August 2006

The superb Heather MacDonald tackles an issue which has also driven me mad: Conservatives over reliance and use of religion. From American Conservative Magazine

Upon leaving office in November 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft thanked his staff for keeping the country safe since 9/11. But the real credit, he added, belonged to God. Ultimately, it was God’s solicitude for America that had prevented another attack on the homeland.

Many conservatives hear such statements with a soothing sense of approbation. But others—count me among them—feel bewilderment, among much else. If God deserves thanks for fending off assaults on the United States after 9/11, why is he not also responsible for allowing the 2001 hijackings to happen in the first place?

Skeptical conservatives—one of the Right’s less celebrated subcultures—are conservatives because of their skepticism, not in spite of it. They ground their ideas in rational thinking and (nonreligious) moral argument. And the conservative movement is crippling itself by leaning too heavily on religion to the exclusion of these temperamentally compatible allies.

Conservative atheists and agnostics support traditional American values. They believe in personal responsibility, self-reliance, and deferred gratification as the bedrock virtues of a prosperous society. They view marriage between a man and a woman as the surest way to raise stable, law-abiding children. They deplore the encroachments of the welfare state on matters best left to private effort.

They also find themselves mystified by the religiosity of the rhetoric that seems to define so much of conservatism today. MORE

Read the rest of this brilliant article.

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A Liberal, Radical and Progressive Manifesto

by Limbic on August 18, 2006

From TCS Daily :

It’s difficult to convey the shock with which a modern American liberal will greet Deepak Lal’s new book, Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-First Century. Lal effectively points out that just about every goal held dear by those who call themselves radicals and progressives is best reached by exactly the opposite policy prescriptions that they put forward. Indeed, we can go further and point out that the best methods of reaching those goals are in fact the truly liberal ones, those laid out all those decades ago by Adam Smith, David Hume and David Ricardo. MORE

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Mom tattoo

by Limbic on August 17, 2006

From smallroar.com

See also the preposterous infant pillow from The Pregnancy Store .

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Johnny Driftwood

by Limbic on August 17, 2006


Johnny Driftwood

This guy is known as Sol Dust Love on flickr.

He takes some of my absolute favourite photos.

His ex girlfriends – many of who he photographs – are absolutely stunning.

You would love to love hate the guy, but his fantastic talent and those kind eyes make it impossible to feel anything but a sort of fond and admiring respect for the man.

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Hezbollah is single…

by Limbic on August 17, 2006

…and trolling Myspace for “Networking, Dating, Serious Relationships, Friends” . Must be lonely in those fortified bunkers. See the Hezbollah Myspace profile.

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Check it out here: The nature of cult recruitment – jihadi bombers | briefing document

For a superb and thorough treatment of brainwashing and contemporary influence science, read “Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control” by Kathleen Taylor .

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Seth Godin's advice for authors

by Limbic on August 16, 2006

From Seth’s Blog comes 19 points of advice for authors.

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A Superb post from Belmont Club takes up the tradition of exploring the absurdities and falsehoods of contemporary political lexicon:

…The words “peace” and “ceasefire” are not always what ordinary laymen understand them to be. These words are freighted in actual use with the enormous weight of political interest.

…When a person is awarded a Nobel Prize or called a pacifist, one might assume a mild mannered, innoffensive person opposed to violence. Yet nothing could be further than the truth. Very often the awardee is simply a person who has proved the most effective at promoting an agenda supposed to result in something the Nobel committee calls “peace”. For example, Betty Williams, the Nobel Peace Prize awardee for 1976 was once a member of the IRA. She recently told Australian school children:

Campaigning on the rights of young people at the Earth Dialogues forum, being held in Brisbane, Ms Williams spoke passionately about the deaths of innocent children during wartime, particularly in the Middle East, and lambasted Mr Bush.

“I have a very hard time with this word ‘non-violence’, because I don’t believe that I am non-violent,” said Ms Williams, 64. “Right now, I would love to kill George Bush.” Her young audience at the Brisbane City Hall clapped and cheered.

Ms. Williams is an activist, striving for goals which are supposed to result in “peace”; not a passive, reticient person. Then of course, there was the Nobel Peace Prize Winner for 1994, Yasser Arafat, of which little needs to be said other than that he exemplifies how elastic the definition of the word “peace” can be, stretchable to encompass the destruction of Israel which in the view of some will bring lasting peace to the Middle East.

This view is not only sensible, but some will argue, profound.

…Another example of celebrity Nobel pacifism is provided by G√ºnter Grass, recipient of the Prize for Literature in 1999. Anti-American, pacifist, pro-Soviet, he was the idol of the “intelligensia”. And why not, given his political positions?

Grass became active in the peace movement and visited Calcutta for six months. During the the events leading up to the unification of Germany in 1989-90, Grass argued for continued separation of the two Germanies, asserting that a unified Germany would necessarily resume its role as belligerent nation-state. He abandoned his mission of gradual socialist reform through the existing West German political institutions. Grass instead adopted a philosophy of direct action, similar to that advocated by the younger generation of 1968. In 2001 Grass proposed the creation of a German-Polish museum for art stolen by the Nazis.

Then on August 11 Grass admitted he had long concealed being a wartime member of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. Nothing about these juxtapositions would be in the least big surprising if pacifism were properly understood not in the dictionary meaning but simply as the term given to a particular political agenda which these individuals have doggedly and ably pursued. After all, we know how to interpret some terms. Everyone understands that the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” is neither democratic, nor republic nor responsive to it’s people. It’s simply the conventional and recognized name for the poverty-stricken, brutal and repressive personal fiefdom of Kim Jong Il. Peace is the same thing.

Once these facts are clear subsequent discussions can proceed without misunderstanding. Like experienced consumers we will have learned to read the labels on the packaging and achieved a certain level of “sophistication” the exact opposite of which is the “na√Øvet√©” that Americans, especially from the Midwest, are said to be incorrigibly afflicted and for which they are roundly reviled. Of course, sophistication is another one of those words which in this context doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to — “knowledgeable” or even “complex” — it simply means the ability to engage in double-talk and coded conversation with the intent to deceive and get paid well into the bargain. I leave you with one final word: humanitarian. Learn it well.

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Apophenia

by Limbic on August 14, 2006

Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness in unrelated things; seeing patterns where none, in fact, exist

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Lovely Israeli retro photo

by Limbic on August 14, 2006


גלוית סבנטיז

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