Posted: June 28, 2015 Filed under: Education, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Bruce Thornton, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Freedom of speech, Harvard Undergraduate Council, Harvard University, Institute for Policy Studies, Janet Napolitano, John Kiriakou, Person of color, United States
FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate’s take on the importance of free speech on campus and Harvard’s deception when it comes to academic freedom.
Posted: June 27, 2015 Filed under: Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Assassination of George Tiller, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Bill (law), Campaign finance, Capital punishment, Libertarian Party (United States), Ron Paul, United States
…To see which states have the most libertarians, I use six measures: Libertarian Party presidential vote share in 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul contributions as a share of personal income in 2007-8, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson contributions as a share of income in 2011-12, and “adjusted” Ron Paul primary vote share in 2008 and 2012. Ron Paul vote shares are adjusted for primary vs. caucus, calendar, number of other candidates, and the like.
This is no guarantee that laws and policies in your new digs will be to your liking (for that, look here). But you might find some new friends who will gripe about them with you…(read more)
Posted: June 26, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank, U.S. News | Tags: Adult, African American, Capitol Hill, Multiracial American, Pew Research Center, Race (human classification), Republican Party (United States), Ripon Society, The Washington Examiner, United States
Carroll Doherty, Director of Political Research at the Pew Research Center, and Ed Goeas, President and CEO of the Tarrance Group, discuss the American electorate and the Presidential election next year at a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society on June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC.
POLL: 72% fear economic crash, concern ‘highest ever’…
Posted: June 26, 2015 Filed under: Education, History, Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Albert Gore, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, Civil Rights Act of 1964, Democratic Party (United States), discrimination, Ernest Hollings, Flags of the Confederate States of America, J. William Fulbright, Ku Klux Klan, Republican Party (United States)
Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History
Mona Charen writes: Here’s what the former president of the United States had to say when he eulogized his mentor, an Arkansas senator:
We come to celebrate and give thanks for the remarkable life of J. William Fulbright, a life that changed our country and our world forever and for the better. . . . In the work he did, the words he spoke and the life he lived, Bill Fulbright stood against the 20th century’s most destructive forces and fought to advance its brightest hopes.
So spoke President William J. Clinton in 1995 of a man was among the 99 Democrats in Congress to sign the “Southern Manifesto” in 1956. (Two Republicans also signed it.) The Southern Manifesto declared the signatories’ opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Educationand their commitment to segregation forever. Fulbright was also among those who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That filibuster continued for 83 days.
Senator Robert Byrd
“As recently as 2010, the Senate’s president pro tempore was former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.). Rather than acknowledge their sorry history, modern Democrats have rewritten it.”
Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let’s review (since they don’t teach this in schools): The percentage of House Democrats who supported the legislation? 61 percent. House Republicans? 80 percent. In the Senate, 69 percent of Democrats voted yes, compared with 82 percent of Republicans. (Barry Goldwater, a supporter of the NAACP, voted no because he thought it was unconstitutional.)
“The Democrats have been sedulously rewriting history for decades.”
When he was running for president in 2000, Vice President Al Gore told the NAACP that his father, Senator Al Gore Sr., had lost his Senate seat because he voted for the Civil Rights Act. Uplifting story — except it’s false. Gore Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act. He lost in 1970 in a race that focused on prayer in public schools, the Vietnam War, and the Supreme Court.
[Read the full story here, at National Review Online. Follow Mona Charen on Twitter]
Al Gore’s reframing of the relevant history is the story of the Democratic party in microcosm. The party’s history is pockmarked with racism and terror. The Democrats were the party of slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, and that miserable terrorist excrescence, the Ku Klux Klan. Republicans were the party of Lincoln, Reconstruction, anti-lynching laws, and the civil rights acts of 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964. Were all Republicans models of rectitude on racial matters? Hardly. Were they a heck of a lot better than the Democrats? Without question. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 25, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Death spiral (insurance), Health Insurance, Insurance, John Roberts, Obama administration, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court of the United States
5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Subsidies Ruling in King v. Burwell
Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in order to save it – again.
Posted: June 25, 2015 Filed under: Censorship, History, Law & Justice, Think Tank, White House | Tags: African American, African American Studies, Black people, Charleston SC, Democrat Party, Flags of the Confederate States of America, KKK, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Race (human classification), Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, Racist, Washington, Woodrow Wilson
Randy Barnett writes:
…Now that we are expunging the legacy of past racism from official places of honor, we should next remove the name Woodrow Wilson from public buildings and bridges. Wilson’s racist legacy — in his official capacity as President — is undisputed. In The long-forgotten racial attitudes and policies of Woodrow Wilson, Boston University historian William R. Keylor provides a useful summary:
[On March 4th, 1913] Democrat Thomas Woodrow Wilson became the first Southerner elected president since Zachary Taylor in 1848. Washington was flooded with revelers from the Old Confederacy, whose people had long dreamed of a return to the glory days of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, when southern gentlemen ran the country. Rebel yells and the strains of “Dixie” reverberated throughout the city. The new administration brought to power a generation of political leaders from the old South who would play influential roles in Washington for generations to come.
Wilson is widely and correctly remembered — and represented in our history books — as a progressive Democrat who introduced many liberal reforms at home and fought for the extension of democratic liberties and human rights abroad. But on the issue of race his legacy was, in fact, regressive and has been largely forgotten.
[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]
Born in Virginia and raised in Georgia and South Carolina, Wilson was a loyal son of the old South who regretted the outcome of the Civil War. He used his high office to reverse some of its consequences. When he entered the White House a hundred years ago today, Washington was a rigidly segregated town — except for federal government agencies. They had been integrated during the post-war Reconstruction period, enabling African-Americans to obtain federal jobs and work side by side with whites in government agencies. Wilson promptly authorized members of his cabinet to reverse this long-standing policy of racial integration in the federal civil service.
Cabinet heads — such as his son-in-law, Secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo of Tennessee – re-segregated facilities such as restrooms and cafeterias in their buildings. In some federal offices, screens were set up to separate white and black workers. African-Americans found it difficult to secure high-level civil service positions, which some had held under previous Republican administrations.….(read more)
No doubt there are others whose names should also be expunged. But because of his record of official racism and betrayal, Wilson’s name should be first on any such list. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 18, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Think Tank | Tags: Alberta, Barbara Mitchell, Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Education, Extracurricular activity, Fraser Institute, Friedrich Hayek, Homeschooling, Quebec, single payer health care, United States
Mark J. Perry writes: Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek (1899 – 1992) is one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century and his work still resonates with economists and scholars around the world today. Two decades after Hayek’s death, his ideas are increasingly relevant in an era where governments grow ever larger and more interventionist.
Essential Hayek is a project of the Fraser Institute (Canada’s leading public policy think tank) and includes a new book by George Mason Professor Don Boudreaux (The Essential Hayek, with a forward by Vaclav Klaus, available here), an Essential Hayek website including a great collection of Hayek resources and a series of videos (watch two below and there are more here), that aim to explain Hayek’s ageless economic ideas in common, every-day language. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 15, 2015 Filed under: Education, History, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Bishop of Lincoln, British Library, Canterbury Cathedral, David Carpenter (historian), John, King of England, King's College London, Magna Carta, Rule of Law, Salisbury, University of East Anglia
Celebrations will take place across the country and King’s College London will be supporting the Anniversary through an important research project, which will produce the first clause-by-clause commentary on the Charter’s content in a hundred years, as well as hosting lectures and other commemorative events.
In this film leading experts examine the history, significance and relevance today of the document that is credited with establishing the rule of law.
Dr Andrew Blick
Institute of Contemporary British History (ICBH)
Professor Vernon Bogdanor
Institute of Contemporary British History (ICBH)
Professor David Carpenter
Department of History
Rt Hon Lord Judge
The Dickson Poon School of Law
Professor Maleiha Malik
The Dickson Poon School of Law
Posted: June 14, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Beijing, Cold War, Foreign Affairs, George F. Kennan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Mao, Michael Pillsbury, Michael W. Smith, Richard Nixon, U.S.-Chinese relations, Xi Jinping
As tensions with China rise, U.S. foreign policy thinkers are dusting off ideas from the Cold War—and questioning the long-standing consensus for engagement with Beijing
Andrew Browne writes: Writing in 1967, at the height of the Cold War, Richard Nixon proclaimed a new American ambition: to “persuade China that it must change.”
“Taking the long view,” he wrote, “we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors.” Four years later, having ascended to the White House, Nixon engineered an “opening to China” that promised to turn the communist giant into a diplomatic partner, one that would adopt America’s values and maybe even its system of democracy.
“The turmoil in U.S. policy has been especially evident in recent months. An unprecedented stream of advisory reports from leading academic centers and think tanks has proposed everything from military pushback against China to sweeping concessions.”
For many Americans today, watching the administration of President Xi Jinping crack down hard on internal dissent while challenging the U.S. for leadership in Asia, that promise seems more remote than ever before. In his recently published book “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” Michael Pillsbury—an Asia specialist and Pentagon official under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush—writes that China “has failed to meet nearly all of our rosy expectations.”
[Order Michael Pillsbury’s book “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” from Amazon.com]
U.S. foreign policy has reached a turning point, as analysts from across the political spectrum have started to dust off Cold War-era arguments and to speak of the need for a policy of containment against China. The once solid Washington consensus behind the benefits of “constructive engagement” with Beijing has fallen apart.
“The prescriptions vary, but their starting point is the same: pessimism about the present course of U.S.-Chinese relations.”
The conviction that engagement is the only realistic way to encourage liberalization in China has persisted across eight U.S. administrations, Republican and Democratic alike. Jimmy Carter bequeathed Nixon’s policy to Ronald Reagan; George W. Bush to Barack Obama.
The turmoil in U.S. policy has been especially evident in recent months. An unprecedented stream of advisory reports from leading academic centers and think tanks has proposed everything from military pushback against China to sweeping concessions. The prescriptions vary, but their starting point is the same: pessimism about the present course of U.S.-Chinese relations.
President Richard Nixon, right, toasts Chinese Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai during a banquet in Hangzhou, China, on Feb. 27, 1972.Photo: CORBIS
“For its part, China is utterly convinced that the U.S. is pursuing a policy of containment. “
The mood shift in Washington may end up being every bit as consequential as the one that came over the U.S. immediately after World War II, when it dawned on America that the Soviet Union wasn’t going to continue to be an ally. That is when the legendary U.S. diplomat and policy thinker George F. Kennan formulated his plan for containment.
“In one important respect, history is repeating itself: Both China and the U.S. have started to view each other not as partners, competitors or rivals but as adversaries.”
In a 1947 article in Foreign Affairs, he wrote that the U.S. “has it in its power to increase enormously the strains under which Soviet policy must operate, to force upon the Kremlin a far greater degree of moderation and circumspection than it has had to observe in recent years, and in this way to promote tendencies which must eventually find their outlet in either the breakup or the gradual mellowing of Soviet power.” Kennan’s strategy—to bleed the Soviet Union through nonprovocative resistance—offered comfort to Europeans who feared that they faced a stark choice between war and capitulation.
“China’s missile and naval buildup, as well as its development of new cyber- and space-warfare capabilities, are aimed squarely at deterring the U.S. military from intervening in any conflict in Asia.”
A similar anxiety about China’s actions and intentions has now taken hold among many Asians. U.S. friends and allies in the region are flocking to America’s side to seek protection as Mr. Xi’s China builds up its navy, pushes its fleets farther into the blue ocean and presses its territorial claims. In what is just the latest assertive move to alarm the region, China is now dredging tiny coral reefs in the South China Sea to create runways, apparently for military jets.
[Read more here, at WSJ]
The U.S. is resisting. President Obama’s signature “pivot” to Asia—designed both to calm anxious U.S. friends and to recognize the region’s vast strategic importance in the 21st century—is bringing advanced American combat ships to Singapore, Marines to Australia and military advisers to the Philippines. Japan, America’s key ally in Asia, is rearming and has adjusted its pacifist postwar constitution to allow its forces to play a wider role in the region. The purpose of much of this activity is to preserve the independence of smaller Asian nations who fear they might otherwise have no choice but to fall into China’s orbit and yield to its territorial ambitions—in other words, to capitulate. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 13, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Global, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: Allegheny Technologies, China, Federal Bureau of Investigation, List of companies of China, List of companies of the United States, SolarWorld, U.S. Steel, United States Department of Commerce, United States International Trade Commission, United Steelworkers
A groundbreaking online-spying case unearths details that companies wish you didn’t know about how vital information slips away from them
David Talbot writes: On a wall facing dozens of cubicles at the FBI office in Pittsburgh, five guys from Shanghai stare from “Wanted” posters. Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui are, according to a federal indictment unsealed last year, agents of China’s People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, who hacked into networks at American companies—U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies (ATI), Westinghouse—plus the biggest industrial labor union in North America, United Steelworkers, and the U.S. subsidiary of SolarWorld, a German solar-panel maker. Over several years, prosecutors say, the agents stole thousands of e-mails about business strategy, documents about unfair-trade cases some of the U.S. companies had filed against China, and even piping designs for nuclear power plants—all allegedly to benefit Chinese companies.
“We must pay the cost of security, which is inconvenience.”
It is the first case the United States has brought against the perpetrators of alleged state-sponsored cyber-espionage, and it has revealed computer-security holes that companies rarely acknowledge in public. Although the attackers apparently routed their activities through innocent people’s computers and made other efforts to mask themselves, prosecutors traced the intrusions to a 12-story building in Shanghai and outed individual intelligence agents. There is little chance that arrests will be made, since the United States has no extradition agreements with China, but the U.S. government apparently hopes that naming actual agents—and demonstrating that tracing attacks is possible—will embarrass China and put other nations on notice, inhibiting future economic espionage.
“The e-mails were cleverly designed. They purported to be from colleagues or board members, with subject lines relating to meeting agendas or market research, but they delivered malware by means of attachments or links.”
That may be unrealistic. Security companies say such activity is continuing, and China calls the accusations “purely ungrounded and absurd.” But there’s another lesson from the indictment: businesses are now unlikely to keep valuable information secure online. Whatever steps they are taking are not keeping pace with the threats. “Clearly the situation has gotten worse, not better,” says Virgil Gligor, who co-directs Carnegie Mellon University’s computer security research center, known as CyLab. “We made access to services and databases and connectivity so convenient that it is also convenient for our adversaries.” Once companies accept that, Gligor says, the most obvious response is a drastic one: unplug.
Fracking and hacking
Sitting at a small conference table in his office in the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh, David Hickton, the United States attorney for western Pennsylvania, opened a plastic container he’d brought from home and removed and peeled a hard-boiled egg for lunch. Although we were discussing an investigation involving global players and opaque technologies, the homey feel of our meeting was apt: the case had many roots in close-knit business and political circles in Pittsburgh. Hickton showed me a framed photo on a shelf. In the picture, he and a friend named John Surma are standing next to their sons, the boys wearing hockey uniforms, fresh from the ice. Both fathers had attended Penn State. As Hickton rose in the prosecutorial ranks, Surma rose in the corporate world, becoming CEO of U.S. Steel. When Hickton became the top federal prosecutor in the area in 2010, one of his meet-and-greet breakfasts was with Surma and Leo Girard, the boss of United Steelworkers, which represents 1.2 million current or retired workers in several industries. “I was asking them in a completely unrelated matter to serve on a youth crime prevention council,” Hickton recalls. “They said, ‘Can we talk to you about something else?’”
[Read the full text here, at MIT Technology Review]
At the time, the American fracking boom was in full swing, with ultra-low interest rates that had been set to stimulate the economy also lubricating the business of extracting previously hard-to-reach natural gas and oil. U.S. Steel had a flourishing business selling pipes specially designed for the extraction process. Among other traits, the pipes have no vertical seams, so they will hold up as they’re rammed thousands of feet into the earth and yet bend to convey oil and gas without breaking. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 13, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Austin Texas, Ben Domenech, College football, drugs, King v. Burwell, Mollie Hemingway, Open carry in the United States, Rachel Dolenzal, Radio, Sex Advice, Supreme Court, Texas, Texas Public Policy Foundation, The Federalist
…Later the Texas policy expert explained the competing liberal and conservative visions implicit in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court Case.
Senior Federalist Writer, Rich Cromwell also joined the program to highlight his and Mollie’s new sex column.
You can listen here
The Federalist Radio Hour
Posted: June 13, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank | Tags: All men are created equal, Declaration of Independence, Financial endowment, George III of the United Kingdom, government, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Life, Natural and legal rights, Property, United States, United States Declaration of Independence
Danielle Allen writes: For all that we talk about “original” founding documents, when it comes to the Declaration of Independence at least, we’ve had multiple versions since the earliest days of the revolution. The most important difference among these versions appears in the sentence about self-evident truths.
The manuscripts written out by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; the version voted on by Congress, as attested to in the official minutes recorded by Charles Thomson; and the official poster printed up by John Dunlap at Congress’s request, on July 4 and 5, 1776, record a very long second sentence, reading as follows:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
This lengthy sentence is a remarkably cogent expression of the theory of revolution that developed in early modern political thought. The people preserve their right to ensure that their rights are secured. When governments fail to secure those rights, the people may alter their government or, if it comes to it, abolish it and start over.
Yet on July 6, Philadelphia printer Benjamin Towne — who had obtained a copy of the Declaration we know not how — printed an unauthorized version that broke that long sentence into two by placing a period after “pursuit of happiness.” Towne scooped Dunlap, who didn’t get the Declaration into his own paper until July 8. As the first newspaper printing, Towne’s version was circulated extensively and read like this:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal; that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the content of the governed . . .”
In Towne’s printing, both the requirement that government balance the individual right to pursue happiness with the collective safety and happiness of the people and the accompanying theory of revolution drift out of focus. The period after pursuit of happiness leads us to disconnect the opening premise about individual rights from the argument for the positive value of good government and the all-important conclusion about altering governments that fail us.
[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]
Last summer, I stood behind a group of high school students at an exhibit about the Declaration. They began reading one of the versions of the text with the period. When they got to “pursuit of happiness,” they lifted their hands in the air, shouted “yes,” and were gone. They got the point about individual rights but not the people’s responsibility to determine principles and organizational forms that achieve their shared safety and happiness. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 12, 2015 Filed under: History, Think Tank | Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Azealia Banks, Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America, Boris Johnson, Cecilia Muñoz, Chuck Norris, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jr., Martin Luther King, Memorial Day, Michael Gambon, Nelson Mandela, Texas, Thomas Jefferson, United States, Winston Churchill
Or did he? Numerous social movements attribute the quote to him. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to U.S. Government and Politics” cites it in a discussion of American democracy. Actor Chuck Norris‘s 2010 treatise “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” uses it to urge conservatives to become more involved in politics. It is even on T-shirts and decals.
“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
–Never said by Thomas Jefferson
Yet the founding father and third U.S. president never wrote it or said it, insists Anna Berkes, a 33-year-old research librarian at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, his grand estate just outside Charlottesville, Va. Nor does he have any connection to many of the “Jeffersonian” quotes that politicians on both sides of the aisle have slung back and forth in recent years, she says.
“Winston Churchill had so many sayings misattributed to him that one academic gave the phenomenon a name: ‘Churchillian drift.'”
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight,” she says. “He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
A spokeswoman for the Guide’s publisher said it was looking into the quote. Mr. Norris’s publicist didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. A website lists bogus quotes attributed to the founding father. Bloomberg News
To counter what she calls rampant misattribution, Ms. Berkes is fighting the Internet with the Internet. She has set up a “Spurious Quotations” page on the Monticello website listing bogus quotes attributed to the founding father, a prolific writer and rhetorician who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
“It’s a hopeless task. You would need an army of secretaries to reply to all these tweets. Twitter and Facebook have made it worse, because people glom onto these things and pass it on and there it goes.”
The fake quotes posted and dissected on Monticello.org include “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.” In detailed footnotes, Ms. Berkes says it resembles a line Jefferson wrote in an 1807 letter: “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.” But she can’t find that exact quotation in any of his writings.
[Check out Chuck’s book “Black Belt Patriotism: How to Reawaken America” at Amazon.com]
Another that graces many epicurean websites: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Jefferson never said that either, says Ms. Berkes. The earliest reference to the quote comes from a 1922 speech by a man extolling the benefits of pickles, she says.
“People will see a quote and it appeals to an opinion that they have and if it has Jefferson’s name attached to it that gives it more weight. He’s constantly being invoked by people when they are making arguments about politics and actually all sorts of topics.”
Jefferson is a “flypaper figure,” like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and baseball player and manager Yogi Berra—larger-than-life figures who have fake or misattributed quotes stick to them all the time, says Ralph Keyes, an author of books about quotes wrongly credited to famous or historical figures. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 10, 2015 Filed under: Science & Technology, Think Tank, Religion | Tags: Al Gore, Anthony Downs, Climate change, Environmentalism, Marxism, Philosophy in the Mass Age, Progressivism, Redemption, Sin, Sinner, Steven F. Hayward, The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness, Up and Down with Ecology—The Issue-Attention Cycle
Steven F. Hayward writes: Try this out as a thought experiment: what would happen if, tomorrow morning, we had definitive proof that catastrophic climate change was impossible, wasn’t happening, and would never happen. Would Al Gore breathe a big sigh of relief and say—“Well good; now we can go back to worrying about smoking, or bad inner city schools, or other persistent, immediate problems.”
“As an ageing warrior, he grew breathless in pursuit of smaller and smaller dragons—for the big dragons were now harder to come by.”
Of course not. The general reaction from environmentalists and the left would be a combination of outrage and despair. The need to believe in oneself as part of the agency of human salvation runs deep for leftists and environmentalists who have made their obsessions a secular religion.
[Read the full text here, at Forbes]
And humanity doesn’t need salvation if thereis no sin in the first place. Hence human must be sinners—somehow—in need of redemption from the left.
[Order Kenneth Minogue’s book “The Liberal Mind” from Amazon.com]
I got to thinking about this when reading a short passage from an old book by Canadian philosopher George Grant, Philosophy in the Mass Age:
“During the excitement over Sputnik, it was suggested that the Americans were deeply depressed by Russian success. I thought this was a wrong interpretation. Rather, there was a great sigh of relief from the American elites, for now there was an immediate practical objective to be achieved, a new frontier to be conquered—outer space.”
This tracks closely with Kenneth Minogue’s diagnosis of liberalism in his classic The Liberal Mind. Minogue compared liberals to medieval dragon hunters, who sought after dragons to slay even after it was clear they didn’t exist. The liberal, like the dragon hunter, “needed his dragons. He could only live by fighting for causes—the people, the poor, the exploited, the colonially oppressed, the underprivileged and the underdeveloped. As an ageing warrior, he grew breathless in pursuit of smaller and smaller dragons—for the big dragons were now harder to come by.”
[Order George Grant‘s book “Philosophy in the Mass Age” (Philosophy and Theology) from Amazon.com]
Hence on college campuses today the liberal mind is relentlessly hunting after “microaggressions,” which is pretty pathetic as dragons of injustice go. Environmentalists are still after the fire-breathing dragon of climate change, now that previous dragons like the population bomb have disappeared into the medieval mists—so much so that even the New York Times recently declared the population bomb to have been completely wrongheaded.
“Hence on college campuses today the liberal mind is relentlessly hunting after ‘micro aggressions,’ which is pretty pathetic as dragons of injustice go.”
Or perhaps a better metaphor for true-believing environmentalism is drug addiction: the addictive need for another rush of euphoria, followed by the crash or pains of withdrawal, and the diminishing returns of the next fix. For there’s always a next fix for environmentalists: fracking, bee colony collapse disorder, de-forestation, drought, floods, plastic bags . . . the list is endless. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 9, 2015 Filed under: Diplomacy, Think Tank, War Room, White House | Tags: Al Anbar Governorate, Baghdad, Humvee, Iran, Iraq, Iraqi Army, Islamic state, Mosul, Ramadi, United States
Figuring out that you are pursuing a losing strategy is more difficult than outsiders might believe.
Peter D. Feaver writes: President Obama is under fire for explaining the lack of progress in the fight against the Islamic State on the fact that he does not “yet have a complete strategy.” This apparently candid concession echoes the one he made 10 months ago when he acknowledged that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to confront the Islamic State.
“The problem with the strategy is that it is not working, in the sense of advancing U.S. interests in the region and achieving the stated objectives.”
Critics are understandably lambasting the president for the apparent dilatoriness, and I have some sympathy for the critique. If you begin the clock with President Obama’s remarkable January 2014 dismissal of the Islamic State as a “jayvee threat” — something the White House still pretends the president did not say, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — and trace the president’s response to the growing Islamic State threat, the charge of delinquency is almost impossible to deny.
“In the absence of U.S. leadership, local partners did not step up quickly enough to stop the Islamic State when the threat could be easily contained. Now rolling back the group’s advances requires more punch than the locals can deliver without a substantial increase in American commitment.”
Yet, in this instance, I think the critics and the president are both wrong. The problem is not an absence of strategy, it is that the strategy that does exist is failing and the administration is not yet willing to admit that fact.
[Read the full text here, at Foreign Policy]
The strategy is pretty self-evident: U.S. forces are operating under stringent self-imposed limitations so as to incentivize local partners (the Iraqi government, Sunni tribes, and moderate rebels in Syria) to do more. The United States is prepared perhaps to do a bit more if local actors do a lot more, but if local actors do not step up, the United States is not prepared to do more. On the contrary, the United States is prepared to accept hitherto “unacceptable” setbacks — the fall of Mosul, the fall of Ramadi, the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, the regional expansion of Iranian-backed terrorist organizations and militias, and on and on — rather than intervene more decisively.
“This is a recognizable strategy. There is even a catchy name for it: leading from behind.”
The problem with the strategy is that it is not working, in the sense of advancing U.S. interests in the region and achieving the stated objectives (“destroy and degrade ISIL”). In the absence of U.S. leadership, local partners did not step up quickly enough to stop the Islamic State when the threat could be easily contained. Now rolling back the group’s advances requires more punch than the locals can deliver without a substantial increase in American commitment.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 8, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Think Tank, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Center for Immigration Studies, Chairman, Charles Krauthammer, Claremont Institute, Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Hillsdale College, Larry P. Arnn, Liberalism, Progressivism, The New Republic