Visit this site for verifiably accurate opinions on all things political - in contradistinction to the INcorrect opinions you are likely to find elsewhere. I'm an American Libertarian Nationalist Republican. Ponder that one a while. Almost all are welcome, but at the request of management: no vegetarians or soccer fans, please. We have our reasons. Thank you and welcome to: Revealed Truth.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005
Compare and Contrast
Libertarian economist and University of Nevada Las Vegas Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe gives a lecture to his Money and Banking class.
"The subject of the lecture was economic planning for the future. Hoppe said he gave several examples to the class of about 30 upper-level undergraduate students on groups who tend to plan for the future and groups who do not.
Hoppe's lecture apparently offended one of his more fragile students, who lodged an "informal complaint" against Hoppe.
"A series of formal hearings ensued.
Well that apparently offended the poor child even more, prompting him to file a FORMAL complaint. The university officials responded by telling Hoppe he would be issued a letter of reprimand, and docked a week's pay!
After still more hearings, UNLV made a final offer: Hoppe would accept a reprimand and forego his next salary increase.
Hoppe went to the ACLU which, to its credit, took the case. As of now, the matter is still up in the air. The article quoted above, describing the entire affair, can be found here.
American Indian Impersonator and "Ethnic Studies" Professor Ward Churchill calls the victims of 9/11 "little (Adolf) Eichmans," and says, essentially, that they deserved what they got.
Academics race to Churchill's defense. The University, to date, does absolutely nothing, citing concerns over academic freedom.
By the way, the reason I wasn't able to post for 2 days is that I use MSN explorer and was utterly unable to login to Blogger. I'm now using plain old IE, which is slow but does work.
Microsoft support has been - surprise, surprise - not very supportive. If anyone out there knows how to clear the Microsoft IE web cache (this is what Blogger seems to think the problem is), if they would email me instructions.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
That Super Bowl ad with the troops walking through the airport....
....can be found here.
If you're one of the few dozen people who didn't watch the Super Bowl or you somehow missed the ad, do check it out. I've heard that this is modeled after an event that actually happened in LAX. It's very simple, but equally powerful.
Hat tip to Martini Pundit.
Al Franken isn't running for Mark Dayton's Minnesota Senate seat after all. Damn!
Oh well, I guess that would have been expecting a bit much. First Howard Dean chairing the DNC, then Stuart Smalley running for the U.S. Senate on the Democrat ticket?
It was fun while it lasted, though.
The irresistible attraction of untouchability
Francis Porretto discusses what the Ward Churchill mess has to say about the powerful appeal of victimology in today's America.
"The very tribes in which he's claimed membership have disowned him. Presently we will hear no more from this socialist firebrand.
Respecting the detoxification to which Porretto refers in that last sentence, I am more sanguine. Public education can only do so much harm. At some point, its victims must enter the work force; at which point they will be confronted with the reality of America Circa 2005. Which includes the unavoidable fact that, ceteris paribus, it's good to be a minority.
So concerned are the political and economic elite with eliminating vestiges of discrimination past that they've constructed a magnificently rationalized system on a foundation of discrimination present. When confronted with that reality, I am confident that the bleatings of long-forgotten sociology or "ethnic studies" professors won't be enough to stifle the indignation of the victims of today's bigotry. Because Ward Churchill was right about one thing and one thing only.
Some people push back.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I discovered Eric Cowperthwaite's blog, Eric's Random Musings, via a comment he posted on this site. Eric adds an interesting and different libertarian viewpoint to the blogosphere. For one thing, he's ex-military and from what I can tell, quite pro-military. For another, he's a devotee of Robert Heinlein, whom, I am ashamed to admit I had never heard of. Based on research inspired by Cowperthwaite's blog, though, I think I'll pick up one of Heinlein's books after I complete my baseball rotisserie prep this Spring.
The thing that most caught my eye about Eric's blog though, was that he shares my Quixotic quest to get the libertarian right to stop calling people like Teddy Kennedy, Barbara Boxer et al "liberals." These people are LEFTISTS. As I've said probably a dozen times on this blog, it's an insult to the tradition of political liberalism to use the term "liberal" to describe such scum. Check out Eric's blog when you get a chance. I've added him to the blogroll on the left.
Why Men Earn More
That's the title of a new book by Warren Farrell, which is subtitled: "The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap -- and What Women Can Do About It"
What CAN they do about it? According to Farrell, they can take riskier jobs, which pay more than safer comparable positions. They can train for technical fields, which pay more than nontechnical fields. They can accept relocation when required to move up the career ladder. They can train for subspecialties in their fields that earn more. These are all decision points where men tend to opt for the choice that offers greater financial rewards at the expense of other forms of psychic gratification, and women do not.
All told, Farrell offers 25 ways in which women can earn what men earn - each of which requires that they make the sort of tradeoff men have made for centuries.
In the final analysis, it seems that the old canard that "women earn 59 percent (or whatever the figure du jour is) of what men make" simply isn't true. When you take into account the CHOICES women make, the difference all but disappears.
This won't go over well with the fossilizing cadre of feminist victimology peddlers. But as Reagan used to say: facts are stubborn things.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
An evening with Christopher Hitchens
If you are as utterly fascinated as I am by the prospect of spending an evening talking geopolitics with Christopher Hitchens, you'll love this piece on Michael Totten's blog (hat tip to Kim DuToit via the Belmont Club. Or is it the other way around?)
Anyway, the piece is more noteworthy for the profile of Hitchens than it is for its points about Iraq. For me, that makes it very noteworthy. For you, maybe not so much.
In it, Totten describes his night of drinking and conversation in a Washington D.C. hotel bar with Hitchens, some journalists and some Iraqis.
"Christopher Hitchens said to Ghassan Atiyyah: 'If the Iraqis were to elect either a Sunni or Shia Taliban, we would not let them take power.' And of course he was right. We didn’t invade Iraq so we could midwife the birth of yet another despicable tyranny. 'One man, one vote, one time' isn’t anything remotely like a democracy.
But Atiyyah would have none of that. He exploded in furious rage. 'So you’re my colonial master now, eh?!' You have to understand – this man’s voice really carries.
Suddenly, Atiyyah did have defenders at the table. I could see that coming in the shocked expressions on the faces of the other Iraqis when they heard what Hitchens said. Ahman al Rikaby, intriguingly, was an exception. He just looked at Atiyyah with a cold and sober stoicism. But Hitchens had a defender, too. He had me.
'I agree with Christopher,' I said. 'We didn’t invade Iraq to let it turn into another Iran.' I knew damn well all the Iraqis at the table were staunch opponents of religious fascism. This shouldn’t have been a point of contention. But, boy, was it ever.
'Who the hell are you?' Atiyyah said to Hitchens as if I weren’t the last one to speak. “Some Brit who lives in New York!”
'I beg your pardon, sir, but it wasn’t up to me where I was born,' Hitchens said.
'What do you mean when you say we?' Hassan Mneimneh said to me.
'I mean the US and Britain,' I said, 'along with – hopefully – everyone here at this table.'
There are two people about whom I remember thinking: "It's too bad he's a leftist. I love to listen to his analyses and he's a cut above his fellow-travelers." One was Dennis Miller. The other was Christopher Hitchens.
Miller has since more or less switched sides and joined the good guys. Hitchens, I'm quite sure, will never make that leap. I believe - though I can't say for certain - that his economics remain essentially leftist.
Nevertheless, his disdain for the transparent vacuousness of the Clintons and his enthusiastic support for ousting Saddam Hussein both place him in a fairly elite group: leftists who are neither totalitarian nor blind Democrat partisans. That makes him important and worthy of respect.
Hitchens is also a GENUINE freethinker, unlike Poseur Emeritus Andrew Sullivan. Here's some more from the Totten piece:
"The bartender came by and asked Hitchens if he wanted another drink. 'Thank you so much,' Hitchens said, 'you're a perfect gentleman.' It's funny. He's exactly the same in person as he is on TV. The only difference is that he has a drink in one hand and a Rothmans cigarette in the other. What you see on TV is what you get. His persona isn’t a shtick, it’s his real personality.
I asked him if he reads blogs.
'No,' he said. 'Not really. I could spend all day reading blogs and not get anything done.'
'You can’t afford not to read blogs,' I said. 'Because of who you are and what you do for a living, you’ll be hopelessly behind if you don’t.'
'Yes,' he said. 'I know, I know,' but I wasn’t sure he really meant it.
Later he told me he recently saw 'that little weasel' Juan Cole speak in public.
'You know about that flap he had with Omar and Mohammed from Friends of Democracy?' (I am referring here to Omar and Mohammed of Iraq the Model. They also founded Friends of Democracy.)
I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t.
'He floated some conspiracy theory about how Omar and Mohammed, whom you spoke to over the phone on C-SPAN today, are possibly CIA plants.'
He stared at me gape-mouthed.
'He completely disgraced himself,' I said. 'Most of the blogosphere piled on. You should have seen it.'
'You mean I stood right there in front of both him and his fans without that ammunition?'
He looked despondent. I felt triumphant."
Compare and contrast. On one hand we have the King of the Blogosphere (Sullivan) who begs his readers for money to maintain his blog, then takes their money and runs off to Europe. On the other hand we have a British born leftist intellectual who scorns Bill Clinton, vilifies Mother Theresa, supports the Iraq war, and has never read a blog.
So who's the real iconoclast?
Returning to Iraq, though. Ahman Al Rikaby, Director of Iraq's Radio Dijla, described his country's attitude toward the U.S. and Britain thusly:
"Thank you for coming. Now please leave and take us with you."
Fair enough, I suppose - and fairly clever. But since we can't really absorb twenty million Iraqis right now, here's hoping the recent elections are a first step toward permanently reshaping the politics of the Middle East for the better.
If for no other reason than the pleasure of listening to Christopher Hitchens tell the left "I told you so" for the next couple of decades - as only he can do.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Ayn Rand's 100th birthday
I would be remiss not to comment on the passing of Ayn Rand's 100th birthday on February 2nd - only because her works played such an important role in formulating my own political worldview.
I had already begun my transition from leftist thinking to libertarian/right leaning by the time I read her novels. So in my case, the most influential aspect of Rand's writings was her astute understanding and exposition of the psychology of leftism. It still amazes me to this date the extent to which, writing in the 40's and 50's, she diagnosed cultural cancers that wouldn't become fully manifest to most until decades later.
Rand's novels illustrated wonderfully, for example, the idea of the banality of evil. Whether in the form of a sniveling "architecture critic," in The Fountainhead or a physics professor who turns his back on the world of reason in Atlas Shrugged, Rand made the point again and again that evil, at its core, is more rot than fearsome maelstrom.
To say that Rand was eccentric would be charitable. Her private peccadilloes have been well chronicled by Barbara and Nathaniel Branden among others. Of greater significance, in her later years she and her followers championed notions and acted in ways that could fairly be described as cultish. Her insistence on dictating appropriate musical tastes for good Objectivists is just one representative example. There are many others.
Contrasted with the magnificence of her vision of the heroic free agent, though, these are all trifling quibbles. Despite the best efforts of the left to make Rand an unperson, her influence gains with each passing year.
In 1991, the Library of Congress conducted a survey asking people to name a book that had made a difference in their lives. Number 1, as you might be able to guess, was the Bible. Atlas Shrugged was #2.
As for myself, I will always vividly recall reading the final hundred pages or so of Atlas Shrugged in my car, sitting in a train station parking lot, unable to tear myself from its pages. At one point I realized I had broken into a cold sweat, and I distinctly remember thinking this was probably the closest I would ever come to a religious experience.
To bring Rand's ideas back to reality circa 2005, I offer these few paragraphs from Francisco D'Anconia's "Money Speech" from Atlas Shrugged. Of all Rand's writings - fiction and nonfiction - these might be among the most applicable to the political reality of America and the world today:
"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood--money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves--slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer, Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers--as industrialists.
Michelle Malkin has the Eason Jordan story in her teeth
And she isn't letting go. I do believe Michelle Malkin might just be the most important rightwing blogger out there right now. If not, she's certainly in the team picture. Right now, she's all over the Eason Jordan story like no one else.
She took it upon herself to contact David Gergen, who was present at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when Jordan - head of news operations at CNN - told the gathering that U.S. soldiers had intentionally targeted journalists. Malkin wanted to make sure that Jordan indeed made this amazing statement as it had been reported. The reason she had to play detective in this fashion, by the way, is that transcripts of the forum in which this exchange took place have been suspiciously slow to be made available, and a videotape of the event (which was filmed) hasn't yet been forthcoming either.
"First, Gergen confirmed that Eason Jordan did in fact initially assert that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military 'on both sides.' Gergen, who has known Jordan for some 20 years, told me Jordan 'realized as soon as the words had left his mouth that he had gone too far' and 'walked himself back.' Gergen said as soon as he heard the assertion that journalists had been deliberately targeted, 'I was startled. It's contrary to history, which is so far the other way. Our troops have gone out of their way to protect and rescue journalists.'...
A reasonable question, it seems to me.
Malkin also contacted the office of Senator Christopher Dodd, who, too was present for the exchange. Through a spokesman, Dodd said he was "outraged by the comments." So I think it's fair to say by now that Jordan did, indeed, accuse the U.S. military of trying to kill journalists.
The mind boggles.
After digesting the appalling nature of the remark itself, one is confronted with a second, even more insidious aspect of this story. Old Media has imposed a virtual blackout on the story. According to the first Malkin link above, four media outlets contacted Gergen for his version of the incident. The Washington Post told Gergen they were going to run a story, which it never did.
Here's thought experiment for you. Suppose Roger Ailes told a gathering, of, oh say Christian conservatives, that the United Nations was intentionally allowing Christians to be slaughtered in the Sudan. It's a fairly analogous hypothetical. Ailes runs Fox News; Eason runs CNN. Both instances would be pandering to an ideologically skewed audience by making unfounded allegations against an institution toward which it harbors enmity.
Do you think we'd see the same blackout being imposed on this story? Or you think we'd see breathless editorials from the Old Gray Hag, the L.A. Times and the Washington Post demanding Ailes' resignation? Do you think the network boys would be leading their evening news stories with tut-tutting exposes of the hideous bias of Fox News? Would CNN Headline News be leading with the story every hour, treating the story with the same gravity it would for a REALLY scandalous story - like MP's making imprisoned terrorists wear panties on their heads?
Finally, do you think such beltway fossils as Gergen would be saying as he did in this Howard Kurz piece (found via yet another Malkin update on this story, published since I began writing this posting): "This was a guy caught up in the tension of the moment. He deserves the benefit of the doubt."