Around the Web on 7-6-06

Thursday, July 06, 2006

As I slowly recover from a busy period and a short trip out of the country, I find many interesting things on the web....

What Makes America Great

My thanks go to Bruno for pointing to this Edwin Locke piece on what makes America great.

Despite its undeniable triumphs, America is by no means secure. Its core principles are under attack from every direction -- by religious zealots who want to undermine the separation of church and state, and by its own intellectuals, who are denouncing reason in the name of skepticism, rights in the name of special entitlements, and progress in the name of environmentalism. We are heading rapidly toward the destruction of our core values and the dead end of nihilism. The core values and achievements of the West and of America must be asserted proudly and defended to the death. Our lives depend on them.

What Threatens America

Robert Tracinski, in TIA Daily, points to the following story concerning the sacrilege of a great American symbol by a group of people who would do well to read the above essay, not to mention familiarize themselves with some of the writings of some of our founding fathers.
"I decree the spirit of conviction on this intersection," ["Apostle" Alton] Williams [pastor of Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, which erected the statue pictured at right] boomed from a podium decorated with red, white and blue bunting. "This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis."
I'll let three other Americans rebut Williams.
"It's a big issue," [Guardia] Nelson said. "Liberty's supposed to have a fire, not a cross."

Elena Martinez, a loan officer visiting Memphis from Houston, said her family was speechless at the sight.

"The Statue of Liberty has a different meaning for the country," Ms. Martinez said. "It doesn't need to be used in a religious sense."
And then, of course, Thomas Jefferson, has this to say about religion.
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God.... Read the Bible, then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus.
It is no coincidence that this mysterious man, who was also the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, counted among his greatest achievements the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Our government is alone the only social institution that has the use of force at its legal disposal. This is precisely why it has no business promoting religion (or any other particular system of beliefs), and precisely what makes a Statue of "Liberty" which includes religious trappings of any sort an abomination.

Does Williams have the right to erect this monstrosity? Of course. But the only thing his statue proves is that he does not understand or care about the intellectual underpinnings of the United States of America. Nor does he appreciate the difference between freedom and the slavery that is self-sacrifice, and which is symbolized by the cross held aloft by his unholy statue.

Book Review: What Would the Founders Do?

And speaking of becoming more familiar with the Founding Fathers, I like this book review by Alexander Marriott on Richard Brookhiser's new book What Would the Founders Do?.
The real problem with the premise of Brookhiser's latest effort is that the founders were not infallible authorities to consult on political or ethical concerns. Their inability to deal with metaphysics, which Brookhiser points out, was a serious flaw, because they ended up stating their political breakthroughs as self-evident truths, when they were and are not. Though Brookhiser and the rest of us may want to go back to the founders and get the wisdom we seem to have lost, their advice is limited not only by time, but by their own deficiencies. In their age they could say radical liberty and individual rights were self-evident truths because few would dispute the point, but today's post-modern world where people dispute the existence of reality, objectivity, truth, reason, and knowledge (the beginnings of which had only begun when the founders were achieving their greatest triumphs) requires something more. In the context of their own time the founders were heroic visionaries, men of ideas and action. Whether they could fight the philosophical quagmire of the present which threatens all their efforts to secure freedom and liberty to their posterity is far from certain. That being said, Mr. Brookhiser's efforts to bring the founders intelligently and understandably to as many Americans as possible (not just scholars) are to be commended and encouraged. The seriousness and probity which the founders brought to all the issues they grappled with comes through clearly in this book and is something we should all strive to emulate.
Sounds like I'll add this one to the hopper!

Forced to Pledge?!?!?

And speaking of people who have lost sight of what makes our country great, Andy reports that North Carolina is getting ready to become the 34th state to force school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every day.

A free people do not need to be told to support the nation that protects their freedom. An unfree people owe their nation no allegiance, as our Founding Fathers showed by their words and deeds. The North Carolina legislature plainly does not grasp this.

Mexican Standoff

The Mexican election presently appears too close to call. The rabble-rouser AMLO led the last time I checked, which is a bad thing. He keeps babbling about how Mexico's stability is in the balance from one side of his mouth and threatening to start riots if there is fraud -- meaning if he loses -- out of the other side. Mexico does not need a "leader" like that. The Belmont Club has links to some live-blogging of the election, and there are some thought-provoking comments there as well.

Environmentalism vs. American Self-Defense

Environmentalists continue to attempt to limit the ability of our Navy to train during a time of war. What's worse, our leaders are not standing up for the rights (and lives) of human beings (whom they are charged with protecting) over the lives of animals. Not only did our President recently establish a "national marine monument area" in waters near Hawaii recently, but naval officials continue accepting the premises of the environmentalists.
"We need to balance what we've got to do from the standpoint of military training and readiness and exercises with our commitment to environmental protections and safeguards," said Capt. Matt Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Either Brown said nothing about the dubiousness of claims that sonar has anything to do with whale strandings or the Washington Post chose to ignore it when making this report.

But as I said over a year ago, that really isn't even the most fundamental issue.
Our submarines very rarely use active sonar and when they do, lives are at stake[, w]hether such a capability is used for collision avoidance or to train personnel to function properly (via drills or other exercises) .... While it is true that the Navy takes care to avoid events like this, I'd like to see Naval officials and politicians alike stress the importance of protecting the lives of those serving on submarines {and therefore, of everyone else]. Not only should these officials do so because we are fighting a war, but the lives of those involved in that exercise far outweigh those of a bunch of [wild animals].
(HT: Nick Provenzo)

Paper Bullet

Once again, Cox and Forkum illustrate perfectly another American foreign policy blunder. Look for more countries to start acting like North Korea if we don't put a stop to this.

Quote of the Day Week Month Year Decade Century Millennium ... Oh, Never Mind!

Willy Shake, who is returning from a much longer and more stressful absence from blogging than I, passes on the following brilliant quote:
Civilization is face to face with militant [Islamism]...there need be no fear of the ultimate issue, but the longer the policy of half measures is adhered to the more distant the end of the struggle will be. [-- Winston Churchill, September 12, 1897!]
Thanks, Willy Shake, and welcome back!

More Bad News Concerning Internet Freedom

Paul Hsieh notes that now, Google is being threatened with the anti-trust cudgel!
[T]he judge presiding in the lawsuit against Google may allow the plaintiff KinderStart to include an anti-trust claim against Google. Normally, companies would have a hard time with a complaint against Google based purely on a low search engine ranking, since Google could claim protection under the First Amendment (much as a restaurant would have a hard time suing a newspaper for an unfavorable review). But since KinderStart is also a niche search website specializing in parenting-related sites, they can make [this] additional claim against Google[.]
Economic controls don't just breed more controls. They breed attacks on freedom from many other, unanticipated directions. This is precisely why any attack on freedom must be opposed.

Moslem Women Not Blameless

Amit Ghate weighs in.
Until recently I have felt very sorry for Muslim women in general -- considering them to be relatively innocent and helpless victims of their brutal and repressive societies. But the more I read, the more I see that many have bought into and actively advocate the ideology responsible for their situation, with quite a few even participating in the physical horrors and repression. For example, in the story below, an aunt was instrumental in trapping the murdered girl, just as women were the traps in the Halimi case.
There is much more. Umm Nidal is hardly an aberration. She is simply one of the ugliest examples of this. That we know about.

No Gooooaaaallll!

Reader Adrian Hester writes:
Tank McNamara has had a great series about soccer the past week. The real reason soccer has never caught on in the US? The CIA has been blocking it!
It starts here.

-- CAV

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