Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Why I'm Not In New York

Even the cops aren't safe:

Police say plainclothes detective William Sample was yanked from his vehicle and punched and kicked until he was unconscious.

Eleven demonstrators were arrested, but his attacker escaped, according to NY1 News.

Sample was hospitalized and is in stable condition with head injuries, which are not considered life threatening. The attack occurred during a march by the "Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign."

Brad DeLong Joins The Ranks Of The Shrill

The professor links to a story about the latest Nazi analogy. Sheri Dew paraphrases words describing the polarization over Hitler...

This escalating situation reminds me of a statement of a World War II journalist by the name of Dorothy Thompson... Toronto in 1941.... "Before this epic is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up with Hitler or against him..... If he takes no side, he is on Hitler?s side. If he does not act, that is an act?for Hitler." describe the polarization over gay marriage.

May I take the liberty of... applying [this statement] to... today? "Before this era is over, every living human being... will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it, for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family."

These words alone do not constitute a "Nazism is comparable to the war on family" message. They say that people are as polarized over the latter as they were the former. (Quite frankly I think Communism was a much more polarizing force than Nazism.) Atrios quotes the damning portion of her dialogue:

At first it may seem a bit extreme to imply a comparison between the atrocities of Hitler and what is happening in terms of contemporary threats against the family - but maybe not.

So where does DeLong go off the deep end? Only three posts below Godwin's Law Violation in Progress! is this headline: Republicans Change Name to "Hezbollah" A Republican delegate makes a boorish reference to GOP as "God's Own Party," and DeLong invokes images of a terrorist organization that sends young people to kill others and themselves in the name of jihad. As I state in his comments, "Shouldn't there be a 'Middle Eastern terrorist' variant of Godwin's Law?"

Atrios lectures us on how Nazis persecuted homosexuals. Perhaps someone should lecture DeLong on how Hezbollah really feels about Christians. (And maybe Atrios should have a word with those idiotarians who equate Israelis with Nazis.)

Update: A little over three hours after this post was entered (5:45PM PST/7:45PM CST), the following headline appeared on BDL's blog:

Brad DeLong Gets Shriller


(The article addresses Bush's recent statements over the prospects of winning the War on Terror. For perspective, check out Rush Limbaugh's interview with the Prez. Or read my comment to DeLong's post.)

Atrios informs me via email that Hezbollah derives from the Arabic words for "Party of God." Does that excuse DeLong's headline? Saying something like "Uh, you don't want al-Jazeera translating that into Arabic," and explaining why, wouldn't be out of bounds. But BDL takes the one guy's remark and creates a snarky quip about Republicans in general that (intentionally or not) plays to one of the most vitriolic prejudices in Western civilization. A lot of people actually believe commenter Charles' remark that "The Republican Party has increasingly little in common with God and increasingly more in common with Hezbollah." I'm all for invective in its time and place (see title of post). But feeding the flames of bigotry is out of line.

Update: Yes, that last statement also applies to that delegate who started this mess.

Giuliani's Speech

(NewsMax has the full text here.)

The former New York City mayor continues the "It's the war, stupid" theme. He summarizes our military and diplomatic progress against terror:

They heard from us in Afghanistan, and we removed the Taliban.

They heard from us in Iraq, and we ended Saddam Hussein's reign of terror.

They heard from us in Libya, and without firing a shot Qadhafi abandoned weapons of mass destruction.

They are hearing from us in nations that are now more reluctant to sponsor terrorists.

Giuliani traces the War on Terror (which is more than just al-Qaeda) back to 1972, and explains why this enemy has been so emboldened.

Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. It had been festering for many years.

And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed. The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. And the pattern had already begun.

The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government.

Action like this became the rule, not the exception.

Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.

In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer.

They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.

Some of those terrorist were released and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals.

So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, was "accommodation, appeasement and compromise."

This New York politician will never be caught kissing Suha Arafat:

And worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack.

Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table.

How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize when he was supporting a terrorist plague in the Middle East that undermined any chance of peace?

Giuliani teaches a little appeasement history:

Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of the world much like our observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate ourselves to peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union through mutually assured destruction.

The mystery of Kerry's flip-flopping is revealed:

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.

And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas - - one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.


Yes, people in public office at times do change their minds, I've done that, or they realize they are wrong or circumstances change.

But John Kerry has made it the rule to change his position, rather than the exception.

Good point.

Giuliani on allies:

President Bush will not allow countries that appear to have ignored the lessons of history and failed for over thirty years to stand up to terrorists, to dissuade us from what is necessary for our defense.

He will not let them set our agenda. Under President Bush, America will lead rather than follow.

John Kerry's claim that certain foreign leaders who opposed our removal of Saddam Hussein prefer him, raises the risk that he would accommodate his position to their viewpoint.

I hope Bush will make Giuliani ambassador to France.

He touches on the problems of Middle Eastern tyranny:

President Bush has also focused on the correct long-term answer for the violence and hatred emerging from the Middle East. The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments.

Rather than trying to grant more freedom, create more income, improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and Israel and other external scapegoats.

But blaming these scapegoats does not improve the life of a single person in the Arab world. It does not relieve the plight of even one woman in Iran.

It does not give a decent living to a single soul in Syria. It certainly does not stop the slaughter of African Christians in the Sudan.

The changes necessary in the Middle East involve encouraging accountable, lawful governments that can be role models.

The War on Terror has two goals: military victory and political reform:

The war on terrorism will not be won in a single battle. There will be no dramatic surrender. There will be no crumbling of a massive wall.

But we will know it. We'll know it as accountable governments continue to develop in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We'll know it as terrorist attacks throughout the world decrease and then end.

McCain's Speech

(NewsMax has the full text.)

John McCain undertook one of the GOP's most vital messages: explaining the nature of the war to the American people. But he begins with a colossal error:

The awful events of September 11, 2001 declared a war we were vaguely aware of, but hadn't really comprehended how near the threat was, and how terrible were the plans of our enemies.

The war with al-Qaeda began in 1993, with the first bombing of the World Trade Center. It continued with the 1998 bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It continued in 2000 with the suicide bombing of the USS Cole. Al-Qaeda has attacked US targets from land, sea, and air, and many are deluded into thinking that the war began with the air attack.

McCain can't tell the truth, because it reveals that everybody dropped the ball and not just Clinton. Nobody was calling for a full-scale war on al-Qaeda in the 1990s. And McCain doesn't want to remind people of that.

It's a fight between a just regard for human dignity and a malevolent force that defiles an honorable religion by disputing God's love for every soul on earth. It's a fight between right and wrong, good and evil.

McCain should not have opened this can of worms. A religion is defined by its founder, and historians can make valid arguments that Islam was historically a religion of armed conquest. And where does in say in the Qur'an or the Hadith that God loves everybody, even nonbelievers?

After these stumbles, McCain is masterful, but not without a few potholes. He gets to the heart of the greatest threat: that "our enemies acquire for their arsenal the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons." He says that war "will have its ups and downs" and warns not to be "complacent at moments of success [or to] despair over setbacks;" we can prevail despite losing an occasional battle, but we must work for it:

We must learn from our mistakes, improve on our successes, and vanquish this unpardonable enemy.

If we do less, we will fail the one mission no American generation has ever failed to provide to our children a stronger, better country than the one we were blessed to inherit.

Unfortunately, we don't always provide our allies a stronger, better country, as Communist-ruled Vietnam and the Islamoterrorist-ridden Kosovo province in Serbia illustrate.

We were united. First, in sorrow and anger. Then in recognition we were attacked not for a wrong we had done, but for who we are a people united in a kinship of ideals, committed to the notion that the people are sovereign, not governments, not armies, not a pitiless, inhumane theocracy, not kings, mullahs or tyrants, but the people.

The part about the shared sorrow is true. But a lot of people were blaming US policy for the attacks days after 9/11. Have you forgotten how quickly the "why do they hate us" whining erupted?

We were not two countries.

Edwards was right about the Two Americas. He just had the lines of demarcation wrong. McCain-Feingold creates one America that can legally criticize candidates via mass media during an election, and one American that can't.

McCain says something that, taken alone, will irk a lot of people:

They [Democrats] stress that America needs the help of her friends to combat an evil that threatens us all, that our alliances are as important to victory as are our armies. We agree.

But wait, there's more (emphasis mine).

And, as we've been a good friend to other countries in moments of shared perils, so we have good reason to expect their solidarity with us in this struggle. That is what the President believes.

And, thanks to his efforts we have received valuable assistance from many good friends around the globe, even if we have, at times, been disappointed with the reactions of some. I don't doubt the sincerity of my Democratic friends. And they should not doubt ours.

Our President will work with all nations willing to help us defeat this scourge that afflicts us all.

While McCain doesn't see two Americas, he does see two global communities; those who fight with us against terror, and those who don't.

Class, welcome to National Security 101:

War is an awful business. The lives of a nation's finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer. Commerce is disrupted, economies are damaged. Strategic interests shielded by years of statecraft are endangered as the demands of war and diplomacy conflict.

Maybe McCain isn't ignoring history after all (emphasis mine):

However just the cause, we should shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us. But there is no avoiding this war. We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly.

Is McCain making a sly reference to those attacks by land and sea I addressed earlier?

And while this war has many components, we can't make victory on the battlefield harder to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct.

Our national security takes precedence over the happiness of Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, and Kofi Annan. Our safety is more importance than the profitability of French, German, and Russian companies with Iraqi contracts.

McCain summarizes our victory in Afghanistan.

He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies, and away from our shores, seriously injuring al Qaida and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven. He worked effectively to secure the cooperation of Pakistan, a relationship that's critical to our success against al Qaida.

He makes the case for invading Iraq.

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein,

President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq. Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone.

The years of keeping Saddam in a box were coming to a close. The international consensus that he be kept isolated and unarmed had eroded to the point that many critics of military action had decided the time had come again to do business with Saddam, despite his near daily attacks on our pilots, and his refusal, until his last day in power, to allow the unrestricted inspection of his arsenal.

Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.

And certainly not a disingenuous film maker [several minutes of applause] who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls.

Whether or not Saddam possessed the terrible weapons he once had and used, freed from international pressure and the threat of military action, he would have acquired them again.

And what have we accomplished?

By destroying his regime we gave hope to people long oppressed that if they have the courage to fight for it, they may live in peace and freedom.

Most importantly, our efforts may encourage the people of a region that has never known peace or freedom or lasting stability that they may someday possess these rights. I believe as strongly today as ever, the mission was necessary, achievable and noble. For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.

The remainder of the speech is pure pep rally material, reminding of 9/11, urging necessity of action, warning of sacrifices, hailing unity, and encouraging hope for victory. He closes with this:

Our adversaries are weaker than us in arms and men, but weaker still in causes. They fight to express a hatred for all that is good in humanity.

We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong.

Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. Stand up with our President and fight.

We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender.

They will.

Semper fi

Monday, August 30, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Will the tradition continue?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I Drink Dr. Pepper And I'm Proud, I'm Part Of An Overweight Crowd

Another Volokh conspirator, George Mason University prof Todd Zywicki, has been blogging on the purported link between soft drinks and increased rates of obesity - see here, here and here. In the second f those posts he addresses concerns about high fructose corn syrup:

As I said, I have no dog in this hunt, as the data appears to me that soft drink consumption has been constant for the past 15 years and my understanding is that the formula for soft drinks has been basically constant over that time. On the other hand, HFCS has been added to a large number of other foods during that period, as noted by Bray, Nielsen, and Popkin, so if the effect is large enough it could play some role in rising obesity. They observe in the article, "HFCS has become a favorite substitute for sucrose in carbonated beverages, baked goods, canned fruits, jams and jellies, and dairy products."

In my mind hard to believe that increased HFCS explains the whole rise in obesity, however. First, increased obesity is a worldwide phenomenon, so the HFCS model would have to be generalizable. Second, there has been a dramatic increase in the obesity of dogs and cats in the United States at about the same rate as people (estimates are that some 25-40% of American dogs are overweight or obese), and I'm pretty sure they aren't drinking too much Coke!

The logical conclusion of his second point is this: no single food source can account for the rise in obesity. I can think of a couple of others the researchers can look at. One is the surge in popularity of pizza, especially the thick-crust, thin topping variety you find in the fast-food buffets such as Cicis. The other is the rising consumption of corn chips, signaled by the popularity of salsa, which has surged over the past two decades.

(On the subject of the Atkins diet debate, I do not know if carbs are a greater factor to weight gain than fat or calories, but I do know that our overconsumption tends to focus on carbs. And pizza and chips have more carbs than Fallujah has empty shell casings.)

This still doesn't account for the worldwide phenomenon, but I think it adds some illumination on the American situation. Pizza does seem to have a more significant effect than Coke does on my own waistline.

Gimme That Old Time Politics

If anybody thinks The Satanic Kerry Caged Hamster Dance is over the top, you should check this campaign song that Eugene Volokh found.

US Wins Bronze In Basketball

I'm glad they didn't win the gold. The Olympics should be an opportunity for those who don't have a shot at the sports limelight in their everyday lives, not for a bunch of cocky prima donnas who already have the limelight and the multimillion dollar contracts to go with it. The Olympics should be about the triumph of the little guy, best illustrated by the US hockey team at Lake Placid in 1980.

Argentina won the gold, and Italy the silver.

Friday, August 27, 2004

McCain-Feingold v. First Amendment

Today I heard a caller to the Rush Limbaugh show (being guest-hosted by Roger Hedgecock) utter these words:

All talk radio should be 527's.

Why did he say this? Because talk radio disproportionately criticizes presidential candidate John Kerry. (I think the exact words were "All you do is bash Kerry.") And why do 527's exist? So the government can regulate what they say.

Read the quote on the back of my McCain/Feingold '04: Silence The Vote! t-shirts:

"Silence the Vote" - back of shirt photo McCainBack.gif

Scalia should now add that no ordinary citizen dare criticize a candidate for office via mass media without hiring an expert advisor in the field.

If you're mad at John McCain, don't yell at the TV. Yell at McCain. Go to his public appearances and chant "Swift Vets" or "McCain/Feingold - Silence The Vote" or whatever. Have one guy bring a giant placard depicting a Swift Boat labeled "First Amendment," and another depicting a torpedo labeled "McCain-Feingold." (I shoulda been an editorial cartoonist, if only I could draw. Wait, Ted Rall can't draw...) Send him polite, reasoned letters explaining that he is an enemy of the First Amendment; brownie points for quoting the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers.

Maybe after the election the Swifties could rename their organization Swift Boat Vets For Free Speech. Time to shoot down that torpedo.

Update: Don't ignore the bill's cosponsor Russ Feingold. Come to think of it, both of those guys are running for reelection...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Why Johnny can't find a job.

You're Here, You'll Always Be Near, And My Heart Will Go On And Onnn...

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004)

The author of On Death and Dying and founder of the modern hospice movement passed away yesterday. As a one-time hospice volunteer, the one thing that sticks with me is the need for fellowship through the very end of life. It doesn't matter how alert or how communicative or how alert they are. The dying need a friend to provide basic fellowship to bring meaning into those final days of life. We do not need words or mental lucidity to bond with each other; we just need to be there.

See Wikipedia entry for her bio.

Big Bang

On August 26, 1883 (August 25 on our side of the International Date Line), the Indonesian island of Krakatoa exploded in a volcanic eruption that, according to Britannica, measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. The resultant tsunami killed 36,000 people on several surrounding islands.

Edvard Munch's "The Scream" may have captured the atmospheric after-effects of Krakatoa on canvas :

Donald Olson, a physics and astronomy professor at Texas State University, and his colleagues determined that debris thrown into the atmosphere by the great eruption at the island of Krakatoa, in modern Indonesia, created vivid red twilights in Europe from November 1883 through February 1884.


"It was very satisfying to stand in the exact spot where an artist had his experience," he said. "The real importance of finding the location, though, was to determine the direction of view in the painting. We could see that Munch was looking to the southwest -- exactly where the Krakatoa twilights appeared in the winter of 1883-84."

See Wikipedia entry for more info. This site has some useful maps and illustrations.

Is Rummy Worse Than Kerry?

John Kerry is demanding Rumsfeld's resignation because of the Abu Ghraib flap, eh? Two questions come to mind. First, if atrocities across the globe (such as the My Lai massacre) never requires the resignation of the Secretary of Defense before, why is it necessary now? Second, did the Abu Ghraib abuses ever sink to this level?

There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley [for the My Lai incident], are war criminals.

John Kerry, on NBC's "Meet the Press," April 18, 1971

Why wasn't Kerry prosecuted? Either he's a war atrocities criminal or a slanderer - the difference being criminal and civil courtroom proceedings. Bring Kerry to justice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Generation Y Rejects The Woodstock Generation

The Christian Science Monitor has a story on the growing trend toward Republicanism and conservatism among today's youth. In short, they're rebelling against the recklessness of the Woodstock Generation and the heavy-handedness of academic political correctness. Read the whole thing.

Cuba's Olympic Pride

Cuba won the silver in the women's shot put. Cuba has no medals in kayak, rowing, or sailing. Maybe because Cuba's best kayakers, rowers, and sailboaters are in Miami.

Update: On the other hand, Castro could send these guys to compete in the next Olympics.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Same As The Old Boss

In this week's EIA Communiqué, Mike Antonucci traces John Kerry's royal lineage:

Was it Justinian? Leo the Wise? Basil the Bulgar Slayer? Sorry, Democrats. It turns out Kerry is distantly related to Constantine IX Monomachus, who ruled from 1042-1055. Constantine was an aristocrat who came to power by marrying the widowed Empress Zoe. We know a great deal about his reign because one of his closest advisers, Michael Psellus, left us an account called the Chronographia which, believe it or not, I happened to have handy.

Constantine’s accession in 1042 was greeted with great rejoicing in Constantinople. Psellus describes him as a charming man, with "only a genuine desire to cultivate friendship, by deliberated setting out to please." But Constantine "ruled neither with vigor nor discretion." He exhausted the treasury on luxuries and public buildings and conferred high offices indiscriminately. He debased the coinage to pay for his extravagance.

"He failed to realize that [governing] entailed responsibility for the well-being of his subjects, and that an emperor must always watch over the administration of his realm and ensure its development on sound lines," Psellus wrote.

Constantine neglected the army and the frontier defenses and, as a result, rebellions broke out and the empire was invaded in southern Italy, Greece, Macedonia and Armenia. Psellus criticized Constantine for being too conciliatory with opponents. When a strong response was called for, "he dispatched envoys to them with letters that were abject, quite unworthy of an emperor – doubtless because he wished to win their friendship."

"He wanted to rule his empire in peace, and not fight any wars, exactly like most of the emperors before him," Psellus wrote. "Unfortunately, affairs do not usually follow the course we would prefer. A stronger power, beyond our control, presides over human destiny and guides it according to His plans."

Sunday, August 22, 2004


 photo JN-Catwoman.jpg

Belated birthday wishes to Julie Newmar, who turned either 71 (IMDb date) or 69 (Wikipedia date) last Monday. Even in the Internet age she can keep 'em guessing.

If you're ever in town, Julie, I'll buy you a saucer of milk.


Saturday, August 21, 2004

John Kerry = Gilderoy Lockhart?

At The Resplendent Mango (do blogs have cool names or what?), Katie has been hitting on the parallel between John Kerry and Gilderoy Lockhart. (See also this followup.) In the Harry Potter saga, Lockhart was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, and as Katie explains, is guilty of resume padding:

He has scores of books out, all detailing his heroic achievements against the forces of evil -- Gadding with Ghouls, Break with a Banshee, Holidays with Hags, Travels with Trolls, Voyages with Vampires, Wanderings with Werewolves, Year with the Yeti, etc., not to mention his autobiography, Magical Me. He tends not to be around when scary things actually happen, and then he makes sure everyone knows that "It's a pity I wasn't there -- I know exactly the counter-curse that could have spared her," or similar things. Throughout the year, however, he doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his abilities, as he tends to botch things when he's given the chance to act on them.

So then, at the end of the year, Harry and his friend Ron have a showdown of sorts with Lockhart, who admits that he didn't do any of the things in his books, but is exceptionally talented with a memory charm -- he took down the stories of the witches and wizards that actually had done heroic things and modified their memories so he could claim the triumphs as his own, so that he could sell books and be a hero.

Jen linked to the post, and over in comments knitgurl suggested a PhotoShop opportunity. I didn't have anything better to do, so...

 photo GilderoyKerry.jpg

Friday, August 20, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Sharpen your Number 2 pencils and take the quiz.

Cure Weak Liberalism With Strong Communism!

Communists for Kerry are having a rally in New York City's Union Square this Saturday:

The Red Army will once again ride into Soviet Union Square in NYC. We will set up by the Subway station this Saturday and will gather young men and women to join the revolution from 1pm to 6pm. This is a mandatory event for all uniformed personnel. The press has noticed us and plans on meeting us there as well, so look sharp!

Viva la Revolucion!

Go to the gathering if you can make it! Buy their stuff, before President Kerry raises the taxes on them!

Note that I have a new sidebar category for election-year sites, including this one.

Machiavelli Anticipates Strauss And Howe

For those not familiar with the theory behind the book Generations, here's how I described it in my review of August 2002:

Throughout American history, from the early colonial period to present, changes in cultural attitudes follow a set cyclical pattern. A Civic generation meets a "secular crisis," typically some sort of immediate threat to national survival, and upon success goes on to build lots of physical institutions. An Adaptive generation follows; it admires the Civics and, with strong conformist tendencies, seeks mainly to keep everything running smoothly. This emphasis on external institutions tends to accompany a neglect of the deeper issues of meaning and purpose as they relate to religion, politics, etc. The incoming Idealist generation becomes aware of this. They are full of questions, many of which their elders don't know how to answer ("Don't ask questions, just believe"), so they seek to work them out on their own. Some are inspired geniuses, some are reckless mad scientists, some are totalitarian thugs.

The inevitable ideological divides, plus a side offering of mad scientist social experimentation, creates a highly turbulent social environment in which a Reactive generation grows up. This generation resents the moral perfectionism of the Idealists, who are dissatisfied with this "lost generation" for not turning out the way they were supposed to under their social initiatives. Reactives are highly individualistic and, unlike the security-minded Adaptives, are risk-takers and self-indulgent (sometimes to reckless extremes). As conflicting camps of Idealists polarize the population and the Reactives look after themselves the best way they can, society becomes more unstable. This culminates in a new secular crisis, in which a new Civic generation serves as the footsoldiers. They take their orders from Reactive generals in whom the school of hard knocks has instilled strong survival skills. The homefront is manned by other Reactives, Idealist visionaries who are older but wiser, and Adaptive elder statesmen who are still trying to keep everything running smoothly.

(See also this Wikipedia entry.)

While reading History of the World, Part 5, I ran across an brief passage from Book Five of Niccoló Machiavelli's History of Florence. Following is that passage (in bold) and much of the surrounding text, taken from this online source:

It may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, they soon begin to decline. In the same manner, having been reduced by disorder, and sunk to their utmost state of depression, unable to descend lower, they, of necessity, reascend; and thus from good they gradually decline to evil, and from evil again return to good. The reason is, that valor produces peace; peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin; so from disorder order springs; from order virtue, and from this, glory and good fortune. Hence, wise men have observed, that the age of literary excellence is subsequent to that of distinction in arms; and that in cities and provinces, great warriors are produced before philosophers. Arms having secured victory, and victory peace, the buoyant vigor of the martial mind cannot be enfeebled by a more excusable indulgence than that of letters; nor can indolence, with any greater or more dangerous deceit, enter a well regulated community...Provinces by this means sink to ruin, from which, men's sufferings having made them wiser, they again recur to order, if they be not overwhelmed by some extraordinary force.

I see some parallels:

  • Valor produces peace. A Civic generation, having triumphed over a grave threat to the State, rebuilds the State to grand proportions.
  • Peace produces repose. An Adaptive generation lives to maintain the material comforts built by the Civics, and adds to its luxuries.
  • Repose produces disorder. An Idealist generation upsets the social order by introducing a variety of philosophies conflicting with each other and with those of society and State.
  • Disorder produces ruin. As warring Idealist elders compete to remake society in their various images, Reactives see the wreckage and decide to separate from formal society (where formal society still exists). The State is vulnerable to threats to its survival amidst the disunity created by polarized Idealists and rebellious Reactives.
  • Disorder brings order, which brings virtue, which brings glory and good fortune. A new Civic generation overcomes the national threat and builds anew.

Judging by Wikipedia's timeline, Machiavelli was an Adaptive. This fits with his kneejerk association of Idealists with "disorder" (which is quite accurate, if you ask me) and his admiration of Civics, with whom he identifies most strongly. Will Durant explains Machiavelli's use of the word virtue; it refers to those Civic traits of virility, manliness, valor - necessary elements for the perennial preparation for, and occasional engagement in, war.

Machiavelli looks down on his fellow Adaptives as girly men, slackers who fill their time with arts and other luxuries rather than the hardships of perpetual military diligence. He views Christianity similarly. Machiavelli values religion as a national unifying force for a common ethic, but as written in his Discourses, "our religion has rather glorified meek and contemplative men [rather] than men of action." I doubt that many of his day would have waged such a complaint against Pope Alexander VI. Machiavelli certainly didn't.

Update: Identifying Machiavelli as an Adaptive assumes that the English and Italian generational cycles were in synch at that time. Different nations are at different stages of the generational cycle; this observation has implications on all sorts of foreign relations issues and should not be ignored.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Why I'm Not Going To New York City For The Republican Convention

When the Libertarian Party had its annual convention in Washington DC a few election cycles back, a lot of female libertarians decided to stay home because they feared for their physical safety in a city with one of the worst crime rates in the country. This NewsMax-reported excerpt from a Sean Hannity interview of Not in Our Name national coordinator Tanya Mayo leads me to believe that convention week in NYC will be an even more dangerous affair:

HANNITY: Will you be nonviolent with the police?

MAYO: I'm gonna answer that in the best way that I can. I can't answer it as a yes or no answer. What I can say, is ...

HANNITY: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You can. Will you encourage people in your protest not to be violent with the police - yes or no?

MAYO: People are concerned with the fate of the people of the world ...

HANNITY: Yes or no? Answer the question, Tanya.

MAYO: If you want to do this interview and you want to hear what I have to say, then allow me to answer the question. ... If people are concerned about safety and disruption in the streets, then we need to actually look at who will be held responsible for something like that. And that's Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for refusing the right of people to assemble.

HANNITY: Now I'll ask the question again. Will you encourage your members to be nonviolent?

MAYO: I think our members are a very diverse group of people and individuals will have to make a decision what lines they choose to cross at any given point.

HANNITY: But as a paid leader of the group "Not In Our Name," as a leader of the peace movement, will you encourage members in your group not to be violent?

MAYO: Like I said, those things will unfold as the days come and we'll definitely give you a call back if we have any other answers. ... We have respected everything up to this point. The only people who have sacked the rule of law are the gang in the White House.

Maybe I'll change my mind if I can get a good deal on a street-legal armored personnel carrier.

Burning For You

Jealous teen sets girlfriend on fire

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Beg to differ with Wonkette, but Rock Hudson was the biggest outing ever, back when it was a big deal to anybody other than activists.

I'm a Texan, so I can't tell the political difference between New Jersey and Massachusetts, except that the latter has two legally-elected senators. But the notion that some of the punditocracy implies - that the political chances for first-time uncloseted gay Democrat candidates in the Northeast were slim prior to McGreevey's coming out of the subpoenaed closet - seems as goofy as the idea that the state religion of Iran is Wicca.

(Actually, the latter would be a vast improvement. As a Christian, I prefer false religions that favor theological bickering over bloody jihad. There's my roadmap to peace: Make Fisk, Not War.)

Remember I said that the gay lobby wasn't in complete lockstep over the McGreevey issue? Tomas Kohl found a dissenter:

Seems like the moment of sympathy had definitely passed, and McGreevey is taking hits from all directions. In response to a rather lame spin by Kevin Jennings, founder and Executive Director of, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, James Joyner says:

McGreevey's crime is not that he is homosexual or even that he is a lying bastard who ruined the lives of his family in order to gratify his sexual desires and advance his political career. Rather, his offense was criminal abuse of his office to appoint his illicit lover, a non-citizen not even remotely qualified for the job, to a high government post. As director of homeland security, no less.

Maybe McGreevey was angling to become ambassador to Israel under the prospective Kerry administration.

Rand Simberg says McGreevey isn't gay: "He can clearly get it up for a woman, even if he may prefer men." Click on over for an interesting debate.

Scrappleface has the speech I wanted to hear, just for its sheer honesty:

"I've been in the closet for many years," he said, "but I'm proud to finally come out and say that I was born a gay adulterer and I have finally embraced who I am."

The governor, who will resign November 15, said he plans to devote himself to lobbying for equal rights for men who cheat on their wives by having homosexual affairs with their subordinates at work.

Dennis Prager says McGreevey's a genius:

When Massachusetts gay Congressman Barney Frank confirmed, as reported by the Washington Post, "that he paid Stephen Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials," and that Gobie ran a gay prostitution service from Congressman Frank's apartment, it meant nothing to his voters or to most of the country. Imagine, on the other hand, if a heterosexual politician had such a relationship with a call girl who ran a prostitution ring from his home. The man would have been forced to resign in a week.

So, Gov. McGreevey knew exactly what he was doing when he announced, "I am a gay American." In addition to eliciting compassion, he was appealing to the double standard the country holds on behalf of gays – and striking a blow for same-sex marriage. That is why, as the New York Times reported on its front page, McGreevey's "precisely worded bombshell line – 'I am a gay American' – was strategically devised with the help of a national gay rights organization the governor had consulted."

Atrios links to Arianna Huffington, who still hasn't been seen in the same room with Teresa Heinz-Kerry, and who makes a really weird comment on her website:

As the day progressed, it became clear that this was a story unfolding on so many levels only a Shakespearean drama or a Verdi opera could do justice to it.

She's comparing the larger-than-life characters of Macbeth and Il Trovatore to a petty cronyist governor and his high-salaried, inexperienced overseas labor?

Now there's something gay activists should be up in arms against. McGreevey is outsourcing his extramarital affairs! Alert Ralph Nader.

Update: No, my roadmap does not call for transitional theocracies. My points in the Wicca remarks are twofold. First, interreligious debate can be peaceful, as it is for the vast majority of Americans; the Wiccans are just an example. Second, while we can disagree over whether Islam is truly a religion of peace, we should be able to agree that the Iranian theocracy's interpretation is not. If this is a bastardization of Islam, and of even its Shi'a variant, then you must support the privatization of the mosque in order to protect it from the capriciousness of the State.

And don't get too huffy about the "false religions" remark, Wiccans and Muslims. Y'all think the same about Christianity (and each other's faiths). Wiccans and other modern pagans may not use that language, but y'all certainly don't believe the basic doctrines that make Christianity possible. Religious expression always steps on toes. Even if not directly criticizing another religion, every claim of spiritual truth implies that contradictory claims are false.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Celebrating Adversity

One of the saddest aspects of the Jim McGreevey resignation is that for some people the initial reaction is glee:

Excuse the expression, but screw Obama. This was the speech of the year. The most high-profile outing, well, ever, and McGreevey handled it with grace and dignity. He sort of makes me want to go gay, too.

We hope that someday it won't mean much to go on national television and announce, "I am a gay American." Someday, we hope that kind of announcement comes at the beginning of someone's political career, not the end.

Wonkette has an update:

Calm down, my right-thinking friends. This is what I meant yesterday: McGreevey's speech was stunning, inspiring and perhaps even profound. . . It's too bad he's so corrupt.

One of the reasons McGreevey's speech worked is that while he apologized for what he had done, he didn't apologize for being gay. He made it impossible for anyone to use his sexuality against him and the bluntness with which he did that raises the bar for every public figure who has to cop to a personal crisis on national television. We admire that.

What would have been really great is if he'd also fessed up to ethical lapses that actually matter. We dream of a world in which McGreevey would have to resign not because he's gay, but because he's at the helm of a political machine driven by cronyism and kickbacks.

Why did it take her an entire day to say a discouraging word about McGreevey? And does she really believe he resigned because he's gay, and not because he's facing a sexual harassment suit and other legal charges?

Some go beyond Wonkette's delayed ambivalence and are outright celebratory. Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques has this to say (complete text):

"Coming out is a deeply personal journey and Governor McGreevey today showed enormous courage. We are hopeful that, like millions of other American families, Governor McGreevey and his family will come to a place of understanding."

Her fawning is not unanimous among gay activists, but is all too common. The attractiveness of a high-profile mascot for the cause blinds many to the ugliness of the situation. Do gay activists really want to be associated with a corrupt governor accused of sexual harassment? Okay, forget I asked.

One wonders what kind of "understanding" Cheryl Jacques would like to see in the McGreevey family. Is it anything other than Governor Jim's acceptance that he had no excuse to cheat on his wife, and Mrs. McGreevey's overall emotional healing and willingness to forgive him despite his guilt? I suspect that a lot of gay activists regard Mrs. McGreevey as collateral damage, an innocent bystander in Mr. McGreevey's necessary quest to find himself.

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

The civility divide - not a case of liberals vs. conservatives, but of something else.

(And yes, that something else tends to be more prominent among the Left than the Right.)

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Joshua Claybourn's mother passed away yesterday at the age of 49. No other details. His blog is currently on hiatus.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Politicization Of The Olympics Begins

Iranian judo champion Arash Miresmaili dropped out of the Olympics after he was scheduled to face an Israeli opponent.

"I refused to play against an Israeli rival to sympathize with the oppressed Palestinian people," IRNA quoted Miresmaili as saying.

Miresmaili refused to play Israeli opponent Ehud Vaks in the 66-kilogram category.

The Iranian government is celebrating its vastly reduced chances of bringing back an Olympic medal:

Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the conservative speaker of Iran's parliament, congratulated Miresmaili on his "brave decision."

"Your disqualification because of supporting Palestine would promote your position in the heart of Muslims," Haddad-Adel said, according to IRNA.

Iran does not recognize Israel and bans any contact with the Jewish state

Have Hijab, Will Travel (To Athens)

Last October I mulled the contrasts between libertine and reactionary views toward female beauty:

What catches my eye is how different - and how similar - are the perceptions of female beauty within these two camps. One places sexual beauty on so high a pedestal that non-sexual beauty receives far less notice and appreciation as sexual beauty. The other perceives all or most aspects of female beauty to be sexual in nature, thus calling for a code of modesty that conceals even that beauty which is objectively non-sexual.

So at one extreme women have to be super-sexy to be noticed, and at the other women have to be unnoticed to avoid the appearance of unseemliness. In either world, "mere" cuteness just doesn't pay.

Now read Amir Taheri's New York Post column (hat tip to FreeIran! for emailing the link) on how the Olympics illustrates one end of this spectrum. In addition to the usual issues regarding physical appearance, some Muslim constituencies find female athletic activity rather unseemly:

But the problem of women athletes goes deeper. Some theologians claim that any form of sporting activity by women produces "sinful consequences." In 2000, for example, the Khomeinist authorities in Tehran announced a ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles. The rationale? Riding bicycles or motorcycles would activate a woman's thighs and legs, thus arousing "uncontrollable lustful drives" in her. And men watching women on their bikes in the streets could be "led towards dangerous urges."

While watching the games, look out for Iran's sole female entrant. She's the one in full hijab - I am not making this up. The Deccan Herald has the story:

"If the dress code was not an issue, I would have preferred to stick with gymnastics. I've been doing that since the age of three," Nassim Hassanpour, a petite 19-year-old said.

With the Islamic republic viewing tight-fitting leotards as unsuitable for women, Hassanpour is instead restricted to any sport that can be played wearing the obligatory headscarf and long coat. This rules out sports such as gymnastics, swimming, track and field athletics or beach volleyball.

Instead she chose shooting -- the air pistol on a 10 metre range. And in a gesture of slight rebellion, Hassanpour may be covering up her frame in beige, rather than the ubiquitous black.


Her record in the Asia Games was not quite enough to get her into Olympics, but she did win a wildcard for the air pistol competition, set to be held in Athens on August 15.

Her wildcard status may explain why her name does not appear on the list of athlete bios at the official Athens 2004 site. Either that, or the Islamic Republic is carrying the modesty thing a step further.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Devil Made Them Do It

They made a prequel to The Exorcist? Ugh.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Pillow Talk

Evidently, Japanese women have come up with to that Reasons Why Beer is Better Than Women gag? Introducing the Boyfriend Arm Pillow, "a snuggly alternative to the real thing." (Hat tip to Paul Jané.)

In the interest of consumer reporting...

  • A pillow can't share the rent and grocery expenses.
  • A pillow can't give you a backrub.
  • A pillow can't dance with you. (Sure, you can grab it and twirl around on the floor, but it ain't the same thing.)
  • A pillow can't look after the kids while you're shopping.
  • A pillow can't give you kids to look after.
  • A pillow can't pick up a few things at the store for you.
  • A pillow can't introduce you to new books and music.
  • A pillow can't tell you that you look pretty.
  • A pillow can't laugh with you while watching a television sitcom.
  • A pillow can't bake you a birthday cake.
  • A pillow can't play board games with you.
  • A pillow can't take care of household chores while you're sick.
  • A pillow can't take you to the park for a picnic.
  • A pillow can't fix that broken faucet.
  • A pillow can't share the latest Internet humor with you.
  • A pillow can't say "I love you." (And if they ever release a talking version of the Boyfriend Arm Pillow, it can't say it and mean it.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sidebar Tweakage

I've added a few foreign news agencies to the "News and Opinion" column, including the Cuban state organ Granma.

Carnival Time

The Smallest Minority has Carnival of the Vanities #99, and my essay on The Question is among the attractions. Ooh, and there's a comments section. This could get interesting.

While you're there, scroll down to this post for a politically incorrect T-shirt. Don't forget that I got T-shirts, too.

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

The Palace Arts Theater of Grapevine, Texas has an upcoming performance you don't want to miss: Three Redneck Tenors.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Pleased To Meet You, Hope You Catch My Name

Most of the offerings at those Fark image parody contests are pretty lame. Always Low Prices displays one of the exceptions.

Yeah, it's pretty amusing, even if the caption is rank idiotarianism.

Monday, August 09, 2004

"The Next Abortion?"

Virginia Postrel takes a stab at debunking a false parallel between abortion and same-sex marriage:

The comparison doesn't hold in one, very important respect: Abortions are sad. Weddings are happy. Having an abortion--or having a friend or relative who has one--may make you more supportive of abortion rights, but it won't make you celebrate the idea. Abortion won't make you smile.

People support abortion rights out of fear. They support gay marriage out of love. There are, of course, non-emotional arguments on both sides of both issues, but the fundamental feelings are different. That changes the politics, particularly with time and experience.

The real reason why SSM isn't the "next abortion" is because nobody gets killed at a gay wedding. People get more hyped about life-and-death issues than anything else.

Oh, and not everybody thinks abortion is sad.

Update: I don't think Virginia really captured the perspective of those who support both legalized abortion and legalized gay marriage. They are motivated by perceptions of love and fear in both cases; love of those to be liberated, and fear of that which threatens liberation. The difference is that, to them, abortion is overcoming a tragedy, and gay marriage is celebration of an achievement.

I got to thinking about something: is there any reason why people will get more worked up about pushing for abortion rights than about pushing for legalized gay marriage? The pro-abortion crowd does regard abortion a life-or-death issues as far as the specter of back-alley abortions is concerned, giving that issue an edge over SSM.

But there's a more decisive factor, I believe: the fanatical defense of the Sexual Revolution. Its greatest enemies are AIDS, other sexually-transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. AIDS is Public Enemy Number One because it kills and because of how it kills: through sexual promiscuity liberation. The cultural Left tends to underestimate the threat of STDs; most can be cured, and transmission of most can be prevented by condom use. Herpes is permanent but not lethal, so there's no mad rush to find a cure within our lifetimes. Then there's unplanned pregnancy, that Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of all who want to enjoy sex (or are peer-pressured into it) without facing its consequences and responsibilities.

The whole idea of the Sexual Revolution is that you don't have to get married to enjoy sex, so SSM is irrelevant to that crusade. SSM is all about getting government benefits, changing laws related to such issues as inheritance, adoption, and hospital visitation, and using the sword of the State to remake culture by changing the common language by fiat.

There's yet one more reason why SSM isn't "the new abortion." The country opposes SSM far more than it does abortion.

The Unasked Question

Over at Samizdata, in the comments to this post I painted a scenario that could take place in a jurisdiction that legalizes same-sex marriage.

Here's a hypothetical situation. In a jurisdiction where "gay marriage" is legalized, a same-sex couple visits a marriage counselor. The counselor refuses to counsel them, on the basis that homosexuality is a psychological disorder, and that it is unethical to counsel people to pursue behavior that necessitates assuming a disorder to be normal.

Enter the discrimination lawsuit. The plaintiff's lawyer sees it as a slam-dunk. The counselor is painted as the psychiatric equivalent of a flat-earther. After all, in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association took homosexuality off its list of sexual disorders.

But at the time this edict represented a small proportion of the psychiatric community, and it contradicted 80+ years of published research into the matter. The defending attorney argues that the plaintiff must prove that the scientific evidence supporting the 1973 ruling is so overwhelming that any argument to the contrary is indeed flat-earth nuttery.

This may look familiar to longtime readers. A year ago, I blogged a hypothetical marriage counseling session in which a marriage counselor refuses to counsel a same-sex couple. (Except in this case the counselor doesn't get sued.) I'm not the best person to roleplay a psychologist, but I believe that this one remark by "Dr. Matthews" accurately explains why many marriage counselors would not want to counsel gay couples:

You [the gay couple] experience a lot of things that have absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality - every one of which is also experienced by heterosexual male friends. I don't believe that your friendship as a whole is wrong. Evidence tells me that that one aspect - same-sex attraction - represents a brokenness that needs to be fixed. That sort of counseling is beyond my training, and apparently not the kind you were looking for.

Back to the Samizdata comment. Outside the courthouse where the case is being fought, an intrepid journalist tries to get an answer to a question that rarely ever gets asked with regard to issues revolving around homosexuality (emphasis added):

Outside, a Fox reporter dares to ask protesters about the 1973 ruling. Several protesters blather about the APA "recognizing human rights" (which isn't the APA's job) and "finally coming to their senses." After the first round of meaningless rhetoric, the reporter asks directly, "From what evidence did the APA draw to reach its conclusion?" The protesters become livid, accusing the reporter of "homophobia" and "ignorance." He asks "What is the evidence" three or four times without getting a direct answer.

Unfortunately, he can't get much of an answer from the counterproductive, either. Some personally know or know of ex-homosexuals, and some are mildly familiar with some post-1973 un-PC research. Some have slight knowledge of the events surrounding the 1973 ruling - that gay activists were meeting with APA leaders prior to the ruling and that most APA members objected to the change in the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual that resulted - but hardly anyone can state the scientific rationale offered for changing the classification of homosexuality in the DSM.

I conclude with brief remarks on the need to ask that questions and the limits of its relevancy to gay-related issues (emphasis added):

We're expected to believe that homosexuality is psychologically normal without being told why. "Because the APA folks are professionals and you're an ignorant bigot" isn't a scientific response. (APA members were not and still are not unanimous in their support for the decision.) It's related to some but not all gay-related issues; the overriding issue of sex education, for instance, is whether the government may justly supersede the authority of parents to socialize children.

Also, the question is completely irrelevant to whether social conservatives and gays should be able to get along with each other. Getting along doesn't mean sycophantic conformity. It means valuing another even if you don't value the other's beliefs, actions, or psychological disposition. Everybody thinks that each of their friends is messed up in the head about something. It's not the end of civilization.

The issue of whether homosexuality is a disorder - hereafter knows as The Question - has varying degrees of relevance to different issues. Here's my takedown on some major gay issues:

Sodomy laws: The Question is relevant only to determining whether government jurisdictions may treat homosexual and heterosexual activity differently. (This also applies to same-sex marriage.) If homosexuality is necessarily a disorder - we know that heterosexuality isn't (although there are huge subsets that are) - the answer is yes.

Sodomy laws are still a bad idea. In this post, along with the secondary argument that such laws have no deterrent value, I said this:

Virtually no social conservatives clamor for criminalization of unmarried adult heterosexuals having sex. Such people view that participation in the Sexual Revolution tends to dissipate one's ability to establish intimate, secure relationships. But they see something wrong with arresting people for it; probably very few of them can really put their finger on what it is that they find troubling. Perhaps they fear that if law enforcement is encouraged to interfere with social trends they don't like, it might eventually interfere with those that they do. Perhaps they sense that criminalization will actually reinforce this social phenomenon, breeding among sexual moderates and liberals a resentment that would vastly increase their alienation toward social conservatism. These are valid concerns, whether the Revolutionaries are gay or straight. When people refrain from turning to the law to settle cultural disputes, building bridges is easier and violence is less likely.

Same-sex marriage. It is never a good idea for government to invent social institutions that have never existed in history; state licensing of SSM is therefore a no-no. Privatizing marriage may be impossible for one reason: inheritance laws. Who inherits if a will is not drawn? Under State neutrality on marriage, the only possible default settings are a) every adult sharing the decedent's last place of residence, b) closest blood relative, c) the State. Unless society is ready for same-sex heterosexuals to inherit their roommates' estates, I wouldn't recommend the first option.

Clergy of religions such as Islam and Christianity whose scriptures specifically define marriage as a heterosexual union who conduct same-sex marriages are untrue to their faith. Such clergy who support SSM should be intellectually honest and leave their religion and either join another or start their own. Orson Scott Card has an excellent column about marriage.

Military enlistment. The main argument against allowing gays in the military is the common-sense notion that people should not be barracked with the gender to which they are attracted. The Question points to another issue: If homosexuality is necessarily a disorder, do homosexuals necessarily manifest stunted development in their ability to relate to one or both sexes? If so, is such dysfunction severe enough to preclude fitness for military duty? This is made even more complex by the evidence that homosexuality is rooted in multiple contributing factors; logically, a homosexual who experienced one set of factors has a different psychological profile from one who experienced another.

Adoption. The issue is not whether gays can love children. The issue is whether an adoption candidate can sufficiently prepare a child for adulthood. Contrary to the leftist status quo, children learn to relate to the sexes primarily through their parents. Same-sex couples - and single people like me - have only one gender present in the home; therefore a child adopted into such homes gets shortchanged. This can be overcome if the adopting single/couple can provide significant contact with opposite sex adults through church, neighbors, etc. I don't know if this describes a lot of gay people.

But The Question applies here as it does to military service. Let's word it differently: Do homosexuals necessarily manifest stunted development in their ability to relate to one or both sexes? If so, is such dysfunction severe enough to subvert an adopted child's ability to learn to relate to one or both sexes? One again, we're dealing with a bunch of different psychological profiles, so the answer is complex.

Education. As I stated in Part I of my "School and State" series, "Should a government, barred from controlling the flow of information through the press to the public at large, be granted the authority to control the flow of information through the schools to the nation's children?" If the answer is "no," The Question is irrelevant. If "yes," then the State must teach the true answer to The Question. Since the State cannot be trusted to consistently define truth, I vote for "no."

The Question fades into irrelevance from here on, with one exception.

Hate crimes. Not solely a gay issue. Some believe that hate crimes should be more severely punished than nonhate crimes. Is killing a guy because he's gay or black really worse than killing a guy because you want his wallet? No way; they're just as bad. The Libertarian Party says that such laws " punish people for their thoughts and speech, distract us from real crimes, and foster resentment by giving some individuals special status under the law." On that last point, the effect of hate crimes laws is the crimes against one set of Americans are punished more severely than those committed against another set - flouting 14th Amendment protection of equality under the law. And can we trust the court system to objectively determine what is and isn't hate? In an age where failure to accept leftist drivel is considered cruel and unusual citizenship? Please.

Tolerance and diversity. Once again, The Question is irrelevant. This arises as a political issue in two instances: when government teaches "tolerance" in the schools (see previous remarks on education) and when "diversity awareness" is enforced in a government workplace. Regarding the latter, it is not a good idea for government to engage in forced socialization of adults. (Even prisons don't forcibly socialize inmates - they just force them to live with each other.) And such coercion doesn't work, anyway. As I said in a separate comment to the Samizdata post:

One of the lessons of childhood is that you can't make people like you. Exhibit A that leftism is rooted in arrested development.

This is also a cultural issue. "Diversity" is a canard. It is not inherently good or bad; it is merely the byproduct of individuals remaining individuals within a community. Tolerance is not the "suck up to the leftist mantra" as taught in the schools. Tolerance means getting along with others despite real or perceived shortcomings. Strength is not in diversity but in unity - unity is rooted in the basic requirements of civilization, as stated in one of my earliest posts:

The vast majority of Americans cherish the rights of all, including our ideological adversaries, to their physical safety, their property, and their choice of beliefs. We reject that anyone is disposable for having the "wrong" beliefs, and while we may disagree with others on various issues and try to persuade them otherwise, we do not begrudge their legal rights to disagree with us.

Private organizations. These entities exist because citizens voluntarily band together to pursue common interests. Government has no authority to dictate peaceable cultural interests (as opposed to conspiracies to commit murder, vandalism, assault, and fraud, which are not peaceable interests), and must therefore refrain from ordering an organization to draft its membership policy and its creeds as the government wills. The government can't force the Boy Scouts of America to reject its oath to pursue "duty to God" and allow atheist members, or to reinterpret the "morally straight" clause and allow gay members.

Since organizations exist for common purpose, and since unanimity is a rare phenomenon in groups, they must determine what levels of dissent are acceptable, in ascending order, for office, for membership, and (if applicable) for nonmember visitors. In the Boy Scouts, the oath is inextricably tied to its mission; dissent with it is therefore a deal-breaker for membership. Boys don't have to like every single available activity to join.

The one moral obligation of private organizations is the safety of its members and of society. Gun clubs have one set of precautions, rock climbers another, and people working with power tools yet another. Going for the record for quoting old posts, I cited a safety issue common to the Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and the Catholic Church:

The [Catholic] Church features an all-male working environment where priests spend intensive amounts of time with boy "apprentices." Rational people have always accepted that, for the sake of avoiding improprieties or accusations of such, an all-boy or all-girl group should be led by people who have no chance in you-know-where of being sexually attracted to their charges. There may be some heterosexual men who can be responsible leaders in the Camp Fire Girls and some homosexual men (who don't buy into theological leftism) who can be responsible priests, but if such doors are opened the few good men will be outnumbered by the wolves who will use such an opportunity to expand their hunting grounds.

Some readers may ask, "So why are den mothers okay in the Cub Scouts?" Because the risk of sexual impropriety is so infinitesimally small. Female child molesters are a very tiny group, and those that exist tend to prefer teenage boys, not the age range of Cub Scouts. Den mothers and Cubbies are always in group settings, anyway.

Antidiscrimination laws. The strict Libertarian argument is that such laws violate the First Amendment protection of freedom of association, and is consistent with the sentiments stated in the first paragraph of the previous section - businesses are private organizations, after all. As stated in the national LP platform:

Individual rights should not be denied, abridged or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights by laws at any level of government based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever. The right of association includes the right not to associate, for exercise of this right depends upon mutual consent.

Conservatives largely tolerate or accept antidiscrimination laws, but not in a blanket sense. The Hooters lawsuit is a classic example of the EEOC run amok. Hooters hiring guys to wait tables flies in the face of the restaurant's mission.

In the realm of gay politics, the issue revolves around safety and freedom of association (and nonassociation). In the late 70s or early 80s, many protested antidiscrimination laws with unqualified references to "sexual orientation." A chief concern was that pedophiles could use the language as a loophole for getting jobs that would place them into undue contact with children. Gay activists by and large ignored this common-sense concern, and to this day most antidiscrimination laws refuse to narrow the definition of "sexual orientation."

Gay activists demand a right to rent housing. I don't know what the percentage is, but some conservatives are willing to compromise with regard to large apartment complexes. But they will not stand for ANY group demanding the right to rent a room or unattached apartment on the property where they live. Homeowners must have the right to shape the social environment of their homes without outsiders dictating otherwise. If memory serves, gay activists have been generally insensitive to this basic right.

Christian issues. Biblical philosophy consistently rejects sex outside marriage and consistently defines marriage as a heterosexual union; therefore, same-sex marriage is not biblical. Paul of Tarsus, an Apostle - and therefore a prophet - of Jesus, explicitly states that husbands have wives and vice versa (Ephesians 5:22-33). The Question does become relevant once again, only in that it points to secular research that supports Christianity's innate opposition to SSM.

Fred Phelps would object to applying my sentiments on tolerance toward homosexuals. He misinterprets Old Testament passages (listed on his mirror site) that declare God's "hate" for some sort of transgressor. The Hebrew word used (sânê) can refer to emotional animosity toward someone or to simply work against someone. To be consistent with John 3:16, it must mean the latter. There's also the philosophical argument a friend once posed that if God hated anyone, He couldn't in His nature allow the person to continue to exist.

In light of the section on private organizations, one must ask what makes one a Christian and what makes one eligible for church attendance and membership. A Christian believes the doctrines shared by the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. Since no Christian is psychologically or morally whole, and no Christian perfectly comprehends psychological or moral wholeness, it would be irresponsible to assume that gays can't be Christian. The principles on organizations and dissent apply here as they do to all private associations.

Update: I'll throw in a sound bite on hospital visitation, one of those privileges generally associated with next-of-kin. What about us heterosexual single folks? My closest relatives live 500 miles away. Why can't I have the right to carry some notarized card saying that such-and-such people can visit me if I wind up at Baylor Healthcare in Irving in intensive care? Why should changing the law on hospital visitation benefit Andrew Sullivan and not me?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Irony Of The Day

Since Movable Type doesn't have spell check, I always copy my Sasha posts over here temporarily to do my spell-checking. I discovered that Google-owned Blogger doesn't recognize the work "Google."

Heck, Blogger spell check doesn't recognize "Blogger," either. Definitely time to call a board meeting...

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Larry Kudlow vs. Justin Raimondo.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Timing Isn't Everything, But It Says A Lot

No, I'm not ready to tackle the Malkin vs. Muller debate just yet, but there's a point that should be raised about comparisons between World War II and Terror War I.

There is a kneejerk reaction to draw too close a parallel between the Japanese-American community of the 1930s and the Muslim-American community of today. One extreme says the Imperial Japanese are totalitarian fanatics "just like" many of today's Muslims, particularly those in Arab nations. It wants some sort of profiling at the very least; a few of its numbers favor outright deportation or some other harsh measure. The other extreme sees no real difference between immigrants in general and those who share the ethnic and religious backgrounds of our wartime enemies. Its ranks are so mortified by the Japanese internment program that they do not want the government to pay any special notice whatsoever to Middle Eastern Muslims.

One camp pays attention to highly superficial similarities. The other doesn't pay attention to differences at all, believing that they don't really matter. Both are ignoring this question: When did they get here? At what point of history did the majority of immigrants from such-and-such nation arrive in the US, why did they leave the homeland, and what were relations like between the US and their homeland during that era?

In Migrations and Cultures, Thomas Sowell notes that the vast majority of WWII-era Japanese in the US traced their ancestry to immigrants who came over during the Meiji era (1868-1912), a time of favorable Japanese-American relations. Japanese in Brazil, to the contrary, traced its roots to the Taisho era (1912-1926). The former group were largely pro-America and the latter largely pro-Japan during WWII. Any guesses as to what US-Japanese relations were like during those dynasties?

Clayton Cramer identifies a significant motivation that spurred the Meiji emigration:

Many of the immigrants to America were Christians who left Japan because of widespread discrimination against them, even after the Meiji Restoration theoretically ended the shogunate's severe laws against Christianity.

(One has to wonder whether the cultural Left would be sympathetic toward the Meiji emperors for having to endure that pesky Western religious imperialism coming to their shores.)

Since Muslim-Americans represent a wide range of nationalities and migration histories, they exhibit a wide of attitudes toward Americans. I can only scratch the surface of the surface here. I don't know anything about North African or Indonesian immigrants, but I know enough that I would feel safer around Saddam-era Iraqis and Kuwaitis and post-1979 Iranian immigrants than I would around Wahhabists and Syrians who engage in Borg-like behavior on airliners. Or people from the Saddam-era Iraqi public sector.

Why does all this matter? First, it influences the business of security clearance background checks. If it's not policy already, when immigrants apply for such clearances the investigation should routinely look for evidence of connections with a) terrorist and otherwise criminal organizations native to the country of origin, or b) a government hostile to the US. (No, I don't mean Canada or France.) In some cases knowing more about separate groups of Muslims raises new concerns to pursue; in others it narrows the list of concerns. For instance, very recent immigrants from the Palestinian regions of Israel (that phrase should blow a few gaskets) should be investigated more thoroughly than second-generation Moroccans.

Second, we need to know where to look for intelligence. Locking up or kicking out all Muslim-Americans would be irresponsible, and investigating them all is irresponsible and impossible. So where do we look? I'm no expert on what the intelligence community regards as "probable cause." But the historic backgrounds of our Muslim immigrants should indicate where probable cause is more likely or less likely to occur. Evidently, Richardson, Texas falls under the "more likely" heading.

Update: Reader Anton Sherwood points out that Meiji and Taisho were each a single emperor. We of European descent are used to imperial eras being named after family lines and not individuals.

Update: Actually, I should say "we of American descent," and I am demonstrating my point by forgetting a few single-individual eras of British history - even the Victorian, what is perhaps the only such one that most Americans (those who do not watch Blackadder) can name. The average American gets the impression of dividing history into dynastic eras from those vague memories of those brief history lessons of ancient Egypt and China.

With rare exceptions, we're not accustomed to thinking of British history in terms of eras - we're taught so little of it. Few of us know Guy Fawkes from William Wilberforce (both men would be insulted) or a Tudor from a Plantagenet. We know that somebody invaded the island in 1066, King Arthur and Robin Hood did their thing, the Spanish Armada was sunk somewhere, the British colonized us for a time, we fought two wars against them and allied with them in two world wars, the King James Bible was published (few know which James was on the throne, or than an era was named after him), an apple fell on Isaaac Newton's head, and Victoria reigned in an age of puritanicalism. And all that stuff that happened in Braveheart, some of which actually happened. We know even less about the rest of Europe. And the Political Correctness gurus think we overemphasize Western history?


Eugene Volokh links to Jeff Jacoby's solution to the gerrymandering problem:
Take the mapping power away from the politicians and give it to an independent commission. Several states already do this, most notably Iowa, which entrusts redistricting to its Legislative Service Bureau, a neutral agency. The bureau is required by law to draw districts that are equal in population, don't divide towns or counties, and are compact and contiguous -- all without regard to party registration or any other political data. Result? Iowa districts are consistently more competitive than those in most of the country.
I have an alternate proposal, using Utah's three congressional districts as an example. The districts are not to scale, but the concept should be clear:

 photo UtahRedistricting.gif

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Blogroll Addition

Michelle Malkin She's a syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor. (She's also married - sorry, guys.) Her "About" page mentions a couple of politically incorrect stories she's covered during her journalistic career. For the Los Angeles Daily News, she "Exposed Rep. Maxine Waters' gang-infested job-training center boondoggle," and for the Seattle Times she "Exposed Gov. Gary Locke's Buddhist temple cash connections." (We want links! Or at least publication dates. That would be a worthwhile library trip.)

She has a book out now that's ruffling a lot of feathers - In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror. In this post she answers Volokh conspirator Eric Muller's ten-part critique of the book. I will weigh in at a future date.

She also posted a diversity test that's worth a look. My score is 97.5% - I voted for one Democrat, Solomon Ortiz. I give myself half credit because his opponent really wasn't a Republican. The former Nueces County sheriff ran against former Corpus Christi mayor Jason Luby to win his Congressional seat. Both were lifelong Democrats, but Luby had to switch parties Bloomberg-style to enter the race.

Will The Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up?

On FrontPage Magazine, Michael Tremoglie reveals that this year's Democrat keynote speaker is not the moderate he's made out to be:

His voting record certainly displays the ideology characteristic of an indulgent liberal. (Sorry, "Progressive.") Obama favors abortion, socialized medicine, and Affirmative Action. Obama sponsored a bill in the Illinois legislature requiring local police departments in Illinois to record the race of anyone stopped for questioning so that the data can be used to track the occurrence of racial profiling. He opposes a $2,000 tax credit for retirement and has voted against private gun ownership, mandatory sentencing and the death penalty. During his tenure as a legislator, he abstained from voting about an abortion parental notification bill and on legislation that would keep pornographic video stores and strip clubs from within 1,000 feet of schools and churches. He has also voted against laws requiring students to complete suspensions before being transferred to other school districts. He abstained from legislation requiring adult prosecution for students who fire guns on school grounds. He opposed legislation making it a criminal offense for accused gang members to associate with known gang members.

Tremoglie also notes the irony that the logic that identifies half-black, half-white Obama as "black" is that of the "one drop rule" segregationists. No comments available from Thai golfer Tiger Woods or Filipino columnist Michelle Malkin.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Today's Guest Blog At Sasha's

Irony alert.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Random Thought

I don't care if John Kerry looks French. I care if his tax policy looks French.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Today's Guest Post At Sasha's

It's poetry time.

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