Conversation on the Beach (12/06/02) new
By Solly Ganor at MEMRI
I nodded. Yes it is beautiful. Well, we have at least one thing in
common, I thought. And then I had a second thought. Here stands an Arab youth next to me, in
the heart of Israel, calmly admiring with me the sea. There was not a
shadow of a doubt in his mind that something bad would ever happen to him
here in Israel. I tried to imagine myself standing that way in Ramalah, and
having that conversation with an Arab youth.... Eighteen determined men with carton cutters who were not afraid to die, defied the
big American might, causing them thousands of dead and trillions of
dollars worth of losses. We found out that we can bring the Western
capitalist system to its knees, and we shall do so! It is a shameless
selfish system that causes endless human misery around the world,
especially in the third world countries and for Islam. It is time for it to
go! It was obvious from the way he said it that he didnt say it for the
In U.S., Terrorisms Peril Undiminished: Nation Struggles on Offense and Defense, and Officials Still Expect New Attacks (12/24/02) new
In The Washington Post by Barton Gellman
U.S. exposure to ruinous attack, more than 15 months into the war with al Qaeda, remains unbounded. The global campaign launched by President Bush has destroyed Osama bin Ladens Afghan sanctuary, drained his financial resources, scattered his foot soldiers and killed or captured some of his most dangerous lieutenants. But there is nothing in al Qaedas former arsenal nothing it was capable of doing on Sept. 11, 2001 that the presidents advisers are prepared to say is now beyond the enemys reach. The threat of bin Ladens network which the White House considers to number perhaps three dozen men at its vital core continues in important ways to outpace the national response. Working-level and senior participants in the conflict, many of them interviewed at length, displayed a striking fatalism even when describing their common belief that the United States will eventually prevail. Nearly all of them, when pressed, said they would measure their success by the frequency, not the absence, of mass-casualty attacks against the American homeland.
Landmarks during war (12/12/02) new
By R. Emmett Tyrrell at TownHall
I know our government tells us that Islam is a very tolerant and pious religion, but I see many signs that it is neither. The fact is that here [Jerusalem] in a region where Israeli political control has preserved sacred shrines for all three of the monotheistic religions, Palestinian Muslims under the Palestinian Authority set up after the Oslo Accords have desecrated holy places, brutalized non-Muslims and driven Christians from Bethlehem after indulging in some gerrymandering that would stir admiration in an American politician. Surely you remember last April when Palestinian militants (gunmen) took over Bethlehems Church of the Nativity, booby-trapped its entrance and terrorized 150 worshipers for 39 days while eating the clerics provisions, quaffing their booze so much for Allahs blue laws stealing church valuables such as gold crucifixes and using sacred scriptures for toilet paper (ah, cleanliness). That sort of barbarism is not new.
The Accidental Imperialist (12/30/02) new
By Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post
The Bush administration of pre-9/11 actually appeared content to string along the old policies on Iraq and North Korea. Iraq hawks inside the administration were a distinct minority, and Powell eventually won the argument about whether to reopen talks with Pyongyang. Bushs foreign policy mostly consisted of trying to retreat from international treaties and foreign military deployments. His signature initiative was missile defense, which implicitly signaled a strategy of ignoring rogue states until their missiles reached the territory of the United States. This was a policy for the world of the 1990s, when the minority of Americans who cared about international affairs debated the indiscernible shape of the post-Cold War era, when a booming United States felt free to nurse along, or simply neglect, threats from the likes of Iraq.
Imperial? No, Presidential. Bush is no Caesar. (12/27/02) new
By Sam Tanenhaus at OpinionJournal
The truth is that every modern president has found power to be elusive, slippery and at times treacherous. FDR, fresh off his landslide re-election in 1936, tried to pack the Supreme Court, only to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of Congress. Four years later, he was elected to an unprecedented third term, yet he struggled uphill to persuade Congress and the people to intervene in World War II.... The imperial presidency is not a useful idea. It is an epithet, dredged up whenever a president combines strength with imagination. But even the strongest presidents have known, or learned soon, that they occupy an office fraught with risk and are never more vulnerable than when their power seems greatest. They are, in sum, leaders, not rulers which means, of course, that they are not imperial at all.
A not very wise Archbishop (12/29/02) new
By Mark Steyn in The London Telegraph
Even on their way to the Christ child, the Wise Men create the type of havoc that complicated people create, said Dr Williams. It is as if the wise, the devious and the resourced cant help but make the most immense mistakes of all. The strategists who know the possible ramifications of politics miss the huge and obvious things and wreak yet more havoc and suffering. Even for the Western worlds self-loathers, this breaks new ground. You can certainly draw parallels between Herod and Saddam Herod was a blood-soaked gangster who enjoyed murdering members of his immediate family almost as much as Saddam does. But the notion that the Wise Men are the equivalent of the Pentagons hawks is so perverse no serious theologian would advance it. When they arrived in Jerusalem from Araby and Persia, the Wise Men told Herod that theyd come to worship the newborn king. Naturally, the old butcher didnt like the sound of this, but he slyly told them to continue on to Bethlehem and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. How naive do you have to be to swallow that baloney? The Wise Men were Herods patsies, his useful idiots. Now who does that sound like? Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld? Or Dr Williams, Sean Penn and George Galloway, to name just three of the legions of wise men who insist that their appeasement of Saddam demonstrates their superior insight and intelligence?
Iraqi Aftershocks: Being on the wrong side of history wont be pretty. (12/27/02) new
By Victor Davis Hanson at National Review Online
Slowly we are coming to the last few moves of a yearlong and tedious game. Saddam Hussein supposes that through delay, denial, and obstruction he can for a second decade stymie weapons inspectors and international bureaucrats, and thereby outfox the United States in the process snatching victory from his rendezvous with ruin. He has slowly boxed himself into a corner in which he must deny the presence of weapons that he and the world knows exist. When that revelation of their existence occurs, checkmate looms, and the wages of war follow some time, I imagine, between mid-January and early March. Few who now express empathy, if not support, will join in Saddams jihad. The Arab world, after all, can tolerate well enough genocide and torture, but not at all the humiliation of riding a sickly horse.
The War: A reminder. (12/21/02)
By Victor Davis Hanson at National Review Online
What do they really want? It is hard to tell, inasmuch as their grandiose schemes are as illogical as Hitlers but no less dangerous. But if we take them at their word, their Middle East would look something like the Talibans Afghanistan or the mullahs Iran a vast tribal, patriarchal, and theocratic society on a continental scale. It would be run by zealots and religious extremists who would institute a medieval sort of Islamic law, even as the leaders themselves, like Ottoman grandees of old, would continue to be parasitic on the West importing their own eyeglasses, medicines, videos, and electronic technology. Politically, they would hope to expand on the model of Iranian theocracy and terror, using vast oil revenues to buy missiles and eventually components for nuclear weapons first to obliterate Israel, then to either blackmail or attack us.
Islam Soft and Hard: PBSs whitewashed commercial for Islam. (12/19/02)
By Robert Spencer at National Review Online
For many, if not most, of its adherents, Islam may indeed be, as Mohamed Zakariya calls it, a soft thing... not a hard thing. But for so many Muslims their religion is so clearly a hard thing that PBS could have performed a great service by explaining this dichotomy and elucidating the conflict within the Islamic world between the soft Muslims and the hard ones. Instead, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet is nothing more than misleading propaganda. Its an abject failure as a source for the whole truth about Islam and a clarification of the bewildering features of the contemporary scene. It would be wonderful if PBSs attractively packaged, sanitized version of Islam were the only Islam.
The Jewish-Friendly Koran: A whole new context. (12/19/02)
By David Klinghoffer at National Review Online
I wish I could crawl into the head of British historian Karen Armstrong, whose comments about Islam and the prophet Muhammad are astonishing. In good conscience, how does she say the things she does? My occasion for asking is a new PBS documentary, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, that debuted Wednesday [Dec. 18] night. The filmmakers take pains to show how cuddly and non-threatening a religion Islam is, but the most mind-blowing words in the two hours of footage are from Ms. Armstrong. She says, Muhammad had nothing against the Jewish people per se, or the Jewish religion. The Koran continues to tell Muslims to honor the People of the Book. .... Author of Mohammed: A Biography of the Prophet and Islam: A Short History, Armstrong presumably has studied the Koran carefully enough to know this. Or has she?
PBS, Recruiting for Islam (12/17/02)
By Daniel Pipes in The New York Post via DanielPipes.org
What would be the best way to convert lots of Americans to Islam? Forget print, go to film. Put together a handsome documentary with an original musical score that presents Islams prophet Muhammad in the most glowing manner, indeed, as a model of perfection. Round up Muslim and non-Muslim enthusiasts to endorse the nobility and truth of his message. Splice in vignettes of winsome American Muslims testifying to the justice and beauty of their Islamic faith. Then get the U.S. taxpayer to help pay for it. Show it at prime time on the most high-minded TV network. Oh, and screen it at least once during the holidays, when anyone out of synch with Christmas might be especially susceptible to another religions appeal. This is precisely what the producers of Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet have done.
Schoolbooks are flubbing facts: Texts filled with errors and political correctness (12/21/02)
In The New York Daily News by Alison Gendar and Douglas Feiden
Ever wonder what your children might be learning when they hit the books in the New York City public schools? A kinder, gentler definition of jihad. It really means to do ones best to resist temptation and overcome evil. An error-filled version of global geography. The equator actually passes through Florida, Texas and Arizona. A saga of a swashbuckling hero of today who can be compared to ancient historical heroes dating to the Trojan War: Indiana Jones. The world of 21st century textbook education is a learning laboratory in which agendas, ideologies and errors all too often trump balance, accuracy and fairness.
College Seniors No More Knowledgeable Than 1950s High School Grads (12/18/02)
At CNSNews by Scott Hogenson
The college seniors of today have no better grasp of general knowledge than the high school graduates of almost half a century ago, according to the results of a new study. The average of correct responses for modern college seniors on a series of questions assessing general cultural knowledge was 53.5 percent compared with 54.5 percent of high school graduates in 1955, according to a survey by Zogby International.
Race and Republicans: From William Lloyd Garrison to Trent Lott. (12/17/02)
By Alvin S. Felzenberg in The Weekly Standard
From their 1854 beginning, the Republicans were the party that fought slavery, imposed Reconstruction, and opposed segregation, while the Democrats were the party of Jim Crow, race baiting, and Dixiecrats. But for many years, progressive historians have been telling a story of Americas steady march to liberalism, in which all good comes from Democrats and all evil from Republicans. And not only have Democrats learned this false lesson and claimed an undeserved reputation on race, but even Republicans have absorbed their enemies lesson until at last they find themselves claiming Jefferson Davis as one of their own. In order to construct their progressive story, these left-leaning historians Henry Steele Commanager, Allen Nevins, Claude G. Bowers, and the Arthur Schlesingers were forced to pass over innumerable Democratic sins: Andrew Jacksons treatment of native Americans, southern populists racial demonizing, Woodrow Wilsons segregationism, William Jennings Bryans support of the Ku Klux Klan, and Franklin Roosevelts indifference to anti-lynching legislation.
Democracy and Islam After September 11: The case for optimism. (12/13/02)
By Stephen Schwartz in The Weekly Standard
I do not see September 11 as an act of protest by Muslims or Arabs oppressed by the advance of Western democracy or the success of Israel. I see it as an act of provocation by Saudi-based extremists, intended to divert the younger, better-educated, middle-class strata of Saudi society, and similar social elements elsewhere in the Muslim and Arab worlds, from their growing demands for restoration of Islamic pluralism and the right to live normal lives, in a normal country, in a world at peace. Generations have grown up and become educated in Saudi Arabia, and they are no longer willing to live in the old way. This is a self-evident fact. Furthermore, the Saudi monarchy and its allies, the Wahhabi religious hierarchy, can no longer rule in the old way. This is also a manifest truth.
Wrestling with Islam (11/21/02)
By David Warren at David Warren Online
What we have today is the progress of Islamism in two, naturally converging, forms. There is the so-called moderate form Islamicization of the laws and bureaucracy, even in the old civil courts. And also, in its so-called radical form, in the growth of a terrorist underground, feeding on trouble in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and feeding off the huge sums of oil-money arriving courtesy of the puritanical, Wahabi sheiks of Arabia. By both means, by both routes, and floating on the tide of Gulf oil money, the same, very international ideology is being imposed, overlaid, on a traditional and very particular society, already shaken off its tree by a catastrophically failed socialism.
Denial & panic (12/15/02)
By David Warren at David Warren Online
James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, delivered a very interesting talk recently over breakfast at a Washington retreat. He was giving his hesitantly on-the-record assessment of how World War IV is going. (The expression implies that World War III was the Cold War, which we were able to win against Communism by steadfastness, luckily without a thermonuclear exchange.) He pointed out a number of distressing things about the degree of our exposure. For if the radical Islamists were just a little more intelligently organized, a little less obsessed with symbols and a little more with substance, they wouldnt need much luck to kill millions of people and bring the whole Western economy crashing down.
The Liberal Quandary Over Iraq (12/08/02)
By George Packer in The New York Times Magazine
In this strange interlude, with everyone waiting for war, Ive had extended conversations with a number of these Bosnian-generation liberal intellectuals the ones who have done the most thinking and writing about how American power can be turned to good ends as well as bad, who dont see human rights and democracy as idealistic delusions, and who are struggling to figure out Iraq. Im in their position; maybe you are, too. This Bosnian generation of liberal hawks is a minority within a minority, but they hold an important place in American public life, having worked out a new idea about Americas role in the post-cold war world long before Sept. 11 woke the rest of the country up. An antiwar movement that seeks a broad appeal and an intelligent critique needs them. Oddly enough, President Bush needs them, too.
Saddam and al Qaeda (12/09/02)
By David Rose in The Evening Standard
Despite their bitter divisions over possible war in Iraq, doves and many hawks on this side of the Atlantic share a common, often-stated belief: that there is no evidence of a link between Osama bin Ladens al Qaeda network and Saddam Husseins regime. In London and Washington, the Foreign Office, MI6, the State Department and the CIA have been spinning this claim to reporters for more than a decade, long before the attacks of 11 September last year. Constant repetition of an erroneous position does not, however, make it true. Having investigated the denial of an Iraqi connection for more than a year, I am convinced it is false. The strongest evidence comes from a surprising source the files of those same intelligence agencies who have spent so long publicly playing this connection down.
Text of celebrities letter to Bush (12/10/02)
From Artists United to Win Without War to President Bush at MSNBC
War talk in Washington is alarming and unnecessary. We are patriotic Americans who share the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction. We support rigorous UN weapons inspections to assure Iraqs effective disarmament. However, a preemptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American national interests. Such a war will increase human suffering, arouse animosity toward our country, increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, damage the economy, and undermine our moral standing in the world. It will make us less, not more, secure. We reject the doctrine a reversal of long-held American tradition that our country, alone, has the right to launch first-strike attacks. The valid U.S. and UN objective of disarming Saddam Hussein can be achieved through legal diplomatic means. There is no need for war. Let us instead devote our resources to improving the security and well-being of people here at home and around the world. (Signed) ....
The Boston Disease: What remains after Cardinal Law. (12/13/02)
By Michael Novak at National Review Online
The tragic fall of Cardinal Law has brought all these old memories to the surface. His fall is tragic because it was through a weakness of his own (a weakness internal to one of his virtues) that he did himself in. He believed it a bishops duty to be a father to his priests, to be especially compassionate to them, to nurse them along and he did so, the record shows, most unwisely, and in the end destructively, both of some of them and of himself, and of the reputation of the archdiocese. Meanwhile, he lost sight for far too long of the gaping wounds inflicted on vulnerable young people, on families, on the confidence and trust of the laity. His priests kept letting him down, he became preoccupied with the priests, he forgot the flock they were pledged to have been guarding. Some few shepherds but far too many for any one place ran with the wolves. A bishop is not merely a company commander, in charge of officers immediately below him; his foremost duty is to his people, all of them, to protect them from the wolves and guide them, to instruct them, and to bring them to holiness.
State of Law: The Boston cardinal resigns. (12/13/02)
By Rod Dreher at National Review Online
There are those who accuse the judge of unfairness, the attorney general of grandstanding, and the media of anti-Catholic bias. There may be a measure of truth in any and all of these allegations, but heres the bottom line: Horrendous crimes were committed by priests against children and others, and those crimes were systematically covered up by Church officials, who in many cases allowed the offenders to continue in ministry, where they went on to abuse further. If not for the state and the media, we would not know these things, and the system would still be in place. They have done the Church a favor.
Occasionally, some links are moved
from this section into the Featured
Frequently Used Words and Phrases of the PC Lexicon (September 1990) new
In The Peninsula
at Harvard University via The Augustine Club at Columbia University
Learning and understanding Harvardspeak can be a difficult and frustrating experience for the uninitiated. To help newcomers become well-adjusted as quickly as possible we offer the following lexicon of Harvard terms, with their translations in standard American English. ultra-conservative (noun or adj): conservative. conservative (noun or adj): moderate. moderate (noun or adj): liberal. liberal (noun or adj): leftist. leftist (noun or adj): Communist. Communist (noun or adj): Label unfairly used by right-wingers to refer to leftists. Otherwise, does not exist.... discrimination (noun): the act of withholding special benefits and attention from a minority. minority (noun): Any PC group that can claim it is oppressed. oppressed (adj): the state of holding PC status while not receiving enough special benefits and attention. enough (adj): Never.
Vicious Stereotypes in Polite Society (1991)
By Douglas Laycock in Constitutional Commentary
Among the educated classes that have been most sensitized to the dangers of the most widely condemned stereotypes, other stereotypes and prejudices flourish. Respected academics and journalists, and respected journals who pride themselves on their tolerance, publish extraordinary statements about groups that have generally failed to engage the sympathies of intellectuals.... Many of us probably most of us have acted on unstated and unexamined assumptions that would be as offensive as these if we committed them to print without the veil of euphemisms. Printed or unprinted, flagrant or veiled, these stereotypes are corrosive of the social fabric. The only way to resist is to highlight them and to sensitize ourselves to them. One group that can still be safely insulted is the seriously religious. Fundamentalists, evangelicals, and Catholics remain fair game in many circles. Michael Smith has collected numerous antireligious passages in Supreme Court opinions, one of them a quotation from an anti-Catholic hate tract. Suzanna Sherry, writing in the Michigan Law Review, equated fundamentalist legislators with racist school boards: There are still racist school boards in a nation that generally finds racism intolerable, fundamentalist legislators in a nation that rejects a national religion, and so on. The skillful parallelism of the sentence packs powerful implications. Fundamentalism is parallel to racism as a threat to constitutional values; fundamentalists oppose the consensus against a national religion just as racists oppose the consensus against racism. If Professor Sherry knows that fundamentalist legislators are protected by the test oath clause, she gives no hint of it. If she knows that few fundamentalists want a national religion, she gives no hint of that either.
Role of Government in Education (1955)
By Milton Friedman in Economics and the Public Interest
This re-examination of the role of government in education suggests
that the growth of governmental responsibility in this area has been unbalanced.
Government has appropriately financed general education for citizenship,
but in the process it has been led also to administer most of the schools
that provide such education. Yet, as we have seen, the administration
of schools is neither required by the financing of education, nor justifiable
in its own right in a predominantly free enterprise society. Government
has appropriately been concerned with widening the opportunity of young
men and women to get professional and technical training, but it has sought
to further this objective by the inappropriate means of subsidizing such
education, largely in the form of making it available free or at a low
price at governmentally operated schools. The lack of balance in governmental
activity reflects primarily the failure to separate sharply the question
what activities it is appropriate for government to finance from
the question what activities it is appropriate for government to administer
a distinction that is important in other areas of government activity
as well. Because the financing of general education by government is widely
accepted, the provision of general education directly by govern mental
bodies has also been accepted. But institutions that provide general education
are especially well suited also to provide some kinds of vocational and
professional education, so the acceptance of direct government provision
of general education has led to the direct provision of vocational education.
To complete the circle, the provision of vocational education has, in
turn, meant that it too was financed by government, since financing has
been predominantly of educational institutions not of particular kinds
of educational services.
to Graduates About Advice (06/06/1971)
By Edward C. Banfield at Claremont McKenna College
Figures of speech, especially metaphors, are peculiarly serviceable
to people who give advice about social problems. The use of them tends
to create an emotional response in the listener that enhances the urgency
of the problem thus raising the value of the putative solution
that the advice-giver offers. I sometimes wonder if we could have an urban
crisis without a good supply of metaphors. Suppose that a writer
could not speak of decaying neighborhoods but instead had
to say what he meant straight out say that the well-off have moved
away from aging unfashionable neighborhoods, that this has given the less
well-off opportunities to move into housing better than they formerly
had, and that they, for obvious reasons, are in most instances disposed
to spend less on the repair and maintenance of houses than the former
occupiers were. Or suppose that a United States Senator instead of saying,
as one recently did, that the cities are mortally sick and getting
sicker and that the states are in a state of chronic crisis
had to speak plainly in this instance, perhaps, to say that although
in the last decade the cities and states have increased their revenues
by a factor of three, there are nevertheless many voters who would like
to have more spent, provided of course that the taxes are paid mainly
End of History? (Summer 1989)
By Francis Fukuyama in The National Interest
The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of
all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western
liberalism. In the past decade, there have been unmistakable changes in
the intellectual climate of the worlds two largest communist countries,
and the beginnings of significant reform movements in both. But this phenomenon
extends beyond high politics and it can be seen also in the ineluctable
spread of consumerist Western culture in such diverse contexts as the
peasants markets and color television sets now omnipresent throughout
China, the cooperative restaurants and clothing stores opened in the past
year in Moscow, the Beethoven piped into Japanese department stores, and
the rock music enjoyed alike in Prague, Rangoon, and Tehran. What we may
be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a
particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such:
that is, the end point of mankinds ideological evolution and the
universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human
government. This is not to say that there will no longer be events to
fill the pages of Foreign Affairss yearly summaries
of international relations, for the victory of liberalism has occurred
primarily in the realm of ideas or consciousness and is as yet incomplete
in the real or material world. But there are powerful reasons for believing
that it is the ideal that will govern the material world in the long run.
Explosion of Green (Apr. 1995)
By Bill McKibben in The Atlantic
In the early nineteenth century the cleric Timothy Dwight reported
that the 240-mile journey from Boston to New York City passed through
no more than twenty miles of forest. Surveying the changes wrought by
farmers and loggers in New Hampshire, he wrote, The forests are
not only cut down, but there appears little reason to hope that they will
ever grow again. Less than two centuries later, despite great increases
in the states population, 90 percent of New Hampshire is covered
by forest. Vermont was 35 percent woods in 1850 and is 80 percent today,
and even Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have seen woodlands
rebound to the point where they cover nearly three fifths of southern
New England. This process, which began as farmers abandoned the cold and
rocky pastures of the East for the fertile fields of the Midwest, has
not yet run its course.... This unintentional and mostly unnoticed renewal
of the rural and mountainous East not the spotted owl, not the
salvation of Alaskas pristine ranges represents the great
environmental story of the United States, and in some ways of the whole
world. Here, where suburb and megalopolis were
added to the worlds vocabulary, an explosion of green is under way,
one that could offer hope to much of the rest of the planet.
Doomslayer (Feb. 1997)
By Ed Regis in Wired
The world is getting progressively poorer, and its all because
of population, or more precisely, overpopulation. Theres
a finite store of resources on our pale blue dot, spaceship Earth, our
small and fragile tiny planet, and were fast approaching its ultimate
carrying capacity. The limits to growth are finally upon us, and were
living on borrowed time. The laws of population growth are inexorable.
Unless we act decisively, the final result is written in stone: mass poverty,
famine, starvation, and death. Time is short, and we have to act now.
Thats the standard and canonical litany.... Theres just one
problem with The Litany, just one slight little wee imperfection: every
item in that dim and dreary recitation, each and every last claim, is
false.... Thus saith The Doomslayer, one Julian
L. Simon, a neither shy nor retiring nor particularly mild-mannered
professor of business administration at a middling eastern-seaboard state
university. Simon paints a somewhat different picture of the human condition
circa 1997. Our species is better off in just about every measurable
material way, he says. Just about every important long-run
measure of human material welfare shows improvement over the decades and
centuries, in the United States and the rest of the world. Raw materials
all of them have become less scarce rather than more. The
air in the US and in other rich countries is irrefutably safer to breathe.
Water cleanliness has improved. The environment is increasingly healthy,
with every prospect that this trend will continue.
A brilliant parody:
the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
By Alan Sokal in Social Text
There are many natural scientists, and especially physicists, who
continue to reject the notion that the disciplines concerned with social
and cultural criticism can have anything to contribute, except perhaps
peripherally, to their research. Still less are they receptive to the
idea that the very foundations of their worldview must be revised or rebuilt
in the light of such criticism. Rather, they cling to the dogma imposed
by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual
outlook, which can be summarized briefly as follows: that there exists
an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual
human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are
encoded in eternal physical laws; and that human beings can
obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws
by hewing to the objective procedures and epistemological
strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method.
... and, in explanation, ...
Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies (May/June 1996)
By Alan Sokal in Lingua Franca
For some years Ive been troubled by an apparent decline in
the standards of rigor in certain precincts of the academic humanities.
But Im a mere physicist: If I find myself unable to make heads or
tails of jouissance and differance, perhaps that just reflects
my own inadequacy. So, to test the prevailing intellectual standards,
I decided to try a modest (though admittedly uncontrolled) experiment:
Would a leading North American journal of cultural studies whose
editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew
Ross publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it
sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors ideological preconceptions?
The answer, unfortunately, is yes.... Whats going on here? Could
the editors really not have realized that my article was written as a
Need a Reality Check: A firsthand account of liberal bias at CBS News.
By Bernard Goldbert in The Wall Street Journal
There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news,
and one of them, Im more convinced than ever, is that our viewers
simply dont trust us. And for good reason. The old argument that
the networks and other media elites have a liberal bias is
so blatantly true that its hardly worth discussing anymore. No,
we dont sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how were
going to slant the news. We dont have to. It comes naturally to
is No Time, There Will Be Time (11/18/1998)
By Peggy Noonan in Forbes ASAP
When you consider who is gifted and crazed with rage... when you
think of the terrorist places and the terrorist countries... who do they
hate most? The Great Satan, the United States. What is its most important
place? Some would say Washington. I would say the great city of the United
States is the great city of the world, the dense 10-mile-long island called
Manhattan, where the economic and media power of the nation resides, the
city that is the psychological center of our modernity, our hedonism,
our creativity, our hard-shouldered hipness, our unthinking arrogance.