My colleagues and I found that political liberals tend to rely primarily on the moral foundation of care/harm, followed by fairness/cheating and liberty/oppression. They are very concerned about victims of oppression, but they rarely make moral appeals based on loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, or sanctity/degradation. Social conservatives, in contrast, use all six foundations. They are less concerned than liberals about harm but much more concerned about the moral foundations that bind groups and nations together, i.e., loyalty (patriotism), authority (law and order, traditional families), and sanctity (the Bible, God, the flag as a sacred object). Libertarians, true to their name, value liberty more than anyone else, and they value it far more than any other foundation. (You can read our complete research findings at www.MoralFoundations.org.)I particularly like what he says in the last paragraph about fairness. While fairness is a valid concept on the social level in terms of how people treat each other in a non-legal context elevating fairness to trump rights and to be a governing political principle is a path fraught with peril. When the OWS folks talk about fairness they shift our focus away from the conditions necessary for each individual to live freely and to pursue happiness to the relationship between individuals. In other words OWS substitutes the concept of individual rights which has an objective basis (if formed properly) with fairness, which can mean whatever one wants it to be. I think is precisely their motive.
So what is the mix of moral foundations at Occupy Wall Street (OWS)? In my visit to Zuccotti Park, it was clear that the main moral foundation of OWS is fairness, followed by care and liberty. Loyalty, authority, and sanctity, by contrast, were very little in evidence.
Many pundits have commented on the fact that OWS has no specific list of demands, but the protesters’ basic message is quite clear: rein in the influence of big business, which has cheated and manipulated its way to great wealth (in part by buying legislation) while leaving a trail of oppressed and impoverished victims in its wake.
Will this message catch on with the rest of the country, much of which also values the loyalty, authority, and sanctity foundations? If OWS protesters engage in acts of violence, flag desecration, destruction of private property, or anything else that makes them seem subversive or anti-American, then I think most Americans will quickly reject them. Furthermore, if the protesters continue to focus on the gross inequality of outcomes in America, they will get nowhere. There is no equality foundation. Fairness means proportionality, and if Americans generally think that the rich got rich by working harder or by providing goods and services that were valued in a free market, they won’t support redistributionist policies. But if the OWS protesters can better articulate their case that “the 1 percent” got its riches by cheating, rather than by providing something valuable, or that “the 1 percent” abuses its power and oppresses “the 99 percent,” then Occupy Wall Street will find itself standing on a very secure pair of moral foundations.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Yet another brilliant piece by Victor Davis Hanson.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
There is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. "The market will take care of everything," they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn't trickle down, well, that's the price of liberty.
Now, it's a simple theory. And we have to admit, it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That's in America's DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here's the problem: It doesn't work. It has never worked.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
A Failure of Capitalism? Really?
Now comes the financial collapse of 2008, and it’s the free market to blame all over again. Forget that for a full century, the economic interventionists have promised to fix all the problems caused by capitalism. Ignore the fact that leftist professors have been claiming that FDR remedied these kinds of problems for all time. Now we are dealing with a new crisis and surely free enterprise is the culprit. With Bush saying he had to abandon free market principles to save them, with Greenspan saying he was too trustful of the market to regulate itself, surely now everyone is on the same page and the government measures necessary to fix the economy will easily be implemented. The bailouts of late 2008 were absolutely necessary to get us on the right track, we were told by all establishment voices.
Friday, September 9, 2011
I agree with Palin's points although the NYT writer is probably right. Many people won't consider her points because it's Palin who uttered them, not someone considered more "reputable" Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex but we're seeing a different threat: a government-crony business complex. We used to have just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises). We saw how well that worked out. With the bailouts and other programs we have a growing collection of what amount to new GSEs which further isolates them from market competition (which should be driven by the wants and needs of individuals). As Rand said the political spectrum should be collectivism versus individualism not socialism versus fascism which are just two forms of collectivism. Today we have a political spectrum where the ends of the traditional political band have twisted, like a perverted Mobius strip, to join in an unholy alliance of government/business corporatism. The individual (and small business entrepreneurs) are left in the middle so to speak. Meanwhile Republican and Democrat voters argue with each other while our Ruling Class of politicians and their cronies laugh all the way to the bank and to the public trough. What a system! ;-)
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Overall I though Wallace did a fair job challenging Stewart’s claims about how biased Fox News is. When challenged Stewart hid behind the “I’m a comedian” shield. Although to be fair (and balanced) Stewart admitted “the bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness.” While I partly agree with his assessment I don’t agree with his denial that the mainstream news outlets don’t have their own political agenda. (See more below.)
NewsBusters’ analysis covers most of the points I would have made so instead of repeating them here I’ve provided the link.
And in the interest of being objective here is the link to PolitiFact, “a project of the St. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in politics.” When you look closely they have their own bias but I’ve found some useful analyses. http://politifact.com. They take Stewart to task over his claims about Fox.
I find it interesting how much ire Fox stirs among the left. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “How dare you call yourselves fair and balanced? You’re biased!” By implication they’re saying that the mainstream news media outlets are paragons of objectivity. Stewart provides a prime example when Wallace presses him whether The New York Times is “pushing a liberal agenda.” His answer: “Do I think they're relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don't.” For an analysis check out http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/jun/20/jon-stewart/jon-stewart-says-those-who-watch-fox-news-are-most/. Their conclusion: “The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are ‘consistently’ misinformed -- a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that ‘every poll’ shows that result. So we rate his claim False.”
I’d say Stewart is too intelligent and informed to make a “mistake” like this. I think he threw this claim out to see if Wallace would challenge him on it. Unfortunately Wallace let this claim slide. I gather he was more interested in drawing Stewart out regarding the bias of other news media rather than getting bogged down in refuting Stewart’s claims about Fox.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
I agree with his overall point: that the founding principles of the U.S. protect our ability to pursue happiness. While Greeley tends to focus on consumption such as collecting figurines, joining a clogging troupe and taking road trips (these are his examples) he misses another aspect: creating values. Our Constitution protects both enjoying values and creating them.
Towards the end of his article Greeley says: “We humans follow base and pedestrian needs.” Unfortunately, whether he means it or not, I think this choice of words plays into the hands of those who think we should be committed to a “higher” purpose, such as serving others. There is a strong sentiment here in our own country to compel us to serve others whether we want to or not.
To me there is nothing base or pedestrian about fulfilling our needs. Yes, I don’t deny there are some activities (like watching Jersey Shore) which are base or pedestrian. At least I think they are and don’t partake in them; I also don’t recommend outlawing them.
I think it’s a mistake both philosophically and strategically to label activities that satisfy our wants or needs as merely “base” or “pedestrian”. Our ability to pursue these wants reflects the success of our approach: that we can transcend basic survival needs to pursue other desires that represent our individual needs, interests, wants and desires. We have the luxury of, say, collecting figurines, joining a clogging troupe and taking road trips precisely because of the spectacular and envied (or despised depending on your viewpoint) success of our system of limited government and the free market. This success rests on our freedom to create, enjoy and express values within a market and culture protected by laws based (in general) on individual rights. In other words our riches rest on our ability to pursue our own self-interest as long as we don’t violate the self-interest of others. We collect figurines, clog or travel because we feel they enrich our lives. We don’t feel the need to justify our existence by serving some “larger” purpose such as serving God, others or Allah. Nor should we.
With all of the above in mind I nonetheless highly recommend reading Greeley's article.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
And that is why the Ruling Class establishment cannot bring itself to ignore her any longer. The sheer volume and intensity of their intemperate mockery gives the lie to their claims that her ideas aren't worth bothering about. They are bothered, all right -- as they should be -- about a looming philosophic menace to their shaky hold on our culture.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Walter Russell Mead reports in Top Green Admits: “We Are Lost!” “George Monbiot of the left-leaning British newspaper has a must-read column in which he admits that because of a whole series of intellectual mistakes, the global green movement’s policy prescriptions are hopelessly flawed.”
Greens like to have it both ways. They warn darkly about “peak oil” and global resource shortages that will destroy our industrial economy in its tracks — but also warn that runaway economic growth will destroy the planet through the uncontrolled effects of mass industrial productions. Both doomsday scenarios cannot be true; one cannot simultaneously die of both starvation and gluttony.
As Monbiot says in his The Lost World.
You think you’re discussing technologies, you quickly discover that you’re discussing belief systems. The battle among environmentalists over how or whether our future energy is supplied is a cipher for something much bigger: who we are, who we want to be, how we want society to evolve. Beside these concerns, technical matters – parts per million, costs per megawatt hour, cancers per sievert – carry little weight. We choose our technology – or absence of technology – according to a set of deep beliefs; beliefs which in some cases remain unexamined.
Although Monbiot gets close to the truth, I believe Robert Bidinotto gets even closer in his Environmentalism or Individualism?
Capitalism and science are values only to people who want to achieve material progress; they rest implicitly on the idea that self-interest is good. Yet this clashes with age-old moral teachings, which hold that goodness consists of "service to others"--and that self-interest is evil.
This explains why economic and scientific arguments have failed to inoculate the public against environmentalism. By and large, people want to do the right thing. But if they've been taught to equate "the right thing" with self-sacrifice, and evil with selfishness--if they've been taught "Paradise" is Eden, that perfect Garden in which Man is a humble steward of the "natural balance"--then how can they possibly remain sympathetic to the enterprises of science and free market economics?
As I wrote in an earlier post on climate change:
I think the following quote from the former Canadian Environment Minister Christine Stewart sheds light on their motive.
“No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits…. Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.” Source: Calgary Herald, 14 December 1998.
It all comes down to a new way to make us (the U.S. in particular and the West in general) feel guilty for our material success in order to soften us for their solutions of taxing emissions, changing our life style and bringing us down to the level of countries that don’t suffer from these “problems,” thanks to their policies of punitive taxation, heavy regulation and government control (or strangling) of their economies.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
That's exactly the problem with crony capitalism, whether in finance or energy or anything else. The `market' and `capitalists' are not on the same side and against `government'. No, its government and capitalists colluding against the market, which is on the side of the people. The `financial market' proved to be no such thing; it was a casino for favoured clients run by central banks. The `energy market' is no such thing. It is a scheme run by governments for favoured clients in the nuclear, renewable and environmental-pressure group industries.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
I had not heard of this story until Robert Bidinotto commented on it in Facebook. Below is his take on why certain celebs and politicians jumped to Epstein’s defense.
One of the most revealing aspects of this episode is how the ethics of altruism serves to exonerate and absolve an individual even of sexual exploitation of young girls. What flaw of character these days cannot be overlooked and forgiven, simply by writing a check to some charity, or -- even easier -- simply by publicly advocating some Politically Correct cause, without even so much as writing the check? That this creep is a pal of Bill Clinton and Woody Allen speaks volumes, doesn't it?
Consider the case of Clinton, who soiled the presidency with his sordid Oval Office dalliances, then ruthlessly tried to destroy the reputations of women who resisted and reported his behavior. Where was the National Organization for Women to stand up for the women? Where were all the lefties who eagerly sought to expose Republican politicians who cheated on their wives? What was the difference in the behavior? None, except for one thing: that "their" candidates and public figures got a moral pass simply because they pay lip service to the "right" causes and policies, while their targeted enemies did not.
To the Ruling Class -- and by that term, I mean not just political leaders but also the intellectual-cultural Establishment -- "ethical behavior" is a concept that has been expunged from the personal realm and now applies solely to social-political activity. One can be a complete degenerate in his personal life -- a ruinous parent, an unfaithful spouse, a coke-snorting wastrel, a pedophile or pervert or crook -- and yet remain a hero among the self-anointed Elite, simply by virtue of promoting "charity," "self-sacrifice," "spreading the wealth around," etc. In this last, even blatant hypocrisy is excused. Think of all the jet-setting, gas-guzzling, mansion-dwelling celebs and politicians who pontificate about the perils of your carbon footprint. Think of the Charlie Rangels and Timothy Geithners and Jeff Immelts and other tax-dodgers who push the redistribution of OTHER people's wealth.
What we see in all of these contradictions, inconsistencies, and hypocrisies is one constant goal: the retention of their power and status. In the end, all the sanctimonious philosophizing and sophistic theorizing of the Ruling Class, all their chatter about charity and the ethics of altruistic sacrifice for Others, is nothing more than grand-scale rationalizing: moral excuse-making that will allow them to retain their status as members of the Ruling Class.
And that is why they will all rally together to support one of their own -- even if he is a convicted child molester. This is class warfare: warfare of the Ruling Class against the tediously restrictive standards and impossibly constraining principles of the Lower Classes. They are doing to ethics what they are doing to the Constitution -- and for the same reason.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
People worry about radiation because they cannot feel it. However, nature has a solution - in recent years it has been found that living cells replace and mend themselves in various ways to recover from a dose of radiation.
These clever mechanisms kick in within hours and rarely fail, except when they are overloaded - as at Chernobyl, where most of the emergency workers who received a dose greater than 4,000 mSv over a few hours died within weeks.
However, patients receiving a course of radiotherapy usually get a dose of more than 20,000 mSv to vital healthy tissue close to the treated tumour. This tissue survives only because the treatment is spread over many days giving healthy cells time for repair or replacement.
In this way, many patients get to enjoy further rewarding years of life, even after many vital organs have received the equivalent of more than 20,000 years' dose at the above internationally recommended annual limit - which makes this limit unreasonable.
Most people of my philosophic persuasion believe that the power that moves individuals and cultures is, at root, philosophy. Specifically, that power lies in the "basic premises" which we accept about the world and ourselves: our beliefs about the nature of existence; about how we know things; about what constitutes good and bad; about how we should live together.
This view of the power of philosophic premises is true. However, those of my philosophic persuasion also make an additional assumption: that to change one's own life, or to "change the world," the most important and effective thing is to adopt and advocate the "right" systematic, abstract philosophy. In practice, this means: addressing thinkers and intellectuals, teaching students formal philosophy, planting "our" kind of professors in university chairs, and otherwise engaging in specifically abstract, philosophical pursuits. The tacit assumption here is that the basic philosophic premises that govern our lives are decisively communicated and absorbed in individuals and cultures by means of formal philosophical education.
That premise is mistaken.
We do not suddenly acquaint ourselves with our core worldviews in college courses, after we are already in our teens or twenties. By that time, our basic premises are usually already well-established and, in many cases, set in psychological cement.
So when, and in what form, do we really encounter and accept our foundational beliefs about ourselves and the world around us?
We do so early in life, and in the form of stories -- or what I call Narratives.
The myths that we learn in childhood, at Mother's knee, in church, in schools, in films and novels, represent primitive, fundamental interpretive stories about our world: how it works, what it means, what is right or wrong, who are the Good Guys and the Bad Guys.
These Narratives are pre-philosophical; in fact, they are acquired in their germinal forms while we are still far too young to subject them to critical analysis. They thus actually tend to determine which abstract philosophies, ideologies, economic theories, and political policies we later find appealing. These latter "feel right" to us largely because they mesh with the myths, fairy tales, parables, and stories we already absorbed during childhood.
Moreover, the more deep-rooted the myth--either personally and/or culturally--the more desperately we cling to it. We cling to it even when it may sometimes be utterly false, and lead us over a cliff. We cling to it because to challenge or criticize it means to unravel a lifetime of investments in values, choices, relationships, careers, emotions, and money. And who wants to do that?
So, like sleepwalkers, most people continue to be directed by Narratives they have never consciously identified, let alone soberly considered. Here are just a few familiar ones:
"Untouched nature is paradise; human choices and actions only upset the natural balance." That's what the Garden of Eden myth declares. Its eventual philosophical fruit? Environmentalism.
"We should take from the rich and give to the poor." That's what the tale of Robin Hood (at least, contemporary versions of it) tells us. Its eventual political fruit? Communism, socialism, and their many "progressive" variants.
"David is morally superior to Goliath." That's what the Old Testament dramatized. Its eventual global fruit? Decades of disastrous U.S. foreign policy, blindly aimed at toppling powerful regimes in favor of the "little guy" in the streets of foreign nations--even if that little guy is a jihadist wearing a suicide vest, and is eager to slaughter us.
So how, exactly, do each of us arrive at our basic Narratives?
When we're infants, we perceive the world around us strictly perceptually, and we react to "good" and "bad" in terms of raw emotions. We either like the way something makes us feels, or we don't; we're comforted, or we're uncomfortable and fearful. As our ability to integrate our perceptions of things improves, we initially do so in the form of primitive concepts.
The next stage of interpretation, though, is at the level of story-telling and myth. We do not graduate from perceptions into concepts, then go directly into philosophy. Long before we ever arrive at the ability to tie all those concepts together into anything like a systematic, abstract philosophy (for those of us who even get to that stage of thinking), we interpret the world through the stories we are told. Those may be bible stories, Aesop's fables, messages in cartoons and picture books, tales told by our parents, good-guys-vs.-bad-guys TV shows.
These provide us with our foundational interpretive template for understanding the world around us. What binds every culture or subculture together are the value-laden messages conveyed by these tales. That's because Narratives work for a culture just as they do for an individual. Looking at the glory that was Greece, for example, it is instructive to note that Homer, that society's seminal poet and storyteller, preceded by hundreds of years Aristotle, who represented the apex of formal Greek philosophical thought. The former was the true father of Greek culture, while the latter lived during its waning days. If abstract, systematic philosophy were the true fountainhead of a culture--or its salvation--then the sequence of their appearances should have been reversed.
And this should tell us where the true "power of ideas" lies: not in concepts and philosophies per se, but in concepts and philosophies as embodied, enshrined, dramatized, and propagated by compelling Narratives. In other words, the narrative medium is just as necessary and potent as the philosophic message.
This explains the enduring power of religion. Religions communicate largely on the narrative level, utilizing the power of myth, parable, and storytelling. Ask yourself: How many people are attracted to a given religion because of the incisive, intellectually satisfying arguments of its clever theologians? By contrast, how many followers instead find themselves gripped, touched, inspired, and persuaded by the stories and parables that the religion offers?
Therefore, let me offer a word of advice to people who share my own secular philosophic outlook, Objectivism.
It's futile to complain about the intractable hold of "mysticism" on people's lives. Trying to argue people out of their reigning Narrative is almost always impossible, because we all need a reigning Narrative. Instead, you have to replacea person's (or culture's) reigning Narratives(s) with something better--something more persuasive, compelling, and inspiring.
You don't have to believe me; Ayn Rand reached the same conclusion. Why did she write fiction? Read closely herRomantic Manifesto, particularly her essay, "The Psycho-Epistemology of Art." In writing about the power of "art," she is really talking about the vital role and indispensable power of Narrativesin our lives.
That is certainly the conclusion I have drawn. Rather than try hopelessly to deprive people of their existing Narratives, mystical or otherwise, I believe the only practical course is to create a rich, compelling, emotionally satisfying counter-Narrative. That is a task Rand began with her own fiction. But it is a task that should be continued by other artists--at least by those artists who wish not only to objectify their own values (which should be their primary focus), but who also would like to help create a better world.
So, a personal note of explanation: If you find less current-events commentary here lately, in part it's because I've found it to be increasingly pointless to argue philosophy, economics, and politics with most people. Why? Because we are talking past each other. You may prove a point with unassailable facts and irrefutable logic. However, the other person replies, "Yes, but . . ." Those words usually signal that you've reached the ultimate barrier to further reasoning and communication: You've challenged his Narrative. And in my experience, that is ground he'll rarely, if ever, concede.
The invisible forces directing the flow and outcomes of such debates, then, are rarely those issues under explicit discussion. Rather, they are the unidentified, unspoken, implicit Narratives that we carry with us, and which are constantly reinforced in the plots of popular novels, films, TV shows, and Sunday sermons. That is the enormous subtext of most arguments, and it poses a virtually insurmountable challenge. After all, it is very, very difficult to joust successfully and intellectually with someone when you are simultaneously fighting Adam, David, and Robin Hood.
That said, I'll return now to the personal pleasure of crafting my own counter-Narratives.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Decline Effect Is Stupid by The Last Psychiatrist does a nice job revealing the errors in a piece titled The Truth Wears Off: Is there something wrong with the scientific method? by Jonah Lehrer
The problem isn't that the Decline Effect happens in science; the problem is that we think psychology and ecology and economics are sciences. They can be approached scientifically, but their conclusions can not be considered valid outside of their immediate context. The truth, to the extent there is any, is that these fields of study are models, and every model has its error value, it's epsilon that we arbitrarily set to be the difference between the model and observed reality.
The Last Psychiatrist doesn’t touch on this but I believe the New Yorker article is a symptom of postmodernism’s attack on science and objectivity. If the scientific method can be discounted as untrustworthy this opens the door for refusing with impunity to accept conclusions derived from this approach. To be replaced with what? That is the question.
Check out Stephen Hicks’ site on postmodernism athttp://www.stephenhicks.org/publications/explaining-postmodernism/.
Friday, February 25, 2011
This essay presents an eloquent summary of one disillusioned former Obama supporter.
When I first heard about Obama as a rising star in the Democratic Party, a man so refreshingly different from his predecessors and contemporaries, I was intensely curious and quite favorably disposed toward the youngish, African-American legislator and author. And when I gleaned from my local newspaper that he might harbor aspirations to the White House, I found myself very much in his corner, one of his many Canadian fans. He had an effect similar to the new car smell, appropriately called “outgassing” in the trade, which is often irresistible to prospective buyers.
Naturally, I wished to learn as much as I could about the man who represented an unprecedented phenomenon on the American political scene. I soon discovered that very little of substance was known about this rara avis and so began a disciplined search for more information. Within months I had accumulated a towering stack of articles, commentaries, editorials, and diverse kinds of documentary materials, much of this stuff mere unfocused adulation and adjectival irrelevance but many of these items of a distinctly troubling nature. His autobiographies notwithstanding, I was soon caught in the grip of a profound paradox. It seemed the more I knew, the less I knew. But this “less” was more than enough to convince me, by the time he had won the Democratic nomination, that Obama was everything he presumably was not.
I had finally amassed enough documentation to determine that he was not the centrist he affected to be but a far-left ideologue, that he was a gyrating opportunist who could reverse his proclamations on a dime to suit the occasion, that he had neither knowledge of nor competence in the complexities of foreign affairs, that he was an unabashed plagiarist in his stump speeches, that there was no chance of him becoming a “post racial” president but rather a demagogue who would sharpen racial tensions, that his grasp of real-world economics was shaky to non-existent, that he was an unnervingly ignorant man (e.g. the Austrian language) as well as a showboat (e.g., the fake classical pillars), that he was associated with some of the most dubious people in the political, academic, and religious communities, and that he would waste little time putting the screws on Israel while flattering and appeasing the Islamic world.
Monday, February 14, 2011
This article covers events in Pakistan that have not received much attention. I found these comments within the article to be particularly enlightening and concerning.
Since taking office, the Obama administration has failed to conceive of a strategy for contending with the situation. One of the main obstacles to the formation of a coherent US strategy is the Obama administration's move to outlaw any discussion of the basic threats to US interests. Shortly after entering office, President Barack Obama banned the use of the term "War against terror," substituting it with the opaque term "overseas contingency operation."Last April, Obama banned use of the terms "jihad," "Islamic terrorism" and "radical Islam" in US government documents.
Maybe there is an innocent explanation for this change in official language although I'm having a difficult time conjuring one.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt - By Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner - National Review Online
Thanks to Robert Bidinotto for this reference. As he commented when he posted this on Facebook:
Like Mubarak, Fidel is a dictator, heads a poodle military, and has been around for decades; but the media here don't call for HIS ouster. In fact, they sing the praises of his Potemkin hospitals practicing socialized "healthcare" -- which of course is denied to beaten and imprisoned dissidents.
So, what's the difference between Castro and Mubarak, which allows the former to get a pass? Simple: He's anti-American. The same goes for the thugocracy in Iran: Western intellectuals, media, and politicians only wanted "regime change" when the regime was headed by the pro-Western Shah. You haven't heard a peep from them about "democratic revolutions" since. And where are the calls for "people power" to depose the communist thug Hugo Chavez in Venezuela? Instead, he's a magnet for Hollywood leftists like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, and Michael Moore.
For the American/western left, the only distinguishing characteristic between "good" dictators and "bad" dictators" seems to be that the former are our sworn enemies, while the latter are our allies against the former. Hey, I'd love to be wrong about this. So please find me some exceptions.