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Month: August 2013

Number 319

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 319 29 August, 2013 My idea of supporting liberty of conscience and the rights of citizens is that of supporting those rights in other people, for if a man supports only his own rights for his own sake, he does no moral duty. Bombing Syria Into Humane, Peaceful Rationality “There are those who believe that the horror of the gas attacks in Syria require (sic) that action, some action, any action, as a necessary cathartic for us moral paragons in the West. But what if it unleashes something far worse? Are we confident that this president and his band of not-so-merry pranksters have the skill to deploy force at the right time, in the right place, for the right ends, and in the right proportion?” Thus wrote Roger Kimball for the “wingnuts” at PJMedia. His comments are part of a series of essays on the advisability of bombing some places in Syria in the hope of telling Assad that he’d better not use gas again (assuming that he did once), or else. If your mind is not made up, you might want to see what those folks say. Some commentators remain unsettled, even if they are willing to go along with Obama. A good example is M. J. Totten, whose ruminations express a discontent that he tries hard to set aside. More discussion is...

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Number 318

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 318 28 August, 2013 …just as Americans liberated themselves from their British oppressors, Muslims must free themselves from Islam because they, too, have an unalienable right to freedom. In liberating themselves from Islam, they will ensure a happier life for themselves and their children, and a safer, more peaceful world for the rest of us. Hoaxes Can Be Fun — As Long As You Remain Rational, Which Many Folks Cannot Manage Golly gee, Kids! Faster than light travel from NASA? You say they are working on a “Star Trek warp drive”? (Heavy sigh.) Well, take a look at a recent post on the internet. It’s a very badly-edited mix of unrelated facts, claims that smell fake, and amusing double talk (such as “negative vacuum energy”, woo woo!). Though it’s a total mess, a very popular and highly-regarded weblogger linked to it, apparently in the belief that it is an update on genuine science. This newsletter would not be surprised if the “report” turned out to be yet another hoax along the lines of this “math paper” or this social science “monograph“. Fortunately the warp drive story is another tantalizing tale that, if a total fabrication, is almost totally harmless. It’s not always that way. Remember: the world has seen the anthropogenic global warming fable become an article of faith among misanthropes who lust to...

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Number 317

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 317 23 August, 2013 With the reign of Elizabeth I, England became the mortal enemy of Catholic Europe; and the Catholic power of the time was of course Spain. From that point on, English-speaking historians tended to be heavily biased against Catholic Spain and, unsurprisingly, extremely favorable towards Spain’s Muslim enemies, who were romanticized and portrayed as cultured and urbane. It was then that the myth of the “golden age” of the Spanish Caliphate was born — a myth which…still has a very wide circulation. The New Army Is Not The Army You Know — But It Knows You It was referred to as a “national civilian security force”. Obama said before he was elected that it was needed. Needed by whom, and for what? Today it is an extant entity, having been created by Congress as part of the Obamacare legislation (yet many in Congress probably have no knowledge of it). Though one can’t be sure, at present it appears to be stockpiling equipment and ammunition, using other organizations’ mandates; this suggests that it could grow by merging with all manner of military and law enforcement agencies, co-opting them and directing their activities as subsidiary organizations newly under federal control. Could it be in a quiet recruitment phase? How could one know whether that is the case? Did anybody ever get a halfway...

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Number 316

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 316 11 August, 2013 Instead of admitting even more Islamic immigrants, it’s time to focus on integrating the immigrants who are already here…. We must…demand (that they) assimilate to our societies, adapt to our values, and abide by our laws. We must oppose the introduction of Sharia, or Islamic law, anywhere in our countries. The Implications Of Collectivist Mythology Misunderstanding Al Qaeda and Islam It’s unfortunate that Obama is, however nominally, in charge of the attempt to protect the USA (and by extension, the West) against the evil Al Qaeda hopes to do. As a doctrinaire collectivist, Obama is not capable of understanding the nature of the enemy. The ideology that animates the president sees both friendly and hostile institutions as necessarily pyramidal in structure, with a small cadre of geniuses (like Obama) at the top. According to collectivist cant, this is the most efficient and rational architecture for all cooperative human effort because the policy, goals and instructions are handed down to the obedient lower levels of the pyramid. At first glance, that seems reasonable enough; in fact, the military and most businesses follow this model. The collectivist error is in applying this model, which is suitable on the microeconomic level, to a larger scale. In macroeconomics, one deals not with a single firm or organization, but with virtual galaxies of entities that...

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Number 315

The New Terrapin Gazette Number 315 4 August, 2013 Those who complain that the Soviet Union…betrayed Marx have in mind the intellectual theories rather than the actual behavior of Marx the man. Whether Marx would have gone as far as Lenin or Stalin or Pol Pot is one of the great unanswerable questions of history. But Marx’s own behavior already pointed in that direction, however much his words proclaimed a proletarian democracy. The Status And Potential Of Islam Whenever Daniel Pipes speaks, this newsletter listens — and so should you. His book Conspiracy (ISBN 0-684-83131-7) is a treasured volume of good sense and good history in this newsletter’s collection, and Pipes’s credentials as an expert are as genuine as anyone could require. Well, he has just suggested that the modernization (he actually means “rational reform”) of Islam is possible. That’s nonsense, if you take the view often expressed in this newsletter. But this is Daniel Pipes speaking, and he deserves a hearing. Accordingly, it is most strongly recommended that you read his explanation of how Islam could and might move into the twenty-first century. Note that Pipes chose a Jewish “wingnut” publication for his platform. Now Commentary is, as regular readers of NTG will attest, a favorite outlet for rational, ethically upright and insightful commentary; NTG quotes it frequently. So the combination of Pipes and Commentary constitutes a powerful...

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