Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I disagree with him on several counts. The first is the issue of Islam being a violent religion in passage. That, it undeniably is. There are quotes in the Koran that invoke violence. But at the end of the day - what does that prove? Nothing, really. There are violent sections of the Christian bible. And furthermore, people do not need religion to make them evil - they can do that on their own. They also don't necessarily become evil because of religion. In other words, even though Islam does advocate violent action in certain parts, it does not follow that Muslims are destined to become violent. No doubt someday they will mostly come to ignore their religious tenants just like we have here in the West.
The most important point of disagreement is the context of our tolerance. There is a fundamental difference between European tolerance and American tolerance of Islam. Europeans were tolerant from a position of Muslims on that continent not being well integrated into the society at all, an extremely anemic European growth rate, and a very robust Muslim birth rate from a relatively high starting base population. In other words, Europeans are tolerant of Islam out of weakness.
In the United States, we can be tolerant of Islam for different reasons - we can be tolerant because of our strength. We do not have to fear Islam because we know that it poses no threat to America. Why? Well for starters, American Muslims are far more integrated than European ones. This is a testament to our melting pot society, which has an almost limitless capacity to absorb and welcome newcomers. Muslims succeed in America, and they feel welcome in America. Furthermore, they represent a very tiny proportion of the population, barely 1%.
Americans should not worry about the mosque near ground zero because we are strong enough such that we don't need to. Allowing the mosque reflects our confidence and strength, even though a similar situation in Europe might have reflected weakness. This partially explains the European tendency lately to overreact in bits of anti-Islamic hysteria (the Swiss, the French); they are compensating! Nobody in the world will question that our allowing the mosque is from a position of strength - except maybe all of the unpatriotic Americans who are expressing their vote of no confidence in their country by whining about this issue.
Friday, August 13, 2010
This is a quote from Jeffery Goldberg's recent comment in The Atlantic. I will admit that the Iranian Republic of seven years ago is different from the one of today. Then, there was a widespread distribution of power among clergy, the religious assembly, the Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guards. Now the more moderate clergy has been sidelined, and the more extremist Revolutionary Guards and their leader Ahmadinejad have consolidated power.
The nation looks more like a police state / dictatorship than it did seven years ago. I absolutely hate WW2 analogies, but I actually think it is appropriate here: Iran now looks like Germany in 1932, where the brownshirts and the SS were on the brink of a major consolidation of power within the nation. So too may the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Ahmadinejad be poised.
Any time power gets more concentrated, it is unstable, and more dangerous - especially when the people in whose hands it is concentrated have apocalyptic religious beliefs, and thus are likely irrational and hard to deter. So before having finished the article, I will say that the thought of a military solution to this problem does not turn me off nearly as much as it did previously.
If I was Obama, what would I do? I would tell the Israelis flat out that settlements in the West Bank stop TODAY if they want our military / diplomatic support in a year from now if things get a bit hazy. If we have to go to war, we have to go to war. The world has to know that we at least did everything possible to prevent that eventuality, which Obama has virtually done, save successfully restrain Israeli provocation in the West Bank.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
It would have been really difficult for me to do this sort of thing given the extremely low opinion I have of McConnell in particular. But this sort of action is really the thing that Obama promised for his presidency. "Change" was never about being liberal or moving the country to the left. That had been done before. It was about consensus seeking and bipartisanship. Just because the Republicans have downright refused to play government thus far does not make Obama a less bipartisan politician.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Many people agree: government is too big, it shouldn't be involved in private affairs, and individuals should be free to live as they wish so long as it doesn't harm others.
Many of those same people would however disagree that the government shouldnt be involved in private affairs vis a vis marriage.
I guess they think gay marriage will harm others? Id be interested to hear an argument for that position that couldn't be extended to outlaw all sorts of "amoral" behavior, thus destroying the separation of church and state and turning America into a theocracy.
And then of course many of these same advocates of private freedom of government intervention might also oppose homosexual military service, again because I somehow should believe that gay military service harms others. Even though every other western nation allows it, including Israel.
Everyone likes big government when it suits them, I guess.