Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fitna and a decent respect to the opinions of mankind

Okay, Geert Wilders puts out a film and it is aimed at Muslims.

So his queen says, "free speech doesn't allow one the right to offend." Now, is the European Royalty so inbred that they do not understand language. (from Reason) Of course, Her Majesty is a state functionary with little personal discretion to say what she may truly feel. Still, one would hope she would think a figure head crown was not worth having if it required saying things that are silly. Just in case the genes are too close, Queenie, I'm going to explain it to you. If speech must not offend, it is not free. So, just say you are against free speech and be honest or tell your PM to go to hell and accept the consequences.

Geert's prime minister "sighed that in Holland such statements (Wilders) were indeed legal, "but there is the possibility, once the film is released, that there will be a court case."" (also Reason) What was the point of getting rid of Seyss-Inquart?

Intent on proving Wilders' right, threats from Islamic groups caused Liveleak to stop the video on its website.

So it goes.

the voice of humility viewed Fitna and has some observations.

First of all, the film has some power. More for me as the music, Grieg's Asa's Tod from Peer Gynt was practiced for a long time by one of my children as he prepared for a concert with an ensemble he was part of. It is not overpowering, but it is serious music for a serious subject.

Second, it consists of many quotes from the Koran. Now I have a rule. If you quote someone and their first reaction is that you are quoting them out of context, then generally, they are either guilty or are bad stylists. When you write, say what you mean and mean what you say. Religious texts get a pass from me on this one, as they were written long ago and because so much is at stake, they are serious stuff and listening to a rebuttal is in order.

The quote that is the title of this post is from the declaration of independence. The colonists felt if they were going to rebel, they had to make known their reasons. I believe that we all have an obligation to make the reasons for our positions known within in that spirit of a decent respect for the opinions of others.

Did Mr. Wilders do this. If you watch the video, he is quoting the Koran and showing videos of Muslims speaking and acting. Other than the picture of Mohammed and the fuse, I don't think he is being unfair unless he is doing the out of context thing. That beheading video, there is some "splainin to do."

If he had a lot of ranting text, it would not have had much power and he could be dismissed as a crank. No, this is spare and eloquent, but it may be wrong.

Therefore, in the spirit of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" the voice of humility looked for a reasoned rebuttal. As to the verses quoted, Rupee News does what appears to my uneducated eyes a very good job. He calls it a first pass. I hope the second pass deals with the vicious statements that are the words of various speakers. It is not enough to say these fellows are not representative. There a lot of them and they are speaking to sizeable followings.

Rupee news disgraces himself by throwing around the word "Nazi." Socialism of the national variety is too often used instead of argument. Mr. Wilders is an enemy of Islam, no doubt, but that does not make him a National Socialist. Come up with actual totalitarian statements of Mr. Wilders if you can.

Having said that Rupee News has presented the verses in context that make them understandable, they do not do much for the cause of religion. Let me explain. Raised in the faith of my ancestors, many years ago, I read the bible, OT and NT, over a year or two. My goal was to ascertain if a person who knew nothing of religion were given the book and read it without comment from a teacher or proselytizer, would they find it converted them? My conclusion was probably not. I have purchased a Koran and started to read it. I can't. It is not a page turner. Now the voice of humility does not claim to be a scholar, so we do not assume it is the fault of the book.

The problem is, having read the verses in context that Rupee News presents, though they make clear what he intends, repel me. They give me the same feeling I got upon reading the bible, i.e. not much.

Most Christians or Moslems have not read their texts. In sermons, they get the best parts presented by persuasive speakers. I usually ask people why they believe. I never do it with a sarcastic attitude. If someone could present it so I could really think this is it, I'd be on the team without delay. Alas, it has never happened.

This is not to say, I did not find some lovely stuff in the bible, but it just did not say, this is it.

I suspect Moinsari's (I believe the writer of Rupee News)belief is a feeling as I've found from most people of other religions.

If I had to say there was someone's attitude I came closest to agreeing with it would be this.

Having written this, one would think I've had done with religion. Not so fast. I like the faith of my ancestors. Okay, I can't say I've had the conversion experience. I reason thusly, the voice of humility does not think himself all that bright and the religion has produced many of the great lights of Western Civilization. There is also the family thing. My family would not shun me if I said I was no longer a member of the religion, but I would feel less about myself. My ancestors kept the faith under horrible persecution. Also, the unbeliever, John Derbyshire helped. In his review of the works of J.F. Powers, he quotes Powers as saying, "There isn't anything the Church can do that it hasn't already done to disillusion me," he sighed in a 1988 interview, "but I still think it's it." I don't know that there is an it, but if there is,"it's it."

My family is fun. Maybe not big fat Greek wedding fun, but fun. I'd hate not to be part of it in the fullest sense.

So, Hassan, you are a better man than I. Still, if you're ever in town for Christmas, stop by for some cognac. You too, Moinsari. We can scare up some lemonade if you can't do the brandy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Race is Not Always to the Swift(boat)

it was Antony, Caesar, who set me on the throne, and I freely admit that to Antony I have rendered every possible service. Nor do I hesitate to say that you would certainly have found me fighting loyally by his side if the Arabs had not prevented it. As it was I sent him all the reinforcements I could and many thousand sacks of corn; and not even after his defeat at Actium did I desert my benefactor - I gave him the best possible advice, as it was no use sending any more soldiers; I told him there was only one way of retrieving his disasters - Cleopatra's death. If he would kill her I promised money, protecting walls, an army, and my active participation in the war against you. But there it is! His ears were stopped by his insane passion for Cleopatra - and by God who has given victory to you. I am defeated with Antony and with his fall I lay aside my crown. I have come to you placing my hope and safety in my unblemished character, and believing that you will wish to know not whose friend, but what sort of friend I have been.

Thus, Herod, by demonstrating that when he became one's friend, whatever his personal defects, like perpetrating a massacre of innocents, his loyalty was enduring as reported by Flavius Josephus.

Somehow, nuancing his friendship with Reverend Wright in his speech tells more about Obama than will be recognized. He has proved himself eminently suited to be president of this nation. He is in the mold of the last few successful and unsuccessful candidates.

Had he said something like, Whatever this country thinks of Revered Wright, he has been my friend and I explain nothing about that other than, my friendship, once given is never taken back, he would have shown himself a gentleman and thus not in the mold of president. As it was, he did what it was thought he had to do.

I'm a loyalty type of guy. It can be considered a character defect, for if given to the undeserving, obligates one to do wrong. Once given for good reason, to abandon, or worse, to nuance it, for the bauble that is the presidency makes one laughable. Of course, it is the view of a tiny minority, the CEOUSA position being considered important and serious.

People are attacking Obama for having thrown his grandmother under the bus. The words "thrown under the bus" have been overused to the point the voice of humility deems them to have jumped the shark. We also deem "jumped the shark" to have jumped the shark as well. My problem with your man is the same as I have with Jay Severin. A lack of chivalry is a capital offense in my book.

Still and all, I would not have had much of a reaction to all this if it were not for his white supporters. Barack is just a normal garden variety presidential aspirant who happens to be black. Okay, he has sold himself as something more and the melanin impaired cool people have gone gaga over it. Now the intelligent reaction to the Reverend White kerfluffle would be to say, well, okay, he's just another guy, maybe it's time I paid attention to substance and see if I can support him on that. Nah, he's still a god. Below are the words of Dan Kennedy, a Boston area media guy.

Barack Obama's speech was first-rate — passionate yet subdued, easy to grasp yet complex in Obama's implied demand that his listeners hold a number of contradictory views simultaneously.

Yeah Dan, the man's a god.

He goes on to whine, The point is that it's all too easy to imagine some "independent" Republican group making a devastating ad out of the Obama-Wright connection this fall. Ya think, Dan. They wouldn't be making it up out of whole cloth, Dan. Hey, Dan, catch yourself on. What they said about the Duke and Willie Horton worked because it was true.

Udolpho does better on it.

Of the three candidates standing, I shall vote for none of them. Still, of the group, Obama is the least worst and Your Lying Eyes tells the truth on this one.

As to the bogeyman, ya know, I've been kinda wondering about himself. After all, all you get to see about him are the short clips of "GDA". David Henderson over at fleshes things out. My Ma always said, Son, no matter wherever you go, do something religious every day." So, I try to take up a collection whenever possible, but I won't be joining the Rev's church anytime soon even though there may have been a national overreaction to the man.

Speaking of Rev. Wright, in the movie The Commitments, there are a bunch of Dubliners whose leader is trying to transform them into a soul band. One of them says to him, "Don't you think we're a bit white?" William of Cork (liamascorcaigh) from the same island has noticed that though your man may not be named Swede of the Year, he is probably not in the running for the Hutu Pride 2008 award either. Hat tip Steve Sailer

Monday, March 24, 2008

Our First Ever Presidential Rankings

I am moved to set up our Presidential Rankings after watching Jim Rogers on Youtube suggest closing down the Fed and firing Bernanke.

Mr. Rogers is entertaining, but that is not the real reason for including the video. Dear CNBC, I am available as a commentator. I can put on a fake downmarket Brit accent and sound as stupid as the commentators (their accents aren't fake, but they do sound stupid). Granted, I don't look as good as Maria, but she doesn't look as good as she used to.

But I digress. Rogers is decrying the socialization of the losses. I was wondering if we really do need a fed. I did some imperfect research. According to a goldbug, Howard Katz, the Fed is our third national bank. We have done without a Fed before. Mr. Katz opines that the Fed serves not our interests, but those of a few.

I am not an expert in economics. As a Polish American major at a reserve intelligence school I attended (don't laugh) used to say, "I have all my money in cash." In the next few years, I expect to be getting a W-2 from the blood bank as I shall have to find tuition resources for my kids.

Still, I have some opinions about the Fed. One rationale for its existence was to make sure we did not have those old panics and crashes. How did that work out from 1929 to WWII?

Thus to our ranking. Two prezzies who go up in value are Andrew Jackson and US Grant. Jackson for vetoing the National Bank Charter extension and Grant because he vetoed the Inflation Bill which would have been the 19th Century equivalent of Helicopter Ben throwing money out the window. Grant had the excesses to deal with of a war he did not start but did more than anyone other than Sherman to end.

I specifically put these men above Madison, Polk, Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Bush and Bush. Why? If these lads were so great, they would have been smart enough to figure out how to avoid a war. J&G were at least not warmongers.

In our rankings, avoiding war gets you extra points.

Monday, March 17, 2008

To be fair

Rev. Wright is problemo for Obama. There is a bit of selectivity. Romney had to explain himself, Ron Paul had to deny he wrote the protocols. Hey, here is a whack job who isn't even that good a speaker.

I'm not going to vote for any of the three who are still standing, but fair is fair. Up til now, the Obama candidacy has been a running joke that his silly supporters don't get is on them. Now, he is going to have to get serious and say something about race quickly. Why is McCain getting a free pass for his wingnut?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Do not trust to the cheering, for those persons would shout as much if you and I were going to be hanged.

So spoke Oliver Cromwell to his lieutenants as he was heading north to fight the Scots. I am no Ollie fan, but he was not such a fool as to be swayed by the fawning crowd.

The former governor of New York was. The fickle Empire Staters turned on him fast. I thought him a thug before his fall and did not have to change opinion. I am reminded of the Massachusetts politician who was told by FDR that he never aimed a speech over the head of a thirteen year old. FDR was a New Yorker. I am not surprised they turned on him in an instant, and I'm not surprised they bought his politics of envy to begin with.

I heard a Boston talk show host, Jim Braude, upset about Spitzer because it would lead people to become unjustly cynical about government. Ya think, Jim.

I stumbled upon this.

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

- 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
- 7 have been arrested for fraud
- 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
- 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
- 3 have done time for assault
- 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
- 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
- 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
- 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
- 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year

Can you guess which organization this is?

Give up yet?

It's the 535 members of the United States Congress. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.

Gee, Jim, that restores my faith. Our political class is pure as the driven slush.

To be fair, I first saw this at the Irish Savant and decided to see if I could verify it. As of yet, I am not dead certain of it though I suspect it understates if, anything.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stink Bomb

After the English Revolution had spent itself and Cromwell had died in his bed, England decided it wanted to be Merrie Old instead of a nation of saints. Charles II was invited home. Chuck 2 wasn't all that jolly about his dad's execution so he went about getting even with the regicides. One guy he could not kill, he dug up and hanged anyway. I doubt Ollie felt too much as he hung on the gibbet, but if it made Chucky Junior feel better then that was okay.

William F. Buckley, Jr. has passed on. There are mostly encomiums even from conservatives who had disagreed with him. They are of the, "I disagreed with him, but he wasn't all that bad," stripe. That is how ladies and gents observe the passing of anyone who at least did not kill Dumbledore. I never knew the man and have nothing to say other than we were not on the same wavelength but good luck in whatever dimension awaits you.

There is a website that I am ambivalent about. I favor immigration control for a number of reasons, partly because 911 was an immigration system failure more than anything else. I am more nuanced in my views on restriction. Still, I have found it interesting to read. The editor, Peter Brimelow, published his eulogy on the passing of Buckley and gave it the title of William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP—Sort Of. That "sort of" business says it all. Reading the article, one almost feels Mr. Brimelow feels bad he can't put the man on the gibbet before the body get too cold.

Undoubtedly, there will be many books out that will praise or pillory WFB. That would be the time to honorably stick the knife in with a review. Heck, I'm sure Mr. Brimelow could write one of those books.

Mr. Brimelow has put his character on display and it is not pretty. As the voice of humility, I've done the same. Mostly in my youth, I never passed up the chance to be less than gentlemanly and I regret it. I hope Mr. Brimelow figures it out.

The man more than anyone else who might have reason to write a mean spirited bit on Buckley's passing didn't to my knowledge. He did write a piece about the man over a year ago that viciously got back at his former boss. Actually, no. He wrote kindly about the man as Buckley started his battle with emphysema. Peter, Joe Sobran has a lesson for you on how to be a gentleman.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Say what? David Gelernter

How can I teach my students to write decently when the English language has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Academic-Industrial Complex? Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and '80s, arrogant ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state. In consequence we have all got used to sentences where puffed-up words like "chairperson" and "humankind" strut and preen, where he-or-she's keep bashing into surrounding phrases like bumper cars and related deformities blossom like blisters;

Thus David Gelernter begins his article titled Feminism and the English Language. I don’t know if he called it that reflecting Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. Not bad, though as I guess we shall always have some would be caste wanting to appropriate control of lingusitic expression.

In 1984, Newspeak would be a language of as simple expression as possible in order to limit rebellious thought. I guess it is always thought control.

Men and women should be fighting any group that wishes to control minds. They talk about “liberation.” No mind can be liberated that is controlled by an ideology, no matter how well meaning.

Now, I will never be considered an exemplar of good grammar, but the official controlling authority of the voice of humility is by our decree, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, 1962 edition, even if I never open my copy again.

Mr. Gelernter is somewhat neoconnish and this article was found at an AEI site. No matter, it is a good job. I’m not going to be controlled by ideology.

Here in Massachusetts the speech police are ever busy. In the Peoples' Republic of Amherst, the elected officials are called the Select Board instead of the Board of Selectmen. The writ of the Correctarians is not absolute. My town still prefers the old usage even though the ablest members that have ever served that I know of were two women.

The ne plus ultra of feminist inspired speech was the construct used by Marty Sender on WBZ-TV Boston's Evening Magazine. He commended someone for showing great showpersonship. What is amazing is that happened way back in the seventies.