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Month: January 2012

Number 232

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 232 27 January, 2012 Law is justice. In this proposition a simple and enduring government can be conceived. And I defy anyone to say how even the thought of revolution, of insurrection, of the slightest uprising could arise against a government whose organized force was confined only to suppressing injustice. … As proof of this statement, consider this question: Have the people ever been known to rise against the Court of Appeals, or mob a Justice of the Peace, in order to get higher wages, free credit, tools of production, favorable tariffs, or government-created jobs? Everyone knows perfectly well that such matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals or a Justice of the Peace. And if government were limited to its proper functions, everyone would soon learn that these matters are not within the jurisdiction of the law itself. Give Up In Afghanistan? This commentary is a continuation — of a sort — of the item titled “Denial” that appeared in Number 230. For and Against There are good reasons for the USA to pull out of Afghanistan and leave that region to suffer the implications of its own mercies. Among them are the recidivist, xenophobic instincts of the populace, the thoroughly corrupt political system, and the absence of a sense of nationality linking the ethnic groups of the region....

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Number 231

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 231 22 January, 2012 Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain. A Paleoanthropologist Clarifies The Current View Of Human Evolution The study of the origins of mankind has accelerated and undergone a transformational revolution in the past half century. Much more is now known about formerly shadowy, misunderstood creatures like Neanderthaler and the earlier Heidelberg hominins. The African origins of humanity are better understood, research tools are now infinitely more effective, and of course there are more fossils to study. What was once a confusion of limited evidence, primitive technology and conflicting speculation is finally taking on more and more hard science. The results make it easier for...

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Number 230

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 230 16 January, 2012 Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell. Denial Can the USA win in Afghanistan, however you define “win”? In the event that question strikes you as rational, and whether you have researched the issue or not, you should consider reading this commentary. It’s grim and not optimistic. Perhaps the single most important question one can ask before beginning an examination of this dismal subject is whether the loss of Afghanistan to Islamist extremists could possibly matter to the USA. Of course some spoilsports would reply with references to United 93, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Center towers, but…as long as you believe that smelly lunatics living in mud huts can’t harm a developed nation, that sort of argumentation is just fatuous. Then too, perhaps the high price tag on a stable and pacified Afghanistan is actually the price tag on US national security. It all depends on your priorities. Finally, there is this consideration, and the peculiar thing about it is that no one seems to be talking about it at all: the USA is deeply involved in a religious war. No, of course the West does not believe in religious wars, having abandoned not only the practice but the theoretical concept. The fourteenth century eventually taught Western Civilization something, though the lesson...

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Number 229

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 229 13 January, 2012 If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? Squandering An Opportunity The Republicans seem destined to lose to Obama a second time. The GOP’s candidates are either shaky, unlikable, irrational, untrustworthy or insufficiently appreciated, while segments of the electorate are cranky, grimly anticapitalistic culture warriors. Ignorance and ideology weigh heavily in many regions, and bigots plan to vote along racial lines. It’s a depressing circumstance with dismal prospects. Some anti-Obama voters are saying that they will never vote for Romney because anyone who is stupid enough to be a Mormon must be utterly unqualified to be president. Accordingly a number of Tea Party activists, ignoring the current leading contender, are working simply to wrest the Senate from the Democrats, thereby effectively nullifying the Obama presidency after Romney is defeated. The strategy is very risky. It would be much easier for the GOP to take the Senate back and strengthen its position in the House if the party had a unifying leader (which Romney admittedly...

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