysics leaves God fundamentally dependent on what is not God.

The solution, Cary suggests, is in Christian orthodoxy:

Nicene Christianity has developed a robust way of affirming the suffering of a God who is not by nature material or time-bound. For Christ himself, as Gregory of Nazianzen put it in a formulation frequently echoed by Augustine, “remained what he was and took up what he was not.” That is to say, he remained eternal God, immaterial and unchanging, beyond suffering and death, even when he took flesh of the virgin and thereby made our materiality, suffering, and death his own, though they are not inherent in his divine nature...

Thus God the Son freely makes all that is ours his own, while remaining eternally what he is: not only unchanging, immortal, and impassible, but immaterial. He does not need heavenly flesh to be Immanuel, the God who is with us and one of us.

Cary probes the mystery and beauty of the greatest of miracles, which is the Incarnation-- that the Word that was God became flesh and dwelt among us. In taking on our flesh and our suffering while remaining Eternal and Infinite, God takes us to Himself, by His free choice of love for us.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Equal opportunity opportunists

But some things never change...

Commentor Joey quotes conservative scholar Thomas Sowell on the evolution of 'racism' in America:

"If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today."

Martin Luther King, a Republican who believed in equality under the law, would today be labeled a racist for his I Have a Dream speech:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Try judging an applicant/employee/student today by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin and you're likely to end up in federal court or in front of the EEOC.

Liberal Democrats have so distorted our discourse that today a commitment to a merit-based color-blind society is labeled "racist", and a commitment to racial profiling is called an "affirmative defense" in court. If you abhor racism, you're a racist. If you practice explicit racism, you're not a racist. Go figure.

Democrats, as you might imagine, have always been on the racist side. To Democrat pols, "color blind" has always meant "lost votes". Democrats championed slavery, civil war (to protect slavery), the KKK, Jim Crow, segregation, race-huckstering (here and here) and affirmative action with equal fervor and without blinking an eye. To paraphrase Tom Joad, wherever there's race hate, the Democrat party will be there.

Race hate worked for Democrats in Ft. Lauderdale in 1935 and it works for Democrats in Sanford Florida in 2012. Democrats use race hate to maintain power. They ain't particular about the race.

Democrats are equal opportunity opportunists. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dennis Prager and me on gay marriage and gays

Dennis Prager has a great post on Conservatives and Gays: Where Do We Stand?

... I am not anti-gay. Proponents of same-sex marriage may conflate opposition to same-sex marriage with being anti-gay. But conservatives must not.

Those of us who fear the consequences of redefining marriage — asking children if they hope to marry a boy or a girl when they get older, banning religious adoption agencies from placing children first with a married man and woman, denying the importance of both sexes in making families, choosing boys to be high-school prom queens and girls to be high-school prom kings, and much more — must make it clear that we regard homosexuals as fellow human beings created in God’s image just as heterosexuals are... 
Conservatives must object to values, not to individuals.
I agree. I oppose much of the agenda of the gay Left, more because it is left than because it is gay. I believe that homosexual acts are sinful, but I have plenty of my own sins, and I make no claim that my sins are less grave than those of my neighbors.

The truth that we are all sinners in need of His grace and redemption does not eliminate our responsibility to speak out against sin. My responsibility-- our responsibility-- is to be truthful, and to struggle against sin wherever it appears.

Yet we conservative Christians should always take care-- and generally do take care-- to respect the worth and dignity of each of us. We are all sinners. We all need forgiveness. And we all have a responsibility to work against sin.

There is no contradiction in those last three assertions. They are, really, the essence of Christian moral teaching. 

Unabomber: 'Don't you dare classify me with those environmentalist butchers!'

Kaczinsky: 'I'm a putz compared to
 the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Population Council, etc'

(Dissociated Press) Convicted unabomber Ted Kaczynski complained today to the Heartland Institute about the libertarian organization's billboard campaign that links the environmentalist serial killer to global warming alarmism.

From Kaczynski's press release:

'I take strong exception to being linked to radical greenie organizations who peddle global warming alarmism and a whole host of anti-human ideologies, such as the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Population Council. 
I may be a serial killer, but I've never perpetrated crimes against humanity. 
I never banned DDT and then stood by congratulating myself while malaria resumed killing a million people each year (40 million people to date and counting) in developing countries. I never advocated programs that sterilized millions of people against their will and or programs that led to tens of millions of forced abortions or programs that caused the selective abortion, infanticide and abandonment of tens of millions of infant girls-- a modern female genocide. I've never used fake climate science scares to try to shut down world economic development and consign billions of people in developing countries to poverty and starvation in order to peddle a socialist hoax designed to enrich a small group of scientists, ideologues, and speculators.
I may be a killer, but don't lump me in with these bastards.' 

Kaczynski provided a comparison between his killing and killing facilitated by mainstream environmental organizations:

Ted Kaczynski: 

Killed-- 3 people, injured/maimed-- 23 people. 

Mainstream Environmental Organizations (Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Population Council): 

Killed-- at least 40 million malaria victims (mostly impoverished women and children) since 1972, who were deprived by environmentalists of the most effective pesticide (DDT) against mosquitos that spread malaria.
Killed-- tens of millions of newborn girls in the womb by sex-selective abortion in China, India. 
Killed-- tens of millions of newborn girls murdered after birth in China, India. 
Killed-- countless thousands killed by botched involuntary sterilizations in China, India, and Peru.  
Maimed-- tens of millions of women subjected to forced abortions/sterilizations under One-Child Policy in China 
Abandoned-- millions of baby girls discarded in male-preference societies in which births are limited by law in China, India.

The Heartland Institute apologized to Mr. Kaczynski, stating that it never meant to compare the serial killer to the mainstream environmental movement. 'We know that Mr. Kaczynski has never advocated letting tens of millions of people die of malaria just to establish his environmentalist bona fides and advance his lucrative non-profit and he never collaborated with crimes against humanity by hawking forced abortions, sterilizations, and infanticide in China and India. We know the difference between Mr. Kaczynski and the mainstream environmentalist movement-- we know the difference between murder and genocide', officials at the Heartland Institute said.

The Institute also pointed out that Mr. Kaczynski, unlike global warming alarmists, has never peddled junk science in an effort to gain personal power and enrichment. He has never committed scientific fraud nor has he rigged peer review nor admitted to manipulating data to hide temperature decline nor fraudulently made historical warming periods disappear nor violated Freedom of Information Act laws.

The Institute pointed out that it didn't mean to insult Mr. Kaczynski, and acknowledged that comparing Kaczynski to mainstream environmental organizations was 'way over the top'.

Kaczynsky has retained counsel, and has indicated that he may sue for defamation.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Barack Obama 60%; Keith Judd 40%

West Virginia had its Democratic presidential primary this week. With 83% of the precincts reporting, President Obama won, but it wasn't a walk. The runner-up, Keith Judd, got 40% of the Democrat vote, an astonishingly large vote for an unknown challenger to an incumbent president.

Who is Keith Judd?

Keith Judd is a repeat candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination. He ran for president in the Democrat primary in Idaho in 2008. He got 1.7% of the vote. He also claims to have run for mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico and for governor of New Mexico. He currently lives in Texas.

What does he do for a living, besides run for president and almost beat President Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary? He makes license plates, mostly.

Judd is an inmate in the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas. He is a felon who has been convicted of "mailing a threatening communication with intent to extort money or something of value" and was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison.

Bottom line: in the West Virginia Democrat presidential primary this week, 40% of Democrats preferred an imprisoned felon over President Obama.

Perhaps it was an error-- voting for a machine Chicago politician isn't all that different from voting for a felon.

It's going to be an interesting election. 

Michael Barone on Elizabeth 'Vanilla Squaw' Warren

Michael Barone has a great post on the affirmative action fraud perpetrated by Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

... what may undermine racial quotas and preferences most effectively is ridicule. For isn't the idea that the blond, blue-eyed Warren suffered some terrible disadvantage and is in need of special preference because she is 1-32nd Cherokee just laugh-out-loud funny?

It seems not to have troubled Warren at all that by flopping her paste-white derriere in her endowed Harvard chair she necessarily displaced a genuine "minority" applicant who maybe had a little more than 3% Cherokee genome, even the rare applicant who perhaps might have faced some actual adversity due to their particular heritage.

Elizabeth Warren is an uncommonly smarmy practitioner of the affirmative action con-game. She used it for personal gain, unconcerned about who she walked over to get her sinecure, and she now dissembles, calls critics "anti-woman", and whines about getting caught-out as a hypocrite. 

Did I tell you that she was a liberal Democrat? You probably already guessed that.

Affirmative action is racial sifting and the bestowal of favors and impediments based on race. In other words, affirmative action is racism. Ms. Warren's affirmative action ruse is a particularly repellent form of racism-- particularly repellent because it lacks the only positive attribute racism can have, which is honesty.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The parasites feast on Detroit

Walter Russell Mead has a great essay on the political corruption that has destroyed Detroit.


There is something profoundly wrong with an American political culture that accepts chronic misgovernment in major cities as OK. It is not OK; the people who do these things may call themselves liberal Democrats and wear the mantle of defenders of the poor, but over and over their actions place them among the most cold blooded enemies and oppressors of the weak. 
American cities have been festering pits of graft and bad governance since at least the early 19th century, but there is a difference between the “honest graft” of Tammany Hall and the nihilistic destruction practiced by some of today’s urban machines. Today’s situation, in which some city machines are so dysfunctional that the parasite is literally killing the host (and not just in Detroit), is new and, again, the most vulnerable in our society suffer the worst consequences. Minority children are the greatest ultimate victims of this loathsome corruption: they attend horrible schools and grow up in decaying, unsafe urban landscapes where there is no growth, no jobs and no opportunity for the young.

Liberal Democrats love the poor, like ticks love blood. 

Sbarro and my Palestinian moment

The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a microcosm of the worldwide struggle between Judeo-Christian civilization and Islam. Even before I was a Christian, I found the tactics employed by the Palestinians against the Israelis repulsive. Airline hijacking, suicide bombing, taking hostages, and attacks targeting Jewish civilians have long been the staple of Palestinian 'diplomacy'. Palestinian culture was infested with anti-Semitism. Even the public face of Palestinian culture was repulsive. Yasir Arafat was a transparently evil man.

But there was a moment of illumination when the Palestinian enterprise specifically, and the Islamic menace more generally, showed itself, in a way that made my blood run cold.

On August 9, 2001 a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt containing nails, nuts and bolts in a Sbarro's pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. It was crowded with families and children, which seemed to be the main reason it was chosen.

These are the dead; notice the ages and the families:

- Giora Balash, 60, of Brazil
- Zvika Golombek, 26, of Carmiel
- Shoshana Yehudit Greenbaum, 31, of the U.S.
- Tehila Maoz, 18, of Jerusalem
- Frieda Mendelsohn, 62, of Jerusalem
- Michal Raziel, 16, of Jerusalem
- Malka Roth, 15, of Jerusalem
- Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43, of Neria
- Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41, of Neria
- Ra'aya Schijveschuurder, 14, of Neria
- Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4, of Neria
- Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, of Neria
- Lily Shimashvili, 33, of Jerusalem
- Tamara Shimashvili, 8, of Jerusalem
- Yocheved Shoshan, 10, of Jerusalem

A family of five was murdered, among with ten other innocents, targeted for death merely because they were Jews.

But no, this bloodthirsty attack wasn't my Palestinian revelation. It was one of countless attacks on innocent Jews and others by Palestinian killers. Homicidal Islamic performance art.

This was my Palestinian revelation:

(From the Jewish Anti-Defamation League)

Palestinian Students Glorify Terrorism with Exhibit in Nablus

Palestinian students at Al Najah University walk under a replica of a Sbarro pizza restaurant sign, which reads "Kosher" in Hebrew
Palestinian students at al-Najah University in the city of Nablus marked the anniversary of the outbreak of Palestinian violence with an exhibition entitled "The Sbarro Cafe Exhibition," celebrating the August 9, 2001 suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, which killed 15 people and wounded dozens more.

According to reports in the Israeli media and The Associated Press, the exhibition was comprised of a series of rooms. The Sbarro section of the exhibit was replete with body parts and pizza slices strewn across the room. The walls were painted red to represent spattered blood.

Another part of the exhibit glorified the "martyrs" who carry out suicide operations shown with a Koran and Kalishnikov in hand. A third section depicted a Palestinian behind a rock placed in front of a mannequin of an ultra-Orthodox Jew, with a taped recording broadcast on the loudspeakers saying "O believer, there is a Jewish man behind me. Come and kill him."
Note that al-Najah University isn't some terrorist store-front, a University of Phoenix for Nakba-fixated sociopaths. It's the leading university in the Palestinian Territory-- the Harvard of the West Bank. It educates the Palestinian elite. This hellish celebration of mass murder was put together by the savants of Palestinian culture. The Palestinian cognoscenti pulled out all the artistic stops. How to make the explosion fresh, how to draw the visitor into the celebration of Jewish carnage? The exhibit featured plastic severed Jewish limbs and flesh suspended by wires in the air, to simulate the exact moment of the explosion.

It was taken down, belatedly, at the direction of President Arafat (Palestinian Nobel Peace Laureate and father of airline hijacking) to assuage international outrage.

The exhibit was a searing indictment of Palestinian culture, and a searing indictment of Islam. The atrocity is not merely that some Palestinians kill, or that Islam condones killing, or that Islam condones killing of innocents, or that Islam condones killing Jews qua Jews. The atrocity is that Islam's elites revel in the murder of innocents. The evil is not merely that the Palestinian baby boom-- the suicidal sociopath rabble-- murders Jewish families. The evil is that the Islamic intelligentsia, the tenured Islamic educators, the revered Islamic visionaries celebrate-- celebrate-- the murder of Jews.

For the petroleum-greased Islamic propaganda machine, the al-Najah University Sbarro exhibit was a Freudian slip. A moment of startling clarity.

If you want to understand the moral rot in Islam, understand the Sbarro exhibit at al-Najah University.