Suicide of the Palestinians (David Gelernter)
We ought to face squarely the origins of the Palestinian descent
into barbarism. In July 2000, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak made a
peace offer that stunned Israel and the world: Israel would re-divide
Jerusalem would turn over large pieces of its ancient capital to
the same people who had destroyed its synagogues, desecrated its cemeteries,
and banned Jews from entering when they last ran the show. Arafat rejected
the offer. Then in September 2000 the new wave of murderous violence began,
supposedly triggered by Ariel Sharons visit to the Temple Mount....
Everyone knows about Munich, September 1938: Britain and France generously
donate a big slice of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, in exchange for peace
with honor, peace in our time, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Many people know about the Kristallnacht pogrom, November 1938: Germanys
approach to the Jews turns from mere oppression to bloodthirsty violence.
Kristallnacht was triggered by the murder of a German diplomat
by a deranged Jew. But some (not all) historians point out the obvious:
A leading cause of Kristallnacht was Munich itself. Hitler read the Munich
agreements as a proclamation by England and France stating: We are
weak; you have nothing to fear; do what you like. The analogy is
not close, just close enough. Israel is no Czechoslovakia and was not
sold down the river. Barak made his offer freely and in good faith. But
to a significant number of Palestinians, the offer obviously said: We
are weak; you have nothing to fear; attack. Appeasement doesnt
merely fail to prevent catastrophe, it provokes catastrophe.
Peace of My Mind (Dave Shiflett)
Have you slapped a pacifist today? If not, get to it. Its
one thing to protest a war undertaken in some remote jungle you have to
take a long flight to, and whose purposes may be a bit gauzy. Its
quite another when the enemy is dive-bombing New York and Washington.
The fact that our enemies are determined to return the world to the seventh
century and force our women to dress in sacks makes the anti-war position
all the more controversial. There seems little choice but to douse these
people with the hot oil of ridicule. At the outset, it should be pointed
out that these contemporary pacifists are not cut from the same cloth
as historys grand Mahatmas, whose neutrality may have sometimes
been in error but who were people of large and often courageous spirit....
Not so the new breed, which appears to be largely made up of self-absorbed
snots. When the heat shows up, they run. If they get jugged, they get
someone to post bail, preferably on Daddys AmEx card. Some do a
bit of car-burning and looting on the side. They blossom most brilliantly
in the spotlight, which they are forever seeking, and they hail from the
expected provinces: Hollywood, the Ivy League, the Ivory Tower, Trust
Fund City. Many hold dual citizenship.
Death penalty deters scores of killings (Paul Rubin)
Executions are always controversial, and there are always debates
about whether states should use the death penalty. But this debate cannot
proceed rationally unless we fully understand the advantages and disadvantages
of execution.... One conservative version of our model finds that each
execution deters an average of 18 homicides, with a range of between 8
and 28 murders deterred by each execution. Other variants find even larger
numbers of prevented murders.... We as a society might decide that we
want to eliminate capital punishment. But this should be an informed decision,
and should consider both the costs and benefits of executions. Our evidence
is that there are substantial benefits from executions and, thus, substantial
costs of changing this policy.
A dangerous obsession (John Derbyshire)
In a civilized liberal democracy, majorities owe certain things
to harmless minorities: tolerance, civility, and the rights granted in
the Constitution freedom of speech, assembly, etc. However, it
seems to me that minorities owe something to the majority in return: mainly,
a proper respect for their tastes, beliefs, and sensibilities, and a decent
restraint in challenging them, if there are some reasonable grounds for
challenging them. This contract imposes some costs on minorities, of course,
but I think they should look on those costs as the price of the tolerance
they enjoy. Is that patronizing? Well, then add being patronized
to the list of costs none of which, in any case I can think of
in American society today, is much more arduous or oppressive than that.
There are, after all, reciprocal costs on the majority when they make
those accommodations.... I dont see any danger at all that majorities
will ride roughshod over minorities unless restrained by wise, omniscient
elites. I do, though, see the opposite danger: That by allowing themselves
to be browbeaten by those elites into yielding on every single point of
accommodation demanded by every loud minority, the majority will find
at last that they have no institutions, no traditions, no moral landmarks,
no common understandings left, and will be adrift in a wasteland of moral
relativism, naked to the cold, heartless winds of intellectual fashion.
There Be a Decent Left? (Michael Walzer)
A few left academics have tried to figure out how many civilians
actually died in Afghanistan, aiming at as high a figure as possible,
on the assumption, apparently, that if the number is greater than the
number of people killed in the Towers, the war is unjust. At the moment,
most of the numbers are propaganda; there is no reliable accounting. But
the claim that the numbers matter in just this way, that the 3120th death
determines the injustice of the war, is in any case wrong. It denies one
of the most basic and best understood moral distinctions: between premeditated
murder and unintended killing. And the denial isnt accidental, as
if the people making it just forgot about, or didnt know about,
the everyday moral world. The denial is willful: unintended killing by
Americans in Afghanistan counts as murder. This cant be true anywhere
else, for anybody else.
man who knows too much (Jonathan Tobin)
CNN reporter Steve Emerson was stuck in Oklahoma City on Christmas
1992 with nothing to do and wandered by the citys Convention Center,
where a gathering of the Muslim Arab Youth Association was taking place.
Inside, he found books preaching Islamic Jihad, books calling for
the extermination of Jews and Christians, even coloring books instructing
children on subjects, such as How to Kill the Infidel.
Later, after listening to speeches urging jihad against the Jews and the
West from luminaries such as the head of the Hamas terrorist group, Emerson
called his contacts in the FBI to inquire whether they were aware of this
bizarre meeting in the American heartland. They were not. A year later,
Emerson attended a similar Muslim conference in Detroit that included
representatives from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terror
groups. It also included an appearance from a befuddled senior FBI agent.
When a member of the hostile audience asked the agent for advice on how
to ship weapons overseas, Emerson relates that the G-man said, matter-of-factly,
that he hoped any such efforts would be done in conformance with
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms guidelines. Apparently,
the FBI official had attended the radical conference under the mistaken
impression that it was some kind of Rotary Club.
Core of Muslim Rage (Thomas Friedman)
It has to do with the contrast between Islams self-perception
as the most ideal and complete expression of the three great monotheistic
religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the conditions
of poverty, repression and underdevelopment in which most Muslims live
today. As a U.S. diplomat in the Middle East said to me, Israel
not Iraq, not India is a constant reminder to Muslims of
their own powerlessness. How could a tiny Jewish state amass so
much military and economic power if the Islamic way of life not
Christianity or Judaism is Gods most ideal religious path?
When Hindus kill Muslims its not a story, because there are a billion
Hindus and they arent part of the Muslim narrative. When Saddam
murders his own people its not a story, because its in the
Arab-Muslim family. But when a small band of Israeli Jews kills Muslims
it sparks rage a rage that must come from Muslims having to confront
the gap between their self-perception as Muslims and the reality of the
Dispatch No. 354: Saudi Government Daily: Jews Use Teenagers Blood
for Purim Pastries (MEMRI)
In an article published by the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh,
columnist Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faysal University in Al-Dammam,
wrote on The Jewish Holiday of Purim. Following are excerpts
of the article: This holiday has some dangerous customs that will,
no doubt, horrify you, and I apologize if any reader is harmed because
of this.... For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood
so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other words,
the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood is not spilled!!....
For this holiday, the victim must be a mature adolescent who is, of course,
a non-Jew that is, a Christian or a Muslim. His blood is taken
and dried into granules. The cleric blends these granules into the pastry
dough; they can also be saved for the next holiday. In contrast, for the
Passover slaughtering, about which I intend to write one of these days,
the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be
used, and the cleric can mix the blood [into the dough] before or after
Crescent and the Gun (Brian Saint-Paul)
The problem, then, is not in the Koran itself but in those who are
free to twist it. Because theres no one to interpret the book authoritatively,
its vulnerable to any charismatic leader willing to abuse it to
justify his personal hatred. The sad result is clear for all to see: The
Korans command not to harm civilians is ignored; its prohibition
against suicide is interpreted away by suicide bombers; its call for freedom
in worship is cast aside in many Islamic states; its order to stand up
for the oppressed is ignored by those too afraid to speak out against
the persecution of non-Muslims. Islam has the Koran, but the Koran has
no interpreter. An analogous situation is in Protestant Christianity,
where the inheritors of the Reformation gather around the call of sola
scriptura (Scripture alone). Different Protestant denominations read the
Bible in different ways, with no single, authoritative interpreter. Why
then dont we see fringe Protestants strapping bombs around their
waists and walking into crowded malls? The answer brings us back to the
different concepts of justice. In Islam, following the Old Testament model,
the attacker can be justly destroyed. In Christianity, following the just-war
theory, the attacker must be repelled but only in proportion to
the attack. Ultimately, the violence perpetrated by Muslim fringe groups
has two roots: first, the Korans command to fight the oppressor,
and second, the lack of a single voice to identify who that oppressor
is. Without that authority, any group any people, any nation
can be considered an oppressor by those who feel theyve been wronged.
The result, too often, is bloodshed.
The American Way of Life? (Wired News)
In the six months since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans may not
have exactly embraced a surveillance society, but they appear to have
grown to accept portions of it. A Zogby poll conducted last December says
that 80 percent of respondents favored video monitoring on public places
such as street corners. Especially in the dark days after the Pentagon
was hit, the White House targeted, the Capitol anthraxed, and the World
Trade Center leveled, that public reaction was predictable. In national
emergencies, the uneasy relationship between freedom and order edges toward
greater restrictions on individual liberty. But Bushs war on terror
is not a traditional military conflict with a clear end that can be met
after, say, U.S. soldiers capture a city, eliminate a Taliban command
post or even snare Osama bin Laden himself. Bush and other top
administration officials repeatedly have warned that the attempt to exterminate
al-Qaida dens may continue for years, even decades. It conceivably could
succeed the Cold War as the most important political struggle of the 21st
century. If that happens, new surveillance powers that police receive
today likely will become permanent.
Do Better on Shorter Leash, Study Concludes (NewsMax)
Tenured college professors might be bad teachers and even worse
scholars, but their institutions and peers have little ability to influence
their conduct, according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, a
libertarian think tank in Vancouver, British Columbia. To improve the
quality of their teaching, professors need incentives, something radically
nonexistent in the individualistic culture of the North American university,
write Rodney Clifton and Hymie Rubenstein in Collegial Models for
Enhancing the Performance of University Professors. Often when professors
receive tenure they neglect their students and focus on research or outside
assignments like consulting businesses, Clifton and Rubenstein write.
The sheer number of extraneous commitments may cause professors to view
students as nuisances rather than the paying consumers they are, according
to the authors.
It Up: In Beirut, even Christians celebrated the atrocity (Italian journalist
Where were you on Sept. 11, when terrorists changed the world? I
was at the National Museum here [in Beirut], enjoying the wonders of the
ancient Phoenicians with my husband. This tour of past splendor only magnified
the shock I received later when I heard the news and saw the reactions
all around me. Walking downtown, I realized that the offspring of this
great civilization were celebrating a terrorist outrage. And I am not
talking about destitute people. Those who were cheering belonged to the
elite of the Paris of Middle East: professionals wearing double-breasted
suits, charming blond ladies, pretty teenagers in tailored jeans. Trying
to find our bearings, my husband and I went into an American-style cafe
in the Hamra district, near Rue Verdun, rated as one of the most expensive
shopping streets in the world. Here the cognitive dissonance was immediate,
and direct. The cafes sophisticated clientele was celebrating, laughing,
cheering and making jokes, as waiters served hamburgers and Diet Pepsi.
Nobody looked shocked, or moved. They were excited, very excited.... Back
in Italy, I received a phone call from my friend Gilberto Bazoli, a journalist
in Cremona. He told me he witnessed the same reactions among Muslims in
the local mosque of that small Lombard city. They were all on Osama
bin Ladens side, he said. One of them told me that they
were not even worthy to kiss his toes.
blamed on college teachers (WT)
Professors and administrators are to blame for anti-American sentiment
on college campuses today, according to a report by the American Council
of Trustees and Alumni. More than 140 college campuses in 36 states have
held anti-war rallies denouncing the countrys military actions in
Afghanistan, the report says. The document Defending Civilization:
How Our Universities Are Failing America and What Can Be Done About It
concludes that many professors and administrators are quick to
clamp down on acts of patriotism, such as flying the American flag, and
look down on students who question professors politically
correct ideas in class.
war, grownups cant play silly games (Mark Steyn)
But the six-month suspension of normal politics is taking its toll
on Democrats. We seem to be good at developing entrance strategies,
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginias porkmeister par excellence,
whined the other day, and not so good at developing exit strategies.
Well spotted, senator. Heres something else that will shock you:
Churchill didnt have an exit strategy for World War
II.... You dont have exit strategies when your national territorys
been attacked; you have a responsibility to see the war through to the
end.... The headline on Jules Witcovers column in the Baltimore
Sun read, Democrats Ask Tough Questions On War. In fact, tough
questions would be welcome. But Byrds and Senate Majority Leader
Tom Daschles criticisms are pathetic: Theyre about spin, posturing,
about how itll play on TV. In war, grownups dont have time
for silly games in the congressional schoolyard.
reasonable about faith when we all ignore God (Hanna Clark)
This fact versus faith dichotomy relies on a gendered and racialized
conception of the human mind and soul (or are they even separate?). White
people are seen as rational and logical, living in the world of logic
and ideas. People of color are seen as more spiritual, irrational and
emotional. The same can be said of men (theyre rational) and women
(theyre irrational). And the same can be said of Macalester atheists
(rational) and the rest of us (irrational). The problem is that Atheism
is just as based on faith as any other religion. At Macalester, religion
is often seen only as an institution that tries to exert control. Theres
a knee-jerk reaction to the imposition of rules and social mores, and
all religion and spirituality is thereby ridiculed. Its ironic that
so many people use a patriarchal and racist ideology to critique what
they think is an engine of oppressive authority.
Pristine Myth (Katie Bacon interviews Charles Mann)
For years the standard view of North America before Columbuss
arrival was as a vast, grassy expanse teeming with game and all but empty
of people. Those who did live here were nomads who left few marks on the
land. South America, too, or at least the Amazon rain forest, was thought
of as almost an untouched Eden, now suffering from modern depredations.
But a growing number of anthropologists and archaeologists now believe
that this picture is almost completely false. According to this school
of thought, the Western Hemisphere before Columbuss arrival was
well-populated and dotted with impressive cities and towns one
scholar estimated that it held ninety to 112 million people, more than
lived in Europe at the time and Indians had transformed vast swaths
of landscape to meet their agricultural needs. They used fire to create
the Midwestern prairie, perfect for herds of buffalo. They also cultivated
at least part of the rain forest, living on crops of fruits and nuts.
Delusional (Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak)
People need to feel right about themselves. Not just good
right. Morally right. For some people, hating America provides an inexhaustible
source of unearned moral stature. They cant be right unless their
country is wrong, always and forever wrong: an attitude empowered by the
quaint notion that dissent is somehow automatically morally superior to
consent, and refusal to participate a greater good than support. Sadly,
there is much in this country to criticize. Were far from perfect,
and in many ways the intensity of our self-scrutiny stands as a badge
of our virtue. But there comes a time when some overweening emergency
Crack-Up (Stephen Goode and Christopher Jolma)
But the response to Sept. 11 at U.S. colleges and universities might
be bringing about a bigger, more profound transformation thats now
in its earliest stages. Its change that challenges and may undermine
the gospel of political correctness, which has ravaged U.S. schools
for nearly two decades. Its a transformation, too, that may bring
an end to the power held at American universities and colleges by the
left-wing 1960s activists many of whom long have held senior and
tenured positions at American schools and have used those positions to
preach the same tired left-wing politics and anti-Americanism they began
so loudly advocating 40 years ago.
Capers (David Horowitz)
In any case, the media blackout of my book makes my current campus
speaking tour something of a necessity. I have one additional agenda,
moreover, which is to cast a spotlight on the rampant political bias in
the hiring of faculty at American universities. This repression of conservative
viewpoints an academic McCarthyism that puts McCarthys puny
efforts to shame is blatant, unconstitutional and illegal, but
will it take to persuade? (Balint Vazsonyi)
The brutal murder of journalist Daniel Pearl has shaken even our
own television news analysts. That is significant, since some of our most
highly visible and highly paid commentators had never known
a foreign terrorist they didnt like. Well, that might be a bit harsh.
Let us say instead, they had never seen a foreign terrorist whose cause
they didnt respect. But this was too much, even for them. Are we
mad enough yet?
The Left Undermined Americas Security (David Horowitz)
Underlying the Clinton security failure was the fact that the Administration
was made up of people who for twenty-five years had discounted or minimized
the totalitarian threat, opposed Americas armed presence abroad,
and consistently resisted the deployment of Americas military forces
to halt Communist expansion. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was
himself a veteran of the Sixties anti-war movement, which
abetted the Communist victories in Vietnam and Cambodia, and created the
Vietnam War syndrome that made it so difficult afterwards
for American presidents to deploy the nations military forces.
cost of academic integrity (Walter Williams)
College budgets depend on admitting warm bodies. That means we cant
expect college administrators to do anything to stop unprepared students
from being admitted, courses dumbed-down and fraudulent grades given.
Boards of Trustees tend to be yes-men and women for the president, so
we cant expect anything from them. The money spigot needs to be
turned off. Alumni, foundations and other charitable donors not
to mention taxpayers should be made aware of fraudulent practices
and academic dishonesty.
Plains vs. The Atlantic: Is Middle America a backwater, or a reservoir?
The combination of progressive taxation and urban real-estate prices
ensures that almost nobody on the coasts has more spendable income than
the highest paid people in Franklin County or the rest of rural Red America.
People here in Missouris small towns can buy a beautiful older home
for less than $100,000. Brooks makes much of the fact that he literally
could not spend more than $20 for a meal in Franklin County. The fare
in Red America is a bit limited. You cant buy one of those meals
with a dime-sized entrée in the middle of a huge plate, with some
sort of sauce artfully squirted about. But you can buy a pound of prime
rib for ten bucks. Class-consciousness isnt a problem in Red America,
because most people can afford to buy everything thats for sale.
that the classics speak to everyone (Katherine Kersten)
For 35 years now, weve been hearing that the classics
the great books of the Western world are largely irrelevant
in todays classrooms. Why? Most were written by dead white males.
Obviously, then, they can hold little meaning for females or for black
or Hispanic kids. Everyone knows that if young people are to be moved
or inspired, they need books whose authors look like them.
Try telling that to the students at Wilbur Wright College, a two-year
community college in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago. Students
at Wright are predominantly black, Hispanic or from immigrant families.
Wright is for kids who arent ready for four-year colleges. Yet students
there are flocking to a Great Books program and lining up to read authors
like Plato, Cicero and Dante.
the Muslims Misjudged Us (Victor Hanson)
Two striking themes one overt, one implied characterize
most Arab invective: first, there is some sort of equivalence political,
cultural, and military between the West and the Muslim world; and
second, America has been exceptionally unkind toward the Middle East.
Both premises are false and reveal that the temple of anti-Americanism
is supported by pillars of utter ignorance.
out grammar (Linda Chavez)
I learned how to diagram sentences in elementary school or
what we used to call, appropriately, grammar school.... Progressive teachers
and their professional associations, especially the National Council of
Teachers of English (NCTE), believe diagramming sentences is make-work
that bores students and turns them off to writing. So they banished diagramming
from the classroom years ago, along with most grammar instruction.
Toward Bias: A Neo-Conservative Critiques the Media (Poynter)
The media, notably certain powerful big city dailies and the
network news divisions that generally follow their lead, reflect a worldview
that is not only distinctly liberal in character, but hostile to those
who hold alternative views.
Education of Abraham Lincoln (Eric Foner)
He read incessantly, beginning as a youth with the Bible and Shakespeare.
During his single term in the House of Representatives, his colleagues
considered it humorous that Lincoln spent his spare time poring over books
in the Library of Congress. The result of this stunning work of
self-education was the intellectual power revealed in
Lincolns writings and speeches.
Boys (Amy Benfer)
Suddenly, the debate among researchers is focused on the boys: Are
they behind because of the girl empowerment movement? Are they being shortchanged
in the classroom simply because they are boys?
News: Fair and balanced coverage requires diversity of opinion (Cathy Young)
Neither Goldberg nor McGowan allege a deliberate vast left-wing
conspiracy to distort the news. Rather, they convincingly argue that news
coverage is often influenced by a knee-jerk bias stemming from the journalists
own views on political and social issues.
We Don’t Marry (James Q. Wilson)
“Marriage was once a sacrament, then it became a contract, and now
it is an arrangement. Once religion provided the sacrament, then the law
enforced the contract, and now personal preferences define the arrangement.”