28 February 2011
I learned recently that the Arabic "Barak" or "Barack" is a variant of "Mubarak," and so the first name of our president is really the same as the surname of Egypt's recently deposed president. Perhaps we could capitalize this fact by telling Egyptians that Emperor Nerobama is their former leader in disguise, and then bring them to this country so that they can agitate against his rule.
26 February 2011
Christianity is "about" universality, not (what is meant by) "diversity." Our faith teaches that differences between people don't matter ("There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" [Galatians 3:28]); the spirit of the times, that those differences matter so much as to have some sort of intrinsic value ("Diversity is our strength").
25 February 2011
Banning earmarks in the USA is laudable but chimærical. The natural selfishness of people means that, in our decentralized and "democratic" political system, what's called "pork" is inevitable.
24 February 2011
The US military has every right to try to determine whether its prospective personnel are afflicted by what the American Psychiatric Association recognizes as the mental disorder of homosexuality, or have any other physical and psychological condition that renders one unfit for duty in some way or another. (I, standing only a little over 5'5" tall, would not meet the minimum-height requirement to join the military police or MP's; would anyone in his right mind consider that to be persecution of short people?) That was the longstanding practice until the Clinton Administration's addressing of the previous non-issue of service by homosexuals in our armed forces resulted in its promulgation of the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This compromise ought to satisfy anybody who sincerely feels that homophiles ought to be allowed to have an honorable place in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force—after all, servicemen who are, for instance, transvestites, "don't tell" that secret either; the fact that it has failed to pacify the "gay rights" lobby, whose members won't settle for less than an overturn of what they and many others misrepresent as a "gay ban," demonstrates that what they really want is to compel everyone else to at least pretend to agree with them.
Now, the Defense Department, lately described as "politically-correct-on-steroids," has reported that there is a low risk of adverse consequences from repudiation of what has become known by the acronym DADT. I can think of one "risk" that's so high as to be a certainty: the adverse consequence to civil rights. You have, of course, been told by "gay rights" activists that the rights in jeopardy are theirs, but what I have in mind is the natural prerogative of a person not to have to appear undressed in the presence of one who might lust for the other; there is, after all, a reason why male and female enlisted personnel don't share quarters. What does the Pentagon propose to do: create "gay" and lesbian brigades, each with their own barracks, so that soldiers who have the misfortune to be heterosexual don't have to, e.g., shower in the company of acknowledged homosexuals? And what about sailors? Shall we establish separate maritime lodgings for those who are attracted to the same sex, or allocate a certain number of warships to be crewed exclusively by them? There's an opportunity here for some quip about either the pink submarine in the film Operation Petticoat, or the color Plymouth pink, but I'll pass it up.
23 February 2011
The legions of brownshirts despatched by labor unions and their allies to Wisconsin's capitol building have, while interfering with the legislative process, been chanting "This is what democracy looks like"; if they refer to the whole sorry spectacle that the rest of us have witnessed in that State over the past week, then, unfortunately, they're correct. This obviously is not how the US political system was intended to function, but this is what it's come to.
18 February 2011
The first time that Obombast pretended not to be far to the left of just what qualifies as the political centre came during his campaign for the presidency; the fact of his doing so again (even to the extent of feigning admiration for that bête noir of leftists, Ronald Reagan), as if the often-comical-but-mostly-agonizing past two years had never happened, reveals a great presumption (on his part) of credulousness (on our part). How stupid, then, does he think the people are? Enough so to re-elect him.
15 February 2011
This will disappoint leftists and true liberals (see The Other "L-Word") who want to believe that the people's love of liberty incites them to rise spontaneously against oppression, but what just happened in Egypt was not a "democratic revolution." People who hail it as such might be surprised to learn that Egypt has been considered a republic for decades, and that during Mubarak's three decades in authority, presidential confirmation referendums (1987, 1993, 1999) and then presidential elections (2005 and that which, before the demonstrations erupted, had been scheduled for this September) have taken place every six years. Furthermore, isn't it rather odd that the news of Mubarak's resignation came only a day or so after his announcement that he would not leave office before his current term expired? It seems most logical to me that what has really happened is the following.
Ambitious parties like the Muslim Brotherhood (the assassins of Mubarak's predecessor) and Mohamed ElBaradei (who says that the former "has nothing to do with extremism" and that he has been "reaching out to them") fomented unrest, with help from Google, not to bring freedom to Egypt but to effect the fall of Mubarak in advance of the coming elections, for he might otherwise have done what he did just prior to the 1995 parliamentary elections: have many members of the Brotherhood arrested on the charge of aiding Islamist radicals. (What else explains the protestors' failure to be pacified by Mubarak's announcement that he would not run for another term as president, and their further demand that he step down from his position only months ahead of schedule?) The army, wanting an end to the chaos in their country, but not wanting either to use violence against their own people or to shame an old officer like Mubarak by publicly deposing him, assumed control of his government but put out the cover story that he had voluntarily relinquished the reins thereof.
Now that I've told you what likely has happened, I'll tell you what likely will happen: Islamists will gain supreme power. Whichever particular group does so may accomplish this through free and fair elections, but will that be consolation to those who will subsequently see that the world was better off when Egypt was under Mubarak? As I recall, it was "democratically" that the likes of Hitler, Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Putin, Arafat, Mugabe, Aristide, and the Hamas attained the highest offices in their respective lands. Egypt's coup d'état is over; her revolution is still on the way. If only that country were still a protectorate of the UK!
06 February 2011
There are few figures in U.S. political history whom I deeply admire; Ronald Reagan, whose birthday centennial many of us observe today, is one of them. The succinct testimonial that I make on his behalf is this: He was a better president than his country deserved.