Archive | November, 2010

The Ayn Rand Institute Sets The Record Straight

A Statement from ARI about the Resignation of John McCaskey from Our Board of Directors by Yaron Brook.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=26109

The money quotes:

“The substantive issue that Dr. Peikoff raised—whether a person who does not support a central ARI project should sit on the Board”

“ARI presents one, consistent position on each issue that we’re prepared to take a stand on.”

“Contrary to the charges some are making, parting ways with someone from your organization who is not on board with a major project does not constitute censorship, authoritarianism, or being dictatorial.”

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CAIR sues Oklahoma over Sharia Law ban

The Wall Street Journal on November 5th featured a report on Oklahoma’s referendum to bar foreign and Sharia law from being considered by state courts.

The state chapter of the Counsel of American and Islamic Relations (CAIR), a so-called “civil rights” organization founded with the goal of replacing the Constitution with Sharia law, and an un-indicted co-conspirator in a terrorist funding operation, immediately filed a suit to negative the move (State Question 755), claiming the law violates “freedom of religion” and citing the anti-establishment clause of the First Amendment, and also because it “stigmatized” Muslims.

I wrote this letter to the author of the article, “Oklahoma is Sued over Sharia Ban.”

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Jess Bravin
The Wall Street Journal
Mr. Bravin:

Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful report (November 5) on this disturbing development. Reading through the various legal and political opinions and positions cited in your article, I am dismayed by the confusion surrounding the issue of Sharia vs. Constitutional law. What is a clear instance of an organization attempting to subvert the concept of individual rights should be obvious to any American jurist and lawyer, but it appears it is not clear enough. The Constitution was written as a check on government powers, and the First Amendment states that the federal government shall not make any law

“respecting an establishment of religion,” nor impede “the free exercise of religion.” This revolutionary idea is what has prevented the U.S. from emulating or repeating the example of Europe with its past religious strife and wars.
Islamic Sharia law, however, is a barbarous, medieval system of religious law that is also easily translated into a political one. In fact, Sharia does not recognize a separation of church and state, or a separation of mosque and state. The religion is the state and the state is the religion. The legal institutions and legal codes of Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and even Iraq are founded on Sharia law, or the Koran.

Islam and the Koran do not recognize individual rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. The “free exercise” of Islamic morality largely results in the violation of the rights of especially women and children and as a rule fosters and encourages horrific crimes. The “free exercise” of Islamic morality resulted in the Fort Hood massacre, for example, not to mention numerous “honor” killings in this and other Western countries of women and girls who disobey Islamic practices or neglect to do their Islamic duty. The last thing we would want to do here in America is protect individuals who commit horrific crimes because their actions are consistent with their “religious beliefs.” That claim is nearly tantamount and as evasive a claim as one of “temporary insanity” or a “lapse of reasoning powers.” That claim is not so much a sanction as it is an excuse. And the insanity is Sharia law as practiced among Muslims. Muneer Awad and his superiors at CAIR wish to literally excuse Islam and Muslims from the imposition and enforcement of rational, objective law that protects individual rights.

Nothing, not even a “religious belief,” can morally sanction the violation of an individual’s rights.

I do not know how Muneer Awad of CAIR can assert that Oklahoma’s SQ755 constitutes an “establishment of religion,” unless he is exploiting the common fallacy that this is a “Christian” nation and that its founding documents were based on Christian precepts, and so therefore Oklahoma is “establishing” the Christian religion over the Islamic and is violating the Constitution.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. While most of the Founders were Christian, they sought to establish a secular government based on secular principles. They understood that individuals had a right to believe what they wished, so long as they did not act to impose their beliefs on others, or to commit crimes under the guise of religious fealty. If a man murdered another man, his motive was irrelevant, whether he was enacting his own interpretation of the Ten Commandments or not.

Awad and CAIR are setting up a Trojan horse with this suit. They are counting on the courts to fall into the religious trap and to either acknowledge (erroneously) that this is a Christian nation and that SQ755 violates the Constitution; or to sanction the notion of “religious belief,” which would allow Muslims to violate individual rights at will.
The courts needn’t fall into that trap. All they need do is uphold the sanctity of individual rights. It is as simple as that. Doing so would undercut any and all pretensions and rationalizations about the “free exercise” of murder, wife-beating, child-marriages, and “honor” killings. I am including here a link to a fascinating video that briefly explicates Islam and Sharia in uncommonly simple terms. I hope you avail yourself of it, although I am assuming that you are well read already on the subject of Islam.

If you write further on this subject, please let me know.

Regards,
Edward Cline
Williamsburg, VA
757 -645-2107

(Author: Sparrowhawk, First Prize, Presence of Mind, We Three Kings, Whisper the Guns, and contributor to Rule of Reason, Capitalism Magazine, Pajamas Media, and Family Security Matters)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704805204575594793733847372.html

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Free The Young From The Wrath of SS

Let younger people opt out of the Social Security system…so says the former chairman and CEO of BB&T John Allison. Here is a money quote: You know, if you look at what killed democracies in the end, it’s always lack of personal responsibility,” said Allison. “And it’s when 51 percent of the people find out they can vote a free lunch from 49 percent, and then 60 percent want a free lunch from 40 percent, and then 70 percent want a free lunch from 30 percent, and that’s the end of the party. “All of this dependency on the federal government ends up attacking and almost punishing personal responsibility,” said Allison. “And America was built on the idea of individuals that are personally responsible and, therefore, have a personal right to control their own lives. And that’s what’s been under attack.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/give-young-people-option-get-out-social

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Hold Your Tongue

I left this comment on an article about politically correct speech, “Political Correctness and the Thought Police,” by Gary Wickert, on November 1st.;

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/political-correctness-and-the-thought-police/?singlepage=true

Two minor corrections are called for here: Mr. Wickert says that “niggardly” means “spendthrift.” Actually, it means not quite the opposite: “ungenerous,” or “cheap,” or “penny-wise.” Then, he invented a new term, “cow-tow,” when he meant “kowtow.”

That being said, politically correct speech and writing are not necessarily traceable to the Frankfurt School and Marxism, although the two are closely allied ideologically. I doubt that even David Axelrod, Cass Sunstein, or Anita Dunn would claim that politically correct speech is Communist in origin, though they would have no problem enforcing it. Political correctness is a poliomyelitic affliction that attacks, not the brainstem or spinal cord, but language, concepts and ideas in one’s mind and renders the mind impotent and helpless. In short, it attacks the mind, and, like Orwell’s Newspeak Dictionary in Nineteen Eighty-Four, seeks to reduce the range of the mind by homogenizing its contents and imposing mindless conformity. The catch is that, while imbeciles would not know the difference between plain and politically correct speech – they are not the objects of the tyranny – it works only if one is willing to submit, Muslim-style, to a higher “authority,” only if one knows that it is expected of one to knuckle under and bow to the god of sensitivity. This in turn contributes to a habitual conformity in politics, art, and in speech. Which in turn contributes to the growth of a servile, passive, complacent citizenry.

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Lessons From History About Victory in War

Excerpts from Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History (Princeton University Press, 2010) by John David Lewis, Ph.D.

“The causes of war and peace run far deeper than the movements of armies and troops (strategy and tactics) into the reasons why armies form and move at all” writes John David Lewis. Those causes are to be found in the ideas that motivate an aggressor to attack, or a defender to rise to the defense. 

“The wellspring of every war is that which makes us human: our capacity to think abstractly, to conceive, and to create. It is our conceptual capacity that allows us to choose a nation’s policy goals; to identify a moral purpose for good or for ill; to select allies and enemies; to make a political decision to fight; to manufacture the weapons, technologies, strategies, and tactics needed to sustain the decision over time; and to motivate whole populations into killing—or dissidents into protest. Both war and peace are the consequences of ideas—especially moral ideas—that can propel whole nations into bloody slaughter on behalf of a Führer, a tribe, or a deity, or into peaceful coexistence under governments that defend the rights and liberties of their citizens.”

To defend this claim, Professor Lewis examines seven events in history, derived from six major wars, to show how a long-term resolution to the causes of the conflict was only possible with a complete victory over an enemy’s will to fight. About the attack by Persia against the Greeks, Lewis writes:

“Xerxes began with the inherited passion for conquest that had motivated three generations of predecessors. But when his army and navy were mutilated by the Greeks and he saw his men sink beneath the waves, he confronted serious personal defeat for the first time. As his Great Pyramid collapsed, the effect on the king was immediate; he set off posthaste to secure his own retreat. His defeat was open and public, and despite his likely attempts to make it appear a victory, he knew that this could be fatal to the dynasty. His position had demanded that he demonstrate his splendor—but at the moment of defeat he reached the point of greatest danger. His task now was to reestablish his position inside his own territory—and this required a permanent change in policy. The legitimacy of his throne had to be disengaged from the conquest of the Greeks.”

 Writing of the defeat of the Spartans by the Theban leader Epaminondas—in which generations of slavery were ended in a single winter campaign directed against Sparta itself—Lewis writes that:

“such wars are powered from an ideological center, for both aggressors and defenders, which relies upon an economic and social base for its material sustenance and its affi rmation. This is the intersection of theory and practice. For the Spartans, this economic center was their hold over their Messenian helots, but when the Spartans were defeated and their helots found a political voice, more was lost than someone to do the dirty work. The Spartan ethos and its ideological center—the system of ideas that placed them at the top of a social hierarchy and that anchored their excellence in physical dominance—was discredited, its failure in action made undeniable.”

 The result? Sparta never again invaded the land of Thebes.

Sherman’s march through Georgai and the Carolinas had the same positive effect, demonstrating the hopelessness of the southern cause and undercutting their motivations to fight:

“Sherman’s tactics—like those of the cavalry commander Philip Sheridan, who was set to operate in the Shenandoah Valley—would shock southern society to its roots by the sheer force of his demonstration. This was not an unattended consequence; it was central to Sherman’s plan, and it centered on destroying property while avoiding the loss of life. An army burning its way through Georgia plantations is not a compassionate thought, but the creation of peace out of war was not a compassionate process. Sherman knew that the war could not be won as long as southern civilians thought that they were winning the war and were able to send men, arms, supplies, and psychological comfort to their army in the north.”

In defeating the Japanese will to fight in World War II, Lewis shows a specific campaign to end military indoctrination in schools, and to sever the ties between the religion of Shinto and those using it to motivate a population into suicidal war:

“State-mandated Shinto—the coercion of the Japanese people to follow this mythology and its rituals—was the cardinal means by which the Japanese government was able to motivate the population into suicidal military action.81 MacArthur’s so-called Shinto Directive left the shrines open—a very important issue to many Japanese—but it severed the connection between Shinto and the government. Shinto was reduced from a political mandate to a private matter; this was key to ending the sacrificial, nationalistic mind-set that had infected the Japanese people.”


Lewis applies the lessons derived from such events in a brief but provocative description, in the conclusion, about American involvement in Vietnam:

“The Americans had only two courses of action open to them: to accept the existence of the North Vietnamese government and therefore the fall of the South, or to destroy the government in the North as a necessary condition to an independent South. In either case, [the ancient Chinese military thinker] Sun-tzu should have been consulted, for the protracted campaign that followed was more damaging than either a fast destruction of the northern capital or the swift fall of the South without a fight would have been.”

Lest anyone think that Lewis is a warmonger, who glories in the idea of mass civilian casualties, this is what he writes of the Roman destruction of Carthage in the Third Punic War:

“The Third Punic War of 149–146 BC was not a war. It was a massacre. Rome was wrong; the peace of Scipio Africanus [following the Second Punic War] was good, and the Romans could have preserved it by just mediation of the Carthaginian complaints. The Romans . . . could have ended the Numidian [North African] attacks [on Carthage]. It is to Romans’ eternal shame—there is no credit due here—that they slaughtered a former enemy that had accepted peace and was living by its word.”

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