29 May 2014
The USA's "national" anthem is not played when places of business or schools or even government offices open for the day, or at the commencement of a musical or theatrical performance or even of a presidential address, or under almost any other non-athletic circumstance, and so why is it played at the beginning of sporting events? Do the organizers of such events fear that, should the anthem not be played, the attendees might not know what country they're in?
23 May 2014
Uncommon Commentary #405: When Peaceniks Nix Peace (Alternate Title: Putting the "Fist" in "Pacifist")
One of the great misconceptions of our time is the idea that leftists oppose war. The truth is merely that their motivation for waging wars differs from that of rightists. Rightists tend to be intensely patriotic, and thus to feel a duty to serve their country under arms even if they disagree with the reason for the belligerency. For leftists, by contrast, whether to fight a war or to refuse to do so is a purely ideological question, the answer thereto depending on whether they expect their cause to benefit more from war or from peace. Indeed, since some religious sects forbid their members to kill fellow human beings, and religious persons lean politically "conservative" rather than "liberal", there probably are more genuine pacifists on the Right than on the Left.
15 May 2014
I've paid more than one visit to an history-and-archaeology w.w.w. site called Livius.org. Since (the old version of) said site follows the egregious practice of using "BCE" and "CE" instead of BC and AD, I can't give it my wholehearted recommendation, but it does provide an interesting list of messianic claimants during antiquity. What interests me the most about the list is the fact that, of the 19 entries, just one was ever acclaimed as messiah even after he died. If the man in whom you had placed your hopes had just been executed, don't you think that you would give up on him? What would you gain (unless you are a masochist who wants to be persecuted and ultimately put to death) by proclaiming that he had risen from the tomb, if you didn't really believe that he had done so? Either Christ's disciples repeatedly experienced the mass hallucination that He appeared to them, or He did actually appear; if you're a secular fanatic you'll prefer the former explanation, but, if you're like me, you'll prefer the correct one. (You may also want to read the similar opinion expressed by Gamaliel in Acts 5:34-39, which passage mentions two of the false messiahs.)
09 May 2014
Having a capital, a (single) city in which organs of government are concentrated, made sense prior to the advent of either instantaneous distant communication or weapons of instantaneous mass destruction. Now that messages between officials can be received immediately in places thousands of miles from their origin, however, it's outdated; and now that a single surprise attack with a (nuclear) bomb can annihilate an entire city and thus wipe out all three branches of the US government at once, it's a liability.
01 May 2014
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle-rancher who has won notoriety through his defiance of the federal government over allegedly illegal grazing, aroused further furor with supposedly "racist" comments made about a week back. I haven't really decided whether Bundy or the Bureau of Land Management is in the right in this dispute (although I do, of course, think that the BLM used an excessive display of force when it attempted to seize his herd), but I certainly have something to say about the second controversy. What Bundy said to ignite the firestorm was:
They (Blacks) abort their young children, they put their young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton. And, I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy.
When asked on the Peter Schiff Show to clarify his remarks, he said "I'm wondering are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were (when) they were slaves?", and, at a press conference, he said that he was just posing a "question" about whether Black people are better off now than in the days of slavery.If Bundy were actually saying that Black people are morally inferior to Whites, or advocating the restoration of slavery, then he would deserve censure (though still not the opprobrium directed at him); Do you honestly think that he was doing that? To me it sounds as though he merely (though artlessly) laments the high rates of abortion, incarceration, and government assistance among US Blacks, and questions whether they are truly any better off in these circumstances than they were before emancipation. I've heard similar jeremiads from well-known Black leaders, but, since Bundy is Caucasoid, we who have developed tin ears from having lived with Political Correctness (or, as I've dubbed it, "Totalitarianism Light") for a quarter-century hear the words "Black" (or "African-American") and "slaves" and temporarily discard our ability to reason; one can see this in the fact that not only left-wing outlets like Media Matters (which ought to change its name to "Media Matters, but Logic Doesn't"), but even Republicans who have supported Bundy in his standoff versus Uncle Sam, like US Senator Rant Paul—I mean, Rand Paul—have inveighed against him by calling his statement "racist" and "offensive". Such judgmentalism (with an unhealthy dose of paranoia likely mixed in) is itself offensive, and provides additional evidence that Big Brother is alive and well in this country, which takes pride in considering itself the freest in the world from thought control.