Archive for March, 2013

narcisim and rationalizing one’s desires

“the whole issue is fraught with so many inconsistencies, but not among those on the right. Like why is it only Christians who are branded with inane invectives like “homophobia,” when some Muslims advocate the stoning of homosexuals and others threatened the lives of a British MP who voted for gay marriage? Or why liberals, after decades of belittling and devaluing the institution of marriage, suddenly feel that it is essential to the dignity of mankind? And finally, why civil unions don’t suffice to fulfill the needs of those whose human identity is based solely on sex acts, yet still want to be treated as “normal”?”

Lisa Fabrizio has some interesting Thoughts on Gay Marriage. Mead struggles as well. His entry rationalizes his view by a focus on bigotry which has been the exception and not the rule. Another fallacy being used in the debate is that of vox populi – the assertion that everyone is seeing the light and going along with it.

This issue is about being able to assume the mantle of marriage. The ‘rights’ such as in civil unions are insufficient. It is necessary to parade the trappings as well. Libertarians are being abused because this is portrayed as private behavior that should not be subject to governance or social idioms. That is the source of the ‘civil rights’ claim.

Fabrzio’s observation about the Christian persecution on this topic is another indication that the issue is not a simple civil rights thing nor a simple ‘leave me alone’ libertarian thing. It is something deeper and that something is not getting much discussion. That may be because it is the sort of thing subject to denial.

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An emptiness of the heart

“armies don’t wage wars, nations do. And, back on the home front, a vast percentage of fair-weather hawks who decided that it was all too complicated, or a bit of a downer, or Bush lied, or where’s the remote, revealed America as profoundly unserious.”

Mark Steyn says it’s Geopolitical ADHD. He also describes a result of this disease:

“Foreigners see this more clearly than Americans. As Goh Chok Tong, the prime minister of Singapore, said on a visit to Washington in 2004, “The key issue is no longer WMD or even the role of the U.N. The central issue is America’s credibility and will to prevail.” Just so. If you live in Tikrit or Fallujah, the Iraq War was about Iraq. If you live anywhere else on the planet, the Iraq War was about America, and the unceasing drumbeat of “quagmire” and “exit strategy” communicated to the world an emptiness at the heart of American power — like the toppled statue of Saddam that proved to be hollow.”

an emptiness of the heart as well.

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The nature of modern ‘debate’ – pigtail pulling

“One of the more incomprehensible aspects of the gay marriage movement has been the spectacle of well-educated academics, plaintiff’s lawyers, politicians, judges and Protestant clergymen designing tortured arguments for deconstructing natural law, human biology, the history of civilization, language and logic. On the other hand, creating a new class of civil rights amidst claims of discrimination is easy when your world view equates justice with moral equivalence, accompanied by enabling the slow corruption of language.”

Geoffrey Hunt considers The Price of Gay Marriage: The Galvanic Corrosion of Language

It is one form of bullying allowed because it is so PC.

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Giving away countries after significant investment

“The reality – for better or worse – is that that no one in America takes treason very seriously anymore, and hasn’t for a long time. No individual has been charged with treason in the United States in fifty years, not since Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally were tried for broadcasting enemy propaganda to American troops during WWII. … So let’s not pretend that there is any real threat in the word “treason” capable of chilling criticism of current foreign policy.”

“The vitriolic and personal attacks on the President’s integrity and morality, while the war was only months old went beyond legitimate criticism and amounted to an effort to sabotage the war itself in the hopes that a failed war would unseat the President in the elections in November. These personal attacks were incitements to the American public to distrust and hate their President in the middle of a war.”

David Horowitz explains Why We Were in Iraq and the history and methods of the political opposition. The U.S. has abandoned victories before and the results were not pretty.

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Culture clash: Judicial philosophy

“Ultimately, we should spend less time talking about whether nominees’ views are “out of the mainstream” and more time focusing on whether they are correct. For the most part, presidents of both parties are likely to nominate judges who are within the mainstream of their side of the political spectrum, and that mainstream is also likely to enjoy considerable public support (even if not always a majority). But when one side’s mainstream is deeply at odds with the other’s, that suggests that one or both are also badly misguided.”

Ilya Somin thinks that Judicial Nominations and Competing Constitutional “Mainstreams” should be more about judges who are correct.

“there is a big difference between distinguishing between nominees with right and wrong views and distinguishing between those who are inside and outside of the mainstream. A mainstream view of the Constitution can be badly wrong. Indeed, if mainstream liberals are right about constitutional interpretation, that implies that the mainstream conservative view is badly wrong, and vice versa. Similarly, an extremist view can be correct.”

The measure of this is in the split on decisions. The fact that there are so many decisions split 5:4 or even 6:3 indicates that being correct is either overly-difficult or not really in the picture. That is an underlying fundamental law problem.

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Culture clash: Guns

Gun disgust?

“Productive conversations about guns can thus be difficult because the anti-gun movement gives little to no weight to the values of private gun ownership. That is because “gun disgust” engenders a bias against guns.”

“Gun disgust is also one of the primary reasons gun-control advocates promote laws that have little to no effect on reducing gun violence. On many questions, the debate over the effects of gun-control laws on crime is surprisingly uncontroversial.”

Trevor Burus says that The gun debate is a culture debate and explains why he thinks so.

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Napoleon – “The moral (spirit) is to the physical as three is to one.”

Another seasoned infantryman weighs in on Seven Myths About “Women in Combat”.

“Pity the truthful leader who attempts to hold to standards based on realistic combat factors, and tells truth to power. Most won’t, and the others won’t survive.”

The myths are that the issue is about women in combat when it is really about women in the infantry, that combat has changed in substance, that the proper measure is just physical capability standards, that infantry provides a path for promotion, that it’s a civil rights issue, and that it’s just fair. Each is summarily dismissed.

yet the myths persist as they are held with a fierce abandonment of reality by certain folks for reasons that just aren’t that clear.

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What’s missing in this picture?

“Given how easily information is available to those who want it in an age of 24/7 cable news and the Internet, it’s hard to imagine what new messaging technique or device will get people to pay attention who clearly don’t want to. Scarier still is the prospect that people know and don’t care.”

“Clearly, something is missing in a critical mass of American voters when assaults on our interests and security abroad arouse no righteous anger either at the perpetrators or the politicians who caused the attacks and then tried to misdirect the citizens about the real causes for partisan electoral advantage. Something is missing when voters shrug away patent lies about oil production, and ignore policies that are hampering an industry that can create jobs and radically change our foreign policy calculus by liberating our energy needs from thug regimes who use our dollars to attack our interests. So what’s missing?”

Bruce Thorton asks: “Where’s the Outrage Over Obama’s Lies?” and encounters a fundamental problem. If there is no interest in intellectual integrity, then what? What do you do? What can you do?

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Banned in Boston? Excess or salvation?

“What is going on in America when the once upon famous description “Banned in Boston” has now morphed into a quasi-religious liberal campaign to ban almost everything, almost everywhere?”

Jeffrey Lord makes a list and wonders about America’s New Theocracy.

“The question is not that liberals are obsessed with banning. They are. The real question is — why? Well beyond the specific person or thing they seek to ban — what compels people in a free society to go out of their way to ban someone or something that a considerable number of their fellow citizens see as part of the warp and woof of American society?

The answer, it appears, derives from the leftist longing for control. And the perceived threat that the object of the ban is seen as posing to that control.”

“And so it goes with the liberal desire to control not just their life but your life. A desire that is now sanctified as the Gospel of Banning.”

Busy bodies can become really dangerous when they elevate their interference in other people’s lives to governance. The trend is to push the line so far that it inhibits growth and development and that is a path to poverty, disease, and unhappiness.

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There is a difference: regarding rape, gun control, and one’s own freedom to choose

Testimony before a legislative committee can be enlightening not only in the testimony presented but also in the questions asked and the behavior of the committee members. Here’s an example — Democratic Party to Rape Victim: You Were Screwed Anyway!

“She had a permit to carry a pistol but was unarmed when she was attacked. Ms. Collins was treated sensitively by Republicans on the panel, but when the questioning turned to Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak, the Democrats’ war on women was unleashed.

The Democrat ridiculed Ms. Collins, telling her that “statistics are not on your side.” She said that Ms. Collins had rudimentary training in martial arts, yet the rapist overpowered her. She suggested that the rapist would therefore have been able to wrest her gun away and use it against her, if she had been carrying. This is, of course, a non sequitur. A small woman probably can’t outwrestle a large, strong man, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t shoot him. This is why the 19th century Colt .45 was referred to as “the Equalizer.” The Democrats’ treatment of this rape victim is appalling

The most important point here is the woman’s right to choose.”

There is a difference. It can be easily seen and observed. Those who posit that ‘both sides are the same’ are suffering delusions and an inability to make basic discriminations in behavior observations.

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The problem with schools isn’t necessarily in the classroom

A kid on the bus pulled a gun and threatened to shoot. Three football players tackled him and wrestled away the gun. Joanne Jacobs has the story.

“The heroes were given an “emergency suspension” for being part of an “incident” where a weapon was present.

This 16-year-old knows the right thing — take action to save lives — and the dumb thing — punish the kids who prevented a shooting. Why don’t Cypress Hill High School administrators know the difference between right and dumb?

The 15-year-old gunman was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm on school property and assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. So they’re going easy on the kid who pulled the gun and hard on the kids who stopped him.”

There are lessons taught in this school episode and it is a question as to whether they are the right ones.

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Palming a card: hidden presumptions on the gun control desires

“I can’t have anything unless I can prove I need it? Since when? So now is it the case that everything which isn’t provably necessary is instead forbidden?”

Steven Dan Beste notes the problem in the questions about Why does anyone need a high-capacity magazine for their pistol? Why does anybody need an AR-15? that comes up in the arguments about guns.

“I own lots of things that I don’t need. It’s called “Freedom”; I don’t have to ask permission from my betters to buy things, and I don’t have to offer justification for doing so. It’s nobody’s business but my own if I buy things I don’t need, as long as I don’t rob a bank to get the money I spend.”

It’s called “Freedom” – the question is really about just how much government should interfere with individual freedoms. You can see how that one is distorted from honest debate to useless argument with such things as ignoring unpleasant realities and the use of logical fallacies.

As for reason and logic, consider Mark Almonte’s answer to the question Why does anyone need a high-capacity magazine?

“There are several reasons for civilians to own high-capacity magazines: the right to possess the necessary means to effectively defend themselves, misconception of bullet stopping power and shooting accuracy, and the issue of multiple attackers. Additionally, on a net balance, there are benefits to the community when law-abiding citizens own guns with high-capacity magazines.”

When you are dealing with people who feel that members of a civilized society should have no need for personal defense – else it’s uncivil or perhaps because the police will do that job – then there is no basis for trying to discuss the idea of responsibility for personal defense.

The reality of a shooting situation is why the fantasies of one shot, one kill, immediate stop with any personal weapon are not helpful. It is why the AR-15 is gaining over the shotgun as a home defense weapon. Any weapon will require proper training, a good aim, and, more than likely, multiple hits to achieve the desired effect. But that is reality, not the fantasies that often drive the argument.

Related to this, see Colorado Fights Concealed Carry on Campus: Why, Exactly?

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The anti-reality crowd: academia persecution

Looks like another university president made the mistake of being scholarly. Scott Johnson pulls together the story about Persecution and the college campus

“James Wagner has found himself in a familiar position and he has dealt with it in the familiar fashion. Speaking as the president of Emory University, he praised one of the constitutional compromises with slavery. …

In substance, Wagner’s point was certainly defensible. There would have been no Constitution without its compromises with slavery, but the compromises were just that. They ceded ground to the defenders of slavery, but also to the opponents of slavery. The resulting provisions allowed Congress to cut off the slave trade after twenty years. The three-fifths clause not only enhanced the representation of slave states, it also limited it.

On most college campuses, however, Wagner’s comments cannot be defended, and Wagner has not even tried. In response to the outrage that has greeted his article, Wagner has performed the ritual self-abasement necessary to such occasions on college campuses”

“What is really needed is advice on how to communicate one’s thoughts under the illiberal and indeed tyrannical conditions that prevail on college campuses. Suggested reading: Persecution and the Art of Writing, by Leo Strauss [Amazon affiliate link]. One must learn to speak ironically, conveying one’s true thoughts between the lines. A footnote for college presidents on campuses such as Emory’s: if you can absorb Strauss’s teaching, you must be sure never to mention his name or his writings.”

Debate in academia has been replaced by ideological argument that seems completely ignorant of the intellectual integrity that used to be the hallmark of an educated person.

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The inverse of death by a thousand cuts

It’s the story of The Self-Stirring Pot and Our Rising Quality of Life at Via Media. The invention of a Japanese dentist is the stimulus for noting tha many small steps can make a big difference that often goes un-remarked.

“Besides the big innovations that change the world dramatically, a steady tide of new gadgets continues to reshape daily life in small ways.

Over time these little changes add up—30 years ago Americans had no Internet, ATMs, laptops, or DVDs. The conventional income comparisons between generations miss this. The richest man in the world couldn’t have bought a smartphone in 1983; today even people of very modest incomes can afford one. Our quality of life has improved much more than income levels suggest.”

Waxing nostalgic about the waning of modern whatever is a favorite hobby for many but not necessarily well in touch with reality.

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Where does socialism come from? Look at this example

“It’s bad enough that we’re on the verge of losing all of the consumer protections that keep the price of basic voice service reasonable and ensure the most vulnerable stay connected. But by putting the last nail in the coffin of the public telecommunications network, AT&T’s plan poses an even greater threat to the future of American innovation and internet freedom.

This is because the internet itself would not exist if it were not for a delicate balance of public policies that made sure the public telecommunications network was an open platform: Anyone could use it as a building block for innovation.”

Derek Turner describes How AT&T Is Planning to Rob Americans of an Open Public Telco Network and you have to think about what he says very carefully to get to reality through the bias.

The issue is an effort by telephone companies to ditch the old circuit switched networks in favor of packet switched networks like the Internet uses. This is not a matter of ‘robbing Americans’ but rather of trying to catch up with cell phones and Internet voice communications (e.g. VOIP). There is the assertion about the markets with several clues about the bias.

“an uncompetitive broadband market. Our broadband providers enjoy the kinds of high profit margins that would make a 19th-century robber baron blush. And our ability to use these networks to communicate openly and freely is under constant assault. Meanwhile, consumers in other countries not only have better access, but they pay far less for far better services.”

High profit margins? By what measure? What about build-out capital costs and the issues of dealing with massive growth and rapid technology changes? Uncompetitive? With the cell phone companies and the cable companies competing for broadband market share and the growing presence of free wifi not to mention the esoteric broadband solutions like satellite and fiber one wonders just what is meant by “uncompetitive.” Just because you don’t like the price of a service does not mean that someone is trying to “rob” you in an uncompetitive market.

The price of basic local and long distance voice service is now essentially free. That isn’t reasonable? Not to a socialist, it seems.

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