Archive for August, 2006

Knee jerk opposition

Bob Wyman provides an example of thinking in plattitudes.

Moe, like George Bush, invokes the mantra “this is a war” to justify his acceptance of universal surveillance. But, in focusing on the new “war” against terrorists Moe forgets the older and never-ending “war” to protect our freedoms. In that war, just as soldiers who march to battle, we must all accept some occasional discomfort in order to achieve our goals and fend off defeat. In this case, it is best that we avoid the easy answer of universal and unrestricted wiretapping, and potentially let a few terrorists succeed, rather than teach us all to live in and accept a world in which we have no privacy — a world in which we have lost our freedoms. Freedom is not free.

There are so many issues with this rationale. One is the scare quotes around “this is a war” and the labeling that as a “mantra” – a legitimate question ridiculed. Another is the “universal and unrestricted” falsehood state as axiom. Then there is the ‘best to let a few terrorists succeed’ that, in this era of WMD should really give pause.

The fact is that people in a social environment, and people are social and do not live alone, never have privacy and never have had privacy. The question is really what others do with the information they have about us. Our society and culture has advanced in part because it emphasizes the doing more than the knowing. We know a lot of things about our neighbors but we do little unless we find that some line is crossed. This is the essence of a safe neighborhood with people watching each other and what is going on so that anomolies can be detected and acted upon.

It is a dishonest argument to pull out a bogeyman on a false fear and then cite high minded plattitudes like “freedom is not free” to rationalize subjugation to terror.

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Catch Up

Going back to May and June there are a number of comments and stories worth perusal. Here are links.
The American Thinker – CG Adamo does some comparison and contrast with political muckraking

Scientific R& D – Editorials/Op-Ed – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper – J Sununu takes a look at government R&D

If done for the right reasons, a successful plan to invest new resources in scientific research can have a positive impact. Without discipline and focus, however, Congress is doomed to repeat the same mistakes, fund more failed programs and expand federal bureaucracy.
America’s technology-driven economy grows despite, not because of, government intervention. That is a lesson we all need to learn before trying to “fix” what ails us.

How gas price controls sparked ’70s shortages – Business – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper– P Hill considers price controls and lessons learned from 1980

The American Thinker – V Kohlmayer talks about why it so hard to provide a competitive contrast to Rush Limbaugh.

The Anchoress » I’m off on politics for a while – a bit of a peeve about nitpicking trees and forgetting to think about the forest

Big Lizards:Blog:Entry “The Value of Uniqueness” – Dafydd talks about the implications that “Relationships have value not only to individuals but to the groups and societies those individuals form.”

RealClearPolitics – Articles – Harry Reid & The End of Liberal Thought – D Prager thinks that

American society is paying a steep price. Every car that has a bumper sticker declaring “War is not the answer” powerfully testifies to the intellectual decline of the well educated and to the devolution of “liberal thought” into an oxymoron.

RealClearPolitics – Articles – Media Danse Macabre – T Blankley uses the Haditha reporting and concludes that “the journalists today are too swept up in their own danse macabre to even notice the murderous consequences of their own malfeasance — or to hear the demands of simple decency. “

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A depressing pattern

Victor Davis Hanson notes a Depressing pattern:

The sources for Western erroneous reports and faked pictures always seem to exaggerate the damage to Lebanon — but never to Israel.

Instead far more worrisome is the moral crisis in the West itself. If so many of its politicians, intellectuals and media will not or cannot fathom moral differences in this war, they will hardly be able to see them anywhere else.

There is an accounting. The errors in reports are no longer being ignored. Doctored photographs and fictional captions are being dissected and discussed. The dishonesty is being laid bare for all to see.

But some will not see. The denials are much like how ‘Swiftboat’ is being used. There are people in influential positions who will not accept reality. Much as they impugn the Swiftboat veterans without any evidence they adhere to their moral equivalance between terrorist gangs and civilized nations.

The contrast is stark and it has been clearly defined in commentary, cartoon, and report. Whether it is uniforms or tactics there are easily made distinctions that are critical in the history of armed conflict. But there are those who do not see, will not see. And that is the depressing pattern because it means we will repeat what has happened in the past when such blindness has driven behavior.

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Jay has a good one on plans

Jay Tea, at Wizbang, has a good explanation of the nature of plans, goals, and objectives in light of the kind of assult Ms Clinton engaged in against Mr. Rumsfeld yesterday.

The temptation to demand solid plans, concrete commitments, and definite timelines is understandable. War is a hideous thing, and no one in their right mind wants it to continue an instant longer than necessary. But to insist on such things is to invite defeat.

But what has happened, as Ms Clinton has illustrated, is not only that the Administration’s opposition has succumbed to temptation, they have gone on to use their expectations to pass judgment. This is an attempt to elevate a difference of opinion to a matter of certitude.

To extend Jay’s sports metaphor: the footbal coach goes into a game with his plays planned out. But it is a loosing coach who will not adapt his game plan to what he actually finds on the field. Any experienced coach knows that no matter how good his ‘intelligence’ in scouting out the opposing team, things will happen that create surprises.

Pretending that real life is absolutely predictable is a fool’s fantasy – or a politician’s hypocrisy.

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A long chain of maybes in the Climage Change Issue

Simon Cox and Richard Vadon of BBS News are asking whether or not it is A load of hot air?

Hardly a day goes by without a new dire warning about climate change. But some claims are more extreme than others, giving rise to fears that the problem is being oversold and damaging the issue.

Every summer hot spell is cited as global warming run amok. There is breathless anticipation for hurricanes to create significant damage so they can be blamed on climate change.

Is there climate change? Probably so as there always is. But that only provides an example of the fact that even the real issue at hand is not clearly identified. And that issue isn’t a simple one.

The issue has several components. One is whether or not there is significant global warming occurring. Another component is the nature of the causes of this global warming, if indeed it is occurring. A third component is the contribution of humans to the causes that might be involved in the potential global warming. And a fourth part of the issue is what humans should do about those things they might be doing that might be a part of the cause of what might be global warming.

There are those who are convinced that global warming caused as a byproduct of capitalism is going to doom mankind. One celebrety recently made a movie to this point and is hitting the lecture circuit to get income from sympathizers. There are others who think that such fear mongering is going too far, clouding the issues involved, and misleading those who don’t look any farther than the headlines. That is what Cox and Vadon are reporting in BBC news.

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