Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Too Stupid to Know . . . . .

.....when people are trying to kill you, part II.

The best description of modern western society, other than incredibly affluent, free, and intellectually fertile, is . . . . fat, dumb, and happy. The two descriptions are not mutually exclusive. A most salient quantity of people in a society may indeed be fat, dumb, and happy--while a relatively invisible group of people works to perpetuate the freedom, affluence, and inventiveness of the society.

An affluent society may very well be on the verge of disaster and not realize it, if the most prominent voices in the society declines to inform the society of its precarious position.

Part one of this series was inspired by the motion picture "A History of Violence," starring Viggo Mortensen. Part two, this installment, is inspired by Dan Simmons' recent "April message." I posted a link to Simmons' message at the Al Fin website, then surfed the web to find out what was being said about the "message" generally.

What I found should not have surprised me. People automatically sorted the ideas in the message according to their pre-existing political viewpoints, rather than critically examining it as a useful provocation to thought. Even science fiction readers (and writers) who enjoyed Simmons' work would heap scorn on Simmons reflexively, if their pre-existing viewpoint (on the threat that Simmons' wrote about) was different than their perception of Simmons' message.

Contrast that ready disregard of a well-written although fictional warning, with the massive world-view changing impact of an event such as the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. It is easy to deny a threat if couched in fictional trappings. It was not so easy to deny the gaping hole in Manhattan's financial district, so it was necessary to invent massive conspiracy theories that were more absurd than the absurdest fiction. For the lumpenheads, the conspiracy theories took on all the aspects of reality, and became reality.

Regardless, the web reaction to Simmons' message suggested the reason why despite North American society being daily blasted with a (largely fictional) particular version of current events by the mainstream media (both news media and popular media), political opinions remain largely unchanged. Even the massive PC dominance of the universities for the past twenty years has failed to turn most graduates into the PC automatons that the professors so much had wished for, in imitation of themselves.

People subconsciously understand that the media worldview is fictional, just as students understand that a large part of the "officially sanctioned politically correct" viewpoints they are fed at university is likewise fictional. In a time of undeniable reality such as 9/11, it is as easy to shuck off such fictional viewpoints as it is to change jackets or slacks.

Of course, the really bright ones figured things out before 9/11, but that is a story for another time. The next big reality shaking event will knock even more people from the indoctrinated camp to the more thoughtful camp, but a lot of people decided not to wait, not to be too stupid to know . . . .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Europe: Dear Fat Old Girl, Who Can Save You Now?

The following post was "borrowed" from David's Medienkritic blog. It deals with the current state of Europe, and whether in denying this particular crisis, Europe is finally doomed. Or will the cavalry ride over the hill one last time to save the old girl?

Europe – Thy Name is Cowardice

Commentary by Mathias Döpfner

A few days ago Henryk M. Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe – your family name is appeasement." It’s a phrase you can’t get out of your head because it’s so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to agreements. Appeasement stabilized communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany in that part of Europe where inhuman, suppressive governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities. Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam’s torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush. A particularly grotesque form of appeasement is reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere by suggesting that we should really have a Muslim holiday in Germany.

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians and directed against our free, open Western societies.
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than the great military conflicts of the last century—a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by tolerance and accommodation but only spurred on by such gestures, which will be mistaken for signs of weakness.

Two recent American presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. Reagan ended the Cold War and Bush, supported only by the social democrat Blair acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic fight against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner instead of defending liberal society’s values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China. On the contrary—we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to the intolerant, as world champions in tolerance, which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we’re so moral? I fear it’s more because we’re so materialistic.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy—because everything is at stake.

While the alleged capitalistic robber barons in American know their priorities, we timidly defend our social welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive. We’d rather discuss the 35-hour workweek or our dental health plan coverage. Or listen to TV pastors preach about "reaching out to murderers." These days, Europe reminds me of an elderly aunt who hides her last pieces of jewelry with shaking hands when she notices a robber has broken into a neighbor’s house. Europe, thy name is cowardice. (emphasis added)

Matthias Döpfner has done it before - criticizing the spineless reaction of the European political elites to the dangers of Islamic terror.

He is by far the most powerful voice in the German media against the reappearance of the rotten European appeasement policies of the 20th century.

November 22, 2004 at 12:59 AM i

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

US Generals Demand Media Leaders Resign

Only rarely does a news story capture the pulse of the american military so completely, that it must be quoted in its entirety. In the space below, noted war correspondent Scott Ott reports on a heart-wrenching story of painful honesty--when the generals finally point out the real problem with Iraq.

April 19, 2006
U.S. Generals Call for Resignation of Media Leaders
by Scott Ott

(2006-04-19) — A growing movement of retired and active-duty U.S. military officers, angry at the mismanagement, arrogance and even deception that have hampered U.S. efforts to secure peace and democracy in Iraq, have begun quietly calling for the resignation of top leaders they blame for the difficulties.

“I believe that it’s time for them to step down,” said one unnamed retired three-star general. “The editors of The New York Times and Washington Post and the news producers at CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC should resign effective immediately.”

“They’ve formed a tight cabal that focuses only on news that reinforces their neo-journ ideology,” said another unnamed general. “Despite the urgent need for actual reporting from Iraq, they have failed to put enough boots on the ground in country.”

“As civilians, they make editorial decisions without any understanding of history or military strategy,” said another retired officer, “and they’re trying to run the war coverage from hotels in the cloister of the Green Zone, without consulting with our leaders and troops on the frontlines.”

The generals who all requested anonymity, in the words of one, “so I won’t be bothered by a bunch of calls from reporters writing redundant stories,” said the leading news media gatekeepers should be replaced by “more centrist voices” who will be honest with America, and not blindly devoted “advancing the neo-journ agenda.”

“We’d like to see leaders in there who will cover the Iraq story as Americans, or at least as those who believe in liberty,” said one active-duty general who has worked closely with reporters and editors.

Meanwhile, New York Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. brushed off what he called “the incessant drumbeat of negativity” from opponents of his administration.

“You can’t relieve your top commanders while your side is winning,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “Frankly, the Pentagon doesn’t direct enough attention to the car bombings, sectarian strife and rumblings of civil war which show that we’re making progress in Iraq every day.”

Monday, April 17, 2006

Destroying Civilisation is Easy--Building it Again is Almost Impossible

Twelve million and counting? A massive influx of uneducated economic immigrants demanding full rights of citizenship without even a nod to legal compliance? Demanding it--seizing it in a quasi-larcenous yet unyielding grip--because they can? Is this the reconquista of North America? Tell me it is not so, amigo.

Look at the countries that produced these migrants. Look at their home societies. Is there anything in the source cultures of these illegals that suggests that they have learned to create a prosperous middle class civil society on their own? Could they create a North America as it is, on their own? Of course not. They come to North America because of what was already created here, by people of entirely different cultural backgrounds. The cultural background is of vital importance to the ability to create a working and prosperous civil society.

If the illegals were willing to watch and learn, had the patience to adopt the successful features of the North American culture--were willing to assimilate--there might be hope for them. But the faces of these immigrants are the faces of impatient demands for what they have not earned. They want the prosperity of North America--but they want it on their terms. It is an impossibility that they cannot comprehend, because they are unprepared, uneducated, unassimilated.

No one can doubt the ability of the illegal immigration movement to mass large and passionate crowds of protest. It is a movement full of its own importance, manned by minions of healthy marchers displaying vacuous, self-satisfied smiles of triumph. "I am carwash-hear me roar! I am grasscut, give me more! I am parts assembler, kiss the floor?"

This political movement is not a movement of economic accomplishment. It is a movement of economic parasitism, leaching off an already prospering society, performing many functions that robots will certainly do better, before long.

This is a movement--a massive movement--of social protest, backed up by twelve million illegals, and the threat of hundreds of millions more. This is not a threat of prosperity, it is a threat of destruction. It is a demand with a knife at the throat.

The fact that the illegals would cut their own prosperity out from under themselves if they were to get what they demand--that they themselves would be swamped by further and vaster human waves in the future--is beyond their own capacity to envision. The "reforms" they demand at gunpoint are actually terms of unconditional surrender which would guarantee the third-world-ification of North America--just as Europe is being third-world-ified by its welfare dependent muslim influx.

Civilisation has always had to fight against decay. When civilisation loses the will to fight--when civilisation is intimidated by the mere numbers of those who could not maintain civilisation on their own--civilisation falls. For every illegal in North America, there are hundreds more illegals watching for the opportunity to jump in.

Mexico is a wealthy country in comparison to most of the world. If Mexicans are willing to crash the gates for a fistful of dollars, you can be sure the far more impoverished of the world are waiting for a chance to crash the Mexican's party.

Reconquista? Perhaps. But only the first in a series, and the triumphant marchers and gate crashers of today will certainly be the overthrown gatekeepers of tomorrow.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Arabs--Laggards of the Modern World?

Since the 1960s, arab countries have lagged badly behind most other nations, except african nations. The Strategy Page recently offered a few comments on this issue:

Since World War II, the Arab world has lagged the rest of the planet in economic growth. For example, 300 million Arabs, and all that oil, generate less economic activity than Spain, and its population of 40 million. The main problem has been bad government. Too many dictators, and too much government restrictions on the economy. Too much corruption and waste. Even higher oil prices don't help, as it simply provides more money to be wasted on consumption, rather than business investment.

One of the things that has been changed in Iraq is the way the economy is regulated. Since Saddam was tossed out in 2003, the economy has been governed by Western rules. As a result, GDP per capita doubled by the end of 2005, and the GDP is expected to grow another 49 percent by 2008. All this despite continued attacks by Sunni Arab rebels on oil facilities and other economic targets. It's much easier to start a business in Iraq now, even though there's still a lot of corruption. The big change is that now the corruption is illegal, and there is even progress in prosecuting the government officials who take bribes or try to shake down businessmen. Lebanon is the only other Arab state to run its economy in a Western fashion, and they have thrived. However, Lebanon also interrupted their success story with a fifteen year (1975-90) civil war. Iraqis are well aware of that, and have no illusions about what happens if everyone does not get along. Another thing haunting Iraqis is the most successful economy in the region; Israel. This is also the country most like the economically successful Western states. Iraqis can't really talk about it openly, but the "Israeli Model" is discussed.

In spite of all that oil, something is holding arabs down, making them the laggards of the modern world. Humble little Spain is more an economic powerhouse than all the arabs. What is wrong with all of them?
Arabs are not adding value to their children--there is no added "human capital" in arab societies. Arabs have to import their professionals, engineers, and technicians. Measures of years of schooling in arab countries are pathetic, but do not accurately reflect the huge tragedy, since much of the schooling that does exist is counter-productive schooling in arab supremacy, religious fanaticism, and ethnic hatred. If arabs did not have dreams of bloody conquest of infidel lands, they would have only dreams of stolen glory.

When the oil does run out, the western infidel world will use other fuels besides arab oil. What do the arabs propose to do for economic output then? It seems that their oil only postponed the day of reckoning.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Idiots to the Left, Morons to the Right, Here I Am--Stuck in the Middle

Here is an example: "begging the question." Begging the question is a common logical fallacy that fewer people recognise every year. In general, the phrase is misused at least 90% of the time, in popular journalism and media discourse. But if people do not know what "begging the question" means, how will they catch people doing it when they need to? And that is just the tip of the iceberg, since far more logical fallacies escape detection than are caught. And that is in the world of supposedly professional wordsmiths, journalists, and intellectuals.

The lowest common denominator is good enough for television writers and news producers. Why aim for an intelligent audience, when that would simply guarantee no audience at all? It is a matter of economics. If the schools produce morons, then businesspeople must orient their products so that they will appeal to morons and be usable by morons.

What is the cure? Increasingly, it seems that government schools are beyond repair. The schools of education where teachers are trained for government teaching, are populated by the excremental remnants of a dysfunctional university digestive system. The trend for the entire system--professors, teachers, students--is ever downward. It is a stagnant swamp of lobotomised political correctness, with no outlet. It is a swamp that cannot be drained, due to its carefully self-propagating design.

Bypassing the swamp is the only hope--for as many of the next generation as can be salvaged. If only the swamp ended at the government school campus boundaries. Unfortunately, much of the popular culture has been swamped by the same lowest common denominator/low expectations/ braindead monotony that typifies government schools and government employees.

Bypass the swamp, and work for better technologies and approaches to learning. The cure is helping the young learn how the world works, and how they can best fit themselves into the world, to have the most beneficial effect on both themselves and the world around them as possible.