23 March 2016

Uncommon Commentary #498: “Anti-Fascist” Fascists

It seems to me that the mindset of the protesters who, when the leading Republican presidential candidate cancelled his planned rally in Chicago out of safety concerns, proclaimed “We stopped Trump!” is identical to that of the fanatics whose intolerance of ideological opposition is dominating life at our institutions of higher learning.  The purpose of the US Constitution’s guarantee of a right of peaceful assembly is to give people the opportunity to express their opinions; modern demonstrators have turned this purpose upside-down, transforming protest into a means of censoring controversial speech!
(For my opinion on a similar subject, see UC #234.)

16 March 2016

Miscellaneous Musing #78

It’s well-known that many German war criminals came to the USA after the Third Reich fell, but we probably don’t think about the fact that not all of them had to assume new identities.  Consider the postwar career of Wernher Von Braun, who had been an officer in the SS and then built rockets, using slave labor, for the purpose of massacring civilians.  We ought to have handed him over for trial, but, because our desire to have him (and other, less-prominent scientists with National Socialist connections) in our space program overcame our desire to see the guilty punished, we instead gave him US citizenship, honors, and celebrity!  In doing so, we betrayed the high ideals for which our country purportedly stands, and we also betrayed our allies.  Would the man have escaped justice if his V-2's had been aimed at New York and Washington, DC rather than at London and Antwerp?

09 March 2016

Uncommon Commentary #497: Is the End of a Friend What We Intend?

Contrary to what is often said, the USA has never been an “ally” of Israel.  Allies are states (such as the United Nations during World War II) that fight on the same side in wartime, or have an (official) peacetime agreement (e.g., the NATO) that they will fight on the same side during a future war.  The US relationship to Israel could never have been called anything more than friendship; as a description of that portion of the relationship which has now gone on for more than a quarter-century, even that term would be largely inaccurate. (Would a friend try to force a friend to make himself more vulnerable to his enemies?)

01 March 2016

Uncommon Commentary #496: UC #4 Follow-Up

When I wrote UC #4, I mentioned only one of my reasons for disliking the practice of using State primaries to decide a political party’s nominations for the US presidency; that error is now rectified, for I here present two others.
  1. In my (expert) opinion, the USA had better chief executives when nominees for the office of president were selected in “smoke-filled rooms.”  The newer system may be more “democratic”, but I would prefer something less “democratic” and more effective.         
  2. The later the date at which a State’s political-party members caucus, the more likely it is that the party’s eventual nominee will already have been determined effectively or even officially.  This fact can make voting seem even more truly pointless in latecomer States than it does on Election Day (and, thanks to “Super Tuesday”, this onset of irrelevancy can occur very early in the campaign season); further, since voters in these many States may prefer candidates different from those preferred by voters who live elsewhere, but since their different choices may be rendered moot as candidates who gained insufficient support in the earlier primaries—on might call them “primary primaries”—withdraw from the race, the winner of the nomination may not even be the actual favorite of his party’s majority.  It would make more sense for all 50 States and the District of Columbia to hold their primaries on the same day.

(If I come up with any more reasons, I’ll let you know what they are.)