Friday, September 27, 2013


President Obama has indicated, in discussions regrding the debt ceilling that "America pays its debts." The fallacy of this appeal lies in the fact that, if you are borrowing money to pay off your debts, you are not paying off your debts, you are just shifting them around.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The end of Islamism

I An interesting biological phenomenon is that simple organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi are capable of wreaking havoc on more complex and highly developed beings. This is not surprising, as entropy favors destruction and decay. It is always easier to destroy than to build. This concept applies not only to biological organisms but to societies and cultures as well.

The destinies of civilizations are not always in the direction of greater advancements. There is no guarantee that the future is limited to greater artistic, intellectual and humanitarian achievement. The triumphs of civilization are often fragile and barbarism is always a threat.

GK Chesterton observed that barbarism does not always describe only those cultures that are insufficiently advanced in civilization, but also describes those that, having advanced, become hostile and threatening toward it. The source of this contempt and enmity for values and traditioms that oppose, for example terrorism, genocide, and religious persecution vary from time to time and place to place. The most prominent doctrine that now opposes liberal values is that of radical Islam. The stated goal of this movement is to establish worldwide sharia law and dominance of political Islam. The ideological springboard for this regressive and destructive movement is not based in religious piety but in an emotional, supremacist fantasy.

There in fact will never be a worldwide caliphate. There are many reasons for this which include:

1.) Sharia law results in relatively weak political systems, that are not well suited to the complexities and rapid change of modernity.

2.) The present worldwide Islamic terrorist movement is not capable of achieving and maintaining power, as terrorism itself is unstable..

3.) The strategy of attempting to establish demographic dominance by emigration to Western countries fosters an atmosphere of dependence and insularity that is inherently unstable.

4.) While religion has provided an organizing framework for many cultures and societies, there is a limit to the influence of any particular religious doctrine in pluralistic societies. Human beings are simply not religious enough to accede to religious dominance in all areas of life.

5.) If political Islam were capable of creating and maintaining desirable cultures and societies, the net immigration would be from Western societies to Muslim ones rather than the other way around.

6.) Chauvinism is a poor basis for a system of government.

7.) There's a reason why Ataturk ditched the agonal Caliphate about eighty years ago. The present campaign to reestablish political Islam through terrorism, wanton violence, demographic hegemony and narcissistic complaint is a doomed effort to reinvigorate a failed idea.  

8.) The more establsihed that Islamism becomes, the more susceptible it is to the barbaric instincts that inhere in human nature. It will become the target, rather than the aggressor.  

9.) Threatening to behead those who "insult" you or cause you offense is a hallmark of weakness; any doctrine that cannot accommodate ridicule cannot accommodate reality.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Common sense gun legislation

Advocates of gun control legislation frequently feel the need to burnish their proposals with the adjective "common sense." Thus, appeal is often made to public support for "common sense gun control legislation." One of the first requirements of common sense legislation is that it accomplish its intended purpose. "Gun control" legislation that does not control guns, or more specifically, does not reduce criminal gun violence does not legitimately bear the appellation "common sense."

Cosmetic legislation that serves only as an emotional bromide can legitimately be called neither common sense nor gun control. Gun violence is first and foremost violence, and it is the pathologies that predispose certain individuals to violence that are at the heart of the crisis. Seung Hui-Cho, Eric Harris, James Holmes, Anders Breivik, Jared Lee Loughner, and Aaron Alexis all perpetrated mass shoootings of strangers, and all had previously been referred for psychiatric evaluation. What is equally troubling, is that all were relatively intelligent and capable of intricate planning. It is inobvious how magazine capacity limits or ammunition surcharges, or outlawing firearms with flash suppressors would have thwarted disturbed but cunning minds. It is quite likely that they would outsmart the most heartfelt of firearm restrictions. It is also worth noting that Anders Breivik killed eight people with a bomb, and that James Holmes rigged his apartment with incendiary devices. The essence of a mass murderer is a malignant motive and will. The weapon to be used is secondary.

Whether or not some idea qualifies as "common sense" depends upon context. If a community were suddenly gripped by a violent crime wave, in which the authorities could do little more than show up after the fact, it might certainly be "common sense" that the citizenry be armed in its own defense.

The people who insists on retaining the right to own firearms for their own personal use do not thereby condone the actions of psychotic murderers; they do not provide the impetus to slaughter by mentally unstable, but quite resourceful miscreants. They do not excuse the acts of madmen; the people who focus on the weapon rather than the act do. The people who support the Second Amendment do not condone the lawless gunfire in gun control venues such as Chicago or Washington DC. They do not assume moral culpability for refusing to play along with the deluded fantasy that "common sense" gun control legislation is anything of the sort.

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Dissolution of Obama

I have previously noted the difference between power, authority and influence. After more than 4 1/2 years it is apparent that Pres. Obama retains all of his presidential authority, but possesses significantly diminished power and vanishingly little influence.

The President's deteriorating stature has not so much to do with dominating events or cruel fate as it does the inherent limitations of the man. These limitations were not so much revealed by this financial crisis or turmoil in the Middle East as they were ignored by a media and publicenamored with a vaporous abstraction. The fact that Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, yet produced no significant legal scholarship should have at least suggested caution in evaluating Obama as a man of substance. His habit of voting "present" when the public did not support his individual ideology, his vacillation regarding gay marriage, his pathological avoidance of responsibility for the scandals and corruption that pervades the administration, as well as the complementary usurping of credit for good fortune or the sacrifice of others all bespeak a defect, avoid of character hidden in an illusion.

It has become obvious that many of Obama's most desirable qualities are not personal characteristics that inhere in him, but are rather romantic yearnings that the public and media have projected onto him. His lack of influence is seen in the rebuff of his efforts to have Chicago host the Olympics, his absence of leadership in the various political upheavals in Iran, Libya, Egypt and Syria, his inability to advance a gun control agenda, and the disarray accompanying implementation of the Affordable Care Act. These deficiencies are all the more remarkable when one considers that the first two years of Obama's presidency included large majorities in both houses of Congress, and a historically compliant media.

There is no denying that the economy has underperformed, that race relations have endured several affronts to which he was a party, that American diplomacy has become more amateurish and ineffective, and that America has become a tepid ally and a timid adversary. Those who continue to defend him, complaining about what he "inherited," or the intransigence of political opposition, or the complexity of modern politics are simply in denial. His greatest "accomplishments" are both unpopular and unfinished; his failures cannot be undone by media spin, finger-pointing, or whining.

It would be tempting to attribute all of Obama's shortcomings to hubris, or lack of seriousness, or ideological blindness. The reality however is not so simple. Obama's strengths and virtues have always been an abstraction, a semi-conscious daydream in which imagined virtues were given parity with unforgiving reality. Obama actually believed that the thoughts in his Cairo speech were original and that peace in the Middle East eluded the world because he had not yet expressed those thoughts. He believed he could impose "fair" economic regulations without adversely affecting economic activity. He thought he could make the oceans recede. He thought he could reason with despots whose ambitions dismissed reason. He thought he could morally bully those who had no reason to recognize his moral authority.

The dissolution of Obama is not a tragedy nor a lamentable example of unfulfilled promise. It is simply the natural consequence of people looking at a man and seeing what they want to see, rather than what is actually there.