Saturday, May 31, 2008

hmm, who should i vote for?

both roslin and sackofcatfood are more appealing than the dregs the two-party system is offering this year...

war on drugs

That oft-maligned "War on Drugs" is simply another front in the continuing battle of American independence.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

conservative principles

Fred Thompson:
Conservatives should stay true to their principles and remember:
  • Congress cannot repeal the laws of economics. There are no short-term fixes without longer term consequences.
  • In a free and dynamic country with social mobility, there will be great opportunity but also economic disparity, especially if the country has liberal immigration policies and a high divorce rate.
  • An education system cannot overcome the breakdown of the family, and the social fabric that surrounds children daily.
  • Free markets, not an expanding and more powerful government, are the solution to today's problems. Many of these problems, such as health-care costs, energy dependency and the subprime mortgage crisis, were caused in large part by government policies.
Would that we actually had a conservative choice in the next election...

Cult of Gaia, cont.

Jonah Goldberg goes behind the greens:
At its core, environmentalism is a kind of nature worship. It’s a holistic ideology, shot through with religious sentiment. “If you look carefully,” author Michael Crichton observed, “you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.”

Environmentalism’s most renewable resources are fear, guilt, and moral bullying. Its worldview casts man as a sinful creature who, through the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, abandoned our Edenic past. John Muir, who laid the philosophical foundations of modern environmentalism, described humans as “selfish, conceited creatures.” Salvation comes from shedding our sins, rejecting our addictions (to oil, consumerism, etc.) and demonstrating an all-encompassing love of Mother Earth. Quoth Al Gore: “The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”

I heard Gore on NPR recently. He was asked about evangelical pastor Joseph Hagee’s absurd comment that Hurricane Katrina was God’s wrath for New Orleans’s sexual depravity. Naturally, Gore chuckled at such backwardness. But then the Nobel laureate went on to blame Katrina on man’s energy sinfulness.

---

Whether or not it’s adopted the trappings of religion, my biggest beef with environmentalism is how comfortably irrational it is. It touts ritual over reality, symbolism over substance, while claiming to be so much more rational and scientific than those silly sky-God worshipers and deranged oil addicts.

It often seems that displaying faith in the green cause is more important than advancing the green cause. The U.S. government just put polar bears on the threatened species list because climate change is shrinking the Arctic ice where they live. Never mind that polar bears are in fact thriving — their numbers have quadrupled in the last 50 years.

---

Plastic grocery bags are being banned, even though they require less energy to make and recycle than paper ones. The country is being forced to subscribe to a modern version of transubstantiation, whereby corn is miraculously transformed into sinless energy even as it does worse damage than oil.

---

In the broadest sense, the environmental movement has won. Americans are “green” in that they are willing to spend a lot to keep their country ecologically healthy, which it is. But now it’s time to save the environment from the environmentalists.
(emphases mine)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

sanctimonious rubbish

Lileks on Epcot's Cult of Gaia church service:
The actual Circle of Life, as applied to animals, consists of birth, killing, consumption, excretion, copulation, and solitary death from small predators in the blood or nasty ones with big teeth. Sometimes there’s death by fire, for variety’s sake. It takes consciousness on the human level to extract the metaphorical weight in the whole Circle of Life thing, and while I think it’s wonderful to appreciate and marvel at the intricate ecosystems of the planet, and tread as lightly as necessary, wordless choirs voicing ecstatic vowels over footage of wildebeest herds does not really equal a High Mass for spiritual impact or depth. All of which I kept to myself, of course. But I felt like the village atheist.

The plot was hugely ironical: Timon and Roomba or whatever the warthog is named were building a resort in the jungle, and damming a stream to create a water feature. Simba showed up to demonstrate the error of their ways. The hilarity of any manifestation of the Disneyverse criticizing an artificial lake to build a resort goes without saying. And it did go without saying, of course. Simba said that Timon and Roomba or whatever were acting like another creature that did not behave in tune with nature, and that creature was... man.

...I tire of this. Big evil stupid man had done many stupid evil bad things, like pile abandoned cars in the river, dump chemicals into blue streams, and build factories that vomited great dark clouds into the sky. Like the People’s State Lead Paint and Licensed Mickey Merchandise Factory in Shanghai Province, perhaps? Simba gave us a lecture about materialism and how it hurt the earth – cue the shot of trees actually being chopped down, and I’m surprised the sap didn’t spurt like blood in a Peckinpah movie – and other horrors, like forests on fire because... well, because it was National Toss Glowing Coals Out the Car Window Month, I guess. I swear the footage all came from the mid-70s; it was grainy and cracked and the cars were all late-60s models. Because I’m pretty sure we’re not dumping cars into the rivers as a matter of course any more. You’re welcome to try to leave your car on the riverbank and see how that turns out for you.
(emphases mine)

update: CSM has a related post.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Oriana Fallaci Square

in fair Verona, where we lay our scene

weekend summary

in ad form:

990 miles by car: $110
387 miles in a fully-loaded 26' u-haul: $780
ten assistants: free
getting dad closer to his grandkids: priceless


in prose(?) form:

leaving...
plans & midnight,
"amarillo by morning"
the dark northwest flow
interrupted every half-hour.

returning...
air & caffeine,
"lemmings in shiny metal boxes"
the first blue of dawn touches
the sodium-lit haze over dallas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

loooooong weekend

due to several hundred miles of family obligations, expect no new posts here until monday at the earliest.

turn it down

oh please, not 11!

Israel at 60

Mark Steyn:
By most measures, the Jewish state is a great success story. The modern Middle East is the misbegotten progeny of the British and French colonial map makers of 1922. All the nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years – Iraq to the Thirties, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel to the Forties. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it.

Would I rather there were more countries like Israel, or more like Syria? Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Iraq may yet prove a second), and its Arab citizens enjoy more rights than they would living under any of the kleptocrat kings and psychotic dictators who otherwise infest the region.

On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita just shy of $30,000 – and within striking distance of the European Union average. If you object that that’s because it’s uniquely blessed by Uncle Sam, well, for the past 30 years the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid has been Egypt: their GDP per capita is $5,000, and America has nothing to show for its investment other than one-time pilot Mohamed Atta coming at you through the office window.

Friday, May 09, 2008

playing god's advocate

david berlinski asks some good questions in "the devil's delusion":
Has anyone provided a proof of God's inexistence? Not even close.

Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.

Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.

Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.

Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.

Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even ballpark.

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The experts agree...



Gun control works!

via the jungle hut