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Tag Archive: Hypocrisy

The go-to tool for a go-to method of simply killing as many jihadis as possible

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (9:42 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Tuesday, September 27th, 2011:

 

J.E. Dyer, posting over at HotAir’s Green Room, on the implications of the increasing and expanding reliance of the United States’ military efforts in the Middle East on assassination via drone strike:

To use this kind of force, the implication is that you don’t need to have a traditional-warfare justification.  Alternatively, you could say that this kind of force – drone-targeting; anti-personnel tactics untethered to the idea of securing a “better peace” – is now a way war can be defined.

In either case, these suppositions raise questions in terms of the Geneva Conventions and the law of armed conflict.  More fundamentally, they raise questions as to what we are, in effect, doing.  It’s one thing if drones are used as an adjunct to an overarching strategy of closing in on militant jihadism by denying it territory and transforming the political conditions in which it has thrived.  But it’s something else when drones become the go-to tool, for a go-to method of simply killing as many jihadis as possible.

The latter model begins to resemble the methods of guerrilleros and the bloody conflicts of crime syndicates.  What those models presuppose is the absence of a possibility of strategic resolution:  a felt need to keep killing because, when baseline conditions aren’t expected to change, it’s the only option for harassing, culling, and deterring the enemy pack.  Is that the light in which we see this “war on terror” conflict?

Accountable nations fighting to win – fighting for what B.H. Liddell-Hart called a “better peace” – fight differently.  Their objective is not to kill as many people as possible but to transform the conditions of people on the territory they inhabit.  Bill Roggio is right:  if you don’t transform what’s going on on territory, the important things – the things that produced the need to fight in the first place – will not change.  That transformation need not involve forcibly changing foreign regimes, but it unquestionably involves changing foreign regimes’ will and intentions.

As usual, Dyer has produced a well-thought-out piece, and she asks some very important questions. It’s worth reading the entire (short) piece. Even the discussion in the combox is worth reading – and I don’t find myself able to say that too often!

Myself, I’ve been troubled for quite some time, from a strictly moral perspective, by this administration’s clear preference for using assassination techniques – whether by unmanned drones or more conventional tactics – to achieve its goals. I’ve been reluctant to say anything publicly because I don’t want to come across as a partisan hypocrite. A partisan, maybe; a hypocrite, sure; but not a partisan hypocrite, please.

It’s true that the Obama administration can pretty much do no good in my eyes, but the simple fact that this drone issue might be just another platform from which to clobber Obama with fault does not change the fact that it is so for morally valid reasons – perhaps especially since it appears to me to be of a piece with his overall approach to moral reasoning. One could reasonably ask why I didn’t similarly criticize George Bush for similar techniques, but the truth is, I can’t remember how drones and such were used during the Bush administration, and I haven’t bothered to find out. I simply don’t remember what I thought – assuming I paid attention. Beyond that, I will only make three brief points: (1) If I had said anything at all, I would have been similarly critical of their use by Bush in similar circumstances, though regarding circumstances, see Dyer’s main point on the strategic imperative, and also my following point. (2) For all his failures and mistakes, I understood Bush to be a fundamentally good, decent, and moral man who grappled deeply with the moral implications of his decisions, whereas I understand Obama to be the most cynical, calculating, and utilitarian politician to occupy the White House since Richard Nixon. I trusted Bush; I don’t trust Obama, and so my antennae are up – what can I say… (3) Neither Bush nor his supporters ever tried to pass him off as a “peace candidate” – talk about partisan hypocrisy!

Anyway, getting back to Dyer, she hits the nail on the head when she reminds her readers that, regardless of what they may think, either strategically or morally, of the use of this tactic in the current crises, it is behavior that is opening up a Pandora’s box of payback and proliferation of pre-moral, savage violence, untethered to anything remotely resembling just war.

It is hard to imagine zero-tolerance bullying prevention without schools becoming mini-bureaucratic-police states

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 (3:10 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Wednesday, September 14th, 2011:

Mary Rose Somarriba, writing yesterday at Public Discourse, on the recent anti-bullying legislation recently enacted in New Jersey (hewing closely to Obama administration policies), in an article called “A Bully-Free World?”:

Why, one might ask, would the president lead a conference on preventing something like bullying, which is ultimately impossible to prevent? It could be, perhaps, because bullying is something that everyone agrees is wrong, and it is something that everyone can relate to, because everyone has been bullied at some point.

But sadly, bullying is like any unfortunate human conflict and will exist as long as humans do. This does not mean it is okay to bully; it means it is problematic to imagine that we can create a world in which conflict doesn’t exist. It is hard to imagine zero-tolerance bullying prevention without schools becoming mini-bureaucratic-police states—the likes of which only belong in films like Minority Report or Adjustment Bureau—where kids could be criminally charged for hurting each other’s feelings, “different” kids could be targeted as “likely to be bullied,” and so on. But that is exactly what this boils down to: a child’s version of hate crimes.

In reality, laws like New Jersey’s risk worsening the problems of bullying. There is reason to believe that hotlines where kids can anonymously text-message tips to incriminate bullies are yet another technology that kids will abuse for the purposes of bullying. Further, bullying prevention is arguably the wrong goal altogether. It would be better to focus on conflict resolution than on conflict prevention. Devoting all effort to preventing the inevitable is not only wasteful policy; it is a failure to do what actually might lessen the damage of real-life conflicts.

One of my kids – probably the youngest one – mentioned something during dinner the other night about the latest anti-bullying campaign at her school, and I was too tired and cranky to resist letting out a snort. The kids were a little flabbergasted when I said I thought the current anti-bullying hysteria is moronic. Of course, they assumed that anyone who didn’t “like” anti-bullying must therefore “like” bullying – that’s the way these things are framed society-wide, the way immature minds tend to work naturally, and certainly fits the Facebook zeitgeist we and they inhabit. I pointed out the hypocrisy of adults shoving anti-bullying propaganda down the throats of helpless populations of schoolchildren, and made some references to the long stream of social do-goodism in the schools, of which anti-bullying is not merely the latest fashion, but an almost inevitable consequence of previous efforts by the same kinds of “progressive” people to coddle school children, eliminate discipline, abandon authority, and eradicate the stain of “judgmentalism”.

I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining myself, and fortunately, Somarriba does a pretty good job in this article of explaining at least why the anti-bullying agenda is impractical. But I really dislike the agenda for reasons she comes close to, but doesn’t address. She suggests that perhaps President Obama wants to get out in front of this because everybody agrees that bullying is wrong, and she’s dead right about that: it’s a convenient platform for cheesy moralism. You won’t lose any votes by thundering denunciations against bullies, after all. And that’s the real problem here: it’s symptomatic of a culture that feels the need to find something phony with which to fill a glaring void, a void where genuine morality deserves to be found, but cannot be allowed expression lest it upset the libertarian apple cart of mutually assured disregard of vice.

We can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house

Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 (11:10 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Tuesday, February 1st, 2011:

I’m not sure quite how to attribute this… I’m quoting Joe Carter over at the First Thoughts blog today, who is quoting Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling published Monday striking down the ObamaCare law on account of the individual mandate, which is quoting then-candidate Barack Obama from 2008, essentially mocking the notion of a mandate… You can figure it out:

On this point, it should be emphasized that while the individual mandate was clearly “necessary and essential” to the Act as drafted, it is not “necessary and essential” to health care reform in general. It is undisputed that there are various other (Constitutional) ways to accomplish what Congress wanted to do. Indeed, I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that “if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house.”

Politicians really hate when you remind them what they said on the campaign trail. I imagine they despise it even more when the reminder is included in a federal ruling overturning their prized legislation.

Priceless. But if there remained any doubts, we surely know now why Senator Obama was so well-known for voting “present” during his legislative stints – he’s not stupid. As to whether he’s principled, well, that’s another question altogether, as we wouldn’t want to conflate being principled with having an agenda. There’s a world of difference between being willing to pay any price to stand your ground, and being willing to pay any price to get what you want.

Public Health Leaders Should Be Carefully Scrutinized

Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2010 (3:04 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Sunday, November 5th, 2010:

Matthew Hanley over at The Catholic Thing on Thursday, commenting on the public reaction to Pope Benedict’s recent statement on condom use in the Peter Seewald book, in a post entitled Misrepresenting Benedict’s Bravery:

The New York Times tells us the pope’s words, in the newly published book Light of the World, were received with “glee from clerics and health workers in Africa, where the AIDS problem is worst.” The pope as anachronistic obstacle to global health has long been a fashionable narrative. But consider: decades of robust condom promotion (and other technical interventions) utterly failed to curb Africa’s AIDS epidemics, and common-sense changes in sexual behavior accounted for Africa’s handful of AIDS declines.  Is one misrepresented remark from the pontiff now to do what lavish and sophisticated condom campaigns couldn’t?  Public health leaders should be carefully scrutinized. They, not the pope, are explicitly charged with containing epidemics.   

Although I think the post tries to tries to say too many things in its allotted space (a temptation I can sympathize with), the most important point Hanley makes is the implication of culpability on the part of public health officials who have stood around fondling themselves for decades while this epidemic has wasted millions of human beings, too afraid (either of hurting other people’s feelings, or –more likely– of being perceived as uncool) to state the obvious if unwelcome truth: this disease is spread almost entirely by immoral behavior – especially by disordered sexual licentiousness and lack of self-control – and can be avoided and defeated only by a rejection of the narcissistic public morality that promotes such soul-destroying indulgence as normal and acceptable behavior.

It’s far easier, of course, to ban Happy Meals than to criticize socially toxic sexual immorality, though the discrepancy of dereliction therein implied clearly constitutes gross criminal negligence on the part of our public health “leaders”.

via FirstThoughts

“Mr. Ambassador, enter the Orient Express and go back to Istanbul, your wonderland!”

Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2010 (6:14 am), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Thursday, Dec. 2nd, 2010:

Maybe Europe is not a lost cause after all? Perhaps my disillusionment with the post-modern political and cultural character of the Old World has been unduly overwrought? Between this dressing down by Austrian MP Ewald Stadler and the Nigel Farage tirade in Brussels the other day, perhaps I should be holding to a firmer hope for a European future worthy of its past.

Not that I have any illusions about these guys representing majorities, but: Who woulda’ thunk? An MP on the floor of a 21st century European Parliament demanding Turkish accountability for the gruesome murder of a Catholic Archbishop! And the Poles didn’t even have to show up! Maybe the Turkish Ambassador will think twice in the future before accusing Austria of religious intolerance.

This is a thing of beauty…

 

Where the Streets Have No Shame

Posted: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 (11:09 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Wednesday, Dec 1st, 2010:

Elizabeth Scalia, posting an “On The Square” piece yesterday at First Things called Rationing Bono & Other Gaia-Saving Ideas, asking why the planet’s room mothers and former Vice-Presidents, who jet off to fancy places to hold “Save the Earth from the Earthlings” summit meetings on a regular basis, never seem to suggest solving the crisis of our impending planetary doom by outlawing things like sporting events, and rock concerts – like the current obscenely indulgent U2 tour, for example:

As we read the dire news out of Cancun, that food and material goods may need to be rationed among the little people, for the good of the earth, we may take comfort in knowing that, before we retire to our cold-water flats, we will still be permitted to expend large amounts of our hard-earned cash for the privilege of being entertained and lectured by extremely wealthy musicians who inveigh against greed and endorse big-government solutions to social and environmental problems, even as they move their assets to tax-reduced locations, and fly their multiple 747’s and drive their scores of trucks to their next profitable, ephemeral gig.

It is a funny sort of global crisis that requires sacrificial amends and rationing—with the accompanying restrictions on earnings and opportunities—from some people, while others are permitted to continue living their lives and making their profits pretty much as they always have.

But then, it is a funny old world, isn’t it?

 

Governmental Global Green Shills Explore Political-Class Alternatives to Rationing at 2010 Cancun “Save the Earth from the Earthlings” Summit – Backpacks Optional!

Waiting for Permission to Do Good?

Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010 (2:52 pm), by John W Gillis


So, the uber-wealthy Warren Buffett is complaining again that he pays too little in taxes:

“I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more in taxes; we have it better than we’ve ever had it.”

Buffett on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour

The duplicity in all this is just staggering. As a commenter at HotAir noted, Warren Buffett makes a significant amount of money selling tax shelters, such as life insurance, through his Berkshire Hathaway vehicle, and would stand to make an additional personal fortune should the high-end marginal tax rates increase, leading the wealthy to (predictably) look to shelter more of their wealth.

Even more to the point is the fact that Buffett can give as much of his money to the Feds as he wishes right now; he doesn’t have to wait for Congress to tell him to. Fausta Wertz captures it perfectly in a post from Friday:

To the best of my knowledge nothing prevents anyone from writing a check to Uncle Sam for any amount, be it small or large. He doesn’t need to claim a tax deduction if he doesn’t want to. The IRS is not going to haul him off to jail for that. Correct me if I’m wrong.

So, if Warren Buffett thinks he’s not paying enough, let him show us, in a grand gesture to end all grand gestures, just how much he is willing to pay. He can put all his money – every red cent of it – where his mouth is, and leave the rest of us in peace.

Fifty billion ought to pay for a government program or two.

I have no way of knowing whether Buffett believes his own BS, or if this is part of a straight-up scam, but I do know for certain that he is more concerned about how the government can collect other people’s money than he is with how it can collect his own.  There’s no way around that, and his lack of unilateral action to correct what he professes to be an injustice is a stark indictment. What is he waiting for, after all? The whole point and purpose of implementing (or expanding) confiscatory taxation is to confiscate other people’s money, and assign its management to Those Who Know Better (or, more nakedly, to the power brokers).

The more I reflect on the social ramifications of taxation policy, the more I come to understand what a poison taxation is to culture once its level exceeds that of meeting the common requirement of civic duty. Cultures need virtue in order to thrive, not coercion and compulsion.

The Green Weapon

Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2009 (10:20 pm), by John W Gillis


earthday2009sh2 Contributing to my continually growing suspicion that I am an alien who ended up on this planet by mistake, I observed the world observing Earth Day yesterday. This seems like a harmless enough celebration, and at one time I probably thought it sounded like a good way to recognize the importance of acknowledging humanity’s responsibility as steward of creation, but somewhere along the line (and quite possibly right from the start), the notion of earth-stewardship was co-opted by hucksters of an astounding variety of stripes.

Everywhere I turned yesterday, there were people trying to sell me “green,” be it in the form of cynically marketed products, paternalistically proffered political ideology, or simply as a fashionable assertion of social conformity – lest I come to the abominable conclusion that some party wasn’t sufficiently “green.” But the pitch that takes the cake came in an email at work, from a newsletter aimed at selling professional services to project managers. Why this one? Because it simply cuts through the bull, and gets to the point:

The term "eco-friendly" shouldn’t make people roll their eyes anymore.they should see dollar signs.

I took the title of this post from the heading on the article blurb that began with the above sentence (punctuation irregularities in original). Really, I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. In the end, this “movement” is nothing but another scam; another opportunity for the clever to despoil the gullible. But marketing scams are a dime a dozen, and I fear this one traverses some dreadful terrain before it cashes in.

My deeper problem with the “green” movement is in the way it is passed off by the cultural illuminati as a form of morality. It serves as a substitute for a serious moral vision, placing no demands upon individuals except to practice acts of cheesy piety, such as recycling or buying green-blessed goods, yet offering the illusion of having satisfied some grave public – and perhaps even cosmic – need. This would be comical if there weren’t so many people jumping on the bandwagon, because the illusion of goodness, being the essence of idolatry, is a much more formidable enemy to the genuine good than bald evil is. “Green” certainly has become nothing if not a weapon against sound reason.

I sat in a traffic light in Wellesley tonight on my way home from work, behind a station wagon bearing a bumper sticker that said: “Be responsible: shut your car off while waiting.” Also emblazoned on the car were various peace stickers, and an Obama campaign sticker. And then there was the pro-choice slogan. If this kind of “morality” is not the height of whitewashed bourgeois acceptability and self-satisfaction on the face of an inferno of injustice and inhumanity, then I don’t know what is.

Yet this inhumanity seems to be a part of the very paradigm of the green movement. Whether it be Malthusian hysterics, anti-technological eco-puritanism, or the wildly popular “global warming” apocalyptic, humanity always seem to get painted as the problem that must be overcome in order to “save the Earth.” About a year ago, I read a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe from a leading local executive of either the United Church of Christ or the Unitarian Universalist Association, making the astonishing claim that global warming is the most important moral issue of our time. Never mind the dubiousness of the “crisis” in and of itself, can any sane person really imagine that man-made climate change is the most serious moral issue in a world still staggering from the bloodiest century in its history, still armed to the teeth with weapons of unfathomable terror, slaughtering its own children in a frenzy of sexual idiocy, and recklessly embracing immoral political ideas that attack the very foundations of human community?

But this is not the isolated view of a single left-wing whack job. The Worldwatch Institute held an interfaith symposium on global warming back in September 2006, during which Episcopalian priestess Sally Bingham expressed the emerging view: “Global warming,” says Reverend Bingham, “is one of the greatest moral issues of our time, if not the greatest.” And these supposed thought leaders are only following Prophet of Environmentalism Al Gore, who had earlier claimed that global warming was a moral issue, not a political issue.

Well, as recent history has proven yet again, hang on for dear life any time a politician starts claiming that a pet issue is not a “political” issue. But the most sublime symmetry is provided to this claim – that global warming is a moral, and not a political, issue – by a web petition sponsored by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, which sought to generate political support for the belief that global warming is a moral issue. Ah, serendipity. Alas, though, they fell short of their goal of 10,000 signatures. That only would have taken one signature from every ten congregations from among their member communions, according to the parent organization’s web site. Perhaps their membership was overly confused as to what it means to vote on whether or not something is a moral issue? I think the notion would have perplexed me.

Most Private Family Matters

Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 (11:43 pm), by John W Gillis


Being not only the day after the day after President Obama’s inauguration, but also the anniversary of the dreadful Roe v. Wade decision, I was thinking quite a bit today about the abortion problem. Being well aware of his earlier statement to Planned Parenthood that could be interpreted to mean that the first thing he would do after obtaining the Presidential office would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, I’ve been warily eyeballing some news sources for the past couple days, waiting to see if the President picks up on the theme. Not that I think it likely too soon – I just can’t imagine the President wanting to roil the waters at this time – but I have little doubt the Congress will drop the bill on his desk for signature in the not-too-distant future, leaving him no choice but to deal with it. And his world will change that day, one way or another.

From what I can gather, he made no mention of it today. releasing instead a canned remark on Roe v. Wade that made the remarkable claim that the decision “stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters.”

Last I knew, Mr. Obama was quite supportive of governmental intrusion into the very heart of the family itself through the issuance of licenses of marriage and certificates of divorce, as well as of intrusive governmental oversight of the welfare of children (even to the point of the government taking child custody if it deems it appropriate), and intrusive government oversight of the quality of domestic relations between husbands and wives in the form of applying laws relating to domestic abuse, and intrusive governmental oversight of family finances, in the forms of both establishing and enforcing alimony and child support arrangements, and in the a priori prioritization of massive family expenditures through taxation, and of course – last but hardly least – government control of the education of children.

But perhaps Mr. Obama is suggesting that these other things are private family matters of a lesser sort, as opposed to the killing of children, which qualifies as being a most private family matter – and that therefore he knows to draw the line of governmental intrusion at the killing, because – Ba’al knows – we can’t have governmental interference in the killing of children, except perhaps to pay for it with the money of those who find it morally outrageous.