How Irrational Hatred Clouds Judgment

Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak opines: There’s another possibility; one that seems crazy on the surface, but does provide an explanation for the silence, and is also in keeping with the political climate in Hollywood. Is it just possible that there are those who are reluctant to criticize an act of terror because that might somehow align them with President Bush, who stubbornly clings to the notion that these are evil people who need to be defeated? Could the level of hatred for this President be so great that some people are against anything he is for, and for anything he is against? There are things in the world that should be hated, indeed. But what does it mean to hate things like murder, rape, fraud–as well as the President of the United States? Should not hate be reserved for the truly evil, at risk of otherwise diminishing the moral value of the concept? (tipped off by Greg)

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Still, most don’t see

I’ve heard a lot about how great laser eye surgery is, lately. I’m still seeing clearly at 43, but a younger brother who has sported glasses and contacts since a young age just had the procedure and couldn’t be happier. Two sisters-in-law reported similar satisfaction this last week during the family Thanksgiving get-together. Of course, John Venlet’s comments in the matter were still fresh in my mind. Greg Swann also drew a stark comparison.

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Leaving DC

I’ve been in DC for the last 3 days or so: traveling here last Wednesday to attend a USOBA conference Thursday and Friday and spending today, Saturday, doing some sightseeing. They’ve put up the WWII and FDR memorials since last I walked the mall. Right this moment, I’m on UAL 237 from Dulles to San Jose direct, on a flight that can’t have more than 20 passengers on this Airbus (A)319. Last time that happened was years ago on an American MD80 from Chicago to San Francisco that had all of 12 people onboard, including flight crew. Good for me, bad for them, I guess. I’m also sipping a comped Chivas. Seems someone messed up and they have no in-flight movie to pass time on this 5 ½ hour flight, so they’re giving away adult beverages. Bonus #2. Last evening, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my best and oldest friend in the world, Paul, who came down from Annapolis for dinner and a visit. His second book is complete, in the hands of the publisher, and he’s beginning his third. Paul also has the distinction of being the one who traveled the farthest to attend my wedding…

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Yea, So Smart

I happened on to this by friend Greg Swann this morning, here, amongst the comments to a silly post. In the end the begrudgingly-occidental, oriental-by-preference drag-alongs don’t matter. The West, and the world, if the world is to amount to anything, belongs to those who are willing to make critical distinctions. The rest are just there, that’s all. Then, I happened upon this article via The Independent Institute. Go take a look at it. It really doesn’t serve to excerpt anything from the article because my point here is of a more general nature. I’m an anarchist, atheist, secularist holder of moral principles based not upon the nature of God, but upon the nature of the ideal man. Accordingly, nobody appreciates the danger of political power blended with religious ideology more than I. Yet, it seems wholly ridiculous to me that we fail to make a critical distinction between an imperfect empire based on American civilization and any other empire that has ever existed previously, in history. We rail against a president who has the audacity to pray (gasp!), yet we can’t grasp the distinction between that sort of faith and the sort that worships death on earth—to themselves in…

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No Comment

Here’s the latest “I, Anonymous” column in the Seattle rag The Stranger, Vol 14 No. 9, Nov 11 – Nov 17, 2004. DEAR OSAMA BIN LADEN I’m sorry. You were right. We deserve to be blown up. After last Tuesday, well… what can I say? You had us pegged dead-on the first time–although I was in denial and refused to believe it up until now. We as a nation obviously ARE a bunch of mindless sheep, grown fat with consumerism and easily led down the primrose path into corruption. After what happened November 2, there’s just no denying it anymore. I’m ashamed that I was so blind for so long. After 60 percent of eligible voters turned out and 51 percent of those voted for Bush, I can’t do anything but concede your point: There are no innocents left in America. We’ve brought this on ourselves. Go ahead and do your worst. We’ve got it coming–in a big way. All I ask is this: Give New York a break, okay? And leave New England, California, and the rest of the West Coast out of it as well. We’re on your side already! Please, stay focused and plan your next attack…

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A Complete Circus

Whirlpool, which is trying to save its ban on firearms on company property, believes workplace safety should override the rights of gun owners. You know, I read crap like the above and can’t help but wonder if the hope of a rational society has already and irretrievably slipped well beyond our grasp. Now, even great companies like Whirpool can’t even seem to manage a simple moral argument in support of their own property rights, but must resort to undefinable and subjective concepts such as “workplace safety.” It’s only possible in a society that has totally lost its way that this dispute could even ever exist.

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False Distinctions

Promoting and exploiting false distinctions can be very, very profitable for politicians, interest groups, and business quislings who’d rather partner up with agents of coercion than engage in the dog-eat-dog, rough-&-tumble free market. Such false distinctions exist everywhere (roadways, police, fire, water, courts, military, etc.), the human appetite for them is insatiable, and they are thus exploited by “the authorities” to great profit and advantage. Here’s another example of one.

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The Real Human Evolution

Authority can be a function of raw power, but among free people it is sustained by esteem and trust. Should esteem and trust falter, the public will start to contest an institution’s authority. It happens all the time to political figures. It happened here to the American Catholic Church and to the legal profession, thanks to plaintiff-bar abuse. And now the public is beginning to contest the decades-old authority of the mainstream media. This article on the MSM via Keith Burgess-Jackson is moderately interesting. But what sparked my interest more than the article itself was the excerpt, above. I would add that authority can also be a function of intimidation, manipulation, and deceit. You know, when you come right down to it, the root cause of all human discomfort, suffering, and even death by scumming to the consequences of avoidable problems and circumstances can be reduced to one thing: a lack of the knowledge necessary to avoid or overcome the problem or circumstance. Now, consider, in the context of “authority” (and specifically: the history of authoritarian institutions) why it is that so many lack the requisite knowledge to solve their problems in life. Look at the history and current state…

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Housekeeping

Reports from Paris indicate that there has been a marked improvement in the condition of Yasser Arafat. He’s dead. (courtesy of Samizdata) …and: In a better world, the PLO chief would have met his end on a gallows, hanged for mass murder much as the Nazi chiefs were hanged at Nuremberg. In a better world, the French president would not have paid a visit to the bedside of such a monster. In a better world, George Bush would not have said, on hearing the first reports that Arafat had died, “God bless his soul.” God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! Bless the soul of the man who brought modern terrorism to the world? Who sent his agents to slaughter athletes at the Olympics, blow airliners out of the sky, bomb schools and pizzerias, machine-gun passengers in airline terminals? Who lied, cheated, and stole without compunction? Who inculcated the vilest culture of Jew-hatred since the Third Reich? Human beings might stoop to bless a creature so evil — as indeed Arafat was blessed, with money, deference, even a Nobel Prize — but God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity. Arafat always inspired flights of nonsense from…

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The Entitlement Mindset

Radley Balko lays out comprehensively why I decided from day one not to enable comments on this blog. In addition, I almost never read the comments to posts on the blogs I visit regularly. I figure that if someone has anything to say about a post that’s really worth my time reading, they’ll generally post it to their own blog and perhaps ping a trackback. There are exceptions, of course. I’m also sure that readers who don’t themselves maintain a bog have important input concerning the content of the various blogs–It’s just that I don’t care that much about it. I have always been mystified by people with an entitlement mentality. For myself, I’m just so overtaken when someone goes out of their way to do something that benefits me at no cost that the last thing in the world I’d think of doing is trying to impose, or worse, to show ungratefulness. Here’s a pet peeve: invite someone to dinner and in return be presented a list of food preferences/dislikes. Where I come from, you eat what’s presented to you, even if you don’t like it, out of a common sense of gratitude and respect. It’s a meal, fer…

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Bush: Promoter of Secularism

Billy Beck alerts me to a new column by that liberal Hitchens. An excerpt: So here is what I want to say on the absolutely crucial matter of secularism. Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left. From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Center, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudointellectuals has been willing to represent the worst face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed. How can these people bear to reread their own propaganda? Suicide murderers in Palestine—disowned and denounced by the new leader of the PLO—described as the victims of “despair.” The forces of al-Qaida and the Taliban represented as misguided spokespeople for antiglobalization. The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people than allow them to vote, pictured prettily as “insurgents” or even, by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. If this is liberal secularism, I’ll take a modest, God-fearing, deer-hunting Baptist from…

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Observations and Suggestions

Bruce McQuain points to this criminal outrage. Be sure to note the caption under the photo real, real good. Let the full potential present and future ramifications of this sort of evil sear into your mind. …Oh, before I forget… Those with particularly short memories might not recall that “no-threat-whatsoever” Saddam Hussein was sending the families of these “saints” $25,000 each. In a related story, John Venlet has a suggestion for resolving the dispute over what to do with the corpse of that shitbag-in-chief Arafat once he finally kicks it. I would only add: why wait?

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For What It’s Worth

I hear lots of talk about how “values issues” trumped nearly everything else in this election, including Islamic craziness and Iraq. Perhaps so, at least for enough people to make the difference. If you’re mystified as to how the sight of same-sex couples parading through San Francisco City Hall to memorialize and celebrate their mutual union can motivate people in flyover country to get to the polls, whereas the sight of murderous crazies crashing B-757s into skyscrapers may or may not get them out, then I’m with you. Baffles the hell out of me, too. Like a lot of people, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the democrat self-immolation in the leftie blogs and MSM. Essentially, it all boils down to the same thing: ‘we’ve got to look more like republicans and be steadfast and consistent about it.’ ‘We’ve got to be genuine.’ Well, I’ve got news for you, Democrats. As Radley Balko points out in this post, you are never going to beat the Republican on “values issues,” at least not in keeping with what makes you Democrats. So, my advice—again, for what it’s worth—let the Republicans have their same-sex marriage bans, their abortion bans, their creationism as…

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A is A: The law of identity illustrated in election politics (of all things)

“It was on Air Force One on election day that strategist Karl Rove started calling around to get the results of early exit polls. But the line kept breaking down. The only information that came through as the plane descended was a BlackBerry message from an aide that simply read: “Not good.” Not long afterward, Rove got a more detailed picture and told the President and senior aides the bad news. Florida Governor Jeb Bush had been saying the state was looking good, and the Bush team had expected to be ahead in Ohio. But Kerry was leading everywhere. “I wanted to throw up,” said an aide onboard. Bush was more philosophical: “Well, it is what it is,” he told adviser Karen Hughes.”

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The Emperor, y’know, has no clothes

Individualists who’ve been at the internet debate thing for a while will tell you: in taking on their ideological enemies (i.e., collectivists) in wars of words, the hardest thing to get is an unabashed, brutally honest statement of their position. Last Friday evening John Stossel did a “Give Me A Break” segment that questioned the use of government to fund stem-cell research, i.e., compelling you to pay taxes and then using that money to fund something you may or may not agree with. Ron Alridge delivers that rare, naked glimpse of collectivism that’s not often seen. “Dear John: I am a former TV critic (“Chicago Tribune”, “Charlotte Observer”) and former publisher/editorial director of a leading TV industry trade (“Electronic Media”) and I therefore consider myself to be a somewhat astute observer of television journalism. With that said, your recent rant against state funding for stem cell research in California was pandering, ideologically driven journalism at its worst…you just kept whining (you DO whine, you know) about the horror of using “taxpayer” money to fund stem cell research … It was an embarrassing display of shallowness and stupidity at a high level of American journalism. John, let’s give you a little…

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The Left Speaks Out

Michael Totten provides a one-stop shop for a range of reactions from the left to the loss at the polls. The one by Marc Cooper is probably the most incisive and hard hitting.

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Post-Mortem

Dale Franks has up the most comprehensive, well-written, interesting take on the whole election that I’ve read all morning–by far. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

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