" /> I write: May 2005
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May 26, 2005

Rant 26 May, 2005

For those who want to know about politicians and compromise for the good of the nation, Peggy Noonan says it best:


Posted by respeto at 11:55 AM

May 25, 2005

The Case for Sovereignty

Jeremy Rabkin – ISBN – 0844741833

Rabkin makes an eloquent case for the necessity of sovereignty. A case with which any honest broker of opinion must agree, and certainly anyone interested in statecraft. Sovereignty is not, and likely cannot be superseded by any other form of government. This book provides a solid defense of sovereignty, and simply cannot be reviewed in 500 words or less.

He begins with a brief discussion of a number of potential and actual problems stemming form European attitudes toward world governance, mentioning disagreements over the war on terror, the war in Iraq, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Kyoto Protocols, amongst others. In so doing he points up the fact that differences essentially preclude agreement on many of the important issues of this (or any) day, noting that sovereignty is necessary to avoid powerful forces causing all to conform to “universal opinion.”

Worse, the project of global governance supposes that there is (or can be) an underlying consensus that makes force unnecessary and therefore irrelevant. Unfortunately, observation--and history--make clear that some individuals and some governments are unwilling to comply, absent threat or exercise of force, even, or especially, in the name of the “higher law of the international community.” The U.S. must not, and cannot, entrust its security to “authorities” that have no means of protecting the U.S., which the debate over Iraq made clear. Still Europeans remain deeply enthralled by the “new faith.” They remain attached to the notion that international cooperation can supersede the need for force, as well as questions about who gets to use force.

Sovereignty rests in the capacity to enforce! Global governance has, and proposes no such force, unless by compelling the U.S. to carry out its bidding. The alternative to sovereignty, historically, was a crusading faith demanding submission, whether Christianity, Islam, or Communism (amongst others.) The arguments for subordinating or denying sovereignty are generally made by those who champion collective responses to other problems (i.e., the political left.)

The moral argument for sovereignty is the argument for limited government. For a global authority to compel a national government to submit, it must summon overwhelming moral authority. Faced with obdurate resistance, the tendency of international organizations, and even of advocacy groups, is usually to temporize or compromise . . . or obfuscate.

Europeans have increasingly come to embrace a notion of constitutional government that is fundamentally at odds with Amercans’ understanding of the concept. Europeans have been unwilling to invest authority in a single leader, because cannot agree on a common approach to save Europe. They are not a genuine political community. They have strong political incentives to believe that a crisis can never emerge, and with no troops of its own, Europe finds it hard to confront security challenges that require decisive action.

Those who imagine world peace achieved thru international organization are bound to feel that the U.S must join in the project. The problem is that it runs against the whole grain of American history and is not likely to receive American approval.

The strongest argument for sovereignty is that no nation can trust others to care as much about its own security as it does itself! Faced with a genuine threat, no state would let its security be determined by a show of hands among others that have no commitment to protect it.

Without moral and political context, indictments are mere ideological assertions. The E.U. has conditioned Europeans to think power can be wielded safely by mysterious bureaucrats in small, low-lying countries in Northwest Europe. The idea of the court also echoes larger currents of opinion that appeal particularly to Europeans. The moral force of law can subdue even powerful governments. If it were not so, then how could the European Court of Justice (the so-called ICC) be trusted to provide impartial justice among the states of Europe? If it were not so, how could the institutions of the new Europe have succeeded in subduing the evil tyrannies of Hitler and Stalin? To question the court would be to risk opening too many awkward questions. To believe in the reign of justice is far more edifying.

Originally the U.N. was established with the traditional view that only states could be “subjects” of international law. Now we have the concept of Euro-government with its ICC which deny, or proclaim they will preclude states, per se.

Rabkin goes on to apply similar arguments to world trade, and other issues, indicating that sovereignty is the best and most likely way to indulge these differences for a variety of reasons.

Our Constitution forbids the delegation of treaty decisions to supranational institutions. Otherwise international obligations could be imposed on the U.S., not by consent of the President and Senate, but by an act of an international body unaccountable to the citizens of the U.S. We have, historically, lived within a structure in which Americans in all their diversity can live together in confidence, and with mutual respect. This is impossible with global governance.

What we Americans define as “self-evident truths” are not subscribed to even in Europe. The aim of government is to center our perspectives on American values which we believe—and history bears out—to be superior to all others in most dimensions. And when they are not we reserve the right to change our position. It cannot be because of some overbearing international court. Similarly so in matters of defense.

Fascism and Communism are evil and detestable, and what made them dangerous was their willingness to impose their principles upon others. Sovereignty permits defense against such impositions without international approval.

Europeans already live under a system in which sovereignty is pooled, and inquire why Americans “fuss over” their sovereignty any more than do the largest European states. They insist that they have fared quite well, overlooking of course that the U.S. provides for continental defense, amongst other things. We in the U.S. have no reason to believe that such a “European” scheme would actually provide security, and the European “take” on the war against terror only confirms this. We will not capitulate. They have, for the most part.

The American attitude begins with the premise that individuals have rights, as do nations, and all are bound to disagree some times. Our structure of government addresses these strictures. By contrast the E.U. advocates international governance. (International in the sense that the Commission on Human Rights is chaired by Libya, China has a veto over American action on the Security Council, along with Russia and France. And we are expected to be reassured?)

There is an inherent asymmetry in every American partnership. The U.S. has military capabilities that no country and no combination of countries can match. This means that the U.S. “figures in” to almost any conflict in the world, and certainly into any world conflict.

“The U.S. has not emerged as the world’s greatest power because North America happens to have a uniquely favorable climate or uniquely advantageous mineral deposits. American success reflects, in the main, the result of well-constructed political institutions, wisely maintained by a people that have not let themselves be overly distracted by the opinions of outsiders.”

The U.S. has no choice about responding to security challenges. It also makes a very important contribution by remaining what it is. Independence requires a degree of moral discipline, and Americans can take pride in having maintained it. We live by rules. Not rules endorsed by others, but rules laid down in our own Constitution. The U.S. offers the greatest service to the world by the power of its example, and by its unwillingness to bend before Europe’s insistence upon “world government.”

Posted by respeto at 3:46 PM

5 min. rant: May 25, 2005

Having just read the new paperback release of Dick Morris’s Rewriting History I was caused to go back and reread all of the books on Hillary, including The Case Against Hillary, Last Days, etc.

In years past I have had little use for Dick Morris (the whore-chasing, toe sucking moral cretin who advised the Clintons for so many years), but in reading his subsequent books and watching him in his analytic role as a talking head I have come recognize and respect his abilities in his chosen craft. He is brilliant. Still immoral, but dazzling.

The hours spent rereading all of these works, and reading Morris’s little book bring back to mind all that the Clintons brought down around our heads, and Morris ties Hillary to virtually all of these smarmy activities (except, of course, Bill’s sexual escapades.) Having been on the inside for some 20 years it is hard to doubt him.

So . . . when will the voters of the U.S. wake up and smell the coffee—or will they? I recommend Morris’s book as an arousal mechanism. He lays out Hillary’s management capabilities, recalls her malicious, malevolent streak(s), and makes the case that she is successfully mollifying the public into both forgetting her past, and remaking herself (publicly) as a moderate—which she most certainly isn’t. She is a train wreck waiting to happen!

What with the Clinton’s ability to raise money, Hillary’s reconstructed life of moderation, the advice of the most brilliant politician of the past 50-100 years, and the short-term memories of even the moderates and many conservatives, it is not only possible, but in Morris’s estimation probable, that Hillary will be elected in 2008.

Wake up folks. Recall the devious nature of Hillary. And if you can’t recall, then read Morris’s book. And reread the others if you can spare the time.

This country cannot withstand another Clinton presidency and especially not one with Hillary in the driver’s seat. She would be an absolute disaster. She believed, and still believes that “it takes a village” and all that, and more frighteningly she really is convinced that she can run your life and see to your welfare better than can you.

Remember “Hillary Care” and sweat !! That is what she will do in oh so many other venues. Know that she was party to all manner of electoral malfeasance in winning the senate seat; that she was aware of many of the Clinton pardons—though she denies this—and that on her exit from the White House she stole public property for her own use. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by respeto at 3:21 PM

May 11, 2005

The True Believer

Eric Hoffer - ISBN 0-06-050591-5

Written in 1951, and made notable by a reference to it by Dwight Eisenhower, it was reprinted on the 50th anniversary of its publication in this inexpensive paperback version.

Like others I have reviewed, I consider it a worthwhile read. It is brief, at 160 pages. My only critical observation is that it is redundant. In each of the 125 sub-chapters he is inclined to repeat observations for “clarity.” Despite this the text is widely considered to be a classic.

“Equality without freedom creates a more stable social pattern than freedom without equality,” he observes, early in the narrative.

The myriad critical observations are what make this book so stunning, especially as the product of an “uneducated” man—an auto-didact--a stevedore!
• Mass movements substitute for individual hope. Folks who see their lives as spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement, and look at self-interest as something tainted. Unless someone sufficient talent to make something of himself, freedom is a burden.
• The bored are principally bored with themselves, and what ails the frustrated is the consciousness of an irremediably blemished self.
“Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of an ardent young Nazi, ‘to be free from freedom’.”
• When one joins
the movement--and loses his independence--he finds freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame or remorse. There is no individual responsibility. It’s all “for the cause.” In Dostoyevsky’s words we find “a right to dishonor,” which has an appealing cachet.
• Craving, not having, is the mother of a reckless giving over of oneself. Whatever is undertaken is done with passion, but the goal is never reached, and, in any event one can never achieve that which he really does not want.
“When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lay low until the wrath has passed. There is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse. . . . .”

. . . . Thus goes the entire narrative--full of remarkable observations which elaborate fully upon the nature of fanatics whom Hoffer calls “true believers.”

The exaltation of the true believer does not flow from reserves of strength and wisdom; rather, he has been delivered from the meaningless burdens of an autonomous existence: “We Germans are so happy. German socialists of the 30’s used philosophical reasoning to explain what is actually the least philosophic thing in the world: respect for force and the fear which transforms that respect into admiration. And, how different is that from the more primitive, tribal Muslim society of today?

People raised in the atmosphere of a mass movement are fashioned into incomplete and dependent human beings even when they have within themselves the making of self-sufficient entities. The blindness of the fanatic is a source of strength. He sees no obstacles(!) yet is the author of intellectual sterility and emotional monotony. At root it is his conviction that life and the universe must conform to a simple formula—HIS!

Finally, mass movements never achieve the desired result by persuasion alone. All require armed enforcement: coercion. It was, after all the sword that made Christianity a world religion. Conquest and conversion went hand in hand. (In Persia, for instance, Christianity confronted a state religion sustained by the crown and thus never became the faith of even a significant minority. The reformation was resisted by the French crown, was drowned in blood, and never rose again, leaving France Catholic, unlike much of the rest of Europe. ) In the phenomenal spread of Islam, conquest was the primary factor, and conversion a by-product.

The freedom the masses want is freedom from the burden of individual existence and the fearful burden of free choice and concomitant responsibility. It is not the iniquity of the ancient regime they rise against but its weakness; not its oppression, but its failure to hammer them together into one solid, mighty whole.

Posted by respeto at 2:42 PM

May 4, 2005

South Park Conservatives

(The Revolt against Liberal Media Bias)

Brian C. Anderson – ISBN 0895260190

Welcome to South Park, a comedy production of which I had never heard until I read this book. I watched the show for the first time last night; caustic is the word I’d use to describe it. Funny as hell too, yet Anderson notes that in his interviews with conservative college students he found them bemused by the fact that many of their liberal counterparts—who also love the show--completely miss the point: the “pimping” of what they believe, or at least espouse without questioning the concept(s).

When the writers were asked about the origins of the show one observed that he hates conservatives, but loathes elitism and hypocrisy, most of which is on the Left. It makes a great target for satire, and the show is popular for its transparent demonstration of duplicity and inanity in life.

In recent years the “Right” is beginning to impact seriously upon the “Left” media and culture. Anderson’s fact-rich little tome (165 pages) is a joy to read, especially for those who subscribe to conservative values which are, of course, the long ridiculed norms of Western and particularly American society. It follows the previous books by Bernard Goldberg: Bias and Arrogance, but is different, in that he covers more ground outside the media, per se. He notes, for instance, that WalMart refuses to stock any product which devalues conservative Western norms—and offends its shoppers.

He relates the burial by the Left of the concept of natural law, which is a subject I often debate. Also mentioned is the appearance--over the objections of, and sabotaging by, liberal academe--of conservative clubs and organizations which challenge the disinformation presented in the classrooms of our most institutions of “higher learning.”

The justification by the left of its shameless behavior is noted by quoting a political theorist--Peter Berkowitz: “If we don’t cheat, and steal, and lie, then George W. Bush and John Ashcroft are going to be running the country.” They really do believe that the end justifies the means. Imagine the reaction if a conservative uttered these words.

“Illiberal liberals,” as Anderson calls them, hide behind the charge of racism when questions are raised about the impact of racial preferences, and recalls the regular attacks on the Right for their “bigotry” and “insensitivity,” again in contradistinction to actually discussing the differing opinions and approaches. ‘Til recently the liberal media cocoon protected the Left from such challenges on their excesses . . . no longer.

Cataloguing facts and discussing them in clever and informative ways results in a book which is easy, quick and interesting to read. He discusses how the old Left simply avoids intelligent discussion of different approaches by inveighing against the Right, and describes how the “new media” have impacted upon these evasive devices. Talk radio, the internet and Fox News, to name the most prominent, now make it impossible to cover-up uncomfortable facts, and immediately destroy the misstatements of the Left (recall the Swift Boat Vets and “Rathergate.”)

“While the Right, broadly construed, may no longer be losing the culture wars, it certainly hasn’t won yet.” We can hope it will, eventually. When conservative-hating media elites join in the fun of exposing and bashing the Liberal agenda and its supporters, there may be a chance for Western culture to prevail . . . at least here in what’s left of the West. We need to seriously discuss everything from rabid environmentalism, the war on terrorism, infanticide and euthanasia, to the problems with over-taxation, social security and obscenity in the “media,” amongst other things. Our culture is being destroyed!

I’m reminded of a line from the movie The American President in which “the President” (the Liberal Democrat—in the movie as in life--Michael Douglas) noted that “these are serious times, and they require serious people.” Yea verily! I only wish that he and his ilk understood that they are the unserious, unscrupulous, brain-addled utopian clowns.

Posted by respeto at 3:04 PM

May 1, 2005

State of Fear

Michael Crichton - ISBN 0-066214130

This is Crichton’s most exciting and provocative book in years. For those interested in a techno-thriller there is enough action and suspense for everyone. For those, like me, interested in the exposition and command of scientific detail, this is a stimulating excursion into the global warming conundrum. He makes the facts--scientific and political--of global warming entertaining while he informs on the true nature of the problem(s).

The intrepid protagonists (there are six) circumnavigate the globe, north to south and east to west in pursuit of malignant enviro-wacko-warriors bent on producing crises to substantiate their claims of “dangerous” warming. From icy Antarctica to the steaming tropics of the western Pacific, these wackos are unrelenting in their attempts to produce global calamities in order to get the attention of the dubious and the unconvinced: unexpected floods, quakes and tsunamis are included in their diabolical strategy.

And there are the “good guys” who chase these radicals to the ends of the earth. Now and again someone is exterminated, and a photogenic movie star is devoured by cannibals (sounds about right to me, since he’s a lot like Alec Baldwin.)

Along the way there are inclusions of the real facts of global warming, the environ-mental lobbyists and the political activities of all sides of the debate (or, more correctly, the argument/fight.) He describes the “State of Fear” which exists, thus explaining his title.

Amongst the engrossing details he offers are:
• 95% of glacial ice is in Antarctica.
• These critical glaciers are NOT melting, but increasing slightly in size.
• Those melting glaciers are NOT melting because of warming.
• Sea levels are NOT rising.
• Increasing carbon dioxide is actually GOOD for plant growth, and, therefore for harvests. No desertification or famine. Indeed the North African desert is shrinking in size.
• Schemes to improve the human condition have uniformly FAILED for lack of a true understanding of what to do.
• The imagined idyllic life of primitive cultures is NOT serene, but savage and not returning--were it possible--to such a “pristine” situation is in fact the justification for, and PURPOSE of, government!
• Avoiding change is impossible. The “third rock from the sun” has been in a state of dynamic alterations since its creation, and is little less active now than ever. (He offers a chronicle of the earth’s history which is fascinating.)

Crichton observes that: “We know astonishingly little about every aspect of the environment, from its past history, to its present state, to how to conserve and protect it. In every debate, all sides overstate the extent of existing knowledge and its degree of certainty. . . . Before making expensive policy decisions on the basis of climate models, I think it is reasonable to require that those models predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. Twenty would be better.”

In the chapter he entitles “Author’s Message” he itemizes 25 provocative thoughts/suggestions for consideration if the powers that be are actually interested in confronting and resolving the problems which do exist. (He does not deny global warming (!), just its origins as a human phenomenon, and he discusses in detail the danger of politicized science.)

Posted by respeto at 12:30 PM