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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Those Whacky Dutch!

News today that doctors in the Netherlands are openly and actively euthanasing newborn infants whom they believe are better off dead, due to either suffering or likely imminent death even without intervention.

Gosh, should we all start making lists of whom we think should be killed? (For their own good, of course. Don't want to be immoral or anything.)

The doctor's defense? Everyone does it. Look we're not hypocrites! And we all know that hypocracy is today's greatest moral sin.

Monday, November 29, 2004

State GOP Split Over Expansion of Gambling

Immediately prior to the November 2 election, Governor Pawlenty, Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, Senate Minority Leader Dick Day and State GOP Chairman Ron Eibensteiner stood united behind a plan to bring the state to the trough of casino gambling revenue. Immediately, Allen Quist criticized the efforts. Now GOP National Committeeman Jack Meeks takes a stand in the Star Tribune. His commentary can be found here. State GOP is at a crossroads. Will Minneapolis-St. Paul avoid becoming a cold Omaha by becoming the cold Las Vegas?

Blogger King Oliver said...

The platform of the Republican Party of Minnesota is clearly opposed to any expansion of gambling. Perhaps our leaders haven't had time to read it? It's not long, and it's posted at the RPM website. It also has something to say about President Bush's amnesty proposal.

6:15 PM, November 30, 2004  

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Sunday, November 28, 2004

Afghan Open Held

Its an odd vision to imagine Pashtun Mountain men swinging 5 Irons in the rugged valleys of Afghanistan, but those are the visuals I saw this weekend on Fox News Sunday regarding this story on the Afghan Open being held for the first time in 30 years. The article does not state whether or not the various bombed out structures are in or out of bounds. Further, I wonder whether a club length is allowed if your ball rolls up next to a spent artillery shell. Either way, the Afghan course seems to offer sights not found on any course in the world. Not quoted in this article was the nugget from Fox that the entire course had been thoroughly searched and removed of land mines prior to the Open.

Most Americans Favor Mandatory Retirement Ages for Supreme Court Justices

The Drudge Report has cited an AP story that states that a majority of Americans would like mandatory retirement ages for United States Supreme Court justices. Again, the American people make more sense that the elites in the legal establishment. Ever since the federal courts starting making rather than interpreting law in the Twentieth Century, the federal courts have become wrongfully politicized. The people understand this fact and want restrictions on this branch as with the other branches. Because of the power the U.S. Supreme Court currently has, the people want some of the power distributed to more than just the current 9 with lifelong appointments.

I would go one step further and require that all federal judges serve terms of 10 years with possibility of re-appointment. Some federal Article I courts already have this system. I believe this would have the salutary benefit of reducing tensions over initial appointments because the terms would be ten years, not a lifetime.

The AP story can be found by clicking here.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It's only a matter of time before the Court defines any person over 80 as not a person so they can be properly euthanized. It would be the Roe vs. Wade of the elderly. Its only for the good of society of course.

11:49 PM, December 01, 2004  

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The Anti-war Left Has a New Plan

I saw this article by Tom Haydon via Instapundit. It is a real jingle and well worth reading if you want an insight into the dreams and desires of the anti-war left. My favorite section by far is:

The U.S. still plans to permanently remake a new Iraq, plans that include
American military bases, a privatized market economy, ready access to oil, a
prime target for Western and, especially Christian, proselytizing in the region.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. is already flooding Iraq with
satellite dishes and televisions while privatizing its 200 state-owned
companies: "Bremer discussed the need to privatize government with such fervor
that his voice cut through the din of the cargo hold."

Hold everything! The left is all upset over a market economy, televisions, and Christian Proselytizing in Iraq, these concerns should help them greatly in their goal of convincing anti-war conservatives to join their side:

[W]e need to build alliances with Republican anti-war conservatives.
Non-partisan anti-war groups (such as Win Without War) should reach out to
conservatives who, according to the New York Times, are "ready to rumble"
against Iraq. Pillars of the American right, including Paul Weyrich, Pat
Buchanan and William F. Buckley, are seriously questioning the quagmire created
by the neoconservatives. Strategists like Grover Norquist call the war "a drag
on votes" and "threatening to the Bush coalition" that cost Bush six percentage
points in the election. The left cannot create a left majority, but it can
foster a left-right majority that threatens the hawks in both parties.

Who knows, perhaps Haydon will be able to convince conservatives such as Buckley to abandon his silly belief in God and freedom....all for the purpose of losing the war in Iraq of course......it is a bizarro world.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Western society took a few centuries and spilled a lot of blood learning how to deal with blasphemy. Faithfulness to God requires genuine blasphemy be punished. The genius of modern Christianity was to reconcile such punishment with a multi-religious society where critical discussion of anything religious can be considered blasphemous by some believers. The reconciliation comes from Jesus’ admonition, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, render unto God that which is God’s,” or, perhaps, “vengeance is the Lord’s.” Blasphemy is to be punished by God, not man.

Europe’s problem with Islam (and Islam’s problem with the rest of the world) is that to many Muslims 1) their definition of blasphemy includes practically any criticism of Islam (Islam was given to us directly by God, thus any criticism of Islam is an affront to God) and 2) blasphemy is rightly punished by men, not just God.

I do not know what percentage of Muslims hold these views. But we literally cannot live with people who hold such views. Europe attempts to coexist with them at its own peril.

Related post: Europe in Peril

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Perhaps we over analyze the nature of the Islamic world. I would argue that people in general are cowardly when criticising Islam, perhaps rightly so. Thus, if Muslims were not of the radical sort, do they have the guts to stand up to the terrorists who issue fatwas of death against any critic and then carry out murders of citizens such as Theo Van Gogh for criticising Islam. Why would a "moderate" muslim in the west ever speak out??

Consider artists in the west. You can find bus loads of leftist artists ready and willing to show some "artistic" exhibit of Jesus having sex with the virgin Mary or any similar type of offensive display. In fact criticising Christianity is cliche, one would think such artists would be ready to attempt new territory. Does anyone really see such offensive dispplays as any sort of bravery - could they be arrested under the patriot act? Does Pat Robertson send out his Christian Crusader terrorists to "rough-up" such offenders. No. The worst that happens to these artists in the west is a boycott of their art, which usually brings them more publicity and more money. However, consider a real challenge...would such artists gamble at showing the Prophet Mohammed in an offensive manner....HA HA HA...I seriously doubt it.

12:50 AM, November 28, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

I don't know that our way of dealing with blasphemy is as fixed as Chris's initial post suggests. It seems more likely to me a product of the 20th century liberal view of the First Amendment. I find it hard to believe that local authorities would not have been free to punish blasphemy in the first century of the Republic. In fact, the liberal view is evidenced by the failure to distinguish between blasphemy and criticism of a religion. That seems to me the equivalent of equating obscenity with discussion of sexuality. There is some degree of offensiveness from which communities should be able to protect themselves. Obviously, Muslims who think they are the divinely-appointed avengers of critics of Islam are incapable of participating in our society. But that doesn't mean that a community of Christians, Jews, or Muslims in America should not be able to pass legislation prohibiting intentional affronts to their religious beliefs, as opposed to the airing of issues in debate. I don't want to promote a right to be free from offense, because some people are offended by anything, but I'm not willing to say there can be no enforceable community standard of blasphemy (or obscenity).

In my view, the harm caused by obscenity and blasphemy outweigh the theoretical advantages of permitting them. There will always be a line drawn somewhere, so we should draw the line where is is more helpful to us than it is now.

6:37 PM, November 30, 2004  

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Another thing to be thankful for this season

As one of the tens of thousands of Americans who spent the days after the election snarling the phone lines, fax lines and E-mail boxes of Republican United States Senators with pleas not to support Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) for Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am heartened that folks on Capitol Hill are listening.

While the Senior Senator from Pennsylvania will, it seems likely, take the helm of the Judiciary Committee in the 109th Congress, the outcry this month resulted in a set of useful commitments on Specter's part to his colleagues, and to broader the conservative electorate that supports them. True, I would have preferred just about anyone in the Republican Senate Caucus, to Specter, for this sensitive assignment, the public statement he made includes key concessions that are now in writing. Specter declared last week:

"I have not and would not use a litmus test to deny confirmation to pro-life nominees."

"I have assured the President that I would give his nominees quick Committee hearings and early Committee votes so floor action could be promptly scheduled."

"I have no reason to believe that I’ll be unable to support any individual President Bush finds worthy of nomination."

"I have already registered my opposition to the Democrats’ filibusters with 17 floor statements and will use my best efforts to stop any future filibusters."

"If a rule change is necessary to avoid filibusters, there are relevant recent precedents to secure rule changes with 51 votes."

"I intend to consult with my colleagues on the Committee’s legislative agenda, including tort reform, and will have balanced hearings with all viewpoints represented."

"I would not support Committee action to bottle up legislation or a constitutional amendment, even one which I personally opposed, reserving my own position for the floor."

See the entire statement at:

These written commitments give a basis for us to hold the new Chairman, and the Republican Senate Conference that approved him, accountable for results.

Further still, I am informed by sources close to the Senate Cloakroom, that Specter made other, further agreements in private, as to specific legislation that will obtain hearings and staffing for the Committee that reflects the Federalist Society more than it would the Ripon Society.

And our Society (the John Adams Society) and society at large can be glad of that….

Just another thing to be thankful for this season.


Smelly Little Orthodoxies

I hate socialism because it is socialist. I hate capitalism because it is capitalist. I hate Chrisitanity because it is Christian. Although George Orwell -the author of the books 1984 and Animal Farm -- only got two of these three statements right. That's not bad.

Orwell thought all abstract doctrines misled the local people from correcting obvious wrongs based on their own perceptions or common sense. Orwell referred to socialist, capitalist, Christian (ironically, especially Catholic) and other doctrines as "smelly little orthodoxies."

In the most recent issue of First Things, Paul J. Griffiths in an article titled "Orwell for Christians" points out the many things Christias can learn from Orwell.

Importantly, Griffiths points out how closely Orwell's suspicion of smelly little orthodoxies echoes that of the Roman Catholic Church. From Leo XIII's Rerum Nevorum to John Paul II's Centismus Annus, the Popes have insisted in not identifying a single political or economic doctrine to answer social questions, but instead has concentrated on identifying instances of offense against natural law and natural rights which are associated with certain political or economic doctrines.

In my opinion, Orwell and the Roman Catholic church (at its best) share similar approaches to Big Brother.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The unfortunate problem for the Church, however, is from time to time evil men end up in positions of power. Thus, there is always the risk of big brother with the church even if the church adheres, in general to the correct philosphy through the ages.

3:04 PM, November 25, 2004  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The Church becoming "Big Brother" when its leaders are evil men is only a problem when the Church has temporal or secular power. Notice that the classic "bad popes" such as Alexander VI occurred when the Church was near its high point of temporal power. And this makes sense. If the papacy has worldy power, men who want worldly power will seek it. Thus the best argument for separation of church and state is not to protect the state, but to protect the Church.

11:20 PM, November 26, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

This is one of ssc's most profound recurring themes. It addresses the form of culture, identifying the "coagulation" of thought into systems that provide leverage for one set of interests to outweigh another. How much damage have we done to ourselves by allowing the ideology of the free market to blind us to the full range of consequences of buying practically everything overseas? The exclusion of Christianity from schools, the acceptance of the pornography industry, abortion rights, massive culturally-incompatible immigration, and other policy errors reflect ideology weighing in at the expense of more holistic, truly centrist thought.

4:28 PM, December 02, 2004  

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Media Rampage

If and when a media mogul goes postal and dispatches a few people he had a tiff with in a news room, I wonder if the television and newspaper reporting will headline the event "Media Rampage".

It was not, of course, a "hunting rampage". It was just a rampage.

And contrary to the suggestion that the assault weapon (read: semi-auto) was both the sufficient and necessary condition, what the nut did could have been accomplished with a bolt action rifle. In fact, the same outcome might have been accomplished with a single shot rifle.

Only in a secular culture can things, mere objects and their features, become either intrinsically good or evil. And this is the deeper issue and divide.

In Genesis, when creation is declared good, it is good because God created it for a purpose. Genesis does NOT declare that nothing in creation can be used for bad purposes, including the drugs that occur naturally. It is a good thing that this world exists, and that it will be used to work out the glory and purposes of the creator. But it is our approach to "things", from the religious point of view, which is either redemptive or evil.

Without the religious world view, our culture will always believe that evil is a technological issue. Evil is something to be managed by managing things -- not hearts and minds. Obviously we have not stopped drug use by trying to control the existence and availability of the substance. And we will not keep people from killing each other with various devices until we understand the location of human evil -- the human heart.

Gun control is a perfect illustration of the naivete of liberal rationalism. When we are children, we think like children. When we become adults, we leave behind the charming notion that we can defeat evil with a managerial revolution.

Blogger ssc said...

Perhaps, the slogan "gun control" is an oxymoron like "birth control." Birth control is about no births -- but also about no control over the sexual impulase. Similarly, gun conrol means guns for the criminals -- but also no control over the criminal impuse. Obviously, liberals want to be free to act on both illicit impulses without fear of consequences. This is what they call Utopia.

2:34 PM, November 25, 2004  

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Is it "the Gun", or is it "the Wacko"?

I thought that with the cold weather, most of the nuts had already fallen from the trees, but Heather Martens' letter to the Strib illustrates how wrong I was. In taking about the murder of the hunters in Wisconsin, Martens, a resident of Minneapolis, writes:

We have chosen a path of minimal gun regulation. In many states, anyone can buy any kind of firearm at a gun show without undergoing a background check. Assault weapons aren't banned. Minnesotans were granted the right to carry firearms in public in 2003. Guns do not have to meet product safety requirements, as other manufactured products do. Guns are present in about half of American households, often unlocked and loaded.

Here again we have a case of an anti-gun advocate seizing upon a tragedy to made a point that has absolutely no relevance to the situation. I'd love to ask Ms. Martens what amount of background checks, assult weapon bans, conceal carry repeal and gun safety requirements she believes would have prevented a guy who got lost in the woods from flipping out and killing those hunters. I'm sure she'd have some answer, but ultimately, it would all come down to the outright banning of all guns and the repeal of the 2nd amendment.

I've never really understood the tact of trying to spin one thing into another, as Ms. Martens tries to do. What little respect they must have for the public at large. I suspect that they have been spinning the issue so long that it's no longer an overt spin, and instead has morphed into an actual belief. I bet if we read that Person X was killed by a blow to the head by a rifle yielded like a baseball bat, Martens and her cohorts would yet again lament the lack of sufficient gun regulation. When they see "Killed" and "Gun" anywhere near eat other in a sentence, it's an automatic trigger (ok... pun intended) to shoot off (yep, again) at the mouth about gun control.

Their inability to recognize that this issue is not about the gun, but instead about the wacko doing the killing speaks volumes, and gives me great hope that they will never succeed.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It seems clear enough that greedy liberals want gun control so that those in power, the liberals, would have a monopoly on the guns. If the liberals had all the guns, instituting socialism would be quite easy. At the very least, the liberals could use their guns to make sure we do not teach grammer school kids about the Declaration of Independence. Liberals are aghast that any truth would be "self evident."

9:37 PM, November 24, 2004  

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Europe in Peril

Tony Blankley's column today discusses that some Europeans are beginning to wake up to the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism to their culture. Blankley cites the rhetoric going on beneath their noses:

Earlier this week NPR's "All Things Considered" reported on the findings of German television's ZDF-TV after they had secretly placed a camera inside a German Islamic Mosque. The Imam is heard saying (in translation): "Those Germans, those atheists, they don't shave their armpits. Their sweat spreads evil smells. They stink. They are atheists. What good do they do to us? And since they are unbelievers, in the afterlife, they can only burn in hell." Obviously, this did not go down well when the German public saw and heard such things.

Later in the NPR report they quoted from other communications by German Islamists now being revealed to the German public. A teacher at the Riksdorfer Elementary School — a German government school that under German court ruling three years ago must teach its mostly Muslim students Muslim curriculum — read an anonymous letter he received: "Germany is an Islamic country. Islam is in the home, in schools. Germans will be outnumbered. We [Muslims] will say what we want. We'll live how we want. It's outrageous that Germans demand we speak their language. Our children will have our language, our laws, our culture."

Are Germans waking up to the threat of the clash of civilizations? Not likely. How many more facts will it take before they ditch their leftism in favor of reality. Perhaps it will take another election or two...perhaps never.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ohio Recount Continued

As we all know, Ohio is still counting provisional ballots and absentee ballots. Further, a recount has now been ordered in Ohio, which includes "participation" from the Kerry campaign. There are apparently 155,000 provisional ballots are still to be counted, which is greater than the 136,000 vote margin that President Bush holds in Ohio. This statistical fact has some raving liberal lunatics going mad and holding out hope.... feeling that most, if not all, the provisional ballots will be counted for Kerry. (Even the Democrats believe that the Democratic voters are the type of voters who would be going the provisional ballot route. ) Unfortuantely for the Democrats, there are plenty of "irresponsible" Republican voters as well, and the Provisional ballot count is not going well forDemocrats. As of today, more than 70,000 of the provisional ballots have been counted with approximately 80% of the provisional ballots becoming valid votes. Of the 60,000 votes that do count, Bush is leading 27,198 to 22,393. Of course, Cleveland still has to turn in its results. If Kerry can get a 140,000 votes out of the remaining 70,000 that need counting, he could still pull out a victory. But, alas, there is always the recount. Maybe Kerry will find some votes in a back alley Cleveland poll center.

Evil Conservatives -- Hacks and Ideologues

Chris's post raises an important question regarding politics which is relevant to Minnesota GOP politics today. However, I would answer the questions differently.

The question is why do so many evil conservatives exist? Although I wouldn't normally use the term "evil" to describe any conservative. The term will do for this post.

There are of course two answers -- as is the case with most difficult questions. The first answer is political hackery. By that, I mean the pursuit of political power. Political hacks want political power and they are willing to compromise principle to obtain it. The second answer is political ideology. Political ideologues are so blinded by their single issue that they are willing to step on people and process to prevail on their single issue - the "ends justify the mean" syndrome.

Political hacks can come in different flavors -- non-ideologues or "moderates" and ideologues called "conservatives" or "liberals." So often our politicians are becoming conservatives or liberals -- rather than merely being politicians.

I believe that political hackery and political ideology are the principal obstacles to any political party's success. The extent a party succeeds will be directly related to how many good, principled people get involved and how long they work to rid their party of political hacks and political ideologues. It is the only sure path to electoral success. But, even if there is success, the minute the good people leave or quit working the hacks and ideologues return.

Perhaps, the brilliance of the two-party system rests on this notion. That no party can perpetually retain enough good, principled people to beat back the party hacks and ideologues permanently. So, a political cycle is created where the prevailing party will eventually destroy itself giving opporunity to the minority party.

Evil Conservatives

Conservatives have a distinct separation between the political positions you take and morality. Many (most?) liberals simply don't. You are good if you believe the right things and you are bad otherwise.

Think of it this way. We all know nasty people, those who treat those around them, especially those "below them" (their underlings or in a service role such as waiters) like crap. And we think these people are wrong to be this way. And if we find out they are conservatives, it makes us embarassed for conservatism. It does not, at least in my case, cause me to suddenly think they're not jerks. They're just jerks who happen to agree with me on a few political issues, but not on the more fundamental issue of how to treat your fellow human beings.

Now contrast this with liberals. Bill Clinton was notorious for treating those under him like crap. Same with Ted Kennedy. Look at how they treat women! But liberals don't simply consider them to jerks who help them get what they want. They consider them good people. Upstanding moral citizens precisely because of their political positions.

Publius writes

Can the Democratic party really hope to survive if they continue to believe that "moral values" equate to leftist ideological positions?

They got 48% of the vote? Why not?

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Did the Democrats really get 48% of the vote or is some portion of that the anti-bush vote. Sure Democrats can maintain themselves to be the party of "pro-choice," but why are they pro-choice...is it because they believe abortion to be a-moral and therefore trumped by "free choice." Such a position is quite different then agreeing that abortion should perhaps be legal even though abortion itself is immoral.

8:30 AM, November 23, 2004  

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Monday, November 22, 2004

Moral Values Debate

I had a conversation with a liberal friend the other day over the supposed influence of "moral values" in the election and why voters who cited moral values as a major issue voted for Bush over Kerry. My friend commented that liberals have superior moral values and did not understand why moral values such as traditional marriage and abortion would have such an influence. The ideas that he called moral values were really leftist equality arguments such as all people having healthy food to eat or having the dignity of a meaningful education or equality in health care.

I responded that I did not think his values were the kind of moral values most people consider to be moral values. In my opinion, personal character traits such as being honest, paying back your debts, and the belief that some truths are absolute are perhaps the types of values people subconsciously identify as moral values. On the other hand, public policies, such as gay marriage and abortion are not moral values. Instead, such policies are reflections on the state of personal moral values (mentioned above) in our civilization. The decay of these moral values is reflected predominantly in liberal rationalization of relativism...Put one way, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter... or perhaps using the same logic.. "one man's abortionist is another man's freedom fighter."

Can the Democratic party really hope to survive if they continue to believe that "moral values" equate to leftist ideological positions?

Blogger Noumenon said...

Morality is the engine of social distinctions -- especially the distinction between the low and the dignified. Egalitarians are anti-moral by nature, since their calling card is complete intolerance for inequality, including moral inequality. The search for equality means the abandonment of the search for morality, e.g. an investigation of the prima facie fact that married, heterosexual men, who are also responsible fathers are more integrated, more content, and more substantial contributors than promiscuous gay men. Egalitarianism runs away from moral knowledge as the most odious source of social distinctions.

11:38 PM, November 26, 2004  

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MN House Republicans: Upcoming session will test their mettle

With the Minnesota Republicans losing 13 seats in the state house, they now control that chamber by a razor-thin margin of 68-66. Conservatives have to wonder what this will mean to state government in the coming term. Some, including myself, fear that the losses in the 2004 election will give the House Republican Caucus ample reasons to abandon conservative principles in seeking the safe harbor of the squishy middle.

SSC calls attention to the recent discussion of a statewide smoking ban, a measure that conservatives, especially non-smoking conservatives, must oppose if they are intellectually honest. In addition, there is already talk of a gas tax increase by House Minority Leader Entenza.

Soon enough, the House Caucus, House Leadership and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have an opportunity to take a stand on these and other issues. Principled conservatives will be watching.

Will Minnesota GOP Push Gay Marriage Ban?

Minnesota GOP insiders tell me there is a split within state GOP leadership regarding a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Conservatives believe that a real GOP push would have led to the ban on the ballot and led Bush to a Minnesota victory. Moderates believe that Bush lost Minnesota because he was too conservative and not compassionate enough. GOP leaders in the Senate, House and Party will look to Governor to take lead. Will the 2005 state legislative session pass a ban on public smoking in bars but not a ban on gay marriage? Only time will tell.

Ohio Provisional Ballots

For any of you hoping that the 155,000 uncounted Ohio provisional ballots would lead to a John Kerry victory, an anti-Bush Blog, Ohio-Voter-Suppression-News has taken it upon themselves to examine the entire state for updates on the counting of Ohio provisional ballots. Unfortunately for the Bush-haters, the count is not going well. Rather than every provisional ballot going for Kerry as those on the left have been expecting, Bush has taken an early lead in the counting....

When the counting is complete, do not be surprised if Bush increases his lead from 135,000 votes to 140,000 votes. Damn those provisional ballots!

Artest: In the 'real' world, he'd be out for life

I'd like to say that I was disappointed by the punishment handed out to Indiana Pacer Ron Artest, but sadly, I can't. I had hoped that the NBA would have finally shown some real guts and kicked this guy out of the NBA for life, but I didn't really expect it. They gave him a suspension for the rest of the season, which is about the best I could have hoped for.

Imagine if you punched a customer, even if that customer was abusive. Almost unthinkable. In the 'real' world, over-the-top behavior like this would most certainly get you fired, and in a tightly knit business community like the NBA, you might even find yourself looking for an entirely new line of work. No 'real' company wants to hire a liability like Artest, regardless of his skills. The Pacers, if not the NBA themselves, should stop talking about how abhorrent his behavior is, and fire him for good. I don't know much about Ron Artest, but I'd be willing to bet that without the NBA, his highest and best use might be in tree trimming or window washing - two professions where his height might be an advantage.

Is it any wonder why the abuses by professional athletes continue to get more outrageous when the players know that they can commit virtually any infraction on or off the court and still be looking at a bright and lucrative future after their token suspension? It's high time to start insisting that professional athletes be held to at least as high a standard as we expect from other professionals.

Blogger ssc said...

Larry is right. Further, I believe the NBA is in decline. The fight in Detroit was simply more evidence. Look for other sports to surpass the NBA in popularity over the next two decades.

9:36 AM, November 22, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

Like other institutions (such as political parties), the NBA can limp along in a decadent state for years to come. However, I don't think the high-roller season ticket holders can keep it afloat. It depends how much appetite ordinary Americans have to watch the games on TV (instead of watching something else much more decadent), and how much love of the game translates to continuing to show up. I don't see NBA fanship as particularly unstable, compared to other forms of leisure.

12:17 PM, November 22, 2004  

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Democracy and War Against Terrorism

Democratic nations -- and I mean nations where the people are sovereign -- face a paradox regarding a war on terrorism. On one hand, democratic nations function best in peace. On the other hand, when democratic nations go to war to defend peace they generally erode their democratic values. For example, conscription even wrapped up in flag is undemocratic.

Perhaps, democratic nations can be effective at war if they war infrequently and limit themselves to short and inexpensive wars.

My thought is that the people don't like war and particularly don't like long and costly wars. First, the people really don't like wars that are not short. Can anyone remember a short, unpopular war? Grenada? Panama? The war on terrorism, as President George Bush has reported, is going to be a long war. Second, the people don't like wars that are costly --either in death of soldiers or in money. The people will stop backing the war when it has gone on too long and is too expensive.

Another useful comparison is the decades-long war on drug suppliers in places like Columbia. This war has been going on forever. But, it is fairly cheap. If the costs of the war on terror could resemble the costs of the war on drug suppliers, the war on terror may be around for a long time.

Otherwise, the United States will soon be at a crossroads. How much are we willing to spend to track down and stop these terrorists? I don't have the answer to that question. But, I believe our willingness to spend may decrease as the horrific events of 9/11 recede in our memories.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Of course the question to be asked to your post is what then constitutes a long and costly war? Certainly the U.S. Civil war was costly - approximately 500,000 deaths on both sides in some 4 years of fighting. That is an average of over 300 per day in a country almost 1/8th the size of the current population. (Extrapolated to today's population that would be 2400 per day). World War II averaged about 250 per day, while World War I had about 300 per day in only 1 year. IN Vietnam, the average was about 15 per day. The costs World War II was more than 1.5 GDP. The Civil War was probably more. Vietnam was significantly less.

In statistical comparisons, the war in Iraq is not costly. In terms of media coverage, however, the war in Iraq is indeed a long and costly war. Do most people feel the war personally as people did in the Civil War and World War II. Do people in general "feel" the cost of the war, or is it just really a media event for them.... I would argue the latter.

8:22 AM, November 22, 2004  

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Saturday, November 20, 2004

Whither Iraq?

Saturday's Star Tribune editorial "Whither Iraq" continues the newspaper's anti-American crusade over the war in Iraq. Although the article is wholly defeatist, the compairson to the outlook of Vietnam in the 1970s is the most egregious. Vietnam comparisons abound in the liberal media, yet the differences are vast.

First the "insurgency" in Iraq cannot be compared to North Vietnam. North Vietnam fielded a massive army of hundreds of thousands to millions of troops, who were trained and equipped in houndreds of thousands of square miles of territory held by the North Vietnamese Communists for more than a decade. The North Vietnamese ruled over a population of over 20 million who produced food and goods to help maintain the standing army and carry out the war. The North Vietnamese brought into combat towed artillery pieces, modern fighter jet aircraft, and anti aircraft defenses sufficient to shoot down the likes of John McCain and others. North Vietnam was actively supported with material through the USSR and Communist China - material that flowed unmolested across its borders.

The Iraq insurgency has none of this. The insurgencey perhaps numbers a few thousand and controls (after Fallujah) no territory. The insurgency has shown only to be capable of quick raids and suicide attacks. The insurgency has no sophisticated weapondry and cannot defend itself against air attack. The insurgency has no possible chance to achieve a strategic victory on the battlefield. With the success in Fallujah it is unlikely that the insurgency will ever again rise to anything beyond a criminal organization.

The only way the insurgency can ever hope to achieve any sort of victory or "honorable defeat" in the eyes of arab nationalists would be to crack our will to continue through manipulation of the media. The best chance for the insurgents to achieve a political victory, however, dissappeared with Bush's victory on November 3.

Nevertheless, despite the hope of the Iraqi people, the Star Tribune will continue to oblige the Twin Cities with its hope for an insurgency victory.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I'm using Publius's post again as a start to mine over at my own blog,
. What get's me is that these guys are ignoring the fact that we've just had a major victory in Fallujah. Remember when urban warfare was the great nightmare?

9:52 PM, November 21, 2004  

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Friday, November 19, 2004

American Legitimacy

If you have not yet read Kagan's recently published talk on American legitimacy, it is well worth the read. My basic impression of his argument is that European voters feel disenfranchised with U.S. Presidential elections - they feel they should have the right to vote for our future (or demise) also. Consequently, Europeans see no "democratic" legitimacy in anything we do. We are the oppressors of their freedoms!

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I have posted a reaction to this post on my blog http://www.noteconomics.blogspot.com

It starts with

There is something to this, but I think it is broader than just not getting to vote. Europe is angry because we have, in their opinion, taken from them something that by all rights should be theirs - relevance.

10:11 AM, November 20, 2004  

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The Ugly UN

Today's revelation about apparent unionized workers at the UN voting to express "no confidence" in Kofi Annan and the UN leadership is very interesting. It is just another sign that the UN is probably a completely corrupt institution. The UN essentially operates without oversight other than the willingness of member countries to fund it. Any student of government knows that once corruption starts it continues to snowball until it is dismantled. Corrupt leaders such as Annan will continue the corruption to cover up other corruptions...will continue to lie to cover up other lies.... and so on... and so on... and so on.

The problem with this issue is that liberal institutions such as the world media and enemies of America will defend the UN at all costs because the UN embodies their world view. We should never expect the mainstream media or european countries to take any interest in uncovering corruption at the UN. Nevertheless, the boat may have sprung too many leaks. It is time that we take advantage of the apparent weakening at the UN. In addition to fruitless investigations, Congress should encourage UN employees to blow-the-whistle. We should offer whistleblowers protection and financial security in return for testimony and documents. The UN needs to become an open book.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Foreign vs. Domestic Pre-emption

Perhaps the best question of the latest debate on pre-emption was asked by our senior sometime Chairman: "If pre-emption is justified against foreign goverments which threaten us, why is it not justified against our own citizens who we believe to be a threat."

I think the best answer to this question is: pre-emption against domestic threats is justified, and has always been recognized as justified. We lock up the mentally ill deemed to be dangerous. We define verbal or written threats (merely words!) to be crimes and lock up those who make them. We outlaw weapons which are not useful for self-defense. (I can't go buy an anti-tank weapon at Target).

So I guess the question can be reversed. Given we take these pre-emptive actions on the domestic front, why would it be wrong to use the same principles in our relations with foreigners?

Blogger ssc said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:33 PM, November 19, 2004  
Blogger ssc said...

The question addressing foreign and domestice preemption raises important questions about our preferences. Do we prefer order to freedom? Do we prefer our order to foreignor's freedom? To what extent are we willing to treat foreignors differently than we would ourselves? I think just war theory has a lot to offer regarding answering these questions. To not ask and answer these and similar questions is to lack the precision required of wise decision-making.

2:38 PM, November 19, 2004  
Blogger Mark S. said...


3:22 PM, November 19, 2004  
Blogger King Oliver said...

The question of preemption, either domestic or external, can be disposed of by Occam's razon. We don't need a category of preemption in addition to the categories of self-defense and prudence. If circumstances make it more desirable to strike before rather than after harm has been inflicted, and the costs (including moral costs) are acceptable, by all means strike. I guess the purpose of the preemption category is to "market" an additional moral cost or benefit from the prudential pre-damage strike. The SSC correctly differentiated "marketing" from other purposes for adopting a doctrine.

Just war doctrine may be similarly disposed of, except as a valuable reminder that moral costs must always be taken into account.

4:21 PM, November 19, 2004  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Another way to distinguish domestic vs. foreign is the concept of civilization vs. the Law of the Jungle. In Kagan's famous essay Power & Weakness See http://www.policyreview.org/JUN02/kagan.html

he quotes Robert Cooper and argues that the law of the jungle prevails outside the borders of western civilization and that it would be perilous not to understand the law of the jungle. Therefore, even if it were hypocritical to use pre-emption against foreign powers and not in your own neighborhood, it would stupid not to be hypocritical.

11:21 PM, November 19, 2004  

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On November 17, The Antient and Honorable John Adams Society debated

Resolved: Pre-emption: AN UNJUST FOREIGN POLICY.

The whip sheet started with the quote

When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him. - Franklin D. Roosevelt 9-11-41

The resolution failed.