The New Terrapin Gazette
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.
Does that mean Afghanistan is without virtues or prospects? No, certainly not, but in truth, no one living today will see a modern and respectable Afghanistan. The stubborn value system of the tribal culture and the impact of fundamentalist Islam combine to make Afghanistan what it is: a region to be ignored by those not fully accustomed to its ways.
One of the goals of the US military in Afghanistan is to deny sanctuary to Al Qaeda and its allies. The task is difficult for many reasons, but Pakistan must be among the top five. The Pakistanis, most of whom hate the USA almost as much as they hate India, have nuclear weapons. The best way to keep those bombs sealed up is to pretend that Pakistan is a fully civilized member of the international community — maintain an embassy there, and so on — and pay the villains off. It’s filthy, but it works. So far.
Unfortunately the negatives accumulate: it is realized that many in Pakistan knew exactly where bin Laden was; the main supply line for US forces in land-locked Afghanistan runs through Pakistan; the USA’s enemy fights in Afghanistan but is based in Pakistan, where he has support from powerful factions in the national government; though Islamabad admits it can not and does not administer vast regions along the border with Afghanistan, it objects bitterly to US military action there; and the venality and duplicity of the Pakistanis are boundless.
Those are all excellent reasons for the USA to get out of Afghanistan.
Unfortunately there are also good reasons for the USA to stay and fight. The mass murderers hoping to savage the USA use “No-go” places like Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan — nations whose central governments are unable to assert their authority — as safe bases of operation. The aim of the jihadis hiding in Pakistan is to reoccupy and dominate Afghanistan, a development that could harm the US catastrophically. US cities would be at greater risk, for the US agencies tasked with protecting the homeland are simply not capable of coping with bombers who are left peacefully to plan and coordinate. Smelly lunatics living in mud huts can badly wound a developed nation, and they have. The would-be mass murderers must be kept busy trying to survive lethal attacks and finding replacements for their dead leaders.
Having a power base in Afghanistan, however much it offends the Pakistanis, is also tactically somewhat useful because it hinders the jihadis, squeezing them between decent elements of the Pakistani regime and the US military. That’s far from an ideal situation for the USA, but it does put the jihadis at a disadvantage. Finally, as things stand, it is possible for the USA to reach into Pakistan and kill people.
Quit Afghanistan, and you give up a strategic posture that lends you credibility in a world that, however insane and vile parts of it are, does understand power.
Two additional factors must be considered: first, under Petraeus, the USA was actually winning in Afghanistan, though the road was longer than he believed. A brilliant general could eventually prevail and see to it that Afghan anti-Taliban factions gained sufficient control to permit US forces to withdraw. That is not to say he would be given the chance to do so.
Second — and now one comes to the prime consideration that should determine whether the USA carries on in Afghanistan — there is the matter of resistance to violent religious fanaticism.
Islam is partly a lunatic’s vision of a world stripped of Western Civilization, Liberty, the dignity of the individual, and history itself.
The engagement with jihadis is a religious war, which means that one side will never surrender, even if militarily defeated. There will be no armistice and no peace treaty, just as there is no Geneva Convention. Ultimately, if the West wishes to survive the depredations of Islam, it must demonstrate its intent and not waver. Periods of peace may come and will go, but there will be no conclusion.
That grim truth necessarily demands that the West fight in septic regions like Afghanistan. The USA must repeatedly prove to the jihadis that it is willing to sacrifice some of its sons and daughters in war.
Yes, that is a terrible prospect. The fanaticism of the jihadi is a curse on his neighbors, and those who resist his totalitarian designs must pay a high price for having offended the most evil people on the face of the earth.
The Future of Islam
It is rational to believe that eventually Islam will, like Christianity and the Hebrew faith, simply ignore the absurd and inhumane aspects of its holy scriptures. When will that happen?
In attempting to answer that question, the West should recall that its own history displays some similarities to that of Islam.
The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were probably the nadir of Christian teaching and practice; it was noted by a rational contemporary observer that there were in Europe as many witches as torturers could create. The horror did not end with the Treaty of Westphalia in the seventeenth century. A century and three-quarters passed after the end of the Thirty Years’ War before the Vatican declared a formal end to torture in the examination of accused heretics.
Now Islam is approximately seven hundred years younger than Christianity. Based on the facts and the possibly bad analogy with Christianity’s historical journey, one can guess that it will take at least several more centuries for Islam to achieve thoroughgoing ethical maturity.
If that guess is even remotely accurate, the news for the West is bad indeed: peaceful coexistence with Islam is, at best, in the distant future.
Meanwhile, if lunatic Muslims feel that the West’s determination to survive is in doubt, violence will spread and intensify.
That is to say that Ron Paul is wrong when he ascribes Muslim violence to the mere presence of the USA in the Old World. For fanatical Muslims, the West is a target and prize, not just an obnoxious intruder the faithful hope to discourage.
One must expect that a sign of Western weakness will provoke jihadis to greater efforts to do even more damage within the USA. Multiple coordinated attacks on Jewish hospitals should be considered probable, for instance.
Of course another successful jihadist attack would thrill many if not most Muslims. Convinced that their creator deity had intervened to punish the hated infidels, Muslims would once again rejoice as they did on September 11, 2001. (Recall the joy.)
If the West does not try to convince the jihadis that the lovers of Liberty will never give up, the maturation of Islam will be prolonged. Even the hint that the West has suffered a failure of will can only encourage the lunatics.
Choosing the Best Path Forward
That does not mean that Afghanistan is the only place on earth that matters. Too, the disadvantages of waging war in Afghanistan are considerable, and possibly decisive. Perhaps the West’s determination should be made clear in some other place, and at some other time; that is a strategic matter to be decided at the highest level, where all the facts are available — assuming, of course, that the West wishes to survive.
Perhaps fighting in a very difficult environment is the best way to prove that one is willing to fight. Certainly the Soviets were tremendously impressed by the US effort in Vietnam; the fact that most troubled the Kremlin was expressed as, “The Yankees will fight that long and at that cost in a region of no value to them; it’s irrational. Imagine the extremes they will go to if we attempt territorial expansion anywhere!”
Enough speculation. For now, the question for the USA demands an answer: why not find a better general, as Lincoln did, and fight as long as necessary to prove to Islamists around the world that the West will never, never submit?
Another Note On The Causes Of The Current Economic Distress
Rational economics is dismal only when the times are dismal; then it’s hard to enjoy the symmetry of the reasoning — or laugh at the consequences of Keynesianism. That is also when information about markets, governance and finance is essential. Here’s a quote that will probably sum up the core of the much-needed wisdom sufficiently, but if you have questions or remain unconvinced, read the more comprehensive essay from which this comes:
On the basis of economic theory and historical experience, the life expectancy of a societal model with fifty percent or more government control over the economy does therefore not look promising. The taxing, resources-consuming state-parasite must constantly weaken and sooner or later kill the productive and wealth-creating market-host. When does this happen? Well, we are about to find out, as we are now all part of some gigantic real-life experiment, bravely conducted by the current policy establishment in Europe and elsewhere at our own expense and that of our children. Across the EU, the share of government spending in the economy is already around fifty percent, depending whose numbers you believe. If we could account for regulation and interventionist legislation, the state’s grip on economic decision-making is certainly larger. To call such an economy capitalist is a joke, albeit perhaps not as cruel a joke as the one the economy itself, with its persistently anaemic performance, is playing on the Keynesian economists and their ridiculous clamour for ever more government spending to boost ‘aggregate demand’.
This newsletter was unaware that the DNA evidence for Thomas Jefferson’s paternity of a child or children born by one or some of his slaves is inconclusive.
The State of the Union address can be correctly understood only if it is placed in context. Begin with this revelation and conclude with more on the three-card monte legerdemain that Team Obama performs so skillfully. Then have a look at this list of things The One did not say. Then, given that context, read the rest of the story.
The popular wisdom says that Romney was a villain back when he was an all-out capitalist. You know how it goes: he was “…getting rich by tossing people out of work and eliminating their jobs”. Oddly, he has not struck back by describing the true story. Maybe that means he’s not smart enough to be president…well, in any event, here is the information that could have derailed “the popular wisdom”.
Jimmy Durante (do you remember him?) used to say, “Everybody wants to get into the act.” Here’s a modern example, as the Democrats try to play a role in the Republican primary in Florida. This tells us whom they want to face in the November election.
You may not realize it, but you use Linux. Have a look at this Open Source computer operating system on the occasion of its twentieth birthday.
Do you not agree that partisan media censorship that runs counter to the best interests of the nation is — or would be — reprehensible? Sure you do. Now ponder the credibility of a claim that ABC is hiding the results of its investigation of the Islamist attack on the USA in 2001. Read the post and decide whether this is a matter of concern.
This newsletter claims that prosperity depends on productivity, which in turn depends on tools. That’s an anti-Marxist view. But what about value? Marx said that the only way to increase value is to apply labor. He was wrong (again).
The problem with government regulation of private and corporate activity is that it can be used by unscrupulous parties to advance evil. (Nothing unique there….) Holder’s Department of Justice should not be the creature of the entertainment industry, now should it? There is more: “…the US Embassy sanctioned a conspiracy by Hollywood studios…”. Show Biz is getting out of hand.
From the Still Crazy After All These Years file: the French are planning a theme park celebrating a monster whose enormities damn him as one of the worst human beings in history. One might have expected this recent development from the nation and culture that created Vichy France.
Censorship comes in several flavors. Consider, for example, the brittle preoccupation with mild or routine criticism that characterizes The One’s misbehavior. (Carry on with the link in the article for a bit more detail.) Attempts to intimidate people into not making any negative comments are diagnostic of a selfishly narrow, intolerant view of reality; ideologues of all stripes share this personality flaw.
Related to the two above paragraphs: amazing, those French. They are at it again, though it’s entirely unnecessary for them to prove once more to a frustrated world that they do not deserve to have and administer any terrain on the face of the planet. Read the commentary at the link and wonder at the manifest absurdity and ethical vacuity.
What keeps airplanes from falling? If you provide the stock answer that is taught in school, you will be wrong. The real answer: benevolent fairies.
Is this news item just more hyperbolic, over-enthusiastic, exaggerated and romantic nonsense that the public does NOT need to know, or does it inform us that cancer is about to be vanquished, utterly and for ever? The New Terrapin Gazette says it’s the former. The report inspires false hope — which only enhances misery. It would be nice if NTG were wrong on this issue, but the past suggests how things will probably go, unfortunately.
Racism is ugly, and corrupts every human endeavor it touches.
For Republicans agonizing over which candidate to back, here are Victor Davis Hanson’s opinions of the contenders.
“Obama has been talking like a class warrior in the run-up to his re-election campaign. Now he’s ignited a real class war, on the left.” The reference is to the veto of the Keystone pipeline. That blunder will be a potent campaign issue.
Everybody hates the Jews. Or so some utter morons hope…. What next? “Occupy A Bar Mitzvah”?
Newt Gingrich, unethical? What happened to get him slapped with a huge fine for improper conduct, anyway? A Newt-friendly account tries to exonerate a man who is hated, controversial, and admired. He’s nothing if not energetic.
The Tea Party Movement is overwhelmingly anti-mainstream media, and may become strongly anti-entertainment industry, as well. The fundamental reason: free markets, with their consequent upheavals and non-existent guarantees of corporate survival, are fundamental to the Tea Party mindset. The future will be quite exciting for Hollywood.
Californians, read this! If it’s true, your future and the future of all in the USA might be a lot easier to bear. Then read another reason why this is extraordinarily good news. — Now look, Californians, don’t let that goofy governor of yours and the eternally incompetent legislature in Sacrebleu mess this up. Please. In fact, don’t let those rascals find out about it: put the lot of them under house arrest, and don’t let them watch anything on TV except the Cartoon Network.
This disclosure of documents, forced on the US Department of Justice by a Freedom of Information Act request, will take time to evaluate, but at first glance it looks as if Holder’s boys and girls have some nasty playmates. Comme c’est bizarre!
“People were mad as hell in 1994, and they’re mad as hell in 2012.” Yes, they are, but…it’s not that simple. There are racial bigotry, censorious mass media, class conflict, a Peronist ruling elite, widespread ignorance and ideological lunacy, economic desperation, the search for simple answers, the decay of individualism, crushing governmental debt…and no unifying leadership. The nation has no Augustus, no Charlemagne, no Atatürk.
The contest between historians trained in competing academic orientations — or call them Weltanschauungen, if that word seems somehow more vague and therefore relevant — was won long ago by what this professor refers to as “race and gender” scholars. He documents the phenomenon and defends more traditional approaches to the study of the past. He is, of course, a relic, and more’s the pity.
Nonsense rumors thrive where ignorance precedes them. Here’s another instance: Pelosi’s lying propaganda simply refuses to die.
Last and certainly least, you might have forgotten that Franklin D. Roosevelt said in all seriousness: “…you know this is a Protestant country, and the Catholics and the Jews are here on sufferance.” You don’t believe it? Look it up, and you can start your search with this weblog.
I won’t slave for beggar’s pay
Likewise gold and jewels
But I would slave to learn the way
To sink your ship of fools
The masthead includes a quote from the works of Frederic Bastiat.
The staff of The New Terrapin Gazette expresses its sincere gratitude to the many people who have gifted the world with Arch Linux, Emacs, and Firefox.
Publisher:The Eagle Wing Palace of The Queen Chinee.