Showing posts from February, 2011


The Lawless Middle East

While a great deal of attention has been paid to the motives and methods of the Middle Eastern protesters, the question of why so many governments have collapsed in the face of the protests has gone mainly unaddressed. The Middle East's governments are governments of men, not of laws. There are plenty of laws, but none of them actually matter as the ultimate authority in any situation is that of men, not of laws. Their institutions, from the military to the bureaucracy, depend not on laws, but on personal fealty. Laws are covenants. And covenants must derive their authority from some unifying principle. An idea that the entire society can agree on. National exceptionalism can then base itself on that covenant, depicting its national history as the expression of that ideal. The laws then become the guardians of that national ideal. For example, subtract individualism from America and the Constitution ceases to make sense, its hallowed principles become gibberish and the legal syst

The Thug of War in Wisconsin

Obama has chosen to continue his war against the states by using the unions. Like the rest of his objectives, the goal is to kill any attempts at reform and destroy all forms of authority not directly under his control. The integration of Democratic party political machines with public sector unions create a corrupt political trust that is being leveraged to impose heavy burdens on the taxpayers, even while his volunteers organize to terrorize state governments and voters. Like the czars, the public sector unions represent a system of organization loyal to him, that is outside the system. Any attempt to bring it into line touches off a thug of war. The talking point to those who talk up this thug of war is that instead of "penalizing" unions, we should be penalizing Wall Street. In a column titled, 'Stop Scapegoating Teachers", Susan Estrich demands to know, " Where are the Wall Street banks for whom there was no limit to greed? " Well they certain

Tout va Très Bien Madame la Multiculturalisma

France's President Sarkozy has stated that multiculturalism has failed, insisting that Muslim immigrants merge into the "national community". Germany's Angela Merkel made virtually the same statement earlier at her party's convention. British PM David Cameron went further saying that Islamism had taken root because multiculturalism had diminished a collective English identity. All three leaders are conservatives and language like this has been greeted with applause by their base. But there is really very little to cheer here. Announcing the failure of multiculturalism in Europe of 2011 is as relevant a disclosure as the comic French song, Tout Va Très Bien, Madame La Marquise, in which the groom informs her ladyship that her husband had committed suicide after losing his money and burned down the estate, by telling her that everything was alright except for a minor mishap with her horse. Multiculturalism may be the post-national left's favorite nag, but

Friday Afternoon Roundup - From Obama to Khaddafi, a Tale ofTwo Tyrants

A Tryst of Two Tyrants While Americans are going hungry and cutting back, not because Michelle Obama told them to, but because they can't afford it-- the White House is throwing yet another party. This time to celebrate the cultural accomplishments of Motown complete with performances by trendy musicians. It's funny how the media breathlessly reports that Khaddafi spent 1 million dollars to fly in one singer or another for a performance, and yet the White House has flown in far more singers, at doubtlessly far greater expense to throw themselves a party. If Khaddafi was a wastrel madmen for throwing himself parties like this, what of the Obamas who are doing far worse, under the pretext that this is a celebration of the form. Motown is not some obscure form of music that needs to be revived with government sponsorship. It is more than popular and there are plenty who will pay for it. The public should not be footing the bill, so that the Obamas can once again hobnob

The Threat of Government Power

Time and time again, the liberal defenders of government power have attacked any call for reform as a plot by the wealthy. Even now New York Times editorialists pound their keys about the "Concentration of Wealth", invoking presidents from Andrew Jackson to Theodore Roosevelt. But in our America, the "Concentration of Wealth" is not found in the hands of a few billionaires. It is found in the hands of the government. The editorialists talk about the income gap and how much wealth is held by the top 1 percent of the country, but they are leaving something out. Their statistics deal with individuals, not institutions. And it is institutions which threaten our liberties, not individuals. The top 10 wealthiest men and women in America barely have 250 billion dollars between them. That sounds like a lot of money, until you look at annual Federal budgets which run into the trillions of dollars, and the country's national debt which approaches 15 trillion dollars.

No Settlement in Sight

During a week in which half the Middle-East was in flames, the diplomatic chatter over a UN condemnation of Israel's so-called "settlements" showed just how irrelevant Western diplomacy is to the real issues in the region. The riots in Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iran were not about a few Jewish villages on one side of a line on a map that has been redrawn half a dozen times in the 20th century. The trouble with the Muslim world does not lie in the vineyards of the Judean Hills , the glass factories of Ariel, the academies of the revived Maccabean town of Modi'in Illit, the solar panel plants of Nazareth Illit, the dairies of Carmel or the fruit orchards of Gush Etzion. Ever since ten Arab nations lost a war to Israel over six days in the spring of 1967, too many diplomats have acted as if it were its responsibility to fix the Muslim world. In 1973, Israel was set up to lose a war in order to bolster Muslim self-esteem. But Israel still won and while its peop

The Taxpayer's Civil War

The protests in Wisconsin represent a split in American politics. Not a split between Republicans and Democrats, but between those who believe that the government should continue expanding, and those who see the continued expansion of governments as the greatest threat to their political and economic freedoms. This is not just a debate over budgets, it is a battle over political power, and it is the country's most fundamental split since the Civil War. The combination of abuses of power by an out of touch liberal party, an economic recession and growing insecurity about America's future have touched off something that is more than a taxpayer's revolt. Instead it's turning into a showdown over the nature of government itself. Money is the engine of government. Tax revenues are meant to to fund the operations of government only through the decisions of elected officials. Which is why public officials who want to expand the size and scope of government need an electora

Toward a Rational Foreign Policy

To develop a rational foreign policy, we have to start by looking at our foreign objectives and analyzing whether those objectives are being met, and whether we should even be trying to meet those objectives. The existing foreign policy objectives can be broken down into roughly three goals based on order of importance 1. Global stability 2. International trade 3. American interests American interests always come in last. They have consistently come in last under every administration since Taft. Foreign policy wonks would say that these three goals are actually the same goal. That global stability promotes international trade, which serves American interests. This reverse logic has been used by every administration to deprioritize American interests. It's similar to "What's good for GM is good for America". American corporations used foreign policy as a tool to open up new markets and promote international trade. But as the corporations outsourced more labor