Friday, April 04, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
What Everyone Gets Wrong About The New York Draft Riots
No, The Blockade Runners Will Not Save The South
The Myth Of Heroic Southern Womanhood
The Fredericksburg Disaster, In Three Simple Graphs
How Lincoln's Exchange With Horace Greeley Emboldens Foreign Intervention
When Habeas Corpus Is Just A Memory
Why The Substitute Soldier Is The Future Of War
This list is inspired by this article from The Atlantic last autumn.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
But I've been struck how many comments will be deleted and commenters banned, for stating obvious facts. I myself was threatened with banning, for mentioning the fact that Africa's post-colonial human rights record is an appalling horror show, and its leaders have until recently been mostly larcenous and murderous despots. His truth narrative doesn't seem to like having its toes stepped on by other truth narratives, apparently. I mean, what would the reaction be if the Nigerian academic George Ayittey logged in and said the same things? Things are a bit more relaxed when he deals with topics in which race is not always front and center, such as his experiences in Paris or his readings in Eastern European history. (Speaking of which, I wonder if he's going to take up Iron Curtain anytime soon, as promised some time back? Maybe he's lost interest.) Then the crowdsourced knowledge of the commenters is giving freer rein, and the threads make for quite educational and enjoyable reading, for those interested in those subjects.
Lately he's been posting articles and leaving the comments off for days, if not permanently. I hope he doesn't leave the magazine because of commenters, the way Steven den Beste gave up political blogging because he was tired of getting crapped at by his commenters. If the comments are too wearisome to police anymore, my suggestion would be for him to do away with them, a la James Fallows, and just post open threads once a week. That ought to simplify things from The Atlantic's end.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, March 17, 2014
Back when the Soviet Union was still around, I used to enjoy "eavesdropping" on the Kremlin by browsing the publication The Current Digest Of The Soviet Press. Snippets of old issues are available in Google Books, and while spelunking therein I found this announcement from 1954:
It's just a snippet, but you can grasp the high-handed optimism so typical of communist propaganda. Little did they realize that their "reforging" of humanity would fail, and the consequences of their social engineering would ripple out for decades.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
The single coffee cup craze has been rolling now for several years in both the United States and Canada, with Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso all battling it out to lock down the market. In order to protect their dominant market share, Keurig makers…
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
ISIS just killed Abu Khaled al-Suri, Zawahiri's personal envoy to IF rebels. Now either AQ takes Baghdadi's head or they fade into obscurity— Zedd Rebel (@ZeddRebel) February 23, 2014
Venezuela just shut down the Internet. I will give a cookie to the first emoprog who has the balls to call it a just step to deter "fascism"— Zedd Rebel (@ZeddRebel) February 23, 2014
And, the most striking image of the day, someone repainted the Soviet Army memorial in Sofia, Bulgaria with the national colors of Ukraine:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Finally, we can always blame the Bible. Whether you think of it as casting a long shadow across the history of Western culture or as fathering a great light within it, there is no denying the Bible’s powerful influence on the way that we think today. And you might have noticed that there’s not much about a billion-year future in it. The Bible does not tell us ‘The beginning is near!’ but rather ‘The end is near!’
I don't think that American fundamentalist end-times theology is a wide enough lens through which to view the Bible nor its influence on our attitudes through the millennia. Sure, the Bible makes no mention of billions of years--but its authors were very pre-occupied with eternity, which for humans amounts to the same thing. Psalm 103:17 says that "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." The old king who narrates Ecclesiastes muses at length on the passage of time and the successions of generations stretching into the future. Remember that the Christian Bible was written by dozens of authors over the course of about 600 years. They weren't all just huddling around the altar all that time, waiting for the world-ending thunderbolt to strike.
Indeed, a case could be made that the thinkers of antiquity, both Judeo/Christian and Greco/Roman, had a firmer grasp of the immensity of time and their own minuscule place within it. Since the beginning of the Mechanical Age, events have rushed past in such a blur, that the present has perforce absorbed most of our attention. In addition, we spend the yet-to-be-created wealth confiscated from yet-to-be-born posterity for our own present gratification. "Just keep the checks coming til I'm dead, and then the world can go hang!" Attitudes like that are not found in people who plant acorns, the shade of which trees they will never sit under. Attitudes like that are denounced in the Bible, in fact.
An attempt to excogitate from scratch a new way of regarding the future will most likely sound strangely familiar, in some parts. It's already part of our heritage, if you know where & how to look.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
And that's all I've got. Have some good tweets from the #creationdebate tag. Boy, was it a fast thread!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
In search of answers, Woodberry traveled to West Africa in 2001. Setting out one morning on a dusty road in Lomé, the capital of Togo, Woodberry headed for the University of Togo's campus library. He found it sequestered in a 1960s-era building. The shelves held about half as many books as his personal collection. The most recent encyclopedia dated from 1977. Down the road, the campus bookstore sold primarily pens and paper, not books.
"Where do you buy your books?" Woodberry stopped to ask a student.
"Oh, we don't buy books," he replied. "The professors read the texts out loud to us, and we transcribe."
Across the border, at the University of Ghana's bookstore, Woodberry had seen floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with hundreds of books, including locally printed texts by local scholars. Why the stark contrast?
The reason was clear: During the colonial era, British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries. The French authorities took interest in educating only a small intellectual elite. More than 100 years later, education was still limited in Togo. In Ghana, it was flourishing.
Enough examples like that added up to this:
Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren't just part of the picture. They were central to it.
Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.
It's sad to think of such an important bit of the Western heritage being downplayed or denied in modern academia. In at least one country I know of, South Korea, they remember and honor the missionaries that came in the late 19th Century, the Bells, the Junkins, and many others. It's too bad Christopher Hitchens isn't around anymore; I'd like to see how he would have reacted to this. The same effects took hold in their native anglophone nations too, of course; and still do to this day. It's too bad we are as ignorant of them as fish are ignorant of water.
Edit: Dr. Horace Jeffrey Hodges, the Gypsy Scholar, has excerpts of the original academic paper and further thoughts here.
Nobody disputes the fact that, in order to make efficient use of the means at its disposal, the government must exercise a great deal of discretion. But, to repeat, under the rule of law the private citizen and his property are not an object of administration by the government, not a means to be used for its purposes.
-- The Constitution of Liberty, by F.A. Hayek
Previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh discovered.
America does not know the difference between money and sex. It treats sex like money because it treats sex as a medium of exchange, and it treats money like sex because it expects its money to get pregnant and reproduce.
- Peter Kreeft
Liberal, 2.0 A view of the wreckage by James Bowman at The New Criterion.
Islamic Extremists in Nigeria Attack Christians at Sunday Worship Every Week in January
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
-- Gustav Mahler
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
This is [a] wonderful thing about Zionism: it was right. Every other "ism" of the modern world has been wrong about the nature of civilized man—Marxism, mesmerism, surrealism, pacifism, existentialism, nudism. But civilized man did want to kill Jews, and was going to do more of it.
Friday, January 10, 2014
From the Pentagon to homelessness.
"For nearly 30 years I have asked myself this question: Why Richard?"
My goal in life is to be really opinionated about the work of creatives while remaining completely uncreative and just work at a carwash— Different Fur (@differentfur) January 4, 2014
Everyone's racist, except me #LiberalismIn4Words— Matt (@Matthops82) December 31, 2013
What American malls need: Husband storing facilities.
Okay, so Melissa Harris-Perry is smart. Maybe after this she'll also be somewhat wiser. Is MSNBC's bubble so thick that she, her co-hosts, writers, producers and everyone else involved in show prep all thought that this segment was a good idea? "We were jeering at the family photo to highlight how racist Republicans are. Because white Romneys." Too clever by half. She should have known better.
Goodbye to Amiri Baraka. It was rather hypocritical for New Jersey's poet laureate people to get all offended after his despicable reaction to 9/11. He had never misrepresented himself. What did they think they were getting when they awarded the post to him? But as with so many other Sixties radicals who went on to receive establishment recognition, he was well summed up in V. S. Naipaul's observation about the U.S.:
Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the
world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law
and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed
himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could
make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself. –V.S. Naipaul,
Beyond Belief, 1998
Saturday, January 04, 2014
I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and
my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in
Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle
began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of
Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the
Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for
liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to
the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I've yet to see a
report in the media of this. Imagine that.
Now we are gone, and the terrorists have returned, according to these reports. So sorry for those citizens, having to go through this ordeal again! We can only hope that the Iraqi national government can come together long enough to drive them out--I doubt they can be bought off.
A scene from the war:
Monday, December 30, 2013
2013 was a zombie of a year.
Hits and misses from First Things. This blog, you may recall, used to be a running commentary on that magazine, until it sank in that I didn't have the intellectual horsepower to keep up on a regular basis. But I still read it from time to time.
Yes, man-made climate change is really happening.
Iceland highway project delayed by elves.
I thought Prince Charles was an arabophile. But here he is drawing attention to the slow pulverization of the ancient Christian church in the Middle East. Good for him!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Martin Bashir emitted his vileness while on the air on MSNBC, acting in his capacity as an employee and representative of MSNBC. A reasonable viewer could conclude, at least at first, that he was not saying anything that MSNBC did not approve of. Else why let him say such things on the show?
Phil Robertson, OTOH, gave his private opinion, off the show, when asked for his private opinion. See the difference? He was speaking for himself. Now, the Lavender Mafia in the entertainment industry is not to be crossed lightly, so of course A&E sprinted for the tall grass when GLAAD went on the offensive. But the premise of the Two Minute Hate against Duck Dynasty is that one can no longer have a non-liberal private opinion. Presumptuous arrogance like that is as vile as Bashir's comments, and are no part of an America I care to live in.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I would like to thank all the Jews out there for putting up with our awkward half-assed attempts to make you feel included this time of year— David, Nog Scientist (@Vodstok) December 25, 2013
Come from the land of ice and snow, Where my elves make toys, And I say "Ho Ho Ho!" -Santa Zeppelin Claus— WhirledRecord (@WhirledRecord) December 24, 2013
I had this great idea about mittens for feet, but then I realized that’s just socks.— Yule Plait (@BadAstronomer) December 25, 2013
You've Incurred the Wrath of Cthulhu, Charlie Brown.— JRehling (@JRehling) December 25, 2013
Tonight we commemorate the miraculous victory of the Maccabees over the forces of General Tso.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) December 25, 2013
If you're an atheist, this agnostic says merry Christmas and shut the fuck up, please, if you want to say anything but "you too"— David, Nog Scientist (@Vodstok) December 25, 2013
It's pronounced Christmas jift, actually.— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) December 24, 2013
If Christmas caroling is OK, there should be a night when Black Sabbath fans can go door-to-door singing Iron Man and Crazy Train.— WhirledRecord (@WhirledRecord) December 25, 2013
"Hey, myrrh isn't cheap! I'd just expect a little more appreciation from people living in a stable."— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) December 25, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
In the 30s, serious intellectuals traveled to the Soviet Union to hail it as the future of humanity. In the 60s and 70s, writers, actors & other assorted glitterati went to Cuba to be schmoozed by El Jefe. And now North Korea has hauled in...a retired basketball player with a penchant for shock publicity. The quality of useful idiots is on a definite downward trajectory.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
As for Francis, I wonder if his outlook is colored by his Latin American heritage. Unlike anglo-protestant North America, Central and South America were founded by a thin scum of sleazed-out nobility, lording it over a vast sweated underclass, with not much in between. With a more populous, more enterprising and more resourceful middle class, the North out-prospered the South, even though the southern continent was superior in natural resources. The desperate circumstances of Latin America's poor through so much of their history has impressed itself on anyone with a living conscience. Perhaps it's only natural for the Argentinian Francis to project their plight onto the world at large.
It might be remembered that pontiffs expressing care for the poor and laboring classes is not new. Even Pope John Paul The Great in June of 1989 came in for a rough ride from National Review--surely a Catholic-friendly venue--for seeming to equate the rougher edges of capitalism with socialism. It apparently wasn't noticed that his talk of respecting the rights and welfare of workers were even tougher on the communist societies from which he came.
So don't worry. Western progressives surely wish to forget about communism as quickly as possible and, through their control of the educational institutions, prevent coming generations from learning about its horrors at all. (Ever wonder why public middle schoolers are rightly taught about the Holocaust, but hardly anything unambiguously bad about communism is mentioned until graduate school, if even then?) But the popes were aware of communism's spiritual dangers very early on:
"Communism...is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and, if once adopted, would utterly destroy the rights, property, and possessions of all men, and even society itself." --Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846
Poland is free. The Baltic states are free. Ukraine is free, with an asterisk. Cuba will one day be free. So will China and Vietnam one day be free. With so many Catholics in the world enduring or having survived the assault of communism within living memory, no Pope is in danger of becoming a Marxist.
Let us be perfectly honest. The historical record is indisputable. Marxism means the persecution of Christians, the execution of right wing dissidents, massive slave labor camps, and grinding poverty for countless millions of terrified, muzzled human beings. -- J.R. Nyquist
The socialist state requires greater and greater degrees of force to make it function. If resources and wealth are allocated on the basis of need rather than production, people will compete to be more needy rather than more productive.
-- Linda Bowles
In every village there will arise some miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny by calling himself the people.
--Sir Robert Peel
We have yet to answer our right-wing critics’ claims, which are regrettably well documented, that throughout history from ancient times to the peasant wars of the sixteenth century to the Reign of Terror and beyond, social movements that have espoused radical egalitarianism and participatory democracy have begun with mass murder and ended in despotism.
A permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take
the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.
-- G. K. Chesterton
From its earliest inception, the Left cried that the world was not good enough. It held that any attempts to find happiness in the present were not only doomed, but immoral. Religion, Marx said, "is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness." He claimed that capitalism could never feed the poor. Lenin said Marxism could, and defined Communism as "socialism plus electricity".
What they forgot to add was that the world would never be good enough. That not a single Marxist state ever managed to provide either the food or electricity in adequate quantities remained beside the point. Shortages were always in the present and the present was unimportant anyway.
-- Richard Fernandez
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I read an article somewhere this past year about how this sort of thing happens, but I don't have the link to hand. I'm sure no humans were involved, though.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The U. S. should soften its stance towards Cuba? When will Cuba "soften" its stance towards Cuba? There should be an immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba, restoration of basic human rights, including property rights, and post-Soviet style councils, like in Eastern Europe in the 90s, to account for the victims of Cuban communism, and bring the oppressors to book. Norteamericano proggs would be howling for this, if Castro had not couched his tyranny in anti-American leftist phraseology. Instead, he is still the darling of the doddering Sixties flotsam setting the tone for the American Left.
Castro killed more Cubans in his first three years than Hitler killed Germans in his first six. First World proggs just can't bear to part with their youthful infatuation with the old Red, is all, and they will ignore the boot stomping the faces of the Cuban people forever, if that's what it takes to preserve their collectivist illusions.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
The tenured radicals running the universities keep the students in high anxiety about all the ravening racists & sexists & classists & nativists & speciesists & whatnot lurking around them. Some students, with a natural adolescent urge to be the center of attention, decide to take a shortcut and make the long-threatened "oppression" hurry up and happen. Needless to say, proggs do not take these hoaxes as disconfirming evidence, nor do many of them seem to feel enough of a simple human kinship with those so slandered as to apologize.
I carried on much more crankily about this phenomenon some years back, here, in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse team case.
Update: Welcome to readers of Blazing Cat Fur, to whom thanks for the link.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
This NYT contributor blames Dallas right-wing extremists for murder of JFK by a pro-Castro communist http://t.co/vvj50KRjfu— davidfrum (@davidfrum) November 17, 2013
They just simply transfer responsibility from those they wish to protect, and attach it to those they wish to attack. And David Frum in a later tweet asks the very good question: What collective responsibility does Los Angeles have for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy?