Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Legislating Language

Think the charges of the Left manipulating the meaning of language is far-fetched? Here is a prime example that just popped up yesterday:
Bill would mandate nicer term for illegals
TALLAHASSEE -- A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents.

"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."

She has introduced a bill providing that: "A state agency or official may not use the term 'illegal alien' in an official document of the state."
"There are students in our schools whose parents are trying to become citizens and we shouldn't label them," she said. "They are immigrants, through no fault of their own, not aliens."

Wilson said the first word isn't as bad as the second.

"'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said.
What an ironic statement. Yes, you will indeed be living with illegals...

So the perfectly descriptive and accurate term "illegal alien" would become "undocumented immigrant", which obviously connotes someone who is just requiring some paperwork that gosh, we have a responsibility to produce, and pronto!

Asked if her bill (SB 2154) might run afoul of Gov. Charlie Crist's "plain speaking" mandate for government agencies, Wilson said, "I think getting rid of 'alien' would be plain speaking."
The whole thing about "alien" being "from outer space" is also totally disingenuous.

It's playing deliberately playing dumb to try to delegitimize the proper meaning of the word.

That's exactly the tactics of language manipulation.

I mean, come on, you stupid cow, did you think the word "alien" suddenly popped into existence in the age of Space Travel?

Hmm, let's see, the online dictionary says
Middle English, from Old French, from Latin aliēnus, from alius, other; see al-1 in Indo-European roots
alien (adj.)
1340, "strange, foreign," from O.Fr. alien, from L. alienus "of or belonging to another," adj. form of alius "(an)other" (see alias). Meaning "of another planet" first recorded 1944 in science fiction writing; the noun in this sense is from 1953. The noun sense of "foreigner" is first attested 1330. An alien priory (1502) is one owing obedience to a mother abbey in a foreign country.
I've often jibed that the historical memory of Leftists doesn't seem to extend back beyond 1968. Well here's firm evidence that I was actually not too far off! This legislator seems to only know the word's latest shade of meaning since 1944, and claims to be unaware of the previous six hundred years of usage!

The definitions of the noun form are:
al·ien –noun
1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen).
2. a foreigner.
3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.
The "outer space" sense is the fourth definition!

Unless education is rescued immediately -- meaning, in addition to basic Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, an emphasis on history, geography, basic philosophy and logic, patriotism, and civics (as an American public education should not attempt to turn out either craftspeople nor professors, but good citizens) -- the representative democracy is doomed to being hijacked by charlatans and pollsters.

And by "history", it MUST NOT be presented from the oh-so-popular Marxist school of interpretation, but the out-of-favor so-called Great Man school, which is much more accessible and exciting to young students.

Social Studies, World Cultures, New Math, and Communications would be cut in my scheme.

And don't forget a brief intro to Latin!

Make good little Neo-Victorians out of 'em!

UPDATE: An aside on schools of historical thought.

This kind of makes sense, doesn't it?
The Great man theory is a theory held by some that aims to explain history by the impact of "Great men", or heroes: highly influential individuals, either from personal charisma, genius intellects, or great political impact.
It is often linked to 19th century philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle, who commented that "The history of the world is but the biography of great men."
So it's an Anglo-Victorian theory. And guess who opposes it:
The editors of the influential 18th century French encyclopedia Encyclopedie were ideologically opposed to biographies because they believed too much ink had already been spilled on hagiographies of church fathers and deeds of kings, and not enough about the average person or life in general.
Many historians believe that a history which only follows around single persons, especially when their significance is determined primarily by political status, is a shallow view of the past, and that sometimes such a view excludes entire groups of people from being parts of the study of history.
So it's all about an artificial "fairness", instead of the powerful and the politicians -- who, by definition, were the ones making the decisions.

Such additional details may be interesting, but for getting students interested in history, biographies of the powerful are far more effective.

Worst of all,
This critique has spread to other fields such as literary criticism, in which Stephen Greenblatt's New Historicism argues that societies play roles in creating works of art, not just authors.
Marvelous! I now take personal credit, however small, for Hamlet!

What? I shouldn't take credit for works produced in my past society? Then why do I take blame for my past society's sins?

The pernicious result of Marxist interpretation and the Annales school is to obliterate the importance of the individual, and to render the notion of objectivity invalid, thus making it difficult if not impossible to counter attacks on our cultural norms.

Marxist history in fact has a distinct goal; it is not neutral:
Marxist history is generally teleological, in that it posits a direction of history, towards an end state of history as classless human society. Marxist historiography, that is, the writing of Marxist history in line with the given historiographical principles, is generally seen as a tool. Its aim is to bring those oppressed by history to self-consciousness, and to arm them with tactics and strategies from history: it is both a historical and a liberatory project.
Its adherents are therefore inherently hostile to Western culture as we know it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Edwards Surrenders

What a stunning disgrace!

Edwards apologizes for 2002 war vote

NEW YORK - Democrat John Edwards said Tuesday that honesty and openness were essential qualities for a president, and that he was proud to acknowledge his 2002 vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
Well guess what, you can't take back a declaration of war, Johnnie boy, while it's still going on -- without surrendering to your enemies!

Voters, the former North Carolina senator said, "want you to be willing to change course when something's not working. We've had six-plus years now of a president who is completely unwilling to do that."
We've established that a "change of course" that tries harder to win by sending reinforcements is OUT OF THE QUESTION for the Democrats, which leaves only retreat and surrender.

A quitter in a war he himself authorized thinks he should be President?

Could he be any more irresponsible?

Not to mention that authorizing the war was not, in fact, a mistake!

Par for the course from this insincere pretty boy, which we already learned from his recent handling of having hired two controversial far-left bloggers for his campaign, then seeming to fire them -- but only after attempts to edit and sanitize their old blogs failed to hide their true character -- then taking them back after having them recant their previous writings and issue an apology, and then having them ultimately resign.

Because either he's the type that would force his own people to publicly humiliate and repudiate themselves, or more likely, the whole exercise was a knowingly insincere attempt at hollow appeasement of the critics in a sham show of remorse.

Can the man demonstrate even less character and leadership?

Honorary Citizens

Ho-hum. Not much excitement generated about this idea:

Bill would make Anne Frank honorary US citizen
The draft legislation, which has not drawn a great deal of enthusiasm from the family, was presented by Long Island, New York Democrat Steve Israel.

The lawmaker drafted a bill along the same lines in 2005 but reworked it after seeing the publication in New York of letters written by Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank, detailing his efforts in 1941 to take his family to the United States.

"The best way we can honor Anne Frank in death is to give her what her father sought for her in life," Israel said.

"News that Anne Frank's family sought to flee to the United States makes it clearer than ever that we should bestow honorary citizenship upon Anne Frank, who has been recognized as a great hero and source of inspiration for the children of this nation."
I say, as long as Congress is spending time on inoffensive gestures, that's time they're not spending raising my taxes and taking away my rights.

And it's clearly intended, however microscopically, to attempt to right a past wrong in the only way available.

I mean, it hardly makes less sense than Virginia's recent expression of regret for slavery, an event which wasn't even close to anyone still alive today.

But no, that won't do at all!
Bernd Elias, a German cousin of Anne Frank, living in Switzerland told The New York Times: "I cannot see the point. She saw herself as Dutch."

Another cousin living in San Diego, Edith Gordon, said: "It doesn't seem right to me somehow, when we didn't let her into the country."
We? It was people mostly all dead now that didn't let her in, Edith. And others are trying to say that wasn't right. Rather revel in the guilt than expiate it, eh?

Can't see the point, Bernd?

Perhaps you can understand the point, though, of Paris in 2003 having made convicted, unrepentant, and obviously guilty cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal an honorary citizen?

Mumia Made Honorary Citizen of Paris
It is the first time Paris has bestowed the honor since Pablo Picasso was made honorary citizen in 1971, Socialist Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe told an audience of 200 people, taking the occasion to attack the barbarity of the death penalty. In attacking the "barbarity called the death penalty," the mayor said "as long as there is a place on this planet where one can be killed in the name of the community, we haven't finished our work." Raising his fist in a sign of solidarity, Delanoe then shouted "Mumia is a Parisian!" as the crowd cheered and applauded.

Black activist Angela Davis, a former member of the Black Panthers and the Communist Party, hailed the "profound sense of humanity" of Abu-Jamal, attacking American unilateralism and racist attacks against immigrants.

The movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal "takes on a new sense in face of American unilateralism, the aggression against the Iraqi people and the racist attacks against immigrants which can only further gnaw away at the vestiges of democracy in the United States," said Davis, a professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz.
How I'd love to pull the lever on ol' Sparky...

And then the suburb of Saint-Denis went and named a street in Mumia's honor as well, and the French communists cheered in wild delight.

That all makes sense, you see.

But making Anne Frank and honorary American citizen, because her father tried to bring her here, is apparently a bizarre and puzzling concept.

At least some sanity is still alive. The French commies are being sued by Philadelpha Republicans with their own laws:
The 59th Republican Ward Executive Committee of Philadelphia, representing the Germantown area, retained a French attorney and filed criminal charges against the French cities of Paris and Saint-Denis last Thursday in connection to the case of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. Paris awarded Abu-Jamal honorary citizenship in 2001 and Saint-Denis, a suburb near Paris, named a street after him this year.

Ward Chairman Peter Wirs allege that these actions violate Article 28, Section 2 of the French Penal Code, which impose a five year imprisonment and fine of 45,000 [Euros?] to anyone who publicly "have glorified the perpetration of a crime" such as murder.

"All the other politicians were talking the talk, but not getting anything done. I'm from the old school. I'm gonna walk the walk and get this resolved," Wirs said.

The French Communist Party denounced the 59th Republican Ward Executive Committee in their newspaper, L'Humanite, calling the lawsuit a "provocation" that would not dissuade the socialist elected officials of Saint-Denis or cause them to "change their mind since they are defending the values of democracy, the struggle against the death penalty and are willing to act so that there is no more political prisoners in the USA."

"This is just a fundraising gimmick for them [French commies]. They keep telling supporters that he's gonna die at any moment. He's not even on death row," Wirs added, noting District Judge William Yohn's 2001 decision [being appealed by both sides] overturning Abu-Jamal's death sentence, but not his conviction.

Wirs said French journalists gave him unconfirmed reports that the French Communist Party intends to burn him in effigy at an upcoming rally.
Mumia must die!

That Mythic Golden Age

More propaganda from Reuters, slobbering over supposed medieval muslim achievements, which were oh-so-superior to our poor, pathetic culture -- talk about double standards:

Medieval Muslims made stunning math breakthrough

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.
Bite me! They did not! If a monkey types a word at random on a keyboard that doesn't mean it's going to write Hamlet next, because it has no understanding of what it just did.

Modern mathematicians understood what they were deriving, and how the equations described the design, and what the significance of it was.

This artwork is just an interesting geometric design, that in hindsight, happens to vaguely be describable by Penrose tiling.

Big deal!

But Reuters can't miss the opportunity to shovel its propaganda:
By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be "quasicrystalline" designs, Harvard University's Peter Lu and Princeton University's Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. [what, like anybody "described" them elsewhere? -- ed.] Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.

"Oh, it's absolutely stunning," Lu said in an interview. "They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years."

Lu and Steinhardt in particular cite designs on the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran, built in 1453.
Of course, whenever wire services talk about the 15th century about the West, they're always talking about how evil we are for harming noble, peaceful indigenous populations -- never anything positive like this fantasy:
While Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, Islamic culture flourished beginning in the 7th century, with achievements over numerous centuries in mathematics, medicine, engineering, ceramics, art, textiles, architecture and other areas.

Lu said the new revelations suggest Islamic culture was even more advanced than previously thought.
They're advanced, do you hear me, ADVANCED!!!

My first thought on reading about this "quasicrystalline" breakthrough was it was ridiculous.

Such a view appears down at the bottom of the article:
Joshua Socolar, a Duke university physicist, said it is unclear whether the medieval Islamic artisans fully understood the mathematical properties of the patterns they were making.

"It leads you to wonder whether they kind of got lucky," Socolar said in an interview.
"And it will be a lot of fun if somebody turns up bigger tilings that sort of make a more convincing case that they understood even more of the geometry than the present examples show," Socolar said.
"Unclear", ha, that's a good bit of understatement right there.

And maybe spacemen built the pyramids!

Lost Faith

Essay on the consequences of double standards over our core beliefs:
The worst inconsistencies, however, involve the violation of core Western ideals, most importantly free speech. Many Muslims demand the right to deny the Holocaust, recycle Nazi-era anti-Semitic drivel, characterize Christianity as polytheistic idolatry, and excoriate a decadent, corrupt Western civilization. But no such criticism of Mohammed or Islam is tolerated, and in fact is met with violence and threats.

The past few years have seen numerous examples, from the riots over the extremely mild political cartoons featuring Mohammed, to the uproar over the Pope’s quotation of a Byzantine emperor. The exercise of free speech in all these cases is met with rage, violence, and hysterical demands of “respect” for Islam, but there is no reciprocal respect for Western values. And for the most part, we in the West go along with this double standard, and thus accept the logic of the jihadist position: we are weak and unsure of our beliefs. Our craven behavior is a sign of our inferior status and our justified subjection to those who passionately believe in the rightness of their faith.

Let’s be clear on the roots of this cowardly response––the West has lost its faith. We have created John Lennon’s juvenile utopia in which there is “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.” Shorn of transcendent validation, now all our beliefs are contingent and negotiable, easily traded away for security or comfort. At the same time, the therapeutic mentality bestows on the non-Western “other” a finely calibrated sensitivity to his culture, no matter how dysfunctional, all the while it refuses to extend such consideration to its own. Why would it? Haven’t generations of Western intellectuals and artists told the world how corrupt and evil the West is? Having culturally internalized this self-loathing, we are vulnerable to those who are filled with passionate intensity about the rightness of their beliefs and the payback due to us for our various historical sins such as colonialism or imperialism or globalization. And then we wonder why the jihadist considers us ripe for conquest, and destined to be subjected to the superior values of Islam.
It then goes on to recount this outrageous example:
Consider the following cautionary tale, from San Francisco State. Last October the College Republicans held an anti-terrorism rally during which posters painted to look like the flags of the terrorist gangs Hamas and Hezbollah were walked on. Since those flags have the name of Allah in Arabic, a complaint was filed in which the College Republicans were accused of “incitement,” “creation of a hostile environment,” and “incivility.” The complaint is now headed for trial before one of those campus star chambers created to monitor and police student behavior.

You don’t have to be a Constitutional scholar to see that this investigation is a gross violation of the students’ First Amendment right to free speech.
Here’s where the double standards and incoherence of much politically correct behavior comes in. On any college campus in this country, every day, inside of class and out, you can encounter speech that is “insensitive,” “uncivil,” or “hostile.” But of course, this speech is directed towards Christians, or “conservatives,” or Israel, or Republicans, or “straight white males.” Nobody attempts to censor this speech or haul people before tribunals to answer vague charges such as “incivility,” which will be defined according to the subjective standards of the complainants. And if someone does complain, the faculty and administration will immediately go into high dudgeon mode and start preaching the glories of unfettered free speech no matter how offensive.
Petty ivory-tower tyrants.

The Womanchurian Candidate

Some interesting quotes, all clearly referenced from the source material, of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who aspires to be our next Commander in Chief.

Collected at Maggie's Farm, entitled Ms. Potty Mouth. I'll just select a few for flavor:
This ill-tempered, violent, foul mouthed, hateful and abusive woman wants to be your president and have total control as commander-in-chief of a military that her party so openly and proudly admit they detest.

"F**k off! It's enough that I have to see you shit-kickers every day, I'm not going to talk to you too!! Just do your G*damn job and keep your mouth shut."
(From the book "American Evita" by Christopher Anderson, p. 90 - Hillary to her State Trooper bodyguards after one of them greeted her with "Good morning.")

"If you want to remain on this detail, get your f**king ass over here and grab those bags!"
(From the book "The First Partner" p. 259 - Hillary to a Secret Service Agent who was reluctant to carry her luggage because he wanted to keep his hands free in case of an incident.)

"Get f**ked! Get the f**k out of my way!!! Get out of my face!!!"
(From the book "Hillary's Scheme" p. 89 - Hillary's various comments to her Secret Service d etail agents.)

"Stay the f**k back, stay the f**k away from me! Don't come within ten yards of me, or else! Just f**king do as I say, Okay!!!?"
(From the book "Unlimited Access", by Clinton FBI Agent in Charge, Gary Aldrige, p. 139 - Hillary screaming at her Secret Service detail.)

"Many of you are well enough off that [President Bush's] tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to have to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
(Hillary grandstanding at a fund raising speech in San Francisco; 6/28/2004.)

"Where's the miserable c*ck sucker?"
(From the book "The Truth About Hillary" by Edward Klein, p. 5 - Hillary shouting at a Secret Service officer.)

"Come on Bill, put your dick up! You can't f**k her here!!"
(From the book "Inside The White House" by Ronald Kessler, p. 243 - Hillary to Gov. Clinton when she spots him talking with an attractive female at an Arkansas political rally.)

"We are at a stage in history in which remolding society is one of the great challenges facing all of us in the West."
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 119 - During her 1993 commencement address at the University of Texas.)

"We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people"
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 20 - Hillary to Rep. Dennis Hastert in 1993 discussing her expensive, disastrous taxpayer-funded health care plan.)
Several Presidents have been known for their nasty tempers as well, but that excuses nothing.

Saudi TV

Mainstream islam, from our friends the Saudis, on state-run tv in 2002.

I love this video clip, demonstrating the indoctrination of a three year old girl, who has been taught Jews are evil apes and pigs.

The pride of the young teacher in the student's responses is thoroughly disgusting.

An excerpt of the transcript:
Amer: How old are you, Basmallah?

Basmallah: Three and a half.

Amer: Are you a Muslim?

Basmallah: Yes.

Amer: Basmallah, do you know the Jews?

Basmallah: Yes

Amer: Do you like them?

Basmallah: No.

Amer: Why don't you like them?

Basmallah: Because.

Amer: Because they are what?

Basmallah: They are apes and pigs.

Amer: Because they are apes and pigs. Who said that about them?

Basmallah: Our God.

Amer: Where did he say that about them?

Basmallah: In the Koran.


Amer: Basmallah, Allah be praised. May our God bless her. No one could wish for a more devout girl. May God bless her and her parents. The next generation of children must be true Muslims, Allah willing. We must educate them while they are still children to be true Muslims.
True indeed, true indeed.

Shocking Photos!

Oh no, photos from civil-war-ravaged Iraq!

Do you dare look?

Hint: I'm being facetious.

I can't decide whether my favorite is the one of students walking under a banner reading "We will not succumb to terrorism. This is our answer.", or of the grown men sitting with grade-schoolers to learn how to read and write.

The other day I was forced again to view Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room at the gym, and CNN's "special report" on sectarian violence, that began -- now get this -- "almost as soon as the invasion of 2003!"

Oh, that's rich.

All rainbows and roses under Uncle Saddam, was it?

Sectarian mass graves filled themselves, did they?

Kurds had some unfortunate industrial accidents, eh?

If it's off their tv screen, they can't conceive of it existing.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Digital Maoism

As a follow-up to this previous post on Glossocracy and Leftist Tactics, here is an essay decrying the move towards an internet Hive mind, because of the mob rule it encourages.

This is what is being see at the popular social aggregator site Digg, where nominated posts from LGF get quickly "buried" by a mob of self-appointed Digg censors.

The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism

It is introduced as:
In "Digital Maosim", an original essay written for Edge, computer scientist and digital visionary Jaron Lanier finds fault with what he terms the new online collectivism. He cites as an example the Wikipedia, noting that "reading a Wikipedia entry is like reading the bible closely. There are faint traces of the voices of various anonymous authors and editors, though it is impossible to be sure".
And key points are:
...the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.
In the last year or two the trend has been to remove the scent of people, so as to come as close as possible to simulating the appearance of content emerging out of the Web as if it were speaking to us as a supernatural oracle. This is where the use of the Internet crosses the line into delusion.

Kevin Kelly, the former editor of Whole Earth Review and the founding Executive Editor of Wired, is a friend and someone who has been thinking about what he and others call the "Hive Mind." He runs a Website called Cool Tools that's a cross between a blog and the old Whole Earth Catalog. On Cool Tools, the contributors, including me, are not a hive because we are identified.

In March, Kelly reviewed a variety of "Consensus Web filters" such as "Digg" and "Reddit" that assemble material every day from all the myriad of other aggregating sites. Such sites intend to be more Meta than the sites they aggregate. There is no person taking responsibility for what appears on them, only an algorithm. The hope seems to be that the most Meta site will become the mother of all bottlenecks and receive infinite funding.

That new magnitude of Meta-ness lasted only a month. In April, Kelly reviewed a site called "popurls" that aggregates consensus Web filtering sites...and there was a new "most Meta". We now are reading what a collectivity algorithm derives from what other collectivity algorithms derived from what collectives chose from what a population of mostly amateur writers wrote anonymously.

Is "popurls" any good? I am writing this on May 27, 2006. In the last few days an experimental approach to diabetes management has been announced that might prevent nerve damage. That's huge news for tens of millions of Americans. It is not mentioned on popurls. Popurls does clue us in to this news: "Student sets simultaneous world ice cream-eating record, worst ever ice cream headache." Mainstream news sources all lead today with a serious earthquake in Java. Popurls includes a few mentions of the event, but they are buried within the aggregation of aggregate news sites like Google News. The reason the quake appears on popurls at all can be discovered only if you dig through all the aggregating layers to find the original sources, which are those rare entries actually created by professional writers and editors who sign their names. But at the layer of popurls, the ice cream story and the Javanese earthquake are at best equals, without context or authorship.

Kevin Kelly says of the "popurls" site, "There's no better way to watch the hive mind." But the hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?

Readers of my previous rants will notice a parallel between my discomfort with so-called "Artificial Intelligence" and the race to erase personality and be most Meta. In each case, there's a presumption that something like a distinct kin to individual human intelligence is either about to appear any minute, or has already appeared. The problem with that presumption is that people are all too willing to lower standards in order to make the purported newcomer appear smart. Just as people are willing to bend over backwards and make themselves stupid in order to make an AI interface appear smart (as happens when someone can interact with the notorious Microsoft paper clip,) so are they willing to become uncritical and dim in order to make Meta-aggregator sites appear to be coherent.

There is a pedagogical connection between the culture of Artificial Intelligence and the strange allure of anonymous collectivism online. Google's vast servers and the Wikipedia are both mentioned frequently as being the startup memory for Artificial Intelligences to come. Larry Page is quoted via a link presented to me by popurls this morning (who knows if it's accurate) as speculating that an AI might appear within Google within a few years. George Dyson has wondered if such an entity already exists on the Net, perhaps perched within Google. My point here is not to argue about the existence of Metaphysical entities, but just to emphasize how premature and dangerous it is to lower the expectations we hold for individual human intellects.

The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.
The artificial elevation of all things Meta is not confined to online culture. It is having a profound influence on how decisions are made in America.
It's not hard to see why the fallacy of collectivism has become so popular in big organizations: If the principle is correct, then individuals should not be required to take on risks or responsibilities. We live in times of tremendous uncertainties coupled with infinite liability phobia, and we must function within institutions that are loyal to no executive, much less to any lower level member. Every individual who is afraid to say the wrong thing within his or her organization is safer when hiding behind a wiki or some other Meta aggregation ritual.
There are certain types of answers that ought not be provided by an individual. When a government bureaucrat sets a price, for instance, the result is often inferior to the answer that would come from a reasonably informed collective that is reasonably free of manipulation or runaway internal resonances. But when a collective designs a product, you get design by committee, which is a derogatory expression for a reason.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Leftist Tactics

I haven't read this book, but the summary seems insightful.

How the Left was Won.
The following is an excerpt from the opening pages of Chapter One of How The Left Was Won: An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order.

Let’s face it, when you get right down to it, all of liberalism is fueled by a singular strategy—a strategy which has been continually perfected and relentlessly executed over the past forty years. That strategy is to promote and exploit divisiveness.

Everything liberal politicians do is based on this simple principle. Tell the people that are given to hating the most, that they are the ones who are hated. Tell the people who expect the most, that they deserve more. Tell blacks to hate whites. Tell women to hate men. Tell the lazy to hate the motivated. Tell the poor that only conservatives are rich, and then be sure to tell them to hate them for it.

Class warfare, race baiting, name calling and man-hating—all with a singular goal: to get themselves in power by promoting and exploiting divisiveness. Of course, once this divisiveness turns into frenzy, these same people suddenly act as if they actually want to solve a problem that didn’t even exist before they did everything they possibly could to create it.

To liberals, every issue, every situation is an opportunity to divide. History, religion, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the death of a soldier, a political debate, the hurricane which devastated New Orleans. Every tragedy exploited to divide. Every victory belittled to divide. Every incident, every word, every distorted statistic, every holiday—you name it, they will find some way to divide it.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the politicians who promote and exploit divisiveness; it is the people as well. Malcontents, jealous of anyone with any sort of success, come up with any way they can to attack those who are more successful then they are. Someone is rich only because they stole something from them. Certain groups are more successful only because they took advantage of them. Work has nothing to do with it. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. Planning ahead has nothing to do with it. Even luck has nothing to do with it.

And what do these kinds of people view as the solution to this imaginary injustice? Why special rights, privileges and opportunities for themselves, of course. Level the playing field. Get something for nothing. Take from the rich, the white, the male dominated, homophobic society that has already given them everything. Take what they have, what they built, what they earned—whether it be money, property, liberty or opportunity—and find some way, some justification, some cause or some guise to redistribute it to the people who have done nothing to earn it. To people who refuse to compete on merit. To people who insist on taking more out of society than what they put in to it. To people who don’t give a damn that their inclusion comes only at the expense of someone else’s exclusion. The strategy is simple, really—promote divisiveness and then exploit it for your own benefit.

Liberals should thank God every day for differences between people because without them, liberalism would be dead in the water. Without them, the country might have some stability. Without them, it might have a chance to survive. Without them, the problems between those who want and those who have might actually be manageable in some meaningful or productive way. But differences have given liberals the perfect opportunity to stop any rational discussion dead in its tracks. Differences have led to polarization. Differences have led to countries within a country. Differences have led to the dreaded xist-ism-monger-phobia. Differences have allowed liberals to add any of these four sounds to the end of any word they choose, virtually guaranteeing that they can get away with anything they want.

Worse yet, liberals actually have the nerve to turn around and endlessly accuse conservatives of divisiveness. To them, conservatives— who believe everyone should be held to the same standards—are somehow divisive. To them, conservatives—who believe everyone should have the same rights regardless of the guises used to justify different ones for different people—are somehow divisive. To them, conservatives—who sacrifice their time, money, careers and often their lives to defend the true meaning of freedom and liberty—are somehow divisive.
Their insidious control of language is also explained in this lucid essay on Glossocracy. It is deep and long and should be read in entirety, but here are a few key parts:
Boot believes that democracy, or in the words of Abraham Lincoln, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by glossocracy, the government of the word, by the word and for the word.

Modern glossocracy can be traced back at least to the slogan of the French Revolution, “Freedom, equality, brotherhood.” As it later turned out, this meant mass terror, martial law and authoritarian rule. According to Boot, the more meaningless the word, the more useful it is for glossocrats. The impulse behind Political Correctness consists of twisting the language we use, enforcing new words or changing the meaning of old ones, turning them into “weapons of crowd control” by demonizing those who fail to comply with the new definitions:

“Like the Russian intelligentsia of yesteryear, the glossocratic intelligentsia of today’s West is busily uprooting the last remaining vestiges of Westernness. The press is one gardening implement they use; education is another.”
Political Correctness was pioneered by feminists, including the totalitarian changing of the language to make it more gender-neutral and less “oppressive.” Those who successfully manage to enforce their definition of words win the ideological contest.
I find it interesting that the same people who, in the 60s and 70s, broke up the traditional family structure in Western countries and warned people against the dangers of overpopulation, telling people to lower their birth rates, come back a few years later and say that we have to import millions of immigrants because we have such low birth rates.
Direct examples of this new totalitarianism of language are given from Sweden. The essay then continues,
“As political and economic freedom diminishes” said Aldous Huxley’s in Brave New World, “sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase.” This fits perfectly with Huntford’s description. The state strips away your personal, economic and political freedom, yet grants you sexual freedom in return, boldly hailing itself as your liberator.

Language is underestimated as a source of power. Those who control the language and the school curriculum control society.

George Orwell said: “If freedom of speech means anything at all, it is the freedom to say things that people do not want to hear.” In his book 1984, a totalitarian Party rules much of Europe. Their three slogans, on display everywhere, are: War is peace, Freedom is slavery and Ignorance is strength. It’s the ultimate glossocracy, even creating an entirely new language called Newspeak:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.”

I love Orwell’s book, but frankly, it fits an openly totalitarian society more than it does Western nations. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, with its hedonistic society where people derive pleasure from promiscuous sex and drugs, is closer to the mark. Scholar Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of 1984 and Brave New World in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death:

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Anna Nicole Smith, anyone?

Postman warned against the pitfalls of our mass media society:

“What started out as a liberating stream has turned into a deluge of chaos. Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don’t know what to do with it.”

This can potentially be exploited by those in power.
In 2007, Big Brother is real, but a sensual distraction, not an oppressive tyrant.

In the 19th century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by Napoleon. The British people rose to the occasion and defeated the threat. In the 20th century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by Adolf Hitler. The British people rose to the occasion and defeated the threat. In the 21st century, Britain was threatened with subjugation by the combined forces of Islamic Jihad and a pan-European superstate. The British people didn’t notice the threat, as they were too busy watching semi-naked people do obscene things on TV. I bet even George Orwell didn’t see that one coming, but maybe Huxley did.

I quoted The Road to Serfdom recently, and was told that it was “irrelevant” since it was written in the 1940s. I disagree. Here’s a passage from it where Friedrich Hayek accurately describes Political Correctness. Page 117:

“The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognised before. (…) The most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of the meaning of words by which he ideals of the new regimes are expressed. (…) Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.”
The word "gay" springs immediately to mind.

Hayek was particularly concerned with words such as “equality” and “justice,” especially in combination:

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict which each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.”

There is reason to fear that words such as tolerance, diversity and dialogue have become just as perverted, twisted and meaningless in the West under Multiculturalism as words such as freedom and democracy were in the East under Communism.

Every time something bad involving Muslims in Europe happens, the solution is supposed to be “dialogue.” But what created the problem in the first place was the Euro-Arab Dialogue. Dialogue is thus the cause of Europe’s Islamic problems, not the solution to them.

The peculiar thing about “diversity” is that the more ethnic diversity you have, the less diversity of opinion you have, since everybody is scared to death of saying something that might “insult” somebody. Moreover, people cry for more surveillance to counter the turbulence caused by all this diversity. A survey showed that a full 80 percent of Swedes favor increased surveillance to tackle terrorism and serious crime. 87 percent think that the police should be able to secretly bug telephones and access computers of ordinary citizens. Diversity, thus, leads to internal and external censorship and a more totalitarian society.

Besides, those who praise diversity the most are frequently those who are the least tolerant of diverging opinions. As British newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn puts it: “The Fascist Left have turned the Nanny State into the Bully State. There is no limit to their intolerance in the name of tolerance.”

“Tolerance” has been defined as support for Multiculturalism and continued mass immigration. Tolerance thus means that Western populations should eradicate themselves and their own culture. It means a slow-motion surrender to Islamic culture and Islamic rule. Yet if you are against tolerance you must be some kind of evil racist or something. Who doesn’t like tolerance and diversity?
Cornered linguistically, deprived of words to formulate what we fight for and against and cut off from our historical roots, Westerners have become easy prey for our enemies.
Modern Westerners tend to have a poor knowledge of our own history, and what little we do know we are taught to hate. We are taught, simultaneously, that our culture doesn’t exist and that it is evil, which seems like a contradiction in terms, but both claims serve to undermine traditional loyalties, which no doubt was the intended purpose. Since our Multicultural Humpty Dumpties have already decided that there is no such thing as Western civilization, only a random collection of cultural impulses from a variety of sources, you look silly, ignorant and uneducated if you defend it, a bit like a Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
Yet even though we now have a word for an imaginary problem, Islamophobia, we still haven’t coined a term for a very real problem, the pervasive self-loathing and desire by some Westerners to eradicate their own culture. I’ve noticed that in many stories involving magic, a magician gains power over something once he gives it a name. So let’s give the anti-Western self-hatred a name. What about self-termination? This is an historical epoch where the West has gone from self-determination to self-termination.

If language is used to assault Western culture, regaining control over it should constitute our first line of defense. We have a right to resist those who advocate our nation’s self-termination. A policy which deprives us of self-determination and maybe our children of self-preservation is evil, and we have not just a right, but a duty to oppose it, even if it is championed by our own government; in fact, especially then. It is unacceptable that those who put the survival of our countries at risk are allowed to claim a monopoly on goodness.
Whereas the Soviet Union was, in the words of Ronald Reagan, the Evil Empire, perhaps the European Union will be remembered as the Glossocratic Empire, probably the first empire in human history built primarily through the ability to manipulate words. This was achieved by downplaying crucial information and drowning the public in irrelevant information, and by boring people into bureaucratic submission.

However, just as Neil Postman warned against the pitfalls of the information society, he also said that “Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose.”

It is no coincidence that the newest and most decentralized medium, the Internet, has become the preferred medium for opposition to the ruling glossocracy. As author Bruce Bawer has noticed: “Thank God for the [Inter]Net. I tremble at the thought of all the things that have happened during the past years that I would never have known about without it. (...) If Europe is saved, it will be because of the Internet.”
Maybe Al Gore will end up saving the world anyway!

Critiquing the Goracle

Al Gore's alarmist "documentary" has just won an Oscar. Predicting this event, here is a critique of An Inconvenient Truth:
The main point of the movie is that, unless we do something very serious, very soon about carbon dioxide emissions, much of Greenland’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice is going to fall into the ocean, raising sea levels over twenty feet by the year 2100.

Where’s the scientific support for this claim? Certainly not in the recent Policymaker’s Summary from the United Nations’ much anticipated compendium on climate change. Under the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s medium-range emission scenario for greenhouse gases, a rise in sea level of between 8 and 17 inches is predicted by 2100. Gore’s film exaggerates the rise by about 2,000 percent.

Even 17 inches is likely to be high, because it assumes that the concentration of methane, an important greenhouse gas, is growing rapidly. Atmospheric methane concentration hasn’t changed appreciably for seven years, and Nobel Laureate Sherwood Rowland recently pronounced the IPCC’s methane emissions scenarios as “quite unlikely.”

Nonetheless, the top end of the U.N.’s new projection is about 30-percent lower than it was in its last report in 2001. “The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica for the rates observed since 1993,” according to the IPCC, “but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future.”

According to satellite data published in Science in November 2005, Greenland was losing about 25 cubic miles of ice per year. Dividing that by 630,000 yields the annual percentage of ice loss, which, when multiplied by 100, shows that Greenland was shedding ice at 0.4 percent per century.

“Was” is the operative word. In early February, Science published another paper showing that the recent acceleration of Greenland’s ice loss from its huge glaciers has suddenly reversed.

Nowhere in the traditionally refereed scientific literature do we find any support for Gore’s hypothesis. Instead, there’s an unrefereed editorial by NASA climate firebrand James E. Hansen, in the journal Climate Change — edited by Steven Schneider, of Stanford University, who said in 1989 that scientists had to choose “the right balance between being effective and honest” about global warming — and a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that was only reviewed by one person, chosen by the author, again Dr. Hansen.
It's nonsense.

Winds of War

Warclouds are brewing.

To end the global jihad, there are two poles we must confront.

One is the original apocalyptic Shiite threat, led by Iran and its quest for nuclear weapons. Its worldwide terror arm is Hizb'allah.

The other is its Sunni competitor, driven with money and ideology from Saudi Arabia and forged in the terror camps and madrassa indoctrination centers in the lawless areas formerly controlled by Pakistan. Its worldwide terror arm is al-Qaeda.

It's like Coke and Pepsi.

Or an even better analogy, Nazis and Commies! Both were at core similar: expansionist tyrannical one-party rule based on socialist state power, with technical distinctions that led them to fight each other to the death.

Much like Sunni and Shia jihadists.

And they're getting ready to fight each other.

And in this we should facilitate their conflict all we can like in WW2, and then defeat the one left standing.

Here are indications of the brewing great islamic civil war:

Report: Israel Asks U.S. for Iraqi Airspace Corridor for Iran Strike


Chaos in the Gulf: Kuwait preparing for war and Shia riots in Bahrein

Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Watan believes that Kuwait and NATO will sign a bilateral agreement in March. This agreement will include only Kuwait and will not concern the other monarchies in the Gulf. It will basically allow NATO to use Kuwait as “a point of safe passage made for the armies of the Alliance”. In December 2006, the two parties had already signed an agreement on intelligence sharing. Kuwait thus reinforces the Western umbrella which should protect it in the event of a regional conflict involving Iran.

Another sign of Iran creating chaos: Saudi daily newspaper Al Watantells us about the second consecutive night of riots in Bahrein. The two suspects arrested admitted having been involved with about thirty other people to spread violence in Bahreïn. Several regions with Shia majority especially in the north witnessed also violence and rioting.

Knowing of Iran's strategy to destabilize Sunni monarchies with a significant Shia minority, one should not be surprised of these latest events.

Pakistan is Dissolving
The Pakistani government is preparing to cede the Federally Administered Tribal Agency of Bajaur to the Taliban. Jan Aurakzai, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, has informed the media that a 'peace deal' fashioned after the Waziristan Accord is imminent, Dawn reports.
Pakistan has lost control of its western territories, and is attempting to put the best face on this failure by cutting deals that cannot and will not enforce, and then claiming success. Musharraf, Aurakazi and a host of Pakistani political and military leaders continue to claim success with the Waziristan Accord, and promote the false hope that further peace deals can bring peace in the west.

This failure comes at the expense of security in Afghanistan, the West, as al-Qaeda is plotting strikes and training terrorist from the tribal areas, and within Pakistan itself. The Taliban are openly pushing their agenda in the Northwest Frontier Territory, and are conducting a nationwide terror campaign to cower the government. The peace deals in North and south Waziristan, the upcoming deal in Bajaur and others soon to follow, and the inability to take action against the terrorists inside their own borders poses a direct threat to the existence of the Pakistani state.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ROP Attack Maps

Fascinating collection of maps of worldwide terror attacks by the ROP.

Monday, February 19, 2007

End U.K. Apartheid

Divest Now!

Why don't I think rock stars will take up that old slogan this time?

Swim centre bars two-year-old girl because she isn't Muslim
When Lee Williams saw a parent-and-toddler session advertised at his local pool, he thought it was the perfect chance to teach his young daughter to swim.

Arriving at the leisure centre already in her swimming costume, two-year-old Darby was desperate to get into the water.

But she was left in tears when staff said they were not allowed in the pool because the session was for Muslim women and their children only.
According to Islam, women are forbidden from exposing their bodies to any man but their husband.

The incident is the latest in a series of rows between local authorities and the public over swimming lessons for ethnic minority groups.

In December last year, Croydon Council in South London came under fire for running Muslim-only sessions at one of its leisure centres.

Non-Muslim members of Thornton Heath leisure centre were angry that they could not swim during the Muslim-only sessions on Saturdays and Sundays unless they obeyed the strict dress code.

For men, this involved wearing shorts which kept the navel hidden and were extended below the knee, while women bathers had to wear a swimming costume which covered their body from the neck down to the ankle.

Similarly, Wolverhampton Council and South Lanarkshire local authority have also been criticised for operating women-only swimming for Muslims.
Not an isolated event.

Strangers in their own country.

Sudden Jihadi Syndrome

The number of these domestic "events" has been growing, but there has been a reluctance to view them all together as a common thread.

Each instead is proclaimed loudly and insistently to be completely random and related to nothing.

But it's getting harder to deny.

Witness this interesting list of domestic islamic terrorism (but carefully undefined as such in the media) put together by a commenter here:
Unfortunately, the US and Europe are not only confronted by a still undefeated al-Qaeda, but by an increasing number of Muslims in their own populations who - inspired and religiously agitated by bin Laden - are prepared to pick up arms and spend their lives to act on that inspiration...

• A 30-year-old Muslim man, Naveed Afzal Haq, who went on a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center in Seattle, announcing "I'm a Muslim-American; I'm angry at Israel."

• An Egyptian national, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who shot two and wounded three at an Israeli airline ticket counter at LAX.

• A bearded 21-year-old student, Joel Hinrichs, who blew himself up with a backpack filled with TATP (the explosive of choice in the Mideast) outside a packed Oklahoma University football stadium not long after he started attending the local mosque.

• A 23-year-old student, Mohammed Ali Alayed, who slashed the throat of his Jewish friend in Houston after apparently undergoing a religious awakening (he went to a local mosque afterward).

• The D.C. snipers — John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, both black Muslim converts — who picked off 13 people in the suburbs around the Beltway as part of what Muhammad described as a "prolonged terror campaign against America" around the first anniversary of 9/11, which he had praised.

• Omeed Aziz Popal of Fremont, Calif., who police said hit and killed a bicyclist there then took his SUV on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco, mowing down pedestrians at crosswalks and on sidewalks before police caught up with him, whereupon the Muslim called himself a "terrorist."

• A 22-year-old Muslim, Ismail Yassin Mohamed, who stole a car in Minneapolis and rammed it into other cars before stealing a van and doing the same, injuring drivers and pedestrians, while repeatedly yelling, "Die, die, die, kill, kill, kill" — all, he said, on orders from "Allah."

• A 22-year-old Iranian honors student, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, who deliberately rammed his SUV into a crowd at the University of North Carolina to "punish the government of the United States" for invading Iraq and other Muslim nations.
Add to that list the following recent curious and highly suspicious and suggestive events from the last few days.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A local cab driver [named Ibrihim Ahmed] allegedly tried to run over two customers after a fight over religion became heated.

The incident happened early Sunday morning on the Vanderbilt campus and left one man hospitalized and a cab driver arrested, said police.

Two students visiting from Ohio were coming from a bar downtown when they got into an argument with their driver over religion, said police. After they paid the driver he allegedly ran them down in a parking lot.
Second, with motive still unclear,
FBI agent Patrick Kiernan declared to reporters Wednesday he had no reason to believe the random, dispassionately executed murder of five people by 18-year-old Bosnian Muslim immigrant Sulejman Talovic Monday night had anything to do with Islamic terrorism, calling it “just unexplainable.”

But Salt Lake Police spokeswoman Robin Snyder told WND the FBI is still working with her department on the case, and investigators continue to explore the terrorism angle.
And then this revelation about a 1997 shooting in the Empire State Building:
GAZA CITY - Ali Abu Kamal’s relatives say they are tired of lying about why the Palestinian opened fire on the observation deck of Empire State Building, killing a tourist and injuring six other people before committing suicide.

Kamal’s widow insisted after the shooting spree that the attack was not politically motivated. She said that her husband had become suicidal after losing $300,000 in a business venture.

But in a stunning admission, Kamal’s 48-year-old daughter Linda told the Daily News that her dad wanted to punish the U.S. for supporting Israel - and revealed her mom’s 1997 account was a cover story crafted by the Palestinian Authority.
Wake up!

It's like children's teasing in which someone takes your arm and by swinging it makes your hand slap yourself, all the while saying, "I'm not hitting you; why are you hitting yourself?"

Except it's deadly.

Here are islamic terrorists killing us, all the while saying "islam is not attacking you!"

That is designed to make it difficult for us to respond.

See through the deception!

The list speaks for itself.

Dress-up Game

Dress the Prophet, it's fun!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Blunting the Senses

Earlier I asked why it is we overlook obviously gross problems in the islamic moral system. The short answer is that the consequences of having to face this reality are uncomfortable.

Nobody wants to "judge." Postmodernist though has made judgement obsolete and socially unacceptable. I recall hearing a woman from the audience proclaim, with a straight face, on a CNN talk show in the 9/10 era, with respect to Gary Condit (remember him?), that we should move on because "Jesus wasn't judgemental!"

Never mind all that about
And He shall come again in Glory
to judge the Living and the Dead,
and His Kingdom shall have no end.
Apparently Jesus came to tell us, "If it feels good, do it!" according to today's heretical understanding.

If one must judge, preferably only Dead White Males can be the targets (I recall the movement on college campuses in the late 80s to rework the traditional "canon" to cut our culture off at the roots), or living ones if necessary. But certainly not the Third World Brown Man!

Which is why the LA Times suggests we will never see movies about the heroism in the GWOT from Hollywood, because it would require showing the white man (and woman!) defeating the brown man.

But I digress.

This essayist has a great take on it, first with Moral Tourism:
As the conversation continued, I was emphatically informed that to regard one set of cultural values as preferable to another was “racist” and “oppressive.” Indeed, even the attempt to make any such determination was itself a heinous act. I was further assailed with a list of examples of “Western arrogance, decadence, irreverence, and downright nastiness.” And I was reminded that, above all, I “must respect deeply held beliefs.” When I asked if this respect for deeply held beliefs extended to white supremacists, cannibals and ultra-conservative Republicans, a deafening silence ensued.

After this awkward pause, the conversation rumbled on. At some point, I made reference to migration and the marked tendency of families to move from Islamic societies to secular ones, and not the other way round. “This seems rather important,” I suggested. “If you want to evaluate which society is preferred to another by any given group, migration patterns are an obvious yardstick to use. Broadly speaking, people don't relocate their families to cultures they find wholly inferior to their own.” Alas, this fairly self-evident suggestion did not meet with approval. No rebuttal was forthcoming, but the litany of Western wickedness resumed, more loudly than before.
During her tirade against ‘muscular liberals’, Bunting argued that Enlightenment values should be “reworked” (in ways that were, mysteriously, never specified), then said: “One of our biggest challenges is how we learn to live in proximity to difference – different skin colours, different beliefs, different ways of life. How do we talk peacefully with people with whom we might violently disagree?” This sentiment echoes those of Ken Livingstone’s race advisor, Lee Jasper, who maintains that “you have to treat people differently to treat them equally.”

But judging by Bunting’s own assertions, and the claims of those who share her views, perhaps we should assume that “reworking” Enlightenment values means pretending they don’t exist in certain kinds of company. Perhaps we should pretend we don’t disagree at all - as demonstrated by Bunting’s own flattering interview with an Islamist cleric who advocates suicide bombing, the murder of apostates and the stoning of homosexuals. Though one can’t help wondering what would have happened if Ms Bunting had actually dared to challenge Qaradawi’s prejudices with any rigour. How would he have reacted? And what would this tell her – and us – about the limits of moral relativism?

Perhaps we should assume that when faced with bullies and bigots we should say nothing, do nothing, and pretend everything is fine. Though quite how that polite little lie will help the victims of bullying and bigotry isn't entirely clear. And one has to raise an eyebrow at those who will happily bask in the advantages of values that they refuse to defend and pointedly disdain for the sake of appearance. But such is the nature of cultural and moral equivalence, and those who espouse it.
Great stuff, read it all.

And further reflections follow here, on the consequences:

Blunting the Senses in the Name of Fairness
The size of an extremist ‘fringe’ and its relationship to mainstream conceptions of the faith have to be considered as they actually are, not as one might wish, or assume. When given a moment’s thought, all fundamentalisms are not in fact equivalent in their particulars, or the consequences thereof.
By way of further illustration, Rosie O’Donnell was happy to assert that, "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." But while red-faced evangelists may say, for instance, that gay people are wicked, damned to hellfire, etc, I don’t know of any internationally renowned Christian leaders who are calling for the imprisonment and killing of gay people. Unlike the supposedly “moderate” Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who insists that gay men and lesbians should be “killed in the worst manner possible.” Not condemned, ‘corrected’, prayed for, or pitied, or any of the usual nonsense spouted by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson et al; but murdered - as brutally as possible.

However studiously such distinctions are overlooked, this one in particular strikes me as significant. Especially considering the readiness with which some will enact Sistani’s wisdom - as illustrated by Rexhep Idrizi, a chairman of Australia’s Board of Imams who thinks beheading gay people is in order, and whose son is currently serving a four-year jail sentence for attacking a cyclist with a machete. Given the number of believers who listen very carefully to Sistani, both in Iraq and beyond, it would be unwise for gay Iraqis to treat the cleric’s fatwas as irrelevant nonsense. And while mad Methodists or Creationists can be laughed at with relative impunity, sadistic bigots like Sistani are mysteriously exempt from comparable scorn in the “progressive” left-leaning media.
The claim of alleged ‘humiliation’ touches on a central conceit in many discussions of this kind, whereby religious freedom is presumed to entail sparing believers any hint that others do not share their beliefs, and indeed may find them ludicrous. (There is, apparently, no corresponding obligation for believers to embrace ideas that are not clearly risible, monstrous or disgusting.) When given a moment’s thought, this protectionist claim is decidedly fascistic in its practical implications. If believers wish to be insulated from any differing opinion, and even statements of fact, they would have to create a closed religious order, somewhere atop a mountain where reality can to some extent be avoided.

Barack Not Black?

Colbert has a comedy show that parodies right-wing infotainment, but in this case, his skewering actually hits its target a little too accurately!


Need I Say More?

Just following the holy example of their ideal and holiest man, the child-raping mohammed with his young bride Aisha:

4-yr-old Pakistani girl marries 45-yr-old
The minor, Sumaira, was given in marriage to the middle-aged man, Mahboob Ahmed, as a punishment because the girl’s maternal uncle, Mohammad Farooq, had eloped with the adult niece of the bridegroom, police said.

The punchayat imposed a fine of 150,000 rupees (2,500 dollars) on Farooq and ordered him to give a young girl from his family to Mahboob, police spokesman Malik Ramazan told AFP.

The bizarre marriage took place last month on the orders of a Punchayat or tribal council in northwestern Dera Ismail Khan town but police acted only last week after rights activist raised the alarm.
She is just a piece of property, like a slave, to her own "family."

It is a sick and twisted "culture."

Of course, there are attempts to insert doubt over the reported age (6) of Aisha at marriage, but they are all indirect arguments, and the bottom line is the respected and authoritative verses are clear:
A significant majority of Muslims respect the authority of the hadith, the source of much Islamic law (sharia) and therefore accept the hadith collected by Bukhari which quote Aisha as saying that she was nine years old when her marriage was consummated.
And the proof is in the pudding, isn't it?

The fact is, their belief in that leads them to continue the practice, so the arguments that someone from the far past can't be judged on today's standards flounders completely, since it is taken as an example to follow to this very day!

Can't have it both ways.

So what are we to think of people (i.e. all non-apostate muslims) who, today, knowing the life of mohammed, do not reject him as an evil man, but actually live their lives dedicated to following his teachings and examples?

How is that excused?


A very sudden development. Is the worm turning?

Supermosque for 70,000 'will be blocked'
Controversial plans to build a "supermosque" on the doorstep of the London Olympics will be blocked by the Government.

Ruth Kelly's Whitehall department is expected to refuse planning permission for the London Markaz, which would be the biggest religious building in Britain with room for 70,000 worshippers.

A senior security source said that he was concerned about the proposed mosque, and expected ministers to use their powers to call in, and turn down, the planning application.

The move was confirmed by a senior Government source, who said there were fears that the giant mosque could damage community relations in the area, and added: "We are going to stop it."

Until now, it was thought that planners would rubber-stamp the proposed mosque, which was agreed in principle in a 2001 deal between Newham Council and Anjuman-e-Islahul Muslimeen.
Why would they block it? Red Ken the commie London mayor is for it.
The group behind the plans is Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary sect whose charitable trust, Anjuman-e-Islahul Muslimeen, has owned the 18-acre site since 1996. Tablighi Jamaat was called "an ante-chamber for fundamentalism" by French security services. Two of the July 7 London suicide bombers are believed to have attended one of its mosques.

A spokesman said: "Our client utterly refutes any links to terrorism. It is a predominantly apolitical organisation seeking to go about its faith in a peaceful way."
islam is inherently political.
Tablighi Jamaat is a conservative and ultra-orthodox group with close links with the Wahhabi form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of British Muslims are sent by Tablighi Jamaat to madrassas in Pakistan every year, raising fears that some may be brainwashed. A leaked FBI memo alleged that al-Qaeda was using the organisation "as cover... to network with other extremists".
If only the same can happen to the mosque construction in Boston by the islamic Society of Boston -- an Wahabbist Saudi-backed organization revealed to have ties to terrorists.

Construction has been delayed, but the stake through the heart ahs not yet been hammered in, as legal battles drag on with suits by critics charging church-state financing violations by the city (selling public land worth $2 million for $175,000 for the mosque), and counter-suits of defamation by the isb. Read updates at Daniel Pipes.
The moral of this too-oft-repeated tale is not hard to guess: politicians – and bureaucrats, journalists, clergy, academics, et al. – need to know an Islamic institution is clean of Islamist associations and intentions before endorsing it, much less selling it government-owned land at fire-sale prices. Good will and ecumenical intent cannot substitute for research.
And good luck with that!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

More Good Jihadis

Belmont's Poetry

I don't know how anyone can understand today's world without reading Belmont Club. The author "wretchard"'s own subsequent comments to his pieces are also sources of gems, like this:
I think the Third World will provide the strategic surprise. They are not -- they were never -- what the Left thought they were. People happy to live out their lives under a tyranny dancing under the mango trees before retiring in the dusk to their darkened huts to the sound of communal singing. They want cell phones, air travel and dental floss. They wonder what the stars are made of and how the world began. Worst of all for the Left they want freedom. The most monstrous lie in history was the one the Left repeated incessantly. How happy the masses were under Uncle Joe Stalin or the Great Helmsman. Do they know what poverty is? Poverty is watching your little son die because you can't afford a five dollar bottle of medicine. And burying him with all the homemade toys your hands made.

Ultimately this is conflict between the "Let Them Eat Cake" crew and people who simply want to live. It's between fantasy and reality. I have no worries about how that will end, though many bright things will vanish in the carelessness of the night.
He then closes with a quote from Tolkien.

Wretchard the Cat, aka Richard Fernandez, grew up in the Philippines and is currently living in Australia.

And he knows a thing or two about the Third World most of us will never fathom.

And clearly he is a genius.

An excerpt of his bio:
Richard holds a degree in applied mathematics from Case Western Reserve University and a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Richard Fernandez – He finds a different life in Australia

I grew up in the Philippines and was educated in U.S. graduate schools. My last job in the Philippines was in forestry inspection, a process that includes the people in the forest. I was hired on because I'd had experience providing assistance to tribal communities to get them title to their ancestral lands. In the Philippines, land with a slope of greater than a certain percentage automatically belongs to the government. This gives government enormous power over individuals, a fact actually regarded in many Third World countries as conducive to development.

I decided to emigrate to Australia in 1997. I had to retool as a software developer and eventually built a considerable number of utility applications for fairly well-known companies in Australia.

On his blog – Using known paradigms to understand the world

The Belmont Club really began Sept. 11. My wife woke me with news that two wide-bodied jets had brought the twin towers down. I got up in a daze asking 'What am I going to do?' Most people intuitively felt the world changed on that day. But for some, and I know it was true in my case, it also changed the past. For most, America is a dream. But for those who never expect to return to it again it is the memory of youth -- something you expect to stay safe forever and not lie in broken pieces in lower Manhattan. I didn't take the train into the city that morning and for a long time afterward, but walked, imagining I was making things harder for an enemy I wanted to get back at somehow.

Vicious Animals

You want to share the planet with these primitives?

They need to be suppressed brutally. I advocate depopulation of the region.

The elite, effete left-winger turns a blind eye to this, in order to defame the United States, because they lack the courage to risk social rebuke for criticizing the noble brown man:

'Honour killers' expect to walk free

Mohammad Aslam and Maqbool Ahmad admit killing their sister Elahisen and a neighbour, Ghulam Nabi Shah, when they found them together in Elahisen's room on the night of 27 January.

They smashed their skulls with a brick and then strangled them with a rope. Then they gave themselves up to the police saying they had redeemed their family honour.

The event has a familiar ring to it.

According to official figures, more than 2,700 women and about 1,300 men have been killed in honour-related offences in Pakistan since 2001.

Human rights organisations put the number much higher, saying that most honour crimes are never reported to the police.
The "problem" here is they killed a man, too:
As such, the killing of women is hardly ever reported because the perpetrators are usually close male relatives.

Men, on the other hand, are killed by the family of the "dishonoured" woman and their families are more likely to seek justice from the courts.
The community supports them, because it's a sick and inferior culture that should be snuffed out:
Those who taunted the Maachhi brothers are now all praise for them.

"They have restored their family honour - the deceased deserved to die," says Ghulam Abbas Bhatti, a resident of Khatan village.

The brothers themselves are oozing confidence and dignity even in fetters and handcuffs. "We have done no wrong and the law will not treat us unkindly," says Mohammad Aslam.

Legal experts believe the brothers may be right.
The article then details how they can get out of the murder of the man, by buying off his family and the police, who are eager to look the other way. Just part of islamic sharia law. The conviction rate is less than 5%.

But here's the kicker.

Nobody cares about the woman who was killed, their own sister. She's not the problem at all:
As for Elahisen, the only woman in the case, the Maachhi brothers need have no fear about any of their own family complaining about her murder.
Pakistan as a country supports this, deeply.

For that alone, I wish to see it destroyed.

I can't abide its existence.

Can you?

What kind of world do we want to live in?


The obvious retort from the transnational left is that we cannot judge others because of past our own sins. The answer of course is we can't go back in time to change the past, we can only affect the future; so their argument is ultimately one of inaction.

Furthermore, who cares? Victory always goes to the last man standing, regardless of motive or purity. You want it to be them? The Honor Killers? Pacifists seem to prefer the prospect of barbarism overtaking the planet while they go purely to their graves, than to being the victor.

I'll pass.

Delegitimizing All Dissent

Leftists are all about delegitimizing all dissent, because they have no logical basis for their arguments.

Instead, your position will be defined away as invalid.

And your very talking about it will be restricted through control of permissible language.

Here is a simple example of defining away all dissent. It would be silly for its infantilism if it weren't so deadly and serious in its consequences.

Exhibit A is the "chickenhawk" argument. Anyone who supports the war is maligned as not having a valid opinion unless they themselves are on the front line.

My quick psychological profile of this bizarre argument: It is a case of Projection. They seem to say, "if you aren't fighting yourself, you shouldn't make someone else do it." Ignoring it's a volunteer force! It's illogical. So it must be a psychological defense, since it's such a common knee-jerk response. What they are really saying is, I presume, "since I'm not willing to fight, I don't want anyone else doing it for me." That may seem noble, but on closer inspection it negates the free will of those willing to fight. Instead, it's really a sign of deep shame at their own cowardice. They find it too painful to be shown to be unwilling to fight for anything, even for their own miserable lives, that the others who aren't literally physically fighting -- but wish to resist -- are attacked as the true cowards! Thus saving face for the morally superior anti-war person who is above it all! It's a diversion and an inversion to avoid facing reality.

I got such a comment recently, and here is my reply:
True Patriot said...
So you are a war mongering conservative?

And do you have a distinguished combat career like our Pres and Vice Pres.?

RDS said...
True Patriot -- and have you stopped beating your wife and kids yet?

So, you fundamentally reject our democratic form of government, do you?

Are you a physician? If not, then how can you have an opinion on health care issues?

Are you a policeman or a judge? If not, then how can you have an opinion on crime issues?

You really want only military people deciding foreign policy?

You're the stupidest worm ever to leave a comment here! I laugh at your idiocy!
Gotta love the moniker "True Patriot."

A variant is when one of the moonbat California Senators suggested Condi Rice couldn't have a valid opinion on the war, because she had no "child" who could be in harms way (a favorite subtype of this "argument", claiming only people who have "sent" their own "child" can be pro-war) -- ignoring that nobody "sends children" to war, but rather adults who volunteered.

Obviously that line of argument is inherently fascist. It throws out the whole notion of republican democracy and equal access to the voting franchise.

But never mind that!

But wait -- it gets worse!

So apparently only the opinion of non-fighting anti-war people is valid, because that's somehow "consistent" in some retarded childish way, as well as, it would seem, the opinion of the fighting soldiers who might be pro war.

But no!

They don't count either!

Witness the recent rant in the Washington Post of unqualified "military analyst" William Arkin, a little weasely worm I recall seeing on cable news a few years ago.

He, to the delight and affirmation of the lefty blogosphere, dismissed the opinions of our Armed Forces members as the blood-tainted desires of an evil, money-hungry mercenary force, when finding out that gosh, these non-chickenhawks might not agree with the anti-war people! The horror! Time to put them in their place, too!
So, we pay the soldiers a decent wage, take care of their families, provide them with housing and medical care and vast social support systems and ship obscene amenities into the war zone for them, we support them in every possible way, and their attitude is that we should in addition roll over and play dead, defer to the military and the generals and let them fight their war, and give up our rights and responsibilities to speak up because they are above society?
But it is the United States and instead this NBC report is just an ugly reminder of the price we pay for a mercenary - oops sorry, volunteer - force
And voila, nobody is left who can "legitimately" disagree with the anti-war position!

So they have abandoned the notion of soldier-as-victim, which they really could only do if there was a draft (which is why some Democrats like the disgusting Rangel kept trying to demand one), and moved officially on to soldier-as-baby-killing-mercenary.

Never mind that being a "paid", such as it is, volunteer, actually makes one simply a professional, not a mercenary.

It is a deliberate misuse of language to control your thought on the issue.

Mercenaries, by definition, have the characteristic not simply that they are paid, but that payment is their only motivation; they fight for the highest bidder, regardless of ideology or nationality.

To imply the U.S. Armed Forces are mercenaries who would fight for anybody is patently ludicrous and insane.

No, scratch that, it's deliberately evil.

These left-wingers are dangerous, unpatriotic, parasitical monsters that must be exposed, expelled, and expunged.

Antarctica Defies Climate Model

Back to the drawing board:

Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

"It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," he said. "Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It's very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth."

Bromwich says that the problem rises from several complications.
Yeah, like the fact your model is WRONG!

Or to be more generous, "incomplete."
The continent is vast, as large as the United States and Mexico combined. Only a small amount of detailed data is available – there are perhaps only 100 weather stations on that continent compared to the thousands spread across the U.S. and Europe . And the records that we have only date back a half-century.

"The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from continental Antarctica.

"We're looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment," he said.

Inconsistent? I thought we were told there was Consensus!

Small signal? I thought humans were swamping the impact of solar activity, orbital precession, the natural carbon cycle, equatorial oscillations, etc.!

Variability? Limited data? Those are exactly the charges every neutral physicist I've ever known at Princeton and MIT has levelled. You want to base far-reaching policy on that?

When the wrong move could cause more harm than you're trying to prevent?!?

"This is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we're only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean." The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide, one of the key greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Some researchers are suggesting that the strengthening of the westerlies may be playing a role in the collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula.

"The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies," Bromwich says. "If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves, he said.

"Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent."
So you are still learning all sorts of things, are you?
Bromwich said the disagreement between climate model predictions and the snowfall and temperature records doesn't necessarily mean that the models are wrong.

"It isn't surprising that these models are not doing as well in these remote parts of the world. These are global models and shouldn't be expected to be equally exact for all locations," he said.
Oh, so the scientific method of hypothesis and observation is out the window now, for the sake of dogma, is it?

So the models somehow apply "globally", but not in any particular locality?


You get an F.